Monday, July 31, 2006

The Tooth of Time

Well, it's hot here in Connecticut, and it is going to get hotter, apparently, which is really scary. Consequently, I hardly touched hooks or needles all weekend. I spent some time with my stash yesterday afternoon, and I thought about doing all kinds of projects, but when it came to actually doing anything I just couldn't find the energy. The one thing I did manage to do was make a couple of swatches using ww yarn and a size K afghan hook. This was another suggestion of Dee's last week, and I have to say that using the Tunisian double crochet stitch I got a really soft and drapey fabric. So this might solve my problem with crocheted scarves. Dee will also be glad to know that I finally spent the Joann's gift card which I won last month guest blogging for her! Fittingly, I spent the card on a complete set of afghan hooks so I can really practice my Tunisian stitches.

I also spent some time reading Sue Henry's The Tooth of Time for Whoduknit. What a great book! I have gotten very fed up with books, particularly mysteries, written in first person, but it really works in this book. The characters are very appealing, especially Stretch the dachsund. But the best part is that the book is set in Taos, New Mexico, and some of the action takes place at a real shop called Weaving Southwest. So you know that I had to visit their website, and it turns out that Sue Henry really didn't change much about the place for her book. The knitting yarns that Henry describes in the book are all for sale on the site. I don't know about you, but the Winterplum colorway has my name on it! It looks good enough to eat! The yarn is a little expensive, being hand dyed and all, but I am going to keep it in mind if I happen to get a little money for my birthday. Henry also mentions a pattern for a ruana by Cheryl Oberle in a book called Handpaint Country. My library doesn't own it, but I will have to see if my Interlibrary Loan people can track down a copy. If not, there are plenty of other possible projects to knit for this book. I can't wait to get started!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks

For the past couple of weeks, ever since I saw Lily Chin on Knitty Gritty, I have been mulling over something that she said on the show. She talked about equivalent sizes of knitting needles and crochet hooks, and she gave us a simple mnemonic device to remember - H=8. If you can remember that, then you can count up or down and figure out what size crochet hook is the same as your knitting needles and vice versa.

What amazes me about this is the difference in the size of the needles and hooks I use with the same weight yarn, and I think this says something about the difference in the two fiber arts. For example, I know that with worsted weight yarn and working in stockinette stitch, I will always get a gauge of 5 stitches to the inch on size 5 needles. This is a nice gauge for a lot of items, including hats and mittens. But if I translate that to a crochet hook, that would be a size E hook! I would never reach for an E hook with ww yarn. Now, I have been told in the past that I am a loose knitter (even though my dh says I shouldn't spread that around too much!), which is why I am using size 5 needles when most people would probably be using size 7. But that still only brings us up to a size G crochet hook, again too small for ww yarn, IMHO. On the other hand, I have taken to using a K crochet hook and ww yarn to make preemie blankets, because they come out so much softer than when I use an H hook. That translates to size 10.5 knitting needles, which I don't think I have ever used in my life. I have used size 11 or 13 needles to make fancy scarves or shawls made from Lion Brand Homespun. But it is fairly unusual for me to knit with such large needles, since I don't seem to be a fan of bulky weight yarn.

I think this has a real impact on my crocheting, and I am glad that I have started to think this through. Anyone reading this from the Connecticut Crochet group will know that I sent out an email this week in which I said that I am frequently unhappy with my crocheted scarves and did anyone have any stitch patterns they could share with me. Dee kindly wrote back and suggested that I am probably unhappy with the drape of the scarf and to try using a larger hook than I have used in the past. I am definitely going to try this suggestion, but I think that the reason I didn't figure it out for myself, like I did with the preemie blankets, is that I tend to think like a knitter and go for the smaller crochet hook. If I am going to knit a scarf, I will usually reach for a size 7 or 8 needle, liking a slightly larger gauge in a scarf. That puts us to an H crochet hook, which is what I usually use for a crocheted scarf. Now I think I will start with a K hook and go up from there if need be. I'll let you all know how this goes!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

New England Knitters

Sorry about the minimal posting this week. I spent my blogging time on Monday finishing up the scarf. Then on Tuesday, Blogger didn't want to upload my pictures, and the post would have been meaningless without them. Yesterday, I was finally able to publish Tuesday's post but then didn't have time to do a new post. And here it is Thursday already! This summer really is flying by!

