Monday, April 30, 2007

Thanks, Mason...

I was reading through my bloglines and saw this wonderful post on Autism Awareness Month at Anne's blog, Knitspot. It's an essay by a nine-year-old friend of Anne's, about what having autism is like.
As some of you know, my older son S has autism. Many times I have thought about writing about it here. But I generally don't want to write about very personal things here, especially about my kids. Also, I don't really know where to start. It can be infuriating to deal with autism ... with mysterious behaviors from your child, with ignorance from physicians, with judgments from other parents who assume your child is bad rather than disabled. It is incredibly difficult to watch your child struggle and feel frustrated over communicating the simplest things. Nothing will break your heart like realizing that the kid next door is afraid of your child because he thinks shoving is playing.

S faces many challenges. But he is doing better every day. He is a beautiful, sweet, affectionate, happy little boy who likes swimming, ice skating, riding his scooter, and coloring.

Chances are, you know a child with autism. What was once rare is now frighteningly common -- approximately one in 150 children are suffering from autistic spectrum disorder. Yet there is surprisingly little being spent on research ... a fraction of what is spent on childhood diseases that are far less prevalent. If you're interested in helping or learning more, check the links below.

- National Autism Association
- Autism Speaks
- Autism Society of America
- Autism Research Institute
- U.C. Davis MIND Institute

Anne and Mason, you've given an eloquent voice to many people who cannot speak so well for themselves. My son and I are very, very grateful.


I'm a Cider Moon Groupie

I resisted the urge to call myself a Cider Moonie. The trunk show was fabulous! The place was packed! And there were a lot of people there, too!

Gail and Jacki (like most Ohioans, some of the nicest people EVER) took a lot of photos, which you can see here on their blog. Also Preeti has some great pictures of the event and the yarn. Me, I had camnesia. But I did manage to get a picture of everyone at lunch.

L to R: Jeanne, Deanna, me, Joyce, Preeti, Ludmilla, Carol, Debbi.

Here's what I walked away with!

One picture of each, and just because I am so in love with it, a close-up of Cherry on Top. Pink, cream and brown are very good. Aqua, cream and brown are very, very good. Pink AND aqua and cream and brown make me want to weep with happiness. I couldn't stand it. I had to cast it on.

But, wait! There's more Cider Moon goodness! An FO!

Pattern: Campfire Socks, available gratis on the Cider Moon website
Yarn: Glacier DK in Mardi Gras by, well, you know
Needles: 3.25mm circulars for Magic Loop
Thoughts: OK. I see the whole Mardi Gras gold-purple-green thing. But this yarn is So Much Prettier than the reality of the French Quarter on the day before Ash Wednesday. The green in particular is so deep and lovely, ranging from pine to the most beautiful olive. This is the softest, squishiest yarn ever. And I made the socks from way less than one skein ... see how much yarn was left? Yay!

It was so much fun to see everyone, and to meet Gail and Jacki. If you too love Cider Moon, you should visit and join the Flickr group! It's hosted by Katie, who has some seriously nice socks in the pool. Check it out!

A non sequitur by way of a query: Someone who has commented here recently posted instructions on how to do drop-down menus on your Blogger sidebar, and because I am clearly suffering from CRS* I don't know who! Can you identify yourself and remind me how to do it, please? I am eternally grateful.

* Can't Remember Shit.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Attention Cleveland-Area Knitters!

Following up about the Cider Moon trunk show...

There will be a group of us meeting at Soft n' Sassy in Broadview Heights at 11 am. (Click the link for directions.)

This looks to be a lot of fun. Gail and Jacki will have roving and spinning demos, prizes, and, of course, their beautiful yarns! Hope you can come!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Extremely Belated Harlotty Post

Here it is, the requisite photo of the Harlot, in her luminous Bohus, at a podium. As you might have guessed, this particular podium is in an eastern suburb of Cleveland and the photo is a few weeks old. This is basically the only photo I have of the august occassion, because I was suffering from camnesia. (Thanks, Margene, for introducing me to that very useful word!)

The parade of superlatives about Ms. Pearl-McPhee and her talk on Taking Knitters Seriously has been making the rounds of the blogs and the podcasts. Really, I can't add anything, except a very enthusiastic "What they said!" She was delightful and it was so much fun to be in such a big group of My People.

I saw many, many wonderful people that day, including Linda and Annie, Diana, Jeanne, Anne, Maureen, Debbie, and others whose names have sadly escaped the sieve that is my brain. A couple of people said they visited Affiknitty but were lurkers. Please, I beg you, speak up! I want to be able to talk to you!

