Monday, August 31, 2009

Coffee, Tea or Malabrigo?

I'm back after flying around for four days in crazy weather, dealing with aircraft mechanical delays and ground hold delays, crazy passengers and pets (read on), and way too many airport meals. Why? Why do I do it?

The truth is that I love being a flight attendant as much as I love being a Knitwit! If I didn't love it, I would still be doing it. My usual job retention span is around 5 years....12 years is by far the record. I may hem and haw about being away so much but in reality I only work four days a week, I don't really work that hard when I am working and I usually get to pick where and when I go. It is not so much about the serving drinks and snacks, blabbing into a interphone speaker-thing or proudly wearing the wings that I enjoy, it is the people that I meet, the places that I explore, and the quality knitting time. I am truly blessed for having two jobs that I enjoy so much.

I usually blog about the weird and unbelievable stuff that happens while I'm flying. I like to share my Comair misfortunes and adventures because it seems to make the shop more sane ...plus it's far more fun to crab about the dark stuff.

A fellow flight attendant friend was telling me about his last trip (yes, my fellow flight attendant friend is a fellow and his name is "Not Steve"). He had the good fortune to have a nearly perfect trip. He had a great crew, great layovers and as a team they formed life-long friendships and memories throughout the course of their trip. The highlights included a pet fox escaping in the cabin and a 30-hour layover in Philadelphia complete with a city-wide search for the best Philadelphia Cheesesteak. Okay, "Not Steve" wins this week's food wars! So there, Janice!

The point of all of this is that like knitter's, flight attendants all have a story of their own. We all have different reasons for being a flight attendant and we all have different backgrounds. Next time you're on a plane, put your knitting needles down, look beyond the uniform and ask your flight attendant what they like to do on their time off. The answers will always be interesting and will give you a better insight into who they really are. If they're knitters, they'll tell you where to find the best yarn shops at your final destination!

Wheels Up and Yarn to the Needles!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where Friends are Made

I had lived in Crescent Springs for six years before I had any friends here. I had lots of acquaintances but no one that I would call a true friend. Most of my free time was spent out of town traveling and visiting old friends, family and yarn shops...and knitting without purpose. All of that changed when I found Knitwits.

I often say that Kentucky didn't feel like home to me until I met Janet and her family. We knew we would be friends the minute we met each other. Since then, my knitting now has a purpose and my circle of friends has grown by leaps and bounds and most of these friendships started at Knitwits.

Yesterday, Janet told me that I looked like "a used bridesmaid". From anyone else, I may have been slightly offended. But from Janet, it was extremely funny and somewhat true. Perhaps the lace dress, puffy flower pin and gold sandals were a bit much. Only a true friend would correct your poor fashion choices. (She admitted today that her first outfit of the day was slightly bridesmaid-ish in keeping with the theme-she did change into something else before showing up at the shop. I too stepped up game and went back to the usual little black dress.)

For me, Knitwits is so much more than a yarn shop. I laugh more in the shop than anywhere else, my face sometimes hurts from smiling so much, I witness more acts of genuine kindness from the staff and customers there and most of the time there is no place I'd rather be.

Knitwits is where Friends are Made and it really was voted "The Friendliest Yarn Shop in Town."

P.S. Don't tell anyone...but Janet, Sue, Kirsten (former employee), Tom (former employee) and I were the only ones that voted.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Enjoyment per Hour

Night at the Movies


Be Sweet Mohair

With all of the new yarns coming into the shop, I feel like a kid in a candy store! The Be Sweet Loopy Mohair Wrap is calling my name. So is the Malabrigo Everyday Wrap. And the Sublime Wooly Merino Russian-looking Hat. Argh! How to decide?

I was on the phone today with TJ and we came up with a unique new way of justifying our yarn habit. It's based on enjoyment per hour. Here's how it works. If you go to the movies, you get roughly two hours, maybe two and a half hours of enjoyment pleasure for the ticket cost ($8.00) plus popcorn and a drink ($6.75) equals $14.75 or roughly $6.00/hr. One skein of $6.00 yarn will yield an evening or two of knitting pleasure or let's say 4 hours of pleasure or $1.50/hr. Its a no brainer-buy the yarn! You can't knit in the theater!

A $60.00 hank of "the most beautiful silk lace-weight yarn that you've ever seen" might sound expensive at the get go. But with our new cost per enjoyment ratio, $60 for 6 months of lace knitting is downright cheap! That's $10/mo. or $2.50 per week. Skip the Starbucks, Baby! It's that simple.

Young Steve from Pandora came over today to discuss our website or the lack of up-to-dateness of our current website. God Bless Him. Neither Janet nor I could find our notes and the office was such a mess that we had to move over to his office.

