Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In fact, it is the only holiday I really like. I can't believe it's here already--I last remember celebrating the Fourth of July. Time is going way too quickly. I'd like to reschedule and postpone Thanksgiving for another week or two.

For many reasons, I'm not very excited about this year's Thanksgiving. Perhaps it just arrived too soon, and perhaps it has been an especially rough year. Time, money and motivation seem to be in short supply. My family in Atlanta will be feasting without me. It is too difficult to fly standby to Atlanta at anytime let alone during a holiday. I didn't even check the flights. Keeping up with my two jobs (Comair and Knitwits) has kept me incredibly busy. All that aside, why am I just not feeling it this year?

To answer that question, I've been reviewing my mental list of things that I am thankful for and my long list keeps growing--family, friends, a home, jobs, yarn, plentiful food, laughter, my MacBook, health....on and on. At the top of list sits our beloved Knitwits. I am overwhelmed by the number of invitations to Thanksgiving dinners I have been offered by my Knitwits family and friends. I am grateful beyond words. Knitwits stands for so many things that I enjoy--knitting, acts of service, creative thought, social interaction, use of my skills, abilities and experience, blah, blah, blah. But most of all, it is the sense of belonging that I feel at the shop. I feel very blessed to have a place like Knitwits--we do what we like, we buy what we want, we laugh and it makes me feel alive.

Blogging is very therapeutic. Through blogging I get a chance to sort out my thoughts and put words to my inner feelings. In writing this morning's blog, I realized that I have been celebrating Thanksgiving each and everyday. I am constantly thinking about the things and people that I am thankful for. I think about the best part of each day (thanks Not Steve), I savour each yummy meal as if it were a Thanksgiving feast and I know that I am cared for and loved by many, even though time, distance and other things may keep us apart.

I have chosen to stay in the 41017 this Thanksgiving. I am thankful that I had the choice to have the day off- many do not. I am looking forward to a yummy turkey dinner at Janet's. And, I look forward to seeing all of you!

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Needles are Clicking

I have been knitting up a storm and the knitting needles are clicking away.

Right now, my condo looks like a little knitting factory. This week I knit a little kid's sweater out of Plymouth Tweed. I blocked it, wove in the loose ends and everything. It's super cute and super easy!. I knit the One Skein Lima Hat because I love, love, love this yarn. I knit a Christmas stocking---good thing I only have three more to knit before Christmas. (You all know how much I enjoy knitting Christmas stockings.) And, I'm halfway through a Colourscape/Cocoon Slip stitch scarf and half way through a baby Alpaca Grande Hat. Whew! That's a lot of knitting!

Of course, there are still other projects on the needles like a kid silk haze sweater, a Felted Tweed vest, the shop owner's sweater in size medium and a Raggi sock. But at least I'm finishing some things!

It feels good to have my knit back. I had taken a little hiatus to take care of computer stuff and paperwork. The computers are up and running and the paperwork keeps piling up. C'est la vie!

The knitters at the shop have been clicking away too. Janet finished a super cute Ribbed Cowl in Misti Alpaca (this one you gotta see) and a Royal Llama cowl that ties up into a hat. Several Sock clubbers knit and kitchenered their first socks on Saturday. Mary Jo is cruising on her Cocoon sweater. Belinda has knit hats for every head in the 41017. The list goes on and on...but the finished projects are AMAZING!

Can't blab too much tonight-too busy knitting. I'll post pictures soon.
Keep the needles clicking and come buy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LIMA-Yarn of the Week

This week’s yarn of the Week is Rowan Lima. I can’t say enough good stuff about this yarn--I Love, love, Love It! I can't say enough good stuff about Lima. The Lima Collection pattern book has sold out but it is on order. The generous ball ( 110 yds) for $12.75 is a little pricey-but I think the finished product is worth it.

Lima is a new introduction from Rowan for Fall 2009. The Kosher Cowbay showed us this yarn in the Summer. The ball was somewhat unimpressive but the knitted swatch sold us and we all ooowed and aahed over it. Rowan Lima is a beautiful, heathered, worsted weight yarn with a unique hollow corded construction for maimum loft. It is incredibly light and airy. It is 84% baby alpaca,8% merino wool and 8% nylon and knits at 20 sts over 26 rows for a 4" square using US #9 needles. Yardage is 110 yards per 50g ball.

