Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Lucky Scarf - a free pattern

Today is the day Wayson Choy's second memoir, Not Yet, is released, and that matters here at Hugs because I designed a special scarf for Wayson. I wanted to thank him for everything he taught me in a summer workshop last year, and I especially wanted to celebrate the release of this book, which is about love and family and the strength that exists even in frailty. If you enjoy reading and in particular fine writing that hits home, Wayson is a writer whose books you should know.

And the scarf isn't too shabby, either! The simple design is reversible, easy to knit even while walking, great-looking for men or women, and packed full of lucky numbers.



Download the .pdf of The Lucky Scarf

Last call for the Chemo Cap Challenge!

Be sure to e-mail me a pic today (or tell me what you've been up to on the chemo cap front) to be entered into a draw for three wonderful signed anthologies, donated in memory of three wonderful women. You don't want to miss out, especially since one of the books is all about knitting!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Knitter's Book of Yarn

I love this book. I know I mentioned it in some earlier blog when I was checking out a library copy, but last week my own arrived in the mail and I couldn't be happier with my decision to buy it.

There are yarns I've tried and feel I will never ever go back to, but this book explains why I should, and how to make it work this time. For example, mohair. I'm sure I worked with it during my Earlier Knitting Life in the 1980s, and I may never forget the five cowls I made with it during KnitFrenzy 08, Christmas Edition. And I do not miss it. However, when it's kid mohair and it's spun right, apparently mohair is pure joy.

Oddly enough, I have proof of the fact. I just got around to revisiting some yarns I used for a few hats so I could check the yardage (another topic for another post) and was surprised to discover that two of them - Colinette Iona and Noro Silk Garden Sock - both feature kid mohair. The Iona's mohair is spun mostly with wool plus a little silk and just as Clara Parkes promises, there is a little halo over the foundation of the wool, caused by the mohair. And the mohair and silk do reflect light in a stunning way, again as promised.

The luster is less evident with the Noro, which adds nylon to the mix for durability. In fact, it feels hard when you touch it. Hey, I bought it for the colours; I was willing to make a trade-off. But when you knit the Noro with an appropriately small needle, wowza. It's soft and touchable and feels solid and reliable, and thanks to Clara Parkes, I know why. I don't know if I'll buy it again, but I do know how to use the rest of it in the pleasantest possible way.

In other news, and as a reward for reading this much of today's post, stop by tomorrow for a surprise bonus treat thingy, 'kay?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Things I want to have made

Last fall I met up with Binnie for one session of a fabulous author series, in which one of the authors described being approached at a party by an avid reader who said "I want to have written a novel." What she meant, this author said, was that she wanted to skip over the hard work of writing and go straight to enjoying the glory of people loving it.

We'll just skip over the fact that the moment of relief (note I did not say glory) involved in finishing a novel passes quickly into more waves of anxiety and hard work and self-doubt and the drudgery of promotion, and go straight to how this relates to knitting, shall we?

I want to have made a Swallowtail Shawl, as designed by Evelyn A. Clark. Apparently Ravelers have made over 3600 of them and why shouldn't I be one of them? It's not as though I don't know how to do the stitches that make up lace. And they are beautiful. I mean, look at this one that Joanna knit! and this one by Karen, for Phyllis, complete with the heartbreaking story about why, and what happened next.

I also want to have made socks. I'm a practical knitter with limited time; I have to have a good reason to choose one project over another, and my reasons for knitting socks are as tumbleweeds blowing through a ghost town compared to, for example, the crowds lined up for ice cream on a hot day that are associated in my mind with a good sensible vest. And yet... there's Kathi with a sock book coming out, and here's Helena with a story of socks that made me laugh.

Maybe having a good laugh is a good reason to to take on a project? You know, after I finish the hat in progress. And the novel.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yarn organization - a solution!

And... back to the organizational problem. After seeing a pic of Kathi's wool room I realize this yarn-and-textile storage solution will last me about ten minutes, but they will be a very, very tidy ten minutes, and here is how I did it.