But, now for the real purpose of this post ... to all you Cleveland-area knitters. Gail and Jacki from Cider Moon are having a trunk show this Saturday at Soft 'n Sassy in Broadview Heights. Is anyone else planning on going? Please email me or leave a comment! I would like to plan my visit to see as many of my fellow fiber-lovers as possible!

Also, thank you so much everyone for the nice comments about my embroidery projects. I think I'll not start Blue-Grey Girl again. It's just a learning project anyway and, as Asa said, I might feel better about it when it's done. I swear there will be knitting on this blog again!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Well, Maybe Not

I started my blue-grey-white embroidered girl. I'm not very happy with how it's turning out. I tried to do a kind of long-and-short stitch on her skirt. The result is that it looks as though it is covered with feathers. Also, I thought it would be cool to use more than one color of blue in the skirt, and that doesn't look so great either. As my torts professor would say, "Too clever by four-fifths."

The top part's pretty nice.

"Young Girl Attending an Improving Lecture"

But, the bottom?

"Appearing Nightly at the Copa!"

Not so much.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

About 37% Ironic

Thanks, Ashley! Your Texas nostalgia post gave me the perfect phrase for this project! It describes your affection for Willie Nelson and mine for these sunbonnet girls. There is something about these vintagey embroidery transfers that I love, but indeed that love is at least 37% ironic. This one is an Aunt Martha design; the Aunt Martha designs range from slightly bizarre to kitschy-cute to offensive (scroll down to read about Olga's finds at Hobby Lobby). These, however, fit snugly into the sweetly kitschy category.

Remember when you were a kid, and you woke up with a Saturday stretched in front of you, filled with possibility, and you had a Plan? Maybe you thought "I'm going to sew a new wardrobe for my Skipper doll!" Or "I'm going to ride my bike down to the creek and look for turtles!" Or "Today, I'm going to eat pancakes and then I'm going to put on my tennis shoe roller skates, take my radio outside and skate on the driveway All Day Long!" Nothing matches the enthusiasm of a kid with a plan. I see it in J, especially. He can be at his watercolors within minutes of waking up.

Well, yesterday, I woke up with a Plan. I had no pressing obligations other than to keep the boys out of the emergency room. It was a beautiful day, the boys were playing on the swingset, the Cavs were on TV, and I said to myself "Today, I am going to embroider!"

Once I sat down to stitch it, I realized that it was perfect for Project Spectrum! Where I might have been at least momentarily paralyzed about color choices, I was able to just dive right in ... I let PS pick my colors for me. I've decided to do a sunbonnet girl for each of the PS color groups. I have no idea what I will do with them; this is stitched on a plain Target cloth napkin (awesome for stitching, BTW). Ideas will be warmly welcomed.


- Vintage embroidery transfers just your cup of tea? You must visit Floresita's Vintage Transfer Finds!
- Or, perhaps you prefer your embroidery on the salty side? Look what Vera made! She's also got some great stitching links at the end of her post.
- From the Department of Serious Project Commitment, see Jane's klosterstitch in progress. It's impossibly, beautifully worked.
- I'm just catching up with Marly's podcast, Yarn Thing, and I love it. It's like having a friend at your kitchen table.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

I Heart Flickr

1. Grafitti, 2. i may be silly, but my skirt is awesome, 3. so far, 4. Green Lace Weight, 5. Vintage Apron, 6. areias ondulantes, 7. Finished crochet project, 8. tiramisu blanket detail, 9. newborn baby socks, 10. Spherey, Hatted, 11. Lemons on a vintage plate, 12. Ripple Progress, 13. More blanket, with William the hound, 14. Keep going going, 15. march 28, 2007, 16. Wednesday Afternoon, 17. Angora Lace Scarf in Progress, 18. And more cables, 19. Saffrons' Love - spun for International Womens Day March 8, 20. Tea Towel Tour 010, 21. a window to the Eden, 22. Untitled, 23. I pray for LOVE and hate politics, 24. kelly cardi, 25. Yarn Portrait: Shokay Yak Down, 26. favorite time of day, 27. Anemoi Mitten, right hand, 28. Clapotis close-up, 29. handspun pi, 30. babette 001, 31. 1348, 32. 1340, 33. Colored markers, 34. Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, 35. End Of History 2, 36. Handspun Sock Yarn


Friday, April 20, 2007

In Love

Colors, from left: Istanbul, Chocolate Mousse, June Carter

I have found a yarn that joins Jessie's and Sundara's among my very favorite yarns. It's Cider Moon Glacier DK superwash merino. As I noted in my last post, I recently started a pair of socks in some of this delicious, dyed-here-in-Ohio yarn. I bought it at the Knitter's Mercantile, while I was in Columbus taking the bar exam. Finally, it found its way on my needles. I am besotted. So much so that I dashed off to their website, fortuitously soon after a shop update. I may have gone a little nuts.

