Saturday, December 15, 2007

Knitting Contrisstmas presents Lolly Knitting Around

I’ve been reading Lolly Knitting Around for quite some time and enjoy the blog very much. I was quite thrilled and pleased when Lolly agreed to an interview for Knitting Contrisstmas! She’s warm, funny, down to earth and a heckuva knitter, an all around positively wonderful read! If you haven’t discovered Lolly, I hope you stop by and say “Hi!”

(KC) Thanks for stopping by the blog to chat a bit during the holidays Lolly!! Do you have any thoughts about the holidays in general, or what you do to make the holidays a bit more special???

(LK) My favorite part of the holidays is the time spent with family and friends. I do love the traditions and the observances, and the simple celebrations. I am not crazy about the stores filled with people and the mass commercialism, but I generally enjoy the spirit of the holidays.

(KC) I’m totally with you---- I am not into the consumerism thing either but love the holidays. It all starts with us and our attitudes as well as those we pass on to family and friends.

(KC) What would you say has been your greatest gift in 2007?

(LK) My greatest gift continues to be my loving family and friends - every year!

(KC) Amen!

(KC) You know I’ve decided to try my best (even if it kills me) to knit a little something for everyone this year. (I am dreaming about hats!) Well, everyone who would appreciate hand knitted goodies that is. Are you a holiday gift knitter?

(LK) I have knit holiday gifts in the past, but I do not knit gifts every year. I actually prefer to knit gifts for birthday presents so that my deadlines don't fall all on the same date! My husband's birthday comes right after Christmas, though, so I try to make him something during this time of year - and I usually try and finish it before our anniversary during the first week of January.

(KC) And what does the lucky guy receive this year????

(LK) I am knitting a pullover for my husband. It is Beau, from Rowan's Vintage Style booklet. I am knitting it in a nice brown wool. It is not a surprise - actually he chose the pattern and the yarn!

(KC) Perfect! It is always best I think to knit something that you know the recipient has a somewhat vested interest in, you are more excited to knit something that you know will be very well received and completely appreciated.

(CK) If you don’t mind sharing, how do you and your husband celebrate the holidays?

(LK) My family is more spread out than it used to be, so we tend to celebrate the Christmas holiday over a span of days. Christmas Eve is spent with my family, usually including my sisters and their families. I am particularly excited about this year's celebration: my brother-in-law will return from his military deployment and have his first Christmas with our family! Christmas day is spent with my husband's family, usually in Pennsylvania with his grandparents. It's a wonderful chance to see our nieces. Like most families, much of the celebration centers around the delicious foods!

(KC) I think the foods are just about the best part!!! I send blessings to your family able to spend Christmas again with your brother-in-law! Excellent news!

(CK) Do you have a favorite holiday recipe?

(LK) I have shared some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes on my blog, and usually Christmas meals are similar. I have a nearly insatiable sweet tooth, so my favorite things are usually the delicious desserts - I am a big fan of cheesecakes and pies (and cookies, brownies, pastries...)

(CK) You are as crazy busy as we all are, I’m always curious to hear what other knitters have in their bag of tricks go as far as maximizing knitting time during the holidays?

(LK) Since many people travel during the holidays, whether it is near or far from home, I think you can get a lot of knitting done on the road. I try to fit in a few rows here and there so that progress is constant.

(KC) Mmmmmmmmmmmm, constant progress! I’m all over that!

(CK) What things do you do just for yourself in this crazy busy time of the year? You know, we all lament that the thing that gets neglected most is US!

(LK) I don't have a specific thing set aside for just myself, but I do like to spend a little quiet time knitting and reading during the weekends!

(KC) Absolutely! If you’re anything like I am, it is the little bit of quiet time that sort of puts me back together and makes me pleasant to be with. Usually that is! J

(KC) Anything special on your needles that you're knitting just for yourself?

(LK) I just finished up a special pullover for myself, and also have another cabled hoodie on the needles.

(KC) I’ve been watching! And you are getting ready to knit an afghan for a wedding gift----- yikes! That is the mark of a good friend and generally super nice person!

(KC) Alright, that means it is time for my very favorite question this holiday season! Think of a special knitting friend (or two), and the perfect gift you would like to give this year. Shoot the moon vs. budget minded gifts.

