Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Anouk update

To bring this back to the knitting, here is a picture of my progress on Anouk, from! (notice the lovely hotel bedspread acting as a background...)

Scholarly Future Goals

Going to these academic conferences always gets me motivated to become a scholar. The inspiration fades when I get home and realize how much work (and how little reward) that would actually require. But there is no harm in letting my mind wander and make plans that I may never pursue. So here is the plan. After I graduate I want to do some research and write some articles. Who knows if I could get published, but wouldn't it be fun if I did? I have two ideas so far. First, I want to find out more about the work conditions under which knitting supplies are made-- partly out of my own interest and partly because I think other people want the information. Some of the vendors we use at the shop talk about their fair working conditions and humanitarian goals (Lantern Moon comes to mind) but a) how much can you trust when companies tell us and b) what about all the other vendors and manufacturers, especially the big ones, who don't tell us anything about their labor conditions? I am not sure how to find this information (and more importantly, how to know that the info I do find is trustworthy), but there must be a way. Also important is what the environmental impact of yarn and needle production is. Some manufacturing processes introduce a lot of chemicals into the environment, but some companies use organic, renewable fibers, environmentally friendly dyes and environmentally responsible processing methods. There is a decent amount of information available about the small one-man (or woman) type companies, but what I can't find anywhere is information about the bigger companies like Cascade, Crystal Palace, Berroco, Plymouth, etc. A lot of research will be required.

My other idea is more anthropological/sociological. I have been reading recently about the many challenges of being a modern woman faced with the responsibilities of a career and a family. What I haven't read anything about in the scholarly literature, however, are WAHMs. WAHMs (Work At Home Moms) are women who have found a way to balance full time motherhood (often even homeschooling their kids) AND having a job that satisfies their desire to be productive, creative and financially independent. This isn't the perfect or only solution to the problem our society faces but I think it is a really interesting and important way that many woman have adapted to the challenges they face. I want to interview WAHMs to find out why and how they became WAHMs, how well it works for them as far as allowing them to be full time moms as well as feel satisfied and productive, how economics play into it (do they do it because they need the money or just because they want to be productive? are they able to make enough money doing it? etc), how it affects their relationships with their husbands, how their husbands feel about it (including how much support they give and how much their value the work that they do and the time that they spend doing it), how it affects the "second shift", and if they would rather be employed outside the home (i.e. are they WHAMs because they feel obligated to stay at home with the kids).

So many ideas, so little time to do all the research...

Today's Sessions

I only really attended one session today-- "Topics in Reproductive Anthropology". One of my favorite subjects! It was a great session with 6 different papers presented, all of them interesting. Carolyn Hough, Jill Fleuriet, Nancy Winterbauer, Jennifer Thompson, Julie Tumbarello and Lisa Kane-Low presented on topics ranging from childlessness in Gambia to Menopause and Sexuality to Elective Cesareans. If you can't contain your curiosity and want to read my (brief) notes from the session you can download them by clicking here. The line up for tomorrow looks like "Reproductive Health Education," "Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health,"Perspectives on Teen Sexuality, STIs, Sex Ed," "Reproduction and Children's Health," and "Development Wars: Collaborating in a Global Solution." (one of my professors is part of that last one so I should probably attend it to support her) What a full day! And then I have a reception for the Council on the Anthropology of Reproduction (CAR) at 9pm.


I am going to be in Tampa, Florida all week for the Society for Applied Anthropology conference. After a 17hr drive we arrived last night. I am not presenting until Saturday (which is good since I have no idea what I am going to say) and there aren't a terribly great number of sessions that I feel strongly about attending, so I should have a decent amount of downtime to work on class work (of which I have too much) and maybe squeeze in some knitting. Nearby St. Petersburg hosts a couple of yarn shops which I would love to visit if I get the chance. The first thing I need to do is find a nice little coffee shop with wireless internet where I can sit and get some work done.

