Saturday, March 31, 2007


Now, I normally wouldn't blog a charity knit, but this is no ordinary charity knit. This is the hat for the Yarn Harlot's Represent Tour. I'll be at the Oak Brook Borders this Tuesday to see her, and you all should too. Represent, yo.

Also, please enjoy this gratutious picture of my cat.

Remember how I lobbied Congress?

So I was in DC last week. On my last day of lobbying, I had a morning meeting, then the entire afternoon before my flight. So of course, in Our Nation's Capital, the home of Historical Monuments and Smithosian Museums, I did what any young, patriotic American would do. I shopped.
More specifically, I shopped for yarn.
Here's what I got.

Four skeins of Alchemy Synchronicity - two variegated in pink, red and purple, two hot pink. They are destined to become the scarf on the cover of Modular Knits, or something like it. (I already had the book.)

Two skeins of Qiviuk, which is 45% Qiviuk, 45% merino and 10% silk. All told, I have about 450 beautiful yards of it, and it's destined to become something from Victorian Lace Today, or something like it. (Also already had that book.) It's also destined to be knit with the new lace Addis (size 5), my first go with those.
I can't begin to describe this yarn. It's softer than angora, softer than cashmere, and surprisingly, softer than the stuff that was 100% quiviuk. I spent about half an hour nuzzling it before I realized I couldn't live without it, particularly in this charming shade of red. ("When in doubt, wear red" - Bill Blass) I love red, particularly when it comes to something stunning like a dress. And when are you most like to wear a lace shawl? When you're wearing something else stunning, of course. And nothing is likely to touch more bare skin, as most fancy dresses have spaghetti straps or less. It's crazy, it's insane, it's going to be an heirloom piece. But it's mine, and you can't have it.

I also picked up this pattern, which was knit up in the store in a nice raspberry color. I think it was a bit thinner too, which is how I would make it. It's a really cool pattern - I hadn't seen lace with pleats before. In theory, I suppose I could have figured out how to do it, but I do like that pattern, and it was only a few bucks (unlike the quiviuk).
I also picked up a few samples of this nice fabric wash. It's rinse free, and the ladies at the shop assured me it smells wonderful. Well, I'm sure I'll be trying it out soon. I'll let you know how it goes.
So, in summary, if you're in DC, check out Stitch DC. I hit up both their Capital Hill (where I was lobbying) and Georgetown (where I was staying) locations, and found some good things at each.
And I so could have come home with a lot more. Like that Lorna's Laces roving that was begging me to become thrummed mittens....

Writing about Writing about Knitting

I finally got a copy of the Yarn Harlot's new book yesterday. I should have pre-ordered, but didn't, and spent several days trekking around town until I finally got one. You live and learn.
I haven't read it yet, but I meant to. (4:00 pm "Oh, I'll just take a little nap, and then get up and do all those things I've been meaning to do..." 3:00 am "Crap! I have to go to work!" (I had to be at work at 4 this morning.)) Anyway, the point is, I absolutely cannot wait to devour it.
I know it's perfectly reasonable for an author to spend a year or more between books, but I read them in day. That's at least 364 more days out of the year where I'm waiting. Occasionally, I re-read them. This narrows it down to about 360.
To quote Dave Barry, "There's a fine line between a hobby and mental illness." I love to read. I love to knit. A good deal of the time, I'd like to read about knitting. The Yarn Harlot fits that niche perfectly.
So why aren't there more authors like her?
Sure, there are a multitude of blogs. I can name ten sites off the top of my head that get hundreds of comments per post (real comments - not counting lurkers like me) and they're devoted entirely to knitting. Pictures, commentary, funny stories, poignant moments, we devour them all. I spend hours following a blog ring around, usually when I should be working.
But there's something special about books, opposed to blogs. You can lounge around, anywhere you want, far away from technology. You can take them in the bath without fear of electrocution (usually). You can hold them, feel them, smell them, make notes in the margins. When your hands ache from knitting and you still can't get enough, you can hold a book.
Yes, there are pattern books. I do love pattern books. But occasionally, if they are cheap or interesting enough, I will buy them just to read the introductions, with no intent of ever knitting any of the patterns. (Or perhaps thinking, "Oh, that's cute, maybe I'll knit it someday." Yeah right.) I just want a book that's about knitting, without it implicitly asking me to knit all the things pictured in it. Believe me, I have enough to knit.
I know I'm not the only one that loves this fusion of craft and literature. I get a little excited if knitting happens to come up in Jane Austen. People buy novels just because one of the characters happens to knit. Knitting gets used in fiction as a metaphor for social interaction, or assigned some sort of deeper spirituality. Well, metaphors are garbage. (Get it? I just used a metaphor to make fun of metaphors. I actually don't mind them that much but I couldn't resist that.) I want real content. What's so hard about that?
The magazines do their fair share. There's really some good writing in the articles, not just how-tos and new products. I particularly enjoy the knitted artifacts and knitting in art in Interweave Knits. Why not make a collective book of those?
Magazines just don't have the same allure for me that books do, and they don't hold up as well in the bath. I like seeing the ads for new products, but sometimes I want to get lost in the transcendental experience that only reading the unadulterated printed word can provide. The glossy, ADD, picture-heavy style of most magazines works well, as a magazine, but sometimes you just need a book.
A book about knitting.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fugly Friday