I still haven't spent enough time with any of the books I want to write about to publish another book review. Hopefully this weekend I will have a little more time for reading. It occurred to me that I don't have any projects to try and finish this weekend. The tank top still needs 5" on the front before I start the decreases for the armholes, and I will try to work more on that now that some other projects are finished. My other goal for this weekend is to get some items for charity going. Between my crochet guild's September donation of preemie items and chemo hats to the hospital, and the December donation of hat, mitten & scarf sets to the Salvation Army, I have plenty of options to work on! It is going to be brutally hot in Connecticut for the foreseeable future, so I may concentrate on the smaller items and give up on preemie blankets for now.

Finally, I want to mention that I joined my first web ring yesterday! It is called "New England Knitters", and there is a link in my sidebar. I took some time to go through the list of other members and found a few other bloggers here in Connecticut. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out yet how to add a picture and link to the group through the picture, but with the help of a knowledgeable friend at work I am slowly making progress on that.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

No Second Sock Syndrome Around Here!

Well, I managed to accomplish what I wanted to get done this weekend, if we extend the "weekend" to include Monday! But since I worked all day on Saturday, I think that's fair.

First up, I have defeated second sock syndrome! I sat down last night and finished the second sock of my first ever pair. The second sock is slightly smaller than the first one, which concerned me at first, until I remembered that I measured one on each foot, and my feet are slightly different sizes. So both socks fit perfectly, and I can't wait for the cooler weather so I can wear them.

The second project I finished yesterday morning is one I haven't mentioned here. It was a gift for the woman who brought me the yarn from Russia, and since she occasionally visits the blog, I didn't want to risk spoiling the surprise. I used Koigu for the first time in the scarf, and may I say that I Love This Yarn! The pictures don't do justice to the beauty of the colors in the yarn. It is actually the most vibrant shades of blue I have ever seen. The yarn also has great drape and a lot of give to it. I really love the drop stitch pattern, too. I started and ended with 8 rows of garter stitch, and then did 6 rows of garter in between the two rows that create the drop stitch. This is the second scarf I have made with this stitch, and it really does make a beautiful scarf.

I also took a picture of the two edges, because I used crocheted cast on and bind off, and the two edges are the most identical I have ever seen. I really liked the crocheted bind off. It left a lot of give to the bind off edge, and it gave me a much straighter edge than I usually get.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Knitted Preemie/Baby Hat

(I added a picture to the crocheted hat pattern this morning and tweaked the instructions ever so slightly.) I know this is an unusual Saturday morning post, but I have to go to work today, so my morning is a little more normal than my Saturdays usually are. And I successfully created a baby hat pattern yesterday that I want to post about before I forget what I did! This hat is based on the twin rib stitch pattern. I have used the pattern for a scarf in the past, and I think it would also work very well as the basis for a preemie blanket, maybe with a crocheted border. Once the weather cools off a bit, I will try to work up a couple of preemie blanket patterns as well. In the meantime, here is the baby hat pattern (and again, I would ask that you use this for personal or charity projects only):

Twin Rib Baby Hat

  • Small amount of sport weight yarn (I used Bernat Softee Baby)
  • Size 4 needles
  • Gauge: 6 stitches=1" in pattern
  • CO 60 stitches
  • Row 1 - *K3, P3; repeat from * across row
  • Row 2 - *K1, P1; repeat from * across row
  • Repeat Rows 1 & 2 for 5.5", ending with a Row 2
  • Begin Decreasing: Row 1 - *K1, K2 tog, P3; repeat from * across row
  • Row 2 - K1, P1, *K4, P1; repeat from * across to last 3 stitches, K3
  • Row 3 - *K2, P1, P2 tog; repeat from * across row
  • Row 4 - *K1, P1; repeat from * across row
  • Row 5 - *K2 tog, P2; repeat from * across row
  • Row 6 - *K1, P1; repeat from * across row
  • Row 7 - *K1, P 2 tog; repeat from * across row
  • Rows 8 & 9 - *K2 tog, P2 tog; repeat from * across row
  • Break off yarn, leaving a long tail. Thread the tail through a yarn needle and pull the yarn tail through the remaining stitches, removing the knitting needle as you do so. Pull tightly to close up the circle at the top of the hat, then sew down the back seam and weave in ends.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Knitted Baby Hat Patterns

Well, I am still going back and forth on a knitted baby hat pattern. I have been looking around the Internet, and I have found some patterns to share with you, but nothing ribby enough to satisfy me. I have a pattern from the knitting guild I used to belong to, but it occurred to me that that pattern was designed by one of their members for the guild, and I'm not really free to share it with the world. So over the weekend, I am going to try to design my own to share with all of you next week (assuming I can work out the decreases).

