Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hey! You! with the knitting blog! where's the knitting?

It's been a while since I've posted... work has been a bit crazy lately and then I was away from (almost) all technology for a week at my Mom's. (no computer. satellite tv had yet to be moved over/installed at new house.) Then, back to work and the crazy crazy fun times.

Last week was my vacation but before I could leave I had to face the mountain of paperwork that had backed up because my company had year-end and I couldn't do anything with the paperwork until year-end was finished. Whee. So, I somehow managed to do a whole month's worth of invoicing in 2 days (you might not find that all that impressive, so you will just have to take my word for it. I am the MAN)(you know). Then, I drove to Southern Saskatchewan to go to my cousin's wedding. My cousin, who can not possibly be that big mature guy who was wearing the tux standing beside the beautiful girl in the white dress. How did that happen? Not to mention how did I get old enough to be thinking that? Yikes.

So, I got to spend that weekend with my mom and my aunts and uncles, almost avoiding the "So, when is it going to be YOUR turn?" fun that usually comes along with a family wedding. What do you say to that? The uber-sarcastic responses that sprung to mind were quickly pushed down in order to maintain the peace. Why do people ask a single woman why she is single? I realize that some people make that choice, but it's kind of insulting to be asked all the time. Actually, people don't ask me as much anymore. Maybe they're scared I'll freak out or tell them something horrible or something. People, please. "Why aren't you married, Lori?" "Well, no one has asked me." or "I can drive, I can put up venetian blinds and I'm tall enough to reach the top shelves."

I seem to have digressed.


After the wedding, Mom and I made our way north and west to go to the town where I grew up. We stopped in Saskatoon and saw my sister and one of my nephews. It was nice to see them, I don't think I've seen them since Christmas. My sister works at a meat-packing plant and I can honestly say she has the (pardon the following if you are offended) shittiest job in the world. (She cleans out the intestines.) (seriously). Anyway, she is stubborn and a serious hard worker and I'm really proud of her for sticking with it.

Then, we headed "home". I was a bit uneasy about it, since my mom had just moved from the farm where I grew up into town and a house I had never seen. Would it feel like home? My brother and his wife had moved on to the farm. Would that feel weird?

In all, it was strange at first, but it was good overall. My mom's house is cozy, much smaller than what she is used to, but she seems happy there. My sister-in-law had changed enough in the house I grew up in that it wasn't so hard to visit there. It still is hard to imagine that it is permanent, or that I won't be in MY house for Christmas or Thanksgiving or... you know.

So, during all the crazy work and family time and visits to home/not home, I still managed to knit. Because, you know, i am compelled to. Also, because, in the land where time stands still (small town Saskatchewan) and the rain never stops having something to do is a good thing.

So, I present to you the following:

1. Wrap sweater I made to wear the wedding. I had started Isis from IWK but couldn't decide if I was going to like it. Plus, after a while, you have cast on so many stitches for the sleeves that it is sucking the will to live with each YO. So, I did this:

I based it on Knitty's Otis. I lengthened the sleeves and used a Trellis Lace stitch from my Reader's Digest Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches. Guess what I found out while knitting this simple, all over lace pattern. Go on. Guess.

All over, simple lace can be just as boring as all garter stitch or all stocking stitch!!! argh.

I used TLC Cotton Plus and it took about 4 balls and about a week-ish.

The dress was $10 (!!!) at Winners and was purchased because a) it fit me really well; b) it was $10 for crying out loud; c) the flowers on it matched the yarn I had already bought.

Yes, I planned the accessory I was making before I had the dress. I'm crazy like that.

2. Sock. (singular)

I gave Mom the socks I made her and she loved them. I cast this one on the day before I went home and worked on it at home off and on, in between other knitting.

Wanna see an action shot? Sure you do.

pretty active, huh?

3. (almost finished) Hourglass sweater

Looks pretty good, no? slightly blurry, yes, but good. Well, um...

this is my "i can't believe i didn't realize that with my gauge being bigger than called for i should have added decreases to avoid the off the shoulder look" look

Of course I didn't try it on and got so excited about the cool bind off method that I got the neckband all tacked down before I realized how wide the neck would be. So, it is in time-out while I finish some other projects and work up the resolve to unpick the neck band and tear back to before the turn. Sigh.

(oh yeah, this is what became of the yarn I dyed a while ago)

4. Incredibly Boring Sweater, the sequel.

Look at it, lying there, waiting to be seamed. Somehow, the fact that I will earn a little cash with this one makes it all better.

5. Teeny Tiny Hoodie!!
knit, seamed and waiting on an edging/button band.


My sister-in-law (and brother, though I think she did most of the work) had the babies!!! Nicholas (sp?) and Logan (also sp??) were born Sunday evening. I can't wait to see them, and frankly, although I think they'll be good parents, I really can't believe my little brother is a DAD!!

