Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time and consequences

Several of us were having a little round table discussion about “If you knew you only had a short period left to live, what would you do?”
It was a lively discussion made sweetly poignant by the fact, that indeed, some of these people, ARE living the short life.

What I took away from it was that when we have “all” the time in the world, we often don’t do things we’d like to because we don’t want to pay the long term consequences for the action.
Several of the things people listed they opted not to do, or would not do if they had “more time” because of some future price that would have to be paid. Either emotionally, physically, or financially. Some of the ideas were rejected because of how they would impact loved ones left behind.
Living the Selfish life wasn’t an option because it didn’t leave room for love of others.
Things that were consistently chosen ran along the lines of avoiding the little piddly stuff that generally sucks energy: cleaning the bathroom, spending time with people you “should” like (but don’t), chosing quiet entertainment over a flurry of activity - minor but still freeing choices.

Concurrent with this the Knitters were having their annual New Years knitting resolutions. People are fresh from the Holiday knitting jag, and some of this frought is with emotion - You know the discussions….WIPs, UFOs, Queue, in short - what lives/what dies.

If you combine these two groups of people, I think you get an interesting knitting philosophy. After all, what’s the consequence of ripping a languishing UFO? Just freeing up energy. You don’t have to worry about leaving someone destitute or emotionally destroyed. Deciding to devote time to monogamously wrapping up a WIP? Other yarn isn’t going to shriek “you love them more than me!” or complain that you are self absorbed. As for that illicit affair that has tantalized your mind…go for the cashmere blend not the quivet.

In the end, remember that knitting should soothe, comfort, entertain, and engage. It may feel crucial, but it's just string. Okay so it's the string your sanity is wrapped up in.

Unfortunately, there may be plenty of need for facing the “big stuff” in life, save your energy for that.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Knitterly Gifts

From the redoubtable Chelle - a mysterious box from the LoopyEwe. She knows how much of my net income is spent there...a secret even TAO doesn't know. Little Loopy decided that the "travel mug" is actually for Oatmeal Stout. Since I was on call, he might have had "the breakfast of champions" by himself. Hence, why the photo is taken lying down. Those frolicsome lambs. And couldn't you just roll in a landscape coated in that yarn colour? (Intrigue by Lorna's Laces). Now comes the hard decision...socks or shawl?

Chelle, I'd claim you as my sister, but lets face Mother was a Bitch extraordinaire; howsa 'bout you claim me & we'll share your Gram?

There hasn't been alot of knitting posted at this blog lately. Primarily because there hasn't been alot of knitting going on. Things have been hectic the past few months & my knitting mojo was taken in front of a firing squad & summarily shot. I had a pair of socks that missed a November birthday - the recipient gave me a "late gift pass"; then just as I was to pop them in the mail...someone else called - fresh from receiving a dire diagnosis. So a text later, the birthday socks were shipped off, hopefully to provide warmth and comfort. Afterall, they've got love from two people - the knitter & the gal who sacrificed her gift.

I did eventually manage these as an outgoing knitterly gift...CookieA's Angee socks. In Loopy Solid Celery. Plainfooted because I don't care for patterned feet in shoes. You may be wondering "WTH is wrong with the toe?!?" Well, they're going to a Knitter. And I don't have her foot nearby. So I opted not to kitchener the toe & didn't cut the yarn; figuring if they arrive & are too short/too long it won't take her more than a brief movie to make them "perfect". And I'm sending my cheat sheet for kitchenering off the needles. A gift ONLY another Knitter would love.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yet another Not Knitting Post -

Another Birthday is rolling up to the gate.

For those of you keeping track…it’s one more than last year.

I woke up early today and found myself, not using the time to workout (curses!) but thinking about ALL THE THINGS. Which started me down a litany of prayers. I know so many people getting their arse kicked by the universe right now.

Starting the list…uterine CA, Prostate CA, Ovarian CA, early onset Alzheimer’s, something that will probably turn out to be ALS, broken bones, knee/hip surgeries, scathed & unscathed car accidents…

At this point I stopped feeling like a supplicant and started feeling like I needed a little lie down.

Then something tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of the key point they have in common – I’ve known them all for less than 5 years. Yet each has touched me, enriched my life, made me smile, laugh & in one bizarre episode – sing.

For years I was someone who kept people out - because they hurt you. I’m not sure when it happened but along the way I decided that the only way to “not hurt” wasn’t to withdraw, but instead to hoard up as much deliciousness as possible. I’ve started collecting the good instead of counting the bad.

So while the years have left their mark on my body, I feel as if my life is just beginning and I’m looking forward to seeing how full I can make the rest of it.

Thank you for being part of it, I know it requires patience sometimes. Afterall, I've got decades to unlearn.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Kindling for the Bonfire of the Vanities

There is a line from a song that asks “What would you ask (G-d) if you had just one question?”
On a casual listen, several things might pop into your mind. All the classic struggles about good/evil, war, famine, poverty, death, unfairness, etc. But I caught myself giving this serious consideration. What?!? WOULD you ask if you could only ask one question.
This is where the vanity comes in. After long thought I realized that really, a lot of the big answers are inside of me already. In some cases there isn’t an answer and I accept that. No struggle means nothing to ask. Other things would not be changed by knowing the answers – therefore they are superfluous; don’t want to waste that ONE question. Other things I’m only mildly curious about, an answer would be nice, but not necessary.

Which led me to wonder “if not those questions, then which?” What question would have an impact on my life if I knew the answer? “Am I doing it right?” came to mind. Again, plenty of sources right here to guide me on that. Not all of them in agreement, not all of them in accordance with my own beliefs, but available. And there is that inner voice that whispers when I do something from the “right” place – if I listen. So for those answers, perhaps I should just listen more often/more closely.

I finally settled on “How can I do it better?” I feel that should yield concrete results. After all, we’ve all had the experience of doing the “right thing” only to find it wasn’t. I’d like a pithy explanation of how to do it better, because I’ll never do it perfectly, but a few tips and pointers would certainly ease my mind. And, the really sneaky part about it all? I don’t actually have to ask G-d, pretty sure if I started asking myself this on a regular basis, I could see a lot of good answers.

What about you, what would your One Question be?

The Knitters Version of the above:
There is a line from a song that asks “What would you ask (G-d) if you had just one question?”
On a casual listen, several things might pop into your mind. All the classic struggles about superwash/handwash, needle materials, indie dyers, copywrite. But I caught myself giving this serious consideration. What?!? WOULD you –as a knitter- ask if you could only ask one question.

