The Ins, Outs and Goings-On at Signature and Beyond straight from Cathy Bothe
We live in Wisconsin and we know about winter: cold, ice, black ice, snow drifts, frozen lakes and snow days. And now we know about a "polar vortex". Horrible, live threatening cold that makes you think of your blood actually freezing.
This has taken me by surprise since I HATE hot weather. Our family and friends chuckle when we say we keep the house in summer "cold enough to hang meat". In winter we keep it cold enough that one of our kids once said were he a renter he could complain to the housing authorities.
During the last "Vortex" I took a picture of my dashboard as I arrived at work.
When it warmed up to ZERO it felt like a heat wave. The painful cold was just a memory. I knew that if we got to 25 degrees there would be people out in shorts.
Of course staying inside means lots of time for knitting. I have been on a baby sweater binge. At the same time I knew that Signature had a new product coming on line so I didn't do final finishing so we could do some pictures.
I know that anyone who has done blocking has dealt with trying to "shape" a droopy piece of wet knitting. Getting the sides to be straight on a scarf comes to mind, but also trying to get the shoulders lined up evenly on a large wet piece is difficult with results not always what we want.
One night as I was struggling I thought how great it would be to have something that had a grid pattern on to help--much like the grid patterns that are now printed on the back of wrapping paper to achieve straight cuts. I also wanted something that able to be stored easily and without taking up too much room.
I began the search to find someone who would make such a cloth in the United States as you know my commitment to US made products. Once I found someone then we had to determine the proper fiber and weight. I knew we needed something absorbent, smooth, and not too "flimsy" because I also knew most projects would require a towel or two beneath. And so... the Signature Blocker Cloth was born.
I think you will like it as much as I do. It makes blocking so much easier and when you are done just fold and put away.
Some of the shots you will see on the site are showing pieces of several baby sweaters. Of course I had many others just in case the photographer needed them. The bad news is that this all took so long that some of the babies have grown past the original sizes so I have to go back and make new ones in larger sizes. The good news is that I will have some "in the bank" for the next babies.
Today is Feb 3, 2014 and here is the latest weather forecast--bad enough to freeze the heart of even the cold lovers among us: So here in the frozen north there is time for knitting-- and for me knitting bigger sweaters.
For additional information on steam blocking check out the Steam Blocking Hand Knits video by Annie ModesittRead More
We hope you have all had a wonderful holiday season. We are delighted to be able to introduce you to Toby Roxane -- a wonderfully talented young designer. We will be carrying all her patterns and ebooks. If you look at the patterns you will see they run the gamut from shawls to accessories to sweaters with many more to come!
When I first became acquainted with Toby and her work I was struck by her wonderful work but also with her bringing a fresh, new perspective. I know that being a full time designer in the world of knitting is a real challenge. Everyone here knows you will love her patterns and books.
I thought the best way to have you learn more about her was to "interview" her.
- Is your full time work life in the world of knitting?
It is! I'm lucky enough to be a full-time, self-employed knitwear designer. Before I started doing this full-time, in October of 2012, I worked at yarn shops for about three years so I've been in the knitting world, in some capacity, full-time for a while now.
- What made you start to make your own patterns?
I didn't learn how to knit until after I graduated from college in 2009, and when I did learn, it turned out I was good at it. Having recently graduated from college, I was trying to find a job and, like everyone else who graduated in 2008 and 2009, I couldn't. Plus, I really loved knitting—it seemed right for me in a way nothing else did. I also knew I wasn't cut out for a nine-to-five office job and that, ideally, I'd want to work for myself. Designing my own knitting patterns seemed like a logical way to make that happen.
- What is the biggest challenge for a young designer?
I know it's a bit crass to talk about money, but that is, without a doubt, my biggest challenge. This is not a notoriously high-paying field and there's been a lot of interesting speculation about that recently. Annie Modesitt, in particular, has been a real advocate for designers earning fair pay, but there's still a long way to go, and a lot of different parts of the industry where the idea of paying designers fairly has yet to infiltrate. As far as being young, I think I face all the same challenges my peers do in this regard, although I'm working in a field where I think I'm definitely on the younger side. I sometimes feel alienated from my peers because I spend so much time with people older than I am, and I sometimes feel alienated from my colleagues because I'm so much younger than they are.
