Sunday, June 25, 2006

One last post before I go

I have a strange and slow internet connection here in Texas, so I'm not posting any pictures in this post. Speaking of strange and slow, my suitcases just made it here. Mind you, I made it here Friday night. My suitcases just made it here. The suitcases arrived without any kind of apology notice or travel coupon or free frequent flyer miles. I'm hesitant to state which airline this is.

Speaking of airlines, I'll be leaving in two days for a journey overseas. I'm hesitant to state the country that I'm going to in case my Secret Pal spoilee reads this by chance and finds out who I am! Maybe I should make up a country? I guess I can say the continent? I'm going to a country in Asia for one month. How's that?

What I'm packing: enough sock yarn for six pairs (I know...very very ambitious!), Addi turbos size 1 and 2, bamboo dpns size 1 and 2, my knitting sock book, darning needles, tape measure, some dishcloth yarn to make my aunt some dishcloths, and my second Jaywalker-in-progress.

Jaywalker number 2 is all but 2 inches in length, and I'm hoping that it will be somewhere in the instep by the time I land in my destination country. I believe the total travel time is 26 hours! Great day! That's a long time, and if I don't make significant sock progress and Proust progress, well then, I don't deserve to be a knitter or a reader.

I doubt I'll be able to post again before I go. Tomorrow will be spent madly packing and wondering whether I've enough toothpaste or dental floss or shampoo.

I hope that you will stop by my blog again in late July, when I return. I promise to have lots of pictures of socks and flowers and mountains and fruits.

Maybe I will teach a child to knit.

I'm going to a very poor area of a poor country. It's where I was born, and I feel an intense need to help the people here.

While there, I plan to also set up a scholarship fund at the village school, a scholarship that is specifically for girls. Girls often have to drop out because parents, if they can only afford to send one child, will more often than not send the boy child.

Perhaps I will also teach young mothers how to knit baby blankets.

Happy knitting, and I'll see you in about a month!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

ABT (All But Toe)

If I can refer to my stage in my Ph.D. program as "All But Dissertation," then I should be able to refer to my stage in my Jaywalkers as "All But Toe." I'm officially ABT on Jaywalker one. I hope to cast on for Jaywalker two before I get on a plane on Friday. I have a four-hour flight to Texas, and as much as I'd love to pick up my Proust again, I'd really love to come out with a few inches of Jaywalker before landing. I have to say, if any sock has been Proustian in duration for me, this sock is it.

The gusset and the foot of this sock felt as if they went on forever and forever. Never before did one sock seem to go on and on. I really did pick this sock up every chance I got, even knitted a few rows before bed each night and each time I would pick this sock up, my boyfriend would ask me, "Are you still working on the same sock?" And very humbly, I would have to answer, "Yes."

I can't believe that I realistically thought I could turn out a pair of socks in two weeks. I know many knitters can do it, but I just can't. I don't know why I can't, but I know I can't. (Socks as my Knitting Olympics project?!?! What was I thinking???) So, I figure if I can turn out a pair a month, I should be happy.

I have another pair of socks that are ABT, and I hope to finish them before Friday as well. These are the first pair of socks I ever started. The pattern called for size three needles and worsted weight yarn. Advice to new sock knitters: do not begin with worsted weight yarn because you think it will be easier. I'm dreading finishing these socks. I don't enjoy the worsted weight yarn. I don't know why. I guess I'm just used to sock weight yarn now and don't like the feel of big yarn on my hands.

Here is another piece of embroidery that my boyfriend's mother made in the 70s. I think the colors complement my Jaywalker perfectly.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nature Knitting

This weekend, my boyfriend and I stayed with some of our friends upstate. They have a little bungalow on the river. The whole house seems to have not been touched in thirty years. The furniture is dated, quaint and slightly eerie, but nonetheless nostalgic and charming. The musk and mold and peeling paint of the house made it so that we stayed outdoors most of the time. The grass was full of phlox and buttercups. My jaywalkers felt at home amid the yellows and greens.

The whitenoise of the the river made me feel slightly dreamy all weekend. When it came time to make my heel flap, I had to stop working on my sock. I simply didn't have the focus or concentration anymore. All I wanted was to stare and sleep.