This is where the vanity comes in. After long thought I realized that really, a lot of the big answers are inside of me already. In some cases there isn’t an answer and I accept that. (Who designed that? Who wears that? Why is that model standing like that?) No struggle means nothing to ask. Other things would not be changed by knowing the answers (Who spends $180 to knit a hat? What were They Thinking?)– therefore they are superfluous; don’t want to waste that ONE question.

Other things I’m only mildly curious about, an answer would be nice, but not necessary (Really?!? How hard is it to have a nice join on a circular? In that episode of Starsky & Hutch, what is the woman in the elevator knitting?)

Which led me to wonder “if not those questions, then which?” What question would have an impact on my knitting if I knew the answer? “Am I doing it right?” came to mind. Again, plenty of sources right here to guide me on that. Not all of them in agreement, not all of them in accordance with my own beliefs, but available – surf any internet knitting forum and you’ll find a thousand opinions on the “correct” way to manipulate sticks and string. And there is that inner voice that whispers when I do something from the “right” place – when you fondle the fabric and feel the drape and know “it’s just right”. We’ve all knit something to “gauge” and not liked the fabric- then ripped the project.

I finally settled on “How can I do it better?” I feel that should yield concrete results. After all, we’ve all had the experience of knitting perfectly “to pattern” only to find it wasn’t the right size/line/style. I’d like a pithy explanation of how to do it better, because I’ll never do it perfectly, but a few tips and pointers would certainly ease my mind. And, the really sneaky part about it all? I think the answer, Both in Life and in Knitting, is “Swatch.” Pretty sure if I started practicing my knitting more, trying new approaches, I’d get better.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

From our Stash to Yours

Happy Holiday! May you have a season filled with small miracles, and may you have the wisdom to recognize them for what they are.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Teal Deer

So, it’s Thanksgiving in the US, and the “too long didn’t read” version is:
My list of things I’m grateful for is so long it would crash the internet – which is a very good feeling. I hope many of you feel the same way.

Those of you that have been watching the train wreck of 2010 closely may wonder at this. But truly, this year more than any other, things have worked out. To recap:

~Some of you may remember a few years back when TAO and I had the disastrous vacation that led to our coming home 3 days early – to find a local company illegally bulldozing protected wetlands. Which led to TAO raising the rabble, which led to his being on the village board, which led to his building good roots in our tiny community? The point of all that was made clear when the flooding struck. If we hadn’t gone home/fought big business/made enemies/stuck to our guns – we would have lost everything in the house, not just the basement. (I say we, but really it’s TAO, I’m just the venture capitalist in this partnership.)

~I decided to take a big paycut and a huge lifestyle shift to accept a permanent position. A decision I may still come to regret or rethink. But it meant when I needed to go home for the flood, and now when I will need time off for some health issues, I am somewhere that will let me take the time. My contract company was a good company, but very much a business and not inclined to let little human problems get in the way of money making. Had I still been contracting the penalties would have been crushing.

~Last year’s decision to climb out on the olive branch of friendship meant that this year I have many more friends, supportive acquaintances, and laughing memories. Of course there have been some amazing blunders, but I’ve always had a knack for putting my foot in it, one measly year isn’t going to change that.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Happy Anniversary.

Today is my wedding anniversary, and I’m going to do something uncharacteristic. I generally hoard TAO all to myself, but for today, I’m going to talk instead of the power of one person.
When I was young I used dream of a better future. those dreams there never was someone with me. I didn’t have dreams of fairytale weddings and happily-ever-afters.

I used to be disappointed in books when they ended with everyone tragically dying. Because, what, that helped anything? Stories such as Aida or Tristan & Isolde made me roll my eyes. Great, you’re both dead, now who’s going to carry on the fight?

In short, I wasn’t blessed with a light and loving heart.

My little day to day choices aren’t influenced by TAO, but the overriding True North of my Life is subtitled “I want TAO to get what he wants & be happy.”

Now, I’m not stupid. TAO isn’t perfect. But he’s perfect Enough for me. He makes me crazy sometimes- fair enough, I return it in spades.
He thinks I’m wonderful. I, decidedly, am NOT wonderful – but I try to live up to it so that I don’t let him down. Which has changed me. Made me better…less concerned with mere survival and more concerned with Living.

I haven’t gone completely off the emotional deep end. I’m pragmatic enough to know that if he died or betrayed me I wouldn’t cease to exist. My special curse – the ability to keep getting up – would ensure that I did just that. But I do know life would not be the same. Life wouldn’t stop, my house would not become a shrine to him, but it would have an irrevocable course change.

The simplest way to explain how one person can make such a difference to another is to talk about the movie “What Dreams May Come.” In it, Robin Williams dies. He goes to Heaven. His wife dies. She goes to Hell. Williams can’t have Heaven without his wife, so he goes to Hell to rescue her. And I finally cried at a movie, because I got what the author was saying. So while I wasn't blessed with a light heart, I was taught how to have a loving one.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back to the regularly scheduled programming

Admittedly my last few posts have been off the knitting road. And rather depressing. I think they can be summed up with a line from one of my favourite songs: "They send these things to try us, and try us they do."

On that note, I now return to knitting content.

I recently engaged in what I have been assured is appropriate female response to stress: I went shopping. Chris over at My Favorite Thimble announced that the Blackthorn DPNs were getting a makeover. Now, I was pretty darn happy with my original sets & had already slated money for more. So, of course, I had to wait and try the new ones.

Opinion: Worth every penny.
The old Blackthorns were lovely. One of my favourite needles indeed. But they had some roughness to them that irritated the base of my fingers. They also, being completely handcrafted, weren't always round throughout the length. I did enjoy the "frill" of the surface and how I didn't have to worry about the needles slipping out of the work.

One thing Chris had said was that the Next Generation would be smoother. I was a little concerned, as I hate chasing escapees. As soon as the new ones arrived I popped 3 into the current WIP and left the other needles as originals. My fingers quickly distinguished which was which. The new needles are definitely a different tactile encounter:
Not slick like worked metal, but smooth in the way that your fingertip appreciates the curve and tension of skin when you caress it down the line of a lover's jaw; with that delicate warmth from body heat. Truly enjoyable.

As for the tips: the tips are decidely more pointy, with a taper that starts farther from the point. Honestly, if you were so inclined, a set of 00s and a voodoo doll could provide hours of amusement. They are much nicer for digging into a p3tog, or a nupp. At the same time, they're not so pointy that if you're a tip toucher You know who you are, your finger would hurt.

Add to all of that the lack of weight and the flexible strength, and they're a winner. Which is good, because my method of displaying sock yarn meant that's primarily what survived the flood and I see alot of socks in my future.

