Just a little introduction

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I’d like to introduce you to the two newest members of Team LWIM. On the right, we have the white kitten, formerly known as “Boy Kitty” and now known as Frog. Aaaaaaaaaand on the left, we have the stripey kitten formerly known as “Girl Kitty” and now know as Tink.
Welcome to the team, Frog and Tink. We are really glad you’re here.

Restash Network

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In my morning surfing I came upon Restash Network. This is a fantastic idea to get those affected by Katrina (and I assume Rita)knitting and crocheting again. They are accepting books, magazines, needles, hooks and YARN. There is a full list of items needed and instructions of where to send on their site.
In the various blogs I read I have noticed that a lot of us seem to be organizing and destashing. Personally, I have some perfectly great yarns that have been in stash for years (plus a few recent additions)and every time I look at them I wonder: “What the heck am I ever going to make with that?” I am not saying they are ugly, bad or scratchy- just a bit too familiar. And what is that saying, familiarity breeds contempt? I am going to go upstairs and pull out these yarns and ship them off today. Because, even though I don’t know what to do with them, I am certain that there are people who need some sanity, something to do with their hands and they will know precisely what to do with these yarns.
Will you join me in doing this with your stash? Please leave me a comment and let me know that you are!

Geeking out

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I was out a few weeks ago with a friend of ours. We have known him about 5 years and somehow he didn’t know I knit. Either it had never come up or he forgot. So we were chatting and he asked about my day, and I had a couple of hours to knit that day. So I said something like : “Oh, it probably woudn’t interest you, I got to knit today.” Well, he did want to hear about it and kept asking me about all the other things I do: sewing, quilting, machine knitting, felting, painting, sculpture. And apparently I was on a tear because he looked at me and said, in the nicest and most complimentary way: “You are a G-E-E-K. Man I had no idea what a huge geek you were.” If he only knew….
As I have confessed before- I never used to make swatches. Then I would make them and not redo them until I got gauge. Then I wouldn’t follow the rule: Do to the swatch what you are going to do to the sweater. Which I now do. And somewhere in the great swatch making odyssey it occured to me that I should make a note of all this. And I did, but there was always something that slowed the whole process down, what is the suggested gauge the manufacturer suggests? Which were the exact needles I used? What was the gauge before and after blocking? And one of the most important items: how many yards of this do I have in my stash? I cannot tell you the number of times that I have gone to the stash, pulled out the same yarn over and over and over, counted the number of skeins and done the math to figure out the total yardage. Total time waster. And frustrating.
So now I am getting geekier. And maybe it will save me a few miniutes and save me from having me to clean up the mess that stash diving creates. I just need a filing system for the swatch/index card geeekiness.
And Emily called me on the seven swatches of yesterday’s post. It was four, not seven. You got me.

Wee Little Post

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Wow! I had no idea how little I could get accomplished with one child in the house and one at school. Again, I was deluded that I could get anything done with just Duncan home. October 11 people! That is the magic day he starts school. Wanting so much to begin a new project and I cannot even get enough time alone to pick one let alone swatch. So I start a swatch, get interrupted, forget that I started swatch and then dig through the stash and start another. I have 7 started swatches this week. Yikes!
Here is one of my all time favorite sweaters. It is probably 12 years old, made out of La Gran Mohair. I have no recollection of the pattern. Love it. And this is another sweater that wears like iron. The seams on one side have finally worn out and I will need to reseam. But 12 years for seams? Pretty darned good I’d say.

Tomorrow, Hubbalicious has the boys (to add to the fried Mommy brain, he has been travelling all week) so I will get to actually knit and actually blog and actually get to take a shower that doesn’t involve small hollering boys and rescue helicopters.

Ahhhhhhhhhh, that’s better.

