Monday, June 13, 2011

Long Time No Blog

This is NOT my Living Room...but my spare bedroom is starting to resemble this!

It has been a very long time since my last blog.
I've been very, very busy but I can't tell you what I've been busy doing. Funny how that works. The pace of my life has been so frantic that I haven't had the mental energy to organize my thoughts enough to blog!

Today is the first day in a very long time that I don't feel like I'm running a race that I haven't trained for. I have a bunch of stuff to do but nothing that "has to be done" by a certain time. Phew! My usual breakfast is coffee and two Aleve, but today....just coffee!

Let me spend this Funday Monday quickly catching you up on my life.
I'm still trying to knit 12 sweaters in 12 months, I'm still flying, I'm still eating my way through Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with my Valentine and I'm still starting way more projects than I'm finishing. Friends have had babies and are having babies, have finalized adoptions and have watched their babies graduate. On the flip-side, friends have also had to say goodbye to loved ones. It's been an emotional few months. It seems that my "knitting completion factor" increases with my emotional state and the pressure of having a deadline imposed by Jill or an e-News commitment. The happier I am the more completion. The more stress I feel, the more scattered my attention becomes.

Writing a blog is very therapudic...it allows my thoughts to surface and my slow typing allows the thoughts to formulate. As I write this blog entry, I'm am thinking about quick and easy knitting projects for the summer and a Fall project plan to carry Knitwits through the Fall, Holidays and dreaded Winter. I am hoping that blogging will help me decide what to focus on.

I am blogging because I am inspired. Janet, Jill, Sheryl and I went to Columbus yesterday for the BIG TNNA yarn market. It used to be so overwhelming to see the millions of vendors and booths. This year, we walked the Columbus Convention Center with the intention of buying nothing and just soaking it all in. We ended up buying a few things, reordering a few things, and Janet and I had our hair done. We're real suckers for give-aways, good snacks and things that are sparkly. Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves and realized that we had a pretty good handle on our inventory and offerings. The vendor booths were good sources of both inspiration and "what not to do".

As we formulate our Knitwits plans for the future, we're leaning towards doing knit-a-long activities that teach new skills and keep knitters accountable for completing projects. For the summer, we're knitting Monsters, doing freeform knitting evening bags, and working on the Knitwits Scarf-a-Long, In my mental queue, I have a Fair Isle bag or toy, a mystery blog-a-long colorwork baby sweater and assorted other baby stuff, and starting the "12,000 Gifts of Christmas". For the Fall and beyond, I'm thinking about Knitivities, a Stocking-A-Long, a sweater knit-a-long and a million or two other projects.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the Blog-A-Long. I think I'll spend the rest of the day working on the details. Ciao!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Triple Ds

During my last trip, we had a three hour break to kill in JFK. We, the crew consisting of two flight attendants and two pilots, stayed on the plane and hung out. We all had iPhones, so the four of us sat in First Class, caught up on emails, texted, youtubed, facebooked and googled...and enjoyed each others company.

I do love my iPhone but I'm not very good at smartphoning. :-(
Is there an App Store at Kenwood Town Center?
How did we waste time before the smartphone?

It's fun to be with people who really know how to effectively use their smartphones. John, Chris and Katy (my Captain, First Officer and the other flight attendant respectively) really know how to work their phones with ease and grace. I, on the other hand, fumbled around looking for my glasses, hmming and hawing and continually asking "How do I.....?" Eventually, I ran out of iPhone skills and picked up my knitting.

The Captain is the crew member who sets the tone for the whole trip. Some Captains are all business, some are more laid back, some are resentful of the state of affairs in the airline industry and some are just plain weird. Capt'n John has been with Comair for 31 years. He is number 4 on the pilot seniority list and still enjoys his job. His attitude is that all of his crew members are professionals and should act accordingly but we may as well have a good time while were doing our jobs.  Bless his Heart!