First, I found floor space, which was a production in itself.

Then I bought a cabinet from IKEA (and the next day another double-wide one, after I realized how badly I had miscalculated the knitting and sewing gear I have yet to use for something.) I won't link to the exact pages because IKEA has been known to drop products like they were last year's fad, but if you go to the 'Bedroom' section and look up 'wardrobes', you'll probably find something with suitable measurements. I went for ANEBODA, a not-too-tall-for-the-basement easy to assemble cutie with adjustable shelves, and the larger companion piece with a closet rod and one adjustable shelf.

In white, because it looks so orderly.

Then I accessorized with cloth drawers for the narrow wardrobe and a hanging organizer for the wide one - I chose SKUBB, but from 'wardrobes' you can look up whatever currently exists in the category 'clothes and shoes organizers' - plus super cheap cardboard magazine files to store patterns.

Also in white, because I could.














I put all my go-to stuff in the narrow cabinet, and saved the mending and leftover curtain fabric for the big one, mostly because it's a lot easier to pull a SKUBB from a melamine shelf than from another SKUBB. Added bonus: the narrow SKUBBs tuck neatly into the top of the hanging organizer, which buys me a little more space.










I sorted by fiber, separating my feltable wool from the superwash and the variegated from the solids, but I can see sorting by colours, or weights, or sheer volume depending on the way my stash evolves. And if my obsession shifts more to sewing than knitting, I can just swap out the drawers from one cabinet to another. The SKUBB drawers have pull tabs that are easy to slip hanging tags from, for labeling, so that simplifies things too.












I figure as long as I keep knitting almost as fast as I go shopping, I should be able to go a whole year without overflowing. But it would probably be kind not to remind me I said that.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I exceeded my bandwidth!

Man, I had no idea my patterns would be so popular!!

My apologies about not being able to download any of them right now - I'm trying to upgrade my hosting package even as I type and hope to get everything back online very soon.


Update:

I've upgraded, but my web host appears to be having more technical difficulties - which means the site will be fully operational again within 48 hours, with a new host service :^)

Update to the Update:

Problem resolved thanks to the good people at Liberated Networks. All the patterns are accessible again and all the other goodies for my site are currently available here... yay, new web address!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There's something about a sontag...

I've been reading No Idle Hands - a history of knitting, essentially - and coming across pictures of women in a very sensible wrap I thought would solve my vest issues. Like, I'm cold all the time at home, sleeves are too much, I don't have any vests at the moment, and I haven't found a design I feel like making.

Then I picked up Piecework Magazine at Stitch, and saw that the March/April 2009 issue has a pattern for that very thing! so I bought it.

I can see how this garment went out of favour. Crossing the front in an X, and tying tight at the waist at the back, corset-free women could only look good in this thing if they're built like Barbie. Still. So practical! I expect to go on being torn about them for some time. I'll try to spare you the agonies, 'kay?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The cardinals are back!

I know, that has nothing to do with knitting, but I'm facing a back window as I type this and just noticed the female. I'd heard they were back but this is the first time I've seen them! Really, it's amazing, and all thanks to my neighbour's bird feeder, but we get a cardinal couple living across our back yards every year. I'd love to see their babies some time too but I guess they put their nest into some other part of their mini-territory.

So, yay, it's spring!

But back to yesterday's suggestion box. I am totally intrigued by the wet felting idea and especially by the notion of knitting with roving. Still, if Kathi says she doesn't love doing this, there is probably a really really good reason, and I might actually hate doing it. Perhaps I should test this theory on some less magical roving than what I want to work with? Like, for example, the shorter hank of roving I bought for needle felting and whose colour I have come to dislike?

