Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Knitalong: A Book Review

Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together

by Larissa Brown & Martin John Brown

I know. We here are Baad Medicine are getting all smart and literary for once.

I own a few knitting books. (By which I mean about 20.) I've loved books since I was quite small and so every time a new knitting book comes out, I like to have a quick peak at it. I look for stories or new techniques, pictures that catch my eye, and patterns that I could see myself knitting. Sometimes I stand in front of the knitting section of the book store, picking up books, leafing through them briefly and setting them back on the shelf. Given the number of knitting books release in the last few years, you can imagine that I do a lot of picking up and putting down.

This book came home with me a few weeks ago and every night I've been reading a little bit. (I like to make a good thing last, you know?) The chapters are divided into different types of knit a longs, which in this book means simply knitting together. The more I read this book, the more I feel the history of the craft and the culture that I have become a part of, albeit unwittingly.

The book takes us through a brief history of knitting as a group, touching on cottage knitting, knitting as therapy (especially for crazy people and orphans), and wartime knitting. All chapters include patterns which relate to its theme, such as socks which are reminiscent of those knit for extra money by cottage knitters, or a felted orgami peace crane in the chapter on wartime knitting. Each pattern is fairly straight forward but allows for each knitter to interpret it in their own way. Some patterns, like the Meathead hat, encourage the knitter to make their personalities shine through their knitted objects.

As you read through the book, you find chapters which encourage you to seek out knitting in your own communities and challenge you. Perhaps you would like to knit the Entymology hat and mittens as your first dip into two color knitting. Maybe you'll enter your knitting in a local fair to raise awareness of your craft and celebrate your skill as a knitter.

Finally, the authors give you the tools to start your own knitalong, online, in your local stitch and bitch or LYS. I was delighted by the people that I met by hosting the Hanami Knit-a-long last fall. We had no experience in hosting an online event and had only participated in one KAL ourselves. Somehow, we found ourselves knitting lace with people in Australia, North and South America and Europe. Some of these knitters have become our friends that we chat with regularly through our blog and on Ravelry.

This book reminds me of the community I am a part of and the knitters I have met. It makes me appreciate the things that knitting has taught me and the friends that I have made.

5 / 5 stitch markers

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Make Work Projects

Make Work Project #1:
The men in my husband's family have this springtime ritual. The go outside with their shovels and they "spread snow". It's a labor intensive process involving moving snow from one part of the yard (that gets less sunlight) to another (one that gets more sunlight). He always comes in sweaty and exhausted. "Oh I think one or two more days and it should all be done," he tells me. Wow, as opposed to the 3 or 4 days it would have taken without the spreading snow maneuver. Good thing you spent hours out there working on it. And all of them do it. They like to discuss snow spreading techniques at family functions. They like to comment on one another's finished products. To me, the snow is gonna melt no matter what. It's a fact. It will get warm and it will melt, snow spreading or otherwise.....

Make Work Project #2
Well, these 2 make work for me all the time....

Make Work Project #3

I'm not actually sure if this is a make work project or not, you can decide and let me know.

My Picovoli is basically done. As it is knit in the round, there are no seams to sew up (sooo nice). Just the picot edging needs to be finished - this ones involved sewing down live stitches. Supposedly this leads to a less bulky edge (and it seems to be the case). It is time consuming, but I'm following what Lucy Neatby taught us - just do one bit of finishing a night. That way it doesn't seem too daunting or picky to deal with.

So it's going pretty go, if a little bit slow. The only problem is the sleeves. They are flaring out in a very unattractive way. I went down a needle size to try and stop this from happening (as suggested in a thread in Ravelry). This doesn't seem to have made much of a difference.

My options are this: keep going on sleeve #2 and not worry too much about it OR rip out sleeve #1 and redo it, going down a needle size AND decreasing by a few stitches. I think it sounds like a little bit of a make work project, but I'm not sure. Will it make a difference or not??

Help me, oh smart knitting people....you're my only hope.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I have finished up a pair of socks that I was hoping would put me in mind of spring.

(It's my own crazy design in my own crazy hand-dyed yarn. Fun if a tad wacky.)

