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Preview: The YoYo Knits

The YoYo Knits



The Terrible YoYo's adventures in knit and purl. Now new and improved with spinning action!



Updated: 2014-10-04T22:52:21.334-04:00

 



Shmappy New Year!

2010-01-01T13:55:22.895-05:00

A quick post to wish you all the best for 2010. 2009 rocked my face pretty hard - I go into this year with an additional person in my family and down one no longer properly functional organ (ditched the gallbladder on Wednesday.)

Also, Wynnie would like you to know that she is SHOCKED at what you did last night:

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...and this morning she wants to have a talk about how disappointed she is.

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Gwynevere Is Here!

2009-12-14T11:14:03.441-05:00

And she's beautiful! We had a lovely (big!) baby girl on November 25, the day before Thanksgiving! She came along at 4:39 p.m., at 8 pounds 15 ounces and 19 3/4 inches (though I dispute that, since she was 21 inches just four days later.) She's in perfect health and nursing like a champ, and sleeping beautifully. I think she'd be inclined to sleep through most of the night if I didn't wake her up to feed her. As a happy aside, Wynnie shares a birthday with Kristi's brand new baby girl too! Fun fact, we also had our showers on the same date. Nothing in common. ;-)With an incredibly supportive husband and fantastic labor nurse, I made it through all that with no drugs, as I'd hoped, and while I'm sure I made plenty of racket, I managed it with an alarmingly minimal amount of cursing, considering my typical blue streak. (Matter of fact, I only remember one F-bomb, and it was when I was decrying the air conditioning situation - who leaves a delivery room A/C set at EIGHTY???) I went into labor around 4:00 a.m. after about two hours of sleep, labored at home as long as I could, headed to the hospital shortly after noon (and would have sworn I'd been there for much longer than four and a half hours) and delivered her in pretty darn good time. I'd had a doctor's appointment the day before at which he wanted to discuss the c-section necessity if I went a whole lot longer, as I was a week past due when she arrived, and I told him I didn't see the need to discuss it, since I'd be having her the next day. He was as skeptical of my prediction as I was of his c-section and possibility-of-shoulder-dysplasia nonsense (we knew by this point that she was pretty big). So when he walked in to deliver her I hollered, in the midst of full blown delivery labor, "I TOLD YOU IT WOULD BE TODAY! HA!!" I appreciate his restraint in not telling me I was in a fine position to be smug, ahem.It's been a very busy 19 days or so! Travis had two weeks off from work, which was such a blessing, and when he returned I didn't crash and burn like I was afraid of - she's been really great for me, blessed little girl. So things are progressing well for her and Travis, and mostly well for me, though I may be needing surgery down the road - I had a massive gallstone attack on Saturday. That was way worse than any labor pain, I thought I was dying and was begging for someone to either give me drugs or run me over in the parking lot. So the rumor is that I'll need to have my gallbladder removed, but I'm going to try to control that with diet for as long as I possibly can. (Travis is going to be annoyed when he gets home today and I haven't called the surgeon.)But enough exposition - pictures!!Here we are, our first family portrait, taken shortly after her arrival.Can't resist this one - this is the first picture I took, with my phone, in the delivery room. Travis was completely in awe that he had a daughter - I was too exhausted to be emotional right away (that came later when I spoke to her for the first time.)This was her first day home. Damn she's cute.Travis blowing raspberries at the baby. Daddies are supposed to be the silly fun ones.Naptime on the nursery floor. (The dogs and cats are doing really well with the new addition to the family. They're curious at best, but cautious. We're so grateful for their restraint.)And that's our girl. :-)[...]



Last Call!

2009-11-09T21:17:47.304-05:00

Due for baby in just a week or two (that's due, of course, not some guarantee, as I keep reminding myself) and I've made some big headway around here - for example, I finally bought a new battery for the laptop, as I've been needing to do for a YEAR, so I can actually use this computer and let's pretend that means I'll blog more often...I think I'll just cover the knit-related stuff for now - and then the next post you see from me you know will mean that she-or-he is here!Yarn: Socks That Rock Mediumweight in "Fred Flintstone"Pattern: Telemark Sweater by Erika FloryUS 4 needlesSize M (12 month)Started: August 28Finished: September 1Mods: Seed stitch instead of garter, kfb instead of m1 (I'm crazy like that) and I think that's about it. Gauge was off (6 instead of 5 sts/in) so I went up a size, think I still ended up with something for a 12-month old, which is also fine.Giant stack o' baby legwarmers - these will be good for Florida "winter" weather. All are superwash, most are just Dream in Color leftovers from the Tulip cardi, which brings us to....Yarn: Dream in Color Classy (kit from The Sweet Sheep)Pattern: Tulip Cardigan by Lindsay PeknyUS 5 and US 7 needlesSize 0-6 mo.Started: April 24Finished: April 29 (my Loopy Spring Fling project)Mods: Had to finagle some things due to a shortage of yarn in some places, so there are some skimpy stripes and contrasting i-cord trim. Don't study the comparison between the cuffs of the left and right sleeves.Yarn: Handmaiden SeaThree (silk and seasilk, very practical for baby knitwear) Pattern: Avery by Kristi GeraciUS 7 needlesSize 3-6 mo.Started: May 3Finished: July 19 (I hit a lull in the knitting mojo)Mods: None, other than I knit the mirror image of this one AGAIN. I started out fine, did something stupid, ripped back, and accidentally reversed the front and back when I started it up again. Duh.I also knit this, but not for me:Yarn: Valley Yarns SuperwashPattern: Baby Sophisticate by Linden HeflinUS 8 needlesSize 6-9 mo.Started: September 10Finished: September 27Mods: none other than making it a bit longer than written. This was a gift for Baby G. Actually, there was one other sweater that started out as a potential gift for Baby G but I botched it pretty good..Yarn: Cascade Yarns Eco AlpacaPattern: Cabled Baby Raglan by Rebecca L. DanielsUS 4 needleStarted: July 19Finished: September 10Mods: Can we call a botching a mod? I dropped a stitch on the sleeve during the movie District 9. Later I picked it up and carried it up about 20 or so rows, creating a lovely pucker on the back of the sleeve. So it's got a little something, uh, special. (Oh well, it's a handwash-only baby sweater, it probably wasn't going to be in heavy rotation around here anyway!)Then there's this, which I will probably finish eventually. Ugh, seaming...Yarn: Mirasol Yarn Sampa (organic cotton)Pattern: Trellis by Britta Stolfus RueschhoffUS 7 needleStarted: August 9, 2009Finished: uhhh....TBDAnd of course, I'm working on birthing socks. Nearly finished - just working on the foot of the last one now. This is a three-ply handspun superwash merino I'm so happy with, knit into nearly-knee socks. Naturally, if I did something like this for my wedding, I had to have something equally special for baby's birth day. Halfway through these it occurred to me that baby would need special birth day socks too:Yarn: Greenwood Cotton-Lycra sock yarnPattern: my own (I may write it up)US 1 and US 2 needlesStarted: October 25Finished: October 28Mods: I wrote it myself. And yet, actually, I did mod something - picked up on some screwed up decreases halfway up the hat and swapped those around.One last thing I managed to pull off before the baby arrives (and later than I should have):Orders of fingering-weight cashmere/nylon/superwash merino went out to both The Sweet Sheep and The Loopy Ewe. No telling what the future holds for The YoYo once MiniYo comes along, so if you're thinking you might wanna try some, now's a good time...So I think that's about everyt[...]



