Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We had a white Christmas

Schnee-ooooooh! Beautfoooooool schnee-ooooooooh. That's the Pom Scarf and my Anniversary Mittens!
And here's Mr. Knotty in his beautiful new Baby Alpaca Tweed hat (Highlander Alpaca With A Twist is the yarn). Outside of She-kaaaaaa-go.







Friday, December 21, 2007

It doesn't fit

KnottyKitty demonstrates the wrong way to wear a pumpkin colored hat.
Hat: property of KnottyBrother. Merry Christmas! If you checked my blog you'd know what the lump in your Christmas stocking is. (Note: It's the hat. Not the cat.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The bedazzler is here!

Oh glorious day! Tell us, StrugOut, what shall we bedazzle?

I learned to knit in prison

OK, I didn't. I learned to knit in college. Which isn't at all the same.

Anyhoo...

I knew this day would come. I've always heard how very important it is to check your gauge, but I've never really bothered. Now that I have cast-on my husband-Christmas-gift 800 bazillion times, I know that I must always check the gauge. I accept it. I can move on -- and hopefully quickly, because I am nowhere near finished and have a few precious days to complete the thing.

I finished the gifts I knitted for my little brother and his wife but I'm still working on the Guck scarf. Then for our car ride to Chicago and back, I'll finish sock #2, make that butterscotch-colored hat for me and get to work on some socks for my older brother.

And how are you all coming along?

This killa shirt can be purchased at The Panopticon Shop. We need our own Cafe Press store, no?

Friday, December 14, 2007

As if stomping on my head at night wasn't enough

Glow in the dark cat anyone? Apparently the South Koreans have been fiddling with cat genes to produce eerily iridescent cats.

Super! I think I speak for all cat owners when I say that using my sleeping 'tocks for marching band practice, licking my nose at 3 a.m. and purring in my ear is enough to keep me awake at night. No glow-kitty needed, thanks!

One wonders, if you knit a scarf with their cast-off fur, would it glow in the dark?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fill 'er up

Mr. Knotty would like me to tell you all to fill up your cars tonight. Snow is on the way and we don't know how crazy (crazier) it's going to get here.

Knotty Mama: If you're out there, let us know how you are doing in Inola.


Picture courtesy of Tommy C.'s frozen lawn furniture.

We are so crafty!











Yarn Whore and Strung Out are really not working... they are knitting their cute scarves.

They couldn't be more wrong

Apparently, Cox Cable thinks I don't care if they replace Pushing Daisies with a telethon. They are wrong. Anywho, you can still watch last night's episode online. Check out the fantastic cosies knitted for Chuck's beehives:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The forecast

Um, does anyone have a pattern for a house cosy? The weather here is a little cloudy-with-an-80-percent-chance-of-falling-trees.

Poor Heath. Hope it gets fixed soon.









Edited to add this:












If only we had known to make pre-storm tree cosies.

Friday, December 7, 2007

We're updated!

All the lessons have been updated. I suggest you all check out Yarn Stores: A Study in Self Control.

Pictures of current projects will be posted this weekend. If you have any to send in, email them to me at alaskamy (at) hotmail dot com.


Cute kitty in a cap courtesy Save Chairman Meow.

New Golden Compass Knits

Reminder: The Golden Compass is showing officially this weekend. Here are some more publicity stills that show some of the gorgeous knitted costumes.

There are so many things to love about this movie -- talking animals, beautiful knits, particle physics, the Great White North and hot air balloons. Hooray!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Call the SPCA

Here are some cute cat sweaters. The cat models seem to approve..... OK maybe not. But I don't see any blood.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

But what will I dooooooooo?

Pushing Daisies is taking the night off. I know -- it's horrific and shocking.

But it will be back on next week.

In the meantime, you can try knitting Emerson's gun cozy, his sweater vest, his file folder cozy or a ton of socks -- check out this hilarious screencap that points out all the knitted items in Emerson's office.


Did you know Kristin Chenoweth (Olive Snook on Pushing Daisies) is from Tulsa?


What's a bear gotta do to get a complete scarf?!?!

Many of the knitting instructions have been added on the right -- particularly so that this poor bear doesn't shank himself with a needle.