Capt'n John is passionate about searching for the best dining options available for wherever he is and he's generous about sharing his findings... and making sure that his crew never goes hungry or thirsty. He has an App that he put on my phone called GateGuru, that is a great resource that posts security wait times, airport food, shops and services and airport maps for over 115 airports across the US, Canada and Europe. He also put a link for TV Food on my phone so I can find restaurants that have been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channels.

Capt'n John loves his "Triples Ds". For those of you who aren't fans of the Food Network, that stands for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. During the trip he worked his trusty iPhone searching for "Triple Ds" in Boston. He worked his iMagic and arranged for a fabulous and memorable meal at Rino's Place in East Boston. He made our dinner reservation before we took off in JFK for Boston and was told that it would be a 3 hour wait--perfect timing! He then arranged for transportation and luggage storage all via iPhone and tipped our van driver handsomely.

Forty minutes after landing in Boston and five minutes after the hotel van dropped us off at Rino's, our table was ready! The restaurant has 14 tables and the 13 other tables were so engrossed in their meals that they barely noticed the Flight Crew in full uniform entering the restaurant. I loved the atmosphere, I loved the food, I loved the friendly wait staff and I really enjoyed the company of my fellow crew members (I would have felt silly if I were the only one in uniform). All of my expectations of this "Triple D" were exceeded from the Limoncello Shrimp and Asparagus appetizers to the Tiramisu and peach sorbet desserts! The portions were larger than huge--the homemade raviolis were bigger than my hand!

I took pictures of the fabulousness that was served but my iPhotography is terrible!
Capt'n John's Watch and iPhone

Clean Plate Club
The first photo is a great action shot of Capt'n John taking a photo of our food covered table. The second photo is what was left of the tiramisu. Someone needs to come up with a phone camera that I can use and a smell-o-vision app so you can get the full experience.

This four day trip was one of the rare trips that makes me love doing the whole flight attendant thing. When you have a good crew, good weather and an iPhone, it doesn't even feel like you're working. What other job could I have that pays me to have such enjoyable adventures while still on the clock?

What a wonderful and blessed life I have. I get into uniform and I get to see, dine and experience places that most only see on TV and I get out of my uniform and spend time doing what I am most passionate about- knitting and hanging out with Knitwits. I AM living the dream! 

P.S.  Thank you all for the concern that you had for my family members in Japan. According to my mom, everyone is accounted for and doing the best they can. Let's not forget how fortunate we are!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Am....a Knitwit!

I was given a writing assignment two weeks ago that I just can’t seem to accomplish. My Life Coach, Janet, and her Life Coach, Karyn, asked me to write two paragraphs, one titled “I Am...” and the other “I Am Not...”

This assignment should be very easy for a blogger.  I really enjoy writing the Knitwits blog and revealing little “I Am...” and “I Am Not...” snippets. Over the years, this little Knitwits blog has morphed from a simple knitting blog to an online diary for me (a knitter and a Knitwit) to share opinions, ramblings and personal events. Last month, the Knitwits Blog had 894 readers. Yikes! 

Why can’t I do this assignment?  Why can a very private person blab so freely and reveal so much in a blog for the whole world to read (or at least 894 people) and clam up when writing two little paragraphs for a private audience?

When I get “The Flash”, the idea for my next blog and not a middle-age moment, I sit down at the computer and start typing. The words and thoughts just pour out of my head and three of my fingers start fumbling about the keyboard, hunting and pecking for the right keys, trying to keep up with the ramblings. It is much easier for me to tell the faceless keyboard my thoughts than it is to tell a person. Blogging is very much like revealing a secret but doing it in a very public manner. Perhaps, the revealed secrets are what blog readers enjoy.

So, why no blog last week and why no "I Am..." and no "I Am Not..." paragraphs?
Well....Last week, I was in the Knitwits office talking to one of our favorite yarn reps and a cup of hot coffee tipped over and landed in the keyboard of my treasured MacBook.

When the coffee incident first happened, I said some bad words, turned the treasured McBook upside down and yanked out the battery. In yet another act of newly found bravery, I turned the caffeinated MacBook on and.....bright orange, blinky stripes appeared and then everything went black! Ruh Roh!

