Category Archives: Me

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009!!!

Episode 19 is here.

Poinsettia Neck Warmer

Poinsettia neckwarmer by Anne Hanson from the Winter 2008 Knitty

Knit in Misty Mountain Farm Alpaca held double with Classic Elite Alpaca Sox

The bass-ackwards ‘long draw’ spinning video is here.

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Change can be a good thing…

Well ladies and gentlemen it is time for change yet again.

First off. BeanKnits and Spins is still being hosted at Podshow but from here on out I will be posting show notes and related photos here on this blog.

But, there’s a bigger change in store. I have joined forces with a variety of knit-and/or-spin bloggers at The House of Wool Repute!

At HoWR, as I like to refer to it, you’ll not only find me, but also some of my favorite fiber bloggers(and maybe yours, too!) Is there a blog you used to love but hadn’t read because it stopped being updated regularly? You might find her there. Or is there someone who never blogged before you’d like to hear from? She’s there too. I’ve had 3 great years blogging independently, and someday I might again. It took some time to decide if I really wanted to keep this site going and post there as well, but I finally made up my mind.

If you’re not interested in all the other posters at HoWR, then you can simply seek out posts written specifically by me. But why do that, when you can get all the fun without having to read several different blogs? Keep in mind some participants will keep up their own blogs as well.

I’ve done an intro post there but stay tuned for my real debut!, with Central Park Hoodie almost done and some spinning pr0n.

I don’t want to get all philosophical and shit, just wanted to let you know I AM alive and that you can still read my blather.. 🙂 So go check out The House of Wool Reputed and thangQ so much, for reading BeanKnits and Spins.

Sincerely,
Ladybean(aka Tamara)

P.S.: Keep an ear out for some excitement on the next BeanKnits and Spins podcast! I’ve added a new favorites session: Books!, in which I’ll talk about two great books I just got and what I’m doing with them…(think LACE). hee

OMG! NO you didn’t!(Yes, they did!) :)

It has been said many a time, but it bears repeating: Knitters/fiber crafters are some of the most caring, and generous people I’ve ever met. If you asked me how to spell the word ‘friend’ it’s kklmstv(each letter is a seperate link). Those are the first letters of the names of some very special people. The people who gave me THIS for my birthday!!:
KPHarmset

OMG!! They really did it! I’m floored. I know I mentioned my wanting to get a set of the Harmony needles to replace the bamboo needles whose cords annoy the hell out of me. But I never expected anyone to actually get it for me. They all went in and did the knittyest thing! I got this hilarious card too:

bdcardout
bdcardin

Karen came up with a clever way to display all the names: It broke my heart. 🙂

I know I looked a fool dancing and giggling in the street, but girls, consider yourselves hugged tight! I don’t know what to say, Thank you is not enough.

My poor brain was aswim with ways to start NEW projects, but I’d been neglecting Icarus(stay tuned for a new podcast discussing my knitting disaster!), so I simply transfered it to my new needles! I’m using the size 5US tips and the 32″ cord. I do intend to get longer cords and some of the metal tips, but for now I’m in needle heaven!
needsinIcarus

This is the needle in Icarus. You’re looking at the purl side.

That’s it for today. The earth has made yet another revolution for me today, and I’m gonna chill out as much as possible!

To everyone sending me birthday wishes, Thank you! I love ya!

Enter the Mind of BeanKnit…(Part two of the series)

This is the second of a ‘series of posts where I reveal things about my knitting and spinning that you never knew were on my mind.

There’s been a lot on my mind lately when it comes to knitting and spinning. Such as, What to knit/spin next!? There are so many patterns and so many to make up as you go. So many fibers to try and I’ve got a bunch already that I love. It can make a girl go CRAZY(..er than she already is).

Who knew that after a simple pair of socks I’d go on to make so many? And there’s so much more to learn when it comes to them. I’ve knit toe up and cuff down. I’ve used various cast-ons and bind-offs, all of them having a specific purpose and making the knitting work better. It’s amazing watching a new technique unfold right before your eyes. I get a chill thinking about all the ‘A-ha!’ moments I’ve had. My most recent bind-off method learned was the Russian Bind-off. I used it on a swatch I’d been playing with. For some reason I could never seem to get my head around it and then blam! it all made sense. I definitely plan to use this more as I do more toe-up socks and (whisper) lace shawls.