(LK) With such differing tastes, I found this one a little hard to answer, however, knitters always love yarn! There are some beautiful natural fibers on the market. Some of my particular favorites are the yarns from South America - many of them are kettle-dyed and use good quality wools and blends. There are some very nice afghan kits that include these delicious wools - that seems like it would be a lovely gift! Also, for a budget-minded gift, I would think that a few hanks of the wools would be nice one at a time!

(KC) I’m IN!

(KC) You know I just saw Santa this morning---- and I mean the Real Deal!!!! I can still put a bug in his ear for something special! What would you like to find under the tree????

(LK) Well, I don't have any plans for big presents this year; I am taking a weaving workshop in January, so I may ask Santa to come a little later and bring me a loom! :)

(KC) I’m SOOOOOO jealous! I haven’t woven a bit in years and years and miss it so very much. When I moved to Hawaii from the east coast there was no room for my loom, a big ole’ wonderful floor loom. Sigh. I think you will HAVE to ask Santa to come later and bring you a loom because you need a biggun’ and you wouldn’t want to deprive anyone of their goodies because of the space requirements on the loom! I can’t wait to hear the details of your workshop and the inevitable and ensuing loom! I wish like anything that I still had mine, I should have moved it anyway and given up the kitchen!!!

(KC) You have knitters from all over the world who consider themselves fans of yours; do you have any holiday greetings you'd like me to pass along for you?

(LK) I am so thankful for this community - there are so many generous knitters the world over! I wish you a very happy holiday!

(KC) After the last bit of the holidays have been celebrated, as you are relaxing knowing that despite the odds you got it all done----- what will you be doing?

(LK) Well, the knitting never really stops around here! So, I have some plans for more stashbusting during the new year, but I am also challenging myself with a resolution: when I purchase yarns in 2008, I will purchase from local farms and spinners, or from recycled and repurposed sources (unraveling sweaters), and from fair-trade and sustainable sources. This is a small personal challenge that I am looking forward to!

(KC) Say it ain’t so that the knitting stops anywhere!!!! I love your resolutions they are noble and definitely attainable.

(LK) Non-knitting related, I am also hoping to start planning for some 2008 travels!

(KC) Your blog is huge success in the knit world this past year; you'd have to live under a rock not to know about you! How does writing your blog impact your life?

(LK) I had to laugh - under a rock? :) With the last year, we have seen a large movement in the online knitting community, fueled by the new website, The more time I spend on Ravelry, the more I realize how large this community is!

(LK) In terms of the blog, it is a large part of my life, no doubt. I spend a lot of time with photography so that I can show my knitting and my travels in the best "light" and the most attractive way. I have enjoyed writing since I was a child, and it is a joy to share my interests with everyone in this way.

(LK) I have a funny and completely unexpected anecdote about blogging. I was walking to a nearby coffeeshop one day - taking a break from the office with some co-workers. As we walked across the parking lot, a woman stepped out of her vehicle and was beaming with a smile. She rushed to shake my hand and say that she had been reading my blog for years. I was completely floored and overjoyed! It was a very serendipitous experience, and one that my co-workers still tease me about!

(KC) There should be no teasing at all, shame on them! That is a very fab thing to have happen!!! I get a bang out of walking into my favorite LYS and hearing “Knitting Contessa!” Having a stranger come up to you would just be really great.

(KC) I understand that it would be impossible to choose a favorite yarn, a favorite vendor or a favorite designer! Can you narrow down a few things that you thing are really extraordinary?????

(LK) You are right - it is nearly impossible to narrow down! However, I have been lucky to work with some lovely yarns, and I have chosen a few favorites. One of my favorite sock yarns is Tess Designer Yarns. She does not sell in yarn shops, but is well-known on the festival circuit for her beautiful yarns. I also like to use the sturdy German yarns like Trekking XXL and Opal for socks. Some of my favorite larger weight yarns (that are commercially available) are Malabrigo, Peace Fleece, and Noro yarns. I have recently realized the beauty and durability of Lopi yarns, and hope to work with them more in the future. Lopi is often synonymous with "scratchy" in many knitters' minds, but they can become quite soft after a good bath, and last very well.

(KC) My mother made me a gorgeous ski sweater quite some time ago from Lopi and it is so soft and wonderful you would just never know that it started as yarn that has that somewhat brillo-like quality! It's well aged of course and very mellow in cream, navy and sky blue.

