Harlot, Grannies and Sweater Karma


Yesterday was the long awaited Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka Yarn Harlot visit and talk at Mt. Magazine Lodge here in Arkansas and it was crazy good!  The subject was “This Is Your Brain On Knitting” and covered the how and why knitters/fiber artists are (usually) so calm, cool and collected.  Hint:  Theta waves.  Knitters and other fiber artists have known about the benefits of playing with fiber for probably centuries, but it was really neat and affirming to have actual scientific studies proving what we’ve known all along.  Besides being the consummate knitter and knitterly author, she’s a very engaging and likable speaker – someone you’d LOVE to be sitting next to at the next knit night.  Thanks, Stephanie, for visiting and sharing with us your humor and wisdom.  It was a blast!!!   By the way, she’s from Toronto, Canada and arrived with the first ever May snowfall in Arkansas; she joked that she was the first person to visit Arkansas in May and wish she were back home in Toronto warming up!  It was COLD – snowing and sleeting hard when we left the Lodge for the drive home to Little Rock.  More about the knitting fun in the next post – so onward and upward.


I’ve lately been sort of obsessed with crochet, more specifically, granny squares.  I know the basics of crochet, it’s just not been my craft of choice.  I can do it well enough to finish a knitting project, like joining pieces together or making a neat, sort of lacy edge, but that’s about it.  It’s not that I don’t like to crochet, it’s OK, I’d probably like it a whole lot better if I practiced and got better, I just haven’t – up until now.  I saw the prettiest crocheted scarf at my LYS last week, very light, very airy and very soft and, well, that lit my fire.  I don’t know about you, but crochet always brings to mind stiff, scratchy, thick and heavy (think out-dated and ugly acrylic).  Light, soft and airy were words I just didn’t associate with crochet but I’ll admit it, I was wrong.  So, I found a book that had nothing but granny squares, grabbed some leftover sock yarn and a hook that I didn’t know I had and gave it a try.  It will probably never replace knitting as my #1 obsession, but, there’s still something nice, rhythmic and satisfying about watching string reinvent itself into something more interesting,  all the time getting more comfortable with the whole hook thing and the way it all comes together to make a square.  Here’s a look at my first efforts:

I know the colors are funky – it’s leftover sock yarn!


In The Knitter’s Life List, a book I’m currently hooked on, one of the things listed is to unravel and recycle yarn from another, not so cherished, project.  That idea has been hanging out at the back of my mind for a week or so, especially when I found a sweater I knitted lord knows how long ago that was so poorly knitted and put together that it immediately was relegated to a shelf at the back of my closet, never to see the light of day.  So, a sweater so ugly I never let a camera even share its space has been reinvented and has become this:

I call it The Yarn Formerly Known as Sweater

All I can remember about it is that it’s 100% cotton.  I’ve got my eye on a nice, simple top down sweater for its reincarnation.  Something with just a little shaping and minimal seaming that will be as happily worn as it was knitted.  Do sweaters have karma?

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi



I Spy?, Harlot Visit and Where’s Spring?


My neighbors probably think I’m spying on them.  Remember, I’m the weird lady out taking photos of yarn in her pajamas every so often?  The scoop is that since I put out bird feeders a few weeks ago, we have a lot of wildlife activity in the yard, mostly squirrels, birds and now, bunnies and in my quest to declutter, go through, donate or throw out, I found a pair of binoculars and that’s what’s been happening the past few days.  Honest, mister, I’m really not interested in what goes on across the fence.  I just want to see the birds and bunnies.


I can’t wait until Saturday – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka as the Yarn Harlot, is coming to Arkansas to speak at the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza. I’ve been an admirer of hers since I started knitting. The Extravaganza is being held at the Lodge at Mt. Magazine, one of the most beautiful spots in Arkansas. I was there a few years ago for the very first knitting get together and always wanted to go back, if not for a weekend, just for a day.



Last weekend, again in my quest to organize and declutter, this time my yarn room, I unearthed two unfinished scarfs, lacking only casting off and weaving in ends.  I got busy and they officially became FOs.

