Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good enough to steal

So, I was commissioned to knit a beautiful shawl. I was incredibly happy with it.

This is what it looks like on the front. Ignore the cranky look on my face. Look at the pretty shawl.

The lady wanted her daughter to wear it for her wedding, but couldn't finish it in time herself, so she commissioned me to do it. This was in October. The daughter wore it in her wedding (I'm so proud!) and absolutely loved it. She took it on her honeymoon to Paris, and didn't even want to pack it in her bag to wrinkle it. On the ride in from the airport on the train, both she and her husband fell asleep, and someone stole it off her lap. Even the thieves in Paris are fashionable, it seems. She was devastated, and called her mom crying as soon as she got there.
So, the mom contacted me again - she wanted to surprise her with the shawl for Christmas. I had already decided that the first time I did this shawl would be the last thing I took before Christmas, but after hearing the sad story, I couldn't help it. I made the exact same shawl over again for her, and got it to her in time for Christmas. So, I didn't do any Christmas knitting on my own, although I did do some cool stuff for some shirts for my dad.

In Summary:
Pattern: Gossamer
Yarn: Kid Silk Haze (75% mohair, 25% silk) 225 yards - 3 skeins. The pattern called for 4, but it was done in 3 with plenty to spare.
Time: About 30 hours
Needle: Size US 4

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lorna's Laces

Despite the fact that I haven't been showing you any knitting, I have been knitting, and I should update soon. In the meantime, I went on a yarn tour! My old knitting friends back in South Bend arranged a trip to tour Lorna's Laces in Chicago. I met them up there, more or less halfway (actually, less for me, but that's not the point).

Lorna's Laces
I got to see Vicki, Aubrey and Kristine, among many others who remain blogless. I also met some new people who have joined the old group, but they seem pretty okay, so I'll let them stay. (Hey guys, sorry I blogged your asses, but it was the only picture I had of the group.)

The place is in a rather scary looking warehouse in a cool part of the city. Their actual space looks like a nice place to work though. The entire dyeing operation is done there.
Lorna's Laces

They showed us around, let us fondle all their yarns, and then the owner, Beth Casey, gave us a demo of how she dyes the yarn. It's pretty much the same as I saw a lot of when I worked at the shop that dyed Dream in Color. The biggest difference is that they apply the dye to dry wool, as opposed to wet, which I found pretty interesting.
The owner demonstrating

This is certainly a familiar sight though, and often the most time-consuming part of the process.
Pretty yarns drying

And then, there was shopping.
Diving into yarn
They had about 5 big tables full of mill ends at discounted prices. There's nothing wrong with those yarns, just that maybe they didn't conform to a certain colorway, or they were experiment, or they were the odd one out. At any rate, I don't mind having something a little unique.

Despite the vast piles of mill ends, I only bought one gift for a swap partner, and enough for one pair of socks for myself:
Sock yarn
It's very practical, and will make excellent dress socks, for when I have to look all grown up and professional. I'm not showing the other one in case said swap partner decides to read my blog. But it's also very pretty!
All in all, I'm glad I went. It was pretty hard to haul myself out of bed in the cold, with the schedule I'm working, but I'm definitely glad I did it. It was great to see everyone again, and pretty neat to see how a functioning small business operates.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


So, I was Sarah Palin for Halloween. Twice. Because really, I've never looked like anyone famous before. I think I do a pretty good job though.
Elect this!
2nd ammendment, bitches
Sarah Palin shoots Uncle Sam
And then, I was a beer wench. Because two nights of being Sarah Palin is more than anyone should be Sarah Palin. Especially Sarah Palin.
Beer wench
More silliness on flickr.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Space Invaders

Warning! The Earth has been invaded! Or at least, my socks have.
Aren't these the coolest socks ever? If anyone asks you why on earth you would knit socks instead of just buying them at the store, point them here. I have space invaders socks. They are the bmp from knitty.

