Monthly Archives: April 2008

Blogiversary with a Cause

A year ago today, encouraged by Beth, I signed up on WordPress, and whoops, before I knew it:

I had a knitting blog!

1st picture; borrowed digital camera with a dirty lens giving an impressionistic look

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

And what an amazing number of wonderful people I’ve met along the way, many of whom I am proud and honored to call friends.

(And how much yarn I’ve acquired, but we’re not discussing that now. Move along now. Nothing to see here.)

So I’d like to celebrate in my favorite way (sharing fiberlicious love!) but, borrowing a page from Sarah-Hope, I’d like to throw a party that helps others as well.

Here’s the scoop: Instead of just being a comments ho (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course), I’d like to invite you to join me in supporting some truly worthy causes. And by doing so, you can win some AMAZING prizes!

What AMAZING prizes, you ask? Take a look:

The gorgeously beautiful, limited edition, not-quite-yet-available-to-the-general-public-as-of-today (it is anticipated to go on sale on the BMFA website tomorrow, April 30th) “Knitters WIthout Borders” Socks That Rock yarn in lightweight!

i bought this at BMFA Sock Camp, where a portion of the purchase price already went to support Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières), one of my favorite charities. (I ran out of yarn room in my suitcase, so fellow Camper Lisa kindly mailed this skein home to me with, ahem, a little more yarn perhaps for company. Thanks, Lisa!) By the way, what looks purple there is more of a black in person; blame the photographer, not helped very much by post-snow gloomy skies.

And the organizer of Knitters Without Borders (Tricoteuses sans Frontières) (knitters supporting Doctors without Borders) herself, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, has a new book out — perhaps you’ve heard? A signed copy will go to a lucky winner! She’s inscribed it, “Knitblogs Rock”!

Next for another lucky and generous winner, another Doctors Without Borders special colorway hand-dyed yarn, this one a sportweight merino superwash (331 yards, 4 oz) from The Unique Sheep, mmmm:

Again, by the creation and prior purchase of this yarn, a donation has already been made to Doctors Without Borders, so a win-win situation! And I can tell you, this yarn is nice and squooshy, just awesome.

(In case you think I’m utterly insane, I, um, still have another one of these for myself of all of the above. But I’ll share the yarny love!)

We need to break up the red theme a bit, so here’s some gorgeous and (since Jess on Ravelry made Twisted Fiber Art yarn Jess’ featured yarn selection) virtually impossible-to-get Twisted Fiber Arts yarn.

“Portal” colorway, in “Arial” superwash merino fine fingering weight yarn base.

The swatch is Meg’s photo of it knitted up.) (Meg of Twisted Fiber Arts is putting a new website up in the near future, I’ll keep you posted. We Twisted addicts are certainly excited!)

Now here’s a prize that should really get your attention:

An absolutely drop-dead gorgeous skein of Wollmeise!

Pfauenauge (Peacock) colorway, medium intensity, an incredibly generous put-up of 150 g (574 yards) of superwash wool. (And, no, I don’t have another one of these. I’m not that lucky.) No color enhancement whatsoever, the colors really are that intense. This is definitely a “Wow!” in person. Or maybe a “Whoa!” (Or “Wo!”)

How, you may ask, could you, you, YOU have a chance (or 20!) to win one of these truly and unutterably exciting prizes?


Donate to any of these charities with a knitting connection (and actually, they have a connection with the prizes as well!)

