Category Archives: Blogroll

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


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.


(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:


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



There was a wide-ranging question and answer session.


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.


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


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!


(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).


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?

What Kind of Nerd am I?

All sorts, apparently! But music and books are right at the top. (Sounds about right.) Found on kmkat’s blog.

What Be Your Nerd Type?

Your Result: Musician

Doo doo de doo waaaa doo de doo! (<– That’s you playing something.) Everyone appreciates the band/orchestra geeks and the pretty voices. Whether you sing in the choir, participate in a school/local band, or sit at home writing music, you contribute a joy to society that everyone can agree on. Yay! Welcome to actually doing something for poor, pathetic human souls. (Just kidding.)

Literature Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Social Nerd
Drama Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Work’s been crazy busy (apparently not so busy that I can’t take a quick nerd quiz at the moment) but this weekend should find me with a little more time, other than Nutcracker insanity starting (first performance is in one week). (And speaking of music/artistic/drama nerds.) I’m not in it (was in the past) but just the RockStar being in it is a big time suck. As in, “Mom, I need fill-in-essential-object-of-choice tonight/tomorrow!” plus chaperoning/volunteering at rehearsals & performances. Well, it’s a huge time commitment from everyone involved. But so wonderful to see. And the countdown begins….

Weekend (Mess O’) Knitting Update

It doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing incredibly much knitting — I think, just not that much blogging!

But I have a couple knitting FOs to show and tell.

First, what I was working on at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last weekend:

The RockStar’s School Colors Mitts!

She wanted them alternating colors instead of matching, so I obliged.  Made from Regia Nations self-striping sock yarn, from my own fingerless mitts pattern, except on 48 stitches (it was seeming a bit tight at 40 stitches, though it probably would have been okay; these are loose.  But I also know these will get abused, i.e. machine washed and dried, so allowing for possible shrinkage seemed wise!)

Secondly, a bad picture of a Twisted baby hat in Kabam yarn base, Braider colorway (had to take the picture at work, immediately after finishing on my lunch break, and before sending the hat off with my husband to pass on to its recipient):

Also my own pattern, knit for a friend’s new grandbaby.

Third, this was the week I received the box from DishRag Tag (The Sequel).  The box took THREE DAYS to get from Chicago area to me, one state over, by Priority Mail, so I felt obliged to do a same day turnaround if possible (aided by the presence of an Automated Postal Center at our post office, open till midnight!).  Our mail gets to our house late (4 – 6 pm), and I got home from work at 5:30 pm in any case.

The box was finally there!

Wonderful dishrag from Katie, a teammate on our DishRag Tag team, “Dishin’ It Out”, as well as yarn to knit another, the most amazing chocolate-and-spice scented soap, and plenty of yummy things, as well as the official DRT pattern & instructions.

Of course there was kid stuff to be done this night: specifically, after dinner, The RockStar had a Nutcracker rehearsal (Chinese!).

I’d already knit the edging by the time I needed to drive her (my husband had a gig in another city).

But the dance studio is right by a Panera.  So I bought a cup of decaf and settled down to knit away for an hour and a half (Gothlet being well ensconced at home).

While reading the book for book club!  (Might account for the odd bit of froggage I had to do.)

Only 8 more rows to do when rehearsal ended; quickly done,

a few treats added to the tiny box, and then a bedtime drive to the Post Office for same day turnaround, for whatever bit of time it makes up.  Whew!

Gradual progress is still being made on Swan Lake; no new pictures.

Ditto for the walking/meeting sock (I should take a picture, I’m almost done with sock # 1).

And a combination of two things have led me to cast on yet another project:

Scrumptious new yarn in the mail, and a sore thumb.

My left thumb has been hurting for a week or so.  I thought it was a flare of some mild hand arthritis I have, though it usually bothers my finger joints (but my mother has had surgery for arthritis in this area of her thumbs, so I wouldn’t be surprised).  It’s been getting more and more sore, though.  Then, yesterday I tried to pick up a half-gallon carton of milk with my left hand and almost dropped it, the pain was so searing.  Yowzah!

That kind of pain reminds me very much of my dealings with hip tendinitis some years ago, so I’m thinking it’s tendinitis and not arthritis.  It would make sense, due to a combination of work activities and small-needle knitting (the speed cotton knitting probably didn’t help).  Purling, inelastic yarn, and stitches requiring more needle tension are all quite painful right now.

