Monday, December 31, 2007

It's been a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad month

Well, I knew December was going to get crazy, what with the holidays and trying to finish up my prospectus for my dissertation (which has now been accepted - yay!), but I didn't account for finding out in late November that my 34 year old husband had colon cancer and needed surgery ASAP. That threw us and our families for quite a loop, and I didn't quite feel up to blogging about it at the time. He had his surgery on the 17th of December and was home for Christmas. He is now so well recovered that he is back to walking the dog and doing all the cooking (I do believe he couldn't handle any more of my ham-handed kitchen attempts). He is still going to be getting chemotherapy in the new year, but the doctors are very positive about his recovery and future health. That, and his swift recovery from intrusive abdominal surgery has made things seem more manageable, and I plan to be back on a more regular posting schedule. I hope no one missed me too too much. ;) I missed all of you and all the bloggers I haven't been keeping up with - I have about 500 posts to read now, so I've got my work cut out for me!!

I have been busy all this time, so I'll have a few photos to share over the next few posts. Here's some merino from the Yarn Wench that I spun into a nice, even fingering weight yarn:

I believe the colorway was Squash, or maybe Squash Blossom, but I was too hasty in tidying up my labels. I've wanted to make Laila's Socks from Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia ever since I saw them, in their original orange and white incarnation, and I think that this yarn may be the perfect choice for that. I'm very excited, though I'm worried about colorwork and socks - I haven't had too much luck making colorwork fit over my heel... Still, it's worth a shot!

This is Zen String superwash merino in Splendor:

Ever-kind Angelina surprised me with an extra 4 oz. of this when I ordered it, due to a shipping delay, so I have enough for a scarf - I'm thinking linen stitch - which I can't wait to start on as the yarn is sooo soft and colorful.

Finally, I feel terrible that I lied on a post a while back - the things down at the bottom that I said weren't socks? Yeah, they totally were. Here they are, in fact:

They're Bellatrix socks from Socktopia/Gigi Silva (whose site seems to be down at this post), knit from Zen String Bambewe in the Blissed colorway. I love how the yarn behaved with the funny yarnovers in the pattern.

Anyway - I'll be back soon, and hope you have a happy new years!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Mom went to Tibet...

...and "all" I got was this crazy yarn:

It's a laceweight (2 giant hanks of it - what to make? so many possibilities!), with a halo sort of like mohair, but it sticks to itself more and is a little coarser. And it's probably yak, though there was a bit of a communications issue - apparently not a whole lot of western tourists in Tibet want to buy yarn! Silly them.

It does smell a bit like a yak (I guess), and something about it drove the cat nuts:

I set in on the floor for a minute and she came running in and started licking and biting it, like it was coated in catnip. She's a fan of yarn, but not usually like this!

Apologies for the short posts this month! It's that time of year! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday! (Both our pumpkin pie (which I made) and the cranberry tart (by the BikeJerk) were delicious, though the tart got eaten days ahead of the pie!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm so thankful...

That once a year this:

turns into this:

(that's a cranberry tart on the right...and YES, it is a weird 70's kettle!)

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it, and happy desserts to everyone else!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Just a quickie

Here's my handspun as mentioned in the last post. Not perfect, but so pretty! I wish there was decent light so you could see the colors better, but what can a girl do?

It's a merino roving from Spunky Eclectic (bought at Mass. Sheep and Wool), in Toronto. The colors are pretty close to this, but in person it seems more....alive?

BikeJerk took me to the Mt. Auburn Cemetary today for the first time - designed by Olmsted, and ever so lovely. It's full of trees in so many lovely shades, I couldn't help but want to knit them....

Friday, November 9, 2007

My dog is shiny

(Cute shiny dog photo to distract from knitting-free post)

It's been sort of a crazy week around here - I'm just realizing today that it hasn't actually been extra busy, it's just harder to cope with it. Because I Haven't Had Coffee Since Sunday.

