Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sister Socks & Texas Orchids

The first pair of Heelless Sleeping Socks were a Christmas gift for Mom J. The second pair was made just in time to give to my older sister for Christmas. I just about finished these on the plane down to Texas. I love knitting on the plane. And, yes, contrary to popular dismay, you can bring your Addi Turbo circulars aboard. I've done it many a time. These Sleeping Socks were also made with Koigu on size 2 Addis.

The day after I made these socks, I immediately cast on for a pair of my own socks, and there must be some sort of knitting Christmas miracle in the air, because I finished these in five days! Am I becoming a faster sock knitter, or are my socks proof that work and school get in the way of my knitting life? I'll post pictures of these miracle socks soon. (I would post them now, but I just spent the morning interviewing at MLA and need to get the shock out of my system.) Too bad I couldn't be this proficient during the Knitting Olympics.

My mother wore her birthday socks on the day after her birthday! Yes, there must be some knitting miracle in the air. I couldn't believe it. I even washed and dried them for her. (It is true: Koigu can be washed with cold water in the washer on the handwash cycle and put in the dryer. The colors faded just a tad bit, but there was no shrinkage or felting.)

I want to thank all of you who have expressed interest in my contest. I have revised the original post below. You can now make your square or blanket or afghan in memory of someone who had cancer, for someone who now has cancer, or for someone who has survived cancer. I will make a post with all the names sent to me, and you may send in nick names or first names only if you don't want to send in full names.

I'll leave you with some Texas orchids grown in my parents' greenhouse.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My first contest: a blanket drive for Mom J and Aunt G

There will be many fabulous prizes through the contest and at the conclusion. Prizes include Lorna's Laces and Trekking XXL 126.

* * *

I want to thank all of you who offered words of kindness and support to me and Mom J's family. After I posted about Aunt G passing away, Mom J left this comment:

"Dear Jen, During my Sister's illness on the long nights in the hospital, knitting brought me some comfort, the rhythm of the clicking needles broke the extreme quiet. I did three baby blankets for the two newest family additions born during Aunt G's last hospital stay. I love your idea of a wool diet, which gave me the idea that I would like to start knitting blankets in her memory for cancer patients and donating them to the hospital where Aunt G was treated with gentleness and love. Perhaps other knitters would like to join in. Blankets can be of any size, unfortunately cancer strikes all ages. A cozy blanket will offer not only warmth but comfort."

To help Mom J in this end and in Aunt G's memory, I'm having my first contest on my blog. (I've won two contests this past year, and this is the perfect way for me to repay the generosity that others have shown.)

If you would like to help Mom J and me in offering blankets to cancer patients at the hospital where Aunt G stayed, you'll be entered in a raffle for fabulous prizes. I'm not sure what the prizes will be yet, but they will definitely be worth your time. (Once I have the prizes assembled, I'll post pictures to entice more knitters.)

Here are the contest rules

1.) You can knit or crochet any of the following items: an 8" x 8" square, a baby blanket, an afghan, or a blanket that could be used on a twin-sized hospital bed.

2.) Each item you knit will give you a certain number of raffle entries:

8" x 8" square: 1 entry
baby blanket: 5 entries
afghan: 10 entries
blanket that could be used on a twin-sized hospital bed: 15 entries

3.) Let me know if you are making your item in memory of someone who had cancer, for someone who now has cancer, or for someone who is a survivor of cancer. I will add their names or nicknames to a post. If you don't want me to post their real names, you can give me a nickname.

The squares will be sewn into afghans by me, and you may knit as many squares as you like. Each square will earn you one entry.

I'll accept fibers and yarn of any kind, so start looking into your stashes for those yarns that have been sitting around with no loving and get to knitting!

The contest will be open until June 15. All items should be postmarked by that date.

Update: The postmark deadline has been extended until July 1! Get your squares here!

If you want to participate, please email me at emerald_atlas at yahoo dot com for an address.

I hope you'll participate. Happy knitting.

Lone Knitter

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Guess what?

I have a finished object! Just in time for my mother's birthday tomorrow, I grafted the last toe of these Koigu socks last night. These socks were made over 60 stitches using size 2 dpns. I used a 2x2 rib cuff for 1.5 inches, a Sherman heel, and a regular toe with decreases and grafting.

I hope my mother likes them. I thought these colors would remind her of Thailand--the sky, the Buddhist robes, the orchids, and rich rainforest jungles. My mother has a tendency to hoard rather than use, so I'll have to think of a clever way to force her to wear her hand-knits.

Do your loved-ones have trouble wearing their hand-knits for fear of ruining them or wearing them out? Any suggestions to calming those fears?

I'm leaving for Texas tomorrow for the holidays. I'm planning a very special blog post over the next week; I'll need your help, so stay posted.

I apologize for the short post, but I have to work and pack and organize and freak out!

the Lone Knitter

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Meredith is having a contest

Meredith of Crafting Morrighana is having a contest. The rules are pretty simple, but the contest ends tomorrow at midnight. I entered, but in the spirit of the contest, I won't say what my results were. Hope you'll enter and have fun doing so.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I don't feel as if I can title this post today. I feel that it's best to leave it untitled. After a long battle with cancer, my boyfriend's aunt (Mom J's sister), passed away this morning. It's been a long and hard four months since Aunt G was diagnosed in August. She was well-loved, and there were many family members and friends keeping vigil at her bedside. She was a beautiful and brave woman, and she will be missed very much. Her grandson was born yesterday morning, and she was able to hear the news and lifted her hands in joy.

I had my sock knitting in my coat pocket, and I knitted in the waiting room, I knitted in the hospital room, I knitted in the cafeteria, I knitted in the half-dark, standing among the many friends and relatives who came to see Aunt G and tell her that they love her. I noticed a bag with yarn in the room; it belonged to Aunt G's other sister, Aunt P, who said that she didn't know what she was going to crochet with the yarn, only that she needed to have it with her. Knitting or crocheting does help. It soothes; it calms. It gives you something to do when you don't know what else to do. I only wish I was knitting something that I could have given to somebody there who might have taken comfort in knowing that this knitted item was knitted with love and surrounded by Aunt G and all the love in the hospital room.

Knitted objects have a tendency to serve as memory books, and one look, one feel, can shore up every minute of your life that was spent knitting those objects. Next time, instead of merely taking my knitting with me, I will choose my knitting carefully.

I am going on a yarn-diet for the next six months. The money that I would have spent on yarn will instead be donated in Aunt G's memory to the American Cancer Society.

With love,
the Lone Knitter

Friday, December 01, 2006

Heelless Sleeping Socks Done; a Letter to Lucia

Heelless Sleeping Socks Done

I finally finished the other Heelless Sleeping Sock. I know, I said that these socks knit up quickly, but, as so often happens with me, the second sock takes forever. I don't know why.

The first sock is always about discovery--seeing how a new yarn knits up, feeling surprised that, yes, your knitting is resembling the pattern, taking pride when the sock is complete and of human dimensions.

