19 November 2007

Vermont Sweater

So, I finally got a job. In a church. This is what I've been working toward for the last two -- no, five -- no, seven years. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

The last several months have been a whirlwind. Yeah, I got married. I've also been searching for a job (a "call" in church jargon). At the same time as planning a wedding. Oy!

So let me tell you the story of the Vermont Sweater.

In June, my denomination had its giant bi-annual nationwide meeting. I went, knowing that my Enormous Application Dossier would be available for nationwide distribution in the following week or so, intent on Networking. I emailed Regional People-In-Charge in the states I most wanted to focus on, asking for meetings. Let's talk about opportunities in your state, blah blah blah.

I had six "meetings" and met a ton of new people, which made me feel like the $300 I'd spent traveling was worth it. I worked HARD that weekend: one night, I woke up my roommate by sitting up in bed and saying "Hi! I'm HolyKnitter. It's so nice to meet you!"

I am not kidding. I was sleep-networking.

That was the weekend that I left my Secret Knitting (the Clementine Shawl) at my sister's house in Boston. I flew to Boston to stay with her, then took the bus to Hartford the next morning. I discovered that I'd left my knitting when I got on the bus, all ready to settle in to a couple of hours of uninterrupted sitting time. Luckily, my sis had given me her copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off, so I wasn't completely out of knitting luck.

Fortunately, my first destination that weekend was a church in West Hartford, where I spent a day in a workshop with other clergy under the age of 40. Fortunately, I'm a good Yarn Tourist, and had already done my research... when we broke into interest groups ("Single Clergy," "Clergy in Small Towns," etc.), I organized the knitters to go around the corner to Sit 'N Knit. The original plan involved meeting up with other group members in the local pub (the "Clergy Who Like Beer" group), but had such a great time chatting with the women in the store that we lost all track of time and completely blew off our new friends. I guess that makes us the Clergy who Like Yarn More Than Beer.

Anyway, if you ever find yourself in West Hartford, go there. Because those women almost convinced me that I wanted to move to Connecticut.

Almost. I did meet with The Guy From Connecticut the next day. He almost convinced me, too. Almost.

Anyway, I left my knitting at my sister's house. And I was at a conference. Conference = LOTS of time to knit while listening to someone talk (talking heads included Bill Moyers and Barack Obama. Spectacular.) So I had to buy enough yarn for a sweater, just in case.

The yarn I bought was a Green Mountain Spinnery misty-forest-green worsted. Eight skeins. I cast on for Stefanie Japel's Cozy V-Neck Pullover that day. After three days of Conferencing, I had just about the entire body done. Yeah.

And the arms took another, um, four months or so. But then again, I was working on my Secret Knitting and getting married and looking for jobs.

(Also on the Yarn Tourism front, my hotel that weekend was at the same highway exit as Creative Fibers. I skipped church on Sunday morning to walk -- yes, WALK -- under the sidewalk-less overpass, breakfasted at Dunkin Donuts, and then continued down and across the road to Creative Fibers, which was closed. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the nose-shaped grease marks on the windows. Looks like a great store, just don't go on Sunday mornings, because they're not open.)

BUT! After my failed attempt at Yarn Tourism, I went back to my hotel, showered, changed, and met with The Woman From Vermont. And we lunched for an hour and a half. At the end of our conversation, she mentioned a little church just outside of Burlington, VT. "I know you're looking for a full-time job, and this is only three-quarters, but I think you'd be a really good fit for this church. They have a shawl-knitting ministry, even. I'll send you their information so you can give it some thought."

And give it some thought I did.

Y'all, I must have interviewed with ten or twelve churches. I must have read up on and NOT applied for ten. I must have gotten "thanks but no thanks" letters from twenty more. I know I turned down at least three who placed beautiful offers at my feet and tried to beat down my door. None of them felt right.

This little church just outside of Burlington did. And, thankfully, they felt as enthusiastic about me as I do about them. I'm moving in two weeks! We've already bought a house, now we just have to sell the one down here.

