How to Knit at Work

Knitting at work is a tricky thing. I have a job that lets me sit and do nothing and wait for the phone to ring, or wait for someone to come along and give me something to do. If you don't have a job like this, it may be a little more tricky. But for all you knitting secretaries out there... this is how I knit at work.

We are in the process of digitizing 30 years worth of files. Part of my job is to digitize these files by scanning them through our copy machine, which sends the digitized file to my computer. Since it takes a while to do this, a lot of my time is spent staring at the wall, waiting for one stack to finish scanning so I can put another stack into the scanner. This is a HUGE reason why less of this gets done than I have time for... it is extremely boring. A stack doesn't take long enough to go through so that I can go do something else, and it doesn't go through quick enough to stand there and wait... what to do? grab your knitting of course!

So yesterday, I brought with me my second mitten to work on, I was getting close to the decreases at the fingertips, so I worked on that while I digitized files. I was just about to do the first decrease, I checked my bag for a stitch marker... didn't have one. Crap! my plan had been ruined! I looked around, hmmm... paperclips... YES!!! a large paper clip fits perfectly on a size 8 dpn. bwa ha ha <> Nothing can stop me!!

Of course, when you are decreasing and trying to keep track of k2, k2tog, on this round, k around the next, etc. the phone will ring. The phone always rings when you are telling a co-worker a funny story that happened over the weekend, it always rings when your friend on the Instant Messenger is asking you a question about something very important, and it ALWAYS rings when you are counting stitches. How to remedy this? Post-it notes. Find a post-it note (you may need more than one, depending on what you are working on) fold it in half so the sticky part sticks to itself. Since I was switching between k rounds and k2/k2tog rounds, I wrote "k2, k2tog" on one side, and "k around" on the other side. When I passed the marker, I just flipped over my little post-it note, so if the phone rang, I wouldn't have to listen to what the caller wanted AND keep repeating to myself "knit two, knit two together" in my head, I could just read my little post-it note reminder.

I actually got to the point of casting off the fingertips yesterday. The pattern I am using has you decrease until there are 11 stitches on the needles, break yarn, thread yarn thru last 11 stitches and pull tight and weave in the end on the inside. Ok, piece of cake... I'll just grab my darning needle... uh... no darning needle. Ok, I don't have a darning needle, but I do have paperclips... lots of paperclips. For this I used a small, smooth paperclip (not the kind that has the lines scratched into it and not the plastic covered kind). If you have played with paperclips as much as I have (I am fidgety) you know that if you bend a paperclip in the same place about 5 times, it will break at that spot. I opened up a small paperclip, bent it until it broke in half and kept the half with the smaller loop on it. I stuck the yarn inside the loop and squeezed the paperclip until the loop closed, trapping my yarn inside. I then could use this to thread the yarn through my last 11 stitches. I didn't attempt to weave in the end with it though, I think that is asking too much of a paperclip. The make-shift darning needle has a little point that sticks out on the side (unless you work in an office that has needle-nose pliers, which I don't), so that catches on the yarn and snags it, save your end-weaving for when you get home.

I hope some of these office knitting tips will help you, whether you knit at work, on the bus, at the gym, at school or you just have not invested in all those "extra" knitting notions.



Why isn't the past tense of "knit"... "knat"? Sit - Sat... knit - knat... right?
anyway... I have one finished object, one nearly finished, one started, and supplies purchased for two more projects... it's been a full day!

First, I finished a Christmas present this morning, here's a picture.

Of course you don't see anything, I said it's a CHRISTMAS PRESENT. The person it is for reads this... wouldn't want to ruin any surprises. Sorry... there will be a picture after the gift is given. I promise.

Second, the nearly finished is my mitten! I want to run around screaming I KNIT A MITTEN!!! while wearing it. does that make me wierd?

Going to mom's tonight for dinner with the family and then she can help me finish the tip of the thumb and the fingertips. I LOVE this mitten, the colors are great, it fits perfect and feels great, that Manos del Uruguay is just amazing, and it was so much fun to knit.

When I got done weaving and realized I couldn't finish my mitten, or start the second, I had to knit something. So I cast on this hat that I found on Yarn Harlot's blog. (it's not in a recent post, I have started from the beginning and am reading the whole thing. That's what I do when I'm bored at work. I think I have a knitting crush on Stephanie) I just got the last stitch cast on and joined to knit in the round when mom called and said she was there to pick me up.

