Wednesday Miscellany--The Miscellaneous Edition

Back to knitting. However, given that election season is upon us, expect a few ill-conceived rants and some blatant propaganda from time to time.

1. Cable girl: Leather-and-knit totes have been splashed all over the fashion mags this fall, ala these chic bags by Margaret Nicole. If only we all had industrial sewing machines. KnitPicks has a free pattern. And here’s a pretty one found over at Mes Projets. Oh, and here’s a very pretty one from Pieknits—only it costs. Joggles has leather purse handles, too. Just sayin’.

2. Harvest some indie threads: Fashion Denver hosts its fall fashion market, Sunday, Sept. 17, froom noon-8 p.m. at the Walnut Foundry. Score graphic tees, handmade jewelry, cool bags, belts and other sundries.

3. Got alpaca? Alpacas on the Rocks holds its 10th Annual Open House and Fleece Sale, Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Twenty-eight ranches will be on hand with their animals, fleeces and fiber. Vendors, too.

4. Peruvian Connection: This catalog makes me writhe. Such beautiful classic pieces. And the knits! Did y’all know Kaffe Fassett is designing for them now? This little number isn’t shabby. And I’m nuts about this kooky pom-pom purse.

5. Yarny reads: Hey, Amy scored a design by Suss Cousins for the cover of the new Knitty. A cutie. And this Lizard Ridge afghan is a stunner! As always, the work here is full of humor and creativity. In other news, Knit.1 mag has a new 2.0 web site. The article about famous TV sweaters is particularly good… though sadly, it’s not available online. And the new Interweave Crochet is out.

6. Superior circs: Have any of you tried Lantern Moon’s Destiny circulars? Mom just gave me two pairs and wow. Like butta. Or silk. Or something. Great joins. No kinks. Smooth finish. And gorgeous. Thanks, Mom!


One weapon in the war against complacency


Last night after listening to the President’s apologia about the war in Iraq with its message du jour, “we are safer, but we are not yet safe”—an assertion begging the question, Dude, where’s the data about safety—I turned to Mitch and said, “Isn’t there something we can do?”

There are many reasons to be appalled by this speech, not the least of which was the fear mongering ala 1984, but what disturbed me primarily was how little Bush asks of the American people. We mustn’t sacrifice or turn down our thermostats—look what happened to Jimmy Carter. The President wants our forbearance and fear and then dismisses us to shore up our basements with duct tape. Fear and shopping are the opiate of our masses.

There’s no question that terrorism is a hydra—a many-limbed thing spawned from good– and ill-intentioned decisions made after WWII, oil dependence, the formation of Israel, plus ethnic and religious forces most of us can only guess at. I disagree that “terrorists” hate our freedoms; they hate our cultural hegemony, the way our greed and products infect the world like a plague. They hate our sense of entitlement and arrogance, our surity that democracy and capitalism are human rather than American constructs.

The war in Irag is an attempt to isolate this hatred within the borders of one country, an attempt to treat the symptoms of terrorism and not the disease—poverty, ignorance, hopelessness. Would the mullahs be so successful in places where young people can start businesses, plant gardens and raise healthy children?

Isn’t there something we can do?

We can vote. We can help reduce our energy consumption by walking, riding our bikes and taking public transit. We can give to relief organizations. We can teach our children to think in shades of grey and not black and white. We can elect officials with a broader sense of goodness, wisdom that transends our borders and recognizes our economic and environmental interdependence. And we have to do this at home—and abroad.

Anyone got any better ideas?

Blog silence: Remembering

Observing blog silence in honor of the victims and heroes who perished on Sept. 11, 2001--and the soldiers and innocents who have died in its aftermath.

When we were 10

Parents we know constantly bemoan the cost of raising children.

Think about it. When we were 10, there were no:

1. Calculators

2. Personal computers

3. Internet fees

4. VCRs or DVD players, videos, DVDs or compact disks

5. I-pods

6. Cell phones

7. Cable or satellite-enabled TVs

8. Voice mail

9. PDAs

10. LED knitting needles

How did we possibly survive?



Have you ever seen anything as pure and innocent as this little kitten?

Wanna see what our little angel does when he’s not sleeping? (Those of you with weak stomachs, avert your eyes. What follows is not pretty.)


The above disemboweled carcass was a hand-knit catnip mouse. Kay knits and sells them at The Lamb. Cats adore them. That is, if they know how to play. Play, Antone. It’s a concept!!?

It had whiskers and a tail and it gave the kitten hours of entertainment pleasure. Now look.

The disposal of the remains required epic vacuuming.

Wednesday Miscellany: The Pernicious Sleeve Edition

Last night I curled up on the sofa for an exciting evening of seam ripping--in mohair. I had finished my La Fiesta Bolero, but one raglan sleeve looked wonky, so being something of a quality monger, I decided on a redo. So I start picking and digging and following loose ends that instead of releasing the seam unraveled finished work. (Note to self: No weaving in of ends until thoroughly satisfied with garment.) This made me want to draw blood, which the cats seemed to sense. They gave mama a wide berth.

After an hour or two of the above frustration, I freed the sleeve and examined the carcass in my lap. (Ladies, please prepare yourself a strong beverage before continuing, as this next bit is truly horrifying.) Gentle reader, I had ripped out the wrong sleeve.

Stay tuned as our not-so-titian-haired heroine rips out yet another mohair sleeve. And then admits herself to detox.


Since I'm mad at my knitting, we'll talk spinning today...

1. Spinning in the Old Way, the rewritten and newly illustrated version of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' High Whorling, is out, yes, we're embarrassed to admit, since May. It's a must-have for spindlers, new and old, especially those of us who prefer being on top (though the text translates for bottoms, too.) 

