Previous month:
September 2008
Next month:
November 2008

It Glows!

You know how I am about glowing things :):)  So when I found this page that shows how to make knitted wristbands with little Jack-O-Lanterns that glow when you press a button, it thrilled me in a special way.

Unfortunately I did not discover this page until just this afternoon, so ... too late to make one for this Halloween, but maybe you can bookmark the page and remember to make them for next year! You can I think the person who made the page also sells kits to make them. They also sell the kit for a skull wristband that has eyes that have eyes that light up red when you press the button. Or if you don't want to buy a kit and you want to figure it out yourself, you can go to this page and learn how to do that, too!

It definitely gives me ideas......

Jackolantern Glowingskull

Progess on Knitting Projects

Hiya :) Hoped you liked my little video interlude posts :) 

Tuesday I did indeed knit for the Ships Project, and I finished a black wool watch cap that I made with Lamb's Pride Superwash worsted, and then I started a pair of black fingering weight wool socks. So, an FO and progress on the sock:
Watchcap   Blacsocks

On Monday, I worked on my Snowbird mittens and I got to where I took the thumb stitches off on waste yarn:

Snowbirdback   Snowbirdpalm   Snowbirdthumb

Because my snowbird mittens are kind of paying-attention intensive (meaning, I have to pay attention to a chart while I work and actually LOOK at nearly every stitch), I am also concurrently working on a simple little short sleeve sweater. It is easy to knit and I can knit while only half-brained. I am twelve inches up the back, which needs to be 15 inches or so before I look at the pattern again, and start the underarm shaping. Knit, knit, knit. It's a fun and easy little baby cables 4-row stitch pattern. The design is pattern #871 from Classic Elite and I chose to knit it from Schachenmayr Nomotta's Micro Bamboo Spray:


Note that I am using my pretty size 5 Signature Needle Arts needles :) I love dem still. 

Also note what looks like a dye lot change 2/3rds of the way up. Sigh. I took home an unopened bag of yarn from our ONLY shipment of this yarn.... the balls are all marked the same dye lot and they were all packed in the same darn bag of ten. I guess this is the "unique quality of hand-dyed yarn"...  except this isn't really hand-dyed. Luckily most people are buying this yarn in one or two skeins at a time, because it is great for small items like socks or scarves or gloves, but I will have to warn everyone that this yarn has color issues. If you love the yarn and the colors as much as I do (and I do love knitting with this yarn and will probably knit another top out of the blue/green color as well), you will have to accept the color variation that may occur as you knit with it :) From now on I will start blending the upcoming ball of yarn (2 rows new yarn, 2 rows old yarn) to try to blend the skeins together better so as to avoid the hard LOOK A NEW BALL OF YARN WAS JOINED HERE! line of demarcation. 

Snowbird Mittens, Progress

I love knitting these mittens! It is hard to stop knitting, I keep wanting to do just one more round, one more round..... 

I didn't have much time to knit so far today, maybe I will have more time later, but I got through row 20 of the 74-row chart:

Row20snowmittsback  Row20snowmittspalm  Row2snowmittsthumb

I put all the back stitches on one needle, the palm stitches on two needles, and all the thumb stitches on one needle. I think I really should have used the two-circular-needles method to knit these mittens, but it's too late to switch now, as I am certain it would affect the tension of my knitting. 

This Frogtree alpaca fingering weight feels really yummy. I think these mittens are going to be pretty nice when done. I hope to finish the pair by Thanksgiving at the latest! I will post progress as I knit along :) 

Oh, and by the way, the sunset image you see behind the mittens is my laptop background image. It is a shot of a beautiful sunset that I took on the first June knitting cruise this year. If you would like to download it too, and have it for your computer wallpaper or whatever, here is a hi-res 4.8 MB file of it to do with as you wish: 

Picture of FO and a Start on Mittens

As promised, here is a picture of the Penobscot Bay pullover, done! Not blocked yet, but done! I beat my Halloween deadline, too :) 


I immediately started the Snowbird mittens from the Fall Vogue Knitting 2008:
I am quite happy with them so far. There is nothing like alpaca to knit with, it feels so buttery soft and luxurious! I am using Frogtee alpaca in a fingering weight, and size 1 needles. 

