Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Little Tribute

The bicycle and the chicken warmer I wrote about yesterday were both entries in the Knitting Camp contest. The theme–pieces celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Schoolhouse Press–was inspiring. But given the frantic and fraught nature of my spring and summer, I figured I'd skip it because there'd be no time (and less money) to prepare something really good.

Then, as I was packing for the Provincetown trip, I got an idea for a project that would be portable, inexpensive, challenging, and attainable in a short time. I knit and mounted what is possibly the smallest-ever traveling exhibit of works by Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Trio of EZ Miniatures

All three sweaters are "true" miniatures, meaning I followed Elizabeth's formulae exactly as written, including ribbing, sleeve decreases, underarm grafting, etc. The trickiest bit was working out new numbers for the Baby Surprise Jacket to keep it in scale with the others. The yarn is laceweight and sock reinforcing thread, all worked on size zero needles.

I displayed them in a glass-fronted box under the heading GENUS ZIMMERMANNII with individual Latin labels for each specimen. My Latin's shaky (to put it mildly), but the effect is pretty funny.

And to my immense surprise, when the votes were tallied–I won.

Here's a closer look.

Miniature BSJ
Tunica mirabila infantis

Miniature EPS
Subucula mathematica, var. Retinaculorum

Miniature Tomten Jacket
Tunica tomtena

All the patterns (for full-size garments) are available in Knitting Workshop. They were fun to make, though I will advise that if you wish to enjoy a nice, relaxing knit I advice against working a 12-stitch sleeve in laceweight on four needles.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Horror, The Horror

I have half a mind not to bother writing about my week at Knitting Camp. I have pictures that convey better any paragraph the terror to which I've been exposed.

Would you, knowing full well what lay ahead, choose to sequester yourself in a small hotel among the sort of people who knit bicycles with cabled tires?

Knitted Bicycle

Or who carefully craft rib warmers for rubber chickens?

Chicken Warmer

And always, always at the front of the room was this crazy woman who kept showing everybody her underarms.

Meg Demonstrates

At regular intervals the "campers" (not like any Boy or Girl Scouts I've ever seen, let me tell you) would parade shamelessly in front of the class with objects they had created.

Show and Tell Trio

When that was over, we'd have to knit some more. For hours at a time. Hours!

Camp Scenes

And then they would start again with the fancy-ass knitting parade.

Show and Tell Quartet

So ostentatious.

I do not exaggerate when I tell you it was like this the entire four days. And don't even get me started on the piles of wool and knitting books that were just lying around in plain sight waiting for somebody to buy them. Disgusting.

So if you've been wondering whether you ought to check out Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp, obviously the answer is no. When the lottery opens for the extremely limited spaces in next year's camps, you should not consider trying to get in. It was an ordeal, darlings, an absolute ordeal.

Of course, I shall feel it is my duty as a photographer to return and document the moral turpitude, but then you know me–I'm all about sacrifice for the Greater Good.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Heads Up, Huntsville

Three WolfsonsDarlings, I write in terrific haste as it's just about time to head up to Wisconsin for Knitting Camp. Dolores will not be going to Knitting Camp this year. Dolores has had quite enough excitement for one month, thank you very much, and if she knows what side her hot rum is buttered on she'll sit quietly in the living room this weekend and watch re-runs of "The Streets of San Francisco."

I've just confirmed with Meg, merry proprietress of Yarn Expressions in Huntsville, Alabama, that the final public shoot for 1,000 Knitters will take place down below the Mason-Dixon line on October 11, 2008. I crunched the numbers and found that there was just enough room to allow for one more trip; and as Meg had been sitting patiently at the top of the waiting list for so long that she'd built a shack there and begun having her mail delivered to it, Yarn Expressions is where it'll happen.

If you'd like to sit, and I do hope you'll consider it, advance registration is requested. Registration will open on Monday, July 28. Call the shop (check the Web site for contact information) and they'll get you signed up and send along a model release. There's more information for models here about how it all works.

It seems impossible that it was just about a year ago that Knitter 0001 (hi, Wyett!) cast on the scarf. At this point, it's so big it takes up about one-quarter of my largest suitcase. I haven't measured the exact length yet. I'm almost afraid to.

There will be dispatches from Knitting Camp, unless I encounter Internet issues or actually drop dead from excitement upon shaking hands with Emily Ocker. Yes, I am told Emily Ocker will be there. The Emily Ocker. How often do you meet a knitter who is also a technique?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Teeny Tiny Madness

Little Tiny YarnThis morning I completed a census of the active works-in-progress residing in my apartment and discovered that every one of them is being knit on size zero (2 mm) needles. I was prompted to take stock after looking into my needle stash for another size zero, for a new project, and finding nothing smaller than a size two.