I somewhat calmly made an appointment with the Apple "Genius" at the "Genius Bar" and I was off to the iHospital, the Apple Store in Kenwood Town Center. As you all know, I don't drive if it can be avoided, I don't drive in Ohio, I don't make left hand turns and I don't have any sense of direction. But, desperate times call for desperate measures! Off I bravely went.....

In my panicked state, I took the Columbia Parkway exit instead of heading towards Columbus. Mistake #1. Unless you drive over a cliff, there is nowhere to make a right hand turn on Columbia Parkway, so I was forced to make a left. Mistake #2. When I saw the "Welcome to West Walnut Hills" sign, I knew I was in trouble. I called Janet. Call went to voicemail. Mistake #3. Janet called me back when she found her phone and said, "Heeeeeey! Watcha doin?" and I rambled something about coffee, computer, Ohio, West Walnut Hills, and how'd I get to UC.  I saw a sign for 75, so we discussed if I wanted 75N or 75S.  I don't remember which one I took, but it was the right choice. Mistake #4 averted.

I made it to Kenwood Town Center 15 minutes before my "Genius" appointment. Phew. I entered the mall and looked at the directory to locate the Apple Store. Who is the "genius" who designs those Mall directories. The only thing I could find was the "You are Here" sticker.  I eventually found the Apple store with 2 minutes to spare.

I explained the coffee situation to my "genius" and he took my treasured MacBook to the mysterious backroom. After what seemed like days, he returned with the verdict. "Your hard drive is fine but we'd like to keep your computer for a few days and blah blah blah". I didn't hear anything after "hard drive fine" and "keep computer".  I was leaving for a four day trip in the morning and I'd be leaving without my treasured MacBook!  I only got lost once on the drive home.

While I was on my trip, I tried writing stuff on my iphone with little success. I don't know what's worse, the teeny tiny keypad or the auto-suggest spelling feature. For this blogger, blogging without her treasured MacBook is like knitting with Red Heart Yarn...it just doesn't feel right!

I got back from my trip too late on Saturday Night to go to the Apple Hospital. So today, I was able to retrieve my treasured MacBook (thanks to the kindness of my Valentine volunteering to drive) and voila, like magic I blog.

Sorry that I've digressed from the original "I Am..." and "I Am Not..." problem. The real problem is that "I Am...a Knitwit!" and for a Knitwit... Nothing is Simple! We have this habit of turning simple tasks into monumental projects. For instance, knitting a Central Park Hoodie turns into "Knit 12 sweaters in 12 Months", writing two little paragraphs turns into writing a series of books, "What should I make for dinner?" turns into enrolling in the Culinary Institute, etc.

No wonder my email name is ufojunko. UFO in knitting speak is UnFinishedObject. Just staying true to the name!  Writing a blog is like knitting a one-skein project-they are quick and easy to finish in just one evening.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 21, 2011


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” 
William Arthur Ward

We wrote KNITWITS on a loaf of stale Italian Bread and stuck it between DAYTON and DENVER

I was deadheading (that's airline speak for riding as a passenger as part of your assignment) on a flight from LGA to CVG (that's airline speak for LaGuardia to Cincinnati) and when we reached cruise altitude, I had a light bulb moment...I complain way too much and express my Gratitude way too little.
Several things probably caused this relevation to surface. First, Janet has been studying to become a Life Coach. (She doesn't realize that she has been serving as my life coach for years.) She shares her studies and findings with me daily and it has resulted in some soul searching and surprising self discovery. Second, the week of vacation in the Caymans gave me the perfect opportunity to talk, dream, and reassess. And finally, when I expanded my "Comfort Zone" with my new found bravery, the number of opportunities that presented themselves also expanded and my abilities are unlimited when tested.

During a Cayman conversation, Janet asked me "What would you want to do if I weren't a flight attendant?" After a momentary pause, I answered "We're doing it!" I would want to travel, have a little yarn shop and share the craft I enjoy so much with others. How could I not realize that I was already living my dream?