(Photos are of US size 0s; 2.0mm)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The end of the flood story

I do not recommend that a highly stressed person (namely me) be locked in a car for 20 some odd hours by herself. Since I felt odd having conversations with my imaginary friend, I opted for “imaginary” conversations with real friends; so if any of you found yourself psychically drained…apologies.

In youth we seek excitement. The big dreams, the ambitions. I wanted to be an anthropologist but didn’t know how I’d pay the bills. Then I wanted to be a knitwear designer whose originals went for thousands. (Hey it was High School). But mostly I wanted to be safe, warm, dry, and fed.

As we age, we realize that excitement is usually something bad. Something that breaks, goes wrong, hurts, or crushes us---becoming one more bead in a rosary of sorrows, delicately slipping in place, counting down the experiences of a lifetime.

And, as you finger this Rosary, it’s easy to count how life knocks you down, you get up, knocks you down, you get up, knocks you down…you think “perhaps if I stop getting up things would change”. But you stagger drunkenly up and go forth.
Why the continued getting up?

Because all things of beauty require balance and space. And in order to have a balanced life with freedom to love, you have to form other beads in the design. Beads that shimmer with a glow from the heat of a passionate heart, or beads that twinkle with the crystal clearness of laughter. Even beads with delicate facets that reflect contentment.

At the end of the drive, I found that obviously since neither of us was dead, nothing was lost that we couldn’t live without. Some furniture, some yarn, a fleece, things from the kitchen that had been stored during the floor remodel, most of the books, and weirdly the lawn tractor.

It was going to be a week before they replaced the furnace, so we decided to ignore the stresses, and go on our vacation. Because, in the end, I did grow up to get exactly what I wanted--- I am loved, safe, warm and fed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sights of Sedona

Loopy attempts coffeepot rock

Loopy attempts to climb CoffeePot Rock.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From cookie crumbs to Cookie A

WI update: there is damage but I'm not homeless. TAO and the furbabies are safe. And at the end of the day...that's all that matters.

One of the things I like about knitting is it's flexibility. If I need something soothing to keep my hands busy while my mind parses info-endless stockingette in the round fills the bill. If I need a puzzle, fair isle is like building an image one pixel at a time. And for those times when the hard drive of the brain is stuck in a continous loop...charted sucks up all the bandwidth and releases you from worry. With that in mind I cast on the Angee Socks from Cookie A.

I don't generally do complicated socks with large charts. I feel like it's a mismatch of energy. A sock is small thing = portable, therefore a sock with a large complicated chart = does not compute. But in this case, I needed something that would suck up all the worries, quiet the mind, and hopefully let me calm enough to get some sleep. I also wanted something that I had yarn on hand for, and that could conceivably be finished in my lifetime.

I am now 3/4 through the leg of the first sock; with a planned plain foot.

I started with my new Signature DPNs but the weight of the 0s (.008 gm) vs (.002 gm in the 1s) really bothered my hands, so they are going back to the manufacturer. Wish I was a tighter knitter so I could have some of the aluminum sizes. Funny how a control freak like me is a loose knitter. So I switched to the addi lace circs, great needles- don't care for the technique if the socks aren't going to be portable. And then brought out my favorites- Blackthorn DPNs. Sighs contentedly.


Pardon the crummy photo, my camera's battery won't hold a charge, and the replacement is in WI. of course, but I thought those lovely Blackthorn DPNs deserved a photo.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

D-mn Overachievers

TAO and I are recreational birdwatchers. It's something we can do quietly together, and it can be done cheaply when I'm on the road.

One of the things that is special to me about my house is the backyard, we get a wide variety of birdlife. We even had the specialist at our local WildBird Unlimited waves cheerfully at Lori come work out a plan to improve the draw.

Let me preface the next part of this by saying...we never skimp on the house. We pay cash, but we save until we can get "just the right thing". We did without a head/foot board for 9 years until we found "the one."

So...when Lori recommended we add a water feature.....

Did we go overboard?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Watch this cookie crumble.

If you ask people to describe me, strong and it's variations will be heard alot. (some of those variations include the less attractive side of strength, like goatheaded.)

And there is alot of truth to that. I've gotten through much of life by just continuing to get up everyday. I'm still working on rounding myself out with some kindness and compassion.

I would have liked to have a nice breakdown with the death of my children-didn't. Spent 6 weeks eating only yogurt (which I Loathe with a Passion) because we were shorthanded at work so I had to delay major abdominal surgery. Only missed 3 days of work because of the surgery.

Then there's the petty stuff: working 22 days straight with call because of coworker hissy fits, driving cross country to meet weird deadlines, petty stuff.

So there's the Vacation. You know, the vacation TAO and I have planned, pored over books, gotten recommendations, etc. For years. And every year something comes up...usually work. We were supposed to go in March. Work got in the way. So we rescheduled for October and made a pact, "we're going, even if we get fired".

So I'm the last to leave work today. I go out to the waiting room to turn off the tv, and see a map of WI, with a dot just about where I live. Okay. Lets turn this up. The blah blah levee has collapsed. Evacuation of this neighborhood continues

Cue full frontal view of MY HOUSE from a helicopter.

Call TAO- he's safe, he's at work, unaware we've made the news. Call the neighbors, yes they are all safe, but no one knows anything because they were evacuated.

I can't rush home because I have call for the next 11 days - because of hissy fit people- Again.

The irony is our insurance company cancelled our flood insurance 3 weeks ago because FEMA redrew the flood maps. We got our notice. We called our Agent because TAO is on the zoning board, and they expanded the flood map, not reduced it. We'd like our insurance please. Never heard from them.

Really?!? Is this vacation supposed to be one of those things where TAO & I die horrifically and G-d is trying to put it off?

I know it's just stuff. I know I should be grateful no one is injured or dead.

I also know that strength will only carry you so far, and I'm getting tired. Really tired.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Side effects of Cough medicine

Apparently side effects of the drugs for my ear/sinus infection with a side of bronchitis, include among them conversations with imaginary friends. Deciding that a defense is the strong offensive, I've decided to enlist y' not so imaginary friends, because then I'm not having this conversation by myself.

I've been reading the updated edition of The Sunflower. And it got me thinking about Reason. Epistemic reasons and Practical reasons- not Reason as a faculty.

In Judaism there is a teaching about the intention of performing a mitzvah. A mitzvah performed for the wrong reasons is not a mitzvah any longer. ie- if you do the right thing...but for the wrong's no longer a "right" thing.

Which brings me around to intent/reason. What happens if you don't do something - presumably a "wrong" something...does it matter what the reason was? Or does it only matter that you refrained from doing it?

For instance- Two men walk into a bar. Neither orders a drink. One man because he's in Recovery and he choses not to drink, but his friends are meeting here for sandwiches and he wants to see them. The other man doesn't order because he forgot his wallet in the car, and he's really only there to get his friend and they're leaving for a ballgame. Neither drinks...does the reason matter?

