Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How do you block a sweater knit in the round?

Gimme your best ideas.
My Google search was less than fulfilling and I don't own a Wooly board. (Yet.)

Monday, July 30, 2007


I was looking through a new knitting book the other day, and I came across this in the introduction:

Although I have been designing machineknitting for some years, I am not the world's greatest handknitter, so the patterns in this book are all for people like me -- who like beautiful designs, but are a little lacking in handknitting skills....

Later, in the notes, the author thanks So-and-So for "pattern writing."

Now apart from the fact that I'd love to get me one of these gigs -- I think up the designs and let someone else struggle with the patterns -- this struck me as a bit odd. From a common-sense standpoint, wouldn't you think that a book of handknitting patterns would of necessity be written by someone who is an experienced and excellent handknitter? And if you were a publisher, wouldn't you want to hire only good handknitters to write books on handknitting?

I thought about it further, and wondered if maybe "fashion" is different. Maybe if you are a designer of certain prominence, it is considered enough to have a vision or design style that you can sketch out, letting someone else worry about the logistics of how to make it. For example, if you're Isaac Mizrahi, is your name brand recognition sufficient ("This is an Isaac Mizrahi design!") even if you don't know a lot about how handknitting works?

I also wondered whether machineknitting is so closely related to handknitting that it doesn't matter. I've never done machineknitting, so it's hard for me to know. (On the other hand, I'd never try to write a book on machineknitting.) But if the distinction between machine- and handknitting doesn't matter, then why does the author go out of her way to point out that she is good at one but not the other?

When I think about all the things I've learned about handknitting over the years, and think about all the things I have yet to learn, this strikes me as very curious indeed.

What do you think?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Psst: want a free sock pattern by moi?

Then go to Rosie's Knitting Circle website. It's part of the Socksational July celebration at Rosie's. I don't know if the pattern will be up indefinitely, so don't delay. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and see what other goodies Courtney's got on sale. (Word has it that fall stuff, including Noro, has started arriving. Yum.) And a huge shout-out to my wonderful, wonderful test knitter who did such a super job on the sample! (She knows who she is...)

If you can't make it, a large BBF update

just went live about five minutes ago.

I'm hoping to get back on a more normal schedule in coming weeks. And look for some more patented, trademarked No-Bull Book Reviews coming soon...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bye-bye, Jaeger. (Sniffle.)

I just heard what I had suspected might happen for a while but was hoping I was wrong about: Jaeger Yarns is kaput. The Jaeger brand is being discontinued. I was particularly partial to the Extra Fine Merino stuff -- in fact, one of the sweaters in our book is knit of it -- but I also liked Matchmaker Merino, and have many Jaeger pattern booklets in my knitting library. I suppose the popularity of RYC Yarns made Jaeger less relevant, and if I were looking at it as a hard-hearted businessperson, I'd probably agree that the Jaeger line had become redundant. You can find a good quality yarn in the Rowan or RYC lines that does just about everything Jaeger yarns do. Rowan seems to be focusing on the younger, trendier set, while RYC appeals squarely to the next age group up, and Jaeger -- perhaps directed to the professional woman? -- seemed to flounder without a clear target audience. Recent dabbles in more novelty-ish style yarns (like Jaeger "Fur") didn't cut it either.

The good news, I suppose, is that you'll be able to stock your stash with oodles of great yarn at discounted prices. And the existence of RYC certainly sweetens the pill. But you'll have to excuse me for a minute while I light a candle (a flipflop votive?) in honor of the passing of a fine line of mostly natural-fiber yarns with excellent pattern support. [Insert "God Save The Queen" music here.]

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mixed Bag

This Kute Kid Story will give you a sense of where my head's at this week:

Child criticizes mother's grammar.
Exasperated Mother: I don't feel like being constantly corrected by a five-year-old!
Child: Five-and-a-half.

It's a crazy time chez Go Knit In Your Hat. The last book deadline is July 31st, and I've got a sweater -- at 7 sts to the inch -- to finish, and some text to write, and some patterns to draft. (Stop snickering.) The first photo shoot is August 1st through 3rd, which is extremely exciting.

Also exciting is the fact that Reynolds has commissioned me to do two sweater patterns and a sock pattern for their Spring '08 collection. So get yer asses to thy local knitting shop and buy some Reynolds yarn... Soft Sea Wool anyone? Whiskey? Revue? And I'm sure there are some new yarns coming soon for fall from our friends in Montreal, which I shall endeavour to tell you about if my sources come through with preview info. (V.? M.?)

