knot another hat

adventures in owning a hip and knitworthy yarn store


Melponeme came to my house

She entered casually, as though we had been expecting her but we just didn't know it. The wake of her walk, however, swirled up everything around her. I watched her as others reacted, and she remained calm, her head slowly turning to supervise. We made eye contact, and while I stared, just like that, her eyes told me why I was knitting Lady Eleanor.

I thought, mistakenly, that I started Eleanor to master entrelac. I thought wrong. On Saturday night, I found out that I had Eleanor in my possession to work on for hours on end in the hospital, where my father-in-law's organs, breath, life, hang in the balance.

All day yesterday I worked on Eleanor, one little angled square at a time. I got bored of her, but I couldn't put her down to work on a different project. I just felt as though I had to keep prodding along on the tiers, and to put it down would somehow imply that I was giving up on her, even if it was just for a break. Something about the continuity of the squares, nestling into each other, one after the other, slowly, back and forth, tier after tier, skein after skein.

talked about Melponeme this week; I just didn't realize the lesson was for me. Melponeme is still with me, quietly sitting next to me in waiting rooms, in the car to Portland, everywhere. It feels a little better having her with me, knowing that she will watch over my knitting while we watch over Keith.

Today will be more vigilance, and more Eleanor. But she might be finished today, and in that event I know what Melponeme wants me to work on next: the perfect pair of socks for my father-in-law, to wear for comfort, imbued with Melponeme's strength to carry us all through tragedy.


Waddaya know...a button.


Another reason to love sheep

Meet Dolores.


What is the matter with me?

OK. So yesterday I swatched for the Seta sweater and was all set to get started. What did I do? I started Lady Eleanor, the entrelac shawl from Scarf Style. I know she's been done to death, but I've always had my eye on her, and well, I've never done entrelac. And a customer came in who needed help with an entrelac tam, and I couldn't do jack. I couldn't even tell where she was in the pattern, which made me feel so alien, so unlike myself, I just wasn't sure what to do. So I grabbed the book, some Noro Silk Garden in color 217, and next thing you know: here comes Eleanor.

I'm about 1 and 1/2 skeins in (out of probably 10 or so), and so far loving it. I finally understand entrelac (not that there's too much to understand), and I've even taught myself to knit backwards so I don't have to deal with all that turning. Whew! Good stuff! Now what's my last big knitting frontier, you ask? Steeking. So not ready for that. Yet.

New project, baby!


More about Knitting Rules!...

There is so much I can relate to in this book. Every detail of the obsession applies (with the exception of stash management - that's how you end up with a yarn store, folks). I just find myself nodding and saying, um hmm, that's right, you said it sister! Then I look around to see who may have seen my latest moment of crazy in the hair salon as I sit under a setter with my head covered in foil. Maybe they'll just attribute it to the chemicals seeping into my brain. (They're probably saying - my god! she finally stopped knitting but now she's talking to herself!)

At any rate, it's a relief, somewhat, to read that there are others like me, who eat, sleep, and breath knitting. I've always known in my rational mind that there are, but seeing it all on paper, by someone like Stephanie, well, that make me feel a little better. And because it's such a new thing for me (I would say I only entered this level of knitting obsession when I began to prepare to open the store, about 13 months ago), I was still unsure if this level of knitting freakiness was OK.

It may not be understood by the non-knitting world, but I can handle that.

I was a good girl this morning and did a swatch in pattern for the Seta sweater. Looks like the yarn substitution will work just fine. Time to get started!


itty bitty baby booties

One of my oldest and dearest friends had her first baby last week, so today I took a much-needed diversion from the shawl and whipped up these little booties. They are the "Sandals" from Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino book, and they took less than one little skein of DB's what else? Baby Cashmerino. I had been wanting to do some for store models, but Glory's sweet little Annelise comes first. :) I just need to buy some cute little buttons for the ankle strap.

And I'm still sick of the shawl, so maybe I'll cast on for that Seta sweater I've been wanting to start. Or keep working on the Meilenweit socks. Decisions, decisions.

Shawl update

I am through the seagulls and mired in trees!

In other words, I have finished the first motif repeat (seagulls) and have started the second, which is a repeat of evergreen-shaped trees.