Update: found a sandwich shop/cafe with wireless but no outlets to plug in. Cute little place,, but I'm afraid I'm going to run out of juice. Having to struggle so hard just to get online and work on a paper makes me grumpy. I hope this sandwich is good enough to cheer me up.

Update #2: It was. I recommend the Cuban Sandwich for anyone visiting Tampa. Its yummy. Plus I found a nice little park to sit in and read, I can only get a weak wireless signal there, though.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Too many projects!!

Okay, I admit it. I have too many works in progress. I just have one or two too many going on right now. It makes it too hard to choose what to work on! Avi likes having all the yarn laying around, though.

This weekend I made some more progress on my Bonsai lace top (I am loving it!), knit up and felted a test sample of a felted mug cozy using the shop logo, and began making Anouk from I am using King Tut cotton for Anouk and I think its going to work very nicely (photo of intarsia pocket to the left). If all goes well I will teach a fair-isle workshop using the felted mug cozy project and a class on Anouk sometime this spring.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Open/Closed Sweater Sign for Shop

I finally started the Open/Closed sweater sign I am making for the shop. Jo gave me 4 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas cotton in blue, lime, red and orange to make a baby-sized sweater that says "Closed" on one side and "Open" on the other that we can hang in the shop window. I have been putting off starting it because I can't decide exactly how I want to arrange the colors and what type of design will look best. My colored pencil sketches just aren't cutting it though, so I am biting the bullet and giving it a try. I have a couple of inches so far. The pictures doesn't show the colors right-- they look kind of faded and gross in the picture. They are actually very bright and cheerful!

Sock Ideas?

Jo gave me a couple balls of SouthWest Trading Company's Craft (cotton & milk fiber) in a cheerful grass green and suggested I make socks out of them. They call for a size 6 needle and are 125m/50g. Any suggestions on pretty sock patterns for this size yarn? I would like to do something summery, lacey, etc...

On the Needles

I thought I had finished the bikini but unfortunately the bottom didn't fit-- too big. So I have ripped it out and casted back on.

In the meantime I have made some progress on my Bonsai lace tanktop from IK. Now if I could only find the pattern (which I lost a week ago). I had the lace repeat memorized so I was fine for a while, but now its time to change to the upper part and I don't know what to do.

I also knit a pair of panties. They are great! They actually fit really well. I used Cascade fixation, which is a wonderful stretchy cotton yarn that you can just throw in the wash; so nice! The pattern is adapted from Sexy Little Knits. I made this pair to go with a nightie that I am knitting out of the same yarn. I even incorporated the same lace pattern into them. Now that I know that this pattern works and it fits well and looks great I am excited to start another pair. I have picked out a different color fixation (lime green and blue), now I just need to decide what lace pattern I want to use, or if I want to use some other type of decorative stitch....hmm

An Assortment of Things

Newly discovered blog that entertains me: knitandtonic

And she has beautiful patterns. I especially like "Sizzle" and "The Somewhat Cowl."

Spunky Eclectic:Beautiful hand painted yarn. Its very pretty. She is sending us some samples at the shop. Hopefully it will be nice enough for us to order some.

The blue tank top to the left is gorgeous. One of the open knit nite gals at the shop it working on it. Wow. It is from Adrienne Vittadini's Spring 2005 book.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


There are several books that I really want. I finally got a chance to look through World of Knitted Toys this evening and I have to have it. It has such a great selection of animals from all over the world. I also want to read the new Debbie Macomber book as soon as it comes out. Another one that is coming out soon (in April!) is Knitting Lingerie Style. I can't wait. Unfortunately with Chris' birthday and then graduation (i.e. the real world) coming up soon I can't really justify spending what little money I have on knitting books. If I'm lucky, maybe my friends will buy them and let me borrow them!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


