Saturday, April 30, 2005


I am finally home. Yippee!

I had to get up at 4:00 AM (which is 2:00 AM MST, to which I am now attempting to adjust again) in order to catch the first of my two flights. I had a whopping 30 minute flight from Dayton to Cincinnati, followed by about an hour and a half of hanging out in the airport, followed by an approximately 4 hour flight from Cincinnati to Salt Lake City. The flights were fine - just a wee bit turbulent at times - but I was both nervous and overcaffeinated, which resulted in this:

Wait a minute, so you're telling me you think nervous and overcaffeinated might somehow be related? Hm, we could be onto something here. Anyway, that's the obligatory lap shot on the plane, and it's also what an entire skein of Naturwolle looks like when knitted up into a scarf. No pattern there, just cast on 28 stitches, knit 4 rows garter stitch, and knit in a double moss stitch pattern with a 2-stitch-wide garter stitch border on either side. The stitch pattern doesn't show very well, but it does lend some texture that the garter stitch alone didn't have. I started out with just 20 stitches, but I like a wide scarf, so I started again. The yarn is incredibly beautiful - it's single ply, and in places it's practically roving still, which did make for occasional difficulties with splitting.

Anyway, I "wailed away" on it for a few hours as Bonne-Marie would say, and knit my way through the entire first skein before the plane ride was over. Talk about instant gratification after working on so many socks!

This is one of the things that greeted me at home:

Paul was conducting his own experiment in eating himself out of house and home. The answer to the question, "how long can one person go without going to the grocery store?" Well, at least ten days.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Where is Andrea knitting now?

By this time tomorrow, the answer to that question will be a blissful, most welcome "home."

Yes, I'm heading home. I usually don't mind being away from home, but for some reason, this trip has been most exhausting, and I'll be glad when it's over. Perhaps it was the long meetings, or perhaps it was the fact that our team had just a little bit too much togetherness (together all day for work, and then most of the evening for dinner most nights), leaving very little personal down time. Or maybe it was the fact that I've had to limp ever so slightly through it all on an injured knee. I tore my ACL and miniscus, and sprained my MCL and LCL in a skiing mishap on April 1st, and lucky me, I'll be having surgery in the next couple weeks! (Never heard of all this knee anatomy? Click here).) It's not painful most of the time, and I can get around quite well, even though I must wear a most annoying brace all the time. However, I am certainly not 100%, and that is irritating and hindering.

But where was I? Oh, yes. Going home. In order to facilitate getting myself and all my new yarn home, I found tonight that I was in need of a new bag of some sort. So I hit the TJ Maxx, and lo, I am going home with this:

I am trying very hard right now to convince myself that this was not a ridiculous purchase. I am not particularly suceeding, but I'm not taking it back to the store either. Even the finished Son of Charlotte socks seem to enjoy the association with this suitcase. This is a Lauren Ralph Lauren suitcase with, as you can see, classic styling, red leather accents, the whole deal, purchased for about 40% off the original retail price. In all fairness, my suitcase of this size is broken and I was contemplating replacing it. I probably wouldn't have gone for this one, but, well...behold the interior:

So red! So irresistable! Just look what the purchase of new yarn has driven me to! What's the name of that effect? The one where you paint your kitchen, and suddenly you find you have to replace the countertops, which leads you to need a new dining room table, and so on forever? Ah well.

The astute among you will have immediately picked up on the fact that the socks are actually finished! The second Stashbuster Spiral sock came off the needles this afternoon. If you like the look of these socks and would like to try the pattern yourself, you can get it by joining the Six Sox Knitalong (click on the button on the side of my page for a link.) They are, however, not technically finished, as there are more ends to weave in than I like to consider. So I am, in fact, not considering them at all. Tomorrow on the plane, I intend to cast on a nice simple scarf on some 9-inch size 10 bamboo needles for some highly no-brainer knitting. If I'm able to stay awake, that is. I have to leave for the airport by about 4:45 AM. Whee!

Better get packing that new bag. Oh, and by the way, thanks for stopping by my blog, and thanks to everyone who has been commenting!