Throughout this whole process, I was working on my green sweater. From the Conference, through a couple of plane rides between home and Atlanta for wedding stuff (I must admit, it was nice to have a big "public" project to work on that wasn't the Secret Knitting -- my husband had NO idea I was working on something else), the car ride up and back, and then a trip up to Vermont to interview at this wonderful little church that liked me enough to fly me and my husband up there for the weekend.

The search committee knew that I'm a knitter. And they were trying to sell me on their town. So they took me to Kaliedoscope Yarns. These people are no fools.

I showed the green sweater to the search committee, and they were thoroughly impressed. I finished sewing up the second sleeve of the sweater as we drove away from Burlington (flew out of Boston, got to visit my sister too!), and decided that this is the Vermont Sweater. The yarn came from Vermont in the first place, and every stitch brought me through the job search process to the other side: Burlington! I still haven't blocked it, but that didn't stop me from wearing it to snuggle with my new nephew that weekend.

Meet Nando. That's short for Ferdinando. Silly name aside, he is the most adorable bulldog puppy I have seen since I was a little kid and our dog had puppies. Wow, he's a great dog.

Anyway, at Olivia's request, I'll be posting updates on our new house here, as well. We bought a fixer-upper in a historic district in Burlington (two blocks from Downtown!), and it needs a lot of work, because nothing's been done to this place for 40 years, and it's been sitting empty for at least three. Since it is a 1910-built house in a historic district, we're eligible for lots of historic preservation grants from the city. It's an exciting adventure, but it means I probably will have fewer knitting and more lead-paint-removal updates for a while. I'll try to keep up with both, but I will be a little internet-restricted for a while since neither my house nor my church has internet access, so we'll see about that. I foresee lots of coffee shop time in my future. Good thing I will be able to walk to, like, five of them from my new house!

09 October 2007

Now on Ravelry!

I finally got my Ravelry invitation. So now it's time to step up my game.

Yeah, 'cause I've got so much time for that!

Traveling for a job interview this weekend. If I get the job, if I accept the job, I'll be quitting my job, and moving, and helping my husband sell the house (long distance), and finding a new place to live, and learning a whole new community of people, and learning a whole new job... sounds like a perfect time to photograph the entirety of my stash and every single project I've ever done and uncover all my hidden WIPs that are lurking God knows where.

07 October 2007

Wooly Eye Candy (and a bad pun)

I really shouldn't be posting right now. I should be going to bed. I have a long and busy week ahead of me, with a job interview trip at the end of it. But I figure just oooone short and picture-y post won't hurt. Please enjoy this ewe candy, I mean, eye candy, from this year's Iowa State Fair.

<--- This sheep was seriously complaining about being shorn! No stomping or anything, just very vocal in his dislike for the situation!

---> This sheep was much quieter. And look! This kid is learning how to card the wool his dad is harvesting. Dad was also trying to give a shearing lesson, but the kid wasn't nearly as interested in Dad's instructions as he was in the carding.

Also: BABY SHEEP! This one was about two days old, if I recall correctly, and still very wobbly. So. Cute.

27 September 2007

What's up, Shorty? also, Books! Now with Pictures!

So, a year ago back in June, a church member (awesome woman with tons of connections to my hometown) had a baby. This past June, Baby Ben had his first birthday. And because this kid is so awesome -- and his mom is so awesome -- I decided that I couldn't just show up at his birthday party with a card, watch him get cake all over his face, and then leave. No, I needed to knit this kid something as awesome as he is.

Like Baby Cargo Pants!

I used some olive green superwash wool I had lying around -- not enough for something adult-sized, but far too much to justify making just a hat and mittens -- and stitched this baby up in about a week. Complete with front lawn bake sale for the neighborhood festival. I even sent out my husband to buy buttons for the pockets and elastic for the waist. Twice. (He did great with the buttons; those he only had to buy once.) I stitched up adorable little pockets and sewed them on, buttons and all. I stitched up the waistband and threaded the elastic through it. And then I never sewed up that last inch in the back. And never gave it to my church member.

Which is fine, because I haven't seen her since June. She hasn't been to church.

And really? These pants are still way too big for the kid.

And what with the wool, and the June birthday... I've still got time to put the finishing touches on, right? Right?

