Sunday, December 27, 2009

I've been yarn bombed!

I was up at 5am this morning for no particular reason. I was looking at my Ravlery friends page and saw this project called "Balcony Gates". For the non-Ravelers, here are the pictures that were posted.

Balcony Gates pics from Ravelry's Knitarchy

"How clever! How charming! How just my kind of thing!," I thought to myself. Then I thought "Hey wait! Is that my balcony?" and indeed, it was. Sneaky sneaky vandals these are. I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 5 and it is hard to sneak up to my balcony without being heard. I love it, yarn bombers, whoever you are!

Be it resolved?

I resolved to accomplish the following in 2009.

* to blog a tutorial about knitting backwards that will not result in my readership temporarily forgetting how to knit. Nope. This didn't get done.

* to keep attempting to dye the color "White Queen" until it looks how it looks in my head. You wouldn't think a color that was predominantly WHITE would be so hard for me to dye. It's always the easy stuff that trips me up. This didn't get done, either.

* to attend at least one meeting for the Artisan Guild of Southern Illinois (formerly the St. Clair Fiber Guild), nevermind that I don't live in Southern Illinois and I hate driving across the river. This group made a great impression on Scott and I during the Strange Folk Festival and we would love to spend more time with these people. The group is small compared to the knitting and weaving guilds in St. Louis, but what they lack in size they make up for in enthusiasm. Poke around their webpage. I would be willing to carpool if anyone is interested. Or this, even though they remain absolutely lovely people.

* Explore Missouri. I have lived here my entire life and have explored very little of it. Nope, but I've been to O'Fallon, IL 5 times.

* Crochet at least two projects. Nope.

* Revisit kindergarten. Today I read the following quote about organizing space that embodied exactly what I am trying to accomplish in my own living/work/creative space.
In a kindergarten classroom, everything is organized in such a way that no matter how messy the room gets, 20 five-year-olds can put it back in order in fiver minutes and find what they need again the next day. The kindergarten model works well for creative spaces, too. I mostly did this and it only took 2 dumpsters, abandoning all my furniture and moving to get it done. I'm still not what you would call organized, but everything has general area now.

* Develop focus. I waste a lot of time going off on tangents both mentally and physically. I could get so much more accomplished if I could just stay focused. Hahahaha, hahaha! Ha! Ha! HA!

* Knit like crazy. I have 4 17-gallon containers of stash. I want to eliminate at least one of those. [Confession time. I also have 6 smaller containers between 2.5 and 11 gallons each of what I call 'working yarn'. I don't count it as stash.] I finished 24 projects this year. Only 7 of those projects came from stash, yet I am down to 2 17-gallon containers of stash and I could maybe fill a third with my WIPS and a smattering of working yarn. I reduced my stash but I did it through brutal weeding and redistribution of yarn wealth.

* Develop and maintain a better work schedule. Remember to include work knitting, sample knitting, design, research and website time. Sort of. I quit working at Knitorious altogether in late spring. I still don't focus and schedule as well as I should but since this is now my only job I get a lot more done with the business.

* Work on my 101 things in 1001 day list. There are some things I won't be able to accomplish in the time remaining. There are other things that don't seem important anymore. What remains are things that are absolutely achievable, such as devoting more time to reading, listening to new music and knitting for others. I haven't seen my 101 in 1001 list since before I moved. One of my 101 in 1001 goals was to move and reduce my stash, so at least I accomplished those two things.

What about 2010 resolutions? There is no point in my making resolutions in the new year. I always forget about them until after Christmas each and every year. That hasn't stopped me from starting a list of business resolutions. So far the list of business and knitting resolutions are quite sane and doable. The list so far contains items like "buy more silk" and "dye more yarn".

Friday, December 25, 2009


Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful holiday filled with family and friends. Wednesday night my mother and I watched my sister's chorus sing along with the Compton Heights Band at Powell Symphony Hall.

Yesterday Scott and I baked and knit ornaments all day* and then celebrated with his family that evening. I woke up this morning after, oh, 4 hours of sleep and finished up 2 ornaments. I love the quiet of Christmas pre-dawn and then the quiet slumbering of Christmas night. Our building, normally full of sounds, is so quiet right now except the howling wind outside.

This morning we had enough snow for a white Christmas, but not enough to stick. We spent the morning at my sister's house celebrating her birthday and having a wonderful Christmas brunch. In the afternoon we gorged ourselves on cookies, cheese, quiche, wassail, roasted chestnuts and cheesecakes with the knitters.

*I neglected to get a picture of a single ornament. I KNOW.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Address

[I edited out some of the rambling middle parts of this. The message is still the same--I changed my blog URL.]

This blog has a new address. I have been wanting to do this for awhile now. I never liked the name stlrachelknits. It was always intended to be temporary. Now my own shortsightedness has allowed stlracheknits to become synonymous with Dyeabolical. I was doing THIS before I was a dyer. I was getting paid to write before I started blogging. I want what I do to be separate from who I am. This is the best solution I can come up with for now.

