Friday, May 26, 2006

The computer ate my homework...

Why is there a picture of alpacas on this post? Because this blog is called The Alpaca Addict, and I just couldn't bear to put up another post with no photos.

Why are there no knitting photos? Because I haven't had time to knit! So look at the cute alpacas and then you can read the rest of the post.

I finished the financing for home improvement article and hit send, so that was good. I figured since I am about a year behind on updates on the AIA Knitting Site that I would be a good little freelancer and work on that this afternoon. I wrote a really great article about sock knitting, which you will never see. Why will you never see it? Because the CMS program ate it, I didn't have it backed-up anywhere else, and I am now too depressed to go write it again. Maybe tomorrow, sigh....

Still having fun with the crochet piece - I got so stirred up I went and joined the Crochet Guild of America. I blame Lily Chin - I interviewed her on Monday and she got me so happy about crochet I had to go dig my hooks out of the back of the stash closet. Sadly I have to stop interviewing fun people and go write the darn thing now or no one will pay me. Sigh... again.

Free long weekend (if you don't count all the work piling up). No feisanna with the kid, no school projects, and I already cleaned the living room. Maybe I can get back to the CTH socks that haunt my dreams.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

But sometimes you get lucky...

So I am working away on this top I am attempting to design in crochet. I wanted 160 stitches across at one point, but accidentally worked 162. I decided to leave well enough alone and leave the 162 stitches, figuring if I needed to fudge I could do it later.

On the fly, I cchanged the scallop pattern across one side because the one I had swatched would have been too ruffly for a long length. So I am scalloping along in the new pattern wondering how messy the edge is going to be because I have no idea how this is going to fit across 162 sts. And I get to the end - no stitches left over. If I had worked 160 instead of 162 I wouldn't have come out even. Sometimes you do get lucky!

For those who asked, here is the link to The Knit and Crochet Show in King of Prussia, PA in July. I expect to be hanging around most of the weekend - if you are planning on coming, drop me an email and maybe we can have a little bloggers meet-up.

No photos, I can't seem to finish anything! But I have a ton of work and four deadlines coming up so we will all just have to muddle along. BB is getting bored without modeling!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

OK, so it's NOT as easy as it looks!

I always thought that designing a knit or crochet pattern was something that I could do, but didn't because I didn't have the time, or enough interest. Now that I have been interviewing crochet designers all week for an article for Yarn Market News, I decided I really wanted to try my hand at designing something in crochet. Some things for me, just to get the hang of the process. If I could sell a design great, and if not I would have some nice things to wear to the Knitting and Crochet Show in PA, which I am attending in July.

I had four garment ideas in my head, did a few random sketches and went off to my favorite LYS. Somewhat of a dilemma when I realized that the yarns that I saw in my head didn't actually exist in real life, but with some help from the wonderful store owner I chose yarn for two projects. Last night I put down the CTH sock (which is gorgeous, btw, how have I lived this long without using this yarn?) and swatched a top.

And swatched....and swatched.... and swatched - nothing really looked the way I expected it to (which is of course why you swatch in the first place, but I digress). Eventually I got a fabric I liked, and started the actual piece. And of course, as soon as I started it I realized I had gotten some math wrong so I had to start again, and maybe there were a few too many increases so I had to do that part again, and maybe I didn't like the yarn in artificial light as much as I did in daylight so maybe I should take it back and start over? Or not? Hmmmmmm......

New respect, I tell you, I have new respect for pattern designers.

Wish me luck....

Friday, May 19, 2006

A little felting for Friday

I recently traded a bunch of sock yarn on the Knitty Board for whatever anyone would send me that would felt. It isn't like I didn't like the sock yarn, I did, but I had ten in one solid colorway, and how much brown sock yarn does any one person need? I got 4 skeins of teal Lopi in a trade, and I wanted to so some felting. So I made some mittens for Dulaan, and a bowl because I really want to get good at felted bowls so I can make a ton for Christmas pressies. Mitten pattern was the Fulled Mitten from Knit Mittens! (Storey Publishing) and the bowl was a vague interpretation of the large felted bowl in One Skein. I didn't have any size 15 DPNS or circs, so I used some size 17s that were laying around from an earlier project.

Here is BB with the felted items. I quite like how the Lopi felts. All in all I think the mittens were a success, although I didn't like the pointy fingertip. If I do the pattern again I will change the fingertip decreases. But they are thick and warm and will be good for Mongolia.

