Thursday, June 28, 2007

Help Spread the Word

Today, I want to talk about something a bit different than my usual knitting and yarn content. I want to talk to you about Etsy and to ask for your help with something.

As many of you probably already know, Etsy is a selling venue for items that are handcrafted. Most of you know Etsy for the hand dyed and handspun yarn, but Etsy is full of amazing shops that sell everything from art to pottery to purses to clothing to jewelry to paper goods to . . . well, you get the idea! The list could go on and on. If a mind can conceive it and a person can create it, you’ll likely find it somewhere on Etsy.

Etsy’s tagline is “Your place to buy & sell all things handmade” but the vision behind Etsy goes beyond that. When Etsy drafted their “Do’s and Don’ts” for buying and selling on Etsy, the original draft included a preamble that talked about the vision of creating a marketplace where there is a connection between buyer and seller. It referenced days past when the items people purchased were often purchased directly from the hands that made them. This vision appeals to me enormously. Although there is certainly a vital place in our world today for mass-produced goods, the idea of purchasing some of our goods directly from the maker is wonderful.

I’ve been selling on Etsy now for over a year and I can personally attest to the satisfaction and joy that this relationship between buyer and seller has brought to me. My customers are more than customers to me. They are very real people, infinitely human, full of kindness and spirit, sharing a common passion for yarn and fiber arts. The day to day interaction we have is a wonderful and unexpected gift that has added something meaningful to my life. I am extraordinarily grateful to the mad geniuses behind Etsy for bringing the venue to life.

Etsy is still a very new venture, but it is thriving and growing and I want to see that continue. This got me to thinking about what more I can do to help with that, not for my shop specifically but for Etsy as a whole. I want to do my part to give back to the Etsy creators, owners and staff, as well as to the amazing community of artisans with shops on Etsy. That’s where this post comes in. And that’s where you come in.

Today, I would like to ask that any of you who have blogs consider posting a little something about Etsy. This is not a request that you talk about my shop, but simply that you join me in shouting to the online world that Etsy exists and is all about a good thing. It’s a venue that is providing an amazing opportunity for artisans to reach the world and share their work. It’s a venue that allows buyers a connection and interaction with the talented people making the goods sold there. It’s a place of innovation and enlightenment, forward thinking, care and concern about the environment, and appreciation of the value of human ingenuity and the creative process.

If you have a blog, this post is my request to you that you take a moment and tell your readers about Etsy and perhaps also ask that your readers join in and spread the word as well. Feel free to use any of what I’ve posted here or a link to this post if you find it worth repeating. If some of you choose to do this and some of your blog readers take up the cry as well, a chain can begin and we can do a great deal to spread the word in a short space of time.

Perhaps this is not something you’re interested in doing. I entirely understand that! But if you have found that the Etsy venue and the connections you’ve made with some of us who sell there have brought some small but positive addition to your life, I ask that you consider helping to spread the word. I know that many of you regularly mention Etsy sellers in your blogs, but this is a bit different. This is a more generalized shout to the world that Etsy is a place worth visiting and it is a specific request that others help spread the word. If you don’t have a blog, but would like to help spread the word, perhaps you could make a point of telling a few folks about Etsy who may not already know.

If you choose to take me up on this request and post something on your blog, please do drop a comment here. I’d love to pop over and see your posts and learn more about how all of you view Etsy.

My apologies for the off-knitting-topic post! I hope you don’t take this post as just an “advertisement”! I am posting this not to spread the word about my shop, but to do my small part in contributing to spreading the word about Etsy. It’s just my small way of giving back to the Etsy community that has brought so much to me.

Back to knitting and yarn topics next post, I promise!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Good and the Not So Good

I'm rather ridiculously excited to tell you my latest shop news. I've added a new section for patterns to my shop! There's not a ton to choose from yet, but over time I hope to build a nice little library of patterns.

Most of the patterns currently listed are by the ever-fabulous Anne Hanson of KnitSpot. There are two of her amazing shawl patterns, a scarf pattern, and two sock patterns (including the must-have "Sock Pattern to End All Sock Patterns").

As promised, I've also listed my own Migration Lace Scarf pattern. A big Thank You to Elisa for her suggestion for the name for the scarf!

That's the good part of the post. The not so good - but rather funny - is a little story I thought I'd share with you. On Monday night, I did my dutiful-wife routine and attended my husband's softball game. As usual, I brought along a sock in progress to knit while I watched the game.