From his office next door, he gets to see all of the strange goings on at the shop. Last week he witnessed an impromptu haircut on the front porch. Today, he witnessed Big Steve (Maintenance Steve) delivering Hot Fudge Sundaes. I know he was thinking, "What kind of racket do they have going on over there?" Well Young Steve, it goes back to the enjoyment ratio. The laughs and coffee are free! Haircuts and refreshments are always appreciated but not required.

We love all of our loyal blog followers! Cost of Blog=PRICELESS!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Knitwits Book

For a couple of years now, Janet and I have been talking about writing "Our Book". You all know "Our Book"...our New York Times Bestseller and know all, tell all, be all book of knitting and everything adorable or delicious. The book that is totally great and rolling around in our heads that just needs to be slapped down on paper. Our timeline was to have it slapped down by 010.

When one of our favorite customers mentioned that she was now working at F & W Publishing, we told her about our big book plans. She then told an editor at F &W about "Our Book". Yesterday, the editor e-mailed us with some interest in "Our Book". YIKES! Her e-mail mentioned things like areas of expertise, experience, percentage of patterns vs. content, etc. YIKES! Okay, "Our Book" that in rolling around in our heads may need just a little tweaking.

Experience? Sure, we have lots of that! We've read lots of books, we've bought lots of books, we've bought lots of books from F&W, I'm on a couple of book covers, I've edited a book, I have a Borders Rewards Card and a Barnes and Noble Corporate Discount Card. Janet is almost an audio book expert, and we think "Our Book" has vast audio book potential since it allows one to knit and read simultaneously...and last night a passenger told me that I have a great broadcasting voice-perfect for reading "Our Book". He said he could listen to me read the phonebook. (In retrospect, that's now kind of creepy).

Original Patterns? Sure, we have lots of them!

Knitwits Scarf Pattern

Go to Knitwits. Pick a yarn. Go up 2 or 3 needle sizes from the recommended needle size on the ball band. Pick a number between 10 and 20. Cast on that many stitches. Knit until almost out of yarn. Bind off loosely. Ta Da!

Knitwits Wrap Pattern

See Scarf Pattern but increase one stitch at beginning of each row. Change Ta Da to Voila!

See, we have the basics figured out and done....We just need to figure out the "Knitwits" part-the part that makes "Our Book" different from all of other knitting books. The part that describes what makes Knitwits more than just another LYS (Local Yarn Shop). The part that explains why Knitwits as our LYS of choice. The part that explains how we came to embrace knitting as a part of our everyday lives and Knitwits as part of our extended family.

I may have just answered my own questions. Perhaps the missing "Knitwits" part is the part that explains how being a Knitwit means inviting and welcoming all who have an interest in yarn to enjoy the many opportunities that open up when you associate with others who don't judge your skill level, budget, size/shape, abilities and disabilities, etc.

We all have our own stories about why Knitwits is our LYS of choice. For me, Knitwits is so much more than a LYS-it is the source of so many pleasures in my life. It is the place where I can give a little and receive so much more, a place where I can share my knowledge and learn so much more from others, and a place where laughter abounds and coffee flows. Knitwits is my idea of Eden.

Feel free to share your story with us. (We'll call it reseach and development.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Food Wars Continue

I took a few days off from knitting. I few minor set backs had me put my needles down and regroup. I guess I've been too obsessed with Food Wars to concentrate on my knitting.

My lovely Ishbel was bound off too loosely and ruffled instead of laying flat so I had to put all 345 stitches back on the needles :(-binding off the second time is not as fun and is now downright laborious. My side cable pullover also went south-I didn't bring the right needles with me and tried to make due with a size 7 instead of an 8. Ripped out all the 7 stuff.
On Saturday, Janice calls me raving about the Walt Disney World Shortbread that Jill had brought to the shop for Cookie A. knitting. I was eating yet another Doubletree Chocolate Cookie. Janice wins round three!

Yesterday, Janice called to invite me to a Chicago Hot Dog Lunch. Being from Chicago, Janice knows her dogs! I am also a Hot Dog Gourmet, New York Style is my specialty, but I do enjoy a Chicago-style hot dog that I order saying "Drag it through the Garden" meaning with everything-tomatoes, cucumbers, relish, teenie tiny hot peppers, etc. I have to decline because I have an appointment with an Oral Surgeon. Hands down-Janice wins another round of food wars!

If I can't beat Janice at Food Wars, I'm going to her kick butt in what I do best (I thought it was eating well, but I guess not) -KNITTING. I'm going to hunker down with my yarn and needles and show her that I'm a better Knitwit!

