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April 30, 2006

Call for Submissions: Yarn Life Magazine

I'm happy to announce the creation of Yarn Life, the new knitting and fiber arts lifestyle online magazine. We all know that there's more to this knitting thing than just patterns and technical tips. It's a lifestyle. Yarn Life will focus on fiber news and reviews, essays and articles and even some fiction, and plenty of fun stuff like quizzes, contests, and puzzles. (And, yes, a pattern or two.) Yarn Life will appear quarterly, with the first issue premiering on September 1. The theme of the first issue is "Fall is for Fiber." Each and every article doesn't have to be related to the theme, but please keep it in mind. Submissions for this issue are due on July 16, but please let me know what you're working on as soon as possible, so I don't panic that no one wants to submit anything. And anything below is subject to change before we actually debut, based on how things develop.

Note: Yarn Life is and will always be free to readers. (We need that money to spend on fiber, after all.) As a result, we can't pay contributors, at least for now. I hope you'll consider contributing anyway. We will, of course, give you a byline, biographical blurb, and link to your blog or site. As we grow, we'll consider accepting relevant, discreet advertising as a way to pay for site hosting and upkeep and compensate our writers.


One of the main things we need is a bunch of regular columnists. This is a commitment. You'll be expected to submit a column for each issue so as not to disappoint your devoted readers. (Exceptions, of course, will be made in cases of family emergencies or other major life issues.) I'm looking for people to write the following columns:

Knitting Astrology - I'm thinking traditional Zodiac stuff, but if you have something else interesting you do, let me know.
Living with Animals - someone who raises something fibery. Sheep, alpacas, bunnies, whatever.
Tales from the Yarn Store - written by a yarn store owner
_____ Life - the magazine will be fairly knitting-centric, so I'd like to have a few columns on other fiber arts. Crochet Life, Spinning Life, Weaving Life...
Life with a Knitter - yes, this one will be by a NON-knitter! I'm looking for a spouse/partner/significant other of an obsessed knitter to write about his or her experiences.
Advice Column

And I'm certainly open to other ideas if you have them. If you're interested in a columnist position, please send me a writing sample (or link to your blog) and the column topic in which you are interested.

Reader Submissions

The following sections will be open to reader submissions, but obviously we need some content for the first issue, so I thought I'd give you the list:

Letters to the Editor
Questions for the Advice Column
Wild Yarns - crazy fiber stories, about a paragraph long. Check out Cosmo's Confessions section for an idea of what I mean.
Knitting with Friends - pictures and short profile of local knitting groups
My First... - a reader writes about his/her first socks, sweater, cables, fleece, design, whatever.
Photography Contest - each issue, we'll announce the theme for the next issue. (It's "Fall is for Fiber" this time.) Send your best photographic representation of the theme. The winner will be featured on the cover, and as many other entries as possible will be incorporated into the issue.

Main Content

Articles and Personal Essays - the "meat" of the magazine. Topics are pretty open: let me know your idea and I'll tell you if I think it's something we can use.
Fiction - one fiber-related short story per issue
Reviews - books, patterns, Web sites and blogs, yarn, needles, shops, whatever. Send them along.
Patterns - yes, we will have a few patterns. At this point, I'm thinking that each issue will have a simple (but interesting) knitting pattern, a more complex knitting pattern, and one or two non-knitting patterns of some sort.


I need some help with the behind-the-scenes aspects as well. If you're interested in any of the following areas, let me know.

Sample knitting
Staff writers (for assigned reviews, news blurbs, and the like)
Editorial assistance

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, or if you're ready to submit an idea or a piece of writing, e-mail me at yarnlife@gmail.com. (Remember, July 16 is the deadline for this issue; earlier is, of course, better.) E-mails saying "Hey, I want to be involved but I'm not sure how yet. Just keep me updated." are welcome too. Please feel free to link to or forward this information to anyone you think may be interested.

