Category Archives: Blogosphere

Winning Team! And a new pattern to celebrate fall.

No, I’m not talking about the Brewers.  Or the Packers.  (Not that they’re not winning teams right now….)

First, though I have not been blogging, I have indeed been knitting.  Knitting a lot, actually.

One of the things I have been knitting, for a brief but intense time, was a dishrag, for DishRag Tag V!  Emily from YarnMiracle once again was kind enough to put this fun and amazing friendly knitting relay on.  On September 21st, the box came:

filled with treats and dishcloth cotton, and a finished dishrag!

These were from my teammate Kirsten in Michigan.  (Our team, number 9 on the list, was called the A-Nine-ilators!)

I picked up the cotton and my needles and began to knit, punctuated with a trip to the first meeting of the year (and my first meeting ever) of the local knitting guild, Three Rivers Knitting Guild.

Though I got it finished and the packaged mailed off via the Automated Postal Center that night, the USPS hijacked our package, holding it in Peoria two days past the promised delivery date.  Oh, no!

But despite this unforeseen delay: thanks to awesome teammates and speedy knitting all along the way,

Our team WON the DishRag Tag!

Woo-hoo!  We mostly won glory, but also very cool knitting bags. (The purple ones are coming to the A-Nine-ilators.)  Thank you, Emily!

Whew!   As the race just ended, to our glory, there is glory in the leaves around us also.  It’s probably peak color here right now, thanks to an early cold snap a couple weeks ago, though right now it’s incredibly warm for October in the midwest.  I haven’t had time for a proper photo shoot, but here are a few photos of trees within a half block of my house:

Maple putting on colors

See the leaves blowing off the trees, below?

(you may have to embiggen)

That was yesterday’s Saturday Sky, by the way.

Lastly, inspired by a ‘homework’ assignment for a Harry Potter-themed competitive knitting group (you would think I’m competitive or something), I just designed a fractal-inspired hat for fall. It’s not truly fractal, but Sierpinski triangles were hard to interpret in hat form. Instead, I modified a stitch pattern from Barbara Walker’s second treasury, frogged a few attempts at semi-clever decreases, and came up with this:

Pythagorean Triangles Hat.

It fits my lovely knit-model, the RockStar, it fits me

it even fits my husband.

Geometry is my daughter’s favorite area in math: maybe that’s why the hat seemed to make her so happy?

Pattern, Pythagorean Triangles Hat: download now

One Million Ravelers!

Early this morning, the one millionth account was created at Ravelry.

I know I am largely preaching to the choir here, as many of you are already aware of the wonders of Ravelry.  But truly, this website is astounding.  An ever-growing database of patterns for knitting and crocheting, yes, with all pertinent info, reviews, links, notations of errata, even the availability for designers to store patterns for purchase or free download on Ravelry itself (and thus the instant availability for me).  But also a database of yarn and designers.  And, for me just as important,  a community of crocheters and knitters and spinners from all over the world who share a passion for their craft.  I have met some of you who read my blog, with the help of Ravelry.  I have met others entirely through Ravelry, such as this lovely group from San Antonio, meeting me in the Houston airport with my Ravelry username on display

Here-to-meet-CathyCake!

(Excuse the blurry picture, I was laughing)

The website itself has amazing design, with a clean look and ease of use that other sites and forums can only yearn after.  (Ravelry is up against Facebook and Twitter for “Community Site of the Year” in .net magazine’s annual “Best of the Web” .net awards, to be announced November 19.)

The only beef I have with Ravelry?  Now my queue (list of things I want to knit) is ginormous, and ever-lengthening!  And every day, I see more lovely things….

A chance glance is how I found one of my latest projects, the 22 leaves shawlette (Ravelry link — of course!) that I showed you last weekend.

22 leaves shawlette, half done

It’s further along than this: I have only about 10 rows to go, though the rows are getting long, in the way of triangle shawls.  And I have another knitting project this weekend, so may not make much progress on this.

And, speaking of choices, I have one to make shortly on this project, and am very indecisive.  The shawlette pattern gives two choices for the edge: a crocheted cast off or a knitted cast-off.

Here’s an example of the first:

2010.09.20. 22-leaves shawlette, finished 031

and of the second:

22leaves_5

(Best picture I could find: more people have done the crocheted bind-off, and of those who have done the knitted bind-off, most don’t have Flickr pics I could show you.)

I am leaning towards the crocheted cast-off for its lacier look: but the downside is that I don’t really crochet (though I would get better at it! and I can do a chain stitch, which is the majority of the cast-off, interspersed with single crochet).  It also would take less yarn, because the knitted cast-off calls for 8 additional rows of knitting (two of lace, six of garter stitch), compared to the crochet chains; and less yarn is getting to be a consideration.  I don’t think I’m going to run out, but I’m watching it.  (I do have a second skein, but being hand-dyed, it may be a bit different in color, so I would like not to have to use it.)