These were a long time coming, actually. They started out almost exactly a year ago as socks for an ex-boyfriend. Had abnormally shaped heels, and there was no way to get the cuff over his heel and yet stay up on his leg afterwards. This was a big pain, because I had already finished one sock, and was very nearly done with the cuff of the second sock.
In the end, it actually wound up being a good thing that these were on hold, because we broke up not too long afterwards. (He still made off with a pair of Irish socks though.) Seriously, I might have gotten myself arrested for something if he had broken up with me after I had made him hard-core colorwork space invaders socks.
Eventually, I got to looking through my stash, and realized that I still had these in much the same condition as when we had broken up. I decided it was time to reclaim these socks for myself. This wound up being a fantastic decision, because most of the hard work was already done. I had about 20 rows to do on the second sock's colorwork, then just the foot remained. On the first sock, all I had to do was rip it back until it fit my foot, and then re-work the toe. Socks seem really fast when you do them this way.

In retrospect, keeping the socks and getting rid of the boyfriend was a much better decision than doing it the other way around.

Oh, and I wore them with this shirt.

In Summary:
Yarn: Base yarn for Dream in Color Smooshy. White is undyed, black custom dyed for me. Orange is a bit of the Regia color from the heels and toes of the Irish socks. I thought it was fitting.
Pattern: Bmp from knitty
Needles: Size 0 , two circs
Cost: Probably about $30 for the yarn, but I used store credit at the time
Time: Over a year in jail, but not nearly that much knitting time

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weaving Pictures

Okay, here's some pics of the woven mat thingie.

The warp (the vertical part on the loom) is Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton in colors that match my mom's kitchen - it goes from golden, to yellow, to white. That's where all the variation comes from.

The weft (the horizontal part on the loom that you weave back and forth with the shuttle) is Bernat Cotton Tots (100% cotton).
Here's a closeup.

Except for that one glaring mistake at the bottom, I think it looks really good.

The trouble with weaving is that it takes up a lot more yarn that knitting. In addition to what you use to actually make the finish piece, there's a lot of "loom waste" from tying it in place.
Other than not using expensive yarn for the warp, I'm not really sure what to do about that.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Best Deal Ever

You might have thought the spinning wheel was enough. You might have thought that I had acquired enough fiber hobbies to last more than a single lifetime. You might be correct. That won't stop me.
At the lab, people are constantly moving and in out of the area and the country. They often have things they need to buy or sell, and the grad student mailing list sometimes becomes an unofficial craigslist (not that craigslist is all that official, but you know what I mean). When people send out messages, I usually browse what they have for sale. Most of it is IKEA crap they're trying to sell for too much, but occassionally you get really good deals. I got a very nice DVD player for $35.
This time, as I browsed, there was something the seller called a "tapestry maker" for $20. I sort of expected it to be a cheap kit like you would buy at a hobby store, but for $20, I was willing to take a risk.
Best Decision Ever.
It actually wound up being a pretty nice Schacht rigid heddle loom. I had seen one of these at the craft fair I bought my spinning wheel at, and the lady had explained the basic principle. I thought it was pretty neat, and that maybe in the far, far distant future, I would look at weaving. At that point, I completely put it out of my mind. Then this "tapestry maker" came up, and even you would take this for $20. The guy really didn't think he would sell it at a physics lab, but he underestimated the number of crafty people here (I know at least 4 knitters scattered throughout the lab, and those are just the ones brave enough to knit on site).

Not only was it this complete, good quality loom, it also came with 4 shuttles, a little thing to brush the yarn into places, a complete set of warping pegs (things used to measure out the length you need to put on the frame), the manual, two beginner books, and several magazines.
I remind you, this was $20.
Luckily, about a month before I had run into that lady at the craft fair, or I would have absolutely no clue what was going on. There are all sorts of crazy new words you have to learn for weaving, like warp, weft, and heddle.
The warp is the bit that goes up and down. You have to measure out the full length all at once, and this is by far the most annoying part of weaving. If you're doing something long, you have to wind it all up at the top wheel with sturdy paper (from grocery bags, in my case) between each layer so you don't get all tangled. It looks like this.