Thanks for your time!
Katherine Welsh

Posted by Kat at 06:53 PM | Comments (8)

April 29, 2006


Apparently my subconscious was hard at work last night. Many nights I don't remember any of my dreams, but this morning I remembered not one but three, or at least three seemingly disparate elements. I suppose they could have all been part of one dream.

1. This one is the most vivid. I was visiting family in CT, and I went to visit my cousin's new salon. (This part is actually true. I mean, my cousin really has a new salon; I haven't seen it yet.) She had an opening and offered to cut my hair. I was slightly worried because I wanted it back in the now-grown-out style of my last haircut, but since it was so convenient - and the person who had cut my hair until I went to college - I decided to take the risk.

I think this part of the dream is telling me to make a hair appointment, already.

2. Carrots. I don't really remember this, but there was something about eating carrots. There must have been, because this morning I had the distinct memory of having eaten carrots very recently, but the bag of carrots in the fridge was still unopened.

3. This is the scary one. You might want to steel yourself. I guess you're already probably sitting down. But. A sock toe unraveling. Yeah, I know. Nightmare. Yes, I checked the sock I finished last night as well as the ones hanging on the clothes drying rack, and they all seem to be fine.

All the subconscious turmoil notwithstanding, I woke up this morning feeling rested and actually thinking productive thoughts about my paper, so I really shouldn't complain.

Posted by Kat at 11:30 AM | Comments (2)

Best headline ever

Vegetables Fight Global Warming!

Posted by Kat at 10:21 AM

April 28, 2006

Randoms, Better Late than Never

I know, it's not Wednesday. But enh. I'm in a random mood tonight, so let's go!

1. Thanks for the hand advice, everyone. I just finished the sock I'd picked up, so I'm back to Birch, but I promise I'll stop if it hurts.

2. I'm reading Getting Things Done and, you know, I usually don't go for these pop psych/business motivation crazes. But I'd been hearing about this for a few years, so I thought I'd see what the deal was. And wow, it actually seems pretty good. I haven't implemented his "system" yet or even read the whole book, but just incorporating some of his ideas is already making a difference. Hmm. I may give it a whirl.

3. That said, I really need to stop procrastinating on my final project for my class this semester. Bah.

4. Texas Ranch House is starting soon! I love historical reality shows. (Cate, shall I/we blog about this on the reality TV blog? Yes, that's what I was trying to remember to ask you the other day.)

5. Thanks to my new TiVo, I've been watching lots of History Channel and Discovery Channel "unsolved mysteries" sorts of stuff. Decoding the Past is my favorite, but I can't figure out why I'm so enamored of it. Weird. Also, I am unspeakably excited about the Roanoke episode of Digging for the Truth showing tomorrow.

6. One more TV note: someone at Canyon Cafe last Friday was uncertain as to the state of her Dr. Who recording. Of course, I can't remember who it was. Does anyone remember?

7. Ooh, I just noticed that Opus is now in my local paper, at least on Sundays. Yay!

8. And the Daily Kitten is back! Hurrah!

Posted by Kat at 08:56 PM | Comments (2)

April 26, 2006


Birch is on hold for the moment, because... my hand hurts. My right hand. I don't know why. I'm mostly blaming it on excessive mouse usage at work the past two days, but just to be safe, I decided to use different needles for a while. And you know what? Apparently I'm knitting a heck of a lot of stuff on fives and sixes at the moment. Huh. Who knew? So I pulled out my long-neglected Trekking sock. I have about two inches of the foot left, and then the toe. And I've been meaning to get back to socks, anyway, because apparently they will keep me sane:


Cate says so. I find Cate is usually right about these things.

And apparently my return to socks came none too soon, because, um, I picked the sock up and knit from the wrong needle. I just... skipped one. Big honking loop of yarn going around the inside of the sock. Oops.

Posted by Kat at 06:55 PM | Comments (4)

April 25, 2006

Need wool.

I just drove home on my lunch break to get knitting, because I somehow managed to forget it this morning, and the thought of sitting through a three-hour discussion about libraries and the homeless in class tonight without any yarn was making me a wee bit anxious. But now I have my Irish Hiking Scarf, so it will all be okay.

