Gus is Ready for Sunday!

So my sister — who, as you may know, is primarily responsible for starting my knitting career — lives in Chicago — where, as you may also know, they got completely socked in by snow yesterday.

And apparently she got REALLY bored, because she dug out this masterpiece, which is roughly 30 years old.  (My BIL has been a fan of the Packers for many years, as you can see.)

This was a product of my early teen years, which were also the early 80’s, so maybe there’s some kind of an excuse right there.  Also, obviously it is CROCHETED.  And as I always say, crocheted clothing just tends to look a little bit… odd.

Click the picture for a closer look, if you can stand it!


sry Gus.  ai has a shamed with u.

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Other Knitting Superstitions

I was listening to an audiobook today that involves the theater, and was surprised to hear a character declare that “knitting on stage is bad luck”.

Having at least 50% of the qualification, and never having heard of this one — of course, I had to look into it.  And yes, I found several websites that insist that knitting on-stage — or near the stage, or to the side of the stage — is definitely bad luck — even at rehearsals!

However, some sources state that it is only a problem if the knitting is done by an actor or actress, so I guess that means it’s OK for the audience to bring their knitting.  (Thank goodness — I was beginning to worry about the Winterhawks hockey team.)

The most often suggested origin of the superstition is that pointy needles could rip a costume, or a needle on the floor could be stepped on by someone and cause them to fall.  A more romantic version says that the act of knitting will “entangle the production”, and connects this remarkable ability to the Fates — who may not be knitters, but they do weave the tapestry of Life, after all.

I also found a few other superstitions about knitting, aside from the well-known “boyfriend sweater” curse.  (Well, it’s well-known to me, in a very definite and experienced way, at any rate.)  For entertainment purposes only, please!


  • “Bad luck may befall a knitter who leaves a project unfinished.”  Well, this one pretty much puts me in the doghouse right there.  Anything else I might inadvertently do to cause myself bad luck — such as failing to hold my breath until I see a black, or possibly brown, dog upon hearing an ambulance — is probably completely overshadowed by this one.


  • The “bad luck from an unfinished project can be transferred to the intended recipient“, as well.  This is most often quoted in the context of starting projects for babies, which seems disproportionate to say the least.  Why doom an innocent child because I can’t get my act together to finish a pair of booties?


  • “Don’t stab your needles through the ball of yarn when you stop knitting, or anyone who wears what is created from that yarn will have bad luck.”  Unless of course your intended recipient is a baby AND you manage to finish the project WITHOUT having to resort to knitting it while on-stage.


  • I have to quote this particular impolite source verbatim:  “Ladies, not that he wants them anyway, knitting a pair of socks for your boyfriend may cause your man to walk away from you in the future.”  HA!  Not if he is smart.  Or maybe this is like the sweater curse, in that if the man in question is married to you, it’s OK.  This is not specified, though, so the best advice I can give is, knit socks for your man at your own risk.


  • “If you knit a strand of your own hair into an item, it will cause a closer bond to be formed between you and the recipient.”  It must be that this one only works if it is the knitter’s own hair:  because if it could be extrapolated to any old hair that gets trapped in the knitting, I think my husband would have run off with my cat by now.


  • “If you drop the scissors you are using to cut your yarn, it means your lover is cheating on you.”  Disclaimer:  some sources say they have to land open in the “V” shape for this to be true.  Some also say that someone else has to pick them up for you — no dire retribution is assigned if you pick them up yourself, but I suppose it’s going to be the ubiquitous but nonspecific “bad luck”.  I think it probably just means Rock Star has been knitting with the gin again!


so, Happy Knitting!  but for the love of sheep, NOT ON-STAGE, and be careful with the scissors.

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Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You…

The other day I got an email from an old college friend.  This guy is pretty much on the cutting edge of technology, and I have an idea that he finds my career change from "engineer" to "knitting teacher" pretty much unfathomable, and probably a little unsettling.

Despite that, we remain friends.  And every time he runs across something even vaguely knitting-related on the vast interwebs, he sends me a link.

The latest one is a link to a blog post about "The 10 Awesomest Sweaters on the Internets."  I'll give you the actual link in a minute.  But first, a warning…

DO NOT GO PAST THE ZEBRA ONE.  Number ten on the list is just too disturbing for words.  If you look, don't say I didn't warn you.

OK, now that you've been warned:  click here to see The 10 Awesomest Sweaters on the Internets.

And pass the brain bleach, plzkthx.

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Just for Fun

It’s billed as "Extreme Sheep LED Art".