PS: Next month I'm getting implants. Not the fun kind that make the Miracle Bra obsolete but Molars #17 and #18. Gotta start thinking about the Soft Food Wars.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Food Wars

It's Saturday morning and I'm in my second home, JFK Doubletree Airport. This week there is a sign on the patio that reads, "Absolutely No Smoking on Patio!" Do you think I should sign the bottom of the sign with my employee number? Or better yet, add "And no loud gum chewing!"

One of the perks of flying around is holding our own version of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", the object of the game is to eat well for the least amount of money.
I spent the first night of the trip in LGA (New York-LaGuardia). Joe's Shanghai was the ritual of our old LGA Hotel but since we changed hotels last year, my new ritual is to have dinner delivered from this place that has Killer Cannolis. I ordering a whole bunch of food like a Greek Salad and Gyro or a pizza with 3 cannolis so they think I'm ordering food for a whole family- but I really just want a bunch of canoli and don't want to sound like a little piggy.

Round One. I ordered my cannoli, hung up the phone (it is preset in phone under Killer Cannoli), and no sooner does the hotel room phone ring, delivery man in downstairs. On the way downstairs I call Janice (Flight Attendant/Knitter) to boast about my Cannolis. She's is flying with our friend Noel, is overnighting in Boston and it at Santapio's eating pizza. She's totally trumped me. She has an incredible crew, Boston beats LGA hands down, and Santapio's is listed as one of the Top 10 best Pizza Places in the country. Round One goes to Janice. I enjoy my cannolis anyway.

Round Two. I had a very early report yesterday and finished up in JFK around lunch time. I text message Janice and she blabs that she and her crew also finished early and they're enjoying a super fun day in Chicago and are just sitting down to another pizza. Next text reads," No question about which pizza is better!" Trumped again! Chicago beats JF'nK, Chicago Style deep Dish Yummy Pizza beats Warm Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookie-no contest! Round Two: Janice Again. Small consolation, I do have the better fitness center.
Our schedule requests for September have to be entered by Monday. I'm going to bid based on the quality of the overnights. I'm going for good pizza or other noteworthy local cuisine, quality knitting time, free wi-fi or business center, comfortable bed, nice treadmill. Just wait til next month Janice!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


When we met with the last round of yarn reps for the big Fall buy, we especially enjoyed our meeting with Linda of Classic Elite. She has always been a favorite and she is a pleasure to work with and a class act. Linda used to sell Makita power tools and knit on the side. Now, she sells yarn and rarely has time to knit. She really fits in with the Knitwits bunch. I always get inspired by her finished objects and ooh and awe over her samples. On this last visit, Linda showed us a book she had picked up at a Chicago yarn shop, Whimsical Little Knits by Ysolda Teague. The book was darling and we knew we had to have it-but she didn't carry it and didn't know who did!

After our meeting, I was trolling around on Ravelry and I kept seeing the name Ysolda Teague popping up in various places. Ysolda has a pattern called Ishbel that is very popular. It is a simple, lacy, triangle scarf that can be made as a neckwrap or shawl. It is listed as having 2414 projects in the works and the pattern just came out in January! This is the new Clapotis. I must get on the bandwagon and knit an Ishbel!

I spent hours on the internet trying to locate Whimsical Little Knits which includes the Ishbel pattern. All of my surfing kept leading me to her homepage and not a distributor. I googled Whimsical Little Knits which led me to several blogs raving about the book and my little Ishbel--but no one seemed to have the book available. It was like trying to find a Wii two years ago.

I finally cracked and ordered the books through her webpage. The books finally arrived last Wednesday and I immediately grabbed my copy and the last lone skein of Pagewood Farms Yukon in yummy tangerine to take on my last trip. I got a good bit of my Ishbel knit up, ripped it out due to operator error, re-knit and came home with about half of it completed. In the peace, quiet and mess that I call home, I have spent the last few evenings alone with my Ishbel and I'm halfway through binding off the final 345 stitches.

There is something delightfully challenging yet rewarding about knitting lace. With each pattern row you hold your breath hoping the stitch count comes out right. Ahh, the satisfaction when it does! Or the agony of defeat when you have seven stitches left and the pattern says you should have six! (I immediately think "This pattern is wrong.") But, the pattern was always right and it is well written.

Well, I'm off to finish my Ishbel-I hope to drop it off on my way to the airport in the morning. I have really enjoyed knitting my little Ishbel and hope to enjoy wearing it for a long time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Okay, I'm back from yet another trip. Except for a couple of incidents, this trip was fairly smooth. I was flying with a good crew (which is really important-yet rare), the other flight attendant was the poor soul who was with me for the Coke Bomb experience. Ailsa (she calls herself Lisa) seemed to have recovered from that incident and was happy to see me.