I am completely and utterly sure that I do not have enough yarn and since I can't get more (it's local llama and it's gone), I am living in denial about what I will come up with for a solution (sound familiar, Yvonne?)

We'll see how far I get on the second skein, then I'll worry.

Pics tomorrow.


A man like mine.

So I took the Yarn Harlot's new book home with me over my special two day weekend, and I come to the following quote

I suspect that knitting is a little bit like religion; many are not currently "practicing." This would explain why you can always find yourself the only knitter at a cocktail party.

This has happened to me. About an hour into a recently-attended party, I whipped out Jason's Aktiv Effekt socks (posted in FOs but never discussed in a post). In a crowd full of St. Patty's beer drinkers we didn't know so well, I asked Jason if he was embarrassed that I was knitting at a party.

He leaned over and quietly said, No, I just wish I had mine with me.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a man.


Someone please take me to my happy place.

Why? Because I am the mother of a two-almost-three-year-old, and right now she is winning the war. It takes two hours to get her to stay in bed at night, then she's up before 7. Then she's cranky and crazy, and I feel like all I do is tell her to stop it. I am tired. But,

I finished my Soy Silk Sweater (pictured above). About the sweater: It is my own design, with the help of Rene Dickey, finisher and pattern customizer extraordinaire. She came and taught a custom pattern-making seminar at the shop in January, and this is what I wanted to work out. It was my first go at coming up with a tailored-to-fit sweater for myself, and overall I mostly pleased (schematics can be seen below). I chose to use SWTC Phoenix in black (for versatility), also known as Soy Silk (the flat tape version, not the round version which is called Oasis), and I swatched on size 8 needles. I wanted a 3/4 sleeve, boat neck sweater with side shaping, and not too long.

I am obviously wearing the sweater, so that's a good sign, but it does have some issues. The yarn was great, no complaints there. Issues are as follows:

  • after decreasing for waist shaping, I should not have increased back to my same original number of stitches, but rather should have gone with about 8 less overall. It gaps just a little under the arms b/c of the bust being a little too big.

  • when I tried it on after sewing it together, but before finishing the neck edge, it wouldn't even stay on my shoulders and just stretched to no end. But, I put a small ribbed finish on the neck and that stabilized it just enough to make it wearable. Next time I would probably make the boat neck shaping not quite as wide.

  • the body needed more armhole shaping - there was too much sleeve to ease into the armhole when sewing them together.

Overall, though, a good first custom project, and now I've learned a ton to apply the next time. I like the overall shape of this sweater for my body type, so I will probably use it again with those above-mentioned modifications.

So! I'm done with a project that has been sitting around for a long time, and just in time to start the Pacific Northwest Shawl KAL. Yay! And don't worry - I'm still starting that Seta sweater.


Tofu, anyone?

So the body is done on my Soy Silk Sweater, and I'm about halfway through the sleeves (doing both at once - takes f o r e v e r - and they're only 3/4 sleeves!).

Being true to my nature, now that I'm almost done with a major project, I (of course) want to start a new one. This is what I'm eyeing:

The yarn is new from Lana Grossa and yummy yummy yummy. It is New Cotton Seta, and it is so amazingly yummy soft I just can't believe it. Great colors, too. The sweater is from the Spring Vogue (advertising section, nonetheless) and caught my eye on my first perusal. It's worked on 4,0mm (US6), but the drop-stitch pattern is intriguing. We shall see. Right now I'm fighting myself with everything I've got to finish the damn Soy sleeves before starting something new.

And besides, once my Soy sweater is done, if I ever get stranded on a desert isle, and am wearing my sweater, I can boil bits of it down every day for a nutricious meal. What beats that?


So you're saying it's not a sock?

Look who's not knitting a sock! On Monday morning I suddenly felt the urge to put down my newly started socks and pick up my Soy Silk sweater, which has been sitting since January, about 8 rounds in. So I grabbed it at the store and knit while CK napped (it was my day off), and worked more on it today, and voila! I have the front done and am mid-way through the back. It's knitting beautifully and I'm loving the Phoenix Soy Silk, but I'll post more about it and the pattern when I'm done.

In other news:

I finished one Fritzy's Sock. Made some modifications, which I'll discuss later when I finish the pair. Not sure yet what I think about these. Here's a closeup of the cable pattern.


What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!


