Saturday, April 29, 2006

I Had Company

Is this not the prettiest thing? It's an eight week old hand. Well, nine. It is a sweet hand and it came to visit me and pick up some yarn for it's mom to make it some new things. This hand somday will sit on my knee and learn to knit. I cannot wait.
I finished this, very thrilling. Mr Wonderful was IN it, but characteristically requested removal, so I took him right out of it. It's in Stockbridge, used 10 skeins, 6 sts to the inch. Really is nice now that it's gave me some trouble along the way, but we're friends now. This is the "father" version. I have cast on the son version and it's coming along, but slowly because I taught today, and am going to a trade show tomorrow (how exciting!). I think it will be a few days late, but not horribly.
I started this some time last week in an attempt to counteract my Vest Misery. It is another Mango Moon modular object, which at the moment is looking like it may go shawl rather than poncho thing. I have not decided. I really liked the poncho thing, but I like a shawl too...difficult decision. I am waiting for it to speak to me, which it will eventually. I set it aside at a point where I need to decide. I will eventually want to work on it badly enough that I just pick. They're very fast, on 15's and give me a sense of completion without a lot of effort. I worked on it while listening to this and attempting to learn German. Mr Wonderful has decided that the mp3 player should be used for some educational purpose. We both whine that we have no language other than English. I have discovered that the whole bike thing is more fun if we add not only knitting, but a foreign language learning experience, so that now I am knitting, sweating, and shouting out German phrases. It scares me that a family member other than Girl or Mr Wonderful - for example my father - might happen upon this little bit of MelissaKnits insanity and attempt to have me committed. Really, it's a very effective way to get it all done at once; the ultimate multi-tasking experience. Ich verstehe deutsch. Riiight, sure I do...and pigs fly too. Ich verstehe NICHT deutsch is more like. I sort of wish Mr Wonderful had decided to start with French, but whatever. It's all greek to me.

Then there is this, which is 1997 Amaroni Tommasi, and was a blissful experience. I did a few hours of work on the pc for package store managing friend, and she paid me in wine, six bottles. We decided to open not the $6.00 Lyrico, but this stuff. Very rich, earthy and fruity - made me want to have a steak with gorgonzola butter. Less tannin than the Joseph Phelps Cab. I called today to commend beloved friend on excellent wine choice and beg for more, and she told me that this is "the last of it..." Broke my heart. One must remember that there is always another vintage. The stuff is made to be experienced, not stuck on a shelf forever and ever.

Monday, April 24, 2006


First of all...who zis?? Why, It's Girl and THE YARN HARLOT HERSELF! Let me tell you, this is one funny woman. Girl stood in line for a long bit with four books, none of them her own. She'd left hers here. So instead she got a picture, for posterity. I got a book signed, and then retreated to the room behind Girl's head to help a regular drop in student with a sudden onset Saturday afternoon lace problem, and to wait for Girl who was at first helping to hand out post-it's, but then found herself in line. Such a line it was, too. And the store was like a hive of swarming insects, with this constant buzzZZzzz which began at ten AM and ended after I left, I am sure. Lookit! Girl and The Harlot!
The tension mounted as girl dug her hand deeeeeep into the bowl to pull out a winner.
You could have cut the air with a knife, so much riding on this one pull of a name...who could it be? Who would be the winner? A drum roll began, becoming louder and louder, faster until at last the anticipation was ended!! The dreams of a weekend fulfilled! And the winner is...2 Monkeys Mom!! YEAH!!~~confetti and balloons fall~~ HOORAY!!!!

Please email me at with your mailing address so I can get your stash enhancing box out this week.

a name? well. I said we had A winner, not 2 winners. It's still in debate. I could be dead and buried before we choose something! I wanted to post this earlier, but Girl had an appointment with the oral surgeon (scary music plays...). It was a consultation to discuss why I thought the first surgeon was wrong in wanted to take her wisdoms. Guess what? I WON!! The "good" Dr said I was right! I was very happy. She will have a procedure relating to another tooth in June, but not her wisdoms. Maybe someday, but not today.
Then, in celebration, we went shopping. Now, you have to understand that I will probably never have the ovarian fortitude to wear any of this, but here it is nonetheless. Guess how much I spent...guess...

you'll never guess. OK, I'll tell you. $240. Including the six bras. And the wild purple chore boots. Not too shabby.

I ned to go eat something and knit something and spend the rest of my Monday reflecting on names for the business. I'm still leaning toward Twisted Chicken or Wild Chicken or Feral Chicken. I just like how it feels. And if we keep it paired with a logo of a cool, colorful chicken...