One Other Little Thing...

2009-08-21T16:05:32.320-04:00

OMG I'm back and it's only been like two days!

Nah, I'm just trying to enable you again. Remember back when I used to do that? I'm doing some reluctant but necessary destashy. You know, one of those things where I'm having to make room in the office/craft room for all of Mr. YoYo's crap because his office is now a nursery, and having to make room in the budget for all of Baby Yo's crap because, well, that will be my life now forevermore. I'll eventually be digging up all sorts of things, spinning fiber and whatnots, but for now I'm trying to part with some of my sock yarns. Loving homes needed for Duets, Cherry Tree Hill, Socks that Rock, Dream in Color, Mama E, Yarn Pirate, Sunshine Yarns, Sknitches, Zen String, etc etc etc....Want some? Good prices! Make offer! Going...fast?



OMG OMG OMG

2009-08-19T21:16:42.372-04:00

Um. Hi. Yeah, I keep doing that thing where I appear, apologize, post, and disappear. It sucks. I've gotten some awesomely sweet emails in the past month or so (OH MY GOD I DIDN'T RESPOND TO YOU GUYS. I'm also pregstupid. I haven't been doing anything at all lately that I'm supposed to. See also: blogging, etsy shop. I can't tell you how special your sweet emails made me feel, and hopefully I'll remember to tell you personally and oh my God that made me sound like such a douche. I'm not a douche, I'm just stupid. I promise.) Anyway, thank you for all your fantastic comments and congrats on my pregnancy (remember that, like three months ago? Yikes.)So I'm six and a half months along now (also yikes) and things are still going swimmingly. For those who said "But you look kinda skinny...?" to the photo I posted last time to indicate my pregnancy - yeah, I was like six weeks pregnant when I took that, and had just lost about 10 pounds to boot. (Good thing, too.) Right now I look more like this:Yay crummy iPhone photos! I'm surprised at how...pregnant I look here. I mean, duh, I'm pregnant, but this definitely makes me look quite a lot more expansive than I see myself in the mirror most of the time. Deluded, maybe, but I swear I'm bigger at night, it's the strangest thing. And pardon my closet, it needs some work but we've been busy with the nursery. Oh, and I just came from the gym here. Hot. (I'm being very careful, just elliptical machine and gentle yoga stuff, but I'm trying to get exercise and stay healthy for the baby. Studies show childhood obesity may be determined in the womb, so build good habits now and all that crap.)But there's more! I'm SO not sure I'm supposed to post this....but hopefully someone from Lark will let me know if I'm breaking a code.MY FREAKING BOOK OVER HERE!!!Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, it's not MY book per se. But remember how I called Cookie's book "my book" because I'd knit the sock on the cover? This book is at least closer to being "my book" than Cookie's was, in that Cookie's book was not my book in any way or shape. (PS: That did not stop me from noting to a yarn shop owner in North Carolina who had Cookie's book on display near the register that I TOTALLY KNIT THOSE SOCKS RIGHT THERE ON THE COVER. I have to be the coolest person alive. I hope to God no one ever gives me even an inch of fame, or I'll just become this huge walking bag of feminine hygiene.)See, this is totally more like being actually my book, in that I'm published in it with my very own pattern and stuff. This was a pattern I did for Roxanne of faboo Zen Yarn Garden (and which she VERY graciously allowed me to submit to this book, which was gracious indeed since it's her right to decide what happens with the pattern, so when you knit these and all the other socks in this book, please use Zen Yarn Garden yarn, especially since it's awesome anyway and I totally would not lie to you - if it wasn't awesome I'd just say something nice about Roxanne's hair or something and be done with it, but her yarn really IS great stuff.)In case you want to sort of be able to see the sock at all. I've seen the socks, so I'm more excited about my name in print. Oh, and by the way, I have these socks back in my possession now and will never be able to wear them because this hot chick in her stupid robe has totally ruined it and there's something decidedly less sexy about how I wear them - which right about now is on the swollen ankles of a pantsless pregnant woman watching old Golden Girls episodes on the WE network and eating Edy's Butterfinger ice cream straight out of the pint. (I wish that wasn't true - the only part I'm lying about is swollen ankles, really I haven't had that problem yet. But with my body temperature averaging about 457 degrees higher than normal, about the most dressed-up I can muster at home is a long-enough t-shirt. Long t-shirts are great. If you walk around PR[...]



Triumphant Return (For Today, Anyway....)

2009-05-12T22:28:06.918-04:00

I suppose I should format this post in the Standard Acceptable Prose Of Long-Absent Blogger, which is to say that I should start out with generic shock at how long I've been silent ("Has it really been [insert number of days] since my last post??"), proceed to vague reasons and apologies for said absence as if your every morning hangs on my updates ("Test knitting....busy-ness....secret projects....etc.....sorry sorry sorry....") and then finish up by regaling you with every boring and excruciatingly minute detail of the last however-many-weeks-or-months that I've been absent ("So THEN my boss said....and I told her....and she told me....and I said to her....")

