Archive for the 'swap' Category


Good karma

That is, Good Yarn Karma, a blog where people post about the yarn, needles, books, magazines, and other knitting/crochet-related items that they want to give away.

Most items are listed as “free to a good home,” often with the stipulation that the recipient pay postage (though sometimes the giver will offer to cover domestic postage). Some items are listed as “for trade,” with particular sought-after items listed.

Is your yarn stash threatening to get its own zip code? When you rifle through it, do you encounter yarn that is so not your cup of tea that you’re pretty sure you must have been on a bender when you ordered it? Do you have a leftover skein or ball from a project and have no idea what to do with it? Do you want to rack up some good karma?

If you answer any of these questions in the affirmative, do check out the Good Karma Blog. I haven’t participated in it myself yet, but it’s been interesting to see what sorts of things are offered. And no, it’s not all out-of-style or cheap yarn–there is a lot of very nice stuff on there, too. I’m always a bit astonished to see someone giving away high-end yarn, but then I figure they’re looking to spread some yarn love. Nice!


Domino dishcloth

p7235631.jpgA few days ago I finished the dishcloth for my swap partner and hope to send it out to her within the next few days. She likes pretty much all colors and has a lot of Fiestaware in her kitchen, so I opted for yarn that includes lots of different colors yet doesn’t include migraine-inducing hues.

I really enjoyed working on this item. I learned two new techniques: domino knitting (which is loads of fun and mind-bogglingly easy) and doing a knitted-on I-cord (which is also loads of fun, but fairly time consuming–it took me about three hours to do the border on this thing). I had a little trouble at one of the corners, where I started and ended the I-cord. The instructions I had assumed that a hanging loop would be made here, but I opted to leave that off, so I didn’t quite know how to connect the ends of the I-cord. Overall, though, I am quite pleased with the result!


Domino effect

p7175573.jpgMy SP10 spoiler, Pixie, gave me a terrific book called Domino Knitting, by Vivian Hoxbro. I had mentioned the technique in a post but didn’t know much about it. I finally got around to trying the technique last week when I got together to knit with some friends. I decided to use good ol’ dishcloth cotton and cast on twenty-five stitches. I started with one square…

p7195577sm.jpg…and then decided to start a dishcloth (for my “Dog Days of Summer” Dishcloth Swap partner) using the technique. I’ve got one square (of nine total) to go, and once I add the border the result will be a bit larger than a standard dishcloth, I think. I guess it will justĀ  make the recipient extra clean!

Last summer I jumped on the Mason-Dixon Knitting bandwagon and knit a bunch of dishcloths. Once I got that out of my system, I put down the dishcloths and went back to sweaters and stuff. But lately I’ve been feeling the knit-a-dishcloth urge again–just in time to sign up for this swap!

1. Do you knit or crochet or do both? How long have you been knitting? I’ve been knitting for about three and a half years. Aside from edging on a couple of sweaters, I do not crochet.
2. Have you knit dishcloths or dish towels before? I have knit a few dishcloths, but haven’t tried anything as large as a towel yet.
3. What are your favorite cotton yarns? Is there a cotton or linen you’ve been dying to try but have not? I like all of the 100% cotton yarns I’ve tried (the cotton-blend yarns vary). I’d love to try cotton chenille, 100% linen, or a cotton-linen blend.
4. Are there any cotton yarns you don’t enjoy knitting with? Haven’t found one yet!
5. What type of needle do you prefer using? Most of the time I use Denise needles for convenience, but I really do prefer wooden needles.
6. What other projects do you enjoy knitting? Baby/toddler clothes are high on my list, and I’ve recently started socks. My next big project will be a sweater for myself (haven’t decided which one yet, though–there’s a list of possibilities under the “Creativity” link at the top).
7. Do you have other hobbies or enjoy other kinds of crafting? I’m keen on photography, and I’m learning how to sew. Those cute fabrics (like at are dangerous, though–I can see how people develop huge fabric stashes!
8. What kind of treats do you like? Chocolate? Candies? Nuts? I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate and Lion Bars. (Yum…)
9. What colors are your kitchen and bath decorated in, if any? The kitchen is in different shades of brown, gray, and cream. The bathrooms are…well…not in colors I care about (haven’t gotten around to redoing those rooms yet), so anything goes.
10. What are your favorite colors, and what colors do you dislike? I love earth tones (browns, greens, grays, blues). I’m not a fan of pastels or neons.
11. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Other beverages? I love coffee (regular, non-flavored stuff). I love tea, too–regular, black teas (especially Darjeeling) and Japanese green teas. We have three porcelain teapots for brewing loose tea leaves.
12. Do you have any kids (human or pet variety!)? I have one two-year-old daughter and two fourteen-year-old cats.
13. Do you have any allergies? No allergies, but I am sensitive to smoke.
14. Please share three tidbits about yourself that you think your pal and other swappers might find odd or interesting.