The BikeJerk's been having stomach issues for a while (work-stress related) and has quit eating and drinking any number of things that make life worth living (tomatoes, wine, cheese, spicy food). He had no problem quitting those things (except the mental anguish of a food-lover deprived of his previously iron stomach), and so I had no problem continuing to eat them in front of him, trying not to _visibly_ enjoy them. But it finally came down to coffee. And he loves coffee. A lot. It seemed like a little too much torture to continue to brew coffee in the house (filling it up with its lovely aroma) with him not able to drink any, so I stopped drinking it. [I know that die-hard coffee drinkers would just stop somewhere to get their morning fix, but I'm not that die-hard.] I never even had caffeine on a regular basis until about 4 years ago, but let me tell you, that doesn't make it any easier to stop. I feel much better now, but Monday and Tuesday were a haze.

Anyway, I hardly know how I've spent my time this week. There are new piles of books, so I assume I spent some time in the library. There are two balls of yarn to make the BikeJerk a new hat, so I deduce that I bought that. There's a lovely hank of handspun, which I must have spun, but it's all a blur.

There's a decent amount of knitting going on around here, but no pictures (even of the handspun - perhaps this weekend when I'm actually at home during daylight hours?): almost half of what's on the needles is secret for one reason or another, and most else is just tedious to share (yes, my scarf is now twice as long as it was, but it's still a rectangle. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along.). But I'll leave you with something that struck me last weekend. A woman at the knitting brunch I sometimes attend had a wonderful insight - maybe others have already realized this, but it struck me nicely: buying yarn (or spinning fiber, which was her example) is not just buying to have, like a lot of things are, but rather buying moments of happiness sometime in the future, when you'll sit down with your angora (or whatever), and do something you enjoy very much. Even though the happiness is somewhere in the future, even the act of buying the yarn partakes of the joy, because you can picture how happy and relaxed you'll be doing that knitting or spinning.

It's a lovely way to think of it, I think, though, to borrow a slogan from the liquor companies: Knit responsibly.

Friday, November 2, 2007

And what have we here?

Things that aren't socks? No way!

[Notice how I'm not even mentioning that the Red Sox SWEPT the World Series here? No sense in dredging up the past, right? After all, this is a socks-free post, and I feel I've sort of given up my right to gloat and cheer by allowing myself to get distracted all week by all the medieval Charlemagne material I've been forced to wade through (stupid dissertation research - so distracting)...]

I'm afraid to type this in fear that if I say that fall is finally here, the weather will suddenly change and it'll be 80 degrees and humid again tomorrow. Please, no more summer, honestly! Proof that it's autumn? I made my first apple pie of the season on Halloween - local Gravenstein apples, and my best crust ever - and the sedum has turned the loveliest shade:

I never knit scarves for some reason (too boring?) and yet I love wearing them - partially because when I moved north to New England, I finally discovered that they were more than just decoration! Also, they're pretty. This one is made from Yarn Pirate's merino/tencel sock yarn in Butternut (Booty club September (?)), and is a chevron pattern not entirely unlike that in the Jaywalker socks. This yarn didn't call to me for socks, but I really like it in this scarf. and it'll be so nice and soft on my neck.

And another autumnal scarf, for my brother:

This is from that cake of handspun that I flashed last post. I swatched several things, but everything seemed to get eaten up by the yarn. It ended up being plain old stockinette with a garter edging (I steam-ironed it and everything, so I hope it won't curl too much), which shows up the color variation as well as the sort of rustic and charming size variation in the spinning (since I'm not so good at the thicker spinning). It's a Christmas present, so more photos in December!

Almost immediately after I finished the thick spinning for that scarf, I (very slowly) spun up a whole lot of very fine singles as an antidote:

Which I just finished plying:

It's merino I dyed myself, and it turned out to be a thickish lace-weight. I haven't figured out the yardage yet, but as it's about 8 oz., it might be enough for a stole...and I do love how the colors ended up working!

