kristi and otis write on 07/17/2006 10:32pm
Looks great! I’m on bedrest for a couple days and am in search of new scenary – those sofas look like they could do the trick!

matt writes:
Good lord, woman! Get to the shop immediately before those animals smother you in your sleep for taking up so much of the bed… and I have dogs, so I know they will. Let us know what you need (e.g. assistance, water, to be left alone), and we’ll set you up a somewhat less crowded place to put your feet up. And by the way, that front sofa is a dream to stretch out on.

Susie writes on 07/17/2006 11:49pm
…You are an organizing genius…

Can’t wait to see it in person. We’re having a bi-state (at least I *think* it’s only bi…may actually be multi-state) meetup on the 24th. But you already knew that, didn’t you…

matt writes:
Why, thank you, but it really is trial and error. Fortunately, I’m able to visualize well enough that much of the trial can happen in my head before everything starts moving around in the shop. It makes it look like the first attempt is correct. In actuality, that’s just the first visible attempt. And to be truly fair, I have to admit that this last major move was actually the third attempt at the move that started before last fall. I got as far as I could on the prior two, and left it for "good enough" until I could figure out a better solution.

That said, I’m going to follow my own advice to numerous friends for equally numerous reasons and accept your compliment a bit more graciously. Thank you very much for your kind words. I do what I can.

As for the meetup, I had indeed heard a thing or two, and I’m absolutely delighted to have you guys here. Mondays tend to be a bit hectic, so if I’m not here when you get here, I’ll be in shortly.

Trish writes on 07/18/2006 11:19pm
Looks awesome, Matt! I am anxious to come see it in person….TOMORROW! My sister is finally here, and ready to spend the gift certificate I bought her back in March. We plan on doing some Yarntini swatching for you, and hanging out for a while. See you soon!

matt writes:
Hey, Trish!! It was great to see you today, and I’m flattered that you brought your sister by to meet us and see the shop. I’m sorry that we were in a meeting with a sales rep when you were in the shop, but I suspect you’ll be excited to know that (yeah, you’re not gonna believe this…) we bought some really fun yarn. Yeah, I know. Duh! But that’s my fun yarn buying excursion. It just tends to happen here at the shop. Another neat thing, I think, is that the woman we were meeting with is one of our customers from our days in Indiana! Small world. Ain’t it great?

Ok. ‘nuf of that. Now on with our regularly scheduled blog post.

Another day…

Of course, I’m always trying to make another dollar, but I’m also about to be a great uncle for the first time. I’ve got a book to write, as I’ve already mentioned, but my brilliant only niece (daughter of my only sister… or sibling, for that matter) thought it wise to tell me immediately upon learning that she was pregnant with her first child, a boy, that they were strongly considering Matthew as a middle name.

Here is something that you should probably know before I say what I’m about to say. This is a child who learned early on that if she wanted anything at all, she’d better be willing to sweat for it. She’s an incredibly hard worker, and I could not be more proud of her if she were the first female President of the United States.

That said, she’s having her first child a year and nine months (damn near to the day) after her wedding. Hmm… guess the anniversary trip went well, Jason. Good job. Though she was only twenty-one when she married, she’d been with her fiancé for quite a long engagement, and the two of them had been very thorough in planning when and how they’d marry along with what needed to be accomplished prior to their conjoining households. Very, very well planned, I thought, especially for such a young couple.

But to call your doting gay uncle who happens to own a yarn shop and tell him that you’re naming the first child of the generation after him? Tell me. Do you think that boy’s ever gonna want for knitwear? Yeah, me either.

So Carter’s on his way… at least I’m pretty sure we’ve settled on Carter for a first name (though the middle name is likely Jehosaphat, by now). And he’s due on August 15. Today is July 19.

Now, you know I’ve already started a baby gift. Here’s the problem. I’m me. I’ve got about a million and one things that I need to be knitting on including swatches for the book, and I’m knitting a baby playmat.

Baby Playmat from Rebecca Home 7.

