Monday, July 31, 2006

My Boyfriend

I'm glad you guys enjoyed Friday's post and found it useful. I just like to tell it like it is. I did fail to mention the bad about Argentina and it's yarn but we'll leave that for another day. I certainly do not want to mislead my readers into thinking that Argentina or any other place I've visited that I plan on telling you about is a bed of roses. I plan to give you an honest look into these places so that you guys could make a better decision on whether you'd want to spend the money to go there. Now on to today's topic.

Men that Knit

This is Nathan, my boyfriend. He was born in Puerto Rico because his parents were Christian missionaries over there when he was born. He stayed in Puerto Rico for the first 3 years of his life and later on moved around a lot as a child. Though he's Puerto-Riquen by birth (his mother is from Pennsylvania and his father is from British Colombia), he considers Canada and Florida to be his homes because he spent the most time in those places. He loves camping and nature. He also likes computers, football, and of course hockey. Recently he has gained an interest in photography and enjoys taking paparazzi type photos or neighbors in our town.

But enough of all that boring stuff. What you really came here for is the knitting and that is what my boyfriend likes to do. He likes to knit. Nathan is one of the men in this world that really like to knit. Now the fact that he loves to knit is not amazing because he is a man but because he is my boyfriend. Have any of you ever met a man and a woman that have been in a relationship that both equally like a hobby as rare as knitting? Usually couples like sports or cars or cooking. We like knitting.

And he's a pretty talented knitter too. Just look at the amount of stuff he's made since he learned back in October 2005:

An i-Pod cozy (for the i-Pod he got me for Christmas

A hat for his little brother

An alpaca hat and scarf set for his mother’s birthday

A hat for himself

A hat for his father

Do you see the trend? There are sock knitters out there and then there are hat knitters. Nathan is a one-track minded hat knitter kind of man. He calls himself the "Mad Hatter" sometimes because that's all he cares to knit. Either way, I enjoy watching him knit quietly on his orange lazy chair. It makes me so happy when he’s relaxed (because his life doesn’t permit him much free time). Currently he's working on, you guessed it, another hat. Here’s a picture:

This is his own design because he hates patterns. The yarn is called Elisabeth Lavold Silky Wool, a beautiful 50/50 blend of silk and wool. Since I got the blog, I suggested to him that he should write a pattern for his hat when he’s done. Nathan told me that he doesn't know how to write a pattern and so he asked me for help. If enough of you guys are interested in this type of hat pattern, let me know. I'll see what I can do.

Though this hat is super cool, don't expect this project to progress quickly. As stated above, Nathan doesn't have much time to knit because he's doing his BA in Business Administration on-line. However, when he is done with it, I will definitely post a picture of his accomplishment.

When knitting gets ugly

The subject of my boyfriend brings me to another discussion question I would like to bring up. Knitting has always been seen as a selfless act of love for those that we knit for. Family and friends are always recipients of lovely hand knits that show that we care. Though a lot of my knitting is given away (because I don't like clutter) most of the time I'm ignoring the people around me while I knit, even if the thing I'm knitting is for them! So my question is when can knitting become too much of an obsession? What is one to do to prevent from loving knitting more than they do family and friends or other things in life? And is this necessarily a bad thing?

Can't wait for your response!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Yarn Heaven

Thanks for the comments to my last post. They were a lot of fun reading them and I got to know just a little bit more about you guys. I'll be posting such questions like that from time to time, but don't hold your breathe for them! They'll come when I feel it right.

Why Argentina's the best place to buy yarn?

So a lot of you have shown interest in my travels in South America. I think that instead of boring you with the whole story at once, I could share with you small portions of it from time to time. I will try my best to incorporate knitting in those future post if at all possible.

As you already know, I've lived in Argentina for 9 months learning Spanish. I absolutely love the people and the friends I've made there but there are 2 things that I will definetely go back for ever so often. First it is the beef (sorry vegetarians) which I have to say is the best beef I've ever tasted. This is because they let their cows be cows. They roam free in the plains, eating grass. When the meat is cooked, the only seasoning on it is salt (yeah, I couldn't believe it myself). The meat is so soft and flavorful, nothing like it's tough, mediocre American counterpart, which I rarely eat.

The second thing is yarn. In Argentina, knitting is not some passing trend/fad like it is in North America. It is something that is taught in grade school and stitched into the cultural fabric of the country (sorry, had to use that form of speech). Now you're not going to see many teenagers or 20 somethings knitting in public or even in private but many older women, most with children or grand children to clothe do knit regularly.