Today's selection may not actually be fugly. It may be kind of cute. But it's still in the spirit of You Knit What? because I find myself asking that question.
The free pattern is here , and is originally listed as a champagne bottle. They turned it into bubble bath for the pictures. Perhaps they don't drink.
I'm trying to figure out just why you would knit this. If it were some sort of wine bag that you could give as a gift over a nice bottle of bubbly, I might understand. But it appears to be a complete piece all on its own. What do you do with such a thing?
I'm completely mystified.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This is the post that blogger ate

Or something close to it.
While I was in Japan, I finished a nice pair of travelling socks.
See? Here are the sock and I at a cool bridge outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
And here they are finished on my feet:
I really don't understand how people get those nice pictures of themselves wearing socks.
I'm just not that clever with a self timer. And I think anyone but knitters would think I'm completely insane if I asked them to take a picture for me. So you're just going to have to deal with weird rumply pictures of my socks.
Although the zoom on the heel is okay.
So I'm really and truly over my sock problems. It feels like a victory for knitters everywhere.
In Summary:
Pattern: Generic sock pattern - k2p2 rib, regular heel flap, ribbed instep, lazy three needle bind off at toe
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn (100% superwash merino) in potluck colors (~$20)
Needles: Size 1 dpns (of which I broke/lost many in my travels)
Time: About a week doing serious travelling
Cost: About $20 in yarn, and I'm not sure about needles (I keep breaking them)

Monday, March 26, 2007

An Honest Assessment

Nope, no pictures here. If you don't like words, move along.
I owe you posts on the socks I made in Japan (but Blogger ate it the last time I tried to post) and on some acquisitions I made while in DC (including quiviut - my heart swells just reading those words).
In the meantime, instead of doing any real work, I thought I'd take a mental inventory of the ridiculous number of projects I have on the needles. Maybe seeing it in print will freak me out enough to actually finish them.

-men's black dress socks, must be done by Friday (for the boy's oldest brother's 30th birthday party)
-crochet blanket, on commission, must be done ASAP
-hat for Yarn Harlot represent tour, must be done by April 3 (okay, so I haven't actually cast on yet, but it still has to be done by then)
-top secret project that must be done by a certain date in May (mostly just finishing)
-crazy German fair isle vest
-generic baby jacket
-an entrelac scarf that will never end
-a Bears scarf I was too depressed to finish

-an Adrienne Vitedinni (sp) cables and lace tank that I was going to make in hot pink that really a good idea?
-that awful blanket that is my perpetual UFO because I didn't understand intarsia. I don't have the heart to frog it though
-the absurd intarsia tapestry blanket
-baby kimono in a ribbon yarn
-modified tank from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (I actually don't even know where that is right now)
-crochet baby jacket that just needs embroidery and buttons
-the abandoned bad socks (that's two single socks, not a pair) that I should really rip out
-crochet nylon purse
-a ballet T I made with two different yarns that I'm not sure go well together - needs finishing, but may be ugly
-Master Knitter projects (though is it any wonder I haven't been knitting swatches?)
-other things that lurk at the depths of my closet that I can't recall right now

Things I have the yarn for and a project in mind:
-Cash Iroha cardigan with Hello Kitty buttons
-lace shawl in quiviut - going to use a pattern from Victorian Lace Today, but haven't picked it out quite yet (but I did get the new lace Addis for it)
-modular scarf in Alchemy yarns
-Lotus Blossom Tank (IK summer '06) in soft pink bamboo
-a slew of baby things (both for the hope chest and to produce as soon as I hear yet another person is having a baby)
-lots of washcloths