This evening I have been knitting swatches. Southwest Trading Company sent us some samples of their yarns at the shop today and I took them home to knit up swatches. Unfortunately they didn't send us samples of the yarns that I was most interested in--the soft fluffy soy silk ones! I like Love- the bamboo/silk blend- but its not terribly exciting. The 100% bamboo is pretty neat and unique...a somewhat limited color selection though. I like the sock yarn (Tofutsies) but to be honest I have never used sock yarn before so I'm not sure how it compares (I have knit socks, but never with yarn specifically for socks). Oasis--100% soy silk, but not the soft fluffy texture I want but a smooth roundish yarn--is fine but not terribly special. Craft--milk fiber and cotton--is fine as a all around cotton but doesn't seem to offer much more. It comes in a limited range of colors though. Inspiration (soy and alpaca) isn't very inspiring either. I have worked with both soy and alpaca before and both have the potential to be very soft and luxurious. This yarn is scratchy! Phoenix (soy silk ribbon) is pretty nice. It is flat like a ribbon but soft and easy to knit. It has potential. Rock (soy, wool and hemp) is neat. The hemp makes it somewhat coarse of course, but that will soften over time. The hemp also makes it feel kind of...earthy. I could definitely see myself using it, though I'm not sure for what.

Have you used any SWTC yarns? Do you have any opinions on this company or its yarns? Have you heard anything about them? good or bad!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bamboo Yarn

I like bamboo yarn. I know its a silly novelty thing, but it makes me happy to make things out of bamboo. I am thinking about going to the plant store today and buying a little bamboo plant to look at while I knit with my bamboo yarn. I just started the green lace tanktop from Interweave Spring 2007 magazine using Berroco Bonsai and its great to work with. I was a bit worried at first b/c it is flat like a ribbon yarn and I find ribbon yarn awkward to work with. Even the Suede I am using for my bikini is a little weird to knit. But I don't find that with this yarn at all. It is soft and supply so you don't notice that its flat. To be honest I don't know how I am going to like it when its finished. I don't usually like yarns with shiny glitz in them, and the pattern is kind of different, but for some reason I just have to make it. It will be a great technique piece, if nothing else. It has multiple lace designs and will be one of the first sweater-type things I have made. And even if it doesn't look good on me I am sure it will look lovely on one of the display forms in the shop!

Website Making Confusion

I have decided that I enjoy Google-page making (and blogging) enough that its time for me to learn how to really make websites. The shop is also thinking about adding an e-shop and I would love to learn how to do that so that when it comes time for the shop to expand in that direction I will be prepared and we won't have to hire someone else. (i.e. I know that I am going to need a job next year and would love it if Jo could hire me to run our e-shop!!) But in order for that to happen I have a lot to learn. I have started reading tutorials about Dreamweaver and Coldfusion and its all very confusing to me. Thankfully my laptop came with Dreamweaver, so I can mess around with it as soon as I figure out how (its the 2004 version and I am sure things have changed, but its a start). I can't imagine that it will be that hard once I figure out how it works but the tutorials are so confusing! Anyone have suggestions on good, clearly written books on building website (especially e-shops) and running an e-business? Oh, and we use Quickbooks in the shop so we will want to make sure our e-shop is Quick Books friendly.

Do you recognize me?

I made this fella for my mom a year or two ago and have no memory whatsoever about the pattern. When I post him on my site I would love to include the pattern source, if I could remember it. So if you recognize him and know where the pattern came from please let me know! Oh, and he is knit, not crocheted. I know the loopyness makes it hard to tell what is going on.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Felted Slipper #3 and Wine Cozy finished

When I made my first pair of felted slipper clogs I accidentally felted one of them too much and now its too small. I tried re-wetting it and stretching it but it didn't help. So I had to make another one. I decided to try something knew with this one though and added some furry yarn to the inner sole and cuff. Hopefully it will make it even more cozy (that or just bizarre...). Its in the wash felting right now...