So, I think that's it.

Oh, wait, there's this sneak peak:

A present for my friend Julie. She might wander by here sometime and I don't want to give it away. I just thought the colors are cool and had to show you!

So, there you are. Thanks for sticking it out till the end with me.

Friday, August 12, 2005

There is Hope!

Follow up to my quest to bring back beautiful, natural (or at least not crazy-novelty-type acrylic) yarns:

You may recall my ranting and somewhat rambling well thought-out and concise email to Lionbrand regarding the direction their yarns had been taking lately.

As Agnes astutely informed us in the comments, Lion Brand is planning to introduce new "normal" yarns in the fall.

I received this response from Lionbrand yesterday.

Thanks for writing and I do hear what you are saying. We are developing new basic yarns
including a cashmere blend and a 100% wool that has beautiful colors. We will be revampting the color range in the Wool-Ease line as well. We appreciate the fact that you took the time to
write and we do understand the necessity to maintain basic and affordable luxury yarns in our

With Warm Regards,
Lion Brand Yarn Company

I can't wait to see what they come out with. Also, I really hope it's available around here...

I love to go to the LYS and fondle the beautiful (and extremely expensive slightly more pricey) yarns, but I love to find nice yarn I can afford!!

**I also find "With Warm Regards" kind of funny in a slightly punny way. Warm. Yarn. Wool. (I know. I'm sorry. I'll stop now.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

i went, i laughed, i knit

I've been thinking that I need to start getting out more. I am becoming scary-obsessive-knitter-loaner-hermit-chick (maybe not scary, but definately the rest) and I need to start leaving my house for activities other than work and occasional food aquisition.

So, to that end, I left my apartment last evening! Yay me! I put down the knitting on Isis (OH, did I not tell you about Isis? She is the most ambitious lace thing I've ever tried. She will get her own post soon) and walked out the door. I got into my car and drove downtown. And looked for a parking spot for longer than it took me to get downtown. Fun times.

I got out of my car, walked to the bookstore that was my destination. I was out! I was downtown!

At this point I should explain something. I am shy. Like crazy, avoid going places, get physically ill with worry about being in a room full of strangers, shy. When I am in a situation where I have to go into a room full of strangers and meet new people, my reaction will be one of the following 2 options:
1. I will be quiet, which often seems to come across as "Snob girl who thinks she's too good for us" but which is actually "Scared girl who doesn't have anything meaningful to contribute and/or who feels really intimidated"
2. I will be chatty. Not pleasant-conversationalist-girl. I mean: so relieved to find something to talk about that I can NOT stop talking. I will often, at this point, be thinking "STOP TALKING RIGHT NOW" but I will be completely unable to stop myself.

So, I surprised myself by being excited about going out last night. I finally realized why I wasn't panicky about not having anyone to go with me. It must be like how Trekkies feel when they go to their first convention. "Finally, people who will get me. Who will understand that my interest in and love for this is NOT irrational or wierd." It felt like I would be totally accepted, no matter what.

Because, as you know, I went to see the Yarn Harlot speak. I laughed so hard. I actually met other knitters (well, I talked to a couple of other knitters. I didn't jump outside my shell that much.)

So, my big get-away-from-the-apartment-and-all-the-yarn evening actually wasn't getting away from knitting, but at least I went out to do it, right? I worked on the sleeve for my Hourglass sweater. Totally mindless knitting. Round and around... Perfect for keeping the hands busy while the brain is working.

I don't go to a knitting group or a stitch-n-bitch or anything, so I've never been in a room full of people knitting. It was so great. It was like a secret club that anyone could join. The girl sitting next to me asked me what I was working on and I said "The hourglass sweater" and she knew what I was talking about. She told me she was knitting Mariah and I knew what she meant. It was ... awesome (napolean dynamite's voice is in my head as I type that.)

I also didn't get my book signed, or actually meet Stephanie, mostly because there was a huge long line and I didn't want to impose (so Canadian, right?) and, probably the biggest reason was that the long line would have been keeping me from getting home to work on ISIS!!! (I'll show you later I promise).

The obligatory pics:
blogging me blogging you

embarass the bookstore guy with the sock and its groupies

sorry they're so dark...

***BTW, Simone (I think that was your name) knitting Mariah out of that beautiful teal yarn? If you ever happen by here, I'm sorry about the crazy-chatty-cathyness! I was trying so hard not to run-off at the mouth. I hope I didn't scare you. Also, if you come by here, could you remind me again what the wool was that you were knitting with?

***Also BTW, (I didn't get your name) Girl knitting the beautiful crossed stitch scarf with the beautiful dark brown/copper-y yarn. If YOU end up coming by here, say Hi. Sorry I didn't introduce myself. Too much going on in the old brain. (I was the one who wanted to see what you were working on and ran off at the mouth about it and wouldn't stop talking.)(also, I was knitting a sleeve in green cotton)(hi)


Singular. Sock.