For dinner, we bar-be-qued corn and sweet potatoes and onions and peppers and salmon and Italian sausage and chicken. We gathered buttercups and phlox and wild irises for bouquets.

And don't ask me how I did it, but somehow, in the middle of it all, even amid the country desertion and the country roads, I managed to find yarn.

This was a nice trip, but part of me was really happy to be back in Brooklyn, even though I do love nature and water so much.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I must officially be in the dog days of summer. Except it isn't the heat of summer that's making me lazy. On the contrary, the days in New York City have been cold and rainy. I'm fixing to get very very busy here. Tonight I have a Yankees game (and although I can knit through a Mets game, I could never ever knit through a Yankees game) and tomorrow I'm leaving town for three days and then I'll have a houseguest. So, in case I got too busy, I thought I would post a photo of what I've been doing as I'm being lazy and lounging around watching DVDs. Well, I haven't been entirely lazy. I've been cleaning and yesterday my dear boyfriend and I made a savory veal stew with red wine and beef broth. We even made little bread-pudding custards. We live entirely outside of our means.

The jaywalkers are very simple to make. Despite the way the pattern on the socks looks, it's very easy. I'm afraid, however, that I didn't pick the best yarn for this project. It's KnitPicks Sock Garden in the Daffodil colorway. I think this yarn would have been fine if I was doing 64 stitches over size 1 needles or 60 stitches over size 2 needles, but it seems as if anything else will make the colors pool a bit. I'm not willing to give these up, however. As you can see, I'm back to using dpns. I don't think I really have a preference between dpns and the magic loop. I think I was just in the mood for the dpns.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Look Ma! A Finished Object!

Well, these socks certainly have a lot knitted in them. These socks contain all my worries over orals and my language exam and other things. These socks contain about three months of sentiments. I finished them a few nights ago but didn't get to graft the toe of the second sock until a few minutes ago. Finishing these socks was very cathartic for me: in a sense, finishing them signifies that I'm really free from those worries that went into the sock. The sock is the physical manifestation of my letting go of those worries. I know this may sound crazy, but what I love so much about knitting is that all of your emotions, your joys and fears and worries, become physical objects that not only mark time but seem to give something back to you.

These socks were made using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Watercolor colorway on size 1 40" Addi turbos. I worked over 64 stitches, making a 2X2 rib for the cuff and switching to stockinette stitch. I wanted to post close ups of the gusset because I'm really proud of them. No hole! I wrapped and turned before and after the first heel flap row and picked up two extra stitches when working the gusset.

These pictures cannot show the depth of the beauty of this yarn. This yarn has so many pleasant surprises in it and it really does seem to shine and shimmer in a way that wool shouldn't. It's lovely, lovely.

I tried to take a picture of myself wearing these socks, but I go through a huge metaphysical struggle when I have to think about photographing myself modeling socks: should I shave my legs? should I wear nice pants? a skirt? funky pajamas? Well, I guess it's best to use my floor as a backdrop.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cross my heart & hope to die; stick a needle in my eye: a superstitious thread

I know this might sound terribly superstitious, but I've always thought that I could be completely happy if only I could finish this cross-stitch. I started this cross-stitch when I was fifteen. And as it so happens when you're fifteen and in love and spending a Friday night with your parents, your boyfriend will have spent some time with another girl. I told myself then that I would never ever be completely happy in love or have a healed heart unless I finished this cross-stitch. I know, it's terribly superstitious. It's like the white elephant in my life. This thing has been toted around from state to state and it even accompanied me once overseas, and I have never ever wanted to finish it. That huge cabbage, as lovely as it seems, quickly became very tedious.

The image itself, however, lends much sentimentality to me as I grew up among rabbits and veggies and flowers. My parents are avid gardeners, and as a child, I had pet rabbits, among other things. My parents live out in the country and they have all sorts of animals including chickens and ducks and geese and turkeys and quail and occasionally, kittens and mice and wild bunnies are born in our henhouse hay. I suppose, even though I'm living in New York City, that I have a bit of the rustic in me and dream about living in a farmhouse or at least among a beautiful secluded mountain scenery.

And so, when I begin to ask myself questions such as these--will I ever be married? will I ever have children? will I even ever be engaged?--this cross-stitch begins to loom large in my mind and I blame it all on that cabbage.