- Do you ever run into people who think knitting is for grandmothers only?
All the time! It drives me nuts! And I get it from both knitters and non-knitters! Working at a yarn shop, sometimes a woman would come in needing help with something easy, like joining a piece of work in the round, and she'd be completely incredulous that I was not only able to help her, but I'd designed the pattern she was working on. And then on the other end, sometimes when I knit in public on the subway or in waiting rooms, a non-knitter will say something like "Aren't you a little young to be doing that?"
- How do you connect with the creative world-- knitting or otherwise? Mainly Ravelry. I don't know what knitters did before Ravelry. This job can be kind of a solitary one, but I do look forward to the TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) trade shows, where I get to hang out with other designers and yarny folk.
- What in your formal training helped you to be the designer you are?
Well...I don't actually have any formal training, exactly. I went to school for writing, but I did take a course at the London College of Fashion in the summer of 2011. That course was mainly geared toward people who want to design machine-knits for the big fashion houses and less toward writing patterns for hand-knitting, but I did learn a lot about how to put together a collection, which is something I do a lot (as evidenced by my shawl collections, London Underground, The Tarot Collection, and the upcoming Everwear: London Underground Vol. 2).
- Where do you find your inspiration for new designs?
There are three main places I find inspiration, and it depends on the design. The inspiration for lot of shawls has come from stitch dictionaries, particularly Barbara Walker's and the Japanese ones. I love to look at stitch patterns and try to imagine the best possible way to use them. Another thing that inspires me is yarn, especially hand-dyed yarn. A lot of shawls have come from finding ways to combine colors in a unique way. The third place I go for inspiration is high fashion. I love to look at the runway collections because I often see interesting silhouettes that could translate well into knitwear.
- How did you find Signature?
I think it was when a co-worker at one of the yarn shops showed up one day with a pair of Signature straights—she let me knit a few stitches and I was impressed. I got a circular size 7 for my birthday that year and I was hooked. Spoiled for life.
- What upcoming projects do you have planned for 2014?
Tons of exciting things! A lot of it is going to be a surprise, but I will say this: sweaters. Many, many sweaters.
- What is something interesting about your life story?I think I was raised in a sort of unconventional way—my dad was my main caretaker. He's an artist, and he worked at home while my mom worked in the city, in publishing. I had a few friends when I was little who were in the same kind of situation, with a stay-at-home dad, so I was at least 8 or 9 before I figured out that this was the opposite of what was considered "traditional." I also used to think everyone made their own art to put on the walls of their houses. All the paintings and photographs in my house were my dad's, and I thought every family just made their own—when I figured out that people actually bought art my mind was blown.
We are offering a very special introductory price on her patterns as the first of our "12 Days of Deals". Those 12 days come with a wish for a healthy, happy 2014! Read More
Have you ever wanted to give a gift to someone who
- Has everything they would want
- Knows how to make most anything they would want?
- Is your future mother-in-law?
Think of having to cook for Julia Child. I know all about how gut-wrenching such a proposition might be so you can imagine my delight when our new future daughter-in-law (the lovely Ms Marian) made me a knitted gift. What may look like a simple hot pad holder is something I use every single day and think of her every single time.
Used so many times that I took it for granted and was careless and burned it a bit.
Fast forward to a wonderful summer of wedding preparations. Two of my dearest friends, Minneapolis Minnie and Zion Zelda held a fantastic tea at our house for the bride to be and close family and friends. It was just unbelievable with 10 kinds of tea and beautiful finger sandwiches, fruits and desserts. All the guests loved the invitation that read "hats and gloves optional".
In thinking about how kind Marian has been to me and our whole family I got a brain storm-- do hot pads for each of the guests. I did many different patterns and colors.
I have never really made a lot of these but I soon learned why so many knitters enjoy making them-- they don't take long so you are never bored and you end up with something usable by any one.