Yay for starting new stuff! I do have other things that are started and that have to be finished, but since these are potentially a Christmas gift if I get them done in time, I wanted to get them going as soon as possible. 

FO! and Some New Stuff at Unique One :)

Wooohoooo!!! I just bound off my last stitches on the Penobscot Bay pullover! All I have to do is sew the seams and weave in the ends. I will do that at the store tomorrow and take a picture. (Thanks for the kick, Tracy! It worked!) I hope to try out my fancy-dancy new moblogging skillz tomorrow by actually emailing a picture of the finished Pen Bay pullover  from my cell phone directly to my weblog. We shall see how it works :) Don't expect the post to be too wordy, because dang, my text messaging skillz are sad. I think I have trouble with the alphabet. Sigh. 

So that was my most exciting news. Now I can cast on for the mittens I want to make next: the Snowbird "Let It Snow" mittens from the fall issue of Vogue Knitting. I will be using light blue and dark blue fingering weight Frogtree alpaca. Drool over the picture:
Picture 1 (click for big)

In other news, we got some new loot at Unique One. One of my possibly best finds ever in the history of Unique-One-buttondom was new fabric-covered buttons from Winterwind Designs! These buttons are utterly fabulous. People who never even use buttons will be buying these, just to look at them. And! They are made right here in Maine!! It doesn't get any better than this. Here are some pictures: 
Batikbuttons Batik buttons
Beatrixpotterbuttons Beatrix Potter buttons
Sheepsockmonkeybuttons Sheep and Sock Monkey buttons
Vintagebuttons Vintage fabric buttons

And that is nowhere near ALL the styles that I got. There are several types of Maine motifs, like moose and pine cones (sadly, no lobsters, but there is always hope...). I also got little bees, they are so cute. The buttons come 6 to a card, and there are two sizes. The smaller buttons (about 7/8ths inch) retail for $7.50 per card and the larger size (a little more than an inch) retail for $8.50 per card. The smaller ones would be good for most sweaters, and the larger ones would be good for jackets or bags. I love dem. 

That's not all! In the afternoon, Penelope dropped off the new Fall 2008 Wild Fibers magazine!! Get 'em while they're hot :)) I love this magazine, and I am particularly anxious to read the article about Black Welsh Mountain sheep. I have always had kind of a thing for them :) 

This issue looks fabulous overall. In it you can read about guanacos living on the coast of Wales, the Solva Woollen Mill, Himalayan cashmere and the cashmere world, and Black Welsh Mountain sheep in America. On top of that, there is also Linda's interesting editorial to read (and she has an amazing project in the works, involving the UN! I will blog it soon! We can all help!) as well as regular features and my personal favorite, the ads! I love to look at the ads for all the great stuff in Wild Fiber Magazine. And I don't even advertise in it. It's just a great magazine and I love it. Don't know where to buy a copy? Click Here to find a retail shop near you that sells it.

Kick Me. Please.

I am having such a hard time getting this Penobscot Bay Pullover done. I only have about 15 inches left to knit on the last sleeve, and it will be virtually done. And it's knit from the shoulder down, so every few rows I actually get fewer stitches. Once the sleeve is knit, I only have to knit a teensy little collar, weave in the ends, sew two seams, and crochet a chain to use as the lace to lace up the front. That's it. Easy.

Why can't I make myself do this? I need someone to kick me into getting it done. It's not like I don't want to finish the project because I love knitting it so much, belieeeeeve me. It's not like I have nothing else I would rather work on. It's not like it is hard or complicated or picky. It's not like I am using yucky yarn or nasty needles -- au contraire, I am using lovely Maine wool and my gorgeous, incredible Signature Needle Arts needles. There is no reason to forestall finishing this sweater. I just don't want to do it.

I need some kind of inspiration, or some kind of threat, to kick me into high gear on this thing, so I can finally finish it. So... kick me. Please.

(See the above image in its original context here.)

Yet Another Highly Desired Knitting Project

Here's another thing I want to make, quite desperately, in fact:


It's the "Renaissance White" jacket from this year's fall Knitter's Magazine. Click HERE to see more information about this project on Ravelry.

Sigh. One of the ladies on the last knitting cruise was just starting it, and as soon as I saw the picture, I knew I wanted to make it a LOT.