Normally, though, given a choice between crochet and knit: well, I’m a knitter!

Just to confuse the issue, other knitters with my same orientation have done what I have done other times and come up with their own knitted cast-off here and here.  (More Ravelry links. Again. Of course.) I like them both, though I’m deciding if I really truly like the look of the first balanced against the entire shawl.  And the second would definitely take more yarn and a lot more time.

What’s a knitter to do? Advice?

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

You will come to understand the title of this blog post….but you’ll have to keep reading!

A (what was intended to be brief) wrap-up (I hope) of Sock Camp. Maybe.

I hadn’t shared yet that I went out a day early, just to see friends and hang out in the wonderful Seattle area, since there would be no extra time at camp, nor after. (On the way, I saw this mysterious communication at the Minneapolis airport.

Apparently, fiber-bearing animals were sending me messages?)

My friend KT sweetly picked me up at the airport, took me to lunch at Pomegranate Bistro (NOM!), and thence to her house for a couple hours of knitting and talking in her crafty hideaway.  (The mother-in-law apartment in her house is her craft area.  It is awesomeness.  Not just for knitting, but for quilting and all KT’s other artistic endeavors: she is incredibly creative.  KT is a sock camper also but went the second session, so we were not going to see each other otherwise!) I also was a magnet for her beautiful cats, Frog and Tink.  😀

Then I got to go with KT to see her sons’ Montessori school (my daughters went to a Montessori school until just last year — wow, when I think about it, from when the eldest started Montessori preschool in 1999 to last spring 2009 when the younger completed 5th grade at her charter Montessori school in the public school system, I always had at least one child in Montessori for a decade!).  That was really cool, to see a lovely, and different, Montessori school.

Bad blogger.  No pics.  Too busy talking, apparently.

KT then, in a demonstration of true knit-sisterly love, drove me to my friend Astrid’s house through rush hour traffic on I-5 in the rain, with her two young men in the back who did become slightly bored with the process, small gentlemen though they are.  KT, you are a saint!

Thereafter, Astrid and her husband Greg very generously fed me and put me up overnight.  After a wonderful meal, the usual engaging conversation that occurs any time Astrid and Greg are in the room, and a stormy night/early morning, which I slept through most of, an absolutely gorgeous morning greeted me.  At which point, I remembered my camera…though I just realized I haven’t yet taken a picture of the way cool hand-dyed yarn that Astrid gave me!  (But it’s somewhat similar to this one in her etsy shop, but without the sparkle, and more colors.  Very pretty!  I love it!)  Here’s the view from Astrid and Greg’s deck on a stunning Seattle spring morning:

A few remnants of rain

soon evaporated, and after a lovely breakfast, Astrid continued her generosity by driving me to Sock Camp at Port Ludlow.

We had a lovely trip across the Kingston-Edmonds ferry!

And I got to show Astrid around the Inn at Port Ludlow a bit before she headed back.

The mountains came out to be seen, for Astrid.

We got to see a sea otter swimming by the docks!

So, after hugs were exchanged and Astrid headed home, I explored a bit, took a few more pictures,

had dinner in the bar with new and old friends, and then that evening

Sock Camp officially kicked off with a dessert reception and the sorting of the Tribes.  And the laying down of the Camp ground rules by Steph, baby Maggie and Tina.

After that….it was kind of a blur.  Oh, gee.  I wish I could have blogged concurrently, there is still so much to tell you, but this post is getting too long already!  But one highlight was mid-camp: the Talent Show.  Wow.

The knitters who come to Sock Camp are an amazingly talented bunch.  Knitting, of course.  But in many other ways.  I saw Dorie’s incredible quilt that left me almost speechless….it took a third place at American Quilter’s Society’s Paducah show (this is A Big Deal in the quilter world, and if you saw the quilt, you’d totally get it.)  My picture is abysmal:  I hoped the Harlot would blog her photo, but not to date.  (The quilt tells the story of Bernard, the timid cat who dreams of Africa.) And then there was Anne’s artwork, of which my photos are completely blurry, but you can see it for real at the link.  Amazing.

If I had done my little talent show offering AFTER those — I’m not sure I would have dared to perform!  But, I deliberately signed up to go first.  My voice was extremely iffy, as I was just recovering from a prolonged bout of The Plague (OK, some nasty virus that settled in my lungs).  So I drank some bourbon and hot tea, on the advice of my musician husband (though not too much bourbon, or I would not have been able to stand, let alone perform).  And quick, before my voice ‘went’ any more than it already had:

I got up and sang a little song about socks.  Written by yours truly.