One of Marian's friends was very, very pregnant with her first child and I was looking for a non hot pad project so I did this for her with some Mission Falls Cotton Picture of pink baby sweater
I know I can't make a hot pad for all of the wonderful Signature family but there is something that will make the DPN folks happy: starting July 24, 2013 each purchase of DPNs will be shipped in one of our storage tubes at no charge.
We will be at Stitches Midwest August 9-11, 2013 so please stop by and see us!Read More
Summer is here and so are the new Signature Convertibles. This is a new concept so please allow me to explain: We are now offering circulars that are convertible to other lengths within a size which allows for flexibility and more than one use for your needles. If I had a penny for every inquiry about why we had pulled the size 7's, when they would be done etc. I could take about 10,000 of you on a nice tropical vacation. This seems like a good time to let you know what has been going on behind the scenes. We had some issues with cables cutting on some of our needles. We came to the conclusion that there will always be some of those because of the way a TINY percentage of people hold the needles--with pressure right on the join area. In looking at this we did months of testing to see if we could minimize that problem. Testing of even a single change can take many weeks-- first block time to get a tweaked design machine time (1-3 weeks wait), run samples (1-5 days), send off to testers (1-5 days), have testers test and send back reports(1-2 weeks), review all reports (1-5 days) and make new design tweaks. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. As you can see even a few changes can add up to months. During this time we had the "ah ha" moment-- why not allow people to have the ability to convert their needle stalks in a given size to more than one length? We know people have asked for something like this and that it would allow the multiple use of a single pair of needles which would be economical for knitters. Back to drawing board to see what we would need to do to have this happen. We wanted a design that would work easily and without extra "tools" to make changes, or be complicated in some way. Our testers included people of all ages and we had them ask non-knitters of all ages if they could make the changes in cable assemblies. We had unanimous approval. We think you will love the new version of Signatures (so cleverly named by the husband of one of us) which will be available Tuesday, May 28, 2013. What this means is that you can buy, for example, a pair of US 4 needle stalks with a 5" length and then buy a single cable assembly or as many as are available for that combination. In this case you could buy a 24", 32", 40", 47" overall length assembly either one at a time or as many as you would like. And, YES, you can still buy the older model "fixed" needles but only until they are all gone. We have also changed our packaging and think you will like that too.
We appreciate our customers' patience during this long process. Even as we all wanted to have the 7s back, all the people who inquired about them were very understanding about our work to bring them back. We hope you love the new Signature Convertibles as much as we do.Read More
Hi, Signature Needle Arts Fans, If you follow me at all on my blog , Twitter @SusanBAnderson, Facebook, or Instagram , you will already know how much I love my Signature circular needles and sets of double-pointed needles. Through my knitting and photography my devotion to the Signature Needles shines through on an almost daily basis. I was asked to guest post on Signature's blog but I feel it is important to note that I have personally purchased all of my Signature Needle Arts needles on my own. My review and constant use of these needles is strictly by choice.
I feel that using these beautifully-crafted and designed needles has upped my knitting game to new levels. The speed and clarity of my stitches has benefitted by the crystal-clear points and the smoothness of the needle and cable construction. I love both the circular needles and the double-points but today I am focusing on the double-pointed needles. As I say in the video I've provided, I use my Signature Double-Pointed needles for all sorts of projects (hats, sleeves, mittens, socks), but as a knit toy designer I most often use them to make toys. Most of the time for my toy patterns the knitter needs to cast-on a small number of stitches onto double-pointed needles to begin working in the round. When I am teaching toy-knitting workshops I have noticed that the cast-on and the first few rounds of working in the round can be challenging for some knitters. Of course, as with everything, practice over time always makes things easier but using these lightweight and smooth Signature needles also helps the process. I have made a short video showing how I cast-on 9 stitches onto 3 Signature double-pointed needles to begin working in the round. I am showing you how I cast-on and set up a small number of stitches for working in the round on dpns. For more technique-based instructional videos please check out my YouTube Channel at SusanBAnderson: Here is the video. Enjoy!
