Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The debil made me do it

Made me cast on the June Zen String sock yarn. It came with a fun new pattern:

It's not SO wrong, except for the whole finishing what you start thing, and the following your own plans thing. Oh, well. The yarn is so delightfully springy - it's Blue Faced Leicester, which I've never worked with, but am enjoying very much. Not to think I've abandoned my senses altogether:

I DID finish one of my Monkeys out of my own handspun. I solved my problem with the bagginess of the leg by knitting the third and fourth leg repeats on size one needles, and the rest with twos. Worked perfectly.

The yarn is luscious - tencel is a new fiber I'm in love with. It looks and feels great. There'll be better pictures eventually, but it's grossly humid right now, and I can only bear to put on the sock early early in the morning. Side view:

Also, finally the BikeJerk was home in daylight, and took some Sarcelle pictures:

Finally, another project on hold until the humidity drops:

This is going to be a scarf for my brother, eventually. This singles is going to be spun with one that's orange and gold (and that I haven't spun yet). I'm having trouble consistently spinning thicker than sock yarn - I'm aiming for a sport or worsted weight, but my hands just want to make it thin!

I think it's really sweet how this project came about - I knit my brother a hat out of some of the first handspun yarn I ever made. It's all lumpy and weird (spun on a huge beginner spindle), but apparently he enjoys wearing it and telling people that I spun and knit it, so he's asked for a scarf to go with it. I think it's cute that he likes to brag about my fiber skilz!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy solstice!

Oh, TOFUtsies! Parting is such sweet sorrow!

Yes, I finished them just in time for the Summer of Socks, which starts today! I love them - I put them on for the photo, and just smiled at how great they feel. They fit perfectly, and I'm rather smitten with the yarn. Some people aren't all that excited about it, and didn't feel strongly either way while I was knitting them, but the finished pieces just feel so goooooood!

Alright, enough with the enthusiasm. Only dourness here on out:In celebration of summer (and the start of the SOS), I skipped my usual morning session with my mom's shawl, and cast on a Monkey in my handspun yarn. Which is luscious. Here you can see the variation in color in the yarn:

So there will be some stripes or pools or whatever you want to call it. I just tried it on my leg though, as it was seeming large, and indeed, though it fits my calf, on the ankle it's baggy. I'll try a switch to smaller needles (gasp!), but the yarn may not be made for this pattern (also gasp!).

I also got this yesterday from Zen String (it's from a sock club, so I didn't cheat!):

Pretty sweet. And it came with a new pattern too. It's calling to me....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Finally, lifestyle change I can live with

I have figured out how to fool myself into exercising AND it involves yarn! I can't believe it took me so long to figure this out - about 6 weeks ago I decided that I could only buy yarn if I exercised - for every week that I worked out 4 times, I could spend $10 on yarn. This was intended to get me in shape/lose weight, and cut down spending - it's totally worked (with a few blips on the yarn side - after all I had to buy yarn for my mom's shawl!) - I'm getting in shape and I got to order luscious yarn from the Loopy Ewe:

My own personal yarn pirate is keeping an eye on the loot. You'll be seeing more of this, as I can't wait to play with it! (And yes, I did go a tad over what I'd officially 'earned,' but that just means I can't start the next cycle until I work it off.)

And, I finished the Sarcelle:

The BikeJerk is working about 7 million hours a week lately, so no modelling photos just yet, but at least you can see the (upside down) butterflies. I'm quite pleased with it - just the right size and thinness (and gorgeousness) to go with a dress I'm wearing to a summer wedding in a few weeks.

Finally, almost done with the TOFUtsies socks:
I have to finish them ASAP, but I couldn't resist casting on sock #2. I felt sort of neutral toward the yarn at first, but I am rapidly growing attached to it. The feel of the knitted fabric is really enticing - smooth and pliable and, strangely enough, cool to the touch. Finished photos by Thursday - and then, let loose the hounds of the Summer of Socks!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Socky Summer Anticipation

Everyone seems to have a sock technique that makes them happiest - probably a combination of how they learned, what fits best on their own feet, and what's funnest to knit/looks best to them. This is awesome, but it can make for comedy when sock knitters collide: the circular needle crew just do not understand the staunch dpn-ers ('People, you can make TWO at a time!'), while the dpn boosters perhaps enjoy the defensive possibilities of 4-5 pointy little needles. There are toe-up lovers and cuff-down aficionados, and never the twain shall meet (this is the opportunity for someone to invent a heel-start sock and start a war). I won't even go into the intricacies of the methods of negotiating a heel turn. To gusset or not to gusset, that IS the question. Meanwhile, of course, the non-knitters and sock newbies stand by and gaze in perplexed wonder. What bliss!

Yes, Summer of Socks 2007 is about to begin, and I am reviewing my sock thoughts. Before I get into that too far (or people stop reading because they're sick of socks - horrid thought), here are some nice garden pictures:

Does anyone know what the first one is? It was here when we moved in - it comes back every year, but doesn't introduce itself. The second, I'm told, is called a maidenhead, which seems sort of risque, but that might just be me.