Things I'm wanting to make, but really better not just yet:
-something for the boy
-Thrummed mittens
-Kid Silk Haze sweater from Classic Knits
-Most things from Fitted Knits
-Something beaded
-lace shawl from the mohair I got in Japan
-Freeform purse
-things from Victorian Lace Today
-reserve wedding shawl (so I can produce it as soon as one of my friends gets engaged)
-reserve baby items
-things for the hope chest
-things from the rest of the stash
-an absurd top secret project
-advance Christmas gifts
-enough socks so that I'll never have to wear storebought socks again

What exactly is it I'm thinking? I believe I have not only reached SABLE but OTNBLE. Bad Sarah! Go to your corner at start knitting.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Road Trip

Okay guys, mark your calendars. The Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair is coming up this July, and I'm totally going to be there. Who's coming with me?
(Note: South Bend friends, this is probably a 3 hour drive for you. I know you've gone farther for fiber.)

Sunday, Fugly Sunday

Okay, so I missed Fugly Friday. I was busy lobbying congress. I'll try to make it up to you now.
In my continuing homage to You Knit What?, here is yet another fantastic addition.
I never said this had to be knit, so let's look at something lovely from the crochet side, shall we?

What are they, you ask?
Good question. Aparently you're supposed to put them in your hair. I'm not kidding. Free pattern here.
They're called "Banana Curlz" (the "z" means it's cool) or "Curlicue Hair Bows". The notes say you're supposed to tie them around a ponytail or pigtails. I'm actually having some trouble picturing that.
I suppose if you are five, this might be adorable. I'm not really sure, but most things on five year olds are. It also guarantees that said five year old will hate you when they turn fifteen. Still, there are cuter ways to embarrass your child and use up your stash.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sittin' up on Capitol Hill

I lobbied Congress yesterday. I'm going to do it again today, and a little bit more tomorrow.
I haven't quite wrapped my mind around that fact yet.
We're lobbying for good things - funding for the basic sciences, particularly high energy physics. It's not like anyone is going to tell us that science is a bad thing. It may not be their priority, but it's not like cigarettes or anything. Yay, science.
I lobbied Congress. I'm a congressional lobbyist. I can't quite get my mind around that. As I was walking from the House side of Capitol Hill to the Senate side, and I passed the steps of the Supreme Court. I had a flashback to the last time I was there, about eight years ago. The WWII memorial hadn't been built yet, and the Washington Monument was still covered in scaffolding. I was in high school, 14 years old. I won the trip in a school essay contest. It was one of those massive see-everything-ever trips that made sure you hit every major attraction in four days. They did a really good job of that - I don't feel like there's anything I need to go back and see this time. I'm no longer a tourist in Washington, DC.
I remember standing on the steps of the Supreme Court then. There were a few important people in suits milling around (I assumed they were important because they were wearing suits) and a lot of tourists. I was one of the latter, a giggling schoolgirl taking crazy pictures. I never thought I'd be one of those people in suits. Yet today I was mildly irritated with the giggling schoolgirls.
I've never considered politics as a career. I'm cranky, and in general, I don't like people. This is why science works for me. And yet here I am. I lobbied about 7 offices yesterday; I met with junior staffers, important staffers, and a Congressman. I was in the Senate building at the same time as Al Gore.
I'm massively confused. Does this mean the political system has some good points? A real live person, not a politician, made it to the steps of Congress. Should I be cueing the small world music? Can anyone tell me how the hell this happened?
I have no clue. It's my job for the next two days to tell Congressmen that science is cool. Luckily it's true. How do the real lobbyists do it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Okay, I've heard about DeStash a few times, but I hadn't really checked it out until jet lag kept me awake all last night. (All night. I'm not kidding.)
Well now I am a member. Let's face it, there are yarns in my stash I am simply never going to knit. The pack rat in me hates to admit it, but it's true. And the stash is too big. Among all the other drastic cleaning that needs to be done in my house (like, you know, not having epic proportions of clutter all over the entire place), the unnecessary yarns need to be trimmed.
Of course, that didn't stop me from buying three things from other people right away. Look, I got some Koigu for cheaper than I could here, some nice Trekking (which is fantastic yarn) and I'm going to swap for some INOX circular needles. And I had been planning on buying exactly that size of circular needles anyway.
But that's not the point. I will begin the destash process. I will. I'm also going to try to knit up as much of it as possible. It's not a full scale yarn diet, but I'm going to watch my yarn figure. Or something.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Sarah is"

Okay, I stole this meme from Madalyn. It's pretty entertaining. Here's how it works.

Google your name with is in quotes (like this - “Jody is”) and see what you have been up to.

