Monday, October 08, 2007

Laura, this is for you.

Send me your problem in more detail and I will do a show about it. :) Everyone else can follow along.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You are all so sweet

I just moderated another comment asking me to come back. I have NOT podfaded. Another episode is in the works, it just keeps getting put off. I won't make any promises but I really do hope to speak to you all soon.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


One of my kitties, who liked to purr very loudly and lick my nose while I was sleeping, passed away last week. The other two are fine. Just a reminder to hug your little ones every day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sweet Comments!

Thank you for the sweet comments! I swear I am not out of the game, I am starting to itch I want to talk to you all so much, but I still haven't finished re-loading my computer and I"m afraid of screwing it up.

Also, I'm madly in love, and have given up housekeeping, weeding (which I never did anyway) and garlic. Well, sort of on the garlic, and I do still vacuum when I get grossed out by my carpet. How bad is it that I really, truly, want to replace my carpet with hard floors so that I can just chase the cat hair with a broom instead?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Promise

I have not podfaded and I appreciate your patience. My life is still working on settling down to a dull roar. I should tell you, though, that I am very, very happy even in the midst of this tumult and I am cooking up some really good things to day to you all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Computer Fixed, but still no podcast

Let it be a lesson - back up thy hard drive!

The computer is resurrected. It may still be a bit before my next show.

Friday, June 08, 2007

All Harddrives Die

I know this. Yet, have I backed up? Not in a while. My poor laptop is in the shop. :( So, no podcast for now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not Math, but Kind of for Knitters

Dear people who don't call me back,

When you don't return my calls, and later act like I never even called you, it makes me INSANE. Just a note to let you know.

-Insane Girl Over Here

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Where you get a glass washboard

There may be other sources, but I know this supports a great local economy in Ohio.

While I'm Babbling Anyway

I really want to quote Franklin:

"I admit that installing an electronic man in my bedroom is slightly pathetic; but I've just about had it with the Genuine Article. They should all come with off-switches."

Some Links

These are some of the booths my sister and I talked about at MD Sheep & Wool - and some we should have talked about.

Don't ask me which of us is talking at any time - my sister or I. I really can't tell most of the time.

Journey Wheel, fine tools for spinners on the go. Jonathan and Sheila Bosworth.

Plum Cottage Crafts, where you can get a circular knitting machine or a restored sock knitting machine. I really want one of these.

Barneswallow Farm doesn't seem to have a website, but they are in Dewittville, NY.

Helen 'Halla' Fleischer, a fantasy spindle artist who my sister knows IRL.

Carolina Handspun is where I bought my silk yarn from Blue Moon Spinnery. It's lovely.

I bought some great sock yarn from Spirit Trail Fiberworks.

And some yarn that came all the way from Texas so I could buy it from Brooks Farm Yarn.

The Bee Folks is where Lisa bought some honey on Sunday.

On Sunday, I also interviewed an innocent bystander about The Red Scarf Project.

Lisa and I seem to argue a lot about what is a sheep and what is a goat. My fave piece of evidence is "look at his face".

KnitWit mentions the Barefoot Spinner.

It also becomes clear that I feel the use of "dude" is now somehow ok, because the Yarn Harlot says it, at least on her blog.

New Show In the Works

To get the audio off of the recorder I use, I have to play it back. So, I'm starting with the recordings of my sister and I touring the sheep area at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I say really intelligent things like, "they have furry faces." I'm sure it will be an informative podcast for you all.


If you listen to this episode, be ready for some repetition, silliness and the KnitWit.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Maryland Sheep & Wool

I am planning on being there on Saturday, and going to the blogger meetup. I'll be the one with the twin sister and the microphone. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm mostly posting this so that I won't forget

There is a great bookstore here.

Here is some info about why you should shop there, if you want, that is, even if you don't live in Chicago:

"Our History and Purpose:
Women & Children First began in a modest storefront in 1979. Over the years we've moved twice and recently expanded in our current location into an adjoining storefront. We're in a northside Chicago neighborhood known for its diversity, lesbian-friendliness, women-owned businesses and community spirit. Our staffers include teachers, graduate students, professional writers and storytellers, political activists, board members, and poets. Each of us is a reader, a feminist, and a bookseller. Our purpose in beginning the store 20 years ago was to promote the work of women writers and to create a place in which all women would find books reflecting their lives and interests. We strive to do this in an atmosphere in which all are respected, valued, and well-served. That is our purpose still, online as well as in the store.