Okay, now that all that is out of the way....hi! Yeah, I know. But like I said, secret projects, plus a very busy few months that have plenty to boast in worthy news - a long-in-coming shop update and sale, rehearsals and opening for the local community theatre show Li'l Abner, which turned out to be more challenging for me than I'd originally anticipated, more detail on that toward the end of the post, a trip or two, and a planned development - but not enough energy to post it all. I have some knits I need to photograph and share, which I will no doubt get to eventually.....well, let's not say "no doubt" but you can hang with the firm deadline of "eventually".

There was the Loopy Ewe Spring Fling, where I took practically zero pictures but had quite the time, especially visiting Loopy (with Aimee and Teenuh!) and seeing my yarn on their shelves. (On that front - it was quiet with Loopy for a while, but I have another batch in the works for the summer with both Loopy and The Sweet Sheep. A new yarn base too. Woot!)

Travis and I got out of the hotel one day to visit the Arch.

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It's the silver thing you can see a chunk of behind me. Nice shot, eh? I kind of blew off a class for that, but I'd proven myself so mind-numbingly stupid and worthless in the first class that I doubt the instructor missed the joy of my blank stare. Here's (a crappy iPhone photo of) said instructor indicating her approval of my decision:

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Speaking of whom.... There was also the matter of this little book that came out that is totally mine by virtue of the fact that my name is in it somewhere and I knit a sock for it. I'm speaking of course of Cookie's sock book (gee, have ya heard about it?) Sock Innovation. Here's the contest part - didn't I mention the contest part? - I'm giving away a copy of this book. You already have it, sure, but do you have a SIGNED copy? No? You can have one of mine, then! The entry is a toughie - leave a comment on this post before Friday, May 15 at midnight (Eastern). Anyone anywhere can enter. Since a bunch of "MINE! GIMME!" comments can get tedious, I'll give you a topic to discuss if you prefer, at your discretion. Here's a starting point:

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We are with child, and I'm now about fourteen weeks along. Discuss. ;-)



Thoughts on Watchmen

2009-03-08T21:12:53.695-04:00

Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.................

....that is all. Thanks for tuning in to this week's edition of Fangirl Obsessive: The Notorious Nitpicker Goes To The Cinema.



Three Things

2009-03-02T23:55:07.958-05:00

Today we'll focus on some of my better news of late:

1) It's hubby Travis' birthday! Well, March 3rd - which is what day it will be by the time feeds update, probably....I'm close enough!

2) I finished another something:

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Pardon my distraction - the president is speaking.

This is the Herringbone Cowl by Lauren Osborne, knit in Zen String in the "Gwendolyn" colorway, size US 4 needles. Took for freaking ever to knit because due to the stitch pattern, I was getting about 16 ROWS TO THE INCH. Blurgh. Still, I love the way it turned out.

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Ew, flash photos. But stitch definition is good too, so we suffer...

3) We auditioned for a show, and it looks like we'll both be in the cast, possibly playing multiple roles. I don't particularly care too terribly much what I'm cast as because a) it's a fun silly show likely to be full of people I enjoy being around, who are talented and entertaining, and I love the director oodles and lots, and b) it's not totally guaranteed but it looks like OH MY GOD FREAKING GEORGE PEREZ IS GOING TO BE IN THE SHOW TOO. YES. THAT GEORGE PEREZ. I'm in geek heaven. (After being around him a couple of times I can add that he is, incidentally, also on the short list of nicest guys on the whole planet.)

George Perez!!!!



FO - Way More Interesting Than Blah-gging The Oscars

2009-02-23T19:06:12.721-05:00

Okay, I have a blog post about the Oscars that I abandoned about twelve minutes into the broadcast, after spending much of the preshow basically writing, "I like that. I like that too. That's nice." Well, that and lots of bitching about Seacrest. But yeah, the show overall, while I enjoyed it and liked the new style generally speaking, was pretty dull from a blogging standpoint. Mostly good fashion, no surprises in the winners (other than foreign film: whaaaaaat?) and overall just not a lot to snark or get really excited about. My post will probably languish in draft hell for all eternity.But I did finish this yesterday:A garment! And my first vest! I am SO not a vest girl, but I had these three balls of one DK yarn and two balls of another color of said DK yarn, and I was thinking colorwork vest. Two-color, non-intarsia colorwork. There turn out to not be a whole heap of options in that category that thrilled me, but I found this during my Ravelry search and thought it was just really pretty. Simple, flattering, wearable, work-appropriate...good things. I sweated my yardage the whole time I knit and I just BARELY had enough yarn - I think I have about five grams left over of each color. Squeak!!It turned out really well, I think. A little tiny bit on the big side, but long enough - a miracle in my world - and not too small around the bust - another miracle - and big enough to allow for a shirt underneath without constricting my movement. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the fit. It's loose enough to allow for weight gain later, too. Not that I'm anticipating it. (I'm on a group weight loss thing right now and so far I'm doing pretty well - down eight pounds, hurray! Yay for being healthy - my habits were getting pretty shameful there for a while.)Pattern Deets:Cables & Spice Pattern by Diane CarlsonSize: 37" bustNeedles: US 5 & US 3Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy 013 (red, 3 balls) and 06 (pink, 2 balls)Start: January 28, 2009Finish: February 22, 2009Pardon my wrinkliness - I wore this all day at work prior to taking photos. Bad knit blogger. The good news is that it holds up well. The pattern is also really well written and simple to execute, with not a lot of finishing, either, which is a very good thing in my book. No seaming at all - just grafts at the shoulders. Me likey. I'm also looking forward to giving this a wash - yes, I'm a slacker and wore it to work without even blocking or washing it - Hempathy blooms so beautifully when it's washed. This will probably only get better.Okay, now I'm just being silly.[...]



Oscars - A PSA For Those As Compulsive As Myself

2009-02-19T12:36:57.484-05:00

So every year I get really obsessed with the Oscars for no discernible reason (they are not in any way indicative of the BEST work of the year, just the most publicized...and yet I plan my whole late winter around this event) and I drive myself crazy into the ground trying to see as many nominated works as I can. (It's especially difficult to pull off when I restrict myself to the first showing on weekends, traditionally the cheapest available ticket and the only budget-friendly way to stick to my plan.)