I was sitting in the bleachers, perfectly content, enjoying the lovely evening and my knitting time when I noticed that two children were watching me from a few yards away. They looked to be about 8 or 9 years old and were apparently quite fascinated by my knitting activity. I flashed them a smile and they slowly approached me and sat down on the bleachers next to me. The conversation went something like this:

Little Boy: What are doing? Is that knitting?

Me: Yes, it is. I'm knitting a sock.

Little Girl (wide-eyed, with keen interest): Really?

Me: Yes, see. (I held the work upside down so the sock hung down from the cuff and made it easier to see what it was.)

Little Boy: Wow! You knit really fast.

Little Girl: You must be really smart!

(Hmmmm. I liked the way this conversation was going. Yep, I'm a fast knitter. That's right. I can knit like the wind. I'm pretty smart and clever.)

Me: Well, thank you!

Little Girl: I like your t-shirt.

(This conversation was getting better all the time! I was wearing my new knitting-themed t-shirt that I showed you a couple of posts ago and was quite pleased with the unexpected compliment from such an unlikely source.)

Little Girl: My auntie knits, but not that fast.

Me (with more smiling, of course): Well, I've been doing this for a long time!

Little Girl: How old are you?

Me: How old do you think I am?

(At this point, the two children put their heads together and had a little conference. I heard murmurs of things like, "Jenny's 27 and my mom's ...." etc.)

Little Girl: Eighteen?

(By now, it was pretty clear to me that these children were perfect in every way.)

Me (with a big, stupid, uncontrollable grin on my face): Nope. I'm 42!

(More wide-eyed looks and awe emerged.)

Little Boy: My Nana is 49. And she's not even dead yet.

(Whoa! Hold on a minute! Where's this conversation going now?!)

Little Girl: When you're dead, it's like this. (At this point, she laid down on the bleachers with her eyes closed and arms crossed over her chest.)

Little Boy: It's going to be really boring when you're dead. You won't get to do anything. You'll just lie in a hole in the ground.

The conversation continued another minute or two along these lines, with the two previously-angelic and perfect children describing in some detail to me how much it's going to suck when I die . . . which apparently they assume is not far off given my incredibly advanced age.

I escaped by saying I was cold and was going to get some hot coffee. I then loitered by the concession stand until I saw what was presumably a parent usher away these two messengers of the Grim Reaper.

That'll teach me to knit in public! Those two little harbingers of doom would never have approached me if it weren't for the knitting.
I guess I just have to take the bad with the good and just knit on while I still have the energy in my creaking old bones to do so. Ha!

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Monday Again . . .

It's Monday again and you know what that means: project photo day!

Before I dive in, one quick note about the t-shirt I posted last time. I mentioned in my post that there was only one of these t-shirts currently in RedPaperRecord's shop and it was a Small. I popped over to the shop this morning and I see that there are now also a Medium and a Large listed in white, as well as an olive green knitting bag with the same motif. Just wanted to let you all know in case anyone is interested.

Now on to the projects! I have three to show you today, all by the prolific Suzy. First up is a pair of beaded cuff socks in FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in the Sky & Clouds colorway.

Suzy used the Sour Apples Sock Pattern by Cherry Tree Hill to make these socks. The little greenish flecks you see in the picture above are actually beads. How cute is that? Here's a closer shot of the beaded cuffs.

Next up is Suzy's rendition of Knitty's popular Branching Out Scarf. She used FF Alpaca/Wool Yarn in the Navajo colorway for this. The colors in the photo are a bit off, but you can still see the lovely stitch work and pattern.

Finally, here's a pair of socks that Suzy knit with FF Alpaca/Wool Yarn in the Wisteria colorway. I might have shown these to you previously, but I'm too lazy to go back through my old posts to check and the socks are so cute that they're worth a look even if it's a repeat!

A big Thank You to Suzy for sharing her lovely work! All of these finished projects make me feel like a knitting-slacker. I need to get my sticks moving!

Please keep the project photos coming! Just e-mail your photos to me with any details you'd like to share.

Everyone have a fabulous start to your week!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Too Cute!

I have no hot knitting news to share with you today, but I do have a fun acquisition to show you. For some time now I've been wanting a knitting themed t-shirt. I'm not much for t-shirts with slogans or splashy pictures or cartoons, so it was no easy task to find something that fit the bill. Until I found I this, that is!

