Monday, June 30, 2014

Four-letter word, starts with Y

Yarn labyrinth

The summer solstice was last Saturday, June 21, and with it came the start of the summer challenge at my LYS...Local Yoga Studio, that is. The studio I go to does these challenges twice a year; whether or not I make the goal, I always learn something from them.

In that way, and many others, a yoga practice has so much in common with knitting. It can be loose or structured, fancy or simple, but however lengthy or involved the finished project, when you pull it all apart you can see that it's got just a single thread running through it. Breath is the yarn of yoga--there is no in without an out, no knit without a purl, and the little spaces between them are as important as the stitches and breaths themselves. They can be smooth and even, or loose and raggedy, but each stitch builds from and connects to the other as one breath follows another. The most intricate-looking contortions turn out to come easily when you perform them one step at a time--and this sometimes happens on the very same day that just lying flat and still poses the hugest challenge. In some yoga poses, or asanas, we are encouraged to look at an imaginary point somewhere far beyond our fingertips; likewise, when we cast on, we're gazing a thousand yards away to the finished project that the stitches we're creating will become. Take a look at pictures of FOs from a knitalong, and it's like seeing students in a yoga class--everyone makes their own unique expression of the pose or the pattern, with color, proportion and modifications in infinite combinations. I love the people I do these things with, too; they understand me in a way that other people never will, because we speak a common language, use the same special tools, and encourage one another to create things of beauty.

As with any practice that has a meditative element, I find the time I spend knitting or doing yoga on a daily basis actually creates space and freedom in my life. On Monday, one of my teachers shared a version of a passage from the Tao Te Ching that echoed this: "Water nourishes everything, and competes with nothing." Getting up a little early (OK, sometimes it feels VERY early) to attend a 7:00 AM community flow class means I get to work earlier than usual, and in a better mood, because I've already accomplished something by 8:00 besides rolling over and kicking the cat off the bed. Knitting lets me feel like my quiet time is productive, but it's also a way I can challenge myself mentally and take real joy in the process. It's a space where I can fail and still love myself; where I can try and try until I get it right; where I've acquired tremendous skill and fearlessness bit by bit. These minutes aren't spent, they're invested.

The goal of this summer's challenge is to attend no less than 25 yoga classes in the next 30 days...a pretty tall order, especially since I'm going to be out of town for several days during that time frame. So far so good, though: I've logged eight classes in the first five days, so I can even be lazy and skip a day. Like I said before, though, even if I don't make the goal, I know I'll get something out of this; I always have. Summer 2011, when I moved back to LA and started attending classes at this studio, was my first challenge; that was also my first year of being able to touch my toes, after 30 years of tight hamstrings. I was so excited about it, I would bend down and touch my toes for no reason--just because I finally could! Summer 2012, I added headstands in the middle of the room to my practice. That winter, though, I really struggled to make it in to the studio at all. I had a new job, and couldn't seem to get myself to classes on time, even though I WANTED to be there and make room in my life for a consistent practice. I realized I had to just do something differently, and that's when I first tried getting up early for that 7:00 AM class. This week, I've gotten up early three days in a row, and I'm going for five. Maybe even six...

But now that I'm near the end of this post, I realize I may already have gotten my Big Lesson from the challenge this time around. The last time I did a big clean-up in my office at home, the part that really stressed me out and pushed me over the edge into tears was sorting through the many half-finished and sketched-and-swatched-and-started-then-frogged projects that had accumulated here and there over the months. At the time, I could only see them as failures. I thought I should have been clever or disciplined or committed enough to realize my visions, and was disappointed at this evidence that, most of the time, I hadn't. All those false starts got jumbled together in my mind with my unfinished dissertation and all the other overdue-for-no-good-reason projects that tortured and shamed me. I went looking for that box of swatches this weekend, though, just after the start of the challenge. Now, I find I can see them as worthy efforts; variously, they were experiments, riffs, ends in themselves, twists in the labyrinth. They're where I've fallen seven times, and stood up eight. I could probably do 25 of them in 30 days, too.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer here

Last week was a busy one. On the 18th, Knit Picks launched a new yarn line called Lindy Chain, and along with it, a new design of mine that's just the thing for summer knitting: the Beryl sleeveless top!
Click on the image for pattern and yarn purchase info!