I've seen a number of powerful and impressive films in this pursuit, and then like NONE of them got nominated for best picture. Lucky for me, that sacred institution AMC Theatres is doing something that theatres nationwide should have been doing annually for 30 years - they're showing all five best picture nominees back to back in a single day. Blessedly, the tickets are cheaper than they would be to see each individually - $30 for all five - and include bottomless popcorn, a saving grace for those of us with husbands of infinite metabolism. (I for one will tote a bag of radishes and cucumbers, thank you.)

I'm saying hallelujah that the one film we did see, Benjamin Button, is the one showing smack in the middle of the day. There's a lakefront park and walking trail about 100 yards from the theatre, so we can get outside into the real world, have lunch, go for a walk, hit a Starbucks....I think it'll be a nice day. It's especially great for those of us in a strange area where, inexplicably, Paul Blart showed in every multiplex but no one really felt like putting Milk on a screen. (Um, thanks? Welcome to the South, baby.)

If you want to see if an AMC in your area is mounting the effort, check here.

And I'm thinking I may "live-blog" the whole event. (The Oscars, not the five movies. God, would that be torture for you or what?) By "live-blog" I mean, I'll write one ungodly long post and then publish when the thing is over, rather than assault your bloglines with 1400 posts all night. Things I always like to snark on: who won, who deserved it, who gave a catty sideways look when she lost (lookin' at you, Jolie), who looked great (expectation: Hathaway) and who looked jacked as hell (expectation: Cameron Diaz, as always, will appear to have run there straight from the gym...in Encino; and God willing, Meryl Streep will show up in stirrup pants again like she did to the SAG Awards, not expecting to be shown on camera in full view and only dressing for her gracious-and-lovely-from-the-bust-up loser shot.)



VK Free to Loving Home

2009-02-10T18:23:18.390-05:00

Is anyone in need of the Winter '08/'09 Vogue Knitting? (It's the one currently on newsstands.) I subscribed and figured my first issue would be Spring, so I bought the Winter issue last week and lo, another arrived in my mailbox today - now I has two. First commenter takes it.



Baby Surprise ... Garment

2009-01-30T19:45:43.105-05:00

Well, I'm well on my way to earning that new cowl. (Still not here, and the postal workers didn't abscond with it after all, so kpixie has sweetly offered to send another my way. Kind customer service is alive! IT'S ALIIIIVE!!!) I've been sick almost this entire week, in a bizarre twist that left me home ill from work for four days (!!), save an ill-conceived three-and-a-half hour attempt to return to work yesterday. I felt fine Monday, a little achey but I assumed that had to do with the new diet-and-exercise I've finally picked back up (down four pounds, y'all!) and then right before bed I coughed, just the once, and it had that very alarming chest rattle sound and felt ever so briefly like I'd been donkey-punched in the sternum. "Uh-oh." Sure enough, I woke up on Tuesday half-dead and have clung to that state of being ever since. The doctor said it's a virus (read: suck it up and ride it out, no drugs we can prescribe for that one) and most of what I've been capable of for those four days is napping and occasionally dragging it into the kitchen to make tea, then wheeze my way back to the couch. It was evident that I should not have gone back to work when I got there and was met with a chorus of "Whoa, what happened to you?"s and "Man, you look awful!"s. Aww, thanks, guys. But, sickness is good for knitting - when I'm not sleeping, I'm sitting on the couch watching DVDs of TV (Bones and Big Bang Theory, primarily, since you're curious) and knitting at quarter-speed. I finally managed to pull off this baby surprise jacket I've been plugging at most of the month. Why did this seem to take so LONG when it's for such a tiny person?Ah, that's why. Because it's a Toddler Surprise Three-Quarter Sleeve Trench Coat. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if this is just how it turns out.... The magic of the design is cool, but it seems like the body of this jacket won't fit little Kelly until he's two, and the sleeves are already too short for him at six weeks. Then again, I know less about baby construction than I do about garment construction, so maybe it'll be fine.Project Details:Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann (can you believe it's my first?)Yarn: Araucania Pomaire Multy (it's spelled that way on the label, I swear)Needles: US 5 (3.75mm)Buttons: some sort of polymer coated shell from JoAnn'sStart: January 2, 2009Finish: January 29, 2009I'm glad I made this, and I can't believe it took me so long to finally get around to one. I probably won't make it again. It's nothing against the design (again, clever as hell) but it's just so....garter. I'm one of those weirdos who just can't fall in love with back-and-forth garter stitch. I like stockinette in the round ... which is just garter stitch, really ... but flat garter doesn't thrill me. I think this is way cute and great for a baby, but I think I'm just so in love with seed stitch for babies, so Avery edges it out as my favorite baby knit so far. (In a sock yarn, that one only took me two weeks. Huh.)I am really glad that I went with the blue buttons on this, rather than the green I almost picked up. They pop, huh?In classic style, however, I cast on for another project before my cowl pattern gets here....so one step forward, two steps back. That's even worse that the saying goes. And this pattern is for an item I was pretty sure I'd never ever knit, especially not for myself. Oh the times, they are a-changin'![...]



Blargh.