It’s supposed to be a promotion for Samsung’s LED TV’s, although the connection seems tenuous to me.

The video’s creators (The Baaa-Studs) say, "We took to the hills of Wales armed to the teeth with sheep, LEDs and a camera, to create a huge amazing LED display. Of sorts."

But, they fail to mention THE DOGS.  I’ve never seen a sheep dog working sheep in real life — the closest I’ve been is the Agrodome show in New Zealand — but this clip is pretty impressive.  I doubt they could have done it without the dogs!

A game of Pong, anyone?



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The Sheep Albedo Hypothesis

Who knew global warming was being caused by sheep?

(I wish I could say I’d written this, but I didn’t.  This post is greatly condensed from the original post at  But, the pictures of authentic NZ sheep are mine.)

NZ sheep1 April 2007

A remarkable new result was announced in a press conference today by Dr. Ewe Noh-Watt of the New Zealand Institute of Veterinary Climatology.

Global warming is being caused by the decline of New Zealand’s sheep population.  Sheep are mostly white, thus large numbers of sheep increase the planet’s albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected back into space). As the sheep population declines, the ground absorbs more solar radiation, thus warming the planet.

more NZ sheep"…It can be seen that the recent warming can be explained entirely by the decline in the New Zealand sheep population … Evidently there are amplifying feedbacks at work which give the Sheep Albedo Index a disproportionate influence over climate."

The recognition of the role of sheep albedo opens up some fascinating new possibilities for climate change mechanisms. There is in fact an important destabilizing positive feedback in the system: as the climate gets warmer, there is less demand for wool sweaters and wooly underwear. Hence the sheep population tends to drop even further, leading to even more warming.

If not curtailed, this vicious circle has the potential to lead to "runaway sheep-albedo feedback."

tartan sheep

If that’s not enough for you, we also have this in from The London Times: "tartan sheep" said to have been bred by Grant Bell of West Barns, East Lothian. 

However, the Times warned, "Before you complain of being fleeced, check out the baa-code for today’s date."

All this and more great stuff can be found at!


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He Knows Too Much

Saturday afternoon:  DH and I are running some errands together, so he is driving and I am knitting.  He turns into the Home Depot parking lot, finds a spot, switches off the engine.  Usually he walks around the back of the vehicle, and meets me there — but this time he stayed in his seat, waiting for me to finish.

I’m knitting in the round, and as it happens I have just reached the end of the round  — so I slip my marker, and of course I must work a couple of stitches of the next round, to keep the marker in place.  This particular project is nice and rhythmic, K1-P1 rib, so it’s kind of compelling.  Certainly I couldn’t knit just ONE more stitch:  in my (slightly OCD) world, every K must be followed by its accompanying P.  And then another K, and another P…  OK, OK, so maybe it was 5 or 6 stitches past the marker.  Big deal.

There’s a split second between the moment when my brain decides "OK, stop now" and the moment when my hands actually stop knitting — and in that split second I hear DH say accusingly:

Hey, I know that’s a stitch marker, and you just blew RIGHT PAST IT!!



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I Just Want You to Know, I Had Big Plans

This post was originally going to be poignant, touching and funny.  Everything you always wanted in a knitting blog post.

Alas, due to the machinations of big business, my original vision has been forced to change a bit.

A couple of years ago, my sister Bets — who keeps EVERYTHING — went closet-diving and surfaced with a really unique and special gift for me.  It was a framed clipping of a Sunday cartoon, published sometime in the mid-70’s (note:  more than 30 years ago).

Back then, my sister was knitting:  and it may be recalled that it is all her fault that I’m doing this today it was she who inspired me, at the tender age of 6, with a burning desire to learn to knit.  A desire that has led me to my midlife crisis a bit early has permeated my entire life and spawned my new career, saving me and my soul from corporate engineering hell.

Evidently, back in the 70’s, Bets too was something of a knitting fanatic.  (Some might say knitting fanaticism runs in the family.)  So a friend cut out an amusing knitting cartoon for her, about a woman who knits continually, and my sister kept it all these many years.

Now Bets has gifted it to me — apparently she thinks it appropriate, for some unfathomable reason, that I should have it — and it hangs on the wall of my studio:


OK, that’s the touching and poignant part.

To lighten things up a bit, I thought it would be fun to actually show y’all the cartoon.  It is funny, and it’s about knitting, after all.

