geekin' on yarn, parenting, & whatever else comes up.

Bloggy Blatherings Archive



May 2014



Plus la change…

Written by , Posted in Blog, Bloggy Blatherings, Fotoposts, Knitting, Legacy, MDSW

It is, roughly, the tenth anniversary of this blog.

Oh, Internets. So many ponderings, so few recent postings.

This past weekend, I attended the 2014 Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. This annual event is a marker of sorts for the calendar of my knitting life, and although I can’t attend every year, there is that mix of familiar & new each time I go that triggers a sort of fibery nostalgia.


Nana, knitting at speed & giving somebody epic side-eye

I grew up in a family of crafting women. Due to age gaps, I wasn’t able to become as close with my paternal grands as I ended up being with my maternal grands and great-grand, but both sides were knitters, stitchers, & needlewomen. My mother’s side in particular modelled the crafty life for me, from my great-grandmother (we called her Mom-Mom), who owned a yarn shop in Coatesville, PA called Celeste’s Yarns, through my Nana (Mom-Mom’s daughter) who organized knitting groups for the officer’s wives on base as they moved around the country for my grandfather’s Air Force work, to my own mother, who worked in yarn shops, wrote letters back & forth with her mother & grandmother discussing the finer points of cabled knitting, and who quilted, cross stitched, and did needlepoint like the women who came before her.


Nana, left; Mom-Mom, right. Mom-Mom seems to be wearing a hand-knitted sweater.

I lost my mother very early (she was 46) to fallout from dual auto-immune disorders, so I don’t have photos, as I wish I did, of her knitting, quilting, etc. Mama tried to teach me to knit a few times, but it never seemed to stick, though she did teach me to cross stitch, and tried to show me needlepoint. Mostly, I learned those needlearts by simply picking up projects & trying things, but my interest in crafting has definitely been a legacy I feel I inherited from the women who came before me.

I got married four months after my mother died. Just before she went into the hospital for the last time, she finished work on the final block of an album-style quilt she’d intended for my husband and me as a wedding gift. I’ve blogged about that quilt before (though it was on a previous iteration of the site & I’m afraid the photos have gone the way of the dodo; will take new ones soon) & it remains one of the more commented-on posts of this blog, I think because the idea of the legacy behind our crafts is one that resonates no matter what craft it is that any of us performs.

Lynn with baby Liz

Mama & me; Mama wearing amazing hand knit aran cardi

Mama died in February, we got married the first weekend in May, and I was pregnant with my daughter a year later. It was during my pregnancy that I asked my Nana to teach me how to knit, and so this Sheep & Wool time of year is a mental marker in a multitude of ways for me.

I know this blog has been terribly dormant, and I’m not sure what the future holds here. I don’t knit as often as I used to, and in fact my urges to write about my knitting have been lessened, and my need to document more of day-to-day life has been consumed with the more ephemeral social media like Instagram & Twitter. But I’m not willing to just give up, yet. I don’t even know if I have any readers left here anymore, but if you’re here, thank you for being with me for the last ten-ish years of my knitting & crafting & life journeys. Β There’s no community like the crafting community, and I am grateful to have been and continue to be a part of it.





March 2013



Butcher Braaaaiiiiiinnn(Hat)

Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings, Finished Objects, FOs, Knitting, Knitting Knatterings

Yesterday, I updated you guys on a bunch of projects I was way behind on blogging. One of those, the Brain Hat, I had to be a little cagey about, because I was waiting on permission to say who it was for, as well as the ok to post a photo of the hat being worn by its recipient.

I just got the okay I was looking for, though, so now I get to squee at you about this:


That, my friends, is NYT best-selling author Jim Butcher, writer of the Dresden Files and Codex Alera novels, wearing his Brain Hat, knitted by me.

Cannot begin to describe how cool it felt to receive this photo. But I suspect y’all get it. πŸ˜‰



March 2013



Catching Up: Everything Old is New Again

Written by , Posted in Blog, Bloggy Blatherings, Finished Objects, FOs, Fotoposts, Gifts, Knitting, Knitting Knatterings, Updates, WIPs

HI! Hi, Internets, hi!