  1. Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières/MSF), a cause near and dear to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s heart and mine too. Suffering does not respect borders, and neither should healing. I can’t go and help at this point in my life, but I honor and support my colleagues who do. Donate here. You can email Steph and let her know you donated too, and your donation will go into her running total sometime, and occasional prizes are drawn, apparently. (I keep forgetting to tell her about my donations, myself; oh, well, c’est la vie!)
  2. Knitters for Knockers, a team of Richmond, Virginia knitters which is Racing for the Cure for breast cancer on May 10, 2008.  One of my fellow Sock Campers, Lou, is on the team. Fabulous prizes there too! Donate here.  One out of 8 American woman, it’s estimated, will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. My 39-year-old cousin died of breast cancer several years ago, and her younger sister’s cancer was then picked up and treated early, and she’s fortunately doing great. But this cause is near and dear to my heart, and the hearts of many. The money all goes to breast cancer research, early detection, and reaching underserved women. (The latter also near and dear to my heart: I see people struggling without adequate health insurance daily, and my cousin had felt a lump for quite some time, but didn’t get it checked out due to lack of insurance and her assumption that it was nothing.)
  3. The House That Yarn Built, an initiative by Christy for knitters to support Make It Right (rebuilding New Orleans’ Lower Ninth District in an environmentally responsible fashion). Read about it here (or let Brad Pitt tell you about it on the Make It Right website), and donate here. (Connection with the prizes? YARN!) Another opportunity to double-dip, there’s prizes to be awarded for donating there too; why not? Represent Knitting and help get the most devastated area of New Orleans back on its feet with a House that Yarn Built!
  4. Just added!  Norma* reminded me about The Red Scarf Fund of the Orphan Foundation of America, whom we tend to think about in the fall/winter when red scarves have been knitted for the Red Scarf Project in the past.  But The Red Scarf Fund supports the young adults who have ‘aged out’ of the foster care system year-round by providing for emergency needs of OFA students such as medical bills, housing, transportation, as well as supporting OFA programs in general.  Über-knitterly, and a great cause. Donate here (right side of page).

*On that first blog post on April 29, there was a Magic 28 sock using Norma’s pattern, too!  Too funny.  Neither of us are sock knitters, though.  Nope.

So, the FINE PRINT details: Every $5 donation will get you one chance to win. More money, more chances in the virtual hat. The Blogiversary with a Cause ‘raffle’ will run from now until midnight CDT on Sunday, May 11, 2008. Unbribeable internet random number generators with no interest in yarn will select the lucky winners on Monday, May 12, 2008.

To enter, email me at hitherandyarn at gmail dot com (you know the drill) and, on the honor system, let me know the amount of your donation.

Donate early, donate often!

It’s all good.

P.S.  And you may certainly free to leave a comment too!  I never said I wasn’t a comment ho!  I only said I wasn’t JUST a comment ho, as I recall.

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.


The ‘S’ word

I’m not going to say the ‘S’ word.

I already told you that to name it is to call it.

But as another midwestern knitblogger just told you, we’re as tired of experiencing s**w as you must be of hearing about it.

While I was gone this weekend, there was no s**w in Neenah, just bitter cold and wind; and no s**w in La Crosse, not like a little north of us got — but this morning it was S**w-ing Sideways. For crying out loud. My all-weather coat isn’t up to this, and I refuse to put on my winter coat on April 28th. I refuse to even take a picture (and it looks like a blizzard out the window as I type this early in the morning, though it shouldn’t accumulate to speak of). I don’t want to acknowledge it. Yes, denial works for me.

Instead, I shall think of lovelier things.

Like my daffodils before the s**w.

Come back tomorrow for an exciting announcement!

Too much to blog, too little time!


I just got back from BMFA Sock Camp last weekend, and this weekend was gone again at another knitterly event, the Spring Midwest Masters seminar put on by Yarns by Design of Neenah, Wisconsin; a truly awesome knitting shop who organized a great seminar. And I got to go with three of my knitting friends from home (we usually only get to sneak bits of knitting time together, generally interrupted by children and spouses) and I (totally unexpectedly, at least we only figured it out 24 hours ahead of time) met up with one of my new friends from Sock Camp as well! It would not have been my choice to be gone from home three weekends in a row, even for knitting, but so it turned out. And it was well worth any laundry crises. But blogging and photographing, among other things, are getting the short end of the stick.

And I haven’t finished telling you about Sock Camp, never mind my personal tour of points of interest of Seattle or the pre-Camp Yarn Crawl on the (K)Notorious Sock Knitters School Bus, and now this weekend, and what about WIPs or FOs? (there are some), and then there will be a significant post coming up Tuesday (but I still need to take some pictures for it then write it; thank heavens a certain large box arrived from Washington in time!). And did I mention both girls have school concerts on the same night Tuesday? The same night they have their last dance class before the recital (guess dance is not happening).

