Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Yarn Yay!

So this is a new company--they approached me inquiring about what I like about buying yarn online, what would I look for in an online yarn company and I responded with probably waaaaaay too much information because sometimes I go crazy buying yarn online because you can find anything!!! But it's annoying and ugly and the websites are frustrating to navigate and I want to touch things. And sometimes I refuse to buy yarn online because local businesses!!! But then I have to talk to people and they don't have the yarn I need and so I usually buy something else which is oftentimes terrific and oftentimes...not so much.

Argyle Sheep will--ideally--combine the two experiences as much as the internet can. It's run by two very nice people who are local to...somewhere...but at least aren't an internet behemoth of doom. They want to create a carefully curated, easily navigable shop, complete with how-to videos (just like how you can get some instruction at your lys) and...drumroll...their own brand of yarn. They're starting with Zephyr, which is a cotton/wool blend, and they're working on getting some colors.

This is an expensive venture, and they are crowdfunding. The cool part is that they created their own crowdfunding platform, YarnFund.com, which they will keep open for other fiber-related projects that need a little help from their adoring masses.

If you click on that link, you'll see that they've already hit their goal. But of course, that means nothing! That goal was just for four colors of Zephyr--they're looking for more colors than that, and also, you know, more than just the one yarn.

And there you are. They are nice.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sassenach Knits


I have been incommunicado. But it was for a good reason! 
I have put together a little collection of knitting patterns, inspired by Outlander. There's so much good knitting on that show! I didn't copy anything (much as I wanted to) but there are lots of cables and strange construction and textures and a number of figure-hiding swingy shapes and a few very, er, bust-enhancing shapes as well.
Here's a peek, and for more details, go here!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rock Island

I have craved Jared Flood's Rock Island since it came out, and I even used my very favorite yarn in my very favorite color for it (Sliver Moon Farm's Smoky Plum, now perhaps sadly lost with Kay ten Kraft).

And it's lovely though clearly I need to get blocking wires--how did they get the garter to stretch so much that it took looks like lace?

I loved the bottom-up construction so that by the time I got to all that garter I was actually sort of glad for the break--I used to be a fairly good lace knitter; I could memorize the pattern quickly and even tink back as needed, but there are a number of snarls that are really visible to no one but me but I know they're there and they will bother me forever.

It is still lovely, though.  I've been knitting more scarfy-shawlettes lately, the kind I can wrap around my neck but still feel extra fancy.  This isn't really one of those, and I find myself wearing it like a regular shawl, which I never do unless I'm at a wedding or something. 

It's kind of nice.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Sad Day For Interchangeable Circular Needles

I am depressed, people.  Because I have love for things, and they just don't love me back (which probably says something about my materialistic affections...)

I am speaking of interchangeable circular needles.  What To Knit When You're Expecting was written using Denise Interchangeables, and they were great but after a while the 5 needle kept slipping out of each wire, and the wires just weren't bendy enough for magic loop and magic loop is where I live, man.  

So for Toddler Years, I gifted myself with a set of Knitter's Pride Interchangeables because of the pretty wood and the flexible wires and the smooth join and the significantly cheaper price than Addi Clicks.  And they've been great--I love the way they feel, and sure they untwisted sometimes and stitches would fall and I would yell, but if I remembered to tighten them periodically that didn't happen.

But the problem, once again, is magic loop.  Even when using a nice long wire, the stress of magic loop seems to be too much for the needle, and the cord rips out of its metal base.  I sent one back, and within a project or two, it had ripped out again.  And sure, I'm not using a 60-inch wire or anything, but I think 40-inch is plenty, especially since the whole point of magic loop for me is that it's nice and compact.  If I wanted wires all over the place I'd use two circs, but I don't. 

I superglued the second detached wire back in place, but I'm wondering if I should get another set.  Or should I not?  Will I have this problem again?  Should I get another cord, a really long one? 