I had a few issues with the bowl as well. Even though I washed it forever and there is almost no stitch definition left, you can still see the decrease lines in the bottom. Not a huge deal, but I think I would be happier with smaller bowls with less obvious "works". It is a little floppy too, so I think for my own happiness, less is going to be more. If it is shorter it won't flop so much. I have a ton of embellishment ideas in my head, so more experiments will be on the way.

Then I cast on some Cherry Tree Hill supersock in the Old Rose colorway in the Garter Stitch Rib pattern from Sensational Socks. So funny to go from size 17s to size 1s overnight

Even with all this knitting, it has been a week about crochet. I am writing a feature for Yarn Market News about fall crochet forecasts so have had a great time interviewing designers and store owners. This week I spoke to Vashti Braha, Kim Werker and Annie Modesitt, Monday I am interviewing Lily Chin. Coincidentally enough, this past Monday I sold an essay to Better Homes and Gardens Simply Creative Crochet which will run in the October '06 issue. It is a humorous take on the fact that crocheters seem to have become the second-class citizens of the fiber arts world.

I have always done both knit and crochet (and needlepoint, and macrame, and sewing and ....). Mostly I knit, but from time to time the crochet hook calls me, and actually I REALLY love doing projects that have both knit and crochet components. But it seems to me that crocheters get the hairy eyeball at SnBs or the LYSs of the world, and I don't know why. Ah well, if I ever figure it out you can read about it in the July issue of YMN, and of course my silly pondering in SCC.

Other than that, I am working on a scintillating feature on short term financing for contractors, and a country antiques round-up. While I miss the knitting time, it is a good thing to have a lot of assignments lined up, so that the cash flow doesn't choke and die.

And lastly - a fond farewell to HandKnits in Englwood, NJ - they are closing on Saturday, and I will miss them.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Greetings and welcome to the world Rosie Toes! Rosie Toes is made from the Blue Sky Alpaca pattern called Baby Bobbi Bear, but the Kid calls her Rosie Toes because she is pink, and it just sounds like a good name for a bear.

The Kid served Rosie her breakfast of berries and honey in the living room on Saturday shortly before we had to go out. I still get a kick out of how attached K is to her animals (at the advanced age of 9) and I know it won't last much longer.

Yarn was Jaeger Chamonix (bulky cabled yarn, 50% merino 50% angora) which was leftover from The Throw That Ate New Jersey. Rosie is SO SOFT and squishable, and I thought the pattern was a very easy knit - finished her in about three evenings of television viewing.

Don't you just love/hate May when the tv shows you like finally get great because of sweeps, then they are abruptly over?

Off to count the minutes until the Grey's Anatomy season finale. If the president's speech runs over and puts off the start, he is going to drop like a rock in the polls tomorrow and would probably never know why.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I heart you all!

Thanks to all who commiserated with my unrequited bunny-lust - I seem to be over it now, although I will do some more research into the ups and downs of bunny ownership before Rhinebeck in case I turn out to fickle and fall in love again.

I went to MS&W with the middle sister, who is a certified fiber junkie like the rest of us, but more interested in weaving than knitting. She got bit BAD by the felting bug though, and had a great time buying various colors of roving to try her hand at needle felting. She wanted to know how knitted felting works, and I was just about finished with the knitting for this bowl, so there we sat on Saturday night after the drive home and some Mexican food, felting in her washer so she could see how it all worked (she didn't believe Crazy Aunt Purls' theory on gnomes, so I had to prove it).

Pattern came from here - by Knew Knitter, yarn was some more of the Classic Elite Montera I got on big sale a few weeks back. The kid has already stolen the bowl and made off with it to her room, otherwise known as the black hole of hand knits. (On a side note, the kid was the only one in Girl Scout camp last weekend with hand knit wool socks, and therefore the only person who wasn't whining that she couldn't sleep because her feet were too cold!)
Here is the before picture - the bowl is upside down so you can see the garter stitch base. BB isn't in the photos because I took them at my sister's house, and BB wasn't there. She promises to be in the next round of pix however, we all know that any knitwear looks better with BB in the picture!

Love this bowl and the pattern was very well written. I am thinking various shapes of felted bowls with some goodies in them for editor gifts this year - as most of you know I NEVER want to knit another washcloth again after last year's holiday rush! Can you believe I am thinking about holiday knitting ahead of time? I must have stayed out in the sun too long over the weekend...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Prisoner 618

I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and I fell in love... Caged angora bunny number 618 (the breeders don't name the ones they plan on selling, which makes perfect sense). I had never succumbed to bunny lust before. Sure, I saw the angoras here and there, but I never had a burning desire to own one, until this little furball was handed to me.Her soft hair, intelligent blue-gray eyes, the fact that she snuggled on contact - it was VERY HARD to put her back in her cage. But I did. I had a very meager budget this weekend and she would have blown it. I was hoping when we went back by that booth at the end of the day I would be told she had gone to a happy home, but sadly she was still sitting there - looking at me with longing eyes. I called home to see if any checks had arrived in the mail - and one had. Better sense prevailed however and I left her with the breeder, but I am sure she will find a home today.