Monday, April 25, 2005


In Germany, Schlaraffenland is "an imaginary land of great luxury and ease."* I don't remember all the details of the wonderful luxury and ease one was to be able to expect in Schlaraffenland, but it was the sort of a place where you could just lay about being lazy all day, and Bier and Wurst would practically float into your mouth. No beautiful spirtual enlightenment of nirvana this -- oh no, Schlaraffenland is all about wild indulgence, streets flowing with milk and honey, culinary pleasures and delights beyond your wildest dreams.

I have been to Yarn Schlaraffenland, and it is good. True, all the blissful, tactile pleasure that is to be had there is not free, but I can report that yarn virtually floats off the shelves and into your waiting arms, the aisles burst with untold beauties that lead you round and round in a seemingly uneneding maze of skein upon skein, and the comfortable couches and tables invite hours of abandonment into the throes of yarn lust and gluttony. Oh, and the coffee and donuts were actually free, come to think of it.

In the face of an unusual winter storm warning for Michigan, I decided to thumb my nose at danger and heed the siren call of a lot of good fiber, and I drove up to Lansing, Michigan from Dayton, Ohio for the weekend. (I am still in Dayton on the same loooong business trip. Can I go home yet?? I mean, c'mon -- I came, I saw, I bought yarn. What more can there be left to accomplish?)

Threadbear did not disappoint. I've been knitting for about three and a half years now, and I always make it a point to try to visit at least one yarn store each time I travel, so I've been in many a fine yarn store all over the country. And through all my travels, I have never found a yarn store that I thought could hold a candle to my beloved LYS, The Needlepoint Joint. But I must confess -- Threadbear wins hands-down when it comes to sheer, unadulterated, good old-fashioned yarn porn. Unending and towering displays of fibery goodness surround you on all sides, and the majority of their yarn stock is on display, practically spilling out of the shelves. It is dazzling and disorienting, and it is impossible not to spend more money than you really ought to. (For the record, in my opinion, The Needlepoint Joint is still queen of all the yarn shops I've seen when it comes to its incredible selection of books, its beautiful and warm atmosphere, and its dedication to offering excellent supplies and support for even "archaic" things like tatting and bobbin lace. And it really does have a kick-ass yarn assortment too.)

It's hard to imagine what awaits you inside as you approach the unassuming storefront in a small row of shops, and I knew it would be impossible to photograph the magnitude of what was inside, but Matt and Rob have really outdone themselves -- I mean, take a gander at the listing of yarns that they carry. It just goes on and on!

Then, as if all that yarn weren't enough, when I proceeded to check out with my purchases and met Matt and Rob at the front desk, they were both so friendly and gracious that they really made my road trip complete. I mean, it's not like I expected them to chase me out of the store with sticks or anything, but they were both so welcoming that it was truly a delight to be there. They were even quite genuinely enthusiastic about my Charlotte's Web shawl that I'd brought in to show them, since I bought the yarn to make it from them last year -- but of course I really have Matt's eye for color selection to thank for the beautiful outcome.

They even graciously posed for pictures with me (and my Charlotte, of course):

After wandering and filling my basket with what some might call restraint (well, okay, those "some" including, perhaps, the very wealthy and The Yarn Harlot), I grabbed a cup of coffee and a donut, kicked back in a comfy chair, and knitted for a couple of hours. As is normal in most every yarn shop I've ever been to (with a few very notable and unpleasant exceptions), I had a number of relaxed and enjoyable conversations with people of unusually varied backgrounds. And I knit, of course. Yes, it doesn't get much better than that, really. Oh, okay, it gets a little better, when closing time is coming, and you decide to buy a few last items. Well, really, it would be a crying shame to clock about 500 cumulative total miles of driving on a rental car and not come away with some serious yarn spoils, no?

"So, what did she buy," you are no doubt asking yourselves with baited breath.

Here is the yarn, lying in repose on the bed at the Sheraton in Lansing, in the state of comfort and dignity that such a haul undoubtedly deserves. (Lest at this point you begin to wonder if I'm a millionaire in disguise, remember that I'm forced to be in this neck of the woods on a business trip and therefore have a per diem allowance for hotel and food - so I just had to kick in a bit extra and got myself a nice room as a treat. And, no, don't worry -- I got a personal rental car, and your tax dollars didn't pay for any yarn. Well, technically they paid for all the yarn, inasmuch as your tax dollars pay my salary, but only in a truly perfect world would travel per diem include a yarn budget, and alas, we do not live in that world...)

