Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oh no!

I was only intending to buy some needles for my Secret Pal. Honestly. I don't know why I bought more sock yarn. And I don't know why I bought sock yarn that I wasn't even wanting really. I guess I felt a little freer after turning in my grades and realizing that I now officially have the summer before me to read and write and knit. And I did realize that whenever I saw Trekking socks I always thought to myself, Well now, those look fun to knit.

But there's so many sock yarns and so little time. When I realize the possibilities and behold my mortality, I become a bit saddened; however, it makes me realize that we should always, always knit with the yarn that we most want to be knitting with and I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before I tell myself that this Trekking is the yarn that I want to be using.

I don't know why I stocked up on the same types of yarn when KnitPicks was having that huge clearance sale. Never again. Why, look at all these beauties and these beauties. I am so impulsive when it comes to my wants that I will desire something so deeply and suddenly and then it becomes not so much about using it as it is about having it.

For dinner tonight: roasted garlic and rosemary pototoes and salmon with a dill, garlic, lemon, almond and butter sauce.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

To think: this was going to be trashed!

Well, it certainly is difficult to take pictures of things under glass. The flash insists on obscuring the subject, but without the flash the pictures refuse to come out.

This is a bit of embroidery that my boyfriend's mother made about thirty or so years ago. Can you imagine that she was going to throw it out? I snatched it up just as it was going out on the curb along with some others. This is the biggest and the loveliest of all her embroidery. She didn't use a pattern or guide for this--she just made the flowers as it suited her. If you look closely enough, you can see little lady bugs and a busy bee. I tried to take close-ups, but that didn't work out very well, but here's one anyhow:

Well, the Lone Knitter is officially ABD (All But Dissertation) now. I'm still having nightmares about that language exam, however, and I don't think I'll ever ever ever forget what a subjunctive conditional with a past participle looks like ever ever ever. (I'm not even sure I know what that means!) I'll be screaming "would have had..." when I give birth. Not that I'm pregnant or anything, but I'm just imagining how this is going to traumatize me forever. Nevertheless, I'm so grateful to the Ph.D. gods for letting me give the exam another go. A special thanks goes out to my knitter blogging (or knitting blogger?--I can't think in any language now apparently) friends (you know who you are!) who offered so many best wishes and support.

I'm making good progress on the Lorna's Laces sock that I started a long time ago. I hope to have it finished in a few days because I'm itching to cast on something new. I'm seeing Jaywalkers in my future.

Oh, and I'm going on a long, long vacation at the end of June and won't be back until the end of July. I think I'm going to do a lot of knitting and reading then. I won't have an internet connection, so I'll have lots of pictures to post when I get back! (Secret Pal: I'll send you an email with the exact dates of my vacation.)

Happy Memorial Day! I'm thinking burgers for dinner...with some swiss and caramelized onions. Maybe.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Second dishcloth done

The Lone Knitter has been hiding herself away these days. My apologies for not posting since last week, but you see, I've run into an end-of-the-semester snag. The Lone Knitter did not (gasp) perform satisfactorily on her language exam. The Lone Knitter can only talk about her failures in the third person so as to remover herself from the failures. The Ph.D. gods have decreed, however, that the Lone Knitter can retake her exam tomorrow morning.

So, besides not being able to update my blog, I haven't been able to knit much. I did finish my second dishcloth. This one was made over 45 stitches on size eight needles, and I do like this size better than the first one, which was made over 60 stitches.

These dishcloths remind me of happy happy summer colors, and I hope hope hope (fingers crossed) that I will be able to enjoy that summer soon. After the language exam, I have a mountain of exams to grade.

I do want to end this brief post on a positive note. My Secret Pal left me a comment! How wonderful! And I just want my Secret Pal to know that I am really open to anything she wishes to give me and that she needn't at all give me things that I say I'm wanting because like all knitters, I'm always wanting something but anything is excellent.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Brooklyn Bathroom

Well, it suddenly occurred to me that my Secret Pal must be utterly bored with my blog, seeing as how I haven't updated it in a week! So, I thought I would post a picture of my dishcloth progress, and then it occurred to me that I should just finish it! So, I watched some bad, very bad television and finished my dishcloth.