We are one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country, stocking more than 30,000 books by and about women, children's books for all ages, and the best of lesbian and gay fiction and non-fiction. Anything we don't have in stock we can usually get in a few days' time, even if it's a title outside our specialty. We also carry music, videos, magazines and pride products."


If that isn't enough, they have nearly 1,000 hits when you put "knit" in the search box, including many books on pre-order and a lot of titles that aren't out yet and I hadn't even heard of.

There aren't as many feminist bookstores as there used to be. I, for one, want to spend my $$ with people I like. So, when I have a book I can't get at my LYS, I will head on over to this site.

Monday, April 16, 2007

First question

" Alice said...

Thanks for lovely podcasts - I listen while weaving - and thanks also for instructions for the Dragon Skin Sweater, which is gorgeous. The one part I don't understand is: __picking up 8 stitches from the edge of the piece I had just made (the little ear near where the right shoulder-seam would normally be.___ I can't visualize this. Is it at the corner of the saddle shoulder ??? "

The ear is the edge of the 12 rows of knitting you just created, by making the first part of the front, or the back, depending. Basically, you have just made a rectangle (with a piece missing for the front of the neck), and you are picking up around it to continue down with the sweater. So, it is to the right (or left) of the saddle shoulder, and your knitting will continue in the same direction, from this part, as the live stitches from the saddle shoulder.

Bring them on! I want many questions so I can make this as clear as possible without having taken pictures. Even though I am a photographer, I was so entralled in my sweater, I took a grand total of 0 before blocking.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shout Out

Courtesy of Christine!

If you do manage to make one...

Please let me know so I can link to your blog! That would be so great, a little army of dragon skins running around.

Dragon Skin Sweater

The stitch pattern is on page 136 of Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Pick your yarn. I used Galway Highland Heather in a lovely grey. It's a worsted weight, 100 grams = 210 yards.

I cast on 36 stitches and swatched with #5 needles in moss stitch for 8 rows, then switched to #7 for the stitch pattern with 5 sts of moss stitch on each side of the swatch until the stitch pattern section was roughly square, then did 8 more rows of moss stitch with the smaller needles.

I blocked the swatch by soaking it, carefully pressing water out of it, then blocking it out with tig welding wires on a towel, safe from the teeth of my kitty cats (one of who has a personal vandetta against wool of all sorts).

After the swatch was dry, I unpinned and unwired it, gave it a good shake, then laid it out flat and measured the gauge.

My gauge was 5" for 26 stitches (or one pattern repeat) and 4" in 30 rows.

I then measured my back, from shoulder bone to shoulder bone, and saw that it is 15". That is three pattern repeats, luckily. This is a good-luck sweater, and you'll see more of why later.

So, I knew I would need 78 sts for the back of the neck. I wrote this down and launched into the small saddle-shoulders.

If you look closely at the pattern stitch, you will see that it is made up of two 13-stitch sections, facing each other as in a mirror. So, the very very narrowest piece of knitting you an make without completely rewriting the stitch pattern is 13 stitches across. I cast on 15 stitches, as I wanted two selvedge stitches I could slip at the beginning of each row to make a neat edge, and they won't make it very much wider at all.

I measured from where I wanted the neck of the sweater to begin on the side of my neck and the shoulder-bone. It is 5" or about 36 rows. So, I made two little strips of knitting, in pattern, 15 sts wide and 36 rows long. I cast them on temporarily and left the live stitches on stitch holders. You'll see why in a minute.

I then considered the front and back of the sweater. Coming straight down from the shoulder, I would need three complete repeats of the pattern, 78 stitches. I realized that making the pattern line up properly when the sweater was closed would mean splitting the pattern in half, visually, and being careful to work the right half on the right part of the front and the left...well, you know.

I would need 5 (moss stitch edge) + 13 (half a repeat) + 26 (a whole repeat) for the left front of the sweater. 36 of these I could pick up from the edge stitches of the saddle shoulder, right? Wrong. Because these stitches were slipped, the most I could manage was 20 (but don't ask me how, it should have been 18). So, I picked up 20 along these edges and then increased by six in the next row (that's after every fourth stitch, plus one at the beginning).

I wanted a square neck, so I picked up the 20 left-front stitches, increased to 26, then worked 12 rows in pattern. I did the same for the other side. Then I started the back by picking up 20, temporarily casting on 26 for the center back (those 5" again), and picking up 20. I increased those 20s to 26s and worked 12 rows. I made sure the next row was a wrong-side (purl only) row.

