Monday, October 31, 2005

Progress Report

As has recently been reported here at the Totally Knitting Universe, I am making Entrelocks from a pattern found at Men Knit. The pattern calls for 6 different colors that go nicely together. 6 balls of sock yarn, for the record, is about enough to make 6 socks, so I convinced Bevin that we should go in on this endeavor together, that we could split the materials and the cost and still have plenty left over in the end.

Oh, what a plan!

I was impatient and started mine right away. Here's a progress pic.

I mentioned to Rose that I'm sort of glad my first piece of entrelac is in the round because it has the modest advantage of not requiring the construction of left or right triangles. Just three shapes instead of five. Since this photo was taken I've progressed a little further to the point where I'm ready to start the heel flap.

Which I will do as soon as my super speed emergency project is complete.

Ladies, let's talk about Lion Brand Homespun.

Now, I hate it. It is difficult to work with, sheds great fistfuls of fiber, the boucle bunches up on the working yarn as you knit and it pills the instant you bind off. Think I'm exaggerating? Just try it yourself.

I don't buy it.

This does not mean that I don't have garbage bags full of it in my home, however. A friend who moved recently gave me great heaps of it so she wouldn't have to move it. I tried to decline, but my friend, well she's insistent. Bevin and I have been puzzling over what to do with all this stuff that I now own but don't want to use. She's in favor of me putting it on ebay and auctioning it off. Other ideas have been to get giant needles and use it to make that mythical afghan that uses like ten strands of yarn at once so we can donate it to Katrina victims who need something to snuggle with and don't care if it pills because winter is coming and all they have is a damn tent and would be happy to have a crappy blanket to cover their naked bodies as they try to stave off death for just one more day.

Well, in the midst of that conversation I landed a great new job and gave notice at my current position and I have been recieving cards and little tokens from my co-workers as I pack up and prepare to move on. One of these co-workers, the sweetest and most wonderful woman ever, presented me with a card and a nicely wrapped package containing three skeins of Lion Brand Homespun.

It is bad form to throw away gifts, and none of my knitting friends would have accepted it as a re-gift, so I decided that I absolutely must turn some portion of this into a scarf to give back to her. I could consider what ever was left over as waste, or as the 11th strand of that afghan I mentioned and which is spoken of so frequently on the purile Knitlist. I also decided that I had to have it done before I leave this job two days from now on Wednesday.

I recently came into a little miracle called Handknit Holidays which features a very interesting and very easy scarf design for heavier weight yarn. The pattern, Snowy Triangles," is a series of garter stitch triangles up the length of the scarf done with increases at the start of each right side row and a decrease at the border between triangles. Simple, and very effective.

I cast on for this scarf in Homespun and am racing along, trying to finish in the next two nights. I'll let you know how it goes. In the mean time, here's a progress pic on this project as well.

Yes, the image is upside down, which is not my preference. But Bevin is hosting the image and I have to prevail upon her to fix it. In the photograph the triangles are difficult to see, but not in person. I hope that I will be able to get a few more shots that highlight the design better before I give it away. And this Homespun business will all go away soon. Since this photo was taken the scarf has doubled it's length. I continue to barrel toward completion.

Bevin cast on the same scarf in some yarn from her stash. You can see the stitch definintion more clearly here because hers is not a boucle. The second triangle is just starting to form on the right side. You get the idea.

Of course, hers is far more glamorous.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Happy Howloween


I saw a sweater in a picture ages ago online and said "I MUST make this for Leroy". I could never find the pattern. Until one day I happened upon the pattern book in a random yarn store in Nyak, NY. I snatched it up and cast on Leroy's sweater. This was right before my girlfriend broke up with me, but I decided to continue knitting it because Leroy's been my step dog for almost three years and he didn't break up with me.

Plus, look at how f*ing cute he is:

I'm not sure if my exGF has plans with Leroy for halloween but I feel like this dino sweater can be year-round. It is versatile.