Lindy Chain is a fingering-weight linen and pima cotton blend, which made it a new fiber experience for me--I've never worked with linen or linen-blend yarns before, although I've had a big hank of laceweight linen in a very exciting grassy-lime green shade in my stash since a yarn swap a few years back. I've always been a little hesitant to use that hank, honestly, since I've heard linen can be really hard on your hands and wrists, and stiff and scratchy and prone to tangling and generally unpleasant to be around until after it's blocked. I have friends who swear by linen-cotton blends for things like washcloths and dishcloths, since it responds really well to hard use, getting softer and softer, but I've never actually made a dishcloth, and linen have so far failed to mix.

The thing that made me eager to try Lindy Chain, though, was that it's a chainette construction; that is, instead of having two or more finer strands twisted together (or plied, to use the technical term), the yarn consists of thread-fine strands that are knitted together, like a very, very fine i-cord. You can actually see the little V's of the chain in this close-up image of the rich golden Honey colorway:
Nifty, huh? There aren't a lot of chainette yarns out there, and most of the ones that you can get are novelty yarns (another category I've used very seldom so far in my knitting life). However, one of my all-time favorite yarns, Rowan Calmer, is a chainette, and I've always loved its special qualities--stretchy but not droopy, with great stitch definition, and really forgiving on the needles. It also made perfect sense to me that if anything could tame the linen beast, it would be a chain.

So now I've tried Lindy, and I definitely see why people LOVE linen. The finished fabric was a little rough before washing and blocking (my contact at Knit Picks used the word "rustic," which I think is perfect), but I noticed it softening even as I worked with it--the bottom of the garment already had a more hospitable hand than the top by the time I had about 7 or 8 inches worked, so just the action of moving the fabric around as I knitted was clearly limbering it up. The next time I work with it, I'll probably try bamboo needles or something with a blunter tip. Usually I'm all about laser-sharp needle points when I knit; like many knitters, though, I found the linen fibers to be a bit splitty, which a rounder needle tip will mitigate. But man, talk about cool and drapey! The finished fabric was soft enough to wear next to the skin, and I've NEVER been so comfy wearing a handknit garment in the summertime. I can easily see remaking a lot of my sock-yarn designs in Lindy Chain for spring/summer/early fall wear here in California. The Cecily Twinset, for instance, would look great in any of the 20 nature-inspired colors this yarn comes in. I'm partial to Bluebell, but Conch and Celery and Linen are all pretty, too...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Did I mention I went to Amsterdam?

Because I totally did! It was great, not least because of the fiber-craft scene there, which is small but vibrant. The impetus for this trip was the Orphan Film Symposium, which was being held overseas for the first time, at the EYE Film Institute, housed in a spectacular new building overlooking the Amsterdam waterfront. But I found plenty of ways to intertwine this trip with yarns, fabric, buttons, and knitting, of course!

More treasures from the Katten KabinetAs some of you may know, when I'm not knitting, I'm an audiovisual archivist. My specialty is the preservation of home movies and amateur film, and researching how those media have been integrated into our larger cultural heritage over the decades since their introduction. I'm a co-founder of the international Home Movie Day event and the nonprofit Center for Home Movies; my Billington Bag pattern is named for the current Librarian of Congress, and proceeds from sales benefit CHM and their efforts to preserve and provide access to amateur films from all over the world.

While these two sides of my identity may seem distinct, they're quite closely related. Home movies and handknits have lots in common: First off, there's the fact that they are both made of yards and yards of long skinny stuff, and they both have lots and lots of little tiny holes in them. They are also deeply personal, and highly reflective of the time and place they were made, not to mention the people who made them. They're often far more colorful than their mass-produced counterparts, and of course they're totally unique. With careful preservation, they can last for many years in pristine condition, but even when they're worn almost to tatters, they're still special.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, to hear that I wasn't the only person in the audience knitting my way through this symposium! One of my cherished colleagues, Catherine, had a lovely beaded shawl project going, and she was clicking away softly in the dark next to me while I worked on a baby blanket for my friends' son-in-progress. There was definitely at least one sock project in the works in that auditorium, too, but I didn't get a chance to ask the knitter about it--the program was jam-packed, as always, with amazing new discoveries, preservation premieres, rarities and one-of-a-kind productions, and there was hardly time to breathe during the meal breaks, let alone wolf down a delicious plateful of Indonesian food, before heading back into the theater for more screenings and talks.