Next, I put it all together by temporarily casting on 18 sts, working the right-front stitches, picking up 8 stitches from the edge of the piece I had just made (the little ear near where the right shoulder-seam would normally be, working the saddle shoulder stitches from a holder, picking up again from the edge of the back, working the back stitches, picking up from the other side of the back, working the other saddle shoulder stitches, picking up from the next edge, working the live stitches from the left front, then casting on 18 more stitches. Whew. Now, the makings of a square neck, with a very rectangular top to the sweater. I placed markers where the sleeves were, and that included the picked-up stitches.

I increased once at each of the markers on pattern rows, leaving stitches, when there were less than 13, all alone in stockinette stitch. This is the same rate of increase you would use in a raglan sweater, if the body didn't have increases.

If you look closely, you'll see that I have the shaped areas of the sweater, like the tops of the sleeves and the waist, as stockinette. This did two things. 1) Kept me from going bonkers. 2) Gave me a little more leeway on my fit. Stockinette has a larger gauge than the stitch pattern, at least for me, so having 10 stitches in stockinette was larger than the same 10 stitches in pattern. This can be good for those of us who like to design skin-tight sweaters but don't like to wear them that way.

I worked 36 rows after this pick-up row, just increasing for the sleeves and leaving the body alone. Then, I began increasing the body stitches at the same rate, five times. Then I divided for the underarm, adding 16 stitches under the arms for ease. (Barbara, in her Knitting from the Top Down, said I could add up to 3" of stitches here. I took her at her word).

I arrived at this rate of increase by running a ruler down the length of the blue sweater I made last year, which is in a similar yarn, but is a set-in sleeve from the bottom, ala Elizabeth Zimmerman. I pretty much copied the rate of shaping.

My exact notes from this section of the sweater:

"work body straight until 6.5", begin increasing on RS rows until length is 7.5". Divide for underarm, casting on 3" of ease. Width here = 40". 40-6-30 = 4, need 2" in front to increase to an armhole - 10sts in about 8 rows, make it ten rows, increase by 2 every RS row".

Now you can see why I failed when I tried to interpret my notes on the fly in my podcast. Remember that you have to take into account half of the width of the saddle shoulder when figuring how long the sweater is at any given point. Also notice that I often say width when I should say circumference.

Anyway, what's next?

Divided at underarm, I took on waist shaping, which is that 4" below the underarm, the sweater should be 36" - in this case that means decreasing 10 sts in 30 rows. That's five sets of decreases about every 6th row - every third right-side row. It also happens to be every 1/2 of the pattern repeat, which happens to be very easy to spot in this sweater. So, no stitch markers for me, on the body anyway. See, lucky sweater.

Repeat, in reverse, to round out for hips.

Work 2 more inches straight, divide for "vents" on the side, work vents for 4", BO.

Sleeves - 14" to shape, 3" straight at end, top is about 14" around, bottom is 12", so about 2" or 10 sts in 105 rows. That's five groups of two decreases (again!) or one set of decreases every 20 rows. Then 20 rows straight, then 7 rounds moss stitch on #5 needles.

At the end, or halfway through, I picked up for the neck on #5s (remember all of those temp cast ons) and worked moss stitch, with decreases at the corners to make it lie flat for 6 rows, BO.

This is all for me and will vary with the knitter/yarn/size. Please comment if you have questions and I will do my best to help.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Ok, today I might have time to write out a recipe, which I will do instead of podcasting, unless one of the other 9 or so things on my ABSOLUTELY MUST DO TODAY list take longer than five minutes, which is entirely possible.

But I'm still stopping to answer this tag from plainsfeminist.

A- Available or Single

B- Best Friend
I'm lucky enough to have about a dozen really good friends. It means so much to me and it's a big part of why I love living here.

C- Cake or Pie
Pie, but only if my grandmother or sister made it. Otherwise, cake, because I don't like to be dissapointed by other people's pie.

D- Drink of Choice
COffee, although it's not really a choice anymore, to be honest.

E- Essential Item

F- Favorite Color
Red, hands down, even though I have a tendency to match my red shirt if I get hot/winded.

G- Gummi Bears or Worms
Bears. We used to get them as a reward in German class.

H- Hometown
Tulsa, OK

I- Indulgence
Massages twice a month.

