The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Chile March 10, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:28 am

What day is it?  Wednesday?  Huh, I could have sworn it was Saturday.  Wait, it’s the ninth?!  Not the fifth?  What the heck have I been doing the last four days?


Well, for starters, I’ve been beating down some wicked writer’s/designer’s block and hammering out three new sock designs for submissions.  I had a moat made out of stitch dictionaries protecting my strategic creative position.


[insert clever segue here]


A little while ago, my mom visited a friend in Chile.  They were seeing the sights and ended up in an area with some yarn shops.  She took these wonderful pictures there and sent them to me as a teaser- she bought me something but hasn’t told me what!  But we did have a talk about alpaca and vicuña… wouldn’t it be cool to have some alpaca or llama from Chile?




So pretty!  Me wants the precious!


IMG_0433    IMG_0385


Aren’t these great?  So cute.


New Year’s Resolutions January 4, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 10:00 pm
Tags: ,

1) Stay home long enough to write a blog post.

a) Actually knit something.

b) Finish something.


It may not sound like an ambitious resolution.  But take a look at some of the places I went last year!


DSC01867 (2)

February: Olympics in Vancouver


Whistler - Our 6th Anniversary 003

March: Skiing in Whistler



May: Sister’s graduation in Virginia


Ashland on the Fourth of July 001

July: Plays and the 4th of July in Ashland, OR


White Salmon camping trip with Dave and Jen 022

July: Camping in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest


September: Travelling across Russia



October: Helping my sister in North Carolina



November: Thanksgiving in VA (and North Carolina)


Leavenworth Christmas Eve Eve 006

December: Leavenworth, WA


And that’s not everything!  There were a lot of weekend excursions that I didn’t put in the list.  It was a truly wonderful year.  However, I’m looking forward to maybe spending two consecutive weeks in my own house.  I haven’t finished a project in months.  For a while, I didn’t even have the time or energy to knit anything at all. 


I did manage to get five patterns published this year, though, bringing my total available patterns up to twenty-three!  Things have settled down now that the holidays are over (which were lots of fun) so I’m planning on getting some good quality knitting time in soon- I have ideas.  Good ideas.


New patterns in 2010:







Consummate V 08

A Skein of Geese


Danu 3



113_5310 (2)



I hope 2011 is just as great as 2010… but maybe just a little more local.


The Universal Language November 16, 2010

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings — Cailyn @ 3:29 pm
Tags: , , ,

Ok, my marathon of knitting that I referred to before is mostly over.  But it paid off, because I’ll soon have another pattern up on Knit Picks!  More details on that when it’s published.


You may be wondering why I haven’t written anything about my big trip to Russia.  Did something really embarrassing happen there?  Did we unleash an ancient evil sleeping in Lake Baikal and have to trick the demons into matryoshka doll traps, then swear never to tell anyone what had happened lest someone try to free the demons to gain ultimate power? 


No, not really.


I’ve been thinking about writing a “personal story” for one of the fiber publications about my trip.  I haven’t completely decided what will go into that essay or even if I will try to publish it, but I didn’t want it to look like I had just cribbed the essay from a blog post.  So I haven’t written anything about the trip here yet.  I think I can at least narrow down what won’t be in the essay at all- I started an outline of the knitting/fiber parts of the trip and realized that there was just too much there for a short essay.  You’ll hear all about it sooner or later, just that some parts may be much later.


As you may know, if you’ve followed this blog for a while, I am a stitch dictionary addict.  All it takes is one motif that I haven’t seen to make me buy the whole book.  It might be a sickness, really.  I have books in English, French, German, Japanese, and now: Russian.


When we set out for Russia, I wanted to bring home two souvenirs: a Russian knitting book and a spindle (that story will be later).  All I needed was a good bookstore to find a knitting book, I knew.  I was sure that I could find the craft section of the store and from there find the knitting subsection.  I was right, although it took until almost the end of the trip to get to a big bookstore that wasn’t just Pushkin’s fairy tales or tourist guidebooks.  In St. Petersburg, we went to Dom Knigi, or House of Books, which is located in the old Singer Sewing Machine Company building; you can see the old Singer logo on top.  This place was great- I felt just as comfortable there, despite the different language and alphabet, as I do in any bookstore in the US.  Bookstores and libraries are my second home; I could have spent hours there.




Dom Knigi has three floors.  I did a quick walkthrough of each floor, through the Russian teen-fiction and the self-help books and the multi-language souvenir section.  I didn’t see a craft section and honestly, I got a little worried despite my confidence about bookstores.  Maybe there wasn’t a craft section- But then I found it, tucked between the travel and cooking shelves.  The end cap with pictures of embroidery and crochet was a dead give-away.  I started by pulling books off the shelf at random (I put them back!) to find the knitting section.  It started after sewing and ended at crochet; sound familiar?  I have to apologize for not having a picture of the shelf in question… I was determined to find the perfect book before I had to meet Lowell at the entrance (I also had to find the bathroom in that time!)