Do you think anyone will notice if I write this very shortly after a dose of cough medicine? Nah, sounds rational to me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sounding the Shofar

So the Horn has sounded and the Book is closed. And I was thinking about whether or not I really cared if my name was in it. Which led to an inventory of the past decades, and to thinking about timelines.

Which led to the visual image of my daughter, just the right height to lay her head in my lap when I sat at the kitchen table. The same kitchen table and chairs that are in my house right now. And I suddenly realized that while I think of her that way, if she had lived she'd be old enough to argue politics with me. To be dating someone I don't approve of, to be thinking of a kitchen table of her own.

If she had lived, our two strong personalities would have led to arguments galore - some of which I wouldn't have done right.

But for right Now - this split second in time- I would trade the world for her to be that woman; even if she hated me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What's in a name?

Some of you may remember last year when I had to have surgery and TAO, being the fabulous husband, bought me a selection of SweetGeorgia Yarns instead of an arrangement of flowers. You may even remember the trouble with gauge I had on the diagonal rib socks (stoned=tighter gauge). Then I channeled my Grandmother and put the rest of the yarn away "for the perfect project". Yeah...last year.

Fast forward to August 2010, I had packed the Goldmine colourway of SpeedDemon sportweight sock yarn, for my PA assignment. I decided that since I like plain footed socks, I would knit the feet and then decide on the leg patterning. Took about a week for both feet, then 3 or 4 days worth of knitting leg, ripping out, knitting new leg, ripping out. I finally decided to go with simple and cozy. You know the type of pattern I mean...not plain stockingette, but not tied down to a chart either.
I used Wendy D. Johnson's gusset heel sock and then finally opted for the Lacy Rib pattern from her first sock book. Topped it off with 20 rounds of 1x1 rib.

ie-I stopped worrying about "the Perfect Pattern" and went for toasty warm socks. Sorry Grandmother, but you know what I also remember about your saving "for good"? How much stuff went to Goodwill with the pricetag still on it when you passed. When it's the cold of winter, my toes will enjoy the warmth, and my calves won't care that I didn't knit up some elaborate pattern.

Maybe when I go home in October I'll pack up the other skein of yarn from the "bouquet" and knit something from it too. - but something more complicated this time.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

L'Shanah Tovah Tikateivu 5771

Seriously? Again? Here we are? Where was I the last year? Oh, that's right, run over, swept down, sucked under by Change.

At least through it all there was TAO, the puppies, and string. As well, there were friends. I made some awesome new friends last year, met really good people.

The friends changed the balance. There were more good experiences with people than with ninnies and nincompoops. Which is not to say that there weren't a few experiences with those. But you know what? I don't want bad things for those people. I actually want them to be happy, mostly so they'll stop being miserable, and making the rest of us miserable. Or...if they're not ready for happiness (sometimes we aren't) could they at least go play quietly in the corner and leave the rest of us alone?

Now, was this shift brought on by the universe or by my conscious decision to seek out more positive, or by my own growth/learning to keep my mouth shut? Who can say? Probably some alchemical combination of the three.

As for those situations where I did not act with kindness, compassion or grace. Please, forgive me. It truthfully was not personal. It may have felt personal, looked personal, and sounded personal, but it wasn't. And if I hurt you, I apologize. I can be a vicious and vindictive 5 year old sometimes.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Finishing out the year by finishing something

And being a knitter- promptly show you the inside.

What? You want to see the public side?

Bet you didn't guess whales from the inside. It's the Whale Watching beret from New England Knits. And I would highly recommend this as a beginners stranded project.
It’s roughly 65 rows total + rib, and the whales are a shape that you can “read” easily as you work. “Sky-forehead-sky-tail, sky-foreh.ea.d, crap, go back, forehead-sky-tail” Whereas sometimes it can be difficult on XOXs to see where you’re off if you are new to stranding.

I consider this my WEBS souvenir hat. I got to go to WEBS, and met some Rav friends IRL. That calls for a souvenir knit. The yarn was The Fingering Company Canopy. Except for the green, I chose not to use their Fern colour; As lovely as the store sample was, at $13 a skein I couldn’t justify the extra money to myself. Decided that it definitely needed the green tone, so I used my Loopy Solid Series in Celery- Smashing! And since it took roughly 26 yards of the green...still have plenty for a pair of socks.

I was Not stoked to wind up the yarn and find knots. At that pricepoint I don’t think knots in a 200yd skein is acceptable. Further review on the yarn, I understand that it’s elaborately dyed to be multitoned- but it’s also multihued. Even on the stranded work it’s obvious that some of the whales are green and others are blue. It also crocked all over the place, and bled copiously during washing. I would think that anything knit solid in it would demonstrate a wildly erratic colour changing pattern-perhaps an advantage if you want something with movement of color.
On the plus side…the bamboo gave it a lovely sheen, and the hand is delightful. The stranding will make a cozy topper in spring and autumn- winter as well, in a more temperate climate.

This would be nice for those left over dabs of sock yarn. If you aren’t sure if you have enough of a colour- take a large dinner plate and wrap it 3 times for every round you need the colour in (only 65 rounds + rib in the beret) adding one extra set of 3 wraps for wiggle room = enough.

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Evidence that TAO is the Awesome one as well as The Adored One-
Last nights text thread:
Me- Make the yarn leave my mind alone (I keep dreaming of making Wendy’s Shetland Pi in Dandelion from KP)
TAO-I cannot
Me- Hot & Crabby- 97 in the apt & the computer is on the fritz f’ing Microsoft upgrades
TAO-That’s why you should buy yarn
Me- I have like a years worth on the needles now though
TAO- With more needles for the new yarn
Me- Satan! Begone foul demon!
TAO- Give into the yarn demon
Me- I cast you on- oh wait that’s knitting- I cast you out!
TAO- Knit unto one, purl unto two. So sayeth the Ravelry
Me- You’re a keeper.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sedona Socks

I was originally going to call these my "Going to Sedona" Socks, but I may have to call them "Going to the Birds" instead.

About the Birds: As you can see I am drying this sock by hanging it from a hook in the soffet. The sock in the photo is the 1st sock. The day I hung it out to dry, a juvenile cardinal became enamored of it, and spent almost 2 hours trying to fly up and land on it. Fortunately without success or snagging it.
Today, I hung the 2nd sock out to dry. This time I left a long tail at the toe, I grafted the toe on the needles, and didn't feel like getting out the chibi and weaving in the end. So I just soaked the sock and hung it out. The string was just long enough to blow toward the railing. I see movement out of the window, go look...a chipping sparrow has the end of the yarn in it's beak and is wrestling it for all it's worth. I don't know if he was house building or thought he'd gotten the motherlode of millipedes; but he wasn't going down.