  • I lived on a dairy farm in francophone Switzerland for a year.
  • I’ve been a vegetarian for fourteen and a half years.
  • My favorite places (that I’ve visited) in the world are Canyonlands National Park, Bandon (Oregon), Waitsfield (Vermont), Paris, and Banff National Park.

Thank you, Secret Pal!

Shortly before I headed out to meeting some friends for knitting in a coffee shop last night, a box arrived in the mail for me. Not just any box, though–a box from my secret pal! A few days ago she told me that a final package was on its way to me, so I’d been on the lookout for it.

p6144985sm.jpgAnd what a great bundle of treats! She sent two packages of Colorado wildflower seeds, homemade grape jam, a skein of green Bamboozle yarn, two patterns (one for a small poncho using the silk sari yarn she sent me last month, and one for a string bag), a duck-shaped tea candle, and a book, Domino Knitting. I’d first heard of domino knitting (the technique and the book) last month and mentioned it in a post but didn’t give it a lot of thought. After paging through this book, however, I am very excited to give this technique a try–it looks like loads of fun! Everything in this package is terrific. As you can see, Sylvia agrees–she is dying to get her hands on the duck candle.

Thanks to Pixie at My Obsession with Fiber for being such a wonderful secret pal! All of the gifts have been delightful, and I’ve so enjoyed chatting with her by e-mail. Now I’m looking forward to reading her blog and getting to know her a bit better.

(P.S. And here’s another fun tidbit: Pixie mentioned a few days ago that she’d be meeting her spoiler at the Estes Park Wool Market this weekend. “Funny,” I wrote back. “My spoilee, who lives in Minneapolis, is going to that festival.” As it turns out, my spoilee is her spoiler!)


Virtual Vacation swap questionnaire

1. If you could visit any state in the United States, which would it be and why? Believe it or not, I have actually visited all fifty U.S. states. Some of them aren’t on my “must revisit soon” list, and some of them are. If I had to choose just one, though, I’d say Oregon. Hands-down, it’s my favorite state: the Coast Range and ocean on the west, the Cascades a bit inland, the high desert of the east (I have very fond memories of a solo camping trip to Gearhart Mountain Wilderness), Crater Lake, the Columbia River Gorge, progressive politics–what’s not to like?

2. If you could visit any country in the world (other than your own), which would it be and why? I’ve done some international traveling, but most of it’s been in Europe. One place I’d love to visit is Australia, where one of my best friends lives. We’ve been pen pals (mostly of the pen-and-paper type, though there have been a few periods during which we communicated predominantly by e-mail) for fourteen and a half years–and we’ve never met. We’ve talked on the phone only once, and that was maybe twelve years ago, when she was preparing to leave her native Quebec to move to Australia. It would be a delight to meet her in person and see some of the wondrous sites in Australia. And while I’m in the neighborhood of course I’d have to visit New Zealand, ’cause of all the Lord of the Rings stuff–and the wool. But I’d stay far, far away from these sheep.

3. Have you ever driven across several states/providence/countries? I have driven across the United States three times, twice by myself. I love it, especially the parts out west. It’s great to have a fun destination, but half the fun of going somewhere is the getting there. (By car, at least. By plane, with all of the airline security and getting to the airport a gazillion hours before a flight–well, that’s another story.)

4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it? Pretty much any place where I don’t speak the local language is “exotic” to me. So that means all the countries in Europe that don’t speak English or French, and definitely Taiwan. Places like Alaska also seem “exotic” because they are so far off the beaten path. Sure, they have mega grocery stores up there, too, but when you think about how far stuff had to travel to get there–and when you venture outside the big cities–you get a real sense of perspective.