This dishcloth was made over 60 stitches in plain garter stitch. The ADD Knitter asked if I had seen the dishcloths in the new Mason-Dixon Knitting book, and indeed I have and yes, they are gorgeous and I am looking forward to getting that book and knitting those up. When I first started dreaming of knitting, I used to read the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog like crazy, and it's wonderful to see so many of the designs they dreamed up in a book.

And Leslie, I totally applaud you for joining every KAL that you feel like. When I do get that Mason-Dixon Knitting book, I intend to join the Mason-Dixon KAL. Very exciting.

Next time, when I tell myself that I need to knit something simple, I'll remember how very tedious I found this particular garter-stitch dishcloth project. I did enjoy the instant gratification, however, so I suppose there is a trade-off.

What I like about living in Brooklyn is that there are always flowers for sale and it only takes a little ity bitty ounce of creativity to brighten up your life and what might otherwise be drabby decor. I think my other ball of Sugar 'n Cream will look just at home in my Brooklyn bathroom.

By the way, I just found out that Sugar 'n Cream is not Peaches 'n Cream, which I'm guessing is supposed to be the superior dishcloth yarn. I didn't mind the Sugar 'n Cream, but I did wonder why it wasn't as decadent as other knitters made it out to be.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

After all this studying, something simple

At 6:00 my brain official shut off. I can no more digest any more thoughts about Victorian architecture and classicism or ideas about radical form and content in contemporary essays than I can clean the mess that's become of my apartment these past few weeks. So, I promised myself that tonight, as a treat, I could knit something simple. Of course, I had to clean my living room before I could think of knitting anything.

Here are two skeins of Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Playtime and Summer Splash. I've seen knitters have fun making dishclothes with this yarn, so I couldn't resist when I put in my order for a ballwinder and swift from, using, of course, a 50% off one item code. After I finish my oral exam, I'll be able to play with the ballwinder and swift and drink some champange (if I pass), of course.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

In case you thought I had stopped knitting...

...I decided to take a wee break from my studying to show off my Mother's Day socks. I finished these socks a few days ago, but I haven't been able to post them because a.) I've been reading like 500 pages a day for my oral exam; b.) I've been cramming for my language exam (which I took on Friday and probably failed!); c.) I'm falling down because I lost all sense of the external world (due mainly to the fact that I had to make a fairly difficult decision within a small amount a time); d.) I was procrastinating by messing with my blog template and reading other knitting blogs; e.) I decided I would make Jaywalkers before I realized that I had two mate socks that needed to be knitted up first; or f.) I was making my boyfriend crazy with my moodiness caused by stress.

Five more studying days to go, and hopefully I can have my life back again.

I guess I should say what yarn I used and how many stitches I cast on and all that.

For these socks, I used 1 and 1/4 skeins of KnitPicks Sock Garden in the Hydrangea colorway (discontinued). I cast on 60 stitches on size 2 Addi circulars. I made a 1 and 1/2 inch 2x2 rib and a Sherman heel. Here is a picture of the back of one of the socks, so you can see the Sherman heel. I'm not a fan of the Sherman heel, but it looked easy enough and it was easy, but I don't necessarily like the way it looks or fits.

The foot of this sock measures 9 inches, which fits a 7 and 1/2 woman's foot. Luckily my mother and I wear the same size shoe, so I was able to try on the sock and know if it would fit her. I only decreased to 20 stitches, instead of the usual 16, on the toe.

I know now why you should decrease to 16 stitches: it fits better.

If you're a new sock knitter and you're making your toe by decreasing and then using a kitchener stitch, you will think your sock looks too squarish at the toe. Do not despair. It should look this way. It's square because, as I know now, that square is made to hug your big toe and maybe the toe next to it (depending on how your foot is made). The tip is not meant to hug all the toes. That little tip that looks so square to you will naturally find it's way to that big toe of yours and it will feel oh so nice. From now on, I'm going to always decrease to 16 stitches. I can feel a world of difference in comfort between 16 and 20 stitches.