This next pic is a bit closer. The pile here includes some lovely 100% wool Diakeito Diamusee from Japan (at the front bottom) in subtle shades of browns, pinks, burgundy, and even cream and an almost blue-ish grey. I think I'll probably use it to make one of those Multidirectional Diagonal Scarves that everyone was making on the knitblogs last year (including Theresa).

Clockwise from the Diakeito is some 100% new wool hand spun Naturwolle from the Black Forest in the Rosenholz colourway, which is full of browns and creams and pinks -- I was really quite taken with it the moment I saw it. I think it is destined to become a scarf and hat set as well.

At the top of the picture you can see three skeins of Rio de la Plata -- hand-spun, kettle dyed 100% pure new wool from Uruguay -- and just look at that irresistable 80s combination of black and fuschia! This may also be a scarf and hat, but I'm not sure.

Incidentally, it is a testament to the beauty of all this yarn that I am thinking of making scarves and hats, because I've been sort of "off" scarves and hats for a while now, having grown sick of them, but this stuff is making me feel inspired again.

Finally, on the right-hand side of the picture you can see a monster pile of Bouton d'Or Dandy. It's 70% wool/30% silk, and the color is Nocturne, a navy blue. This yarn has that lovely sheen that silk provides, and I'm hoping to make a sweater of some sort out of it.

The pile does contain a few other goodies, but I'm not going to reveal them, as they may become gifts.

So, in summary, it is fully worth a 4.5 hour drive to Lansing to visit Threadbear. The winter storm warning luckily brought only a manageable amount of snow, and I made it back to Dayton without mishap despite some snow, sleet, rain, and wind. I can now heartily recommend the Sheraton -- the bed was seriously more comfortable than my bed at home. And I even came away with yarn from three continents - none of them my own. Yes, it was a good weekend indeed.

Oh, and there was actual knitting. Here's my Son of Charlotte sock, preparing to get a good night's sleep on the Sweet Sleeper bed (TM, no doubt) at the hotel. I'm a good bit further along than this by now, but I'm too tired to take another picture.

*with thanks to LEO, which is an online free German-English dictionary from the Technische Universitaet in Munich, and Merriam-Webster online dictionary for the definition of the English equivalent word - Cockaigne. I had never heard of Cockaigne, but there you have it.


My Threadbear Odyssey update really is coming, hopefully later this evening.

Gosh-darned business trip interfering with my internet time....

*grumble, grumble, grumble*

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What are you doing with those toothpicks?

Though I am currently on a very long business trip, last week brought a very short one. I went to Phoenix for a mere day and a half trip, and I had not one but two amusing experiences whilst knitting on the plane.

As always, I was sitting in an aisle seat, next to a particularly chatty gentleman. Well, I'm not always next to a particularly chatty gentleman, but this time I was. This didn't really bother me, as he was amiable enough, and as knitting generally renders idle, unsought chatter more or less palatable. After a few minutes, Mr. Chatty leaned across me a bit and said to the guy across the aisle from me something like, "Hey, aren't you Craig?" It was indeed Craig (or some other monosyllabic name of that ilk). At first I thought that perhaps they knew one another, but it soon became clear that Mr. Monosyllabic Name didn't know Mr. Chatty at all, but was just being polite in discussing whatever sports-related thing they were talking about (something to do with coaches transferring, maybe).

Monosyllabic returned to his graham crackers and beverage, and I eventually asked Mr. Chatty who he was. Evidently he used to be a local sportscaster, perhaps went to work for ESPN for a while, and was returning to Utah to become the new voice of the Utah Jazz to replace a retiring Hotrod Hundley. (Hey, it turns out this is more or less an accurate version of things, as I just read here. Evidently, he worked for CBS too.)

At any rate, obviously I don't follow sports, as I didn't know this guy from Adam, though now that I've researched it, I have a dim recollection of hearing his name, no doubt when he was still on the local news years ago.