The pattern book, for those playing at home, is Patons "Another Dog's Life" and it's one of those mini pattern booklets. It calls for worsted weight yarn. Basically, you knit a turtleneck sweater in one color to your dog's size and use duplicate stitch (which is basically sewing, which is great if you're a quilter but I prefer knitting and using intarsia) for the polka dots and knit up the ridge as a garter stitch type triangle thing that you sew on. It was pretty easy. Fits him perfectly in the Petite size.

I bought Macy two costumes this year for halloween, both of which were labeled "Small", one was too big (from Old Navy) one was too small (from Target). So, feeling inspired by the dino sweater and emboldened to try to actualize a vision, I made the following sweater from my own design.

I added the waddle at the last minute, which is why it's only in one photo.

Tomorrow I plan to give her a bath and a trim and take more pictures. I really want to do her justice.

I hope to use this sweater as a prototype and submit it somewhere for publication. It was really fun but time consuming to put everything together.

Up next, sweaters for Dewey and Johnny's new dog, Zoey and Erica and Amy's new SHIH TZU, Pluto. And a gaudy holiday masterpiece for Macy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

FO*s for Feet

As you may have read in the New Yorker, February was Sock Month.

We totally failed to make socks in February, but that doesn't mean that we failed to make socks.


As modeled by the Official Spokesdog of the Totally Knitting Universe (TM), Macy, we have completed socks!

I started first, with some Koigu premium suchandsucha sock yarn at $11.50 per skein, so a $22 per pair of socks plus NY State sales tax. I loved the colorway and wanted a real sock yarn to start off with. Brian had bought the book "Knit Socks!" in February for Sock Month and I borrowed it and went with Starter Stockinette as the basic sock pattern. I was in and out of those socks, even with an 8" leg in under two weeks. Totally fun and easy to understand pattern, this book (along with some Knitty Gritty basics Brian retained) really helped me through the new techniques. Even this trick with twisting knit stitches when you pick up the gusset. Brian failed to mention this until after I had knit the gusset on one of the socks. I have holes at the gusset on one sock but not the other. My left foot is eternally grateful to Brian.

Brian saw me do those socks and was all hella jealous so he grabbed his Lion Brand Magic Stripes (one skein = 2 socks at $4.50 on sale at AC Moore in NJ, no sales tax) and whipped up his own Starter Stockinettes. His legs are shorter on his socks but I have to say it makes more sense the way he did it. He went with 5" instead of the pattern prescribed 8".

Brian is very pleased with his socks and thinks they are comfy and warm. Unfortunately there was a little laddering around decreases for both the gusset and the toe. This is something Brian intends to work on in future sock projects. Brian's socks are totally cheaper but still completely snuggly and still cheaper (Brian keeps making me type cheaper).

I liked knitting with my expensive and nice sock yarn better, though. The debate rages on.

The coolest part about the pattern in "Knit Socks!" was that the heel flap is worked with a slip stitch that makes the varriagated yarn look woven and marvelous and provides extra cushioning and wear for the heel.

Brian has already cast on a second pair of starter stockinettes in more Magic Stripes (the bitch bought, like 5 balls at the same time--he totally gave me one when I begged for it, this free ball of Magic Stripes will totally offset the $22 plus NY State sales tax pair I'm wearing this very minute) and worked all weekend on the Entrelac Socks from the recent issue of Men Knit Magazine. I saw this magazine first and knew, instantly, Brian would be drawn to those socks. Progress pics shortly.

Brian has completed almost the whole leg and it looks super cool. Brian is truly a master sock knitter/entrelacker (entrelacer? entrelocker?). Brian is also super gay, because he chose (with my urging, since I agreed to pay for half of the six skeins of sock yarn neccessary so that I could also make entrelocks) rainbow colors for our sock yarn.

If you want to knit socks you totally should. Easy enough to fly by, hard enough to keep your interest. They rule.