So, when this lovely yarn from Twisted came in the mail (Big Needle Club), begging to be something — a special scarf? — I thought of Anne Hanson’s pattern “Boing!” somehow.

But when I obtained the pattern, I realized it called for not only purling, but Purling Two Together Through The Back Loop: not so fun any time, but agony right now, and not designed to allow this left thumb to rest.

Thus, I decided to keep this pattern for another day, another yarn, though I think it would have looked good (here it is pre-frogging, in a bad picture)

Instead, I chose to use this great yarn in my fall-back Multidirectional-type scarf (but a variation I’m working out, which I’ll write up and publish on Ravelry).

The colors are a touch more saturated than this looks, but the photo is pretty close.  They just glow.  This is a light worsted weight tussah silk/wool yarn, currently exclusive to the club, and it’s wonderful to work with.

This is all in garter stitch except a knit-front-and-back at the beginning of each row, and a slip-slip-knit before turning the short rows (which doesn’t seem to bother my thumb too much).  This is MUCH easier on my thumb!  Just knitting does hurt a little, but given that knitting IS my stress relief, I’m happy to find some I can do without seeming to make it worse.

Boy, all this knitting adds up; maybe there’s a very good reason my thumb hurts….

Resting it otherwise, anti-inflammatories, and if I can find an appropriate splint without going to see someone (don’t have time, I leave for a meeting Tuesday, and Monday is just packed) — should help.


Lastly, I was very flattered and pleased to be awarded a Blue Ribbon recently!

Toots aka Sara aka ChickenBetty is someone whose blog I’ve been reading since I started blogging.  And she was kind enough to award me, among others, an “I Love Your Blog” Award Blue Ribbon!  I may not have won any awards at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, but I’ll happily accept this one!

Of course, Blog Love cries out to be spread around.  The Blue Ribbon ‘rules’:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Add a link to the person who gave you the award.
  3. Nominate at least 4 other bloggers and add their links.
  4. Leave a comment at the recipients’ blogs so they can pass it on.

Well, that’s easy and fun!

And, though I read a number of blogs and keep them all on my feed aggregator because I love them (I should mention that my blog list over to the side is woefully out of date): there are some I read before others when I come home from vacation and there are a gazillion (OK, hundreds) of unread posts.

So, a selection of 4 from those first-read blogs:

Kmkat and her Kneedles.  Though we live not that far apart in the big scheme of things, I first found her blog through a comment The Kat(tm) left on the Yarn Harlot’s blog, as I recall.  Fun and obscure stuff, a hint of politics (local and national), nature, and some knitting!  I found Lisa’s blog wandering the blogosphere one day, before I had a blog, perhaps even, and misplaced it (before I knew about using Bloglines & similar feed aggregators).   Later found it again for good; apparently in the meantime I won a contest but never claimed my prize (because I hadn’t come back and hadn’t left contact info….)  So, a year or more later, Lisa sent me a consolation prize for a contest I never knew I’d won!  She has great, intermittently photogenic dogs, one of whom lends her name to the blog; she and I are about the same age with the same age kid; and share a love of the outdoors, though she is immersed in it, since it’s her work.  And, yes, knitting!

Yet another K: Knot Much of a Knitter (which title has become false pretences, Nora, my dear!) Another knitter my age with kids my age, located on the other side of my state, with a broad range of interests and well-written, insightful posts.  Newer blogger and newer knitter, It’s also been vicarious fun to see Nora ultra-rapidly gain knitting skills and confidence, egged on by a large peanut gallery!

Breaking away from the Ks (unless you spell creatively) is Cats, Sticks and Books, being the blog of Dale-Harriet, another Wisconsin knitter.  Dale-Harriet’s point of view as recounted with her own unique voice.  I always enjoy her posts, usually stop to think, and learn something to boot.  Knitting is slanted towards reenactors’ knitting, by popular demand!

I didn’t start out to single out Wisconsin (well, OK, Lisa, how about Northern!) knitters, but wanted to share with you some blogs that I really love that maybe not everyone has seen (though some of these do have a pretty wide readership).  I mean, I could have mentioned Stumbling Over Chaos, Norma, Margene, and the Yarn Harlot, among others, also, but many many of you also read those blogs!  So off I go now, to award blue ribbons in person via the comments.