I just love this t-shirt! From a distance it looks like a nice, quiet little argyle design of some sort, but when you get up close you can see that it's a yarn and needle motif in an argyle style. It quietly and respectfully speaks: "I am a knitter." No shouting. No in-your-face screaming message. Just a gentle and mature word to those listening: "I knit."

I bought this silkscreened t-shirt from Etsy seller RedPaperRecord. She has one more listed in her shop at the moment and it's a Small, but I'd wager a guess that if you find this t-shirt to be a Must Have as I did, and you send her a message, she can probably whip one up for you. (Don't quote me on that! Just my guess.)

One word of caution. It's an American Apparel T-shirt and they run pretty small so you'll want to think about going at least one size larger than your usual size. I didn't think about this before buying and just picked up a Medium. As you can see in the headless photo above, it does fit, but if I were just a hair bigger or the t-shirt were just a hair smaller, we wouldn't be getting along nearly so well.

That's all the news for today. Tune in Monday for another rousing round of customer project photos!

Everyone have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Silent Yarn

Remember this yarn from a few months ago?

It's an Anny Blatt blend of viscose and cotton that I picked up at a great price from someone who was destashing.

And remember this yarn?

It's a bamboo yarn that I bought to mix with the Anny Blatt, since I was just a little shy of enough of the AB to complete a summer sweater.

These yarns have been tormenting me for the past couple of months. They just won't speak to me and tell me what they want to be. The Anny Blatt yarn is sort of bumpy and slightly textural and so I wanted to choose a stitch that would highlight that rather than ignore that. I thought the yarn would look best with a stitch that was clearly meant to have texture to it, rather than a stitch meant to be even and perfect, which simply would not be achieved with this type of yarn. I swatched and played with the yarn and came up with a few stitch choices I liked, but when I went to begin the project something was always a bit off and I ended up frogging my work.

After a few iterations of this - swatch, knit, frog; swatch, knit, frog - I set the yarn aside and assumed that it would pipe up and let me know what it wanted to be when it was good and ready. Nope. It's been about three months now and I haven't heard a peep out of it.

(On a side note, this yarn has taught me the reasoning behind the common belief that sock yarn does not count when added to one's stash. I always thought of that as an excuse for those who cannot resist sock yarn, but now I believe there's actually something to it. The thing about sock yarn is that it can always be a pair of socks. You might use it for something else, but in the end, you will never stare at it and wonder what on earth you will do with it. You will never sit quietly, gazing at it, waiting for it to speak to you. It will never be a sore spot in your stash.)

I finally decided yesterday that I simply must knit with this yarn. I bought it specifically with a summer sweater in mind and I just don't want to let the season pass without using it. My current decision is to throw the notion of finding a perfect stitch pattern for this yarn out the window and just do a simple, mostly stockinet, sleeveless sweater. I cast on last night.

The bottom has an inch or so of 1X1 rib and then there's a bit of yarnover detail before the stockinet begins. The pattern is from an old Filati pattern book I found buried away and long forgotten. The pattern is actually meant to be knit with a nice, even yarn to create a simple, clean look, but I just don't care. At this point, I'd rather knit something that I end up hating than spend another moment waiting for the yarn to speak to me. I'll teach it to give me the silent treatment! I'll turn it into something ugly that will sit in a closet or a dark drawer for a couple of years before it eventually is tossed in the trash. Ha! Take that!

I needed to adjust the pattern pretty significantly to accommodate the gauge of these two yarns held together. As I began I thought I had missed the mark by a good amount. About an inch or so into it, it looked way too small. I pulled the needle out and set the little piece of knit fabric free, measured it and decided that it was in fact the right size. I then slipped the stitches back on the needle and continued on my way.