Most of the patterns I found are done in stockinette stitch with a ribbed brim. Again, Bev's Country Cottage has any number of links to patterns. However, the following links offer patterns that are a little bit more involved: Easy Newborn Hat, Spiral Preemie Hat, and Tiny Knitted Preemie Hat. The last hat is based on short rows. All of the hats look to be adjustable, sizewise, but I haven't tried any of these patterns to know how they perform. There are also 2 patterns available on Lion Brand's site, although you have to register with them to get access to their patterns. (It might be worth it, though, because they have also started to offer a series of crocheted motifs that are quite cute.)

It turns out that I have a number of projects that are just about to be finished, so with any luck, I should have some FOs to share with you next week, in addition to the baby hat pattern. I also realized that I haven't written a book review in a while, and I have several books I want to talk about, so hopefully I will have some reviews for you next week as well. In the meantime, have a great weekend and stay cool/dry!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Crocheted Baby Hat Pattern

As promised, I have some baby hat patterns to share with you, if you are interested in making some hats for Save the Children. I thought I would start with a crocheted pattern, and I will probably save the knitted hat until tomorrow.

First let me say that this is not my original pattern. I found this pattern on the Internet a while ago and it is probably my favorite crocheted preemie hat pattern. It adapts easily to different sizes, and it produces a nice stretchy, ribby fabric. What I have done here is try to figure out a specific gauge with a specific yarn and rewrite the instructions slightly to produce a hat that meets Save the Children's specifications for their hat. Since both the original pattern and my version are intended to be used for charity projects, I would ask that you respect that and only use the pattern for personal or charity projects.

Crocheted Baby Hat

  • Measurements: 9"-10" circumference; 7" long (including 1 1/2" brim)

  • Gauge: 4 dcs=1"; 2 rows=1" with sport weight yarn and G hook (I really like Bernat Softee Baby, but use any yarn you like)

  • Row 1 - Ch. 30; dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next 16 chs (17 dc); hdc in next 6 ch; sc in next 6 chs; ch 1 and turn.

  • All following rows are worked as follows: work first and last stitches of each row through both loops of stitch in prior row and all other stitches through the back loop only.

  • Row 2 - sc in each 6 sc of prior row; hdc in each 6 hdc of prior row; dc in each dc of prior row; ch 3 and turn.

  • Row 3 - dc in each dc of prior row; hdc in each 6 hdc of prior row; sc in each 6 sc of prior row; ch 1 and turn.

  • Repeat rows 2 & 3 until piece measures approximately 9"-10", ending with row 2. Continuing to use the back loops, slip stitch the last row and the beginning chain together. At the top of the hat, cut yarn, leaving a long tail. Using a yarn needle, weave the tail through the sc stitches at the top of the hat once or twice around, pull tightly, and tie off. Weave all yarn ends in securely. Add a pompom to the top of the hat if desired. Turn up the lower edge to form brim.

There is also a half double crochet version of this hat, if you are interested. Many other baby hat patterns for charity can be found at Bev's Country Cottage. Finally, this hat could easily be made with a worsted weight yarn. You might have to adjust the number of dcs in each row, or you might end up with a bigger brim, but nothing else would need to change.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Beads & an FO

I will have more time tomorrow morning, and I promise I will post a couple of preemie/baby hat patterns. But this morning, I want to relate my experiences from last weekend. Saturday morning, two co-workers and I made our way out to Fishkill, New York for a bead show put on by Innovative Beads Expo. What a feast for the eyes! I was a little disappointed because I had hoped to find size 6 seed beads to incorporate into my knitting and crocheting, but there wasn't a seed bead to be found in the room. There were lots of other types of beads, though, which made me realize that I have a lot to learn about beads! I probably don't need another hobby, but I am really tempted to take a beginner's class and learn more. Rather than go home empty handed, I did purchase a new necklace. I thought the lampwork beads at this booth were the prettiest in at the show. (You can find out more about the artist here.)

