Friday, July 31, 2009

The Flight Attendant Who Doesn't Fly

Dear Readers... I so enjoy finding free computer time while I'm out on one of my trips. Blogging really helps me remember the important things (friends, family and knitting) and allows me to share the strange and unusual moments and thoughts that happen while I'm away from the 41017 and Knitwits

I fly 4 day trips. I do this because this gets me the best schedule and I like to get my flying done in long stretches of time a couple of times rather than many times a month for short stretches like Janice, a fellow flight attendant/knitting friend. Besides, I cannot hold decent 2-day trips (With a couple of years more seniority, Janice takes them all!)

Every week when I'm packing for my trip, I am faced with the following dilemma when it comes to blogging:
  1. Lugging around my laptop computer and all associated accessories (a real pain in the knitting bag going through airport security).
  2. Trying to blog on my iphone (impossible without a magnifying glass).
  3. Breaking down and getting one of those cute new netbooks (even though they are fairly inexpensive-will the novelty wear off?)
  4. Bidding for trips that have overnights in hotels with free business center use.

My final decision comes down to "How long are the layovers?".

I love my layovers! I bid for double-digit layovers, meaning ten or more hours on the ground. The perfect morning while working includes getting up without an alarm clock or wake up call, a cup of strong coffee, a few rows of knitting, about an hour in the fitness center, an easy USA Today Crossword puzzle, another cup of coffee, a hot shower and a FREE computer to blog on!

Some days you hit the jackpot...all of the above as well as a complimentary breakfast bar and a crew room with private crew use computers! Other crew perks are in-room refrigerators or microwaves, Tastee Cakes upon check in, Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies and good bedside lighting for late night knitting. Tonight isn't bad--the Renaissance in Philly has plenty of FREE computers available, yummy chocolates on pillow, a packet of Forget-Me-Not flower seeds and cool soaps and shampoos. It's the little things!

Back to the blogging logic. After analyzing this week's trip, I decided that this trip wasn't very blog worthy-layovers too short, computer use should be available on days 2 and 3. Not worth trouble to lug laptop, bring an extra pair of shoes and two balls of Classic Elite Sprout instead.

Little did I know...what was on my schedule and what I would actually do...two totally different things! All of my flight assignments have either cancelled or turned into deadheads. I've only worked 4 flights in 3 days. I am the flight attendant who doesn't fly! Good thing I knit! and good thing I packed enough yarn!

I am scheduled to finish my trip tomorrow morning. I am supposed to work a flight from Philadelphia to Cincinnati. However, they also have eight other crew members scheduled to work the flight. (This week's crazy weather has really messed up the flight schedules.) Perhaps, I will get out of working yet another flight!

Until tomorrow.........

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Malabrigo Loafers

Every now and then I can get overly excited about something and today it is my Malabrigo Loafers-so allow me to have a Roxy moment about my Malabrigo Loafers.

Junko (Roxy referred to herself in the third person) bought a skein of Malabrigo yarn a couple of years ago at a yarn shop in Pittsburgh. Junko just had to have this skein of Malabrigo and justified the guilt of a non-Knitwits purchase by thinking of it as a research project. Junko brought it to the shop to show Janet and the gang its loveliness. Since then, this skein of "outsider" yarn has been sitting in top of Junko's stash, just waiting for the right project. It was going have to be used for something really special to prove that it was Knitwits-worthy! Junko would pick it up every time Junko found something that it may work for, then Junko would put it back down-not special enough. This lonely skein of Malabrigo remained on top of Junko's stash as if it were sitting on a throne just waiting for it's call of duty.

After years of living with the guilty pleasure of owning this lonely skein of "outsider" yarn, we finally ordered Malabrigo for the shop. What a wonderful day! I tracked the order from order confirmation, to delivery notification, from mentally rearranging the shop to showcase our new Superstar yarn, to anxiously waiting for the rumble of Phil's UPS truck and finally the clang of Phil's accordion doors slamming shut. While our mother load of Malabrigo turned out to be three boxes, it was worth the wait. Three boxes of the most fabulous, intense shades of buttery soft puffs of merino wool had arrived.