A few rows laters, I looked at it and once again thought that it was just way too small. And so again, I slipped the stitches off, measured it, and returned them again to the needle. (I do that, by the way. Unless I'm working on lace, I don't hesitate to pull my stitches right off the needle so that I can get a good work-in-progress measurement. I know the very thought of intentionally slipping a needle-full of stitches off may be horrifying to more cautious knitters, but I like to live on the edge. I am known as Fearless, after all! Of course, there's a fine line between fearless and just plain reckless . . . )

To get back to the project, I'm uncertain at this stage how this will all end up. I'm most definitely not in love with the colors for myself. I do like the slightly salmon shade of pink, but it's not a great color for me. I also much prefer smooth yarns that yield perfect stitches and this most definitely is not that type of yarn. Combining the two yarns together also doesn't help any with that! To add to the mix of uncertainty, the bamboo yarn is not my favorite either. It's very soft and has a lovely drapey feel to it, but I'm finding that it has a strong tendency to split which is a bit of a nuisance. Here's a closeup so that you can see a little more of what I mean about the uneven look of the stitch work:

Whatever happens with this project, I'll be glad not to have the yarn sitting in my stash anymore. It should be a fairly quick knit as well, so if it turns sour I won't have wasted too much effort on it.

Everyone have a fabulous day and get some knitting done! Don't forget to listen to your yarn.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Get a Load of These!

I have two projects to share with you today, both knit by April. One of them is in a yarn that I don't think I've featured yet in a Monday customer project post. How exciting is that?!

April knit this hat in FF Classic Merino Worsted Weight Wool in the Clear Sailing colorway. The pattern is the Kable Kid Hat from kpixie.

Isn't the hat just darling?

I added this Worsted Weight Merino to my line several months ago, but it was after the height of the winter knitting season and so some of you may not have given it much of a look yet. It runs on the heavier end of a worsted weight. I find it knits best on US 9 or 10 needles. It's wonderfully soft and has been crying out to me to be knit into a sweater. Soon, I tell it, soon!

The interesting thing about this yarn is that it's classified as an organic yarn. Not being up on all things organic, I wondered when I first heard that just what it meant. All animal fibers are organic, right? Well, what it actually means when a yarn carries the official "organic" classiciation is that no synthetic pesticides are used on the sheep and their food must be certified organic. There are no synthetic hormones and genetic engineering involved with the sheep, and the land itself where the happy little sheep live has to meet organic certification criteria related to no overgrazing or overcrowding.

Anyhow . . . back to the projects! April also sent this photo of socks she knit with FF Sportweight Superwash Merino Wool Yarn in the Fruit Pop colorway (note: this colorway is on the backburner now and not currently in stock).

April used the Little Runes pattern from Trek's blog to make these kid's socks. So cute!

To learn more about April's knitting adventures, pop on over to her blog, The Weaving Inn.

A big Thank You to April for sharing her project photos! Everyone keep the photos coming. Just send me an e-mail with your photos and any details you'd like to share.

Everyone have a great start to your week!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Talk of This and That

Today's post may be a bit random, as I have several disconnected thoughts and tidbits on my mind that I want to share with all of you. Pardon me if I seem to ramble a bit today and jump from here to there.

First, I want to let you all know that the Etsy site has been experiencing some problems with the category and search functions and even had to take the site down for brief periods over the past couple of days. The site is working as of right now and you can indeed shop there, but I thought I'd let you all know about this in case you happened to stop by my shop during one of the brief downtimes this week.

The good news for all of you is that the problems with the search and category functions on Etsy this week mean that new listings are not showing up in the general search categories. That means that the new colorways of Superwash Merino Sock Yarn that I listed this week did not get much exposure to the general shopping population and so there are still some left. Some of the new colorways have sold out, but there are still a few left including a few skeins of Multifarious (oops -- quick update added a few hours after posting ... the Multifarious has now sold out, but never fear! There will be more available before long!)

As well as Robin's Egg. (This one is not very photogenic, but trust me . . . it's a lovely, clear color that's a light turquoise shade somewhat like a robin's egg. It looks a little cloudy in the photo, but in person, it's crisp and clear and true.)

Now, true to my word, I'm going to jump right into something unrelated. A few posts ago, I told you that I finally got one of the Jenkins Woodworking handcrafted circular needles.

I'm playing around with a sample swatch for a possible new lace piece and am using this needle. LOVE IT! The points are nice and sharp, which makes lace knitting so much easier! For those who don't knit lace, just think about trying to PSSO or P3TOG with a fine yarn and a blunt needle. That can be a real pain. Having a nice sharp tip helps tremendously to get a good rhythm going and to keep things moving along.

In other knitting news, I finally finished the first sock of the pair of broken rib/spiral socks in my FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn in Royalty and have cast on for the second sock.

