Monday, September 29, 2008

Reader Giveaway at on October 11, 2008

This is my second post on this fantastic site ! This time the ladies have developed a super clever scheme to create a monstrous portal to numerous crafty freebies. It is the perfect opportunity to win stuff and/or promote your blog or crafty business. To participate, you will need to do the following:

  • Have a blog (Wordpress, Typepad, Blogger, Moveable Type, Live Journal, or similar)
  • Have goodies to giveaway
  • Be willing to pay to send the said goodies to the winner
  • Go to the Crochet and Knit Giveaways website and post a link to their blog entry announcing the giveaway.
Further details can be found here . Now, off to figure out what I can part with from the ol' stash.

Knit well and knit often.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wasn't I Just Talking About Purging?

Wouldn't you know it. As soon as I get done reading and returning (or shelving) my stack of reading materials, I am suddenly flooded with more. I think there should be a 12-step program for this. I really do compulsively accumulate new reading materials. But hey, I guess it is an occupational and hobby hazard.

And this is the collateral damage:

  • KnitKnit by Sabrina Geschwandter (for my experimental side and the art historian in me)
  • Yarn Forward Summer 2008 Issue 6 (market research)
  • Craft: 07 and 08 (lovingly sent by Mimi in Yakima)
  • Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl McPhee (I need to laugh too sometimes)
  • The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe (Knitting Tote-Sized for Emergency Reference)
  • The Knitter's Handbook by Elenor Van Zandt (Yes, I am obsessed with reference materials. How did you know?)
The upside is that I now have a plethora of post fodder in reviews and such. In fact, there are only upsides: when I look at that stack next to my knitting bag, I know that I am home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I frogged it...just like that

I really hate to admit that I have frogged something, especially online. But it is the truth and although it hurts my knitting ego to say it, it has to come out: I frogged my EZ bonnet and my BSJ. There it's out. I said it. I need something I can do quickly and easily as the baby was born ten days ago and I have to get this gift off to her mommy in Germany. I also realized that the yarn I was using was way too big for the needles I was using and the bonnet was so tightly-knit, the baby's head would have been boiling. Hot Baby=Crying Baby=Headache for Mom

Although I love and admire EZ designs, I can't really make sense of the patterns in the Opinionated Knitter, even with the help of the most experienced knitting mavens. I think I may just have to break down and shell out the big bucks to School House Press for the how-to DVDs on the BSJ and other beloved EZ patterns. I know they sell them at I Knit London, but I am not sure I want to give those boys my money yet (which is a subject for another post entirely).

Trolling my blog roll last night, I read a post from travelknitter on an adorable and *easy* design by Jacki Kelly Seamless Baby Kimonowhich I promptly cast on and made significant progress. I haven't given up on EZ, but I will have to postpone my puzzling for the sake of the gift.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yeah! My Header is Fixed!

Thanks to rubbishknitter, who by the way has knitted some fabulous Highlander socks, has kindly helped figure out the HTML coding to fix my header image. Now it actually fits into the frame instead of spilling over on the right side. Thank you!!

I did some digging in our veggie patch and pinched something in the lower back. But I don't care because it was worth every minute in the rarity of Manchester sunshine. Off to do some Sunday evening couch sittin' and delicious knittin'.

Knit well and knit often. And find friends who can handle code.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It wasn't RSI

There is something about my damn bike lock. It gets stuck and is impossible to open at the most inconvenient times, like in front of the shop yesterday when I needed to pick up a few things for lunch or as I was on my way out to my Oxfam volunteering gig this morning.

Now, you are probably thinking, 'What does this have anything do with knitting?' We are astute people, but the connection is one I just made myself yesterday afternoon. When the bike lock doesn't open, I seem to think I can jiggle it a bit to get it to open. This is something I have only managed to do once...and it took me 15 minutes (I kid you not). Coincidentally, this happened to be the day that my assumed RSI started to act up....

Standing in front of the Coop grocery yesterday, I was faced with exactly the same situation. Rather than flick my right wrist in an unnatural and ungodly way, I used a four letter explative followed by 'it', and left my bike sans lock in front of the shop. For it was in that moment, I recognized that I didn't have RSI at all. What I do have is a piece of crap bike lock. And I shall let no bike lock get between me and my needles.

Knit well and knit often. And buy an easy-to-open bike lock.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Christmas Knitting Already?

Clearly the country I come from goes way off the Christmas deep end far too early in the year. My only consolation is that most of the countries I have expatriated to are guilty of the same heinous crime.

