Monday, April 25, 2005

Blogging Philosophy and Recent Correspondence

(Skip to the bottom for OKC*)

Hello to you!

It has been a while since I updated TK.BS** and I've missed you terribly. But I haven't been ignoring you, certainly not. There've been a number of Bevin posts to keep you interested and who could have believed that the West Coast Editions of TK.BS** would be as magical as they were prior to feasting ones eyes on them? Mostly, I've been waiting for something of note to happen. Something worth blogging about.

Bevin has recently taken me to task for my patience. It went down something like this.

Brian, you really need to updated TK.BS**. It's been like three weeks.

I don't have anything to report. No FOs***, Knitflame isn't talking about me even though I am their superstar, I've not asked any cutsie pie questions on the knitlist. And besides, my campaign for Pope has been taking up all my free time.

Brian, as you know, I support your bid for pontiff in all ways throughout the known universe in perpetuity, but totally knitting is more important to me even than seeing my friend crowned King of the Catholics.

But I don't have anything to say.

Well, you could blog about that needle sale we totally stumbled on at Treasure Island.

The only interesting part of that trip was that you tried to bring both your dogs into the store with you, one in a bag the other on a leash, not that I saved a dollar on my new size US 10.5s.

Yes! Write about that!

Yeah, um. No.

I learned to blog at Diaryland, which was at the time the easiest to use blogging tool on the web. It is free and it's run by a Canadian. This is marvelous if you are new to blogging, but it is also marvelous if you are a suicidal teenage girl with an eating disorder and a tendency to cut yourself. You see, you can put your cry for help on the internet in like a nanosecond and not have to pay anybody for it.

Therefore, diaryland is primarily filled with annoying people who are unnecessarily angsty. And they go into great detail about their angst every single day. I find this to be tedious and unnecessary, so I try to avoid it in all my blogging. Oh, Diaryland has its gems too, don't get me wrong. But I have personally driven enough angsty teens off of Diaryland to know what not to do. Ask Bevin or Peth or Zanti or anyone of a dozen others for the details. (Mention Wesley or the Sparkle Bitch in particular.)

So with all that in mind I invite you to take my poll to help me determine if I've been hopelessly wrong about all this. I will take public opinion under advisement.


Some recent Correspondence.

By Bevin, signing my name:

Dear Proprietors of Knit New York,

It is widely known that you are the most happening knitting spot in the Greater New York Area. Is your cafe or Yarn Store hiring? I am an advanced knitter and former waiter looking for part time work in the evening and on weekends. Being around so much yarn and coffee would be the ideal setting to make a second job a joy and not an obligation.

Brian Blaho

Their Response:

Thank you very much for your email.

Can you send me a resume so I can get to know more amount about you?

Best Regards (and of course happy knitting)


My resume is not very knitting oriented. It's really very legal and very library and very research and very MENSA and very not retail. My response:

Dear Miriam,

Thank you for your prompt reply to my email. I have attached a resume for you and am certain you will find it instructive. I note here that it has been some time since I worked a retail store front and as a result many of those items are not detailed on my current resume. I would therefore like to bring a few things to your attention. Please forgive the informality and consider this email a cover letter.

As an undergraduate I worked as a bartender at a local restaurant in my home town. The restaurant sold equal numbers of adult beverages and coffee drinks and it was my responsibility to prepare both. I can, therefore, froth milk like the best of them and the creme on my espresso is the stuff of legend. I'm not even kidding; there are epic poems. This employment lasted just short of two years from 1993-1995.

This is not to say that decades old experience is the only thing I have to offer. In my current position as an accademic reference librarian, I interface with the public daily. I enjoy interacting with our patrons and while terminology may differ slightly, I take pride in the high level of "customer service" I provide. I like working with people and what's more I like making them happy.

Additionally, a large part of my role as a reference librarian is instructive. I teach workshops on technology, research, citation, and writing methods. These workshops are geared toward the entire university community from faculty and administration to newly entering students. But even in less formal settings, when I work at the reference desk for example, I teach individual patrons how to use the library's resources efficiently and effectively with every question asked of me.