So I’m browsing Ravelry this morning (likeyoudo), and there smack in the middle of the “what’s hot right now” list of patterns is an old knitblogger’s friend: Cornelia Tuttle-Hamilton’sΒ Klaralund! [rav link]

It’s possible that I am particularly knitstalgic at the moment, having finally imported ancient Typepad blog posts over that reach back to 2005. Certainly I was more clever in my blog headlines then, and FAR more prolific in my posts than the past ~mumble~ years have shown. But to come across a pattern that was one of the first in what felt like a constant wave of projects that would zoom across the (then somewhat limited, compared to today’s 2m Ravelry users) knit-blog-osphere, trending as one of the current projects that knitters are into in 2013, feels almost like an out-of-body experience. Time traveling, if you will, but with more needles and fewer Daleks.

Terribly pleased to see that the pattern has had more sizes added; I thought the reason it might have come back into knitterly awareness now is because of the release of the Noro: Knit 40 Fabulous Designs book, but since that happened in 2009, I really don’t know why it’s come back around. Not sure it’s relevant, really; I’m just kind of glad to see what feels like an old friend coming across my Ravelry options. πŸ™‚

Okay, so. Everybody knows it isn’t real unless you blog it, right? So here’s all the stuff that hasn’t been real until RIGHT NOW, since last we met:

The Sainted Husband got his (almost)annual Crazy Hat Project result earlier this year – his Skully Hat remains the most oft-worn, beloved knitted item ever to come off my needles, so, as TSH is a professional editor and English teacher, I made him We Call Them Ampersands, a spin-off of the same pattern as his skully hat, now with more typography!

True to form, I’ve discovered I haven’t got a good Finished Object photoshoot of this one, but here’s a couple action shots of the hat doing its job:


(That’s my dad in the background; we were visiting them in Raleigh, NC and it was COLD that day. YAY knitted things to keep people warm!)

And a hazy at-home, natural-habitat shot:

Ampersands Hat


Project: We Call Them Ampersands; original pattern is Adrian Bazila’s We Call Them Pirates; Ampersand chart by Susette Newberry

Yarn: I don’t actually know. Generic shetland-esque wool I had in stash, no ballband.

Needles: Addi Turbo Lace US 5s

I don’t have a timeline for this one, either, I’m afraid. This is what happens when I don’t blog for forever; I have no digital memory to help me remember these things.

Hats are pretty much all I have had any knitting bandwidth for of late, it seems; I have a rainbow Ampersands I started for myself, but will have to rip because my gauge was wonky:

Rainbow Ampersands hat in progress

That’s Kuani for the color, and I think a shetland for the white. Pondering other options for this one.

The other hat I knit last year ate up nearly all my knitting mojo, and it was a confluence of Twitter Bravado and commission. I follow many of the authors I love over on Twitter, and one day the infamous Brain Hat was mentioned as a desired object by one of my most fave authors. I, perhaps foolishly, replied that I had two sticks and some string and could probably make that happen. Several DMs later, I had a commission to make the thing.

Brain Hat in medias res: (in media? Damnnit. Stupid Latin.)

It took four football fields of yarn, months of time, and at least half my sanity, but I TRIUMPHED:

Braiiiiin (hat)


Pattern: Alana Noritake’s Brain HatΒ [Rav Link]

Yarn: Madeline Tosh Sock in “Nectar”Β from WEBS

Needles: Addi Turbo Lace, I think US 4s? Can’t remember specifically what size needles I did this on, am guessing based on some in-progress pics I’ve got on Flickr; I do know that purchasing an i-cord machine saved. my. bacon. with this project; holy crap but did this ever take forever! Thank goodness the recipients were terribly patient with me for it. πŸ™‚

Started: February 4, 2012

Finished: December 18, 2012

As I’m sitting here doing this, I’m realizing that even though it feels like I haven’t knit anything in years, practically, I actually did finish a fair number of projects this year! Long-time readers (if there are any of you remaining) may recall the Samhain wedding shawl knit for Miss Plum’s godmother; so, when this lady birthed her first child this year, there had to be a small suite of Wee Laddie Knits! First, the obligatory Baby Surprise Jacket:

Handspun BSJ is done but for blocking! (for @wren's pending wee laddie)

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket

Yarn: My own handspun (!!!!)

