Knitting is Knotty

I haven’t gotten much knitting done lately. Mostly because my birthday is close enough after Valentine’s Day that I can kind of sneakily turn it into an entire week of fun, which is mostly of the non-knitting variety.

One goal I did set myself, however, was to get my mom’s quasi-secret gloves done before Valentine’s Day.

Knotty gloves

When we went to Simply Socks Yarn Company in December, my mom fell in love with the glove sample that was made with Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Sundown Orchid. I picked up the sample, carried it around the store, and stroked it. I’m sure I looked very strange, but really I was just looking for someone who worked there to tell me what yarn and pattern it was (Knotty).

Fast forward to January, when I started the project. It was my first attempt at magic loop, which was fun, and my first pair of gloves. I kind of stopped and started when I got to the finger sections, as those didn’t seem quite as much fun (but were not as fussy as I thought they would be!).

However, when I heard on Sunday that it was supposed to snow on Valentine’s Day, I thought there was no time like the present to finish them and get them to mom so she still had a couple of weeks of winter left to wear them. I marathon-knitted through Sunday and was able to deliver them to her after work on Monday, just in time for the snow!

Knotty Gloves

Mom says they are beautiful, and hands down the most comfortable and warmest gloves she’s ever had. I’m very pleased with these, too. I *love* the cable detail on them. And I think they are possibly the prettiest things I have ever made.

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Behind the times

So, I may be the last knitter on earth to begin a Clapotis, but I have now rectified that!

I swear this pattern has been following me. Since I joined Ravelry, every time I do a pattern search, Clapotis comes up – even if I’m not looking for a scarf or shawl. The girl in the Knitty pictures looks a lot like me, just with darker hair. Truthfully, I found it a little creepy that I had a pattern stalker.

Anyway, I was never tempted to make it until my friend Kara showed up at Knit Night with one. I loved hers, and the next day I was out yarn shopping and ran into this Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino, and I felt like the stars had aligned.

I started this last week during the Super Bowl madness, and it’s been a good mindless knit that’s easy to pick up when I have a few minutes. I’m finding dropping the stitches incredibly satisfying, but also a little terrifying each time.

Clapotis in progress

I think the colors are beautiful.

The Clapotis requires a lot of stitch markers, which is one of my favorite things about it, because I love to use my polymer clay stitch markers. This new pattern made me think of the little green pirate that I lost last year in the middle of a project. I figured I had either lost it in my favorite red leather recliner or when I was having a knitting lunch with some friends. After checking the chair thoroughly and retracing my steps at the knitting lunch venue, I could not find the pirate. I was devastated. I ordered a new pirate to replace him. The new pirate and I got along just fine, and I was using him as one of my markers on my current project.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I was knitting on my Clapotis in my red recliner, and dropped my yellow gnome down the side. When I went to grab him, he fell deeper into the chair and out of my sight. Right there in the middle of the third quarter, I started ripping the cushion off, shoving my hands down the sides, shaking the chair, and generally acting like I had lost my mind. After a few minutes of frantic searching, I asked my husband to have a look. No luck. My father-in-law stepped in. He turned the chair all the way over. After a couple of minutes, he said, “I found it!” I looked at it closely. It was the missing pirate, seeing light for the first time in several months. I told him that was wonderful, and thank you! But that was not my gnome.

He kept searching. “What’s this?” he said. He held up a small square of amber that went into one of my favorite bracelets. I had no idea where I had lost that, so I was amazed it was in the chair.

It seemed that everything I had lost last year was magically surfacing in the chair. I was thrilled. Buy why wouldn’t it give up the gnome?

We finally gave up for the evening and finished watching the game. We laughed for a while about the Patriots losing the game and talked about how nice it was that at least one Manning was able to win the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. We went to bed.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about the gnome, and kept speculating on how I could get it back. Maybe the chair had a one year limit on it – it would only give me back the gnome in February 2013. Maybe the chair required a sacrifice – you had to drop something new in it to get the original thing out.

On Monday, I sat in the chair, shook it some more, and searched all around again. Still no gnome. By Tuesday, I was considering trying the sacrifice idea. I hoped that a plain plastic stitch marker would be enough to appease it and have the chair cough up the gnome.

On Wednesday, I went to work. Around midday, I saw a picture of the gnome on Facebook. My father-in-law had found it for me. So now the whole family is back together, and living on the Clapotis. They are enjoying the Signature needle much more than living in the bottom of a recliner.

Pirate and Gnome stitch markers on my Signature needles

And the lesson learned? Don’t knit in the red recliner, and if you do, make sure your father-in-law is visiting from England.

Super Bowl: The Jimmy Fallon Experience

I live in the Indianapolis suburbs and work downtown Indianapolis. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that Indianapolis is hosting the Super Bowl on Sunday.