If you are interested in toy-knitting, please check out my newest toy book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys. It is chock-full of fun and whimsical reversible toys that you will love knitting on Signature dpns! You can always preview the patterns on Ravelry for all of my books. Here are the links to my other books and my knitting blog (where I use Signature double-points and circular needles a lot!): Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys Itty-Bitty Hats Itty-Bitty Nursery Itty-Bitty Toys Spud & Chloe at the Farm Susan B. Anderson (blog) Happy Knitting and thanks for having me! Best, SusanRead More
Guest Blog Post by: Kate Atherley, Magic Loop & 2 Circulars
Although double-pointed needles were the traditional solution for knitting in the round, circular knitting needles, invented in the late 19th/early 20th century, provided an excellent and convenient way to work larger pieces in the round. Before their invention, knitters would have used longer DPNs: it wasn’t uncommon to see 14 inch DPNs, and a knitter working a garment in the round might have the stitches distributed across multiple sets of DPNs.
UK Knitting needle manufacturer Aero coined the name “Twin-Pin” to describe these circular needles, and they were adopted with enthusiasm by knitters on both sides of the Atlantic.
Although originally design for working in the round, circular needles can also be used for working back and forth in rows – essentially becoming a pair of straight needles joined by a piece of string. This is particularly useful if you’re working on a larger piece, as the weight is better distributed, and you don’t have to jam together many stitches on a straight needle. Many knitters – myself included – use circular needles almost exclusively for knitting, whether flat or in the round.
There is, however, a limit on the use of circular needles – you can fit a larger round on a circular needle, but not a smaller round. And the smallest common length of circular needle is 16 inches. (There are smaller circulars – 12, 9 and even 8 inches – but the small circumference demands shorter needle tips, and some knitters find them hard to hold and work with. In addition, the tightness of the angle can make it challenging to work anything other than plain fabrics: it can be difficult to tilt the needle tip to work decreases or increases.)
So for a long time knitters continued to use the traditional double-pointed needles for smaller circumference items like the tops of hats, socks, mittens and sleeve cuffs.
But DPNs have drawbacks. They’re not necessarily great for portable knitting, as it’s too easy to lose a needle. And some knitters find the “porcupine wrestling” aspect daunting. Four DPNs means 8 points; five DPNs means 10 points! Stitches can fall off the ends of the needles, and laddering – loose stitches at the breaks between the needles – is an issue for some knitters.
Almost exactly 100 years after the invention of circular needles, some clever knitters landed on ways to use them to totally eliminate the need for any other kind of needles – notably, DPNs.
The Magic Loop method – invented by Sarah Hauschka and popularized by Bev Galeskas in 2002 – uses a long circular needle (usually 32-40 inches) to work a smaller round. The round of stitches is divided in half, and loops of cord pulled out at the breaks between the halves. The half of the round actively being worked sits on the actual needles; the other half of the round rests on the cord.
The Two Circulars method – invented by Joyce Williams and first described in print in the Summer 2000 issue of Knitter’s Magazine – uses two shorter circular needles (usually 16-24 inches) in a manner similar to Magic Loop. Each half of the round lives on its own needle, and those stitches are worked only with the needle they live on.
If you’re not a fan of DPNs, these two methods provide excellent alternatives. There are pros and cons to all three methods; which you prefer is usually a matter of how you hold your needles, and how you like to work. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re doing is wrong! I still work my socks and mittens most often on DPNs, but I will change off to Magic Loop if I’m travelling – losing a needle mid-vacation would be a total disaster! I also like using Magic Loop if I’m working a sock with cables that twist all the way round, as it reduces the number of times I have to rearrange my stitches. I also use Magic Loop if I’m working a patterned sock with a large pattern repeat that’s worked twice around; I can organize the stitches so that there’s one repeat per needle.
For these two methods, you should choose your circular needles carefully: you need cords that are flexible enough to bend, but not so flexible that they kink. Older circular needles had much stiffer cords that would not bend sufficiently. When the Signature product development team was working on their circular needles, the cords were an area of great focus – making sure that they were just right for all uses of circular needles.
