BLOG 06/20/03

Cultural Froids

from the

What the...

It finally dawned on me that Hillary will never be President because Bill would have to be First Husband and he would have to detatch himself from sexy Canadian billionaire Belinda Stronach, and all the other fembots that are attracted to his *hands*

Pam might be leaving Kid Rock because he drinks too much...

Open Mouth *Duh*
Mariah is looking for a new boyfriend. Mothers, keep your man-aged sons under lock and key!

the *new* Men's Only TV Network
OYE! ChicKnits thought all the networks were Men's Only Networks.

Men's Only TV II
ChicKnits gently offers that their first Public Service Announcement be a video blurb suggesting all men stop wearing baseball hats backwards, especially middle-aged guys driving Harley's while smoking cigars...

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100 Things about Me

16. I like Music.
Anyway you
choose it...

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my sister's
wonderful dolls

on eBay

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Get your own


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Saturday, June 14, 2003

Presto Change-O!

There's a million stories in the Big City and this one is about socks.

If you can't use double pointed needles and try the *new* two circular technique, you will notice right away there is no consistency in sizes in the smaller ranges you would use for socks. A size 1 from one company can be a whole .25 or .5 mm different from another company.

BFD you muse, however, when needles are this small, it can make a big gauge difference with tiny yarn.

AND then there's the company who had the best needle tips and STP by replacing the old great flexible cables with stiff, large, misbehaving Hulks...

Now I understand why knitting needles were banned from airplane flights for so long.

So I've been struggling to find some freakin' combination that would work to make my ideal recipe for sock success or as one could say, bulletproof booties.

Yesterday, I found the solution. Purely by accident. Born of ignorance. Fueled by frustration.

I'd lost the size 1 Hulk pair I've been trying to use for my Opal Inspiration Sock #2. Standing in as the EMT, were a pair of Aluminum Inox 29" needles, the kind that look like they are coated with teflon. They also have a very thin, flexible cable. The only drawback was the tiniest bend at the cable connection. Inox also has another aluminum version with an even larger bend. (Insert muttering SuperWhatThe....)

After an inch or so of playing octopus tag with needles that were obviously too long for the two circular method, I kept accidently knitting the entire round with one needle. This is NOT knitting in the regular circular fashion. It actually splits the stitch count in two and you use the needle tips to knit one side at time.

HEY! If you can't beat 'em join em. I dropped the other needle and just kept going. The fine flexibility made it easy to go REAL FAST...

Once before I'd tried this technique with the Hulk needles and the sock became airborne as it launched across the living room after about two inches of Wrestle Mania with the inflexible cables. A very nice lady had raved to me about using this method, especially since I carry a sock-in-progress in my pocket a lot and one needle is hard to lose. But it was impossible to do with the *new, improved* cables on the 40" (!) needle the Loopers recommend.

I win! Cheaper, shorter, more flexible needles and we're out of the pit and back on the NASCAR track again! Now I just have to re-knit the other sock because the gauge DOES NOT MATCH because of the lack of consistency between manufacturers!!!

HEH. It was too small anyway...

Comments (7)

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

My Kind of ChicKnits Town


One of the most unique things about Chicago is the EL. A full-size commuter train travels through the neighborhoods on several lines, held up in the air by steel arches and rails - hence EL=Elevated. One summer, I saw a man sleeping with his feet out of the window of his apartment, and the train was so close to the building, I could've tickled his tootsies!

In my book, that qualifies the EL as the 8th Wonder of the World @ChicKnits!

In more user friendly neighborhoods, an industrial corridor follows the twists and turns of the EL, housing small businesses, factories and craftsmen.

Saturday, I joined the other members of the Windy City Knitting Guild and discovered the 9th Wonder of the World in this unlikely place. In the same warehouse that contains Wagner Pumps is a studio that has been occupied since the beginning of this year by LORNA's LACES Hand-Dyed Yarns.

WCKG visited in two groups - we were the second. This is the first group in the Inventory area of the Studio and let me introduce you to the owner and master dyer of Lorna's Laces, Beth Casey, seated at the desk...

On the top floor of the building, with the leaded glass skylight intact, the Studio runs the length of the building. It is divided into three areas: Inventory, Production and Shipping.

