Saturday, April 30, 2011

High Knitting Season

Untitled by littlekidd
Untitled, a photo by littlekidd on Flickr.

It's April in Northwest Wyoming. This is a time when most folks around the US see daffodils and tulips poking up out of new green grass. We are greeted each morning by a dusting of snow on the back deck. Yesterday we attended a spring festival -- complete with a Maypole -- in a blizzard.

The next six weeks or so will be more dreary than not around here. We live in a place where we all play outside in the dead of winter and the dead of summer. But in between we have our "shoulder" seasons. Most people go crazy during the muddy, cold, gray fall and spring. I rejoice. It is my time to knit.

For the past six months I have been knitting for everybody else. Samples, holiday gifts, lessons, you name it. Today I am knitting for me.

I bought enough of this Silky Wool last year to make a sweater, and just rediscovered it in my stash. It makes me think of the color I would like the sky to be. While the sky is the color of dirty dishwater, I will have this beautiful sweater-in-progress to ogle.

All that said, the best therapy for the gray-sky blues around here is getting outta dodge. I'm taking this cheery blue yarn with me this weekend on a girls trip to sunny LA. The pattern is a little tricky for KUI (Knitting Under the Influence), but luckily there's no crime in trying. And if the challenge proves insurmountable, there appears to be a darling little knit shop just a mile from the hotel.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back from the Abyss

Iceland Star
Originally uploaded by littlekidd
Hey there,
Though I know blogs are meant to be visited more frequently by their contributors, here I am making an annual appearance. And here's a photo that's at least six months old. This is Wyoming, after all. Just picture everything that's green in this picture covered with white. And oh, any bare skin you see here would now be covered with wool.

I'm writing now with ACTUAL news, though. I have finally managed to post a couple of my patterns for sale on Ravelry! Not sure what took me so long. It has only been a day since I posted them and I've already sold a couple of copies! Wowee. What fun.

For your viewing pleasure, may I present the Optical Illusion Hat and the Slip Stash Hat

These are old patterns. Those of you who knew me in Portland know that. But they've been given a face lift and if all goes well they're the leading edge of a stream of patterns to come. My friend and business partner, Dawn Bryfogle, have a new company called Knitting on the Divide. We'll publish more patterns under that name soon. Please check them out and let me know what you think!

Friday, February 26, 2010

DQ... and a Hair-Raising Tale of Live Moose and Crutches

I wasn't going to participate in the Knitting Olympics this year. I love the concept, but was mentally out of it... drugged up on the couch with a broken leg.

Then, on the night of the opening ceremonies Team USA paraded in with those cute Ralph Lauren hats with the moose (reindeer? I like to think of them as moose). I decided one of those would be manageable, particularly when I discovered this free chart by Helena Bristow on Ravelry. When I scrounged up enough red white and blue worsted leftovers in my stash, the deal was sealed.

I could tell by the time I hit the moose's neck that the hat would be too long. I started thinking "toque," and so made the top taller, too, decreasing only in the plain color bands so as not to disrupt the fair isle pattern in the crown.

I finished this a few days ago, and made the mistake of weaving in the ends before I tried it on. I dispatched the ends in short order, slapped it on my head, and gimped over to a mirror. Here's what I saw:


Not only do the moose look like crap, the thing is WAY too tall. What kind of drugs was I on when I knit this? Oh yeah... PAINkillers. The drug of denial. The drug of "It will get better... just keep knitting it." It didn't get better.

So, I have officially disqualified myself from the Knitting Olympics. No hard feelings. Training starts today for 2014.

If you've suffered through reading all that, you're entitled to a GOOD story, Here you go:

Last night I arrived home from teaching a knitting class. (Yes, despite the crappy knitting portrayed here, I do my best to help other people knit beautiful things.) It was dark. I began to crutch across the icy 30-yards from our detached garage to the front walk of the house. When I have to cross snow and ice on crutches, I focus entirely on the crutch tips... making sure each step has solid purchase. So I'm looking at the ground, hobbling across the snow-covered driveway. Just as I get to the front walk, I hear a loud rustling. I look up to see than I'm barely 10 feet from a mama and baby moose who had bedded down in the front yard for the night. Now they are standing, and mama is giving me the hairy eyeball.

Believe me, if you never seen a live moose, they are HUGE. Sort of like a Volkswagen Microbus with legs. You don't want to cross one. And yet hear I was, on crutches, spitting distance from a now-threatened mama, who stood between me and my front door.

In a grand leap of faith I turned my back on the moose and started hobbling slowly but deliberately back to the car. I figured if I made it to the garage before she charged I'd be ok. I got in the car and called Jim inside the house to tell him I was trapped for the time being. The curious baby followed me to the car, but was less of a threat as he was more the size of a Smart Car with legs. He came into the garage, then decided to follow his mama off into the darkness. Whew.