The second sock is dreadful, always dreadful. When knitting the second sock, all I can ever think of is: what sock yarn will I knit up next? When it comes to the second sock, I feel guilty. I'm the impatient listener who isn't listening, but rather formulating what I'm going to say next.

These Heelless Sleeping Socks, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, are absolutely delightful. You must must must knit up this pattern. I'm planning to make a variation of it for my sisters and maybe for myself. The sock has a round toe, the first round toe I've made, so that you really can stick your foot in anywhere.

(I suppose the second sock was also slow going because, alas, the Irish lost to USC. They didn't just lose; they were badly crushed. I can't knit when I'm upset.)

A Letter to Lucia

Dear Lucia,

you are my dearest friend from undergrad. I love you, love you, love you. Twice now, you have asked me to knit you socks. Twice now, you have said, "If I buy the yarn, will you knit me up some socks?" Twice now, I have replied, "Well, . . . I think I would rather teach you how to make socks." Twice now, you have said, "But, dude, I don't know how to purl yet."

Well, Lucia, the time has come for me to make my dearest friend a pair of socks. I have the yarn all picked out. I ordered it from the far-away Netherlands. The yarn is so you, and it's so natural, part bamboo, part wool, and still machine washable! It's all natural--even the dyes. I know you; I know you will love these socks when they are done.

Lucia, all I ask is that you understand that we sock knitters are a very fickle breed of knitters. We have a difficult time doing what we intend. We'll often buy up some sock yarn with such a frenzy and dream of knitting it up with our whole beings, and then we'll keep that same yarn in our stashes for a long, long time, forgetting it's there. Sometimes, a certain yarn or a certain pattern calls us, and we forget everything. We're as helpless as sailors upon hearing the Sirens' song. We forget our dissertations, our grading, our reading, our dishes, our boyfriends, and yes, our dear friends who have been asking for socks.

So, Lucia, please know that your yarn is on its way to me. I'll hold it like a little baby for a few days when it gets here. Then I'll put it in my stash, where it will stay until it starts its little song. When it sings, I will pick it up again and knit you up some socks. I ask that you give me at least a year, maybe two. I know that sounds dire, almost crazy, but really, it's just the way it is with sock knitters.

Yours w/ much love,
the Lone Knitter

p.s. While we are on the subject, I would like to know your shoe size. Also, can you trace your foot onto a piece of paper and then measure the tracing from heel to toe? And while you have the tape measure out, will you measure the circumference of your leg, just under your calf muscle?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Heelless Sleeping Socks & College Football; My Mystery Sock KAL Prize; Behold the Trekking 126 and Opal Hundertwasser; What I'm Doing This Weekend

Heelless Sleeping Socks & College Football

There are some very non-academic pastimes that I LOVE. Knitting is one of them. The other is college football. I don't know exactly how I cultivated this passion for watching young men hurl themselves against one another, but I love watching a great college football quarterback execute plays and surprising all of us with a clever move when we know just how impossible that certain move should be. I root for the Irish, partly because that's where I earned a graduate degree, and also because I love deep, storied traditions.

I love gameday. It means that I can knit and watch the game. I'll also watch games that affect the ranking of the Irish. This past gameday, I worked on the Heelless Sleeping Sock pattern in Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, a book that Mom J gave me.

The pattern is absolutely delightful. The Koigu was absolutely delightful to look at and feel. At first, I was skeptical of the pattern. I didn't quite trust the small cast-on number. I didn't quite trust the "heelless" factor. (I did the original "vintage" 9 pattern repeat instead of the 7 and a 1/2 the "contemporary" pattern calls for.)

Knit and believe. The socks knit up quickly (I cast on Friday night and weaved in ends Sunday morning) and feel great. These socks are Christmas gifts, and everyone that I've given socks to swears that they can only imagine wearing hand-knit socks to bed. The recipients feel that it would be blasphemous to wear them out and about. So, heelless sleeping socks are perfect for gifting, especially if you don't know the recipient's shoe size. (Trust me: if they know you knit socks and you ask for their shoe sizes, they'll know what's up! Better to not spoil the surprise!)

Speaking of giving knitted socks for Christmas. Check out this poll that Spectacled found.

My Mystery Sock KAL Prize

For finishing my MANFEET socks before Halloween, I was entered into a drawing for a prize and won the drawing. Here are the goodies that Amanda of Bulldog Knits and Katrina of Here in Topeka sent to me.

The package was so cute. It was Halloween-themed and wrapped in silver and black tissue paper. I got some Swizzle sock yarn. I was looking for yarn that my little sister might like for socks, and this one is perfect for her. She's a huge fan of black. I also got a Chibi needle set in an orange case. I have been meaning to get myself one, so this was a nice surprise. Amanda also sent a nice card with, of course, a bulldog on it. I also have knitting notecards to send to fellow knitters. In the black fabric with orange ties there were the sock coin purse (how cute!) and the little Halloween-themed stitch markers. The stitch markers have little balls of yarn with little knitting needles in them. Thank you so much, Katrina and Amanda. I love all my prizes, and for my first KAL, this made the experience extra sweet!

Behold the Trekking 126 and Opal Hundertwasser

I got my Trekking 126. I can't believe I got my Trekking 126. I keep staring at it. I keep wondering if it's just a dream. There is a ball of Trekking 126 on eBay right now. It's already over $40. Wow! Good thing I got mine when I did. Thank you so much, Kyra, for sending it to me. I hope your doggie is doing well!

Snuggled up to the Trekking 126 are Opal Hundertwasser yarns. The story goes that the artist Hundertwasser always wore two different socks at once. When I knit up this yarn, I will make sure that the stripes don't match. I love non-matching stripes. I'll probably take the same approach with the Trekking 126.

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! On Saturday, I'll be knitting and watching this. Don't forget to vote for Brady Quinn for the Heisman.

With love,
the Lone Knitter

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

the fee for getting my life back

First of all, I want to say thank you, thank you to all of you who offered to check their local yarn stores for me. It's so nice to know that there are so many fellow knitters who are willing to help a knitter in need. If you ever need me to scope out some yarn for you, just let me know and I'd be so happy to return the favor.

I have learned some things about the Trekking 126 that I have been coveting: the last bag from the distributor was sent to Abundant Yarn and they sold out of it very quickly; lots of knitters have blasted yarn stores with no on-line presence with emails and phone calls (yes, I am one of these knitters), so even those stores are sold-out; and Skacel is not planning on reissuing this colorway.

This is the heartbreaking email I received from Skacel:

"There is no replacement for Trekking 126, however Trekking color 12 is very pretty similar. "

Hmm...I think this Skacel representative meant to write "Trekking color 128." Lee, my Hotsocks swap spoiler, managed to find a lot of 127 when she was looking for 126, but no 126.