All I can remember about this one is that it’s a pattern from Classic Elite Yarns.  This is the second scarf in this pattern that I’ve done.  The first was done in Liberty Wool.  This yarn, I don’t remember.  I’ll do a stash dive later and see what I can come up with.


I caved in last night and cast on Crocus Vernus from The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, using the pink mystery Shibui Sock I found on sale at my LYS, Yarn Mart.  Loving it already, the color and the pattern.  And yes, I’m still working on the Sunday Swing Socks.  I have to admit it’s very gratifying to see that this pattern really does show off the colors in the Shibui Poodle Skirt yarn to their best advantage. I love it when a plan (finally) comes together!


I think someone neglected to send Mother Nature the memo that it’s May.  As I type this, the temperature is 40 degrees in Little Rock, it’s snowing in Fayetteville and raining here.  What happened to Spring?  It was here a day ago, I saw it.

Lots more FO Friday projects at Tami Ami’s blog!  Don’t forget to pay them a visit!

The minute you choose to do what you really want to do it’s a different kind of life.  Buckminster Fuller



Divadom, Birthdays and (dare I say it?), Triumph!


Babydiva’s first birthday was a complete success, judging by the fun that was had by all, even though it was originally planned to be an Easter egg hunt and having to move the venue inside due to rainy weather. She was (as always) gorgeous and carried her divadom like she was born into it, which she was. Great presents, great cupcakes, great company and great fun!



I’m positive I’ll have at least a gazillion more pictures, both of Babydiva and the Papoose and Sprout, just as soon as their mommies are able to slow down long enough to get them posted.

Party On, Papoose


Yeah, it’s corny but  I couldn’t resist.  Yesterday was my first pottery class and I have to admit, it was the coolest thing.  The class, Beginning Handbuilding, is combined with another, way advanced class, Independent Study and it’s really neat to check out what the more advanced students are working on.  The basic class is very small, four people and a teacher, two ladies about my age, me and a young guy (they’re all young guys now), a 25 year old self employed furniture restorer.  I’m beginning to believe that creativity is a thread between some people, maybe like calling to like, because one of the first things we did after meeting each other was show off and admire tats.  Three of the four students had them, probably not that unusual, it just struck me as interesting.  Then, later in the class, the instructor saw my tat and asked me if I was a knitter, especially since it happens to be a ball of yarn with knitting needles.  I told her yep and here’s the coolest thing – she said “me too”, another of the students said, “me too”, and two of the advanced students said, “me too”.  Now, tell me that’s not awesome.  Out of eight people total in the room, five of us were knitters, mostly hardcore too.  It’s a thread, I tell you.  Oops, sidetracked, we learned to make pinch pots, took a tour of the pottery department and learned a little about the different clays and different glazing techniques.  I made a couple of butt-ugly pots, but hey, it was my first time.  Next week, we learn more about glazing and how to use the slab technique to make a coffee cup.  I can’t wait!  Sorry no pics, too busy and distracted by all the stuff going on.  Next week, promise.


I’m aware that tomorrow is WIPW and not today, but I finally got a handle on the Olivia sweater, and lack only the sleeves in finishing it.  I’m not ashamed to say that this pattern totally had its way with me, slapping and kicking me around (see Yarn Harlot‘s blog post for today, I totally get it), but finally I gained the upper hand and like a bully, once I showed no fear, it slunk off to sulk and get over itself.  And, OMG, it was totally worth it, every second of every frog, tink and the blood, sweat and tears it generated.  Here’s a peek at the back –


What did I say?  Totally worth it, right??  Even so, the next time I get a hare-brained idea like, “of course, it’s just a month before Easter but three sweaters for the grands is totally doable”, I’d appreciate a good smack to the back of the head, just to snap me out of it.  Unfortunately, most of us knitters are also enablers and I can already hear a chorus of sures, absolutelys and totally doables going on in background.  Meanwhile, today’s only goal is a sleeve.

There are some things only intellectuals are crazy enough to believe.  George Orwell (1903-1950)