Sunday, October 30, 2011


Hey all,

I'm just popping in here to let you know that I decided to move to a new blog.  The ClumsyKnitter name just hasn't been working for me for a while and I figured it was time to make the change.  I changed my Ravelry name and my email address too, but you can still reach me at the old email.

I will be posting at from now on.  Please join me!  I have some exciting news and updates to share over the next few days. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big News!!!

I think I have mentioned once or twice on my blog that I have been unemployed for a while.  The frustrating thing about finishing a degree just in time for the recession is that I have a lot of education but no practical experience within my new field.  These days (and for several years now), you pretty much need to have five years of experience AND a job just to get a new one. 

I had an interview at (yet another) job placement service last week and I got grilled pretty heavily on my two year "gap" between 2008-2010.  They wanted to know what I had been doing during that time ("So, you just weren't working?") and how they were supposed to explain it to the companies they were hiring for ("I don't's going to be tough to explain this away...").  I had to sit there and calmly explain to them that I had just finished an advanced degree in a very particular field, that I had also moved to a brand new city where I had no industry or personal contacts at a time when no one could get a job.  What I really wanted to do was scream at the woman to get a clue, and tell her to go shove her slightly-above-minimum-wage-job.  But...I needed to get into her system as a backup, in case my other interview of the day didn't pan out.

But it turns out I needn't have worried.  I interviewed at a company that same day, and got a job offer the very next evening.  The woman who interviewed me called me from her home to offer me the position.  I am so thrilled!  Sure, it means less knitting time, and I have to cut out my weekday shifts at the yarn shop so I'm back to Saturdays only, and now I can't continue taking my Tuesday morning sewing class, but...I got a job!  Honestly, it's just entry level and the pay is not that great, but it's in the industry I would like to work in and it's a foot in the door.  I start tomorrow so I'll let you know how it goes after I've been there for a week or so.

I still haven't heard back from little Ms. Holier-Than-Thou at the job placement service.  Her loss. ;-)

Lake Tahoe!!!

OK, this post is a bit late but I've been busy since I got back from out of town.  More on that next time.  For now, I just wanted to squish in a post about the day trip The Brain and I took while we were in Reno.

 On Thursday, our last full day in Reno, The Brain decided to blow off the conference (nothing much was relevant to his work that day) and the two of us drove down to Lake Tahoe to take in the scenery.  I had never been before, and all I knew about the area beforehand was that it was beautiful, and that a lot of wealthy people have cabins there.

The reality is that it is beautiful, but those aren't cabins.  The homes built along the sides of this lake are enormous and impressive and honestly, more house than one really needs.  I mean, I grew up in a family of 12 kids and I'm pretty sure there would be enough space for all of us and then some.

One of the fun parts of the day was all the snow.  Big, fluffy, sticky snow was falling all day.  One of the main roads into the lake was blocked off and we had to take an alternate route.  I'm really glad we got new tires put on the car a few weeks ago because I would not have felt very safe on the mountain passages with the old ones. 

It was a very quiet day, partly because it was the middle of the week and partly because the weather was colder than expected.  We drove all the way around the lake, stopping at scenic viewpoints to pop out of the car and nab a few shots and then pop back in to warm up again.  My camera ran out of batteries so most of the shots were taken with my iPhone (and honestly, you can't really tell the difference).

So here you go: a few peaceful shots of a beautiful trip.  It really made me wish I could snuggle up in a cabin near the shores of Lake Tahoe on a misty winter day like this, knitting and sipping hot chocolate.  Hey Peter, maybe we can make a trip one of these years?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


As I mentioned yesterday, I am out of town.  Reno, NV to be exact.  The Brain helped organize a conference for smarties and I tagged along for the ride. 

First impressions: Reno is a LOT smaller than I thought it would be!  I'll admit to being amusingly unaware of what most cities are really like.  Before I moved to California, for instance, I thought everyone out here spoke like a surfer dude and was passionate about recycling.  Before I moved to Pittsburgh, I was warned that no one out there used infinitives.  A kindly, older coworker spent weeks coaching me on how to interpret things like, "The car needs warshed".  (I was not at all prepared for "yinz" though.  Nobody warns you about "yinz".)

You can understand, then, when I tell you that I blithely set off for Reno fully expecting it to be a slightly smaller version of Las Vegas.  You know, because gambling = smokey casinos and flashing lights.  And heck, I basically expect any city that I have heard of to be large and make an impression.  Reno, however, is so far outside my expectations and I am pleasantly surprised by that.

Here is the view from my hotel window:  Mountains!  Clouds!  So pretty!

OK, here's the unedited version complete with parking lots and a highway.  But still!  Look at all that open space without tall buildings and giant malls!  There's an airport around there somewhere, too.  It's really just so peaceful and quiet and pretty...I really like Reno. :)

Knowing that I would be left to my own devices while The Brain was whooping it up with all of his electrophoresis and spectroscopy buddies, I came armed with knitting.  A lot of knitting.

From L to R:

Seven golf club socks that need to be shortened.  This is a commissioned project from a customer at my LYS who wants the cuffs shortened to fit into his new golf bag better.  The originals were knitted flat by machine and then seamed up so I'm not exactly in a hurry to get cracking on these...