Needles: No idea. Addi, yes, but size? No clue.

Completed: Sometime in March 2012.

I had enough handspun leftover to crank out a wee tiny Aviator cap:

In which @wren should avoid looking unless she wants spoilered:


I can’t remember what book I cribbed this off of; it was one of the very first knitting books I ever got, but it’s about the same as any other infant ear flap hat pattern that’s floating around out there. I was just ridiculously proud that it was knit from my own handspun. πŸ™‚

Then there was a second wee laddie sweater:

Sweater for pending Wee Laddie is DONE! So. Cute.Pattern: Fibre Space‘s Baby Stripes

Yarn: Spud & Chloë Sweater, purchased at Fibre Space

Needles: Addi Turbo Circular US8s

Completed: March 12, 2012

I have a grey hat in progress for another friend that stalled out on the crown decreases; need to take some pics of that for you; also I took some of this Clover Leaf Farms fiber in colorway “EarthTones”:

4oz braid of Clover Leaf Farms merino in "earthtones"

And am turning it into some handspun, like so:

Bonus 365 shot: playing with bouncing flash! @xPeregrine @tylluan

Not sure yet what that’s going to be.

Holy crap you guys, there is so much. I shall sum up what remains in a forthcoming post.

Meanwhile, tell me how y’all are doing?

PS: I went from dirty blonde to red while you weren’t looking:

For @mizjawnson, LOTD: Why Did I Wait So Long to Get the Naked Palette?!


and After:

2nd day flat iron curls:



December 2007




Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings

I don’t know that they can be characterized as BIG doin’s, but the thing is this — I’ve been wrestling (wrasslin’?) behind the scenes with WordPress on my main domain. It’s still VERY raw, and I’m still learning how things work. So nothing official just this moment, but you can meander on over to take a look at http://www.yarngeek.com, should you be so inclined.

Rumor has it that Santa Claws is bringing me a digital SLR camera, so if this comes to pass, one hopes the new toy combined with slightly renovated digs will let me finally return to blogging properly.

Let me know what you think!



July 2006



Cycles, Circles, and Aranmor

Written by , Posted in Aranmor, Bloggy Blatherings, Fotoposts, Holidaze, Knitting Knatterings

So I dug through the scary-front-closet-of-Doooooom the other day, so as to unearth the long-neglected beginnings of Aranmor for my husband.

Begun initially for a potential Christmas gift, I had to realize my own limitations and working style, and I said perhaps I’d have it just in time for his mid-August birthday!

It appears that I will have to amend that to Please-Knitting-Goddesses-Let-Me-Finish-This-Damn-Thing-By-Giftmas!?!

Current pictures this evening; Here’s where I was before:


I’d only gone a bit more than halfway through one center motif repeat of the back before setting it aside in frustration before. I’ve now approximately doubled that progress and a bit, having since completed one center motif and halfway through another.

Still, I do love the yarn and the patterning; had to re-teach myself how to cable without a cable needle, and that helps make this sweater nice to knit on rather than a nightmare.



June 2006



Visiting Monarch and Quilt Blocks promised

Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings, Fotoposts, Quilting, Updates

In the midst of the series of truly brutal thunderstorms we’ve been having here in Alexandria, Virginia and the D.C. environs, we had one lovely soft evening before the storms, so to speak, when we were visited by royalty.

I give you, our home blessed by a Monarch! (and if I’m wrong about the butterfly species in question, do please let me know…but I’m leaving the names in the blog here because it’s so easy to draw fun phrases about visiting royalty and such. :))


I opened the front door, and there it was, perched on the edge of our letter box, just sort of hanging out. I thought somewhat sadly that it may have come there to rest and die, because it was a bit rough around the edges, but we left it alone and it was gone in the morning. I like to think this is because it flew away  happily rested, rather than having been eaten or something. πŸ™‚



I love this photo. He/She was so lovely, and spread its wings for me as I approached for the pictures. (No, I never touched it — any missing dust is due to whatever it experienced prior to visiting us here at the house.)