On to socks! First, the two sock projects in progress that need to be finished or sidelined before June 21. Rebekah's crazy German socks are halfway done:

Stylish, or what? In case you were wondering, it's posing on the chimney - those lines on the side aren't some futuristic art project, just siding. The best part about this sock is what the flecks of red did on the back of the leg. Am I the only one that thinks of Curt Schilling's famous (Red Sox win the World Series) sock?: And the June TOFUtsies sock club sock:

I'm really enjoying this project - the pattern is very nice (see how the ribbing goes into the pattern?) and easy to remember. I'm sure I'll use it again. And the yarn is very cool to work with. Because of the direction it's spun and because I'm a continental style knitter, it tends to untwist a bit, but it has a really nice feel, sort of cottony, but with a lot more drape to it. Hard to explain, but I'll definitely be using this yarn, even after the sock club is over. I even think I like the pink. Every now and then I see it and do a double take: 'man, is that pink!', but it's growing on me, and it's good to embrace change, right?

Now, projects for the SOS! This is the yarn I spun from the ZenString roving:

So shiny and soft and yellow and purple (which is sort of washed out except in the first picture)! I think I want to use this for my first sock of the along. I'm thinking Monkey, since I've been wanting to try a Cookie A pattern for a while (and then knit them all), and since I haven't yet made TheOneThey'reAllTalkingAbout!

Then . . . . . do I dare to Baudelaire?:

That's a Fleece Artist skein in Indian Summer that's been calling out for something special. And I did say I want to knit them all!

Finally (for the starting lineup), I'm thinking the Eleanora sock in this louet gems:

I saw the originials in a museum in Florence last summer. They're stunning, though a bit corpse-juice imbued. These shouldn't have that problem, though it would be cool if they lasted as long!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Better than nothing

Neither the weather nor my camera are completely cooperating with me today, but I did manage to get a picture of my little footlets from my handspun yarn before the clouds came in:

I like that they're sort of cousin socks, rather than twins, and also that, mysteriously, the ribbing at the top ended up being the same color on both. I was inspired to finally make socks from my handspun after seeing a number of great lookers on various blogs, and I'm sure that it will be as Karen warned me and I'll never stop wearing them. I'm already plotting the next pair!

Not from this though:This is the SE Mahogany merino/tencel roving that I was spinning on the spindle. I'm pretty pleased with it overall, though you can see up at the top that there were some lapses of attention that I could blame on the spindle or the dog, if I need somewhere to place blame. Honestly, I'm still not totally at ease with the spindle, though it's growing on me. BUT, what's a girl to do with 2 oz. of fingering weight? A very thin scarf? Ideas?

Would it be weird to mention that as I was spinning this mostly pink, but with black areas, roving, I was put in mind of a girl in a phone-sex ad that appeared every week (until recently) in Boston's Weekly Dig? I only ever noticed this picture because she looked so boringly, sweetly wholesome, and I couldn't imagine what she'd talk about if someone called her. The lavender cashmere twin-set that she was thinking of buying at the mall later on? The recipe for white-chocolate chip cookies she'd just clipped from Home and Garden? Perhaps the cozy scarf she was knitting for her elderly grandmother? Anyway, the combination of a mass of sweetly pink with hints of black made me think of her, and in her honor, I name the finished yarn 'Keegan's dark secret.'

I tried to take some pictures of the garden and of the TOFUtsies sock, which I started despite all my attempts to hold off until June 21 so that it could be involved in Summer of Socks 2007, but conditions forbade it. Perhaps tomorrow...

Thursday, June 7, 2007


On a nice sunny day, filled with socky goodness, it's hard to remember the past. The rain and broken toes (though I remember that one each time the dog steps on my foot!).

Here's the footlet that I started the other day, made from my own hand-dyed, hand-spun merino (posing in our new blueberry bush!):

Not bad, eh? Here's the bottom, so you can see the nice color changes:

Someone needs to invent touch-o-vision, because it's so soft and springy and delightful. AND, the best part is that there are 22 grams of yarn left, and the footlet weighs in at 18. All is well.

I'm excited about this pink yarn hiding in the strawberries for several reasons:

1) it's TOFUtsies, and I've been wanting to try that stuff for a while now. And, in case anyone was wondering, as I was: no, it doesn't smell like seafood!

2) it's a sock of the month club (run through my LYS and TOFUtsies, as far as I understand), which is exciting because I get a new sock pattern, and get to try cool colors that I'd never buy for myself. Like this pink, to which I have a redhead's natural (_I_ think) aversion, but I'm excited to try. Who knows? Maybe what I can't stand to wear on my body will look FABulous on my feet.

