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December 2004
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March 2005

Too Many Projects

After the Spa Weekend, I got all inspired to work on my knitting again, and decided the first thing I had to do was to organize the projects I already had started. Oh my god.... I have 43 projects ongoing. Argh. How did it grow to be so many???? So I've made a list on the computer and resolved to make real progress completing some of them.

Spa Weekend

We had a great weekend at the NETA Spa Knit & Spin-In in Portland last weekend. It was so much fun being surrounded by all those fiber folks, all happy and giddy and thrilled to be a part of the event. I had so much fun talking to everyone. Luckily, I brought 3 people from the store to work our booth, so I could go have fun, and fun I surely had. And everyone seems to love Unique One; we made a good profit from the event, and it was wonderful to see how happy everyone seemed to be with what we brought to sell.

I dropped a few bucks myself. I got some beautiful jewelry from Goose Pond designs; some hand made soap and some lovely hand lotion; two gorgeous Grafton Fibers hand turned crochet hooks made of exotic woods; a couple of skeins of hand-dyed cashmere from Gaspereau Valley Farms in Nova Scotia, and last but not least, another spinning wheel.

I do not need a spinning wheel. Especially this one, it's huge. It's a reproduction of an antique Quebec production wheel, single treadle, with a green milkpaint finish. David Paul of The Merlin Tree is the artisan who is building it for me. I hope to get it during the summer; it will have to live at the knitting studio until we have room for it at the new house. Currently the new house is made up of floor joists on a cement beam over a hand-built rock foundation, so it might be a while.

A Few Good Men

Appropriate topic for Valentine's Day: Knitting, a craft dominated by women? Yes, but men are gaining a foothold. More and more men are knitting, and I say, more power to 'em!

From a CBS news story:

"Guys who knit in public say they often get teased or receive odd looks. But others say their knitting can be a conversation starter.

Elise Goldschlag, owner of Flying Fingers knitting store in Irvington, N.Y., says her 19-year-old son, Dillon, pulls out his yarn and needles whenever he wants to meet girls at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he's a student.

"I can't believe it: He's using knitting as a babe magnet," she says."

Read the whole story here.

Also, check out this men's knitting web site: MenKnit.Net

New Interweave!


The new Interweave Knits magazine arrived at the store today, and we sold about six copies within a couple of hours. Good thing I have a standing order of dozens of each issue! I thought this was a particularly good issue.
There's a great "Paisley Lace Shawl" designed by Evelyn Clark, using Maine's own JaggerSpun Zephyr (merino/silk, lace weight). It's beautiful. Evelyn Clark's shawls are always beautiful.

There's an interesting article on brioche stitch, and it covers not only the basic stitch but also increasing and decreasing in brioche stitch, and doing two-color brioche stitch. Thinking about all that kind of gives me a headache, but it's kind of interesting, too. Next time I have nothing to do (yeah, right) maybe I'll dig out some needles and shetland wool and try to design some two-color brioche stitch mittens, with increases for the thumb gussets and decreases at the top. What would be really cool, if it's even physically possible: turning cables in brioche stitch. And where does the name "brioche" come from, anyway?

Page 57 has an adorable Debbie Bliss design, a child's round yoke Fair Isle sweater. For some reason she designed it so the body and sleeves are knit flat, and then joined all together and worked in the round for the yoke. Don't know why she did that. But it seems like it might be pretty easy to do it all circularly.

The issue also has several very nice designs for both men and women in aran/textured patterns, using both light weight and medium weight yarns. I like that the designs appeal to intermediate to advanced knitters; and for beginning knitters there are some trendy capelets, very attractive, and some simpler sweaters.

Pam Allen and her talented crew have produced another excellent issue. Mary Jane's skills as stylist are making the magazine look beautiful. Keep up the good work!

Knitting in Nanometres

Knitting's on the cutting edge of high technology. Well, actually it's *spinning*, but who's counting... this is from a November 19, 2004 science news story posted on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Online site :

Knitting in nanometres

Heather Catchpole

ABC Science Online

Friday, 19 November  2004 

Yarn spun from carbon nanofibres could be knitted together to make artificial muscles for robot soldiers, say U.S. and Australian researchers.