Sarah is beautiful inside and out. (Awww. There's actually a whole sappy poem dedicated to another mythical Sarah.)
Sarah is a little too much for the prudish.
Sarah Is Like A Koala Crapping A Rainbow In Your Brain! (Awesome!)
Sarah is Famous
Sarah is now TWENTY-TWOyears old! Huzzah!
Sarah is a lush.
Sarah Is Sparkly
Saint Sarah is local and Christianized manifestation of Kali
Sarah is fantastic, simple but beautiful inside and out.
Sarah is still the child who never learned to share
Sarah is just one big huge ball of confusion
Sweet Sarah is looking for friends ;).
Sarah is planning two adult novels
Sarah is currently focusing on her solo career
Sarah is deeply focused on "solutions-based journalism"
Sarah IS the MOST Annoying one to me.
Sarah is not an opera singer
Sarah is on another phone call
Sarah is shocked to see that they are naked
Sarah is nice, but she is also stubborn and quick to speak her mind.
Sarah is looking forward to undertaking some extensive research
Sarah is forced to face the Terminator alone
Sarah is sitting around the house with a couple of friends
Sarah is surrounded by an entourage, all of whom have their own agendas
Sarah is going to have very to little real combat since good witches and wizards in the Harry Potter universe are forbidden to use magic for evil.
Sarah is not a new student--she's the teacher!
Sarah is not only a great friend, but an incredibly reliable colleague.
Sarah is indebted to Athens
Sarah is not sufficiently disturbed to merit help from social services
Sarah is a Fantastic Read.
Sarah is available to provide comments to the media and press
Sarah is in her mid 20's, bright, personable and very attractive.
Sarah is 100% right
Sarah is more reserved, she will stand back and watch, and look around a bit
Sarah is best at recognizing potential when desperation is a major factor.
Sarah is a natural-born sniffer
Sarah is Obviously Not a Guy
Sarah is first taken to be some kind of saint but then things go badly wrong.
Sarah is looking for a Super Bowl date
Sarah Is Mightier Than The Sword
Sarah is not going ever approach Angelia Jolie or Noami Watts
Sarah is an undeniably bold personality, but she also reveals great sensitivity and need.
Sarah is thrilled, but suddenly realizes she has grown
Sarah is taken to meet the Queen Spider and strikes a bargain with her
Sarah is a person who never reveals her secrets
Sarah is characterized by an intense desire to learn
Sarah is ready to. catch the next flight to Washington (that's actually true - I leave for DC Tuesday)
Sarah is familiar with most of the resources in a library and how to use them

Okay, so maybe you can tell I only picked the ones I liked. There are more than enough, and I could go on.It's a popular name, and aparently I've been busy. But here's my personal favorite:

Sarah is the Man, Jimmy is the Woman

Have I happened to mention what the boy's name was?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fugly Friday

Good Fugly Friday, my friends. I am back from Japan. It's absurdly early in the morning, and I'm awake thanks to jet lag. The photo album is complete, but out of order. Go spy on me in Japan. It's pretty there, I promise.

Also, I'll get to the socks, really I will. But we have more pressing matters at hand.

Namely, this:

I'm stunned. I'm really, really stunned. I don't want to pick on Lion Brand (free pattern here, but you'll have to register), but come on.
A fun fur jacket for you dog? This is too much.
First, let me point out the obvious. The dog has fur to begin with. It does not need weird, nasty, acrylic fun fur on top of that. I promise. Dogs did not evolve to wear acrylic.
Second, what is with people dressing up their dogs anyway? I'm all for dressing animals up in the name of entertainment (such as, or if for some reason you have a short hair dog in a cold climate, but dogs are not accessories. They are not. They are not baby dolls for people to dress up and put in designer purses. And why knitters of all people (who generally tend to be a sane bunch) would emulate the sort of people that do that, I don't understand. This poor little sweater is some sort of fashion statement.
All I can say is, thank god it's not a child. While anyone who makes this thing is bound to take embarrassing pictures of it, at least it's not going to haunt the dog when its parents bring out the photo album on its first date. (At least, I don't think they do that kind of thing at the breeders, I don't really know for sure.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Greetings once again from Japan.
Pictures have been updated here, and you can even see a couple of really cool videos here.
But more importantly, here's the yarn chronicle I promised. Are you ready? It's a lot of pictures.
First off, did you know you can buy Hello Kitty yarn? Of course you can. You can buy Hello Kitty everything.
I even have a Hello Kitty toaster.
I've yet to identify the fiber type, but it feels like acrylic. It's more trophy yarn than anything I'm actually going to knit though.
There's also a Japanese brand called Puppy, which is adorable.