Under the circumstances, I was truly glad that I'd built a couple of extra days into the trip earlier in the week--mostly to stave off jetlag, but also to ensure that I  had time to meet with my counterparts in the Presentation and Preservation of the Moving Image master's program at the University of Amsterdam...and to go yarn shopping, of course! Catherine was kind enough to show me the highlights of her city, and through her I met some truly lovely fellow-knitters. The night I arrived, I joined her at the Thursday-evening knit night hosted by charming LYS Penelope. Everyone there was lovely, wearing lovely things they'd knitted themselves, and they were all very much knitters after my own heart. Someone even baked a rhubarb cake to share with us, which was divine. (Since coming back, I've made that recipe twice...yum!)

On the weekend, Catherine and I met up again to make the rounds of fabric, yarn, and button shops all over town via bike. The bicycle is the dominant form of life in Amsterdam, and the whole city is way more navigable on two wheels than four--a major, albeit very pleasant, change from auto-centric Los Angeles. I swear, I haven't ridden bikes with friends this much since I was ten years old! Although the cargo capacity of a rented three-speed cruiser (not to mention the ever-tighter restrictions on free checked baggage for international flights) puts a natural cap on shopping, and on the whole I was pretty restrained, I did manage to bring home a lovely haul. Behold!


One of our first stops was at A. Boeken, a stoffen and fournituren (fabric and notions) shop on Nieuwe Hoogstraat recommended by a lovely Raveler  in the Stitch 'n Bitch Amsterdam group (thanks for the tip, briocher!). Like many places in ancient, canal-crossed Amsterdam, this shop is taller than it is wide, but packed to the rafters with lovely things. I got several yards of re-embroidered lace and a dead classy three-season tweed in a color blend that's part charcoal, part coffee. Then we hit De Afstap on Oude Leliestraat, which has one of the best selections of Rowan yarns I've seen in a long time. Their prices were either really reasonable, or else I was doing the Euros-to-dollars math wrong; regardless, I scored some Rowan Fine Lace in a dusky violet and their last four balls of Regia 4-fadig in a pale silvery lavender color (which will go great with the browny tweed, whatever that becomes). We rounded out the expedition with a wander through the Albert Cuyp market, which has a handful of fabric shops, each with its own specialty: quilting cottons, decor, fashion fabrics, couture textiles, imported batiks. Finally, we browsed respectfully through the collection at the Knopenwinkel button shop, got some chocolate, and called it a day.

While I chose to leave the Anne Frank House for my next visit, I didn't neglect the great cultural treasures of the city. I made a dutiful pilgrimage to the Rijksmuseum and joined the massive crowds contemplating the equally-massive Rembrandt group portraits (but really preferred their decorative arts collection, which had some amazeballs cabinets inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl, and a surprisingly touching display of woolen hats found in the graves of ancient whalers).  Thanks to my Lonely Planet pocket guide, I also found my way to the Katten Kabinet, or Cat Museum! This is a private collection housed in one of the lavish homes on the Golden Bend. It's quirky, to say the least, and as you might imagine, yarn and cats playing with yarn are frequent motifs in the works on display here!

More treasures from the Katten Kabinet

There was one 17th-century genre painting of a cat with its paw caught in a steel trap, which was awfully disturbing, but the little bronze statuette of a cat pooping ("Poepende Kat" (1989) by Monica Rotgans) may well be my favorite piece of art ever.

Every Dutch native I talked to there said the weather was unseasonably fine that week; I have no basis for comparison, this being my first trip to the country, let alone the city, but the sunshine and budding trees were indisputably pretty.


So, too, were the myriad architectural details of this old-world city: Antique tiles and delicate stonework abound there. You will miss a lot if you have to spend all your time there looking out for speeding bicycles, so be sure to take plenty of breaks for beers by the canal and people-watching if you go there yourself. And keep an eye out for me, too; I'm definitely going back at my earliest opportunity!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just released (finally!): Irma!