It gets threaded through the heddle, that white bar towards the top of the frame. Half of the strands go through slits between plastic teeth, and the other half goes through holes in the center of the teeth. When you move the heddle up or down, only the yarn going through the teeth moves, the ones in the slits just hang along for the ride. When you lift up all the teeth, you move up every other thread. Then you can pass the shuttle through without having to go over and under each strand individually. When you do this, you make the weft, the horizontal bit. Then to go the opposite direction, you push the heddle down, which moves the strings in the opposite direction, making the normal looking weave you're probably thinking of. Each time you do this, you push the weft strand into place with the heddle, which slides all the way down, or use the little brush thing if that didn't do it tight enough to suit you.
It took a long time to figure out how to set up the loom, but naturally I did it the first day I got it, and wove up a little piece. As usual, it matches my mom's kitchen, so it went directly to her. She was *ahem* supposed to take a picture for me since I forgot. But really, there was a pretty steep learning curve and I still managed to get it done in one (rather devoted) night. Plus, the Olympics were on, so I wasn't going anywhere anyway.
So in the first picture, you can see I've started on some dishcloths for myself to practice. It turns out you can do some really complicated-looking stuff right away. It leads me to ponder about the directions of things, which I suspect will have to be another post.

Update on that spinning thing

Um, so, I told you all I bought a spinning wheel, right? I can't really explain it. I went to Midwest Folk and Fiber Festival planning to browse, maybe pick up a skein of handspun or two. I really wasn't expecting to buy a wheel. It's not like I don't have a wheel, it's beautiful. It's just also a big pain to work on, because it was definitely not made for a beginner. See, the foot pedal likes to fall off from the wheel itself, and the drive band confuses me a lot.
So I met these cool people from spinundrum , sitting there with their spiffy Hitchhiker wheels,
and they talked me into trying it. I played with it for a bit, and I started to get the hang of it. I thought it would be a great way to learn, especially because the wheel is small and portable - it even came with its own tote bag. I should get some better pictures later, but here it is with some pretty blue wool I'm spinning.

As you can see, it has a cute little foot-shaped pedal. The drive is friction based, which means it's all simple points of connection. You pump the pedal, and it turns that big wheel. The big wheel turns a little black gear, the gear spins the flyer that holds the yarn. It's all very straightforward, and just a bit noisy. It's not enough to bother me, but I've read that it's noisier than other wheels.
Naturally, I went crazy right away. I had bought two bats of roving from the sellers, one cotton candy colored bat, and one tonal red with a little bit of gold sparkle. I spun the cotton candy first.
It can only really be described as beginner's handspun. It's not so much thick and thin as thick and thicker. But I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt.
Here it is sitting on the spare bobbins. The bobbins are apparently interchangeable with the Ashford Joy, so finding more shouldn't be a problem. I'm going to have to get some more, because three just isn't enough.

So I have about 60 yards of very bulky, very random yarn. I'm not sure what to do with it. It's about enough for a hat or a small clutch. I'm leaning towards hat, but I might just pet it and love it and call it George for a while.

Here it is with my couch. This picture shows the texture pretty well.

And here it is with the Spanish Inquisition....I mean, with Duncan. It's not a great picture of the yarn, but we always need gratiutious cat pictures.

Of course, I couldn't stop there. No, that would be sane. I had to immediately begin on the other bat I bought (say that three times fast) and spun it up within a day or two. I am so incredibly happy with this yarn. I would buy this yarn if I saw it in a shop. It's so very me, it's irresistable.

I managed to spin a lot more thinly and consistently this time. I couldn't believe how much I improved from one yarn to the other.

Oh, and the wheel also came with a PVC knitty knoddy. The knitty knoddy is a way to estimate the yardage of the yarn, and also to put it into a nice skein. The advantage to the PVC is that you can wash the yarn to set the twist (don't think too hard about that, it just needs to be done) and you never have to take it off the knoddy. Sure, the wood ones are a lot prettier, but this is just convienient.
I think this is about 80 - 90 yards of this yarn, and it's probably about an aran weight. I am utterly in love with it, and can't imagine anything special enough to make out of it.
As you can tell from the first picture, you can see I started spinning some pretty teal blue wool as well. I'm done with a lot of the spinning the first part of it, but it's also going to take a while to ply, and I'm running out of bobbin room. I'll get to it though. I'm sure it's going to be something for my mom, because it's exactly her color.
I am spinning some white and purple wool on my other wheel, which is going to go a lot better now that I've got the hang of the whole spinning thing. Besides that, the only fiber I had left was some alpaca. Apparently alpaca is just a bit trickier than wool, so I'm going to hold off on that for now. I picked up two more things (I'm not sure what to call them. One is in a bag, the other is in a ball) of roving at Stitches - one is firey oranges, reds and yellows, a blend of wool and silk, and the other is grey wool with bits of recycled sari silk fiber thrown in. I'm looking forward to those. I guess that means I better get working on the first stuff

