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crafty katie

When you fall in love with a knitter, your life will be much easier if you can remember a few simple things.

1. You will live with lots of yarn. Some of this yarn was acquired merely because it was pretty and she wanted it and she may do nothing but look at and pet the yarn when she feels like it. Fighting this will just drive her desire for yarn underground, where she will have things delivered to her office, squirrel them away in the trunk of her car, or hidden in the far reaches of a closet so you won't notice.

2. Some projects are begun and never finished. This is acceptable. Do not presume to make suggestions, however gentle, about how her hobby should be pursued.

3. When yarn is brought into the house and she asks you to touch it and look at it and admire it, your interests are best served if you can muster up an appropriate degree of enthusiasm and admiration. Even if it's just colored string to you. If she wants you to feel how soft it is, for the love of Pete, do it immediately. And say something like, "Wow, that is really soft. That will be fun to knit with!" Even if you don't care. Even if you can't tell that it's soft. If she asks you to admire the softness, assume it is soft and beautiful and worthy of praise.

4. Yarn will have to be relocated to various places in the house at any given time. If there is suddenly a basket of yarn on the floor in a doorway, it's there for a reason. Step over it. Even if it means your wedding photographer will document the basket.

5. You'll have to accept that your beloved may want to knit all five of her bridesmaids shawls for your wedding. Admire her handiwork. Say things like, "Wow, I am so impressed by your skill and dedication. I'm cooking you dinner so you can have more knitting time."

6. When you look at your wedding photos, be sure to comment on the shawl each bridesmaid is wearing.  It would also behoove you to make note of the bouquets, and to admire how nicely the colors she selected go with the shawl and dress. Someone spent a long time picking out just the right thing, and you might as well compliment her on it.

7. Take note of things like how even though each shawl is slightly different, they all suit the wearers and make your wedding seem more special than everyone else's wedding. Got that? More special than anyone else's.

8. Ask questions like, "Where did you find those amazing shawl pins? My ________________mom/grandma/aunt/cousin would love one."

9. Say things like, "The beading on the hem just adds something extra. How do you even get the beads on there? It blows my mind." The compliment phrased as question: work it to full advantage.

10. A little something like, "Each one of these shawls is more amazing than the last," would certainly not kill you dead.

11. Of course, it goes without saying that your knitting bride is the MOST radiant, MOST beautiful bride of all time, otherwise you would not be marrying her. And her dedication to her craft just makes her all the more attractive.

12. Say that. Every day, if possible.

I'm sure Charles doesn't need my advice, because Katie describes him as the "coolest guy EVER."

They were married last November in bucolic Glyndon, MD, and Katie really did manage to knit five lace shawls (and a sweater for herself) before the big day.

Lavender and chocolate: I approve.

Katie wore the same crown her mother wore at her own wedding 51 years ago.

This wedding party looks significantly happier than many I've seen. I'm sure it's the shawls. I know I would be grinning pretty broadly if that were part of my bridesmaid ensemble.

The lace edging and the flowers on this cardigan are just beautiful, despite the tomfoolery happening in the background with the wedding party. (Note: I'm bringing tomfoolery back.)

A getaway car and reception venue befitting a knitter of this caliber.

I love the homemade canned goods as wedding favors! Those will be enjoyed much longer than a bag of Jordan almonds. And the label reads "Expiration date never: Katie and Charles"

Some more deets for the curious:

-- Shawl yarn: Lilacs (a club exclusive) on McClellan. The bride wore a barely-there version of the colorway.

-- Shawl patterns: Celes, Samovar, Seascape Stole, Astilbe Feathers, and Peacock Shawlette

-- Despite the fact that the groom's house burned down three months before the wedding (while the bride was there! knitting!), all the knitting was saved and the wedding went off without a hitch.

 And they knit happily ever after.



middle schoolers

God bless the middle school teachers of the world.

Tip o' the hat to all of you who spend your days coaxing coltish pre-teens into staying in their seats and not throwing sandwiches at each other.

My own career as a high school teacher cemented my belief that middle school teachers are better human beings than I am.

I really needed -- on a cellular level -- students who could wait the better part of ten minutes in between bathroom breaks.

My boy is going into middle school.

On one hand, he likes to hug me and call me on the phone to ask things in an Eeyore-ish voice. "Hey mom. It's me. Just checking to see if it would be OK if I cooked some oatmeal."

On the other, he believes he is ready to drive our car. Just to the grocery store, mom! I just want to get some more of those cashews I like!

I'm certain it would stop at the grocery store, right? Never one foot beyond? Nary a toe across the line, right, son?