This is one of those designs that's been ALMOST ready to go for longer than I care to even think about. It's been waiting for those last few tweaks (pesky things like double-checking measurements and making schematics, which are my two least favorite parts of the technical editing process) for months and months and months on end. It's not all wasted time; in those same months, I've been field-testing (a.k.a. wearing all the time) the original prototypes, and have had a couple of friends test-knitting the original, non-schematic-ed, non-double-checked drafts and alerting me to minor errors and typos. And fortunately, the original photo shoot was done right around the same time of year as this, so maybe no one will look closely and see how many more crow's feet I have now. Without further ado, I give you... Irma!


I attended a workshop with Deborah Newton at Vogue Knitting Live in LA a few years ago, which was well worth the price of admission. The fee included a copy of her then-new book Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters, a welcome addition to my reference shelf, and Newton's own expertise and advice were invaluable! One of the many things I learned that week was that every knitter--young and old, experienced and novice--has their very own set of strongly held opinions about knitting, yarn, and everything associated with them. Deborah Newton, for instance, has near-religious convictions regarding seams in knitted garments--she's a big, big, big fan of 'em. In fact, she was so compelling on the subject of seams that I thought I'd go ahead and try designing a pieced-and-seamed cardigan myself, and Irma is it!

The Irma cardigan is a slightly airier, more feminine (if I can be gender-normative for a minute here) take on the shawl-collar sweaters all the hipster boys have traded their hoodies for as they've hit their mature (ha ha) years. It's worked in an allover columnar lace motif with deep ribbing at the cuffs and hem. And pockets, of course! I worked the original prototype, which is the jade green one shown above, in Simply Socks Yarn Company's solid wool/nylon "house blend." SSYC Solid is a yarn I really adore, not least for its springy plied texture, but also because it comes in, like, EVERY COLOR EVER. I also reknit the pattern, once it was (mostly) written, in Knit Picks Gloss Fingering in a dark gray color called Hawk. That yarn has a hint more luster and slightly crisper stitch definition, and makes the lace motif really pop. It also has an elegant drape in stockinette, thanks to its 30% silk blend, which helps the shawl collar roll while the button band lies splendidly flat, and that's why this yarn is another favorite of mine. (Yes, I have about forty-eleven different "favorite" yarns. Who doesn't?) Were I to make yet another one of these for myself--and I'm not ruling that out--I'd probably try a super-cozy and decadent winter version in Knit Picks Capretta, maybe in the Pesto colorway. But then, I'm a sucker for cashmere.

On the whole, I liked the seamed-garment experience. I learned to sew before I learned to knit, so on a fundamental level, the concept of taking flat pieces and building a garment out of them makes every bit as much sense to me as taking a strand of fiber and building it, stitch by stitch, row by row, into a shape that fits a body (or a hand, or a foot,  or what have you). For Irma, I used the crocheted-seam technique Newton demonstrated at the workshop and describes in her book; it was really fun to work, and I think I'll probably continue to use it for shoulder seams in preference to a three-needle bind-off. For one thing, it's easier to unwork and rework if you need to (if you've ever dismantled a thrift-shop sweater to recycle the yarn, you've probably already unworked a crocheted seam!). It also adds a skosh more structure to one part of a garment that really needs reinforcing, while still being flexible and elastic. And because it does use rather more yarn than a mattress-stitch seam or three-needle bind-off, you can even cannibalize it in a pinch if you need a foot or two of yarn to darn or patch a very well-worn garment. Unlike reserved leftover yarn, yarn transplanted from a seam will match the repaired area perfectly, since it's been laundered the same amount as the rest of the garment--so it's kind of a rainy-day account for your sweater! Which is good, because now that other people can actually knit this design for themselves, I'm halfway to wearing the prototpyes out.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Taking it down a notch

Sometimes you want a challenge; other times you just want things to be easy, and successful, and foolproof, and DONE. A Raveler posted a really good question recently on the pattern page for the Billington Bag:

Am I really the only one struggling to sew the darn lining? Maybe my interfacing is too stiff, but trying to fit the sides together is a nightmare. Rethinking the pattern to see if I can find a way to make the lining easier to sew.

You know what? I totally get it. The instructions for this design call for a pieced lining, where each of the four vertical sides is measured, shaped, and cut to conform really closely to the shape of the finished, felted bag.

Along with a good stiff interfacing, this pieced lining helps give the bag enough structure to stand open on its own, and prevents things like your car keys and cell phone from getting lost in folds of loose fabric. But it's a fussy process to sew corners and angles and seams on both sides of narrow strips of interfaced fabric, and dagnabit, there's just gotta be an easier way that gives ALMOST the same results, right? I think so--and here it is.