As for knitting, I am merely a passionate enthusiast. I knit almost every day and always have 6 or 8 projects going at once. Currently I am working on a diagonal ribbed lapghan for my grandmother which I hope to complete by Mother's Day (cross your fingers for me), a sampler baby blanket for my sister who is expecting, a pair of socks for myself (grey wool with a green heel flap and toe) and a lace scarf made from Southwest Trading Co's Bamboo. I can run a swift and a ball winder and have just recently learned the basics of crochet. I intend to put them to use by crocheting the sampler blocks together (instead of icky sewing) for the baby blanket currently in progress.

What I can bring to Knit New York is multifacited. I can bring a high level of customer service to your niche patrons. First, I can intelligently discuss choice of fiber, weight and guage, and yarn substitution with them. Second, I can answer basic questions about knitting, correcting problems or mistakes, pattern abbreviations, and size alterations. Finally, if called upon to do so, I could teach a class on any range of subjects from beginning techniques to felting or whatever your needs may be. Miriam, I could do all of this while simultaneously pushing coffee beverages and over priced pastries. I'm that good.

In terms of my needs I am interested in 10 to 15 hours per week, nights and weekends. I am employed full time, but I would like to supplement my income a little and do so in a way that seems fun, and captures my interests. If your business could use someone like me at this time, I would very much enjoy speaking with you further.


Brian Blaho

Bevin congratulated me on including an OTN**** while asking for a part time job.

Hey, by the way, anybody hiring?

* Obligatory Knitting Content
*** Finished Objects
**** On the Needles

Monday, April 18, 2005

Perfect Pie Shawl and Yarn Store Smells

I'm such a distracted knitter sometimes. I think I have at least a dozen projects going on currently. Haywood is going to kill me if I do not bang out a rockin' cashmere wristband shortly. Oops.

Last night Brian finished his first womb in one sitting. It was marvelous. It was in reverse stockinette because, as he told me, he really loves reverse stockinette. He's always been drawn to it. It recalls for him the comfort of an inside out sweater.

I recently purchased Weekend Knitting. It had at least ten projects I want to do. Including what is known to them as the "Perfect Pie Shawl" (my own name to be announced) and it is so much fun to knit. It is done in wedge shapes and started out really slow by all appearances (Brian said it was going to take me forever) but once I figured out a system of stitch markers that made it easier for me to make progress without a lot of counting I have flown through 1 1/2 wedges (of 5 total, not including the edging). I may even finish it before it's too warm for a shawl.

I'm using a mohair/acrylic blend I bought at the Yarn Co. of Palm Desert while I was on my yarn binge in California (Palm Desert is just next to Palm Springs in Southern California). It is called Artisan Paintbucket or something like that and it is a really pretty green/pink/black colorway that will coordinate really well with my many pink and black outfits. I have a really hard time when I buy yarn in a colorway trying to figure out whether I like it or just plain having all colors in it be ones I enjoy. (There always seems to be one I hate which is a colorway deal breaker.) Perhaps there is not a lot of call for black and red colorways, but I always see an emphasis on colors I don't enjoy like magenta and blue or something ridiculous. The Noro and Colinette colorways are rockin', but those yarns are cost-prohibitive. I suppose that's the pain of getting something made with good taste?

I liked the Yarn Co. of Palm Desert for their sheer inventory, but it was so busy and bustling it was hard to get help with anything AND they didn't have prices on their yarn. I totally hate that. Please, take the time to price your yarn or make sure your signage corresponds to the inventory on display. Otherwise I cannot make an informed yarn binge decision until I wait for the attention of a staff member.

The Yarn Co. also totally had a slight musty/attic smell to it. I do not like my yarn to smell and I think that it is crucial for a yarn store to have some sort of circulation happening.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Story of a Fruit Hat

This is the story of how a project I intended to finish in a night became a five day nightmare...