Because so many people knit down there, finding a local yarn store is effortless. In fact after traveling around the country, I realized that there is at least 1 yarn store in every town in Argentina, even in the desert and rainforest areas of the north! This makes yarn and knitting a profitable business. The two most important newspaper publications, Clairín and La Nación, do yearly 12 week long series on knitting and offer patterns printed in separate magazines. Collectivley, the magazines are all one big book of knitting patterns chopped up into smaller magazines based on topic like "Women" "Teenagers" "Men" "Kids" Accesories", etc. set in magazine format. I like to knit things that I could actually wear so I appreciate that most of the patterns are chic, classic designs with a new twist that makes it interesting enough to knit and wear.

This type of categorization can also be found in the way many South American cities are set up. There is usually only one major comercial center that everyone goes to for shopping. If you want a mattress for you bed, all the mattress stores are in one place. If you're looking for shoes, all the shoe stores are in one place. It is the same with the yarn stores. There is a street in Buenos Aires that I call "Yarn Heaven". Within a 5 block stretch, there are over 12 yarn stores, some of them being next door neighbors. The stores look like chic clothing boutiques and when fall rolls around (April/May) they are always filled all the time. I say filled as in you are tripping over people and pushing your way through the crowd for some bright jade alpaca! The yarn itself is gorgeous and good quality. Many of it is acrylic but most of it is all natural fibers (wools, alpaca, silk, cotton, mohair, angora, llama). I've never seen cashmere down there but that doesn't mean it isn't available to those who would like some.

Which brings me to my last point. The prices in Argentina are excellent if you are from the USA or any other country with a stronger economy.I've been there several times and I have always left with more than what I intended but I still don't break the bank because the exchange rate in Argentina is $3 ARG pesos to every $1 USD With the exchange rate being 3 to 1 it insures that I will always be returning to Argentina for stash stocking. The last time I was there in June, I purchased $200 ARG pesos or $60 USD worth of yarn on this one street. I was like a mad women going from store to store, checking out what I liked and what I didn't, making sure that my purchases were things I had a project in mind for. I went back to my hotel with 5 kilos (or 11 pounds) of yarn, enough to make 3 adult sweaters, several hats and scarves, a pair of socks, and whatever else I could put my knitterly mind to. That's more yarn than I could ever get at this place.

So there you have it. My reasons for buying yarn in Argentina. I'm not sure if you can buy any of the yarn online, but I insist that you visit this beautiful country if you plan on buying yarn. The experience is incredible, whether you're a knitter or not.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Wow you guys! Thanks for the big welcome. I did not expect to have so many people welcome me to Blogland. It is a wonderful place and I plan on being here for a while. I am still trying to commit to memory how to make a link or how to put up pictures on my blog but I assure you that I will learn quickly.

I must say that I am having difficulty deciding how I should respond to your questions. There are so many questions that I wish to answer but I'm not sure what is the best way. I could place all of my responces to you guys in my comments section or I could email you people or I could leave a comment on your blog. Tell me what is the best way to continue our conversations and I'll make sure to do the right thing. However, for today, I will answer everyone who had a question publicly on this blog. Here goes!

Knitting Pinki asked me if the bright rainbow yarn in the leftover section of my stash was from a manufacturer called Katia. Personally I've never heard of Katia. What I do know is that that yarn (and many other yarns in my stash) were bought in the wonderful streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Why was I down in South America, you ask? That's another post for another day.

Meg asked me where did I purchase the Cascade Pima Tencel from. Well I got that yarn from the big blowout sale that Webs was having on their website back in May. I'm sure they still have some leftover for pretty cheap if not cheaper, but you will have to check for yourself. I loved working with the yarn and I am planning on making a tank top out of the green yarn for myself for Stitches Midwest in August (if I could come up with the money in time to fund the trip!).

Many people commented on my hair story including Noblinknits, Nik, E to the M, and Betty (her blog is completely in Spanish BTW). I appreciate all your comments. As you can tell my hair is a pretty important feature of my body. Not necessarily it's upkeep but what it means to me and how it defines who I am as an individual in this world. Though I loved my fro, it was 6 years old and I like the fact that I can now wear the hats that I knit for fun (I love knitting hats!).

Maluena (a woman living in Barcelona, Spain who is from Argentina) and Gray la Gran (who has traveled alot like myself) commented on my travels through South America. Well just a little synopsis, I went to Argentina 2 years ago and stayed there for 9 months to learn Spanish. During that time I was able to go to Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay. It was one of the best experiences of my life, having to depend on learning a new language for survival, which I eventually did. Thankfully I still speak Spanish pretty well and use it almost everyday. I'm working on Portuguese and hope on learning Italian (because of the food) and French (because it's useful).

So now that you guys know a little bit more about me, here is a little scenario for you to respond to so that I could know a little bit more about you.


You've just won the lottery and instead of winning money you are rewarded with a lifetime supply of whatever type of yarn you desire. The catch is that you are only allowed to knit 1 kind of item for the rest of your life (socks, sweaters, scarves, lace, etc). What would that item be and why?

Happy Knitting!

