Tuesday, October 27, 2009

February Lady Sweater Party?

I'm just thinking out loud here, but I know of 4 people working on the February Lady Sweater out of my Cotton Slub yarn. I'm wondering, should we have a February Lady party and photoshoot? Say, in February? Any excuse for a party, I say.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fact

Have I ever told you my theory that slugs are slimy evil minions of the vampiric undead?

Fact: You never see vampires during the day time.
Fact: You never see slugs during the day time.

Fact: Vampires hate holy water.
Fact: Slugs hate salt water.

Fact: Vampires can be killed with a stake to the heart.
Fact: Slugs love tomato stakes and will often climb up them to discourage would-be vampire hunters from using the stakes to kill the slugs' undead masters.

Conclusion: Slugs = Evil minions of the vampiric undead.

This morning I had to drop Scott off very early for work. Instead of going back to bed I took advantage of the pre-dawn hours to clean up the patio.

Fact: The Army can accomplish more before 9am than most people do all day because the human brain doesn't realize it's awake until about 9:45 or the second cup of coffee, whichever comes first.
Fact: The party in the next courtyard was still going strong at 5:15.
Fact: An Army recruiter lives in the next courtyard.
Conclusion: The Army can party more before 9am than most people do all day.

Around 5 this morning I was dumping water out of empty pots and buckets, dumping heavy heavy heavy clay dirt and mini-boulders in to construction-strength trash bags so I could carry them downstairs. I moved a few plants around, splashed in the puddles on the way back up from the dumpster and generally playing around with the garden. Then I remembered that slugs like dark, damp muddy things like buckets of clay, planters, puddles and saucers full of water. I came back inside and poured myself a cup of coffee. I think there may be a slug on my cardigan, but I refuse to look. I just took it off and left it on the patio.

Fact: I'm not afraid of slugs.
Fact: I just don't like touching slimy things in the dark. That's what she said.
Conclusion: Wait until daylight to sweep off the patio.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10 days of random

It's been 10 days since my last post? How did that happen? Here's what's been happening:

  • Scott and I joined our friends at the Second Wind fundraiser walk for a brief memorial service and to walk in memory of Jennie, our friends daughter who died earlier this year. It was emotional and painful, but also nice to see Selena again and to have another chance to honor Jennie. The raffle fundraiser after the walk was pretty kickin', too. Scott and I won a Kentucky themed basket that included spoon bread, corn bread, pancake mix, sorghum, salsa, bourbon-infused marinade called Kentuckyaki, elderberry wine, butter rum tea, beer cheese mix, julep glasses, a 6-pack of beer called Horse Piss. If this basket is truly representative of the state, then my impression of Kentucky is they really like their breads and their beer. Jennie would have approved.

  • After the walk Scott and I went to the zoo and watched a giraffe chase an ostrich. Check it out:


After that we went home and tore down the rest of the summer plants, dug up bulbs and moved the cold-weather plants closer to the building. We dropped off the cold-hating plants at Scott's parents house and stopped by the exotic pet store for an innocent look around and came home with a not very exotic betta fish. We named him Sid. Sid Fishious. He looks sad in the picture, but I think he's just nervous that I'm going to kill him the first time I change the water. I think he's right to be nervous.

Sid Fishious

  • The rest of last weekend and part of this week was spent updating Scott's resume. Cross your fingers that he won't need it. 

  • I dyed up 20 pounds of sock yarn this week for the shop and for the O'Fallon, IL craft fair in November. I did 1 pound of hand painted Themyscira (clear distinct areas of color), 1 pound of kettle dyed Themyscira (similar colors but more subtle and less predictable color transitions), 3 pounds of haphazard throwing dye at yarn, 1 pound of an expensive mistake and 14 pounds of yarn inspired by the high school colors of my twitter friends. I can't wait to get the yarn rewound and pictures up.


  • Earlier this week I spent a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon knitting at Knitty Couture and lunch with Selena at Pi. If you haven't been to Pi, GO! There is a location opening in Kirkwood this month and in the CWE in December. It's even better than Dewey's pizza. Yeah, I said it. It's better than Dewey's. 
  •  I've finished the garter stitch section on the February Lady Sweater but it still looks like a pile of green yarn and not very picture worthy.