Friday, April 21, 2006


Hello Lotus Blossom (sorry K.G. I know, I know... and some day I will, but not now.)I got halfway thru the clapotis and discovered that the second skein of yarn, which I thought might be close enough in color to get by, was soooo far off from the original that there was no choice but to form a new plan. So yesterday between a meeting and my drop-in time, I ripped it out. Right there, in the classroom (where, by the way, the Harlot will be signing books on Saturday...) in front of witnesses. I killed it. Bang,bang, clap's dead. But as we all should know,death can be a time for rebirth and renewal of all living things. From destruction and despair (over the $39 a skein yarn...) can come a thing of greater joy than that which existed before. And I think, this time, that's about right.
This is from Shawls and Scarves: the Best of Knitter's Magazine , the yarn is still Artyarns Silk Rhapsody, but it has expanded in quantity (thanks to our beloved Girl) into 3 skeins - 2 are of color #119 but look like they came from different planets not just dye baths, and one is of color #139. I am using all three, alternating rows. It's actually simple to keep them straight once you get a system. And a system I have developed. It works, but is probably not a project to take on the road. And it grows from the bottom up, so at any point I can shift gears and begin to finish it. The pattern calls for laceweight, I assume it will fly right along since Silk Rhapsody is a worsted (though quite light in my opinion), and be done on no time flat. I'll just go till the length is about 24 - 28 inches, and go from there. It began (spontaneously, I swear) during my lunch break from this, the Stockbridge men's vest, which is past the 50% mark, and looking good for a finish in the nick of time, along with it's boy-version buddy which has not been cast on yet. I just needed a little respite, which I though to get yesterday before drop-in with clapotis, but that just turned into a big old rippit session. I embrace ripping at times. It's very cleansing.

Also, for those of you who tune in for occasional updates on that RIDICULOUS animal that Girl calls a cat - - today when she left for work that ridiculous animal (whom Mr. Wonderful and I now call "Spal-Dingo", because it covers him on all fronts - head like basketball, acts like dog, and could feasibly consume a small child without much difficulty...) sat on the floor in front of the door and CRIED. Like a dog with separation anxiety. CRIED! Not like a cat, who says "Eh, go ahead, go to work..." but like a dog who sits at the bus stop waiting patiently for Timmy to jump back off. I was on the phone with a friend - who all of a sudden, thanks to new motherhood, cannot stand the crying of anything - and she made me go and GET the thing and PET it and CARRY it and 'make it feel better'. Sick. She kept saying how sweet it was, and how loyal cats are...CATS??? LOYAL??? Cats are like the furbearing equivalent of a goldfish. Feed them, change their box, and they ignore you completely while you stand by trying to get their attention and love by various methods and means. I think Spal-Dingo may need therapy. I think he may believe he's a dog...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

WHY didn't my mother name me something cool?

more suggestions!
From the man who bears at least 50% responsibility for my top ten name -
Hillside knits
Bear Run
Hen coop knits
Scratch Feed Something ? - Designs?
New England Trends
Northeast Wonders

Melissaknits needs a new name. My mother's other selections weren't any better - Rebecca Diane? April Joy?? Me?? Please. She would have been closer with Hannah or Sarah or Emma. Can anyone help? There are those among you who know me, at least enough to say so, and I am begging for your help. We're getting off the wall here at Melissaknits' home base, with names ranging from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous. THE LIST is below, and feel free to make up your own and post it as a comment. Oh - the objective - Melissaknits is going to try her hand at self publishing patterns. Unfortunately, my name is pretty common - it appeared out of the blue in the top ten names for girls in the US list in 1967, and did not fall below top ten till 1985 - that's a whole lot of Melissas out there. I need a name that says something about knitting, and a little about me. I am an eccentric oddball who talks to much, cannot dress and rarely remembers to show up for hair appointments - and when I do, speed and simplicity are stressed. I always ask "Will I have to blow dry it? Like, ever??". I am a little bit of an earth-freak, although Mr Wonderful refers to me as "The Environmental Terrorist" because I do not pull the plastic windows out of envelopes when I put them in the recycle, and sometimes I forget a throw paper in the trash under my desk. I like to grow organic food in my own yard (animal or vegetable), but spend a week or two at Disney World every couple of years since my wedding - for reasons I still have not determined. I am an Elizabethan history nut, Jane Austen fan, and consider "homemaker" a valid life path ("The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"). I planned a Renaissance wedding right up till the location burned down, when we shifted gears and took the red dress (which I designed) to Florida for a Disney vacation with a wedding in the middle (so the kids wouldn't notice) For the past few years, I eat sleep and breathe knitting, but have been known to spin off into space with a wild case of Hand Craft A.D.D., and end up someplace weird, like shirret, or sculpting dolls from cloth, or rug braiding (boring, trust me).
So here's the list, have at it, please please please give suggestions - and I will...I know...I will pull a name randomly from the commenters who post by midnight, April 23, and send that person a Stash Enhancing Care Package. Help meeee!!!!!!!!!

glamorgan handcrafts/knits

shifra knits

aurora knits

bluefire designs/knits

brown cow knits

red hen knits

the knitting hen

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Harlot is Coming!! The Harlot is Coming!!

