Monday, December 16, 2013

Heartfelt (Knitting and) Gifting

A woman in one of my online knitting groups complains 'I made an afghan for someone and have yet to receive a thank you. Should I worry?'

This kind of knitting and gifting insecurity is common.  If you're the kind of knitter that hears about someone with a special event coming up that needs a gift, and think it would be special to receive something crafted by hand and immediately start making plans, cast-on and knit frantically until it's done, you know the anxiety this woman is describing.  Every knit/crochet/craft blogger will discuss it. There's just as many conversations about crafting for the worthy, knitting for the knitworthy.

Here's what I know.

I know what knitting does for me.  I know that when my hands are busy, I'm trying to do something heroic one stitch at a time.  I'm trying to keep the receiver warm, I'm trying to tell them they are beautiful, I'm trying to tell them they are loved.  Is it unreasonable to expect that from every stitch?  I don't think so.  I've knit that stitch based on the thoughtful planning I gave for that person before I ever cast the first stitch.  I've considered carefully the colors they look good in, especially the ones they seem to be wearing when they are their happiest, if they've not told me directly their favorites.  I've given a lot of thought to their body shape and what they wear and how it fits. I've looked through the patterns I have in my possession, spent hours online, looked at my stash of yarn usually determining it's inadequacy, and then spent further hours online determining the availability of the materials I need do I need to order or can I stop in a local store and if there room on my credit card.

With every stitch, I recount all of our happy memories, I see their smiles and think of what they've meant to me. I think of what they will be doing when they wear or use my knitting gift, their pride when they show it off to their family, friends, co-workers, their world.  With baby gifts, if it's before the baby is born, I will imagine them doing all the things I did with my daughter as a baby and other babies in our family that are cherished memories.

And then you present them with the gift. If I can give it to them in person, I can tell them why it's that color, what it's made of, why I thought they could use this personally, unique-crafted thing. Then watch their eyes.  You can tell if it was too much or if it's just right.  

As a crafter gets older, you're better able to determine the heart of a person and how they will receive something. This summer I made a scarf/shawl for a friend of ours. It was for someone who was going through some medical issues on top of some really personal dramas, too. We were impressed with how she coped with this stuff which was always with laughter. Together, my husband and I looked for yarns that reminded us of her.  When it was handed to her, at that moment, she was having an especially bad day. When I was able to let her know what this was and why, she melted.  I couldn't take a picture of her during her awful day, but asked that she take one when it got cold enough to need to use it, which she did. At the time I gave it to her and when she sent the picture, she described what she loved about it and how it made her feel.

Knitting for kids is a pretty awesome experience.  A baby afghan for a newborn, becomes a nap blankie for a toddler and an adventure tent in play.  Sometimes garments are saved as mementos or passed down to younger siblings. One of my favorite garments to make a child is for starting school.  If you make it in their favorite color and with special details like pockets (POCKETS!) they are ready to do school, like Superman donning his red cape.

But here's where knitting for someone else is like paving a path through a blissful garden. Halos of Hope was founded by Pam Haschke after she fought cancer and beat it.  During that awful time she was given a hat.  When she'd lost her hair, this hat gave her a joy she hadn't expected.  (I haven't met Pam yet, I've heard her tell the story, but I imagine it gave her a lot more than that.) I've heard her say, time and again, she started this charity because she wanted to share the comfort of a soft hat with others still battling.  If you go to the website and look at the notes under Stories of Hope, there are stories of gifts well received. The notes are mostly from the cancer centers where the hats were sent and it's because the writers of the notes were there when a hat was given and received, because the experience is so beautiful the note writing must be done. These people can't take credit, but pass the messages of thanks back to where it belongs, to the ones that thought they would like to, took the time and made the effort to make a soft hat, organized donation efforts and sent the hats out.  

Sometimes when you make something for someone else, you don't get the thanks you needed to hear. You can't let it stop your generosity because you didn't get a thank you card. You have to remember the joy you had in making it, just know that there is more good in the universe because you did and then do it again.
If you are interested in creating hats for Halos of Hope, there is a big effort to achieve a high number of hats by the Stitches West event at Santa Clara, California in February. Several of the podcasters I mentioned a couple of weeks back are participating in a Podcasters Throwdown (challenge amongst themselves). You'll find at the website above the requirements are pretty relaxed, it has to be a new hat, of soft yarn, for a child or adult, male or female. There's even some great patterns that have been donated. Hats take no time to make, unlike a sweater or an afghan. When you're done with one, you won't believe that one hat can make a difference. 