So that was a lovely little interlude.


Now, theoretically this was a separate post I owed you almost a week ago, but the storms have meant that I only have internet access at work (except today, strangely enough, where it’s working at home in the lull between storms). I have created a photo album over on the right sidebar, there, of the detail shots from these blocks,  but here are the full-block pics of my mother’s quilt blocks she appliqued for herself:


This is the semi-sheer overlay that’s used to help you place applique pieces in the right spot as you stitch over time; generally, when using somebody else’s patterns, you would trace the pattern directly onto this gridded stuff, which I think masquerades as interfacing at various fabric stores like Hancock’s and JoAnn’s, et al.

This is the Dove of Peace block, which like many of mom’s blocks for herself, is still unfinished:


That’s the Dove from Noah’s Ark, presenting his Olive Branch, and surrounded by a lyre-type wreath of olive leaves and branches.


This is my mom’s memorial block for her father, also still unfinished, in honor of his lifelong military service in the U.S. Airforce. The feathers on the Eagle’s wings are stitched one by one in ribbon embroidery. (yikes.) πŸ™‚


This is a peacock, in case it’s difficult to tell. πŸ™‚ I love the way mom stitched the feathers on this one, but have to say that the actual block design does very little for me.


This is my favorite of the non-quilted blocks Mama stitched, particularly because of our three flags of heritage flying from the masts; The United States, Scotland, and Italy. Also, the cutwork on the flowers, and the oriental print wave fabric fussy-cut for the water are just wonderful from a handworker’s point of view.  I have tons of detail shots of this one over there in the album since it’s my favorite. (It’s also the one block for my own album quilt already begun that I’ve managed to stitch, although in a slightly different way, which I will show you in post that is not already so picture-heavy. :))


This is the very incomplete Tree of Life block; I love her fabric choice for the bark, however, and the varied greens she chose for the leaves.

Those are the blocks that she did not set up to do "quilt-as-you-go" before she passed away; I have two more amazing blocks of mom’s to show you another day, that she managed to get quilted, or prep for quilting, that show very well both her own stitch artistry and also the steps taken to get to a completed quilt, block, or what have you. And I have the picture of my first sailing ship block, and a huge quilt project I am going to undertake to tell you about. So, stay tuned!



June 2006



Contest win!

Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings

Evidently it’s her week to win stuff, because the winner of my Blogiversary prize draw from this past weekend is…


So send me your address via email,  (yarngeek at yarngeek dot com) and I’ll send off your fibery goodness!

(Also, I tried to comment in your blog to tell you, and it only allows comments from Blogger logins. I used to have one but cancelled it because Blogger is TERRIBLEawfulbadnogood and generally all around sucky. πŸ™‚ Just sayin’, is all, that some of us who aren’t Blogger users also like to comment. But I know fighting spam is incredibly difficult, and I wish Typepad offered the word authentication thing that Blogger has.)

Anyway, congrats to PB&J, and huge thank-yous to everybody else who commented — I will be parsing those comments into some ideas and plans for an etsy shop, opening…um…when I manage to get stock made. πŸ™‚ I’d give you a time frame, but most of you know me well enough by now to know that I can’t do that reliably. So I’ll just say, as soon as I can, and you’ll all be the first to know. πŸ™‚

More to come when I can about mom’s quilt blocks and a visiting Monarch at my own humble abode. πŸ™‚



October 2005



Part the First: Ponderings

Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings

Recently, I’ve been noticing the sort of pressure that KnitBloggers put on themselves — anytime folks stray from knitting or spinning or general fiber content, they feel the need to apologize. (and when I say they, I mean me and everybody else I’m thinking of.) If, for example, in the particular instance that sparked this post, the Blogger is having a Day of Ick(TM), she then felt it was needful to apologize for not being chipper, which is her usual tone of "voice".