See that pink curled up thing there next to my needle guage, that's a swatch, I even made a swatch to count my stitches per inch! woohoo!

Mom was picking me up so we could go out to Forma loom. It is a weaving/knitting shop WAY out in the country of Whitmore Lake (just about 10 minutes outside of Ann Arbor). I need some yarn for my double weave project for school, so this is the only place around here to buy weaving yarn and supplies. Here's a pic of everything I bought.

The two cones on the left are what I'll be weaving. They are about a pound each of sapphire blue and lilac, 100% rayon, and so smooth and shiny. After what I've been using at school, this will be a dream to weave with. I would like to take that rayon boucle off the loom at school and burn it and dance around it naked, it is such a pain in my arse.

That pink cone in the middle is some neat 2ply cotton and something else that is really cool, that I can either knit or weave with... what a dilemma. and the cone of white is a cotton rayon blend (only 14% rayon) that I plan to dye, what I do with it after I dye it is not yet determined.

I see you are admiring those two skeins in front of the cones. As well you should... that is a silk/rayon 2ply, space dyed in all my favorite colors. That will also be used for a Christmas present, so there will be no more pictures of the yarn, until after Christmas. It is amazingly soft and will be perfect. There is 300 yards per skein and can you beleive it was only $8.95!! I had to get two, even though one should be plenty for the gift.

What's with all the rayon today?

Thanksgiving part two is tomorrow. Yesterday I went with Ryan for his family's thanksgiving. It was SO much fun, their family is about 30 people at this point and they are all close and get along (as much as a family should anyway). It is the complete polar opposite of anything I have experienced. My family is very small and not close at all, with the exception of a few extended family members. So I feel very lucky to have found this other family that has accepted me as their own and lets me share holidays with them. Thank you Ryan!

So part two is my family: mom, dad, Shannon, Ryan and me. The plan is to spend the day watching old beta tapes of home movies and also The Monkees tv show. Shannon and I and our two best friends growing up, Tia and Leah (respectively) grew up watching two beta tapes full of Monkees episodes that were taped off MTV in 1986, when there was some sort of Monkees anniversary and a full day marathon. My parents had just gotten their brand new beta recorder and were taping anything and everything. Lucky for us, our beta still works and we can still watch old monkees episodes. We used to watch these tapes after school and we'd all call out which one was our boyfriend, "I get Micky!" was always what I would say, but now that I am older, I think I like Mike better. He was always the rational, level headed guy (and with the most "real" musical talent).

I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving and that no one got trampled in any stores today.



We saw RENT last night at the theater, it was amazing. I give it two thumbs up, 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and an A. Wow... It was just so good, and I am a die-hard fan and hard to please. I will be listening to the soundtrack for the next couple weeks, I'm sure. They did an amazing job at sticking to the original story and making it more screen friendly. I think the movie is much easier to follow than the play. I was dissappointed that quite a few excellent songs were left out, one of my favorites in particular is Christmas Bells which is at least four different parts singing different songs at the same time and they just go together beautifully and shows what talent Jonathan Larson had. The few parts they had to throw in for the story to make sense were good, I was skeptical for the first few minutes of each added scene, and my sister and I each took turns looking at each other and rolling our eyes followed by the "what the hell is this?!" look. But the scenes were usually necessary and well done. They were short enough to not really change anything or make the story too complex. The beauty of the stage version is how everything is played out on a single stage with a single set up, the pit band is on stage visible throughout and the same props are used over and over for different things. In my opionion, the stage version is pretty much cheese-free. It's hard to have more than one person burst into song and choreographed dance without a little cheesey-ness, and I think the movie did very well with that too. The movie has far more speaking parts than the play, but that's ok, becuase the rhythm at which the lines were spoken, kept the same feeling that it had in the play.

Go see it... No day but today! Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving!


A watched pot...

My day job is mostly me sitting in front of a computer all day. When I have nothing else to do, I peruse the internet, which is bad for a number of reasons.

  • My credit card gets a good work-out

  • My gluteus maximus is widening

  • This laziness has bled into the rest of my life

  • When I finally do get some work to do, I'd rather be reading blogs or playing on the internet

  • I check my web hosting stats at Yahoo! repeatedly, to the point of obsession.