Another ack! that occurs to me now that I have my yarn all sorted out - more on this organizational solution later in the week - is that I need more wool (or possibly wool blend) in neutral colours. Like, maybe a whole lot of it in just one neutral colour so that I can do larger projects using some of my hand-dyed gems as accents. But since I've been spoiled by all the luxury yarns, I want the neutrals to be super special too. I'm thinking about something from Toots LeBlanc after reading about it on Blue Garter (I totally trust the instincts of a girl who produces work as wonderful as hers), or possibly a subtly-dyed something from Tanis Fiber Arts. I have a skein of the sock yarn in Shadow and ohhhhhhh. I would love to try the Aran weight.

So, suggestion box still open, especially for favourite neutrals to add to my shortlist!

Monday, March 23, 2009

What to do with the roving?

A while back I bought a Fleece Artist thrummed mitten kit. Well, I bought two, and made one, and having done that I feel less inspired to make the other - they're fun and pretty but not nearly as warm as I thought and the person for whom I was going to make them probably wouldn't wear them much.

No problem: I'll use the yarn for something else. It's a beautiful blue in a solid that mostly says denim but hints at purple. The roving, also stunning, was dyed to match with the same blue and some red. And that is a problem. Because that roving is absolutely meant for that yarn, and I feel I should use them together in some way.

So I'm opening the suggestion box again for ideas for the roving. I don't spin and since Kathi has already warned me it's addictive, I don't dare try - the current novel project is coming along slowly enough as it is, thank you. And while I'm keen to try needlefelting, this is a whole hank of roving, possibly too much to use up in one bag project, though I'm very interested in making the swirly-patterned purse in Kathi's I Heart Felt.

Which leaves... what? Are there other thrummable projects? other than a hat, which would be beyond puffy. Can you wet felt a piece of roving into cloth? Does it make a nice bow for long hair? I'm perplexed, people, and just a few steps from flummoxed!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Not-Just-For-Chemo Reversible Cloche - a free pattern

At long last, one chemo cap with a bonus:

.

What can I say? I'm all about the multitasking, even for hats. This 1920s cloche works with hair and without it, protects curls or conceals the lack of them, and looks stylish whether or not the softer stocking stitch is worn in by a girl who's having treatment.


NOTE: for some reason I have yet to identify and fix, some people are having trouble downloading this pattern. If you turn out to be one of them, just e-mail me and I'll send it to you directly. Thanks!


Download .pdf of Not-Just-For-Chemo Reversible Cloche

Friday, March 20, 2009

A yarny waiting room

Am I the only knitter who would see this taped onto an envelope full of yarn...

and want to buy out the entire store next time there's anything in it?


Maybe you have to see what was inside to know for sure:


Some Twisted Fiber Art 'Playful' and a sample of 'Kabam'. Mmmmm.

And now for the freebie chemo cap update: I'm onto the final testing stage, re-knitting the brim a few times to make absolutely sure the directions are as clear as can be, and with your permission I'll get back to it. Gotta clear the slate so I can jump into the next two or three projects!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Knitting vs. not knitting

So, on the one hand I have this Malabrigo Silky Merino plus an evil plan to turn it into a hip wrap, or rather a shoulder wrap that is hip:


... and on the other hand I have this not-just-for-chemo cap plus a pressing need to write up its pattern in three sizes:


And at the same time, a lot of yarn spilling up out of tote bags that should really be tidied away. Well, I'm a good girl, but not that good - I'll go with door number two and write up the pattern, 'kay?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not so fast, missy

Well, the hat's done and dry, but I was off gallivanting yesterday and missed the light I'd need for a decent photograph, not to mention the time I'd need to write up the pattern... and today I'm going out again - for lunch with a friend, no less! - so the chemo cap might not make it here before the weekend.

While we wait, let me tell you about my gallivantings, which included another trip to my beloved Stitch. That store just keeps getting better! and not only because Jocelyn will wind your purchase for you on the cutest wooden ball winder ever.

I went in hoping for the Spring issue of Interweave Knits - note to self, get subscription - and succumbed to three skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino, three magazines, and not a speck of the solid-coloured yarn I thought I might look around for. I don't know what it is about variegated yarn that hauls me in unless it's the fact that I have so much trouble making decisions and with multi-coloured yarn, I don't have to. Still, sometimes you need to pair it with a solid and that is something I don't have so much of all of a sudden.