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These Ziplock Big Bags are perfect. They actually have a flat bottom (sadly, like your intrepid author) so you can open them up and then load stash into them. As mentioned earlier, they have handles so you can hang them up. They hold an amazing amount of stuff.
We have lived in Virginia and in this house for 15 months and I am just now getting my LA-bor-A-tory set straight. Ready for massive production when Duncan starts school on October 11. Angus started school 3 weeks ago, but Dunc cannot start until mid-October. They are in mixed-age classrooms and the State has rules about how many children under two and a half they can have on the premises (five, that’s it). So Duncan Doodle will be 2 and a half on the 9th of October and will start the 11th. Figures that the Monday is a holiday, doesn’t it? I had the delusion that when Angus started I would be able to get more done. Nope, Duncan needs Mommy almost every other minute. It makes sense, his best friend is away at school.
So while Duncan, aka: Dr. No, napped today I organized my stash. Sorted by manufacturer and sometimes by weight, we now have order in the LA-bor-A-tory closet.
I labeled each bag- started by putting color number and name on them too, but gave up. I discovered that I have some yarn that I have NO idea what to do with. And some that I have NO idea what to do with that I am not overly crazy about. The latter went into the WTF? bag. This is not bad yarn, just yarn that is either not for me or yarn that I have had so long and am so sick of looking at that it is in the WTF? bag. Stay posted, I may have a WTF? yarn give-away soon.
Next onto the books and magazines.
Hey have you seen Rowan 38, WTF?

Fibbing

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Now over here at Chez LWIM, we talk a lot about fibbing. Why fibbing is wrong. How fibbing hurts people’s feelings. How if you fib people will not want to be your friend. How fibbing is not nice and does not build character or rather, builds the type of character you don’t want. You get the gist.
Well, when I chose which size of the green sweater to make, I told a whopper. So, without slogging myself back through the humiliation of it all, let it suffice to say, I fibbed about which size I should make. Put it this way, my very petite and svelte mom tried this sweater on this past weekend and it barely fit her. I am a good 4 inches taller than she is and well, not svelte (currently).
I used to have the figure for fantastic clothes, but not the budget. Now it is the other way around, budget but not the body. But I digress.
So, I was at a crossroads. Do I throw it in a heap and say: “Out Out Damned Sweater!”? Or do I gift it to a smaller person? Well, I am very happy to report that I took the high road. I unsewed the side seams and the underarm seams (but left the shoulder seams- I did not want to rip the neckband back)and gave her a nice tepid bath…

Doesn’t she look like a gigantic greenish lobster? So after her bath, I got all the water out of her that I possibly could by putting about 3 towels on the floor, sweater on the towels and slowly, gently wrapped her and squeezed gently to get most of it out. Then I pinned the ever lovin’ snot out of her. Seriously folks, that is a king sized bed and I pinned every half inch. I calculate I used 300 pins, not including the ones that bent or broke.

And then she had a good night sleep and when she awoke, she was several sizes larger! So I seamed her back up…And she fits! And the button holes are blocked open and the button bands lie flat and she fits!

I am really pleased that I took the high road. Very happy to see that effort does really pay off. The longer I knit and sew, the more I find myself willing to do it the correct way. I have never wet-blocked before and it was a gas. I loved it and love that I took the time to do it. I had already steam blocked (and pinned) her but it wasn’t enough. The wet-blocking was the way to go as I wanted her to grow, grow, grow. And yes, I have learned that fibbing to oneself isn’t a wise choice either.

These are the greatest bags ever. The LA-bor-A-tory, or as Angus says:”Mom-Mom’s Magic Knitting Room” used to be Angus’ room. No, I did not manupulate the children into thinking that sharing a room would be fun, JUST to get a LA-bor-A-tory. I resemble that statement. So the LA-bor-A-tory has a nice sized closet with a couple of rods in it. Yarn goes in enormous ziplock bag, bag seals up, place hanger through bag handle and place on rod. Instant hanging stash!
Oh and if you happen to shop at the Harris Teeter in Reston, don’t bother looking for the bags. They are all in the above photo.

