November 28, 2004

2004 on the Wane

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This morning I finally got around to sewing the buttons on the Basketweave vest that has been languishing in the drawer for about a month-and-a-half. Don't know what it is about sewing on buttons that makes this task get put off and put off and put off. I found some plain shell buttons that were dyed exactly the same shade as the Nighthawk-colored yarn. Like plain brown rice, these buttons are nothing special, and I like their Zen-like quality. I steamed the vest thoroughly, and any and all lumpiness in the stitch pattern went away. (The Basketweave vest is knitted from Jamieson's DK, and the pattern is from Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book 2.)

This picture shows me trying to look modest while wearing my vest, knitting on the Alba sweater for Jennie and enjoying this glorious November afternoon. Tomorrow the Feral Knitters meet again, and so I'm keeping in practice with my Fair Isle knitting.

Back in July, Felina Schwarz and I noticed that 2004 was ebbing away. And we posed an informal challenge to each other to see how many projects we could get finished by year's end. My tally so far: Basketweave Vest, Bronte Scarf, Flower Basket Shawl. (Not included is the linen stitch scarf I knitted for Scott -- that was in February, long before the challenge began. Also not included is the Karis poncho, which still awaits blocking and the sewing of its one seam.) Am I forgetting anything?

Posted by Karen at 02:57 PM | Comments (3)

November 24, 2004


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Maybe you had just about given up hope . . . maybe you thought Two Swans Yarns was never going to carry knitting needles. Well, my friend, this turkey is here to restore your faith. As you can see, Turkey -- sorry, I couldn't find a swan -- has a packet of cable needles tucked under her wing, and she's posing, in the style of Carol Merrill, in front of the big box of needles that arrived yesterday! They are Inox, my favorite brand; I got dpns, I got circulars, I got cable needles. Whew, I feel like I've accomplished something, getting these in. You'll find them on the website soon!

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Jennie, posing in her sock on Sunday. (Actually, that's just Jennie's foot and leg.) I believed I was at the point where I would begin turning the heel, a belief confirmed when she tried it on. This toe-up sock will have one of those reverse-heel-flap style of heels.

Posted by Karen at 08:05 AM | Comments (3)

November 20, 2004


I spent a lovely and relaxing afternoon in the company of my fellow Master Knitter Wannabes from the Seattle Knitters Guild. That's Laura-Lee on the left, and Lizabeth, and Joy, and then myself. Joy recently passed Level I of the Master Knitter program, and so is working on Level II, like me. Lizabeth and LauraLee are just finishing up their Level I binders to submit to TKGA. LauraLee is an artist (weaver, ceramicist, calligrapher, to name a few of her many accomplishments). Lizabeth is a computer programmer. Joy is a school nurse. All of these women are witty, articulate, and I enjoy their humor.

You see the big pile of knitting books in the center of the table? And, although you can't tell from the picture, LauraLee had brought another big pile of books that were on the floor next to her. And we had brought our binders, too. And we did discuss -- some -- the books as resources for the knitting questions set by TKGA.

But what occupied our hands was another matter. LauraLee was working on a sock. Lizabeth was working on a sock. Joy was working on a cap for a newborn grandson. And I was working on the Jennie sock. None of these socks were the dreaded argyle required by the Master Knitter program, either.

You know how it is when you get together with good friends and everybody talks at once? That's exactly how it was with us. No pressure to get with the program, just the pleasure of good company.

A note about the Two Swans website: Behind the scenes, planned-for improvements continue to be put into place. Temporarily, I've taken the site down, so it won't be available to order from for the time being while the changes are made. If you would like to place an order, of course you can still contact me directly and I will be happy to help you! That's

Posted by Karen at 02:18 PM

November 19, 2004


To celebrate my birthday, my family took me out for a wonderful dinner at a steakhouse. From the moment we walked through the door, everyone working there wished me a happy birthday, so I felt like Scott had arranged some little surprise for me. We had flaming shish-kebabs, served up with much theatrical style. I was getting nervous as dessert-time neared, fearing that the waiter would bring out a sombrero complete with little tassels and that the waitstaff would gather 'round and sing one of those corny birthday songs. Fortunately, the dessert, Bananas Foster prepared table-side and every bit as flaming as the shish-kebabs, was served with one modest birthday candle in it, and no song. To my relief.

My girls gave me lots of lotions and potions to keep me looking young. My favorite kind, too, the Ginger lotions from Origins. It was a totally satisfying evening.

Except for this one small disappointment: Since Jennie's in college and we only see her once or twice a week now, I have been wanting to have her try on the sock I am knitting for her to make sure that it fits. So I had brought the half-knit sock with me in my purse. I tried to get her to take off her shoe in the restaurant and try on the sock for me. You know, very discreetly. But she refused. She said that you're required to wear shoes in a restaurant.

She'll be home tonight. And I'll be getting that sock onto her foot, for sure!