About the Socks: Sedona Socks by Lisa at YenForYarn. In the Sedona colourway by Lisa Souza. In the BFL sock. (it's a really saturated colourway...dyed my hands, my needles, the project bag, and the water) So I'm hoping that means the colours will stay rich and warm. And by jiminy I'm wearing them to Sedona on my vacation!
My mods include: changing the foot to non patterned, knit it on 00s, and to start with 72 stitches for the rib and 2 repeats to accommodate my lushness.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Those of you who know me, know that I am a planner and cheap. (parsimonious, penny pinching, tight). After all I furnished a one bedroom apt for less than $400 including a new full-size mattress = cheap. The 3 areas I spend money? TAO/house, electronic gadgets (but only after driving TAO crazy talking about it) and yarn.

Several of you also know that this year has been filled with changes, most of which will cascade into other changes. Including a 30K pay cut. Yes, that sentence makes me feel dizzy.

So I did what any good American should do in these times of economic uncertainty. I broke into the cash.

Took a crazed weekend drive to MA.
Armed with a list of things to see, fondle, flip through, etc.

There was a mini trunk showing of "New England Knits" which persuaded me to a) buy the book, b) invest in 3 skeins of Canopy Fingering weight (baby alpaca, merino, bamboo) to make a cheaper version of the cute whale beret. I say cheaper because the book version requires more colours- at $13.00 a skein. So NO! But it will be a lovely noggin warmer nonetheless.

Despite the fact that the scale hasn't budged, I have apparently re distributed enough of the weight that I could try on the store samples. Elizabeth, the goddess of WEBS store samples will tell you...were ALOT. It was very educational. Several that I would have bought the pattern for had I not tried them on in front of the mirror and been disappointed when I finished and they looked awful. There were also some that I went in thinking "I'll try them just for kicks, but that won't look good'. And a couple of those really surprised me. Including the WEBS Circles yoke pullover, that I loved so much I bought in Exactly the store sample colours. Made of Sheffield- a blend of merino, silk, and angora.

Oh,, and let me tell you about an ongoing conversation with TAO regarding the IPad. It went back and forth for 3 months. And remember when he was going to have one waiting for me when my laptop committed electric death? It ramped up after that. He received several RSS feed posts of WendyKnits because several of her posts have featured hers lurking in the corner of photos. One thread of the conversation culminated in a pet analogy; it's not just the purchase, it's the care and feeding afterwards. It's like a pet...His response? A pet that doesn't poop on the carpet.

So this post is brought to you via my new pet...there was one of the few stores in America with the Ipad I wanted in stock, on the way to MA. So I invested in it and the wireless keyboard. But didn't open it for a whole 28 hours, while I searched my soul for any guilt that would pop up over it. Yeah, none. So I ordered it's vaccination (ZaggSkin) and pet bed (carrying case), downloaded Plants vs Zombies, a PDF reader for my knitting pattern and am learning it's workings. Between my new puppy and the supersoft yarn...I am set for hours of winter entertainment.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For TAO art my Beloved - Beta 1.4

You know that first giddy part of being in love? When everything they do is wonderful, exciting,funny, etc etc? Well, after this many years I know Really Know TAOs feet. (weird). The quest for a great fitting sock has been more odd than all those foot rubs and pedicures ever were. And I may have finally tweaked the base pattern to "Just Right".

I started with Wendy D. Johnson's Gusset Heel sock. I knit the toe and foot of each sock identically, but used different stitch math for the gusset/heel. Knitting a tiny coloured rubberband into each sock to tell the difference between them & taking copious notes. Sent them home with directions- directions for wear, fitting questions, shoes, etc. Found out which sock was the preferred fit, confiscated the pair and ripped the bluebanded one back to the midpoint, reknitting to the whitebanded one's specs.

If these are IT, I will finally have a reliable base pattern for TAO. Shame it's got to be on Zeros.

And again, pardon the weirdly hued photo. The laptop was repaired (I think) but -despite the fact that the authentication code is stamped on the bottom - was shipped back without an Operating System. Because, you know, people 1100 miles from home, travel with backups of their Operating systems on disc and the place to have it fixed is an hour away but I'm on call for 22 days and have to be within 25 minutes of the ER. So, I don't think I'll stop grinding my teeth anytime soon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your Honor:

Previously Prosecution has maligned my client. Sneering at it's alleged perfidy and attempting to prove malicious intent.

I refer you to Exhibit .25mm

Defense would like to state that my client is innocent of all charges. As a second sock knit in the same fashion from a second skein resulted in almost identical results, thereby proving the genius of the dyer.

Defense rests
Sorry for the oddly toned photo - it's from my phone as my laptop suffered a lightning strike despite not being plugged in.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

.25mm makes the pool deep

In these “hard economic times” we all have to be frugal, so frogging a sock leg and reknitting is a money saver. Plus Le Picky Picky struck.

For the technically inclined…the foot is knit on 2.25 mm at 48 st rounds. (I am a loose knitter, your mileage may vary.) You can see the swirls as the gusset stitches are incorporated, then I returned to 48 for the first few inches of the leg. I wanted the part I see between the shoe and the pant cuff to be in the stripe pattern.
Then, because I am lusciously designed, I went up to 2.50 mm for the calf portion. Ending with 2.75 mm for the ribbing.

The base pattern is Wendy D. Johnson’s basic gusset heel sock. The leg pattern is the stitch pattern used in the Hermione’s Everyday socks pattern. Which was brought to my attention by Round the Twist.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Good thing TAO is not a jealous man, I am in love! The lines, the curves, the silent operation, the clever hiney.

Meet QuanYin - my new HansenCraft Mini Spinner with the Woolee Winder attachment. She/He's a lot of wheel for a relative beginner like me. And unless things change amazingly I shalln't outgrow her. After all Amelia loves hers and I won't ever be as good as her.

The customer service from Kevin & Beth was A-Maz-ing! Beth even sent me a photo of several "blanks" for the front piece that had been cut and I got to pick my face. I opted for the heavily grained look. (After all, TAO is a wood worker.)

If you've ever seen "Sleepless in Seattle", you'll understand why I love the "butt" on this thing.

That little lever? It allows the entire endpiece to swing down out of the way to remove the bobbin. Amelia's YouTube Video.
Of course I had to sit right down and "get a feel" for her/him. An itty bitty swatch of 2 ply in Myer's Lime Bars.