I swear, this isn't a sock. Totally sock -free post, definitely...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sox and Socks

OMG! First game of the World Series on tonight and the Sox are playing! I really didn't think they were going to make it this time! Of course, every year I say they're not going to make it, in hopes that I won't be too upset when/if they don't make it. Doesn't so much work. Game 7 of the ALCS was great, and I was knitting green (monster) socks, so they'll be coming out again tonight. Of course, we'll see if I can stay awake for the whole game - functioning on less than 6 hours of sleep doesn't work as well for me now as it used to...

Now it only goes to figure that the one time that I actually have non-sock items to show off, the weather's not cooperating with my taking pictures. All I have is some finished socks (that you've already seen singles of, alas) from the weekend, but at least it makes for a good post title. Hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow (bet your bottom dollar it's tomorrow), and I will be awake enough to exploit my natural resources...

Finished Firestarters, as mentioned before, in Zen String Harmony fingering, which I'll just say one more time, is perfect perfect for this pattern. This was a fun learning experience, with a different sort of construction (though I didn't pay quite as close attention on the second sock, so there are a few, not too noticeable errors). I do think that I'm all done with the magic loop method. I'm glad I stuck with it for the pair, and I feel comfortable using it, but I was so glad to get back to the dpns!

Here, of course, are the Scherherezade Slippers, finished while the Patriots crushed the Dolphins on Sunday. (I'm not really a huge sports fan, honestly, it's just a good time to knit!) They're in ArtYarns Ultramerino on size 2 (dpns, thank you very much). I think they're stunningly gorgeous - and they were another new construction for me), but since they come right to my calves, I do think I'll need to add a little elastic to keep them up when I walk...or I could just spend the rest of my life reclining gracefully in them...I'll have to ponder....

And finally, the Wine socks (really Nancy Bush's Whitby)! If all goes as planned, I'll be trading them for my case of wine on Halloween. Hopefully there will be pictures of them on the feet that fit them (instead of my much smaller ones!) as well as of a giant box of wine!

Go Sox!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Restless Me Syndrome

This is getting to be a bad habit, I think. I was sad and embarrassed when I was only getting around to posting every seven days, but less often than that?! shocking. It's been, and still is, a week in which I can't seem to do anything for more than a few minutes and then I have to go do something else. It's not a manic thing, just a flakey thing, I think. In either case, I've been very very busy getting nothing much done!

To distract from my lack of content, here is a link to a very odd children's show that Claire shared with me. It's G rated, but there _is_ singing...

One thing I _can_ say I accomplished this week (other than eating an obscene amount at a BikeJerk family reunion), is finishing the first half of my pair of Maia's Mystery sock/Scherherezade Slippers:

Isn't it amazing? Don't you want to make one? I'm ever so pleased with how it turned out. It's very tall on me since I have a short foot, and I love the lace pattern swirling up and around my calf. It actually comes to a nice point on the back, but I'm not quite flexible enough to successfully capture the back of my own leg on film.

And one final thing. This is the yarn I spun for a scarf I'm going to knit for my brother:

As you can see, it's autumnal and also sort of busy, with the light and dark strands plied together. I'm pondering what, if any, stitch pattern I should use - stockinette and garter are awfully boring, but do you think that this yarn would just swallow any sort of texture I tried? (I know, I should swatch, but that takes some willpower/attention span.)

Argh! I've been doing one thing for more than 10 minutes now. I'd better run!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

October, baby, yeah!

I love October. It's somehow my favorite month. Partially because my wedding anniversary is on Halloween, partially because it's the first month that I can feel sure that it'll be autumn, which has always been my favorite season - the leaves, the lack of humidity, (new school clothes?), plus I love the peacefulness of the bare trees, etc. So I've been missing in action this whole first week of October because it's been just way too warm! I know many were glad for the weather in the 80s this week, but it made me cranky as all get out. Grr! Naturally, I'm ever so pleased that it's not supposed to even get up to 70 today. Ah! I'm happy, and the BikeJerk is happy, as he and friends are riding their bikes to Provincetown today. Hope it doesn't rain too much, guys!