Sigh. SighSighSighSighSigh.

I want to knit it alllllllllll but I have no tiiiiiiiiiiiime so instead I will just whine constantly. Kay?


I shall bend my head to work over the Penobscot Bay Pullover. I have only part of one sleeve left to go. The end is in sight. And there are soooo many projects I want to jump into after this one, all of them highly desirable projects, things I want want want to knit.

Funny, isn't it? That the project you're currently working on is NEVER the one you want to make? It's always the next one, the one coming up, that you lust for. I wonder why that is. *shrug*

Happy knitting :)

One of my regular customers, a wonderful local woman, has started a small business in her "spare time". She knits and crochets small animals, known as "amigurumis" or "ami" for short, and they are just the cutest things you have ever seen! She sells them on Click here to check out her shop online!

I knew people were doing this, selling their handmade goods on, but I never really went and looked at it that hard. Then the other day another of my customers was telling me about buying gifts on etsy, and it got me thinking about it again. What a great idea, to be able to go shop online for holiday gifts and still be able to retain the lovely handmade aspect of the item! And how great to support a fellow craftsman or artist, by buying directly from the maker and knowing that most of the money you plunked down went to the person who made the item. (Etsy does retain part of the selling price as a transaction fee... hey, they have to make money somehow.)

I started looking around on Etsy and geez, you can find so much more than I thought... there are lots of textile-type items, knitting and crocheting and weaving and felting are all well-represented. But then I branched off into glass and pottery and leather .... so much beautiful work there, too!

And that's not all. You can buy lots of stuff for supplies for knitting too, like hand dyed or hand spun yarn... but what I loved best are the fabulous patterns you can buy on Etsy! And most of them are .pdf downloads too, so you can have instant gratification! Most of the patterns I looked at are around $5 or $6, which is what you would pay for a paper pattern in Unique One. I think a digital pattern is even better, since you never would lose it. Just print another copy if you lose yours (or if it blows overboard, say, on a knitting cruise.)

I would love to have lots and lots of people come into Unique One waving copies of patterns from Etsy, coming in to get yarn for fabulous hats and scarves and mittens and toys and everything, because I would know they were supporting a fellow fiber nut out there, and plus I want to participate in their project lust by seeing all the cool patterns they will find on etsy.

I looked it over and it seems to be pretty easy to set up an account and sell things on etsy too! You can do it! Just design your own thing (you can't sell a thing you made using a pattern you buy, because that pattern is copyrighted; come up with your own original ideas please), knit one up, and sell it. It's pretty simple. And geez, if all my customers started their own etsy stores, they would all be able to make more spending money to umm..... buy more yarn! :-)

Here are a few cool things I found on etsy; check 'em out:

Miniature Knitting Bag

Butterfly Pi Shawl - Lace Knitting Pattern

Green Turquoise Small Loop Snag Free Stitch Markers

Star Stitch Convertible Mittens Pattern Set Hat and Neck Warmer

Natural Merino Wool Mittens, small

Newfie Mittens Adult - Free Shipping - Honeycomb Pattern

Pattern - Sheep Family Collection

Felt Stitch Markers - Sheep

So Much Knitting, So Little Time

I want to knit every pair of socks in The Eclectic Sole. I want to knit every single garment in A Fine Fleece. I want to knit all of the different sock ideas in New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I want to knit the pink frost flowers shawl in the new Interweave Knits holiday issue. I want to finish every project I have on the needles and in the yarn stash here at home.


It Itches!

Hahahahahahahahahaha I have not laughed so much in a looooong time, as I did when I opened my recent shipment of new books from Interweave Press. There is a really really funny book of knitting cartoons and jokes from Franklin Habit, and you have just GOT to look at it. It makes a great gift for any knitter you know! And it really makes you laugh. And at only $12.95, it packs a lot of humor bang for the buck!

We also got Boutique Knits by Laura Irwin, a great new collection of knitted accessories with a decidedly 1920's Flapper Girl twist.... very unusual and very fun! It's not your grandma's hats and gloves..... well maybe it is, but they are very coooooool!

