Letter From an Afghan

Dear Little Green Pixie,

Have I offended you in some way?  Were the colors in your lap not as complimentary as you had hoped?  Was the garter stitch too nauseating?  Did you complete the I-Cord edging and realize the drape was all off?  What have I done wrong? Please, tell me!

All I remember is your satisfied face as you cast off the last three stitches of I-Cord and fold me up carefully to put me in this tote bag.  I remember hearing your promise of returning to me the next day to weave in all those ends.  But you never came.

After waiting for three days, I peeked over the edge of the flap to see you sitting there, happily knitting away at that skanky little cardigan.  You say it is for the office, but we all know the truth.  It is quick, cheap, and easy and you lost control.  She seduced you.  That cute little cable detail in the front.  The plunging neckline.  She did everything right.

And now I watch you picked up stitches for her neckband, and you really seem like you are going to finish her!  Why can’t you stop now and return to me!  I understand needing to take a break.  I understand an afghan is a large and daunting task.  I even feel your pain over that sudden black hole we found ourselves in toward the end.

But I need closure!  I don’t care if you want to move on to the next tantalizing knit, something cuter and slimer than me, just finish me!  Weave in the ends and cut the ties!  I can’t stand being stashed away here in this cream colored bag, waiting to be draped over a lap and provide warmth.  And don’t lie to yourself.  We both knew when this thing started that we would never end up together.  From the first square, you had it in your head to send me off to California where the sun never stops shining and half of it is desert.  You really think I will be needed out there?  You are a fool.


I’m sorry, baby.  I don’t mean to hurt you.  You know that.  We both need to cherish these last remaining moments together for what they are.  We both need to wrap this up.  So please, come back to me.  I need you.

Yours Truly,


PS – if that sleazy black cardigan tries to wrap herself around you one more time, I’m grabbing the nearest pair of scissors.

Finishing School

Last night, I completed the main body of the Tetris afghan and was startled.  I have been eyeing up several other projects, anticipating the moment when I could dedicate my time to them.  Instead, I finished the last square and immediately started picking up stitches for the edge.

Perhaps my subconscious realizes that if I were to stop now and move to something else, this afghan might not get finished.  Perhaps the demand for a pattern is pushing me along.  Perhaps I just need the sense of accomplishment.

What pushes you to finish something?


Strands of Technology

Last night, Odin pulled up this really amazing piece of technology.  We were watching videos of what innovative people have done with it, and I was awestruck.  In the past, we have geeked out about fibers together.  He asked for advice on sewing fiberglass fibers through layers of support to strengthen something (I didn’t get the gist of the conversation past fiberglass fibers, I was still wincing from the thought of handstitching something like this.)  I watched him use carbon fiber to strengthen the mast of his wind surfer (which he snapped in two by the end of the summer).  We talked about the use of spider silk, which unfortunately is not commercially produced that we could find.  However, I am curious about knitting with spider silk – what are the structural properties?  How would it feel on the hands? In a swatch?  Would it be similar to silk or would it be stiffer, heavier?

This discovery coincided with a post by Knitgrrl about knitting and e-Readers, and I spent my day considering where technology has taken Knitters, and where Knitters have pushed technology.  E-Readers have become rather popular in the knitting community because of their ability to store patterns and allow us to manipulate those patterns to suit our goals.

The latest edition of Knitty offers a really cool pattern for those of you with touch screen anything.  Touch screens make hand-knit mittens and gloves a little useless, as you have to remove the handwarmer to operate the phone or iPad or whatever.  Teknika is a pattern that utilizes Conductive Thread (available for purchase here) and combines it with stranded colorwork for a fashionable and useful glove in this modern world.

After doing some searching, we found Talk2MyShirt, a site focused on wearable technology.

The device that inspired this train of thought is the Arduino Lilypad, a small circular, programmable disk that can be sewn into just about anything and programmed to do just about anything.  This video on YouTube has a display of many things that it has been used for, and it is kind of mind-boggling.  One of the things that caught me off guard (and really shouldn’t have), was the assisted knitting purse, which holds patterns in it and relays them back to you via light sequences.  There are so many possibilities to incorporate this technology into our knitting, my head is reeling!