Junko grabbed a skein of Malabrigo to test drive and knit an Amanda Hat (Free Ravelry Pattern) that evening. One skein would make two Amanda Hats. The yarn was everything that Junko had hoped for. Each stitch glided from one needle to the other and it was silky soft and luscious.

Before deciding on the Amanda Hat, Junko Ravelry-ed Malabrigo Worsted Merino yarn projects and found thousands of lovely ideas. The Amanda Hat was something Junko could do immediately, but the real deal was the Malabrigo Loafer. The Malabrigo Loafer pattern was not a freebie and would have to be ordered. More research and more waiting.....

The Malabrigo Loafer pattern arrived while Junko was on her last trip. As soon as she returned, Junko grabbed the pattern and two skeins of Malabrigo (loafers are knit with 2 strands together). That evening, Junko finished the first slipper. It was a Cinderella moment. It fit like a dream and felt even better on her foot. This was a HOME RUN! This is what Junko was dreaming about for years. This was the perfect match of pattern and yarn-a perfect match like peanut butter and jelly, Fred and Wilma, Oreos and milk.

The pattern was straight forward, easy, quick to knit and produced the most unbelievably comfortable, cutie pie slipper. No second slipper syndrome for Junko-Junko will be knitting a dozen of these things. Junko is not usually a slipper person. Junko loves to piddle around in her bare feet, but she's having a tough time taking off her new Malabrigo Loafer, dreading the thought of hard shoes. Junko actually knit the second slipper while wearing the first one. If Junko can part with her Lettuce green Malabrigo slippers, they will be on display at the shop.

Malabrigo Loafers are definitely going to be a Class at Knitwits! There are some stitches to pick up, some short row work and you will be working on 2 circular needles--but they are too fun to work on alone!

The heck with glass slippers, if Cinderella had known about these things she would have asked Prince Charming for a pair of Malabrigo Loafers. Even better, perhaps my Malabrigo Loafers will bring me my Prince Charming!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well, Hello faithful Knitwits Blog Readers!

I'm back from my 4-day trip and after a good night's sleep I am feeling somewhat rested. We had FULL flights coming and going for 4 days-we were full of crying babies, cranky children, and adults acting like babies. I must be getting old because I used to fly 5 or 6 legs a day with energy to spare. Now, 3 legs is my physical and mental limit!

On the second day of this trip, I had 4 legs (yikes!) and I had to dig deep in the energy reserve to complete the day. The last leg was a deadhead, meaning we weren't the working crew and we rode as passengers. I usually look forward to deadheads for the quality knitting time.

The flight attendant on this flight to Greensboro was a much older woman named Roxy. I know this because she referred to herself as Roxy many, many, many times in her announcements and Roxy's announcements were very thorough-rambling on for what seemed like hours. The passengers around me looked at me for help-as if I could magically make her shut up. Every time you thought she was finished talking, passengers would give a sigh of relief and then Roxy would start up again-and the crowd would groan. I pretended to be asleep so she wouldn't talk to me. So much for quality knitting time!

Where did Roxy find the energy? Why did Roxy have to talk so much? Thank goodness I would never have to work with Roxy (she works for another airline).

On the final leg of my trip, we ran into the thunderstorms that were over Cincinnati and we were put into a holding pattern. I got on the PA to inform the passengers as to what was happening- and I had a Roxy moment! I started rambling on and on ....and on and on. I couldn't stop! I would pause, stop for a dramatic moment and ramble on, repeat, and ramble some more about nothing. The other flight attendant shot me a look that said, "You hypocrite, you've been ranting about Roxy for two days and now you go all Roxy on me!"

After a moment to collect myself, it hit me! When you dig into your energy reserve, the brain function that usually kicks in to filter your mouth must shut off. Good Ole Roxy must have been tired too!