Who cares about layout. I want YARN! Here is the first batch I laid eyes on in the Production area. Even though my heart was already racing (from the hike upstairs, heh), this kicked it up a notch...

Turning to the right, I saw about 40 skeins waiting to be wrapped and labeled in the Shipping area.

My head s-l-o-w-l-y turning because of Yarn Intoxication, my eyes move back to the Inventory Area and see Jenn, Beth's talented associate, with a super armload of the real deal...

to be continued...

Comments (7)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

My Kind of Tour


Even though I was hyperventilating and as giddy as Regis' soapy partner, I recovered my composure long enough to start paying attention to Beth Casey as she started the tour of her Lorna's Laces yarn studio.

She talked about the LL Line and passed around skeins to pet and oooh & aaah over. For Chissakes, I even smelled a couple, OK?! I just couldn't help it, they were so yummy.

You can virtualize it HERE.

This is a shawl made out of Helen's Lace. It was so lovely even I was moved to visualize making one in the future. I just frogged the only shawl I ever started and am making a SitCom out of it so it might be awhile but the yarn and the pattern included on the inside of the skein label is stunning...

After we finished the first course, we moved to the Production area of the studio for a dyeing demonstration.

Beth dyed 40 skeins at a time on a table top using her secret recipe dye mixtures.

This is the completed dyelot. Beth has flipped and applied dye evenly throughout the skein depths. Then she works it in with her hands. I was reminded of breadmaking - Beth is not only a master dyer, but a master baker so maybe that's the magic touch that graces the finished yarn.

With a practiced move, the dyed yarn is moved to a supersize stainless tub that is actually a double boiler with a rack over boiling water. The lot is steamed for awhile then rinsed, spun out and hung to dry.

to be continued...

Comments (3)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

My Kind of Yarn


Invigorated by the exciting dyeing demonstration, (really, people were ooohing and aaahing at this juncture too!), our group went back to the Inventory Area to raid and roust for yarn. NOW isn't that just YOUR most favorite thing to do? Maybe even more than knitting sometimes?!

Lorna's Laces does not dissapoint. The yarns are high quality and beautifully handled. In the tradition of Lorna herself, Beth has created her first Chicago locality colourway called Ravenswood, named after the area where the Studio is located. It's color number is 773, which also just happens to be the Area Code of the neighborhood.

Here's all the colors.

Le fil╗ de choix dans Sden ╗tait aussi difficile que la cueillettequi premi└re pomme...

Real easy!!!

Some became Queen for a Day with a fine bouquet of yarn flowers...

I just went for the jugular and now am the proud *renter* of this yarn until it ends up as someone's Xmas stocking!

From Left to Right:

◊ Shepard Sport Color #203 Seaside

◊ Shepared Sock Color #60 Mocha

◊ Shepard Sock Color #92 River

◊ Shepard Sock Color #202 BeeStripe

Comments (10)

Friday, June 20, 2003



Actually, this was the first thing I noticed at the Tour. None other than the lovely and talented Maureen Moran wearing, you guessed it, her SitCom Chic! Lookin' Good in the Neighborhood!

Now, come on, you didn't think all I bought was SOCK YARN! I know I've become one of those *Sock People* but hey, a girl has to look Chic Upstairs as well.

This yarn has all my favorite colors in it - mint, sage, olive, rasberry, mauve, and cocoa. It is a thousand times more beautiful than this picture shows. Owww. It is a one-of-a-kind dyelot, worsted weight wool and will become a luxurious cardigan some time this fall.

Nobody else on the planet will have a sweater like it! TGIF, ladies...

Comments (7)

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1. Rowan's Cinnamon (99%)
Knitting is DONE - sleeves need to be sewn!!!
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Spongey
Gauge: 16sts/20rows over 4"
Needles: #7 & #9

2. Berroco Bias Rib Shell (40%)
Yarn: UNK Chartreuse Cotton Tape
Gauge: 22sts/30rows over 4"
Needles: #5

3. ChicKnits BoatNeck Shell (75%)
Yarn: Bouton d'Or Rubanne
Gauge: 20sts/28rows over 4"
Needles: #6 & #7

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