I have so much to be thankful for and I have been taking it all for granted. I have my health, a home, a new car and an old car I can't seem to part with. I have a job that pays the bills, the "job of my dreams" and I am surrounded with family, good friends and good friends that are like family. Thank yous for everyone and the Powers that be!

While (somewhat unsuccessfully) Googling interesting fun facts, quotes and images for this blog entry, I came across the Gratitude Challenge, a 21-day project created to help you take note of life’s little blessings and to give thanks for the relationships, experiences and opportunities that make your life unique. Being an impatient kinda gal, I'm leaning more towards the "Fast-Track" Gratitude Challenge, a 7-day project created to help you take note of the brighter side of life.

On Day 1, you "Count your Blessings" and use the alphabet as a fun and quick format for taking an inventory and making your list of things you are grateful for. (Addi Lace Needles, Berroco Yarn and Cashmere...just kidding.) On Day 6, you acknowledge five people who deserve a little recognition. So, being an impatient kinda gal:

Dear Doug and Susan in Virginia, I have been wrestling with the proper way to thank you for the fabulous week as your guest in the Cayman Islands. Perhaps, a simple and heart-felt "Thank You" is a good start and I'll follow up later. I was long overdue for a vacation and our Cayman excursion exceeded every expectation. I so enjoyed meeting Elizabeth and spending time with all of you. The time away with you helped me prioritize the important things in life and filter out the unimportant things that litter my ever-growing to-do list.
Dear Knitwits, I get so much more than I give from you all. Your enthusiasm and support make it all worth while. Who knew that a little yarn shop could become such a large part of our lives?
For my Valentine, Thank you for showing me that chivalry is not a thing of the past. I am surprised by how much I appreciate white tulips, being treated like a lady and having doors opened, an arm offered when crossing the street, assistance putting on my coat, and everything else you do so naturally. I look forward to leaving the comfort zone of my zipcode and sharing new culinary finds, movies and good conversation with you.

Dear Janet and Sarah, I am grateful for both of you everyday. My life changed for the better the day I met you and you continue to make me better everyday!

Dear Blog Readers, Thank you for reading my blabs. I'm starting a Knitwits Gratitude Pledge, a super simple promise to complain less and express appreciation more. Stop by the shop, sign up and get a Frequent Buyer Yarn Card Stamp as a token of my appreciation. Now that you've reached the end of my post, here's the link for the real Gratitude Challenge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


20 years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So... sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Mark Twin, Author

Well, we’re back from the lovely Cayman Islands. We had a super wonderful vacation and had a chance to rest, relax, contemplate and knit (I tried crochet-and switched back to knitting.) We heard that the Caymans were the perfect place “to do nothing” and that was what we planned to do. But, on the first full day there....we found Bravery and changed our plans!

It took one simple act of Bravery to change the course of our vacation and our lives. Our vacation planners, Doug and Susan from Virginia and their daughter Elizabeth, arranged for a private island boat trip with Capt’n Chris. He would take us out on his boat from Rum Point and show us the beauty of the island and places to swim with Sting Rays and snorkel the reefs. Janet and I were excited to go and planned to knit and watch the others. We made a pact that getting into the water was not in our plans. 

When we docked in the middle of the Sting Ray area, Capt’n Chris gave us the dos and don’ts of swimming with sting rays- there were more don’ts than dos. Janet and I were convinced that Sting Rays were not something that we wanted to swim with and spending the day in a wet bathing suit was not appealing.

I don’t know exactly what happened but when the others went overboard. I felt that if I didn’t go too I would really be missing something. I announced to Janet, “I’m going in!” Next thing you know, I’m having a back massage from a very large female sting ray. Janet joined us but was more reluctant to touch the sea monsters. Eventually, we both petted them, held them, swam with swarms of them and even feed ‘em. We really felt energized by the experience and our new found bravery. (It was a great adventure until Capt’n Chris decided to hold me like a sting ray and give me a back massage-but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.)

