Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

The time has come to reveal one of the knitting secrets that was mentioned a few posts ago. I am pleased to present the pair of "Squirrel Sampler Mittens" Madeline crafted especially for Ann, University Counseling Services' secretary extraordinaire/bouncer.

Why yes, that is a squirrel motif.

A mitten within a mitten! Here the mitten is shown with the snazzy red lining exposed.

I didn't get a good shot of the acorn pattern on the palm, but rest assured that it is equally awesome.

Although I can't really top those mittens, I'll supplement Ann's gift with a few of the most adorable animal pictures my iPhoto library can offer.

Aaaaand, one last nose shot. Must be the most adorable part of a dog.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reflections On A Knit-tastic Weekend

I had a totally-fantastic-intensely-fun-knitting weekend. Did you?

Last Saturday, the Where My Stitches At? Knitting Workshop went down. Sure, I suppose the turnout could have been better, but we had a great time anyway.

We brought plenty of projects to show off.

There are some who suspect that the workshop was an elaborate ploy to get Alex to come back to Kirksville for the weekend, but let's not focus on such suspicions. Let's focus on the fact that Alex did come to Kirksville for the weekend and it was a splendid time!

He brought some beautiful handknits for Madeline and I.

"Orange Blossom"

In addition to beautiful shawl that I foolishly failed to photograph, I also received a new pair of socks.

"Ribbing of Doom Socks"

A knitter with a keen eye will notice the ridiculous amount of ribbing found on these socks. In order to prevent himself from stabbing his eyes out in a heated moment of ribbing frustration, Alex mastered a new knitting style. It's called Portuguese knitting. Although it looks a bit peculiar (the yarn is draped around your neck!), the technique makes ribbing much easier.

Of course we made him demonstrate.

Alex also brought a bag of old yarn for the workshop. To our delight, the bag also contained some of Alex's early crochet and knitting projects. It was practically overflowing with his early adventures with acrylic yarn.

I bet we could sell these on Etsy and make it on Regretsy. That's a twofer.

Behold, the crochet scarf that would. not. end.

Alex's first nearly completed sweater! We had a lot of fun with this one.

I wanted to sleep with this blanket, but there was some concern that the acrylic would melt to my body in the event of a fire.
Crochet. C as in "cozy."

No one was really sure what the next one was supposed to be. When in doubt, model it as a scrunchie.

After a weekend full of knitting and a breakfast full of waffles, Alex returned to St. Louis. Unforunately there's no time left to plan another elaborate scheme knitting workshop before the end of the semester, so life must return to normal.

My friend Erika presented me with a challenge this morning. She asked me to mend her mittens.

After watching Madeline darn John's socks this weekend, I was eager to accept the challenge. It only took me an hour total to darn three large hole, but the results weren't exactly pretty. Silly me, I forgot to take a picture of my mediocre darning to share with you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Hold onto your seats e'rybody!
There was a baby at Stitch 'n Bitch.
That baby was wearing a handknit cardigan made by SnB's own Madeline Nash.

Ms. Eleanor Best is simply ADORABLE

She is also a polite young lady. She feigned interest when John read her a book.

"I've heard it before, old man."

She even graciously allowed me to take a picture with her.

I impressed myself by not going into cardiac arrest.

Madeline would be very upset if I didn't include a shot that highlighted Ellie's well-defined chin.
Impressive, no? Like a young Geena Davis.

It seems to be a good time to knit socks (I know, I know, when is there a bad time to knit socks?). Katherine, Madeline, and Anna are each diligently working on a pair.

A close-up of Katherine's ribbing.

First of Madeline's April socks.

Secrets don't make friends, right? Well that doesn't apply to the knitting world. Keeping a knitting secret usually means you're going to make someone very, very happy. So, really, secrets make best friends. Madeline and I are keeping a few. Here are a few Zooma challenges (any Cranium fans out there?).

Madeline's masterpiece. Any guesses?

Just a little something I'm working on...

We haven't had any new knitters in a few weeks. I bring the beginning needles and yarn anyway. We discussed the possible need for more aggressive recruiting strategies. Fishing for newbs, anyone?
Can you believe I didn't catch anything?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Havin' Fun Isn't Hard, When You've Got A Library Card!

My apologies, I've been a negligent blogger. I just haven't felt much like knitting this week (hey, I'm human after all!). In fact, it took me five days to put a thumb on a pair of mittens. I agree that April might be a little late in the season for mittens, but my sister didn't seem to care.

Can you see where I messed up?

Definitely sewed together more stitches at the end of one mitten so the tops are different widths. I currently lack the motivation to take the Kitchener stitch out and fix my mistake and I honestly don't think she'll care. I used to be the type of knitter that would be really bothered by my mistake and would have pulled out the top of one of the mittens immediately. Perhaps that part of me will be back next week.

Clara started a new project. I'm in love with the loftiness of the yarn she's using for her new cowl. She has to be the coolest 9-year-old I know.

Bonus points if you can spot the Madeline.

Before settling down to study for a few hours in the library this afternoon, I made a quick stop in my favorite section. Any guesses which section that was? Why, yes, it was the knitting section!

The knitting books are tucked away on the 3rd floor in the northeast corner. It's sort of "out of the way" and I'm always afraid that my life will suddenly turn into a scene from a sitcom and I'll awkwardly interrupt some couple's passionate embrace. Just like this scene from Friends

Thankfully my path to the knitting books has yet to be blocked by entwined undergrads. I was able to easily track down my favorites to share with you. Judging by the binding style of the crafting collection, I'm guessing many of the books were added around twenty years before my birth.

To get started, who could forget the two greatest knitting books of 1988?

Cat Knits has to be the greatest book in the library. I challenge you to find a book that can make me happier.

Cat Knits. Meow.

Yes, the sardines are 3-D. Go find this book. This is the tip of the iceberg.

Classic British Knits, the second 1988 winner, is also memorable.

Just look at that colorwork! And perm!

The book is full of ordinary Brits doing ordinary British things. Like knitting after ballet practice (I only practice ballet in handknit sweaters, don't you?)

Truthfully, I really do like some of the cabled cardigans.
Mine will just be a little more fitted.

I've only glanced at the sewing section, but this book caught my eye:

Complete Book of Tailoring For Women Who Like To Sew
If you are a man, child, animal, or women who does not like to sew, picking up this book is ill advised.

The library also has a respectable section of books on macramé.

Practical Macramé

Curious what qualifies as "practical macramé?" I was too.

A Hairy Purse=Practical

A Macramé Bikini=Practical (yes, a twine bathing suit)

Don't want patterns to hold you back? Have big macramé dreams? Nobody puts Baby in a corner?! Well, I've found the book for you.

Do Your Own Thing With Macramé

Did you know that Pickler Memorial Library has over two shelves of weaving books?

Surely this is an important topic. I never knew weaving had so many facets!

There's no shortage of regional weaving books, that's certain.

There are also several books with patterns I would actually like to knit.

Men's Knits is full of modern knitwear designs and British men. A deadly combination, to be sure. It makes me wish my father was more receptive to receiving hand knits, since he is the only man of sweater status in my life (see: Sweater Curse).

I can forgive Pickler Memorial Library for all of its strange book selections, though. It just takes one book by the knitting rock star Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Knitting Without Tears

Take home lesson: Havin' fun isn't hard, when you've got a library card!