Saturday, February 28, 2009


Blog posts are getting kind of thin around these parts lately, eh?

I'll see what I can do about that.

Last night I made this double point needle case for my friend Cindy.

Cindy's been cleaning house the past couple of months. At Last Saturday Knitting in January, she gave me some fabrics she was clearing out. I told her I'd give some of it back to her in a needle case. While I was taking pictures just now the camera battery told me it needed charging, so this is the only view I have to show.

In knitting news, I made Owen a Jayne hat, but haven't yet gotten him to pose for a photo. One of his school friends wants one, too, so I think I'll make another out of the left-over yarn. If you don't know what a Jayne hat is, a quick google search with the terms Jayne and Firefly will enlighten you.

I've also been making projects for the next Knitcircus, so those aren't available for public viewing yet. But speaking of Knitcircus... Jaala has set up a Cafe Press shop for Knitcircus stuff. I'm particularly interested in the messenger bag.

I've also been reconnecting with old friends on Facebook. I've found a few folks who were truly lost to me and I'm well pleased to chat with them again.

I also got roped into making a quilt for the 8th grade American history class at Owen's school. Did I already post a picture of that? Anyway, here's what it looked like, sideways, before it was fully complete:

There were four quilts assembled by volunteer parents, one for each of the sections. They raffled the quilts to the students and families at the presentation night on Thursday. Thankfully, we did not win, because I really don't need one more thing that just hangs around in storage forever.

I dusted off my wheel and started spinning again this past week. At first I was very frustrated, trying to spin a merino/silk blend I bought in NH last summer. I took a couple nights off and came back to it yesterday, and it was fine. When the battery is recharged, I'll get a picture of the singles. This will be a long-term spinning project: very fine singles, spun worsted. I think I have about 6 ounces of the top.

That's the news.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alt Knitting Camp '09

Hey Listen Up! I have an announcement.

Kathy, Sue, and I have made the reservations for Alt Knitting Camp 2009. It will again be held at Devil's Lake State Park, near Baraboo WI. This year it will run Sun Aug 2 - Tues Aug 4. We have room for 18 campers, total. Twelve spots are spoken for. If necessary, we might be able to book additional sites to accommodate more campers.

Alt Knitting Camp features No Classes! No Workshops! No discernible schedule! Non-stop eating, drinking, hilarity, and knitting. Optional activities include swimming, hiking, canoeing, building large fires, roasting marshmallows, and the ongoing search for the perfect S'more.

Modest fee of about $25 a person includes food and share of camping fees. Admission stickers are required to enter Wisconsin state parks.

To reserve your spot, email me. Or p.m. me through Ravelry or Knittyboard. Or just put it in the comments here. You could even phone me if you know the number. Or track me down through Facebook, if you need more choices.

(Edited June 20, 2009 to keep info current.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Still More Updates

In no particular order...
Mr. SABLE has found a job! It just fell down from the sky on Thursday. We don't have to move. He's starting tomorrow. I didn't realize how anxious I was until I felt the relief. The job is with a fairly new biotech company, across the street from his old employer. He'll be a Principle Investigator, i.e. head of a lab. This will be his first (people) management job and gets him back in the lab, which he's been wanting. Thursday morning, the call came. Thursday afternoon, he went for the interview. By the end of the afternoon, he had signed the offer, accepting it.

I'm busy on projects for the next Knitcircus, so not much to show you in photos. Yet. This issue will be heavy on kids stuff, but we could also use a few more items for adults. If any of you have any patterns you want to send our way, that would be great!

I've also been busy preparing an online pattern shop to be added to the Knitcircus site. We'll be making pdfs available for immediate download of some patterns from previous issues.

And I got roped into doing a sewing project for the 8th grade American history class at Owen's school. The teacher had each of the 8th graders embroider a quilt square with their names, birth dates, and some images that represented their interests. She needed parent volunteers to sew them together. I thought I was signing up to piece together a quilt top, but in fact, I was volunteering to assemble the whole quilt. Hmm. I'll get it done, but it might not be too elegant.