While I was using her, the naming occurred. QuanYin- a "goddess" of several Asian religions-each with their own twist. In one, she even started off as a male before being absorbed by the winning tribe and made female; and that's appropriate for this little wheel, she's not really feminine, but not masculine either.

Traditionally, QuanYin, is seen as one who comforts the troubled, the sick, the lost and the unfortunate or troubled. Which is what spinning does. Comforts. She is also venerated by travelers and business people as the goddess of luck and fortune. (Both of which my spinning skills need.)

In Chinese Buddhism; instead of "being seen as an active external force of unconditional love and salvation, the personage of Quanyin is highly revered as the principle of compassion, mercy and love. A meditative or contemplative state of being at peace with oneself and others is seen as Quanyin." The snarky part of me could use a friend like that - so much stuff to learn.

Oddly enough, the thing that I am most enchanted with is the flexible orifice hook. Brilliant! Beth gave a great tutorial on how to make one, but with traveling, I had none of the supplies and just bought one instead. Sooooo easy for clumsy, tired fingers.

I am selling Athena my Sonata, as she has languished more and more over the past year. So unfair to a beautiful wheel that wants to be used. So if you know someone interested...give me a nudge.

Friday, May 14, 2010

In which I lie to myself

I cast on these toe up socks, knowing that there would be pooling, swirling,
whatever, but I told myself
“let the colours fall where they may; it doesn’t matter. Just enjoy the yarn.” Knit basic socks and save the semi-solids for the really complicated stuff.
And it was true for a while, then my eye noticed the little swirl stripes. Arrgh. Stripes. But I spoke sternly to myself…”Let it go. Look how pretty.” And it was true. Very pretty. People commented on how pretty.

There was the usual rude interruption of the patterning while the gusset increases occurred and then the swirls started up again. But when I began the leg patterning. Bam! Pooling. Arrgh.
“Keep knitting, let the colours fall where they may; it doesn’t matter. Still Pretty.”
But…it does matter. That ‘s the part I see when I sit down. Now I find myself planning elaborate maneuvers to bring back the symmetry. The same symmetry that was the death knoll for the Roadside Gerry.
Sheech…no pleasing me, eh? And what if the second ball doesn’t play along?

Monday, May 10, 2010

You can't drink from the same river twice.

A funny thing happened on the way to this post. Traditionally I do something about Mother's Day and hope and the future. This year that wasn't going to happen. This year was going to be about although TAO and I work so hard to get from Here to There, each year we end up Here.
right Here where I am a tired middle aged woman with such a sharp riff in the middle of her life that I wonder if that old shibboleth about willing your heart to stop has any practical uses.

But then I think about the disruption that would cause TAO. He'd have to come get my crap, and deal with the paperwork and finances. He'd have to get time off of work, they'd probably fire him. He wouldn't know what to do with the yarn will is only half filled out.

And that would be grossly unfair to him. This pain isn't his pain, because all pain is individual; but he has his own pain. And in a Society that doesn't treat that pain the same way it treats a Mother's pain. If a man loses a son in war - it's an honor/duty/you should feel proud. If a woman loses the same son in war - it's a shame/awful/unimaginable.

TAO feels his pain, and he shares my pain. Shares it enough to risk the wrath of the tightfisted checkbook goddess to send expensive flowers, on the most expensive flower day of the year. Because he wants to remind me of beauty. To remind me that while today may feel as if we haven't gotten anywhere these years, it's not true. Together we've come through something horrific - through our own separate fires and the flames of combined loss/frustration/fear. We've dragged one another up from the morass and each taken turns being the strong one. Together.

Which the end...this IS another post about the future.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I survived the experience labelled "Maryland Sheep & Wool 2010". It pretty much lived up/down to my expectations.

I mostly kept my spending under control. I did buy fair food - which I had packed a lunch to avoid, but gave in. And really....$9.00 for a sandwich? Ridiculous. And a pattern (Milkweed) that was in my Rav Fav's but the sample made it a "must have." The other unplanned spending? Long story.

I bought a mint plant because one of my favourite summer time drinks is limeade with mint leaves.
A pair of sheepskin slippers - made in the USA by a shepherd; to replace my 2007 pair of slippers that died a sad toe death (that cost more money/made in china). I specifically wanted US made.
I went early and walked through all the booths on my list
Before I bought anything. I only bought 2 skeins of yarn. Both with enough yardage to be small shawls or in the case of the 3 Irish Girls perhaps socks. I picked up Miss Babs "Yummy" - A day at Sunflower festival; and 3 Irish Girls "Beckon" - Nora. (That's the rainbow sprinkles with chocolate colourway, which will either be A-mazing, or Ugh!)
I went to the big Saturday Podcaster's meet up. Glad I took my knitting. You will not be tormented with the photo of me with Jasmin & Gigi - it was 90F+ and I forgot to take off my hat, glasses, sunshirt. Even I am too vain to post that photo. As always at MDSW - I met Great People in the lines. Really. Truthfully.
The lesson from 2007 about getting there early so I could get to my car easily paid off big time. I went back to the shade/ice chest many times.
After that I meet my roomie, who was Not Having A Good Morning. And the fact that she was Frazzled actually made me calmer.
I picked up 8 ounces of undyed Borderdale fiber for spinning. It was cheap enough that I felt like I could get it just for the experience.
Ordered my big ticket item - more on that later.
Met up with my Rav Friends. Ooodles of fun. It was great to have faces to put with the Ravatars.
Finally left, thinking a shower and nap were called for before the afterparty. I got the shower. Not the nap. Turns out our room was the only room on the floor that was not part of a wedding party. And they had put little wheelchair-bound Grandpa in the room next door - then turned it into a hospitality suite. Of course that meant they put the door on the metal tabbie thing and slammed it about every 40 seconds. Oh...and there may have been some angry voice raising when they came back at 1230 am and started doing it again.
Other people in the blog world probably can describe Guido's afterparty better than I could - really too tired to get the full fun factor. But lots of people had a great time.

Okay...the big purchase. I had been pondering buying an Electric Spinner for a while. Researching brands, lurking the boards, the usual. I had even been considering stopping spinning altogether, or selling my current wheel. I had mentioned to TAO that I was going to look. He said "buy". I went to each vendor - texting poor TAO after every stop. "Buy". Then came the texts about I found just what I wanted but it's $$$$ not $$. "Buy" 2 hours later he texts "Did you buy it?" "No". Hour later "Buy it?" "NO" "Give me their number." "No." Mid afternoon...on the phone...
TAO "Did you buy it?" "Too much money"
TAO "Give me the number" "No, I want specific options, you'll buy the wrong thing."
TAO "Bet they'll sell me a gift certificate." "Shut up"

I even texted Chelle to help talk me out of it. PS...don't take her shopping with you.