My Aunt and Uncle had a baby three weeks early. Since I am one of eight granddaughters on this side (all of us are over 24 except for my Aunt & Uncle's 3 year old daughter) I anticipated that it would be a girl. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I am still a little bit sore about this whole "boy in the family" business.

Anyway, "he" was born almost two weeks ago. I started "his" baby blanket a couple of months ago as my train in and out of NYC project. Though I feel as though it's going quickly, there is still about 3/4 to go on the Baby Blanket Sampler from Vogue Knitting On the Go Baby Blankets II in lavendar acrylic. Since this is obviously going to be a christening present (I can finish it by May 22, no problem) I decided it would be nice to acknowledge "his" presence in the family by knitting him a cute hat.

I'd heard so much about Ann Norling's Baby Fruit Hat pattern that I thought it would be a cool thing to make for any baby, especially a wee little one. I couldn't find a cool fruit hat pattern online (the only one I found was sort of lame, with sewn on leaves), so I dropped $4 on the pattern at an LYS.

First of all, how hard is it to find sport weight yarn in hunter green at a craft store? Seriously. Hard. Then I cast on, only to find out the pattern calls for a 16" circular size 6 needle. The smaller size hat wouldn't work on this circular. I used the smallest cord for my Denise Circulars and it was so awkward to try to knit. I don't know what was up with that, but next time I do it I'm just going to start it on DPNs. (Up after the leaves you change to DPNs and I found it much easier.) So I forged on, making it the size larger, for 6-12 month olds, considering that babies get giant in a milisecond.

The pattern teaches you how to make a strawberry using fair isle (without explicitly telling you "use fair isle"--I tried intarsia and had to frog) or a raspberry using bobbles. The problem with that is that the pattern tells you to begin your color work on row 1. Hello? Part of the design of this is that the bottom edge rolls up in stockinette. And it looks crappy because the crappy edge rolls up. This I figured out around my 16th round, when frogging was not an option.

So I just decided to finish my hat and figure out what to do with the edge.

Here's the finished project, I intentionally made it a little less tall than the pattern called for because I knew I was going to edge it.

Haywood had a good time modeling it as a potential Fruit Yarmulke.

So I went to my new favorite edging book, Knitting on the Edge by the Official Favorite Knitwear Designer of the Totally Knitting Universe Nicky Epstein. I picked out this cute edge that had some lacework and did this cool zig zag edge that was very strawberryish. I did a few repeats of it and Haywood pointed out that it didn't really go with the stockinette stitch hat. After an hour of lace work. She was right so I picked something else out. Just a plain, garter stitch ruffle. Can't go wrong with that, right? I even threw in a stripe of green to blend everything together.

I finally finished knitting that border, and began sewing. I hate sewing, by the way. Knitting I love but sewing is boring, even when it involves improving my knitting.

Anyway, I sewed on half the ruffle and I looked up at Brian (this whole project went on for several days because of all this backsliding) and said "I think this ruffle is making this hat look less masculine."

Brian said "You made a beautiful hat... for a girl!"

It made me feel like this:

All of that work, all of that pain, all of those design alterations... As a peace offering to the first boy in the family I make a friggin' girls' hat.

I've now decided to do one hour booties. I just can't drag another one night project on for five days again...

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I mostly knitted and shopped while I was in California. It was pretty perfect. I'll give you the run-down on the LYSs* I visited in a future post, but first I wanted to speak about a very special FO** I created while out there.

When I first saw this project on Knitty, I knew that I had to make my Best Friend's mom a Womb stuffed toy. Her mom has her phd in Women's Health and, in addition to being a professor of nursing, she also has a penchant for girlpart art. I forget what we saw at the BF's house, but it was totally girl art and we have since made jokes about it.

As you can read about in the Best Friend's diary, her dad has recently been diagnosed with Throat Cancer in addition to Parkinson's less than a year ago. Things are tough for their family right now. I thought this was the best time to drop off the womb, since quite by accident The Best Friend and I were both in our home state at the same time (she lives in Minnesota now).