Reasons why this may have happened:
  1. My yarn stash has grown to the point where I have to choose smaller projects, the better to fit into what space remains.

  2. I'm engaged in a blood feud with Sharon Miller.

  3. I'd like to be rid of what's left of my eyesight by Christmas.

  4. I'm trying to win a Dream Date with Eugen Beugler.

  5. Too much time at the drawing board has atrophied my biceps and I can no longer lift anything heavier than fingering weight.

  6. All those re-readings of The Tailor of Gloucester have finally taken a toll on my sanity.

  7. I believe that holding smaller needles will make me look taller.

  8. I have developed a split personality and the other half of me is Margaret Stove.

  9. Julia Roberts was spotted knitting a Kiri shawl and where goeth Julia, so must I.

  10. This, the terminal stage of my knitting addicition, has destroyed my sense of perspective and I honestly thought I was working with Malabrigo Super Chunky.
Send help.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Souvenir of Cape Cod

In case the urge should ever strike you, please take it from me that spending a week on Cape Cod with an adventurous (you should see the list of adjectives I rejecting before selecting that one) sheep is a bad idea.

I know. You saw it coming, right? You saw it coming a mile away, speeding toward us at 75 miles per hour, blasting a trumpet and waving a large, flashing neon sign that said “DANGER DANGER TURN BACK.” And I’m a fool and deserve what I got, right?

In my defense, I must say that we made all arrangements in light of previous travels with Dolores. We picked an early, less crowded flight. We arrived at the airport hours prior to take-off. And when going through security, we pretended we didn’t know the sheep. We were just two perfectly normal gay guys and a ball of sock yarn.

I was removing my shoes when I heard the tell-tale bellow from two lanes over.

“Lady,” the red-faced security guard was saying, “listen to me. I’m not gonna say this again. You gotta take off the overcoat before you go through. No exceptions.”


You listen, Barney Fife,” said Dolores, tapping her hoof on the terrazzo. “ I already told you three times. This is not a coat. It’s a fleece. It does not come off. Now be a good little monkey and clear the path between me and the Admiral’s Club because my second mimosa is wearing thin.”

“Should we be concerned?” asked Tom, nervously.

“No,” I said. “But he should. Keep moving.”

We were on the other side, double-checking our carry-ons, when a call came over the loudspeaker for emergency medical assistance at the private screening area.

A second later the medics rushed past, pushing a gurney.

“She bit him where?” shouted one.

“On the ass!” said that other.

“Told you,” I said. “Care to split a Cinnabon?”

“I want two,” said Harry.

* * * *

Honestly, at this point a little thing like Dolores sinking her teeth into an impertinent guard’s gluteus maximus is not enough to derail my holiday. I’d already put her favorite bail bondsman on alert and figured she could clean up her own messes.

Don’t ask me how she did it–would you really want to know?–but she cleared security and stumbled onto the plane with only seconds to spare. Tom, bless his Platinum-for-Life heart, had arranged for us all to sit in First Class; so by the time we touched down in Boston, six complimentary vodka-and-tonics later, Dolores was feeling like a friend (or more) to all mankind. We had a spot of trouble rolling her down the gangplank to the Provincetown ferry, but after she slumped into a chair and fell asleep we were able to pass her off as a whimsical and capacious weekend tote. “Fabulous!” said a fellow passenger from Palm Springs. “Bettina Duncan, no? Do you think I could pick one up at Fred Segal?”

“Oh, you can pick her up lots of places,” said Harry.

After three days of quiet, I dared to hope that we might after all have a tranquil stay in Provincetown. Honestly, strolling down Commercial Street in the evening, surrounded by throng of drag performers, gentlemen with outré taste in resort attire and portly, eccentric ladies of a Certain Age, Dolores almost blends in.

And then we met Rutger.

* * * *

We first saw Rutger during a morning chat at the Boatslip with Chuck and Andrew, friends from San Francisco. He was sitting by himself on a far corner of the deck, peering moodily at the bay over a half-empty Cape Codder. He was easily six-and-half feet tall, with jade green eyes and a shock of blond hair sticking up from a leonine forehead. I reckoned each of his biceps, which oozed from a supertight t-shirt, to be about the size of my head.