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Computer Issues, still

Well, it looks like I'm going to have to send the laptop back again, since it keeps crashing every time I try to play a video game. And really, what's the point of a computer you can't play games on?
But I am going to wait until I get my desktop built to send it back, which hopefully I will do the bulk of this weekend. I've got an awesome case now - clear with light up LED's! I can't wait to see how all this nonsense looks. It sounds silly, but it was the same price as most other cases that fit my motherboard. Why not light up?
Before I do, I will upload lots of pics. I've made some lovely socks (me? socks? no...) to show, especially the awesome Space Invader socks that were a long time coming.
I'm also working on a really gorgeous commission piece. It's a white lace shrug a lady want's me to make for her daughter's wedding. I like the knitting for hire, I really do, but sometimes I get stuck with questionable materials. This is Kid Silk Haze, which is an absolute dream, and the pattern is turning out to be pretty fun too.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ren Faire take 2

So in addition to going to Stitches last week, I also went to the Renaissance Faire again (it's only an hour away). This time, I was an awesome pirate. See?

I bought a nifty pirate flask as well. The costume was very comfy, unlike some of the other fancy ones I've done before, all except for those boots, which you can't really see. It seems wrong to be a pirate without boots, but I wish I had brought something comfy to change into.
The awesome part is that much of this came from my wardrobe already. The big change was the shirt - it was originally a dress shirt with black and red pinstripes, but in addition to being to tight in general, it was much too tight in the arms. So I decided I needed puffy sleeves, like any good pirate. I also added on some cheap storebought lace to the collar and sleeves.
The corset is the reverse of the one I wore last time. Yay for reversible corsets. The belt I just happened to have. The pocket watch is my new favorite watch. I picked up a gold one and a silver one at an estate sale - they're the kind you have to wind, which I actually really like. The sword is my old fencing foil.
The hat I actually got at the Brookfield Zoo. They have a pet-the-stingray exhibit, which is awesome, and for some reason they sell pirate stuff in a gift shop outside it. It's getting near the end of the season, so it was 40% off. It's a black woven straw hat, but if you look closely you can see the band has silver skull-and-crossbones on it. I also got pirate flipflops, which is incredibly cool, but less authentic.
The fishnets were just from my hosiery collection. The pants are cheap yoga pants, inspired by some I borrowed from my mom. I wanted to show off more of the fishnets, so I made some little garters to hold up the bottoms. Garters are incredibly easy to make, for the record. I took a bit of bias tape lace and some black elastic, and then just sewed right up middle while pulling the elastic as stretched out as it could go. When it went back into place, it ruffled up just like a garter should. I'm glad to know this, because storebought garters seem to come in only size, and that's Too Small For Me. These were perfectly comfy.
The little purse I did actually make from scratch, and I'm pretty proud of it. It's just a simple drawstring bag, but I got it in my head that a metal drawstring would be incredibly cool. I really didn't know if it would work well, but once it had snagged all available threads, it was just fine. The metal is fancy jewelry chain that was on sale. I stitched what I had extra around the opening of the bag. It's nearly taut when the bag is open, and drapes when it's closed. At each of the parts where it drapes, I added a little skeleton key charm, also cheap jewelry supplies on sale. I added a few other baubles at the front, but that's about it. I think any pirate would be proud of this bag.
So that's my spiffy costume. I'm a little sad that the Ren Faire is going to be closing for the season, because I might be tempted to go again. It's just a shame that there aren't more occasions to wear costumes in public. One holiday per year is simply not enough.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So, Stitches Midwest was today. It moved to the Schaumburg convention center, where parking is free. And thanks to Debbie Macomber, who had a coupon for her book signing, admission today was also free. So in theory, one could go to Stitches and not spend any money. In theory.
I had a plan going in. I was going to buy some beautiful new sock needles, some roving, and maybe one or two really good deals or two. I kind of sort of stuck to that.
On the first pass, I found some nice sock yarn for $5. Really, you can't fault me for $5 sock yarn. It also came with a nice shopping bag that will get reused as a project bag.
I did buy the beautiful sock needles right away, which were far too expensive. I knew they were going to be expensive, and they still cost more than I was expecting. However, they are lovely 5" dpns in lightweight aluminum with a grippy body and an extra-pointy "stilletto" ends. I am such a sock junkie that these will get a lot of use. I had tried the straight version of these needles last year at Stitches, and they were so very beautiful I nearly bought some then. The only thing that held me back was that I really don't use straight needles, and they were planning on doing dpns. I can't wait to test them out. I hear they are doing circulars next year, which may also prove my undoing.
As for roving, I was a little disappointed in the choices. Too much of it was too variegated and not well dyed. I like tonal, but brightly colored yarns and I had some trouble finding it. I got some lovely naturally died orangey-red with yellow in corriedale and silk, about 5 oz, which I will get me a small project like hats or mittens, or so I'm told.
I also got some lovely grey wool mixed with fibers of recycled sari silk. It was an 8 oz. bag, and it should spin up really well.
Then, well, then I hit a really good deal I couldn't resist. You know that yarn that my naughty little kitten liked to steal? Well, they had bags of it at 60% off. I had heard rumors the yarn was being discontinued, and this was 2/3 off. So, I kind of bought a couple of bags of that. That's really where my plan fell apart.
So, the plan falling apart that much, I also broke down and bought a kit for thrummed mittens. I have been wanting to do some, and after trying some on, I couldn't resist this set. The nice shop owner even assembled a custom kit for me, since the colors I wanted weren't available. I got light grey mitts with dark grey thrums. Also, did I mention they're alpaca? They're alpaca. Nothing is going to be warmer this winter, and Chicago has some nasty winters.
But really, yarn hauls aside, it was really just a fun experience. I saw some people from my various knitting groups, and some people I haven't seen in quite some time. It was a lot of fun. And, barring the ridiculous amounts of money I spent, free. Sort of.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't Buy Gateway