Instead of doing a pieced lining for the Billington Bag, knitters who want a shortcut to the finish line can try a modified sack lining. Three measurements, two pieces of fabric and matching interfacing, five seams (three of which are completely straight!), and you'll be ready to insert it.

Step 1: Measure.

Take your felted bag and flatten it out as shown below--so the top edges are even and the bottom of the bag is folded more or less in half along its long axis. Measure the width at the top of the bag (A), the width at the bottom of the bag (B), and the height from the top opening edge to the folded bottom edge (C).

Step 2: Cut.

Cut two rectangles of interfacing that measure B x C. Cut two rectangles of lining fabric that measure (B + 1") x (C + 1"). Center the interfacing on the lining fabric; you'll have 1/2" margins all the way around. Baste or tack interfacing in place on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 3: Sew.

With right sides of fabric together, seam the two sides and the bottom closed, leaving the top open, like a pillowcase.

Subtract A from B; divide the remainder by 2, and mark a point that far in from the side of the interfacing on the top edge. (For instance, if your bottom width (B) is 14" and  top width (A) is 11", 14 - 11 = 3.  3 divided by 2 = 1.5, so you'll mark 1.5" in from the upper edge on both sides of the top.

If you're making the short version of the bag, fold it horizontally in thirds, and mark 1/3 of the way down on each side. Stitch a diagonal line from 1/3 down the side to the marked point on the upper edge, and trim away the excess, leaving 1/2" of lining fabric and trimming the interfacing very close to the stitching (1/8" or so). If you're making the tall version, do the same thing, but mark and stitch 1/4 of the way down the sides, instead of 1/3.

Now comes the tricky part (don't worry, it's not that tricky): Making the bottom of the lining flat! To do this, just put your hand inside the sack, down into one of the corners. Bring the side seam and the bottom seam together, pinching the corner flat. Sew straight across the flattened corner at the point where it's as wide as the inside bottom of your bag; repeat on the second side. (This is the same principle at work in paper grocery bags, so if you get lost and these caveman-level illustrations of mine are no help, take a look at the bottom of one of those!)
Step 4: Finish.

Tuck the triangular points under the bottom and tack in place, if you like (or just press them with under gently with an iron). Turn the upper edge of the lining fabric over the interfacing, insert the lining, and stitch to the upper edge of the bag. Done!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tillie baby blanket

What do you know? It's baby season again. A colleague just announced her pregnancy, and I have two other friends with a bun in the proverbial oven now. Time to fire up the ol' baby-knitting engine and get some gifts in the works before the showers hit!

Luckily, I just finished writing up a pattern from the LAST baby avalanche I went through, in which a bunch of the expectant parents opted to find out the baby's gender on the day of delivery. While I totally respect the decision--and even admire it, as I wouldn't have the willpower to resist finding out--it does throw a bit of a wrench in the works when it comes to almost any kind of baby gift. I am seeing that there is NOT a lot of gender-neutral stuff out there past the plain white onesie. Even the items that come in yellow or pale green (which are apparently, and respectively, the classic and contemporary code colors for gender-nonspecific baby gear) tend to have some coded gender references. You know, ladybugs or lizards, that kind of shit.

Knitting patterns aren't much better, although the silhouettes are at least more non-aligned. Where you hit the wall with those is in the baby-yarns section of the LYS, which just looks like Tinkerbell's toilet to me. LOTTA pastels on that wall, folks. Don't babies need basic black and classic navy too? Or, you know, teal and tangerine and deep, rich earth tones?

If anyone knows a better way to style a baby blanket than draping it on a chair, please tell me.

I'm not saying I've totally solved these problems, but along with the Peabey Bear stuffed animal (which is nice because it's soft and baby-safe, especially if you knit it up in and stuff it with organic cotton) the Tillie Blanket pattern is my stab at it. It's got a bit of eyelet texture, so it's not so boring to knit, and there's a subtle flounce at the edge, yet the overall effect is not so lacy and ruffly as to be categorically girly-girly. It works just as well in blue or pink as it would in yellow or soft green; I opted for a nice sandy neutral, which should go with pretty much anything (but coordinates especially well with burp stains). It's worked up in an easy-care sport-weight yarn that comes in a wide range of colors--including a fabulous tangerine orange, rich red, chocolate-y brown, and yes, basic black, if the baby in question has a daring fashion sense or artsy parents who would go for that. No more waiting 'till the baby comes out to cast on and start knitting!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas blues!