“But, Cailyn!” I hear you interrupting.  “Can you even read Russian knitting patterns?”


Don’t interrupt!  I’m getting to that part.


I have rules about foreign language books.  1, it can’t be just a book of sweater or hat patterns; those require actual reading.  That usually knocks out most of the books on the shelf.  It also can’t be a “learn to knit” book, which takes care of another ten books or so.  2, it has to have charts.  Bam, there goes half of the remaining books.  I couldn’t actually read the spines of the books, so I had to pull each book off the shelf and look through it to see what it was.  There were some interesting sweaters (think 1980’s) and lots of “learn to knit” books.  I found some books with some charts but mostly patterns (and not very stylish ones at that).  But finally, I found my book. 




It’s a small, thick book, about 5” by 8” but 2” thick.  I have no idea what the title is, but it’s full of knit/purl, lace, cable, and colorwork stitches.  There are a few full-fledged patterns at the back, but mostly it’s a stitch dictionary.  And I don’t even need to read Cyrillic to enjoy this book.


Behold, the wonder of The Chart! (You can behold it bigger if you click on the thumbnail.)

SCN_0003   SCN_0004


It’s pretty obvious which stitches are knit, purl, a yarn over, or a decrease.  There are a few symbols that I haven’t deciphered yet in the slip stitch section, but a little trial and error will fix that.  You can bet that my next few patterns will incorporate something from this book.  I mean, look at those cute little elephants!


Next time you’re in a foreign country, I highly recommend stopping by a bookstore and acquiring yourself a stitch dictionary!  Just make sure it has charts.




I’m Back (Finally!) October 26, 2010

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 6:46 pm

I’m finally home.  Well, technically, I have been home for a week, but I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely noticed.  Where have I been, you ask?


First, there was a wonderful three-week trip travelling across Russia.  You can read/watch about our trip on our trip blog, Russia Trek 2010.  I can’t remember if I linked to that before.  I had intended to post a few entries to the Daily Skein while I was on the road, but that never happened.  I only wrote one entry for our trip blog!  (It’s about reenacting a traditional marriage ceremony- very funny, even if I was the one in the figurative spotlight.)


The day after I got back from that trip, I travelled to North Carolina to help my sister, who had surgery while I was gone.  We had a lot of fun; I cooked and took her walking outside and she got stitches removed.  I really like the Durham area that she lives in and, even though I was severely jet-lagged the first few days, I was glad I could go take care of her.


Then I was finally home.  I’ve been trying to get back on top of the blog, my designs that are in various stages of completion, and chores at home.  Lowell and I have been working on a project that I’ll tell you more about later (it took up the entire weekend and all of yesterday too!)


Things have finally settled down enough now that I don’t feel like I’m struggling to stay above water.  Now I’m just quickly treading water or maybe even doggy-paddling towards shore.  After all, it’s fall, which is one of my favorite times of the year.  There’s a nip in the air, soup on the stove, and the leaves are changing into brilliant reds and golds.  Time to pull out the hand-knits; time to curl up on the couch as it gets dark earlier and earlier and knit some more.  Time to get reacquainted with the stash, if you know what I mean.




Enjoying the ability to take a break, at least for a few minutes, I was browsing Craft Gossip this evening.  Craft Gossip is one of those sites that just enables someone like me.  It pulls together projects, inspiration, tips, and tutorials from all over the internet and makes them way too easy to find.  Things like this yarn wreath, or these cool polymer clay beads, or these cool antique storage bobbins made from cardboard.  Anyway, I browse around Craft Gossip occasionally and bookmark projects like mad whenever I do.  And today when I was browsing, I saw this!




That’s right, my Wintergreen Gloves were on Craft Gossip a few days ago!




I was pretty surprised.  It’s very strange to be wandering around another site and come across your own work!  And I’d like to say hi to anyone coming here from Craft Gossip.  Please ignore the two-month gap in entries.  It won’t happen again (at least any time soon).


Hiatus September 12, 2010

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 3:37 pm

I’m going to be in Russia and then North Carolina until the middle of October.  There won’t be any posts until then, but you can follow our travels on our blog, Russia Trek 2010!  I’ll be back to writing on schedule after the trips, including stories about my search for fibers in Russia, why I was in NC, and what designs I have being published.


Until I get back, here are some other great blogs or websites that you can read!

A Mighty Good Yarn

Craft Gossip



Knitters Anonymous

Knitting in Color

Sock Pr0n


Yarn Harlot