I call him son a lot.

Because he is. My one and only.

Now that he's about to enter the fascinating world of switching classrooms and archery during P.E., he's speaking a whole new language.

My own mother tongue. Sarcasm.

It's been fun for me to watch his brain move past concrete thinking and into the abstract. We now share the same sense of humor, and the more dry I am, the funnier he thinks it is.

For now, at least.

When I look at these pictures, portraits of an eleven year old, I see a sixteen year old lurking in the shadows behind his eyes. I see a boy who really can drive a car. I see a 6'4" nearly-grown man eating $150 of food every day.

I see my baby, my first baby, my ten pound boy with the chubby legs.

Oh, middle school. You be good to him. Or I'll... I'll...

I don't know what. But you won't like it.


Today is July 1st! Which means that I'll be at The Yarn Spot in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, in just three more days!

The July 4th party is always fun -- you already have the day off, why not come spend it with us? Stop by anytime between 9:30 and 3:00 to say hello and snag yummy goodies! No registration is necessary, this is open house style!

I *may* have brought a *few* one of a kind items with me. And there *may* be just a tickle, a whisper, of one pound mini skein bundles. And I *think* I might be bringing Baby Shamrock along.

More info here.

See you on July 4th!



almost ready for college

Mrs. Baby Shamrock will be graduating from high school in just a week or two.

She's a fine young adult. Very studious.

Fluent in three languages.

Does a lot of community service.

This fall, she'll be headed to a large university, where she intends to study public policy.

Her father is so proud.

Maybe someday, she'll meet a nice young man and settle down and have babies of her own.

But we hope she finishes graduate school first.

We're about to become empty nesters here.

I won't know what to do with my time. Shall I take up knitting?

Maybe I'll learn to dye yarn or something. I've been wondering if I would be good at that.

Don't forget to call, Mrs. Baby! Or text. Or Snapchat. Or whatever you youngsters are doing these days.

I'll never stop wanting to nibble your cheeks!


Instock clearance!

We have instock items that need a new home! Clearance underway here!


Knitting excuses decoded

When people find out what I do, I get a lot of vacant stares, faux seizures, and mad dashes for the fire escape.

As it turns out, yarn is really boring if you're not a knitter.

I feel like saying, "I'm a fun person! Just get to know me!" But they are too busy being revived by EMTs to pay me any mind.


Have you ever tried to show someone who was not a knitter your latest stash acquisition, the one you've been petting and ogling all day, only to have them give you a halfhearted, "That's nice."

My husband used to be that person, until I trained him better.

I said, "Honey, when I show you some yarn, here's what I want you to say:

'WOW! That is spectacular! Those color combinations are amazing! Is it soft? Oh my goodness, yes! It is really soft! WOW! I am highly impressed!'"


He deserves an award for putting up with me, he really does.

Do people ever see you knitting and proffer excuses about why they are not currently, at that very moment, churning out a 3X cabled sweater for Uncle Ivar?

I hear things like:

1. My grandma taught me when I was a kid, but I was bad at it/haven't done it since then.

But what they're actually saying is: I tried it and failed. That makes me uncomfortable. I'll stick with microwaving popcorn.

2. I am not good with my hands.

What they're actually saying is: I am intimidated by how fast and easily other people knit. Does it look like I have magic hands?

3. I don't like all that counting.

What they're actually saying is: I had a mean math teacher in school who made me forever question my ability to do anything with numbers. Numbers try to steal my soul while I'm sleeping.

4. I would love to learn to do that when my kids are bigger.

What they're actually saying is: I am too overwhelmed with my life right now to think about one more thing. Why do these children want to eat dinner day after blessed day?

5. I tried making _________, and it didn't turn out/was too small/too large/full of holes.

What they're actually saying is: I don't understand the fundamental principles of knitting. I'm not the kind of person who asks for driving directions or reads the instructions before assembling the 650 piece IKEA bookcase.

6. Whenever I try to knit, it takes me forever to make one inch.

What they're actually saying is: I have serious perfectionism issues. Can you recommend a self help book?

7. I tried to knit a scarf, but had to keep starting over because I made mistakes.

What they're actually saying is: I really need someone to sit next to me the entire time I'm knitting. In fact, why don't you just knit this for me?

8. I always think that I'll learn to knit when I'm retired.

What they're actually saying is: knitting is for senior citizens, and I never want to be one of those. I'm going to stay forever young.


What kind of reasons for not knitting have you heard? I should add them to my decoder cheat sheet!


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