Monday, April 30, 2007

2008 Calendar Contest...let the onslaught begin!

We've done it twice already and it's such a tradition that we couldn't think of stopping now! If you've knit something from the pages of Knitty and can get hold of a good-quality digital camera, you could win great stuff! Full details are on the Calendar Contest page, right here:

We always love seeing your photos, and so do the rest of our readers. Don't be shy...think carefully, point and shoot, and then send the results to us!

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

More podcasty fun!

Before I went to Austin, I had a really nice chat with Kathy and Steve...owners of Webs! Wanna listen? here you go.

[Today's activity: cleaning, tidying and purging the Knitty wall of yarn in preparation for the No Sheep for You launch party! You should see the giveaway box. BoxES, more like.]

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Get ready!

When you wake up tomorrow, there'll be a new Knitty surprise to help you get through your Friday.

See you then!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hill Country Weavers (Austin, TX): another mammoth post

This past weekend, Jillian and I were in the Weird [with a capital W] capital of the USA, Austin, TX. Our assignment: teach stuff to the fine patrons of Hill Country Weavers.

This was no hardship.

- Jillian lived in Austin with her family for 3 years. She loved it there.
- I've never been to Texas.

So I was predisposed to love it [having heard stories about the Austinites and the city itself for as long as J and I have been friends]. Let's get this clear: she didn't lie. Austin is one of the coolest cities I've ever been to in every way except climate. [I am not good with hot. Especially in April. Erk.]

So let's get on with the pictures, shall we?


It's all things fibery -- weaving, spinning...and the thing we love best: knitting.

Look how happy Ms. J is to be home.

Old-timey knitbloggers...remember Yentala? She exists! [she's hiding behind J's Austin-swelled hair] And she is a huge bundle of love and Texas-style mensch love. Deb, you are the best.

Jillian will have to forgive me for this one. It's just too perfect. What is she pointing to that has her pontificating? Why, it's the shelf where the original yarn for Rockstar was pulled by HCW's owner Suzanne. Suzanne gave the yarn to Jillian, saying [legend has it], "Here. Go design something." And she did. And thanks to that fateful day, I've got me a BFF and you all have an amazing designer whose work you can knit and enjoy. Thank you, Suzanne.

Okay, now we're on the road. Even the ratty weather-worn music posters are different here. Totally frameable. Austin is the live-music capital of the USA, you know. Damn straight.

I felt very at home here. These are bumper stickers you can buy at Book People, THE Austin bookstore.

I'd been asked what I wanted to do in Austin, and told my generous hostess that I wanted the real Austin Experience. I sure got it! Here we are sitting at Shady Grove, trying to figure out what's for dinner. That's the legendary Suzanne on the right.

My choice: catfish.

Suzanne's choice: Frito pie [that's the Fritos bag blinding the flash -- it's a bag of fritos with hot stuff on top. too cool.]

The true Austin experience includes live music. Tonight: Bruce Robison. Love.

Back at the shop now. This is Suzanne's dog, Stella.

The classroom, set up by the HCW staff, for my first No Sheep class.

Look at all those gorgeous non-wools! Still feel sorry for knitters like me?

Knitters busily swatching non-wools to see how they behave. Notice the deep and intense focus. These knitters are serious!

Okay, back out on the street now...I had to walk South Congress to see all the cool shops.


Boots to die for at Allen's.

My new love:

That last picture was taken in their washroom. I've never been to a shop that fills the washroom with merch, knowing no one will take anything. I love this place.

The coolest hotel I've ever seen.

Insanely understated, gorgeous landscaping.

Austin seems to have a fetish for penis-signs. This was just one of them. Oh, and that's the Capitol building in the back there.

How could I not be happy here? My own ice cream store!
My choice: Smores ice cream with whoppers [Maltesers for the Canucks and Brits reading this] bashed up by hand and mixed in.
Cost: $5 [including tip]
Calories: don't even ask.
Worth it? Hell, yeah.

Cupcake gifts [back at the shop again] from partygoers! Yum.