I also finished the wine bottle cozy today. I love it! It will be fun to have it at the shop

Monday, March 5, 2007

Crocheted Checkers Set

My mom is a hand spinner so we have lots of random little yarn balls all over the place. They are made of all different types of wool in different shades and blends of white, brown and gray. I hate seeing them sitting around unused and ignored so I decided to dump a bunch of them in some dye and make a felted crocheted checkers set. My parents are building a mountain house which we plan to fill with handcrafted stuff and I think a hand crocheted checkers set will fit in great. I am trying to match the color to some hand-spun I already had dyed up and that is always a challenge. One of the colors is a rusty red left over from the toboggan I made Dad for Christmas, the other is some blue yarn from a project I never started many years ago. I think it may actually be some that I handspun-- its more uneven than my mom's yarn. Once I get the yarn dyed the way I like it I think this project is going to work up quickly since its crocheted. Don't you love all the fun, totally random patterns you can find online?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Bikini Time!

As the weather starts to warm up I am drawn to spring and summer knitting projects. One of the most fun is a suede bikini from the book Sexy Little Knits. I finished the top this evening and am happy to say that it looks great. Unfortunately you can't really tell how it looks from pictures but I won't post any pictures of it being worn till I'm wearing my summer tan! I started the bottom but after a couple inches of lace realized I had misread the pattern (which isn't written very well) and had to rip it all out. Dissapointing, but I was able to get enough knit to know that I would like the finished look.

I also got a bit of work done on a third felted clog. I over felted one of the first two and its just a bit too tight for comfort. I am also adding some furry stuff to the inner sole. Hopefully it will make it even more cozy!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Pig and Amigurumi

Miss Piggy is done! She turned out so cute that I've been asked to teach a class on how to make her in April.

This little creature is an amigurumi, or at least thats what the magazine says. According to wikipedia, the definition of amigurumi is:

" Amigurumi (Japanese: from amu (編む, to knit) and nuigurumi (縫い包み, stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. Amigurumi are typically cute animals (such as bears, rabbits, cats, dogs etc), but can include inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features. Amigurumi can be knitted, but the vast majority of amigurumi are crocheted.

Amigurumi are usually crocheted out of yarn. The simplest designs are worked in spirals. In contrast to typical Western crochet the rounds are not usually joined. They are also worked with a smaller size needle in proportion to the weight of the yarn in order to create a very tight-looking fabric without any gaps through which the stuffing might escape. Amigurumi are worked in sections and then joined. The extremities are often stuffed with plastic pellets to give them a life-like weight, while the rest of the body is stuffed with fiber stuffing.

The pervading aesthetic of amigurumi is cuteness, or kawaii. To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities"

In googling the topic I discovered a website with some really cute amigurumi patterns for sale called at
Free patterns can be found here (they aren't as cute though!!)

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Stress Relief

Its midterms time and so I'm stressed out about exams and papers. Thankfully we get a week off for spring break once all the exams are over (just one more week!)--guess what I am going to do with my time off? (here is a hint, it requires the use of two sticks and a ball of yarn...) In an attempt to survive until then I have started a new project or two...just little ones though! I got the spring edition of Knit Simple in the mail yesterday and it has patterns for the cutest crocheted stuffed animals including a pig that I just couldn't resist. I'm not sure what an "amigurami" is but it sounds fun! I haven't crocheted since I was in middle school but after looking over the basic instructions again my fingers miraculously remembered what to do. Its amazing how much faster crocheting is than knitting but it seems to make my hands cramp up more. Anyone else have this problem? Of course at the same time as I am starting this funny little creature into the shop walks one of our instructors with an adorable bunny that she made from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts and reveals to me that they also have a pattern for an equally cute elephant. And since I have an odd attachment to elephants ofcourse I can't resist. So now I have two stuffed animals in progress. I don't have any need for stuffed animals. But who can resist. Plus, I have been working hard this week and deserve something fun...check out progress here.