Yeah dammit I said lace shawls. Shoot. I can’t shake the urge to knit lace. It’s so pretty it’s not funny. And it’s not easy either. My best experiences with it were the Charlotte’s Web and Icarus shawls. Now I look back I should have kept on trying that Russian bind off because that’s pretty much what was used in Icarus. I didn’t and the bottom of the shawl won’t make points no matter how much I pull and tug at it. Got dammit. But yeah, lace. I’ve knit socks with lace in them and I’m currently working on a shell/tank with a lace panel in it and it’s not too bad. Then I went fool and joined the Mystery Stole #3 and decided that maybe lace knitting isn’t so bad(til I fuck it up again, at least). So we’ll see how that goes. (I have since dropped out of MS3. I’ve seen what it looks like so far and I no longer find it appealing).

Then there’s sweaters/tops. I’ve made a few, ripped a few and had one felted(I still love you, Frank). The big thing with these is finding(or better still, designing) the right fit/size. That way lies madness, but I’m used to that by now. 😉 I hope to get better at making up my own tops because while I see a lot of stuff out there that I like to LOOK at, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for me. Hell I have enough trouble getting commerically made clothing to fit right. I’m so glad I like to read because in knitting books like Big Girl Knits and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, I can find inspiration and insight into this thing called Knitting For Me.

Let me stop and harrass you for a minute. Did you know one of the first things I ever knit was NOT a scarf or dishcloth? Hee. I jumped in ass first and tried to knit Sonnet. That thing was insanity. It’s a nice concept but GEEZ it took me forever. And my dumb ass was using Lion Brand Jiffy Thick n’ Quick. Don’t ask. Please. And it was this wild teal blue. That’s a color I can mess with, but not in a bulky yarn. Then there were the Magic Loop socks. I wasn’t content with garter stitch and had to go for stockinette.. in the ROUND. I told you I was crazy. But I’m so glad I didn’t shy away because look where I am today: Drowning in yarn! Hee.

The challenge now is not only to work magic and breathe freshness into my knitting by designing my own pieces, but also to step up the color selection as well. I like bright, loud colors, though I know I shouldn’t always wear them. Not that you can STOP me *evil grin*. The thing is.. My stash is so full of one-ball-of-this and two-balls-of-that, it is a challenge to knit anything interesting without it being the 400th hat or 12,000th pair of socks. Don’t get me wrong, I like knitting those things but there has to be… more. I see people knitting fantastic sweaters and bags out of ‘scraps’ and it always amazes me how they manage to make it all fall into place. (I don’t doubt they STILL have some scraps of the scraps left!). So that’s another task set out for me: whitling down my stash…

Speaking of stash I’ll end this here. It’s calling me and I want to rummage through it.

Next up: Spinning, and how it makes my stash(and possibilities) endless.

Enter the Mind of BeanKnit…Part 1

This is the first of a ‘series’ of posts where I reveal things about my knitting and spinning that you never knew were on my mind.

Whoo… where to start? How about needles and my insane quests with them.

Let me point out that this is by NO means a comprehensive review of the needles I discuss, just my personal thoughts.

I’ve tried many of them. They all serve varied purposes, along with the ability to hold your stitches. For instance:

Denise: I purchased this interchangeable needle set about 3 years ago, not long after I fell headlong into knitting. The good thing about it was, naturally, the interchangeability of the tips to various sizes without having to buy EVERY. SINGLE. SIZE. and. LENGTH. circular needle. The cons? The tips didn’t go down to the tiny 1s and 2s I so loved to knit socks on. Especially when I’d just completed my first pair of socks on the Magic Loop. I’ve since managed to lose EVERY single tip of the set. I could KICK myself, letting little hands get on stuff. I still have the 50″ cord with two stoppers for trying on sweaters and such. At least for that, it came in handy. At some point in the future I’m getting another set.