(The yarn is Laines du Nord Giunco. That's a worsted weight 100% superwash merino. Color #600. I think I did the medium-big size. I think I used 4 balls. Helpful and informative, huh?)

There are no pictures of the kid wearing the pants, because he doesn't have them. But around the same time, I did some bargain-buster Amazon.com shopping, so I'm showing a picture of that happiness instead.

Bart Ehrman's The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot: A new look at betrayer and betrayed. Good stuff, I'm reading it right now.
Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark's Knit 2 Together
Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits (I'm working on a project from this right now, look for a future post complete with pictures and story!)
Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies

22 September 2007

The Woman with A Plan! or, The Long Story of The Past Four Months

It's been one heck of a summer -- as evidenced by the, um, ONE post I wrote in a four month period. Summer brought a lot of work, a lot of wedding planning, a lot of travel, and a lot of knitting, though never as much as I would like, of course. And NO screaming autistic children. It was beautiful.

In light of the no-posting-for-four-months situation, I have decided to be a good blogger and actually come up with a PLAN for catching up on my blogging. One that will fill you in on all the HolyKnittery without overwhelming me. This plan does eventually involve pictures. But it seems like every time I sit down to blog, my husband is not home -- and since he is the person with the little picture-saving card in his phone, it does me no good to attempt to blog while he is away, because he takes his phone with him. Sigh. One of these days I'll get it figured out.

Meanwhile, here's what I did this summer. I'm putting the probably-not-so-brief overview here, and then subsequent posts will flesh out the details with good stories, actual pictures, and maybe the occasional link or yarn store review or theological music and what-have-you.

First of all, summer brought lots of travel. I need to go all the way back to April for the explanation stuff. That super-important meeting I mentioned having to go to? The one I was kind of nervous about? The one that's sort of like a dissertation defense, except people can ask you questions that are completely unrelated to anything (like, really personal stuff)? Yeah, passed it with flying colors. The people who showed up (anyone in the geographical region can come) grilled me for an hour and a half (a really long time for this kind of thing), then sent me out of the room to talk about me and vote. According to the moderator, that part went something like this:

Moderator: Let's open this up for discussion. Does anyone have anything they'd like to say about HolyKnitter's paper or answers today?
Gathering: [insert crickets chirping]
Moderator: No one stepping forward, do we have a motion to vote, and a second?
Somebody: So moved.
Somebody Else: Second.
Moderator: All those in favor of approving HolyKnitter to circulate her Profile, please say Aye.
Gathering: AYE!
Moderator: All those opposed?
Gathering: [insert crickets chirping]
Moderator: Well, then, [Committee Chair], please go get HolyKnitter and her family.
[I enter the room]
Gathering: [insert standing ovation]

Suffice it to say, I didn't know what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting that!

I took me about a month or so to get my Profile (which is kind of like a cross between a CV and an FBI dossier, complete with background check to make sure I'm not going to embezzle the church funds or anything) ready to send out, and then another month or so for the Central Office to get their side of things together and actually send it out. It went out in July, and I've gotten a great response, which has been HUGE for my confidence level. I've already turned down two pseudo-offers, and a church I really like is flying me and my husband up sometime next month. (Olivia, this is NOT public knowledge at Dad's!)

Job search? Successfully launched. Which means now we're getting our house ready to sell, which is a lot of work. But we have no major structural problems or anything like that, it's just a lot of decluttering and painting.

But I digress. Back to summer travel.

June was huge. My husband is a mild-mannered English teacher by day, but by night he's an Improv Comedy Rock God -- he makes the music and sound effects for a local improv theater, and he's one of the few people in the world who can do what he does and do it well. He is in High Demand because he is So Talented, and he was invited to spend two weeks in Edmonton, Alberta playing most of the shows for a big improv festival there. Just a few days before he came back, I flew to Boston to visit my sister and her hubby, and then went to Hartford, CT, for my denomination's big bi-annual national meeting. It was huge, because this year was also our 50th anniversary. There were nearly 10,000 people there. I went to do some networking for the job search. It's awfully hard to network in a room of 10,000, but I managed to meet almost everybody I'd hoped to meet, and some very good things came out of those meetings. Definitely a worthwhile trip, both professionally and personally. On top of that, I did some quality knitting and engaged in some enjoyable yarn tourism, which I will include in a later post.