This was my third encounter with moose since I broke my leg a month ago, and this one was a little too close for comfort. I think I like them better on the hat... poorly knit at that.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hands are for knitting

I had big plans to be a ski bum this winter... at least between 9 and 3 on school days. Fate, apparently, had other ideas. On Tuesday my ski season came to an end. The extent of the injury is astonishing, compared with the relative unimpressiveness of the fall. Tomorrow one doctor will give me some lovely medicine to make me go to sleep, and another will poke holes in my knee and open up a little hardware store in there. This nice black brace on the outside is my new best friend.

And so... here's to knitting. There is a little baby sweater in progress here... tucked in behind the crutches. This is a knitting blog, after all. (Crutches are hole new kind of crazy in Wyoming winter.) Here's to buffing up my not-quite-ready- for-prime-time patterns and posting them for sale on Ravelry. Here's to writing some new ones with all this newfound time.

Thanks to knitting, I won't go completely crazy. Look for me back on the trails by the time the flowers are in bloom. Remember, that's in northern Wyoming time. It's going to be awhile.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Instant gratification

Simple gifts
Originally uploaded by littlekidd
This month I've learned there's big fun to be had in knitting small things, especially when you make them for other people.

I can only take partial credit for this basketful. It's my work combined with the collected work of knitting friends. Our elementary school kids will "buy" these wee little ornaments at the school's annual holiday sale. Each kid brings in $5 to buy holiday presents for their family members. Everything in the store costs $1. We've got about 50 in the chute... need to make another 50 by mid-Dec.

The patterns come from all different places. The sweater pattern is from a collection of KnitPicks Christmas Ornaments. The Globes are from Handknit Holidays. The trees are my own pattern, one I'm using to teach friends to knit.

Oh and the gloves? They're my nod to the need to make something just a little bigger and more interesting to knit. Grove by Jared Flood. Beautiful pattern, but they came out a little too small for my man-hands. So, some lucky somebody in MY family will likely find these under the tree in a month or so.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cat Bordhi's brain

Mobius Cowl
Originally uploaded by littlekidd
I've had Cat Bordhi's "A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting" for years, but it has taken until now for me to explore the whole mobius thing. My super-brainy brother introduced me to the concept of the Mobius Strip when I was a kid, but the notion of knitting one from the midline out in two directions at once? With right side and wrong side facing you at the same time? Well, that notion made my brain explode a little every time I thought about it.

I ran into Cat Bordhi in an elevator at a knitting conference once. (Well, the knitting conference was actually in a hotel. We never could have fit all those knitters into the elevator.) I had read that Cat Bordhi was as brainy as she is nice. She was my captive for four or five floors down as I gushed aloud about how much I loved her "New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One". After she got off on her floor, I noticed the hair on my arms was standing up, like there was some sort of excessive electrical current in the air in that little elevator box. I'm fully convinced it was the power of Cat Bordhi's brain.

I hadn't thought about that conversation again until just this week. From time to time people come in to Knit on Pearl looking for help with mobius projects. I decided mobius and I needed some quality time together, exploding brain be damned. I pulled out "2nd Treasury" and knit one of those little felted bowls. Score one big point for Cat Bordh's brain.

Then I remembered this lovely free Mobius Cowl pattern she wrote a few years back. I whipped it up in front of the TV last night with a skein of Noro IroI had lying around. Modified a little to account for bigger-than-called-for yarn, and the fact I only had one skein.

Score another one for Cat. Circular mobius knitting is pretty darn cool. How she figured it out is beyond me. But I'm starting to get my brain around how it works. And so far today, nothing has blown up.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


My Space.
Originally uploaded by littlekidd
Yesterday I tossed a bunch of plants and furniture into our newly-beglassed sunroom. Well, the sunroom had glass, but it was all streaky and leaky. We still thought it was pretty nice. But now... with the new glass... it's SPECTACULAR!

So, I have claimed squatter's rights, and made a little knitting hole there. The natural light is glorious.

I'm glad I made this lovely retreat yesterday, because I just missed out on another retreat in my beloved Pac NW. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka Yarn Harlot) and Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts in Scappoose, Oregon, are putting on a little weekend shindig for a very small number of knitters in Nov. in Port Ludlow. They announced it on Thursday. I loved the idea but decided to sleep on the $1,000 cost for plane tix, hotel, conference fees, etc. By the time I was ready to commit yesterday afternoon -- a mere 24 hours later -- it was full. Waaaaaah!

I got a lovely "Dear Knitter..." e-mail gently breaking the news that I didn't make the cut, but that they'll do this again sometime. Next time I'll be ready to pounce, with credit card in-hand. Maybe I can convince them to come to Jackson Hole, and bring Nancy Bush up from SLC!