I am inordinately proud of this sock. It is the first sock that I have knit out of actual sock yarn. The ribbing should have been longer, and the foot is a bit short for me (they are for my mom), but that didn't stop me from wanting to carry it around with me all day and show it to EVERYONE I crossed paths with. (I didn't)(I still want to though)

Wanna see a top view? How bout a side view? Sure you do.
(You're gonna. AND you're gonna like it. My blog, my rules.)(I'm just kidding. please don't go away and not come back.)

I will risk the wrath of the knitting fates (or whatever they are) and tell you that I have cast on for and knit about 2 inches of the next sock of the pair. YES! It WILL be a pair.


Monday, August 08, 2005

one more sleep

(I was going to title this post "The Harlot is Coming! The Harlot is Coming!" but changed my mind, as I realized that it looked a bit, well, um, you know... "questionable")

About a week ago I read that the Yarn Harlot would be in Calgary this week on her book tour (HERE tomorrow, in fact). I immediately wrote it on my calendar. I immediately started thinking about what I would bring to knit: it must be interesting, but not so engrossing that I can't listen to the Harlot. It must be portable, and worth knitting (not just a swatch. Who swatches, anyway??) Then, when my supervisor told me that I may have to work late some days this week, I said that I couldn't on Wednesday because of my voice lesson and started to say "And I can't on Tuesday because the Yarn Harlot is speaking downtown" and realized that a) He wouldn't have any idea what I was talking about; b) he wouldn't care; and c) I may be getting a little close to the obsessive knitter line.

It was at this point that I realized that not only have I become a strangely obsessed knitter, but that I don't know anyone who shares the knitting obsession. I have a good friend (Hi Robin!) who is equally crafty, if not more so, but no one who truly is (almost) all yarn (almost) all the time. AND on top of that, I don't have anyone who would even understand my strange excitement over getting to hear and maybe meet someone whose blog I read regularly. (not to mention that no one really understands why I read blogs about knitting...) I think this is why I'm excited about going to hear the Yarn Harlot tomorrow. I might actually (if I can get over the shyness) meet other obsessed knitters. Can you imagine?


So, if you are in the Calgary area, you might want to come out and see/hear the Yarn Harlot (aka Stephanie), we might even get to meet the SOCK!!! And, I'd like to meet you.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Dear Yarn Company. My campaign to reinstate normal yarn.

So, I've been thinking/saying for a while now that I'm going to start writing to yarn companies about the riduculous amounts of crap "fun" "fur" "yarn" that seems to be filling shelves. These yarns are meant to be novelties, accents, used in SMALL amounts. Some of these yarn companies (the ones I can usually afford, the ones I can usually find at inexpensive locations that shall not be named) are churning out primarily novelty yarns and what is more horrifying, they are producing massive quantities of patterns for garments made entirely or primarily from these yarns.

Well, I finally got around to writing Lionbrand. I got another newsletter from them today and the furry pillow was just too much for me. I don't know why I didn't write after the last one. I think I was just too stunned and speechless from all the furry poncho/capelets, not to mention the dog poncho.

I'm posting the content of my comment to LionBrand. I figure that if knitters and crocheters who appreciate cheaper yarns, but still want quality, usable (i.e. not furry) yarns write them, maybe they will do something about it. Look what happened with Martha's poncho!!!! (over and over and over...

I plan to adapt this letter for other companies that I plan to harass write. If you decide to join me, let me know. (Feel free to use this letter as a jumping off point if you want) I went to the Contact Us area of the Lionbrand website and just filled out the form, putting my letter in the comment area.

Here it is:

I am concerned with the way that your yarn selections seem to be headed towards mostly fun-fur and novelty yarns. Or is it just that those are the ones you advertise?

LionBrand seems to be making an effort to reach new knitters, and that's great. Spread the love. But, if the only yarns that are being advertised are these fuzzy faux whatevers then new knitters will never mature into good, lifelong knitters. They will fade away and it will only have been a fad for them.

I love to knit. I have worked with and loved the results from Wool Ease, Wool Ease Thick & Quick, Jiffy, MicroSpun, and even Homespun, which some people don't like working with. I like these products because of the results, but also because of the price. I can't afford the Rowan or Debbie Bliss I drool over, so I need to find a reasonable, affordable substitute.

The last time I was at a store in my area that carried these staple yarns from your company (Wool Ease etc) they had only one half section of one shelving set with WoolEase or other worsted weight "smooth" yarns, but they had 2 whole shelving units crammed with fuzzy, bumpy, furry, un-natural "yarn". (maybe you can tell I don't like the fun-furs?)