There were three balls of 126 on eBay in the past few weeks. (The person selling them also got them on eBay; she got all three of them for like $13!!!!) The first ball went for over $40 and the second went for about $19. The third went to....................................ME!!!

I paid more than retail for it. It ended up going for $26 plus $5 shipping; however, I have purchased Trekking for $17 retail, and the extra $$$ I'll just consider the fee for getting my life back. Yes, I have been spending too much time trying to track down this yarn. Now I can get back to knitting and cleaning and, oh yes, there is that prospectus that didn't go over too well with my advisor.

A very nice knitter offered to swap her 126 with me for two skeins of Koigu or something very "tempting." Considering that two skeins of Koigu would cost about $24, another yarn purchase to make the offer extra "tempting" would cost about $20, and shipping it would cost another $5, I would say that I made out pretty well getting the 126 from the eBay auction.

Now that I have my life back, I am in a rush to get my holiday knitting done. I have several socks planned.

What you're seeing in the photo above are socks for my mother's birthday, which is just a few days before Christmas. The yarn is the Koigu that I purchased about a month ago.

Here are some skeins of Koigu that I'll be using for other socks. The Koigu knits up pretty quickly and the colors are so vibrant and beautiful that I am always so happy when I'm knitting.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Delivery conspiracy

There must a delivery conspiracy against me. Today, I waited and waited and waited for a package that I missed on Friday. The notice said that it would be delivered today between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm. Clearly, the notice was a big lie. It's now 4:30 and still the UPS truck has yet to show itself. The only thing keeping me from going completely crazy is that the package contains no yarn or knitting accessories. The package is full of hair products.

A little before Halloween, this came in the mail:

It's sock yarn from Yarn Pirate, in the Culture Club colorway. It was around Halloween when I got this yarn, and the Yarn Pirate threw in that little skeleton guy with a parachute. What a nice touch! I am so into this colorway. It makes me nostalgic for my childhood in the 80s, and the colors are so loud and yet the neon green and neon pink belong so perfectly to the silver and the black that seems to be evoking vinyl records.

I wanted to show you my Koigu sock in progress, but my camera ran out of batteries.

So I'll devote the rest of this post to my sock-yarn obsession.

I have been on the look out for Trekking XXL in colorway 126. Does anyone have a yarn shop near them that has it? Is anyone willing to trade or sell the one they have? Is anyone willing to sell their (yes) leftovers? (Yes, I want this yarn so badly I will take your leftovers!) This yarn is sold out on-line. I have even been emailing bricks-and-mortar shops and they too are sold out. There were some on eBay, but I didn't think paying the auction prices was a good thing for my graduate-student budget.

I've heard that the company that makes Trekking is coming out with a colorway that replaces this one. I don't know if that means they will be identical or similar or nothing alike. I'm willing to wait if they are going to be identical.

My boyfriend wants to know when my yarn obsession started. He says it just started all of a sudden.

I'll tell you when it started: It started when I went to order Trekking 126 and there wasn't any Trekking 126 to be had. It started when I found out that yarns are discontinued. When I found out that once a dyer makes a batch, the dyer may not make another batch or the dyer may, as in the case of Socks that Rock, come out with new yarns every year and there's no guarantee you'll like the new season's colorways.

This is when I become obsessed.

How many times did I see the Trekking 126 for sale and passed it up because I couldn't justify the cost? How many times did I say, maybe I'll order it next month? How many times did I dream about the Trekking 126 and never bothered to spend five minutes ordering it? I just thought, however naively, that it would always be there. I really thought it would be available forever and ever, that I would be able to have it whenever I wanted it. Not so.

And that is why I snatched up this and this. They are limited edition Opal sock yarns designed by a German artist named Hundertwasser. I couldn't find a US yarn shop that carried this yarn, so that's why I had to order it from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions.

What I have learned is, if you see a yarn you like, buy it. Don't hesitate, because when you go to buy it, it will be sold-out, discontinued, selling for crazy prices on eBay. Your search for the yarn will take away from your knitting time. Your boyfriend will wonder whether or not he should back out of the relationship now that he knows you're insane.

I'm still trying to learn how not to go crazy waiting for UPS. It's now after 5:00 and no UPS truck has come up my block. I will try to remain calm; I will try to resist the urge to call UPS headquarters to complain and further cut into my knitting time.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In the midst of autumn, a hat for me; Happy Halloween, y'all!

In the midst of autumn, a hat for me

I went to a Halloween party at Mom J's house on Saturday. I didn't dress up in a costume, but I seriously contemplated dressing up as an old lady so that I could incorporate knitting into my costume.

I made great progress on this "Silk Garden Beanie" during a game of Trivia Pursuit at the party. I used Noro's Silk Garden in colorway 249. I modified the pattern a bit, but just a tad bit. I used a size seven circular until it was time to decrease and then switched to the dpns. I also knit an inch more than the pattern tells you to. I've made this hat before, about two autumns ago, so I knew I wanted it longer so that it would cover my ears. (I gave the hat away to my dear friend from undergrad. She seemed to like it.) There have been so many brisk wind storms here in New York with the arrival of autumn. I have been wearing a store-bought hat for so long, and I decided that it was time to give myself some knitterly goodness.

I was going to give you a rare (never before?) Lone Knitter moment. I was going to wear the hat for you, but alas, boyfriend is gone and can't take the photo for me.

Of course, it wouldn't be Noro if I didn't come across a knot in the yarn. I still don't know how a company that makes such beautiful looking yarn can't find a way to eliminate knots in the yarn--unless I'm the one who just happens to buy all the skeins with the knots in them. Once, I had a ball of Noro with three knots!

The size seven needles felt as if they were of mammoth proportions in my hands. I guess I'm too used to tiny needles.

Happy Halloween, y'all!

Yes, I do say "y'all." That's the Texan in me. I don't think I'll ever stop saying it. I used to be really self-conscious about how I spoke, especially when I moved to New York. I was trying to train myself to drop certain expressions and pronunciations, but now, I am embracing how I talk, even if it means that I say "y'all."

(Imagine me walking down 14th Street in NYC and a certain children's charity asking me to give money and me saying, "I already give to y'all." "You're not from around here are you?" is the reply. I guess using "y'all" limits my credibility.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Strawberries & cream socks; hot socks swap

Last night, at the knitting circle that I go to, I bound off the second sock made with the gorgeous IHEARTPINK yarn that Coley dyed for me. I'm calling these my strawberries & cream socks because, knitted up, the yarn looks like a lovely bowl of strawberries & cream.

These socks were made toe-up with a Sherman toe and heel and a 3x1 rib over 64 stitches on size 1 needles. I bound the second sock off a bit tight. Mental note: as much as I want to show off my finished object to my fellow knitters, I should wait until I go home to bind-off; binding-off loosely, even with a needle five sizes larger, sometimes requires as much concentration as making a short-row heel. The socks, however, still fit like a dream. Thanks again, Coley, for the awesome yarn!

