Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Never Say Never August 20, 2011

While I was visiting the Knitting Whisperer in Colorado we were discussing knitted washcloths. I poo-pooed them and said I didn’t see the point of spending your precious knitting time making something that will be used to clean dirty stuff. Additionally, I hate working with unforgiving, finger exhausting cotton. Yet another reason to never make washcloths.

Well, never say never, because not a month later I was at the store buying this yarn to make a certain person (who shall not be named, in case they read my blog) five washcloths and a hand towel for their birthday.

We're going to be five washcloths and a hand towel.


Motivationally Challenged August 16, 2011

Filed under: Knitting Life — kniftybits @ 11:48
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Motivationally. Sure, it’s a word – I just made up. If Shakespeare and Colbert can do it, why not me.

I am having issues with motivation. Such as, the motivation to blog, which is actually a byproduct of my knitting malaise. I just spent the last month making snails progress on my washcloth/handtowel project. Aside: The spell checker is telling me hand towel is two words. Ah, the vagaries of the English language, washcloth is one word, but hand towel is two. But, I digress.

There is really no reason it should take me a month to complete five washcloths and a hand towel. I should hang my needles in shame! Most knitters could bang that project out in a week. And I can’t even claim that it’s because I was working on other knitting projects on the side. It’s really because I just wasn’t doing much knitting.

But, why?

Maybe it was a lack of excitement about the project. However,  I’m finally done and I’ve picked my Mom’s tank top back up, but I’m motivationally challenged on that one too, slogging my way through the 240 st cable cross round like it’s some sort of penance. Nor am I interested in the sweater I’m making for myself or the sock I started before the washcloth endeavor.

This is why there are UFOs hidden in closets. Well, one of the reasons.

Maybe my motivation will return with cool fall weather. Or I will find it in the colorful swirls of a lovely wool. Or maybe it’s waiting to attack like a zombie. I don’t know, but I hope it’s out there somewhere or I’m going to have to turn this blog into a cooking blog or reading blog or something.


Bad blogger, bad! August 10, 2011

Filed under: Knitting Life — kniftybits @ 12:42

Maybe I have blogging ADD. Or maybe life just keeps getting in the way. All I know is that for about a week I will blog and blog and blog and store those posts up to be meted out over a month or so. And then nothing. And once those posts dry up the kniftybits blogsite sits as desolate as an abandoned project in a closet.

So my apologies that it’s been 3-weeks since my last post.

I will try to do better.

Please stop yelling at me!


Rock on Table Rock Llamas July 22, 2011

Along the rural, wooded route of Shoup Road, nestled in amongst the pine trees of Black Forest, Colorado is Table Rock Llamas Fiber Arts Studio, a lovely log cabin of yarn.  I think I saw a gingerbread house nearby, but I can’t be sure. Shopping yarn appeals more than gingerbread and didn’t involve a fight to the death with a witch. At least not this time.

Could this setting be more awesome?

The shop, is open Tuesday-Friday 10 -5, Saturday 10-4 and consists of a front multiroom building chock full of yarny goodness, and a back building where the classroom spinning, dying and other teaching magic happens. Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, this is where Julie from Tompkins Alpaca Pride learned to spin.  This outbuilding also houses roving and other spinning materials, lovely spinning wheels, classroom space and sale yarn. Table Rock was recommended by Julie and another yarn shop, so you know it’s gotta be good.

Ladies, start your spinning wheels.

Of all their lovely yarn offerings I opted for some local hand-dyed sock yarn from a multitalented husband wife team. The yarn looks like a rainbow puked on it, which means I LOVE it!

Yeah, more sock yarn!

An interesting thing I learned there – you can buy silk worm cocoons to either turn into yarn or use as decorative elements in your fiber creation. You can hear the dead silk worm rattling around in there, which kind of weirds me out. If anyone out there ever thought giving me a silk worm cocoon was a good idea, let me politely decline the offer now.

The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. Stop in a check it out.

6520 Shoup Road
Black Forest, CO 80908

Phone: 719-495-7747
Toll Free: 866-495-7747

Black Forest is located about 30-minutes from Colorado Springs.  Do you have any Colorado Springs area yarn shop suggestions?


Why Can’t I Pet the Alpaca? July 19, 2011

While visiting my dear friends in Monument, Colorado we spent one afternoon admiring yarn and houses. I bought some yarn, but no houses. For our first stop, we arrived at the Monument weekly farmers market with minutes to spare, which is all I need to inflict damage to my bank balance! Though, not as much as if I’d bought a house. See, it’s all about perspective.