So, the funny thing is that a little while later this well-known sports play-by-play announcer noticed I was knitting, and leaned over and started asking me questions about it. What was I knitting? Oh, socks! That's so cool! His mother knits, but he's never seen her knitting socks. How does it work? I explained and handed him the finished sock I had with me. He turned it over in his hands, making comments about how great they were, how durable and long-wearing they must be, etc, showing it to his wife as well.

With that, our conversation ended, and I was more than a little bit amused to realize that, in an unexpected role reversal, I'd been completely oblivious to and ignoring a celebrity, who in turn started paying attention to me and asking me questions, effectively pestering me on a plane ride.

Yes, my friends, knitting in public is a little bit like being a rock star.

That interaction took place on the flight to Phoenix. The return flight was slightly amusing too. As the flight attendant stopped at my seat during the drink service, she said to me, "What are you doing there?" I'm very much used to this question when I'm working on socks, as it seems that few people can immediately identify them on the needles. "It's a sock," I replied, flipping the work in such a direction as to make it appear more sock-like. (This seems to be my standard "it's a sock" illustration method.) "No, what is it that you're doing? I said to my co-worker, 'Did you see that woman with all those toothpicks?,' but we didn't know what you were doing." A light dawned, and I replied, "Oh. I'm knitting. This is knitting." Confusion between knitting and crocheting is an everyday occurance in my life, and probably that of just about every other knitter out there. But the complete bewilderment of someone with seemingly no frame of reference within which to place your activity was unexpected.

I guess I should have told her it was toothpick voodoo -- you know, the FAA-friendly version.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Tales from the Road

Here's where I am at this very moment, my hotel room in Fairborn, OH, a suburb of Dayton. It doesn't look very exciting, and it's not, but it is a very nice room compared to hotels I might normally stay in for work. That's not to imply that we would normally stay in squalor or anything, but the woman in my office who arranged for rooms for all the travelers did a very nice job of getting us highly upgraded.

Today was a travel day. I woke up at 5:00 AM, and left the house at 6:00 in a bit of a blizzard. Fortunately, I live half-way up a mountainside, and by the time I was at the bottom, the blizzard had devolved into rain. I made it to the airport in plenty of time for my 8:25 AM flight, and after several hours and one plane transfer, I found myself in Dayton.

Luckily for me, plane time meant knitting time. Check out this fine knitting technique:

That's right, that's a venti (as in LARGE) nonfat no-whip mocha valencia (I can hear the choruses of "Die, yuppie scum!" in my head as I type out those words...), held firmly between my knees, because I'm not yet allowed to use my tray table. On my lap rest the three baggies containing all of the working yarn for my current Stashbuster Spiral sock, along with my kacha kacha counter. And let me tell you, plane knitting is made complete by the introduction of the iPod shuffle into the mix. Today's flight brought me the 5th edition of KnitCast, followed by several editions of the radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You can never go wrong with the HHGTTG on any trip.

KnitCast involved an interview with Lily Chin this time. I'll spare you a lot of commentary on it, mainly because there is little worthy of comment, in my opinion. Suffice to say that she sings, and she should likely be prevented from singing ever again, particularly if it's a bastardization of "My Girl" turned into an anthem to crochet. However, the hostess of KnitCast did comment that there were technical difficulties with the recording, so perhaps the horrifying singing can be charitably attributed to that. I was interested to learn that Ms. Chin had designed a knit Wonder Woman suit - now that's the kind of knitting that I can get behind. I guess in the end analysis, I'll say that Lily Chin is obviously a talented woman -- many of her designs are quite nice, she certainly works with the high fashion world more often than most knitwear designers, and she is indisputably one helluva fast crocheter. However. Being talented in these arenas does not make her a talented writer, nor does it qualify her as humorous, though she obviously tries. The writing in her Urban Knitter book, for example, was very substandard -- I was left wondering why her editor didn't do a better job.

Hm, I'd had no intention of going off on a Lily Chin diatribe. I did find the interview interesting, and I always like to keep up with everything I can in the world of knitting, whether I think it's good or bad. (This also explains my penchant for purchasing Knit n Style even when the majority of the designs featured there make me a bit queasy.) I guess I'm just a researcher at heart.