Addi: Oh boy. I started doing the Magic Loop on these, to make what would become many pairs of socks. This was the needle recommended in the book. The pros? Very flexible cords and super smooth joins. The cons? Price. The Turbos are a dream to knit with but the tips leave much to be desired. In recent months, Addi introduced Lace needles in sizes 4 and down with much sharper tips. I have yet to work with these since there are comparable alternatives for much less money.
When I started the ML I went out and bought sizes 1,2,3 and 4. Got home and realized, the 4 was an Addi Natura, their bamboo circ. Again, a very nice cord but the join isn’t all that smooth like the metal Turbos.

Inox(regular): I’ve had a few of these too. They annoy me. They’re bent right by the damn join! WTF? The surface isn’t nearly as smooth as the Addi’s I so love. But the price seemed right and they actually come in a 2.25mm which for me, makes all the difference when it comes to gauge. It took me a year maybe before I realized the size 1 Addi I have is NOT 2.25mm but 2.5mm. I own a size 0 2.0 Addi and there IS a difference with that .25mm, to me, at least.

Inox(express): Now this is a true Addi competitor in my eyes. No, I’ve yet to work with one but I once met someone who did and for all intents and purposes it was a cheaper Addi. The thing that gets me is that it DOESN’T come smaller than a freakin size 4US. WHY???? *cries*. These needles have the super flexible cord and smooth join I need and Inox makes a 2.25mm in their other needle so WhyTF don’t you make it in this too?? *sigh*. Again, a good price for the quality of the needle.

Crystal Palace: These are some sharp bamboo needles. I like them for that. But damn if the joins don’t suck. Majorly. These are prettier than another leading brand of bamboo needles, Clover, which I’ll discuss next. The cords will loosen fairly with immersion in warm water, but they’re not as flexible as other needles. And they’re not cheap either.

Which leads me to Clover(Takumi?): These are the cheap knitter’s bamboo needles. Nice pricing and a decent finish to them, though not as shiny as the Crystal Palace. The cords hate me. They never really seem to relax enough. Combined with the not so hot joins(though better than the CPs), and this is a disaster for ML knitting. I’ve tried. It can be done, but with much cussing and tugging of yarn. I will say, I love these for cotton knitting the most, and we all know how I feel about cotton knitting, but that’s another post. 😉

I’ve also tried Susan Bates SilvaLume and Quicksilver:These are aluminum needles. A bit heavy on the wrists, especially as you get to the larger sizes. The cords? Not so hot, as they don’t relax all that well either. But nice and smooth for knitting as far as the needletips themselves go. For fast-moving inexpensive knitting I’ll go with these in a pinch.

Throw in the Suzanne rosewood circ I have which seemed odd to me at first, with its 10.75mm sizing(this needle reminds me of a CP in terms of shine and the joins), and that pretty much rounds out my Circular needle collection. Then there are the buncha DPNs I have in almost every size, length( I love those 14 inch Bryspuns!), and material and we have needle storage madness. I’ve gotta work on that too.

*I did not make comment on the Knitpicks Options needles because I haven’t knit with them yet. I’m still in the process of scoring a few. Because they are Addi-like I expect to like them. We shall see.

Up Next: Part 2: Knitting; where I’ve been and where I’m headed.

To My Littlest Beanlet

(This is not a craft related post, so if that bugs you.. skip this.)

For the third time since I married your father, I pee’d on the stick. It was positive. I pee’d on another one. That one was positive too. I shook. I cried. I sulked, bargained, and finally sighed and gave in. You were on your way. I toyed with the idea of not having you. Eventually I abandoned those thoughts and accepted my fate.

I was so ready. So ready to potty-train your brother and send his happy butt to school. Your big sister was already in school. Mommy could once again know silence during daylight hours for longer than a ‘naptime’. I was so ready to delve into real full-time work, or perhaps go back to school. But alas, that was not to be.

I wasn’t enthused. I dealt, and just accepted, but NO ONE was going to force me to be happy.
“…but you’ve got two already, what’s one more!?”, they said.

ronnieinfant

Fast-forward 9 months. At 11:04am you came into the world. Hollering. Louder than both your siblings. I knew you were special then.