On Saturday, I also managed to finish the hat I worked on at the last guild meeting. I wanted a large, floppy hat to wear in the summer, and I think I accomplished that at least! Actually, I can't believe my head is that big, but I do have thick, wavy hair which takes up a lot of room on my head. I know that the tie might look a bit odd on a summer hat, but I plan to wear this at the New Hampshire Highland Games in September, and the colors of the tie remind me of the Black Watch tartan. I can always make another tie for variety.

I put the hat on a bucket to photograph it, so it sort of looks like a top hat or something out of the Cat in the Hat. It looks much better on my head, though, really! The pattern is loosely based on a hat in Hip to Crochet by Judith Swartz. She used a DK weight yarn and single crochet, I used a worsted weight (Cotton Tots, which I had in my stash) and half double crochet. I did, however, follow her instructions for the eyelet rows and for the brim increasing. I do love the hdc, but it is a difficult stitch to use in the round. I used a spiral rather than joining rounds for the hat, but then my eyelet rows didn't quite match up. That's ok, since this hat is just for me, but I will have to keep experimenting to see if I can get this right in future.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Save the Children Campaign

Well, I was going to write a report about my weekend activities this morning, complete with pictures. But then my local paper actually ran a knitting article yesterday that I want to post about, so the weekend activities will have to wait until tomorrow.

Apparently, Save the Children (located in Connecticut) has joined with Warm Up America to recruit knitters and crocheters to create baby hats for newborns around the world. Their goal is to have 75,000 crafters involved in the project. They are asking that the hats be ready to go by January 7th, 2007, when they are going to be delivered to the White House and then distributed around the globe. The hats can be made of any yarn that is easily washable, and they should be a little smaller than normal, since many babies around the world are born with a low birth weight, even if they are carried to term. They are asking for a circumference of 9"-10", which sounds to me like a large preemie hat. There is more information and some patterns at both websites.

Ok, so, maybe I am reading other blogs too much, but this call for baby caps made me think about something that has been going on over at Shelly Kang's blog. She is making a mitered squares blanket out of fingering yarn, and she put out a call for everyone's leftover sock yarn to help her finish her blanket. Well, last week Stephanie McPhee, a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot, picked up on her plea and suggested that her readers "bury Shelly's house" with yarn. So, now all I can think about is burying the White House in baby caps! Isn't that a great image? And goodness knows there are enough babies in the world who need the caps. So, how about it? Are we up to this challenge? This might be a fun, low-key knit & crochet along. No deadlines other than January 7th, and we could just encourage each other to keep knitting and crocheting. And it will dovetail nicely with the charity projects I take part in through my crochet guild - preemie items for the hospital and hats, mittens, scarves and baby items for the Salvation Army.

I am running out of time this morning, but later in the week I will try to put up a couple of patterns that I have used to make preemie hats that could be easily adapted to this project, and that I personally think might be a little more flexible than the patterns offered by the aforementioned organizations.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Teaching Others to Knit & Crochet

A reader wrote me this week with a question:

"...could you share how you teach others? What kind of workshop or "curriculum" do you use?"

What a great question! I have been thinking about an answer all week. Let me start by saying right up front that I am not a certified teacher, and I really don't teach others on anything like a regular basis. If you want information from a certified crochet instructor, check out Dee's website and blog. She has all sorts of great information and tips to share.

However, belonging to both a knitting and a crochet guild over the last few years has taught me a few things about sharing my skills with others. So here is what I can tell you from my own experiences:

  • Start with the basics - how to hold the hook or needles, how to hold the yarn. With crochet, my sense is that just about everyone holds the yarn in their left hand, but there are two different ways to hold the hook, like a knife or like a pencil. Have your students try both positions to see which one feels most comfortable for them. With knitting, you have the opposite problem. Everyone pretty much holds the needles the same way, but your students will need to decide if they want the yarn in their left or right hand.

  • You might think that the next logical step is to teach your students to cast on or chain, since that is how you start all of your projects, but I strongly advise against it. Casting on is really very difficult if you have never knit, and while chaining is fairly easy and fundamental, that first row in crochet can be a bear to get through.

