Franklin is a cult figure to knitters. Thanks to this hilarious cartoon, he’s probably going to be a cult figure to the loved ones of knitters who have horrible gifts inflicted upon them.

I was talking about this [holiday gift knitting] with my therapist just last week. She suggested that I deal with my holiday angst in a constructive fashion by putting my heated inner dialogue down on paper so that I could properly analyze it. But I was out of paper, so instead I made an animated cartoon starring Albert Einstein and the Queen of England.

That will strike you as an odd coupling until I explain that whenever I experience a heated inner dialogue, that’s who the voices in my head sound like. (Although sometimes instead of Einstein I hear Fanny Brice; but the animation Web site doesn’t offer a Fanny Brice avatar.)

The result is that I still don’t have my holiday knitting under control and I have to find a new therapist.

You should go watch the movie, it’s funny.

update: I am not attending this workshop after all due to injury. Forgot it was posted so I’ll add this note instead of just deleting it.

I was very excited about the possibility of studying the Art of the Reliquary with one of my all-time favorite sculptors, Novie Trump, this weekend.

Then a spot opened up in Fibre Space’s design retreat with Stefanie Japel, which I’ve also been wanting to do forever.

This is a sweater I made from one of Stefanie Japel’s patterns:

alexandra ballet sweater

I picked the design retreat, but I still want to take one of Novie Trump’s workshops in the future.

Old Town Alexandria is full of landmarks. One of these is a life-sized fiberglass horse that proudly stands in the bed of a classic pickup truck on King Street in front of the Hard Times Cafe.

Last night we were driving home and we noticed the horse was sporting what looked like knitted clothing. We suspected he’d been yarn bombed, but it was too damned hot to get out of the car to investigate further, the DC area currently being hotter than the surface of the sun and all. I did snap a picture out the car window to post on facebook for the amusement of my knitting friends.


IMG_2983

Today, the horse was nowhere to be seen. Danielle stopped by Hard Times to get the scoop and learned that the Cafe hadn’t dressed the horse up, so our speculation about a yarn bombing was spot-on.

This evening I was at the store chatting with Danielle when another customer sent her a message that the horse at Hard Times was sporting some mighty swanky knitwear. We grabbed a camera and took a stroll to see for ourselves. Danielle posted about what we found, complete with much better pictures than I took last night.

Destiny is a funny thing.

Is there such a thing as destiny? How do you know what your destiny is? Can people recognize their own destiny, or do they need someone else to provide a sign? Who can help you find your destiny?

I can. I can help you to recognize your destiny, because I’m just that good.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take the example of Danielle, owner of Fibre Space.

Danielle might have thought that her destiny was to liberate the world from inferior fibers and ill-fitting garments and unleash the creative impulse inside everyone who crosses her path at her splendid oasis of mid-century modern craftiness.

She’d have been be wrong.

Until recently, in fact, Danielle had no idea that her destiny was to set a world record for the longest scarf knitted while running a marathon dressed as a fruit or vegetable.

Now she knows.

What’s your destiny? I’m here to help.

Husband and I went on our first Real Date on April 15, 1991. That means our 19th anniversary is coming up. I know, crazy! I don’t know when or where we’re going to Officially Celebrate. Maybe we’ll go to the Center for the Use, Overuse and Abuse of Random Capital Letters. Who can say? Actually, I can say, but I’m not saying yet. What I am saying is this: here’s a good cause to support this weekend and you should make time for it on Sunday.

On Sunday, April 11, 2010, Fibre Space is hosting a
speed knitting for charity event
:

The contest:
Join us for mimosas, juice, fruit and scones at our “pre contest party” and meet your fellow competitors. Enter whether you are a speed stitcher or not! Every single hat made on Sunday will be given to a woman receiving treatment for cancer. Everyone will cast on or begin crocheting these berets, which will be donated to the Washington Cancer Institute to for patients receiving chemo treatment for cancer. The patterns are free and available now, if you would like to practice. The knit pattern is here and the crochet version is here. Because the hats are being donated, please use cotton. We suggest Blue Sky Alpacas dyed cotton or Blue Ridge Yarns pima paints. Prizes will be awarded for the top two finishers in the knit and crochet categories.

The prizes:
Winners will receive a $50 gift certificate for fibre space.™
Second place finishers will be awarded $25 gift certificates.

The registration information and more details are on the website

On a related note: Michelle Whittaker, local knitting maven and all-around swell gal, is training for the Avon 2-day walk to end breast cancer. If you’d like to support her efforts, here’s her Avon fundraising page:

On a personal note…
While the focus of this walk is on breast cancer, other types of cancer have touched my life. My mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer in July 2005, and I miss her everyday. I know that she would be proud of me for taking on such challenge.

I also walk in honor of my friend Siobhan Hanson who courageously fought ovarian cancer but lost her struggle on March 6, 2010 and my friend’s father who lost his battle with cancer last summer.

For all those unnamed people who have been affected cancer, I walk for you.

If you can’t make it to the knit-in, you can make a pledge to Michelle or you can make hats to donate if you’re so moved. Send them here:

Washington Cancer Institute
c/o Lorna Delancy, Patient Resource Center
Washington Hospital Center
110 Irving St, NW
Washington, DC 20010

If you decide to knit hats for any charity group, be sure to strictly follow their guidelines carefully. They don’t generally make rules capriciously about the types of fibers allowed – there are good reasons. Not following the guidelines wastes your time and theirs so always doublecheck when you have questions.

You can get more information and inspiration at ChemoCaps or headhuggers, which are the two websites I see referred to most often.