Unfortunately, our weather is anything but April showers. So, instead of going for walks with the Princess and the Dude, or playing in the yard or at the park, I've been doing moss stitch. You heard me. Moss stitch is basically rows of k1, p1 in an alternating fashion. It isn't my favorite but it makes good TV knitting. I've completed the back the one of the fronts of the Minimalist Cardigan in the most luscious of yarns. I don't knit this in front of T. for fear of having the yarn snatched from my hands. It wasn't an economical purchase but it was worth every penny. The sheen and the softness are a joy to knit and the drape of the knitted fabric is devine.

I'm hoping to have this number finished pretty soon to add to my modest maternity wardrobe. It turns out if you're knocked up, you should only be able to wear pants in funny fabrics and shirts that look like tents. So not only do you have to deal with the idea that gaining weight is a good thing, after spending most of my life striving (and failing) to waste away in that fashionably waif-like way. It turns out that a blossoming (and I use the term loosely) belly can only be shrouded in bright prints or ill-fitting t-shirts. It's a good thing I'm a getting a kid out of it, or it totally wouldn't be worth it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Words

It constantly amazes us how two children who share so much of the same genetic code, can be so entirely different. Stinky is stubborn, and outgoing, and difficult, and spirited, and not at all like his older brother (not that Punky isn't difficult....). Stinky is blond haired with blue eyes, as opposed to his brown-haired, big brown-eyed brother. Stinky flashes his smile constantly at strangers (something Punky would never do....he'd rather give them a scowl). Stinky is slow to put words together and not near as verbal as the Punk. He's just different. And that's good. We could only handle one version of each.

But the words and conversations are starting to come. He has new words everyday and is trying his hardest to tell us what he wants, and definitely what he doesn't want.

Yesterday, we were in the kitchen where I was hanging out with my prize winning yarn, and I pointed at it.

Me: Hey buddy, what's this?

The Stink: Yarn.

Really. You have a vocabulary of maybe 20 words, and one of them is "yarn".

Right on.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And the winner is....

....Metta. Our friend from Sweden. She was the only one who got them all correct!! Nice work.

For those of you who need to do some remedial work, these were the correct responses:

1. What happened to T's Mystery stole?

- it was, unfortunately, frogged. For the non-knitters that means it was ripped. a. part. stitch. by. stitch. It's called "frogging" because you "rippit, rippit".

2. How many pairs of socks did J. knit for Christmas?

- 14 freakin' pairs of socks.

3. What does T. refer to her kids as?

- in the most loving way possible, Punky and Stinky.

4. What did J. make her dude for their 7th anniversary?

- a lovely blue scarf in alpaca (the socks were for Christmas)

5. What did T. do with her finished Hanami?

- she gave it to her sister

6. How many kids does J. have?

- one not-so-little Princess and one ever-growing in the incubator (what are we referring to the baby #2 as....)

7. How many objects have hit T's frog pond?

- 5 (approximately) - I am not giving the links because it's just depressing.

8. What do T & J do to make money to buy yarn?

- well, we'd like to say we have rich husbands who support our habit, but really, we are pharmacists

9. What yarn does T liken to crack?

- oh ma gawd, the Seasilk

10. What are T&J's real names?

- Titiana and Jose of course!!! (well, maybe we should change are names - Titiana and Jose sound much more worldly than Teri and Joline....)

Thanks for playing. And here's to a new year of blogging.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Prizes! Winning! Anniversary Celebrations!

Today marks our First Blogiversary. One year of endless knitting chatter - with a mix of kids, husbands, complaints and life as we know it.

We wanted to do a couple of things in honor of our year of blogging.

We first both wanted to share our favorite posts of the year. We definitely both have grown as writers (and knitters, and mothers) but it's also fun to look back at some of the good stuff.

T. favorites include:

- her youngest's first birthday party

- her oldest's fourth birthday

- remembering her grandma

J's favorites include:

- the Little People series, to be continued

Next, we have a few questions to ask our readers. The person who has the most correct responses will get a fabulous prize. For our knitting friends, it'll likely be of the yarn variety; for our non-knitting friends (hi Mom), it'll be a knit dishcloth. So if you've been reading along for the last year you should be able to figure most of these out.

1. What happened to T.'s Mystery Stole?
a. It's a UFO.
b. It's a beautiful piece that she wears often.
c. It's frogged.
d. Who cares? When does the next Mystery Stole start?