  • Start a swatch yourself for your students. When we taught the knitting class for children at the library, we had everyone bring in their yarn and needles ahead of time. Then we started a swatch for each child, and the first night of class, we just had the kids knit so that they could get the feel of holding the yarn and needles. We sent everything home with them so they could practice, and then the second night of class we taught them how to bind off. Then we taught them how to cast on. We worked a little on the purl stitch also, but not all of the students were up for that, and we probably could have used a third night. But at that point we had to say that we are a library, not a craft store, and if a child was that serious about pursuing the skill, they would need to take a class at a local craft store. All in all, though, this progression worked very well for everyone. And I might add that the Knit Out and Crochet Too teaches crochet the same way. Swatches are made ahead of time and then students just practice single crochet the day of the event.
And that is just about the sum total of what I can tell you about teaching. My final suggestion is that if you are really serious about learning how to teach one or both fiber arts to others, consider working through the Craft Yarn Council's Certified Instructor Program. You will learn your craft thoroughly, and you will be required to complete a certain number of hours instructing others at each level of the program. As I have said before in this space, if I ever finish the Master Knitter Program through TKGA, I might contemplate working through the CIP as well.

As usual, have a great weekend and try to stay cool!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Orenburg Lace

Finally, the long awaited post on Orenburg lace! To start, I have to give you some background. I have worked with a woman from St. Petersburg, Russia for a few years now, and every winter, she wears a beautiful shawl that she purchased years ago. It is small, maybe 18" x 60", so that it just covers her shoulders and arms. It is light weight enough that she can also wear it around her neck like a scarf. It is based on the traditional Orenburg patterns, but it is not one of the most expensive shawls available. Nevertheless, every winter I lust after this shawl. Not that I want hers or one just like hers. I want to actually knit one for myself. So last Christmas I got Galina Khmeleva's book The Gossamer Webs Design Collection, and then last spring I purchased the "Whisper Scarves" patterns from Fiddlesticks Knitting, which are also based on Orenburg lace. Obviously it has been no secret that I am interested in Russian shawls!

(As an aside, I did start the oval Whisper Scarf with Ornaghi Filati Merino lace weight yarn from One Fine Yarn, but after 60 rows I made a mistake that I couldn't fix and ended up pulling the whole thing out. (Of course, now I know about lifelines in lace, but not at the time.) It was so upsetting that I stopped knitting for a while and concentrated on crochet, but I am getting ready to try lace knitting again.)

Anyway, back to the story. My friend at work went back to St. Petersburg last month, and when she returned to the states she brought me the 3 skeins of yarn in the picture! It is called goat down, and it is the yarn traditionally used in Russian knitting. She said I have to try it because the feel is so different from other types of yarn. I had never heard the term "goat down," so off I went to do some research on the Internet, and consequently, I found a couple of great sites that give some background on Orenburg lace. The Russian Crafts site has a nice summary, as well as products for sale. While you are there, check out the Posad shawls as well. They are woven, and each one is more beautiful than the last. I haven't purchased one yet, but I am sorely tempted! Lavender Fleece has a little history and some great pictures.

So, of course the question is what am I going to make with this yarn? I have enough for a full sized shawl, I think, but finding a pattern might be difficult. According to Khmeleva, traditionally Russian knitters learn a series of 10 motifs and some basic edgings, and then combined those in various ways to make the shawls. There really weren't written patterns per se. She includes 3 patterns in her book, but none of them really speak to me. I don't think I am experienced enough to combine motifs for myself, but I do like the motif that looks like a series of interlocking hearts, so I am considering a rectangular shawl about the size of my friend's that uses that motif exclusively. It would keep the body of the shawl simple, and then I would just have to learn how to work the edging. Since there is a tutorial in the book to learn the edging, that shouldn't be too hard. And I might have enough yarn left over to knit up one of the Whisper Scarves as well!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I know, I know...