I am nowhere near putting on my Christmas music (an act strictly reserved for the month of December) nor can I bare the thought of all the red and silver foil packages and tinsel lining store shelves. I was just starting to ease into autumn mode and deciding where to plant my cabbage and Santa is already taunting me at every shop.

Yesterday, the web was a whirl with posts regarding the frenzy of holiday knitting which has begun. It got me to thinking and I realized something: I knit for Christmas nearly all year round. I usually start brainstorming early in the year about whom I've recently gifted and with what. I also take into consideration those folks who are not glad recepients of knitwear (ie my husband) and what I have got in the ol' stash that I can bare parting with.

Last year was not a year of knitted gifting. I got the hairbrained idea to start sewing reusable shopping bags out of calico about ten days before we found out that we would be moving internationally within six weeks. That was at the beginning of December and we still had to survive the holidays which included a visit from the German in-laws for their first American Christmas with my family (that was interesting), a last-minute New Year's trip to San Fran, and getting life in order to leave the grand country of Canada. My head spins just recalling it. Through our best efforts (Matthias is actually more skilled with the sewing machine than I), the bags were sewn, but unfortunately not embellished or gifted. They still await their fate, which is still a mystery to me, lying in a cupboard in the craft room. 

This year I was lucky and clever enough to pick up a bunch of really nice Sublime wools at a warehouse clearance sale in early Spring for half price. I had a few simple patterns andtheir respective recepients already in mind. So actually, I had started plotting out my gifting a little late this year. The good news is I am only doing small things for five or six people. The bad news is that I still have four babies to knit for and there still is all that regular gifting to be done. Time to stop blogging and start knitting I guess.

Knit well and knit often.

Sock Monkey Girlfriend Pic Courtesy of The Rainy Sisters

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gorging Myself on Reading Material No More

If I am not gorging myself on fiber of the yarny sort, then it is fiber of the papery sort. Be it library books, free magazines, newspapers, flyers, or orders from online, there is never a shortage of reading or browsing material around our house.

Sometimes I wonder how my husband could even find be amongst the piles of literature and yarn taking up either side of the couches, coffee table, and dining table were it not for the faint cries from between the pages. There is so much that I have in my reading queue that I have decided to perform a purge and speed through the stuff I aquired on a whim.

There are nearly five books that I have renewed for over two months now from Manchester Public Library and it pains me to think that I have to return them. But it's time for someone else to enjoy them. If you have been looking for them, please accept the sincere apologies of a serial renewer.
Two I particularly enjoyed for creative inspiration were Textiles of the Wiener Werks├Ątte and Vienna and the Heroes of Modernism. Can you tell I have something for Fin de Siecle?  Both of these books are gorgeous, and for textile lovers, it doesn't get any better than the design of Josef Hoffmann in my humble opinion. When my intarsia skills are up to snuff, I am so knitting some Hoffmann textile motifs.
I also borrowed Simply Felt and Felt Forward of Interweave provenance. Both are worth a good, long browse. I never managed to get any projects started (like I need to with all those WiPs on the needles at the moment), but I did get some fab ideas and a better understanding of felting techniques. The books seemed quite similar at first glance, but I was surprised at how differently they approached the same subject.

Felt Forward took more of a knit-then-felt approach and featured sleek, modern designs with a Scandanavian feel. I was most taken by the home accessory projects like the Circles Table Runner and Placemat, the Frida Lights, and not to be forgotten Hoop Purse. At the Vancouver Art Gallery Shop, we had a similar bag that was running for over $100 Canadian. Why not do it yourself?

Simply Felt,  on the other hand, was a fiber-felting book which looked at several different techniques such as machine washed fulled fabric (aka repurpose that old jumper into a hot water bottle cover or hot pads), flat felting (ie fulling three or four layers of thick felt made into book covers, briefcases and other projects with flat surfaces to be stitched together) and finally, seamless felting (for projects you want to shape without stitching like slippers or bags).

Although most of these projects had too much of an 'organic' feel for me, I did really like the technical explanations as well as the bag and cloche hat projects. There were also great instructions for creating slippers and 'inlaid containers' (which you can see on the cover to the left).

That was my library purge. Now I can absorb the three new books I got as a birthday present in May using a Yarn Market gift certificate from my dearest Mom and collected from my Dad's Bristish work colleague in North Yorkshire. He kindly brought them back through HM Customs and saved me a ton in shipping costs. Thanks Mom and Stuart. You are gems.
Knit well and knit often. And gorge yourself on reading material.
Images courtesy of Interweave and Thames & Hudson.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Acute Fiber Insanity - AFI

Some people I know are very methodical about their yarn purchases and have managed to accumulate no stash whatsoever or hardly any except for the projects the have queued. I try to be one of those people, but alas, I am what the Yarn Harlot calls an 'organic knitter' and that leads to a many of yarn purchases on account of a condition known as 'acute fiber insanity', or AFI for short.