“He looks so very lonely,” tutted Dolores.

“Don’t worry,” said Tom. “In this town he won’t be alone for long.”

“He might,” said Chuck. “Don’t you know Rutger? He’s a local. He owns Pilgrim Parasailing. And he’s straight.”

“Oh,” said Dolores, falling off her stool. “Is he now?”

“And single,” said Andrew, before I could kick him under the table.

Fifteen minutes later Dolores was back, gasping for breath.

“Well,” she said, “remember how was saying that no trip to Cape Cod is complete without a parasailing expedition?”

“No,” said Harry.

“Shut up,” said Dolores. “Anyhow, it turns out that Rutger actually owns Pilgrim Parasail!”

“No kidding,” said Tom.

“And guess what I’m doing tomorrow afternoon at one o’clock?”

“Taking a pottery class?” said Andrew.

“Pretty,” she said to him. “You’re so pretty. And it’s a good thing.”

“Dolores,” I said, “If you’re thinking of putting this on my credit card you can forget about it.”

She cackled. “Don’t fret, cupcake. We’ve arranged a little barter. He’s giving me a ride after lunch, and I’m giving him a ride after dinner. A ride for a ride. If you catch my drift. You catch my drift?”

“We just floated all the way to Boston on your drift,” said Chuck.

“I wanna parasail too,” said Harry. “If Dolores gets to go I wanna go!”

“Maybe tomorrow would be a swell day to drive to Wellfleet,” said Tom. “Or New Hampshire.”

“Do whatever the hell you want, pookie,” said Dolores. “I’m outta here. I need a new bathing suit and a pedicure if I’m going up in the air. Harry, come with me. I have an assignment for you.”

“I’m not done with my Shirley Temple,” said Harry.

“I’ll buy you the I GOT SCROD ON CAPE COD t-shirt you wanted from the souvenir store.”

“Bye!” said Harry, jumping off the table.

“So,” Andrew said to me, “what made you decide against just getting a dog, like everybody else?”

* * * *

That night and into the next morning we debated whether we ought, in fact, to leave town for the day; but in the end curiosity got the better of us. Dolores came back to the cottage just before dinner, toting a well-stuffed bag from one of the Cape’s most celebrated purveyors of beachwear. Harry was dropped off shortly thereafter by taxi, along with two cardboard boxes that Dolores snatched away and hid in her room before we could get a look at them.

Harry wouldn’t spill the beans, even when we tried to bribe him. He met the offer of a deluxe dipped double cone of Fudge Ripple and Chocolate Chip with a stiff-lipped, “I can’t tell you. It’s official business.”

We double-checked the ferry departure schedules and moved the suitcases near the door. Just in case.

And there was another surprise. The evening ferry brought us Victorine, Dolores’s French-Canadian cousine. She said nothing to us but “allo” before locking herself in the bedroom with the other two, but at the best of times she’s not exactly chatty.

At ten the next morning, they all left in a pedicab for the pier. Dolores looked like a firework, decked out in a brand-new in a star-spangled bikini with little mirrors that spelled AMERICA across the fanny.

Around noon the gang snapped up a table at the Boatslip with a view of the bay. Andrew and Chuck were quite excited about the whole thing.

“I’ve never watched a sheep go into space,” said Chuck. “Have you?”

“No,” I said. “But over the past few years I’ve often fantasized about it.”

“Will we be able to see her from here?” asked Andrew.

“Fairly well,” said Tom. “Of course, for safety reasons the boat won't come too near the shore."

At about five after one, I spotted her. In the far distance, a blue-and-yellow parachute caught the sun and beneath it swung a white, fluffy speck.

“Ahoy!” said Tom.

“Gentlemen,” said Chuck, “A toast to the maiden flight of the Dolores.”

We clicked our glasses.

The parachute slid gracefully through the air in slow arcs, hither and thither.

“Funny,” said Tom. “It looks like she's coming closer.”

She was. Much closer. All over the Boatslip deck, cell phones began to ring. We heard a siren. I snagged a passing waiter and asked what was going on.

“Sounds like some crazy Canadian separatist hijacked the parasailing boat,” he said. “And she’s heading for the inner harbor. Look, here they come!”

We heard the roar of the motor, and then above us, like a Thanksgiving Day balloon gone terribly wrong, was Dolores dangling from the end of the cable. Victorine was screaming “A nous la victoire!” as she drove the boat nearer and near the beach, and suddenly from up above came a shower of paper.

“What the hell?” said Andrew, snatching one of the pamphlets that were raining down on our heads.