...I said yesterday no blogging until tomorrow, but I couldn't resist popping in here to relate this little story from yesterday. Last January, I got to help out with a children's program at the library. We taught a group of 3rd-5th graders to knit. We had enough adults helping out that each of us worked with just 2 children. One of the girls I worked with comes in to the library regularly with her mother, so I know she is still working on her knitting (and she's good at it, too). Well, I saw her yesterday and she had news for me. She has now learned to crochet, too! I was just pleased as punch to hear that. She and her mom promised me that they will bring in some of her knitting and crocheting Wednesday night to show me. I can't tell you how great a feeling it is to know that I had a small part in passing along these skills to the next generation.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Life, hijacked

So this weekend was the library's book sale. This wouldn't be a big deal in my life, except for the fact that my dh runs the sale. The stress level in my house has been high for much of the past week, to say the least! Most years, he has enough volunteers for set up and clean up that I'm not required to do much, but unfortunately this year some of the help fell through. So I found myself helping out both Friday night to set up the sale and last night to clean up. Friday night was definitely the harder of the two nights, probably because it came at the end of a work week. I could hardly move on Saturday, I was so sore! And I still can't quite believe I have to go back to work today.

Probably the most frustrating part of the weekend was the fact that the sale was a mixed success. They got rave reviews from the people who attended, but not enough people attended and they barely sold half the books. They made good money, but not as much as in years past. So there will be a lot of soul searching going on among the members of the Friends of the Library group for awhile.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the fiber arts, but it is my way of saying that I didn't have a lot of time this weekend to work on projects or plan out blog posts! I did attend my guild meeting yesterday and had a wonderful time. We didn't have a business meeting because our president couldn't make it, so we had lunch and just sat and crocheted and visited. It was the perfect summer meeting. I was able to finish a floppy hat for myself, which I will photograph as soon as I tie in my ends. Silly me - I thought I would have time to do that last night! I have to be at work early tomorrow morning for a staff meeting, but I hope to return to a more normal blogging schedule by Wednesday.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Frustrating Morning

I've had a frustrating morning. My computer wouldn't cooperate, so I had to reboot several times, chewing up my blogging time. However, I am busy researching Orenburg lace, so hopefully I will have a real post for tomorrow that will be worth waiting for!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Crocheted Cast Ons/Bind Offs

I have to admit, I really like the crocheted cast on in knitting. It creates an edge that is identical to a traditional knitted bind off, which makes it a great choice for scarves and rectangular shawls and other projects where both edges are visible and need to look alike. (Stitch Diva has a nice tutorial on how to do a crocheted cast on. Although the tutorial is for a provisional cast on (a cast on that can be removed later if you need live stitches to knit in the other direction), the same technique can be used to do a permanent cast on. Just start with the yarn you will be using for the project rather than waste yarn, and just start knitting once you have cast on, rather than cutting the yarn.)

It had never occurred to me that it was also possible to do a crocheted bind off, but over the last few days, I have found two different techniques for just such a thing. The first was demonstrated by Lily Chin on Knitty Gritty. Her technique uses a crochet hook in place of the second knitting needle. The second is described by the Yarn Harlot this morning on her blog. Her technique starts at the opposite end from the working yarn and so uses no extra yarn to bind off. Since my bind offs are frequently too tight, from now on I may reach for a crochet hook rather than a larger knitting needle to combat that problem.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Progress Report

I had a really relaxing weekend, thank goodness. Summer is the busiest time of the year in a public library, and true to form, last week we had 2 days when we checked out over 1,000 items each day - almost triple what we usually do! So I was very glad to have some down time this weekend to recharge my batteries.

Of course, "down time" means knitting and crocheting time. Heaven forbid that I should just sit and do nothing! I had two goals for my projects this weekend, and I met both of the them. The picture is the back of my tank top, which I finished on Saturday, as well as starting the front. That was my first goal. My second goal, which I met yesterday, was to turn the heel on the second sock. This way, both projects are back to easy knitting for the week.

As I was hiding in the nice, cool basement from the heat yesterday afternoon and working on my sock, I remembered that Knitty Gritty was on TV. My dh has talked about how great it is for him to be driving to the auto parts store on a Saturday morning while listening to Car Talk on the radio. Well, let me tell you that watching Knitty Gritty while knitting a sock is just as good! Lily Chin was the guest, and she gave lots of really great tips for making our knitting lives easier. I realize that not everyone has digital cable, so you might not be able to catch the show. But the show's website includes a lot of content, and I highly recommend checking it out.