This one is for Kay

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Dear Kay-
In the comments on your blog today I said something about Euroflax and was promptly sent to the corner, which I predicted would happen. Though, I do confess, I thought I would be sent there by Ann, not you.
Oh, how I have learned the error of my ways. I have it on good authority that you are a complete hardass and I should be grateful that I did not get flogged with a broom.
I must state that the first time I met Euroflax was while doing my homework this weekend. I felt the skein. I had never knitted with it. Please forgive me, but it felt like toothpicks stranded together.
So, upon receiving your passionate and heart felt dope slap, I went off to my LYS. Such is my depth of conviction in your passion, I took a toddler with me. Upon arriving at my LYS, I explained to the very nice lady working there that I had blasphemed Euroflax. I thought she was going to have a stroke right there. “No!”, she said “It is fabulous and all you have to do is throw it in the washer and it is perfect- here feel this, we have a knitted and washed swatch!”
I felt the swatch, the toddler felt the swatch. We both loved the swatch. Doodle carried the two skeins of the Euroflax to the counter and handed them to the nice lady, while saying “Yarn, Yarn!” (Gotta train ‘em young to be Yarn Loving Fine Young Men.) They had very few colors, and sadly none in Denim-ish style. We purchased the eggplant colorway which was as close as I could come get to your beloved.
I faithfully came home, wound it into a center pull ball and cast on for the buttonhole band that you commanded me to make. And now I see the cunning in your plan. What good is a buttonhole band without a garment to attach it to? You are pure, beautiful, evil genius.
So, Dear Kay, I have now seen that I have done WRONG. I have said my Hail Kay’s and I will knit a garment out of this lovely fiber. And I promise to take a flax supplement every day for the rest of my life.
xoxoxo-KT
ps: Ann, can I re-comment for my least favorite yarn? I promise to say something really, really nice about it. Something so passionate and lusty that I might redeem myself for my impure thoughts about Euroflax. My desire to get sent to the corner again is waning by the moment, I promise.

Put Your Hands on the Car!

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Here we have the progress on the Nothing Rhymes with Orange scarf. This thing is a yarn black hole. This is two balls of the alpaca. On size 10s. So, I got to thinking that it needed to be frogged. I figured that it would be gargantuan and hot. Then I had pangs of guilt. What I wanted was to stop working on it. The thought of making Nothing Rhymes into a long scarf has been coma inducing. I felt bad, like I made some really big bad mistake. Completely whacko.
The light went on and I remembered that this is yarn, not stone. It is not permanent, it is fluid and changeable and this is key: an experiment. And perhaps most important- my experiment.
I really do like this yarn, the pattern and the color. An idea struck… Nothing Rhymes is going to become a neck warmer, still with some fun, as yet unselected, fringe. In order to make sure the idea was going to work, Nothing Rhymes needed to be tried on. And like a cop hiding out with a radar gun, there was hubbalicious with the camera. Okay actually, I asked him to take the picture. Thank you sweetie, it was great to see you laugh so hard.
Have you done your Perfect Yarn Homework yet?