Very excited about this, now that I have organized my Knitting 2 students so that I can attend. I was not getting excited before, lest I miss out. Now I can cheer. There are over 150 people signed up for her talk, which will be at the Clarion Hotel, just a bit down the road from Webs. Pretty wild!

I feel like not much is happeneing, although it is. I finished the Stockbridge Cabled Socks. They're comfy. And also washed and blocked. Thrilling, right? This pair used 2 skeins of Stockbridge in color #403, dark gray. This is a detail pic, because the cables sort of wash out in photos. But they're a nice warm fall-winter sock, and I like them in spite of my concerns about the dark gray.

Also claoptis in Silk Rhapsody color 119 is moving along. I had calculated that if I could complete one pattern repeat in 24 hours it would be done in time for my next meeting with mother in law. This is not going to occur, however, as the Stockbridge Vest (which we are not disucssing beyond this moment, or photographing) became a nightmare. A nightmare that haunts my every waking hour. Even this one. And Clap close - I love what this does on the reverse stockinette side. She can wear it however she likes, but if it were me, it'd be rev st.

And I exchanged my personal Silk Rhapsody 111 for Silk Rhapsody 141, and bought a second skein. I balled it up, and that's as far as it goes for now. Soon, though...if nothing else I will write down what I have in mind for the stuff. I want to wear it. Sleep in it. Eat it. It's so soft and fluffy and happy-making.

Girl took a class this weekend. Girl is a Hooker. She has been for a while now, since she was in her early teens. She took to hooking like a duck to water. So she's not just a Stalker, she's a Hooker as well. She really enjoyed the class because she's always wanted to design and hook her own bags, and wondered if there was a trick to hooking a bag. Wool strips are not cheap, and yarn - well, yarn we got by the boatload. The instructor was Amy Barrie from Lincoln Farm Designs. The bag is called "Squares Are It" and Girl has been going to town, stash raiding, and having a blast, all while planning a "next bag".

Progress continues on Mr Wonderful's Lorna's Socks, at the rate of roughly molasses in January. No, I take that back. Ever hear of the Great Molasses Flood? Molasses in January actually can move right along.

And I swatched this for my next Big Thing, for girl, sort of Make Tracks with Color.

Other than that, not much is going on. Aside from the Stockbridge Men's Vest which is at this moment calling my name from the other room. I must go now, and be with it for the next long hours.

THE HARLOT IS COMING!!! But wait, did I say that already?
Hannah is visibly unimpressed, with her tush planted firmly on the swatch pile by my basket. Rude Feline. I should take her. She'd laugh her cat-butt off.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Got Feet?

'Cause I got yarn!! Regia Sporto in a variety of colors for $6.00 a ball. Yes, folks, $6.00 a BALL! Very exciting. I did not know about this until I got to work today. Apparently it was there Thursday and I missed it. I bought a mere 14 balls. I would like to buy two or three bags, because I believe you can never have too many socks, or too much yarn. And for SIX BUCKS a ball?? And there's THREE colors Mr Wonderful has agreed to wear (yippee!!) Speaking of Mr Wonderful I got his Lorna's socks turned and the gussets underway today while waiting for girl to finish work. And I fledged 16 baby sock knitters today, most of whom went home with at least 1 ball of the said Regia Sporto.

This has been a bittersweet week. The men's Stockbridge cabled vest ended up in four balls in my bag. Very sad. I was not happy with it, Boss was not happy with it, so ripped it became. BUT everyone loves Make Tracks, and I made great progress on the Sugarloaf kids pullover(newborn to size 14!). Lovely stripey thing. Makes me want to be 10! I love this yarn. Very soft, splits a bit but well worth the effort. I have a sweater I knit in Filatura Luna which is a close comparison and I love the wearability and comfort of these multi-plied merino blend yarns. Sugarloaf is superior without a doubt - the Luna was overspun enough to make it noticible in stitch definition - Sugarloaf is not overspun in the slightest and just is a wonderful yarn to play with. The colors are great, and work well together. It's also on sale this month for $2.99 a ball - merino and microfibre for $3.00? Cool.