Consolation prizes included visits with a few skeins of (solid-coloured!) Americo yarn I can't forget and can't justify buying without a clear plan for what to do with it, plus the other (not really solid) Americo yarn I love. I found the antidote to them by looking at and touching a few skeins of Handmaiden's Sea Silk (variegated, naturally.) That stuff is amazing.

I still want some Americo though. While I was there I shared some particularly irresistible yarn with a passing shopper, and she pointed out that the trouble with telling Satan to Get Thee Behind Me is that once there, he can push. I'm quite certain she's right, and that it's just a matter of time before I'm knitting something fabulous in grey alpaca.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Success!

Things were pretty tense there as the (single, solitary, no second in same dye lot) ball of yarn got smaller and the hat didn't get correspondingly closer to the end, but I made it! A whole size large hat out of a skein of Malabrigo!

With enough left over for An Embellishment, which I will take care of today. And if the hat is dry enough from its blocking adventures to photograph, I will post the pattern for both tomorrow. It's a super easy hat, especially now that I've worked out all the brimmy bits, and - just as you'd expect - very, very soft.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Froggabilities and a freebie preview

This weekend, in the midst of hunting down solutions to my knitting storage problems, I felt compelled to add to said problems by drifting into a charity store. Yeah, ever since I read Knit One, Embellish Too (two thumbs up) I've been intrigued by the notion of recycling yarn from other people's sweaters, and when I'm intrigued, I'm dangerous. This is what I got:



This sweater above is too soft and fluffy to be wool. I suspect its donation resulted from being cast on so tightly at the cuffs I could barely try it on, and the huge lumps along the sleeve seems. Great stitch though - a full flower that looks more like crochet than knit, and rounder than star stitch. Hate to rip it out but it's not wearable as it is, and I'm pretty sure it's not feltable.



This one is beautifully knit with a yarn that's too soft and flexible to be wool unless it was generously washed and blocked, which is possible in spite of the very slightly plastic-y feel, but the burn marks on the front imply some acrylic content. Or maybe those aren't burn marks so much as condiment stains? Anyway it looks great here and super frumpy on, so: froggable.



Isn't this one gorgeous? Hand-knit in Italy with a front that's all cables, this small-sized vintage sweater has three quarter raglan sleeves (raglan being my fave). And the colour! I'd lose weight to wear this thing if the yarn, 70% wool, 20% mohair and 10% nylon, wasn't waaaay too itchy to come anywhere within skin range.

Okay, perhaps my time could have been (and will be) better spent on other things given the impracticality involved in ripping these out - the salmon one in particular is a bit matted-together. What keeps me going is how fabulous the colours look together. They do, don't they? And surely I'll think of something to make with scratchy yarn. Right? urg.

Meanwhile, I have not neglected the promised chemo cap pattern:

Took me all weekend to get the brim right, but it's good now and will not be at all floppy in the finished product, I promise. I'm hoping to have the rest done today so I can block it tonight and post the pattern later this week. Needles crossed!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Malabrigo it is!


Of course I didn't get very far along with the free chemo cap pattern before today's mail came:


Yay! and now that I've seen my very first Twisted Fiber Art in person, naturally I wish I'd bought more. Next time. By which point I will have recovered - I hope - from this month's eBay indiscretions.

Meanwhile, I'll get to work on the Malabrigo chemo cap which will, in fact, be both hair- and no hair-friendly and perfect for spring (if you live somewhere as cold as my neighbourhood is today. brrrr.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A yarn bell option, and a vote

Swatches complete
Patterns not quite sorted
Alternate knitting project picked up so as to facilitate viewing of an early Hitchcock film and then Life.

Life I can watch without needing to look at the screen in the middle of a tricky bit, but I don't dare miss a thing with Hitchcock. In this one, the male lead was John Gielgud, before the Sir happened - I could barely recognize him as a spy romancing a spy!

