Tuesday, June 28

Red letter day

Boy, my secret pal is just the greatest secret pal in the world. She clearly puts a lot of effort into finding things she thinks would be perfect for me based on my questionnaire. But, she is clearly also necromantic, or a whiz with a crystal ball, or at least has a really great realtionship with Dionne Warwick via the Psychic Friends Network. Because even when she goes out on a limb and sends something that I didn't specify precisely (I mean, it's hard enough to do this with friends and relatives much of the time, let alone relative strangers), it's always a bullseye. Surely we all remember the first box of wonderment. Well, check out package nummer zwei.


Here's a rundown:
  • a fantastic card with a New York Times crossword puzzle on the front
  • a set of three Brittany wooden cable needles; I never mentioned needing or wanting these, but recently I have been longing for them. Seriously. Longing. Cabling with aluminum cable needles is no fun, and wooden ones just look so much prettier and classier.
  • a bea-u-ti-ful pair of Lantern Moon needles, size 10; I think they might be rosewood? These are my first gorgeous hardwood needles and I adore them. They will make the aesthetic experience of knitting absolutely transcendent.
  • some lavender flavored Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps; if you've never run across any cleaning products by the ol' Doc, you should really check them out, if for no other reason than the packages are often filled to the brim with hilarious mantras and exclamations.
  • a lovely pair of handknitted socks because of my fervently professed non-desire to knit socks; as she wrote, "It seemed only natural to knit socks for someone with a thing against knitting socks." These represent the first time in my life anyone has ever knit something just for me. They fit like a glove, too. See? DSCF0139
  • And I saved the best for last. That gorgeous blue yarn in the box (See it? Do you see it?) is 100% cashmere. 150 yards of it. All I can say is, damn. On my questionnaire, I jokingly responded that my dream yarn is cashmere, but only in my dreams. Well, somebody pinch me. Amanda, you totally win.

Thursday, June 23

10 Reasons Why My New Job Is The Greatest

Oh, right. Before I go all Letterman on you, I guess I should mention: I'm working in a yarn shop! I'm working in a yarn shop!

Have happier words ever been spoken? Or typed?

And it's just the darling-est little yarn shop, too. See?
yarnllc1 yarnllc2

Anyway, in no particular order, here are the ten greatest things about peddling yarn:
1. Obviously, I get to be surrounded by all manner of beautiful yarn for hours at a time.
2. And I get to pet and fondle said yarn for hours at a time.
3. I could even lick it if I wanted. (Although, I'd have to wait until all the customers were gone.)
4. I get paid for petting/fondling/licking/mentally undressing all the gorgeous yarns surrounding me.
5. I get to meet and socialize with other knitters. I've never had any knitting friends.
6. I get a discount on everything in the store. EVERYTHING.
7. Yarn shop work never gets boring or tedious like office temp work. Or degrading and tiring like food-sevice work. Or smelly like circus work.
8. I get to teach and help other knitters when their knitting goes awry. (Short anecdote: Yesterday, which was my first day, I was starting to learn the ropes with another employee. A woman came in with poncho troubles, apart from the fact that she was knitting a poncho, but we'll talk about that another day. Since my co-worker was already busy unravelling another customer's knitting, I offered to help this lady. And I was actually able to diagnose and solve her problem and she was so friendly and grateful. I had worried that I wouldn't be a good enough knitter to help anyone, so it really felt wonderful to be able fix this chic's mishap. If not her fashion sense.)
9. I get to spend my downtime in the store knitting.
10. I get to spend my downtime in the store knitting projects to be displayed in the store with FREE yarn from the store. (And that, my friends, is truly the greatest benefit. Who's gonna argue with free yarn?)

Thursday, June 16

Strapless and hapless


It's like those puzzles you used to see when you were a kid. Maybe on Sesame Street or some other PBS show. Is anyone with me here? You'd be shown an extreme close-up of something to see if you could identify the "real object"? The point was seemingly to illustrate how zany it is that something resembling the surface of a distant planet could actually be some guy's arm. The supreme disjuncton between the parts and the whole, or the alienness of things we believe are so familiar as to take for granted. Or something like that. Anyway, that's sort of what I feel like I'm doing here. How many of you astute knitting readers can identify the FO from this close-up stitch shot?