In the meantime, the kids are all at day camp this week (N. and G. are at a morning art camp learning about... cubism. Do you believe it? I'm sure I was 35 before I understood cubism.) and I'm frantically preparing a Black Bunny Fibers update for this Friday. Sock yarn, one straggler of alpaca/silk laceweight, and some rovings. I'm still waiting for some more silk and some wool/silk blend (like Liz's Clapotis) to arrive.

And if you haven't heard about FibreFest North (is there a FibreFest South?) check it out. A weekend of fiber stuff -- knitting, spinning, maybe even some crochet? -- in lovely Ontario. I'm going, along with Mar and Fredda (we have a jacuzzi in our room -- rare and handy indeed) and I hope to see at least a few of you there.

Last but not least, it's Socksational July at Rosie's Yarn Cellar. Word on the street is that a fresh batch of Lorna's Laces has arrived (mmm!) and I'm sending Tom, a.k.a. Errand Boy in tomorrow with some BBF superwash merino and merino/silk. Courtney says there are also some great sales on top quality sock yarn to make room for fall (like Trekking, one of my faves), so stop by or call the shop. Maybe Courtney will entice Tom into bringing home some Lorna's Laces for me to knit -- I owe the poor man a pair of socks (or twelve).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

As the old Chinese proverb says:

Better to light a single flip-flop

than to curse the darkness.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Off to the baby shower

but at least the baby sweater is finished.

Louisa Harding's Geordie Baby Jacket, knit in Plymouth Encore (purchased at Rosie's Yarn Cellar).

My mother told me an unbelievable story -- yet it did, indeed, happen, for my mom is simply not the type of person to make this kind of thing up -- about attending a baby shower in which one of the party games consisted of being given a disposable diaper, lemonade and chocolate candy. A prize was awarded to the guest who created the ickiest-looking faux doody diaper.

Rest assured that I will give you full details of any such hijinx upon my return.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

June Book Report

This month I benefitted greatly from the recommendations of my readers (See nos. 1 & 3; also somebody recommended Ruth Rendell a while back). Thanks! And keep 'em coming.

1. The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies. Romance between a German POW and a local Welsh girl set in the waning days of WWII. I enjoyed it.

2. Firewall by Henning Mankell. Another Kurt Wallender mystery, this time involving a computerized attempt to attack the global economy. Spare and suspenseful.

3. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande. A surgeon ruminates on the medical system and his experiences -- good, bad, frightening, frustrating -- as a resident in surgery. Thanks to Dr. Mel for recommending this one! Scary in some respects (necrotizing fascitis - gah!) but reassuring in others.

4. He Who Fears the Wolf (Inspector Sejer Mysteries) by Karin Fossum. Continuing the Scandinavian detective theme. Oddly, I really wanted to knit a Dale sweater after reading these...

5. The Rottweiler by Ruth Rendell. A creepy psychological mystery from the master of creepy psychological mysteries.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Last batch of contest winners

Sorry I've been so erratic in posting lately. I'm having a bad patch with my tick-ness. But that's no reason to deprive you of the last batch of contest winners (first runners-up, then prize winner). We've got an eclectic mix today and since I feel like crap, I'm going to skip the happy chat and get right to it.*


Outside: In greatest sympathy
Inside: Death sucks.


Outside (drawing of perfect suburban home, station wagon, 2.5 kids and family dog) : We would like to wish you a happy birthday.
Inside: But quite frankly, we are fed up with your behavior thinking you can mistreat us because of what happened in your household growing up. If you don't cut it out, we will take legal action.
(Coco Schiaparelli Von Furstenburg)

Post-it Notes
"From the desk of: Asshole"

Pink Message Pads
While you were out:
You should have stayed out!

(both courtesy of some truly Irish person -- brilliant tie-in!)


(outside) Sorry to hear you're still in the hospital...
(inside) We were really hoping it was terminal.

New Baby

(outside) We are happy to announce our commitment
(inside) To living in sin with the birth of a bastard.

Outside: A new baby!
Inside: Just what the world needs! Another psychopath in the making.
(that same truly Irish person)


Outside: On your wedding day
Inside: We celebrate the holy union of two souls, half a brain and the same blood-lines. Please don't procreate.
(Just a Knit Wit)


For the special graduate:
Outside: Congratulations on your amazing achievement!
Inside: Especially amazing considering the amount of drugs and alcohol you consumed when you were supposed to be studying.

For that milestone birthday:
Outside: Happy 40th Birthday!
Inside: Today we celebrate that your life is half-over. Wow, haven't accomplished much, have you?

For the newly-minted Ph.D:
Outside: Congrats on your Ph.D.!
Inside: That'll look great on your McDonald's paystubs.
(both courtesy of Just a Knit Wit)

For the mom of your kid's schoolmates:
Outside: Great job on the bake sale!
Inside: While you were out, I slept with your husband.