Friday we'll photo the fringe section and the rest will be updated this weekend.

Also on Friday, we'll preview the knitting book Naughty Needles, which has already made a few rounds amongst our delicate officemates. I'll bring the smelling salts.

Bear and almost-finished scarf property of the Knotty Mama. Nice job, missy!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Knitting at the movies

Mr. Knotty and I saw a sneak preview of The Golden Compass this weekend. I am a big fan of the books and was very excited to see the film. And, of course, as a knitter I was so impressed by the costumes.

The costume designer, Ruth Myers, created other-world fur by -- you guessed it -- knitting. Here are some sketches of the costumes (use the arrow to page through). Check out Nicole's collar here. And I was mesmerized by Lyra's jacket the whole time. I know I've seen that yarn somewhere!

Oh, yes. Annnnnnnd we have a contract* on a house! Hooray! It was a terrific weekend for us.



*Sounds a bit shady, doesn't it? Like we've hired a nefarious character to "take care of it."


Friday, November 30, 2007

Crumpet the Elf

As you are knitting Christmas presents this weekend, may I suggest you listen to the most hilarious Christmas story ever: The story of Crumpet the Elf.

David Sedaris' career was launched with his NPR stories of his time as an elf at Macy's. It is now a holiday tradition.

Don't forget to send in your project photos this weekend: alaskAmy at hotmail dot com.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Milo Ventimigilllliawhatever is hot. I am thankful for him and his lack of clothing.

Um, how shall I make this about knitting? Oh, yes, clearly he needs a sweater. Lots of sweater patterns here.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

This picture courtesy of the wonderful people at A Socialite's Life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We were right

Natasha was having fun on vacation.

Knitting can save your life

See? It's not just me. The Houston Chronicle loves Pushing Daisies too. And they use a recent episode to show how knitting can save your life.


Oh, that reminds me: Wanna knit a strawberry?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lady with a baby and a question

From Knotty Mama:*

I love this! Question...how long are you girls making your scarfs? I just keep going, and going...it could become a very narrow rug for my hallway if I don't stop. :)

Answer:
Leave yourself enough yarn to make your fringe -- that will probably mean your scarf will hit just above your knee without fringe.

Photos of examples and how to make your fringe -- Coming soon....

*Check out Knotty Mama's beautiful photo on the right -- cropped to protect her identity and just in case she was kidding when she said I could post it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I've got yarn in my mouth

I can't explain how cute this stuff is. I have to knit food...NOW!
I love knowing how to use double pointed needles. It's like a whole new world has opened up. A world of knitted cupcakes and pies and ....... children dressed as CORN!













Pie from
PieKnits. Cupcakes are the creation of Ms. Darcy and the Baby Corn is from Lion Brand.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Click click

Hooray! Hooray! I finally finished the Punishment Blanket last night at 10:30. I'm sure my theoretical baby will appreciate it some day. I'm heading over to Loops tonight to get the moral support I need to finish my first sock.

On the left: The blanket LIES! It pretends to be easy but really it's a big fat ball of months and months of tedious little knit stitches. Photo of actual passive-aggressive blanket to come. Note to blanket: You can't break me!!!!

Here's your reminder. Tomorrow is knitting day -- if we stick around that long. If so, I promise to teach you how to knit these fabulous earmuffs.


Editor's note: Natasha! I'm kidding.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wallace and Gromit

If you don't know who they are, well don't I hate you but I'm not sure I can tolerate you.

Just kidding. I can tolerate you. For now.

Wallace and Gromit are a fabulous stop-animation creation. Gromit knits and Wallace loves cheese. There's also lots of rabbits, vegetables and people with British accents. It's like they are IN MY MIND. I think I'll sue for trespass on intellectual property.*


Pictured: Sean the sheep wearing a sweater made of his own fur -- and a space helmet -- for some reason. I haven't seen this episode so I guess I have to hate myself now. Darn it. Back to therapy!

*When typing this, I misspelled intellectual. Ha. Ha ha.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We missed you

Dear Amy W.,

We had an impromptu knitting session today and since you couldn't be there, I thought I would include you on what we covered.

