Tuesday, December 4, 2012


People presume a lot about other people. Knitters are usually perceived as simpler, slower people, however recently I've had a few things presumed about myself while holding my trusty needles and yarn that I have to share:

1. I must be foreign.
While holding a spot in line at the theater for my Dad and I for 4 hours I sat down and knit while reading A Life in Stitches, by Rachael Herron, (I was second in line so sitting on the ground was perfectly acceptable). The girl in line in front of me was gushing about the movie and I learned she was not one to make eye contact with, as she believed that by doing so I was inviting her to gush about celebrity crushes (which I care very little about). After about 10 minutes of avoiding eye contact or speaking to her she asked me if I liked knitting. I usually reply “No not at all. I actually really hate it”, but seeing as I was trying not to start a conversation with her, and I had 3 more hours to sit with her before the movie, I simply replied “Yes”. A couple more minutes passed and she asked “Are you from another country?” Now usually I'm not thrown off by many questions, but this one made me go “Pardon?” She then proceeds to talk about how my watch and phone have “weird” times and that I must be because I knit. I paused and then proceeded to explain to her that, because I'm a dispatcher I run on military time, and, well, I like to knit. She thought the time thing was “totally cool” and I went ahead and changed her phone settings for her so that it had military time. After I was done with her phone someone else came to sit in line behind me and they found that they had so many things in common. I was happily knitting away while they talked over me. They are obviously not part of my herd, so it might be fair to say I'm a foreign person to her.

2. I must not date much.
At Micheal’s on the Saturday after Thanksgiving I was thrilled to get the very last of the yarn and needles I needed for Christmas Knitting (Fisherman's wool is totally acceptable I think). The line was long, because everyone was there for the same reason I was, sales and coupons. While we waited the the person in front of me, in back of me and I were all talking about knitting. The 40 something lady in front starts talking about how her father's current girl friend is a knitter. She then begins to complain about how her father has had 6 girl friends in the the last few years and about how she thought that it was completely unacceptable to have sex with that many people. She then goes into detail about how she would feel like a complete prostitute if that many men had touched her, and details on them touching. I was a little put off by this and wanted to ask her if she found Mr right by the 5th guy, but figured that was not the right thing to say. She then tells me how much better off I am by filling my time with knitting rather then dating. Once she had walked over to her cashier the 80 something little old lady behind me gave me a wicked smile and said “She must not like sex that much” and we proceeded to have a fit of giggles while her daughter had a look of shock plastered on her face.

3. I can be a runner or a knitter, but not both.
Anna works at our local Barnes and Noble, and about twice a week you can usually find me in there waiting to pick her up, or enjoying coffee with her before she starts work. My usual routine is to grab the magazines I'm interested in reading before I get coffee. I hit the knitting magazines first and then I check to see if any of my favorite running magazines are in. Last week I was doing this and a guy was browsing the running/workout section and he started chatting with me about the running magazines after I picked up the holiday special from Runner's World. We move past the magazines and into half marathons, diet and other hobbies. The moment I said I knit the look of surprise on his face made me stop and I asked him what was wrong. He said “Don't knitters just sit around with their cats, soaps and eat ice cream while knitting?” My mouth just dropped open when he said that and I proceeded to say “Well I don't don't do that.” He responded with “But runners don't knit.” I just walked away at that point while saying “Well this one does.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Sweaters are amazing things, they keep us warm, they show something about ourselves (like our love for our mothers when we wear horrible jumpers with snowmen on the front and it was bought in a store), men give girls their sweaters to keep them warm, we knit them for people we really love and we should all put on one before putting the heat on. I'm currently wearing a sweater that was given to me by a guy when we first started seeing each other, but after we broke up I returned it to him and then he realized I had shrunk the sweater to my size and he gave it to me. 

I have yet to knit a sweater that turns out to be something I can wear. The Swirl I was making turned out too small (nearly every knitter I've talked to has had issues with guage and those sweaters), I tend not to finish them, or I realize I've tinkered with the pattern so much I have no idea where I am in it or how to fix it. But this is all to change!

Thanks to a very kind lady who was moving and gave me part of her stash I had enough yarn to make a sweater for someone I really love, out of yarn I knew they would love, in a color they love. I can't show pictures of it, because then they would know, but I can say it is nearly done and I think this will be the first sweater I ever finish and is wearable! How about that for Christmas knitting!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Through the ages

Last night while waiting for Anna to get off work I was reading an article in the fall Jane Austin Knits and an older gentleman asked me if I knit. Now normally I would just say yes an keep reading but when I looked up I swear it was the old man from Up. Tweet hat, pocket watch, jacket with elbow protectors, and he had a look on his face that made me wonder who else knitted in his life.

Get it! 
I followed up my quick yes about how I do knit and I was taught by my grandmother. He got this smile and just patted me on the shoulder and said that it made him happy to hear that.

It got me to thinking, and with the Yarn Harlot's questions regarding how people don't cook it adds to the thoughts, that there are skills less then 50 years ago were common knowledge. Children knew where their food came from and how to cook. Those huge ponchos that remind us of a time when acrylic was the newest and greatest thing were only acquired if you were rich or good with a crotch hook.