Thankfully, we landed in Cincinnati, not Lexington as we had thought we might have to due to the weather and fuel concerns. I checked out and came home to a nice, relaxing evening of knitting. Finally, some quality knitting time!

P.S. Above is a picture of my Fake Isle Hat using Noro Kureyon and Brown Sheep Worsted. I did as much as I could without my #6 double points. The pattern is a combination of 2 freebie patterns on Ravelry. It was fun and is a great way to learn the Fair Isle knitting.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's in Your Bag?

I'm on day 2 of a 4-day trip. Currently, at the Marriott Airport in Greensboro, S.C.

In addition to my rollerboard and flight bag, I carry my disorganized knitting bag. Many of my fellow crewmembers wouldn't recognize me without my (life-support) knitting bag.

This week, my knitting bag has a wad of patterns: Janet's Waist coat pattern in size M, Stackable Cats, Pile Up Pups, 2 hat patterns (that I'll somehow combine to really throw everyone off), a Noro 10 stitch blanket pattern, a man's scarf pattern and a handful of patterns that Mary Philippe shared with me for possible knit-a-long/classes.

The yarns crammed into knitting bag include 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon (2 for a scarf) and one for a "Fake Isle" Hat. A skein of Brown Sheep Worsted (for "Fake Isle" Hat), a bagful of stash yarn for Stackable Cats, 2 balls of Cascade Lana D'Oro for Shopowners Waistcoat-Size M.

Also included in bag are an assortment of needles. Some circs, some dps and some random assortment of mismatched straights. I really need to organize this mess.

I'm stalled on my hats because I don't have the right size double points. I'm missing the Chart III for Shopowners waistcoat jacket-Size M-so I can't work on that---maybe I'll see if pattern is on-line-I seem to remember some errata. So...It's off to work on Stackable Cats.

See you soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Knitwits Mysteries-No Peaches for Junko

This summer has been full of little mysteries at the shop.

First there was the case of Jackie Duebber's missing #2 Hiya Hiya Needle (and other needles, but the Hiya Hiya was the big one). Jackie came to Sock club and left without her #2 Hiya Hiya needle. The next day, she came in and searched high and low for that darn needle. She moved furniture, she searched pencil stands, she questioned everyone--I was expecting the FBI to come and dust for fingerprints or at least conduct a thorough strip search.

A week or so later, an unnamed customer came in and said, "You'll never guess what I found stuck to the bottom of my knitting bag (she had made a lovely felted knitting bag)!" Lo and behold, a #2 Hiya Hiya DP needle had felted itself to the bottom of her bag. Mystery solved! Unfortunately, Jackie had since purchased another set of #2 Hiya Hiyas but the missing needle was returned to its rightful owner.

Then, we had the Peaches & Cream Dishcloth exchange. Everyone picked their names and got information about the likes and dislikes of their exchangee. On the day of the actual exchange, knitters eagerly came in with their finished dishcloths and anxiously awaited to see what someone had created for them. I was extra anxious because I had to power-knit the night before because I forgot to take my yarn with me on my last trip. Debbie Poe made a lovely deep red lace cloth for Jill and packaged it with a matching coffee mug. (I have to confess that we have all been using Jill's coffee mug in her absence.) Debbie went above and beyond, but everyone received a really nice and thoughtful Peaches & Cream gift. Everyone but ME!

I didn't say anything because I didn't want to sound like a baby and I thought my person couldn't make it in for the exchange. I figured I'd walk into the shop one day and find a little package for me with a little note or something-maybe I too would get the dishcloth with matching mug. I checked the "hold bin" whenever I came into the shop just in case my person had stopped in. Nothing!

Tonight at Sock Club, the mystery was solved. Apparently, an unnamed shop owner had my name and decided she wasn't going to knit a gift because she had picked my name. So, according to the Sock Clubbers, everyone else knew that the unnamed shop owner had me-except for ME! So, now I'm the proud owner of a bright orange oversized washcloth/placemat that reads "JUST SAY KNIT". Mystery solved!