The team says its unusually long fibres could also be used to make bandages that help injured limbs move again, tighten to stem bleeding or send a signal to say someone was hurt.

The scientists used the ancient technology of spinning wool to create a long yarn that conducts electricity, publishing details in today's issue of the journal Science.

(View the whole story here. )

Excuse Me?

Okay, what the hell is up with these people?

They have a page on "Alternatives to Wool" in which they say about wool,

"It is susceptible to mildew and moth damage.

It is not always machine-washable, and cannot be directly ironed.

It often damages easily and is not durable. [Beth note: this is complete bullshit.]

It tends to be expensive.

It causes allergies and/or extreme itching for many people.

It's very water-absorbent, and doesn't dry quickly.

It stains easily, but doesn't clean well. [Beth note: It cleans just fine, if you DO IT RIGHT.]

It's prone to retaining foul odors. [Yeah, if you don't friggin' WASH it.]

It shrinks with every wash."

Well, duh. That's a bit like complaining that velvet is expensive, or that acrylic makes your skin crawl, or that cotton will shrink up to nothing and have to be ironed because of the tough wrinkles it gets when you wash it.

I'm all for treating sheep right, and if the Australian farmers/wool brokers are mistreating sheep, they should be stopped. But I don't think that means that people should be encouraged to stop wearing wool!!! Okay, this just pissed me right off.

I suppose what would make these people happy is if everyone stopped eating mutton and stopped wearing wool, so that there would be no need for sheep, so the species could pretty much die out except for a few hundred extremely well-treated specimens in zoos. Wouldn't that be wonderful. Bozos.

National Toboggan Championships

Wow, what a day. I am so sunburned I can't believe it. Kristin and I packed up a bunch of stuff from the store and set up a booth to sell hats, gloves and socks to people at the National Toboggan Championships at the Snow Bowl here in Camden, Maine. We didn't make much money, but it was so much fun!!!! I highly recommend this event to anyone looking to have fun in the winter.

Some people might have been there trying to seriously pursue a toboggan speed record, but lemme tell ya, pretty much everyone was there to dress up in crazy costumes and consume interesting beverages. They give a prize for the toboggan teams that have the best costumes, and there sure were a lot of completely crazy people dressed up.... one team was cows, (two had udders on their heads); one team was crash test dummies; a local newspaper were black lab dogs with rolled up newspapers in their mouths (actually, they were all wearing dog-head costume head coverings and the newspapers were glued in the "dogs'" mouths, it was pretty clever); one team was aliens, and my favorite was a team based on the Wizard of Oz. There were Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow in really excellently made costumes. The best part is that Dorothy was really Capt. Brenda Walker, owner and captain of the schooner Isaac Evans, the ship I do my knitting cruise on. And Eileen, the cook, was the Tin Man. It was pretty funny.

Oh man, we had such a good time. I was surprised at how far people traveled to attend this event; lots of people came from New England, especially Massachusetts, and some teams came from as far away as Maryland. That was pretty cool. ESPN was there; hope they had as much fun as I did.

Here's a link to a story Sports Illustrated did on it last year.

Long Time, No Update

Huh. Sorry for the long time between posts.

I thought 2005 might be a better year than last year, but it started out worse than ever when on Jan. 3 my great-niece was killed, murdered by a co-worker.

Anyway, it threw me for a loop, and along with doing taxes for the first time ever as an employer and business owner, and having two major trade shows, I've been busy.

So, let's see, knitting..... started the Dale of Norway Osterdalen pullover, have it half done. Finished some socks, started more. There's a baby blanket in the works for my niece who is due in July. A scarf with a wavy twisted stitch pattern languishes in the bottom of a bag somewhere. Then there's all the hordes of unfinished projects glaring at me from dark bags and baskets, with fierce, glowing red eyes, whispering why have you abandoned us....

National Toboggan Championships tomorrow, selling hats and gloves and socks at an outdoor booth. Should be cold. Hope it is fun though, and worth the effort.