Thursday, July 27, 2006

Public Service Announcements

I have been knitting, but my progress is not exactly blogworthy. One of the straps on the Roundabout Tank got a little longer before I wearied of it again. One of my Calla Lily socks is at the toe. I have almost finished the gusset decreases on the first Waving Lace sock. As Chris Farley might have said, well la-de-fricking-da. So, instead, announcements!

Eve of Needle Exchange contacted me about a blog carnival that she is planning, entitled Yarnival! I was not familiar with the concept of a blog carnival, but she helpfully explained that they periodically compile and reprint individual posts from many blogs on the same topic. What a great way to discover and sample new blogs! She is seeking submissions for the first edition; the deadline is August 4th. All the details you need to submit are here. Everyone is invited to submit. Her goal in particular is to broaden the audience of "smaller" blogs.

Just on the off chance there is someone who reads this blog who does not also read La Grumperina, I will inform you that she is spearheading a grassroots consumer movement to persuade Skacel to produce pointier Addi Turbos for laceknitting. No stab in the dark is this (no pun intended); the company is considering offering such a product. If sharper Addis are the needles of your dreams, click here to read Grumperina's post on how to let Skacel know.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's Not All Bad, with Footnotes

Thanks everyone for the advice on the tank! Right now, I'm just sitting on it, but I'm leaning toward "finish and try it on again." Then, sadly, probably, rip rip rip. But it's not all bad. Here are the knitting projects that are making me very happy indeed.

Waving Lace Socks,* in my red hand-dyed sock yarn ...

Calla Lily socks, yarn and pattern by Sundara. If you look closely at these pictures, you will see something rarely seen on affiknitty.** That's right ... heel flaps and gussets! I usually do short row heels, because they are easy on the magic loop, I am lazy, and they do fit me well. I decided to try the flap and gusset on these two pair, just because. And I have to say, it's a little more fun than the short row heel. You get an extra parade moment or two.

On Saturday, I went to the SnB Cleveland East Side meetup. This was my first time going to a knitting group since moving to Ohio*** and I had a great time. Because I am a total dork, I gave out my blog address to the two other knitters there. Here's a little shout out to Joyce and Preti, if you happen to stop by here! I really enjoyed meeting you both and hope to see you again!

Today's Musical Moment!**** One of my favorite new musical discoveries is the Missouri band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. They may be from the Midwest, but they've clearly got a thing for the Pacific Northwest. You can listen to their little piece of indie-pop perfection "Oregon Girl" here.

* God, I love knitting socks. It's just so satisfying. Makes for a boring blog, perhaps, but a happy knitter.
** Knitting content, while technically correct, is not the answer I am looking for.
*** Yeah, it only took me three years.
**** Because it's my blog, dammit!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

... for the Roundabout Leaf Tank. Pathetic since, as you can see, I am very nearly done. Nonetheless, neither love nor money could get me excited about finishing it. I look at it and just think, bleh.

Part of the problem is that I'm finding the knitting a little boring. The much bigger problem is that voice in the back of my mind. You know that voice. The one that keeps saying "your gauge is way off" or "this yarn is totally wrong for this project" or "that won't block out" while you blithely knit on.

In my case, the voice is saying "Laura, that sweater will not flatter you. It is going to be too big in the chest and the waist and a little too tight in the hips." It doesn't help that it's hard to get an accurate idea of how it will hang, since it has no shoulders. I've just tried it on and held it up.

Sigh. What should I do, knit sibs? Hope for the best, possibly a miracle, and finish it? Or rip away and use the yarn for something more promising? I need advice.

By the way, the yarn I like. It's Knit Picks Main Line, and it's on sale for $1.97 a ball right now.

Friday, July 21, 2006


The random number generator has spoken!

Amanda of Bulldog Knits has won the Piece of Vermont sock yarn! Frequent and longtime readers of this blog will know that Amanda and I were co-hosts of the Cover Your Head knitalong.

Shannon of Yarn and Chocolate won the Knit Picks laceweight! You all must pop over to her blog, scroll down, and see her Cotton-Ease stash. I am quite literally green with envy.

Savida of Delinquent Croissant has won the book! Savida designs and knits some fabulous hats -- go take a look.

Ok, winners, send me an email at affiknitty at gmail dot com with your snail mail address. And Savida, let me know what book you'd like.

A few people ventured answers to the silly non-contest questions. There were some good guesses.

