Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Newest, and Cutest, LYC In Town

The Grand Opening was September 6. The hardwood floors were brightly finished, the stock and furniture were in place, and a faint smell of fresh paint lingered in the air. Blazing Needles had officially arrived in Salt Lake. Cascade yarns form the basic backbone of the stock -- from Cascade 220, the yarns go high end. Manos del Uruguay, a personal favorite, was well represented. There were ultra feminine yarns with beads and sequins scattered throughout the skeins, yarns with textures from ultra smooth silk, to warm and fuzzy wool, to rough raffia. Needles, books, samples, notions and accessories were placed conveniently about the store. Cynthia, the owner, understands the need to touch. (I would guess she also understands the direct connection between touching and wanting...) My fingers wandered over fine wool. alpaca, silk. Yarn lust seized me.

Then I walked into the room that leads into the lovely outdoor courtyard and saw the Shi Bui trunk show. The coolest knit pillow ever immediately drew my eye. I've visited Shi Bui's web site, but images on a screen simply cannot compare with the reality of the knitted samples. As I was examining the spherical pillow, the Shi Bui lady herself came over and spoke with me. Nice lady, nice yarns, next time I have some discretionary funds burning a hole in my pocket I know where they'll go.

Last Thursday evening I attended Blazing Needle's Knit Night. It was held in the room where the Shi Bui trunk show was still displayed. Chairs were drawn up around a dark wood table for a wide demographic range of knitters and crocheters from a cute male college freshman to women of (how to put this delicately) wisdom and experience. There were light refreshments provided, even a couple of bottles of wine (in Land o' Mormon!) and a congenial atmosphere.

Yes, I will be going back to Blazing Needles.

And, Cynthia, love the name, Blazing Needles, it brings to my mind a dynamic theme music.
(Click on the note and mentally make the obvious substitution of words.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trust In the Math?

I bought some very appealing Patons Bohemian yarn thinking it would make a nice chemo cap to give away. The cats thought it looked appealing too, just like a mousie, so they shredded the bag and were starting in on the first skein when I saved it.

I knit a swatch. Okay, I admit it, I'm weird, I like knitting swatches. I like seeing how the yarn feels and works and getting the hang of it without worrying about making mistakes. Then I usually frog my swatch and use it in my project.

Anyhoo, I knit a swatch on the suggested size 11 needles (ooh soft) and got the gauge - 2 stitches per inch.

To make the hat more one-size-fits-all, I decided to knit it in a 2x2 rib, so I cast on 44 stitches and knit a few rows. When I tried it on my head, it didn't seem nearly big enough. No way would it encompass my noggin -- and my head ain't that big.

So I frogged it and cast on 52 stitches.

Tried it on after a dozen rows or so and it seemed to fit fine.

Knittidy, knit, knit, knit. Try it on. Hmm... seems long enough, let's do the decreases and finish this puppy off. Once it was off the needles, I tried it on again.

Ever seen the old Cosby Kids cartoon? Remember Dumb Donald? Yep, that's how my hat fit. Less the eye holes, of course.

Crud. Shoulda believed the math.

So I decided to make it into a beret. I cast on 44 stitches. Since I'd found the yarn wasn't the least bit stretchy, I used the backwards loop cast on and knit several rounds in 1x1 rib. My yarn was running way low, so rather than casting off and sewing the band onto the hat body, I sewed it straight from the needle onto the hat.

Looked good...

Tried it on. The yarn relaxed, the ribs turned into ripples and it was still - too - big. Dang.

Guess I just learned to consider the yarn as well as the math.

Know anybody with a really big head who'd like a brown teddy bear

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stress Knitting

Life has been being difficult for the last few weeks and I've found knitting to be helpful as a tranquilizer. I can't really seem to focus on anything though.

I knit the Purple Pod Pouch for a friend and embellished it with shiny things. It isn't the best job ever, but I'm not together enough to go for perfection.

I knit, and lined with fleece, a pouch for a friend who's in a nursing facility due to breaking his back in a motorcycle accident. His glasses disappeared", so I bought a pair of dime store reading glasses for him and made the pouch with a carabiner clip so he could keep them safe.

I'm working on a thank you bag for my ChosenSister, just a little bag with XO cables on two sides and Aryan cables on the other two designed by Chrissy Gardiner. I hope the cables don't get lost in the color changes of the yarn, but it's the yarn she unknowingly chose when she ooh'ed and ah'ed at it when I slyly took her to a yarn store.

And a pair of fingerless gloves for BeadLady. She has rheumatoid arthritis and I'm hoping these will make her hands hurt less when she makes her bead jewelry in the winter.

And, of course, The Project Which Cannot be Named. (Yes, I'm a Harry Potter fan.) It's in worsted weight yarn and pretty plain knitting, so I'm using it for cruising and recovering from the fiddly cables and the fiddly two on one circular needles and fine yarn to boot mitts.

And crocheting a couple of flowers and butterflies to embellish scarves for a cousin and her daughter.

Scattered, scattered, I'm scattered all over the place. But I think the knitting's helping me stay level if not together.