But back to the swatches. A funny thing happened when I got out the pink and cream-coloured yarns: I remembered I have little Tupperware tubs the perfect size to hold them, totally solving the icky Ziploc plastic sound resulting from the other detangling solution I tried. The tubs aren't so portable out of the house, but they work better and stay quiet. Bonus discovery: I have one the right size (and colour!) to match the second yarn I want to try. So it's yet another Tupperware festy at my house*.

Once I work out the math I'll get moving on the chemo cap pattern ideas. Both will be freebies, but probably only one will make it onto the site before the end of this month's Chemo Cap Challenge - so if you have an urgent preference for one over the other, leave a comment or e-mail me. I'll get right onto whichever appeals the most. Your choices:

Mirasol Nuna, a summertime blend of wool, silk, and bamboo











Malabrigo, of the soft and floopy wool












*Disclaimer: I do not work for Tupperware or even have friends over to buy it. I am just a sucker for organizational aids and my friend Rosa throws really a good party.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Swatching day

I finished my editing job last night and am all set to knuckle down with my needles and a few different yarns for a lovely afternoon of swatching.

I'm getting to like a good swatchfest, now that the gauge part is incidental to trying out new stitches. I love being able to find out whether or not they look good, suit the yarn and the needle size, and will make me happy over the course of the project. More than once I've been very grateful for the chance to jettison a stitch that was more hassle than it was worth, in favour of something fun.

So I'm swatching today, and probably enjoying cup after cup of hot tea with lemon and honey in it until my cold is good and gone, and hopefully tomorrow I will have pictures to post! of swatches - not tea. Unless somebody wants pictures of tea, in which case, let me know.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Twist, twist, twist!

At least I think that's how the Flintstones song from the Ann Margrock episode went...

but back to confession time. I have this thing where I'm super impressionable, especially when my friend Karen likes something. And Karen happened to like what our friend Kathi had to say about Twisted Fiber Art, and then Karen posted pictures of something she made with Twisted Fiber Art yarn, at which point I started checking the TFA website daily (though honestly, not at all compulsively, nuh-uh) to see whether there was any Instant Gratification available because usually when there is it only lasts about an hour and then you have to wait again for a Very Long Time.

Well, on Sunday there was a whoooole lotta yarny goodness to be had, and I didn't know what to do. Buy some, obviously, but what? I never did decide but just kind of randomly bought a single skein in the Valkyrie colourway Kathi had used for the very cool socks in the link above. And then I kept going back because, inexplicably, there kept on being a little bit left... and then a little less but still some, and then even less but still enough of the yarn I had started to think might work with something else I have to make a pretty cool vest...

and then yesterday I finally gave in and bought the stuff. I have gone from having no stash to having inadequate stash (yet more than I can find a nice space for) to whoa, stop adding stash! in an alarmingly short time. I gather this is normal?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Yarn-winding gone comfy

I'm not so much a fan of pacing around a chair to wind yarn - however luscious that yarn might be, and lately it has been - and I'm still unsure about the whole ball-winder thing - which model, do I really want a swift too, etc. - so I've figured out a way to wind a skein while sitting in bed with a book propped up on my knees, reading.

Why a bed? because it doesn't have an arm to bother the skein as it hangs, bracelet-like, from one's wrist. Yep, it's that simple: your arm becomes the chair back, and your left hand the You, Pacing. And the book has to have loose binding; the average paperback novel is not going to cooperate.

Don't be alarmed by this picture, which is only a demonstration and a poor one at that given the yarn colour against the fireplace. You don't really have to hold your arm this high.

About a million ball-winder-resistant knitters have been doing this for weeks, right? But if you're not one of them, give it a try. Maybe it's not quite so simple with a clingy yarn, but my silk/merino blends didn't get sticky till the end when it really didn't matter much, and I don't find winding clingy yarn off the back of a chair such a walk in the park either.