I did it in the yarn prescribed by the pattern, Cascade 128. I bought $12 DPNs*** out of bamboo because 1. I got them at the LYS in my home town and 2. I knew knitting pure wool on these would be really nice. And it was, it was so delightful to knit.

I did the "cervix" and "uterus" part during a comedy show my friend Kelli was performing in in San Francisco. I was actually there with my friend Kaia who originally taught me to knit last summer and lives in Oakland. Even though it was mostly dark I was still almost 100% successful.

I did the fallopian tubes out at lunch with my friend Mary. The putting together of everything was okay, but when I do this again (and I have so much left over, apparently enough for three of them total per skein) I will knit the pipe cleaner in with the I Cord fallopian tubes. I had a really hard time jamming it up there.

The results were super mega cute. I cannot wait to make "blue wombs" for some of my less girly friends.

P.S. I have been harassing Brian to update on his knitting progress. He doesn't want to tell you the minutiae about how we recently found needles for 30% off at Treasure Island and he bought several pair or how we are overjoyed at 25% off yarn at AC Moore this weekend and 30% off everything in the store coupons to the Rag Shop next Saturday. He is nearly done with his grandmother's afghan and 2 baby blankets for the Official Fetus of the Totally Knitting Universe. And he is also running for Pope.

*Local Yarn Shoppes
**Finished Object
***Double Pointed Needles

For Trade!!

I am completely ready to trade some circular needles for some DPNs*.

Since I have a set of Denise Circulars, I no longer need the circulars I already owned.

One is BRAND NEW, NEVER USED. US Size 9 36" clover bamboo needles.

The other was only used for one project and still has original packet thingy. US Size 10.5 29" Susan Bates "Silvalume" needles.

I am willing to trade these for two sets of DPNs. I need any size DPNs except for 2s and 8s. I am also interested in size 1 or 2 circulars for sock making.

*Double Pointed Needles

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


It makes me so sad that I cannot apply for this job and retain my sanity, as I cannot stand driving in New York. I am still hoping that Kevin or Elise or Both use me as their attorney some time in exchange for yarn.

From: "Peter Shankman" peter@s...
Subject: Job Opportunity:

A very, very cool job opportunity exists with one of my clients. Thanks in part to my PR brilliance (big grin), Flying Fingers Yarn Shop, inIrvington, NY (21 miles from Manhattan) is quickly becoming the largest yarnstore not ONLY on the East Coast, but in the entire country. You can get alook at them at About a year ago, I convinced them that they needed to create a super coolway for people from Manhattan to shop their wares. Six months later, the Yarn Bus was born.

This is the famed Yarn Bus that has been covered in the NY Times, AP, ABC,The New Yorker, and countless other media around the globe. It's known inknitting circles, and is quickly becoming one of the coolest promotions I'veever come up with for any client.You can see a photo of the Yarn Bus here:

The Yarn bus makes the trip from NYC to Irvington twice on Saturdays andSundays, and occasionally during the week. It also makes special appearancesat news events, and the like. This bus was designed by the same people who built the Oscar MeyerWeiner-mobile and the Yoo-hoo Stinkin' Summer Tour Garbage Truck. It's a blast to drive, and you don't need any special kind of license.

Flying Fingers is looking for a driver for the bus - someone who likes tohave fun, but is responsible, and won't try to pull an Otto from theSimpsons on the bus. There will also be some helping out in the store, aswell. If you don't know how to knit, trust me, you will by the time you take your next job.

The pay is $15 per hour, which, by the way, is what school-bus drivers make- so we're competitive. Plus, you'll get all the free yarn and knittingneedles and knitting classes you could ever want. If you're interested, send me an interesting cover letter, telling me whyyou'd be the perfect Yarn Bus driver. Enclose your resume, as well, eitheras a word doc or a pdf. Don't call me.

Feel free to pass this around to all your friends - in fact, I'd appreciateit! Oh, and one other thing - be comfortable being on TV and in the news -because you will be.