Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Away from the Siege

I live in Beverly. If you live in Beverly or have gone through Beverly over the last week or so, you know that we are under siege. Under the siege of the seventeen year cicada.

We live on a typical city lot and I think there are at least one million cicadas in our tiny back yard. They are everywhere. They're in the grass, they're on every tree and bush, they're on the driveway, the garage, the cars, the house and on every flower.

These disgusting little creatures burrow up from under the trees and sit for a bit dazed and confused. Then they lose their exoskeleton which is frankly, even grosser than the fact that there are a million bugs in my backyard.

After this weird little molting session, the cicada are still dazed and confused, but I now have a million live bugs and a million exoskeletons hanging off every surface in my backyard. And, as if that weren't enough, there are hundreds and hundreds of SEA GULLS in the neighborhood munching and pooping their days away.

Seeing sea gulls everywhere is more than a little disconserting. Having their poop everywhere is as disgusting as having the cicadas and their exoskeletons that started it all.

Fortunately, the Prince and I had a trip planned so we hightailed it out of town. We hightailed it out of town just in time because we're missing the beginning of the next chapter of the cicada story which is the screaming. The cicada screaming had just barely begun. It was a dull roar, but I'm told that the noise, when they're in full mating force, will drown out a lawn mower.

We're not gone long so I know we'll come back to the cicadas at their hormonal crescendo and the screaming will be unbearable. I'm going to liken it to having an epidural during childbirth. They give it to you, the pain goes away and then the darn thing wears off. It wears off, you're still in labor, but you've missed the gradual increase in pain. You go from boom, boom, boom to BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, completely missing the boom, boom, boom that got you there. We left during the dull roar and I'm afraid we're going to go back to an ungodly climax.

I realize that this an overly dramatic comparison, but I'm freaked out and disgusted at the nature going on in my utterly urban backyard. We weren't here 17 years ago so we're cicada virgins and the sheer number of bugs and the creatures that have shown up to prey on them is bizarre. How do the sea gulls know they're there, by the way?

Cory is handling things at the Shop while I'm gone so stop by and visit her. As always, I'm sure she's doing a wonderful job and will make you feel right at home.

Be home soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"I cut it."

First there was a collective gasp from the three other knitters at the table and then the Shop went eerily quiet. As I stared at the mess in my lap that is Karen's magnificent Lady Eleanor Entrelac wrap, I could feel all eyes upon me and they waited in silence.

I slowly raised my head and said to my dear friend,

"You did what?"

"She cut it!" Lauren gleefully shouted as she literally bounced in place. (Who knew Miss Lauren could be such a minx!)

The air was thick with anticipation and I said,

"Oh that explains why there are three loose strands of yarn here that are not attached at all to any recently knitted stitches."

"She cut it!" Lauren squealed with delight as she flitted past my chair. "She cut it, she cut it, she cut it!"

Karen crossed her arms, looked at me ferociously and said,

"Yeah, I cut it. I cut it. I lost my place, I started to rip and I couldn't figure out my mistake so I got mad and I cut it. So there, I cut it."

Just then her phone rang and I could hear her husband Chris, I mean Job, on the other end.

"I can't talk right now. I just finished telling Tricia that I cut it."

"You cut it?" I heard him say, "Even I know not to do that for heaven's sake. Oooh, baby are you in trouble. I'll talk to you later." Click.

I took a deep breath.

"You did more than cut it, sister. There are THREE loose strands of yarn here that are not attached to any recently knitted stitches. There's one attached to the square you're working on, but it's one row down. There's another strand about three rows down, and the third is attached to another, already worked square two rows down. At least all of the loose strands are on the same tier."

I started pulling. I say pulling because I had to pull the yarn through the stitches which is definitely not the same as ripping.

"I know you can fix it," she said defiantly, "that's why I stopped working on it and brought it to you. You can fix it; go ahead, fix it."

"Geez, where's the supplication?" I thought as I tried to figure out what in the hell she had done.

I pulled and I pulled, only dealing with the strand closest to the stitches on the needle and finally got it through enough stitches and rows that it was actually attached to live stitches. Then I could rip.

And rip I did. I had to rip back to at least to the squares that were on the left needle which I knew were complete. But I had to rip to the square and row that contained the last loose strand. This consisted of ripping three squares and unfortunately the right triangle (those triangles can be tricky).

At long last, the yarn was attached to the last square on the left needle and she could move forward, going left to right and back again.

The crowd cheered.

Karen said, "I knew you could do it."

Lauren did a little jig and I said,

"Aw shucks. If you ever cut again, I'll kill you."