Forgotten FO

I awoke this morning realizing I had left out a Finished Object in my quest to display every major project I had knit to date. How could I do this? Easy: it wasn't "for the store," it was just for "me." It seems lately that anything not knit for the store doesn't matter. That's because everything I knit is for the store (aside from a few gifts), and this is one sweater that I actually just knit just for myself. To top it off, I didn't even get the yarn from my own shelves: I bought it at my nearest competitor's store.

The yarn was Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, in a deep teal color that you won't find in any other garment in my wardrobe. If you're familiar with the yarn, you know it is buttery soft and irresistible, and slightly bulky. The pattern was Amy King's Drop-Stitch Cardigan from the Fall 05 Knits. I modified it by adding a hood in place of the ribbed collar. In order to make gauge with the slightly bulky Grande I upped the needles to size 9. I completely pissed myself off by sewing in a non-separating zipper while in a rush to finish the damn thing. Who does that? Seriously? How did I not notice until I was done that I could only get it on by pulling it over my head? At any rate, that was all well and good b/c I then sent it out to my finisher, Rene Dickey, who sewed in a much more lovely zipper with much lovelier stitching.

Overall I really do like the sweater. It is comfy and warm. It looks great with a skirt but looks a little short with pants, so next time I would probably make it a little longer. The yarn is nice, but it pills sumtn feers! I constantly have to pick little bits off under the arms and on the sleeves. Oh well. It's mine all mine, and right now too, not next year when the yarn's discontinued and no longer available and therefore the display is no longer needed.

In unrelated news, here's why I'll be busy this weekend:

And here are CK's Stripey Socks on CK's Little Feet:


I am Bart Simpson. I can not learn a lesson. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Another project finito. Kind of. I actually finished this back in August or September, and never wove in the ends. How stupid. Oh - it's a Soy Silk stole, knit horizontally on alternating US13s and US5s. Great, easy pattern and the Soy Silk knits with amazing drape for a plant fiber. So where do I file this - 2005 or 2006? Hmm...

This is a pic of the goods that are waiting in the wings. On the left is Lorna's Laces in Camo that I'm going to do in some Vintage Socks pattern for J. On the right, and pictured more closely below, is:

My beautiful Christmas gift from Yvonne. It is her handspun alpaca and silk yarn, with beads. It is beautiful. I have no idea what I want to do with it, but it better be cool. And it has to be something I'm going to wear. But not a scarf. See previous posts.

Oops. Nevermind - looks like I'm going to tackle another scarf. Can I not learn a lesson from myself? Did I not just gripe and bitch and moan two days ago that I hate knitting scarves and that once started, I seem to have some sort of mental issue with finishing them? Oh well, here I go anyway. This Noro Transitions needs to be worked up, and by golly, I'm just the gal to do it.

What's wrong with this picture?

Look to the right. I am down to FOUR projects on the sticks. Four. This is unprecedented. Unheard of. Bizarre. And the only thing I'm really burning to start is more socks. What on earth has happened to me??


Two Finished Scarves, aka Why I Hate Knitting Scarves

First: The dreaded cabled scarf. This $#(*&^ project sat on my needles for way too long. I think I started it back in September, thinking it would show off the Cascade Indulgence yarn. Indulgence is beautiful and soft, and made of alpaca and angora. However, it is the dreaded "sport" weight, and getting people to knit on needles smaller than 9s is hard work! So, I doubled the yarn and knit this cabled scarf on 11s (took 4 balls).

It turned out beautifully, and I don't have any reasons to explain why it took so damn long, except that I think I just get mental blocks about knitting scarves. Which brings me to exhibit #2:

The Fiesta Rayon Bouclé scarf. I did this scarf to [surprise] show off the Fiesta Rayon Bouclé. I think I cast on about 120 stitches onto a size 10 circular, and knit it horizontally. Nothing fancy. It looks great. But, again, hated doing it. B O R I N G. That's what it boils down to. And this Fiesta yarn just goes and goes and goes and goes and goes. I swear that was the never-ending skein of yarn. I have to say, though, that horizontal works so great for the hand-dyes, b/c the color striations look so cool when it's done.