Dear Santa,

It's great that you came early this year with a set of those new Caspian interchangeable needle tips from Knit Picks, because I'm still clinging to the idea that I might fulfill my New Year's resolution to seriously bust some stash in 2013. New needles are going to be just the thing to help me settle in with a few pounds of wool and all ninety-one hours of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and crank out stuff for everyone's stockings before the clock runs out on my promise to myself!

I really am absurdly pleased by these babies. Something non-knitters, or new knitters, often find surprising is the intensely personal--and contingent--nature of one's choice of needles. (Actually, what non-knitters seem to find most surprising that there is more than one kind, since point sticks are pointy sticks, right? I can't tell you the number of times I've been knitting in public on circulars and seen that puzzled look on someone's face that comes immediately before they ask, "What does that string in between the sticks do?")

(Image from WoolFreeandLovinKnit--thx!)

Me, I've been through 'em all, practically. As a kid, I first learned on the kind of metal-capped, size 8, pastel-coral-colored plastic straights that look so nice arranged in an antique jug in your sun-drenched craft studio. I knitted on and off throughout my teens and twenties, mostly with a few pairs of hand-me-down plastic circulars from my mom's 70's-era collection (possibly Bryspun, but I've never been able to verify that conclusively). I didn't know anything about gauge and was pretty cavalier about things like fit and finish, so the results weren't always great, but at the time I did like the way they felt in my hands--springy, with nice sharp tips that slid neatly in and out of the stitches. The plastic finish was smooth, but not so much so that the needles were always slipping out of the live stitches at inopportune moments or during transit.

When I got more serious about knitting in my late twenties and early thirties, I discovered that gauge was a thing, and that you actually get better results when you use the right size needles (see, kids? College, graduate school, and then more graduate school really do make you smarter!). So I started buying needles as needed for various projects: Lantern Moon ebony circulars, Chiao Goo bamboo dpns, the odd pair of Addi Turbos. I developed a wee obsession with Brittany birch dpns for a while there--I liked that there were five in each set, instead of four (having lost a couple of those extra needles to cat-chewing incidents over the years) and the smooth blond wood spoke to me, especially in the shorter lengths they offered. But I will freely admit that for a long time I was a promiscuous knitter--I'd still go with just about anything that came to hand, and my needle library was a real hodgepodge of different brands, styles, and sizes. Given the only common feature, which was that they were mostly sizes 4-6 (with just the occasional 8 or 9), you really could say I knitted like I dated...

So perhaps it's no coincidence that when I moved to Texas in 2006 with my new husband, I was finally ready to settle down with one kind of needle, the one that was just right for this here Goldilocks. Turns out the Knit Picks Options interchangeable tips in the Harmony wood finish was THE NEEDLE FOR ME. Other Harmony knitters will know exactly why: Super-pointy tips; smooth but still toothy finish on the wood; fine, flexible cables with unobtrusive joins; very reasonable price point. The only thing I didn't love about these needles was that they were...purple.  I don't hate the color; obviously, it's not a dealbreaker, since I've been knitting happily on these needles for years now. I have a plum-colored dress I quite like, and a dusty lilac one, too. But I'm not really a purple person, and deep down in my heart, I confess, I have wished for these needles to be a different color. (Different, that is, from any of the OTHER three finish options these needles come in, which include a nickel-finish metal, Zephyr clear acrylic, and Sunstruck blond-wood laminate, none of which are so much better than the original purple for my purposes that I've felt it worth switching...perhaps since they all come with the signature purple cable.)

Lo and behold, they come out with these Caspian needles! They're a beautiful peacock-tail blend of blues and greens, with lovely deep-teal cables. I heart them so much; they're just what I've been wishing for all these years. To paraphrase Dean Martin: Santa may have brought you some stars for your shoes, but Knit Picks kindly gave me the blues...the ocean-colored, emerald-cabled Caspian blues.

I'll be wishing all of you the best for a warm and joyous holiday season, and for a bright and bountiful year to come!