2009-01-26T19:10:41.973-05:00

I think I angered a postal employee. I've not received a scrap of mail in my P.O. box in four days. That's forever in the land of coupons, catalogs, magazines, junk mail, and never-ending bills. (I owes me some money.) The last two packages I've received that were too big for my li'l mailbox went into parcel lockers, with no corresponding key or notice placed in my box, and I finally had to go beg for them after I got an e-mail from a friend wondering if I'd not received her gift or if I was just ungrateful. And two weeks ago I ordered this pattern (click the link, click the link, it's gorgeous!) with a dire NEED TO KNIT IT RIGHT NOW and have been waiting.....and waiting.....and waiting. I have a feeling it may be sent in one of those hard-to-bend envelopes that's braced with cardboard or something (waiting for a response from the vendor on how they ship to confirm my hypothesis) in which case it, too, is likely sitting abandoned in a parcel locker, keyless. I'm getting annoyed.I need that pattern to start that project too, because all I have on the needles currently is this baby surprise jacket for a friend's new baby:And this Socks That Rock sock for Travis*:And this Wollmeise knee sock:And this Zen String Herringbone Cowl:And this handspun sock - well, not THIS sock 'cuz I already finished this sock, but the mate looks almost exactly like this one right now (from Kristi's awesome handspun that I somehow earned, but don't ask me how):And this Silver Belle that's still waiting to be picked back up:So I ASK you, what in HELL am I supposed to knit until my pattern gets here??? COME ON ANGRY POSTAL WORKERS, I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOUR PETTY NONSENSE! (Two things: one, I finally ripped about three projects that I had solidly determined I was not likely to ever again pick up. And second, every project that doesn't have a "for ____" after its description is for me. Yeah, I'm a selfish, selfish knitta. I'm fine with that.)*To be fair, this I actually can't work on - I'm knitting these socks for Travis as a surprise gift for whenever, so I really only work on it when I go see movies alone, all the ones that I feel a need to see and he doesn't. There are usually a lot of those in the Countdown to Awards Season months leading up to the Oscars - I catch as many matinees as I can on weekends. Travis does his best to sit through the actual ceremonies with as little bitching as possible so that I don't have to sit there talking to myself about why so-and-so deserves this award and how such-and-such wasn't whosit's first choice for the role and why NO STARLET WILL FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT SOME DAMNED LIPSTICK ON, A LOUSY ECONOMY IS NO EXCUSE FOR CREEPY FLESH-COLORED LIPS, but he would probably divorce me if I dragged him to every one of my compulsive-need-to-watch depressing Award Whore movies.[...]



Shop News

2009-01-19T08:47:16.598-05:00

Just a quick note that there's going to be a shop update today (Monday) at 10:00 a.m. Eastern with lots of fun stuff - four different yarn bases, nineteen different colorways (some repeatable, some one-of-a-kind), and two batches of my Wait Wait Don't Tell Me yarns.

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CashSport in "Nightwatch"


Just for my mailing list and blog peeps, too, I have a little buy-more-save-more sale code - type in the code New Year in Messages to Seller when checking out of the Etsy shop and you'll get 10% off of one skein, 15% off of two, and 20% off of three or more. (Wait for revised invoice, or I'll send a refund if you pay upon checkout.)

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CashSport in "Braaaiins..."


Check out the shop!



Destashy Thing

2009-01-09T16:46:00.348-05:00

If you're interested:

Sock yarns up for grabs - prices should be on all the Flickr descriptions, e-mail to alysonknitsATgmailDAHTcom if you're interested. (There are two Sundara yarns listed - those are swapped already, but to get rid of them I'd have to make a new mosaic and ehhhhhhhhh.)

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Flickr photoset of destash

Ravelry page for destash



Just Over And Left Of The Gun

2009-01-08T16:18:16.148-05:00

If you can complete something just under the gun, then I completed this the opposite of that. I started Silken Scabbard for my NaKniSweMo project in November. I decided shortly thereafter that I'd rather gift the sweater, so I wasn't able to work on it as much as planned, due to the giftee's presence during my long roadtrip and vacation at the end of November. I had planned to finish it by the end of 2008, and only had about 15 rounds of a sleeve left to completion on New Year's Eve, and then I kind of basically set my hand on fire making dinner and that sort of precluded getting any knitting done that night, what with all the screaming pain and aching. (Fine now, knitting well, thanks.) So NOW, FINALLY:Pattern: Silken Scabbard by Jennifer HansenYarn: RYC Cashsoft DKSize: 35" (M-I-L size)Needles: US 5 Addi Naturas and Jenkins Woodworking circularsStart: November 2, 2008Finish: January 2, 2009This is obviously not knit in my size - I like a good flattering fit, but I'm not one for sweaters that make me look like Boobsy McBirthinghips, so this would SO not be my style. It was a gift for my smaller and totally lovely mother-in-law for Christmas, and it looks completely stellar on her.I am more than certain my intention was not for my ass to be quite so prominent in this photo. It was really hard to get good photos out of this shoot. Travis is one of those photographers who takes the picture about one quarter of a second after you wish he'd taken it. There are heaps of outtakes. (Warning: that last one involves a specific finger. Be aware.)Mods: A few, though nothing revolutionary. There were some pattern bits that didn't really make sense to me ("why do it that way when I could just do this other thing?") so I made those kinds of changes, and the sorts of changes that make sleeves shorter and narrower, stuff like that. Wheee, it's done!!Final Thoughts: My only regret is that it's not for me :-) As far as the pattern - it's simple, but it's not for beginners. Does that make sense? It'd be easier to knit if you know what you're doing so you can maybe change some things up and save yourself some steps. Also, I REALLY wish that cramming it onto two pages hadn't been such a priority - it was like working on a pattern from Vogue Knitting. ("Hey Bill. I'm looking at this month's layout. Do you think we can get this colorwork cabled cardigan covered in one column? Including charts? Great, thanks.") But: I do LOVE this sweater and its pattern. It's clever and simple but interesting and the yarn I picked (from stash!) worked wonderfully with it. If I were starting all over, I'd knit this one again for sure.[...]



