January One -- Chance v.1

July 21, 2006


It's come to my attention that some of you out there in the Internets find Log Cabin Knitting insanely boring. I'm just setting out this warning that today's post will be about log cabin knitting. Please! I beg of you! Do not read this while driving or operating heavy machinery! I would hate to be the cause of an accident or something if you had a narcoleptic attack while reading.

Oh and I completely understand why you might hold the opinion that you do, that log cabin knitting is boring and mindless and just plain awful. There are lots of things I feel that way about as well. Log cabin knitting isn't really one of them, but I see how it might be the case. There certainly is a lot of picking up of stitches and a lot of knitting - just plain knitting (although it seems that people complain a lot about purling too) and it is a blanket project of sorts so it does go on for quite a while, and well, if I was using crappy yarn in awful colors, I might feel exactly the same way.

As it turns out, I'm incredibly fortunate to be using phenomenol yarn that I could stare at all day and my needles fit perfectly in my hands and it ends up that I'm so good at this knitting thing I don't even have to look at my hands while I knit (freeing up my eyes to stare at the gorgeous colors I chose for this project). It IS getting big and less portable and I have, in all honestly, spent some time knitting on a sock. (A stockinette sock so, yeah, I'm still knitting.) But I'm still so ENAMORED with this whole random thing and how it just LOOKS LIKE I PLANNED THE WHOLE FREAKING BLANKET but really I'm not that smart or creative so I keep on keeping on.

I'm sorry. Are you asleep? Want me to wake you when I'm done?

I did some good knitting while I was in Chicago and not so much knitting since I've been home. Planes are good for that, you know. Work is not. I will have some good time to knit this afternoon so this will go with me. Or maybe the sock. Or both probably.

I've begun to feel like I should take up roulette. Or bingo, but definitely roulette. Black keeps hitting BIG time.

Black 20. Black 19. Black 18. Black 17. (Not necessarily in that order.) It's ridiculous. I think I might break my rule and break into another skein of black. Might. I'll decide at the moment I have to, but it's there as a possibility.

Right now I'm in a largish red section - 12 ridges - which at this point is a lot of yarn. But it's all good. I still love it. The size is about 21.5x24. I think I'd like to get it about 36x36, but I'll have to see how much yarn I blow through. It is big enough now that I can fold it up and it looks like a blanket.

For those you still awake and loving the log cabin, you MUST go and see Tilkkupeitto's blankets! Go here to see all 107 blankets. There are three different albums and they are all beyond amazing!

In other news, I'm feeling the Summer Blues again. Happens all the time. Because of that, I'm taking down the Log Cabin Knits button and I don't know when I'll be starting that up. I hope I still will, because I think the idea I had is a good one, but I'm trying to take care of myself and the energy I need to expend in convincing myself that there isn't something fundamentally fucked up about me is too much to start another blog right now. What I'd really like to do is clean this one up a bit. Do some better categories, institute a search bar - just organize and straighten things up. You know, as a way of procrastinating on organizing and cleaning up the ACTUAL home I live in. Also, I will pretty much be gone all of next week. My sister is moving and I'm going down to pack, babysit, and be a general shoulder to cry on/cheerleader. (YOU CAN PACK THE 1,402th BOX! YOU CAN!) I'm not sure we'll be able to find the computer let alone log on to any Internets, but I'm with you all in spirit. Hopefully MORE boring pictures of Log Cabin Knits when I return! YAY!

Hey! Hey you! YEAH you. The one with your head on the keyboard and a nice puddle of drool around the arrow keys. WAKE UP! I'm done.

Have a great weekend.
L, C

Posted by Cara at 11:54 AM | Comments (70)

July 20, 2006

My Kind of Town

Onto the Fiber Portion of my Chicago Trip!