5. What was your favorite “travel” vacation? Why? A few years ago, after a week in the Netherlands visiting relatives, my husband and I took a train to Paris and spent eight days there. I had been there before, but he hadn’t, and it was so delightful to introduce him to one of my favorite cities. Rather than stay in a hotel, we rented an efficiency apartment with a kitchen, so we shopped at the outdoor markets every day and prepared our own meals with the amazing produce, cheese, bread, and wine we found. Every day we stopped at a patisserie on the way home and bought two different pastries for dessert; some days we bought a few more, so by the end of our stay we had sampled twenty different ones. (Yum.) Because there was a metro strike most of the time we were there, we walked. A lot. Fortunately, our apartment was one block from Les Invalides, and the weather was delightful. We took our time, didn’t try to see all of the sights in one visit, and just enjoyed being in Paris in the spring.

6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain. Absolutely! Where I live now (Philadelphia suburbs) is not at all where I grew up (southern Illinois); same deal for my husband. So any family (and many friends) who visit us–from Illinois, upstate New York, the Netherlands–are out-of-towners. We love to show them around our favorite places here!

7. Are you a museum visitor, beach comber, or amusement seeker? Definitely a museum visitor, with a dash of amusement seeker. I like the rocky beaches of the northwest coast, but sandy beaches don’t do much for me.

8. What’s your favorite type of yarn? Wool tops my list, with most other natural fibers in a tie for second. My favorite yarn that I’ve ever used is Debbie Bliss’s Baby Cashmerino–that stuff is heavenly.

9. What’s your least favorite type of yarn? Acrylic. And novelty yarn.

10. What items do you like to knit/crochet? I love to knit baby/toddler sweaters, but I’m hatching plans to knit something for myself (gasp!) in the not-too-distant future (see my list under the “Creativity” link at the top of the page).

11. What do you pack knit/crochet-wise when you go on vacation? I usually bring about three projects (one of which is generally a sock, now that I’ve finally learned how to knit them), with the yarn and needles required for each. It stinks to complete a project, still be in the mood to knit, and have nothing to work on. Then again, that does make a good reason to explore the local yarn store…

12. What other crafts do you do/would like to do other than knit/crochet? I love photography, and I’m learning how to sew (thanks to Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing and to my friend Gina, who gave me her old sewing machine).

13. Are you allergic to anything (yarnwise or treatwise)? No allergies, but I am vegetarian (of the “eggs and dairy are okay” type). So that rules out gummi-anything, Altoids, and any other candies that contain gelatin. Also on my no-no list is the new Tofutsies yarn, which I’d be delighted to try if it didn’t contain chitin (shrimp and crab shells).

14. What is your favorite color? Least favorite? My favorite colors are muted earth tones, particularly browns and greens, though a nice red isn’t bad, either. I am not keen on pastels, neons, or super-bright colors.

15. Sweet or savory (treat, not personality)? Sweet!

16. Anything else we are forgetting to ask that you think your partner desperately needs to know? Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but please feel free to ask me if you have any questions!


Another swap

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across the Knitting Gnome Swap. It’s a one-time swap: someone sends you a box in the mail that contains, well, a gnome and some knitting-related goodies. You keep the goodies, give the gnome a tour of your town, write about your adventures (with pictures, ideally!) in your blog, then send the gnome (with knitting-related goodies) to the next person on the list. This sounded like way too much fun, so I signed up right away.

The matches have been sent out. I’ve written to the person “downstream” of me (i.e., the person I’ll be sending stuff to), and today I got an e-card from the person who will have the gnome before me. I have no idea when the gnome will be headed my way–the waiting is part of fun!


No baaaaaaaad yarn here

Interweave Knits is hosting two events to celebrate their publication of Amy Singer’s No Sheep for You: Knit Happy with Cotton, Silk, Linen, Hemp, Bamboo, and Other Delights this month. The first is a No Sheep for You knitalong. The second event is the “No Sheep Secret Pal Skein Swap“: each participant sends two skeins of nonwool yarn (one in June and one in July) to his or her pal. I happen to be a huge fan of wool, but for those of you who aren’t keen on wool or are allergic to it (or are knitting for non-wool-lovers), this book and these two events might be worth checking out!

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