And and and .... the Interweave Knits Magazing Holiday Gift issue arrived at Unique One today too! Wooohoooo! Get those needles clicking, you know what to do! And the yarn sale is on through Sunday! Wow!
The best thing is, Interweave has a contest based on Franklin Habit's book, It Itches! You have to count how many sheep appear in odd nooks and crannies through the issue, send in your answers to some questions, and get a chance to win an autographed copy of the book! There is also a Caption Contest over on Knitting Daily... make sure to enter!

Some New Books

We got a bunch of new books today at the store. I got a few from Skacel (in addition to a few more Addi Turbos): Socks Soar on Circular Needles, which is not new, but has been out of stock at Unique One for a while; New Pathways for Sock Knitters, which is new to Unique One and has been much-requested by customers for months. Both of them are by Cat Bordhi. Victoria took a knitting class with Cat a few years ago, and shared some of her new skills with me, and it looks like this New Pathways book uses these very unique and innovative methods of creating unusual sock "architectures". If you love to knit socks, but would like to try a few new ways of shaping and creating the sock form itself, this New Pathways book is for you. Cat also gives you the "big idea", the overall concept of how each of the new architectures work, opening up for the knitter all kinds of potential for designing your own patterns using these methods. Cat Bordhi is a genius with a golden heart.

Also in the Skacel shipment was a new (to me) sock book called The Eclectic Sole, by Janel Laidman. It is subtitled "Socks for Adventurous Knitters". If the subtitle does not scare you, if you love the ooh ahhh factor of say, Lucy Neatby's designs at her wildest, if you love working with color and texture and do not fear the knitting, you will love this book. It's a little pricey, at $23.95, but I think it is well worth it. Unlike Cat Bordhi's unusual construction techniques, Janel's techniques are more traditional (wellllll..... except maybe for the sideways socks with the holes, they are SO COOL), but the color designs and the use of cables and textures are to die for. I love this book.

We got a few books on autoship from Interweave Press, but more on that tomorrow. Stop by and check out these new sock books if you can, or look them up on Amazon or AT YOUR LOCAL YARN SHOP. [insert big smiley face here.] They are wicked awesome books and well worth looking at. Have fun!


Another Year, Another Dinner


Another year, another dinner. I took the Unique One folks out to dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant tonight. They worked long and hard over this summer and they certainly deserved a good meal :)

That's it for today, I am stuffed. I sewed the shoulder seams together on my Penobscot Bay Pullover this afternoon. The body is done! Now I just have to pick up stitches for the sleeves and knit them down from the top, and knit a little collar on, and weave in ends and sew some side seams. And crochet a string to lace the front up with. And then it will be done! Hopefully by my Halloween deadline.

Today I only have a few minutes to knit, but I will knit on my Ships Project hat, even for the short time I will be knitting, since it is Tuesday. And that, my lovelies, is all the time I have had today to knit (I don't count sewing up the shoulder seams on the Pen Bay Pullover because that was technically sewing, not knitting.) So, not much time to knit today, but maybe next week will be better.

Another day, another blog post

Not much to report today. The yarn sale is going well. My day, however, has been filled with grocery shopping, wood stacking, a little cooking, and a little knitting. I have finished half of the yoke of the front of my Penobscot Bay pullover.... now just about to start the second side! I'm still on track with it, so that's good.

That's all for today :) Happy knitting!

Doctor Who Makes a Difference!

I think a lot of knitters are Dr. Who fans.... there's the scarf, of course, and a lot of us are from That Generation. I love to bits the new Dr. Who series, it is absolutely wonderful, but I also loved the old shows (especially the Tom Baker years, with Sarah Jane and K-9), all the way back to the original black and white jobbies.

The other day I ran across a blog post about 5 ways Dr. Who Made a Difference, and I want to share it with you, if you are a Doctor Who fan: Click Here to read the article. I thought it was pretty interesting. Also interesting that it seems like the TV shows that have changed how we talk or how we just do stuff, seem to all be science fiction shows, like Dr. Who and Star Trek. Anyway, it was kind of a geeky article but I am kind of geeky.

If you are not geeky but just like yarn porn, get a load of this great scarf from the show:


Happy knitting! and don't let the Daleks get ya.

New Yarn Arrivals

We got some new yarn and some restocked yarn and some restocked needles put out for sale yesterday! And just in time for the yarn sale :)

Here are the boxes:


First, we restocked all the Addie Turbos:


We got lots of sock yarn that customers have been asking for. Here is a big box of Trekking XXL:


We got another big box full of Step:


And the best thing is, not only did the Addi Turbos and the Step and the Trekking not go up in price at all, but also the Yarn Sale just started!!!

