TNNA Bound

If all has gone according to plan (and if you’re reading this on Saturday or Sunday), I’m currently hanging out at the Visionary Author booth at TNNA (we’re in 114, 116, & 118 so come say hi if you’re there).  In order for that to happen, all of these things (plus, you know, a small suitcase full of clothes…oh, and two chairs) will have somehow made it from my living room, into my car, down to Columbus, back out of my car, and into the booth.

I’m very much hoping that by the time you read this, that has all been easily accomplished and that didn’t prove nearly as daunting as it seemed when I wrote this.  My favorite part?  The sack full of mannequin feet.

Throwing that over your shoulder and running around grinning (like some sort of evil Santa from an alternate universe where the idea of a sack full of presents and a mantle full of stockings went horribly horribly wrong) is unreasonably satisfying.

A Piece of Scrap Yarn

You know that line in a lot of my mitt patterns? The one that says ‘set thumb stitches aside on a spare needle or piece of scrap yarn?’  Yeah, I’d really sort of suggest you take the piece of spare yarn option.  I know that means you have to dig out a bit of extra yarn (hint, don’t use the yarn you’re knitting with, use a nice thick one of a different color) and a needle, and sometimes that’s too much of a pain, but if you can, it’s the best choice.


Why?  Two reasons.  First, when you try on the mitt, the bit of spare yarn will curve and bend around your hand (your hand being played here by the lovely Rosamund).  Second, when you start working over just the hand stitches again, the scrap yarn will let the fabric on either side of the thumb stitches smush up closer to each other than a stiff, straight spare needle will.  That will help you have a tidier transition to the rest of the hand (which in turn makes it easier to pick up extra thumb stitches later).  It’s totally the better option!

This post brought to you my my feeling that, if I was going to bother finding a darning needle and doing it right, I might as well tell you guys about it too.



You know those stories? The ones that end ‘and the doctor says with physical therapy I’ll be good as new in six months,’ or ‘but luckily, the lawyer got me off with just community service,’ or ‘so as long as I never go back to El Salvador, everything should be just fine?’  Have you noticed they all have something in common?  They’ve all got a moment when the story teller pauses and says ‘that’s the moment it all went wrong.’  I’m convinced that part of living to a ripe old age is learning to recognize those moments as they approach, rather than as they go whizzing past.  I did that yesterday.

I’ve been working on a little mitt, and it was at a good point to snap a picture to show to you lovely folks.  So I grabbed Millicent, the knitting, and the camera and headed out into the yard.  I set Millie, all decked out in the latest knitting, on a fencepost and snapped a few shots.  I was making an adjustment to my camera when I heard a dull thud.  I knew what it was before I looked up.

Millie had gone over the fence.

Now, to understand the full import of this, you need to know something about our lot.  Our property actually extends a good 10 or 15 feet beyond our back fence.  That area is at a tremendously steep angle though (really the only thing holding it up is habit and a carpet of ivy), and it is more or less unusable.  The only way to get to it is to go into our neighbor’s back yard, shimmy behind her garage, and creep along, clinging to the trees and brambles for dear life.  So when Millie fell of the chest-high fence, she actually fell down about 8 feet before she hit.  The ground is that steep.

I said a variety of very unladylike things, then leaned as far as I could over the fence (holding very tightly to my camera) and snapped a picture.  Alas, it in no way portrays the vast distance between me and Millie.  I could just barely reach her with a broom handle (yes, that is a strand of yarn trailing up from our fallen friend, the yarn never broke through all this, though it wasn’t strong enough to pull her back).

So, having lost Millie (and documented the incident for posterity), I decided to mount a rescue expedition.  I was in my pajamas.  I had not put on a coat.  I had put the kettle on for tea before I headed out to grab pics.  Somewhat to my credit, I did actually decide to stop and take a moment before I went shimmying behind buildings on steep, snow-covered hillsides.  I turned off the kettle, and texted The Boy to inform him of the situation.  Then I went in.  I got about 10 steps behind the garage when I decided this was A Bad Idea.  A Very Bad Idea Indeed.  I tried coming in from the other side, behind the other neighbor’s garage.  This was A Much Worse Idea.  I considered walking down the hill and around the block to get to the house whose back yard runs into ours and scaling the hill directly, but that seemed equally unlikely to end in success.

I retreated inside to reassess (and warm up, I was still not wearing a coat).  I texted The Boy and explained the situation in more detail.  Millie was down.  She’d taken a very expensive skein of yarn, a lovely set of needles, and a good 5 hours of my knitting with her.  The situation appeared fairly stable, except that the knitting seemed to be sitting on a pile of soggy, moldering leaves which I feared would stain it.  I was uncertain of the best way to rescue her without dying in the process.

Now The Boy, wonderful person that he is, did not in any way question the necessity of a rescue mission.  Once he heard about the stain potential of the leaves, he didn’t even question the need for a quick rescue mission.  His only qualm concerned who would mount this rescue mission.  He leapt into action, dashed home early from work, scampered nimbly behind the garage (he’s a bit better at negotiating perilous inclines than am I), and rescued Millie.

She and the knitting were damp and covered in a bit of leaf debris, but it was nothing a quick rinse wouldn’t cure.  And I, I can take comfort in having recognized one of those moments where things had great potential to go pear shaped (I might still by lying unconscious in the snow while the kettle boiled itself dry) and acting appropriately…even if it did mean calling The Boy to rescue the knitting.  And The Boy? The Boy has excellent good karma points having both rescued a damsel in distress (Millie) and prevented me from meeting and untimely demise, all while keeping a straight face and not at any point suggesting that this was a bit ridiculous.