* No I do not have this pattern book. This picture was placed to keep this post interesting

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Inventory

No blog about knitting is complete without some pictures of yarn. I have decided to show you guys my stash. It's not as big as some of the stashes I've seen that can fill whole rooms. This is mainly due to the fact that I am a poor college student and can't afford to buy the amount of yarn I really wish to have (though deep down inside I am a minialmalist and would one day like to not have more yarn than the projects I'm working on at any given moment). So now without further interruption I present to you my not too big stash.

Sock Yarn

Okay first the sock yarn. Most of it was purchased in the United States. The varigated yarn at the bottom was purchased in a mall near Toronto, Canada and the grey tweed-like yarn was bought in Argentina (more on my travels in South America in another post). The Lorna'a Laces in Rainbow will be some very tall socks.

The pattern can be found here

The purple yarn at the top and the varigated Canadian yarns are destined to be





The orange yarn to the left and the red yarn to the right will be creations of my own doing. My boyfriend who is also a knitter (more on him later) has the Vogue Dictionary of Stitches and I do plan on using it this summer.


All of these yarns are Cascade's Pima Tencel which is the perfect summer yarn. I just finished a baby sweater for my new niece with it and it's not too rough on the hands like most cotton yarns because of the tencel. Originally I was planning on making baby sweaters for my other twin nephews but I realized that I only had enough yarn to do 1 sweater. Henceforth I have scraped the idea and am thinking about doing a tank top for me. I've looked at various patterns all over the web but nothing really captures what I'm going for. I guess I'll have to design it myself, which isn't too bad, seeing that I love to make stuff from scratch.


These yarns come from the great land of Argentina. For those of you that don't know where this country is, it is located in South America, south of Brazil and east of Chile. About 2 years ago I went to Argentina to learn spanish and just recently returned there (after being in Brazil for 3 weeks) to visit some friends of mine. While in Buenos Aires, the capital of the country, I stopped by a couple yarn shops (okay more like 10) and picked up these babies. The yellow mohair is going to be a simple sweater pattern I'll find somewhere someday. The red yarn will be either something I design or


The blue, purple and beige yarns will be a stripey turtleneck pattern that I got while in Buenos Aires. Sorry I don't have a clear picture of it because I fotocopied the pattern and the picture that came with it however when it is completed a picture will definetely be posted on this blog

Canadian Yarn

My boyfriend is from Canada and wanted me to show of my yarn from there in a separate picture. This yarn is none other than the discontintued White Buffalo yarn. This yarn is just like Reynold's Lopi: hard, scratchy and perfect for felting or knitting up oversized jackets in the winter months. I made a sweater out of the eggplant yarn and soon after finishing realized that I'm going to have to wear a shirt under it if I want to not itch to death. Did I mention it's 100% wool? Meaning I'll only be wearing that sweater if I plan to be outside for a couple hours.

You can find out more about this brand of yarn here

And if you want to buy some of the stuff,

click here

Gift Yarn

Most knitters reading this already know what this yarn is. It is the bread and butter of all yarns. The most basic yarn out there. This is Cascade 220 brought from that crazy WEBS sale back in May. This as well as the Pima Tencel above and some Debbie Bliss Chunky Cashmerino were bought together. I bought all the crazy colors to get a head start on Christmas presents. I was thinking of doing the usual hat and scarf sets when I realized that this yarn is not superwash. I realized if I were to make anything for my family it had to be already felted or something in the machine washable category. Henceforth felted slippers, computer bags, and hats here I come!


Everyone has leftovers. I'm no exception. The good thing about leftover yarn is that if the project you already finished a couple months later decides to fall apart, you have enough yarn to repair it. Also leftover yarn is great for making cute last minute gifts like a hat or a scarf with some intarsia or strips. Sadly, my leftovers don't come all in one gauge which makes my reuse of it more challenging. Either way I won't give them away nor throw them away. I like my leftovers and my leftovers like me.

So there you have it. My stash. It's not very big but it's not very small either and that's how I prefer it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Damn Unpretty

Sorry that I've been absent for this past couple of days, however when life gets in the way, blogging gets push to the side. I am happy to announce though, that I have received my first comment from none other than the beautiful and talented knitter named Saun from Saunshine. She has a ton of free patterns as well as some other beautiful items for pay that you can knit. Go check it out. It is worth your time.

Today’s Topic

So just to let you know I’ve cut my hair off GI Jane style in light of the heat. Here’s a picture:



This allows me to go into the saga that is my hair. I’ll start from the beginning.

Hair is a very important part of being a woman of my skin color. As a child growing up, my mother would always tell me that hair is a woman’s beauty and that she should keep it looking good at all times. When I was in elementary school I got a lot of help from my mother to keep my hair looking kempt. Then I turned 10 years old and my own natural/nappy/very curly hair wasn’t cutting it. So my mother did like any other women of African descent in the western hemisphere did to their female children’s hair after a certain age. She chemically straightened it or as the lingo goes “Permed” my hair (I know a perm is to make your hair curly but this is what it is called in my circle of friends and family). So I did that for the next 6 years of my life, hating every moment of it.