And in other news, I just got a raise! Whee!!

Posted by Kat at 02:26 PM | Comments (6)

April 24, 2006

Monday Happy Things

* Birch. Getting close to done.
* A Cold Stone opened near me!
* I feel like I actually had a fairly relaxing weekend for once.
* And I'm making progress on my final paper for the semester.
* TaB. Yum.
* I finally saw an episode of The Amazing Race. So cool!

I feel like I'm being a bad blogger recently. It seems to be going around. Not that I'm accusing others of being bad - I mean that others have said that they are feeling blog ennui. Spring fever? I don't know. Hmm. Anyway, I'm not going to stress about it too much. I'm not going anywhere. I just don't have tons to say at the moment.

Posted by Kat at 04:24 PM | Comments (5)

April 22, 2006

No, I said "boots."

One of many notable conversations from the blogger gathering after Steph's event in Grafton last night:

Cate, to group at large: Hi, I'm Cate, and I'll be your lesbian stereotype for the evening.
Kat: Speaking of which, FemiKnit Mafia wants a picture of my boots.
Cate: Your - boobs?
Kat: No, my boots.
Cate: Oh. That's better.

You know, I sort of felt like I should be offended or something, but really, she's right. My boots are totally better than my boobs. So, um, anyway. Boot pictures for FemiKnit Mafia, taken by Cate:


And the dramatic shot, complete with fountain:

(Click to make big.)
Posted by Kat at 10:51 AM | Comments (12)

April 21, 2006

Going to Grafton?

Anyone going to see Steph in Grafton tonight? I'll be the short one in the bright red patent leather boots, knitting Birch.

Posted by Kat at 12:33 PM | Comments (5)

April 20, 2006

Pretty please let me have enough yarn!

I've been working on Birch a lot in the past week or so, and I'm almost done with the second of three skeins of KidSilk Haze. And I'm suddenly absurdly afraid of running out of yarn. I mean, it's not totally absurd, because I have heard of people running out of yarn with this pattern. But I have no actual evidence that I'm about to run out. I haven't done any calculations or anything. My solution seems to be to knit as much as possible, as quickly as possible, because then at least I'll know. Right?

Posted by Kat at 06:05 PM | Comments (5)

April 19, 2006

Catch-Up Randoms

1. The weekend: After driving down to CT on Saturday morning, I headed to New Haven in the afternoon. I hung out with a college friend at a nifty chocolate cafe called Moka, and then parked my car in a garage and headed to meet Lauren at Yarn LLC. No need to get into detail, but we'll just say that I was not impressed with that store. Anyway, we then headed to the Masters Tea given by Annie Modesitt. Annie was really interesting and friendly and great, and I'm looking forward to reading her book.

But then Lauren walked me back to my car. Well, she tried. But the parking garage was closed. Apparently, this garage closes at 6 pm on Saturdays and isn't open at all on Sundays. It was 6:15, everything was locked up tight, and no one was to be found. I hadn't thought to check the hours when I parked, because I wasn't really aware that parking garages closed like that. Most of the ones I've used have not. So anyway, Lauren's very obliging FHBF drove me back to my parents' house. I ended up having to stay until Monday instead of Sunday - and therefore take a vacation day - and to add insult to injury, the laundry I had planned to do at my parents' house was locked in the car. I did manage to ransom the car out Monday morning, and of course had to pay for the privilege of parking there all weekend.

On Sunday, I helped my parents host brunch for 20 - hence the seven dozen eggs. Scrambled eggs, two kinds of French toast, quiche, cake... brunch foods take a lot of eggs. I got to meet two little cousins I'd never met, and it was a fun day all around. Except, of course, that I couldn't come home. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

2. Knitting! The Asymmetrical Cable Hat went very quickly and is almost done, but I've been mostly working on Birch. It's probably about half done by now, and feels like it's going quickly, for the moment at least. It'll probably get to the black hole stage at any moment now that I've said it was going quickly, of course.