Isn’t it gorgeous? Notice that business card tacked to the project? Guess what that means. That is the card that identifies this piece as part of a trunk show. Yeah. That’s not mine.

Click for larger view
My progress.

This one is mine. "But wait!," says you. "Where’s all the white?"

Aha, my attentive friend. It’s not there. All of the white is surface embellishment. This is the Baby Playmat from Rebecca Home 7. It’s knit in GGH Samoa in three pieces: one main central panel and two top and bottom panels that emulate the side borders in the central panel. Once all of the pieces are assembled, white GGH Bali is used to cross stitch the bandana design on the finished blanket. This first time I laid eyes on this piece, I thought how much like my dad’s bandana-style handkerchiefs it was. When I found out that Morgan was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to knit something for the baby, but he was due in August… in Georgia! What do you make for a late summer baby in Georgia that will actually get used? Then Rob asked Kirstin Meunch for a couple of Samoa models to display in the store. Huh… huh-huh-huh… Thanks, Kirstin. You’re a peach.

Seriously, I’m actually loving the knitting of it. I just wish I had time to enjoy it more often, and I’d like, for once, to actually have the piece completed before the baby’s here. *sigh*

My markers.

As for the knitting itself, it’s actually quite straightforward. First of all, it’s symmetrical with only the tiniest of exceptions; I’m not sure exactly why but the border is 3 stitches wider on one side than on the other. I’m hoping that I’ll run across the reason eventually, but if not, I’m not going to sweat it. Anyway, there’s a basic horizontal rib border of 8 and 11 stitches on the outer edge. Inside that, there’s a panel of a dozen stitches of stockinette flanked on either side by oppositely twisting 2×2 cables. The rest of the blanket is all seed stitch. That’s it. And I love seed stitch.

Simple disposable row marker.

I have some nice stitch markers that my friend Suann made for me (that we’re also selling at the shop, of course) to mark off the major sections, and I’m using a little trick I learned from Anne Bourgeois of Philosopher’s Wool to keep up with when to turn my cables. The cable is an eight row repeat, so I folded a length of yarn in half and tied eight knots in the folded yarn each approximately a centimeter further from the fold. I put this marker just a few stitches from the edge on the right side of my work. Each time I pass this marker, I move the needle from one section to the next. When I’m done with row 8, I just move back to row 1.

My latest toy.

I also have to sing to the ingenuity of the folks designing technology around us. There’s no secret that I’m a gadget-head, and several folks may know that a couple of years ago, I was dying to get a new laptop. I wound up paying someone fifty dollars for her old clunker machine that needed a new hard drive, then replaced the bad drive with a nice, snazzy new model that cost me more than the machine did. It was worth it, though, and I was getting considerable use out of that machine… until. Well, it’s a laptop. And it traveled a lot. To make a long story short, it… well, it died. So now I have files at the shop and files at home, and I don’t have the synching ability with each machine that I’d had with the laptop. I worried over that for about a month, and then one day, it hit me. I went looking for something I didn’t know existed and, sure enough, there it was. Apparently, when I wasn’t looking, they started making a hard case that fits over a laptop hard drive and gives you the ability to use that drive as an external drive via a basic USB connection. Now, I have all of the files from home and work on the portable hard drive and just back them up regularly to the stationary machines. So I can work anywhere, and I don’t even have to carry around a laptop! God, I’m glad I was born when I was.

Touch Me shawl from Knitter’s Stash.

Finally, I have to show off this one last piece. Again, it’s not mine. The designer, Lisa Daniels, lent us this piece because a customer of ours was interested in the pattern. It’s the very last pattern in Knitter’s Stash, and it’s a multi-colored chevron stole in Muench Touch Me. To touch this thing, you really should be wearing your adult diapers, folks. It’s GORGEOUS! The photograph here and the photograph in the book don’t come close to doing this piece justice. If it makes more sense to you, consider this: you’re looking at 30 balls of Touch Me. I stutter at the sight of it, and I see a lot of beautiful pieces. Congrats, Lisa. It’s a fantastic piece. And thank you very much for lending it to us.

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