(I apologize for the terrible pictures in today's post; my camera is low on batteries and the picture quality seems to suffer when the batteries are low.)

The Hot Socks Swap recently ended, and I got my package on Wednesday but wasn't able to retrieve it from the post office until today. I was home all day on Wednesday, but for some reason the mail carrier who delivers packages doesn't like to ring my bell. I guess the ten steps up the stoop are too much for her! Anyhow, I'm glad to have my package.

My Hot Socks Swap partner Lee really spoiled me. (She's without a blog, so I can't direct you to her wonderful person! You'll just have to imagine how awesome she may be.)

Here are the wonderful things that my package included: Lindt truffles, Butterfinger and Crunch sticks, chai honey sticks from Stash, mini RSVP pens in five colors, a lavender and vanilla bath products set, Fireside Chai and Lemon Jasmine teas from Zhena's Gypsy Tea, size 3 Clover double-pointed needles, a handmade bracelet, a handmade bookmark, (which Lee told me is called a "book thong" (ha!) in some book stores), two balls of Regia Bamboo in colorway 1071, and a ball of Trekking XXL in colorway 132. Wow! I really got spoiled. Here is a close up of the bracelet and bookmark that she made for me:

I love the yarn. The Regia is so soft, incredibly soft. And the Trekking is self-striping! It will look so cute knitted up. I was going to cast on my Koigu tonight, but the Regia is calling my name. Here's a close-up of the yarn:

I've never knit with Regia before and have been wanting to. Thank you so much, Lee. You're the bestest Hot Socks Swap partner ever!

And, in case you were curious, the organizer of the Hot Socks Swap, Laura of indieknits, was my spoilee.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Who in this universe knows what would make a knitter this happy?

Can we say whirlwind? Wow. This was an incredibly busy week for the Lone Knitter. Seems as if every time I sat down to update my blog, there was something so incredibly pressing waiting for me in my email inbox.

Part of the joy of being a knitter is rushing up to your boyfriend and saying, "See my socks?" It makes me feel like a child showing off a drawing. So the joy of the knitter-blogger is rushing to the computer to post pictures of the new finished object.

I had a finished object on Saturday. My Trekking socks were finally done. I took them off the Addi circular and put them on my bamboo dpns and they almost finished themselves. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that the socks were finished just as the Trekking yarn was starting to get interestingly bright. Seems as if I started with the darker end of the ball. But at least my socks ended on a happy note. What you're seeing in the picture above is the happy note that my socks ended on.

These socks were knit using Trekking XXL in colorway 100 across 64 stitches. They started on a size 1 Addi circular and ended on size 1 bamboo dpns. They use a traditional Dutch heel flap and have a 2x2 rib for the cuff. They are incredibly comfy. Incredibly. Quite possibly the most comfy socks I've made to date.

In the midst of a terribly long and sleep-deprived week, the mail truck came. The mail truck came unexpectedly. The mail truck came twice actually: this morning and two nights ago. Look at all the great things the mail truck brought me.

Hmmm....I thought. Who could be sending me all these wonderful knitting books? Who in this universe knows what would make a knitter this happy? Could it be a secret pal? No. Could it be my boyfriend who knows that if I'm not knitting I want to read about knitting? No. Is this some strange, twisted joke that the universe is playing on me to get me to think that magical things can happen if you believe in them enough? No. And then I read a little gift note that came with the books: "Thought that the Lone Knitter would get a kick out of this group of goodies." Well, the Lone Knitter is getting a kick out of these goodies. These are great goodies.

I got Yarn Harlot's At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, Yarn Harlot: the Secret Life of a Knitter, and Knitting Rules. And the creme de la creme of the goodies: I got Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. This is a great book. In addition to having really great patterns, it's also a history manual. There's a whole introduction that gives an overview to the history of sock knitting and different types of sock heels and toes. For a sock knitter, these are very, very interesting facts to know. The book is also bound with a spiral inside so it will lay flat as you're knitting. Very handy.

So, the mystery remains: who sent me these goodies? Who is the behind the magic in my universe? Why, it was my boyfriend's mother who, from now on, I will refer to in my blog as Mom J. Thank you, Mom J! You've made my knitting week, my knitting month, my knitting year! I've already started devouring At Wit's End and can't wait to read the other books and look at the vintage sock patterns. What I love about the Yarn Harlot is that she makes me feel normal; my obsession is nothing to worry about. Or, rather, my obsession is not normal, but I can find a method to live in such a way so that others will not notice what they should be worried about.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Out with the new, in with the old

I haven't posted in a while because, quite naively, I thought that I would post again when I had a finished object. Nope, no finished objects here. I do know, however, what is keeping me from having as many finished objects as I would like: it's the magic loop. It's giving me wristaches. I don't feel like knitting because I don't like the feel of the magic loop in my hands anymore. My Trekking sock mate is almost finished--it just needs a few more inches and then it's done, but it's on my Addis and I don't want to pick them up.

I was craving bamboo double-pointed needles.

I wanted to do something with the yarn that my Secret Pal Coley sent me. At first, I thought I would do this. But then Leslie sent me this link. Leslie caught on very quickly. I, however, have never had a great time doing any kind of increases. I don't know why, but whenever there is a M1 in a pattern, my knitting looks terrible. I did try this method, but it didn't turn out very well and then I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to get two socks onto my Addi circular when I realized that the instructions call for two circulars. So, frog I did.

I went back to my tried and true toe-up sock pattern, and I went back to my tried and true double-pointed needles. No stress on the wrists, and quicker, for me anyhow, than the magic loop.

As you can see or not see in the photo above, I'm knitting my first ribbed sock. I love how the colors are developing on the yarn that Coley dyed. I love getting to the bright patches of color on the yarn.

In celebration of Socktoberfest, I have enhanced my sock-yarn stash.

Stash Enhancer No. 1:

I went over to Knit Cafe in NYC and found lots and lots of Koigu. After hearing the A.D.D. Knitter say how awesome this sock yarn is, I had to have some. What you're seeing is colorway 530.

Stash Enhancer No. 2:

I bought this hand-dyed yarn from Lavender Sheep's etsy shop. This colorway is California Poppy, but I like to think of it as Childhood Lollypop or, more specifically, Childhood-Lollypop-That-Was-So- Big-That-You-Could-Never-Eat-It-All.

I feel as if I'm showing more yarn than finished objects these days, and despite the fact that I made this past weekend a knitting marathon, not much knitting got done. Well, I did knit about half of my Trekking sock and half of the Coley yarn sock. Together, I would have had one sock done. Perhaps I should make a simple hat or something I could whip up in one day to stroke my knitter's ego.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

MANFEET Socks/Mystery Socks ALL DONE!!!

Well, my boyfriend loves, just loves his socks. Yay! I had him try them on this morning, and guess what? He didn't want to take them off. I told him that he had to, as I still needed to weave in some ends. He said that they felt so comfy, like sticking his feet into a soft, soft cloud. I warned him before: once you have a pair of hand-knitted socks, you won't want to wear anything else! I guess this means that I'll be making many, many more pairs of MANFEET socks.