I can't remember when any sock has taken me so long to knit! Part of the reason is that I'm only knitting these socks while watching my husband's softball games, but part of it is that I just can't get myself to knit more than a few rows at a time. I just don't enjoy ribbing on socks. On projects with larger needles, I knit contintental ("picking" with the yarn held in the left hand), but for very small DPNs in the round, I find that my tension is too loose when knitting purl stitches contintental style and I also tend to hold the needle in my right hand in a rather crooked manner that can cause laddering. For these reasons, I throw the yarn when knitting socks and it's a lot slower for me. At last I managed to complete the first sock though and moved immediately to the second one before second-sock-syndrome had a chance to take hold of me.

I'll be very glad when these socks are done. I rather regret beginning them at all now. The broken rib looks pleasing enough, but the fact is, once the socks are on the feet, the ribbing will stretch out and virtually disappear. It feels like a lot of effort for nothing, but the real reason for the broken rib is not for appearance, but rather for fit. Ribbing certainly helps a sock from slipping down, but a broken rib does an even better job, since it doesn't have the straight vertical path leading downward that a traditional rib has.

On a sock-related note, a commenter inquired to my last post whether the very soft nature of my Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn is a concern for long-term wear and whether it might be a good idea to use reinforcing thread on the toes and heels. I replied to the comments section, but since most of you may not see that, I'll repeat it here.

First of all, I certainly recommend a tightly knit fabric for the Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn, which is quite soft. This is true with any sock yarn really. I recall several years ago, I knit a pair of socks with a sock yarn I had used many times without any problem. For this particular pair, however, I didn't have a free set of my usual needle size for that yarn and so I went one size larger. The socks looked fine, but they definitely didn't hold up as well as the others I had knit with that yarn. It wasn't the yarn's fault. It was operator error.

It's also worth noting that although the yarn is superwash and can be machine washed, it's important that you still handle your hand knit items with care. If you choose to machine wash the socks or other item you make, it's best to cold water wash on Gentle Cycle, and also to place the knit item in a lingerie bag. So far, I haven't had any trouble with wear and I personally have not used reinforcement thread for my socks, but I know some of you do that as a regular practice for any pure wool knit socks. One note on reinforcing thread: I've occasionally read opinions online that indicate that nylon reinforcing thread can actually contribute to wear and tear because the thread is not nearly so soft as the yarn and can actually "cut" into the yarn itself during wear causing more problems than benefits. Although I haven't tried it myself, I would think that this would only result if you inadvertently held the nylon thread too taught while knitting, since it won't have as much give as the yarn. I think if you're careful to hold the nylon thread fairly loosely, you could avoid a situation where it would not have enough play and give when worn, which could cause that "cutting" effect. Just a guess though. Anyone who uses reinforcement thread, please feel free to lend your advice!

Popping off to a completely separate topic, I want to thank all of you for your naming suggestions for the lace scarf I showed to you last week.

All of your suggestions were great, but I think I've settled on "Migration." (Thank you, Elisa, for the suggestion!) Some of your other suggestions also inspired new ideas, so perhaps you'll see them crop up again the future. In the meantime, I wrote the pattern for the lace scarf and have a friend test knitting it now. I hope to have it done soon, but it's low on my priority list so please be patient with me.

I think that's about enough from me today. If anyone managed to read through all of my random rambling thoughts today, kudos to you!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Unveiling Time!

The time has come to unveil eight new colorways on FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn!

There are eight skeins available of each of the new colorways, all listed this morning in my Etsy shop. In celebration of the new colorways, I've also pumped up the number of skeins of many of the other colorways, so there are plenty of choices right now with multiple skeins available on most colorways.

The eight new colorways - in alphabetical order so none of them feels unloved - are: Blue Rain, Cantaloupe, Earthenware, Meadow, Multifarious, Prosperity, Robin's Egg, and Serendipity. I'll show you a few of them here to whet your appetite.

First, here is Earthenware. Now I know I just said that I don't want any of the new colorways to feel unloved, but I can't help but say that this one is my favorite of the new batch. I had a very clear picture in mind of a colorway with brownish, amber tones mixed with a good dose of pink, but I wanted pink that was warm rather than cool to give it a decidedly "grown up" feel. To make it more difficult on myself, I also wanted something highly varied and complex, yet retaining the subtlety that allows intricate stitchwork to shine to the forefront. I definitely didn't want it to look predominantly pink either. Nothing like giving myself a challenge! After much experimentation, Earthenware was born!