For more info, see the below
Youtube video http://youtu.be/gucmILhpUQs - Knitting Socks with eliZZZa #02 * How to knit socks with 2 circular needles
http://youtu.be/RybPvCNfrT8 - Cat Bordhi - Part 1: Knitting on 2 circular needles
http://youtu.be/hqySdHjIPIc - VeryPink Knits - Knitting 2 Socks at-a-Time, Magic Loop, Parts 1-5Read More
We have had such a cold and miserable and WET time the past few months. Rain and roof leaks and folks here with water in finished basements. Honestly last week we had snow showers. And then yesterday (the last day of April) when I walked out of the office
We are near Lake Michigan so I drove down to see what the lake did to temperatures
The heat is nice but it will condense a wonderful sign of spring at one of our town’s community centers which was an old Anglican Girl’s School—a sea of beautiful blue Scylla I hoped to be able to see it for as many days as possible before we leave for the ever amazing Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
Preparation has been going on for weeks and today is the day for packing
You may notice a new face. We are so happy to have Donna here doing all the project management as well as the zillions of things that need to get done besides the manufacturing of the needles. She has jumped in with a wonderful enthusiasm. She also helps with Customer Service calls afternoons so some of you may have already “met” her on the phone.
We will be in the Main Building Booth C5 . This year you will see Laura and me as well as Vicki who is our financial manager. This is her first show and we have been trying to explain the fantastic MSW but I am quite sure that we have not really conveyed the size, the yarn, the sheep and the wonderful people. Please come by if you can.
I am just finishing a few baby sweaters and once the buttons are on will share. Right now I have 2 wonderful wedding projects waiting as our son Paul will be bringing the wonderful Marian into the family later this summer. As it will be an outdoor wedding she asked for a shrug to wear over her wedding dress for the evening festivities.
She and her mom Nancy and I had a wonderful morning going over many, many patterns and found one she liked. A special treat was getting to see “the dress” once more in person. Right now I have enough different yarn to make 3 of the pattern for her to review. What will happen to the other shrugs is yet to be decided. Maybe a Shrugathon give away?
Early summer will mean a bridal shower and who doesn’t like those?? I am stealing an idea from a shower I went to recently which will require knit hot pads (32 of them). I have never really done any of these and am looking for any direction as to a good yarn. I think cotton but would a blend work? If you can give any help or direction it would be most appreciated.
This project is especially meaningful to Marian and me since she knit me a pot holder for a gift. If it had been me in her shoes I would have had a lot of anxiety in giving such a gift: new mother-in-law to be, who is a long time experienced knitter, and head of a knitting needle company. Turns out I had never made anything like this for myself or anyone else and its unique shape helps me every single morning when I have my one cup of coffee. I can’t think of any gift that I use so often and every single time I use it I mentally thank her and am glad she is coming into the family. Just in: weather in 70’s today but by tomorrow and Friday back down to the 50’s—maybe Maryland will have a real Spring to show off.Read More
When Signature was quite new we had a customer who took the chance and returned for more and more needles. She is from a part of Michigan that was going through some hard times and we became acquainted by email over the years. Last year when we auctioned off the beautiful sample of the cashmere Shirley Paden design she won and I couldn’t have been happier.
We wanted to feature her in the Signature Circle series and so began to find out a few more things about Jean. We gave a little preview of Jean in an earlier blog post about the donation of the proceeds from the sale of the sample garment to Hurricane Sandy relief. Wow, what a story—a family business in breeding crickets. Who would have ever thought of that as a thriving business? She shares her time in a yarn shop, driving a fork truck, and knitting. If only crickets had tiny little fleeces….
Talk about an interesting life! We hope you will think so too. By the way the Shirley Paden kit and pattern are available on the site if you want to take a stab at making your own Lacey Arches Cardigan.
1. Tell us about yourself:
My name is Jean Eldred, I am 57 years young. My husband and I have three grown sons. A couple of unique things about me: I have seven siblings, including a set of triplets. They are my younger sisters and they are turning 50 this year! After I graduated from college in 1977, I pursued a career in wastewater treatment at that time I was the first woman to work in my community as a wastewater treatment operator. I left that career to become a business owner.