I knit a little half sweater in it and I just finished designing a one skein Men’s Hat. The hat is a really quick knit-no frills hat, designed for the man who is more function than fashion. It is fairly loose fitting to prevent "hat head", ear covering for warmth and compact enough to fit in a pocket when not worn.

I knit the hat in the round on a #7 needle. It was fun to design and fast to knit but I had to do a little tinking (aka: ripping out, tink is knit backwards) because I wanted to make the most hat from my treasured ball of Lima. Lima is a little difficult to tink-so try to avoid the process. When I knit it again I may use a #8 needle to make it slightly bigger.

Treat yourself and your special guys to a skein of Lima. This weekend (let's start the weekend on Friday), Rowan Lima will be 20% OFF and we'll throw the One Skein Hat Pattern in for FREE.

Come Buy!

Monday, November 16, 2009


In an attempt to make a dent in the ever growing “To Do Pile”, I have resorted to diversion.. some may call it procrastination. I figure that if I can make some progress in other areas, I will feel a sense of accomplishment and I will then have the mental energy to tackle my awaiting To Do List.

My current diversions include iPhone Scrabble with Not Steve, crossword puzzles, knitting up a storm, reading and watching countless dvd movies.What do all of these diversions have in common? WORDS. Yep, I said words. I have forgotten how fascinating and lovely words can be and how much I enjoy them. I was taking them for granted.

I like to start my day doing the USA Today Crossword puzzle. I think of this as an indicator of how my day will go. As an ongoing activity, I have "Words with Friends", an iPhone app that allows you to play interactive Scrabble with others. This activity certainly changes how you view words and letters. I am so obsessed that I now look at words and calculate their Scrabble point values.

I like to watch DVDs with the English subtitles on. Why? Because I love to read words and I sometimes don’t catch everything the characters are saying. While watching Pride & Prejudice (thanks Krista), I also picked up several useful words for Scrabble.

Why I’m I sharing this? Because I found that knitting is similar to the fascinating world of words.

Knitting stitch patterns are created by the combination of knit and purl stitches used, just as words are combinations of letters. When I read a knitting pattern or chart it is like figuring out my crossword puzzle. What are they really saying? I figure out the directions one clue at a time. I have been working with Mary Jo on our Cocoon Sweaters and I have to admit, the directions are really quite cryptic (17 points-good scrabble word). Together we decipher (16 points) the instructions and abbreviations and hope we get the right stitch count and the right measurements. Sometimes we solve the puzzle, sometimes we're stumped.

If only we received bonus points for SSKs, M1s and YOs! I think a good cable deserves a bonus like a "Double Word Score".

Monday, November 9, 2009

Putting IT in KnITwITs

I often blab about not getting IT-meaning information technology or whatever IT stands for. Well, I still don't get IT but somehow Knitwits now has and uses IT.

My new MacBook makes it easy to get IT, cuz I don't have to do IT-the MacBook just gets IT. My iPhone keeps me in constant contact with IT. Having Krista on board makes IT easier, she gets IT. She put Knitwits on Facebook with just a few keystrokes. Became a Fan and get instant updates and posts. Our new e-mail system called Mad Mimi uses IT. All we have to do is enter the text and Boom Done, you guys get a snappy looking e-mail and we get feedback on who's reading the e-mail, who isn't, and who's not getting the e-mail with the address we have. I love IT!

We are so into IT that we even have our staffing calendar on-line. I still manage to show up even when I'm not scheduled but I'll soon catch on. We are so into IT that we were featured in an local on-line lifestyle magazine called Cincy Chic. I'll post the link later so you don't wander off just yet. But, make sure to take a look. (I'm a little late-they have a new issue out already. Go to archived issues at the top and press on November 2nd.) Thank goodness they didn't use the picture of my hands!

We still have a long way to go with this IT thing...but we're getting there. Next on the list is updating our website. We cringe every time someone mentions that they were on our website but we're slicking it up and updating the info (it still has our old address and hours).

With this blog, Facebook, Ravelry, Mad Mimi, e-mail and other assorted IT options we have so many ways of sharing information with the world at our fingertips. IT is a very powerful and wonderful tool. IT is also very inexpensive if you have a computer or iPhone/Blackberry or all of the above.