The mystery of "Why Can't I post a comment on the Knitwits Blog" is also solved. Little (yes, he's still single and not dating) Steve from Pandora solved this mystery today. He sat down at the computer---click, click, click--resolved the problem! Feel free to comment!

The mysteries of "Where are Sue's Sandals?" and "What's Wrong with Sheryl's Finger?" still remain unresolved. Stay tuned.......
The picture is of Jackie Duebber's sock, knit with Linie SilkSocke and a set of #2 Hiya Hiya needles. We still have a few skeins left and it is super cute!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Only At Knitwits!

I was driving to the shop today and my phone rang. An "Old Car Horn" sounds when an unknown caller calls and depending on my mood, I let it go to voicemail or I answer it. This time, I answered and it was my high school boyfriend who found me through Facebook.

"So, your Facebook profile says you're a Knitwit. What does that mean?", he asked.

Mmmmmmmm, What does this mean?...........

I gave some generic answer about working at a yarn shop but the question gnawed at me all day long because how do you really explain Knitwits to someone who has never experienced Knitwits?
I heard and said things like "Hey, wanna be a Loser?", "We made Cookies yesterday and today is the Christmas Knitting Accountibility Group", "I hear the Fish has Landed, where's the Malabrigo", "My stash is bigger than your stash!", "Competitive Adult Onset Kickball today, are you in?", "Should I get Sky Blue Fizz or Indian Corn?"and "Did you talk to the Kosher Cowboy?"

These comments would only make sense to a true Knitwit!

Krista Lahners husband, Bill, walked in with a tool box and fixed our front door. What a Guy! He then asked for a dustbuster to clean up. (Again, wow, what a Guy!) A normal retail establishment would have a dustbuster. We shrugged our shoulders and made a stupid face like we had never heard of a dustbuster before. He then asked for a broom. Again, the stupid face response. I haven't seen the broom since we used it as a hanging rod for the Cuddl Duds. (See above).
What other yarn shop carries Cuddl Duds?
Only at Knitwits!
P.S. We had three men come into the shop today. A New Record!
P.S.S We made Bill Lahner, Head of Knitwits Security for his handyman heroics. Steve Meyers remains Knitwits Maintenence. Steve Schleper, Head of IT (whatever IT is). If any other men care to venture in, I'm sure we can make him Head of Something!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Knit N-Fit off to a great start!

The first walking session of the Knitwits Knit-N-Fit ,Greatest Losers (and non-loser, Jen) met today at Pioneer Park. Eleven of us walked at 8:30 this fine cool, beautifyl Saturday morning. The oval trail surrounding a soccer field, was the perfect place for the haven't-walked-for-awhile-walker as well as the I'm-leaving-you-in-the-dust, seasoned walker. We paced ourselves and each walked as much or as little as time or legs allowed. The fun of it was being together and sharing such a lovely hour.
It is interesting how knitting opens up so many avenues and dimensions of a person. It is a means of connection that crosses into more places than just a craft hobby. A shared purpose and love of color and creative outlet bring us together, but the bonds grow deeper. Yarn and knitting brings us together, friendships keeps close. Our walking group is a chance to better ourselves inside and out. Let's encouragae each other to keep going!
Remember the motto: Losers Unite!! (Jen too!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Malabrigo-Heaven on Needles

If you get sick of me talking blabbing about the pleasures of Malabrigo let me know.

I'm test driving a skein of Red Java Malabrigo Worsted and I can't stop! I was sitting at the desk, overwhelmed by the stack of papers and assorted rubble, so I picked up my Malabrigo and started knitting. I rarely knit at the shop, but it was comforting and a pleasant relief from the toothache and administrative drudgery. I had to force myself to stop and get back to reality.

I'm knitting an AMANDA Hat-free Ravelry download. Pattern says you can get two hats out of one skein! It is a dream to knit with.

Treat yourself to a skein-it's cheaper than pain killers and a Z-pack!


Even though we got back from North Carolina over a week ago, my brain still thinks its on vacation. So, this blog post is full of random thoughts.