Let's see - oh - I got past the heel on the Cherry Tree hill socks and realized I wasn't going to have enough yarn (b/c of the cabled and moss stitch pattern, I suppose). So I pulled out the heel and did it in a contrast color, and will do the toe in it as well. I think that's the only way to make it go far enough. I'll get a pic up as soon as I finish the first one.


Finished objects from times past...

Here's an onslaught of all my finished projects that are worth posting:

Evelyn Clark's Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style knit in SWTC Bamboo, Tequila.

Felted bag knit with Rowan Big Wool in Pistachio (29) and Crystal Palace Fling in Fiddleheads (9779).

Lace Leaf Pullover from Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop, knit with double-stranded Cash Iroha in #81 by Noro.

Dreamcatcher Medallion Cardigan from Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop, knit in Lana Grossa New Cotton, #11.

Gyrid from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits Collection, knit in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, #08.

Detail of center cable on Gyrid.

Cardigan from Filati 28 booklet, knit in Lana Grossa Trefilo, #07.

Lace/Fair Isle off-the-shoulder pullover from Holiday Vogue 05, knit in Lana Grossa Cool Wool Merino Extrafine.

Felted bag knit with 2 balls Noro Kureyon in #95.

Split Neck T by Knitting Pure & Simple, knit in Nashua Creative Focus Worsted, #1460.

Felted Bag knit with Nashua Wooly Stripes in Spice and Fiesta.

Children's Rollneck Pullover by Knitting Pure & Simple knit with Manos del Uruguay's kettle-dyed wool in Woodland (109).

Ready for a novel?

Ok. I know, I know. It's been practically a month since I've posted. Bad, bad Sarah. I have excuses, I have reasons, but what it really all boils down to is laziness. We're getting ready to launch a re-designed website for the store, and I have been utterly consumed with prepping the graphics. All day long, I photoshop my way through hundreds of pictures of yarn balls and colorways, trying to capture the "best" representation of the color, or the variation, or whatever. I'm getting close - maybe 75% done. But that's my best excuse for not posting recently. I'm so sick of working on the computer, and photoshopping pics that I haven't had the motivation to get a silly blog post up.


The motivation comes from Asher, who I finally got to meet this last week. She came down to spend her Spring Break with Yvonne and Blair, and she keeps a kick-ass blog. I regularly read her (up-to-date) blog and have envy that I don't post more frequently. That and signing up for Secret Pal 8 has finally prompted me to get off my duff and post something - in the form of:

Stripey socks in Meilenweit Cotton Fun & Stripes.
I. just. love. these. socks. This colorway of oranges and pinks makes me so happy, and I love how the MCFS gets so soft and smooth after it has been through the wash. Mmm mmm mmm. I had enough left over for a pair for CK. Have I mentioned how sock crazy I've gone? I think I'm up to 6 adult pairs and the pair for Campbell, all in the last 2 months. Pair #6 was out of the Steinbache Wolle Activ Effekt, in a weird, only-a-man-could-pull-it-off colorway that had brown, tweedy black/white, orange, and a touch of minty green. Sounds putrid, but it looked good when they were done. And there's enough of that left for a CK pair, as well.
For #7 I am doing Fritzy's socks from Mountain Colors in some Cherry Tree Hill superwash that I picked up in Tahoe. Yes, I bought yarn on vacation. I also nabbed some yummy Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in Camo to do a pair for Jason - I'm thinking of something from the Knitting Vintage Socks book by Nancy Bush. That was great vacation reading, by the way.

So what are these adorable little things, you ask? These are the oh-so-cute slippers that Jason whipped up for CK on vacation. We had a bunch of leftover Nashua Creative Focus Worsted, and J was feeling bouyed by the great slippers he did for his dad, so he thought he'd make some munchkin-sized ones for Campbell. He did them in the three days we were gone (his third project, ever, mind you) and we felted them when we got home. CK loves sitting on the dryer to watch the goods agitate and felt up. Unfortunately we need to get some leather soles b/c our wood floors cause CK to look like Bambi when she puts them on. But I can tell you there is nothing more precious than hearing your almost-3-yr-old say:

"My daddy knit me slippers!"

Last, but of course not least, are my new buttons. I'm going to do the Pacific Northwest Lace KAL starting on the 15th, thanks to Asher and Yvonne's invite. And this Cast-On button is too well-done to not use. And that's all for now. Not quite a novel, I guess. I promise to be better.