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Swift Decent into Random

  • I post randomly today, since my thoughts are so sporadic.
  • I just fell down the stairs.  Our apartment complex shares a laundry unit, which is in the basement and accessible only by going outside and to the back of the complex.  It recently snowed.  A lot.  Odin and Ellette together shoveled the stairs leading down to the unit, but stopped at the concrete steps that actually lead into the basement (probably because who’s responsibility this actually is falls to the landlord, and I’ll be damned if he does diddly for this place).  I needed desperately to do laundry before the start of the week, so I put on some shoes, loaded up a basket, and began the precarious decent to the laundry.  Except that going around the curve, the shadows hid a patch of ice on the stair and I tumbled.  My foot went under me and I slid several steps, with my foot trapped under me, my hands clutching the laundry basket, and my skirt trailing in the mud.  I was afraid to move for a moment, as the cold and pain seeped upwards through my foot and I took stock of my injuries.  Taking deep breaths, I gathered the laundry that had spilled, relocated the rather heavy and cumbersome basket to a step beneath me, and slowly worked my foot out of it’s trap.  A nice red bruise was forming on my shin and the top of my sock was grubby.  I wiggled my toes a little as I searched for my shoe and slowly stood up to put my weight on it.
  • Inside, I have poured a tumbler of whiskey to take the edge off.
  • And there is a towel wrapped around the shredded skin on my foot.
  • Odin is on his way home with salt for the stairs and sidewalk – I realize I should have just waited 20 more minutes.
  • Yesterday we spent the day in Milwaukee so Ellette could attend the birthday of her oldest best friend. They have been friends since they were 6 months old.  We have done our best to keep their relationship thriving, despite our distance.
  • In Milwaukee, I stopped by Sparrow (etsy shop located here) to drop off top hats.
  • If you look at the top of the page, you will notice a “Find the Faery” link, which is not only a calendar of my year with the festivals I am working, but also a list of consignment shops and online methods for purchasing and special ordering my stock.
  • You will also notice a “Patterns” page, which is also newly added and contains many of my original designs to date along with a secure “buy now” button provided by Ravelry.com.  No account necessary, it goes through paypal.
  • While chatting with Odin this morning, we got onto the topic of qbasic video games and how they are inspiring my current knit designs.
  • There are now several more designs in my head.
  • You have to wait and see.
  • The Tetris afghan, now at 80% completion – is never ending.  I have found the knitting black hole.
  • My next project is going to be Ambrosia for myself.
  • And I also have a commission for dragon scale gauntlets, which will be an interesting project.
  • My foot is still throbbing and I am dreading returning to the chilly basement to continue doing laundry.
  • Ow

Getting Things Done

At some point in the day, every day this week, I have sat in front my computer, ready to write.  Then I would heave a sigh and close the lid, because I had nothing I felt worthwhile to say, or having too much on my mind to take the time to write anything down.

This house lately has been a string of stressed energy, and it has leaked into every facet of my daily functioning.  We have all been tiptoeing around each other, afraid the others will bristle at the slightest surprise.  At times, we are to withdrawn to interact.  Most evenings this past week, I have curled up in the corner of the couch with headphones glued to my ears and knitting in my lap.  No one wants to approach the pointy, potentially dangerous, sticks, and I’m okay with that.

My to-do list isn’t getting marked off, which is my own fault.  I have been focused on the never ending ever growing Tetris afghan, which is coming along nicely and pattern requests have already been made.  I am eager to finish, photograph, and send it on it’s way.  I’m worried that by the time I have finally finished, it will be too heavy for the weather in San Fransisco, it’s final destination.  Either way, it’s a journey.

The new year has inspired, as it usually does, the desire to purge the unwanted build up in my house, head, and life.  Starting, a much needed update to my Etsy shop.  For starts, we have new top hats:


They can be found here, here, here, here, and here (in the order they appear!)

Trust me, there are more to come.  This is a constant endeavor, as what I make quickly gets snatched up by individuals or consignment shops. I have taken to keeping yarn at the workplace with me and when I need a break from staring at a computer screen, I work a round or two.

I am also in the process of taking stock inventory.  What do I have that has been broken in transport (unfortunately, that happens a bit)?  What do I have from prior to 2011? (And I really don’t think there is much).  Then, there is a look at what materials I still have and trying to get through those so I can get started bringing out fresh designs.

And then, finally, I will feel like 2012 is on track – perhaps 3 weeks late, but things are still rolling along.


It snowed for two days straight, and while we did not end up, by any means, snowed in, there was still quite a bit of snow covering our neighborhood.  This morning, we slept until an impatient Ellette woke us up.  Then, with the guilty feeling of needing to do something worthwhile with our day, we geared up and went for a walk.

I love snow.  When I say this, I always get looks from people as though I am off my rocker.  It is sad that for many people, snow is nothing but an inconvenience.  It makes walking difficult, it makes driving hazardous, it means it’s cold outside and that makes them uncomfortable.  So many negative comments about the ways of nature.  I can’t quite understand.

As a knitter, snow represents the ability to wrap my family in handmade warmth.  And, more so, they appreciate it.  Ellette adores the chunky purple gloves I made her over winter break.  I had my first ever scarf wrapped firmly around my neck.  Without snow, I think more people would be looking to put me in a looney bin.  Instead, they eye up our hand knit outerwear with a little envy and understanding for it’s practicality.

Even before I learned how to knit, however, snow has always been enchanting.  I love sledding, skiing, building snow men.  I even love tromping through a foot of snow during a snow storm.  It makes me feel alive, and when I finally reach my destination, I have always felt instantly warm and cozy upon entering.  It makes the world seem quieter and more peaceful.  It accentuates the branches of bare trees and makes them look soft.  You can track different animals in the fresh snow, not to mention having wicked snow ball fights with friends.