I am sad.  I love my Symfonies.  They do not love magic loop, and therefore they do not love me.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Maile Fully Grown

So I haven't been posting, though I've been knitting like crazy, and I should want to share all the things, but I haven't because....

I couldn't really write this post until I could figure out how to finish that sentence--and I did, yesterday.  The reason is that knitting has been stressing me out.  I've been trying to figure out if I should try to do another book, and I've been designing like I'm on a deadline just in case, and it's become not so fun, and I have a ton of really nice designs to share with you all, so that's great, but I haven't been entirely sure what I was going to do with them, and uncertainty makes me MENTAL.  

But now I know!  Yay!  I'm not going to try to write another book--I mean, if a book deal magically falls into my lap like it did before, then yippee, but I'm reminding myself that it was an amazing and extremely unlikely thing to have had those two books, and I'm really proud of them, and I am not now required to struggle to keep writing knitting books, because of the aforementioned extremely unlikely thing.

Instead, I'm going to stop designing like a mad scientist crazy person because hey, I don't have to!  (I just got in the habit, I guess...?  Very strange).  I'm going to--gasp!--knit other people's patterns, which I love to do.  As for the patterns I've got stashed away,  some of them I'll submit to magazines, some of them I'll put up for sale on Ravelry, and they will all be available one way or another. 

This is a boring post for people who aren't me, I recognize that--but I'm writing it down to help me remember.  And, to make the post a bit more interesting, see the next sentence.

I have a present for you!  By popular demand, I finally designed a Maile Sweater for grownups!  It's available as a Ravelry download, it's free, and it's, um, untested, so if you run into any trouble don't hesitate to let me know. Yay!  download now

Monday, January 26, 2015

Overrun with Owls

Dear loved ones:

Stop buying us owls.  It's not that we don't love them.  We do.  We reeeeeaaaaallllyyy do.  See?  We sleep with them every night (please note: not all owls shown.  Which is to say, there are more). 

And then, every morning, we bundle them up and carry them all to another room, where we spread them out on the couch and play with each and every one.  And then there are owls scattered everywhere all day, until the end of the day, when they must each be found (less all hell break loose and demons rain from the skies which is clearly what would happen if a single owl went missing).  

And so the cycle continues.

We appreciate the owls.  We adore them.  We cannot possibly house any more of them.

With affection,


P.S. Please don't tell Willow I sent this.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Making One's Own Butter

You know the devil and angel thing?  Well, on one shoulder I've got Apocalypse Nikki and on the other I've got Sensible Nikki and on my third shoulder (well, we're imagining, I might as well be a freaky three-shouldered weirdo) I've got Overboard Nikki. 

Usually they cancel each other out and I don't end up doing anything weird.  When Apocalypse Nikki fantasizes about how wonderful it would be to live without electricity, Sensible Nikki points out how much Overboard Nikki loves television.  When Overboard Nikki wants to try making a five course meal, Apocalypse Nikki says cooking for days for one meal is insane you should be learning how to farm not deep frying parsley and Sensible Nikki says a restaurant would almost be cheaper.  And so forth.

But sometimes two of the Nikkis get crazy ideas (you can guess which ones) and Sensible Nikki is left in the dust. 

Case in point:

 A friend gave us some fresh, unpasteurized milk.  I say us, but I really mean me, because my mom looked queasy and totally wouldn't touch it and I GUARANTEE that it is sitting there in her refrigerator, spoiled.  But not me!  Sensible Nikki might have been a bit leery, but Overboard Nikki and Apocalypse Nikki said "Wheeeeeeee!  Let's make butter!!!!!"

Sensible Nikki did have some influence, for we used the stand mixer instead of shaking an earthen jug.
 Squeezing out the buttermilk through a paper towel (not a cheesecloth that I wove myself, sadly).
 Adding salt that I did not harvest from the beach myself.
And voila!  Butter! 

It was delicious.  Nobody except me and Dave and Willow ate any, but it was great and tasted just like butter you can buy at a store.