Kind of sleepy - fledging sock knitters is hard work - all that kitchener! And I had a little sip of something relaxing while kicking the butts of Girl and Mr Wonderful at cribbage - it's a good day to be me. TWO WEEKS in a row I am cleaning their clocks! I am pretty sure that's a record of some kind. And the wine is not bad. I've been all spoiled by the stuff my beloved best friend gave me at Christmas, and I was afraid my palate would forever be stuck somewhere around the $30 and up mark, but this was pleasant. Little tannin, not too harsh, and some black cherry flavor going on. No, it's not Joseph Phelps 2003 Cab, but it wasn't bad for what it is. Besides, it's got chickens on the label. I assume this means they actually had chickens stomp the grapes, and of course, anything chickens turn a claw to is pretty darn good (look at the egg, folks! Just look at the egg!!)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I Love It When They're Done!

For Anne - #34 really sucks the light onto it and appears very vivid; it is not as eye-popping in person as it appears here either, but definately not red. It's orange, but in a good way. #31 is more mellow, aged and heathery looking stuff.

Command Performance - Make Tracks up close and personal, or as close as I can get...

This is the second sweater in three weeks that has been completed and still loved. It's a new record for me, but I actually want this one for myself too! Welcome to "Make Tracks". Intended as a guy's garment, I think it's pretty gender neutral. It is knitted in Berkshire Bulky on size 10.5 US needles in color #33, knits up quickly and easily and was fun to knit because of the relief of the waffle and garter bands, which kept me from boredom. The designer of the garment really should not be bored to tears while knitting it. It does not bode well for the future of the piece. It will (eventually? soon? maybe mid-summer? I don't really know) be available from Webs in five sizes. Or six. I can't remember. Well, let's assume six, because now I have to do an XS so it can be comfortable on small women, because I think it's just a good sweater for anybody, and suspect some women may want it. I do!! In fact, I think I shall. Very soon. Just as soon as I get done with the rest of my May 1 deadline projects.

Mister Wonderful requested that I cut off his head, but I chose to blur it instead. I routinely rip his head off for little or no reason lately, so why go to the trouble of doing it in a photo? I am sure it will be severed soon enough without imaging. Poor Mr Wonderful. I am kind of mean when there's deadlines. If this is a problem, Mr. Wonderful (blurring v. removing), I am deeply sorry, and you may deduct your pain and suffering from my next week's wages when you pay me. This puppy has the perfect buttons, I love them. I am very much digging the macro thing now, thanks to Persnickety. That and the white balance thing - totally saving my butt.
Today we purged the stash (no, this is not it, this is just my crayons - my stash is, nine bins scattered about the house), and tidied my work space, and I put away my crayons like a good girl. I also eliminated all personal project material other than a few sock supplies from my knitting space so that I will not be tempted to cast on, say, my new Maureen Mason Jamieson Diagonal Delight vest - which I will be making in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool (on sale! YIPPEE!!) just a freaking luscious yarn that makes me want to buy it by the bag, when I should be designing striped kids sweaters and father son cabled vests. I did not know about Flash Your Stash day or I would have while it was out and scattered around the basement.
I also made some progress on Mr. Wonderful's "Not Your Dale of Norway Sweater yet Hon, but the Colors Are Close" socks. This is my first date with Lorna's Laces, camouflage is the color, and I love the stuff. Just a nice basic 3:1 rib...Mr Wonderful never wears his Valentine socks, which I think may be a hint to me that maybe red cable socks are not his thing? Pity. They won't fit me, I have petite feet. Anyway, these socks have become a refuge from designing and knitting up, and they're serving that purpose well. I knit on them in the car last night while being a passenger on a shopping trip. My booklight is my good buddy!

I've begun the next project, father and son cabled vests, in Stockbridge. This is dad's underway, barely. I love this yarn. The size range on this is from a 2T to an adult 3XL. I can see a whole family decked out at Christmas though, dad and son/s in these vests, and it warms my little heart. Reminds me of when my kids were little and I dressed them all matchy at holidays in outfits I made myself. Poor little suckers.
Best of all - while I was at work Saturday teaching the making of socks, my sister in law called and announced that she had in her possession and on this side of the state her futon, which we have the use of for two years while she's in Germany - THANKS MOE!! GOOD-BYE PINK VELVET SOFA!! Hello wood and clean lines. Ahhh....I am going to get it a cover tomorrow to protect it from things like cats, dogs, and Typhoid. I am glad that she delivered it, because I am not certain our truck would have made it to Boston, but I feel badly that they did not call and get Mr. Wonderful to help.
And because this is too funny, Girl left Friday morning to help her grandmother pack and move. She'd been gone for about twenty minutes when I got up and saw this. Apparently Mel cannot abide loneliness. Hannah and Boo and I are not fit company. He must have his Girl, his soulmate, his personal chef, #1 companion, love of his short little cat life. He laid there for a long while, hours, before giving in and coming over to join the living in the living room. He's nothing short of hysterical, old Spalding-head. He's such a dog in a cat suit. Poooor Lassie...Timmy went off to play and left you home all alone!