Additionally, Owen's 14th birthday was on Saturday. Yes, he's my Valentine kid. The great thing about teenagers' birthdays is that, as a parent, you don't need to do much at all. I dropped him and three friends at Ultra Zone, a laser tag place. I bought them each three games (and they all got great discounts for bringing their report cards and having lots of A's), left Owen with $20 for for the vending machines, and went back and got them 2 hours later. At home, they played video games, ate pizza, and played more video games. Parents came to fetch them around 5.

We've had wonderful sunny warm weather lately. Today is colder again and we may get snow later in the week. But, I tell you, it does wonders for our collective Midwestern souls to see sun in the sky after 5 p.m. and know that spring really will come again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book Review

Knitting the Threads of Time
Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft
By Nora Murphy
© 2009 New World Library
Amazon Link

Knitting the Threads of Time is a memoir infused with history. Murphy tells the story of knitting a sweater for her son, which becomes a metaphor and life lesson for her as she becomes discouraged, learns new skills, and ultimately rises to the challenge. Along the way, she examines the history and mythology of textile production from ancient cultures to modern sweatshops, embracing simultaneously a pagan-feminist sensibility, a scholar’s interest in accuracy, and a deep respect for many differing spiritual traditions.

As long as there have been humans, there has been a need for clothing. Often the production of textiles has been women’s work and often, too, the resulting objects have risen above merely meeting utilitarian needs. Clothing has denoted power and status within a community since before recorded history. Textile production—once a rare skill infused with sacred power; later, an economic bedrock of empires; at times, a revolutionary act of rebellion, and, eventually relegated to the most oppressed workers as unskilled disposable labor—is a calling that modern fiber-lovers pursue out of love and reverence for that past.

For every knitter who was ever asked, “Why bother knitting when you can buy it at Walmart for $5,” Murphy gives an answer. There is a deep spiritual connection to our past, made physical through our ordinary activities. Yes, I could buy a sweater at Walmart. But I couldn’t buy this sweater. In our industrialized age, with its abundance of throw-away consumer goods, Murphy compels us to consider the importance of one garment: to the knitter, to the recipient, indeed, to our entire unsustainable global economy.

Monday, February 02, 2009


What have I been up to?

Last Saturday Knitting was a blast. We had quite a crew, including Molly B, Cindy G, Jen, Kathy, Linda, Brenda (no blog name), Dale-Harriet, and ... I am quite certain there was one more person, and I'm going to feel terrible for leaving someone out, but I cannot come up with one more name.

edited to add: It was Sheryl. Silly me.

I know that YarnThrower wasn't able to make it. Hmmm. Now, doing the count, it makes sense. 7 people plus me. There was much laughing and hilarity. Molly Bee's description of her first encounter with a naturalist named Tom had me in such a fit, I was crying from laughing so hard. Truly good for the spirit on a Saturday in mid- to late-winter.

The new Knitcircuses have nearly all been mailed. Jaala still needs to take a few that need international postage to her P.O. If your local yarn shop doesn't carry it, we'll happily send them a sample issue and try to persuade them to do so. We really hope that this will be the issue that breaks even on printing and postage costs. The last one came darn close.

We'll be hosting a Kate Cardigan Knit-along on the Knitcircus group on Ravelry, starting March 1. There are a few technically challenging aspects to the pattern, so I figure if I'm around to walk folks through it, we'll have more success stories.

I've got a couple of boy things in the works for the next Knitcircus. We're hoping to have a cluster of kids items as a focus, so the issue will be useful beyond the season in which it gets released. We're definitely still looking for patterns for the next issue. We will be paying a very modest fee this time, so if you have a pattern you've been sitting on that you would love to see in print, send it along!

I've been chatting with the Sow's Ear about teaching a class this spring. The class will be on working with color: not the techniques, but the design end of it. This should be interesting. I've never taught a class before, except for a bunch of grade school girls learning to knit 9 years ago. I have ideas, but I'm a nervous quasi-public speaker. (You don't believe that, but it's true.)

Finally, I've decided to start offering graphic design services for knitting designers. I can make charts and schematics in Illustrator, create a pattern template, work on logo options, do ad layouts. I don't know how great the demand is, but I figure it might get me a job or two here and there.

Mr. SABLE is still searching for his next job. He had one encouraging call from a person he knew through his old employer. At the very least, it should lead to some freelance consultant kind of work, if not permanent salaried employment.

That's the new.