Topics included:

1. Amy P's sock class and how she managed not to kill anyone even though she was frustrated and armed with five knitting needles.
2. Heather learned how to cast-on and knit.
3. Katy is on scarf number 5,978 -- or something along those lines.
4. Natasha probably had a really good time at the beach on her vacation.
5. How is Amy W. doing?
6. Amy W. really needs to register with BabiesRUs.com before people start purchasing ill-advised baby presents for her.
7. Certain members of the circle are developing an unhealthy yarn-buying addiction.

Pictured: Totally unrelated rabbit -- but it's cute, right?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

If you could explain this to me, I would be most grateful


Another email:

If you could, explain this to me, I would be most grateful ;)


SIZE: One Size
9 x 68 in. [23 x 173 cm]


NOTE: EVERY ROW OF ENTIRE SCARF PATTERN BEGINS AND ENDS WITH A KNIT 4, TO CREATE GARTER STITCH BORDER.

Sugar Cubes (multiple of 8 sts)
Row 1 (RS): Knit. ≤------ what does RS mean?
Row 2: *P6, k2; rep from * across.
Row 3: K the k sts and p the p sts. <----- I don't know what this means
Row 4: Purl.
Row 5: Knit.
Row 6: P2, *k2, p6; rep from * to last 6 sts, k2, p4. <----- not sure here either ;)


Answer:
RS= Right Side, i.e. the side that will have the pattern showing on it. On the scarf you made, both sides are the right side, but on some patterns, there is a Wrong Side and a Right side (like for a sweater, the inside is the Wrong Side).

Row 3: K the k sts and p the p s =

Knit the Knit stitches and Purl the Purl stitches. (from the previous row)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Addiction


An email from someone who already owns far to much yarn:

I promise I have not bid on any, but I must show you... I want some of that sari yarn (but not today!)

http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=silk+yarn&category0=

It's crack, people. Yarn is crack.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Did you watch


...Pushing Daisies last night? If so, there was a fabulous line from Chi McBride in reference to why he needed to make more money: "Daddy needs more yarn."

Cause he's a knitter....get it?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

There can be only one

There is really only one stitch in knitting: the knit stitch. The other stitch is the purl stitch -- but that's just the knit stitch backwards. So really, once you figure this out, you can knit anything. The knit stitch is not hard -- you just need to get used to the feel of it in your hands.

So at this point, you've cast on your stitches. Now you want to knit stitch.

You will always work from left to right. So the needle with all the stitches on it is in your left hand and your empty needle is in your right hand. By knitting, you will move the stitches from the left needle to the right needle. So when you finish your row, the needle in your left hand will be empty and the needle in your right hand will be full. When you get to that point, start over. So the needle with all the stitches goes into your left hand and the empty needle starts on the right again.

OK, ready? Organize your stitches so all the loops are on the top and all the knots are on the bottom. Here is how to make a knit stitch.

When you finish your row, organize your stitches again (they tend to twist around the needle as you knit the first three rows) and count to make sure you have ended up with the right amount of stitches. If you have too many or too few, see the "Common Mistakes" section on how mistakes happen and how to correcting them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mountains Out of Mohair

Everyone Makes Mistakes. Stop Freaking Out.

Q: I finished my row, counted my stitches and I am missing one. What happened?

A: You probably dropped it. Don't worry. Just cast on another one. No big deal. Everyone does this in the beginning.

Q: I finished my row, counted my stitches and I have too many. What happened?

A: Either you wrapped the yarn around the needle more than once (don't do that) or, more likely, you stuck your needle in funny. Watch what you are doing and only go through the FRONT LOOP. Not the back. Not the knot. Only the front loop. On your next row, knit two stitches together until you have the right number of stitches.

Q: My stitches are wrapping around the needle! What do I do?

A: They do that for the first two rows or so. When you finish your row, tidy them up -- making sure that all knots are below the needle. No big deal.

Q: My stitches are so tight, I'm having to fight to get my needle in!