My flight attendant friend, Marci is now at home and doing miraculously well. She will need some physical and speech therapy... but all things considered our prayers were answered. Thank you all for your caring and kindness.

The Malabrigo worsted merino yarn arrived today. Janet and I expected a large semi to pull into the driveway to deliver the mother load, but noooooo, Phil the UPS guy came in with a stack of three medium sized boxes. Slight disappointment until we opened the boxes. The yarn is gorgeous and lovely. We hope you like it as much as we do. When I handed a skein to the girls at Kids Camp to passed around, each little girl cupped it in their little hands, held it up to their face and ooowed and aaahed. Yarn snobbery starts early.

To make room for the "Malabrigo Mother Load", we had to put some of our summer yarns on sale. There are bargains to be had at half off! It's stashing building time.

My last trip was very uneventful--until I developed a toothache! Major pain! I have a root canal scheduled for the end of the month and I'm on the mends but I'm way too uncomfortable to put on my uniform and fake smile--had too call in sick.

The Knitwit Girls are kind of on injured reserve. I have the tooth thing going on. Sheryl left the shop early to go the doctor today. She has a swollen finger from a gardening injury and it has severely affected her ability to knit. Janet is achy and has a blue toe from Sunday's Adult Competitive Kickball Game (and the last place finish at Splash & Dash). Sue has lost her favorite shoes. If anyone finds a pair of brown sandals in their knitting bag, they're Sues.

The Peaches & Cream Dishcloth Exchange was really fun! I really enjoyed (much more than I ever thought I would) researching patterns on the web and having a deadline to have a finished project. Of course, I forgot to take my ball of yarn on my last trip, so I had to do some power knitting on Saturday night to have a dishcloth finished for Sunday. Each dishcloth was lovelier than the next--one even came with a matching coffee mug. I'm looking forward to another event like this--maybe a Secret Santa type thing.

This week, I finished the Toddler Bolero in Turquoise Encore Colorspun, my Peaches & Cream dishcloth, I knit 20-some inches of the back of the Shop Owners Waistcoat Sweater in Size M, and all but the binding-off of the neckband of a Noro Sweater. Janet started knitting a puppet, got 3/4 of the way up the front, and lost her pattern. Junko wins this week!

I'm off to test drive a ball of Malabrigo. Ciao!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Knitwits for Fitness

Saturday's 5k Splash and Dash Run/Walk to benefit Scarf It Up was so much fun that the girls were inspired to dream up more fitness focused activities. Although they finished dead last (followed by the police escort aka sweeps vehicle), Krista and Janet spent the day at the shop developing "Knit and Fit"- a new approach to getting fit through Knitwits.

They are starting a Knitwits walking group and a shop version of "The Biggest Loser". If you're trying to lose a few pounds, get more exercise or just want some good company, this is a fun way to get started and stay motivated. Details are forthcoming.

Yes, there are other ways to lose weight. Janet and I think the audiobook "Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Big" has some merit- but it would involve way to much cleaning. Krista found Knitting for the Wii (Kniiting). There's always Adult Competitive kickball. And I just watched Dance Your Ass Off on TV-a mixture of The Biggest Loser meets Dancing With the Stars.

Knitting burns approx 99 calories per hour for a 145 lb. person. It engages the forearms, shoulders and back muscles as you work with various knitting tools and equipment. The constant movement of the knitting needles burns calories, improves coordination and stimulates the brain. Many say that knitting is a great way to quit smoking or reduce snacking because both hands are occupied. Knitting may not be the quickest way to burn calories, but it doesn't hurt and I really enjoy doing it.

Knitwits for Fitness! Be a Loser with Us!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Knitting is Contagious

I recently heard that one-third of the world knits! I don't know if this means that one-third of the world knows how to knit, has knit or knits on a daily basis---but that is still an amazing statistic and that means that Knitting may be the most popular activity in the world! Knitters Rule!