So now you see the reason for the title?  Between my last post with the angelic teen voices singing a lovely song, the beautiful scenery at Astrid’s house and at Camp, and then my teammates (Dorie and Anne were both Fellow Foxes in Socks!) with their incredible art….definitely The Sublime.

and then — there is this….

Maybe This Time”. Definitely on the ridiculous side of the Sublime vs. Ridiculous scale!

(For the unedited song, with chatter before and after, including the American Idol-style “Camp Idol” judging by Steph, Tina,  and Stephen, see here…. this video also hints at the hidden story behind the name of one of Blue Moon Fiber Artsnewest colorways!)

Weekend Update with hints o’ Sun(flower)

Unfortunately without shawl progress photos: I haven’t gotten the Girasole all spread out to take an up-to-date photo.  But I am knitting on the edging as of late last week!  That’s the good news.

The bad news: 640 stitches per row; each stitch to bind off equals TWO  rows of the lace edging, though short rows and pretty simple garter lace.  Still.  I was thinking 640 rows, and when I realized it was 1280 rows, it made sense why progress was so slow.  (Each lace pattern repeat is less than 0.5% of the total circumference of the shawl.  Gah.  Maybe I had better stop calculating right now.)

When I have more bound off, I should be able to photograph it (right now it’s all bunched up on the needles) and of course soon there should be a blocking shot of the Golden Girasole!  In the meantime, there was a bit of sunshine to knit by this past weekend, just as I wished for last week.

Saturday’s Sky, a neighbor’s sugar maple tree:

Saturday-Sky-October-Sugar-

and again:

Parade-of-trees

I admit, I didn’t specify anything as far as wishes for temperature.  With the result being temperatures 20 degrees below normal.  Oh, well, at least we didn’t get more than a trace of snow before the clear-and-cold….

(No, the snow waited for TODAY.)

Despite the cold, I had visitors from the Twin Cities yesterday, just coming to see the area, tour around, hang out for a bit!  We went to Salem Stitchery & Knittery (formerly Country Woolgatherer) where Tammy was having a fall Open House and sale; and then had a nice drive around the orchards and Grandad’s Bluff.

Three-Eagleteers

Nicole, Jonelle and Becca.  Above, outside Salem Stitchery; below, Nicole perusing lovely yarn inside.

Armful-o'yarn

Oohing and Aahing about the Mississippi River Valley from the Minnesota side. 

peekchurs

Though we had to watch out for the herds of lawn deer roaming La Crescent.

herd-of-lawn-deer-plus-frie

We even saw an eagle on top of Grandad’s Bluff!

Look!!

The-Eagle-on-top-of-Grandad

ITLAPD (Arrr!)

Ahoy!

Th’ sun is risin’ this fine mornin’ o’er the flag on the mizzenmast bluff.

Saturday-Sunrise-Grandad-Bl

This very day, September 19th, as ’tis ever’ year, be International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Need a PirateSpeak Primer?

Then join th’ piratical party that’s goin’ on all over th’ seven seas!
Arrrrrr!

I be Red Anne Bonney, shiver me timbers!  Who are ye?

My pirate name is:
Red Anne Bonney

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate’s life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

The Panopticon About Town

I have an incredible amount of respect for anyone who is asked to talk about ‘Knitting and Humor’ —

and is able to deliver just that!

franklin-at-the-library

Franklin Habit, the knitter and vintage pattern resurrectionist, photographerblogger, author, and ‘knitting humorist’ (as he was introduced by my knitting friend Abigail,

abigail-introducing-frankli

über-cool librarian and organizer of the event) came to the “Knit-In”

knitters-1 knitters-2

at the La Crosse Public Library last night where he, yes, knit, and also stalwartly came through with the above for nigh on an hour!  He spoke about how he came to be a knitting cartoonist (not what he put down as his career choice in 3rd grade, admittedly), and his knitting career; he related the advent of Dolores, and gave us the inestimable pleasure of hearing him read a couple of the essays sprinkled among the cartoons of his new book, “It Itches”, together with background introduction and side comments.

franklin-reading-mairwens

(That’s my friend Mairwen’s book that Franklin borrowed to read from, his own copy being at home in Chicago….)

He brought some of his knitting credentials:

magicians-shawl

and told their stories, including more about what he claims is now being called the “Angry Baby Bonnet“, if I recall correctly.

angry-baby-hat

angry-baby-and-more

There was a wide-ranging question and answer session.

front-row-knitters

Knitting, of course, happened before, during, and after.