And before we left, Suzanne asked me to do something. I was glad to oblige [but you can tell my spray painting skills are quite, um, unpractised. I did my best.]

We were and we'll be back. [Though if it's just me, it'll be in winter. So I can wear my boots next time.]

*Yes, I messed with the sign in Photoshop. Bow to my mad skillz. Bonus points for those that get the shiny joke.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catching up (part 2) -- loopy yarns and the K-W Knitters' Guild

Jillian and I are getting ready for Austin -- we leave tomorrow at an ungodly hour -- but I wanted to leave you all caught up. Because I have pictures burning a hole in my Flickr and that can hurt.

So...when last we left our unintrepid [sporadically intrepid?] author, she had to physically lift her chin off the pavement outside The Fold. The next day, a signing at Chicago's Loopy Yarns!

This store is right in the Loop proper, and conveniently located seconds off one of the highways [94, I think]. Chicago is a confusing city to drive, but this was a piece of cake!

Look, they were expecting me! I love the sheep:

This shop was a great choice for a No Sheep event...these guys totally love all fibers, sheepy and non, and go out of their way to mark their yarn bins with labels so people know what's inside before they reach in! Look:

wait...what's that?

Damn straight I bought the skein. How could I not?

Meet the facilitator of the evening's event, Kristen (on the left) and the shop's owner, Vicki (right, wearing one of my favorite sweaters ever -- that gorgeous pink cabled thing from Knitter's Magazine a few years back...and does it ever look more beautiful in blue Manos? Yes, it does.)

Kristen is adorable, but my two photos of her are less than. I'm sorry, Kristen. I failed you.

At least you look happy in the Sweet Indulgence!

They were ready for the onslaught! And here it comes!

Oy! Such a beautiful Mermaid. I wept aloud. Hi, Linda! I found you!

Look at this gorgeous Kyoto from miss luscious luka!

Kris brought me a really cool t-shirt -- see her blog for pics. I'm proud to have joined your Knit-On movement!

And then some sweet surprises:

Meet Nancy's travel knitting. Dear lord.

Meet Nancy! Nancy does a lot of things, including reading physics texts for fun [what is UP with that?], and here is evidence of my favorite thing she does:

Yes, that is my new Sheepy. Sheepy is a wee handmade glass bead, with devilish eyes and a dopey face. Sheepy is going with me everywhere lately, including on the tee-vee [did you spot that, Nancy? also notice my mad wire-bending skillz].

This is our model for the evening, Cyd:

Cyd and Nancy [I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried] are best buds and co-enablers.

Sorry again for the crap pictures -- but these guys are cute enough to overcome my lack of photography skills.

What does Cyd do for fun? She pours metal.

No, really.

Recognize the bag? It's from the Knitty shop. But did you know whose hand that is in that loteria card?

Yes, it's Hub's hand [my Hub!] and here he is, signing his first autograph ever. With the same hand, even!

Here are my favorite photographers of the evening:

These adorable girls are knitters, too. Way cool.


Look -- what a clever use for a photo bag. Put swatches in instead!

This is Zoe, killer photog, wearing a sweater designed by another Zoe. Small woild.

A gorgeous scarf on a gorgeous knitter. Of course, the scarf was knit in merino, so I could only look longingly.

Kristen baked cupcakes. That's how I knew I was in the right place.

Loopy Yarns is a fabulous store and I can't wait to go back. It's full of great, enthusiastic knitters and a killer selection of yarns and accessories. Thanks for having me!


Last Tuesday night, I got to speak at the K-W Knitters' Guild for the 2nd time. My first appearance there in 2004 was my first appearance in front of any group, and they were welcoming and kind, so I was excited to go back.

A full house once again.

We talked with the aid of technology [my laptop and my neato Keynote presentation] until all of a sudden, technology failed me:

What's that red light mean? Low Battery. In other words, big-mouthed me had to speak loud enough to be heard by all those people. I couldn't do it, so we adjourned for a short break where I signed books and talked to the lovely KW knitters. The exec found us a battery and soon we were back in business! I took few pictures because I was working and had no Hub to act as photographer this time -- but it was a good, busy night, and we got to talk all sorts of sheeplessness. And this time, the presence of Debbie New and Sally Melville in the audience [this is their guild, after all!] didn't derail me. I just tried to keep my head and do well in front of two of my knitting idols.