Just a Little Slouch

Hat’s done!  Started by worrying I didn’t have enough handspun…then moved onto worrying I didn’t have enough of the main yarn (Vally Yarns Sheffield).  Turns out I had enough of both, and so now I’ve cast on a pair of tiny mitts to go with it.  And now, of course, I’m worried I don’t have enough again.

So, I’m thinking it really is reversible.  Here it is knit side out:

And here purl side out:

And here’s the crown with the knit side out.

And yes, yes you do need to weave the ends in neatly if you want it to be truly reversible, but there are a few tricks for that, and I’m happy with how mine came out.  I know this is hat is easy as pie (stripes people, it’s stripes, it’s not hard), but it’s such a knitterly thing, and it’s a perfect excercise in using a few of the tricks that make knitting more fun and easier that I’ve found it delightful.

Some day, if the weather and my hair cooperate, I may even take a picture of it on me as opposed to on Esmerelda.


I really don’t know how this happened.  Whatever it was, something has to be done.  This needs to stop.  I somehow accidentally tripped and fell and obtained a set of 5 matching hat forms.  This is actually handy, as Alphonse and Esmeralda are sized for my/The Boy’s head (more or less), but most human heads are rather smaller than mine.  This gives me access to a wider range of sizes, which is good because most of the book hats and most of the hats I make for other people are intended for more standard-sized heads.

Now of course this does raise the delicate issue of names.  I love naming my props.  But, I fear my ability to distinguish among these five will leave something to be desired.  I feel the obvious solution is to name them all Quentin and call it good.  It may not work for real live quintuplets, but I’m pretty sure these guys are the obliging sort and won’t mind.

After the Rip

The rip fest mentioned the other day has been accomplished and the yarn put to much better use.  See?  It’s ever so much happier now.  Of course there is the small issue of Rosamund’s wrist being slimmer than mine (freaky man hands, that’s me).  When it’s on me, it opens up a bit more and shows off the fancy stitch work. I’ve got the second one on the needles and should have it banged out with a few more hours of knitting.

The yarn is Nichole by Schaefer in Dian Fossey.  There’s a lovely gray bit hidden in among all that green, and it’s at just the right interval to spiral nicely.  When I found a knot, I made sure to remove enough yarn (and line up the new strand in such a way) that the spiral continued uninterrupted.  I’m far more amused by this wee stripe than any normal person should be, but I’m sure all knitters will understand the delight of well behaved yarn.

A Pack of Filthy Lies

I had the best of intentions.  I have about two thirds of a hat…two thirds of what I am increasingly sure will be a cute hat.  I have the firm desire to show you this partial hat.  But you see, I also have three nefarious kitten overlords, a tendency to fill the bathroom sink to block swatches, and poor judgement as to how well the kittens will behave in the presence of a sink full of water.  Hi-jinx ensued.  The short version is that I now have a very damp partial hat that is in no way photo ready.  I also have a very soggy ball of yarn that needs to be skeined and dried before I can knit with it any more. (Do not knit with wet yarn, it will mess up your gauge.  Do not leave yarn to dry in the ball, it will take an age.)

So.  Yeah.  Nifty.  We’ll have to take a little pause on that one.

In the meantime, the Chez Violence Home for Wayward Knitting Props has a new resident.  It turns out glove forms are actually astonishingly nifty knitting props (and charming objects in their own right).  I made the executive decision that I did not have enough of them, so Rosamund is now joining Percival and Millicent.  She’s shown here modeling the Narcissus pseudo-narcissus Cuff from Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet.  She seems to be fitting in well with her new roommates, and I have high hopes for her future.

And just as soon as the hat is dry, her buddy Esmeralda will step up and do some modeling for us.


You’ll have to pardon me.  I’ve been a poor hostess.  I’ve neglected to make the proper introductions.  Miss Manners would not be pleased.

Knitters, I’d like you to meet Esmeralda.  She’s a lovely multi-part hat form.  Esmeralda, please meet the knitters.  They will all appreciate your unique talent for improving the look of jaunty hats of various shapes and sizes.

You guys chat amongst  yourselves, I’ll be over here working on something dashing for our new friend to wear.

Cast of Characters

The Chez Violence Home for Wayward Knitting Props has a new resident.

It started with Alphonse.  Then he was joined by Percival. These two hard working gentlemen have now been joined by Millicent.

I think I’ve mentioned (and I’m sure you’ve seen in the odd picture here and there) that I have giant man hands.  I just do.  And I don’t really mind (which is good because there’s not much I can do about it).

For most things, Percival works great.  But he is actually a bit bigger than my hand, so if I’m doing something fairly close fitting (or something for someone with smaller hands), he doesn’t quite suit.  So I’ve brought Millicent into the mix to serve when Percival is just a bit too big.

She also has an offset thumb, which makes it easier to see how thumb shapes will work on an actual hand.  Of course the mitt I’ve got her in now is totally thumb free, but we’ll just pretend.

New Friend

You all know Alphonse by now.  He has proven himself an exceptionally helpful house guest.  Since things worked out so well with him, I have decided to take on another boarder.

Please meet Percival.

According to the seller, Percival is a vintage unglazed porcelain rubber glove form. I’m imagining some sort of assembly line with hundreds of them hanging from belts and getting dipped in vats of molten rubber.  I have no idea if this is at all accurate, but it’s an interesting visual.  Don’t spoil it for me if I’m wrong.

I intend to put Percival to work modeling an assortment of frilly fingerless gloves.  Why such a manly name for such a lacy task I couldn’t tell you.  But it’s clear his name is Percival, so there’s really no arguing.

When he’s not modeling, he’ll be lounging on my bookcase giving a much needed creepy touch to my decor.