Finally, I filled out the order form. HansenCraft Mini Spinner with Woolee Winder. TAO texts: "Happy Mother's Day, aren't I good at gifts?"

Luckily it wasn't until the next day - when I started to really feel excited about the purchase instead of guilty - that I found out TAO had NO IDEA how MUCH money I was talking about. When I barked at him for encouraging me to spend money when he didn't have a number..."I know you're too cheap to spend money we don't have." Eyebrow lift. Just for that...I'm not telling him how much it cost.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Remember my question for 2010? “Who would I be, if I weren’t who I am?”

I’m about to test that concept. Rather than going to MDSW in search of fiber, tools, or that perfect skein, I am attending MDSW with an emphasis on socializing.
This will be a reach for me as I am actually quite shy. Once I know/warm up to you, my caustic viewpoint and dry humor show through…before that…”reserved” or “aloof” might seem better descriptors.

So Monday will either find me eating my way out of a “I can’t believe I said something so stupid” frenzy, or moderating more groups on Rav. Actually Rav is why this came about, hanging out with a group of (mostly)women, typing messages that would make my 6th grade English teacher cringe in terms of spelling and syntax – and having a blast.

Wish me luck. This social growth thing is just as painful as it was in High School.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What a difference a gauge makes.

Last weeks shawl in Mini Mochi at a gauge of 7 st to the inch took roughly 215 yards, and gave me a light airy shawl perfect for a delicately scaled young lady.

I decided not to let the RAM that had memorised the pattern go to waste, and pulled out some ill fated Jo Sharp DK Wool Tweed to cast on. I label the wool ill fated because I bought it in 2006 and it has since been swatched or knit into 4 incarnations, only to be ripped out. And, indeed, while I don't foresee ripping this shawl, the colour - manufacturer named "Marble" because that looks better in a catalog than "Phys Ed Grey" may find itself transformed by a dip in the dye pot when I go home in October. Although it is a lovely soft colour, and a sweatshirt coloured shawl would be more stylish than a ratty sweatshirt of the same hue.

The yarn is a true wooly wool, and makes for a very warm shawl.
And - getting back to gauge - a full size shawl for a not so delicately scaled woman. At 3.25 to the inch (ruthlessly blocked) and about 500 yards, I have a nice shawl perfect for the current April Showers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fast and loose

As my first "serious" boyfriend could have told you-
I'm fast and loose.

Pardon the dark picture but it was only 530 am and the people who "furnish" corporate apartments seem to think that all people do is watch TV & eat TV dinners.
However I wanted to flash a project shot of my shawl. I cast it on Monday and you can see...row 51 of 80.

More details when it's done.

And for the record, my high school boyfriend was a very sweet and mannerly young man who would never cast aspersions on a girls character

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Hah! in that tone that implies I have one upped someone. Afterall, it's still only April and I have the first holiday gift off the needles.

Hah! in that tone that states "you thought you could defeat me, but I've shown you!" Directed to the yarn. Mini Mochi in Lake Trail. While the colours are lovely, the yarn is a softly spun single which may be great for stockingette, but does not like to be manipulated into decreases. I started with sharp needles, since was to be lace - Disaster, switched to blunter needles - moderately annoying, and ended with needles about as sharp as drinking straws - still splitty. Gaah! However the shawl is complete. The pattern called for 328 yds (one skein of noro sock) but my mohair allergy ruled that out.

Hah! to the pattern designer, who when I politely PM'd a question about errata (having found errors in the pattern), wrote me a vaguely snotty note about the email she'd sent out 3 weeks prior with corrections listed - Yeah great lady...but you sold me the pattern last Saturday...still with the errors in it. So kiss my needles.

Due to some bizarre quirk of gauge I find myself done after only 210 yards. (one ball of Mini and just enough of the second ball that you can't not break into it.) It is small, but it's planned as a gift for my talented and gorgeous (but spindly) 13 year old niece, whose favourite colours are green and orange. Do you think she'll like it?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank the Universe for friends.

There may have been squeeing in the pitch used by dolphins when I saw this little black sheep bag. And the Chameleon Colorworks BFL in peacock may be tucked in my work bag as a stress ball.

This is my birthday/new year/life changes/here I'll loan you a book box from a Knitterly Friend (didn't ask permission to use her name).
Included were a book that I want to read, but don't think I'll like & can't get from the library (Sweater Quest) so it was fun to be able to borrow it. Since she was sending Bob to the post she included other goodies - a lovely china mug with tea stainer and cover, an entire cravingsworth of tea, my favourite notion (highlighter tape), a tiny fuzzy alpaca, and a dopp bag from

All received and enjoyed at the end of one of those days were you bit your tongue so much your jaw muscles hurt. Big sigh of relief

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Off the Whiteboard - on the Runway

Yesterday I got to do my "new yarn" dance. My beautiful custom order from Lisa Souza came, still wet from the dyer. (literally, still wet, the alpaca was softly damp).

Deciding that this was not a time to exercise decorum or self control, I wound all 465 yards of my BFL sock in Sedona by hand. I don't care if I tell's only a few week contract...from now on I'm packing the swift. And this is the supermodel of sock yarn...gorgeous, just a little over the top, and Skinny!
That would be my Beautiful BFL on OOs. Definitely skinny. My stash may need some of this yarn for lace.

I continued on my spree by casting on the Sedona socks by Lisa Dykstra. I'm trying to knit these with a prayer of hope & strength for her during a trying time, and also attempting to knit them dreaming of my vacation & renewal. It works for me.

I bit the bullet and opted to go to MSW and even picked up tickets for the afterparty. (Dear G-d, what was I thinking?) Fat Bunny in Sunny DaySo I've started my list of stuff to make certain I see. But I'm trying to decide if I'll have time to knit a little cowl out of this: , just to keep a breeze off my throat

or if I should go whole hog and attempt the Scroll Lace Scarf or Saroyan in Baby Alpaca Sport in Breath of Spring, as a weather deterrent- MSW weather can be very uncertain.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fool

I don't usually review a fiction book here, but after foolishly staying up late to finish it I decided to give it a go. (Blame it on sleep deprivation)

Divas Don't Knit isn't my usual flavour of novel. No dead bodies, no puzzles, no scenes of hiding from the killer. But as it was a library book and therefore infinitely affordable I decided to give it a go.

I hereby declare it enchanting, and the characters have me looking forward to the sequel. It is a "life drama" book, but without the whiny co-dependence so often displayed in those books. (There's one book about a real life divorcee and her knitting that still makes me want to slap the author while telling her to grow up.)

Jo is the recently widowed mother of two who uproots her life to move to a small seaside town because of finances. Rather than being a 341 page snivel about the pain/unfairness of life, it's a funny and generous look at how change happens...for good and bad.

