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.