When I returned home from that trip, I had a two-day laundry turnaround. Then my husband and I hopped on another plane and went to my parents' house for ten days (ten days! It's been at least five years since I've been able to spend more than a weekend with them. It was wonderful.) to do a bunch of wedding planning, have some Fourth of July fun, and go to a friend's wedding in Northern Iowa. We accomplished everything we set out to do and more, and went back home.

The next day, my sister arrived in Atlanta. The day after that, my two best friends who don't live in Atlanta flew in -- and five of us went up to a rented cabin in the North Georgia Mountains for a weekend of serious bacheloretting, which includes wine:

...and pie:

We also accidentally found North Carolina, but those pictures are still trapped in my phone.

After that weekend, I had one delicious weekend of not going anywhere or doing anything (much). The next weekend, we hopped in the car and DROVE to my parents' house 1000 miles away. *I* love the drive. My husband didn't like it so much, but he'll learn. And the insane number of things that went wrong with my car (we spent the vast majority of the drive with our accelerator holding together with only the power of prayer and florist wire) made the drive a little more nerve racking than it otherwise would have been. But again, it was a productive (and necessary) trip. We took up a whole bunch of vases and things we needed for the wedding, and we left my car at my parents' house so we could drive it back to Atlanta loaded with presents. And boy was it loaded with presents!

We flew back to Atlanta for a week and a half of work and one-car life (which is HARD in Atlanta, especially when you live in the 'burbs), and then flew back up north for the wedding and the State Fair. And then drove back down to Atlanta and went back to work on Wednesday.

And now here I am. Married. Looking for jobs. Trying to sell the house. And blogging. I fully intend to blog more (remember: I have a PLAN! This plan involves something like five more posts already somewhat outlined and photofied), but I also fully intend to get a job, sell the house, and move somewhere. And, y'know, if those things get in the way of the blogging, then so be it.

One last thing: I did see the Yarn Harlot in Atlanta this week. That gets its own entry, because I now have my very own Yarn Harlot Story. But I just wanted to say that I greatly enjoyed meeting Aimee from Charlotte and I'm flattered by her knitter crush on me, and I think you should all support her in her efforts to raise money for the Lupus Walk! Go, Aimee, go! Woooo!

30 August 2007

Will Return Soon

So, hopefully, sometime soon I will bother to get all those pictures off of my phone. Meanwhile, enjoy this one, which my friend Christy took of me in the final moments of my theoretically-single life.

So maybe you can understand why I haven't been writing much lately? I do intend to write some letters to some folks sometime.

Yes, I made the shawl -- it's the Clementine Shawl from the Spring 2007 IK. (It's the "secret knitting" from below.) I think this may be the only picture we got of me wearing it. The Bride's Room was freezing cold! Everywhere else, I was insanely warm -- you can't see how giant the skirt of the dress is, but it's got forty thousand layers of crinolines, and every single one of them traps heat!

16 June 2007


Well, I haven't yet figured out how to get the pictures from my phone onto my computer, and I've got a loooong to-do list to finish up before I go out of town on Wednesday, so it's not likely to happen before I leave. But I did figure out how to change some colors and stuff, to make this blog a bit prettier (and a bit more "me"). So, enjoy!

Rest assured, I'm working hard to find a good sweater pattern to work while I'm at my denomination's Big Meeting in Connecticut. And I will take WIP pictures of whatever pattern I choose. Maybe you'll even get to see them someday.

Until then, please enjoy this picture I found on my harddrive, from the 2005 Iowa State Fair. No, I have no idea who those people are. (Hi, People! I hope you don't mind being posted on my blog!)

11 June 2007

Slowly improving

My one-year Blogiversary has come and gone completely unnoticed. My poor, poor, neglected blog!

The good news is twofold, however.
1. I got a new (free!) phone. It has a built-in camera. I've already started taking WIP pictures and other knitting-related pix, and as soon as I can figure out how to get them from phone to computer, I will post them here.
2. I've been knitting! Actually knitting! I just finished the most adorable pair of baby pants for a church friend's newly-one-year-old boy. I did them in an olive green superwash wool. They're wayyyyy too big for him still, but it doesn't even matter. The pants are adorable, Baby Ben is adorable, and it will all work out in the end.