The second sock is a better sock because the bind-off is looser and more stretchy. In fact, it's almost perfect. I just bound off loosely in-pattern using a size six needle. Last time I used a size four needle.

For those of you who are wondering, I made these socks using this Toe Up Sock pattern. These socks are also my Mystery Sock KAL socks. The pattern calls for a tubular bind-off, but I didn't quite follow those instructions to a T. These are, however, my first toe-up socks as well as my first MANFEET socks, and I am quite proud of them.

I made these socks over 64 stitches on size three double-pointed needles using Extra Stampato by Needful Yarns (100% merino virgin wool) in the 1012 (blue) and 1006 (brown) colorways. The socks have a Sherman heel and a Sherman toe and a 2x2 2-inch rib cuff.

Say, do you ever sometimes just check-in to your Site Meter account to see what might be bringing folks over to your blog? I have to say that I'm a little, well, amused (surprised?) by the fact that there is a certain fetish out there and some folks, who are using Google to explore this fetish, have happened onto my blog. I think they must be sourly disappointed.

Someone wanted my MANFEET post in Spanish. Very cool. In Spanish, my blog title is El Calcetero Solitario. This person must had the translation done after doing this search. Notice the first site that gets a hit. (I would have linked it, but I'm afraid of what it might show.)

Someone found one of my MANFEET posts through this interesting search.

Someone Googled "my first time" and landed on this post.

But this, this takes the cake.

Who knew my MANFEET posts would get so much attention?

Needless to say, my boyfriend is a little disturbed at who might be looking at his feet and why. I did have an idea that maybe these folks really do want to knit some bondage-type MANFEET socks for their lovers. That would be an interesting pattern.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Hot Socks Swap Questionnaire

So, I did it. I couldn't resist. I signed up for the Hot Socks Swap. I signed up just in the knick of time on the day of the deadline. I suddenly started to imagine my life without the swap and it was unbearable, so sign up I did.

I'm posting my answers to the swap questionnaire here, just in case my swap partner wants to get started with planning and buying.

Hot Socks Questionnaire

1.) What do you prefer - solid, variegated or self striping?
I love knitting with colorful sock yarn. I like variegated yarns, and I also like self striping yarn if the stripes are colorful.

2.) Favourite colours?
I have lots and lots of favorite color combinations. I love browns mixed with blues. I like yellows mixed with blue or pink. I like blues mixed with greens. I like pinks mixed with browns and pink mixed with greens. I like lots of different colors, but I tend to not like red or true blue.

3.) Are you a beginner, intermediate or experienced sock knitter?
I think I may be an intermediate sock knitter. I started knitting socks in December of 2005, and since then I have made about seven pairs of socks (with two on the needles awaiting completion). There are a lot of patterns and techniques that I haven't tried, but there are a lot things that I have. I go back and forth between the magic loop method and double pointed needles. I switch between a traditional heel flap and the short row heel. I guess that's why I love sock knitting so much: the possibilities are endless and you can change your socks according to your mood.

4.) Tea, Coffee, or hot chocolate - what's your favourite? If coffee, what do you use to make it?
I like coffee, but when I'm knitting, I tend to drink tea. So I think I would be happiest receiving yarn with tea!

5.) Do you have a fibre preference? (i.e. Are you a yarn snob like me?)
I don't think I'm a snob, but I do know from experience that I don't like working with acrylic or acrylic blends. I don't mind, however, wool sock yarn that is superwash or machine washable with some polyamide or nylon in it. In fact, I think I prefer it if the sock yarn is superwash because the socks hold up better and won't felt. Basically, I'm very excited to be participating in this swap, and I'm easy to please and I'm sure to love anything you pick out for me. :)

Friday, September 29, 2006

I can smell yarn from miles away; you cannot dupe me.

The postal delivery lady tried to dupe me yesterday. Yes, she did. I saw her truck drive up. I heard my little gate open, but I didn't hear my bell ring.

I can smell yarn from miles away; you cannot dupe me. I ran downstairs. And do you know what she was doing? She didn't even try ringing my bell. She only rang the downstairs bell. All she had to do was go up the stoop stairs to ring my bell. But, no. She was already filling out one of those "Sorry we missed you!" slips. To think that if my knitterly instincts didn't kick in, I would have missed two packages containing yarn!

I did get two packages, but I'm only going to talk about one today. The package I'm going to talk about is a package from Leslie of the Silver Fork Saga. Why did I get a package from Leslie? Well, she recently held a little contest on her blog, and I won! That's how I got so lucky. I guessed the magical number, the number that would reveal how many skeins of sock yarn she would buy at the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair.

Leslie, in her cute little card, asked if I could gaze into my magical ball and reveal a magical date, the date that she will finish her dissertation. Hmmm....I'll have to think on that a little.

(Speaking of dissertations, the Lone Knitter was lying low last week because she was finishing her prospectus and then she came down with a terrible chest/head cold thing. The prospectus has been turned in and is now awaiting approval.)

In the little box above, there were these treats: coffee and green tea cookies, green tea Pocky (I love Pocky!), Latte Chocolat Bourbon wafer bars, and two wrapped surprises.

In the wrapping, I found a gorgeous ball of sock yarn! The yarn is so soft. Unbelievable soft. And it's variegated with beautiful blues, blues that will keep me happy during the gray days of winter coming up. There was also one of the knitting pouches that Leslie recently sewed up. She even lined it with a cute red print with little white hearts on it. But wait: there's more. She sent me beautiful stitchmarkers that she also made herself. How freaken talented is she? Is there anything she can't do?

Here's a little close up of the yarn:

Leslie, you are so awesome. Thank you so much. Now I can knit some blue sky this winter and gorge myself on those cookies and treats to give myself that necessary layer of winter fat to keep me and my socketed feet warm. Perfect!

Well, I don't have any finished objects. I'm still working on my MANFEET socks. I must get them done soon: boyfriend's birthday is just around the corner. Maybe I can fill the socks with some surprises.

On another note: is the Lone Knitter still a lone knitter? She feels as if she has many awesome knitting friends in knitting-blogging land. And she even, yes, yes, she did, joined a knitting circle. That was scary for her. To knit in front of others when you're self-taught is no easy task.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A knitter's nightmare; one FO; current and future; p.s.; p.p.s.

A knitter's nightmare

The night before last, I woke up believing that I still had so much more exterminating to do.

My boyfriend believes that I don't dream normally. He says it takes me hours upon waking to dispel my dreams, whereas a normal person will quickly, seconds upon waking, realize the dream for its dream and seamlessly slip back into the waking life.

Not me.

I'll ask him, over and over again, why did you do this? What did you do that? And him merely saying, it was only a dream, can do nothing to soothe me.