*Finished Object

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Shih Tzu Style

I recently bought Wrap Style. There are only like 3 ponchos in the whole thing and the wonderful capelets make up for those awful and ugly afghans for wearing. I especially bought it for this wrap.

I am thinking about making a book called Shih Tzu Style and soliciting "Innovative and Inspiring" designs from top designers, all to be modeled by various Shih Tzus, including my Gorgeous Macy Poo Pie. Isn't she sweet?

While I was at the AC Moore in Seacaucus the other day, I found that they have not only expanded their yarn selection but also included some knitting magainzes and LYS* quality knitting books. Totally awesome. I came across Creative Knitting November edition. It had some mediocre designs inside, but what caught my eye was that the cover had a Shih Tzu modeling knitwear.

That Shih Tzu is WEARING A PONCHO. For crying out loud!

Such a waste of a shih tzu modeling opportunity.


What follows is some correspondence regarding our next trip to THE OFFICIAL LYS* OF THE TOTALLY KNITTING UNIVERSE. You can see why, other than their passion for and quality of yarn we totally heart Kevin, Elise and their Yarn Shoppe. Even if they discriminate against pets who aren't celebrities.

Dear Kevin and Elise or Both:

Hello to you! This is Bevin, of Bevin and Brian. You may remember us from such times as we rode the yarn bus with a reporter from the New Yorker magazine and were featured in the Talk of the Town section. I actually just got a Friendster message from a guy I was a Resident Advisor with at UC Davis who I haven't heard from since 1998 who totally recognized my name when he read a back issue of the New Yorker his mom sent him since he's working in Amsterdam for Mattell. Small world, right?

Anyway, Brian and I mentioned in the New Yorker article how February was totally going to be sock month. Well. We didn't quite make it. I cast on my first socks in August and loved loved loved the process so much Brian was right on my heels. We are about to post the products of our joyful labor on our blog (

As you may be aware, sock knitting is a bit of a cultish type activity because it is so fun. I knitted my first pair out of koigu sock yarn and loved the colors they had to offer. We want to know if you offer that at FF just for our own edification. I'm sure you have lots of other great sock yarns available (I seem to recall Cherry Tree Hill being in stock last time we came up). We are ready to purchase more sock yarn (even though Brian went a little nuts with the Magic Stripes from AC Moore, but I'm trying to get him into real sock fibers). Brian and I are also a little liberal with the monies for such fine sock yarn, since he just got a new job offer from a big firm almost doubling his salary as a librarian and my girlfriend of three years just broke up with me and I need to console myself with consumerism, including knitting to distract myself.

Tell me, Kevin or Elise or Both, do you have room on the Yarn Bus (early shift) for two avid sock knitters on Saturday, October 22, 2005, returning on either afternoon return trip busses, preferably the earlier. We are also free on Sunday, October 23, 2005 but prefer Saturday so that Sunday can be Sock Day. You see what I'm saying.

Hope you are all doing well and work on the new storefront is progressing smoothly so that you can expand your yarn offerings even more. We are waiting with baited breath for the Grand Opening.


Bevin (and Brian, via proxy)

P.S. We got your email about the Martha feature of the Yarn Bus too late to DVR it. Do you have a tape of the episode available along with a tv and vcr at the shop so we can watch it when we get there, or, as an alternative, do you know when it will be rebroadcast?

Dear Bevin,

Ah, yes, I do vaguely remember you...
Oh, no, right, Bevin of Brian and Bevin--you got me all confused with the order there :)

Actually, I remember you as Bevin of totally knitting universe where so many people have been turned on to Flying Fingers Yarn Shop--thank you very much.

Of course, we have room for you two on the Oct 22 bus. Are we picking up in the usual not Union Sq almost Chelsea location?

All the prospects for wonton consumer spending are as thrilling for me as they are for you!

Hey, I thought of Brian the other day thinking of crocheted skull motifs (not sure how well you can see the photo):

[included in original]

Waiting to see you again with an.........................ticipation,

-Kevin! "Feel the Yarn!"

