Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This FO is REALLY Old

Airy Scarf

I thought that instead of sending along a trite thank you note to someone who has been very kind and giving to me, that I would also send along a knitted gift. I get really paranoid and embarrassed when I do give knitted gifts. I worry that the recipient will think that my gift looks like a beginning knitter made it. (I don't wish to say that beginning knitters make things that look bad--when I was beginning, I made things that looked bad; some beginning knitters do make marvelous things.)

So this "Airy Scarf" from Last Minute Knitted Gifts was sent to a very nice woman who has been so kind to me for no reason at all. I won't say who she is because she's a bit of a celebrity in my writing world. I'll just say that she's a famous poet; and if you ever see a famous poet wearing this scarf, then know it's not coincidence--I made it for her.

I used some Whispers yarn in the Smoke Blue colorway that I bought with the intention of making a stole of sorts a long time ago. No stole; no desire to make one. You see, during that winter, I learned to make socks and haven't had a desire to make much of anything else since then.

I finished knitting a sweater long ago, but I haven't had the desire to sew it up. None at all.

What I'm knitting now: socks for Manly, socks for two socks without mates, more Korknisse for the tree.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Wash Day!

Wash Day!

Well, you can certainly tell what the weather has been like judging from this pile of handknit socks. I think there are 12 pairs of socks here, only two of which are Manly's. I think I should knit another pair for him, perhaps as a Christmas gift. He really deserves a pair of socks. For those of you in my sock club, I'll have you know that Manly wrapped all the books up in newspaper. By the end, he was wrapping them up so neatly that he could be employed to wrap gifts professionally. He really helped me to get this last shipment out, and I don't think I could have done it without him.

I have a phone interview later today for a job. Yes, a job. I mean, a JOB JOB. I big job. A real job. The job that I've been going to school forever for. I'm the the academic job market this year. This has implications, but I won't scare anyone yet. I'll deliver news when it's time to deliver news.

The weather outside is very, very frightful, and it seems as if the whole city is wrapped in some strange bubble--everything is off; everything is late. But there was no line at the post office today. It's very strange.

Yesterday, I got a package, so says the on-line tracker, but there was no package to be found. I'm terribly distressed over this--the package was full of something for the sock club. Whoever stole it must be very confused or disappointed.

Update: the package appeared today. Like I said--there's a strange bubble over the city it seems.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My do-not-do list

Kettle-dyed sock yarn

Every night before bed, I make a to-do list. It helps me to feel less anxious about all the things I have to do. I've tricked myself into thinking that if I take the task undone and materialize it (i.e. write it out), then the task is just as good as done. I don't have insomnia. I sleep well.

I think, however, that I need to start making a do-not-do list. I should list things that I should not do or stop doing.

If you haven't noticed, I've been absent in blog-land; my absence is caused by all of those things that I have to do.

So, starting today, I'm adding something to that do-not-do list: DO NOT reskein yarn.

I know that a lot of sock knitters like their yarn reskeined; it's looks prettier to some folks. But lately, I've been admiring sock yarn that isn't reskeined. I think it shows off the colors more. I know that's my opinion but...

I actually had a moment this weekend where I thought I should give up dyeing yarn. I was really overwhelmed by the mountain of yarn that needed to be reskeined. If I spend all day reskeining--morning until supper time--I will have only reskeined about 20 skeins. (I do it by hand because my electric skein winder is CRAZY! It can skein from cones, but reskeining makes the electric skein winder mad!) These are days that I could be spending cleaning, writing, reading, working on the dissertation, updating my etsy shop, dyeing more yarn, going to museums, going to movies, taking walks. There's so much life I'm missing out on, so please understand that my desire to stop reskeining is wrapped up in my desire to live.

I actually felt as if I could breathe again when I decided to no longer reskein yarn.