The first leg from CVG (Cincinnati) to ORD (Chicago O'Hare) went without incident. It was the next flight from ORD to JFK that put a glitch in our giddy-up. We boarded up most of our passengers and we were told that we were waiting for 2 more. Well, a 30-ish man showed up and he appeared to have had a few cocktails. After a few more minutes a 50-ish year old woman showed up and she too seemed to have had a few. We referred to them as Drunk 1 and Drunk 2. We got them to their seats and closed the boarding door.

As we're doing our demonstration routine, we notice that Drunk 2 is on her phone and crying hysterically. I stop my thang and ask her if she is okay and tell her that her phone should be turned off. We proceed with the seat belt thing and again she is on her phone and sobbing even louder. I ask her if I can get her anything and through her crying she yells, "Alcohol! Liquor!" I say no and tell her to hang up the phone. We finish our schpeel and start to taxi out to the runway when the flight attendant call buttons start dinging. The passengers seated around Drunk 2 are ratting on her that she's still on her phone. At this point, Lisa decided that we should return to the gate and she can get off and finish her phone call in ORD. I call the pilots to go back to the gate to remove Drunk 2.

When we arrive back at the Gate, the baggage handlers have already removed Drunk 1's suitcase and have it on the Jetway. (They apparently knew the condition of the late arriving passengers). We tell them that Drunk 1 is staying and that it was Drunk 2 that was being removed. At this point 4 policemen, assorted Delta, TSA and airport people swaarm the plane. I guess they mean business when you ask to return to the gate. Drunk 2 was escorted off the plane but she did leave us a little note on her now vacant seat apologizing for being such a problem.

The rest of the day was uneventful-didn't get much knitting done. Day two went without incident-started my Ishbel from Ysolda Teague's Whimsical Little Knits. But day three was another story.

I had a fairly late report so I ripped out my Ishbel (read pattern wrong) and started over again and I was eating my lunch on the outdoor patio at the Doubletree JFK Airport. Behind me was a woman chewing gum and smoking. She was chewing like cow and cracking that gum like a machine gun. I had to shoot her the stink eye a few times and she finally left. AAAh, peace and quiet, a nice sunny day, a delicious hamburger with crispy french fries .....and I smell smoke-not like cigarette smoke but FIRE! I look around and notice the garbage can where the gum cracker was sitting is now on fire. I run inside and tell the bellman that there's a fire outside and go back outside to retrieve my burger. By now, the fire is now engulfing the garbage can and shooting out the side. I run back inside and the bellman tells me that help is coming. As a flight attendant and trained in CPR, first aid, self defense and fire fighting, and put on my thinking cap and got into fire fighting mode. I crashed a Mary Kay Cosmetics Convention in the Ballroom, grabbed 2 pitchers of water and doused the flames. By the time help arrived, the fire is extinguished and just smoldering.

The fun never ends. I thought the Doubletree would at least give me an extra Chocolate Chip Cookie or buy my lunch-but no such luck. :(

I'm glad to be back in the zipcode for a few days. I have really enjoyed working on my Ishbal-I think I'm about eighty percent done. It's just enough knitting and just enough lace to keep your attention without feeling overwhelmed. It does require some concentration-not great for fire fighting. Side Cable Sweater got put on hold, didn't have necessary needles in notions bag. Ipod cozy may be too snug for ipod-I stuck a banana in it and it protected the banana from bruising while in my flight bag. Brilliant!

Someone please remind me to pick up some Goosepond Stitch markers for Socks-my stitch markers are too big for #2s, some double points for Side Cable Sweater and the new Interweave Knits!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Lately, I've been very easily distracted. All it takes is a shiny object, a new shipment of yarn, a cute pattern, a penny on the ground...whatever it was that I was busy doing is now forgotten. Stay focused!

The latest distraction is Twitter. I don't know why but I was impelled to get on the bandwagon. I haven't tweeted yet but I have been twitted...by our friend Steve (of course). Not Pandora computer Steve or Maintenance Steve but other Steve-- Comair Steve and dear friend of Janet's. Comair Steve was kind of the last person I thought would be on Twitter--he's my age. He does send text messages and he is on Facebook--Let's call him Hip Steve. Hip Steve's tweet really caught me off guard. I had no sooner pressed the enter key and my iphone ting-ed me that I had a new message, lo and behold Hip Steve was saying "Hi" and welcoming me to the Twitter Generation.