I Used To Be About Knitting

2008-12-31T17:47:04.249-05:00

Things knitters frequently have in common, besides knitting:Crocheting, spinning and/or weaving (duh)SewingCats DogsOr bothCooking and/or eatingWe are, by and large, crafty pet-loving foodies. Would you say that's relatively accurate? I think a love of animals is innate in one who loves fiber, and love of food is innate in one whose natural proclivities tend toward the handmade. Makes absolute sense.Since I haven't knit anything I can show off but I really want to post again before the new year, and I figure an off-topic post would be somehow preferable to disappearing from the blog for weeks on end YET AGAIN...and also so I can say happy new year and thanks to the folks who have hung around and read this blog despite my waning presence...I wanted to post another recipe, this one pretty simple and just good winter (spring summer fall) comfort food. I whacked together this soup last night and have eaten it three times since then, and it's only just after lunch. You do the math.(Also, if this food stuff interests you at all, I stumbled onto a wicked food blog, Alinea At Home, which is based around this woman who's cooking every recipe from the somewhat-imposing Alinea cookbook at home. I got this cookbook for Christmas and am anxiously awaiting a surprise trip to Chicago to hit Alinea - it's coming any day now, I'm sure, someone's just waiting for the right moment to send me plane tickets and my reservation confirmation for the Four Seasons - so this blog is a wonderful read for me. She's also FRIGGING HILARIOUS and I'm going to find out where she lives, show up on her front door, give her a big hug, and then plop myself down at her kitchen table and wait to be served. Oh, she did the French Laundry cookbook too.Without further ado, something much less impressive than Alinea or French Laundry but tasty nonetheless:Smoky Creamy Tomato Soup2 big honkin' cans of whole tomatoes (32 oz?), undrained*1/2 - 1 tbsp smoked paprika, depending on your love of smoke/spice**1 tsp dried oregano1/2 tsp dried thyme3 cloves garlic1/4 cup sherry or sweet vermouth, or a few tablespoons of olive oil***1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream (depending on how creamy you like your soup - and cream is optional)sea salt****fresh ground pepperI am incapable of not adding too much unnecessary narrative to my recipes, so here's stuff on all those asterisks:* My favorite canned tomatoes to use are the Muir Glen Fire Roasted Organic Tomatoes. That fire roasted thing adds a whole other dimension of flavor, they're amazing. ** Smoked paprika = not regular paprika. Regular paprika does little other than add color, and remind me of that Ramona Quimby book I read when I was little, in which paprika was heavily in play when the girls made dinner for their parents and disaster ensued and ever since I've been wary of paprika. I digress....smoked paprika is my New Most Favorite Thing and can be found at specialty stores for an ungodly amount of money, and then subsequently on every shelf you pass in every grocery store every time you go, once you've paid said ungodly amount of money. Lesson from me: check the spanish/mexican food section in your grocery store, the stuff's like two bucks. Also can sometimes be found, incredibly, sandwiched between some washcloths at a Home Goods. Seriously, the cheap smoked paprika is now just mocking me. Smoked paprika comes in varying levels of hotness - I like the hot, Travis would prefer the mild. Meh. Don't like smoky flavors? Screw it, leave out the paprika, it's still a good quick and easy soup.*** It's for cooking the garlic. I, for one, enjoy cooking with booze. I also like cooking, w[...]



Upon Request: A Winter Meal

2008-12-29T13:58:27.457-05:00

Here's the info on that dinner of flank steak with truffled maytag blue cheese sauce I mentioned in an earlier post. It's worth noting that I didn't use recipes and didn't measure anything I did, so these results may vary slightly; however, there wasn't anything especially fancy about what I did, so it's pretty easy and straightforward. I tried to lay everything out in order so you'll have everything done at about the same time (my Achilles heel is roasted veggies - I never account for how long they take and everything is done well before my vegetables can be plated.)Roasted Winter VegetablesSet oven to 375. Combine in baking dish: one small butternut squash, peeled and cubed; two medium-to-large parsnips, peeled and chopped; one large sweet potato, peeled and cubed; about one pound of carrots (either peeled and chopped regular carrots or baby carrots - I use baby carrots). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper - roast in the oven until they begin to brown and crisp a bit on the outsides (about 30 minutes, depending on size - larger dice takes longer.)Port Balsamic ReductionCombine 1/4 c. of port with 3/4 c. of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer rapidly until sauce has reduced to about 1/4 - 1/3 of a cup and nicely coats the back of a spoon. Do not bring to a rapid boil or let the reduction get too hot, or it will scorch. This reduction can be made at any time and stored in the fridge in a squeeze bottle - bring to room temperature for use. It's tangy-sweet and great for drizzling on meats or hearty soups. Keep your face away from the saucepan, though - a snort of this stuff while it's simmering will clear out your sinuses but good! Heat it on the back burner. :-)Flank SteakOne pound flank or skirt steak (if necessary, pound to 1/2" - 3/4" thickness). Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper and cook evenly over medium high heat on a flat or grill pan to desired doneness, turning only once.Truffled Maytag Blue Cheese SauceCombine 1/3 c. Maytag (or other high quality blue cheese) with 1/2 c. heavy cream. Blend or process until smooth. (You want a rich consistency, not too fluid but not too thick - the sauce should pour easily but stay in place without running much. Add more blue cheese if necessary.) Warm over the stove - you don't want to cook so much as just heat it for service. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount (about 1/2 tbsp) of white truffle oil.(White truffle oil can be found at specialty food stores and some supermarkets. It's pricy, but here's a secret - check the specialty food aisles at places like Marshall's, Home Goods, and TJ Maxx. You'd be amazed the gourmet options you can get on the cheap - I get white truffle oil, which can run up to $20, for about $5.99. If this isn't something you're interested in having on hand, don't fret: the oil isn't a necessity - the sauce will be tasty without it. And finally, make sure to only use truffle oil as a finishing touch - it's not meant to be cooked with.)Fried Sage LeavesMelt 2 tbsp of butter in a saute pan - add fresh whole sage leaves (washed and thoroughly dried) and cook over medium high heat, keeping the pan in motion, until crisp. (This only takes maybe a few minutes - keep an eye on it, they can burn somewhat easily.)For service:Slice the steak on the bias and transfer to a warmed plate. Ladle the Maytag sauce over the steak, then drizzle with a small amount of the port-balsamic reduction and garnish with fried sage leaves. Serve the roasted vegetables as a side. This should serve three to four.LeftoversIf y[...]



What Hath Padma Wrought

2008-12-27T00:04:00.920-05:00

I carefully and diligently avoided Top Chef for three or four seasons. But Marcie and Steve had to mention it at dinner once (you guys suck) and then of course I had to watch it, because I want to be Marcie and Steve when I grow up (not one or the other of them, but both, at the same time.) And turns out I was avoiding it for good reason. See, if I wasn't a whatever-it-is-I-am, I'd want to be a chef. Or a political aide. Or a dolphin. But right now, totally chef. (Maybe a political aide's chef. Or a chef's dolphin... But in all seriousness, my absolute dream died-and-gone-to-heaven job would probably be White House chef.)