2. How many pairs of socks did J. knit for Christmas?
a. None. J. hates knitting socks.
b. 2
c. 52 pairs - take the plunge baby.
d. 14, thank you very much.

3. T. refers to her kids as....
a. Thing 1 and thing 2
b. Stinky and Punky
c. Boy 1 and Boy 2
d. Does it really matter? What about some yarn talk?

4. What did J. make her dude for their 7th anniversary.
a. Nothing - everything makes him "too hot"
b. Something - but we don't want to know the details.
c. A lovely blue scarf in alpaca
d. Some Earl Grey Socks.

5. What did T. do with her finished Hanami?
a. She gave it to her sister.
b. She gave it to J.
c. She gave it to herself.
d. What finished Hanami? T. never finishes anything.

6. How many kids does J. have?
a. One little Princess.
b. One little Prince.
c. One little Princess and one that's incubating.
d. Kids? What kids?

7. How many objects have fit T.'s frog pond?
a. One
b. Five
c. Ten
d. What's a frog pond?

8. What do T. and J. do to make the money to buy the yarn?
a. Work in Martha's test kitchen
b. Raise sheep
c. Pretend their pharmacists while lurking on Ravelry when they're not knitting on lunch break
d. They married rich men and just sit around in fancy outfits, wearing pearls and drinking Singapore Slings

9. What yarn does T. liken to crack?
a. Briggs and Little
b. Noro sock yarn
c. Seasilk
d. Crafter's cotton

10. What are our real names?
a. Tanya and JoAnne
b. Titiana and Jose
c. Teri and Joline
d. Trish and Jill

Not too hard right? You can put your responses in the comments. You have until Tuesday April 22 to leave a comment and potentially win a prize!! Good luck.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who Loves You, Baby?

Nothing says love like a handmade gift. My Princess was a lucky girl this year.


A sassy skirt for her cheerleading needs. (Thanks, Auntie T. See? It fits!)

And a toy box/ bench for all her treasures. (Thank you Uncle John!)

She is one lucky girl, if you don't count the viral illness she has succumbed to the last few days. I think she's on the mend.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sure signs

I have chosen to live in a place where winter takes a firm hold for endless months. I have chosen this, so I feel I cannot complain (at least, not too much). If it was unbearable, I could move. But I don't. I continue to live here, along with many other sturdy and strong, winter-hardy people. We hunker down for long months, succumbing to a horrible infliction known as "cabin fever". Then when you think you cannot take one more day....certain sightings occur.

Boys on bikes.

Plants. Green plants. Not dead brown ones.

Non-woolen knits popping up here and there.

(This is my Picovoli in a beautiful linen/cotton blend - more on that next time).

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Breathe in that air while you can, cause heck, it could snow again next week (or later today for that matter).

Saturday, April 12, 2008


How do you describe someone who has changed your life? You can't possibly be objective. Your truth is not likely the truth that the world sees. Everything about them is adorable and wonderful. A marvel. A miracle.

From the moment we saw you, we were in awe. (Partly because you were a girl and I was sure I was having a boy.) You screamed. We cried. You came home. We wondered what we should be doing with you.

Everyday you taught me to be patient, to think of others first, that changing diapers isn't that bad and sleep isn't all it's cracked up to be. A smile can change my day. A new tooth can spell disaster. A Mommy can make everything better.

Today, you've been with us for two whole years. It seems like we've always known you. It seems like you were just a baby. You're a big girl but you'll always be my baby.

Happy Birthday, Big Girl! And many happy returns of the day. Every year you get older and smarter and prettier and stronger.

And every year marks the day you made me a better person.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let's Hear it for T.!

She won a skein of Sock that Rock yarn in a recent contest on their blog! What will she get? Lightweight or Medium? And what colour will tickle her fancy? So many questions!

Couldn't have happened to a nicer gal! (Can you believe I just typed gal? Me either.) Congratulations, T.! Don't knit it all in one place.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Swap & Meet

It's hard to describe how Ravelry has changed the face of knitting. The community of knitters that it brings together is immense. The ability to search for patterns or problems or people who can solve your problems. Pretty much everything you need in one place. It has helped me more than once.

These past few weeks brought along with it a new Ravelry-related experience. A yarn swap. This lady had connected with J. over her skirt, and she was wondering where she could find a kit to make one. J. suggested she get in touch with me as I had an unused kit just hanging around. So I got a nice little message on Ravelry about my kit and would I be willing to trade it for something else. I'm usually leery about these sorts of things (note: loathing of the general public).