We pulled up anchor and went to a nearby coral reef area for snorkeling. Janet and I made a pact to sit out this activity and knit. We feared that we would get lost, confused and unable to see anything with the scuba masks and our “over-forty eyes” without eyeglasses. I must have feared being left on the boat with Capt’n Chris more because next thing you know, I’m gearing up and telling Janet that “I’m just going to stick my mask into the water ”. When I saw what was underneath the surface of the water an instant calm came over me and I was totally amazed by the underwater world. I eventually surfaced and yelled to Janet, “You gotta see this!” To actually experience the sights and sounds of the turquoise water, plantlife and colorful fish was amazing and I’m glad we didn’t miss it!

The rest of the boat trip was more of the same. The beautiful blue water held an unexpected world of excitement, color and amazement as did the marinated conch that Capt’n Chris concocted (conch-octed) for the ride home. It is very difficult to eat marinated conch on stale saltines while riding on a bumpy boat in gale force winds.

From our Cayman house, the ocean was 60 feet away and the beach was littered with shells, sea glass, hermit crabs and other sea treasures. We spent a great deal of time on the beach and in the water. We walked the beach every morning and collected “Brain”- washed up coral that looked like brains. I snorkeled ever chance I had and never got over the amazement of the sights. With our newfound bravery, Janet and I decided that it was time to stop talking about the things we want to do and start doing them. First up on our list was to start writing our “Knitwits Book.” With macbooks, ipads, iphone and intermittent internet service, we stopped talking and started writing. Stay tuned....

We practiced Bravery for the remainder of our Island life. Janet even drove our rental car which is amazing because on day one, she couldn’t even sit in the car with her daughter, Sarah, driving from the right seat on the left side of the road. I was brave during a moment of wi-fi connectivity and emailed a very nice man with the message, “Will you be my Valentine?” ( and “No”, it was not Capt’n Chris.)

Well, the trip home was bittersweet. It is hard to leave paradise (especially when traveling “non-revenue”-that’s airline talk for standby). I was subject to additional security screening at the Grand Cayman Airport. When the inspector opened my suitcase and saw more yarn than clothing, she had to ask “What’s up with that?”  I told her about Knitwits and she told me than she was a crocheter but getting yarn on the island was very difficult. I asked her if I could give her a skein of Comfort from my aborted crochet project and she said that because there were witnesses and my search was complete, she was able to accept the yarn. The other inspector chimed in and mentioned that she was a knitter. So, it was lovely parting gifts of Berroco Yarn Company Comfort for everyone in the additional security room. Janet had a layover in Miami, which is now similar to being in a foreign country. With paradise behind us, we were returning to our lives but we were returning with our Bravery Awards and a bag of Brain.

I’ll now attempt to wrap up this rather lengthy blog post.
Since returning to the 41017, we no longer have to practice Bravery-it is now a way of life. I’ve been driving on the highways (although, I still don’t know which one is 75 or 275) instead of navigating circuitous routes that require only right hand turns, I’ve returned all of phone messages from the shop, and I’ve been working on the Knitwits book.

During one of our intermittent island wi-fi connections, I received the following e-mail response from the very nice man: “Absolutely  :)”. No Singles Awareness Day this year!
Yesterday was Valentines Day and my Valentine showed up on time and with a bouquet of white tulips and a card. The very nice man took me to Virgils in Bellevue, a cozy little place that has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The menu is fantastic and the food is even better! Who knew that paradise existed in Bellevue?

I think paradise can be found everywhere-sometimes you just need to leave your comfort zone and experience it with good company.

Monday, February 7, 2011


February 14th can be viewed as Valentine's Day or Singles Awareness Day, depending upon your current circumstances.  It's only February 7th...so there's still time for Prince Charming to come looking for me....but he better have GPS 'cause I'll be out of the country and on vacation!

We're heading to the Cayman Islands. They're the islands just under the under belly of Cuba (which Janet has taken to pronouncing as COO-Bah.) It has been a very long time since I took a vacation and I'm very out of practice, which is so odd since I spend most of my time traveling. We hear that the Caymans are the perfect place to do nothing!