Signing up was easy, coming up with a screen name was a whole other story. I guess I could have used my name like most people, but I wanted to be somewhat anonymous. I tried Knitwit-taken, knittertwitter, can't use twitter in name, my usual screen name, taken, on and on--even Junko was taken. I choked and typed in "knitteratnight". I had no intention of being "knitteratnight" but that name was accepted-just my luck :(. They didn't even ask me if I was sure that I really wanted to use that stupid name-it just suddenly appeared on my screen. So "Knitteratnight" it is.

So..where was I?

Oh yes, I casted on and started a bunch of new stuff this home stretch. I started an ipod cozy in Soxx Appeal. The yarn is really fun to work with-it's like knitting with bubble gum. I thought it would be a one night wonder but, on #1.5 needles-not so much. I'll take it on my next trip as a kill time project. I also started a Side Cable Pullover in Kathmandu Aran. This is a new pattern that just came in and it looks like the PERFECT weekend, lounging around, comfy, no-frills (cables don't count) sweater. It is knit entirely in one piece, in the round, from the bottom up-no seams. Somehow, I managed to get about 6" done between my distractions this evening. Considering that it is knit in the round, this is almost a one night wonder. Now, its too big to take in my flight bag.

Raisin Bran, Q-Tips, Oreos and CuddlDuds---accept no substitutes! I'm jumping around because we are meeting with the Kosher Cowboy tomorrow morning. He called this evening and said he was riding through town tomorrow. He is the Rowan yarn rep and they carry a yarn called Kidsilk Haze. This is the only mohair that I like and I've been pining for it for years! Like Raisin Bran, Q-Tips and Oreos, there is no acceptable substitute!

I hope I like tweeting as much as I like blogging. If I do I'll tweet you the update on Kidsilk Haze and anything else that distracts me from knitting Janet's Waistcoat Sweater in size M.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guinea Pig

I'm back and a little tired from killing time for four days. And No, I wasn't bored enough to knit guinea pig sweaters! Ya Gotta Love Google Image Search!

I've decided that I have turned into the shop guinea pig! I'm the one who tests the new patterns, and yarns and anything else that comes into the shop. I'm the "Mike-ey" of the yarn kingdom. Its kinda fun being the guinea pig-I get to test the square knitting needles, the new yarns, the mystery punch that Janet concocts, etc. I'm also guilty of rooting around in the office for leftover kid's club snacks, microwave popcorn, Frito's, girl scout cookies and anything else left behind.

The square knitting needles were fun to knit with. The cable on the square circulars (if there is such a thing) is really flexible like a red licorice shoestring. It doesn't spoing up like some cables do. The square needle part is very easy to hold and seems to be easier on the forearms when knitting for long periods of time. I used them for six straight hours to knit the Baby Bolero sweater in the car on the way back from Janet's cabin in Montreat, North Carolina. I give them the thumbs up and I wasn't expecting to like them. I thought they would be gimmicky.

Malabrigo was another guinea pig project. The first test was the Amanda Hat. Love at first stitch. Next, was the Malabrigo Loafer. This was true love-the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern. I'm now obsessed with researching patterns for Malabrigo. I think anything would be lovely in the stuff--but I'm thinking of something along the lines of fingerless gloves for texting in cold weather ( no thumbs and open finger tips). Two thumbs up on the Malabrigo. I foresee new colors in the very near future.

I've also been doing some pretty thorough research on Noro. This stuff is fascinating and the possibilities are endless. I've done a bunch of Noro experiments from the Faux Fairisle Hat, a Lizard Ridge Pillow, Rippled Silk Garden Vest, Kimono Jacket to a Log Cabin Wall hanging. If you need some ideas for Knitting Noro, I have them.

We just got a whole bunch of new patterns in and I'm test driving the Baby Moc Socks in Comfort DK-really cute. I didn't get the gauge quite right on the first one so the second one is still on the needles. I hope I don't have second moc-sock syndrome. I'm also guinea pigging a Heritage Fiber Publication Handwarmer Pattern and I'm using Panda Soy sock yarn. Really liking the yarn. It is very soft and lovely. The handwarmer is knit on #2 needles in K1P1 rib and is slightly tedious-good for killing time when your flights are cancelled or delayed. The Heritage Patterns are well written and instructional-we will be using them for many fall classes. They are the source for our Knitting Boot Camp Materials. Two thumbs up again!

With all of the new arrivals from our TNNA shopping spree, this guinea pig has lots of knitting to do. Llama, alpaca of all shapes, blends and weights, Glimmer, glitz.....I'm like a kid in a candy store. Thank goodness I'm the flight attendant who doesn't fly!