So I dreamt, the night before last, that my apartment was infested with moths. In the dream, I told my boyfriend that he had to save my yarn. Quickly, I said, go and get my yarn and place it in plastic bags.

The moths were thick and everywhere.

My boyfriend says that my dreams seem to come from my waking life. I know what he means.

In late July, at my parent's place, there was an invasion of little butterflies. They were everywhere. It happens about every five years. They looked like little brown leaves falling from the sky. They fed off our figs. They rushed up in a cloud wherever you walked. The weight of them in the air seemed Biblical.

A few years ago, my apartment was infested with big, fat flies. My boyfriend begged me to stop telling people. He said it reflected badly on us. I tried to tell him it had nothing to do with us and everything to do with the squirrels living in our ceiling, squirrels that our landlady refused to do anything about. We had to call an exterminator, who told us that most likely one of the squirrels had died and the flies were coming in through the skylight that was cracked, a skylight that the squirrels should not have had access to but did because they had eaten a hole to it.

The flies were driving me mad. I sucked them up with my hand-vac.

There was also a post by Pink Dandelion a while ago about moths in a yarnstore.

In the dream, I knew I had to save my yarn stash. I knew I had to save my sweaters and wool coats. I took the hand-vac and started to suck up the moths, but then the moths turned into beautiful butterflies, big and colorful and unlike any butterflies I have seen on this earth. I felt badly; I couldn't kill the butterflies.

And then I woke.

This is how I dream.

One FO

Three weeks post Lasek, and all I have is one FO. Very sad.

The socks above were made over 56 stitches using KnitPicks Parade in the Gumball colorway. I used size two Addis and the magic loop method. I was doing pretty well with getting the stripes to match until the very end of the toe!

I'm happy that the worms are done. I didn't enjoy working with this yarn, but it did knit up quickly. Oddly, for the second worm, there was enough yarn and then some. Very strange.

Current and future

Now, I'm finishing MANFEET sock number 2.

Next, I'm going to do this with the pretty, pretty yarn that Coley sent me!


Ever notice how socks look absolutely perfect on some blogs, but when you go to photograph yours they bend and fold over and won't pose prettily? Well, I didn't know this, but those perfect socks look that way because of SOCK BLOCKERS! Why didn't anyone tell me about this? I just assumed that my socks were, well, ugly. Sock blockers aren't cheap, so I made myself some using a budget method: I just cut some out with cardboard. Someday I'll have real ones.


I signed up for Socktoberfest and am thinking about signing up for Hot Socks.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Fragmented Post

Today is rainy and breezy, and I'm so thankful that I don't have to go anywhere today. I'm a little saddened, however, that I can't go jogging today; I haven't gone jogging since Sunday.

The day before yesterday, I wore my sandals, not knowing whether or not the whole day would promise to be sandal-weather. Yesterday felt to be the cusp of sandal-weather and non-sandal-weather; I didn't wear them. I wore my grown-up, big-people shoes and went into work wearing big-people clothes.

I want to make a pair of mittens. I made some wrist-warmers for my little sister last Christmas. Surely mittens can't be that difficult.

I won a contest that was run by Leslie over at the Silver Fork Saga. She went to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair. She brought home eight skeins of sock yarn and thirty (!) skeins of yarn altogether. For guessing the correct amount of sock yarn that she'd buy, she's going to send me some sock yarn!

My Favorite Equation:
Sock Knitter + More Sock Yarn = A Sock Knitter in Bliss

I can't say that my guess was a pure guess. I've been reading Leslie's blog since we were partners for the Knitting Olympics. I made a complicated, calculated guess that included many scientific variables. I'll share that equation with you someday.

On Sunday, when I went for a jog, my boyfriend spotted a stoop sale (for those of you not in NYC, a "stoop sale" is a yard or garage sale, minus yard or garage, usually held on the steps of the stoop of a brownstone; if there is no stoop, the sale is sometimes referred to as a "tag" sale, which confuses me very much), and he wanted to stop by the stoop sale because there were books. He doesn't really need anymore books, but he is always looking for more books.

And on a table marked "FREE" there were those beauties that you're seeing in the photograph above.

I found vintage knitting magazines from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. (For those of you who grew up when I did: there are freaken knits for Cabbage Patch dolls in the 80s mags!) I grabbed a few of the 90s knitting mags as well. I didn't take them all, but I did grab up all of the ones from the 60s and 70s.

The woman who was running the stoop sale ran out of her house, joyously exclaiming, "A knitter! A knitter!" Apparently, these were her mother's magazines, and her mother had passed away, and she didn't want to just throw these magazines away. She was so happy to have a knitter come and take the magazines. I told her that her joy was my joy twice over. (What I was thinking but didn't say was: Will it give you more joy to hand over your mother's yarn stash and needles?)

I don't think I'll knit anything from the 80s mags. I took them because, if you haven't realized by now with my love of things from the 70s, I'm terribly nostalgic, and looking through old advertisements and clothes and styles gives me that certain feeling halfway between despair and comfort.

Some of the magazines are falling apart; they fairly distintegrate when I turn over pages. I think I'll have to excise the pages and put them in page-protectors.

Specs, over at Spectacled, recently fell in love with a particular sweater. I commented that I too had fallen in love with a particular sweater, and she was curious to know what sort of sweater it was. I fell in love with this:

This image was apparently on the cover of the magazine (a Vogue Knitting), but this particular issue, as several others, was missing its cover.

It will be my first sweater. I know, I know. I've flirted around before with the thought of sweater knitting, and I have never ever had anything to show for it. This time I will do good by my sweater. I will see her through.

I promise; I do.

I wish I had paid more attention to my mother when she was trying to teach me to crochet so that I might be able to waste time by making these. CUTE!

As a sock-knitter, all I can say about this is: HOLY COW!!! GEEZ-LOU-EZZ!!! I first saw this method on a beautiful website that apparently doesn't exist anymore. But that website included this little quote for all of us literature lovers who might be compelled to learn this daunting method out of our love of literature and knitting: When the pair was finished, she made a solemn ceremony of pulling one stocking out of the other in the presence of the children. -- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.

Will I be trying this method anytime soon? No, thank you, says I. No no no.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Postman, Postman on your rounds, who's the luckiest knitter in town?

Why, the Lone Knitter, of course!

What you're seeing above is hand-dyed superwash merino sock yarn dyed just for me! My Secret Pal, who dyed the yarn, named this colorway IHEARTPINK. She even put a little ball-band on the yarn! How cute. (If you like her handiwork, you should check out her Etsy shop every once in a while. She also spins!) She knows, very well, that I just simply love pink. When I saw this yarn, I just about died. I simply can't wait to knit it up. I think it will make lovely Valentine's Day socks or star-mint socks in time for Christmas.

Underneath the card and confetti, I found the hand-dyed yarn, a variety of Tazo tea (just in time for the brisk days of fall), a magnetic poetry set (geez, my Secret Pal knows I love poetry!), and a beautiful journal (my Secret Pal knows I'm a writer, too!) that kind of looks like the borders on my blog. She also inscribed the journal with this: Secret Pal 8 06/06-08/06. So now I'll remember this round of Secret Pal every time I write in the journal.