I am certain other interesting things have happened in the last 10 days but they have left my brain for now. So I bid you farewell until tomorrow!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Progress continues

  • We agreed to set the furnace on 68 degrees and no higher no matter what. We probably should have gone through a winter here first before we pinky swore on it. It is, in fact, warmer in this apartment than in most homes. That's a good thing. We are well insulated. The heat from the apartments below rise in to our apartment. The airflow is minimal unless I open all the windows. Except....well...I threw open all the windows a few days ago because it was practically balmy in here. That was a mistake. All that did was trap the cold air in and now it can't get out. The thermostat, who is clearly more prepared for winter than we are, reads a consistent 72-74 degrees while I'm shivering from cold.
  • I'm still on the boring and easy part of the February Lady Sweater. It looks a lot like a lime green garter stitch rectangle. That doesn't really make for interesting blogging. I have managed one more repeat on Scott's Tadpole socks, so that isn't really picture worthy, either. I was swatching for Stephen West's Herbivore but that's as far as I got. 
  • This week has been stressful. It's looking like maybe unemployment numbers might go up by one person at the end of the month. Hopefully not. Cross your fingers.
  • I might have a table at the O'Fallon, Illinois High School craft fair on November 7-8. I've joined up with author Elizabeth Donald to split the table. We're both low on stock and couldn't fill a full booth for 2 days, so splitting the table works out. Neither one of us are entirely sure our products will do well at a traditional craft fair, so that gave us even more incentive to split the table. Unfortunately I think our application went in past the deadline (or will go in?) but Elizabeth had preliminary approval so it should be okay. 
  • If you haven't checked out the shared links in the sidebar of this blog, I encourage you to do so. The Berlin Reunion is especially good, as is the $3000 scarf. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 Garden in Review

Apologies for the length of this post. I'm not sure if anyone will be interested in my season-end review of our container garden, but here it is if you are. Has anyone else reading this done a review or planning a review of your own gardening efforts? Please link to it! I would love to read it.

Apologies for any spelling errors. Apparently Blogger no longer has a spell check option, which doesn't make any kind of sense at all. 
======================================================

Our garden had a rough time this year. We weren't going to plant anything this year because we hoped to be moving and didn't want to deal with the hassle of moving a garden. It started innocently enough when Scott brought home a pot full of campanulas. I did a minor amount of copy writing for E. J. Slayton's wonderful Bellflower Lace Scarf which lead to some discussion of campanulas/bellflowers looked like and whether they grew in Missouri.  When Scott saw bellflowers for sale he brought some home so we could enjoy them up close and in person.


Then we stopped at Sappington Farmers Market (which isn't really a farmers market, at all) and came home with just a few plants that we couldn't bear to do without. Let me break down what a "few" plants are in our universe--1 pot of Italian herbs, a pot of tuplips, 4 tissue paper looking things that ended up not surviving, 6 crepes looking things that I killed after a month, lemon balm, some other mint, some sort of succulent that lost its label and 2 other unidentified plants.



Somehow we also ended up with 2 topsy turvys, 1 strawberry planter (don't bother) and seeds for tiny sunflowers, 5 different kinds of tomatoes, 2 sweet peas and bell peppers.


I don't think either one of us believed we would ever really move and couldn't bear being stuck in our old apartment without a garden to sneak out to, but move out we did. The move was not kind to the plants and several died or were injured beyond full recovery. Those that made it thrived on our new balcony that has high humidity and ambient temperatures 10-15 degrees warmer than the rest of the world.



Our old patio wasn't useful for anything other than plants. It was right next to the parking lot, which was convenient for carrying in groceries but not conducive to having living space on the patio. We packed that old patio to the gills and felt free to extend beyond our tiny concrete patio out to the  common areas on either side of our patio. We also drilled half a dozen hooks for hanging plants. The landlords didn't care if we spread our garden out as far and wide as possible. They always made it clear how much the other residents enjoyed our garden and encouraged us in keeping it up.

