Monday, February 09, 2009


The news out of Victoria today is horrifying. I've been worrying over every Aussie I know for three days now, and will continue to do so. I know the fires are supposedly dying back, but there's still the aftermath to deal with. Damn. My thoughts are with all of you, even those in other parts of Australia who have to watch the news and worry over distant family and friends-of-friends.

We get firestorms here in the US, in southern California, but I don't think they move as fast, from the sounds of it. They're also driven by hot winds and made worse by drought. We used to get a mild version of them in Hawaii, and watching those out the window (a mere camp fire in comparison), was bad enough.

Anyway, I'm thinking of you guys.


In knitting knews, such as it is, I fear I will not be making the Feb. 20th Twist Collective deadline. But I'm designing something that may well be suitable for their winter or even spring issues, so I'm keeping at it and am actually very excited about the project. In fact, the project has spawned another idea. Heaven help me.

For years people have told me I should write a knitting book, and for years, I've said that if I could think of a knitting book that hasn't been written yet, I'll write it. And hello, while working on one of about fifty lace swatches, it hit me. Nobody's written much of anything about designing lace patterns, or how lace WORKS. Yeah, there're a couple, but I've got them and they aren't that useful once you dig into the elaborate stuff. And the only book that really explains HOW knitted lace works is out of print ("Knitting Lace" by Susanna E. Lewis. Yes, I own a copy. No, Alwen, you may not have it). Even that book, while excellent, doesn't get into design too much, though it is the best I've seen at how the structure works.

So. It's an idea. I've even cooked up a new method of swatching for lace (well, a new method of 'doing the math' with the information you GET from the swatches), so if it works, I may be on to something.

In the mean time, I'm working on a doily-knitting article for Knitty. That'd put the information in the hands of most of the people who'd want it.

While thinking of all this, I actually couldn't face knitting laceweight yarn any more. Three months on the shawl for Christmas, then immediately turning around and spending a month and a week knitting the Faux Russian Scarf (it's done, by the way; I need to take photos), and, well, fifty-hundred lace swatches and a sample, I just ran out of steam. Instead, I cast on some super-bulky (yes, you read that right), and am working on a poncho for the Goober. She needs something light to put over tee shirts on spring days, and a poncho would fit her for more than one spring, unlike the jackets we keep buying every time we turn around. I'm using stash (and hand-spun stash), so it kind of counts for the "Finishing" deal. And more than that, the Goob's all excited. She's calling it the "Blueberry Puff", and I may well name the pattern that. The pattern will be available for free, one size fits most, with a collar and neck opening for kids with big heads (like mine).


It appears I am more of a pack rat than I realized. (Gee. There's a big shock. I bet you're all swooning.) I keep finding yarn in odd corners and pokey places (often behind books, go figure), and inevitably, those motherfucking carpet beetles have been into it. I've pitched about ten skeins of yarn in the last month or so. But I've found something interesting, that may be useful to those of you with carpet beetle (or other bug) worries of your own:

Moth-proofed appears to also be beetle-proofed. Wool yarns I know to be moth-proofed (such as anything from Brown Sheep), are untouched.

Superwash also appears to turn their stomachs. It's possible that because of the extra processing required for superwash, the yarn manufacturer just sort of throws in moth-proofing, but you'd think they would mention it on the label as a selling point. But balls of yarn that ARE superwash that are NOT marked moth-proof, have also been untouched.

My hand-dyes also are mostly untouched. It appears to have to do with the vinegar smell; on yarns I know I practically pickled, the beetles haven't touched them. Hand-spun yarn I dyed in the wool seems to be especially distasteful to them.

And of course, they still hate the lavender. No damage done to anything in the Yarn Closet.

Anyone know how to torture carpet beetles? Stomping them just doesn't seem good enough. Anyone?


Bells said...

Thanks Julie. It's just horrific. I'm eight hours' drive away and feel helpless, as I'm sure everyone who isn't there does. It's not over yet.

The Goober will look so damn cute in a poncho!

Granny's Girls said...

We are appalled by what we see on the news. Idispht is almost hard to comprehend that they are on their own. There just isn't any help nearby. Frightening.
Oh yes, I would buy a book on designing lace. I need to be challenged in my knitting. go for it girl.

Walter Knitty said...

Forest/bush fires are bad enough when they are started by lightning or other natural causes but when arson is involved, it's criminal. The Guardian has a story today that some of the arsonists will be charged with murder.
If you were to write a book on lace I'd buy it and please come to Powells here in Portland so Portland knitters can bask in your wit and charm. ;)

mrsfife said...

Would you know of an aroma remedy for cockroaches, and for lizards (geckos I think you call them - I haz a phobia)?

*the word verification says "bedti"

Roxie said...

Blueberry puff. I can hardly wait for the photos!

How you can endure that much lace is wayyyy beyond my comprehension. Best of luck with the book!

Alwen said...

Aw, c'mon, not even if I whine like a poo head?

Jen Anderson said...

There's a knitter in Australia who's doing a raffle--knitterly prizes in exchange for a donation to the Australian Red Cross. I mentioned it on my blog, but you get a lot more traffic than I do, so maybe you'd like to mention it as well.
Here's the raffle:

and my post about it:

David said...

Me to a carpet beetle, "You're ugly and your Mother dresses you funny" And I'd like to be the first person to invite you to do a Book Signing for your upcoming Lace Design Book...

Ginger_nut said...

The bush fires are a real tragedy - I have friends who have lost houses, and even more terrible, pets. I am trying to focus on the more optimistic news stories now - the fundraisers and charities helping out the survivors because I don't think I can deal with more bad.

Amy Lane said...

Wow--I hadn't even heard of what's going on in Victoria but now I'm just frightened for everybody out there! Bugger!

Trust me--if Goob is anything like Ladybug she will LOVE the poncho! (Ladybug wears hers ALL THE TIME!)

And I think you've found your niche! Definitely keep that lace book in mind!

(spamword: irksms... just funny, that's all!)

Brewgal said...

The Australian fires look very, very scary. I'm sending safe thoughts to everyone there.

Oven cleaner works really well on cockroaches, but I'd be hesitant to spray it around for the beetles with the Goob in the house.

Anna said...

I don't know who it tortures more - them or us - the only 'cure' for carpet beetles is frequent vacuuming.

Damn housework...


knitabulous said...

Margaret Stoves book designing knitted lace (or something like that) is also very hard to get and to be honest, (whispers behind hand to you) a little dated. (Waiting to get struck by lightning now..)

So I can't wait for your book. Need any test knitting? I volunteer!