I hope my mother likes these socks. I loved working with this yarn. I used to not like variegated yarns, but I love working with them now. I love seeing the color changes and how the colors look next to each other--so many little peaks and valleys, so many miniature wool landscapes.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

First of all, I just want to say that I'm so excited to be participating in Secret Pal 8. I've cried away many a day thinking about all these knitters with their Secret Pals, and I never knew just how to have a Secret Pal and when I did happen upon the right website, sigh, the sign-ups were long over. So, I just wanted to thank all my fellow blogging knitters who urged me on.

Here are the answers to my questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I prefer yarns made from natural fibers. I'm not too picky about brands, because I haven't tried a lot of yarns and am always open to trying new yarns. Yarns that I have worked with that I like are Lamb's Pride, Lorna's Laces, KnitPicks, and Cascade. So any yarns that are similar are great. Although I've tried to work with acrylic or acrylic blends, I just don't enjoy it.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Well, some of my needles are in an glass vase. The others are in a mesh bag.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting for two years now. I began in the spring of 2004. I think I might be somewhere between a beginner and intermediate. I think of sweater knitters as real knitters, but then again I knit socks and some knitters find that awe-inspiring. I guess what I'm saying is that I still have a lot to learn and a lot that I want to learn.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?


5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I like lilac, vanilla, rose, gardenia, lavender, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, strawberry, apple, and peach.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I occasionally have a craving for things chocolatey and hazelnutty. I also like almond-chocolate things and brownies and cookies and walnuts.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I've had a life-long obsession with crafts, but now I'm focused just on knitting. I don't spin, but I dream about it. I have been fascinated by spinning, and it's certainly something I'd like to get into.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

My music tastes are quite varied. I like classical, folk, old indie, and well, mainly songs that are depressing and about love or trying to navigate one's twenties and stay sane. I think if you look at my music preferences until my blogger profile, that might be helpful. And yes, I can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

My favorite color is pink. I also like greens with blues, yellows with greens and blues, yellows with pinks, purple with blue. I've been dreaming about a chocolate, pink, cherry combo. I tend to not like true red or true blue, although I like shades of blue. I like bright colors and pastel colors. I just tend not to like true red I think. Many colors and color combos are likeable to me.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my boyfriend of four years. We don't have any pets.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I enjoy scarves and hats. I don't have any mittens, but I'm not adverse to them. I generally don't wear ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Right now my favorite thing to knit is socks.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Right now I'm knitting socks...socks that I should have finished long ago.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I like aluminum circular needles.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I just placed an order for a swift and winder. I hope they arrive soon!

17. How did you learn to knit?

I learned to knit using books and on-line instructions. I started with a knitting book for kids and then moved on to more adult instructions and techniques.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

My oldest UFO is probably 1 year old. I think I'm going to frog it--it's a scarf I started way before I knew that you could slip the first stitch purlwise to avoid those little bumps on the's a wonder that no one warns you about this in bold print in every book!

19. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. For me, it means I get to see my family and stay in my childhood bedroom for a few weeks.

20. Is there anything that you collect?

I collect dolls from the 70s and 80s that I played with. I also collect rare and strange books on many subjects. My boyfriend says that I collect yarn. Ha ha! I also collect images of nymphs.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Well, I have been dreaming about the new Mason-Dixon Knitting book, but other than that, I haven't really thought of books but do like to read them and look at the patterns. I don't own very many knitting books. As far as yarns go, I've been interested in Cherry Tree Hill, Fleece Artist, and Opal yarns. I haven't tried those yarns but have read and seen great things about them. I think I have a subscription to Knit.1, but haven't received my first issue we'll see how that goes.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I think I'd like to learn how to knit a sweater and block and seam and finish it. That's what you do to a sweater right?

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I am indeed a sock knitter, and my foot is a size 7.5, about 9 inches from heel to toe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

July 8.

Well, these certainly weren't easy questions. But I want my Secret Pal to know that I'm not very picky at all, and since I've been knitting for only a couple of years, anything will be new and lovable to me!