So, this afternoon, we geared up and went outside.  After a small snow ball fight, we put on our yak tracks and trekked to the lakefront.

The frozen sand was an interesting juxtaposition in nature for us.  We spent a good amount of time breaking off discs of it to skip across the water’s surface. 

Before returning home, I made the realization that the waterproofing on my boots had worn off.  They need to be mink-oiled regularly to maintain winter-proofness.  Odin took it as an opportunity to waterproof everyone’s boots, and now we have a string of shoes drying in the doorway.

Looking at the set up, our house feels even more like a gnome cottage from a fairytale.

In the Meantime

It is 2012, and all I can think about it getting my taxes done.

For the past week, the dining room table has been covered in paperwork and old receipts as I finally created an Excel file to hold all of my data.  In previous years, my taxes have kicked my butt.  They are a little complicated, and take a lot of calculating.  This year is no different.  Except that this year, I want to get them done before January is out.  So, every spare moment has been spent prepping my forms and waiting for the rest of my material to arrive.

In the meantime, I have been working on custom orders and trying to finish the afghan, but it is slow going.


It is starting to look like a Tetris game, finally.  And yet, the enormity of it has been dragging on me a little.

Then today, it started to snow, and it feels like winter, and wanting to knit an afghan makes sense.

Roses for Rose

I finished the mittens in the knick of time.  No, really.  I borrowed someone’s pocket knife at the bar while the birthday girl was in the bathroom.

Rose loved them.

If I had to do it again, I would change some things.  I would probably add more rows at the top, and a couple of stitches to the sides, to make it larger.  It was a little snug for even my small hands.  I would also redo the thumb – making an increase and separate thumb shaping.  I would also use different yarn.  Knit Picks Pallette is underplied for my preferences and the burgundy color bled a little during the steam blocking.

Phedre, by SpillyJane, using Knit Picks Pallette in Currant and Cream.

Easily Distracted

I should be working on these mittens.  Having them sitting in my lap while I am writing this is not actually working on them.  I realize this.  And still, I write.

Yesterday, I did work on them.  And then I got sick of sitting in one place and went digging for a hammer and nails to redecorate.  Virginia, or rather, Odin’s mom, has left me with an urge to redecorate, clean, and reorganize this house.  She is really good at make any living space welcoming, cozy, and interesting.

Ellette has been visiting her grandparents this past week, and in her absence (and with her – sort of – permission), I wanted to redo her room.  She has a loft big enough to fit a queen sized mattress in.  The natural thing to do with lofts is turn them into the sleeping area, so we did.  That leaves the floor space the play area.  The room is long and narrow, with built in shelves underneath the ladder, which cuts into the middle of the room, and a window in one corner.  It has been an awkward play area, and thus, frequently a messy one.

Rather than asking her every night to clean up her toys and having her complain about how she just got the village set up right, I am swapping the two zones.  The loft will now become the play area, where she can set up her toys and take friends to hide and not have to worry about cleaning up before bed time, and the bottom will become the sleeping area, which will make it much easier on us when she falls asleep on the couch and needs to be drowsily relocated.

This past week, with Drew over, we went on a mission for a small scrap of carpet that can be put in the loft to cover the ugly and uncomfortable plywood.  While we didn’t turn up with carpet, we did find a good haul, mostly for the rest of the house, and I have an idea about carpet.  I want to get different colored bathmats and make a carpet out of them.  This should be a piece of cake, when I find the time to run to the store and get the bathmats.  I also want to get Ellette a bean bag chair for the loft and move her library into the corner of it.  This may or may not work.

In the end, yesterday, I put down my mittens after completing the hand and having only thumbs to work on, and started some of the redecorating.

The butterflies are from my Grandmother who passed in April.  They fly up to the loft (as well as around the room in semi-hidden locations.

This large butterfly we found on sale at Pier 1 before the holidays and Ellette fell in love with it.  She has been asking my to hang it up for weeks now.

This is the bottom of the loft, right over where I want her bed to be.  Two Christmas’s ago, Odin’s mom gave me tons of fabric.  This is gold organza that she gave me.  I made curtains for my studio and still had loads left over, so I had the idea to nail it to the base of the loft, fill it with flowers and leaves (fake, of coure), and put the butterflies on it.

I know you can’t really see it in the photos, but the fabric is gliterry and beautiful.  Ellette is going to love it!

A Small Distraction

They had the perfect colors.

I wanted something I could finish quickly after the tedium of holiday knitting.

Justification was easy.  It’s for Ellette, and she doesn’t get knitted stuff very often.  As in – exclusive to special occassions.  I wanted to treat her to something fun.

I thought it would get the ruffle yarn bug out of my system.  I think I only fed the flame.

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