2. Speaking of spindles: Greensleeves Spindles has a line called Queens Sceptre named after the six wives of Henry VIII. The Anne Boleyn is crafted from Redwood Burl and Bloodwood. Of course.

3. New blog in the 'hood: Deb Robson, the genius behind Nomad Press, the Colorado-based publisher of Knitting in the Old Way and Donna Druchunas' upcoming tome, Arctic Lace: Knitted projects and stories inspired by Alaska’s native knitters, has started her own blog, Independent Stitch. Go say “hi“ whorling ;-)

4. A new spin: Pluckyfluff, the godmother of the extreme spinning set, is now selling a limited amount of whackadoo spinning supplies, including sparkle, jelly cord and solar-activated thread.

5. Hip to Spin: Knitgrrl Shannon Okey's take on knitterly spinning--Spin to Knit--is out this fall and includes profiles of cool urban spinners and interesting ways to incorporate hand-spun yarn into more traditional goods.

6. Bead cool. And, if you want to incorporate beads into your spinning or knitting, Desert Gems, one of our larger local bead shops has a massive sale on gemstone beads, seed beads, findings and Czech crystal running through Sept. 18.

Get Nake-id Real Estate

See this sofa…This is where I am currently sitting. Except the room looks all messy because I’m surrounded by books, papers, blankets and cats.


This sofa is sitting in this house. Sweet photo, huh? Our friend Shanna took it.

Silver cliff

This house looks out at these mountains. I totally swiped this photo, which I suspect our friend Bob Thomason shot. You can tell I filched it because there’s no snow in them there hills now.


I’ve spent many a happy hour sitting on the above couch, looking at the above mountains and knitting. Napping has been a favorite activity as well. (I’ve also cooked, cleaned and written plenty, but that’s not sales talk now is it?) This could be you. ‘Cause the Micro Ranch is for sale.

Two-bedrooms of 1955–era dream home in breathtaking Silver Cliff, Colo. (Think Cicely, Alaska with longer days.) There’s even yarn for sale in this burg. And nice people who raise alpacas.

Why would we sell such a treasure? Because we’re buying an even smaller place where we can put the above couch and sit and nap and gaze out at the magnificent blue-grey spires of the Sangre de Cristos. A place with a tractor.


Knitting with nettles

As a little girl, I had this record album--remember those, black with a hole in the middle?--that told the story of Snow White and Briar Rose. Though I listened to it incessantly, I'm not sure now whether a wolf caused all the mayhem or a billy goat. Had the wicked step mother with the personality disorder entered the picture, or was Snow White dating someone else's boy at the time? Did she prick her finger on a spindle? Was she involved in a homoerotic diad with Briar Rose? It's all a blur.

I have a dim memory of not taking to Briar Rose; I recall a simpering blonde, which as a girl wasn't nearly so fearsome as this “briar“ idea. Not being a gardener, I still think of a “briar“ as a thatch of tangled roses, a weedy thicket of thorns and scratchy spines. I imagined entrapment in such a place, dark and loamy and full of stinging nettles.

Which brings us to yarn. Aloo, which most of you probably know, is spun from Himalayan nettles and this scares me just a bit. Stinging nettles. Briar Rose. Gives you the willies, don't it?

But Interweave's One Skein has a darling pattern for a bath mitt and puffy, which is tempting me to put Freudian issues aside, grab some Knit Lite needles and get over my fear of the dark.


Wednesday Miscellany

While I like the idea of WTF Wednesdays--there are plenty of social and political happenings that warrant this particular phrase. In our own little corner of the world, the WTF Award would have to go to the Boulder DA, whose handling of the JonBenet case and John Karr's arrest has lit up one or two phone lines on the local talk shows. That they hadn't confirmed his whereabouts--Florida--on the night of the murder, I mean really, what were they thinking?

But since we occasionally get visitors from religious leaders--OK, one--I've been trying to keep the verbiage at a relatively tame PG-13. So to hell with WTF Wednesdays, we'll stick with Wednesday Miscellany.

1. A peak experience: The Estes Park Alpaca Market runs Sept. 2-3 at the Stanley Park Fairgrounds in Estes. There's Fleece, roving and yarn to be had.

2. 'Paca Palooza: In case you didn't get enough alpaca lovin' in Estes, you can attend Alpacas on the Rocks, Sept. 23-24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday at the Jefferson County Fairgounds. Again, you'll find yummy alpaca products.

3. Crochet Today: There's a new crochet mag that's just hit the shelves. Crochet Today is full of hip-to-hook patterns--and an itsy-bitsy story by yours truly. I'm liking the log-cabin-quilt-inspired throw and Little Lady's Purse.

4. New “Project Runway” episode tonight.

5. Desperately seeking big plastic buttons: Here's a sign of the times--do you know what comes up when you google “big buttons”? You get ads for blog buttons and remotes with extra-large buttons for users of a certain age. Anyone know where I can score big-ass (whoops), four-hole, classic, plastic buttons? The kind you sew on by hand without benefit of electronics? Got some designs in mind...

Celebrating summer's end

In my mind, Sept. 1 marks the end of summer. Having never really left school—I’m forever bashing about college campuses—the year starts in the fall and ends in late spring. That’s when we had proper school years that started after Labor Day and continued into the first days of June.


I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait until summer ended and spent hours planning my outfit for the first day of school. Today, I find myself in a similar state of anticipation—delighted that this long, hot slog of a summer is coming to an end. There’s a bite of fall in the air, sweaters to be worn and summer’s tedious projects put to bed.


Anyone else glad that summer’s over?