“What’s a Fibertarian?” said Chuck, reading over Andrew’s shoulder.

“Get the suitcases,” I said to Tom.

The harbor police were now in hot pursuit of the parasail boat. Victorine tore mad circles around the other craft while Dolores, having completed her tour as a propaganda bomb, started screaming to come down. And then Victorine made a sudden, sharp starboard turn and with a nerve-shattering SPROING! the cable snapped. Dolores, freed from her tether, took off upwind.

“Holy crap,” gasped Tom. “She’s heading for Truro.”


By now every siren in Provincetown was going off and we could hear people screaming in the streets. The parachute careened from current to current and the breeze brought to us a faint but emphatic stream of obscenities.

“Dolores!” I shouted. “Dolores! Try to make it to Hyannis and land in the Kennedy compound! And for God's sake steer away from Kennebunkport!”

She couldn’t hear me. She was high now, up among the seagulls. A million thoughts raced through my mind. Would Harry be traumatized by all this? What would I say to her fan club? How long should I wait before clearing out her half of the closet?

And then a downdraft grabbed the chute and dragged her down, down, down. I screamed. Tom screamed. The boys screamed. The gulls screamed. And in the nick of time her star-spangled bikini bottom snagged the aerial on the top the Pilgrim Monument. And there she stuck, like the angel on the Christmas tree, except this angel was half naked, and yelling FUCK at the top of her lungs.

“Do you think if I asked nicely they’d just leave her there?” I asked Tom.

Alas, they did not. They got her down, fined her a couple of bucks for disturbing the peace and trespassing, then paid her fifty because the aerial had ripped a hole in her fancy swimsuit. By the next day she had five offers to appear in local cabaret acts.


Victorine, last I heard, was holed up in the Canadian embassy in Boston hoping to evade conviction for tying up a captain and stealing his boat.

And Rutger keeps calling the house.

Oh, yeah. Provincetown was really relaxing. How was your week?

Friday, July 11, 2008

And Away We Go

Never fails. I get the apartment back in order and something happens to mess it up again. But at least this is a happy mess. Suitcases. Many suitcases. Tomorrow, we're away to our summer vacation.

"Don't you dare tell where we're going," said Dolores as I sat down to type. She was at the table eating breakfast while Harry mulled over the packing list.

"And why not?" I asked.

"Because mama needs an absolute rest," she sighed, running a hoof through the tangled fleece falling down over one eye.

Domestic Scene

"You just slept for fourteen hours," I said. "How tired can you possibly be?"

"Does it still count as sleeping if it starts as passing out?" said Harry.

"The point," huffed Dolores through a spoonful of Hay-Os, "is that the giddy whirl of my life requires periodic absences from the public eye. I gotta recharge. I need peace. I need solitude. I don't want to get there and find a bunch of smart-ass photographers waiting to catch me off guard. Remember what happened last time I went to Montreal to see Victorine? We were barely past baggage claim when they swarmed the car."

"That was because Victorine ran over a porter," I said. "Twice."

"It doesn't matter why they were there," she insisted. "The point is that they were there, right up in my face, snapping and flashing and asking impertinent questions. What's your name, madame? Why are you here? Did you not hear him scream the second time? Feh."

"I asked one of the policemen if I could get some copies of his photos for my scrapbook," said Harry. "But he never sent me any. I don't think his English was too good. So I just bought some postcards instead."

"Have you finished the packing yet?" said Dolores.

"No," said Harry.

"Then how is it that you have time to sit here and run your mouth?"

"I've got some questions about your list," said Harry. "I found all fourteen bathing suits, but I don't know what this is." He pointed to an item halfway down, surrounded by asterisks.

"Oh," said Dolores. "That's in the back of my bottom drawer. It's pink. Do me a favor, precious, and put it in your carry-on instead of mine, okay? Mine's a bit heavy. And throw in some extra batteries."

"Righty-o," chirped Harry.

"Don't give me that look," said Dolores as Harry rolled away. "Where we're going that's all the action I'm gonna get."

"I thought you needed absolute rest," I said. "And to be left alone."

"There's alone," said Dolores, "and there's alone. I don't mind being Lorelei on a rock as long as I can entertain the occasional sailor."

"The Lorelei used to entertain sailors so much that she killed them," I reminded her.

"I know," sighed Dolores. "Now that's technique."