Friday night, after I was sufficiently dried off and G was on his way to his obligations, I headed out to Loopy Yarns. As soon as I walked into the store, I spied Karen, who was talking with Michelle. We all chatted for a bit - my plans in the city, etc. and then they went on to shop the fabulous sales at Loopy. I just haven't been feeling the yarn store love lately - I certainly don't need any yarn - not for a long long time - and I'm more interested in knitting what I have and making my own, so I wandered around a bit and ran into Tere. Tere was in town from Santa Barbara picking up her daughter and Tere is blogless but she needs to go out right now and get a blog. We talked for a while and then sat down to knit with a group of women at the store - including Vicki, Loopy's welcoming proprietress. It was great to sit around and knit with everyone and of course I bought something before I left - I'm not completely crazy! Loopy's is known for their Lorna's Laces collection - a Chicago establishment - so I bought some of the last LL fiber they had in the store!

Lorna's Laces Wool Top
in Sherbet

Thanks girls for your hospitality!!

The next morning I was on my own for breakfast (which I had in bed, thank you very much) and then G and I headed out to MARENGO!!! To visit TONI! At THE FOLD! Toni, you'll remember, was one of the very generous souls (along with Tina at Blue Moon) to donate the wheel to Spin Out! I've known Toni since I first bought a spindle last summer. Since then she's outfitted me with STR and a wheel! NOTHING was going to keep me from The Fold. Not even the horrendous traffic on I-90!

On our way out, we made a pit stop at Superdawg!

Mr. and Mrs. Superdawg

G and I consider ourselves junk food afficienados and will travel far and wide for some good junk. Superdawg fit the bill! YAY!

Fortified, we headed back out onto I-90 towards NothingvilleWisconsin. We drove through farmlands and saw cows and horses and which is always a treat for us city folk and finally we arrived at Toni's place. Listen - I don't have ANY pictures. I SUCK! When we got there the sheep were outside and it was HOT and we were later than we wanted to be so I was anxious to get inside and when we left, the sheep had gone into the barn. So no pictures. I was having too much fun to stop and take any.

Okay. So I get there and Toni gives me a huge hug and I'm happy and G changes into his bathingsuit and finds himself a nice spot on the deck with a direct line to the UV Rays and I go off to spin. When I bought my Lendrum I had really never tried any wheels - just bought it site unseen on the expert advice of many people. I'm happy to say that I tried a bunch of different wheels at Toni's and I'm still VERY HAPPY with my Lendrum. It was the absolute BEST choice for me.

The first wheel I wanted to test was the Schacht Matchless. I was afraid I'd love it because it's expensive and pretty and thank god I didn't. So not as smooth as my Lendrum. Then I tried the Ashford Traditional because I saw Delia spinning with it at Spin Out and thought it was pretty and eh. Nothing special. Toni had me sit at the wheel we gave away - a Majacraft Suzie Pro - which I have to say was pretty nice. Not bad. As close to the Lendrum as any. And then she killed me. KILLED ME! She had me spin on the GORGEOUS Black Walnut Lendrum Saxony she's got there, right in the shop for everyone to see, and OH MY GOD! I FELL IN LOVE!!! The worst part is that when I was talking about it nonstop on the drive back to Chicago G was confused and thought I had actually bought it. DAMN! And it was the right way and everything - turns out that I spin left-handed. Who knew? I just do what's comfortable. Guess my left hand isn't useless afterall. Anyway. I love that wheel. Apparently so do some other people! (DUDE! I will so fight you for it!)


What's that? Oh yeah. Of course, I didn't leave empty handed. How could I leave empty handed? I bought some new fiber!

Interlacements Silk Roving
Color 206

100% Merino

I'm planning on maybe plying the Silk with some white Cormo I have from Maryland - I think that would look pretty cool - and the purple merino is destined for an experiment in 3-Ply. Don't you think that will be neat? I'm excited. Not enough time to spin. Maybe if I had two wheels? NONONONO! I can't get another wheel!!!


Alright. I'm okay. Whew. I also bought some fun tools. I have one niddy noddy which I hate. It's unfinished and cheapy looking and I have to stick paper towel into one end or the stick comes out. Blech. I was SO HAPPY to see that Toni had the Niddy Noddy I had been coveting!