When I finished up my Comair gig on Saturday Night, I TXTed Janet. We are very amateur TXT-ers and we've been practicing since this will be our main (aka cheapest) method of communication while away. Our TXT conversation went something like this:

Junko:       VACATION!!!!!
Janet:         Hoooooo! Hoooooo!
Junko:       Watcha packing?
Janet:         2 bathing suits, one Miracle Suit (hope it works), 2 nylon shorts, schoo-bah shoes, etc.
Janet:         and 12 lipsticks
Janet:        and a little sleeping bag thing. its soooooo cute...and flip flops.
Janet:        and I found my old prescription Schoo-bah mask so I can see if we schoo-bah with the sting rays. 
Janet:        will you bring a Chibi? (that's a needle for sewing up loose yarn ends)
Janet:        I'm not bringing a raincoat are U?
Janet:        I forgot to diet :-(

All of that TXTing took a little over an hour because first you have to find the "over-forty" reading glasses, then find a place with decent light, and then your endlessly struggling with the auto-correct spelling feature that replaces "thong" for "thing" and George Clooney for Chibi. More practice needed.

I dump out my suitcase of "work" clothes and try to fill it with "play" clothes but I can't seem to grasp that I don't need to pack Cuddl Duds and Spanx. And more importantly what knitting do I bring?

I can't find my 95% finished Cockcrow. It has been MIA for about a week now. If anyone finds my red Cockcrow, TXT me.
I finished the sleeve for my Crescent Springs Hoodie in Debbie Bliss Gray Donegal Tweed and the shop sold the rest of the yarn while I was away.  Is this a do-over or a re-order more yarn?
I goofed up something on my Girasole and I don't have the mental energy to frog a couple of rows (each row has 240 stitches).
I know what I'll bring...Crochet! I'm going to crochet a baby blanket.

So, there you have it. I'm on my way to the KMans (TXT talk for Caymans), I have 2 bathing suits, a Chibi, schooba shoes, flip flops, sandals, running shoes (I like shoes), 12 lipsticks, 5 skeins of Comfort and a Crochet Hook #H.

Good friends and yarn are always great company!
Should Prince Charming drop by the shop while we're away, tell him to TXT us and "Yes" we will be back in time for Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Method to the Madness

There is sooooo much that goes on behind the scenes at Knitwits. We meet with various yarn reps to found the latest, greatest yarns and patterns, we dream up classes, KALs and clubs, we write blogs and agonize over e-mails and we try to promote everything with Ravelry, Facebook and anything else we can think of. But the truth of the matter is...we're Knitwits and things happen the Knitwits way!

Has this ever happened to you? You're looking up something on Ravelry and the next thing you know you end up on someone else's blog.  It happens to me all of the time!

I start reading their blog (although I'm really looking for the Free Pattern) and I realize that they're blog is more interesting than mine, prettier than mine and really well organized. Well, Whatever! The unpredictability and randomness of our Knitwits blog keeps you on your toes. In what "appears to be a disorganized mind"*, there is a method to the madness.

*note: in flight attendant speak, someone who has had way too much to drink is referred to as a passenger who "appears to be intoxicated."

Here is a sample of "The Madness Method" in action.

I decided that it would be fun to do a non-sweater KAL for intermediate to advanced non-sweater knitters. My Mystery KAL has been going well and I'd like to step up game.

First, I troll around on Ravelry for inspiration. I look at various galleries, yarns, patterns and interesting groups and discussion boards. I type in a yarn, say Shepherd's Wool, and then I'll search the projects that Ravelry-ers have posted. Or, I'll type in a designer, Stephen West and Jared Flood are current favorites. Or, I'll be on the Knitwits Group page and see something in the Gallery.  It really doesn't matter what the search is...I get distracted from the "real" task at hand and I end up on some random blog!

Next, I start reading the random blog. This morning, the random blog was Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Award Winning Blog. I was happy to land there because she's was blogging about "start-itis" and "finishup-itis", two "itises" that I suffer from too. She mentions that her favorite current designer is Spilly Jane Knits.