Life in the fast lane (surely make you lose your mind).

Well, here’s a lick and a promise, a picture of one of my favorite teachers from this weekend, the amazing

Lucy Neatby. Wow. Double Wow. There was no class that wasn’t worthwhile, but hers were outstanding; what a teacher! She used her DVDs as a teaching aid, and they were amazing; these beautifully and clearly photographed hands (hers) projected on screen, as she explained in person what was happening and WHY, and reran it as many times as desired. A bunch of DVDs came home with me, since Lucy couldn’t.

For the knitter who had never taken a knitting class before two weeks ago — quite the teachers I’ve been hanging out with!

(And PS: just for the record, Cat Bordhi and Lucy both really like my scarf!)

Eye Candy Friday, Cherry Blossom Edition

Just one of many flower pictures I took at the Bellevue Arboretum, courtesy of Astrid the tour guide. The arboretum and the day warrant their own post, so this is just a tease. (Is that a camellia that had fallen into the water with the cherry blossom petals? It’s certainly something that’s not hardy here in Wisconsin!)

A few other beautiful cherry (and apple) blossoms from that weekend:

Not snow above, just fallen cherry blossoms among the daffodils doing a good imitation. (The snow came the next weekend.)

University of Washington mall. Isn’t it gorgeous with the cherry trees in bloom?

Below, an apple blossom series from an early morning walk on a gorgeous Seattle day.

H is for Hands

The Hands of a knitter.

These Hands also Happen to be the Hands of a mother, a daughter, a Healer.

And a cat owner, evidently.  (Or perhaps that should be a cat’s pet.)

Last year, not long after this photograph was taken, one of these knuckles was laid open nearly to the bone, which required over two months of Healing in the end. And drastically curtailed knitting, not to say work, for some time.  Driving Home to me the importance of Hands.  (Fortunately, all is well now, though a little less pretty.  Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.)

But even more important to me than my own Hands — are the Hands I’ve Held.

It seems like a long time since they were that small. But I’ll never forget the feeling of those warm, tiny Hands in mine. 

Now those same Hands are busy playing piano and guitar and French Horn, drawing and painting, spiking a volleyball, writing essays, typing almost as fast as me on the computer keyboard, often glued to a telephone, holding a barre, occasionally doing Jazz Hands, even (sigh) putting on makeup (sometimes illicitly) — and sometimes these Hands are crocheting and knitting too.  And so we go round and round in the Circle Game; “captive on the carousel of time”.  Someday, these Hands may hold tiny Hands too.

H is for Hands.

Snapshots from Camp: So You Want To Know What Camp Was Really Like?

Check out this unedited video on Hizknits!

(‘Sall true, I was about 2 feet away from Stephen at the time, laughing my butt off!)

Snapshots from Sock Camp: Monkey Madness

Jeanne wants Sock Monkey pictures!

(She’ll just have to wait a bit for the toilet paper cover; not that mine’s worth holding your breath for, believe me.)

Allow me to introduce you to Kermit, the Love Monkey, here emerging from his conveyance home from Sock Camp:

And out getting a breath of fresh Wisconsin air.

(Dairy Air, as the old joke has it.)

Monkey Frogs just don’t need much accessorizing, so he only required a bow tie to be knit. But as you may have heard, Sock Campers became very creative with adorning their monkeys. I tried to take a picture of pretty much all of them (click to embiggen as desired):

And here are the whole Monkey Crew swarming their creator, Cockeyed, with knitted sock monkey love:

Nora was looking for pictures of me on the Yarn Harlot’s blog; nope, no photos of me that I saw (though I was mentioned, more on that later!) but I was standing next to Steph when she and I took these pictures of Monkey Love! And we agreed that in knitblogger logic, 80 crappy pictures somehow trumps one really good picture (i.e. every blogger has to get their own picture!)

We were given the pattern and enough yarn to make a mini-Monkey, but somehow a kit (makes a bigger and a mini-Monkey) found its way home with me too.