It's a Nancy's Knit Knacks Niddy Noddy (say that ten times fast.) The little balls screw into the top and bottom to hold it all together so no need for paper towels! And I like the plain look of it. Very happy. Can't wait to use it!
I also got some fun tools:

A baby niddy noddy for sample skeins and a WPI tool - I think they may be made by the same person, or maybe not. I know that the niddy noddy is from Charis Yarn.

I also bought a book and the lastest issue of Spin Off and I think that's it. I had SUCH a great time and Toni's shop is FANTASTIC! Forget the spinning stuff - which she has in abundance - she's got a KICKASS selection of yarn and books. I urge anyone in the area to get out there! It's SO WORTH it! If not for the yarn, then for Toni's stellar hospitality.

We lucked out on the way back and managed to avoid the horrific traffic we witnessed driving out there and G got home in time for his dinner and I was able to clean myself up in time to meet with Bonne Marie and Theresa! We headed out for drinks (Cosmos for them, Shirley Temples for me - I'm a freak!) and to wait for blogless Helen who was coming out to play! After drinks we all piled on the Love Bus (Bonne Marie's beloved #66) and headed out to Navy Pier. We arrived JUST IN TIME FOR FIREWORKS!!! I love me some fireworks! After ice cream and some obligatory knitting, it was time to say good night. Helen escorted me back to my hotel - I think I was half asleep - sorry Helen - and my second night in Chi-town was over. It was SO FANTASTIC meeting you girls!!! I was so happy to have the opportunity to hang out. Thank you! (Tere - I'm so so sorry I didn't call you. For the life of me I could not find your information! Hopefully we'll meet again!)

The rest of my time in Chicago was fairly uneventful. Well, uneventful in a knitterly way. We went to the Southside on Sunday to find the house G spent his first four years in and hung out at the beach right by our hotel for a bit - the beach? In the middle of the city? SUPER COOL! Went to dinner Sunday night (Cafe Spiaggia - eh. Only so so.) Monday was too hot to do anything so I hung around and knit while G worked and then we left for home! All in all a very nice trip and I loved Chicago! Hopefully we'll be back soon. When it's a bit cooler.

Thanks again all you Chicagoans for your hospitality! Anytime you're in my hood, I hope to return the favor!
L, C

Posted by Cara at 09:43 AM | Comments (32)

July 12, 2006


Since it's Wednesday and my life is all about the random, LET'S GO!

Member how I said something about bad numbers and my trepidation about keeping up with this random thing? Yeah. THERE ARE NO BAD NUMBERS! This thing is totally random - I swear on my STR Stash that I haven't cheated AT ALL and it looks like it was completely meant to be this way and is totally perfect and oh my god I can't wait to make my next one! I swear I could NOT come up with anything better than this if I tried for all eternity. RANDOM IS GOD!

The perfect garter stitches are like pearls, plucked from a juicy oyster in the South Sea. FANTASTIC! Right now the piece measures about 16x20 - and I'm no where close to running out of yarn. I'm going all the fucking way!!! My plan right now is to knit until I run out of a color, since they won't be used evenly, and no matter what the number for that section, I will end the row and then I will continue with the remaining colors until they run out, etc. I'm feeling like there will be great balance in this project. Great and perfect, carefree balance.

And in the "you're never the first with your brilliant ideas so get over yourself already" department, I saw this link to Pixelated Knitting over at Kellee's. She's taken this whole random thing about a gazillion steps further and is doing Sudoku Knitting. And she came up with it way back in April. Very, very cool.

What else? Well, you saw the fun we had packing boxes over at Kay's but that's not all the fun I've been having. Firstly, let me say thanks for all your suggestions and concerns about mailing out many packages. I think to get USPS pickup you need to weigh the boxes first and pay for shipping and I don't have the means to weigh the boxes, so I will use the cart my apt building supplies and pile it high then go to the PO around the corner. No biggie. Besides, I love the girls at the Post Office - they are very nice.