Did I mention Danielle will be mixing mimosas on Sunday? I’m already the world’s slowest knitter so that’s probably not the Best Idea Ever if I want to get any knitting done, but it’ll sure make me an enthusiastic cheerleader. Until I curl up in the dogbed under the register and go to sleep, that is. (Please don’t let Veronica draw on me with a sharpie).

A long time ago in a galaxy far away (Chicago, 2009, to be precise) Mo Rocca disparaged hand knitted sweaters as itchy.

Since then, Rocca has apologized, been presented with a hand-knitted garment, and, most recently, learned to knit from Debbie Stoller and a 10 year old named Felix.

Danielle posted the video on the FibreSpace blog. It’s amusing, although I find Stoller’s suggestion that knitters don’t often get together to drink and knit. Not that I’d know anything about that…

But back to the video:

Since it’s Friday afternoon and you aren’t doing any work anyway, you should also check out Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’s backstage buzz blog post about the day the knitters came to a show taping and gave Mo Rocca the sweater.

I had to take a little vacation from knitting. Consequently, I have an abnormally large number of unfinished objects (UFOs) hanging around. Now that I’m off my feet with an injured foot maybe I’ll get caught up. The painkillers make knitting a little more, um, freeform, than some of the patterns require, so the lace project and the cabled sweaters may have to wait a little longer. I don’t usually have this many WIPs (more knitting-nerd speak. translation: works in progress) at a time – you know unfinished projects drive me almost as crazy as clutter.

There’s a GreenGable Hoodie from the Fall 2008 Vogue that I’m making with the gold Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed I scooped up at a Knit Happens. IMG_1061 I don’t much like working with tweed, but it’s a really pretty color and the fiber lets the cables really pop.

Last time I was at Fibre Space I impulse-bought 5 skeins of Crystal Palace Mochi Plus (colorway: feldspar). The color is very similar to the Noro Silk Garden Clapotis I made last year, but I’ve altered the pattern and am using very large needles so it’s completely different. Sort of.

noro silk garden clapotis (detail)

Plus, the Mochi is a more polished looking yarn than the more elegantly rustic looking Noro. Elegantly rustic? That seems like a ridiculous description, but maybe Noro knitters know what I mean. That’s my rationalization for making another clapotis, anyway. I’ve also been working on a delicate and slinky looking one in pure silk, but that one keeps running into trouble, so let’s not discuss it now. Let me also say for the record that I think most Noro, and most Mochi for that matter, looks like the aftermath of a clown explosion. There are a couple of colorways I like, but not that many.

There are always a couple of unfinished socks hanging around in little project bags. Those don’t count, I always have a simple stockinette sock or two around for traveling or conferences or other down time where I want something to do but don’t want to have to pay attention to it very closely.

I’m also still finishing the Marilyn (Miss Babs Yowza), a top-down raglan for Husband (Paton’s Classic Wool), and the 2nd sock for a pair of lace socks (Spud and Chloe).

Speaking of Miss Babsshe’ll be at Fibre Space Saturday for a trunk show. I may coax Husband into taking me over there for a bit. Maybe I should finish his sweater first so as to bribe him…

This post serves no real purpose other than to give you, my loyal readers, a chance to snicker at the fact that I have these projects all over the house, taunting me with their unfinishedness. I know you like to believe that I’m a vision of earthly perfection and would never have such untidyness in my life and all, but your worship of my fabulousness really isn’t healthy. Your complete and utter devotion, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable.

I can’t even mention the gift projects I have planned or started for a couple of friends who won’t be surprised if I spill the beans here. The fact that I keep stealing their clothes to measure them so I know what size to make might also be tipping them off. They may also think I’m just making some sort of nest, which may also be true. I’ll never tell.

Recently, I acquired an object. An almighty and all-powerful object.

Almighty All-Powerful Reeling Machine

I didn’t set out to acquire an object of such importance, I just wanted a swift to hold my yarn while I wind it up into a ball so I can knit it into cozy things. Although there are many models, this was the model that was available at Fibre Space, my excellent local yarn store, on the day I decided it was time to get a swift.

A swift expands and collapses like an umbrella (hence the term “umbrella swift”). This makes it adjustable because hanks/skeins/clumps/blobs of yarn come in all different sizes, and you can only ask Husband to sit around holding out his arms while you wind yarn up so many times before things start to get a little tense. Or so I’m told.

You clamp the swift to the side of the table to hold it in place. Then you can take yarn and transform it from something like this:

IMG_1052

to something like this:

IMG_1054

That was obviously not a before and after of the same yarn. That really would be a magical machine.

This is what it looks like when in use (the swift is on the left in the image, the winder is on the right):

Almighty All-Powerful Reeling Machine

Husband and I find never-ending humor in the almighty and all-powerful reeling machine and mention it in conversation whenever we can.

Almighty All-Powerful Reeling Machine

Oh my but do I have stories for you, kids. Right now, however, I have a headache, I need a shower, and I need to head to Artomatic for a manager’s shift. Artomatic is closed to the public now. Only participating artists are allowed in the building right now and they must show ID. Photo ID. Legal photo ID.

I finished the Sunkist Cardi today, after it dries and I sew the button on it I’ll post pictures. I don’t think I’ll take any knitting with me tonight. It’s too hectic to sit and knit while I manage and I really don’t think I should have sharp objects while I’m there. The temptation would just be too great. I’m pretty sure there are only so many times you can tell a grown man to get out of the dumpster before you completely lose it.

In the meantime, why don’t you check out the remarkable comments spawned by a post Ta-Nehsi Coates wrote about Mayo v Miracle Whip over at The Atlantic. It’s fun.