Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hardly any time to knit...

The Lone Knitter has been so busy lately, leaving little time to knit. I've been so deep into my studies of French verbs and those books on my orals lists that I keep sighing the hours away, all the hours away from my house cleaning and sock knitting. I was also out of town for a few days to give a reading from a new little book of mine that just came out. (In the book, I mention how, more than anything, I would much rather be knitting.)

I promised a post of 70s things a while back, and I do apologize for the terrible photography. There is only so much my 3.2 megapixel can do. But here, you can see some beautiful kitchen things from the 1970s. A pitcher, a teapot, a creamer, a sugar bowl, a dessert plate, and teacup and saucer all on a Formica table from the 70s. There is also a cheese board to this set that isn't pictured. When I first moved into this apartment, I found that many folks wanted to give things away--things that were dispensable were things from the 70s.

Doesn't the KnitPicks sock garden in the daffodil colorway seem to absolutely belong?

I love the yellow-green-orange color combo in things. It reminds me of all things from my childhood: our kitchen, our carpets, the crocheted things my mother made, the clothes we wore, and the colors of Ernie's (from Sesame Street) shirts.

I can't wait to knit a pair of socks that seems to envelope my childhood as well as my feet.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Prettier in a Ball

Pink dogwoods are blooming outside my window. Makes me miss places outside of New York City.

If you remember that hank of Kool-Aid yarn that I dyed, then you might remember that I wasn't very pleased with the colors. It looked prettier in a hank, but it still didn't quite please me. Instead of studying one night, I felt the extreme urge to roll this 400+ yard hank into a ball. Some day, I will have a swift and ball-winder, but for now, I will be able to procrastinate for countless hours by hand-rolling my yarn.

p.s.: I don't like the way my blog looks and I intend to make some changes to the template and all of that.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Knitting in Wonderland

From Chapter V. "Wool and Water" in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass:

"Are you a child or a teetotum?" the Sheep said as she took up another pair of needles. "You'll make me giddy soon, if you go on turning round like that." She was now working with fourteen pairs at once, and Alice couldn't help looking at her in great astonishment.
"How can she knit with so many?" the puzzled child thought to herself. "She gets more and more like a porcupine every minute!"
"Can you row?" the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knitting-needles as she spoke.
"Yes, a little--but not on land--and not with needles---" Alice was beginning to say when suddenly the needles turned into oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat, gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to do her best.

Never do we learn what it was that the sheep was knitting with so many needles.

I am always so delighted to find references to knitting in the things that I am reading, and having to read so much for my upcoming oral exam, it's probably not a good thing that I keep happening upon these references that tempt me to put down my books and take up my two, merely two, needles.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Secret Pal 8

I have always loved seeing, on various knitting blogs, the little goodies that people receive from their Secret Pals, but I never knew just how to get a Secret Pal and now I do and now it's time for sign-ups for Secret Pal 8, but I don't know if I should participate or not. I don't know really if I can justify the money that I probably wouldn't even spend on myself. But I guess the real value in it all, if you're a lone knitter like me, is feeling a part of a knitting community. I really do want, after all, to know that I'm not alone in my ooowwwinngg and awwwhhhinnggg over yarn. Sign ups run until April 30, so I guess I have some time to decide. There should be a Budget Secret Pal. Sigh. But I guess $20 a month isn't that bad, is it? (Perhaps I'm more conscious about spending my money after Leslie's post about resisting the temptation to buy more yarn just because it was on sale. What will power!)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Still Knitting and Dreams of Knitting Things

This yarn is KnitPicks Paper Dolls. It's so Eastery isn't it? It's all gone now. All gone. I can't believe that this and other colors will never see themselves in the KnitPicks sock line ever again. I tried to order some Holly Berry and Gladiolus and Flower Power this morning: all gone. Gladiolus and Flower Power were there last night. Sigh. If only I had acted sooner. I did promise myself that I was not going to buy anymore yarn. But I did. I bought some more Daffodil. I got two balls of it a few weeks ago and it made me happy: it's so 70s. It reminds me of my little kitchen growing up. It's the colors of my childhood. So I had to get four more. (I'm planning a little post for later this week of 70s things.)

Despite the fact that I should be studying for my orals and a language exam, I have been knitting. I have not been knitting as much as I would like, but I am still knitting. I have finished one Lorna's Laces Watercolor sock.

I was then so anxious to try out the KnitPicks yarn that I began a little Mother's Day gift for my mother. Here is one completed KnitPicks Hydrangea sock.