Our new balcony was technically larger than our old patio, but didn't have the expansion space the old patio had. Additionally, we wanted to frequently sit out on our balcony which is something we never did at the old place. We grilled frequently at the old place, but the number of plants and the size of the grill kept us from firing it up this summer. The very high ambient temperatures proved a special concern. The plants needed twice-a-day watering in the summer and thrice-a-day watering on the hottest days of the year. At one point, as a joke, I set out a meat thermometer to see if anything would register. An hour later it was clear that I could cook a ham on my balcony if need be.


Weather was a special concern this year. It rained all through May and many of our plants drowned. In mid-September the temperature dropped suddenly. The heat-loving tomatillos and cukes stopped producing and started shutting down. There was a minor uptick in temperatures that started them producing again, but the yields were small.

Ultimately we ended up with:
  • Dead ivy, which remained dead despite various resuscitation attemts
  • Bellflowers, which lived a colorful and brief life before succumbing to the summer sun
  • 2 canna bulbs, which failed to thrive. They were replaced by new cannas in late summer
  • kalanchoe, which is hearty and thriving but never flowered
  • aloe, killed in the spring rains and replaced
  • sunflowers--barely sprouted and died
  • tomato seeds from Target--gave them away. I'm not sure how they are doing.
  • Sweet pea flowers--we gave away one pot and the other one died
  • hens and chicks, didn't do a thing. The hen got fatter but there never were any chicks
  • spicy basil, my favorite kind of basil! We planted far too many spicy basil seeds and never thinned them out. The shoots remained tiny and tender with a mild flavor throughout the season because of pot overcrowding, but the tiny leaves were difficult to work with. Next year we need to thin the plantings out and allow the basil to reach greater maturity. Even with the stunted growth of this plant, it was our highest yielding pot. We had enough basil for 3 lemon-basil cakes, 20 servings of pesto (frozen in ice cube trays), and several meals consisting only of mozzarella, tomato and basil.
  • sweet basil, we were in basil overload when we were moving and gave this away to ???
  • italian herb pot with parsley, rosemary, oregano and more basil--the parsley was a waste. Once I pulled it the oregano went wild. I need to pull and dry it today. The basil never thrived. Usually just being around rosemary will send me in to a sneezing fit, but this year we managed to use every last bit of it in the pot. Hooray for Zyrtec!
  • strawberries. I give up on strawberries. I just flipping give up.
  • balloon flower--neither one of us is sure what happened to the balloon flower. Possibly it reached the end of the season and made its way to the dumpster.
  • Tiger lilies--these grew wild all over the old apartment complex. We stole a few bulbs before we left and had a nice bloom this year.
  • christmas cactus--dead, dead, dead.
  • pablano peppers--It made one pepper.
  • jalapeno--This was a late bloomer. We didn't think it was going to produce and then in September it exploded with jalepenos.
  • pansies--A beautiful spring addition to our cucumber bucket until the cukes took off.
  • orange mint--pretty and smells good, but we didn't do anything with it.
  • tomatoes in a Topsy Turvy--it had great foilage growth, but the yield was dismal. It could have been the medium it was grown in, the method used to grow it or, and I'm just guessing here, but perhaps it could have been because the movers stepped on it. Repeatedly.
  • yet another strawberry planter--The strawberry seeds never sprouted but the clover weeds thrived.
  • cucumber plant--we were on our way to a bumper crop of cucumbers when it suddenly stopped producing when the weather turned cooler in September. The cucumbers we did get were seedy and flavorless. We probably won't get the generic burpless variety again.
  • brussels sprouts--The plants loved the sun. The largest of the 2 plants is nearly 3 feet tall and has a giant beautiful head of leaves. The sprouts may have gotten too warm. Those towards the bottom of the plant are loosely formed and will probably be bitter. Since the cool weather has hit the sprout production has really taken off. If we can get the sprouts to full size before the first freeze we should have about 200 sprouts.
  • catnip--the cats hated it so we pitched it
  • some kind of fuzzy headed flower--died a wet death. That month of rain in May/June really wasn't that helpful.
  • some kind of flowering succulent--I'm sure it died a wet death, too.
  • jade plant--I have no idea where this even is. [Update: Scott replies "IT'S RIGHT NEXT TO THE KALANCHOE!"]
  • eggplants--We had a lot of eggplants. Probably about 15 or 20 small to fist-sized vegetables that nearly all went bad. We just couldn't eat them fast enough largely because (drumroll please) I don't like eggplant. They are extremely entertaining to grow, but I can't cook them well for anything.


