A Shout-Out To David Reidy.

"G'day, Everyone."
Smart and eloquent, a voice
Like smooth stockinette.

If you haven't already, give a listen to David Reidy's fantastic podcast Sticks & String. It's a favorite here at Casa d' A.K - my husband even thinks the Australian Bloke Who Knits is cool. We're planning on spending our 10th wedding anniversary in Australia, and I hope I can somehow manage to meet Mr. Reidy in person then.

Of course, that's not for another 5 years. Sigh.


Why I Love Vogue Knitting.

Oh Vogue Knitting, how I love thee. Let me count the top 5 ways...

  1. VK never fails to inspire me beyond my current knitting capabilities. And that's a good thing. Otherwise, I'd still be knitting scarves. Or not knitting at all, due to boredom from making too many scarves. Not that scarves are a bad thing - I'd just get bored making the same thing over and over again.

  2. Fantastic articles. In this most recent issue, I particularly liked "Fits That Flatter" - very helpful.

  3. Focus on the LYS. I love the articles on different shops, what they stock, what makes them different from other shops, etc.

  4. The patterns, of course. Knitter or no, I dare anyone to look through VK and not find something they'd love to wear. Too many gorgeous patterns to name from the current issue, but two that I'd love to attempt are #s 26 and 31.

  5. The advertisements. Seriously. Again, a great source of inspiration. These companies are doing some amazing things, and when I'm not bogged down with work, cleaning house, errands, husband, Baby A.K, etc., I like looking at these companies' websites. Stop laughing.

Time to check on Baby A.K. - daddy's putting her down to bed tonight. In case you're curious, she really liked pattern #30.


Knitters Sometimes Run In Packs.

In which case, if you happen to be at, say, your local Borders and you think you're going to kick back in the cafe for some quiet time, think again. When knitters meet, they laugh a lot. A LOT.

Today was the monthly get-together of the Central PA Knitters, and, like last month, it was a blast. Knitting can easily be a very solitary obsession hobby, but when you get a bunch of us together, you get more out of the experience. It's not just that you can learn a lot from other yarnaholics, but the craft itself becomes multifaceted (as if it weren't already): you pick up a new technique here, a cool pattern idea there, tips on new yarns to try or what the TSA will allow on planes these days.

Jen was making a dishcloth, but it turned into a heart. Or a dreidel. Or a heart-shaped dreidel. Whatever it is or may become, I really like it.

And Michelle is working on mittens. After just one lesson, too. And in August!

And I'm working on a boa-style scarf for my stepmom. She lives in Florida. Scarf. Florida. Well, even Floridians get chilly in the winter... I think. Picture to come.

Gotta run... Baby A.K. has a fever, and has planned to keep me running to her bedside all night. If only I could knit in the dark.


Sundays Are For Laundry.

If it's Sunday, it must be Laundry Day. I don't know why I wait to do all of our laundry on just one day, or why I chose that day to be during the weekend, but there it is.

There was more today than usual - the regular amount that accumulates during a normal week, then some leftovers from our Florida vacation. Type A personality that I am, I meticulously went through every article of clothing, separating each into its proper pile according to color and water temperature. There was one pile, however, that's been staring me down for... yikes, about a month. The handknits. They needed their infusion of water and Eucalan, and needed them now.

As I type this, everything is clean and fresh-smelling and laying all over the house drying. Among the lucky items that are ready to be dirtied up again:

- A crocheted baby afghan from a college friend of my husband's. Fluffy, white, and luxurious.

- A knitted disaster of a baby blanket I made while pregnant with Baby A.K. This thing is worthy of its own post, and will get it soon. Stay tuned.

- A beautiful knitted sweater and hat set made by my mom for... who else? Baby A.K. They're too heavy for her to wear now, but they're ready to go as soon as the weather gets cool and autumn-y.

- A sweater I made for myself at the beginning of the summer. Straight out of Filatura di Crosa's Spring/Summer '07 collection, it's the Drop Stitch Pullover featured on the cover. I even used the same color yarn (Venezia, in purple). What can I say... it looked good on my LYS's mannequin. And it looks pretty good on me.

So, now that the laundry's done, Baby A.K. sleeps peacefully, and I've had too many of my husband's awesome homemade brownies, it's time for Entourage. And a pleasant night was had by all.


The DPN And The Damage Done.

After escaping from my office today after a long week, I went to our local Barnes & Noble to waste some time before meeting my wonderful friend Stacy for dinner. I sauntered into the cafe, plopped down at a table, and with great flair began working on my husband's sock. I was KIPping (Knitting In Public), and KIPping as obviously as I could muster, as if to announce to all 5 of the other cafe patrons, "Yeah, that's right. I'm a Knitter, and I'm proud!"

As I worked on picking up stitches, I happened to look up to find a little girl, about 8 years old or so, watching me intently. She didn't shy away when our eyes met - she looked directly at me and gave me a smile. I smiled right back, then continued my work. How cool, I thought. She was watching me! She was interested in what I was doing! Did she know that I was knitting as opposed to crochet? Was she thinking of coming over to ask me what I was doing? Did she herself know how to knit and was giving me silent validation? Was she thinking about pointing out how cool I was to her mom when she returned with their beverages?

