Thursday, May 28, 2009

Feelin' a little snakey today...

Every morning I get up and, first thing, open all of the curtains and blinds. I love the outdoors, and we're fortunate to have a house with so many windows...Today, though, I was greeted by a little friend peeking out of the corner of our porch roof:

Hi, there! Thought I'd pop out for a visit.

Then he decided to come on out, probably looking for a patch of sunshine after all the gloomy, chilly rain we've had. I grabbed my Olympus and was soon frustrated with (a) my dirty windows, and (b) the camera's limitations and uncharged battery.

Still, it was fun to see how long he was when he stretched out:

See his body over on the right side, and his head just barely peeking out on the left?

My annoyance at said battery mounted when he decided to go for a stroll -- or, rather, a slither. Yep. The damn thing died. Right then and there. And I missed what may be the best snake shots I'll ever have the opportunity to nab. Still, I can try to describe in words the graceful beauty of this 5.5-foot Black Snake coiling down the hanging plant on the left.

First, he wrapped langourously around the hanger, before lowering himself to the porch railing. At that time, his tail was still up at the top of the planter, and his head was halfway down the railing. Amazingly athletic and balletic.

Slowly he swirled, round and round, curling himself down to the ground, then heading off through our various recycling/trash bins, in the direction of the little building we call "the shed," though it could make a very cute, very small cottage.

See y'all later!

Last year I pulled a big ole snake skin -- moulted -- out of the same area under the porch eaves. So I figure he must have his headquarters in our laundry room's eaves somewhere. Good thing I'm not scared of snakes, though my husband probably won't want to wash the clothes for a while...

Oh, well. Such is life in the country. And there is an upshot to all this: Between Blackie (as I christened him last year) and Charley, the great orange hunter, I doubt we'll have any mice in the house this summer!

PS. My Internet is still patchy at home, so please bear with me a little longer...


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Destash: Let the yarn sale begin!

Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Socks That Rock medium weight in Gingerbread Dude

Ever since I began designing, my stash has been feeling neglected. As has my, um, bank account...

A firm believer in palliative care, and after careful consideration, I decided to alleviate further yarn-suffering while funding my ongoing design ideas. How, you may ask, do I plan to do this?

Well...I’m having a stash sale!

You think this is a lot? Well, guess what: It's a two-year-old photo!

Are you on Ravelry? If so, here's a link to my destash page. For the "non-Ravelers" among us, here's a list of yarns and prices:
  • Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight in Blarney Stone: $18 SOLD
  • Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Medium-weight in Gingerbread Dude: $19
  • Claudia Hand Painted Fingering Weight in Pink Dot: $18 for 2 sks
  • Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select in Moody Blues: $19
  • Classic Elite Alpaca Sox in color 1856 (pink, green, blue): $18
  • Hand Jive Knits Nature’s Palette Fingering Weight in Lupine: $18 for 2 skeins
  • Margaret Stove Artisan NZ Merino Lace (blues and greens, like a tropical sea) $15
  • ONline Supersocke 100 City Color 80: $10
  • Cascade Fixation (light blue): 2 balls (enough for a pair of socks) for $10
  • The Wool Peddler Silk Solids and Hand Picked Hues in "Dark" (very soft, in deep burgundy, teal, etc.): 2 skeins for $20
  • Debbie Bliss Cathay in pink: 1 skein, $5
  • Karabella Yarns Kiko in pink/brown/cream colorway: $6
  • Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted (1 in gray, 1 in black): $5 each
  • Lorna’s Laces Lion & Lamb in Irving Park: $20 ea OR 4 skeins for $72 (that's enough for a Clapotis!) SOLD

Margaret Stove Artisan NZ Merino Lace

I’m willing to ship to addresses outside the USA (we can work out the postage). And you can pay via PayPal, which is very secure.

Please drop me a line at or PM me on Ravelry (I'm KnitSix) if you see something you'd like to have in your own stash. Thank you!



Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rainy Saturday = Playtime Show-and-Tell

Blurry photos courtesy of Charley, who finds playing with the camera strap good fun

Today I got up, turned on my local NPR station, and played around with a couple of projects totally unrelated to my "work knitting" (if you can call knitting work...well, designing - with all its math - isn't exactly knitting, but you know what I mean, right?). Anyway, I hung out in the studio, crocheting and hand-sewing, throughout the Saturday lineup: Car Talk, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, This American Life, Studio 360, and The Splendid Table.

This is what I have to show for it:
My stash of Repro-Depot fabric has been calling my name, siren-like, for the past few weeks. So in the midst of beginning a crocheted scarf (which I'll talk about in a minute), I decided to make myself a new project bag. I love making project bags. You can use fun material and be as creative as you like, and after just an hour or two of stitching (if you, like me, lack a sewing machine), you have a fun new toy that you can actually use!

For this one, I pulled out some turquoise embroidery floss to highlight the top (and hide my hem), some blue and gold lampwork beads, and a couple of remnants of burgundy ribbon. (The latter was cut off a 9 West tank top I bought two years ago. You know the ones: those annoying ribbons that are supposed to keep the top on the hanger, but hang from your armpit or slip out the back of your shoulder if you don't cut them off...)

I like the result a lot. But I'll probably end up changing the ribbon. Time will tell.

Now for the crocheted scarf:

This is a project I'm working on as part of the Shalimar Yarns Spring Knit- (or Crochet-) Along* (KAL). The pattern is: Echarpe Pointes Violettes/Violet Points Scarf, by Annette Petavy, one of my all-time favorite designers (if you go to her site, please do cliquez sur les images to see her lovely designs).

The yarn is (of course) Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock, in the delicious Lychee colorway... Love it!!! (The yarn or the color, you ask. Yes, I reply.)

This is only Row 3 of a 60+ inch scarf, and because it's lace, it will be blocked (wet, stretched, and dried). So use your imagination -- flowing, fully-blossomed lace in this rich colorway, made from ultra-soft Merino fingering-weight yarn. Mmmmm....The KAL goal is to finish by June 15th, though, so I'd better sign off and get back to my hook and yarn!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, with at least a little bit of time to play :-)

* Here's a link to Shalimar's Ravelry group, where you can join the KAL.

PS. Just as an FYI: Our Internet issues continue, so I am unable to be online as regularly as I'd like. Thanks for bearing with me!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

One of those moments...

This morning, while working at my tiny little 1950's kitchen table, I looked up and saw this...

Do you notice anything? I hadn't, until my eyes really opened and I saw, with a little thrill of pleasure, that all of the colors in this little tableau echoed and complemented each other.

All are colors I happen to love, too. It was one of those serendipitous moments -- the kind you want to capture -- that can inspire designs, new colorways, paintings, poems...

And speaking of inspiration and design, take a look at Madeline Tosh's gorgeous Web site. Her home page alone is enough to make me want to pull out my needles and start creating something beautiful. I haven't yet worked with her yarn...But that may change in the near future!

Here's another photo of Vienna, the little shrug I featured in my last post. Simple, enjoyable lace with short, meditative repeats. Garter stitch borders, to make the minimal seaming as easy as possible, followed by a bit of ribbing that lets your mind wander freely.

And all the while, your hands and needles are singing because of the incredibly soft, lofty, gorgeously colored yarn. More good news? The yardage required is ridiculously low!

You can buy Vienna and Honey Worsted (shown in Damson, above) directly from Shalimar Yarns. If you do, please send me photos of your finished objects -- I'd love to see what you do with this pattern!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vienna: A Sweet Little Shrug

(Modeled, with some trepidation, by my friend Kristi. Isn't she pretty?)

Allow me to introduce you to Vienna, a simple-but-sweet little shrug to ward off the chill of a spring evening or a summertime movie theater.

First of all -- three important facts you'll want to know about this pattern:

Vienna is...
1) One. Quick. Knit.
2) Available in a full array of sizes
3) Flattering on everybody and every body

Want to know more about the sizing? Well, Kristi would usually knit a Medium for herself. But in these photos she's wearing the size-Small sample I knitted up for display at Eleganza Yarns.