  • lantanas--Scott bought a lantana plant from the clearance table at Dierbergs. They were beautiful and produced abundant seeds.
  • avocado plant--grown from the pit of an avocado. It's probably going to die this winter. Avocado trees don't do well in the midwest.
  • zuccinni--Code Name, Zukethulu. We planted this in a topsy turvy and it thrived until, again, the movers stepped on it. The base of the plant rotted but the foilage continued to thrive and produce fruit. Unfortunately none of the fruit made it to full size. They wold reach about the size of a marker and then rot. We tried pruning back the leaves but that didn't help. One day it snapped at the base and that was the end of Zukethulu. 


  • sweet potato vines--bought on a whim and on sale. These vines grow like crazy. Halfway through their growing season I accidentally ripped them up and off their roots. I plopped it down on top of a pot full of dirt to dispose of later and it set up plenty of roots. I harvested 6 or 7 tubers for next year.
  • head lettuce--I bought 4 lettuce seedlings and grew 4 lettuce heads that tasted a lot like dirt. Disappointing and not a very exciting gardening experience.
  • pole beans--We never got enough beans to make a serving. What we did get was very tough without good flavor.
  • tomatillos--The tomatillos thrived with 2 plants in one pot until the temperatures dropped off. Unfortunately hey also spread out like crazy and threatened to take over half the balcony.This might be a better plant for ground planting than container gardening. 
  • spearmint--this didn't grow like it normally does. At the end of the season I normally pull the plant by the roots and dispose of it. This year I cut it back and am hoping for  a resurgence next year. 
  • lemon balm--we had a mega mid-season haul of lemon balm. I made a 24 ice-cubes and 6 half-pints of lemon balm syrup that are tasty but I will probably never use. It smells good in the garden, but it was only so-so in tea. The syrup is good, but how much does one family need? Unless we find some way to use it we probably won't plant more.
  • Radishes and carrots--I planted 3 batches of radishes and carrots and ended up pulling 3 batches of greens. For some reason the radishes just aren't producing anything but tops.
What we used:
We started with compost from Scott's parents garden. That has always worked for us. This year we mixed the compost with dirt from their garden and the soil proved too heavy and dense for the containers. It was just too clay like.

We bought some expensive Miracle Grow for container gardening. It has pellets in it to retain water, but I couldn't tell that it made much of a difference. At the end of the season we mixed regular top soil with manure (yuck). The dirt was dark, but it was too late in the season to tell if it made any difference to the rate of growth. We planted some radishes in it that had good foilage, but extremely shallow roots. I can't tell if that's because of the dirt, the seeds or the growing conditions. I'm not ready to discount the manure/top soil mixture yet. The best dirt we got was plain old potting soil from Rolling Ridge Nursery. It was also the cheapest.

We used some plant food when the nitrogen-sucking plants started turning yellow. We used it regularly for a few weeks and then promptly forgot all about it.


Wildlife:
I enjoyed fantasizing about shooting the squirrel that kept digging up our tender bulbs and stealing our tomatillos, but I let him live and bought a roll of chicken wire instead. I did run out and chase him off quite a bit. I started taking the cats on the balcony every morning when I knew Mr. Squirrel was around.

The birds were viscous with their poop. Their songs were pretty, but they liked to eat what the squirrel didn't and poop on our front door. The bird songs (and the fact that HELLO, nature!) kept me from complaining to the complex. I do think other neighbors must have complained about the mess, which was considerable. Either that or there was a massive bird migration at the beginning of the summer. Doesn't seem likely.

A few birds still came around, such as this amorous pair of love birds:



We had several visits from a hummingbird. Lovely!