So when I say 'missing in action' I mean that I haven't been blogging, or commenting on other peoples' blogs, or talking to my friends, or doing nearly enough of my research, but it doesn't mean I haven't been knitting. I started both my new sweater project and the orange lace project, neither of which is photograph-able yet, and I worked on these:

On the right are Boyfriend Socks for the BikeJerk. The Lorna's Laces is perfect for this cable-heavy pattern, and I love how they're turning out. At the same time, I'm working on the sock on the left, which I'm calling the Wine Sock. Even though it's Whitby from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road, it's the Wine Sock to me because when I finish the pair, I get a case of wine. Yes, a case. They're for a friend of ours who is the wine expert at a local liquor store. He's very excited for a handknit pair of socks, and I think these ones will be huge winners for his first pair - they're in Cider Moon Flurry, and they're SOOOO soft! Maybe he'll want another pair. ;)

Finally, above and below are socks for me, along with enormous produce from our CSA! Above, it's an art photo, below, you can see the sock

Which is the first of a pair of Firestarters (from Yarnissima, but available for free from the Loopy Ewe!) in Zen String Harmony Fingering in the Vitamin C colorway. I love this yarn so much - it's perfect for the pattern with its tencel blend making the stitches crisp, and the colors are so rich. I'm SO sad that I cancelled my sock yarn club membership with Zen String - I've never been unhappy with any of their yarns or colorways - silly me and not spending beyond my means!!

The pattern is certainly fun - toe-up with traveling stitch cables and an interesting construction - it's carefully organized and I love how the stitches flow up and around the gusset. It's written for the Magic Loop method....and....well, I decided to use it despite my previous frustration in it (with a needle with less than graceful joins). I have made this whole sock with the magic loop, and I don't hate it anymore. I feel comfortable in it, and stopped being annoyed by having to pull the needle up into place, but I just don't know how I feel about the method. It's sort of fine, but is it less annoying than dpns? I don't think so... As one of my students would say, I'm deeply ambivalent (because to college students, apparently, if you're ambivalent, you must be deeply ambivalent, just as any contrast has to be stark and any opposition has to be a binary one. Sigh.).

Friday, September 28, 2007

New year's resolution

Sweaters and I have had what you might call a checkered past. The very first thing I ever knit was a sweater. Seriously - the first stitches I cast on were for the back of a cardigan - this is what comes of deciding (after midnight, at Wal-Mart) to teach yourself how to knit out of a handy Leisure Arts pamphlet titled 'Teach Yourself how to Knit, Crochet, Tat, and Embroider' (all in less than 50 pages!) using cheap, unbleached cotton yarn. I got casting on and stockinette quickly, and once I figured out that the yarn had to go between the needles (not under the bottom of the project) for ribbing, I just knocked the thing out. By the time I was done with the back, I was bored with stockinette and added some cables to the front panels. It turned out well enough that I ended up selling it to my boss for fifty dollars. Not bad for your very first knitting project!!

But within that first project were the hints of the problems that have continued to haunt me throughout my sweater knitting career: I was willing to sell this first proud sweater because it didn't fit me. It was too short in the body and too long in the arms. And pretty much every sweater (all 5 or so) I've made since then has had the same problems. My dad bought me a sweater's worth of a lovely shade of Cotton Glace just one summer ago - with which I made a beautiful lace cardigan - that's too short in the body and too long in the arms!! (Sorry, Dad!! On the upside, it fits my dear friend Claire perfectly, so it hasn't gone to waste at all!!) I have one Alice Starmore fisherman's sweater that I love, but it's a giant box of a sweater - pretty, but not flattering. Despite the fact that I know _why_ my sweaters don't fit (most patterns aren't written for short people with big busts), I guess I haven't quite managed the energy or attention or something to fix the problems.