J- January or February
February, it's my birth-month!

K- Kids
Three kitties who I treat like little, furry children. They listen about as well, too.

L- Life is incomplete without
Chocolate, good conversation, dancing, and laughter. - I'm just going to copy from Plainsfeminist, because I agree 100%.

M- Marriage Date
No, Thank God.

N- Number of Siblings?

O- Oranges or Apples?

P- Phobias/Fears
Spiders, barking dogs, illness.

Q- Favorite Quote
"The secret of our success is that we never, never give up." - Wilma Mankiller.

R- Reasons to smile
My oldest kitty snores in his sleep.

S- Season
Winter, when it's not too bitter. I love cold fingers in warm woolen mittens.

T- Tag Three People

U- Unknown Fact About Me
In High School, I was a long-distance swimmer. You'd never know it now!

W- Worst Habit
I am a bit of a control freak and I also say the wrong thing...and talk too much.

Y- Your Favorite Foods
Chicken Dumpling Soup, Nana's Rolls and mashed potatoes.

Z- Zodiac

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Episode 29: How I Started

Today I ramble for a while about how I learned to knit, and then learned again.

I talk about Vintage Styles for Today. I could not find errata for the book, but if you go to the Lion Brand website, you can search for the errata on any given pattern. This is the one for the Wrap Star.

I also try, without success, to interpret my sweater notes on the fly. It doesn't work. I will write it up someday, if the idea to do it doesn't get lost in the bottom of my knitting bag along with a baby sweater, hat and golf club covers.

Download Episode 29

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My e-mail address

Predictably, it is

Feel free to send scans of magazines!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Knit It Magazine

I cannot find a copy for love or money, but in the comments...

comette said...

Hi Laura: Hey! this might be 'old' news, but I thought I would mention it. I saw a "shoutout" in print for your podcast in the current issue of Knit It! by BH&G's Creative Collection magazine Spring 2007, see page 14! You GO GIRL! ~ Christine, Las Vegas.

Does anyone have a copy of this? Could you either scan it or leave a comment with what it says?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Do you want the recipe?

I will not actually write a pattern for this sweater, but I could write a customize-it-yourself recipe, if anyone says they want it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Stitch Pattern for the Sweater

It's called Dragon Skin and it's in Barbara Walker's second treasury of patterns, I believe, the one with the red cover.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Episode 28: Finishing and Blocking

This week I talk about tig welding wires and why you might want them, my GORGEOUS GREY SWEATER and why I stuck wires through it (but those will come out), some of my scattered design process and how I carefully avoid sewn seams.

I also mentioned:

My Local Yarn Shop

Film and Fiber - A great new podcast with a podcaster who is taking a tenny break because of her morning sickness. Everyone go tell her it gets better (I've been told, I don't know).

Greetings from Knit Cafe

If you look, you may notice that the link to the book is a UK site I heard about on Sticks and String. I have not tried this shop, but it looks like a good alternative to Amazon, if you want to try it.

and then I went online and looked for corrections for the above book.

It's a great book and I don't think I've reviewed it yet, but it's in the pile.

Download Episode 28

And now, my dragontooth sweater:

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Promised Meg Swanson Interview

Ok, well, first of all, everyone who is commenting is awesome and I'm really psyched to do my next show soon (even though I don't know when). I should confess...

Meg and I did record another interview. It still wasn't stitch-by-stitch perfect, so I haven't used it. I am considering chopping little tidbits out of it, but I haven't yet. I am bound and determined to get a good interview with her someday, somehow, I just don't know how or when.


Oh, and thanks for the heads up. My show was mentioned in a magazine and I didn't even know it. Yaay!

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Goodness

Ok, you know how things sometimes get worse before they get better? That's happening to me right now. Suffice to say I'm stretched a little thin. I still love you all and I am still simmering away a great show for you, but it may still be just a little bit.

And, thanks for all of your support and expressions of loving the show. It means a lot to me.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


My last show brought a torrent of comments and I think it's wonderful. I'm glad that other people have seen how knitting or other hand-work brings out courage and problem-solving. Also, letting go of relationships that are bad for us.

I must now confess why I haven't podcasted recently.

You, see, something is keeping me up late at night, I almost don't want to eat because I can't tear myself away....

I am knitting a sweater of my own design and I already love it so much I just can't put it down. It's from the top down with little saddle shoulders in a pattern called Dragon Skin.

It's grey and I love it love it love it.