We got some new sock yarn -- but not much of it, because I wasn't sure how it would sell: the new Opal sock yarn, in the Harry Potter colors:


I actually ordered double this amount originally, but there was a flood or something at one of the mills or warehouses, so my order could only be half filled. I can re-order though, if this sells out quickly. I was concerned about the $23.50 price per skein, but Step is $21.50 or so, so I guess I shouldn't have worried. One lady who had never even read a Harry Potter book before, bought a Dumbledore skein right away, because she liked the color. One of the Tonks skeins is gone too, to somebody else who bought it as I was pricing the skeins. I think it is pretty ironic that the one character in the Harry Potter books who actually knits and who promotes knitting the most, Hermione, is not represented in the Opal sock yarn Harry Potter series. There is a color for Harry, and for Ron, and for Harry and Ron together; for Draco, for Tonks, for Lupin, for Dumbledore and for Hedwig. But no Hermione. That seems pretty weird to me, but who am I to say? I am sure there is some good story about why Hermione is left out, and if I ever discover it, I will share that. In the meantime, I will say to the angry Harry-Potter-fanatic sock knitters, get over it. Ooop, did I say that out loud? Sorry. But hey, look, you got lots of other fabulous colors for a bunch of characters. And at least Dumbledore liked reading the knitting patterns in the muggle magazines :)

I also got my size 2 double pointed needles from Signature Needle Arts!!! I am so happy!! I love these needles, love them love them love them. Here is a picture (all fuzzy because my hand was shaking with the excitement:)


I can't wait to cast on some socks! And wow, look at that.... two giant boxes of new sock yarn just arrived. Huh. Good planning :) It is more than I can bear.... I am going to break my not-starting-anything-new until the next 4 projects are done rule. I must cast on with my new pretty red sexy stiletto-point adorable fun size 2 double pointed needles TONIGHT. Or I will die. See? No choice :)

Oh and one more thing! We also got my autoshipment of new books from Interweave, five copies of the new Color Style book from Pam Allen and Ann Budd. It's great! Come on in, I only got 5 copies:


Happy knitting :) And I promise not to go farther than the ribbing on the sexy new needles :)

Yarn Sale!!!!!

October 9 through 19!! SALE ENDS OCTOBER 19! If you come in on October 20 and want to get the discount, no, I am sorry if  you missed the sale, I am sorry if you did not see my ad in the papers, I am sorry if you did not see the foot-tall-letters YARN SALE sign filling the front window. The YARN SALE IS OCTOBER 9 THROUGH OCTOBER 19!



Charity Tuesdays

Hiya :)

First of all, let me boast that as of 6:30 last night (which is when I actually wrote this post) I had knit 73 of the 88 rows needed to get to the underarm on the front of my Penobscot Bay Pullover! wooohoo! Hopefully after I wrote this post I continued to knit through the underarm and part way up one half of the yoke. The yoke is split into two halves, with a deep slit from the neck to the chest dividing the moss stitch sections in half. I would love to have the front done and one sleeve at least picked up and started by next Monday.

But on to the purpose of this post. I have made an important decision, and I challenge people to follow me.... if for nothing else than to keep me on track and make me stick to my resolution!

I have, for years, been a member of the New England Textile Arts Yahoo Group, whose adopted charity is knitting for the Ships Project. The Ships Project sends handmade hats, slippers, cool-ties and cool-heads to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed across the world in the War on Terror. I love this charity.

However, in the many years since NETA was formed, I think I have sent exactly one pair of socks and maybe a hat to the Ships Project. Sure, I do donate many skeins of yarn to NETA knitters each year, which they use to knit a beautiful afghan that is raffled off, the proceeds going to help fund postage (and man, they need a LOT of money for postage because so many wonderful people out there send so many heartwarming gifts to troops). I am very happy to do this! But I have always felt bad, felt guilty, about not actually knitting things to send to the troops. I keep meaning to do it. I want to do it. But I never manage to actually pick up the needles and start a hat or socks for some hardworking man or woman in the military, whose day would be mightily uplifted by a cheery handknit item from home, showing that he or she is valued and supported. I just say, I will get to that someday. Someday, I will knit a hat. Sooner or later I will make a pair of socks. Soon. Really. Yup.