But with what I'm seeing today I have to ask:

Have our parents failed us and are parents failing with their kids now?

In the hustle and bustle we saw the past few decades did our parent's parents try too hard to make sure their kids did well in school, sports and other parts of life and forgot to teach them basic living skills. It is so easy to just tell your child to study more and say "I'll take care of dinner/laundry/making the bed/cleaning" and forget that if you don't show them how to take care of themselves, they will never learn. One of the things that is so easy for a parent to take care of is making food, but it is one of the basic skills every person will need. If we don't bring our children into the kitchen how will they learn to cook? I once had a boyfriend that did not know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich and that put things into perspective about how he was raised (issues with laundry should have been another giveaway, but I am sometimes slow to the faults of the ones I love). I have friends that ask me for my recipes and where I got it, and look puzzled when I say I just looked at what I had in the fridge and made something from it.

I learned how to cook, clean, sew, do laundry, knit and make my bed from the woman in my family. My mother was considered no great cook when I was growing up (there were several kitchen fires), but she is a decent one in today's society. She taught me to make a souffle though her chicken soup was bland. My grandmother taught me to knit and my aunt taught me and Anna to make lapskaus. Sewing was one thing my mother could do, and I eventually took the little bit of cleaning knowledge she taught me and which my studio is not sparkling clean, give me 30 mins and it can be. I can also plant and maintain a garden due to my grandmother.

We use to have home economics classes, but now those have disappeared. So where will our children learn about how to keep themselves alive, well fed, clean and well dressed?

The answer is the parents and family. We need to bring our children in again. Give them chores like cleaning the bathroom and making their beds. Teens can suffer through doing their own laundry and fending for themselves one dinner a week. The eventual goal of every parent is to create successful adults out of their children. So shouldn't they succeed in the home as well as the outside world?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Too much yarn...

Hi, my name is Christian, and I have too much yarn.

Yes, I'll admit it, I have too much yarn. While recently moving things around I realized I had more yarn then space.

So in light of all this Anna challenged me to not buy any yarn for a year. She works at Barnes and Noble and has the same issue with books so she is not buying books for a year.

My goal is to get through all those projects I have laying around, the fleeces that need cleaning and spinning, and some of the stash.

Today I took the first step towards it by putting all the half down projects in project bags and took a look at what yarn I had enough of for sweaters and swatched for a few patterns. I don't care how many projects get cast on, because since I can knit at work again I can finish anything and am back to knitting up to 200 yards a day. That is about an entire sock a day. I even finished all but the top ribbing of a hot waterbottle cozy today (which is a Christmas gift and made from old stash yarn, so double win).

Anna and I have a burrito riding on who will give into buying books or yarn first.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I know it's been a while but a few things have happened in the last few months that have made life difficult and I'm finally ready to start talking about it all.

Ben and I broke up back in late July and I have relocated to the Bay Area. This means that I lost my office, my base and am basically rebuilding much of my life.

Around the time I was moving there was also a change in Terms and Conditions that affect a few of us over at Phat Fiber and a few of our shops got closed. I don't want to get into the details, because it makes me angry and depressed, but it was the final blow needed to shut down business and shatter my self esteem. I shipped out as many of the orders I could, but when Etsy closes your shop you lose access to past order data, so a few might have fallen through the cracks. Go ahead and file a claim with PayPal or Etsy and they will help you per the Terms and Conditions that they have set up.

I'm switching this blog over to more of a creative/personal blog.

Things are still rather touch and go over on my end, but recently it has been more go luckily.

I have personal plans for next year that will hopefully finish pulling me out of the depression. Right now I'm focussing on making it through the holidays, clearing my plate of unfinished business and work.

I know some of you have been worried, I see you Caren and Jeanne-Marie, but you'll start to see more things on the blog as my creativity comes back.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Christmas - Phase 5 - It's About Time

Here is a scary thought. There are 105 days till Christmas, or exactly 15 weeks.

Everyone should have sorted out the Chistmas knitting and have an idea of what they are up against.

Next you need to take your list and make a guess of how long it will take you to make it and it's difficulty rating. I use this scale for difficulty:

0 - Plain Sock Level - I can walk, talk, and knit at the same time. Does not take any looking at.

1 - Simple Shawlette Level - I can talk and knit at the same and only takes looking at on occasion.
2 - Mitten Level - Has parts that need dedication to, but there are parts that rank a 0.

3 - Simple Blanket - The hardest part is the dedication
4 - Patterned Shawlette - The lace pattern can be memorized, but you still have to check the directions on occasion.

5 - Simple Sweater - Will take dedication and lots of pattern reading, but still parts I can read a book at.
6 - Patterned Scarf - A scarf with chart that needs looking at for the first 5 repeats. The other 20 repeats are made up of dedication
7 - Cowl - Repeats that stack and are worked in the round.

8 - Sweater with Pattern - It might be form fitting, or have a pattern worked in.
9 - Lace - There are some repeats, but every row needs reading

10 - Fair Isle - There are no repeats. Tension is a bitch. My chart is my constant companion

Rating your projects is a good way to tell how long it will take to knit and what you can and cannot do while knitting it.