Now, on to the fun! I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this or not, but my sister and her husband own a bunch of Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops (no - they never have freaking ice cream in the house. It's pathetic!) around and about Philly and South Jersey. Saturday night was a HUGE partay down at The Borgata in AC to celebrate the big opening of their store in the food court there. We stayed overnight, had a FABULOUS dinner, lost $$$ way too quickly (the losing doesn't necessarily bother me - I gamble for entertainment - the part that bothers me is that I lost quicker than I usually do and I could literally be at the craps table ALL NIGHT. So the fun was over there way too fast.) and DANCED the night away! We had a great VIP Suite at the HOT HOT CLUB (which is very nice for us geeky nerdy completely UNCOOL types who can't get into clubs at all.) I DANCED AND DANCED with my husband, which I love - he can rock out with the best of them - and my sisters and I had FUN!

This is me with my sister right after I came off the dance floor. I'm sweaty and gross and HAPPY! One of my favorite parts of the evening was my outfit, believe it or not. When my sister was here we shopped and shopped with three kids, the oldest being 5.5, looking for a HOT outfit to wear to the club. Nothing. We are not hot. We are old with kids and fat and ick. But somehow, on Saturday MORNING, right before we had to leave to go to the shore, I found a great pair of jeans, a tight black sleeveless top that allowed me to wear a bra and didn't show my back (I don't like my back) and wasn't obscene, and a FANTASTIC pair of shoes.

I LOVE the shoes! Nine West outlet, $30, comfortable! I wore them all night and at 3:30 AM I was a little bit crippled walking back to my room, but I had worn them since 6:30 and boogied my little heart out so I say BRAVO!

Another thing I received Saturday and which looks dirty and wrinkled in the following picture is my fabulous shirt(s) from Urban Yarns!

I saw them first over at Lauren's and immediately went and ordered a long sleeve and a short sleeve! I have barely taken the short sleeve off. I ordered both in the XL and the short sleeve could use a bit of shrinking in the length (and a little in the body) and the long sleeve could probably be a smidge bigger across the bust. Just so you know. I love them!

CHICAGO! Chicago is fast approaching. We're leaving Friday morning and practically go straight to WRrigley Field (FUCK! You think they'll let me in now? I've been up since 6AM! I'm sorry!!!) when we get there for an afternoon game - against The Mets for pete's sake. I hate The Mets. GO CUBBIES! I'm free the following times - Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning/day, Monday day. WHO WANTS TO ENTERTAIN ME? I'm more than willing to "host" a little get together at my hotel either Friday or Saturday night. We're staying at a swanky joint so the lobby/bar area should be really really nice. Don't let me be lonely in a city of such fantastic knitters! ;-)

Have a randomly great day!

Posted by Cara at 11:36 AM | Comments (35)

July 08, 2006

Saturday, with a Chance of Wonderful

Posted by Cara at 09:21 AM | Comments (25)

July 07, 2006

Let the Good Times Roll

Are you ready for my fabulous fantastic idea? Guaranteed to bring you hours and hours of crazy goodness?

Allow me to introduce...

The Chance Log Cabin. Version #1.

I was going to wait until I was a bit farther along, but I tossed and turned all night last night thinking about it so I have to get it out. I've been sitting on it for a couple of weeks now and it's just turning my brain to mush. Thank god for a little project called Spin Out because otherwise I would've gone absolutely batty waiting for my new yarn.

The Inspiration!

The inspiration for this project comes from two very distinct sources. First of all, the colors are directly inspired by this fanfabgeous (I'm forced to make up my own superlatives these days!) quilt from Gee's Bend. I just love the colors in it - red, pink, white, black and brown. I had orginally planned on trying to copy the quilt but when the other idea sprang to mind - well, I knew these were the colors I would use.