One thing you must see: a gift from Lynne, she of the faultless KW directions:

My very own No Sheep for You customized tape measure. The outside is knit from cotton and sewn to the sheepy tape measure. Lynne, you are cool beyond words.


Man, that was a mouthful. I've now got to get ready for the No Sheep class[es?] I'm giving in Austin. Jillian is doing likewise for the Knit to Fit class. I have freshly pedi'd toes and a pile of new t-shirts for the 80+F weather we've been told to expect. I hear the classes are all full, but they may be adding a 2nd No Sheep class to accommodate those who were interested, so it looks like a busy weekend!

Have fun at LK tonight for me, guys. I'll be busy packing!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Catching up, including a visit to The Fold!

So much to tell you!

First, I must share this one picture with you all. It sums up Wednesday morning, BEFORE 7 AM, mind you, perfectly:

You can see the fierceness in the No Sheep models' eyes. BTW, Rachel was initially supposed to wear Cables & Os on the show, but time constraints meant we shifted stuff around and that sweater never got on TV. It also meant Julia only got on once, but she did get to wear Morrigan. You ladies are beautiful and I am honored to know you and be your friend. I'm going to cry now.


Okay, we've got to step back a little to get caught up properly.

Remember this from last fall at Rhinebeck? That's merely the BACK HALF of a line that stretched nearly the entire length of the building...just to get into The Fold's booth.

The Fold. A legendary, mystical shop located somewhere in Illinois. Tina (Ms Blue Moon Fiber Arts herself) calls Toni (the owner of The Fold) her Guardian Angel. I believe it's safe to say that without Toni, I don't think many of us would know of BMFA. Can you even conceive of our knitting world without Socks that Rock?

Okay. So I was in Chicago for passover last week. [That's the rather perverse horseradish root mom was forced to purchase the morning of the seder. I wonder why it was the only one left? Cough.]

I'd realized on my previous visit that Marengo [home of The Fold] was actually just over an hour away from my parents' house, but never had the time to get there. Dear lord. You'd have had to nail my feet to the floor to keep me from going on this visit.

It's way out in the country, but very driveable from Chicago proper. I left from the Deerfield area and it took me just over an hour.


Of course I ran into bloggers at the shop. Here's Helen and her travelling sock. The shop is in the background. Rather unassuming, don't you think?

The friendly, mild-mannered shop German Shepherd. A very sweet, non-crotch-sniffy dog. Just my type.

When I stepped in, I think I expected more spinning fiber than yarn. I wasn't disappointed. [My apology for the blurrines of some pictures. I was too damned excited to make sure they were perfect, and didn't want to use flash and be gauche.]

Do they have fiber at The Fold?

My favorite: the wall of rainbow roving [it wasn't Amy friendly to touch, but it sure was to look at!]

Here's the Amy-friendly stuff.

Do they have spindles?

I bought a 1-oz Avi Wasserman...I have been eyeing them at their Rhinebeck booth for two years. I figured it was about time.

But yarn? Do they have yarn? Dear lord, yes. Just look:

There is so much more, I couldn't begin to photograph it. Lots of great stuff that you'd want any yarn shop to carry, but also lots of wonderful treats you won't find elsewhere. It's not all Blue Moon, but there is so much Blue Moon you've never heard of that your brain might explode with it all. Mine nearly did. You could spend 2 hours in the shop easily, and still not see every bit of the gorgeousness they have for sale.

So what did I come home with?

A skein of STR for Stephannie in Azurite.
Some fiber for Jillian and Emma that will not be blogged here.
And this for me:

My current obsesssion. Ziggy [100% cotton] in Pebble Beach. This is well on its way to becoming the nicest Clapotis I've ever knit. Yes, I said I'd never knit another. I lied. 2 skeins won't be enough, though, but Toni found two complimentary skeins of Aquamarine in the same yarn and I'm going to get clever with the transition. It's going to be freaking stunning.