What you're seeing in the picture above is some of my kettle-dyed sock yarn. I have six skeins that will go up on etsy when I update. Isn't it pretty? Oh, and kettle-dyed sock yarn looks like a hairball mixed with vomit when it hasn't been reskeined. So maybe I should reskein it...oh no, oh no, I said I would not do that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm late; I'm late; I'm late

Dear friends,

I'm feeling a bit like the white rabbit today--constantly going somewhere, constantly busy. The one difference is that I'm constantly confused. Everything is a bit overwhelming right now, and I have a 7:00 a.m. flight to catch tomorrow. I wish it were a vacation destination, but no, it's a conference and work. I have so much to do before then. I was hoping to update this blog and my etsy shop before leaving, but it looks as those to-do items will have to wait until I get back.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Monkeys are Done; My First Sweater; Dissertation Update; Sock Club Update

Monkey Socks

The Monkeys are done

I grafted the last toe on Thursday night at my knitting circle. These socks were delightful to make. If I had to make them over again, I would probably use size 0 needles for the leg and then switch to 1s for the gusset/foot. They're a tad looser than I would like in the leg portion of the sock, but nice nonetheless. I love them. They make me happy to look at. I used my Woollly Boully Softie Sock in the Country Apple colorway. Here are my pattern modifications: size 1 dpns, my slip1 k1 heel flap and regular gusset, decrease toe to sixteen stitches as I like to do. When it comes to socks, it's better to do as you like to do. At least that's what I think.

My first sweater

My First Sweater

I remember a while ago I promised that I would do right by this sweater. And I really did try to stick by her. I bought yarn and made a swatch, and I was all set to go. Then, I realized (yes, even after making a swatch in garter stitch) that the sweater was in garter stitch. (I guess that's why everyone says to "read the pattern all the way through.") It's not easy to see in that photograph that the sweater is in garter stitch. Oh no, I thought. I like garter stitch, but I don't think I'd like to wear a sweater made in garter stitch. I don't think it would flatter me. I thought about rewriting the pattern, but, having never made a sweater before, I didn't feel confident enough in my abilities.

Then my friend Jody showed me her copy of this fall's Knitting Fashion magazine, which seems to be very difficult to find on-line. I think it's a European magazine, but I'm not sure. Anyhow, I loved the sweater at first glance. Loved the cowl neck; loved the stockinette stitch. But the pattern called for a heavy worsted and size 11 needles. I had already bought a bunch of worsted. I tried a swatch on size 10 needles, and it draped just fine and filled out a bit after washing and blocking. (Oh, yes, I went all the way with my swatching. I didn't think I would, being a sock knitter and all who never, ever swatches--just a quick look at the yarn and I'm off.)

I was very proud of myself. I was able to convert the pattern by thinking through it in my head and performing some very simple arithmetic. Then I found this, and it confirmed my changes. I was very pleased with myself. I had always been terrible at figures.

So I cast on Friday. As of this post, I have the back all done and am almost beginning my neck shaping on the front. Sweaters do go fast. I estimate that I knit about 18,000 - 20,000 stitches in a pair of socks. I'm sure that this sweater will contain about that many stitches as well. I always silently stare when someone, seeing that I tend to always be working on a new pair of socks, tells me, "Hmmm. I think I'll start to knit socks. They go faster." I just silently stare.

Dissertation Update

Chapter One of the Dissertation

I had to print out my chapter today. I just couldn't see it anymore. I email myself a copy of it daily if I make changes. I don't trust anyone, anything anymore when it comes to saving. Oh no. I had a big crying fit this spring when two pages of my prospectus got eaten by my flash drive. I still can't look at a flash drive without cringing.

It's such a baby still. It's 43 pages and it's shapeless, without form, an utter babbling blob. I'm hoping that a print-out will help me to force it into some sort of shape. If I'm quiet in blog-land these days, well, I'm hoping that this photo will tell you why.

Sock Club Update

My sock club is almost full, and by almost full, I mean there's only one spot left. The club has 24 spots. One is mine, and is being reserved for a special someone, 21 have sold, and one is left.

Dyeing will begin this weekend. I have such a lovely colorway planned. I'm already swooning. Just swooning I tell ya.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We've Got Buttons!

A while ago, Pam asked if I had a Woolly Boully button for her blog. I also got a special request from Julia for a Woolly Boully Sock Club button for her blog. Buttons? Hmmm....I hadn't even thought about buttons. So I thought about buttons; it made sense for me to have buttons. I know nothing, however, about making buttons. (Well, I did try to once, a long time ago, and that turned out very badly.)