The next thing you know, I must know why Steph is addicted to Spilly Jane Knits so I click on the link. I'm back in Ravelry and I'm loving all of the Spilly Jane Knits designs. They are full of humor, whimsy, colorwork, cuteness and everything that makes me forget about a non-sweater KAL.

I'm just about to cast on a pair of Hippo Mittens called William it was Really Nothing when I stop myself-I stop myself because I can't find the right size needle not because it would be insane to start another project. I then remember that there was a baby blanket with Hippos that I wanted to knit, so I go searching through My Queue.

Alas, I found it! They we not Hippos, they were Monkey Faces. And the blanket is actually two blankets sewn together.  It's very cute, but a lot of knitting and a guaranteed UFO that I'm probably the only person that would want to knit it. Non-sweater KAL for One? Back to the drawing board.

I return to my Queue and I see Girasole.
I remember Girasole! It's a round, lacy blankets/shawl, by Jared Flood, great charted pattern. You can knit it in any weight yarn. This could be it! Yay!!!!

I downloaded the pattern for $6.50 from Brooklyn Tweed and I think it would be perfect for a KAL. The pattern is really well written and charted out with big, easy to read charts! The lace is divided into sections and charted out so that each section can be a KAL assignment. The project looks intimidating, but many of the folks that knit it, commented on how easy and quickly the project knit up.

I really like the Girasole knit up in Classy, a 100% merino wool, hand dyed, worsted weight, superwash yarn by Dream In Color. We carry Starry, Smooshy and Everlasting from Dream In Color, but we don't carry Classy.......yet.  So, you guessed it-I next click on the link to the Dream In Color (DIC) colorcards and I want to order every color!

I notice that Color Series 100 looks familiar and I remember the Tulips Cardigan that is in my Queue.
I really wanted to knit the Tulips Cardigan for a friend's new baby but it takes 8 colors of Classy. Wait a minute, if we order every color of Classy, I could knit my Tulips Cardigan. Lightbulb moment, we could kit up the Classy into Tulip Cardigan Kits because you only need a little bit of each of the 7 colors! Kit and Class! Brilliant!

Anyone interested in Dream in Color Classy, a Girasole KAL or a Tulips Cardigan Kit and class? I need some positive feedback in order to plug my desire to place an order for some DIC Classy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

12 Sweaters in 12 Months

I've gotten some flack about my New Year's resolution to knit 12 sweaters in 12 months. To clarify the goal, I plan to knit 12 "wearable" sweater during 2011. To define "wearable", I mean ends woven in, buttons sewn on, blocked and worn to the shop at least once. I think I should get half-credits for sweaters that were cast on in 2010.

While most of the comments have encouraged my endeavor, a few remarks mentioned my size. (The Barbie Doll comment hurt). Nonetheless, after 22 days--I am still on track!

As I write this, the first sweater, Cockcrow, is on the blocking board. That's right, I just wrote blocking board! I'm serious about this endeavor and I'm swatching (sort of) and blocking. This is my first time using the blocking board and I highly encourage sweater knitters to use one. I laid Cockcrow out on the blocking board and following the schematic from the pattern, I pinned it against the grid lines. No wonder I had to break into an extra ball of Chesapeake, I had knit the darn body a full inch longer than the pattern called for. Everything else could be scrunched or stretched to measure. When I got everything pinned down, I sprayed it with Soak solution and patted it flat. Voila! My Cockcrow went from crumpled, rolled pieces jammed into a ziplock bag to something that actually resembled the picture on the pattern. Love that Blocking Board!

Also on my needles are the beginnings of my Crescent Springs Hoodie (my celtic cable version of the Central Park Hoodie), Alieta with Extra Ribbing (my version of Alieta from Chic Knits), Tea Leaves Cardigan (Madelinetosh Pattern) in Mista Alpaca Tonos, and (2010) Tussie Mussie in Rowan Felted Tweed (Knitty Pattern).