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Knitting Books (from the library)

I've had three more books from the library!
  • Amy Herzog's Knit to Flatter (Published by STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book, NY 2013) requested this when I heard she would be a guest on Fiber Hooligan and I had been wanting to read it for some time.  ( The book didn't come in for me to pick up until after that episode, but I had heard her on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird which made my anxiety to get the book between these two events a bit ... necessary. Amy and her husband have put together a great website that incorporates the basic elements she's written about in her book and further personalizing a pattern to fit. ( ) She candidly discusses the difference between Ms. Average fit and everyone else without using the words 'Figure Flaws', using pictures and candid description of body types, all beautiful just different. Having a book in hand with it's written messages of inspiration (including this one in the introduction 'You are gorgeous, readers. Let's help you knit sweaters that make you feel that way, too.') should be candy for any knitter who's been at all frustrated with the outcome of a finished garment for herself.
  • Melissa Leapman Knitting the Perfect Fit (Published by Potter Craft, NY 2012) Totally a fluke that these two books came at the same time and I hope not to compare them... Lots of great advice about knitting, reading charts and making swatches that should help encourage a knitter, especially one not much experienced with sweaters. I requested the book for the pattern named 'Angie', which I am disappointed to say, turns out not to be for my body type, being one that an A-line is NOT flattering on. There are many cute designs in the book, I liked the 'Weekender', 'Merino Magic' and 'Jen'. I didn't care for the close-up pictures of the knitted pieces themselves which appear to me to be very poorly finished.  
  • Edelgard Janssen and Ute Eismann Sock Art (Published in US by Trafalgar Square Books 2013, originally in German as Sockenhunst im Jacquard-look, 2010) This was on the NEW book as I walked in, so grabbed it and ran. There is no introductions or explanations in the front of the book and the end concludes with techniques for toes and heels explained. Is that a German thing?  The patterns are a pretty mix of florals and critters, done in bright stripes of intarsia. There is one paragraph that says Kaffe Fasset was an inspiration, that much is clear.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This American (Knitter's) Life

I've been on The Fiber Hooligan podcast for a few weeks now. Monday was my seventh appearance. I've featured lots of things from books, day long televised knitting events, Dr. Who...  

Are you surprised this is happening to me?  I am!

Here's the thing:  It's been completely voluntary.  Perhaps someday when it's time, I will pursue something further involved that takes me on more adventures in knitting but for the moment, I'm stretching my little world and it's boundaries. That feels pretty good for the time being.  

One thing that has been a little bit frustrating is the promotion end of it. (I know this is a first-world problem and not really important in the universal scheme of things... I hope you can hear that this isn't concern for myself.) I'm not the only one experiencing this frustration. I have been trying to help another knitting program producer who started a very involved knitting/fiber education video program which needs sponsors and/or subscribers. How can anyone hear or know about how great this creation of his if I can't make anyone hear me tell them about it?

And another podcast has recently asked for my help.  I also spent a lot of the last month promoting a fiber event several states away from me, without the help of those I was trying to promote, except for the coordinators.

I often feel inadequate because my internet 'voice' is so small. I can only promote these thing so many times in so many places before people get fatigued of me.  For instance, on Twitter I have less than 200 hundred followers.  That is NOT advertising.  That's standing in my corner of the world and humming a little melody, in the chaos of the cacophony...

I'm recording this frustration here because I hope to come back to it and see that there have been results. For the moment it just feels like spinning my tires, or being restrained.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I LIKE BIG BOOKS! and you can sing along

I have some books to return to the library, and since the majority were recent publications, I thought you'd like to hear a little more of them.