(LK) It is amazing to see the new designers that have gained popularity on the internet's knitting community. It really is possible to make a name for yourself as a designer by selling your patterns through your site. I have admired many patterns over the years, and I always find myself drawn to the works of Norah Gaughan - I love her natural shapes and simple, clean lines. She has done amazing work for Berrocco. My other favorite designer is Nancy Bush, specifically known for her socks and her lace projects. I began an informal project last year to knit several of Nancy's patterns. Her link to historical and cultural knitting are my favorite things about her designs.

(KC) Your travel photography is terribly exciting; it has to be opening up a lot of wonderful doors?

(LK) I moved eight times during my childhood, and I think those experiences fueled an insatiable wanderlust! I love to travel, and I love to document my travels (I am a librarian, so this must come naturally!) and photography is the perfect way to do both of these things. I have received many wonderful comments from readers about my photography, and I am so grateful. I feel that I am still an amateur in many ways, and hope to practice more. We shall see where that leads!

(KC) What is in the future for Lolly?

(LK) I have a renewed desire and passion for writing, due to the blog and some writing classes I took over the summer. I am writing articles for a few magazines right now (you will see them in 2008!), and recently started contributing to a new knitting newsletter called The Smart Knitter. I am excited about the prospects! I hope to do more research work at some point in the future that combines my love for textiles, history, nature, and travel.

(KC) I know we will all be waiting and watching, it is exciting indeed!

(LK) ...And of course, there will be plenty of knitting! As mentioned above, I am doing a weaving workshop in January, and I am very excited to learn more about this fiber art. Weaving has always appealed to me, and I am looking forward to using yarn in this new way.

(KC) Talk to me about the weight loss journey if you would. It is SO motivational! I've recently lost 60 pounds and hope to keep it off over the holidays. What has been your biggest lesson during the journey?

(LK) First off, major congratulations to you for losing 60 lbs! that is great! I lost the same amount of weight in 2006, and while I have not stopped trying, the scales have not really tipped too much more in 2007. The most important thing that I have to tell myself (over and over) is that even if I don't see the results, good things are happening. My focus continues to be on physical exercises - I genuinely enjoy exercise, and try to do so five times a week - my favorite activities are biking, yoga, and weight lifting. The diet part is much harder for me - especially around the holidays. Another big lesson that I have learned is about the importance of weight training and resistance work. So often, women shy away from weights - but there is so many sources saying that weight training is highly recommended for women of all ages. Plus, if you are doing it right, you will see results quickly! Good luck!


Prince seems to be feeling better today, bless his heart! A bit of a limp is happening, exaggerated a bit for sympathy I think--- but I'd do the same! He seems to be on the mend, thanks for your well wishes.

That is Hana and Prince (in the stripes) singing carols the day before the 'incident'. hey love to sing and the neighbors are no doubt really excited about it too!

I'm thrilled to have a rare Saturday afternoon OFF today! Yay! I'll be baking, knitting, and crafting a bit. On the way home last night in anticipation of the snow I stopped and picked up emergency groceries. Emergency as in cookie baking supplies, lots of tea, a bit of eggnog, a bottle of wine and ingredients to make a big pot of soup. Earlier in the day I ran through Knitorious
and picked up yarn to make my hair stylist extraordinaire a thin little toss scarf, a pair of those 'pocketbook slippers' for my partners' Mom another delicious ball of Malabrigo for a hat for ME, and a ball of 'Broadway' from Artful Yarns for another little happy scarf. The last stop before pulling into home was to pick up some supplies to make some little cakes of gift soap. I think my plans to make piles and piles of cotton washcloths won't happen------- but the soap definitely will.

With snow gently falling, two inches so far, and an afternoon to putter away, I feel as if the holidays are really upon us!


Ruby said...

So glad to hear that Prince is doing better. They both look so cute in their sweaters!

Enjoy your afternoon off!

Ruby said...

Thanks for the compliments on my lace scarves! I just hope that the gift recipients like them also.

Lolly said...

Thank you for the great discussion, Tina! I had a lot of fun writing it up! Happy Holidays!! :)

Virtuous said...

Great interview with Lolly!
Nice to learn more about her!