While We're Away

I need a little vacation as much as Dolores, and while we're gone this blog will be quiet unless you'd care to chat amongst yourselves. However, if you'd like to hear me, please listen in on the next episode of the Knitmore Girls Podcast, which should pop up early next week. I had merry time with Jasmin and Gigi, mother and daughter 'casters.

We'll be back in a week or so, and will miss you terribly. If you wouldn't mind watering the violets, airing the sock yarn and taking in the newspaper I'd be much obliged and will bring you back a little something.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lace Present, Lace Future

June was such a nutty month around here that I didn't get to cast for Wedding Ring Shawl 2.0 until earlier this week. At about an inch and half into the center pattern, I'm already desperately in love with the Gossamer Silk from Heirloom Knitting.

Wedding Ring Center

Lace is such a pain to photograph, particularly lace in progress. I wish you could see this in person. The silk has no halo whatever, so the patterns look...what's the word I want? Etched? That comes close. The lines are so crisp and sharp I keep thinking of ice crystals on a windowpane. It was worth ripping back and switching to a finer yarn.

By way of comparison, you can see that I used the first yarn–which was laceweight–to work the provisional cast-on for the cobweb weight. The cobweb's about half as thick.

I promised myself that when the manuscript of little book was finished, I'd pull out my spinning wheel again. But I didn't want to spin aimlessly, I wanted to spin for a project. Well, when I was at TNNA I saw a preview of Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia - and when I showed it to my sister she happened to admire one of the pieces I liked best, the Miralda Triangular Shawl. I asked Interweave to let me slip you a sneak peek, and here it is.

Miralda 01

Palpitations. Palpitations, I tell you.

The preview included the yarn specs for the project, and I since it uses a fingering weight yarn I've decided that spinning it myself is within my capabilities. The book won't come out until November, so I have a few months to finish preparing this:

Miralda Yarn

before it's time to make this:

Miralda 02

Excuse me. I have to go spin.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Another Sneak Peek

Since you liked the top-secret prototype Ravelry remote, here's another sneak peek from TNNA.

I was sitting around with Clara Parkes and Cat Bordhi in the food court and we were talking about which "Sex in the City" character we most resemble (I'm totally Samantha, while we agreed that Clara is, like, so Charlotte except when she gets all Miranda) when this lady walked by with a big plate of soba noodles and Cat said, "I wonder how those would knit up?" and wandered away and while she was trying to persuade the lady that her lunch would make a kickin' pair of lacy socks, Clara and I accidentally rummaged around in her bag and found this.

Hot New Magazine

And my dears, just wait until you see the centerfold.

Sports News

No, seriously.

I have word that it's not too late to get tickets to this year's Chicago edition of Stitch 'n' Pitch. That's a baseball game plus knitting. The "White Sox" will play the "Tigers" on Wednesday, August 6, at 7:15 pm.

You can get ticket forms at these places:
  1. Arcadia Knitting (Chicago - North Side)*
  2. Loopy Yarns (Chicago - Loop)
  3. Three Bags Full Knitting Studio (Northbrook)
  4. My Sister's Knits (Chicago - South Side)
  5. Chix with Stix (Forest Park)
  6. String Theory (Glen Ellyn)
  7. Wool and Company (Geneva)
  8. Windy City Knitting Guild*
Sources with an asterisk also have the form available online for download.

A portion of the proceeds from every ticket will go to the Night Ministry and the Helping Hands Foundation.

No, I won't be there. I'm afraid that living within screaming distance of Wrigley Field hasn't done much to alter the sense of helplessness and despair that overwhelms me when I contemplate spending a couple hours held captive in a stadium seat.

Caught Up in the MomentAnd while we're on the subject–this is a lifelong, very personal shortcoming. It has nothing to do with being gay. I wonder how long it'll take for that stereotype to die?

While hanging around with Tom I've undergone a crash course in baseball and football, because his best gay friends are all sports nuts–the scary kind who own season tickets and quote stats and wear weird necklaces made out of buckeyes. They've all made the effort to learn the difference between merino and cashmere, and have listened attentively to Knitting Camp stories, so I feel it's only polite to respond in kind.

There has been progress. A couple weeks ago at Crew I successfully deduced that:
  1. the game on the screen was baseball and
  2. the Cubs were "at bat," and
  3. the guy holding the "bat" had just "struck out," and
  4. this was not a nice thing for the Cubs.
It was akin to the scene in The Miracle Worker when Helen Keller finally makes the connection between water and W-A-T-E-R.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sneak Peek

While I was cleaning up yesterday (I'm about half done) I ran across the bag of freebies I picked up at TNNA. When I wasn't acting dumb in front of respected industry figures, I was prowling the show floor admiring products slated to hit the shelves of your local retailer in the fall.