The first is The Art of Seamless Knitting by Simona Merchant-Guest and Faina Goberstein published by Interweave Press.  Here's the Amazon Link:

I first heard about this book on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird, here's the link for the program: 

It's a beautiful book, beginning with great advice at the beginning about measuring and gauge, there's even great advice about avoiding the jog in your color stripes.  It is not strictly about top-down knitting designs, as some involve picking up stitches along a knitted edge to create a sleeve or other design element.  There are three patterns I'm admiring, the socks! Titled Lace Stockings (I know, there's not a lot of sock patterns WITH seams, but these Knee-highs are so beautiful you won't mind) designed by Faina, they could have been worn at Downton Abbey.  There's a Lacy Cardigan designed by Simona that's made with Bijou Basin Ranch Lhasa Wilderness (a sport-weight yak/bamboo blend) that would be sweet in spring and cool nights in the summer and dressy enough for church.  There's a pull over that has a near commercial knit quality by Faina called Textured Pullover and another cardigan she designed Cabled Cardigan, long sleeved, thigh-length and a generous collar, both would be wardrobe staples in winter.

I picked up Kristen Omdahl's book The Finer Edge ~Crocheted Trims, Motifs & Borders, also published by Interweave, in 2012 (new to my library, what can I say?) Here's the Amazon Link:

In addition to miles of ideas to trim your projects, there are some projects to create.  I liked the Memphis Bag with features a bouquet of ruffles to carry around the market. There's also an afghan, a pullover, a shawl...  Kristen has appeared on several podcasts, including several appearances on Marly Bird's program as well.

I also have to return Nicky Epstein's book Knitting On Top of the World ~ The Global Guide to Traditions, Techniques and Design published by Sixth and Spring Books.  It's an older book, 2008, not the first time I've borrowed it and probably won't be the last.  The sections are divided into areas of the world and the styles inspired by those areas, including Far North, Windswept Isles, Old World, Around the Mediterranean, Far East and New World. The photography makes this a coffee-table quality picture-book, but the designs are Extreme Epstein. How about an heirloom quality pullover for your newborn that can keep your teapot toasty when he's outgrown it? Here's the Amazon link:

Like I said, these are all going back to the library today, I don't own copies of any of them, and was not asked to review them by the publishers.  I just found them on the shelves of my library, brought them home and have been drooling over them when I've had quiet moments.

It's amazing to me how fast that due date came along!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

PODCASTS, of the fiber sort

There's some great fiber podcasts out there.

A podcast is like a radio or television show, except it's online.  All are archived and some are originally aired live, that means you can listen in your own schedule.  Many people download the individual program and listen while doing something else, like jogging or commuting.  So I hear.

I listen during the slow days in the office.  I've been listening at night a lot because I'm working on a sweater and I'm in the slow part... It's top down, this is the part between the body/sleeve separation and the hem of the body.

So, here is a rundown of what I've heard this week (all had recent episodes within the last week):



  • I started the day listening to an archived episode of Yarn Thing, because it featured a book I just brought home from the library.... I listened to it this week, so I'm counting it in this list.
  • Savvy Girls ( Audio podcast from the Savvy Sisters (real-life), one who lives in Edmonton, Canada and one in New York. This week is the first time I've listened...
  • Knitting Samurai Plus One ( is video, from New Hampshire.  Another new one for me.
  • Double Knit ( is audio, from Seattle, Washington.  New to me, too.
  • Knitabulls ( is video, from Colorado. (I've been watching Diane's program for a couple of months, love, Love, LOVE her dog, Bella.)
  • Yarn Thing.  She has been doing a program twice a week lately, which is not her normal, but I've been enjoying it that often as well....
  • KnitMore Girls ( audio, mother and daughter program from San Jose, CA.  This week, they mentioned a BUNCH of podcasts they listen, so I have more to find. If you want to find the list, look for the episode posted 11/20/13.
  • WEBS (aka Steve and Kathy Elkins has a very informative podcast also ( audio, which began as an actual radio program
  • Twinset ( Twins, Ellen and Jan, live in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. New to me...
  • Geeky Girls ( video Mother CC and 13-year-old daughter Damaris, from Scotland! Also new to me, love Damaris' mad knitting skills.  She recently finished a sweater, I think that's how I heard about them...
Fridays I look forward to:

  • Craftlit ( audio, is one of my favorite podcasts, I really look forward to it all week.  Heather Ordover puts this together in Virginia, discusses crafty things and each week reads a chapter from a classic book.  Most of the books in her archive (which I recommend doing) I've read, but never took a lit class, she used to teach literature to high school students, so, you can imagine I'm learning a lot.
Some others I like:
  • 2 Knit Lit Chicks ( is audio, mother and daughter podcast also Northern Californina (separate cities).  I've listened for a few months to the ladies, because they talk about my two favorite topics, knitting and book.
  • Knitting Pipeline ( is audio from Washington, Illinois.  She has posted updates as blogposts to keep everyone informed of her situation, not podcast postings, as there's been a tornado in her area.
  • There's a brand-new video podcast from Germany, featuring a pair of knitters (one from the UK and one from US) but for some reason, the program doesn't play on my laptop computer set up, perhaps on everyone smart phones and tablets it will play better. They contacted me on Ravelry: ( This is the link, I hope you like it, I'm sad about not getting it, because I loved their voices... 
  • It Take Balls to Knit ( is a subscription video SHOW which Steve Malcolm of Vancouver, Canada, has branched off from his own blog.  He's featuring a knit school for learning techniques, and then exploring lots other topics in fiber.  
NOTE:  I think the reason I've listened to so many of these is because they are all posting right before Thanksgiving week. 

All of these programs, being fiber related, have groups on Ravelry.  In fact, Ravelry has a list of active and inactive podcasts.  Unfortunately, they haven't updated the list since 2011.  You can do a search in Groups and type Podcast and come up with a list of hundreds.  I've resorted that for the most members to find some of the ones listed here.

Many of the programs have prizes by various means, either live during the live programs, through their Ravelry groups or on their own website comments areas.  Most of the programs review books (knitting and otherwise), some chat fiber stuff, programs on television or popular things online.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wouldn't you like to know JJ Foster?

Did I ever tell you about JJ?

This is a photo taken by Steve Malcolm of I hope he will forgive me for copying it off of his blog.  That's me on the right knitting the pink, JJ is knitting green and that's one of her three boys on the left.  We were in Seattle for the Mariner's Stitch & Pitch in July.   I've posted about it before.

I think it was about this time of year that I met her, she and her mom had a shop for crafting that hadn't been open very long before I wandered in there with Superman on our day off to find out what night, if any, was knit night.  I've posted about the shop before. (  I loved it.

At that time, we were miserably underpaid.  We were working for a company that employed both of us, my husband and I, but he was only paid to work an hour a day and never received a raise.  I tell you this because it broke my heart not to be able to support their shop more than I did.

JJ is wonderful at making people feel welcome (she used to work for the resort at Disneyland so I think that was a skill she will always have) and the shop wasn't about selling foreign-made virgin crafting materials.  The found great materials and recycled them for sale, and taught others to do it, too.  To be that creative is some kind of ingeniousness most craft stores don't have.  And never will.  The other thing that she is great at is social media.  She knew how to use it to her business' advantage.  Also, she supported other businesses she came in contact with doing the same things she was doing for her shop.

She became involved with the other shop owners in organizing the local Yarn Crawl right from the start.  The next spring after I'd wandered in there, she posted something on her shops page of Facebook, asking for someone to knit for the shop (she was going to Madrona and won't have time) that was required for the Crawl.  I said I would and waited for the details.  That became the first piece I designed AND wrote the pattern to be sold.

The second and last Sock Summit happened that summer, she was there for most of the event.  I ran into here there on the Sunday of the event, having gotten separated from the others I went with and she ... well, I got a case of nerves and couldn't make myself walk up to Benjamin Levisay of XRX books.  She cattle prodded me over there, and took our picture with our cameras for us.  Benjamin wasn't what I expected, very kind and correctly identified the sweater I was wearing, which was from Knitter's Magazine, published by XRX.  That acquaintance as become an even dearer relationship than I would have ever thought (see the post just prior to this one).

She asked me to design for shop in the Yarn Crawl again the next year, even though I didn't live in the area any more.  And the next year.  I flew there for the event, this was last February.

By this time, JJ was struggling.  Her mom no longer wanted to participate in the shop, and without her, the shop would have to close.  It did in June.  I cried for days after she called to tell me.  She didn't have to call me, that was a huge kindness on her part.  I'm sure it was hard for her to do. Supporting everyone else's grief over the shop's closing must have been a huge burden and I hope she knew she and her efforts make her beloved.