Earlier this week we had a visit from this fat bird. That's not one of our love birds, is it? Sheesh!


We went through 2 bottles of Concern Multipurpose Insect Killer. The harmful bugs on our patio were vicious, but pretty. After only ever seeing whitefly or hornworms in our old apartment garden, the influx of very colorful insect life and spiders was entertaining for a few weeks. It stopped being entertaining when the garden started showing signs of serious damage.

Where we bought:

For the 3rd year in a row the best quality seedlings have come from Sappington Farmers Market. Chef Jeff's grew best for us, once again. We also bought seedlings from Westlake Ace Hardware, Sappington Garden, Rolling Ridge Nursery, Flower Box, Home Depot, Dierbergs and Target.

The Bounty:
  • 24 ice-cubes and 6 half-pints of lemon balm syrup
  • a sandwiched sized container of dried spearmint
  • about 40 small tomatillos--enough for a batch of salsa. I'm sad that the other few hundred fruits never reached maturity
  • maybe 10 pole beans
  • 4 heads of lettuce
  • 15 or 20 small to fist-sized eggplants
  • If we can get them to maturity we should have ~200 brussel sprouts
  • 10 or 15 cucumbers
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 dozen or so jalepenos
  • 1 pablano pepper
  • 3 lemon-basil cakes, 20 servings of pesto (frozen in ice cube trays), and several meals consisting only of mozzarella, tomato and basil.
  • some herbs
and that's that. Have you ever read The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden
? That's how I feel. The only plants that paid for themselves are the spicy basil, eggplants (if we had eaten them in time), jalepenos, cucumbers and brussels sprouts

Winter:
We're talking about experimenting with keeping our plants outside this year. There's talk of a building a little plastic tarp house for the avocado tree. We're getting a little too close to the end of the year to just now be thinking about what we can do with our plants. We've gotten as far as deciding they aren't coming in here. If we had an enclosed porch or a basement it wouldn't be an issue, but we don't.

Looking forward:
Next year we will be focusing on high yield plants that need less space to grow. We are also going to be focusing more on flowering plants in railing planters. I loved seeing the lush greens of our vegetable garden, but a little color would have broken up the monotony. I would like to replace the orange utility buckets we have used for tomatoes and cucumbers with something a little more attractive.

We need to be more efficient in how we use our space. We would like to replace many of our round containers with square containers. We would like to grow up instead of out, if we can do it without our patio taking on a jungle look.  We need to plan the patio out to maximize space.

With Scott traveling so much this year much of our produce went to waste. If he continues to travel then our vegetables should be ones that keep or freeze well. Another concern is how to keep water off of our neighbors heads. We use plastic trays right now but occasionally there is spill over.

We have lantana seeds from our garden, 4 o'clock and hyacinth bean seeds from my mother's garden, which was pretty impressive this year. All 3 are late bloomers, I think, so we'll need another plan for the spring plants. I would like to do brussel sprouts again, even if it isn't cool enough to grow them without taking on a bitter taste. The big thick leaves were beautiful. Basil and spearmint are a given. We would like to try some heirloom tomatoes. We may do a topsy turvy again, but only as an experiment. It is good idea in theory, but it seems like other peoples tomatoes did better in containers rather than in topsy turvys.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bullets!