Who Pattern Rating Hours Can Do While Kit
Dad Basic Socks 0 12 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Grandma P Basic Socks 0 12 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Jim Basic Boot Socks 0 6 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Jim Basic Boot Socks0 6 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Aunt Lynn Lazy Daisy Shawlette 1 10 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
4 Beanies
1 16 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Mom Linen Scarf 1 10 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Mom Basic Four Needle Mittens 2.5 12 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
JM Basic Four Needle Mittens 2.5 12 Walk, Ride Stationary Bike, Read
Grandma Jane Dropped Stitch Scarf 3 10 Watch Movies, Ride Stationary Bike, Girl Time
Aunt Bobby Wound Up Cowl 3 4 Watch Movies, Ride Stationary Bike, Girl Time
12 Washcloths
3 12 Watch Movies, Ride Stationary Bike, Girl Time
Court Botanical Cowl 3 10 Watch Movies, Ride Stationary Bike, Girl Time
Aunt Lee Grandma's Checker Lace 6 10 Watch Movies, Ride Stationary Bike, Girl Time
Stina Hydrangea Neckwarmer 7 10 Watch Movies, Ride Stationary Bike, Girl Time
Grandma Jane Leaves of Grass 9 40 Grave Shift, Rewatch Movies, Books on Tape
Aunt Lee Girasole 9 40 Grave Shift, Rewatch Movies, Books on Tape
Anna Love at the Opera 9 20 Grave Shift, Rewatch Movies, Books on Tape

If my estimates are correct I have 252 hours of knitting. That averages to about 2.5 hours of knitting a day between now and Christmas.

I know I might not be able to do 2.5 hours of dedicated Christmas knitting between now and the big day, I do have my own sweater and my Dad's to finish right now, but if I plan things right I can chisel a few hours here and there without realizing it.

My trick is to always have a project ready for each activity I can do while knitting. I have a plain sock in a carrying bag that lives in my purse, a sweater in a box for grave shift, the washcloth yarn with pattern all in another carrying bag in the car for social visits, scarf next to my recumbent bike, and back up projects ready in a basket in my room. Every time I leave the house I take stock of what projects I have on me and if I can knit them during my day.

If I'm really smart then I can avoid the Christmas weight gain and spend most of my time at home on my bike since as of this weekend there will be no more running for a bit.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Christmas - Phase 4 - Organizing and Buying

If your like me then the stash is right now in shambles, but that's okay!

For this next step you will need the following:

1 gallon baggies
Any and every project bag you own, if you don't have any celebrate starting Christmas early by getting one in the shop
Permanent marker

What you are going to do now is print your list, print all the patterns, and pair yarn, pattern, needles and bags off. I know it might be tempting to start casting things on right now, but don't. You'll get side tracked and forget what you are doing.

Now take your list and start checking off what projects are all ready to go and put those in the project bags. For the rest of your list highlight what yarns, needles and books you might need. Now is also the time to budget how much you can spend on each remaining project.

Here are my before and after shots of sorting the projects:

Core Stash

A few unfinish projects and the Christmas yarn

If you don't have enough project bags for the gifts that are all ready to be started then put them into the gallon size baggies or some boxes and mark what they are. Don't put names just in case you have someone, children or husbands, that might snoop through the yarn. I know your thinking they never would do that, but there will come a time they need scissors, tape, or string and as soon as they see their name they will have it open and no Christmas surprise!

Also, the great thing about tossing the stash is that you might find yarn that you bought for someone already. Like I was planning on knitting Aunt Bobby a shawlette, but I found the handspun for a cowl that I'd put aside for her in January. You might also find a small ball of something and realize that it might be a perfect small gift for someone. Just be careful not to add too many projects to your list!

Now you need a notations pouch. Gather the following:

Stitch markers
Mini pen
Mini highlighter
Cable needle
Small stitch holder
Mini scissors
Measuring tape

If you don't have it all then make sure to write it on the list of people that has the highlights. This will be your OSK - oh shit kit. I call it OSK because whenever I seem to need any of these things you'll usually hear me say "oh shit, where is..." You'll also need a nice pouch that will fit all this. I highly suggest one with enough room for all this stuff, is made of a closely woven fabric (no worsted weight knitted pouches, sorry), and has a zipper top. Baggies will not do. You want it to be nice, easy to spot and not have holes in it that things can slip out of. Try FiberFaire to fill this need.

The OSK and your list now go into your purse where it will live till all projects are finished. Don't put the OSK in a project bag where it might be forgotten. It is as important as your wallet and keys. I can't stress it enough.

Your next task is to go shopping! Go get all the highlighted things on that list till you have everything you need!

If you're like me and can't just go out and spend a couple hundred dollars on yarn right now and need to spread the spending out then every time you go into a yarn store pull out the list! If you just have an itch to buy yarn then make sure it is something on the list. Great sale? Bring the list! Coupon for the hobby store with crappy yarn? Grab the list and get needles!

Also, now is the time to start casting on all the things! Go ahead! We'll talk about how to get through the projects next time!