In spite of the shops just closing, when it came time for the Mariners game, she would not tell me no, she wouldn't go.  She picked me up at the airport in Portland, and we drove to Seattle.  Walked all over downtown, and went to the game.  It was hard for her, financially, but I think she felt committed to her boys to take them, and to me, too.  It was the first time I met Steve Malcolm, who has another knitting program I will be assisting on...

She has got to be struggling even though she'll never say a word.  She helped out at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, and she's taking vintage buttons that she finds, putting them on display cards and offering them to all the fiber shops she can get to.  Some of her buttons appeared in a picture that Franklin Habit posted a picture of (I can't find it now, but it happened about September 6th)!  That's all exciting, but I worry about her and her rent.  She has some irons in the fire and I pray, or put a wishes out into the universe, or hope good Karma flows heavy toward her that things happen that are as good for her as she's been to me.

But mostly, I want to say, Thank You, JJ Foster.  Whatever Chances you take I know are opportunities for the sun to shine on you as you have shined on me and been there for my benefit, and I will support whatever you hope to do, to the best of my ability.

(You can use this as a recommendation letter if you want.  Any future employer can know we are not best friends, I will need your home address to mail you anything, you don't know my birthdate, we don't know each other middle names.... and I had to bribe your dog with cookies so that I could scratch his ears.  With love, from ~t)

Monday, October 21, 2013

So very honored!

This morning was my debut on Fiber Hooligans.  It's an online podcast hosted by Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX books and also the Stitches events (the next one is Stitches East in Hartford, Conneticut). The guest was Steve Malcolm of  

I hope you can go there now to listen to the archived episode, I thought it was pretty great before I got on the phone!

Friday, October 18, 2013


The intention of this post is to show how I use it and what I look for.  Please keep that in mind if this sounds in your ears of a tangent.  It is a gift and something I wish those that participated in could appreciate and use more.

Ravelry is a wonderful example of 'Crowd Sourcing' which has been a term used in TED talks and all kinds of blogs about everything. What it is describing are projects, like websites but lots of other community-based efforts, that are put together based on the simplest of ideas and invitations to contribute are sent out as far as can be spread, in some cases world-wide. Very few people are paid employees of the projects, yet contributors may be well-known names or nobody anybody has ever heard of, and it is what they contribute that makes the success of the project.  In the case of Ravelry, it is the shear wealth of information about anything fiber related that has made it as truly awesome as it is and guarantees it's continued success.  

I LOVE Ravelry.  I'm in that website more than my own e-mail. Actually, as I have two e-mail accounts, one for just junk, so I can safely say, I'm in Ravelry more that BOTH of my e-mail accounts.  I could probably toss in Twitter into that mix, but I don't want to ignite a #hashtag riot, so let's not.

Here's what I do with it:  First thing in the morning, I log in. Yes, before checking my e-mail, because I'm hoping to see what's new in fiber-land today.  I look first to see if there are any personal messages for me, usually not, but it's sweet when there is one and makes me feel like a child who's waited for something in the mail with his name on it.  I see what's on the front page, which lately has been awesome because the last few weeks the Ravelry crew has made a point of changing the message on that front page whether it's a new post about features you can use or what is giving them the fiber-tickles! For instance, there was a post recently that shared mother/child sweater sets and family sets, which were admittedly pretty awesome, and clearly points out knitters who have nothing better to do than torture those under their own roof.  My kind of people.

I then click on the forum tabs to see if anyone has posted in the groups I monitor.  Sometimes there's a message for me there, as a response to something I'd posted already, and requires or desires my response.  { Personal note:  I'm learning to discern when I don't have to have the last word, which is a personal growth goal that I'm proud of. }  Sometimes just scrolling through the forums is reminding me when there's new blogposts or podcast episodes that I'm following.  Most of the fiber events I'm aware of are listed in the forums as well.  I follow a few designers and new designs show up there or if there are discounts being offered, or Knit-A-Longs (abbreviated KAL) and the same with crochet (CAL) and spinning (SAL), all comes up there.