  • I posted a few links about cashmere fiber herding practices and why I might not be carrying cashmere any more in the Dyeabolical blog.
  • What's with temperature? I think the way we measure temperature currently must be faulty. How can it be 73 degrees in here and still be so chilly when two months ago 73 degrees was barely cool enough to be tolerable? Aren't you freezing? You should knit a hat or some mittens to warm yourself up. Gratuitous self promotion aside, my fingers are so cold that I can't even think. Go buy a pattern from me and yarn from me and then knit me some mittens. Oh wait...no. That would be selfish. Go knit yourself something nice! Yeah, that's better. :)
  • For some reason Google Reader keeps deleting my contacts that I share links with. I'm sorry if I keep dropping and adding you back. I'm not sure what's up with it. If you use Google Reader feel free to add me. I'm under the name stlrachelknits, you can click the handy new box of links on the right of my blog or you can add it to your blog reader.
  • We washed the winter socks this weekend. I rediscovered these socks:
Patriotic socks
and their hole:
...with a hole
That hole makes me so damn mad. It reminds me of our old apartment, which made me damn mad on a regular basis. The spike strip of tack heads leading in to the kitchen was probably the least annoying thing about that apartment, but it ripped my socks and it pisses me off every time I forget and try to put them on. So I guess, instead of just rediscovering my patriotic socks I also rediscovered my seething rage that we were stuck in that apartment that final year. Scott, on the other hand, rediscovered these...
Obnoxious
...the first pair of sock-like things I ever knit. I really wish he hadn't found them. I really really wish he wouldn't insist on wearing them. They're huge:
Large
No, really. I mean huge:
Hat?
It's embarrassing. He also won't pitch the fuzzy acrylic scarf I crocheted for him 10 years ago. He tells people I made both the slippers and the scarf. He won't accept a replacement scarf or slippers when he has perfectly hideous and functional ones he's still using. My pleas for him to consider my knitterly reputation before wearing those awful slippers or wearing that brillo-looking scarf have fallen on deaf ears.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bellies

I have been trying to pick out a new cardigan pattern for 2 weeks now. The ones I love the most are the ones that button at the top and swing free at the bottom. I'm torn on empire waist pullovers, too. On the one hand, they are cute. They fit my body type very well. When I see people wearing them they seem to say "Hey, look at my belly! I'm comfortable with who I am! Bellies are cute!"

On the other hand, empire waists, babydolls and cutaways can, according to belly haters the fashion elite, make virtually anyone look pregnant. And you know what? I think I might be okay with that. I look pregnant anyway regardless of what I weigh. I have a picture of me as a pre-teen that looks like I'm 4 months in.

When preparing this blog post I did a search for "makes you look pregnant" and found a web page from a man who, in his ever helpful way, said flat out that gathered dresses and empire waists make women look pregnant. A woman who looks pregnant, writes the ever so helpful author, makes him lose his erection. If I may make one comment about that article--Bring on the maternity wear.

What is the pregnant "look" besides having a belly? We've spent generations trying to hide the fact that we have curvy flesh underneath our busts. We don't buy and wear expensive bras to make our busts look bigger. We buy them to make our waists look smaller. I'm done with it. I like bellies. I like the confidence of people who have bellies and aren't trying to hide them under giant t-shirts. Hey, if people can find clothes that fit, then more power to them. I certainly have a hard time finding clothes that fit me well.

It's hard being a fat girl with a belly. No, scratch that. It's hard being an extended sizes fat girl with a belly. Clothing manufacturers started to make extended sizes a few years ago, which is great, but most of those new larger clothes are for big busts, narrow waists and big hips--the classic hourglass. Us apples squeezed in to them anyway because otherwise we'd go naked or have to wear puffy-sleeved mumus with elastic necklines because our heads were so fat we needed elastic to get our clothes on. Ahem. And let us not even get in to low-riding jeans, okay? I'm not ignorant of the giant muffin top problem. What else are you going to wear when there are only 2 jeans manufacturers who make your size? Choose one--a low-rider that muffin tops or a low-rider that muffin tops and gaps in back showing off your overpriced Torrid underpants that fall apart after 2 washings? And again I say, Ahem!

I didn't mean to go on this particular rant when I started this blog post. As I started to write about how much I wanted to knit these cardigans but was concerned about the "might look pregnant" problem, I realized something. I don't really care what some mythical fashion elite douche thinks about the sweater I knit. Neither should anyone else. We're knitters. Most non-knitters don't get us anyway, especially among fashion writers. They call knitting grandmotherly (what the hell is wrong with that?) and unfashionable while, at the same time, sending couture fashions down the runway that have been pulled straight from the pages of Interweave Knits. Hell, I bought a cardigan last week that is a total Whisper knock-off. And those big giant knitted cowls that came down the runway last year? Haute couture didn't start that trend. Knitters on Etsy did.