Here's another colorway for your daily dose of eye candy. It's called Blue Rain.

And one more, just to give you a pop of color to get your day going: Cantaloupe.

To see the other five new colorways, just click on over to my shop. If they happen to disappear quickly and you're too late to catch them, never fear . . . stock will be replenished in the future.

I know it's been some time since I've had a batch of new colorways at one time. Thank you all for waiting so patiently! Have fun looking!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I have a terrific project to share with you for this Monday's project feature:

Isn't it lovely? This is Lynne's version of the "Fusion Waistcoast" from the March 2007 issue of Knitting magazine (a British publication). One word of caution from Lynne. If you decide to knit this pattern, be aware that there are some errors in the pattern and the armhole instructions are missing! You'll definitely want to e-mail the publication to get the corrections if you're going to knit one of these yourself.

Check out this perfect fit:

Lynne used FF Mohair/Wool DK Yarn in the "In the Pink" colorway. She had to adjust the needle size to accommodate the yarn and used US #6 and 8 needles, rather than the larger needles called for in the pattern. Lynne also warns that the sizing runs small on the vest, so you'll want to keep that in mind if you knit this pattern.

Here's a closeup so you can see the beautiful cable work:

How's that for a great project to inspire all of us to get some serious knitting done this week?! A big Thank You to Lynne for sharing her project photos and details. Fabulous job!

One final note before I sign off for today: Don't forget that I have new colorways on FF Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn coming this week. Eight (that's right - eight!) new colorways are just about ready to list. I should be ready to post those in my shop tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. Keep your eyes on my Etsy shop for the new listings and also here for some photos.

Everyone have a fantastic Monday!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Only the Naming Remains

All the pins are out and my latest lace scarf is now complete!

All that remains is to give it a name. I'm not so insane that I normally name articles of clothing or accessories, but I think I might write up the pattern for this scarf and list it in my shop. If you have the perfect name on the tip of your tongue, please share!

I've been considering for some time adding a few patterns to my shop, but I didn't want to list patterns written by others. If a designer chooses to use my yarn for a pattern, I would much rather simply point my customers to the designer's own site so that the designer gets to keep the entirety of the sale price. At the same time, I would like to add some patterns, if for no other reason than to make the shopping experience a bit more diverse and interesting, particularly for new visitors. Perhaps this lace scarf will be the first pattern I'll list? We shall see.

In other news, I received something very exciting in the mail this week! It's my very first Jenkins Woodworking needle. I got a 24" circular US #4 and it's oh so lovely! The finish is smooooooth and the joins are perfect. Best of all, the tips are nice and pointy. I can't wait to give my new needle a test drive, but I'll first have to pick a project. Expect more news on the new-needle-front coming soon! (I have to admit, I'm rather ridiculously excited about this needle. I've been meaning to get one of the Jenkins needles for quite some time and now I feel rather giddy to have one in my hot little knitter's hands!)

I'm also very excited to tell you that I am right on track to have new Superwash Merino Wool Sock Yarn colorways to list next week. Keep your eyes open for that! I'll post about them here to give you a heads-up and will also send out a note to the FF mailing list. If you're not on the list and would like to be added, just pop me an e-mail and I'll be happy to add you to the list. (If you've already asked to be added to the list, but haven't received any e-mails yet, don't worry! Your name is on the list. I am very sparing about how often I send out any information by e-mail, but rest assured that everyone who asked to be on the list has been added.)

I was just about to close this post for today, but I can't resist showing you one more picture. I asked my husband to put the new lace scarf on so I could see whether I could get a detailed photo on a human model. I told him not to worry. If I got a good picture of the scarf, I wasn't going to post it on my blog. It was just a test. Well, I DIDN'T get a good picture of the scarf detail, so that means I can post the photo, right? Haha!

Poor man. What he has to put up with from his crazy wife!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

As Dorothy Parker Once Said ...

As Dorothy Parker once said
To her boyfriend, "Fare thee well."
As Columbus announced
When he knew he was bounced,
"It was swell, Isabel, swell."
As Abelard said to Eloise,
"Don't forget to drop a line to me, please."
As Juliet cried, in her Romeo's ear,
"Romeo, why not face the fact, my dear"
It was just one of those things
One of those crazy flings . . .

Oops. Wait a minute. That has nothing whatsoever to do with what I planned on saying! Once I typed the title for this post, however, I couldn't stop myself from singing a bit. (It's a good thing you're out of earshot, because believe me when I tell you that I'm using the term "singing" loosely!)