2. When did you start knitting, who taught you?
I love this question! It brings back some good memories. I don't remember whose idea it was, but my Mom and I took knitting lessons together at a yarn shop, I think it was called Monroe Woolen Mills? I was probably ten years old. I can remember knitting some swatches in different stitches. Also, I think I made some mittens as one of my first projects. I have been knitting on and off since then.
3. What are your favorite things to knit?
I like it all! I have several projects going at once (and a few in time out!!) Right now I am working on a beautiful Chicknits cardigan, Elisbeth using some yarn from the Plucky Knitter. I recently finished Christmas stockings for my family. My oldest son just recently got engaged to a wonderful young woman so that was my inspiration to update the family stockings. I used the Churchmouse Family Christmas Stocking pattern for all of the stockings. I made everyone's stocking different. It was great fun designing the stockings for each person. I used Shepherd's wool from Stonehedge for this project; also, I used 40" Signature needles so I could knit the magic loop method. Also, I just made a hat for one of my doctors. I have been suffering from vertigo. He diagnosed my problem as BPPV and performed a simple procedure (called the Epley Maneuver) and I was cured! It was just amazing. So, I decided to knit him a hat. I gave it to him at my follow-up appointment. He was really touched, he told me that his wife is learning to knit and is making a washcloth! Of course, I used that opportunity to tell him that I work part time at Stitching Memories, my local yarn shop. He says she will be coming in to visit us.
4.Can you tell us a little about your unique company?
I work at my family's business, Top Hat Cricket Farm. We raise and sell crickets all over the U.S. Crickets are sold to zoos, pet stores, bait shops and to individuals who require large quantities of crickets. We have a website, www.tophatcrickets.com. There is a lot of information on our company's history on our site. In a nutshell, the cricket farm was started by my father-in-law, Grant Eldred, in the 1960's. Back then it was a summer only business dedicated to growing crickets for sale as fish bait. Over the years, people have started feeding crickets to their pet lizards, frogs, turtles and even birds. As the number of people keeping those types of pets has grown, so has the cricket industry. We sell crickets in quantities from one thousand up to one hundred thousand. They are shipped in packages designed to keep them from getting too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. Our sons have all worked at the business; making them third generation cricket farmers.
|Cricket Shelves||Smaller crickets we raise||Larger crickets we raise|
5. Do you have a favorite local yarn shop?
I am lucky enough to work part time at Stitching Memories, which is located in Portage, MI I have worked there for several years. It is a great way to keep my yarn stash fed! I enjoy seeing customers bring in their finished projects, either from classes they have taken with us or with yarn they have purchased from us. That feeling of satisfaction from a finished object just has to be shared! Working at the yarn shop, I get to see the appeal that knitting holds for people of all ages. We also carry crochet tools and patterns and hold classes in crochet. I think the granny square is making a comeback.
6. How did you become a part of the Signture family?
I have been a huge fan of Signature needles for a long time, even before you sold circs. I think the first time Cathy emailed me was when I ordered a kit which included Lorna's laces yarn, DPNs and a pattern. I can't remember all the details, but I had ordered the kit to take along with me on a family vacation to Mackinac Island.