I bet it's easier to find the patience to address any knots or other altercations when you haven't just been walking around a chair for ten minutes, too.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Willpower and the lack of it


I wish I could say that Victor wound these for me but, you know, he's a stuffed animal.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Resisting temptation

While I am editing in my fiendlike way this weekend I will not be winding these skeins into a knit-able form:


Which means I won't be knitting a swatch for the chemo cap pattern either.

I will however have Victor LaVache here, Hugs' newest yarn host and model, on my shoulder while I work. He is as warming as a handknit shawl, and so cute!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The chemo caps are coming in!

Susan is in first with two seriously cute hats she made using Julie Hentz's pretty lace-edged hat, and she's allowed me to share this pic in case some interested knitters are looking for a good pattern for the challenge.


I still haven't started my freebie chemo cap pattern but I did finish the Softy hat last night when I should have been working (I'm really, really sorry Karen! I will make up for it on the weekend, I promise.) Here's the work in progress:


... more rustic than the laciness above, but very warm, hence the urgency - it's going to be 14 degrees C later today and I would otherwise have had to wait till October to wear it. However, I will be waiting anyway because shortly after I took this picture the hat was misdirected into dudsville! I knew I got out the qiviut too soon.

And now that I've got all of that out of my system and have had my due measure of chastenedness, I will knuckle down like a good editor. You know, the kind who doesn't stop for hot chocolate at 10 or anything.

(so much more civilized to wait till 10:15, don't you think?)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I fell into a yarn shop and

... you know what happened next. Worst of all, it wasn't even a yarn shop but The Flying Dragon bookshop in Toronto. They have the most gorgeous yarns! As someone there said to me, the yarn selection may be small, but hopefully mighty, and they certainly are that.

What seems to happen to me when I go into this store is that some colour or other jumps out at me and I am so bewitched that I buy it without a clue what I'll do with it. Then I get home and take off my coat and scarf and unpack the yarn and there you go, it matches the scarf , the one I bought at Liberty on a wonderful trip to London a few years back and put on at the slightest hint of an excuse.

So here's today's question: which of these yarns looks better with the scarf?

The Aurocania Toconao?














or the Dream In Color Softy?












It's both, isn't it. I'm going to end up with 15 hats for one scarf, aren't I.*


*yay!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In which the qiviut comes out to play

After I finished the disaster sweater that led to my becoming re-immersed in knitting last fall, and the dust had settled, and nobody was looking, I treated myself to a very small amount of qiviut and qiviut/merino blend from Cottage Craft Angora. The tiny skeins arrived very quickly and after ooohhing and aaaaahhing I squirreled them away, certain I would find some way to ruin them otherwise.

But I've had a good string of successes lately and it's really, really cold out again (I did buy the yarn so I could make a seriously warm hat, after all) so I got out the merino blend, rolled it into a ball, and made a tiny swatch and

it was HEAVEN.

I got used to the smallish needles and tiny string in no time, especially given the melting softness of it between my fingers as the swatch got longer. And even though it did start some halo, which tells me I can knit on 3mm needles and still have a warm hat, it wasn't a bit difficult to rip it all out again and put it back on the ball once I'd measured for gauge.

I don't have time to do anything with it now really, but man... if that's the blend, working with the pure qiviut will be inexpressibly delightful.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another (ready-made!) needle organizer

Omigosh, omigosh! There is a company that makes see-through needle organizers and tote bags for projects. Which, I can't help notice, have handles. I suppose these are meant for carrying, but my first thought was

I COULD HANG THEM ON HOOKS BY THE DOOR!!

I don't normally shout but I'm feeling a little excitable today, because yesterday I thought I should relax with some non-knitting reading material and picked up the latest copy of Harrowsmith Country Life.

So much for non-knitting prose: there on the cover was the headline "Spin Wool The Natural Way"*. I'm talking 8 pages of lush photographs - sheep (pre- and post-shearing), a gorgeous handknit sweater on the author as she feeds same, dyed skeins of wool, bags of freshly-shorn fleece, spinning... lots and lots of spinning. I don't spin, but fate is conspiring to make me wanna.