After checking out the forums, I can check what my 'friends' are doing.  I put quotes on there because these are fiber people I mostly don't know and have never met.  Is that strange?  I hope not, when you see why.  Most of the fibery people in my friends list on Ravelry are designers or other crafters who are a voice somewhere in the fiber world.  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is in there, Franklin Habit, Norah Gaughan, Veronica Van (of Dream in Color Yarns), Kathy Ellis (of WEBS), Meg Swansen, the ladies of 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast, Knotty Girls podcast, Heather Ordover of Craftlit.....  My list isn't very long, but what's cool about this part of Ravelry is that everytime one of this folks post, comment or like something on Ravelry, I get to see it by clicking the Activity tab.  Everytime they post something on their blog (and a lot of these folks who have podcasts are smart enough to make a blogpost that there's a new episode) I see that, too, without having to wait for the share on Twitter or Facebook, by clicking the next tab marked Friend's Blogs.  I LOVE THAT PAGE!

Now, my closer crafter folk, I can almost just as easily keep up on what they are working on by going to the groups we are mutually interested in.  For instance, many of them I have hung out with in a Local Yarn Store (abreviated LYS).  It's pretty super cool to be able to go to that group and right at the front page, see what topics are currently being discussed, what is being stashed there, and recently shared projects.  I have a little more concern to mention about that later. Ravelry is a tool that a fiber person can use to promote their business and those of us that love and wish to support those business in ways BEYOND the money spent there should be cognizant of and pay attention to how they can do so.

I will come back to Ravelry throughout the day to look at the same things or find new stuff, like patterns or yarns or tools, not just shopping for these things but finding out how each of these things worked out for others who've used them.

The next thing I do is check my personal pages.  I look and see if there's been any activity on my own designs.  This is a new thing to me and it's has been both depressing and exhilarating but it always keeps me aware.  I started posting designs just a short time ago in Ravelry.  I can go to the page of my designs and see how many times each one has been 'favorited' and 'queued' which means liked and planned for future projects.  I can go from there to my Pro Account and see which of my designs have been purchased.

The thing I wish is that those that click 'favorite' or 'queued' or have purchased the pattern were those that are vocal in what they do on Ravelry.  Many folks never post new projects or yarns, or comment in forums.  It surprises me to itty-bitty pieces when I run across a Ravelry user who has been a member for long years (I've been there since 2008 but find a lot folks who've been there longer), who have never shared more than their screen name there (automatically their profile shows what country the live in and when they became a member) they have liked and listed lots of things, and have not had something to comment about anything.  Three million plus members on this wonderful website and somehow I continually find folks that don't wish to share their love of fiber craft.

I'm sure there are lots of other designers who feel the same way when they are starting out, but it's the Local Yarn Store owners I feel the most pity for, as they work so hard to advertise, gather a support network, host events like trunk shows, classes and knit groups, only to check their profiles on this great website and see that their customers couldn't bother to post their wonderful purchases on the website and say where it was they purchased it, even though they immediately cast on the new project the minute they got home and had to share their excitement over that!  Wanna see what your shop has offered? Check out their page on Ravelry.  You should be able to see every skein of yarn every member of Ravelry has ever purchased at that store, but often I find that there are very few stash photos or yarns listed has having been purchased there.  That has to be incredibly depressing for a store owner to see.

There are some who share everything they are currently working on with EVERY group they are part of, which can be innocently clicking them all regardless (I am aware of this because of monitoring a couple of specific groups, which are not shops but there are stash and project photos posted there which have VERY LITTLE if anything to do with those groups), but if you're in a shop's group that is struggling (as I'm sure is common these days) posting stash photos of something you purchased elsewhere isn't helping that shop!  Of course, as with my 'Friendslist' you can see what the activity is of the members with another click of a tab, but it's not right there on the front page for the LYS group, and I'm thinking a lot of folks don't look at that tab.  I know that I do to keep up with those in my local acquaintance, but can't imagine that most do.

I used to get frustrated with the profile pictures.  Everyone uses a screen name, so when you show up to a gathering you don't know that the person you're walking past is someone you've been paying attention to on Ravelry.  I used to beg people at knit night to post profile pictures so I could get to know them by name and recognize them when I got to see them.  I am so tickled that I can put a name to a face!  