What I actually set about to say is that I believe it was Dorothy Parker who said, "I hate writing; I love having written."

That's the way I feel about blocking. I hate blocking; I love having blocked.

Now, I try my best not to be judgmental, but I have to say that anyone who claims they enjoy the actual act of blocking is either a liar or in need of some serious therapy. Alright. Alright. I take it back! To each his own, I suppose.

I do understand a bit of the pleasure of blocking, but for me the pleasure is not at all in the act itself. The pleasure is in the unfolding and realization of the piece. The joy is in the first glimpse of how my finished project will look that begins to shine through as I block. I relish the feeling of anticipation and - on occasion if I'm fortunate - the glimmer of pride. I even enjoy the occasional mounting sensation of fear and impending doom when that glimpse of the finished project showing through is less of a "shine" and more of a glaring blaze of my own ineptitude staring me in the face, indisputable and inevitable, mocking me. Despite the uneasy feeling that comes with the realization that something has gone terribly wrong and unnoticed along my knitting-way, there is still some inexplicable pleasure in the experience of watching the tragedy unfold. It's part of the miracle that we call Blocking.

But the act of blocking itself? I take no pleasure in it. Endless pinning, stretching, smoothing, measuring, and general fussing. No thanks! I do it because I must. If I didn't, I would have either a huge pile of unfinished items or drawers full of crooked, lumpy, misshapen garments and accessories.

I suppose you've guessed by now that I've just finished blocking a piece. It's the lace scarf of my own design in my FF Laceweight Merino in the Hendrix colorway that I posted about last week.

Here's a long shot of it, which is a pretty terrible photograph, but lends to my blocking diatribe since it shows that looooong length of the scarf that required 7,634,842 pins.

You can also probably see in the photo that my distaste for blocking shows a bit. I'm certainly not the most meticulous blocker! I'm more of a "that's good enough" or "that's straight enough" kind of a blocker.

Now that this task is behind me, I have only to wait until tomorrow and then pull the pins out and I'll have a finished project. Now that I like!

I'm cautiously optimistic that I will be pleased with how it looks when set free from its prison of pins. Here's a closeup where you can see a bit more detail of the stitch pattern.

And a closer-closeup:

That's about all today on the knitting front. I've continued to make a very small amount of progress on the socks and ripple afghan that I have on the sticks, but I'm about ready for another project. I have something on its way to me in the mail that may help me in deciding on what that project will be. You'll just have to wait a few days to see what I have coming! If you're thinking that it must be books that I have on the way - since I asked all of you for recommendations recently - you would be wrong. I did finally order a couple of your recommended books last week, but get this: The anticipated delivery date from Amazon is in mid-July! Hmph!

Alrighty now. Time for me to sign off. Happy Knitting to all and to all a goodnight!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Orchid Lace Scarf

For today's project feature, I have a very special something to share with you: the Orchid Lace Scarf by Anne of KnitSpot!

Anne designed and knit this scarf with FF Laceweight Merino in the Miracle colorway. I can hardly express how much I love this piece! It has such a lovely deco feel to it and such crisp detail.

The pattern for this scarf is now available in the KnitSpot pattern collection. When you pop over to KnitSpot to check out the pattern details, you'll need to scroll down to Anne's post of a couple of days ago. But hold on! Don't scroll too quickly or you will miss information on how you can participate in a very worthy and important charity drive. While you're at it, you'll also have an opportunity to win one of the fabulous prizes offered. And when I say FABULOUS, I mean it! You just have to see the bundle of booty for this drive. Wowee! In fact, one prize you might win is the pattern for this Orchid Scarf, along with the yarn to knit it. And that prize is just the tip of the iceberg.

To get back to the Orchid Scarf, I simply must share another of Anne's photos with you. Here's one that shows the light peeking through:

Love it!

Keep the project photos coming to me by e-mail. I enjoy seeing each and every one. If you've sent me a photo and haven't seen it here yet, don't worry. I haven't forgotten you! I have a small queue of photos lined up for future weeks. That doesn't get you off the hook though if you have one to send to me! The more photos the better. (Isn't that part of the blogger's motto?)

Enough from me for today. Now get your butt over to KnitSpot and check out both the fabulous pattern and charity drive.

Everyone have a great start to your week!