Which brings me to my question of the day. Does a watched web site never get hits? If I go to my Yahoo Web Hosting page, say, 8 times a day to see how many people have visited, am I watching a pot that will never boil? or am I just impatient and irrational thinking that among the bazillion websites out there, mine should be more popular.

Last night I finished my first set of Fiber Art Post Cards, they went out in the mail today... only one day before the due date. I signed up for this group thing in October, because at that point I had plenty of time to work on them and was really excited about it. But then, of course, the due date got closer and closer and I lost interest before I even started working on them. But they are finished, done, ca-put and I really doubt I'll sign up for another one; it's just not my bag baby. Here they are...

Now I am on my way to school, to battle with the loom some more. I am learning double weave. So far it's not difficult... the maddening part is that I used an 8/2 cotton in combo with a rayon boucle yarn in my warp. the bumps on the rayon get all tangled up with the cotton and with other strands of rayon for a big nasty mess, so far I have snapped 3 warp ends, so tonight, hopefully I'll get it all straightened out and the tension right and be able to start weaving.

My little sister is home for Thanksgiving from North Carolina and I can't wait to see her tomorrow night! She is meeting me after work and we're going straight to the movie theater to see RENT. I can hardly contain myself... the two in combination: the RENT movie AND seeing Shannon.... ahhhh!!!!


it's back

I knew it would happen, I've been in denial for at least a month or two.
Winter. it's here. and it brought with it snow and whipping cold winds. grrrrreeeeeaaaat... my favorite.

I guess the one good thing about winter, I can sit inside under a blanket and knit and not feel guilty. ok, honestly, I can do that in the summer too... I don't get guilty about knitting or sewing or weaving... because I am doing something, I'm not laying on the couch watching soaps and eating bon bons.

I finished the hat part of the hat, all that is left is the chin strap... which might take forever... I cast on 6 stitches and it has to be 26 inches long. yeah, twenty-six inches. sheesh.

Christmas present number one is half done. It's a not-girly-at-all-scarf.
Christmas present number two is not quite threaded onto the loom yet. I have the reed threaded, just have to thread the heddles and tie all the ends. That's the time consuming part, the actual weaving will go quick.
Christmas presents number three and four are still ideas in my head.

Who are they all for? I'll never tell.

I haven't done anything to the shibori panels. I think I have decided to do hand stitching on them, instead of peeling off the fused pieces. Maybe that will be on the agenda for my time off after Christmas. I like to save a week or so of vacation days and have the whole week between Christmas and New Years off work. it's great, just like being in high school again, without the homework.

I registered for my last semester of school last week. I am taking one more textiles class and Physical Science 101 with lab. I knew it, I knew I would leave one stupid academic class for last. Oh well, it shouldn't be too bad. I took physical science in high school and a biology and chemistry class, this should be review, right? The scariest class I ever took was Chemistry. I took it at the local community college, the lecture part was fine, but the lab was awful. Everything was easy, I understood everything we read, but I could barely make out what the lab instructor was saying. She had a VERY thick Asian accent. That was only half of the problem. The other half was the students in the class. I could not beleive the dumb things they were doing. My lab partner and I were seriously afraid. The worst part, the three students across from our lab station, were all nursing students. They couldn't measure liquids in a beaker, they couldn't follow instructions and their results were frequently wrong. I took a mental note of what they all looked like, in case I'm ever hurt and run into them again.

Tomorrow, I learn to knit in the round. Mom's going to teach me to knit mittens! I did a swatch of my Manos del Uruguay yarn on size 8 needles; perfection! After the mittens, I'll be attempting either socks or a sweater. Possibly both. I have a feeling that I will succumb to the sock obsession. Once I learn to knit in the round, I can make some better baby booties. I was just not impressed with the one I finished.


My poor neglected blog

Oh my! I haven't posted in almost a week! Bad blogger, bad! I do have an excuse... how many would you like?

Excuse number one:

I spent all of monday night after work, hand stitching with my hand dyed silk noil on all three panels. Where is all that hand stitching you ask? don't strain your eyes looking for it, it's not there. I went to class Tuesday night, expecting a critique, but we didn't have one. We had one-on-ones with the teacher, which was fine. I hung my three panels up and immediately we decided that the lighter pinkish one didn't really need to go with the other two. so that has become a separate piece. Then we spent quite a while figureing out what to do with these other two. I stayed for another hour in class and did more hand stitching and hung them up again to look. The hand stitching was only visible from about 3 foot away, once you got more than that far from them, even with gallery lights shining on them, the hand stitching dissappears.

