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?