Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A cry for help, the beach, etc.

No, this isn't a plea for a yarn-buying intervention, or advice on something to knit other than socks. I like socks! I need some input on this Baudelaire beginning. This is how it looks in a plain yarn, as intended by the designer, and here's mine:

I know mine looks different, and that it sort of obscures the lace pattern, but is it good or bad? I keep asking the BikeJerk, who says it looks 'fine', but I'm not entirely convinced. Opinions please!

To keep from thinking about it, I took the Parashoot when we went to Singing Beach on Friday (yes, I _am_ copying Claudia with this photo!):

I was a little embarrassed at first, sitting on the beach with sock knitting, my grad school tote bag (emblazoned with the school crest), and my New Yorker magazine, but then I looked around the beach and realized that a Massachusetts beach on a weekday is not the same as, say, a California beach on a weekend. I felt right at home, in fact - a guy nearby had a serious, thick, scholastic-looking book on his lap and was taking notes!

And finally - the Eleanoras are done, and they're fabulous!

The Louet Gems Merino worked really well with the pattern, I think, and I used my usual, trusty 2.75/us size 2 needles, despite being told to use a size 1 (my only act of disobedience, I swear!). I hope all will forgive me for wishing it were cool enough out to wear them!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I feel like the seven dwarves...

or at least Sleepy, Dopey, Grumpy, and maybe Doc. I forget the rest of their names, actually, and the heat is making me much too lazy to look them up. See what happens when I ride my bike to school in 95 degree weather, and then actually do my schoolwork (because I realize my next meeting with my advisor is in ONE week and not two)? Sigh.

So, a short post today - before I go collapse in front of the fan again. One Eleanora sock is finished, and the other done up to the heel flap. I love these socks:

Look at the patterned toe:

I felt a little resentful when I was working on the toe late at night that I had to continue to pay attention to the pattern/decreases longer than usual, but I do think that the result is stunning. Yay for Eleanoras!

Brief knitting notes, unaccompanied by pictures:
1) On chart 10 of the Hidcote garden shawl! Just 21 rows and a bind-off to go, Mom!

2) Sockergirl asked in the comments about the Parashoot socks and how I changed the pattern to look like it's (apparently) supposed to. The only real important change is that where the written pattern says 'slip 1, k2tog, psso', which makes a left leaning double decrease, I used 'slip 2, k1, p2sso', which makes a centered double decrease as shown in the picture for the Parachute pattern (in More Sensational Knitted Socks).

Finally, I'll close with a familiar sight around here - yes, she sleeps like this:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Thank you all for your nice birthday wishes! Today's the real day, but the party was yesterday, and it was lovely. Not only was the weather terrific, and lots of friends there, but I also had two cakes! I should have taken a picture of the delicious carrot cake made by Claire (of wedding shawl fame) as it was not only yummy but also had a Kewpie doll creepily emerging from one corner, but I _had_ to take a picture of the other one, which was entirely a surprise to me and which took my breath away:

In case you thought you didn't see right, here's a closeup - not entirely PG rated, but the chef's three-year old daughter DID help her with the animals:

Yes, it was THAT kind of a party. ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cloudy day blues

Blues, simply because I've moved back into my color comfort zone: after all those pinks and reds, I give you blue and green! Not that I didn't love my dip in the warm colors, and I know I'll be back, but it feels like coming home.

Despite my slow start on the cuff, I've been zooming along on the Eleanora socks:

The pattern looks tricky because it's full of charts, but after the decreases at the top, it's just continuing in pattern - detailed textural pattern, sure, but look how nice it looks!

I realize that it's based on a Renaissance sock, but to me it seems more medieval. Maybe wishful thinking, but since I study the Middle Ages, I'm going to keep on thinking that.

At the same time, I'm working on a sort of brainless sock for the BikeJerk. He picked the yarn and the pattern, which is more than he'll usually submit to in the summer - he usually just says he can't think about socks until the fall:

The yarn is Austermann Step, which is enjoyable to work with even if I find myself skeptical that there's really Aloe in there. What are they? Magic? The pattern is very liberally adapted from the Parachute pattern in More Sensational Knitted Socks - I replaced the yarn-overs with make-one-stitchs to make it less lacy, and then found that the written instructions don't make the pictured pattern! The center of the pattern is a double decrease, but the written instructions give the wrong one. So I changed that too. It was a bit frustrating, but I'm calming down. As I should, now that I'm past the heel and just doing ribbing...

And finally, an unsatisfactory picture of some handspun (this is becoming a tradition, no?):

It's alpaca from Spunky Eclectic, in Macaw, spun to fingering weight. It was a dream to spin, and the singles were so even and strong that I could have skipped plying...except that there was altogether too much white. I cannot abide white, so I plied. Still pale, but not white! Whew!

I'm off to contemplate my birthday (this weekend!)! I'm a little worried because it's supposed to be raining on Saturday, which is the annual summer BBQ and birthday party (Tinapalooza is the BikeJerk's name for it, of which I entirely approve), but it's still my birthday, and although I'm past the age where people are supposed to be excited for their birthdays, I love it beyond all other days. Yay!

Friday, July 13, 2007

It's no more than I deserve

Look, Miriam Felton is not a designer to be messed with. I don't mean that when you download one of her patterns, she comes over to your house and threatens to break your legs if you don't follow it to the letter (though this would have been helpful in my case). No, she's just a careful, detailed designer who means what she says, often in wonderful ways.