By the time I came back into my head, all of the sock's live stitches were divided between not 3, but 2 DPNs. And it wasn't immediately obvious what had happened to the other 2 needles (floor? No. Knitting bag? No. Behind each ear? Ummmm... yep. Sigh.). Making matters stranger, there were double the number of stitches than there should've been on those 2 DPNs. Which totaled a very scary 160 stitches. If you've ever knit socks before, you know how very, very wrong that is. If you've never knit socks before, it'll take you approximately 10 seconds to visualize what 160 stitches on 2 DPNs looks like, and realize how very, very wrong that is.

Lesson learned:

ego + showing off + daydreaming about one's own cool factor + lack of caffeine-laden beverage = sock insanity.

I don't know what I was thinking. Should've ordered a latte first.


This Is Mine.

About a week ago, I was working on my husband's socks while Baby A.K. wound down her day playing quietly with her Legos. After working diligently on her "castle", she came over to me. "Mommy knit?" she asked.
"Yes, Mommy is knitting Daddy's socks."
"Me knit?"
"No honey, not just yet. When you're older."
"ME KNIT! ME KNIT!" she repeated at full volume as she stomped her feet, making contact more than once with my own feet. I don't know if it was the foot-stomping or the screaming, or maybe something else, that prompted me to blurt:
"NO. This is MINE. The knitting is MINE."

Ever since I learned how to knit a few years ago, it's pretty much consumed me. It opened up an entirely new world for me that I barely knew existed (oh, I'd heard rumors. My mom, aunt, grandmother, and sister-in-law have been slaves to the siren song of yarn for decades. I'd just chosen to ignore it for a while.). Knitting gave me some really great scarves (natch), a belt, a poncho, and two sweaters that I'm very proud of, not to mention the enormous amount of gifts I've given of it. It makes me feel great when I can work out a pattern without calling in my relatives for help. It calms my nerves daily - the repetitve stitch pattern combined with my focused concentration lets me escape the TV, the pile of neglected laundry, my own head. And let's face it - it's great fun. Something I crave look forward to every day. Something I sneak into my office for a quick fix. So knitting is more than just a hobby now. It's innately and passionately part of me. It's mine.

My daughter is only 2 years old, and doesn't have the dexterity to knit yet. I can't wait until she does, though. I'll be there when she makes her first uneven stitches, and I'll be there to help her fix her mistakes. I hope she feels as passionately about handcrafted sweaters and socks and fingerless gloves as I do. But right now, there's Lego castles to build, blocks to stack, toy kitchens to destroy, and tricycles to ride.

And the knitting is mine.


Travelling With Linda

I never met Linda before - we were merely sitting in the same aisle row seats on the flight from Atlanta to Harrisburg, PA. My daughter was sitting in the window seat next to me, and my husband was sitting behind me. Linda watched us as we twisted and turned to talk to each other, and offered to switch seats so we could talk a little easier. I made a joke - something like, "What, talk to him? No way!", and she gave me the strangest frown. I was a little put-off by that - come on, it was a joke - but I shrugged it off and pulled out my travel project - Lion Brand Yarn's Mobius tube scarf. A nice, easy piece for travelling with a 2-year old.

I knit about 3 rows when Linda softened. "I didn't know you could get needles past the TSA," she said, then told me about the crochet project she reluctantly left behind. She told me how she spent the night in a crowded airport in Panama City without her luggage due to a flight cancellation. She told me how she was going to see her grandchildren after a long absence. She told me about the cancer that 2 close members of her family were enduring. And all the while I knit, consoled, empathized, and listened, as best as possible in the noisy puddle jumper we were riding.

I realized that Linda's initial frown at my attempt at a joke had nothing to do with me at all. It had everything to do with the conditions she found herself in during the last 24 hours. And I realized first-hand how knitting can truly bring people together, and if just for a little while, make our journey a bit more pleasant.

All my best to you and your family, Linda.


It'll Be Just Like Starting Over

Alright, for real this time.

This is The Accidental Knitter, blogging to you live from deepest, darkest Central Pennsylvania. I think I finally have my act together enough to actually keep this blog going for longer than 2 months, so here I go again.

For those of you who don't know what an Accidental Knitter is, I'll explain. It's a person who never intended to pick up needles and yarn out of lack of interest/hand coordination/gray matter, but did one day and found it to be... addicting. It's a person who figured it wasn't a craft worth learning - I mean, acrylic yarn is just so... old-fashioned. And boring (sorry, Grandma - the blue K2P2 sweater you made me is all I knew at the time). It's a person who once uttered the question, "Why would you knit socks when you can just buy them for five bucks a pack?"

My, how I've grown.

Anyway, this is just a quick re-introduction. I'll soon be rambling about all sorts of knitting experiences, WIPs, and hopefully my attempts to learn how to spin. Right now, I want to finish the heel flap on my sock project.

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