Both, yes both, my laptop and my desktop are dead. The desktop was getting old, and I knew it was on its last leg anyway. The laptop has been a nightmare, and Gateway has been giving me the run around on replacing my defective hard drive. I am so incredibly mad at them, there are not words. Well, there will be many, many words in a cranky letter to the most important people I can get it to. But yeah.
So, that's the reason for the not blogging. Sorry. In the meantime, I've finished some awesome socks, participated in the Pratchgan, bought a new spinning wheel, bought a loom, made a Clapotis, and am going to be an awesome pirate at the Renaissance Faire tomorrow. I have also not been going to the Wednesday meeting because I am a total Olympics junkie, and my work schedule has gotten absurd.
Pictures of much of the insanity later, just thought I'd throw in the brief summary.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Renaissance Faire

I went to the Ren Faire in Bristol last weekend.
This year I got picked to give the favor to the knight!

I've been going there for about 10 years now, and in costume every year since the first. Lots more here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cubs Bag

Here is my mom, looking grumpy:

We had the following conversation about it.
Me: You look so grumpy!
Mom: I hate pictures, I always look so bad in them.
Me: Of course you will, if you insist on looking grumpy!

While I am all for general and widespread grumpiness, I firmly believe that one's pictures of oneself should be as silly and outrageous as possible. No one can say anything bad about you if they're too busy laughing.

However, that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to show off the Cubs bag I made for my mom's birthday in June.

It's the Everlasting Bagstopper from knitty, and I had to make one because everyone else was. I even used Jen's yarn like everyone else did - soft, stretchy and superwash. This is two skeins of the "Go Cubs Go!" colorway. People kept telling me it was very patriotic, but only if you believe that being a Cubs fan is essential to being a good citizen (which I do).

I let her pick out the handles and drawstring, which is good, because I would have totally guessed wrong on the length she wanted. She christened it with a trip to a Cubs game she got for her birthday, and I am told that it does in fact expand as much as promised.
It's a great, quick, and easy pattern, and I'm very tempted to make one for myself. Perhaps in Superbowl Shuffle?