Elizabeth at Fibre + Clay told me this morning that she also buys a wool without having any idea what to make out of it - purely out of infatuation or even AFI. It goes something like this, won't you agree:

There it is in the corner, tucked away and almost seemingly hidden from the shop's normal stock, calling you to scoop it up and caress your neck with it. Its color fascinates you and the texture sends you into throws of unspeakable ectasy. You lose all touch with the world around you and will be mine. It almost sounds like that scene from Waynes' World where the object of affection is instead a white Fender Stratocaster and any semblence of ecstasy is nipped in the bud by the 'No Stairway to Heaven' sign. Bummer, Dude, I got mine,
For me recently, it was Debbie Bliss Alapaca Silk in a fabulous deep plum (you know, the one that is all the rage this season on the High Street)...and it was 40% off. How could I just let it sit on the shelf? That would be cruel and unusual punishment for such a beautiful yarn, let alone myself. So I bought every ball the shop had with no idea what to make out of it.

One of the mavens at F+C told me it knitted up quite quickly, so I decided on a shrug-type garment (since I only have 10 balls) and scoured the net several times with no luck. Today, though, Lady Knitting Luck smiled favorably upon me in the form of Kim Hargreaves' "Thrown Together". What a talented designer, although Ms Purly Whites doesn't seem to think so. I guess it is all personal preference and style, really. And this cute, retro feeling does me fine. If Hargreaves wanted to do haute couture, she would have sold her soul and be designing for Marc Jacobs. Sorry to be so simple minded about this, but hey, that's the way I see it.
There are so many fantastic designs it was hard to decide. I have decided on 'Aimee', the quick and easy shruggy-like thing with a cowl that graces the cover of the book. It is exactly what I was looking for, except the shelling out of nearly 13 Pounds. But I am all about supporting talented (and sometimes untalented) people as well as my LYS, so I bit the bullet. Besides, I can spend money on a pattern book if I got a bargain on the yarn, right? Here it is, awaiting me; my tension square begging to be finished:

I cannot wait to get started on Aimee, but unfortunately I have to finish my EZ bonnet and booties which I am desperatlely behind on since the expectant mother gave birth three days ago. Still got a ways to go on this project. Good thing it's ity-bity:

Then there is the Bainbridge Scarf for a deserving woman in my life I have been moonlighting with (er, does moonknitting work?)....sheesh, so many projects and so little time. 

But at least Bearski has some brand new Caribbean socks thanks to the help of Ann Budd:
I took these photos with my old Canon Powershot and I really notice the difference in quality between it and my Nikon D40, so I will try to use the latter exclusively from now on - for all our sakes.
Knit well and knit often.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Alive!

On my way back from London on Friday afternoon, I saw that the Fall 2008 Knitty finally went live with some groovy print-friendliness and of course, my article! Three cheers! I am absolutely thrilled.

Again, I would like to thank Ann, Amy and Mary - without whom this article would not have been possible.

If any of you read the article and are interested in starting a community knitting project, feel free to drop me a line and I will be happy to help in any way I can, including posting about here on the blog or just giving general advice. I hope you found the article helpful and can use it to make a difference in with the people in your community.

Today, Bear and I are off to the Lake District on the bike to enjoy the lovely weather and scenery, but also to scope out the Wool Clip, a cooperative of women farmers and craftspeople who produce everything the sell in their shop at Priest's Mill in Calbeck. So their will be a full report as well as some other exciting news.

Knit well and knit often.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Knit and Crochet Giveaways

Come on, admit it, you love getting free stuff as much as I do - especially if it is fibre, books and notions. I was reading the newsletter of Yarny Goodness, an independant yarn shop I browse at occasionally. After being in business for five months the owner decided to do a giveaway using a website featuring just such promotions.

That is how I discovered Crochet and Knit Giveaways. Brianna and Marly wanted to spread the crafty generosity that we crafty people have been known for and provide an promotional instrument for small and large sites alike.

Another site I found with some crafty giveaways is They feature interesting news from almost every craft persuasion along with fabulous contests offering supplies, handmade notions and even a $1000 gift certificate.

Spreading crafty goodness....what is not to like?

Knit well and knit often.