Reluctantly, Wednesday night, I ripped out all my hand stitching. I cut out all those thin pieces of fabric and fused them to the panels. I am not in love with it. I definitely will do some hand stitching on them to help the fused pieces to blend in. right now, it looks like they are floating in front and are not a part of the background. I don't think I'll do anything to them for a while though. I need to put them out of view for a while so I can look at them fresh after a few weeks, months... uh... hopefully not years. I am just sorta dissappointed and wish I hadn't put those fused pieces on. I kindof liked that you couldn't see the stitching until you got up close to it, it's like a little surprise. I'm imagining them hanging in a gallery, from across the room, you see them and they are interesting enough to walk up to for a closer look. once you get there, you see all the meticulous hand stitching. I am kindof sad that it is gone. and mad at myself for doing the fused pieces, in part to please the teacher. So I MIGHT try to steam the pieces off. I used wonder under, has anyone had any experience un-fusing wonder under? does it leave nasty glue marks behind?

Excuse number two:

Here is the hat. I am more than halfway done. I am having so much fun knitting this. It's so easy and so not boring with all the k2, p2 ribbing and keeping track of what row I'm on. I love it!

Saturday, my mom and I drove to Grand Rapids for a visit with my best friend Leah and her mom Michele. They found out earlier this week that the cancer has spread to her liver and brain. They don't know how much time that leaves her. Leah has been staying with her at the hospital all day and all night for the past week. We came to help her out at home in any way we possibly could. They have been remodeling their basement since mid-summer so Michele would have her own bedroom there, it is nearly finished, that is mainly what we helped with; cleaning and vacuuming drywall dust and scraping globs of plaster off the cement flloor. We didn't get it all ready to be painted and ready for carpet until about 9pm, so we stopped for dinner and we left for home around 10.
I am very glad we could come help and also very glad we got to go to the hospital to see Michele. She was laying under the quilt I made for her. Leah has told me many times how wonderful the quilt is, that they take it everywhere they go and it brings such comfort to Leah to see her mom with it. That is exactly what I hoped it would do.

During the day, we escaped the "real world" for a while because Leah had a knitting class. She was learning to make a felted purse. So of course, we went with her and perused the yarn shop and some other little shops in the area. Did I leave empty handed? Of course not.

I got one skein of recycled silk. I have always wanted some of that! but it usually is kindof rough to the touch. this skein is particularly soft, so I had to have it. I don't know yet what it will become.
The other two skeins are Manos del uruguay, chunky wool. I think these will be mittens (for me!).

It was a bittersweet day, but I am extremely thankful we had it.


One day to do it

Once again, I have put off the finishing of a school project until the last possible moment. I worked on my shibori pieces for probably about a whole half hour on Saturday. I did maybe 4 lines of hand stitching with my hand-dyed silk noil thread, then hung up the piece and walked away. I had planned on coming back to it after a half hour or so, to look at it fresh and decide where I'm going with this, but after I walked away, I got sidetracked. I cast on a really rediculous hat for the new baby in the family. I started and frogged it at least twice before Ryan came over and we went out for dinner. mmmm...chinese food.... I've been craving that for a long time.
Ryan told me something that I found quite funny; partly because it's so true and partly becuase I didn't realize how true it is. He was talking to his mom over the weekend, she mentioned to him that she saw the bootie on my blog, and he told her, "yeah, every time I call her she's knitting". hahahahahhahaha! oh man... it's so true. And amazingly, even though I am "always knitting" how do I only have ONE finished knitted item?

We rented Melinda and Melinda. A new-ish Woody Allen movie. It's the first Woody Allen movie I've seen and I liked it. It was a two in one story, sortof similar to Sliding Doors that shows two perspectives or two outcomes of the same situation. Only this one was the same story, once depicted as a tragedy and the other depicted as a comedy. Will Ferrel is in it and was great. He should definitely do more toned down humor like this, it was great. (I didn't like Anchorman or his other SNL movies, not that that has anything to do with, well, anything.)

In other news, I have been informed that the OSU objects I donated to the auction went for $55 for the small wall hanging and $70 for the bag (paired with another item as a his and hers package). I am glad to have helped the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The auction raised $21,000 total! YAY!!!!