A bit of ease might be more comfortable. I know I, for one, would also appreciate just a little more coverage in front, since I'm, well, more ample than the lovely Kristi. One day soon, I'll knit one for myself in a different colorway. So if you keep coming back, you'll get to see what Vienna looks like on another Real Person, in a larger size.

On the other hand, you may prefer a snug fit. Well, you need only look at these photos to see how good Vienna looks in a more, um, body-conscious size. The lace and ribbing is quite stretchy, and the ultra-soft, washable wool bounces right back.

Beyond the stretch factor, I designed Vienna so that it'd be easy to customize. And easy to wear. Truly, at the risk of sounding conceited, I LOVE this shrug!

In fact, this might be the only sweater you need this spring and summer -- it goes from office to picnic with ease. But be warned: Once you look at the Shalimar Yarns colorways, you may want to knit one in every shade!

Here are the specs:
Needles: US #8 & #10
Yarn: 2 to 4 skeins Shalimar Yarns' Honey Worsted (100% superwash Merino wool; shown here in Damson)Link
Notions: The usual suspects (e.g., scissors, yarn needle, stitch markers...)

For more information, or to order Vienna check out Shalimar Yarns on the Web, or e-mail


Monday, May 04, 2009

Villette: A lacy new sock pattern for spring (and a great novel, too)!

Permit me to introduce Villette, my latest sock pattern, now available as a Shalimar Yarns exclusive. Created especially for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, Villette features a ribbed cuff that flows into a gorgeous rippling lace, reminiscent of the flowing lines so popular during the Belle Epoque.

In my opinion, a special sock deserves a special heel. In this case, the lace melts into a delicately braided pattern framed with garter stitch, which mimics the ridges in the leg pattern...
A simple Dutch heel is easy to turn and creates a slim line along the ankle and foot. From there, the knitter returns to the lace pattern--centered along the instep and set off with purl and twisted stitches--down to a traditional wedge toe with two finishing options.

Shamelessly, I must admit that I LOVE this sock! It speaks to me in the language of a bygone era, one which I often wish I could have experienced--as a Vanderbilt or Astor, of course ;-)

The name I borrowed from the title of the lovely, melancholy Charlotte Brontë novel, in which an independent young woman beset by grief and financial woes begins anew in the French town of Villette.

An aside: If you are unfamiliar with Bronte's work (beyond Jane Eyre, of course), please do yourself a favor and pick up Villette. If you love English Lit, you'll may find, as I did, that it's a page-turner. Honestly--it kept me up late at night, wanting to know what would happen next!

The specs

  • Height: 9 inches from floor to cuff
  • Circumference: Approx. 8.5 – 9.0 inches around foot (lace pattern is quite stretchy) Gauge: 8 sts x 10 rnds = 1” in stockinette stitch
  • Needles: US #1 / 2.5 mm 32” circular needles (or DPNs or any other method you prefer)
  • Yarn: Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock (100% Superwash Merino Wool; 100g / 450 yds); one skein in “Passion Fruit”
This is a Shalimar Yarns pattern. Which means all you need to do to order it is to contact Kristi (yarn-dyer extraordinaire) at or on Ravelry, where her user name is KnitorDie.

In other news

Another Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival has come and gone. Saturday dawned rainy and gray, but by 11 a.m. or so the skies had cleared. Sunday, on the other hand, was truly dark and wet.

But reports were positive, and a good time was had by all--especially my husband, who ate lamb while I wandered through the barns, finding some great bargains among the smaller yarn dyers (like Shalimar and Three Irish Girls, to name two favorites), fiber farmers, and wool vendors.

Despite the fact that their spinning fiber and yarn is often breathtakingly beautiful, many of these so-called "mom-and-pop businesses" and small start-ups don't have Web presences and don't offer their wares in "real stores." Discovering these treasures are, to me, what this is what fiber festivals are all about.

After all, I can always order Cascade, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and Interweave Press books online right?

PS. We've been experiencing some problems with our Internet connectivity, so my posts may be a bit sporadic for a few more weeks. Thanks for bearing with me!