“Permed” hair prevented me from doing many normal things like swimming at the pool or running around in the rain because any type of moisture outside of weekly washings were death to my straight “beautiful” hair. Even more time and money were spent at the salon. Deep condition every 2 weeks and a “perm” every 8 weeks. This made hair prep a long and tedious process.

Then I turned 16 years old and that’s when the breakthrough took place. I decided that it was a complete waste of time, energy, and money to chemically straighten your hair. I didn’t like sitting in a stylist’s chair for half the day inhaling harmful chemicals that were being applied to my hair and I certainly didn’t like the association “permed” hair had with “sophistication” or “professional” all synonyms for “all right white” and “stand back black”.

It hit me that it was all self-hatred amongst blacks in the United States. Chemical strengtheners were not the way out to an easier morning routine just as how affirmative action was not a good solution to equality. Words like “nappy” and “kinky” all seemed too negative to me. It saddened me that every time I went to the hair care aisle at Wal-Mart all I saw geared toward African-American hair were “Perms” and artificial hair moisturizers that claimed they helped your hair when they really just weakened it further. The products on the shelves only reinforced the idea that in order to be beautiful I had to look as European as possible and it broke my heart.

So like any other girl trying to find out who she was back in high school, I did something drastic. I grew out my “perm” and started sporting an Afro. At first it was more of a political statement, sort of my way of fighting the power. Slowly my perception of my hair changed however, to the point where now I just see it as something that covers my head and keeps me warm during the winter.

I decided to cut my hair like a boy for many reasons. One is that I was tired of hearing the complaints of my family who hated that I rarely combed my hair (yes I am lazy in that department). Second, I realized that a ‘fro wasn’t necessarily a mature look and cutting it all was a gutsy move on my part. Finally, I figure it was time for some change in my life seeing that I just got my own apartment and am now a full-fledged adult not depending on my parents for money.

So if you would excuse me. I have to start knitting a ton of hats for the winter for my now hairless head.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Krazy Kelly

When I was a kid growing up, I would always hate when the teacher of any class would force the kids to find a adjective that starts with the same letter as their first name and explain why they think that word describes them the best. Lucky Lisa, Clever Carla, and Marvelous Melissa were all great options. Then there was me. Kelly. The letter "K". No amount of Sesame Street could help me find a good word to describe who I was at the time. So it was Krazy Kelly for me and I hated it.

Now don't get me wrong. I was and still am crazy. My whole life I've always seemed to go to my own drumbeat. However after a few years of saying the same thing to sometimes the same teacher, Krazy Kelly just wasn't cutting it anymore.

I learned how to knit about two years ago from a co-worker at a call center I used to work at. The job was rather mundane. Some days, we would get on average close to 2 calls per hour (which is not a lot for a call center). Sundays were the busiest because that's when we got the most calls. Either way I was happy because I had a paycheck and ample time to do my homework when it was down time. However, at the time I learned how to knit it was July and school was out. With no homework and nothing to do, I bought a cross stitch (because I absolutely love that thing) and started working on that at work to fill up time between calls. Then one day I saw my co-worker knitting away at a black scarf. I was instantly intrigued by her craft and how her finger manipulated the yarn and needles to make her creation. Up to that point, I wouldn’t have said I was a crafty girl. I've sewn a couple pillows in my life, did some cross-stitch and embroidery and did all the usual crafty things that children do with crayons and watercolors. Knitting was something completely new to me. So I did like any other Krazy Kelly out there would do. I went up and asked her to teach me right then and there.

I took a couple lessons for me to be able to practice at home. Unfortunately I just wasn't getting it. Knitting was easy; it was purling that was frustrating. I made ugly swatch after ugly swatch of garter stitch and tried to include some purls in there but it just wasn't working.

Fast forward to September 2004. I was in New Jersey visiting a friend at her house and I woke up one morning to find Debbie Stoller's Stitch & Bitch book in her room. I opened it up and read the whole book (including the introduction) that day. When I asked her why she had it she told me that she started knitting and her mom got her the book. My friend then walked me through knitting again, then we went to Wal-Mart, got some cheap acrylic yarn and I started at my very first scarf. It was some ugly maroon color with a thick tweedy green yarn that my friend let me borrow from her. The colors were too manly for me so I gave the scarf to my boyfriend at the time.

Two years later I haven't put my needles down. Some still call me Krazy Kelly because of my obsession with yarn, knitting and anything involving it. However, now I have a new word to describe me. Knitting Kelly. It's not quite an adjective but it does describe who I am. Take that Smart Sean and Thoughtful Theresa.