Angst Abounds

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Knitting Angst. Yep, that about sums it up. Knitting Angst, because you know there is not quite enough regular, world gonna end Angst. Not enough toddler Angst. There are WIPS all around but nothing that really satisfies. The Orange scarf is growing and growing. The Apoca-Vest for Hubbalicious is going well. This vest is an entry in and of it self- more on this in the near future. I did quite a bit of stash enhancement this summer, books everywhere. So it is not for lack of goods or patterns. And I want to at least start thinking about what my next project will be. Nothing really appeals right now. I will probably get struck by lightening for this, but really nothing appeals. And yet I am going crazy not having a place to put my knitterly affections. You know the Orange scarf- which I am naming: Nothing Rhymes with Orange is soft and lovely and will be great when it is 20 degrees outside, but Nothing Rhymes is kind like candy floss. You eat a huge thing of it, the size of your head and it was fun and all, just not very satisfying. Looks great, tastes great, leaves you wanting more. Wanting more, but more what?
And I was feeling a little scattered, a bit unfocused and then I saw these fantastic shenanigans and realized that I was sad and I was missing someone. Well, technically something, but with a love like this- it is a someone, I miss Rowan Magpie. Bad. I loved this yarn and it is gone. And had I known it was going I would have stuffed my house to the rafters with it. And my car. And the dog crate. And the kids backpacks. This was the yarn that I made my first Fair Isle sweater with. The first yarn that I fell for. Now it is gone.
But there is a teeny tiny light. Some how, some where I had the great good fortune to find Richesse Online. You want anything Rowan these ladies have it. And they are really nice and p-r-o-m-p-t. I will tell you about their fantastic customer service in a minute, but first the yarn. Like I said, somehow,someway I found my way to these ladies and they had Magpie in two shades, Raven and Tranquil. Truthfully, if they had Soiled Diaper Brown I would have bought it. And they had enough in each color to actually make an adult garment. get out. I was over the moon. So I placed my order (for Rowan 38 too!)and waited for my email confirmation. Nope. Didn’t come. Did I dream sweet Magpie dreams and there really was none? Was it a fantasy? So I emailed them today and within 45 minutes I had a response. Forty Five minutes people! This is astoundingly great. And they were nice and sympathetic because I was in their database but no order. And I quote: “I’ll be standing by to ship your order if it comes in, and I am sorry your order didn’t come through the first time.” Ooooh, someone who understands and is waiting to ship my order of Magpie? Sweet Mercy!
I want to state that the lack of order was a pilot error on my part, NOT their part.
So Magpie is on its way to me. I am seeing a cabled cardigan with a huge shawl collar in Raven. Angst is lifting.
So the above sweater is Tartan Jacket from Zoe Mellor Colorful Knits for you and your Child ISBN#1-57076-080-2. The green is of course Magpie and the Tartan is out of Brown Sheep. I know all this waxing about Magpie and then I talk about Brown Sheep. This is arguably my favorite sweater that I have ever made. I love the colors and the tartan was fun to do. I made this sweater 7 years ago maybe and it has worn like iron. Love love love it. Hmmm. Now, I see more Angst lifting- I am getting an idea.
The sweater below is the aforementioned First Fair Isle. It is Annabel Fox’s Mosaic Jacket. It is about 9 years old. Also wears like iron but oh yea- fits like crap. You know how we are always going on about how those pesky stylists are pinning and tucking the sweater to make it look better? Well, not the one who did this shoot. I just found a picture of it in Rowan 34 and upon examination, it looks like crap on the model too. The back neck swoops so far down my back I feel like I am wearing a toga. The front opening is cavernous. The seams would make you cry. But live, learn, and try to do better the next time. And never trust a pattern that only shows you the back.
Maybe she needs a good frogging. Maybe I cut her arms off and make her into a cushion? Ooooooooh that sounded hostile. Not meant to be, just looking to get use out of what I have.

Give a Little is a little bit over $77,000. We should be pleased. And we need to go do more. Tomorrow I am packing a truck headed to Mississippi. Now the Angst is all but gone. Do something for someone else, you’ll feel better.

Oh September How I Love Thee

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This has been a long, hot, disgustingly sticky summer around these parts. Did the knitting cease? Nope. I love air conditioning. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest we even had it there. So you can imagine living in Virginia I have become even more fanatical about it.
So the knitting didn’t cease but any sort of organizational ability or will I had went out the window. Plus I made the Brilliant Decision. The one where I thought that because both boys were starting 5 day a week school in the Fall that I would not put them in summer camp. Keep them with me. Have a Mom-Mom and sons summer of love. Arts, Crafts, adventures. Okay, I was delusional. I think the Brilliant Decision is something you decide ONCE and then never again. So, even if the organizational ability or will hadn’t left me, and I did make attempts to get it together, the Brilliant Decision would have bitten me in the backside. I tested it out a few times. I cleaned out the boys closet. They saw me in the closet- no really I wasn’t hiding- and then they would proceed to take every clothing item off the hangers. They did this four times this summer. Yea, Brilliant Decision.
Yesterday was the first day of school for Angus. Can you hear the gospel choir in the back ground shouting out the Hallelujahs? I sure can. And the humidity seems to have hit the road. And now I have some time to actually do some things. Not as much as I would like because Doodle doesn’t start school until October 11th. Still, I feel like I have hit the Trifecta.
So above you see one of my 18 kajillion to do lists. Maybe the first item should say Find Brain. It is September and I trust my brain will return soon, I will get more and more done and soon, the best news of all- it will be sweater weather.

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