A long while back, Big Lug wrote a post about Neko Case, describing her as her husband's "rock and roll girlfriend." For some reason, that really tickled me. I knew immediately who my rock and roll boyfriend would be -- Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Sigh. If you are an English major-type with a slightly whacked sense of humor and a love of indie pop, do yourself a big favor and dash off to your nearest record store. You won't be sorry.

My favorite blouse is blue.

Of course, I could never have my own indie pop band, because I play no instruments and can't carry a tune with a wheelbarrow. But it's a fantasy nonetheless. Rachel made an excellent guess -- The Clementines -- which I like so much that it will now become my Fantasy Side Project Band. As Ben Gibbard has the Postal Service, so I will have the Clementines. But the name of my fantasy band is Countless Screaming Argonauts. It comes from "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants:

There's a picture opposite me
Of my primitive ancestry
Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free
Though I respect that a lot
I'd be fired if that were my job
After killing Jason off and countless screaming argonauts...

The final correct answer is true. I was, in fact, the very first Homecoming Queen of the Escola Americana de Campinas. Some mother got the idea that we needed to do something to bring a little American-type high school culture to our international school, and thus my senior year we instituted Homecoming. Lest you think that my coronation was the mark of extreme popularity, I will tell you that there were only five girls in my senior class. Pictures, Kathy? Are you crazy?

Monday, July 17, 2006

As Promised

I said lo so many days ago that I would have a contest. Well, here you go!

Three prizes will be awarded. In the past year, I have learned to love socks and lace, and I've always been a sucker for knitting books. So those seemed like appropriate choices.

Prize Number One is, naturally, sock yarn! I've been singing Jessie's praises ever since my first purchase of her beautiful yarn. This skein is very similar, though not identical, to the "Mystery" colorway I used for my last rib and cable socks.

Next up, laceweight! I have two skeins of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Peppermint and two skeins in Stream. Plenty for more than one lace project, used either doubled or not. Because I am being a little lazy, click the link for a picture!

Finally, a knitting book! I thought about raiding my extensive stash, but I wanted to make sure the winner got a book not on his or her shelf. So, the winner will let me know the title of the book of his/her dreams and I will purchase it and ship it or have it shipped to the appropriate location. May I make some suggestions? Only caveat: Must be in print. I'd love to be able to get you that out-of-print Alice Starmore treasure on eBay, but sadly, I cannot. Gotta save up for that apartment in Paris. Haha.

Rules: Anyone living on this planet can enter. Winners will be chosen at random. (All hail the random number generator!) You only need to enter once. I thought of making a quiz or asking questions like, Who is my rock-and-roll boyfriend? What color is my favorite blouse? If I had an indie pop band, what would it be called? True or false: I was the homecoming queen my senior year in high school.* But I decided to forego all that. Just leave a non-anonymous comment between now and midnight Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. Say hi. Say I want yarn. Say whatever. I'll draw from all the commenters. Winners will be revealed on Friday or Saturday.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I am occupied anxiously awaiting the episode of my new favorite TV show, Project Runway. Minty and Glaistig's frequent praises led me to start watching it this season and I am already hooked. Two words: Tim. Gunn. Tim Gunn! I love him.

* Correct answers revealed with the winners. As if anyone cares.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On Test Knitting and Other Matters

I've seen people go to school for years,
studying to be doctors and lawyers.
I've seen people get up at 7:30 in the morning,
going to work at the drugstore to sell Flair pens.
But the most amazing thing to me is
I get paid for doing this.
Steve Martin

I had to do something to commemorate the very first time I have been paid to knit something.

I recently volunteered to join Chrissy's group of test knitters and agreed to do a little sample knitting on a quick turn-around. Needless to say, I can't give you details. But it was small, square, and you use it in the kitchen.

Your level of attention to detail is completely different when you are knitting for someone else, with someone else's professional reputation on the line. For example, while working on said knitted item, I made numerous gauge swatches. I placed a lifeline. And then I actually used it. Furthermore, I blocked this item. When I make these for myself, I am often tempted to skip weaving in the ends. Couldn't I just tie some sort of decorative/functional loop? I have not worried about it ending up perfectly square. Any sort of quadrilateral is fine for me.

I did enjoy being a (tiny) part of someone's creative process. And the next time I make one of these for my own kitchen, I will attempt to make an actual square. I might even block it.


Cat and I have been swapping music back and forth across the Atlantic. She sent me an amazing CD a while back, with a promise of more. Cat, it arrived today! If Blogger weren't being so fussy (grrr...), I could post a picture of the gorgeous deep purple Drops Alpaca she sent with it. Cat, your Kool-Aid is on its way (with a little something extra)!