Another lone skein of Sock Candy, this time in Scaponia. No idea what it will be, but I couldn't just leave it there. I love the color.

Two huge hanks of Interlacements silk roving. A smidge shopworn, but I don't believe that's a problem. Especially since spinning silk roving is something I'm working up to, and by the time I'm good at it, I bet I'll be able to smooth it all out.

So there you have it. A life-transforming visit to a yarn store. Non-knitters would howl at the thought, but then they're the ones missing out, aren't they?

[next update: my visit to Loopy Yarns!]


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No Sheep for on YouTube

Yup, I did tee vee this morning, and I wasn't alone. Wanna see the hottest models in Toronto? Rachel H, Jacquie and Julia looked gorgeous in the sweaters, smiled bright enough to light distant galaxies and bantered with the host, Dina. [She is really nice and very good at what she does. And she does it all in 4" platform heels.]

Anyway, enough preamble. Here it is:

More soon on the fabulous KW guild and a recap of last week's events. But first, a nap. I'm running on 4 hours sleep. Thanks to hub for pressing the go button and making a nice .mov file for me.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Time for more tee vee & another guild!

And this time, I'm bringing a posse.

This coming Wednesday [April 11], sometime between 7-9am, I'll be talking No Sheep on Breakfast Television -- the Toronto edition. To add significant coolness, Rachel H, Jacquie and Miss Muffy have agreed to model the garments from the book. Can you imagine the hysteria?

My goal will be to get it on a VCR and then transfer it to digital, so I can upload it to YouTube. If anyone in the Toronto area can record direct to digital and can help me save a step, please let me know!


What am I doing the night before? Resting with a face mask on, reading something trashy and eating bonbons? Nope. I'll be driving to KW and back, so that I can talk to the great people of the KW Knitters Guild. They were the first guild I spoke to back in the Knit Wit days, and I was very flattered to be asked back. If you're in the area, please come out! [Yup, I"m doing the whole thing: trunk show, full electro-maniacal presentation and books will be available for purchase thanks to Cloth and Clay. If you've already got your copy, bring it along. I'll be very glad to sign it.]

April 10, 2007 @ 7:30 pm
KW Knitters' Guild
Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex,
Hauser Haus room,
101 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo, ON

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Friday, April 06, 2007


Still on BGK2 panic deadline [heaven help us both!] but I have a camera full of pictures and some great stories to tell you about my time in Illinois.

- I went to The Fold and it was more than I even imagined.
- The Loopy Yarns signing was a massive blast and I have several new BFFs. And a sheep.
- I might have brought home some yarn. And fiber. And a spindle. And something else.
- While I was away, it's possible a TV appearance may have been scheduled. Will advise as soon as it's confirmed. Will YouTube it after it's over, if I can.

Also, it seems the secret to really good matzoh balls is actually two secrets:
1. when adding broth to the ball mixture, choose beef. We used Swanson's box-o-beef-broth, and MAN, for some unintuitive reason, it was amazing.
2. don't cook the matzoh balls any longer than necessary. Otherwise they get wimpy, and there's nothing worse than wimpy balls.

Back soon! Promise!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

No Sheep in the Midwest!

Okay. Since my last post, I've been working like an author on deadline [oy, I tell you!], neglecting my sister and her husband daily, but making it up at dinner, and changing time zones. I'm now in Chicago to celebrate Passover with the family. And I brought the No Sheep for You trunk show with me!

Wanna come see us? We'll be at Loopy Yarns this coming Wednesday froom 5:30 to 7:30. Most excellently, Loopy Yarns sent me this news:

To celebrate Amy’s arrival at Loopy Yarns, for two hours we’re having a sale of 20% off ALL animal free yarns and ALL silk. That’s EVERY cotton, bamboo, linen, soy, corn, and milk yarn, as well as all our 100% silk and wool-free silk blends.

As always, the sharpie will be at the ready, books and yarn will abound and we can talk non-wool yarns until they kick us out.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 4
5:30-7:30 pm
Loopy Yarns
719 South State Street

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