3. And I finally managed to update the knitting WIPs list on the sidebar. The reading one too. Yeah, the reading is a bit out of control. Plus...

4. Library books! I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but I gave up library books for Lent. So I have had a wonderful time at both the school and public libraries this week, and now I have all this exciting stuff I want to read.

5. I'm watching some figure skating that Teddy TiVo found for me while I was gone over the weekend, and Sasha Cohen just skated to Celine Dion's version of "God Bless America," and they were all talking about how patriotic and yay-U.S. and everything it was. Um, people, Celine Dion is Canadian. Just saying.

Posted by Kat at 06:25 PM | Comments (9)

April 18, 2006

Oh, CNN...

Did you really have to use the word "TomKitten"?

Posted by Kat at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

Oh, hi!

I'm still here. I promise. It's been a crazy several days. I'll try for a full update, in random form, tomorrow. Just to give you a teaser, it involves Annie Modesitt, Lauren and her FHBF, a car trapped in a parking garage all weekend, and about seven dozen eggs.

So how was your Easter weekend?

Posted by Kat at 11:22 PM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2006

From March to April

Well, at least I finished one of the red scarves before Easter:

That's Dave's Scarf, in sort of wonky colors. The close-up:

After all my complaining at the beginning, I think I actually like the way it looks all done. Let's hope my brother likes it too.

Since I finished that, I moved on to April's Project Spectrum color: orange. The Asymmetrical Cable Hat from One Skein:

Well, that's the beginning of it, at least. It's going astonishingly quickly. As much as I generally prefer small needles, I must admit that it's kind of fun to see this hat appear so quickly on size 11s.

Posted by Kat at 07:59 PM | Comments (6)

April 11, 2006


Move along. Nothing to see here, other than some nonsensical ramblings. No knitting. No books. No movies. Just talking.

I'm writing this from my new cubicle. We're now in the company's main building rather than a small side building. I think I like it, but it's a big change and it will take some getting used to. I spent quite a while this morning fiddling with my monitor, keyboard, and mouse, trying to find a setup I liked. Nothing seemed right, but what I have now might work. I hope.

Also, I've been spending much of my (scant) free time at home playing with the TiVo, so my routine has been all messed up in that department as well. And I'd better stop doing that so much, because I now have it set to record more than I could possibly watch, just because I was having fun searching in various ways, etc. Ah well. I'm sure I'll figure out the "right" amount of stuff to record eventually.

Posted by Kat at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)

April 10, 2006

Wheee positive Monday!

I'm posting this from home at 4:22 on a beautiful Monday afternoon, so it's pretty positive right there. Despite having not much luck with the whole sleeping deal last night, there are all sorts of good things going on around here:

1. As mentioned, I'm home. This is because my department is being moved to a different building, so they sent us home at 3:45 so they could move our stuff.

1a. This move also means that I'll have a fresh new cubicle to start with tomorrow morning, so I can delude myself into thinking I'll be able to keep it all neat and uncluttered. It probably won't last, but a fresh start is always nice.

1b. This also means that we'll be closer to useful things like the cafeteria and the mail room. Wheee.

2. I'm watching the Colbert Report, because... I got a TiVo yesterday! I love it already. Such a cool toy. I think his name is Edmund.

3. Also, I'm eating Italian ice. Yum.

Posted by Kat at 04:45 PM | Comments (5)

April 09, 2006

I know, I'm a dork.

But seriously, people, isn't the Swissmemory Swiss Army Knife with USB Flash Drive just the best thing ever? My first Swiss Army Knife met an unfortunate end in an unreachable spot beneath the porch of my previous apartment, so I've been considering getting a new one anyway. Hmmm.

Posted by Kat at 11:35 AM | Comments (7)

April 08, 2006

Weekend Break

I really need some alone time. And I have a good, oh, dozen books that are demanding to be read RIGHT NOW. And a bunch of DVDs to watch, and oh yeah, the knitting. So I think I'm going to take the next 24 hours or so to relax and try to at least make a dent in the pile of books and movies and finish one of the scarves that's "due" next weekend. I'll let you know how it goes either tomorrow night or Monday, depending on how I'm feeling.