I hope you will all understand. I will resurface when it is finished. Soon, I hope.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

That New Floor Smell

I couldn't podcast on Friday because there were men in my basement laying a fake-hardwood floor (I've had the supplies to do it since October). The project came in ahead of schedule and under budget, just the way I like it. This is yet another Big Step in my life forward. Some women (like Crazy Aunt Purl, who I love) used to put their finances in the hands of the men in their lives. I have allowed any home management that doesn't include sweeping, dusting and such to be ruled by men. That's why I was so excited when I changed that outlet without killing myself. Was it fiddly? Yes. Did it take longer than I thought? Yes. But did I do it and do it well? Yes. Are the people at Home Depot really nice to the girl who doesn't know what anything's called? Yes. So, I'm making myself do the things that don't involve saws, like scraping wallpaper, switching out the thermostat, and, one day, painting, which I hear is mostly just taping and a little dull but not hard. For saws, I hire people. Also, drywall. Because that's just plain messy.

Before, I paid in so many more ways and SO much more. Now I know what I'm getting and I can trust the work will be right.

I also want to point out that it isn't just that I am afraid of saws. I could get over that. The dang things just cost so much. By the time I buy the saw, I could have paid the guy to bring his own saw. Yeah, that it....

Monday, February 19, 2007

Episode 27: Another FSS solution, a romantic book and courage in knitting form

This week I talk about how knitting has built my confidence in other arenas, like not zapping myself, Romantic Style and another solution for First Scarf Syndrome. Also, taking good notes to keep track of what you're doing, especially with Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns.

There is a KAL for Romantic Knits here.

The publisher's website had no corrections for this book (although it did for others, which is a good sign).

Download Episode 27

Friday, February 16, 2007


My first "real" lace project, Icarus, is blocking on my guest bed. Boy that sucker is big and pretty. I'll hopefully take pictures tomorrow or Sunday.

On the next show, I plan to talk about a different solution to the First Scarf Syndrome, a Romantic book, and keeping track of your EZ shoulder shaping.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I have fixed the problem. Thank you for letting me know that you couldn't download, Barbro.

Episode 26: Magknits, Yarn Subs and First Scarf Syndrome

This week I talk about why I don't do longer shows anymore (sort 0f), the new MagKnits, how Knitters Review can help you choose substitute yarns, and First Scarf Syndrome (and how to deal with it).

Just in case you couldn't follow my little ditty about how I figure when I need to decrease, here is a graphical representation.

To decrease every fourth row three times, I write out
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12

I cross off the rows as I go and know that, at the end of each line of writing, that is the row that I decrease.

Download Episode 26

Friday, January 12, 2007

Episode 25: Fox, Geese and Thank Yous

This show features a thank you, an attempt to explain how to change the size of a hat and a new book.

The Book of the Week:
Favorite Mittens by Robin Hansen.
This is the description from School House Press
"Two long out-of-print books, Fox and Geese and Fences and Flying Geese and Partridge Feet, have now been combined into Favorite Mittens, which, after considerable delay, has finally appeared. The patterns are The-Best-Of from those two wonderful old books. and, as anticipated, it has been worth the wait. The new title contains dozens of historic mittens from 'Up North and Down East'. Softcover."
In my opinion, it's worth it just to look at it, but it's also rich with the history of mittens and traditional techniques that you could glean from somewhere else, but they're very well described and illustrated here.

Download Episode 25

Friday, January 05, 2007


I am not a handy woman. In fact, you pretty much have to say "saw" or "ladder" to get me completely off of doing any given household project. I don't love to dust or vacuum (although I seem to have, belatedly, latched on to a fomer lover's extreme joy in putting objects in boxes to go to Goodwill), but I will do them since I'd rather not live in filth.

So, the long and the short of it is that I, just now, really do want to fix up my house. I also lack any skilled, free labor. So, I have to take my big, over-educated brain and apply it to actually doing things that involve ladders (I will probably pay someone to do the sawing).

Does anyone out there know any good blogs or podcasts about overcoming fears/ignorance like mine?

I'm already madly in love with the Toolbelt Diva, but I don't think she's coming to help me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

About the name post...

I should point out that I did try out an extremely unusual last name of a friend of mine and it wasn't even in the database. So, he should stop being so cranky when people can't spell it.

I'll make no promises

about when I will do the next show. I am going through a large personal upheaval.

But, I did just find this on the internet.
LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

It's nice to feel unique.