My favorite part of Indianapolis is that it is a city with great things to do, cultural attractions, and a beautiful downtown, but it’s still small and not overly crowded. I’m immensely proud to be from Indiana, and I love our city, but I’ve worried about how Indianapolis would handle the Super Bowl. And that it would mess up my lovely routine with downtown.

It turns out that I didn’t need to worry. We seem to be doing a great job, and the Super Bowl Village is beautiful. We’ve been taking walks down to the village at lunch, and it’s been great to wander around and take in the atmosphere. And absolutely all of my doubts were wiped away when I PASSED JIMMY FALLON WALKING DOWN THE STREET on Tuesday. Turns out, he was on his way to the zip line. Now I have loved that man since I was 14 years old, so this was about the biggest thing to happen to me. We were thisclose, and one of my work colleagues said, “Hey, Jimmy!” and he said, “Hi, guys, how are you doing?” and I worked really hard to stay all normal until we got a block past him and then I started squealing and jumping up and down and looking at everyone going, “We just saw JIMMY FALLON!” every 12 seconds. They all said, yes, they knew, they had been with me, but I just couldn’t stop saying it. It was too amazing. I’m still beside myself every time I think of it.

To understand my love of Jimmy Fallon, you need to go back to when I was in middle school. My friends and I were obsessed with Saturday Night Live. I would watch the episodes live, but also taped them (on VHS!), and watched them over and over until I had memorized the skits. My friend Lara would learn them, too, and by Monday morning, we were able to reenact almost the entire hour and half. And then Jimmy joined the cast soon after we started watching, and we were both in love. That smile, the way he mussed his hair, it was all so adorable. I particularly loved it when he would laugh all the way through a skit. I even bought her a cowbell for her birthday (which I found in an antique store) to commemorate that memorable sketch (which he laughed through).

http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1374012

Lara and I continued on in this way for a few years. We learned Jimmy’s parody songs, and I still accidentally sing his words to some of those songs if I catch one of those songs on the radio.

So all of this is a long way to say that I have been in love with Jimmy Fallon for half of my life in a platonic he-is-on-TV-and-I-am-a-mere-mortal kind of way. And in a we-are-both-married-now kind of way.

Tuesday was perfect – even better than the day I met John Mayer (who I have been following across the world – really – for 10 years). Possibly because I wasn’t expecting to be walking down the street and have someone say to me, “Look – Jimmy Fallon!” and I try to hold it together long enough to drink in the whole moment as he walks past and says hello, and I get no picture or autograph, just the memory.

I also got to see Jimmy (from a far distance) with Mr Snips during his Sunday performance at Butler University (only way to see him since we tried unsuccessfully for tickets to his show tapings). I laughed so hard I cried. I’m still laughing every time I think about his jokes about Grease. And Communications majors.

I wouldn’t have any of that if it wasn’t for the Super Bowl. So thank you Indianapolis and the Super Bowl Committee. I know you’ve worked hard, and you’ve brought Jimmy Fallon to me. I’m forever in your debt.

Magic… Loop, that is.

I love magic. I am certainly bordering on obsession with Harry Potter (many would argue I’ve crossed that border), and I will read or watch (almost) anything that involves magic. I watch Merlin on TV, read Harry Potter repeatedly, pick up new magic reads like The Night Circus, and on it goes. I know none of it is real, but isn’t it wonderful to feel like you could live in a world where there are possibilities beyond your imagination, where forces can work for good (and, in some cases, evil), and something can be created from nothing?

In some ways, knitting is it’s own little kind of magic. You pick up some yarn and some needles, and make a hat or a sock or a sweater happen. Now, it seems a little more labor intensive than Mr. Potter and his fancy wizard school and wand, but hey, it’s still pretty cool.

So, in my quest to try new things this year, I decided to pick up another knitting kind of magic – magic loop.

I had heard about magic loop, but didn’t really know what it entailed. However, when I saw Glenna’s tutorial on magic loop a couple of months ago, I looked at it and said, “That looks EASY. Why have I not been doing this?” And the answer, of course, is because I just finished buying nice bamboo double pointed needles in just about every size, so now is the time I should discover that I loved magic looping and now also need circular needles in every size. Figures.

I’ve been using magic loop on a stealth project for my mom. She knows what the project is – she picked out the yarn and the pattern – but I don’t really want her to see any progress yet. What I can say is that so far, is that I super love this project, and am so excited to get done and see the finished product.

So now that I’ve talked it up, here’s a tiny sneak at my lovely project in it’s magic looping glory.

Magic loop

And a close-up of this yarn. I am in LOVE with this yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Sundown Orchid, which I purchased at the Simply Socks Yarn Company when my mom and I made a pilgrimage to Fort Wayne just to go to the shop. It was certainly worth the drive.

DIC Smooshy with cashmere