Also, the new Knitty is up. It's about dang time!

My technology guru (read: fiance) is going out of town tomorrow, and then I will also be going out of town late next week. I may or may not be able to figure out how to post the pictures on my own. If I can, I will do it before I begin my travels. If not, you're going to have to wait until I come back and I will make Joel do it. That's what technology gurus are for, isn't it?

17 April 2007

On Tragedy and Hope

Oh, don't you wish you could knit the world back together?

I'm so sad for the community at Virginia Tech. And I'm also sad for my own undergrad's personal tragedy that came to a head yesterday, when someone found the body of a student who'd been missing since last September. So much sadness in our world this week.

But I also have a great deal of hope today. Tomorrow I travel home to spend a weekend with my parents, doing some wedding planning and some secret knitting. More important than all that, though, is a super-important meeting on Sunday afternoon: a meeting that decides the fate of my career in ministry, I suppose, as my Association decides whether or not to approve me to apply for jobs. If you're the praying type, please send up a good word for me. If you're not, then please cross your fingers. And either way, knit me some good Spirit and eloquent speech on Sunday afternoon.

Thank you.

14 April 2007

From Drought to Surplus

I really need to get a digital camera.

I've been doing some good knitting lately, and (mostly) I've been not buying yarn, trying to save money for the wedding. It's only four months away, after all. The one exception has been that my second-favorite yarn store is closing this month, and I did pop in to take advantage of the please-take-away-this-yarn sale. And I bought an umbrella swift (my very own!), because, well, it's a swift and it was on major sale, and I am not a fool. And I did set it up and wind one ball of wool today, and it officially works and everything. It's a wooden swift, and I have no idea who made it, because there were no identifying features but the price tag.

So now I'm looking for a good sweater pattern for a lovely hand-died variegated heavy-worsted wool. It's Naturwolle by Ingeborg Michels, in the Steppe color, which is a lovely rust and sage and creme and mustard combo. I was thinking the Lace Leaf Pullover from Loop-d-Loop, but I think that requries a chunkier yarn than this is. I have yet to do a gauge swatch, though, so I could be wrong.

It's funny, a few months ago I went through quite an inspiration drought. Now, however, I'm full of knitting ideas -- so many that it's almost paralyzing. And my right wrist has been hurting lately, in a repetitive-motion-injury kind of way. Not cool. Plus, I'm super-busy right now (wedding planning, lots more travelling than usual, and the job hunt is finally picking up), so I don't have the time to go somewhere and pore over books until I find the perfect pattern for this yarn. But oh! I'm itching to do a sweater now. Now that it's spring, and there's no need for one anymore.

I am quite excited about a quick project I've been working on, though. I've designed my own fingerless-gloves-with-mitten flap, and I'm almost done with the second hand. I'm using Malabrigo, the lovely dark blue color (that's my color, you know), but the finger-stubs are a lovely mustardy yellow-orange. If I had a digital camera, I'd post a picture. But I don't. Maybe someday. Would it be considered uncouth to register for one? I'm sure Macy's has a lovely selection.

20 March 2007

Woods, Women, and Hot Tubs

I just spent a fabulous weekend of renewal and reconnecting in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, with ten of my seminary girlfriends. And yes, I finished the Clapotis. It's gooooorgeous. I only wish we'd gotten a picture of it. We didn't.

But we did get a picture of this, my new secret knitting.

I'm not talking about it, in case Joel checks my blog.

In related news, we're getting married in August. Yes, that's this August.

My girlfriend also took a picture of this:

My bridesmaid Cindy, proudly wearing a hat I knitted for her two years ago when we graduated. It's particularly well-preserved because Cindy lives in Houston and has little need for a super-chunky 100% wool hat. But gosh it's cute! Please disregard the beer. And please note that I did not knit the scarf, but it was lovingly made for Cindy by our seminary friend John (who is a preacherman and a husband and a daddy and a knitter, all at the same time). She was really excited to be in the general proximity of weather that required, well, any kind of warm-making clothing at all.