How thoughtful! I can't thank you enough, Coley. You have been the most thoughtful Secret Pal, and I was soooooooo lucky to be paired up with you. All of your gifts were meaningful and thoughtful and beautiful. You are awesome and the best Secret Pal ever! Thank you. Thank you.

I think that today, on this lazy-feeling Sunday, I'm going to make myself some tea, watch the US Open, put the magnets up on my fridge, write in my journal, and pet my new yarn.

(And, of course, I think there is some academic work to do (preparing for the creative writing class I teach and working on a contribution to a book of non-fiction writing exercises) that I don't want to do.)

On a Lasek update: my eyes are getting a bit better each day. I still wake up and think I need to reach for my glasses, and before bed, I always think I need to take out my contacts. It's strange. I still move my head close to my alarm and squint to read the time before I realize that I can read the clock without picking my head up from the pillow. TVs seem very clear, but words seem not so clear.

I just want to be able to knit like a mad woman.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

20/25; blind knitting; oyster mushrooms; wild mushrooms

I survived. Lasek is a very strange experience. I needed two valium. I could have had three.

I didn't feel a thing. The doctor kept telling me not to blink. Try not to blink, he kept saying. Afterwards, my boyfriend told me, How is it that a doctor with four college degrees doesn't understand that blinking is an uncontrolled reflex?

I took a lot of pills; I took a lot of drops. I kept my eyes closed, as much as I was able, for six days. Keeping your eyes closed is supposed to speed recovery of the "mortally wounded" epithelium cells that have been killed by an alcohol solution during the surgery. Because these cells are still regenerating, my vision is less than perfect; yesterday, at the one-week post-op, the doctor said I was seeing 20/25; he says I should be 20/20 by next week or by the end of this week if I'm lucky.

He forbids me from using my eyes too much until I am seeing normally again.

Meanwhile, my socks-in-progress droop in my knitting basket.

I tried to knit blind. But stitches slip so easily.

Maybe I should try to make something with big needles and big yarn; maybe I should make a scarf.

Since I don't have any knitting pictures to post, I'm giving you a little treat from my vacation in Thailand.

What you're seeing above are oyster mushrooms, grown by my aunt (the same aunt for whom I knitted socks). My aunt also goes into the forests to collect wild mushrooms, an activity that she and my mother enjoyed as children. Here are some wild mushrooms that my aunt and mother collected:

My mother had the opportunity to share in this joy again with her sister. My mother was slightly disturbed that she could not collect the wild mushrooms with the same efficiency as my aunt. Apparently, the mushrooms camouflage themselves so well into the forest foliage that they are difficult to make out.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Boyfriends are funny things: MANFEET sock one done

This weekend, I finished MANFEET sock one. I bound it off on a needle one size larger than the ones I was using. I bound off loosely even, but the bind-off is still a bit tight. Luckily, my MANFEET boyfriend was able to still pull it over his huge MANFEET. (Next time, I'll bind off with a needle three times larger.)

Boys must sweat a lot. When I asked boyfriend to try the sock on, he had just finished working out. I got the sock back in a very damp condition. And just now, when I asked him to merely pose with the sock on, the sock also came back in a very damp condition. He wasn't working out this time.

Boyfriends are funny things: they don't like to sock-pose. They like having socks made for them, but they do not like to sock pose.

This post will be kept short as I have much to do before tomorrow. I keep feeling so scared and nervous. I feel as if I'm doing the wrong thing. And just now, I was on the phone with my folks in Texas and I told them, and I'm afraid that I made my father afraid and so, of course, I'm feeling bad about that now.

Thank you guys so much for your support and encouragement. I really need it. I'm getting the jitters and I keep thinking about all the things that can go wrong. I think that telling my parents was something I shouldn't have put off. Telling them made it seem real, and now that it's real it's very very scary.

The eye center is very smart to make patients put a deposit down--it's harder to back out when you know you've spent the money already.

Anyhow, this will be the last post until my eyes are well enough for computer use. I probably won't be able to read your blogs and comment either. Very sad days ahead!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Secret Pal

Tuesday afternoon, there was yet another big box locked inside my landlady's gate. For those of you living in Brownstone Brooklyn, you'll know what I mean about the gate: it's the gate that people usually put up to guard the door to the ground-level floor. Again, I had to use the tie-the-twine-around-the-box-and-slowly-pull-box-up method.

Inside the box were these lovely items, wrapped in purple tissue paper with a nice pink and flowery card, from my Secret Pal. She got me yummy, yummy chocolate caramel balls that I immediately tested. Very good. She also got me a spindle! I have been dreaming about a spindle for a long time now. I mean, I really had actual dreams about spinning with a spindle and now I have one that's all mine. She also sent a little ball of practice roving and a huge 4 oz. wool-blend bundle of roving from Spunky Eclectic. I think the spindle and practice roving are also from Spunky Eclectic. The colorway of the roving bundle is "Autumn Girls" and it is delightful--full of all the bright colors I love and yes, PINK and YELLOW. I keep petting it. How did I get so lucky to get a Secret Pal with such great taste?

Our SP8 Hostess posted our group's blogs on the SP8 website, and I found out that my Secret Pal is Coley of Handmade by Coley. How did I know it was her? She wrote about me often, and she wrote about my going to Thailand. Many of her posts were about things that she was thinking of getting me and things that I like and things that I might like. It was really awesome to read her blog and see all the sweet little thoughts she had. Thanks, so much, Coley! You are awesome!

Since I've revealed my Spoiler, I might as well reveal (since she has already found me!) my Spoilee. My Spoilee is Tess of A Crafter's Journal. Tess is a great crafter and just about dabbles in everything, from knitting to scrapbooking to journaling to embellishing. She manages to find time to work her crafts into her busy schedule of working and being a mother.

SP8 was really fun, and I can't believe I still have one more package coming!

In non-knitting/knitting news, I'm getting Lasek next week. (I know, I know, I must be crazy to take such a risk with my eyes and drop so much (so much! Good God it's so much money!), but it's something that I've thought about doing for a long, long time and turning 30 made me realize that not only should I give this to myself as a gift, but that I was putting it off and it was now or never.) Because the recovery time is longer for Lasek than Lasik, I won't be able to read or knit for three days!!! Good God! Someone help me! The thought of not being able to knit for that long is scarier to me than having the actual surgery. I must be insane. Very insane.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Toe-up for the MANFEET

Because I'm not sure exactly how much yarn I'll need for my boyfriend's size-12 feet, I'm making my first toe-up sock. I do hate to get out of my comfort zone sometimes, and I have to say it was nice getting to the point where I didn't need to look at any patterns or books when making my top-down, heel-flap, kitchner-stitched socks.

But, alas, it was time to try something new.