Oh, and I think I'm joining the ranks of the TiVoers. Any hints or tips or anything from the TiVo users in the audience?

Posted by Kat at 06:34 PM | Comments (3)

April 07, 2006

"I think Coke has jumped the shark."

That was my roommate's response when I showed him the four-pack of Coca-Cola Blak I brought home from the grocery store last night. For those who haven't heard about this, it's Coke with "coffee essence." It's also $6 for four 8oz. bottles, at least in my store. Expensive, but I can't imagine it'll last very long, and I realized that I just wouldn't be able to live myself if it went off the market and I'd never tried it. Plus, there was a coupon. I like coupons.

We just opened the first bottle at work this afternoon. My roommate doesn't like it and stands by his shark-jumping claim. My verdict, shared by a third friend who tried it, was "It's not as bad as I'd feared." It's odd-tasting, but not unpleasant, actually. I'll probably drink the others I bought, but I doubt I'll buy it again (except possibly to bring to a party as a novelty or something), at least at this price.

And on a related note, ever wonder how much of your favorite caffeinated drink it would take to kill you? Death by Caffeine solves this burning question!

Posted by Kat at 02:30 PM | Comments (4)

April 05, 2006

Late Random Wednesday

Well, not technically late, as it's still Wednesday. But later in the day than I'd planned. And I had a lovely random post with lots of pictures planned out for you, but now it's almost ten and I'm just eating dinner and I was determined to get to bed early. So I think we'll just go with a few randoms for now and try for the pictures tomorrow.

1. My coworkers were driving me crazy today. I don't know if it was me or them, but... argh. I actually got a lot done, though. I'm relatively okay with my job at the moment. It's a nice feeling.

2. On the knitting front, I have a sort of system worked out for the three projects I need to finish in the new few weeks. Dave's Scarf is a bit over 2/3 done; the Irish Hiking Scarf is about 1/4; Birch is a bit over 1/3. So the Irish Hiking Scarf gets carried around and the other two stay home, unless I know I'm going somewhere particularly knitting-friendly. Dave's Scarf is my by-the-computer knitting. And if I'm watching a movie or something and know I'll be knitting for a while, I work on Dave's Scarf for a bit and then switch to Birch. Let's hope this keeps them all moving right along.

3. May is not as far away as it sounds. Yes, that's when my paper's due. I'm comparing the Wilson Reading System with whole language methods, focusing on their use in library-based adult literacy programs. This is a new area for me, so if any of you have any knowledge/experience/opinions to share, by all means, speak up!

4. Speaking of May, I was looking at the calendar and oh my goodness! May 13-14 is NH Sheep & Wool, then the WEBS tent sale May 20-21, then Cummington May 27-28. I'm planning to be at all three, probably on the Sundays, although I might try to swing both days at NH, and I might be able to drive down Saturday night for either of the MA ones. Maybe. Depending on accomodations and such. So please please please, if you are going to any of these or planning meet-ups or dinners or anything, let me know!

Posted by Kat at 10:19 PM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2006

Green Tea Latte, Reincarnated

Remember how I was all sad that the coffee stand on campus stopped selling the green tea latte I had just discovered that I loved? Well, VERY shortly after that, I read on Starbucks Gossip that Starbucks was going to start making one. And it was set to premiere April 4! Today! So I stopped by on my way to class and got one, and yay! It's virtually identical to the late lamented one. (Of course, this has led to all sorts of wild speculation regarding the likelihood of Starbucks using the campus coffee stand as some sort of super-secret test market.)