But that's all about to change!! (cue dramatic makeover moment music) This year is the tenth anniversary of teaching myself to knit, and as a challenge to myself, and because it's embarrassing that I've been knitting so long without making a decent sweater, my resolution for this sweater knitting season is to knit at least one sweater that fits me and looks great. My eventual goal is to have a (perfectly fitting) Threepenny Pullover from Veronik Avery, but I wanted to start with something simple, that would be easy to modify and that I know I'd wear all the time. So I measured all the relevant places, and I found a great pattern from Webs: the Yoga Hoodie (oddly, no front views available). It's knit all in the round, so I can test my modifications as I go, and is mostly stockinette (for easy alteration) but not too boring, with that fancy back panel. And I love hoodies. I'm casting on this weekend, so wish me luck!!

And just so this post won't be too visually dull, here are two of my favorite dogs pretending to be cute:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my cephalapod creation! If I weren't still just amazed that he turned out so well, I'd be blushing right now! I have to say, he turned some heads at the wedding this weekend. It was a really awesome and beautiful wedding AND I didn't take a single picture. Well, I took one, but it was dark already so all you can see is a white dress and glowing red eyes. Which sort of summed up the evening, actually. ;)

The BikeJerk has been working really psychotic hours lately due to fiscal year ending madness, and when he's supremely overstressed and not sleeping, _I'm_ somewhat stressed and not sleeping as much as would be healthy. Which means I'm actually knitting a lot, but barely can keep my eyes open to photograph or post about anything. Except one thing:

This is a mystery sock that Maia is doing this month. The photo is just past the third clue out of four, so it's not so mysterious right now. I hadn't intended to do this project because I like making my sock choices from a well-informed position, but I saw some pictures after people had done the first clue, and I had to check it out. As soon as I saw it, I cast on for this instead of the orange stole that I hinted at in my last post (hence the title of this post!). It is SO much fun - the construction is fascinating, with increases in unexpected places and stitches that move in mysterious ways - I did the first two entire clues in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

Honestly, it reminds me of when I turned my first heel. I remember reading 'turn work' and thinking that the author must be nuts, but then giving in and trusting something that seemed impossible, and being so amazed and gratified when my trust was fulfilled and I had somehow made a heel. I remember in the first clue and a half of this sock thinking 'really? does she mean that?' but doing what I was told. And it's looking (and fitting) pretty darn nice!

Oh, and one more thing: thank you to Peaknit for nominating me (ahem, back in August,
ahem) as a: . It means a lot to me - seriously, even though it took me so long to post about it! I'd like to nominate in turn: Beth, who not only knits amazing socks, but homeschools three boys on top of that; Nell, who had the guts to both go to nursing school AND unravel the first sweater she ever made; and Bookwoman, who gives great beer suggestions and information (among other things! ;)). Rock on, y'all!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Say hello to my little friend

This is Henry the Octopus.

My friend Claire asked me to make him to hold the rings at her wedding.

I made up the pattern as I went along (writing plentiful notes), and I was so unsure that he was going to turn out alright that I also made a little pillow as an alternative in case my first original toy pattern turned out to suck.

I'm rather stunningly pleased, however. You see the well-dressed wedding octopus is wearing a dapper hand-knit tie in a cashmere-merino blend.

This is the bottom of Henry, just so's you can see how neat and tidy everything is. That ridge near the legs is where I bound off the bottom and the rest of the body together. The whole thing's worked in the round, so that's the only seam. It used some Koigu that I had lying around, though I had to emergency purchase an extra skein (that's why the right side of this picture seems like the yarn is lighter - it is!). He also has pipe cleaners in his legs, so they are somewhat moveable. That didn't work as well as I'd like: up at the top, the pipe cleaners can move around too much in the leg, so it doesn't hold its position as well as I'd wanted. I have some ideas on how to make it work, but didn't have too much time to fix it as the wedding is in three days! Talk about panic-knitting!

And here are my last socks for the Summer of Socks!