In which it is revealed that P is not for Polk County, although it certainly could have been


have a way cool Polk County water bottle, given to me by a high mucky-muck in Polk County herself!

With an excellent built-in handle, which you can’t see in this photo, but which is great for those of us who don’t have ham hands big enough to grab some of those water bottles you see. I know how jealous you are. You should be.

Worth driving 3 1/2 hours for all by itself, wouldn’t you say?

Actually, as you heard, my husband and I were stealing some time together — but we ended up spending some of it ‘alone together’ with kmkat and her husband!

The Kat(tm) and I spent part of the afternoon knitting at the Osceola Coffee Connection, which has a delightful deck (no pictures from that afternoon before some rain drove us inside, but here it is the next day from outside).

(That’s OUR umbrella you can see there! Well, it was until it failed to keep off all the rain, not really being designed for that sort of thing.) Her husband wasn’t there yet from work, and when my husband’s eyes glazed over at a bit of knitting esoterica, we sent him off to Wal-Mart and continued with our knitting and chatting. Despite conversation-induced occasional knitting lapses, progress was made on my Spring Forward Socks, and it seemed on the Summer Raglan as well (much further along than shown on the dress form who stuffs; you’ll have to nag Ms. Kat for progress photos!). And I was furthermore gifted with local llama yarn, MMMMM! So soft and pettable. It makes me need to sing the Llama Song. (If you do not know the Llama Song, you need to click that link. You may curse me later. But it is still necessary.)

But then we all convened for a lovely dinner, at which point the Y-chromosomes bonded over Chicago neighborhood stories (they grew up not far from each other, a few years apart, but separated more so by the bussing that my husband was subject to in the 60s, leading to different schools).

Sadly, Osceola is a reasonably fur piece from where The Kat(tm) and spouse live, so they needed to depart near dusk and we headed to our B&B, the St. Croix River Inn.

It overlooks — what else — the St. Croix River, where in the morning, I sat and stitch by stitch, double yarnover by slip-slip-knit, tinked my pink shawl.

And that was even before coffee. Now, I’d hoped to just have to tink two rows. Two reverse rows got rid of the scary loops of lace spaghetti I had trapped on a stitch holder, which I had created in my ill-advised attempt to fix a faggoting mistake. But I realized the mistake would still be there — it was related to some very odd weirdness from the row before, which I couldn’t sort out. So two more rows will be required to reverse the madness completely. Well, I’ve come this far.

So I had some coffee and an excellent breakfast

and tinked some more. (Still not quite there yet, as of this writing.)

Then, after checkout, I had to check out myself – the local yarn shop, Mrs. I’s Yarn Parlor.

I was unprepared. The population of Osceola is 2500. Granted, that’s just the town, not the outlying areas, nor the seasonal population.

So picture me, quite surprised, in a yarn shop which has yarn I’ve never seen in person yet, and some delicious yarn I’ve never heard of!

Also, the owner is a strong advocate of local yarn, so I came back with some Blackberry Hills yarn which is a llama/wool/mohair blend. The animals are all raised by a local woman; she handspins the blended yarn; and then hand-dyes it. Hard to be more local than that! And it’s so cool! I also bought another farm’s Wisconsin alpaca, naturally chocolate brown and so soft. I love local yarn!

But I got my first sight in person of nettle yarn (bought some to make market bags for Christmas presents, though I suspect it will be hard on the hands; it should make great bags), and I found some gorgeous wool from a Michigan mill, Stonehedge Fiber Mill; aran weight, so soft, with some heathered shades, worsted spun. Like Cascade 200, but softer. Apparently, the mill owner has done commercial fiber milling for some time but not long ago developed her own yarn. Today, a friend to whom I showed it, heard it featured on Lime & Violet’s podcast! Wild. I love it. I bought several shades because it cries out for colorwork or something similar.

There was even more I’d never seen in person, and a couple yarn brands I’d never heard of, but I’ll stop now (no pictures, I got home at dusk today — penance for a day’s vacation from work!) But if you happen to be in the Stillwater (Minnesota)/St. Croix Falls/ Interstate Park/ Taylors Falls area, take the short drive to Osceola and check out this LYS — well worth the drive (relocating upstairs to a bit bigger space as of September 1, 2008, also).

Back on the road, more sock and tinking time; then back to reality. Dang. I want to play with yarn and meet up with fellow knitbloggers as fun & nice as kmkat every weekend!