[an additional email as an addendum]

I believe I'd prefer "wanton spending" not "wonton spending" since we don't accept food as legal tender. Geez!

Dear Kevin:

I am so glad that you received our request and can accommodate us on the Yarn Bus. I did, of course, mean the almost Union Square but mostly Chelsea stop (and still plug that there be a 33rd street stop near the PATH station).

I am disappointed about the wonton spending. I was hoping to knit up some wontons using knitty's pattern ( ). Do you and Elise have a cat?

Also, speaking of patterns. This may be a long shot but I was wondering if an 11 pound Shih Tzu would ever be invited into the hallowed halls of Flying Fingers and on the Yarn Bus? She does not eat yarn and doesn't pee inside. Not this time around but some other time I want to film my audition tape for the Martha Stewart Apprentice show and am thinking about trying out in tandem with my dog. Oprah is the highest powered woman in the whole world and brings her cocker spaniels everywhere she goes. Plus I think Macy would really dig Irvington on Hudson.

I am also glad to see that people are patronizing the Official LYS of the Totally Knitting Universe. They know good taste.

And the skull crochet was hard to see. Perhaps you have this item in person that you could show us when we get there? I can pass the pattern to my friend Jackie and demand she crochet it for me.



That's a tough one. We do occasionally allow dogs in the shop--when it's not too busy and with the caveat they must leave if any human complains--people have allergies, fear (justified or not), kids, their own dog that doesn't want to get along, etc. However, its tough to kick a pet and their owner off the bus, so we have to say no. Sorry. (Yes, we would allow Oprah's and it's not fair...) Thanks for understanding (hopefully).

*Local Yarn Shoppe

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Emergency Knitting!

I went to Columbus last weekend to go to a housewarming party at The Crocheter and her partner's new home. They used to live in Philadelphia and now it's a 10 hour drive.

Anyway. I learned to knit on size 15 needles using fun fur type yarns. It hid my mistakes and knit up really quickly (though was super expensive). Once I started really knitting I would use smaller yarn and smaller needles and it would take me SO long to finish something. Anyway, I have this really warped sense of timing with knitting projects.

Recently I found this interesting furry style yarn, Bliss by Carons, for $2 a skein from a super mega Rag Shop sale. Since I needed a cute and furry scarf to begin the winter with, I decided to do the Snuggly Neck Warmer from Knit Scarves! This is basically a garter stitch scarf with a hole in the middle to slide your scarf through. Forgetting how quickly garter stitch fun fur scarves knit up, I managed to finish my scarf by the time my ride got to Columbus.

This was devastating, knowing that I was going to have to endure an 8 hour return trip with no knitting. I made a big stink with people asking if I could go to a yarn store sometime. Those plans fell through and I was thoroughly depressed about it, especially since I had been told about a new store that had recently opened called "Wholly Craft!" during their party. I just like saying the name. No one could confirm whether they had yarn but I thought it was worth a shot when I saw it, literally as we were driving out of town. Turns out it is a store that sells some handmade crafts and also THRIFT STORE CRAFT SUPPLIES. Including a few baskets of old acrylic yarn probably from estate sales and pre-balled. Oh, the sexiness of $3.00 for 5 balls of yarn! Oh the joy of $1.50 size 9 needles! Oh the miracle of a knitting book from the 70s for $2!

Needless to say, I had an interesting and occupying project for my 8 hours. I did this vertical striped hat shaped in short rows. I will post progress photos, right now it looks like half a hallowig.

Brian was really enthusiastic about the pattern book. There are some crazy AWFUL poncho designs and also a pair of socks with knitted on shoes. Seriously.


I love the Knitting Curmudgeon! She is fantastic. Not only snarky but good knits and you can't beat that.

The best blog thing I've read recently, though, has to be the bitchy comments about Crochet in a recent post, with defensive comments by the designer. Holy shit.

"Crochet that isn't too tacky. A novel idea, but impossible."