A: OK, that's not really in question format but, fine. STOP YANKING ON YOUR YARN WHEN YOU KNIT. I know, it seems like you should tighten after every stitch to "tidy up." Don't do it. Fight the urge. Don't yank your needles apart like you are sewing. Hold your needles like a tee-pee, like a capital letter "A" (without the bar between them). See how that looks? Keep it that way. When you get the urge to pull them apart from each other, DON'T!!!!!!! Everyone does this in the beginning. You'll learn not to.

Q: I keep making mistakes!

A: Again, not exactly a question. But, OK. Here's the deal. Everyone makes mistakes in knitting. Everyone. In fact, you are supposed to knit a mistake into your work for good luck.

In the beginning, don't stop and talk to people in the middle of a stitch. You will forget what you are doing. Complete your stitch before you say a word. This helps more than you can imagine.

Still stuck? Stop by your local yarn store or send me an email. Alaskamy at hotmail dot com.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The ties that bind

Hooray! You've reached the end. Now it's time to bind off. There is an excellent video demonstration here.

On the Fringe

OK, remember how to put on a luggage tag? This is the same basic principle.

First, you need to measure and cut your fringe. Get a paperback novel. Wrap the yarn around it from the spine and across -- as if you were wrapping the book shut. Wrap until the book is covered. Then slide a pair of scissors under the yarn and above the spine. Cut. You'll have a bunch of pieces of yarn all the same size -- which should be twice the width of the book.

Each tassel will need three pieces of yarn so divide the yarn in piles of three. Each end of your scarf will need the same number of tassels so divide the piles in two (so if you have 14 piles of 3, each end of the scarf will have 7 tassels).

OK, ready to add your fringe? Get your crochet hook and look here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cold fusion

There are several ways to add new yarn into your work. When I finish up my first skein and ned to join the second into my work, I like to use the Russian Join method. This works particularly well for chunky yarn.

First Project

The Knit Stitch Scarf That I Plan to Give as a Gift But Will Secretly Covet and if He Doesn't Wear It, I'm Taking It Back

You will use the knit stitch to make this scarf. You will want 14 stitches on your needle (so one slip knot and thirteen stitches cast on.)

You will always work from left to right. So the needle with all the stitches on it is in your left hand and your empty needle is in your right hand. By knitting, you will move the stitches from the left needle to the right needle. So when you finish your row, the needle in your left hand will be empty and the needle in your right hand will be full. When you get to that point, start over. So the needle with all the stitches goes into your left hand and the empty needle starts on the right again.

OK, ready? Organize your stitches so all the loops are on the top and all the knots are on the bottom. Here is how to make a knit stitch.

When you finish your row, organize your stitches again (they tend to twist around the needle as you knit the first three rows) and count to make sure you have ended up with the right amount of stitches. If you have too many or too few, see the "Common Mistakes" section on how mistakes happen and how to correcting them.

When you have four feet left of yarn, you will need to add your next ball. See the section "Cold Fusion" for instructions.

When you have about four or five feet left, you will want to bind off. See "Ties that Bind" for instructions on binding off. Then, using the remaining yarn, you will want to add fringe.

How long should your scarf be? As long as you want it. Generally I make mine fall right above my knee, without fringe -- but it's entirely up to you (and how much yarn you have).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Let's Get It On: Casting

Casting on is the most difficult part of knitting. That being said, it's not hard, just clumsy at first. Don't give up -- you might have to do it several times to get it right.

First you need to make a slip knot. Here's a good demonstration.

Next you need to cast on the right amount of stitches for your project. (That just means, putting stitches on your needle). Your slip knot counts as one stitch, so if you need fifteen stitches total, make one slip knot, then cast on fourteen stitches.

There is an excellent video demonstration here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Yarn Stores, A Study in Self Control

Here's the thing. Yarn is pretty. It is. Yarn can be Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise -- but more easily hidden in your purse. Or kittens. Bunnies.* Fat-free cheese.

But here's the other thing yarn can be: EXPENSIVE. Need-to-hide-the-receipt-from-my-spouse expensive. I'll-take-a-sack-lunch-for-the-next-two-months expensive. I-hate-this-eighty-dollar-scarf expensive.