So yeah, basically I looove to cook. I didn't need Top Chef so I could copy it or anything, but it does inspire me to get back in the kitchen and try stuff. I'm allowing myself to experiment more with flavors, not work with recipes but try to create my own dishes using what I know about food, which means I'm making it a priority to learn more about technique and flavor combinations and pairings and knife skills and allll of that. My Christmas list this year was loaded with culinary technique bibles like The Professional Chef and Larousse Gastronomique, and I somehow ended up with three salt mills in my stocking. (I have a thing for different salts. Having only one mill would make me crazy.) The area that I most need work in, unsurprisingly, is meat. Funny how almost 20 years as a vegetarian will dull one's skills. I'm having such fun, though, and it would seem Travis is not opposed to these new experiments of mine, even if it does mean the grocery budget has inflated a bit.

Some of my more successful recent dishes?

Pan-grilled flank steak with truffled Maytag blue cheese sauce, a port-balsamic reduction, fried sage leaves, and roasted winter vegetables. (Swap the steak with scallops for me, and puree the leftover vegetables with some spices for an awesome soup.)

Sauteed organic chicken breasts with oyster mushrooms in a white wine beurre blanc, roasted carrots, and cauliflower puree (a new favorite side dish).

And Christmas Eve's dinner: roasted cornish hens with rosemary citrus butter, cauliflower puree (yes, again), roasted carrots and brussels sprouts, fresh baked artisan bread (thank you, Adelle!) and cranberry-corn relish spiked with thai chili and shallots. Oh, and of course, because what's Christmas without the decadence, chocolate mousse with minted creme fraiche.

When I feel like taking up a new hobby, I don't screw around.



News of the Stuff:

2008-12-26T20:04:01.564-05:00

I have some little goodies I've acquired lately...fun:

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My Artist's Collection arrived from Sundara. I'm pretty thrilled with all the colorways, and it's neat to add a little more to my Sundara stash. I've barely made any contributions to the stash lately - which is a happy side effect of dyeing. Well, happy in that it's saving us money at a time we reeeeally need to be saving money. But yeah, when it seems like you're drowning in yarn all the time, it sort of becomes a lower priority to amass more.

Speaking of dyeing:

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It's related to dyeing, really. See, I've been doing these NPR Series yarns, to raise a little coin for NPR programming donations, and I found that the surprise colorway one, for the program Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me, seems to do really well. (We knitters love a good surprise in our mailbox, and that show rocks.) So anyway, long story short (you're welcome) it turns out that there are a couple of knitters who work at Wait Wait (!!! - we're everywhere!), and eventually it got back to them that their show had a corresponding yarn. I'd sold out at the time they contacted me, so when I did another run I sent a few skeins off to them and they reciprocated with this amazing box full of Wait Wait swag, just in time for Christmas! I got two mugs (one of which I literally came *thisclose* to purchasing on the same day this box hit my front porch), a t-shirt, and two Wait Wait magnets. Since I freaking LOVE. THIS. SHOW, it totally made my night. NPR is awesome.



FOs and WIPs

2008-12-24T23:58:16.013-05:00

Reposted to fix all the stupid broken links and photos. Rawr.First up, how's this little guy for an FO?My good good friend Amber had a baby last Tuesday (wow, he's a week old already?!) and we went to visit when he was just a few hours old. I look kinda psycho here, huh? Yeah, beaming with pride - this isn't even my baby. Everyone's very well and healthy and exhausted, which is all as it should be.As for knitting stuffs:Done Ones:The Ilene Bag, knit for my mom for Christmas. She’s been spending more time checking books out of the library, so I made her this as a book bag. Great pattern – I’m planning to make many more of these.Baby Boleros (from One Skein by Leigh Radford) for twin girls recently born to a coworker, knit from Blue Sky Organic Cotton. Quick knits, tons of finishing (I suck at seaming.) Cute.A tea cosy for the M-I-L's new teapot (also a Christmas gift.) I have no idea where on earth I got this pattern, which is horrible of me because it was free and the designer, at the very least, deserves credit. I'll dig it up, I swear. It's modified somewhat, but the idea was still hers....And I'm failing to give her credit not once, but TWICE. Same pattern, different yarn (this is my handspun, from a Traveling Rhinos batt) for my mom, who requested a tea cosy from my dad but I doubt he'll remember that one. Makes a cute hat too:Un-done Ones:Silken Scabbard, as yet still sleeveless. Well, pictured sleeveless. It now possesses one sleeve. I’m getting there.I’ve started Silver Belle, by Debbie Bliss. It doesn’t look like a lot of progress yet, but that’s 428 stitches. Four hundred. Twenty eight. Stitches. If it doesn’t suck the life out of me, it’s going to be beautiful.Happy holidays to all! I'll be back after Christmas, really I will![...]



Let's Just Dive Right In

2008-12-23T20:03:19.647-05:00

Dudes. I'm sorry. No excuses for my missing month - how many "I haven't blogged lately 'cuz..." posts have you read just this week alone? So yeah, let me just try to dig out. I don't even know where to start. I have my news, other people's news, news that affects me and news that doesn't affect me but I pretend it does, knitting FOs....oh, and this just in: I'm going to the Loopy Ewe Spring Fling in April! That oughta be fun. Should I pretend to be a blogger? Okay, so let's do news and updates and fun stuff:Uno: Let me do this one first, because it's freakin' awesome. In news of the other-people's-stuff-related-to-me: Kristi designed this wicked incredible pattern with my yarn inspired by my yarn. (How's that for an ego boost?) Have you seen the YoYo Mittens? I'm having a brain fart on figuring out how to steal show a photo....but please to go look at them, because they are frickin' amazing. You can get the pattern from Ravelry. I'm itching to knit mine!Dos: What next? In news of The YoYo: How about The Sweet Sheep carrying my yarn now?! Yep, Michelle's got a batch in stock rightnow - yay!Tres: In news of the barely-adjacent-to-me-but-I'm-totally-making-it-about-me: Cookie's new book is being released on April 1, which I've mentioned before. I knit a sample pair of socks for the book, which I also mentioned before, and we already know that I've somehow deluded myself into thinking these are MY socks. That's an important detail, because the latest news is that MY SOCKS ARE ON THE MOTHERF***ING COVER, WHAT UP. See that? Yeah, I'm kind of excited about that. No one will know that I knit those specific socks if I don't scream it from the rooftops, so that's exactly what I plan to do. I may even do a signing at the local Borders. "Hi! Do you want me to sign your book?" "Oh, did you write this??" "No. Here, let me sign it." "Get the hell offa my book, psycho! You're ruining my book! Help! Somebody call the manager! SECURITY!!!"Quatre: In news of the where-are-my-photographic-priorities: We went to North Carolina for Thanksgiving to see my parents, and we took Travis' mom and sister with us. It was a blast, and the only photos I took were of the felted snowpeople we made on Family Craft Night (which was so much fun I can't even stand it, and I'm being dead serious here, it really was the most fun I've had in a long time.) Here's our group, and there was a whole back story on all these characters and we really should write a picture book about the drama surrounding these snowpeople:Cinq: In news of the somewhat-related-to-that-trip: An unexpectedly long return drive of 14 hours (it should take nine) in a Toyota Prius with four people, two dogs, and a LOT of stuff resulted in the immediate decision that the following step was necessary:Behold, a comfortable family vehicle. (Yes, an SUV. I sold my soul. It still gets better gas mileage than Travis' truck, which has been retired to inactive duty in the side yard, to be retrieved when necessary for hauling stuff.) Yes, folks, we bought a Volvo. Are we suburbanites or what? (Allow me to add the statement that goes along with all married women pushing thirty who procure a Volvo: I'm not pregnant.)Sixth: In news of the I-still-kinda-knit: Finished objects and works in progress, I has them. This is a knitting blog. So let me talk about those later and not in this post. (Seriously.) I'll schedule another post for tomorrow - this is getting out of hand already and I have this final, vi[...]