I immediately rushed to the Tompkins Alpaca Pride booth. This local alpaca farm is owned and operated by Martin and Julie Tompkins. The previous week my friend posted a picture of the yarn spinner half of this alapaca operation, Julie, spinning. During my visit she was away visiting family, but an ethereal purple-blue yarn she spun and hand dyed caught my eye.

Resistance is futile.

As did the camera shy alpaca adjoining the booth. Every time I am face to face with an alpaca I am reminded how adorable they are. Martin and I discussed the ease of caring for alpacas. I asked if they would let him pet them or if they were standoffish like sheep. More like sheep, apparently, so I wouldn’t be petting an alpaca.

"Yes, I am adorable!" He seemed to say.

Mr. Touch-me-not was fun to watch and sort of reminded me of a dog. When a coffee can of treats was shaken he dropped whatever he was doing (eating hay and ignoring me) and hurried right over. I also discovered they have a cleft upper lip that opens, which was interesting. And when he gets anxious he makes a high pitched whine of concern, which he did when Martin started packing up the stall. He was immediately at the side of his pen and very concerned that he was being left here with all these strangers.

By the by, there are alpaca farms all over Colorado. We drove by at least four in the Monument area.

I purchase one skein of worsted weight yarn, which has 98.3 yards. What do you think I should do with it?


The Knitted Dollar July 14, 2011

Filed under: Knitting Life — kniftybits @ 11:07
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I am in the midst of reading a really depressing book that is more frightening than a Dean Koontz novel. The book is Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown. Apparently the folks who wrote it accurately predicted the housing bubble collapse and corresponding stock market collapse, which means, in theory, the future impending financial apocalypse they predict may actually happen.

For the purposes of this post there is one prediction that led to a moment of levity I want to share. They believe the dollar is overvalued and will collapse in the next few years resulting in worldwide calamity.

There is nothing funny about this and it terrifies me to contemplate, which is why we irreverently made a joke of it.

If the dollar collapses the knitters of the world can create our own currency which would be the Knitted Dollar. This currency would be worth much more than the standard American dollar, because of the time and fiber invested in creating each bill. The currency would be made of fiber according to their value.

$1 = acrylic

$5 = cotton

$10 = wool

$20 = alpaca

$50 = silk

$100 = cashmere

$1,000 = qiviut

There is a simple brilliance to this plan. No one could forge the currency, it’s not like you can pass acrylic off as qivuit. Plus, the knitters that would be gainfully employed to make currency would ease unemployment woes. So, if they are right, keep this in mind and we knitters can start our own economy.

What do you think? Do you believe they may be right? And, if so, are you ready for knitted currency?


Knitting Happenstance July 10, 2011

The other day (ok, I’ll admit it, it was the other month) we found ourselves wandering through the Living Traditions Festival in Salt Lake City. It was a random decision on a dreary, drizzly British type Sunday, which made the first performers we saw, The Salt Lake Scots Pipe Band, very apropos.

If you’ve never been to the Living Traditions Festival I definitely recommend it. In addition to the diverse performers there is also a decadent and delicious array of ethnic foods. After gorging on Sudanese food, which I’d never had before and is amazing, and washing it down with a Tongan coconut drink I then ventured on to dessert which consisted of a heap of Basque churros and a Mexican (Sugar, baby! Yeah!) Coke. My family also tasted delicacies from Pakistan and Tibet, and those are just a sample of the cuisines on offer. Plus, all the food booths represent nonprofits or churches so the money does good in the community.

But, I haven’t even gotten to the best part – the knitting happenstance.

The festival also has a variety of traditional crafts being demonstrated and sold. I wandered around oohing and aahing. Have you ever watched traditional lace making? It’ll blow your mind! The Armenian carpet knotting was impressive too. I found a booth where Nepalese knitting was represented, unfortunately one of the ladies was crocheting (which will do nothing to further the understanding of the difference between knitting and crocheting for nonknitters or crocheters) and the other seemed to be taking a break on a sock, so I couldn’t tell if there was actually a difference between Nepalese knitting and the knitting I’m familiar with.

Then we wandered into the craft sales tent and that’s when it happened – the knitting happenstance. There were some amazing knitting patterns being sold by a talented local designer, Anne Carroll Gilmour. I first came upon her knock-your-socks-off kilt hose, which are probably the best kilt hose I’ve ever seen! Unfortunately, even though I think I’m a pretty advanced knitter, they looked like they would do me in. Fortunately, my husband saw her Classic Highlander’s Balmoral Bonnet and fell in love. I was happy to oblige, even though it has some colorwork and I don’t really do colorwork, but anything to make my hubster happy (as long as it didn’t mean knitting those kilt hose!).

I left with pattern in hand. I just love when that happens! I went there to check out some local culture and left with a knitting pattern!