After looking at several patterns on-line and taking my gauge and the sport-weight yarn into account, I decided that my boyfriend's socks would need 64 stitches over size three needles.

I decided to use the provisional cast-on, as explained in the lovely video here. It was my first time doing this type of cast-on, and I have to say that, even though it looks scary, isn't at all difficult.

I am using the Sherman toe and Sherman heel, following this pattern, which really isn't a pattern but more like a guide, but it has no picture and thus fulfills the requirements of the Mystery Sock KAL. I do feel as if it's fair game because a.) I've never made a toe-up sock before, b.) I've never made a Sherman toe, and c.) it has no picture. (Okay, perhaps I should do something else, something more mysterious, for the Mystery Sock KAL.)

I'm finding that I knit best in the same way that I read best: just as I have several books going at any one time, I am now finding that I have several socks going at once, and I have no anxiety. None. It's almost zen-like, the way I can float from sock to sock.

But I do have a little F.O. It's an embarrassing F.O., but it's an F.O.

It's the first socks.

By first, I mean first. I started these in December of 2005. I really, really wanted to learn to make socks, so I bought a book and read everything I could on-line and I made these strange looking, but very comfy and warm socks. Can you tell which is the first (the more clumsy looking) sock?

For months and months, all I had left to do was the toe of the second sock, and I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bear the thought of that yarn and those needles in my hands. I don't have an aversion to the yarn (Cascade Quatro, worsted weight) or the needles (size 3) singly, but together, they made a bad combination for me.

Today: more progress on the MANFEET socks and Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Postman Cometh

Usually, I would wait for my landlady to come home. I have to wait for my landlady because sometimes, the postman will throw packages into the four or so inches above her door gate and the packages will stay there, locked inside the gate, all day until my landlady comes home. If the packages are little, I might be able to stick my hand into the lower part of gate and retrieve them, but if they are big, well, I used to just wait.

I was certain that this package, locked in the gate, contained yarn, and I was determined to fetch my package. I could not wait five hours for my landlady. So I devised a little plan: I would drop some twine over the top of the gate, tie the twine around the package, and then pull up on the twine to lift the package. It took about two tries, with my boyfriend holding the ball of twine lest it too fall into the gate, but eventually, I got my package to come up and over the top of the gate.

Inside were the two skeins of sock yarn I ordered from Spunky Eclectic.

I'm really looking forward to making socks with these. Thank you again so much, Secret Pal, for the gift certificate.

The only thing stopping me from knitting these up right now is the fact that I have never ever had such lovely sock yarn in my life and I want to love and pet and stare at these for a long, long time.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What I got from my SP8 Hostess; Trekking sock one all done

Since it's only a matter of time until my Secret Pal spoilee finds me out, I think it's okay to post that I was one of the two lucky winners of handmade stitchmarkers and a bookmark made by our lovely SP8 hostess Patty.

Patty also sent me a nice card and wrapped her handmade goodies in a beautiful piece of cloth. Can you make out the little flip-flops hanging from the bookmark? How freaken cute is that? The stitchmarkers are so delightful to work with. They sparkle and shine, and I'm such a sucker for little things that sparkle and shine.

(Well, I'm a bigger sucker--a down-right insane sucker--for a one-carat thing that sparkles and shines, but we won't get into that right now.)

Trekking sock one is done. I immediately cast on and finished a 1.5 inch cuff before bed last night. I think a little light (not to be confused with a little sparkling thing) went off in my head: it's easier to avoid second-sock-syndrome if you actually enjoy the yarn you're knitting with.

Since my Trekking sock isn't going to any fun places, as other Trekking socks are doing in the Trek Along With Me KAL, I'm going to let my sock step right on top of Van Gogh's The Enclosed Field.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Baby shower knits: slightly cheating

Is it wrong to have made a little hat initially for one baby only to give it to another?

That's what I did on Saturday. I had a baby shower to go to, and two days before, I whipped out the One-Hour Baby Booties from Stitch 'n Bitch 2. But let me go back to the hat. The hat is the Umbilical Cord hat from Stitch 'n Bitch 1. I made it over winter break for a baby that was born in March. I never gave the hat to this baby because I never made the matching booties. So, as I put off making the booties, the baby's head, I'm sure, grew and grew and grew.

So, I decided to give the hat to another baby, along with the booties. I had to mattress stitch these booties--one looks like a disaster and the other looks semi-okay.

The yarn is Lana Gatto Baby Soft, 54% virgin wool, 24% nylon, and 22% cotton.

I don't really know much about babies, so whenever I make this hat and bootie set, I always wonder, Is this hat too big? Are these booties too small? Can a baby's head possibly be THIS big??? Good Lord!

And, of course, it doesn't help when your boyfriend says, Say, isn't that hat kind of big for a baby? And I just play the you-wouldn't-believe-how-big-a-baby's-head-is card, as if I knew ANYTHING about that, but I guess he assumes that I must know how big a baby's head is since I am, after all, a woman.

By the way, why aren't my friends having girls??? They are all having boys, and I've been dying to use my pink baby yarn. Or maybe I'm old-fashioned. I think that next time, I'm going to use the pink yarn regardless of the sex of the baby. Besides, a little four-year-old boy loved the Snow White Princess Barbie I gave him for his birthday last week. But the parents of this boy are really open to the fact that their son loves dolls and so-called girlie things. I think that is so awesome. I would be afraid that other parents might not be so open. But really, who wants to shop for action figures and cars? I want to shop for dolls and cut little pink pony things with brushable hair and glittery wings.

Speaking of my love for things pretty and pink, I had fun picking out yarn at Spunky Eclectic and using the gift certificate my Secret Pal got for me. I decided on this gorgeous Pink Lemonade sock yarn, and then I couldn't resist this Neapolitan yarn as well. I'm already staking out my mailbox.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Is this a knitted bowl I see before me?

What I first thought was a knitted bowl on the cover of the new Ikea catalogue turns out to be some wicker thing; however, after going through the catalogue I found evidence of some sort of knitter-mastermind-plot to introduce knitted goods, knitted-objects-in-progress, and baskets of yarn into the decorating scheme.

Exhibit A: (page 96)

Exhibit B: (page 213)

There were a few more knitted things (or things made of yarn if not exactly knitted) in the catalogue, but I'm already feeling a bit silly for posting about this at all.

In knitting news, I'm making progress on my Trekking sock. I wanted to try a short-row heel with this sock, but then I just couldn't make myself unravel the short-row instructions and I remember just how much I love the way that little heel flap hugs my ankle. I'm afraid I was lazy, lazy.

In non-knitting news, I dyed my hair yesterday by myself with a bottle that came in a box. I decided that I'm not going to spend $1,000+/yr coloring my hair anymore, so all those expensive highlights are now brown and brown they will stay because that is a lot of money to be spending on hair when you're living off of loans! Besides, I can take the money I'm saving and maybe actually go to Europe next summer or perhaps buy more yarn.