Buh Buh Buh Buh

2008-11-20T13:44:41.472-05:00

Feeling totally braindead, probably inhaling too much acid dye....let's get that out of the way: shop update this Thursday (tomorrow) at 9:00 p.m.....

In knitting news: I'm still working Silken Scabbard - tried it on and it's probably entirely too small, so it'll probably be a gift. (I'm not taking volunteers for receipt, sorry - I have a plan that will hopefully make someone's YEAR.)

Since that sweater now apparently won't be for me and I am The World's Most Selfish Knitter, I immediately went in search for a sweater for me. I started and abandoned the Fireside Sweater. I strongly and wholeheartedly recommend knitting it RIGHT NOW if you are an extra-small or small, but maybe consider reworking the charts a bit if you're any larger - in a medium, it didn't look quite as way-cute as the pictured extra-small, and I didn't feel up to modifying the charts to suit my tastes. To be sure, this is in no way a slight against the designer - she designed an adorable sweater and it's a baffling undertaking as a FIRST DESIGN (holy crap!) and it was written for additional sizes in a totally sensical way, it just created too much reverse stockinette and not enough cable for my taste and while it would be pretty easy for me to make a couple of adjustments, as is part of the charm of knitting, I'm feeling thick-headed and dull and not up to doing anything but blindly following a pattern. (I do not at all enjoy people who gripe about designers on their blogs, so to be clear - NOT A GRIPE about the pattern or the designer. The pattern is clear and the sweater is beautiful. My preferences are just obnoxious, that's all.)

So instead I'm going to attempt Silver Belle. I thought about casting it on....that cast-on....it's a LOT OF STITCHES. I may finish it in time for next year's cold snap. I've swatched, and then the guilt of not working on Scabbard got to me and I picked that back up. I'd show a progress picture of that, but really it's still just a big lump of grey knitting. Maybe when I finish the body - which should be soon - I'll get a shot of it.

ETA: Aw, hell. Well it seemed like a real great idea, but as Amanda points out in the comments, it ain't true. Thank you, Amanda! That's what I get for sharing a forward without checking its validity....and you wouldn't think something about soldiers would be a hoax. Shame.... And now for something completely different: It's about time to start your holiday cards. This suggestion went around at work - probably at your work too - and I wanted to share, even though it's tantamount to blogging a forwarded e-mail. It's worth it. When you write up your holiday cards this year, please consider setting one aside for a recovering soldier. I'm sure we'd all agree that they're always in our thoughts no matter what side of the war fence you land on, and they deserve heaps of respect and warm thoughts.

Send your holiday wishes to:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington , D.C. 20307-5001


Happy knitting!



NaBeWeDoHaNoMo

2008-11-11T14:38:26.969-05:00

What happened to me, man? Last year - or was it the year before? - I declared November NaWePoNoMo, because it had an extra payday. This year, October had an extra payday, and yet NaWeSoSOPo. So I've joined NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month) since procuring new clothing is impossible lately BeWeDoHaNoMo (Because We Don't Have No Money). I'm looking forward to January, NaBarOSaMaBu - Nation and Barack Obama, Save My Butt.

So yes, in order to boost the offerings of my wardrobe without boosting the economy (sorry, economy, you on your own!) I've done a bit of stash diving and cast on for Silken Scabbard, a pattern I picked up during Stitch Diva's $5 sale last week.

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I'm probably about 35% of the way through with it - I've made some progress since this photo (taken on Sunday during a trip to St. Augustine with the husband and the dogs) and have since made it down to the waist decrease area. Not bad for a sweater cast on November 3rd and knit from DK weight yarn (specifically, RYC Cashsoft DK, and on US 5 needles). I saw one of these on Ravelry that was finished in twelve days....man I wish I had more knitting time sometimes. I'd like to have this done in time for our trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving - at the very least, I'm hoping to finish it during said trip. (Travis and I and the dogs and his sister and his mom are all going up to visit my parents for the long weekend. I'm very much looking forward to it - well, everything but the four-people-two-dogs-four-suitcases-in-a-Prius-for-ten-hours part of it. That could be a Griswoldian adventure....)

So there that is. Lookit me. Knitting. (I have some, um, thoughts on this pattern. I'll share when I'm done. I wouldn't discourage knitting it - it's going to be a nifty sweater - but I have........thoughts.)

I forgot to post anything about it here, by the way, but I'm having a shop sale that is active through today - 20% off everything in the shop, prices already marked down. Yay discounts!



At 11:01 P.M. Eastern Time...

2008-11-04T23:09:27.722-05:00

I set down my knitting, eyes full of tears, and breathed for the first time today.

Tomorrow I lament the passage of a tremendous blow to the rights of gay couples and domestic partners statewide, but just for tonight, I sleep soundly in hope for the future. We WILL get there, and we just took such a step, such a big step.