And today's prize -- a skein of BBF superwash sock yarn -- goes to W. for the aptly-named "For My Adult Brother on the Occasion of His Birthday":

Oh Brother dear, to you I must say,

You are a pain in the rear ‘most every day.

You were nasty and evil when we were young,

But as mom’s little angel, your praises she sung.

This only grew worse and became quite a bore,

As I got saddled with family chores.

Take Mom to the doctor, wash Grandma’s hair,

While you fucked around – so very unfair.

But Brother dear, I hold no big grudge,

Although I’m stuck being the family drudge.

For I am executor of the parents’ estate,

And I’ve got an idea I think is just great.

When the parents expire and I take control,

I’ll diddle the numbers in my executrix role.

And with a smile that is bright and sunny,

I will cheat you out of your half of the money.

Happy birthday!

Thanks, everyone!

*I'm too dull-witted to figure out how to show you the only multimedia entry I got; maybe Joe can help me later.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Update: Monday July 9th in early afternoon

Some superwash sock yarns, a few alpaca/silk laceweight and one or two merino/silk. It's been slow going here at Chez Black Bunny...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

More winning contest entries

Let's turn now to parents, in particular, the dysfunctional kind. I think I did it backward last time, so today we'll put the prizeless Runners-Up first:

Outside: To my Parents
Inside: If it weren't for you, I'd be an orphan.

Outside: To my parents: Thanks for the memories...
Inside: The ones I am desperately trying to repress.

Outside: [picture of fairy tale princess] Dear Stepmother, you taught me that fairy tales really can come true!
Inside: I've got my happy ending, and you're a lonely bitch.

Outside: [picture of mom warmly hugging children] Every child needs a mom who loves and cares for them.
Inside: But since you can't find it in your cold evil heart to do either, you shall die all alone and forgotten in some unregulated nursing home, but even that might be too good for you.

Outside: Happy Mother's Day!
Inside: Hmm, I guess that whole "step on a crack" thing doesn't really work.

Outside: Happy Father's Day to the man who gave me life...
Inside: ... a nifty scar above my eye, low self-esteem and twenty years of therapy bills. Yours were truly the gifts that kept on giving! P.S. Dr. Rosenberg says "Thanks for the Mercedes."

Outside: On Mother's Day. Remember when you said you should have squeezed your legs shut?
Inside: Thanks for spreading 'em, Ma.

Prize winner in the Dysfunctional Parent division goes to Big Alice, for this sentiment (which I heartily endorse):

Outside: For my dear Mother-in-Law: A toast on your birthday!
Inside: Because really we both get along much better when we're drunk.

Email me, Big Alice, and I'll give you your choice of prizes.

One more batch tomorrow, including siblings and new babies...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blog Contest Winners -- part 1

Holy crap. I did not expect the robust response I had to my first real Go Knit In Your Hat contest: something like 60+ suggested cards. Nor did I expect to hit such a chord with so many people. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone. Because there were so many good ones -- and it was hard to choose, believe me -- I've decided to pick winners in various categories. I've used only the initials of the winners, to reduce the chance that you'll be tracked down by a bitter Hallmark employee. Today's entries are in the Romantic Relationship category. Well, allegedly romantic.

Prize goes to M. for this lovely anniversary card:
Outside: Happy anniversary to the man who taught me the meaning of true love
Inside: Now could you please go away so that I can find it?

M. wins a copy of Handknit Holidays, by Melanie Falick.

The runners-up (sorry, no prizes for runners-up) are:

(outside): Sorry to hear that your relationship is not working out...
(inside): You can go wank yourself. I am not your sexual backup plan.
by D.P.

(outside): To my dearest one, it's Valentine's Day
(inside): And sleeping with you has turned me quite gay!
by KnitWit

(outside): Happy birthday to the man who made me everything I am today...
(inside): Including, apparently, syphillitic.
by Rabbitch (who, it must be said, is not syphillitic.) (Anymore.)


(outside): Best friends forever (with a sepia-toned photo of two little girls wearing floppy straw hats in a field of flowers)
(inside): I guess forever doesn't last as long as it used to. Thanks for stealing my husband; now you're stuck with him!
by C. in Oregon

which puts me in mind of one I'd like to send to someone I know on behalf of a dear friend:
(outside): Congratulations on your marriage to my adultering ex-husband!
(inside): I'm sure he'll be different with you.

Stay tuned, my pretties: more winners are coming tomorrow, including the exceptionally popular Dysfunctional Parent category...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July to our Amurrican friends!

(Now I've got to get the red, white and blue sequined tiara back to my favorite drag queen before she kicks my ass.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Okay, I lied.

Please excuse us while we experience technical difficulties. We hope to return to our normal posting schedule very soon.