Then, right at the end, when I was well and truly smitten, there was mention of a certain gathering of knitters and spinners and weavers in April, where one might shop. So you can see how a see-through, highly-portable project bag perfect for road tripping might make me jump up and click my heels, yes?


* what exactly is the unnatural way? maybe it's better for me not to know.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ringing in the yarn bells

This past Christmas, I knit 14 hats using yarn held double. I knit them in a hurry. And because I thought I was too busy to bother winding the yarn into balls and putting them into some yarn-tangling-avoidance device, I lost a ton of time untwisting and de-knotting things, not to mention chasing short runs of leftover yarn - the stuff I did wind - across the room in the days before I discovered Stock Pot as a Knitting Aid.

This past weekend, I worked out a design for another hat using yarn held double and decided to be older and wiser about it; I wound both skeins into balls and slipped each one into a separate Ziploc bag with a corner snipped out of the bottom. My yarn stayed clean and untangled and I was able to track the yardage much more easily.

But you know what? Ew! I spent the whole project listening to the rustle and scrape of plastic, and every time I glanced down to gauge whether or not I was going to have enough yarn to finish I had to look at all those little fibers pressed against the walls of the bag like puppies in a pet shop window begging to be free. Isn't there a better way?

I've looked at yarn bells on Etsy - they're lovely and obviously an excellent solution for people who don't have to worry about leaving something breakable on the floor or finding a safe place for it every few minutes when the phone rings or the timer goes for whatever is in the oven*, but sadly I am not among their number.

Tupperware has a FridgeSmart line of vented containers with lids, not to mention their vented microwaveable stuff, and I have some of that... but if you need to store a head of cauliflower** in the middle of a project it would be a pain to get the yarn out. And piercing a hole through a different sort of Tupperware lid would be something I'm pretty sure I'd regret later. Maybe I'd regret it less with some cheaper plastic lidded container. H'mmm.

Anybody else got a solution or even an idea for one?

*I'm joking - I'm knitting too much to be putting anything into the oven.
**again, joking! I haven't had to deal with a head of cauliflower in months.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Join the Chemo Cap Challenge!

I had a lovely note yesterday from Joan Wilson asking whether she could use my Fast Hat Four Ways pattern to make pink chemo caps in memory of a friend who had fought breast cancer for twenty years. Of course I said Yes! but it didn't seem like enough.

Some of my friends and family have battled breast cancer, and a few have not won the fight. Every year, my cousins band together with a lot of other people willing to raise funds and then walk for two days during the Weekend to End Breast Cancer. The heroism in the face of this disease is incredible to me, and awe-inspiring, and quite often, even funny. Yes, I'm looking at you, ladies with pink and black feather boa bras on the outside of your T-shirts at rallies and fundraisers!

Joan's group, The Fairy Godmothers of Fayetteville, North Carolina, got together nearly four years ago to knit preemie clothes, and now they've expanded their repertoire to scarves and lap blankets for local military veterans. In March, they're going to be knitting chemo caps, and I'd like to challenge Hugs readers to do the same.

Here's the deal: knit a chemo cap and take a picture of it and, if you're fortunate enough not to know somebody who needs it, donate it to your local hospital. E-mail me the picture and I'll enter your name in a draw. At the end of March, I'll draw a name and mail the winner autographed copies of three anthologies that have included my short stories--Going Out With A Bang, Blood On the Holly, and KnitLit--in memory of Mary Rose, Carole, and my Aunt Peggy.

Joan kindly sent me a pattern of her own design to share, and I might have a chemo-related freebie up my own sleeve as well... but you'll have to stay tuned for that!

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March 24 update: the caps are rolling in and I know there are even more knitters who haven't sent their pics yet, or feel that doing good is reward enough without a prize draw. It is, of course, but the draw is a celebration of the lives of three terrific women and a chance to have some fun, too. So be sure and share those Finished Objects - just 7 days left!

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One more update: I'm putting everybody's name in just once, so if you've made 10 hats and feel like you shouldn't enter because it wouldn't be fair, fear not, it will be :^)