What I've come to realize is this is a great source for WHAT IS CONTRIBUTED and not for what's not there.  I appreciate what I can find there, and what I can find in the face-to-face reality and love everything I can learn about my favorite subject.

What I can't learn, I may not ever need.

PS.  If you're on Ravelry, my username is wearingpurple

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Knitkabob, Union, Oregon, October 1st.

My thought when I took this was: I want to remember that sky and this dry road a couple of months from now.  The thoughts of my passengers:  OH, HELP!  She's taking pictures while she's driving....!
Um, we saw snow.....  those mountains are above Baker City, still about 1/2 hour before we get to Knitkabob.
Like stepping into a wayback machine, there's a Rexall Drug store across the street.
We purchased lunch from this counter, inside the drug store.  Our sandwiches were made with homemade bread.

From Left to Right: Melissa, me, Maggie and Priscilla.  The photo was taken by a nice young woman who came to the shop from Wallowa, about an hour away!  Maggie's shop is a desirable place to be for many miles away.

Pretty store front, but wait!
Notice that beside the door on both sides, are knitting needles.  Maggie said her husband made them.  I think he deserves a gold star, they are beautiful!

Please find Knitkabob on Facebook: and let Maggie know you found her!  Support the happy yarn stores!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Madsen Originals

In early August I finished a shawl made of Madsen Originals Sock Sparkle Yarn.  This was hand-dyed yarn by Priscilla, who I see at knit nights.  I asked and was allowed to observe her dye process, because I've never seen it done.
Priscilla uses an acid dye, which seems to
 create colors she more consistently happy with.    
She prepares the blanks of superwash
 merino that she buys wholesale.
These are the first of the blanks and a
 variegated she is going to overdye.

Missed the shot where this batch was in the acid dye and vinegar, but here they are in a kettle to steam set.  She did several batches, so what I missed you still will get.

Color set, rinse.

This blank was superwash and nylon (sock yarn) and the nylon 
gave the initial buff dye a greenish tint. 

I liked the rose and hunter green this skein had, but she
over-dyed the next day and sold it instantly.

I loved this one and was trying
to get the sparkles, which
 wouldn't turn out with my camera.
So she loaned me hers,
 can you seen them?

She placed them in the clothes dryer for a few minutes and then, laid them on a clothes rack to air dry.

Priscilla told us previously to this that she tries to make her product unique.  When she does her dyeing, she will do four blanks, two superwash merinos and two sock yarns of each colorway.  She also does some special orders and is currently busy with sewing needles cases for your double pointed needles, circulars and interchangeables. She posts things for sale in her etsy shop:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Can knitting effect a change in our world?

(Some of this post may be inappropriate for some readers.  However, if you're old enough to watch and understand the news or Oprah, I would recommend you read this article.) 

This is a blogpost about Knitting.  And about Me.  

Many years ago, when I was a child, I was molested.  Repeatedly.  Which puts me in a statistical bracket, of child victimization perpetuated by people the child knows.

I have often thought that if it was the one traumatic experience, I could dismiss it to an area of my memory that doesn't have to be accessed every day and eventually forget about it.

In the case of the recently rescued Hannah Anderson ( it may not be forgotten.  The public attention and the deaths of half of her family, may keep that in her minds eye for the rest of her life.  I hope not, because there are programs in place now that weren't available to a few decades ago that may help her learn to be herself, if the paparazzi can learn to leave her alone...

However, there are cases where the victim is not burdened with the memory.

Chelsea King was a high school student, bright, sunshiny and full of hope, who went out for a jog one day and never was returned to her family. She was raped and murdered.  

Her family, Dad, Mom and Brother, left to figure out their world without her, have put together a charity, Chelsea's Light.  At their website ( ) they show their goal is two-fold, one is about changing laws: (quote from their website) Championed by the King family and Chelsea’s Light Foundation, Chelsea’s Law was founded on the belief that violent sexual predators who go after children are a uniquely dangerous problem. Signed unanimously into law in September, 2010, the newly-enacted California legislation ensures that the state does everything it can to keep sex offenders who target children from engaging in even more atrocious crimes upon release, and that those who commit the worst violent sexual crimes against children are put away for life. All of California’s 9.3 million children are safer because of Chelsea’s Law. Did you read that, sexual predators who go after children are put away for life?  That's not a knitting challenge, that's societal.  It's happened in California, they are working on it elsewhere...