Dyeabolical is Dyeabolical. lehcarknits is Me. Obviously there is going to be a lot of overlap and obviously I am going to talk about work here. My intention is not to pretend that StlRachelKnits and Dyeabolical are different people. Not at all. My intention is to break the stlrachelknits/Dyeabolical connection, at least for myself and Google. The best and easiest way to do that is to start over with a blog address that has never been indexed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Charming Shoppes

I'm calling an end to a personal shopping era. I own 1 pair of pants, 2 bras, 5 shirts and 1 coat that did not come from Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug or Catherine's. That's it. Nearly everything else in my wardrobe has come from a store owned by Charming Shoppes, Inc.

Every February, going back as long as I can remember, I have spent my tax refund at one of those 3 stores. I was a pretty devoted Lane Bryant customer, shopped the Fashion Bug sales and sporadically shopped Catherine's. Not anymore.

You have all read about how I was showered with dust in a Fashion Bug dressing room and how it made me sick. I contacted customer service and the district manager for Fashion Bug over the phone and received no response. I have emailed Fashion Bug again to no response. I sent a message through Charming Shoppes main website. I have emailed Charming Shoppes, their CEO and Fashion Bug executives. I have not received any response beyond a single auto-generated email letting me know someone would get in touch with me soon.

No one ever got in touch with me. Friends have speculated that they didn't contact me because they were afraid they would get sued. Maybe that is the reason why, but it just doesn't fly with me. Maybe it is because I have spent a lot of time with good and decent people, but I expect people I do business with to do the right thing.

I am done spending time trying to get Fashion Bug and Charming Shoppes, Inc. to do the right thing. I am definitely finished shopping with them. I won't give my money to a store who won't make it right. How can they make it right? First, acknowledge that I have said something. Don't ignore me. Second, apologize. They can even phrase it in that corporate speak that doesn't say anything meaningful at all. Just...don't ignore me.

Charming Shoppes, Inc owns the following stores:
  • Lane Bryant and Lane Bryant Outlet
  • Fashion Bug
  • Catherine's Plus Sizes
  • Petite Sophisticate
  • Figi's

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The next asshole who tells me that 30 is the new 20 is getting a boot to the head. I didn't have an age complex until these damn kids these days gave me one. You know you have crossed the invisible aging line when, unbidden, a young 20-something starts consoling you about your age by telling you that she knows a 60-year old with a tattoo. I don't know which was worse--that she interrupted our otherwise lovely conversation about comic books and cartoons to console me unbidden on being old or that she thinks 35 and 60 are practically the same thing. 

By the way, you can tell I am practically antique and stuffed with ancient sawdust because I use words like 'unbidden'. Yesterday I used the phrase "to wit". I wouldn't have said shit like that when I was 33. Suddenly I'm 34, almost 35, and I'm all like "blah blah blah to wit, blah blah blah UNBIDDEN!" No wonder these young whippersnappers think I'm all decrepity and old.  

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Palate Cleansing Cowl

I cast on and knit this quick cowl after I finished my February Lady Sweater. This is my first mobius knit, but definitely not my last. It was fast, fun and it looks great.

Yarn: Schaeffer Yarns Elaine, color Happy (thanks Mindy!)
Pattern: Cast on a random amount of stitches, knit in stockinette until it is tall enough, end with about an inch or two of garter stitch. Cast off.
Needle size: US 8 (thanks Tammie!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's finished!

My February Lady Sweater is finished and I had enough yarn left over to knit a February Baby Sweater. 4 skeins of yarn, 2 projects, less than $40. I call that a win. I have listed my modifications on Ravlery and have more details about the yarn in the business blog.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Green Living Expo

Just a reminder--

I will be at the Missouri History Museum's Green Living Expo this Sunday, December 6. The expo officially opens at noon and goes to 4, but the History Museum opens at 10. I am splitting a table with The Knitress, who specializes in hand knitted accessories made from natural fibers. I will be bringing with me a small assortment of sock yarns, cottons, the last of the silk, a few necklaces from Crafty and Crap Studio, reversible hand sewn bags, some roving and that entrelac shawl from the previous post.

Here are some of the exhibits that have signed on. How could you not stop by? 

• Isabee’s Honey • HPO Spa Treatments
• Kakao Chocolate • The J.U.I.C.E. Project
• Hope Build • Little Pleasures Foods
• Mod Creations • Go Green Clean
• Green It! • Better Life
• Miss Lemon • Squaresville
• Super Chick Studio
• Suzanne Shenkman Designs
• Missouri Coalition for the Environment
• Earthways Center, Missouri Botanical Garden
& U.S. Green Building Council–St. Louis

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At least I know where I can get more....

1.5" of garter to go and I'll be finished with my February Lady Sweater made from my own Cotton Slub yarn.

 Too bad this is all that is left of the 3rd skein:

I guess I'll be needing that 4th skein after all.