If you're not yet on Facebook or Ravelry, I strongly suggest that you join. You can use it as much or as little as you like and it's FREE! You can control who can contact you and what information is given out. It's a great way to stay in touch with friends and family and reconnect with friends from yesteryear.

That's IT for now....you are now free to go to www.cincychic.com , www.ravelry.com and Facebook.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blog Blab

What is Black and White and Read all over? Well, it's our little Knitwits Blog!

This little blog has really taken on a life of its own. I am amazed that we have so many loyal readers and followers and I am shocked by how many responses we get to new posts, pictures, and comments or the lack of all of the above. I even have attained pseudo-celebrity status at the shop because of the blog. It's weird and very cool at the same time.

I love that there are no blogging rules and regulations that I have to follow. I get to blog whenever I want, about whatever I want and from wherever I am. There are days that I want to blog all day and there are times that I am a bad blogger and nothing gets posted for a week or so. My favorite time to blog is really late at night. That way I know that Rita Arthur will have a new post waiting for her in the morning. When I fall a little behind in my blogging, I hear about it thanks to all of you loyal but high pressure readers/addicts.

There is no rhymn or reason to when I blog or what I blog about. It just kind of happens. It started out as a way to jot down thoughts for our Knitwits book. (I also wanted to be appear young and cool like Sarah Haney's hip hop happening friend Brittany in Charlotte, N.C.) She is also why I'm on Facebook and I tried Tweeting. Gosh, to be half my age again!

I often get blog related comments like, "Are you The Junko from The Blog?", "I check my computer every morning to see if you blogged (Rita Arthur)." or "Were those really your hands? " (heard 3 times), or "My husband said he would help...but only if you blog about him" (2 anonymous spouses). But, my favorite blog comment is, "Love the blog!" That one never gets old.

Well, I gotta run. I'm in Detroit on my way to Providence RI, back to Detroit, and then to CVG. Boom Done. Four days of flying, all but one sleeve and seaming of a new sweater completed, ate way to much airport and greasy food----feels like I've been gone forever but it's only been four days. I'll be in the shop tomorrow.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Helping Hands

What the Heck? Apparently, I borrowed these hands from a one hundred year old woman. Last week, Janet and I had a photo shoot for Cincy Chic, an local on-line lifestyle magazine. They took some pictures and e-mailed us the proofs. I got proof that I need to do some serious moisturizing!

I've titled this blog "Helping Hands" because we have been very blessed to have so many willing and able hands helping us at Knitwits. There is our Handsome Bill, who has just been recruited for pumpkin removal and disposal after generously gifting us the behemoth pumpkin. There is Comair Steve, who after reading the blog about Handsome Bill sent me a e-mail with just a hint of jealousy as noted by signing off "Formerly Steve". Of course, there is Handy Steve of Belinda and Steve who is going to be "part-time Steve" as he has taken a new (paying) position at Beechwood School. We wish you all the best and know that you'll look after our little Knitwits. Pandora Steve has been a little scarce lately but we know that you're only a knock away. "Not Steve" has been giving us a hand with the new computers and keeping me sane-while at the same time making me insane. There are many others...too numerous to name...but, Chris, Jim, Dick, John, Harold, Andy and all the other husbands/others who loan us your girls-Thank You.

How can such a little shop need so much help? How can so many people be willing to help our little shop? Is it better to offer help or be helped?

I've only mentioned the men tonight because it is easier to start there. All of you (staff, friends, faithful customers, blog readers, Bills, Steves, Not Steves and UPS/FEDex guys) bring so much to the shop and make Knitwits a remarkable, rewarding and magical place. Random acts of kindness occur every time someone walks through our door. Yesterday, someone (Brooke?) left us a bottle of super duper, non-greasy, non-smelly hand lotion-boy, am I loving and needing that! I sure hope that Knitwits is able to offer helping hands to all of you in return.

Not Steve always asks me "What was the best thing that happened today?" At first, it was a little annoying and hard to answer. Now, I think it's nice to reflect upon the many good moments and pick the best single bright spot of the day. Not Steve's question is much easier to answer when I've been at Knitwits. Your many helping hands provide many Best Things.