In some parts of the world, knitting may still be a necessary part of everyday life, but we are lucky enough to have knitting in our lives as an extracurricular leisure activity. I can't imagine my life without knitting and I really enjoy sharing and promoting knitting with others. I sort of view Knitwits as a local knitting Embassy and Janet and the staff as knitting Ambassadors-spreading the joy of knitting with everyone we meet.

While Janet and I were at the mountain cabin, we would pick up our knitting and before we knew it someone in the room would say, "I wish I could do that" or "I used to know how to Knit" or "Can I try?". Next thing we knew, an impromptu knitting lesson would begin. By the time we left, Janet's sister Kathy, her niece Laura, our new friend Meredith and Meredith's Mother had all caught the knitting bug. Janet offered to give knitting lessons to Laura's Co-Workers on her next visit.....so, do you see how the knitting bug spreads!

For the rest of the summer (July and August), Knitwits is offering a "Refer-A-Friend Special". Get a friend or family member to take a Knitwits Beginning Knitting or "Refresher" lesson and you get a stamp on your Frequent Buyer Card!

Spread the Gift of Knit!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We're Baaack!

We're back from Montreat, NC and I can't even begin to describe what a wonderful time we had.

Five glorious days of driving, knitting, eating, laughing, fun, games and good sleeping! Janet and I are not good sleepers, but the mountain air gives even insomniacs a good, full, restful night of sound sleep. The mountain air is not very good for cell phone and internet access but I think we both preferred the sleep.

Driving. I spent more time in the car over the past five days than I have in the past 5 years combined. The ride down was lovely. America is truly beautiful and you really get to see the beauty by car (vs. airplane). Once we got to North Carolina, Janet's driving skills really came to light! She maneuvered ess-turns, dirt roads, ups and downs, downs and ups, drive-ins, look outs and more. Good thing neither of us get car sick although we thought about it quite often on the crazy winding roads. The highlights: Swerving to miss a black bear, spotting a family of guinea hens and discovering Sonic Drive-Ins.

Knitting. As we pulled out of Janet's garage, I started a top down baby sweater in a new shade of Encore Colorspun. I wanted to see if I could knit an entire sweater on the way down. Close but no cigar. I finished the body when we pulled into Montreat. The collar, ribbed bands and one sleeve were finished while at the cabin. In true "me" fashion, I worked on yet another project on the drive home. I finished nothing! Janet finished her Kathmandu sweater-started two years ago. Her mom helped a little bit. Final score: Janet one, Junko nothing.

Eating. My second favorite hobby next to knitting! Home cooking, home grown vegetables and homemade desserts with good company--It doesn't get much better than that! Janet concocted a forty pound casserole that fed the whole clan for a few days. We'll share the recipe if anyone needs to cook for a hungry army. While on the road, it was Sonic all the way! Who knew you could order a banana, tater tots and vanilla milk shake all in one place? Simply delicious!

Games. Janet's family is really fun-but competitive. (I guess that's what happens when your dad is a Coach.) All ages and abilities joined in the fun and games (too numerous to remember). Highlights: Toy airplane flying, biggest splash competition, Apples to Apples, Would You Rather, Black Jack and of course...Competitive Kickball!

Misc. We listened to two books on tape- Debbie Macomber's A Good Yarn and Peter Walsh's Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Big? The first story made us think of our circle of Knitwits friends and the joy Knitwits brings to our lives. Very enjoyable. The second, made us reflect on our butts and the clutter that surrounds us. (We have vowed to work on these two issues. Stay tuned.) We also took the whole gang to see UP.

It was great to be away, but we're ready to jump back into our lives. See you at Knitwits!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Janet!

Janet and I ran away to Montreat, N.C. for the Fourth of July and her Birthday Weekend. What a wonderfully, magical place! No TV, no internet, no phone service. It is wonderful to disconnect for a few days.

We came into downtown Montreat for a latte and quick internet fix. So I'll take this quick minute to wish Janet and her twin brother, Jay, the Happiest of Birthdays!

'Til we have internet service again--Happy Fourth, Happy Birthday and Happy Knitting!