It makes my tenth pair since Jun 21. Not bad, though there are people participating who have made over 30 pairs in the same time! These seemed appropriate to end with as they're sort of autumnal and summery (surely there's a better word for that!). The pattern is just plain vanilla toe-up in Sunshine Yarns superwash merino (sock club colorway Fresh, which I bought a while back from ChickenKnits). That's Chowder, acting like a fool behind my feet.

And what will I do, now that the Summer of Socks is nearly done, and Henry is safely finished? Well, I won't say I'm not going to knit socks, but this is the next thing I plan to cast on:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spinning my wheels

but not my spinning wheel!

Not much knitting content (or any other kind, either) this time. Mostly I've been reading and writing for school. After my meeting with my advisor, I got the go-ahead to start writing my prospectus, which has to be accepted before I can start writing my dissertation. It's very exciting (though very preliminary!) news, and I've been spending my free time scrabbling around with books and notes and things, and realizing how disorganized I really am. Alas. Worst of all, I'm not really getting anywhere with school stuff either! There's always the dog to be walked, the furnace repairman to be let into the house, the last minute forgotten food items to be purchased...not to mention start of semester meetings and all that fun stuff. ARGH!

(Serenity NOW!!)

Ok. So, the nice stuff. My mom sent a picture of her with the Hidcote Garden Shawl. She looks like she's just _daring_ me to post it, but doesn't it look great with her coloring?: of SeaSilk....

I'm sort of embarrassed about these socks. I think they're very pretty (the pattern is Whisper Lace Socks), but well, I let my mother-in-law (for whom they will be a Christmas gift) talk me into knitting them in yarn I'm not sure socks should be knit in. You see, they're in SeaSilk! The silk is gorgeous (more sheen than in the picture), and they suit her to a T, but I'm worried about their durability. And sort of curious about their warmth. There's nothing to be done, I guess, and maybe I shouldn't worry...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Look: socks

My meeting with my advisor is tomorrow, and my "clever" titles have abandoned me. Alas, alack, and woe is me. (Anyone want to hear about the Plantagenet kings of England and their relation to medieval Welsh literary conceptions of King Arthur and Charlemagne? Because _that_ I can talk about! Sheesh.)

There has been a very little sock progress. I think i may actually have been comatose for the entire Labor Day long weekend - we visted the BikeJerk's aunt and uncle in Connecticut, and it turns out that they may actually dwell in the Land of Nod. In a good way. I haven't been so relaxed in a long time!

Anyway. These are my River Rapids socks (by Sockbug), in Yarn Pirate's merino sock yarn. It's the Rum Runner colorway from the Booty Club. I haven't posted about belonging to the Booty club because I'm pretending to myself that I didn't join it (and because I can't take those luscious pictures of yarn that some people can). On the first day of her sign-ups I went over there, all innocent, just to check out how much it cost, and somehow I blanked out and lost several minutes, and now I get these cute packages with pretty yarn inside. I wonder how that happened?! ;)

Seeing this top photo, I'm sure someone out there is saying 'Ugh. She walked away from the Baudelaires in variegated yarn, but she stuck with this?!' And I say, but look:

I am just in lust with these socks. I love the waving texture of the pattern (which I think I'll probably do again in a solid yarn), and the yarn is just so jewel toned, I can't look away! Look at that Eye of Partridge heel. You can't say that's not just lovely in this colorway!

And to close, another walk down memory lane. These are (I'm mostly sure) the very first socks I ever made - in fact, they're the reason I learned, about 7 years ago, to knit socks!:

They're from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. I'm not sure why I was so obsessed with them at the time, but I have to love them since they got me started knitting socks, right? They're pretty good for first socks - all in one piece - though they're knit so tight I think they could stand on their own.

I hadn't thought about these socks for ages, but this is one of those examples of how nice Ravelry is - a relatively new sock knitter asked me a few questions about socks, which led to me pulling these things out of wherever they were hiding and recalling my sockly origins. Yay!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Something old, something new,

...something from the garden, and something blue.