But you were special in so many ways. You’re the only one that looks like me. After all that hard work of pregnancy I could at LEAST have a child that looked like me. All my cousins, and your Uncle said, “That’s you all over again!”. “She look(sic) just LIKE you!”. “Yep, there goes little(me)!”.

I began to ease into newborn-mode again. It’s not like I could sleep all night before. You moved around in my belly more than your brother and sister. I could set my clock by you. Up in the morning, nap in the afternoon, wake up after dinner, up allllllllllll night. Nap for a minute at dawn. Wash Rinse Repeat.

Then I came home with you, after a long, tiring stay at the hospital where you were born. You slept a lot at first, the jaundice making you sleepy. But then you snapped out of it and I was in for it! You kept me on my toes for sure.

Time moved on. You sat up, rolled over, and crawled in your own way. One day(When Uncle came by and you met him for the first time), you just got up and walked. Of course, when you saw that I was looking you sat down again. That’s ok. I think I have that on tape. (Or was that your brother? My brain is mush).

Fast-forward to last Tuesday. You turned 4. Four!. It seemed like just the other day you were wrapped up in a summer blanket, cuddled in Daddy’s arms as we brought you home, him beaming, and me limping( damned C-sections!). And now you’re ready for school.

Soooo many times you’d break something, get into something, make a mess after I’d just cleaned. Sooo many times you didn’t want to go to sleep, you didn’t want to take a nap, you didn’t want to eat, you didn’t want to walk while traveling. And all I could think was, ‘I can’t wait until you go to SCHOOL!’.

Well today, that dream has come true. And I’m not so sure about it. I mean, Yes, eventually silence will reign supreme once again(except for those DANG Parakeets!), but I can’t shake how little you is getting on that big ole’ bus and going so far away. Ok, it’s not REALLY far but big brother and big sister are just going down the road. Why’d you have to be so special that your zoned school can’t handle you? LOL

My hopes and dreams are in you. And they’re about to be carted off to a place where you can share your hopes and dreams with others. At the same time I sigh with relief that the last child is on her way into the big-kid world, my heart breaks that I couldn’t be with you on your journey.

You’re growing up, SugarBoogers. Just don’t forget how much I love you.

Beanlet 'hiding'

An Open Letter to The Yarn Tree

Dear Yarn Tree,

I stood outside you for almost an hour yesterday, awaiting your opening. Yes, I realize that arriving so early was my own doing, but that doesn’t excuse your end of the deal. Your owner arrived 30 minutes before opening time, and I knew I didn’t have much longer to wait. At 15 to the hour, I peeked in the window to find your owner on the phone, frantically waving at me that she wasn’t open(yet). Not a problem. I still had 15 minutes to wait. I’d managed to keep my 3-year-old entertained that long, 15 more minutes wasn’t going to kill us.

4:00–your new Summer opening times for the weekdays–rolled around but your doors remained locked, the lights out. I know your owner could have seen us standing in front of the window. That is, if she was ready to open. 3YO and I waited. 4:15 rolled around and still nothing. Not even an acknowledgement of our presence, with perhaps the statement that there were problems and there would be a delay. Nothing. So, I took my 3YO who was anxious to ride the train(we took the bus from Brownsville–do you know how far away that is?) back home, and walked away.

Your owner just lost a good customer. Unlike the majority of the time where I probably never spent more than $40 I might have been ready to drop a pretty penny there that day. We stood out there, wishing away the storm clouds–their outpouring we’d somehow managed to avoid all day–while she ignored us.

I might just be one customer. Your owner might feel, “Well, I don’t need your business anyway!”. And that’s fine. But for every customer she serves well, she might see two more. So what does that mean when you lose one? Word of mouth is swift in this town.

I won’t miss trekking all the way to ‘the ends of the Earth’ to visit you, Yarn Tree, with your terrible hours. I’d rather spend my money at other retailers, who provide much better service.

Sincerely,

Pissed off former customer

Addendum: If any readers out there think I’m being callous and not caring about her personal problems, keep it to yourself. Had the roles been reversed, I’m sure she’d have wanted my shop on a platter.