18 February 2007

Back in the Saddle

So, remember that knitting lull I'd been in back in, oh, September or whatever? Well, it kind of lasted... and lasted... and lasted... until I started to wonder if I was ever going to knit something that truly excited me ever again. I kept knitting, but much of it was half-hearted. I did knit some gloves for Joel and a scarf for his mom for Christmas, but that was pretty much it. (I never did fix the botched beret, nor have I finished the seams of the Sunrise Circle Jacket I made last summer.) I kept looking through my books, looking through my magazines. The Winter 2006 Interweave Knits didn't do anything to help. The Winter 2006 Knitty didn't do anything to help. The three books I bought at Christmas (hooray for gift cards!) didn't do anything to help (except to point out that I've been buying the wrong yarn for what I really wanted to knit, and that I'm too poor to buy any more). Even the closing of the most awesome yarn store in Des Moines didn't help me much, because half of the yarn I bought over the phone is still in my parents' house, and I don't really remember what is there.

But! This week, a switch flipped. The Spring 2007 IK arrived in my mailbox this week. Suddenly, I'm sorting through my stash, figuring out what I've got that I can knit right now. I love, like, five of those patterns, and can't wait to start them. But I don't have any of the right yarn. Sooooo, I cast on for the Clapotis I've been meaning to make for a while but just haven't felt 100% thrilled about. But of course, now I do. I'm using a variegated olive-colored merino by Twisted Sisters, and my brand-new Lantern Moon size 8s, and I can't put it down. Thrilled!

Then I went to two different yarn stores yesterday and spent about $140 -- mostly on yarn, but I also bought LaceStyle, which I have been awaiting eagerly for months. (And the women at the LYS said they think I'm the first customer to buy it. An honorable distinction, surely.) Funny enough, I only bought yarn for one of the projects in my new IK -- the Clementine Shawlette. The rest was just random "oooh, I want that" yarn, or stuff for the Labyrinth Rug, which I started six months ago and put down because I was bored (19 and 3/4 yards of the same 22 stitches is a lot of very monotonous knitting). And with the new yarn for the rug comes a new desire for those monotonous 22 stitches.

So, now I'm knitting like a madwoman on my very first Clapotis, ready to jump back into the Labyrinth Rug, and plotting and planning for the Clementine Shawlette and several other projects as well. Oh, and this morning I designed a swing jacket while listening to the sermon, and I've got the yarn all picked out for that, too, I just have to go buy it. Wait wait wait wait. I only have so many hands!

It's good to be back.

17 January 2007

Here's looking at you, kid

So, Joel's cat has finally taken to me. I moved in a year ago, and I am so incredibly pleased that Doc-the-kitty has started voluntarily climbing into my lap to sleep and purr and be petted.

Doc is a great cat. Smart, funny, still running and jumping and playing like a kitten, even though he's an old man of nine years old, and beginning to go gray, like one of those silverback gorillas, except he's a silver-cravat kitty. He's got the mellowness of middle/old age, observant and critical, yet detached and cool. He rarely takes an interest in my knitting. I think he's batted at a moving ball of yarn maybe twice, and only because the yarn was already sitting next to him. He would never, say, cross a room to interfere with my knitting. Or bother yarn that is just sitting there not moving or attached to anything.

So I'm sure you can imagine my surprise (and not delight) to come home from work on Monday and discover a lovely ball of Knit One Crochet Too's Douceur et Soie on the floor, severed by little kitty-teeth from the swatch I was knitting. Sigh. That's a $30-a-ball cashmere and silk blend. I have no idea how much he ate. It could have been nothing, it could have been several yards.

I guess it's nice to know that our cat has good taste.

03 January 2007

Sunflower Tam in Action

Our friends Christy and Doug hosted a Scottish Night last week... any excuse to dress like a fool and speak with a brogue! If I can get this photosharing thing to work, you'll be able to see the Sunflower Tam being put to good use. If not, you'll probably just see a bunch of html mumbo-jumbo.

Argyle Tights and a Tam

Hey, it worked! Sweet! My blog becomes a zillion times better, in the blink of a ctrl+v