Most of the time if you're not a shop owner looking to place an order, all you get to do is look. Sometimes, if you're cute or famous enough, or if you're willing to flash your boobies, you can get free goodies. It's like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, only with yarn instead of beads.

Since you and I are close, personal friends I think it's only fair to give you a sneak peek at one of the most exciting things that accidentally fell into my bag when Jess and Casey were busy playing Twister with Cat Bordhi and Pam Allen. Just don't tell anybody, okay?

Ravelry Remote

I tried to use it, but I guess it's just a demonstration dummy. However, I plan to pre-order one the day the list opens.

If you want to see some of the other stuff I got, let me know.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bulldozer Wanted

Remember a while back when I put up pictures of my workspace? I'm not going to do that today. I can't, because at this moment I can't see my workspace. What Vesuvius did to Pompeii, a month of heavy travel has done to my apartment.

All systems have broken down. The window box is beset with rigor mortis because I forgot to water it. The stack of knitting magazines and books has slid into a pile and begun to compost. Where the table was I now have a cairn built of yarn ball ends, orphaned double-pointed needles and junk mail that hasn't been shredded because the shredder is full. I opened the refrigerator and something inside wished me a good morning. I either have to clean up, or move out.

Cover BoyI am a disgrace to my very tidy grandmother, the one I wrote about for this month's PieceWork.* She was a housemaid for years. She taught me the importance of clean baseboards and scrubbed windowsills when I was only five years old. If she saw this living room she'd slap my eyebrows right off my face.

Before I begin to dig through the archaeological layers, I have to show you the little hoodie I made for Abigail. The pattern is the Baby's Neck Down Cardigan #982 by Diane Soucy, published by Knitting Pure and Simple. Me, I am a lover of the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns. They're well written, reasonably priced, fun to knit, and easily adapted.

I used Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in the "Franklin's Panopticon" colorway and I think it looks well.

Hoodie in Use

Abigail tried it on and the fit is excellent, although she has quite long arms and so I'm going to rip back the cuffs and give her another inch or so of sleeve to allow for growth between now and fall, when she'll most likely wear this.

Panopticon Hoodie

I should mention that while Abigail was a very agreeable model, she wasn't inclined to follow my instructions to "Sit still for a second, honey." I understand now why the photos for so many baby knitting books are shot against an infinite white drop. I always figured it was because it looked airy and pure and innocent, but no. It must be out of practicality. You can just put the kid in the sweater, chuck her on the floor under the lights, and follow her around shooting madly while she crawls and wiggles and so forth. Very sensible.

Do you love the wee, colorful buttons, or what?

Finished Hoodie

This is my first piece with real buttonholes. I confess I did not follow the pattern's instructions, but instead used this one row version, adapted from a technique first published by the incomparable Maggie Righetti. It eliminated the need for marking the band with safety pins and all that tomfoolery.

I just picked up the band stitches, counted them, calculated proper button placement as taught long ago by Meg Swansen (thanks, Meg!) and knit them in. Maggie Righetti famously wrote that "Buttonholes Are Bastards" (it's a chapter title in Knitting in Plain English) but these four lined up like obedient little ducklings.

I bought the buttons at Loopy Yarns immediately upon my return from Indiana. And I do mean immediately. After an extended (five hours, as opposed to the usual three) ride on a Megabus full of drunk students and alumni from a certain university in the state of Ohio, Pride-bound gay guys throwing attitude,** and a flock of evangelists going to a revival who decided to have a hoot-n-holler hymn-sing en route, I decided it would be a good idea to inhale yarn fumes and calm down before I killed somebody.

So I wheeled my little bag from Union Station right over to Loopy, which you should know is presently having a rather incredible sale including deep (25% off) discounts on Rowan and other good stuff. Vicki and Zoë were sweet and understanding and helped me find my center (and a perfect ball of fine white cotton) while keeping me away from the sharper needles in the rack.

As much as I adore travel, it's good to be home. At least, I think this is my home. Anything could be hiding under this mess.

* It includes my first-ever published pattern–a ridiculously simple little lace edging that's supposed to look like a row of coal company houses in the Pennsylvania hills. The same issue includes an entire, new Estonian lace shawl from Nancy Bush. Boy, do I have some kind of timing.

**Dudes: if you're riding on the Megabus, you have no business throwing attitude.