Now, there's nothing wrong with the yarn or the skirt. What's wrong is that my legs are ridiculously long. No, not in a super-model type way (I'm not quite skinny enough for that), just plain long. When you're 6'2" tall that's just the way it is. So, upon further reflection, I knew there was no way there would be enough yarn to make a decent skirt - or at least a skirt that would be decent. This yarn, therefore, has been sitting there, on my shelf waiting. Waiting for someone or something. And then along came Dehbi.

We messaged back and forth with some trade options, and I finally just left it up to her. I told her the big thing to me would be to get something that I couldn't get here. Something that was different.

A couple weeks later this arrived.

Hand-dyed wool from Chile (it's more blue than grey). Dehbi bought it there on a trip and just never used it.

Wow. I'm a lucky, lucky girl. Now I just have to consider my options. I'm currently leaning towards this.

Anyone else have any great ideas for about 850 yards of fingering weight hand-dyed from the south of Chile??

Monday, April 7, 2008

On the Upside...

Today, I'm grateful that:

1. I married this man.

2. I heard the heartbeat of someone I haven't met yet.

3. I get to cuddle a Big Girl who still fits in my lap.

4. I'm almost ready for the tea party.

5. This is the yarn I'm going to knit up next.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Out of the Loop

Literally. I'm totally out of the loop. Knitting wise and world wise. My internet connection is down. Has been for almost 48 hours. Will be for another 5 days. Don't ask how I'm posting this as it requires me to sit a certain way, hold my head a certain way and hold the computer a certain way.

Knitting wise things are slow. I'm attempting to make up for multiple trips to the frog pond last week. So it's very slow.

Until next week.....

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Getting Organized

I've felt a little out of sorts in terms of my knitting. I usually have the next several projects all planned out. I know what yarn I'll use. I've probably even bought it. The last little while I've just been knitting things on a whim.

No more, Gentle Reader. I am going to get my act together. Why, you may ask? Well, I have 3 big deadlines.

The Big Girl, as she prefers to be called, with be turning 2 next Saturday. The teaset is progressing.

I have to finish one cup, one saucer, one creamer and one teapot with lid. Should be manageable barring any unforeseen knitting related injuries.

The second is my Sister's wedding in August. A long time ago, I thought it would be a great idea to knit her a wedding shawl. And one for myself, cause I deserve it. No problem. I have a year to prepare. I bought just the right laceweight, I found a pattern or two. But lace takes time, so I should really turn my mind to reading charts and slipping markers.

The third is October which marks the arrival of Kid #2. (I need a better nickname for this one. Leave your ideas in the comments.) I have some baby knitting planned for the coming months. Fortunately, baby knits are small and quick to knit. Our friends are having a baby a couple of weeks after us. (And no, we didn't plan it. The Dude and I like to keep our reproductive life private, thank you.) I'm sure I'll be able to make a little something for our baby's friend.

I did manage to finish these socks.

They were fairly quick and very interesting. I enjoyed the pattern and would likely make them again but perhaps in a different color. Green isn't really my thing but I'll wear them anyway. It's the closest thing I've got to Spring.

(Socks that) Rock the Vote!

The Socks that Rock sock club had a contest to make up a design or pattern idea that would use up large quantities of yarn. T. and I made the top 20! If you're in the club, go on over and vote!

T. wants to whip up BSJs for freezing polar bear cubs. I thought we should make sheep cozies out of silk since we're having such a cold spring.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Knitting in Action

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your knitting being used, for good of course. My boys don't have a choice - I make them wear what I knit. No questions asked.

Other people, unfortunately, are not under my control. I have come to the realization that knitting something for someone is about the process, and not about whether or not they truly love it as much as I do (this is hard....but I think it's true...). I can't control other people's reaction to my exhaustive knitting efforts. I have to "let go" (again, this is hard....for the exceedingly high strung, type A person that I am....but I'm trying). Knit with love, give it away and let go.

Having said this, nothing feels better than seeing your knitted works on a loved one.

Case in point.

My nephew.

I can't tell you how excited I was when I pulled him from his car seat to see this.

Gorgeous. The kid and the pants.