Why the hell are we (the less bold and the less confident, aka me), letting the collective voices of the "fashion experts" in to our head to tell us what we should and shouldn't be wearing or knitting? I think I will cast on for a "makes me look pregnant" sweater today. I'll wear it proudly just like all my other less concerned, cooler, more confident knitter friends do. Because you know what? It may not be "fashionable" but it is making a statement. Here's the statement that I'm going to make--This here? It's my belly. It deserves to be warm and comfortable, too.

And really, maybe I'm not a bold trendsetter, but my our fellow knitters and indie designers are. They're trendsetters even if I'm not, and by looking at what's coming down the runway? I think the fashion elite think our community are trendsetters, too.

Whew. I had no idea this is where I was going when I started this blog post.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's knittin'

  • Over the last few days I have put a few designs up on Ravelry, including the Tamberet (a tam/beret that precious skein of handspun!), Whimsy Hat (wheee!), and All Hands On Deck (top-down mittens for all sizes in all weights of yarn). More information can be found over in my other blog. Great big thank yous to Deborah, Becky, Tammie, Fiona, Marilin and Kara for looking over the patterns.
Photography by Sungazing Photography (www.sungazingphotography.com)
  • I pulled out trusty Barbara Walker a few weeks ago and worked up this hat out of Lamb's Pride yarn for a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society silent auction at a local pub. The decreases were a little bit tricky, but worth it. Non-knitting attendees seemed genuinely enthusiastic about the design. I wrote notes down as I went. The only tricky part was the decreasing. I'm considering writing it up as a multi-size pattern just for the experience in pattern writing.



  • I promised myself that I would knit myself a pair of socks from the Tofutsi sock yarn that was a gift from Deborah nearly a year ago. Then earlier this week Scott called from on the road and was freezing, so I pushed the Tofutsis aside and cast on for the Tadpole pattern (link is a pdf file) in my Old Jeans colorway. A travelin' man needs warm socks.
Some of the finished socks on Ravelry looked a little tight, so I added 4 extra stitches. I did a 4-stitch purl ditch in the center of the motif instead of the 2-stitches called for. Technically the Tadpole pattern is a lace motif. To keep it from being lacy I knit all the yarn overs through the back loop. I knit the entire cuff in a single evening and I didn't even work that hard, which means this might be my new favorite pattern ever.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Strange Folk Wrap Up

Strange Folk was awesome, but exhausting. For two days people validated my career and color choices. What's not to love about that?
Saturdays table
Saturdays table

We had a good mix of vendors across from us--Claudia's Burning Ink, Pasties by Michelle (you heard me) and a jewelry maker whose name I'm forgetting. I'm sorry. We didn't get any pasties, but were highly amused by the pastie sales techniques employed. We bought a gnome hat and traded for this really awesome bag with Claudia:
This is a Kineared picture of the gnome vendor who completely charmed me
(I Kinneared Claudia in her gnome hat)
Bag I traded for
(Awesome Marvel bag on a very messy desk)

and bought 6 soaps from Tom the soap maker from the Artisan Guild of Southern Illinois. [Tom, if you are reading this, can you email me? I forgot to get your address and wanted to get that pattern to you. ] I cannot speak highly enough about the Artisan Guild. I have spoken about them before and how much I want to join them for some of their meetings. Unfortunately our lives have worked out that I can't make it out to Illinois for Thursday meetings even though it is only a 30 minute drive. Dang it. But you should go. They are amazing people.


Of the few pictures I managed to take this past weekend, this is my favorite. It's not only my favorite, but it's also the ONLY picture I took at my booth that had people in it.
Crazy customers and friends
Here is a picture Monte took of Scott and I. It's one of those rare pictures where I both look like how I really look and am pleased not horrified at how I look in the picture. If you notice, most of the pictures of myself in this blog are carefully cropped. In my head we still look like this. It's always a little startling to realize that it's been 11 years and that time didn't stand still.

I have to apologize for getting everyones hopes up about the funnel cakes. It must have been an old vendor list or maybe they canceled at the last minute? I never did find out what happened. My sister left me this comment regarding the funnel cakes on my facebook page "Your self-inflicted shame makes my job a lot easier". Ah, sisters. :)