3) it's proof of the wonderful yarn store my LYS is becoming. Like most knitters these days, I shop online and at several yarn stores around town. I've always felt ambivalent about Woolcott and Co in Harvard Square - they had some awesome yarns that I never saw anywhere else, but not enough sock yarn (could anyone have enough though?), and supply was patchy at times. They're under new ownership now, and all of a sudden there's a sock club, and Addi lace needles, and a blog and an online store. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

And this final, horrible cameraphone picture:

You can't tell what it is, but I had to post it anyway because it's a historical moment. That blur on the left is Rebekah's german sock, and that teeny blur in the middle is Bill Clinton. Yesterday may be the first time EVER that a half knit Hundertwasser-inspired sock intended for a displaced Arkansas girl was in the audience for a Clinton address. I'm not sure, but I'm willing to bet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Silver lining?

My Sunday and Monday this week can only be described as craptastic (I stole that word from someone else, but it's so apt). Sunday I realized I had broken my toe on Saturday and it hurt (it's not as bad as it sounds, but it does put a cramp in my imaginary ballet career). And Monday I realized, on my way to school in the pouring rain, that the (admittedly 10 year-old) raincoat my dad made me was no longer waterproof. I realize I can fix that, but sitting in the library damp and grumpy, even that thought was no cheer. I didn't get anything done, and I was sullen and morose. About many things. Often.

But, although there's supposed to be a humongous, hail-throwing thunderstorm today, all that glumness is gone. Firstly, I started knitting a socklet from the merino I dyed and spun not long ago (sorry, forgot pictures of the yarn):

I'm not sure how/why, but this is the first sock I've made out of my own yarn. And I think it's just dandy. The yarn is so sproingy! (The pattern is very slightly modified from the Padded Footlet in Favorite Socks.) I only hope I have enough yarn to make it around two heels! Fingers crossed!

Random neat thing - the pot in front of which that socklet was pictured holds this plant:

Which, if you look closely, you can see is growing some figs. Yes, figs in MA. Not only that, but this tree is grown from a cutting we got from our neighbor who grew up right here, who grew her tree from a cutting that her grandfather brought over with him from Italy. And she gets figs every year. I'm so excited!

And further cheerful goodness:

The very start of the Awaken roving I got from Zen String. It's so very iris-y and purty. And I was spinning it on my porch while the sun was setting (or getting covered with giant thunderheads). How could that not cheer me up?

And finally, a happy pup and lobelia (which I didn't _really_ believe I could capture on film. In pixels?):

(Also: finally got a good bit of research done. Woohoo! Anyone else like medieval manuscripts? You can see some neat ones here.)

Monday, June 4, 2007

(Someone else's) Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary to Hope! She's running a contest (you can win yarn!) at her blog to celebrate. Why not stop by?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Socks and rants

I'll start with something I love. I love toe-up socks. I love knitting socks anyway, but toe-up is so great. No Kitchener stitch, you can try them on as you go, and they look so satisfyingly sock-y from the very start. I also love this crazy German yarn. It's crazy bright, and I love it. I hope Rebekah loves it, too (sorry for polluting your sock with my foot!):

After all that love, I'm allowed to hate, right? I'm really, really lucky to live in a place where I can ride my bike along the Charles River to get to school/work from my house. There's this beautiful river path, and I feel so happy during the summer when I can use it to get to work. Other than being the quickest way in, it's also lovely. More happiness and joy, see? And note that I say 'river path' and not 'bike path,' which is the way I usually refer to it in speech. But I know that it's intended to be a multi-use path, unlike all of the people very slowly roller-blading with baby strollers and iPods, meandering all over the path without looking behind them and then screaming when a bike passes them, even after the person on that bike has called out 'On your left' 75 times without them hearing. Public space, people!

Ok, sorry. I'm channeling the BikeJerk. Speaking of which, here are his completed Uptown Boot Socks:
They're really lovely (I'm proud of the heel-flap/gusset join). The KnitPicks Gloss looks and feels great - the fabric is smooth and the texture is luscious. I like the way the sock looks and feels (the BikeJerk says they're the best socks I've ever made for him, but he does say that every time), though I can't imagine knitting them if I had to use a cable needle for all of those cable twists! Two mini-rants/modifications about the pattern: 1) I don't understand why any pattern would suggest breaking the yarn and rejoining before the heel flap - I just knit the 16 stitches from the center back. 2) I don't want to be uppity, but I was rather frustrated by the instruction to knit a certain number of inches from the start of the gussets, rather than a certain number of inches less than the desired length - this doesn't allow a knitter to modify the length of the sock. For future reference, the toe is two inches long in the proper gauge, and if you end after a row 3 or 7, then your sock will look great.

Friday, June 1, 2007


This is entirely random, but I got such a kick out of finding this today that I had to tell more people than just the two I knew would appreciate it. I'll keep it brief:

I've been working in my university's library this week, pulling old books off the shelves so that their bibliographic info can be updated. Pretty exciting, I know. It's not the most stimulating work I've ever had, but that IS the point. Anyway, I opened up some old book on D.C. and saw a bookplate in the front, dated in the 1930s, that said:

This book was stolen. It was recovered, and the thief was sentenced to two years hard labor.

Zowie! If they won't come after ME, I'm stealing that idea for my own books!