Please don't read this just as a customer who is picky or wanting to complain. This is more about encouraging your company to keep doing the things that you have done right in the past and to avoid going overboard on the candy-yarns.

If you go to the forum, in the knitting discussion area there is frequently a discussion somewhere about how much knitters need good, staple yarns and how much they hate fun-furs. The rumor that LB Cotton Ease was being discontinued caused massive hoarding, if I read the boards and blogs correctly. (BTW, I would have loved to work with Cotton Ease, but I could never find it here in Calgary).

Don't get them (the craftsters) or me started on the poncho. (BTW. PLEASE stop with the ponchos already. It's over. Long over)

So, why am I writing? It seemed that people writing in about the Martha Stewart poncho inspired your company to produce a look-alike and to focus on it. I am hoping that if knitters and crocheters who want to see more quality, usable, inexpensive yarns (or who don't like the fun-fur or the poncho) will write to you and request more of quality "smooth" yarns and less of "fuzzy" "yarns", maybe your company will see that you have knitters who already are customers who are starting to look elsewhere for yarn. Maybe you will scale back your focus on the novelty yarns and let them be just that: a novelty. Something interesting to use as an ACCENT, not as an entire garment. Focus on the basics, knitters will come. Honest.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fan Appreciation Day

Need I caption this photo?

It's been warm and my apartment has no cross-ventilation, and I LOVE my fan right now. Mostly it helps me sleep. If I didn't fear for my hair, I would hug it occasionally.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

so close...

I've started to feel like I have it together at my job. I'm starting to understand what goes with what in the product lines, understanding the different pseudonyms for product that customers have, starting to build rapport with frequent customers. Anytime I'm feeling like this, inevitably, reality rises up to kick me in the butt and knock me down a peg.

Take today for example: 2 guys from one of our biggest customers come in for some equipment. I knew enough about what they were asking for, even though they didn't use the correct names for it, to be able to clarify what, specifically they needed. I knew where it was in the warehouse. I knew the part numbers and was able to make small talk (not easy for me). I was kicking butt at my job (customer service/inside sales/reception etc).

They left and I was sitting at my desk. I suddenly realized that something wasn't right. I looked down at my lap and realized

wait for it...

My fly was open.

(I'll wait while you laugh for a while).

Did I mention that these guys were not only about my age, no visible wedding rings, funny, polite, not knuckle-dragging-field guys but that they were borderline hot guys? No, really. I see a lot of guys at work in the course of a week, and these guys were definately make-you-look-twice hot. Not the usual for our office.

And my fly was open.

So, right away I go through that panic-thought process:
-Did I stand in a way that would have caused it to gap?
-Did I lift my arms at all? (my shirt covered it mostly)
-When I sat down would it have been obvious?

I mean, this is humiliating enough, even if they were NOT hot guys. But, well, you know. Life. It likes to kick me in the butt.

Yes. I am the coolest person you know.


I will probably have some pics of *ehem* UFOs tomorrow. (yes plural)

But, in the meantime, another anecdote from work, this time not so humiliating.

I was wearing the dead-boring but oh-so-comfortable gray sweater at work yesterday. I was talking to Boy "K" (I work with almost only boys. Some are older than me, some are younger, but they are all boys) and Boy "D" came up and said he liked my sweater. He asked me if I would make him one. I immediately quit the conversation with Boy "K" about inconsequential work matters and focussed on the possibility of knitting for money. I asked him if he was serious and he said that he was and wanted to know how much it would cost. Then Boy "K" chimed in saying he wants me to make him one too.

Now, even though there is a very real possibility that they weren't serious, I spent much of my afternoon thinking about yarn, patterns, etc. I don't have a significant other to knit for so I haven't ever knit a man's sweater. Also, I've been thinking, not entirely seriously, about a "If you knit it, he will come" philosophy. A "Boyfriend Sweater Curse" in reverse idea. If I knit a sweater for a man, would he appear and fill the sweater?

So, later in the afternoon Boy "D" asked me again about it. I told him that I would need to know colors, what type of fibre, he would have to look at patterns, etc. He interrupted me and said "No, I want you to make one exactly like that one". I said "Boy 'D'" (I actually called him by his name, but for continuity... ) "Boy 'D'," I said, "this is a fairly girly sweater." He turned bright red and said "Oh, I guess I should have told you it's for a girl."

I didn't know he had a girlfriend! Silly boy. He wouldn't tell me anything about her. How am I supposed to knit a sweater for a girl I've never seen??? I'll look into yarn and come up with some ideas. I have no idea how much to charge for it either. Some people get that hand-made garments are worth more, but some people think "I could just buy one for half that."


Oh, BTW, about the whole "If you knit it he will come" thing... When Boy "K" said he wanted a sweater too, I was trying not to grin like a fool. I had such a crush on him when I started working there!!

(I've mentioned that I'm a dork, right?)