This is something that interests me — I find myself apologizing every time I turn around these days, because I haven’t got an easy way to upload photographs (nor yet even an easy way to TAKE them), or because I’ve been depressed and thus feeling like i shouldn’t post.

What is most important to YOU about reading KnitBlogs and other types of Blogs? For myself, in terms of what I read elsewhere, it’s the personal connections I feel when getting to read slices of life from somebody else’s viewpoint. I feel my own ability to grow and learn is enhanced by my connections online to the viewpoints and adventures I read about. It’s like books, but to a much more instant degree. So no matter what the mood of the Blogger, the crap coming down like rain in their lives, or whether they choose to add their passion for food, decorating, Colin Firth, or whatever else in to their Blogs, I love that I get to see another side of them, and am somewhat bewildered that they’re apologizing for daring to stretch within their own space.

Discuss? πŸ™‚



July 2005



Independence Day

Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings

Happy belated Independence Day to all you ‘mericans out there; happy belated Canada day to my Canadian friends – and GO CANADA on the gay marriage legislation! AMEN, ya’ll! Nice to see somebody in North America getting a frickin’ clue, because it certainly isn’t happening down here; VIVE le Espana on the same issue; and if I’m missing other important patriotic holidays for anybody not in North America, YAY for you guys, too!! (What’s happening in the UK right now? Anything? I am completely clueless these days.)

We spent the 4th doing…absolutely nothing. Or rather, we did stuff, but it was all mundane, ’round the house stuff. Fried chicken was had, pool swimming was done, and I got seven of 12.5 inches of the back of my Ribby Cardi finally cast on and knit!

As is classic for me and this blog, I took photos last night of the cardi, including a now-repaired oops in the ribbing where I’d purled instead of knitting, which then created a line of stitches I had to drop and pick back up in the proper orientation. HOWEVER — and didn’t we all see ~this~ coming? — I’d finally gotten around to pulling my digital camera’s uploading cord thing from the computer in my daughter’s room to the computer downstairs in the great room. That machine is where I work at my second job, medical and legal transcription, once my daughter has gone to bed. The vast majority of my blogging impulses aren’t indulged until after she goes to sleep, however, so I get (as I’m sure you’re all aware) precious little blogging done in terms of photographic proof of my obsession.

Last night, I was oh-so-proud of myself for finally remembering as I put my daughter to bed to grab the camera and cord and bring it downstairs.

What’d I forget? The software. I have Photoshop and software that came with my camera both loaded on the machine upstairs. Not so on the machine downstairs. Where are the CDs with said software on them? In my sleeping daughter’s room.


So, photos of the cardi-in-progress are forthcoming.  No, really! And soon, I won’t have to keep making that promise and having life get in the way – the software gets loaded tonight, and soon I can blog after baby time! Woohoo!



June 2005




Written by , Posted in Bloggy Blatherings

How can it be possible that I have more than fifty feeds on my Bloglines list, plus a number of "discovered by chance" blogs that I read occasionally, and yet still there is nothing to read today? πŸ™‚

Actually, that’s not true – it’s only that I’ve already gone through and read the updates that have been posted thus far, and it’s a slow day at work. Plus, they frown on knitting at your desk here, unless you’re on your lunch hour. Imagine that! πŸ˜‰

Still, I think it’s marvelous that there are that many KnitBloggers out there whose lives I feel so close to, just from reading the things they choose to share with the rest of us knitters floating around in the ether. It is astonishing and marvelous to see the reports of the various knitting-related events bearing out the theory that the internet connects the world, and not always in a bad way.

There is nothing like a common interest to bring people of otherwise very diverse thinking together, and I love that I can get up in the morning and know that, should I run into a stitch problem (like yesterday – THANK YOU, Katy, it worked perfectly!!), or want to find a pattern, or if I just want somebody to meet me somewhere and share the craft with me – I can find whatever I need just by logging on and making it known.

Really, when you consider it – that’s sort of magic, isn’t it? (or at least, it is for me)

Am off to surf my Bloglines in search of new Blogs to add. I hope you, too, can take today to revel in the Sisterhood/Brotherhood/Crafthood of Knitting out there on the InterWeb. πŸ™‚