This sock was made using a Sherman heel, of which I'm not terribly fond. I must admit that I like the way heel-flap socks feel and fit, so I think I am officially a heel-flap sort of girl, which means I can stop dreaming about toe-up socks, which I really didn't want to make anyhow, but felt as if I should make because all the cool sock-knitting kids were. The Sherman heel, however, is cute, and I had to learn two new really cool tricks to do it: purl encroachment and knit encroachment. Both of these new tricks, despite sounding like things that can put you in jail, aren't very difficult to accomplish.

Remember when I said I missed dpns? Lies. All lies. I tried to use them when I started the KnitPicks socks and just couldn't. I began to loathe them and started again on my magic loop.

I knitted during a baseball game last weekend. I dreamt that I was spinning with a spindle; mind you, I've never used a spindle before. I also dreamt that I was knitting with a knitting machine; mind you, I've never seen one in real life before. Knitting on this dream knitting machine felt like playing a zither or harpsichord, which I've never done either.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Then she began to knit...

...and mutter awful words. The snake hung like a huge leech, sucking at the stone; the cat stood with his back arched, and his tail like a piece of cable, looking up at the snake; and the old woman sat and knitted and muttered. Seven days and seven nights they remained thus; when suddenly the serpent dropped from the roof as if exhausted, and shrivelled up till it was again like a piece of dried seaweed." -- from George MacDonald's The Light Princess. The illustration is by Maurice Sendak.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Prettier in a Hank

I have learned that yarn, when dyed by yourself, is prettier when twisted into a hank. If you've dyed your own yarn and you hate it, absolutely hate it, or maybe just kind of like it, twist it into a hank first. I think my yarn looked a little horrid, a little likeable after I dyed it, but in a hank, it looks pretty. I think so anyway. (The books underneath the hank are a little shout-out to my KO pal and Victorianist.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

First Foray Into Kool-Aid Dying

Well, it seems as if I have a stash of not only yarn, but Kool-Aid as well. Here's what I picked up outside of NYC while visiting friends down south (this stuff is almost impossible to find in NYC):

I have been so impatient to try dying yarn with Kool-Aid but had to wait for my day off. So, I woke up, drank some coffee, and went at it in my pajamas.

I don't think there's a right or wrong way to dye yarn with Kool-Aid. If you feel as if you need instructions, there are plenty available on-line through a Google search. I think I just followed a bunch of instructions and came up with my own.

Here's what I did:

1.) First, I soaked my KnitPicks dye-your-own sock yarn in warm water with a little bit of vinegar. I know that we don't really need the vinegar because Kool-Aid is already acidic, but in my Easter egg dying experience, vinegar really does make the colors robust and take better than without the vinegar.

2. ) I poured about 1/8 a cup of vinegar into four jars and then added two packets of Kool-Aid to each jar.

3.) I poured boiling water into each jar until each jar was about 1/2 full. I stirred the Kool-Aid.

4.) I then put my yarn into the jars, dipping about 1/4 of the skein into each jar. (Go here to see what I mean by dipping the skeins into a jar.)

5.) I then added more boiling water until each jar was full.

6.) I allowed the yarn to sit for a while. I noticed that the yarn between the jars wasn't getting dyed, so I dipped those parts into the jars and added more Kool-Aid. I did this twice.

7.) I then put the jars into the microwave. I microwaved the yarn for two minutes, let it rest a minute, and then examined for white areas. More Kool-Aid was added to white areas and then I microwaved for two minutes more.

8.) I let the yarn cool for a while, removed it from the jars, rinsed with warm water and then hung it up to dry.

What would I do differently next time?

Next time I won't be so paranoid about whether or not there's enough Kool-Aid in the jars. My colors turned out very bright. I was hoping for paler colors, which everyone else seems to be getting. I probably used about four packets of each flavor.

Next time I think I'll use a handpainting method rather than this jar method. There was a lot of white areas that didn't get dyed, and I think hand-painting will help to eliminate this problem.

Would I have done samples of the colors? Probably not. I'm not a sample type of girl. I like to dive right in and see how things will turn out.

The blue you're seeing is a cherry flavor that begins as green and then turns blue; the red is strawberry-lemonade (most people are getting a pale pink from this flavor); the green is apple; and the yellow, of course, is lemonade.

I think this skein will make some interesting socks. I'm going to call this color "Spring Day" because it reminds me of red tulips and a spring blue sky.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Knitting & TV

I don't know how many of you watch Grey's Anatomy. I don't watch it, but I had it on while I was busy doing other things in my apartment. One character on the show managed to knit a sweater in one day. And not only did she manage to knit this sweater (for a grown man) in one day, she apparently had time to sew the seams and block the thing. Oh, yes, and she had time to wear this sweater for three hours (in order to leave her scent on it) before giving it to her patient. Only on television are such knitting miracles possible. I certainly could not have done it. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that she apparently had this much down time during her work day at the hospital. I can't get that much knitting done in my own apartment.