Swaps, both big and small, are so much fun. You have until midnight tonight to sign up for Yarn Aboard II at Clothesknit!


Thanks everyone for all the really, really sweet comments on my blogiversary. I am trying to respond to everyone personally, but I wanted to acknowledge you all here too. I'm pulling together the contest stuff, so keep checking in!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

One Year and Counting ...

Today's the day. It's been one year since my first blog post! One year since I started reading blogs and thought, Hey! I could do that!

In the past year, I've conquered my fear of dyeing with Kool-Aid.

When I started my blog, I thought size 6 needles were small. Now I have no fewer than three sets of size 0 needles, and I often feel I need more.

Right before I started this blog, I sold a bunch of stash yarn and knitting books on e-Bay. One of the books I sold was Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush (cue collective gasp). I distinctly remember saying to myself, "Face it, Laura, you're just never going to be a sock knitter." (cue collective HA!)

When I started my blog, the number one thing that attracted me to a pattern was the possibility of finishing it quickly. I still get seduced by the quick knit, but I'm a more patient knitter.

A year ago, I didn't even know what a knitalong was. Now I've hosted two.

A year ago, I was unaware that I had a long-lost sister, from whom I was clearly separated at birth.

When I started my blog, I didn't know anyone in England, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Iceland, Norway, or Portugal. But now I do. I have made many, many friends all over the United States and the world through my blog and all of yours and for that I feel very, very grateful.

In Cara's recent article in Knittyspin, she describes the relationship between the folks at the Spin Out this way: Most of us were strangers to each other but everyone had a familiar feel. I know you. You're just like me. I get that feeling every time I catch up on my blog reading, or check my comments here, or get an email from someone who reads affiknitty, like the really nice ones I got recently from Linda and Phyllis. We may be living in different circumstances, in different places, look different, talk different. But we share the same enthusiasm and passion and, in my book, that makes us siblings.

I love that, in an important way, we're all alike. But I also love learning about our differences. I may never spin like Meg, keep finches like Stephanie, crochet socks like Amanda in Colorado, fly airplanes like Amanda in Oregon, or have a chicken in my bedroom like Jessie. But I sure do like to read about it! However, all the lovely sewing projects I have seen on blogs like Erica's, Jennifer's, and Jenny's really make me want to buy a machine and learn to sew. It may happen. My resolve is weakening. And Jennifer of Craftylilly makes me want to get out all my old beading stuff. You expand my horizons.

All of this is really to thank you for everything I've learned from all of you and all the happy moments I've had reading your blogs and your comments. But enough sentimentality. In the next few days, when I get organized about it, I'll be having a little "thank you" contest. Because a sappy post is nice, but sock yarn is much better.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Remind you of anything?

I thought it might be kind of fun to revisit my first blogged-about project and see if I could do it any better one year later.

You know, I think I managed to do it!

Pattern: Ballet T-Shirt by Teva Durham, published in Loop-d-Loop
Yarn: TLC Cara Mia in white, 2 skeins plus a little of a third
Needles: Size 11 Addi Turbo 24 inch circular.
Modifications: Many. A year ago, I made this sweater and had numerous gauge and sizing problems. I read Grumperina's whole discussion about the Ballet T and her subsequent development of the Tivoli and arrogantly decided that all my problems were a result of the pattern. Um, maybe not. Methinks the knitter had plenty to do with it.

TLC Cara Mia is basically the same yarn as the Katia Diana I used last time around. It's a surprisingly nice blend of bunny yarn and synthetics -- super soft and cushy and should hold its shape. This time, I used much smaller needles and knitted the sweater at a slightly tighter gauge than the pattern calls for. To compensate, I followed the stitch counts and shaping for the larger size. I added rounds between the shaping to lengthen the sweater. I bound off and decided it needed to be even longer, so I undid my cast off and added more rounds to the bottom. The only thing I'd have done differently is to add a few more rounds in the bust, before the waist decreases.

I think Ballet T Redux was a success. It fits just as I hoped -- clingy but not too va-va-voom. The chunky gauge lets the stitches stand out in a nice way, without making me look thick. I love the neckline. I really needed a white summer sweater like this to wear with skirts and jeans. I started it on Sunday and wore it out to the movies with some girlfriends Monday night. Can't beat that!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


first finished object...

...first commenters (hope you two don't mind my swiping your photos!)...

...first bandwagon jumped upon...

...first knitalong...

...first blogiversary coming up in ... four days!