Bunny number 618 - I will never forget you!

Having spent $67 on gas for the van to get there and back, I really couldn't go crazy with the fiber purchases. But I had a great time looking at everything, and a few things made their way back to my house. Here is BB with the haul...

The purple and pink yarn is for the Kid - her two favorite colors - how could I resist? She might weave with it, she might pet it, or she might use it in the little horse shaped spool knitter I bought her, but it is definitely hers. Next to that is some very inexpensive sock yarn, also from Little Barn. If you haven't seen these guys, keep an eye out the next time you are a fiber fest. Not the greatest yarn in the world but close to the cheapest! That skein has well over 400 yards and was $3.95 - wool/cotton/nylon. The purple/pink wool was about $5.00 and is a worsted weight. But my real treasure is here -
Suri Alpaca Bulky in the Barnegat colorway from Autumn House Farm in Pennsylvania. Butter soft, and a bargain at $12 for 110 yards. They only had three skeins in that colorway so that is all I got, but I want to make a scarf or small shawl out of it, then never take it off. I am thinking maybe some entrelac.

I also bought a skein of wool/mohair hadnspun for the Kid's Girl Scout Troop leader, who was stuck camping with 100 tween girls while I was skipping amongst the fiber. Small consolation I suppose, but she was pleased with the gift (or said she would be as soon as she got a shower and a nap!).

How many months until Rhinebeck?

Friday, May 05, 2006

I Can Rationalize Anything!

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Here I COME!

Should I be making this 200 mile trip when gas is $3 a gallon? Nope. Should I be going to a fiber fest when I have no cash to speak of? Nope. Am I going anyway? YUP!

The kid is going to Girl Scout camp and I have the weekend to myself. Middle Sister lives in DE, about an hour and a half from West Friendship, MD, so I am going to go there tonight and sleep at her house, then get a reasonably early start in the morning and pet fiber all day. Crash at her house Saturday night, then get home in the early afternoon Sunday to drag my child from the camp bus where she will be a puddle after two nights of too much sugar and too little sleep.

Yay for all of us! Photos on Monday.

Off to look under the couch cushions for spare quarters...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Just a quickie...

Wonder what kind of Google clicks THAT title will bring me...

Kid had a dance competition out of state on Sunday, and my parents and both sisters came too. They were thrilled to see her dance, but in all of the excitement she turned her ankle in her first event and the poor thing was miserable for the rest of the day because her ankle really hurt. That and new hard shoes - yuk. But she did manage to come home with a third place trophy in one dance (slip jig, for my dancer/readers), so she was happy to have been rewarded for trying her best. And a lot of ice is helping with the rest.

I always take knitting when visiting the family of origin, it gives me something to do other than grit my teeth... so on Saturday night I made a Cloud Hat for Dulaan -
Patons Divine in baby pink, paired with some acrylic pastel worsted weight that was laying around. I was feeling particularly pleased with this combo, A) because it is pretty, and B) because the variegated was actually leftover from a Project Linus blanket I did last year so I was feeling very thrifty. Two charity projects from one pile of cheap-ass yarn!
BB quite likes the hat, and is also showing off a basketweave scarf I found at the bottom of the WIP pile and finished off on Sunday. The dark blue is leftover from a pair of mittens that are already in the Dulaan box, the lighter blue is some Bernat Chunky that I picked up on sale. No leftovers - I knit until there was no more! Ten items in the Dulaan box now, and hopefully a few more will be finished by the time I have to put it in the mail.

Nothing else exciting going on - the never ending soapstone book is still toodling along, as are two more book proposals, a home tour article, an article on crochet (so sue me!!!), one on country collectibles, and a small business piece. If I can get everything finished on time (when all I really want to do is sit in a corner and knit) it will be a good month for me. I am feeling the need to succumb to a new pair of socks, but thus far the looming shipping deadline for Dulaan makes me feel guilty if I work on anything not destined for small freezing people in Mongolia.

Oh - and the mater LOVED the Cable Footies - I sewed on the Jiffy Grip in her living room and she petted them the rest of the night.