Not much knitting this week - it's all the time I spend thinking up clever word play, you see...

Actually I have another dissertation meeting with my advisor, and I feel very close to a topic AND very confused at the same time, so I'm actually doing lots of reading (like I'm supposed to!). I'm also working on semi-secret (read: lumpy and experimental) knitting on something, perhaps an octopus, to hold the rings for Claire's wedding. I'm sure it'll be awesome when it's done, but right now it looks sort of like a potato, so I'm not going to show any pictures.

I will show you some tomatoes from the garden and my finished Charades:

Pretty (my first eye of partridge heel!), and look how bright in the sun!:

This is a nice pattern for variegated yarn - it's a nice, simple pattern, and the herringbone stitches make cool criss-crosses of color (I tried 5 times for a close-up of how cool they look, but my camera is just not up for it.). I got sort of bored with the pattern by sock #2 since it's only a 2 row repeat (I'm so jaded), but the finished look is great. As Carole noted in my comments, it does use up a good deal of yarn - I used most of a skein of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 (355 yards), which may not seem like a lot, but I have really small feet! - and it makes a bit of a thicker sock than fingering weight usually does. Oh yes, and Beth (aka Baseball Knitter) asked about its stretchiness - it's quite stretchy indeed, with a lot of give in the herringbone bits, but they aren't baggy or inclined to flop at all.

My mom got her Hidcote shawl in the mail on Saturday, and she loves it so much she's wearing it in Kentucky in the scorching heat (I'm assuming only inside in air-conditioning - love only goes so far). No pictures yet though. While I'm being on top of things: Peaknit asked how much of the SeaSilk I used for the shawl. Answer: enough I'm almost embarrassed to say! (It's ok to drown in luxury when you're knitting something you give away, right?) The shawl took 2 skeins of Seasilk, in their (I think temporary) 150 gram skein. Gulp!

Finally, the something old, something blue of my opening line:

It's the first shawl I ever made! I pulled it out to air it, and the sun and shade looked so cool, I thought I'd post it. It's the Feather and Fan shawl from A Gathering of Lace, and the same cone of yarn that made this, made Claire's wedding shawl too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Keeping it simple

Dang! I really intended to post this weekend, but then the Baudelaires were so close to being finished, and there were chores, and well, it's Thursday again. Sigh.

On the upside, the Baudelaires are done, and I love them:

Pattern: Baudelaire by Cookie A, in medium with large instep modifications
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Navy
Needles: my handy bamboo dpns in US size 2

I love the socks, but I especially love learning a new technique, as I did with the toe-up heel flap. I'm sure I'll be trying all the alternative toe-up heel flaps now, but I do like this one: it looks and feels great:
Also finished, my mom's Hidcote Garden Shawl for her trip to China this fall:

I'm sorry that I don't have any good pictures of the whole thing - I wanted to get it sent off to my mom, so I couldn't wait for the BikeJerk to get home. I hope my mom will send me some of her wearing it that I can post. Trust me, it's gorgeous. ;)

Pattern: Hidcote Garden Shawl by Miriam Felton
Yarn: HandMaiden Seasilk in Forest
Needles: AddiTurbo LACE (yes!!!) needles, size 3.

I loved the pattern and the yarn. I haven't seen anyone else knit it in a variegated yarn, but I think it worked out nicely. It's not distracting in the body, and makes a neat wavy pattern in the final section.

Finally - handspun merino singles that I dyed myself:

It's on its way to being something gorgeous, I'm sure. I love how vivid the colors are. They remind me of the beach, or a meadow, or something natural anyway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This is your brain on...

...I don't know quite what, but it's crazy!

I know it's no excuse for not posting for a week, but last week was a real bummer for me, and it took me a while to snap out of it. Last Tuesday the water main going into our house burst, which was stressful, but ultimately not too big a problem, since the city's lead pipe replacement program fixed it for pretty cheap.