Critique is tomorrow night, so I will be spending all evening on hand stitching more detail into my three shibori panels. Photos to come later this week.


Got it all figured out

This is the new plan... there will not be a log cabin wall quilt. There will be a shibori triptych.

I went in to school on Tuesday with all my fabrics that I've been working on for the past 3 weeks or so. I laid them all out on a table with my modified log cabin drawing. I hunted down the teacher and asked if I could borrow her brain for a bit. I explained where I planned on going with the fabric and showed her my drawing, asked her my questions, and we actually discussed things and she helped me work through some things. After we decided on a direction for me, I took another look at that green and brown shibori piece. I hung it up alone so I could look at it and decide if I really could bare to cut it up. a few other students saw it and told me how nice it was just as it is. So I got that dark puple one out and hung it to the left of the green, then found the lighter purple and hung it to the right of the green. Then I hunted down the teacher once again and asked if she could look at one more thing with me. I asked if those three pieces were interesting enough to stand alone. She said they were. So that is where I'm headed. I will not be cutting anything up and sewing it back together.

I admitted to her that the previous modified log cabin plan was somewhat comfortable for me, that I was doing that because I know I can do it. These whole-cloth panels are something I have never done before. And for that reason too, I am glad the log cabin is out of my head. I have a lot of shibori fabric left that can become a log cabin quilt later.

This is a close-up of the panel on the right, that I put back on the pvc pipe, scrunched it and bleached it.

The log cabin design came out of a challenge from a friend at school. She brought in a design she had seen, it was some company's logo, just printed on the bottom of a shipping package.

She asked me if it could be sewn, she didn't think it would be possible to sew a piece into a corner like that, but I assured her, I could do it. I had done it before because I have never really liked the traditional log cabin patterns because there is always one piece that is either the same size as the center square or there is a piece that goes all the way across the bottom of the block. So I took the drawing home with me and set out to prove it could be done. And I did.


Holy crap, it's November!

Where the heck did October go?! I swear, wasn't it JUST August? Being busy sure makes the days and months go by fast!

Over the weekend I got absolutely NO sewing done. I should never have learned to knit. It is consuming my brain, I can't concentrate on all the projects I am in the middle of. I have all that shibori fabric that somehow needs to become a wall quilt before next Tuesday and all I have is an idea and a stack of fabric. I did one drawing on some graph paper and colored it in with colored pencils, but it's not exactly what I had pictured in my head, so I'm kindof stalled. Maybe I can go in to school tonight and get some help from the teacher. If she's willing to spend any time with me. So far she just sorta checks in once a week for 2 minutes or less and moves on to the more beginner students. Thanks for the gesture of confidence, but support and interest is great too, and I'm not getting any of that.

So what did I accomplish this weekend? THIS!!!! One baby bootie! yeah, that's right, I knit a baby bootie, second one is on the way, and there may be a third, then I can pick the best two out of the three. (no jokes about a 3-legged baby here, that is bad luck!) I still need to get it wet and shape it, it's sortof funny looking right now. I might also try to alter the pattern a bit because the foot looks like it is way too long for a newborn. I hope this doesn't turn into picking the best 2 out of 4 or 5.

For Halloween, Ryan and I went to hand out candy at his nephew's house while the family went out trick'r'treating. It was fun despite the cold and rain. Here is me and Joey, he is a sharp-tooth dinosaur, of course. I didn't dress up this year, last year I wore some vampire teeth and some yellowish brown contacts and he wouldn't come near me. The vampire teeth were just little caps to put on your own teeth with denture adhesive. Oh man... it sure made me appreciate my teeth and encouraged me to floss and brush well every day. That denture glue is the grossest stuff!

After Joey came back with his parents from Trick'r'Treating, he helped us "sell candy to the kids".
He was still rambunctious as ever at 10:00 when we left, hopefully they all got some sleep last night. I'm reallly starting to appreciate the whole nephew thing, you can come over and play for a while and then go home and sleep all night.
Here is Ryan responding to Joey's request: "Kunkle, make me hit myself!"

We left there around 10 when my nose started stuffing up from their two cats who aren't happy unless they are laying on your chest. Yes, it is possible that I may be the ONLY knitting blogger that does not have or want cats.