Oh, for the record, if you ever want to feel very foolish, feel free to take a picture of your own lap on a flight. I felt like it was such odd behavior that I was quite surprised to see I'd stirred little or no attention when I glanced around sheepishly after the fact.

I just remembered an amusing travel-knitting anecdote from last week's business trip, but as I really should be sleeping in preparation for Big Meetings tomorrow, it will have to wait until tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Making some serious sockgress

I thought I'd post a couple pictures of my recent knitting instead of just nattering on. I've been a little bit, shall we say, behind on the Six Sox Knitalong, and lately I've been playing catch up.

Things started out well enough on the August/September sock, the Making Waves sock. I finished the first sock within a reasonable amount of time, but then September was my busiest month at the office (as it always is), and the second sock languished. Though I loved the result, the knitting itself was admittedly not all that riveting for some reason, so that contributed to the delay. However, I pulled them out again to take with me on a two-night ski trip to a yurt in Logan Canyon in February (or was it March? No need to discuss my early senility this soon in the blog...) Between that trip and multiple car trips to Altamont, Utah (which is where I'll be getting married in September - perhaps a story for another time), the navy blue Making Waves were finally finished.

These socks were knit out of navy blue Elann Esprit Sock it to Me! yarn (which is cotton with a little bit of nylon, much like Cascade Fixation) on size 3 bamboo needles.

Next up is my Stashbuster Spiral sock progress. These are so great, since I am actually maintaining the spirit of stashbusting and using up all of my leftover sock yarn. Well. Okay. Maybe not ALL of it, but a good chunk. I think of them as the Son of Charlotte socks, since their primary yarn content is all the leftover KPPPM from my Charlotte's Web shawl. There are five different kinds of KPPPM, some leftover Fortissima Colori, and some Lorna's Laces. Anyway, I anticipate finishing them by the end of my upcoming business trip, which will be from tomorrow through April 29th. I'll be bringing the laptop and the camera along, so hopefully there will be some blogging from the road!

Monday, April 18, 2005

New KnitCast!

I just received a notification from KnitCast that there is a new KnitCast available. Apparently it's an interview with Lily Chin. Should be worth a listen, if only to see if she is as annoying in interview format as she comes across in her book The Urban Knitter and the articles I've read about her.

I you haven't yet checked out KnitCast, you definitely should. To my knowledge, it's the only podcast available on the subject of knitting, and I found the first four episodes a thoroughly enjoyable accompaniment to my recent business trip. Looks like the latest KnitCast is going to be available just in time to go with me on my upcoming business trip, for which I leave Wednesday morning. My only complaint is that it doesn't come out more frequently! It's great to be able to put a voice with internet presences like Wendy Johnson of and Stefanie Japel of

I'm schlepping my laptop and digital camera along on this nine-day extravaganza business trip to Ohio, so hopefully I will be able to do some blogging while I'm on the road. Maybe that can be the theme of this blog -- where is Andrea knitting now? My knitting has certainly made many journeys, from business trips to canoe trips. The most exciting knitting portion of my upcoming trip is bound to be my weekend road trip to Threadbear Fiber Arts Studio in Lansing, MI. Okay, so it's five hours of driving each way -- what's a little time in the car to an obsessive knitter? Too bad I'll be the one driving...

Coming soon: check this spot for actual knitting content. I have been doing some knitting lately, particularly on socks. I've been working on finishing up a couple pairs of socks from the Six Sox Knitalong, which is going to end up being the Four Sox Knitalong for me.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Meager blog features

Since there isn't yet much to this blog, allow me to direct you to the links on the right-hand side of the page. I've been keeping a non-blog photo album of my knitting progress for some time now. You can access it from the Knitting Gallery link on the sidebar. The other two links are to galleries of photos from the two knitting groups in which I participate. One meets weekly at The Needlepoint Joint, located in downtown Ogden, Utah, and the other is the Stitch n Bitch group that my friends and I started in February 2002.


After an excessively long contemplation of whether or not I should do so, I'm starting my own knitting blog. So here it is. Post number one, existing mainly to try out the format. Less boring content to follow (with any luck).