I know this, because I didn't listen to one of her directions. It comes from being a lazy, lazy, lazy person. Too lazy to read the five, yes FIVE, lines of pattern that would have told me why I needed a provisional cast on for socks. I read 'use provisional cast on to...' and barely even thought twice when I used a regular old long-tail cast-on. Then, 5 lines later, when the pattern said 'knit together one stitch from your provisional cast-on with on working stitch' the lightbulb went off. Aha! Right, yes, I should listen to the designer! Just to punish myself (and make less than half an inch of sock knitting take well over an hour) I unpicked my cast on edge rather than starting over. That's what I get.

Luckily, the sock is turning out very nicely, or I might just have gone mad:

In the midst of the unpicking, I took a break and spun this:

Yay! back to thin spinning! It's a merino tencel blend (much shinier in real life, but I couldn't take a good sun picture), and because I bought it before I really knew how I felt about tencel, I only bought 2 oz. WHY?!? It's so pretty, but two ounces? I want to make something out of it...I'm thinking that I could dye up some silk or merino in a light aqua (it's hard to tell in the picture, but it's just over half blue) and ply it with that. I think that would keep the colors clear and pretty and make enough yarn for a lacy scarf or something like that. Ah well. These are the good kinds of dilemmas!

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


My radoactive Sweetpea socks are finished, and they're HOT! (to match the weather!)

The below pictures show the socks and the pattern better, but the color is closest in the frying pan picture. I'm afraid that they might catch on fire!

Pattern: Sweetpea needles: US size 2 dpn
yarn: Schaeffer Anne (no colorway name)

This was my first time using this yarn, and I really enjoyed it. It's amazingly soft, and the mohair adds a nice sheen to the fabric. It's thinner than some sock yarn, so on the size 2s I usually use, the fabric was pretty thin (though it matched the called for gauge). That, combined with my smallish feet means I used less than half of the skein. Yes!

The pattern is listed as 'piquant' on knitty, but I didn't find it that hard. Once you get the hang of it, anyway. I was carefully keeping track of my rows for the first repeat of the first sock, but then it just fell into place. I love the meandering lace!

And I finished Rebekah's crazy German socks. They're not really that long, I swear, it's just the angle...

Finally, I went nuts spinning on the yarn for my brother's scarf:

Inspired by Carole's Tour de Fleece spinning, and the desire to spin for myself again, I zoomed through it (3 full bobbins) in just a few days - it's a dark autumnal single spun with another in shades of orange. He asked for something in golds and rusts, and I think that it turned out pretty well. I'm not sure of the yardage yet, as it's still wet, but it's _almost_ always sport weight. ;)

Not bad for one week, eh? And why am I knitting and spinning so much? Because I was _supposed_ to be working on research for a meeting with my advisor today. Now that the pressure's off, who knows what I'll be doing...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Congratulations, among other things

I won't name any names, but some good friends of ours gave birth to their first child on Monday. A healthy and very cute boy (extra bonus: his birthday is 20 days before mine. Go July birthdays!!):One of the pairs of below pictured angora blend booties will go to him. I love when other people have babies - I get to knit cute, tiny things, sometimes out of luxury fibers, and get some baby cuddles, and I don't have to change any diapers (not to mention I avoid the whole future adolescent hatred bit, and the paying thousands of dollars for them to binge-drink for 4 years. Not that I'm in the least cynical. And I'm sure all my friends' children will be perfect angels.) Ahem....

The hat is my handspun silk (Vine Leaf hat pattern from Knitting Daily):
I realize silk and angora are a little impractical for baby clothing. I'm no fool. But the angora is actually machine washable and, well, the silk will be for special occasions, I'm sure. It's cute anyway!

On to socks:
I finished the June Zen String sock yarn and pattern on the 4th. I love the socks so much! The yarn is really interesting feeling - almost buttery, but with nice firm twist. It's the Lotus Toes line, and is Blue Faced Leicester. I'm still getting accustomed to the colors, which are not my usual choice, but I love how they pattern on the sock, and will definitely be ordering more of this! The pattern is Perambulate, and only available through the sock club - sadly so, because it's a very nice one. A little lacy, a little cably, and the pattern goes down the heel flap, which I always enjoy.

Here's the next project, already underway:

Super bright Shaeffer Anne in the Sweetpea pattern. (I got this yarn from Nell's destashing sale - another unusual color for me, and it certainly wakes me up in the morning! (I'm writing all this in parentheses so that no one will notice that I seem, quite correctly, to have bought yarn outside of my workout plan. Destashing sales don't count, right?)) This may actually be the first time I've ever used the suggested yarn in a pattern. So I'm cool, right?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Out of this world...

..is where I've been for almost a week! The heat melted my brain from Monday to Thursday, on which day we had a rehearsal dinner (BikeJerk was best man). Then Friday was the wedding - at Larz Anderson park and transportation museum in Brookline (which is stunning! everyone should go!) - one of the loveliest, funnest weddings I've been to (other than my own -ha!), and of which I took no pictures. Alas. On Saturday, which I spent recovering from the wedding, I did manage to take a picture of some fuschia bugs on the fig (see where my priorities are!?):
Luckily, I'm highly motivated by guilt, and not knitting or blogging (or doing anything else that I'm supposed to be doing with my time) inspired me to finish the Monkey socks:

Here's a closeup of one of my favorite parts - the only real pastel part on either sock:

As you can see, they are quite different from each other - the joys of variegated handspun. Another aspect of knitting with your own handspun that I just learned about - major anxiety about having enough yarn to finish both socks. The yarn is unique, no single balls lying around in a yarn store somewhere.
On the coriopsis, now blooming:
Finally, here they recline with the leftover yarn (not all that much!) and the next project I need my guilt to force me to finish!

(The BikeJerk has succumbed to the lure of the blog! If you're interested in bike trips, bike anger, lots of good cooking and recipes, check him out here. Not much yet, but if there's one thing that boy likes doing it's talking about food...)