Bebe.jpg Not exactly a birthday gift, but this package did arrive in Two Swans' mail on Wednesday. It's 10 balls of Kidsilk Haze in the soft pink color "Bebe." It has been on backorder only since January!

Posted by Karen at 12:04 PM | Comments (2)

November 17, 2004


There is genius in prime numbers, Shakespeare said.

My date of birth: 11 / 17 / 59. Prime numbers, all.



Posted by Karen at 04:39 PM | Comments (7)

November 16, 2004


So Scott brings me my cup of coffee yesterday morning, along with a double-pointed needle. A size 1 needle. Did I mention that that was a dpn, the kind with points on both ends?

"This was poking me all night long, last night," he complained.

Oops! It was one I was using to knit the socks I am designing for Jennie; I must've set it aside while I was knitting in bed.

Posted by Karen at 10:18 AM | Comments (4)

November 12, 2004

Non-Knitting Interlude

Usually, every morning, Scott gets up early to go to work. He brings me a cup of coffee while I'm still in bed, and kisses me good-bye as he leaves for work. And usually I knit for half an hour, or forty-five minutes, or even an hour -- as long as I can make that cup of coffee last -- before I get out of bed and start my day.

But this morning, Scott got up late, and left for work without making any coffee. I had to get up to make my own cup of coffee. While the coffee was brewing, I browsed through some of my drama literature; lighted upon, and re-read with great pleasure The Importance of Being Earnest.

I was first introduced to this play when I was in high school; we read it aloud in drama class. Years later, when I taught high school drama, I always read this play with my advanced class. Oscar Wilde's biting humor is as understandable today as it was when this play was written, and high school students of today "get" it (whereas Shakespeare you have to explain to them). The Importance of Being Earnest was even made into a movie a few years ago, starring Reese Witherspoon.

Just wanted to share this idyllic-though-non-knitting morning with you, sipping coffee, re-reading The Importance of Being Earnest. The play is just too, too rich, and I chuckled away while reading it. I so enjoyed, as freshly as if it were the first time, the main character Algernon's relationship with his invalid friend Bunbury. Somehow Bunbury always manages to call Algernon away, just at those moments when Algernon has a pressing social obligation.

Oscar Wilde was a master of comedy of manners.

Posted by Karen at 08:10 PM

November 10, 2004


I've been so swamped since my return home from Pittsburgh that I haven't had time to update this blog. I've been busy filling orders for Two Swans and updating the website. (Behind the scenes there are even more changes happening with the website so that it will be much easier to use. You'll see even more yarns there, too. These changes aren't all in place just yet, but will be soon.) And I've been up against the deadline for preparing the Guild newsletter. And there was the Guild board meeting to attend, and the Ferals meeting.

I do like to be busy, though, so don't read these as complaints!

September was a major turning of the calendar page around here. Not only did I acquire full ownership of Two Swans, but also my eldest daughter moved into her college dorm to start her freshman year at Pacific Lutheran University. I do miss her. The campus is about 45 minutes away from our home, so she does drop by for the usual things college students need: laundry, food, money. And it is true that, with her bedroom not really in use every day since she now lives in the dorm, and since I needed to organize my yarn inventory, I've taken advantage of her absence by using a small amount of the space in her bedroom to put – temporarily – a few bins of inventory.

When Jennie was home for a day last week, she was up in her bedroom, reading Seventeen magazine. I had an order to fill, and walked in to get at my yarns. She gave me the usual teenaged snarl: “What do you want?”

"I'm filling an order; I'm just in here to get at my yarns."

Jennie started cracking up.

“What’s so funny?”

“After the anthropology dinner last night, this guy gave me a ride back to my dorm. We were talking about how we don’t go home very much because our moms have taken over our rooms. And I said, my mom is using mine for a yarn store. And he said: ‘That’s great! – I’m a knitter!’ ”

Just further proof of knitting’s popularity on college campuses.

Knitting news: I have found a few minutes here and there to work on the Karis poncho. I finished it and got it off the needles this morning. It wasn’t until it got completely off the needles that I’ve had any sense of whether the collar will fit around me. And I felt that sense of urgency: Let’s find out, right now, if it will fit. If the poncho fits fine around me in my bulky robe, it is sure to work over something more dainty:


Now, to block it and to sew the center back seam.

Posted by Karen at 08:05 AM | Comments (6)

November 04, 2004


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I'm two-thirds of the way finished on this bottom edging for the Karis poncho, and have just those few inches left on the second ball of yarn. (You see what's left, curled around my knitting needles in the bottom of the photo.) Will have to start a third ball of Kidsilk Haze to finish the edging -- so close to being finished! Isn't that a lot of knitting, for two balls of yarn? (The pattern does call for three balls, but I was doubting that I would need that much.)

Posted by Karen at 10:24 PM | Comments (3)