If you are a fan of the drama and angst in Bridget Jones & it's ilk, you may not enjoy this book. But if you are a "get up when life slaps you down" kinda gal, it's "stay up late to finish" worthy. a bonus...there's knitting out the kazoo.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chag Sameach

Joyous Festival to everyone who is entering their Springtime celebrations.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On the Whiteboard

As some of you may know TAO and I have had a rocky history when it comes to vacations.

For about 12 years we've been saying "someday we're going to Sedona" but never gone because every year something comes up. So last July I got well, frankly, pissed, called TAO, told to put in for the time off, as we were going in March 2010. Booked the tickets, car, lodging, train, savings fund, etc etc.

And we didn't get to go, so we re-booked it. Then Midwest Airlines sent a notice "that flight is cancelled" "please rebook your flight". Actually what they did was cancel our cheap ticket. There is still the Exact Same Flight flying out - same #, same gate, same times but the tickets are now $400 more each. (insert nifty british swearword here). And, of course, customer service is designed that you give up and go away. We are now experiencing call wait times of 45 minutes. Our email system is experiencing heavy usage, it may be 3 weeks for a response, if you would like to remain on the list please reply. I know this because they cancelled the tickets but did not refund the money, because they were certain I would want it credited toward a different ticket. yeah, no.

Back to the Whiteboard. I came across a sock pattern titled Sedona. Which comes with a tale - shortly after the designer wrote it she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer and a group of people decided to knit the pattern while praying for her. I promptly bought the pattern.

Then I saw that J. Knits has an Arizona colourway. So I ordered it from an online store, which took a week to bill me, has never contacted me, and as yet no yarn. Did a yarn search and found 2 other dyejobs that didn't warm my cockles.

A couple of weeks later I had a bit of an ear prick up when I heard someone mention on a podcast that they had scored yarn at StitchesWest in the Sedona colourway. And lo! It was from a dyer I lurve Lisa Souza. Small yarn in that colorway available. Oh but wait - custom order. insert waffling for 3 weeks here. I drove TAO nuts-he finally exclaimed in exasperation "why the h-ll haven't you ordered it yet?!?"

I now have an email saying "You are on the Whiteboard, I'll email when it ships." Yippee! - now I just need plane tickets.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


My prediction of not finishing my Sugared Serpents (Wendy Johnson's Serpentine pattern in Boomerang Sugar Cane) did not take into account the easy chart and portability of project that I've blown the chart up to huge then marked with highlighter tape.
It wasn't mindless walking around knitting, but it was a great lunchtime knit.
And it's even still cold enough to wear them. (sadly)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's a lonely Roadside

In the distant past some of you may remember by struggles with Roadside Gerry and it's flashing, pooling, puddling that drove me bonkers and ruined the lovely colours for me. I even considered putting it on the Trade Page in Ravelry. Eventually I realized that Roadside was lonely and bought it a nice friend called Arauchania Ranco in Coffee.

My eye can still see a swirl that breaks the orange/yellow and the green/blue but because the Coffee yarn has hues that match Roadside, it all works together harmoniously. And, really, isn't that what happens in all the best relationships?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Marching along

I realized today that I haven't posted in a while. Not so much because life has been overwhelming and difficult, but more because it has been pleasantly full. Which in turn means it's been "really hardly worth writing about". I did finish the first Sugared Serpentine sock, and promptly cast on the toe for the second to avoid Second Sock Syndrome.

I don't think that sock will buzz along though, as I also cast on the Brandywine shawl in Pagewood Farm Denali in "Sky Blue Pink". Given the choice between charted knitting on tiny needles and charted knitting on 4.0mm needles...well... Don't expect a finished Serpent anytime soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two sizes of socks

On the tiny side: Little baby socks, pattern sized down from WendyKnits gusset sock pattern.

On the giant side: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Harf/Scat in Knitpicks Shimmer in Eucalyptus.
You make a headsized sock toe, knit a scarf, make another sock toe. Then you have a scarf that is a hat, or a hat that is a scarf. Mine is a short scarf. I reached a point where I realized that I would need to buy another skein if it was to be a long scarf, or I could have about a 4 footer, that would fold into a nice "4 layers of alpaca over the ears" hat. Then I realized that the yarn had perfectly striped into 3 colour 2 row wide stripes. And, lets face it, a new skein wouldn't continue the pattern, besides, a new skein would be Buying Yarn. So I went for the hat.

On a side note - when I was kvetching to TAO about the striping *What IS it about yarns that pattern?* He said that it's not the yarn, it's my eye. I'm so trained to look for thrombus that my eye picks out patterns to match up, and that's why I can see colour repeats. Okay, great for work, but really...not so much for the knitting.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I quit

Enough Already.
Back in Oct 2006, I cast on the Feather and Fan Shawl from the Gathering of Lace. It takes about 2200 yards of spider fart yarn. I picked up a beautiful skein from Black Bunny Fibers. (And let me interrupt myself to say that woman's colour sense is amazing. She used to have one called 70s carpet. I love her colours.)

Okay...back to the Summer Garden Laceweight. It wound up into a 2400 yd ball about the size of a seedless watermelon. (ie:not very portable). From there it went to it's own project bag, and traveled around the country with me. Sometimes spending months hibernating untouched, or indeed, not even taken to whichever state I was headed.

In the spirit of Frog or Finish I pulled her out again...uncomfortable spot...too much invested to frog, but still about 1300 yards to go. Row count in the 140s is roughly equivalent to 3 inches on a sock for each row of the shawl. Nevermind that there are people on Ravelry who have knit it in less than a month. This shawl was becoming my own Sisyphean challenge. Then the small misfortunes began. The hole caused by a dog claw, the huge miscount that resulted in 18 rows having to be ripped and reknit, the paranoid delusion that the frog was sneaking out of his tank at night and tinking back rows.

The true death knoll was TAO. 2 days ago he looked at my orange octopus body and asked "Why are you knitting that?" I launched into some explanation involving challenges, this book, EZ saying lace was good because you got alot of knitting for little money. Then he asked "What is it? It looks like a rasta hat gone awry" And something about the fact that he asked first "why" not "what" made me realise that energy-wise...I'm over this project. I finished the last 2 rows of the repeat, and spent nearly 6 hours doing a crochet cast off.

The first photo was the unblocked shawl on the floor with camera at hip height.

This photo is the blocked shawl on the floor with the camera held above my head. Good thing I stopped; can you imagine how much bigger it would be with another 42 rows added?

And...I still have about 1250 yards of pretty yarn to knit something triangular or rectangular out of. (in a couple of years)