When Super Storm Sandy hit everyone here felt so bad for all the people affected. We even had a direct link since we were working with the final steps of the Lacey Arches pattern by the famous designer Shirley Paden Bernstein and getting the sample to be finished and delivered. She and her helpers live in New York and had some damage themselves. We wanted to do something just as so many others all across the country and decided that we could raise some funds by auctioning off the beautiful 100% cashmere sample. It was wonderful to see how many people were interested. And we have a winner…. Jean E from Michigan
Even though we have a huge number of customers I really do “know” some of them. One of the things I do is to email customers from time to time and Jean and I have been in touch for several years so having her get the sweater was wonderful. I wanted to find out a bit more about her—things I had not thought to ask and here is what she replied: I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My three sons are grown but still live in the area. I work at my family's business, Top Hat Cricket Farm, but I am also lucky enough to have time to work part time at Stitching Memories, my local yarn shop. I love my signature needles. Currently, I am knitting Christmas stockings for my family. Since it is only January, I will surely have time to finish them in time for next Christmas! The cord on the circular needles is perfect for the magic loop method. Of course the part about the Cricket Farm grabbed my attention—was it just a cute name or was it really Crickets. Turns out it is really crickets and that they sell in the US, Canada and even Europe to pet stores and zoos. You can go to www.tophatcrickets.com to learn more. And people don’t understand how very interesting knitters are! Here in Kenosha we have another winner. Laura absolutely shocked her father and me last October. I mean slack jawed, stunned, amazed when she announced that since Jan. of 2012 she had been in secret training so that she could run a ½ marathon at Disney World this January. In our family and at work we all love and respect Laura for her multitude of talents, her character, intelligence, and kindness but she has never, ever really done anything athletic. She is a fantastic parent, community member, citizen but has never been on a single team or had any sport as a hobby. So you can see why we were actually speechless when she told us the reason she and her husband and kids were going to Disney World. Also, those kids can try for jobs in the CIA—in all those months with all the Sunday dinners and vacations together and even a long car trip they never even hinted at what she was doing. She was training on a treadmill and running around our town and not a word. I know that Vicki in our office was a real inspiration—another mom who did the training and the two ½ marathons at Disney after not ever doing any running before. This is an excellent time of year to when we are making resolutions to consider that what we do (for good or ill) can turn into a resolution for others around us. Saturday Jan. 13 was the day at Disney World and we have another winner:
We are so proud of her and what she did so “out of the box” for her. Maybe that is the best prize—to be an example for others that you CAN do something you never did before and, of course, that you can keep a secret from your parents.Read More
It is pretty obvious that my New Year’s Resolution should be to do a better job of keeping up with the blog. It is not that nothing has happened, but that lots has. Everything from holiday hilarity (think dogs eating whole plates of summer sausage) to engagements to meeting special friends for the first time to astonishing developments in the family. I will do my best to get back to some of these as we move into the new year. For today I am so happy that baby Benjamin has finally arrived. He is the grandson of dear friends. Their son (Benjamin’s dad) married a wonderful young woman from Brazil who is not only very intelligent, very articulate in 2 languages, but also just plain gorgeous. Isabella also helped Laura as a summer nanny when the kids were younger so our families are very close. Our son-in-law Brian who is a native of Minnesota says in our town there in no 6 degrees of separation—2 degrees at the maximum. Because Benjamin is the best of 2 national traditions—United States and Brazil—I wanted to do something special so I knit a blanket with 2 sides, one has the colors and flag of the US and the other Brazil. It took me almost as long as the time since I last blogged. Actually I had it almost done and hated the separate blocks so frogged the whole thing and did it as 2 continuous pieces.
I have to say I was happy to finally finish just a few days before his arrival. We are just coming out of the busy holiday season here. Actually just yesterday the winner of the $500 “win your wish list” sent her order so she will be having a great start to a new knitting year. The topper of the season (and there is always a clear winner) was the customer who called to tell us that her boyfriend had kindly and lovingly bought her 3 pairs of circs that were on her wish list. The arrived and somehow in his wrapping attempt he cut through all the cables. Not one, not two, but all 3! He knew how much she wanted them so he attempted a repair with black duct tape. We were all pretty sure that it was a mixed response—happy that he was trying to fix things and horrified at the destruction. I have a few more babies on the horizon and a stash that just won’t quit so I want to find a basic raglan sleeve baby sweater (cardigan) done in the round. If you know of a good one I would be happy if you would share it. One wonderful addition here at work is that we now have Peggy helping with Customer Support. She has a fascinating past life as a newspaper columnist and she is a knitter! We know that some of you may have been in contact with her and that she will do everything she can to help. One last thing for your consideration: We have a fabulous new kit and pattern from the famous designer Shirley Paden and we have the original sample. We wanted to try and help the victims of Super Storm Sandy in whatever way we can so we are auctioning off the sample which is stunning done in 100% Jade Sapphire cashmere.
You can find all the information One day left to bid - Join your fellow knitters in bidding for a great cause! The Shirley Paden Lacy Arches Cardigan Sample Garment is up for auction. Made with 100% Cashmere from Jade Sapphire Auction: All proceeds will be donated to @RedCross Hurricane Sandy relief http://ow.ly/gDLPtRead More