And since I wanted to do the right thing, I searched online to find the people who hold the rights to the cartoon, and I filled out their rather explicit online form, explaining what I wanted to do:  scan and post this old knitting cartoon from my sister on my small knitting blog.  Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

Guess what?  They tell me it’ll cost me $450 to post this on my blog — for just one year.  And I wasn’t even asking for "camera-ready artwork"!!

Well.  It’s shocking to have to say it — especially after receiving those economic stimulus checks — but I just don’t have $450 to blow spend that way.  (And anyway:  if I did have $450 to blow, think how much yarn that would be!!)


So look at this now, quick, while it’s still here.  It’s just my own small photo of this endearing keepsake from my big sister, and I hardly think you could call it a "reprint".  I have made it plenty small enough so that you can’t actually read the cartoon — plus there is so much glare from the flash, anyone eagle-eyed enough to actually read it would be blinded.  But, I have a sneaking suspicion that they might tell me to take even this image down…if they find it.

Now, I could end the post right here, or I can try to tell you about the cartoon instead.  Unfortunately, it probably won’t be quite as funny as reading it for yourself, but I’ll do my best.  (Heck, if you’re ever in the neighborhood, drop by and I’ll let you read it.  I’m happy to share.)  OK, here goes: 

  • One of the characters is knitting throughout the cartoon.  [Presumably she is using aluminum needles, as the words "CLICK CLICK CLICK" are written all around her.]
  • Her hubby complains loudly and gruffly throughout the first few frames that she’s always knitting, and it’s driving him crazy.  Then he expresses the desire that she take a break from the constant knitting.
  • And when he leaves the room again, she says,

"I can’t — if I wasn’t doing something with my hands, I’d throttle him."

(There’s one last frame — in which he asks what she said, and she says she was just singing — but I am pretty sure you’ll agree with me that the funny part is prior to that.)

(And if you’re not laughing, you’ll have to blame the people at Creators Syndicate.  Sorry.)


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Two stitches walk into a bar…

OK, so these two stitches walk into a bar, and sit down.  The bartender tells them, "We don’t serve stitches in this bar.  Get out!"

They leave, and go around the corner, where one of the stitches says, "I’ve got an idea."  He unravels himself, untwists his ends a bit, and ties himself into a knot.

The two stitches go back to the bar.  Upon seeing them, the bartender says angrily, "Hey!  Didn’t I just tell you two, WE DON’T SERVE STITCHES IN HERE!"

The stitch replies, "No, no, I’m a frayed knot."


(with sincere apologies to Byron, and everyone else for that matter.)

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It’s Comcastic!

sm_comcast_adAccording to the expiration date for the "special offer", I received this Comcast ad sometime in summer, 2003. I liked it so much I’ve kept it pinned to my studio wall ever since.

You have to admit, he’s a pretty advanced knitter!  Continental style, and he’s purling, yet.  Even more remarkably, it looks like he is wrapping the yarn around the needle in the correct direction.  Speaking from 4 years experience in teaching Continental style knitting, I have to say this guy’s form is really pretty darned good!

I know of at least half a dozen ways to accomplish a purl st in Continental, and I am inordinately pleased to see that it looks like he purls the same way I do.

Plus, he’s even done some additional casting on at the end (or beginning) of a row!





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Another Show Stopper!

This gem appeared in the same book, on the very same page, as the Cossack costume.sm_sculpture.jpg


And yet, some people still shake their heads over my affection for vintage knitting books. I say you just can't find this kind of entertainment in today's material.

And because I'm from the Midwest, where "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" is sort of a religion – to be honest, I'm not sure just what else there is to say about this. Except, maybe…  3 feet high!

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Show Stoppers, Indeed

OK, OK, I simply could not resist posting this vintage gem – even though this is CROCHET, not knitting (and I think knitters all over the globe can all be thankful for that). I truly believe this picture deserves a better fate than being stuck in an old book, forever hidden from prying eyes. smcaftan1crop.jpgThe item originally appeared with this text:

Show Stoppers

Cossack costume? (Etruscan, Tartar, Mongolian?) No, it’s simply a crocheted wool caftan – a guaranteed party stopper.

I can’t help admiring the person who was faced with the job of writing that caption, and came up with that delightful piece of prose.

  • First, because she actually used the word “simple” in connection with this piece of work. (!)
  • Second, because she tried to pin down the “correct” ethnic heritage of the garment in question.
  • And finally, because (despite the original title of "Show Stopper") she far more correctly referred to it as a “party stopper".

Try putting this on after a few drinks at your next shindig. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that everyone will leave your house within 5 minutes. I love the fact that it got past the proofreader, too. Or maybe they were in cahoots.

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