This is some linen silk that was 50% off.

I also picked up some mohair blends in pure white

and a pretty subtle blend.

It says, " It had the Graduation with long pitch Newly. How about warmhearted?"
How about warmhearted, indeed. These are bound to become shawls, I'm sure. Who can resist a mohair shawl?

I also snagged some angora silk that was on sale.

It may be made in France, but it was angora silk on sale. I don't really need to justify that.
But wait a minute, you must be saying. Isn't Japan the land of Noro?
Why yes. Yes it is. And it's cheap here too.

Here's some Cotton Iroha I got on sale. It's a cotton/cashmere blend. Don't know what it's going to be yet, but the colors look fun.
But the piece de resistance is the massive amount of Cash Iroha I bought. You should be aware of this yarn, if you're not already. It's a wool/silk/cashmere blend, and it's going to be heaven.
I bought quite a bit of it, which was my big yarn investment for the trip. It's 12 skeins - enough to be a cardigan.
Enough to be a cardigan with these buttons.
I told you that you could get Hello Kitty everything. So this will be the perfect souvenir sweater from Japan - Noro yarn with Hello Kitty buttons.
I also bought some other yarn-related things. First is a book on Nordic knitting. Most of the text is in Japanese, but the instructions have English with them as well. There seem to be a few cool techniques in here I haven't seen before.
They do have some really cool patterns here, and the truth is, it would be possible to understand. Everything is charted, stitch by stitch.
I hate charts though.
Some of you may remember me complaining about how they should make circular needles small enough for the cuffs of socks.
Well, they do.
And I bought one. It's a mere 22cm around (that's about 8.8 inches). Unfortunately, the smallest size they had was a 4, which is a bit big for socks. The novelty factor was high enough, though, that I couldn't resist. Especially because I had been complaining about this about a week before.
I also bought a clever little needle holder with a handful of needles in it. Forgot to pack those.
Also, nearly done with the first travel pair of socks. But they deserve their own post.
Please don't try to figure out how much I spent on yarn. It will only hurt. And I've gotten other cool souvenirs here too, for everyone in my family and myself. Maybe when I go home and get dressed up in my yukata (the light, summer kimono) I'll put up a picture of that.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fugly Friday

You didn't think I'd forget, did you?

Especially not when this poor child is involved. Sure, I could save this up for a Halloween theme, but that's so far away. And this child is very, very unhappy. He misses his arms. How is he supposed to go trick or treating without them?
Now, I'm all for knitting children's things, because they're small and easy. But how could you put this much knitting into something he's guaranteed to wear only once, and that's if he makes it to the end of the night in it. No, people. Learn to sew.
I don't understand what the hood is all about. I'm not sure if the feet are part of the garment or not. And I don't even think it looks that much like a pumpkin.
But the people at Berroco like it, and they put it here. But why is it named "Brooklyn"? Are there a lot of angry, misshapen pumpkins in Brooklyn?
This has been Fugly Friday, brought to you from Japan. (Only it's Saturday here already. But it's Friday for you, and that's what counts.)

Now with 82% more cute!

Yes, my friends. I calculated that just for you. And more importantly, my photos are now updated from another few days. I spent a couple of days at the high energy physics lab out here, which is not so cute, but then.......
Then I went to the Hello Kitty theme park. Can you handle the cuteness?

Sarah's Cute-Enriched Photos of Japan!

Also, please see this comic. It applies to imaginary kitties as well.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Japan in pictures

Okay kids, the first photos are going up:

Sarah's pictures of Japan

I'll chronicle the yarn purchases later. But I promise you, it will be worth it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Oh No! There goes Tokyo....

Yeah. I have shopped Tokyo, and I have shopped it hard. One of the most fantastic things? An eight story department store devoted entirely to crafts. I spent a certain amount of time and money on the knitting floor, also spending a certain amount of money which we are not going to discuss. Ever.
Of course, there are also the more traditional, cultural things, which I have obviously done. And I saw pandas. I will try to start loading my pictures on my yahoo site soon. But there are lots of yarn goodies to be seen. This is the country that makes Noro after all, and it`s a lot cheaper before importing it.
I`m really sad to leave Tokyo today, it`s one of the coolest cities I`ve ever been to. But I do get to go see the big national lab for the next few days, then it`s skiing and all sorts of other interesting cultural places.
And socks? Turns out they`re the perfect travel project. Got one done already, working on the second one. We`ve got a long bus ride today, so I should make some serious progress.