The pile of blue Berroco Vintage is for a Sleeping Baby's Castle Blanket.  I figured I could get started on it when I finished all my other projects after just one day. (Yeah, right.)

Next to that is a pile of pink and white yarn for a sample knit I was hired to do.  I'm still waiting on the pattern, but I brought the yarn with me just in case.

The ball of blue/green in the front is some Knitters Brewing Company Sock-aholic in Jungle Juice that I'm using for Kitman Figueroa's latest KAL.  I just started last night and I'm loving the color already.  I'm only 6 rows in so the jury's still out on the pattern but I fully expect to be happy with that, too. ;-)

And finally, I have one completed Bridge of Roses sock and am ready to cast on for the next.  This is a kit I bought from Knitters Brewing Co. at VKL and I think it's fabulous!  The colors are wonderful and I like the challenge of the design.  I still have a few more roses to embroider and then I can start Sock #2.

And as if I don't have enough yarn crammed into my hotel room, I went shopping on Monday!  Jimmy Beans Wool is located right here in Reno so I couldn't pass up the chance to visit them.  I saved some of my money from VKL because I was sure I could find what I was looking for at JBW and I was not disappointed:

I was on the hunt for some dk weight yarn to go with the Rust-colored Shibui Silk Cloud I have in my stash.  I want to make a Sheer Beauty swirl jacket and I was able to find exactly the right shade of MadelineTosh DK to go with it!  (You can see the Shibui at the top of the photo, and the MadTosh underneath it.  The colors are more vibrant in real life but my hotel room is kind of like a cave at the moment.)

I also found a new lace yarn from Juniper Moon Farm.  Findley is 50/50 merino/silk and comes in 800 yards per ball!  I picked up two balls because I'm thinking of designing something with them.  I love the colors they had available. :)  And finally, I picked up two more project bags, some darning needles, and some gift tags for sewing onto your knits.  Not a bad trip: I found exactly what I was looking for, and I came away with some other useful goodies as well.

One more note about expectations.  I know Jimmy Beans Wool by reputation.  I subscribe to their newsletter and I have placed online orders from them in the past.  (Fewer now that I work at an LYS, but I always appreciated their quick shipping and excellent customer service.)  I knew that they had recently moved into a larger space so of course I was expecting some kind of Webs-like warehouse.  Imagine my surprise (and delight, I must admit) to find that their storefront is actually quite small.  And there is a COW PASTURE across the street!  (Really, my mind just about blew at that one.  First Reno is smaller than expected, then Jimmy Beans is not the giant megastore I had imagined, but to see cows across the street?!?  Too funny.)  Granted, most of their business is done online so they kept a majority of their stock in the back, but I really liked the atmosphere.  It was just like any other normal LYS (in fact, it was one third to one fourth the size of the one I work at) and the woman working there was just charming.  When I lamented that I could only find one skein of the color of MadTosh I was looking for, she immediately brightened and said that they only put out one skein of each color and that they had 10 more in the back.  Then she went into the back and brought out all 10 skeins so I could choose which ones I wanted!  I could see through a window behind her to a second room where two women were sitting at computers processing online orders (I presume).  And when I tweeted about stopping into the shop yesterday, I immediately got a friendly response from them.  How cool is that?!?  All of my interactions with this company have been wonderful, and I highly recommend them to others.  In fact, I may just make another trip back there tomorrow. :)

That's all for now.  I hope everyone is having a week that is just as pleasant as mine has been. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

FO Tour

I was hoping to get back to the blog sooner but I've been so busy lately that some days I don't even turn on my computer.  I'm out of town for a while now (more on that tomorrow, hopefully) so how about a drive-by FO post?  I had a whole bunch of projects without FO photos on Ravelry, so last week I made a list, dragged my tripod out to my deck, and did my best to get some shots done.  Here they are!

Pattern: Belle Nuit by Sivia Harding
Yarn: Curious Creek Fibers Meru
Notes: This was the final installment of the Year of Lace club.  I replaced the blue beads with ones that more closely matched the color of the yarn.
Pattern: Daybreak by Stephen West
Yarn: Crystal Palace Mini Mochi and ONLine Linie 33 Cosmo
Notes: Large enough to be warm but soft enough to bundle around my neck.

Pattern: Koukla by Hilary Smith Callis
Yarn: Aslan Trends Invernal
Notes: It still needs buttons, but it always takes me a while to get around to those. :-/  Love the finishing details (hems, pockets, folded down collar).
Pattern: Laccaria by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton
Notes: A simple knit with some interesting front details.
Pattern: Striped Snowball Blanket by Sirdar
Yarn: Sirdar Baby Snowball
Notes: This yarn was an impulse purchase one day at work.  It was quick and easy but kind of annoying to work with.  The end result though is a blanket that feels like a cloud; super soft and snuggly...on one side.  The other side is a web of nylon cording and not too pleasant.  The ends were also a pain to finish because they had to be sewn down with a needle and thread.
Pattern: Sweet Jazz by Samantha Roshak
Yarn: Ella Rae Lace Merino
Notes: Quick and easy lace shawlette.  I really like the elongated crescent shape.  It's easy to wear as a scarf or a shawlette.