This latte and the really, really good mocha I got at Starbucks on Sunday might just tip the balance to making it more often worth my while to go a bit out of my way to get to a Starbucks. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, there is no Starbucks really convenient to any of my regular commutes. (There are, however, 33 Dunkin' Donuts locations within 20 miles of my house, and I'm not sure whether that even counts those in supermarkets or gas stations.) But I spent a lovely interlude at one of the inconvenient ones this past Sunday morning, with a friend and a New York Times, and I think that will have to be repeated. Oh yeah, that's another reason I like Starbucks - the people working there don't laugh at me for spending $4.50 on a newspaper, because they're charging me almost as much for a cup of coffee. Sigh.

Updated to add: And, yes, I feel vaguely guilty about going to Starbucks, or Dunkin' Donuts, for that matter. I do try to patronize independent coffee places when possible, I promise.

Posted by Kat at 05:47 PM | Comments (4)

April 03, 2006

Monday, Monday

I'm having sort of a blah, sleepy Monday, but there are some more or less positive things going on...

1. My boss is out. Not that I'm happy he's sick or anything, but it certainly makes it easier to ease back into the work week.

2. Birch. I pulled it back out this weekend and it's moving right along. I've memorized the pattern by now, so it's fun and not-quite-mindless.

3. Um, something else? I swear I had a bunch of things I was going to mention. Oh, yeah: my department is going to move to the main building (we're currently in a side building) next week. Moving is annoying, but I think being over there will be better.

4. The new MagKnits is out! All the patterns are nifty, but I especially like Calla (although I'm not sure I could pull it off), Lucky K8, and Slinky Socks.

Oh, I give up. I know there were others but apparently I am braindead this afternoon. Never mind.

Posted by Kat at 04:17 PM | Comments (3)

April 02, 2006

March Reads

(Explanation of the ratings)

9. Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America by Michelle Kennedy
Genre: Memoir, sociology
Rating: 3.7
Comments: For some reason, I thought this was going to be more of a sociology thing, but it was basically just the author's story. Once I got past that misconception, though, it hooked me, because it's a fascinating story. The writing was a bit uneven and dragged in places, but I think it's definitely worth a read. A more theoretical section on how Kennedy's story fits into larger issues within society would have been interesting, but again, that wasn't really the point, so I can't complain.

10. Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Genre: Knitting
Rating: 5
Comments: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Even better than I expected. Steph has a great way of making scary concepts seem doable and fun; I had several "Oh, now that makes sense" moments along the way. And, of course, it's hilarious. I think this one, along with her others, will enter my "To Reread Frequently" category, and I will definitely be recommending it to anyone I teach to knit in the future. But it's not just for beginners: I've been knitting for several years and felt like I learned lots from it. Go. Read it. Now. (Even if you don't knit.)

11. Babysitters Club Graphic Novel #1: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Juvenile, graphic novel
Rating: 3.5
Comments: Babysitters Club. Graphic. Novels. Whoever came up with this idea is brilliant. Brilliant, I say. No, seriously, I realize that this is one of those things that appeals almost exclusively to people of my exact demographic and very few others. But wow, it's an exciting concept. It's decently executed: the dialogue is almost all straight from the book and the pictures are believable, although not of course quite the way I imagined things. And I was very happy to see that it hadn't been updated: the kids still play with G.I. Joe and Rainbow Brite (the first time around), not, oh, Pokemon and Bratz. Overall, well done, and I'll probably buy more in the series as they come out for the combined nostalgia/novelty factor.

Posted by Kat at 11:12 PM | Comments (2)

April 01, 2006

Hey, this blocking thing works!

I've been knitting for several years, but somehow, I'd gotten away with not blocking anything. I made mostly scarves and stuff, anyway. And on some level, I think I thought the whole blocking concept was an elaborate joke being played on me by all the other knitters in the universe. Or, um, something. Because really, you do what? Wet it? And pin it to something? How does that make sense?

But then I finished Branching Out, and it was lace, and everyone said that lace had to be blocked. So I figured, what the heck, I'd give it a try. I came home from work on Thursday and gave it a little bath and pinned it to the couch:

And look! It actually worked!

I believe you all now. I'm sorry I ever doubted you. (But I still think steeking must be a joke.)

Posted by Kat at 07:11 PM | Comments (7)

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