Then it was jury duty for three days. Which was both good and scarring. It was good because our deliberations gave me the tiniest speck of hope for humanity - I truly was amazed and pleased that 12 people of such different backgrounds, biases, and (let's be honest) intelligence levels, could manage not only to talk their way through some vague and complicated evidence and law, but do it in a polite and respectful manner. Still, it was scarring. Not only because of the long days and lengthy periods of enforced boredom where we had to be attentive but had nothing to be attentive to - that was painful, but in a familiar way that I can deal with. But the burden that comes with taking someone's fate in your hands, even as one of 12, is a heavy one. Our deliberations took as long as all the rest of the trial because, I think, we were aware both that the evidence was meagre to be making any sort of decision on and that our decision would affect the life of a young man who really did just seem to have made a mistake, and one that didn't hurt anyone in the end. We did eventually declare him guilty, which was the right outcome, but it still felt bad to be responsible for someone else's punishment. It wasn't such a huge case, but I still think about it. I feel a little silly about that, but there it is.

Oh, and I almost forgot: then, on Saturday, the basement half flooded because the guys doing the waterpipe repairs randomly and for no reason disconnected the washing machine discharge, so that soapy water poured everywhere. Awesome!

Things are better now (how could they not be?!), but my knitting/spinning life is still reflecting the madness that was last week. I just couldn't stop. First, a laceweight yarn I just finished plying up a few days ago:

This is the merino/tencel singles that I spun a while back (from The Sheep Shed at Mountain View Farm, Midnight colorway), which I plied with some tussah silk that I died a light blue. I was afraid I was going to be really disappointed because I really loved the merino/tencel singles, but had some trouble getting used to the silk, but I think it actually turned out pretty well. It came out at about 520 yards, so there's definitely enough for a lace scarf.

Here's my finished Shedir (pdf!) (sorry for not modelling it!):

It's for my mom's boyfriend, as I mentioned before. Which is a little weird, since I've never met him (they live 1000 miles away!), but my mom seems to like him, and hey - I'm a knitter! I'm not going to pass up the opportunity to knit a pattern I'm interested in just because I don't know the person who's getting it! Sheesh.

You might be thinking by now: this doesn't seem that crazy. Sure, she knit a hat in a week - who doesn't do that?
And the Baudelaire is progressing - no surprise, right? Btw, Cookie A isn't kidding - that lace isn't very stretchy! Mine is worked with the modifications she provides for the 'high instep', and it fits totally fine (and looks lovely, no?), but I could not have made it even one repeat longer, it just would have been too tight. Btw2, I love this heel for toe-up socks - it may be the new standby. A few more steps than the short-row heel, but it makes a real heel flap and fits great (pictures next time).

For whatever reason, the Charade socks are progressing slowly:

I think they look good - and feel good too, but this is as far as I've gotten on the whole pair. Why, you might ask?

Because I felt compelled, out of sheer perversity, to cast on for the River Rapid sock. Obviously. It was the yarn that made me do it! Anyone know what it is? This isn't a contest, I'll tell you next time...

And that's not all! I also cast on for this:

Which seemingly doesn't photograph at all well. It's from the Elizabeth 1 collection by JoLene M. Treace (which I think I got through KnitPicks, but heck if I can remember). I'm using the laceweight merino I got from Spunky Eclectic in the colorway Soylent. I haven't gotten to use my 'it's people line' but I will. I know it in my heart. I never was made consciously aware of how given to bad puns I am until I started blogging. Sigh.

Of course, on top of all this I'm working on my mom's shawl AND designing what may be an octopus for Claire AND spinning some really pretty roving I dyed myself (pictures later this week!). Oh, and now I'm obsessed with Jodi Picoult - whose Simple Truth I bought during the trial because I remembered a certain knit-blogger raved about her - so even though it's reading, I still say it counts as part of my knitting spree!

So, sorry for the long post...

[edited: The Jodi Picoult book is _Plain_ Truth, not Simple Truth. Sometimes you just need to look at the bookshelf!]