The other thing the Kings do, is help kids get to college, as they had hoped to help Chelsea, and to do so while being a kid and knowing hope and joy.  As they shared on a recent audio podcast ( ) the students they help become part of their family.

Chelsea's Shawl is a knitting project set up to help this organization. ( ) The kit includes a pattern for a shawl designed by Stephen West ( VERY generous as it has been a successful design for him) and two skeins of yarn by Dream in Color ( ) the colors chosen because they were among Chelsea's favorites.  Dream in Color is donating $10 toward Chelsea's Light for each kit sold, and some vendors are able to match the donation, for example Purlescence Yarns in Northern California. ( )  If you are a knitter or crocheter, I hope you will pick up the kit. Once you obtain a kit, if you would like to participate in a Knit-A-Long, find the Fiber Hooligan group on Ravelry. Our KAL starts August 21st.  

No child should experience these kinds of horrors.  Putting people away with these kinds of proclivities is one way to reduce the numbers in the statistics.  Here is a way a knitter can change the world, one stitch at a time.

Thank you for reading this entire post.  You have my respect.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 25th, 2013 ~ Seattle Mariner's Stitch & Pitch

I got to get away for a moment.
This was Boise when we left, yeah, kinda hazy.  I can see my house in this picture, just right  of center and about a third of the way down from the top.

This Alaska Airways plane commemorates Montana State University, was just before Portland. I think that's Hood River there in the middle, those mountains are in Washington, Mt Hood was on the other side of the plane.
JJ and the boys, picked me up at the airport and we got on the road.  I was watching for Mt Rainier, just after Yelm (Olympia) before McCord AFB.
We stopped by a wonderful fiber shop, Maker's Merchantile, and this was the coffee stop at the light.  Apparently, they have a drive-thru.  The license plate reads MUGBUG3.

Makers Merch had a great display of Sock Monkeys, no two were alike.  Oh, and I liked the Owl at the bottom center, too.
Ryan, Ethan and Brice all were walking away when I finally got my camera out to get a picture of the FIRST Starbucks, located in Pike Place Market.  Such enthused escorts.....  (They were great, really!)

Everything seemed pretty well convenient, we were able to get lodging right on the commuter train route, and they have a stop right at the stadium, so no worries about parking.  Just as we got into the stadium, we turned a corner and, LOOK who was waiting for me!
This was Susan Gibbs from Juniper Moon Fiber, just after she threw out the first pitch.  (There's a blog post about her experience: )  This was as zoomed in as I could get, but I missed the pitch because someone was standing in front of me trying to get to their seats.  Plus, our seats were at the VERY TOP of the stadium.  I had a little vertigo coming down the steps the last time.
There was only one section behind me, so this would be MOST of the 3,000 Stitch & Pitch ticket holders.
Another pretty awesome thing that happened was that I got to meet a knitter I admire.  Steve Malcolm writes the blog It Takes Balls to Knit, and I admire him because there are so few guys who knit and admit it!  I've been following him since I heard about his calendar, but he has some great cable patterns as well, I hope you'll check out his website.  www.  Keep an eye on him, he's got lots going on, and a truly nice guy.  He was just as excited to see me as I was to see him.  Even came all the way up to our seats to see what we were working on, although I never found out what he was knitting ... Perhaps a secret new thing he working on!  (Photo courtesy of Jennifer 'JJ' Foster)

They won the game, by the way, I don't think I noticed because I was tickled to be there.  This was when Raul Ibanez was at bat in one of the later innings.  There were hats requested by Pacific Fabrics for World Vision, totaling 583.  I made one and received a bag, perfect for carrying a project around!

JJ dropped me off at SeaTac, and I had plenty of good knitting time.  Check this out, the perfect Knit Spot inside the security gates, about 20 of these rockers watching planes come and go.  I think that's mine there....

Good-bye Seattle, see you next year.  That's downtown, Puget Sound is that water way beneath the sky, Space Needle and Safeco Field are all in that skyline.

And another picture, because I can't get enough.