Special shout out to Bonnie! Thanks for the giant plastic Elvis sheets!

Bonnie went to Memphis over the weekend with the specific mission of going to Graceland. She stopped by the Shop before she left to pick up some needles for the trip. We teased her a little about Graceland and asked her to bring back the most garish Elvis souvenir she could find for $1.99.

Well, it was $4.99, but worth every penny! It's the Scene Setters Elvis Decorations Kit. The package contains two five foot plastic images of Elvis that are hung on the wall! "Looks great with Scene Setters Room and Border Rolls!"

One is Elvis in a white suit with a microphone and the other (now hanging in the Shop) is Elvis in a fabulous gold lame suit and he's wearing a bolo and a ruffly shirt! Stop by the Shop to see him in all his golden glory!

My first square of the Great American Afghan is complete and gorgeous. You can see it at the Shop and I'll post pictures soon. The second is well on its way to completion.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I've learned my lesson and I humbly request permission to remove the hairshirt I've been wearing all week. From now on, I will tell it to my pillow!

When the topic has turned to knitting afghans, I've repeatedly said,

"Oh no, not me! The thought of knitting an afghan is so mind-numbingly boring, I want to take a nap. Row after row of the same thing, over and over again for miles and miles is definitely, definitely NOT for me."

And then I offered an afghan class...

Boy, oh boy, did my words come back to nip me in the behind!

"It's the Great American Aran Afghan," I cried. "It's twenty 12 inch by 12 inch squares; each one is different, and each one was designed by a different knitter! It's a classic, an heirloom, for goodness sake."

Here, take a look at a couple of squares and you'll see why I've got to knit this baby:

Aren't they beautiful? I'm so excited and so committed I've scheduled another class. That's two per month instead of one! If you'd like to join us, we'll be meeting once a month on the 4th Wednesday and the 4th Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 28. Check out my website for more details.

My yarn arrived this morning so I'm off to start my first square. Sorry, fringe frenzy sweater, you're going to have to sit tight for a little bit. The blackberry stitch is screaming for me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I've been stalling on this week's post because it will be my second Mother's Day without my Mother.

Daughters have very interesting relationships with their mothers that seem to change all the time. Being with a community of women all the time, I hear lots of things about lots of mothers.

One theme I hear all the time is the comparison of womens' mothers to birds. Baby bird, hummingbird, hawk, hen, and goose are some examples. And all mothers have little pearls of wisdom, little sayings that give daughters life lessons (or eye rolls) and consistency in a world that's anything but consistent.

Here are few of my dear Mother's:

On dating:
"It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is a poor man."

On marriage:
"Nothing makes love go out the window faster than no money."

On manners:
"It takes two seconds and a stamp to write a thank you note."
"No one likes a foul-mouthed woman."

On independence:
"Always have your own money - you never know what might happen."
"Without an education, you won't have your own money."
"Don't depend on anyone for anything. You should always know how to do it yourself."

On buying green bananas:
"At my age, I don't do it. Who knows if I'll be around to eat them."

On shoes:
"Why can't they fit and be good looking?"

On hanging around with elderly people:
"I don't want to. All they talk about is their ailments."

On television:
"Why do all the shows have to have bad language? It's so unnecessary. I like the Hallmark channel."

On troubled kids:
"Oh, all they need is a little TLC and a little self-confidence."

On wishing someone luck:
"Don't take any wooden nickels."

On getting older:
"The only thing I really miss is my car. I hate being dependent on people to drive me around."

On leaving:
"Let me get you something to take with you."
"Wear your seatbelt."

On gossip:
"Never say anything you don't want repeated."
"Don't write anything down."
"Tell it to your pillow."

There are many, many more and oh how I wish she could say one to me now. So, all you daughters out there, give your mother a hug for me. I love you Mom.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fringe Frenzy

As I mentioned last week, I'm making a new sweater out of the amazingly beautiful Rowan Calmer. Here's a picture of it.
As you can see, the bottom and the sleeves have a really fun fringe edging. While it looks really fun, it's really unfun to do - k3, fringe 1. Fringe 1 is cast on 6, bind off 6. Over 113 stitches, that's a lot of casting on and casting off. It's 28 fringe per row or casting on and casting off an additional 168 stitches to be exact. Since there are 5 rows of fringe, that's casting on and off an additional 840 stitches. And that's only the back!

Needless to say, I've been a little busy and unfortunately, I have no blog to share this week. I have a back which I'm happy to share here:

I'm doing the fronts together so it's k3, fringe 1, k3, fringe 1, etc., etc., etc. over 120 stitches. Oh my!

I'll be back next week...