Okay. Deep breath. So the other day I wrote this post about how to build a log cabin. I was kind of being tongue-in-cheek with the whole X=the limits of your imagination and I was also being completely serious. I don't want people to be constrained with patterns in this great log cabin experiment. I want people to think outside the square, so to speak. And then I was thinking, hell, why don't we just take away all of the freedom in it and let some random number generator pick X. And then I thought FUCK! WHY DON'T WE LET SOME RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR PICK X?!?!?! FREAKING GENIUS!

So that's just what I'm doing. And the best part? You can do it too. AND EVERY SINGLE PROJECT WILL BE DIFFERENT.

The Technique!

Here's how I'm doing mine. I chose five colors of yarn. I then chose the ORDER of the yarn, ie, which color I would use first, second, third, fourth, fifth - I'm sticking with this sequence. Then I went to the RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR. The link takes you to the one I like to use but there are probably a million others out there. Choose which one you like best. (You could also use dice to get a random number. It's pretty much the same thing.) I asked the RNG to pick ONE number between ONE AND TWENTY. Let's say it picked 10. This is the NUMBER OF STITCHES I cast on for my first log cabin "strip." (I put strip in quotes because who knows what shape it will actually come out to be.)

I cast on ten stitches with the yarn I decide is A in the order. Then I go to the RNG and ask it to choose another number between 1 and 20. Let's say it picks 13. I then proceed to knit 13 GARTER STITCH RIDGES - which is actually 26 rows. I bind off all stitches except for the last, turn the work CLOCKWISE, change yarns to color B and pick up the stitches along the edge of strip 1. Then back to the RNG I go and have it choose another number between 1 and 20. Let's say it picks 5. I then proceed to knit 5 garter stitch ridges. Then I bind off all but the last stitch, turn the work clockwise, change yarns to color C and pick up the stitches along the next ridge. Go back to the RNG and have it pick a number between 1 and 20. Say it picks 5 again (because that can totally happen when things are random) and proceed to knit 5 garter stitch ridges. Keep going, having the RNG pick the number for the next log cabin strip and changing yarns until you've used all five yarns you've selected (or how ever many yarns/colors you've chosen.) Then start the color/yarn sequence all over again. Knit the blanket, picking up for new strips and getting random numbers until you decide it's big enough.

Before I sat down to knit, I chose numbers for two rounds of color - so 10 numbers. I figured that would keep me busy until I needed to pick the next ten numbers. The whole blanket is COMPLETELY RANDOM! I have NO CONTROL over what happens next. When I was telling my dear friend Ann about it she said "You're totally going to hate the numbers that come up." And I said, TRUE, but the whole idea is that the PROJECT IS OUT OF MY HANDS. If I'm going to do this I have to surrender my fate to the number machine and DO WHAT IT TELLS ME! Talk about an exercise in letting go! I have to say, I haven't liked a bunch of the numbers that have come up already, but that isn't stopping me from following the course of THIS PARTICULAR BLANKET. Besides, the next one will be totally DIFFERENT.

My plan is to knit until I run out of yarn. I have one skein of each color - so five skeins, but that's 1750 yds total. Of course, the colors will not be used evenly, but I'm hoping for a decent sized piece. I see these log cabins as pieces of art - not necessarily as functional pieces, so however it comes out - well - that's what the fates decree!

The inevitable question. The yarn. I'm using Socks That Rock in Heavyweight - The pink is Cotton Candy, the red is Lover's Leap, the black is Black Onyx, the white is Rock Salt and the brown is Earth. Call or email Blue Moon Fiber Arts for availability.

Are you as excited as I am about this?! Oh my god it's killing me it's so good! ;-)

In case you're wondering, I haven't given up on the Palette Blanket - I'm actually making good progress on the FIRST square:

I've got the one organgish color started, then another redder orange, then red, then pink to go and the central square is finished. This is a really ambitious piece - and this is only the first element. This one has taken and will take a lot of careful planning, so it's really nice to have the Chance Log Cabin to go along with it - no thought there!

Thanks for indulging my crazy crazy passions! I hope you enjoy them!
L, C

Posted by Cara at 10:15 AM | Comments (54)