In Summary:
Yarn: Go Cubs Go! by Knitting Like Crazy, two skeins sock yarn held together (100% superwash wool, I think)
Pattern: Everlasting Bagstopper from knitty
Needles: Size US 5 (3.75 mm) and 10.5 (6.0 mm) 24" circulars
Time: Less than a week. Once you get to the body, this moves really fast
Cost: Not telling, but you can probably figure it out

Monday, July 07, 2008

Who's the Boss?

It's Tony Danza, La Petite Tricoteuse's ferret! He came to visit while she was out of town for the weekend. Ferrets are a lot cuter and smarter than I thought. (They still smell, but it's not that bad, especially if you keep the cage clean.)

My cats weren't too sure what to think of him. Worfy thought it was like a new TV, brining the wildlife channel indoors. He was content to sit and watch, and I think he found him amusing.

Duncan, who is not quite as smart, was a little afraid of him. I let them all loose in the bathroom to play, and Worfy hopped up on the sink right away, since the ferret can't climb. Duncan didn't figure that out, and Tony chased him back and forth. I think it was good for Duncan, as he can be a bit of a terror sometimes.

Overall, we had fun this weekend, even if Tony did try to eat his cage a lot. I think he looks like a little ermine.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Knitter for Hire

A lady came to me earlier this year, wanting me to make a Christmas stocking. I thought it was a little early, but the story was actually sweet. Both her sons had these stockings made for them when they were young, and one had gotten married. She wanted one for her new daughter-in-law next year. There was no pattern, and no idea what the original yarn was, but I was able to chart it out with my mad sock+colorwork skills.
Son's on the bottom, new version on top:

The real trouble wound up being the yarn. These were odd vintage colors, and I could not find the right combination of color and weight. The hobby stores were useless, and the shops weren't exactly featuring Christmas colors this spring. I finally ordered the yarn in the right colors and the right weight from the LYS, but unfortunately they delivered the wrong weight, twice. The lady was a little cranky it was taking so long.

Once I had the yarn, it was quick work. I had already charted out the patterns, so it took less than a week to do the whole thing, which was not a stretch at all. She wound up being absolutely delighted with it, which always makes me happy. I passsed on the pattern and leftover yarn, just in case she might need another stocking at some point.

In Summary:

Yarn: Brown Sheep Co. Nature Spun Sport, in vintage Christmas colors, 1 skein each color

Pattern: My own, charted from a vintage stocking

Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm) dpns

Time: About a week of actual knitting

Cost: I made money on this one! Yay me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stringy Theory Fashion Tips

Always match your yarn to your cat for extra cuteness:

Btw, the yarn is the color Journal from Knitivity. It's super soft and there's 435 yards of it!

Also, you may notice it's not my usual colors. It's for a swap. I remain as personally obnoxious as ever.

Pippi Longstockings

I've decided these are my Pippi Longstocking socks, and none of you should be surprised. I continue choosing only colors that appear in the 8 - crayon Crayola box. These I specifically started for two reasons: 1. I didn't have any socks that went with kelly green, and that was bothering me, and 2. The last socks I made for myself were plain black.

I got the yarn nearly a year ago at Stitches. It was a Regia stretch sock yarn that came in small skeins (take two, they're small). I love these socks. In summer, I rarely wear socks at all, and I have alread worn these twice.

They are what is now my standard toe-up formula.

It's a rectangle toe:

And the fleegle heel:

I knit up into normal sock length, then increased into the ribbing as I described before. Yep.

Loud, obnoxious, predictable. Perfect for me.

In summary:

Yarn: Regia stretch in obnoxious colors, 2 skeins, superwash/nylon sock blend

Pattern: My standard toe-up: Rectangle toe, Fleegle heel, stockinette body with 2x2 ribbing at the top, EZ sewn bind off

Needle: Size US 1 (2.25mm) dpn

Time: A few weeks of as a purse project

Cost: About $15 I think, which is less than usual

Things I haven't blogged about : Clogs

These were a class at Peggy's that I never blogged about: the Fiber Trends felted clogs. They're extremely popular, and for good reason. They are very easy, with one caveat: don't try to talk and follow the pattern. Just don't.

Obviously these are my colors, but one was left unfelted as a before and after kind of thing. Isn't it silly and clownish? I need to go shrink it down so I can schlep about in these things. They're actually really comfortable. I believe the yarn is Brown Sheep, the new twisty colors for the body, and plain for the cuffs.