We all know what happens.... I don't do it. SO: I hereby resolve that starting TODAY, all knitting time that I manage to work in on Tuesdays, will be devoted to knitting something for the Ships Project. If I knit 5 minutes or 5 hours on Tuesday, it will be for the Ships Project. I actually hope that I will knit more on Tuesdays than on other days, because I will be making a concerted effort to make some kind of progress on a hat or pair of socks. It's not to say that I can't work on Ships Project items every day of the week if I want to, but I promise that on Tuesdays, at least one day a week on Tuesday, I will knit for the troops.

Why did I pick Tuesday? September 11, 2001 was one of the most beautiful fall Tuesdays I have ever seen. I will never forget it.

Please keep me on track with this... if you notice me working on anything NOT Ships Project related on Tuesday, kick my feet out from under me and pour a bucket of bugs over my head. OK? Okay. :)


Making Progress

Yayy! The back of my Penobscot Bay Pullover is done! Pbpback

I have started on the front. I have 19 rows done. There are 88 rows to the underarm. One great thing about this sweater that makes it easy for people knitting their first sweater is that there is no neck shaping at all -- an idea I kind of stole from the Portuguese Fisherman sweater that everyone has knit a billion times. It is, of course, a traditional construction method for garments made of handwoven fabric too, since the front and back are made from completely square pieces of fabric, and no yardage of precious handwoven fabric would be cut for shaping and therefore lost. It translates well to knit fabric too.

The sleeves are picked up and knit down from the shoulder. Then the side seams are sewn and the neck is cleverly added at the end. This sweater gives the First-Sweater-Knitter success without the nightmare of neck shaping, which is usually the place where the screaming and crying starts: "Work other side the same as the first, reversing shaping." Yeah, right. What the hell does that mean???? Poor beginning knitters, there are so many pitfalls for them.... I am glad Unique One is here to calm them and help them through the madness to where they can see the light of happy knitting again :)

Take care & keep on knitting!

Rhinebeck Is Finished

Yayy! Late this afternoon I finally got the ends woven in and the buttons sewn on, completing my Rhinebeck cardigan. I love it! I haven't actually put it on to wear it yet, but maybe I can wear it tomorrow if it is cold enough. I do love this sweater. Oh! I wanted to mention, in my button decision post a while back, I asked people to vote for what button I should use, from the four buttons pictured. The square button wins!! wooohooo!

Now I am on to the Penobscot Bay Pullover, which I have approximately 17% done. I am using worsted weight wool from Christopher Sheep Farm in color Light Sheep (kind of an oatmealy color) and size 8 needles. I designed this sweater for a class I was teaching, Knit Your First Sweater. That's why, even though it could so easily be knit in the round, I designed it to be knit back and forth (and I am knitting it the way the pattern is written) so that the newbie sweater knitter could learn how to sew a sweater together. I should set a goal to have this finished by... hmmm... it probably takes at the most 40 hours to make, and I have probably put ohh, 6 or 7 hours in it. So I have about 34 hours left. Let's say I eke out 2 hours of knitting a day, one way or another (Hey! It could happen!), so I should be done in around 17 days. That puts me at October 18. Okay, so let's say, I will try to get it completed by Halloween :))

Today we got some backordered colors of Berroco's Comfort Sock sock yarn (in black and a variegated gray/green, very pretty), and a shipment of umbrellas, and a whole bunch of Anne Kilham note cards. Anne is a local artist (Rockport!), and her paintings show local places and scenes. I think she captures the feeling of midcoast Maine very well. A lot of the cards we got are winter/holiday scenes because lots of people use them either for Christmas cards (although they are blank inside), or for thank you notes after Christmas. They are a pretty good deal, only $6.50 for a pack of 8, with envelopes. Oh, and we also got Anne's very beautiful advent calendars! People, now is the time to think of advent calendars! If you wait til the end of November, the good ones are already gone!

Man, I can't believe how quickly the holidays creep up once October 1st hits. Anybody doing any knitting for holiday gifts? Have you started yet?
Image from Anne Kilham Designs