Let nobody say I'm not doing my best to live simply. Paring down one's belongings is suddenly fashionable in the United States, as we all prepare to move into cardboard boxes and wait out the looming recession. (At least that's what they said on the "Today" show.)
Over the past five months I've engaged in a massive apartment purge. Fourteen huge bags of shredded paper have gone down the trash chute, a new wing has been added to the local charity shop to accommodate the former contents of my closets, and I purged my bookshelves of all superfluous volumes.*
However, as good as it sometimes feels to let go, I won't pretend for a minute that the arrival of new goodies ain't a thrill for me. Please, I'm only human. And a knitter. Apparently some of you are, too, judging from questions in the comments.
So today I'm going to light candles in front of the statue of Mammon and lead the congregation in Hymn #42, "In Heaven Be There No Credit Limits and the Good Yarn Is Always on Sale."
Shut Up and Knit Shirt
Elizabeth (no blog) asked where to get the "Shut Up and Knit" shirt worn by Lilith in her portrait for the 1,ooo Knitters Project.
As it happens, Lilith herself designed the shirt, and it's available through a friend's online shop. Clever woman, that Lilith. I wish I'd thought of this one, myself.
A whole bunch of you expressed interest in the dragonfly dish that inspired the dragonflies on Abigail's Kimono. I got mine from Cost Plus/World Market, which has a Web site but doesn't appear to sell them online.
Honestly, although I love how they look, they're disappointingly fragile. I'm not one to fling crockery across the room (unless the president is on television), but almost all of my dragonflies are already chipped from nothing more than normal, occasional use. I won't be buying earthenware from World Market again.
Dragon Stash Guardian Shirts and Mug
You asked for a dragon on black/dark shirts. You got it. You asked for a dragon mug. You got it.
It's all here.
People were speculating as to whether it's supposed to be Smaug (from The Hobbit) or Fafnir (from The Ring of the Nibelungs). Neither. Her name is Mary Alice and she's from Rancho Cucamonga, California.
I saw these at Yarn Con, but was so busy making portraits that I never got a chance to look closely at them. But the maker, Kelly Black, was kind enough to provide me with a set to try out. In brief, they're ribbon-covered magnetic markers that can be used to mark lines or charts in your knitting books (or cookbooks, or any other kind of book).
Here's my set in use.
When I plan on toting a complicated project around, I usually make a personal-use photocopy of the chart and keep it in a Knitpicks chart keeper. But when I just want to just try out a motif–for example, a pattern out of one of the Barbara Walker treasuries–that can be a lot of bother. Kelly's Pattern Tamers mark your place–and hold the page down–without harming the book. Yes, please.
She sells them via her Etsy shop and also through six or so Chicagoland yarn shops.
Pre-Orders of 2008's Most Eagerly-Awaited** Knitting Book
An encouraging number of you have asked about pre-ordering my book. So many of you, in fact, that my panic attacks have decreased to no more than one per hour.
I checked with the nice people at Interweave Press and they anticipate Amazon pre-orders will be possible in or near May (the book itself is to appear in the fall of 2008). However, pre-orders through Interweave's own site should be available sooner than that. I'll let y'all know when that happens.
So keep your pants on, Ma. It's coming, it's coming.
My Dream Knitting Bag
For ages I'd been carrying my knitting around in a Chinese military surplus bag. I tried to pretend this was hip and cool, but in fact the thing was so bedraggled and filthy that when I walked around with it over my shoulder it encouraged passers-by to offer me spare change and sympathetic looks.
I knew I needed a new knitting bag, but...I'm a guy. For guys, picking out a new knitting bag is like beating your head against a wall, except that beating your head against a wall at least burns calories.
It's unlikely that your local yarn shop carries anything suitable. The saleswoman may insist that all the metrosexuals are carrying batik totes with bamboo handles this year, but you will know in your heart it's not so.
An Internet search on "men's knitting bag" pulls up no useful results, unless you want to follow Stephen's example and knit your own. But I don't want to knit my knitting bag. I just want to put my knitting in it.
Women who are allergic to the traditional "pink brocade kitties" styles can go to a host of smaller, slicker designers; a big name like Jordana Paige; or even Knitpicks. Alas for men, in re-inventing the knitting bag these folks have basically re-invented the purse.
Well, at last I found my bag. Or rather Tom, a non-knitter, found it and presented it to me at Christmas.
Tom doesn't knit, but he pays attention. He took mental notes as I jabbered about what I needed and the pitfalls of so many would-be knitting bags. He knew it had to be tough, top-opening, subdivided on the inside, and not too deep. He knew it had to be free of Velcro, the natural enemy of yarn.
This is what he came up with. It's from Victorinox Swiss Army (how butch can you get?) and I adore it.
Guys, it's fantastic. It comfortably holds two small (or one large) projects, the odd book or two, my sketch book, pencils, notions and spare needles (in interior zippered compartments), my chart keeper, and my collapsible umbrella.
The shoulder strap is comfortable and sturdy. There's an exterior zipper pocket so you can get at your day planner, your pen, your subway pass or whatever without opening the whole thing. It has no Velcro, no batik and no pink kitties. It in no way resembles a purse. GI Joe could carry this thing into battle and nobody would bat an eye.
And that, if you ask me, is the only reason you've never seen GI Joe knitting. He couldn't find the perfect bag to match the boots.
*Ten. A new record!
**By my mother.