If you guessed Lelah, you win a cookie. (So go get yourself a cookie. I reccomend something by Pepperidge Farms.)
Here are some specs on the finished garment.
Pattern: Lelah, by the talented Christine at Knitting for Boozehags
Yarn: exactly 2 skeins of Lion Brand Cotton Ease, color Blueberry #109
Needles: for lace - Addi turbo circulars, size 9; for stockinette section - Susan Bates aluminum circs, size 7
Pattern Notes: This was an easy and fun knit. I made the large size, although I adjusted for my own measurements in the top part. I did an extra repeat of the lace pattern at the bottom, because I traditionally have a problem with tops not being long enough on my tall frame. I wanted this one to be flowy and flattering below its empire waistline, rather than revealing the fact that I could stand to do some crunches. I had to resort to doing some randomly placed decreases near the top, to make sure things would fit snugly over the girls. I would also reccommend using a sewing machine for the band at the top. Much, much faster than hand sewing.

And now I'll work it for the camera:
2003_0101Image0004 2003_0101Image0002
Here you can see how nicely it fits at the top, and how pasty and pale I look wearing it. (You're absolutely right. That's not at all the fault of the top. Lest anyone think that this top makes its wearer look like a zombie and Christine sues me for defamation of character. A little lip gloss might have gone a long way for me in that first photo.) You can see, also, how sassy and, at the same time, pensive it makes me feel. (Oh, for the day when I can model my finished knitwear without looking like a dope.)

Friday, June 10

Aack, what am I thinking?

There are benefits and drawbacks to being flaky. One drawback is that one doesn't post on one's blog for an unforgivable amount of time, thus losing the mainly pitying interest of one's one "fan."

Another drawback is that one gets books from a certain popular crafting book club that one did not intend to order.

However, sometimes said book, and I will now be enumerating a benefit, is a book that one has yearned for ever since it first came out. And when one accidentally gets an unintended purchase in the mail and accidentally drools all over it, thus making it unfit for return, one can't help but to thank one's lucky stars for that temporary moment of flakiness.

Yesterday, Loop-d-Loop landed on my doorstep. It was love at first sight.

I'm just going to come right out and say this. Teva Durham is a genius. She is the most creative, brilliant, outside-the-box designer I have ever come across. I can even appreciate the brilliance of those few of her designs that are, dare I say, a little too out there for my tastes. (And I consider myself one of pretty out-there tastes.) Not to mention that the book itself is luxe and glossy and beautiful to behold.

Things I can't wait to make:

td princess coattd paisley purse
td medallion carditd bolero
td cable coattd capelet

That paisley purse is simply to die for, and so completely my style it's like TD climbed inside my brain for inspiration. The puffy-sleeved bolero is similarly death-inducing, and I can't wait to make it, even though I haven't the faintest idea how it stays up (seemingly by the sheer will power of that model's bosom). That cabled coat...no words. It's gorgeous. And anyone who could make me want to knit a fetching poncholette (OK, so she calls it a capelet, but I think we can all recognize it for what it really is. Let's call a spade a spade, here) has got to be a magician or something, since that's one of those items I swore I'd never make. But this little hooded number, well, it just makes me want to skip around in a forest, swinging a basket joyfully, and fleeing from wolves and woodsmen.

* * * * *

I'm about two seconds away from having finished knitwear to display here. Lelah has been finished for days now, but she is awaiting elastic. She looks quite lovely, if I do say so myself. I also knit my first Hurry Up Spring Armwarmer, despite the fact that spring passed GO without collecting any money and we've hurtled straight into sticky, balmy, humid nastiness. The second armwarmer may just have to wait until fall.

However, it's good that I finished one of them, because I'll be able to show the LYS owners that I know a thing or two about cabling and working on DPNs. When I go in TOMORROW for an INTERVIEW. That's right. They want me to bring in some of my work and chat with them in what I'm sure will be a completely casual, non-threatening atmosphere. Now that it's come down to it, I feel a little silly about bringing in my skillz sampler (see previous post), but I guess I'll just suck it up and do it. Especially since I don't really have any huge projects to showcase. No full-sized sweaters. No set-in sleeves. No fancy construction. Few things bigger than a breadbox.

Cross your fingers that I charm the pants off them, anyway.