I was so impatient to cast-on with some yarn which had been thought lost but which had just been restored to me, that I was free-skeining, leading some (including Franklin) to question my sanity ever so delicately.

free-skeining

No, Dolores was not there.  Though one of her supporters was.

vote-fibertarian

I have to tell you that my daughters might actually have come too, even though, you know, it’s with their mom and therefore innately uncool.  Because they love Franklin’s book.  I got it signed at Rhinebeck, and

Afterwards, as knitters waited to get their books signed, I was able to see those knitting friends I hadn’t seen before the talk (I got there perhaps an hour earlier; would that I could have taken the afternoon off, it was going on from noon to 8 pm!).  I knew any number of people in the audience, from different areas of my life; all knitters, but I don’t know them all from knitting (one, for example, is my daughter’s teacher: she’s actually taught one of my two daughters for the past four years continuously, poor woman, given that Montessori has mixed age classrooms!)  And two of the Gothlet’s best friends were there.  One won a door prize in absentia!  (I won a door prize in presentia!)

I didn’t get pictures of most (well, Tina‘s a front row knitter up there, but it’s not the best photo of her, so she may wish to remain anonymous!), but I did get a photo of one knitting friend who came a long way to hear Franklin.  I’m so happy he came to my town, if just so that Dale-Harriet came too!

dale-harriet-i-planned-to

(She and I called each other before we left and agreed to wear coordinating clothes and knitting.)

Not only Dale-Harriet, but the delightful Mr. Dearling, who is as sweet as D-H claims (and is a much better photographer than my husband: he took the above picture).

d-h-mr-d

It was great to see them; and I had a chance to go out for dinner with knitters afterwards too, some of whom were friends or acquaintances, and some of whom were new knitting acquaintances.  Very much fun.  Almost too much fun for one evening.

But not really.  With knitting, I don’t think there’s really such a thing as  ‘too much fun’!

Is there?


A little yarn, a little music….

Trying to keep you posted (ar, ar) so I’m not even farther behind!  (I have told you nothing about my trip to the Twin Cities, other than getting stuck in Rochester, nor about spinning and knitting with friends last weekend….)

But let me show you what came in the mail this week!

A Ravelry swap led to this wonderfulness arriving from Janet in British Columbia!

sssk-swappage

(I *love* getting packages from Canada!  Especially from knitters in Canada who have excellent taste and also the ability to pick out my very favorite colors!)  Look at the Opal yarn and its gorgeous shading.  It’s a touch richer and darker than the flash (sadly necessary as we approach the darkest day of the year) makes it look.  But still all my favorite jewel tones, as you can see.

The beautiful ornament next to the yarn will unfortunately need a little surgery, thanks to the postal service; he has a left arm fracture.  However, it’s at the shoulder, and (unlike in real life), that should make it easier to fix seamlessly).  Love (1)! Then, look at the CHOCOLATE!  Some awesome Droste pastilles (I usually only am indulged with this at Christmas, and then not the pastilles, YUM) and then some Nestle’s which I have never had, but which combines two of my favorite flavors, double YUM.  Below that:

lovely-handmade-bookmark

A handmade, hand-woven book mark.

Am I spoiled rotten, or what?

Thank you, Janet!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quick but photo-filled proud parental update:

Today’s Nutcracker school performance apparently went well.  (RockStar alone is in it this year, the Gothlet decided not to audition as she wanted to see it and at her age, roles are limited also.)  More on that Saturday when I get to see her perform.

Few scenes from the band concert:

band-concert-december-2008

(the band gets a bit smaller every year in middle school).

Here’s the RockStar, second row, second from the left:

brass

Two of her best friends are also in the picture, one behind her, and another on the far right of the picture.  Hmm.  Maybe that, as well as locking horns with the new band director, has something to do with her band grades slipping even though she’s a good musician?  Silly girl.

Here are the French horns doin’ that spit valve thing that they have to do, in some musical pieces more than others.

spit-time

And, lastly, here’s another of the RockStar’s friends, who plays percussion (the Gothlet would like to do this next year), who has impressive cymbal technique during their last piece, a band arrangement of “The Great Gates of Kiev”.

cymbals-1

cymbals-21

cymbals-3

They played it nicely.  (Of course, that piece reminded me of this cafepress design which I just gave to my friend, an accomplished horn player.  Love it!  And it’s so true!)

Now for equal Gothlet time: last week was open dance classes at their dance studio (i.e. we get to watch).  The RockStar is only taking two classes this year, due to schedule conflicts/interest/time.  The Gothlet is taking every class she can – probably too much.  But I got to see most of her classes last week.  I didn’t have my camera for all, but here she is in Music Theatre Dance II (turquoise cami), and ballet.

music-theatre-dance-ii-h

music-theatre-dance-ii-i

music-theatre-dance-ii-a1

She and her friend are certainly well matched as a pair in this choreography.

music-theatre-dance-ii-d

Now, a little ballet:

tired-sous-sus

arabesque

Wish I’d had my camera for Tap: I think that’s her favorite and best class.  But that really needs a video to capture!