This yarn is buttery soft and the colors are simply amazing. Plus, great customer service -- the shipping was very fast and they included four little yarn samples: three more Glacier colorways and one in Flurry, a fingering weight yarn. I am looking forward to trying some of their other yarn styles! As for those socks, I imagine you'll be seeing an FO post soon.


- More babies! Faith from The Knitting Cook has welcomed a little girl to her family! Yay!
- Lately, I've felt the desire to cast on some lace ... next new project! You too? Not into triangular shawls? Check out JennyRaye's fantastic compendium of rectangular shawl patterns, both for sale and gratis.
- From the Department of Very Extremely Beautiful Things, check out these socks!
- On a non-fibery note, Sister Diane recently posted about a cheery little vintage Betty Crocker cookbook she scored while thrifting. I have a SERIOUS weakness for these cookbooks and have a little collection of my own.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

How to Get Out of a Rut

1. Catch up with your favorite podcasts.

2. Browse your library.

3. Embrace the fact that you are a process knitter. Let your WIPs be WIPs.

Boteh Scarf; Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Mother Lode

4. Ascend the learning curve.

Clockwise from top: Socks That Rock in Garnet, Koigu KPPM in Springwater, Sundara merino sockweight in Hydrangea, Sundara merino sockweight in Bird of Paradise

5. Play with your yarn.

Campfire Socks; Cider Moon Glacier DK in Mardi Gras

6. Cast on something soft and gorgeous and warm.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Lost: My Focus

Call it a swatch, call it a coaster, call it what you will. But these are the only "FOs" I have to show.

I am knitting (and crocheting), but the only things I manage to finish are swatches. Here is a reasonably comprehensive list of what's on my needles:

Three pairs of socks
Two sweaters
Two scarves
Three blankets
Two pairs of mittens

She cannot resist the siren song of the shell stitch!

Also, I have started and nearly as quickly abandoned several other projects (the Cable-Down Pullover from the Spring IK, Tiffany mittens, Chevron scarf, Pomatomus socks, etc., etc.). The reasons for aborting these are varied and predictable: gauge totally off, colors all wrong, yarn not working for the pattern, size ridiculously too large. I especially seem to be having problems with socks (sob!), as many of the patterns I really want to knit have not been working out for me. I knit too loosely. I have trouble getting gauge. These socks would fit someone with a wicked case of edema. Waah waah waah.

Helen asked about the patterns in this book, so I thought I'd share my $0.02 about it. I do really like the book. It's very attractively photographed and clearly laid out. On each left hand page is a knit stitch pattern and on each right hand page, a crochet pattern. One really nice feature of the book is that the table of contents includes a thumbnail picture of each stitch pattern, which makes browsing the book very easy. The book includes some very introductory information on color theory and choosing colors, as well as appendices in the back that illustrate how to make the basic knit and crochet stitches.

I only have a few little quibbles. First of all, the book contains "200 patterns" because each stitch pattern is illustrated in two sets of colors. Granted, with some of the patterns the look can be very different and how many ripple patterns can there be, but still. To me, that's more like 100 patterns. I wish the book included detailed information about the yarns that are used in the pictured swatches. And I really wish the knit patterns had charts. Some of them are lacy, and I just prefer to knit lace from a chart. But, all in all, I think the book is inspiring and well-executed, and I'm glad I added it to my burgeoning craft bookshelf. If you both knit and crochet, I'd say it's definitely worth purchasing.


- Baby Lug is here! Go see!
- I'm sure you probably already know this, but Sockapalooza 4 signups are open!
- Greetingarts loves blue-green and so do I.
- At risk of appearing to be stalking Alicia, I will point out that there is a free crocheted baby blanket pattern that is too sweet up at Posie Gets Cozy.
- A little late, but if you are either (1) wondering what to do with Peeps or (2) in the mood for a lovely tune by the Roches, visit alt-gramma and indie mom at Speed of Dark.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Apology Flowers

Hi everyone! I apologize for the long silence. My sister was visiting this past weekend and now we are going to visit the in-laws for Easter. If I give you some flowers, will you forgive me?

When I come back ... the Yarn Harlot! My great-grandmother's crochet! Too many WIPs to enumerate! More Link-o-Rama!