Why so many at one time?
There are several reasons (aka excuses). First, I just love starting new projects! Second, some of the sweaters (Tussie Mussie and Crescent Springs Hoodie) require charts, concentration, stitch markers, doo dads and things that I don't have while I'm on one of my trips. Third, timeliness--the hoodie needed to move up in the cue for the KAL and the Chic Knits Alieta shows the loveliness of the Chic Knits patterns (we have lots of them cuz I love 'em) and Shepherds Wool. Fourth, I suffer from knitting ADD--new patterns, magazines and yarns keep coming into the shop and I can't wait to get my grubby little needles going. Fifth, total disorganization--sometimes you just can't find the pattern, find your place in the pattern or find which knitting bag you last left the project in.  I can go on and on, but you get the picture.

I figure my start and finish ratio to be somewhere around 3:1. So, at this rate I should finish one of the above and start another 33 sweaters in 2011. Yikes! This could be a very expensive endeavor!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why I'm Wearing a Coat

One would think that someone who spends 85% of her life chilled to the bone, would like wearing coats or cozy hand-knit sweaters. I prefer to wear 12 layers of Cuddl Duds and Spanx, than wear a coat! So, why have I been wearing a coat all week? Hint: The answer is not because of the snow storm and low temperatures.

I am still dealing with the aftermath of the hot water heater explosion of August 2010. The work is coming closer to completion but life without flooring continues.

Just before Thanksgiving, I scheduled the carpet installation that would had completed the flooring repair. The new stainmaster, plush, thick, luscious carpet in a lovely shade called Montauk and the 3 carpet installers came and moved all of my living room furniture into my Feng Shui bedroom, then proceeded to rip up the old carpet in the living room. As they removed the old carpet, they uncovered several major potholes in my subfloor. They looked at me and then the potholes, and pressed down on each pothole with their boots and 250+ pound bodies and said, "Sorry Ma'am but we can't install carpeting over these potholes--we don't think it's safe."

The 300+ pound carpet guy says, "How much do you weigh?". The 250 lb. carpet guy hit him and says,"Sorry about him, but what he means to say is that if you were our size, you might just have direct access to your downstairs neighbor. You need a new sub-floor. There is nothing else we can do here today. Bye Bye."

Fast forward two months (why does construction work cease between Thanksgiving and New Years?), the living room furniture is still in my once Feng Shui-ed bedroom, the dining room furniture is now also in my bedroom, I can't get into any of my bedroom closets or dressers, there is now a fine, white powdery dust accumulating on everything I own... and they are finally removing the concrete rubble that was once my subfloor.

Because I have no access to my bedroom closets, I have been limited to wearing: A) things that were in my suitcase consisting of uniform pieces and a black turtleneck, undies, running shorts, etc. B) things that were in the dryer or C) garments from the spare bedroom closet, which consists of "Fashion Mistakes from the 70's, 80's, 90's-that I paid too much for and can't Goodwill" and the "Current Goodwill Pile".

I wore my coat all week to cover up some fashion faux pas. I wore "the world's shortest mini skirt-Vivian Westwood circa 1989 with holey black sweater", "the Skull and Cross Bones mini skirt-Jean-Paul Gaultier circa 1992 with turquoise Goodwill Sweater-Gap circa 2008" and for the other 5 days, my Justice jeans-circa 2010!

Finally, someone spoke up and asked, "Why don't you ever wear anything that you knit?' (were they curious or just being kind?) Truth of the matter is...for the amount I knit, not much is wearable! There is a bunch of one sock and one slipper wonders, baby sweaters, sweaters with only one sleeve, a really fun turtleneck sweater that I bound off the neck too tightly-I can't get my head into, a Kidsilk Haze cutey-pie sweater that I knit the pockets into on the back instead of the front,....it is too humiliating to continue.

I am hoping that progress will be made this upcoming week and: A) My Montauk carpet will replace the exposed concrete, B) my bedroom closets will soon be reopened for business, C) my resolution to knit 12 sweaters in 12 months, will vastly improve my wardrobe.

Until then, I am flying so I'm in uniform (sort of), I should have Cockcrow (Sweater #1 of 12) finished and it should stay cold enough for me too keep wearing a darned coat!