What I'm saying is, pace yourself. Don't buy a horde of expensive yarn if you don't know what you're going to do with it. You'll resent it. There's nothing wrong with having a stash -- in fact, absolutely everyone who knits has a you-ge stash hiding in their home. But as a beginning knitter, figure out what you want to make before you buy. Otherwise you'll decide this is an expensive hobby and you might give up.

Don't do that.

I like the store Loops precisely because whatever yarn is there, they can show you a pattern for it. The store is project-based so you don't have to feel lost.
(Dallas/Plano-area friends, should check out The Woolie Ewe, a local yarn store on the SW corner of Custer and 15th Street). Don't get me wrong, they have some drop-kick-me-Jesus-expensive yarn too ($80 a skein buffalo yarn anyone? How about $100-something a skein crystal-studded yarn?) But it's a great store with some beautiful and affordable stuff. Their staff and customers are very helpful too.

Also, the first time I went there, they gave me free wine and cheese. Booze, cheese and yarn? Did I die and go to Heaven? Is Nathan Fillian going to walk in and give me back massages?



"Hello, dear. More Gouda and Riesling? How about I work on those tense shoulders?"








OK, so all that being said, you don't want to just buy cheap yarn and spend a lot of time knitting stuff that looks, well, like cheap handmade crap. So splurge every once in a while but reign it in before it goes too far. Moderation, people. Moderation.



*Also easily hidden in your purse but will cause a SWAT team to jump out at you if you attempt to stuff one in your purse on government property. See: My Life, circa 1998, Ft. Sam Army Base, San Antonio, TX.


Friday, September 21, 2007

A full scholarship

Congratulations! You have all been granted a full scholarship to the Knotty Lady School of Knitting.

The Syllabus is as follows:
1. Yarn Stores, A Study in Self Control (Includes What Yarn and Needles Are Right for My Lifestyle?)
2. Let's Get It On: Casting
3. First Project: The Knit Stitch Scarf That I Plan to Give as a Gift But Will Secretly Covet and if He Doesn't Wear It, I'm Taking It Back
4. Mountains Out of Mohair: Everyone Makes Mistakes. Stop Freaking Out.
5. On the Fringe

You will need:
1. One pair knitting needles, US size 13 -- preferably inexpensive bamboo
2. Two skeins* of "chunky yarn" (Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick is a good inexpensive choice for beginners)
3. One yarn needle
4. One fat crochet hook (size is irrelevant. Just get something in the middle of the options at your local craft store)
5. Patience
6. Perseverance

In our first class, I'll tell you about several knitting links, newsletters, catalogs and blogs I love. Here's a few of them:
  • Loops Scoop - monthly email from Loops, a yarn store in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Excellent ideas, pictures and info. Check on the Facebook page for Webby Wednesday and Facebook Friday specials. Disclosure: I am friends with the owner and all of the employees -- but I became friends with them because of Loops.
  • Knit Picks - get the catalog and check out those Harmony needles! Their circular needle set is a bargain. Also, Knit Picks has some very inexpensive, natural-fiber yarns. And they make some very cute kits.
  • Knitty - an online knitting magazine with eclectic (and free) patterns.
  • Ravelry - Facebook for knitters. Any pattern you are looking for is there, as is a niche group for any interest you have (Barry Manalow knitting patterns anyone? How about Doctor Who?)
  • Woolie Ewe - get on their email list to get info about local sales.
  • Lion Brand - a good resource for ideas from the catalog, yarn-size conversions and patterns. Note: check out the pictures, because some of their patterns will look homely-made, as opposed to homemade, no matter what your expertise.
  • KnittingHelp.com - if you get stuck, or want to learn something new but all your knitting experts are tied up (yuk, yuk) this website is a tremendous help. You can find a video for just about any knitting procedure you want to learn.
There are so many other good knitting resources, but these are my go-to favorites. Now pick up your needles and get to it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Well...

The Knotty Lady knit her first piece in 1997 -- a great green blob that grew and grew into useless blobbyness for YEARS -- until she walked into a knitting store five years later and asked for help. Now she teaches others to conquer their fear of needles -- and laugh at her corny jokes.

The Knotty Lady
Ask the Knotty Lady all of your knitting questions. She is an expert at making up answers that seem credible.