Rumor has it that the kits will be available on the BMFA website in the next week or so. So you, too, can have a knitted sock monkey of your very own!

Accessories optional.

Snapshots from Sock Camp: I can knit with a dowel

You can knit with a dowel

Originally uploaded by hizknits

Here I am, on my way to placing second in the “I Can Knit With Anything!” contest:

Knitting with a three inch dowel and a strange metal contraption that looked like an opened up paper clip (the hook part made knitting a trifle difficult).  I believe while casting on, I was indeed heard to refer to it as a pathetic excuse for a knitting needle.  But I Can Knit With Anything!

My friend CeCe won!  (with a toothbrush and a spatula, if I remember correctly)

Thanks to Stephen of Hizknits for taking the picture.

Back from camp, more later

From Seattle

(thanks again, Astrid, for taking me to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, where I took this Lenten rose picture and so many more!)

to Camp Crow’s Feet, aka Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Camp, via the Camp Bus of (K)Notorious Knitters

through a wild and wacky and extremely knitterly week, a taste of which is on the Yarn Harlot’s last few posts (plus the wrap-up),

it’s been an awesome trip.

But sadly, now it’s late, and I have just finished uploading slightly under over a thousand photos (and I had already winnowed some out). I don’t even want to think about work tomorrow, given that my clock had thoroughly adjusted to a different time zone. So I don’t know when I’ll get to show & tell you how awesome a time I had. Work comes first, then laundry is getting urgent.

So, good night for now,

and I promise to tell all when I can.

Hither and Thither

Some things have traveled a long way to come hither….

This is a Wee Tiny Sock for Emily’s Wee Tiny Sock Swap, that was lovingly made in South Africa by Ruth (a mother of an adorable but teething at the time baby, no less!), and which made it halfway across the world in a week.

Isn’t it wonderful! I love it! And I had just bought a tiny sock blocker keychain. I needed a new keychain; I used to have a red pointe shoe on my keychain to prevent accidental key exchange between me and my husband (he’s taken mine, I’ve taken his, until the pointe shoe went on), but the shoe just recently disintegrated. So now I have a hand-knit Wee Tiny Sock instead of a shoe! Awesome.

Some other things are still traveling Hither that were supposed to be here by now, through no fault of the senders. Heidi Kim, my partner in the Hand-Dyed Yarn Swap, sent the yarn that she had dyed, even before I mailed hers, and she received her package over a week ago in Norway. Dang! I wonder if it’s held up in Customs? You know how suspicious yarn can look.

And I ordered more Mini-Moo cards, to be able to give people at Sock Camp, which were mailed first class from London over two weeks ago. The last set arrived exactly a week after mailing. This time, no dice. Sigh.

Well, as things wend their way Hither to my house from across the Atlantic, I’m flying Thither, away from them, towards the Pacific!

As I told you before, I am going to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Camp!  And as I put this post up, I have just arrived in Seattle, where it is a gorgeous late afternoon. 

So much fun is planned for the next 48 hours that I can hardly stand it myself.  I’m not sure it’s legal.  And that’s before Sock Camp even begins….

Tomorrow, a yarn crawl on a shorty schoolbus, with a passel of Notorious Sock Knitters, through some of Seattle’s finest yarn shops (and they have a number), ending up with dinner at Café Nola on Bainbridge Island.  Insanity on wheels, in all the best ways.

Sunday, a wonderful gift from a generous fellow knitblogger, Astrid; the gift of her time to show me around her hometown.  Wow.  I’m blown away.  I was thinking we’d meet for coffee (it is Seattle, after all!) and Astrid offers to take me around to whatever I want to see.   Knitters are an amazing bunch. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this.

Then Monday, up to Sock Camp on Orcas Island.  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Cat Bordhi, and Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts; and more fun than one island can hold, from the sounds of it.  I have a good start on my homework, but I’m not done yet. 

I’m on the hotel computer, and no way to upload pictures; you may or may not hear from me over the next week.  But rest assured, I’m having fun! 

Wish you were here.  Tell you all about it when I get back.