I then remembered a very talented blogger and photographer and designer who had designed a beautiful button for her Fiberlicious group. I also remembered that the Knitting Philistine had taken a very lovely photo of my yarn. I then remembered that she is very open to doing swaps. She usually swaps her soap. I asked her if she would consider doing a button/yarn swap. She said yes, and I was absolutely thrilled.

The two buttons above are the Knitting Philistine's creations. The first one is a Woolly Boully Yarns button and the second one is the Sock Club button.

You may post them on your blog. I would very much appreciate if you did the following:

- please have the buttons link back to my blog;
- and please remember to save the buttons and then upload them to your blog;
- if you prefer, you may download the buttons from my flickr site, but the same rules apply--save to your drive and then upload.

Pam has also started a Woolly Boully Woolies group on Ravelry. I know that not all of you are on Ravelry yet, but if you are, you can click here to join.

I am so excited about the Sock Yarn Club. You know, I really didn't think anyone would sign up. I really thought I would go about my day, come home, check my email, and see that no one had signed up. As of this writing, we have 19 members in the club. Goodness! I feel really honored that anyone signed up at all, and it really means so much to me to think that so many of you have such faith in my abilities to bring you great yarn. Thank you all so much!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Woolly Boully Sock Club, Korknisse, and I've been Raveled

Country Apple Korknisse

Hey you all. I have some exciting news. Well, it may not be at all exciting to you, but it is absolutely exciting for me. I've started my own sock club. I'm planning lots and lots of fun things for the shipments, but I'm having an oh-so-difficult time pinning down three colorways for the club. There are so many on my mind. I guess I'll have to save some for later.

The club will have a book theme, like some other sock yarn clubs, but I thought I would centered my sock yarn club around my books. I know, I must be so self-centered! But really, I'm very often inspired by images in my writing when it comes to yarn dyeing. The two really do go hand and hand for me.

Details for the Woolly Boully Boully Books Sock Club are here.


When I first happened upon these, my heart flitter-fluttered. Korknisse is (are? -- is korknisse plural?) the cutest little folk ever. I want a whole village of Korknisse.

This one is an apple one, made from my Country Apple Softie Sock. This one is for a special someone whom I have never met, but who has been an awesome person to me. (She made me this!) She wrote a book with "apple" in the title, and I thought this would be an appropriate gift for her. She said that she had wanted to learn to knit to make those cute little animals (amigurumi?) that everyone has been making. So I thought that a cute little Korknisse might fit the bill perfectly.

I wanted to use fingering weight yarn and size one needles. I couldn't find any patterns on-line for these specifications, so I just improvised. The original pattern is here. The English translation of the pattern is here.

Country Apple Korknisse

Here's my modified pattern for fingering weight yarn and size 1 dpns.

cast on 24 stitches (If you knit loosely, you can use 20 stitches.)
join in the round
k2p2 for five rounds
knit for five rounds
cast off

cast on 24 stitches (Again, if you're a loose knitter, you should use 20 stitches and adjust your decreases according.)
join in the round
k2p2 for four rounds
k four rounds
k2 k2tog k2 repeat
k two rounds
k1 k2tog k2 repeat
k two rounds
k2tog k1 repeat
k two rounds
k2tog k1 repeat
k two rounds
k2tog repeat
Draw yarn through remaining stitches.
Weave in ends.
Put clothes on a wine cork and draw two little eyes. (I prefer my Korknisse without noses!)


Yesterday, I was Raveled. My Raverly username is WoollyBoully.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sunflower Socks

Sunflower Socks

Well, after what seems like months, I finally have another pair of socks done. These socks took forever. I made short-row heels; I must have forgotten that I don't like knitting short-row heels. Unlike heel flaps, which I can make in my sleep, I still need to look at line-by-line instructions for short-rows. So, when I can't zone out when knitting, it tends to take me longer to get anything knit.

I love these note cards that come in little magnetized boxes. The boxes are perfect for keeping a pair of socks in or for gifting socks. I guess I'll need to write a lot of notes if I want more of these boxes. They're also great for storing knitting notions, paper clips, and any little thing that doesn't seem to have a home.

The weather is shifting.

I felt it weeks ago when my allergies flared. They flare fiercely in autumn. Along with the sneezes comes a vague sense of feeling under water, a deadened alertness, and fuzzy memory.

Oh, yes, and sudden food cravings.

Things I have craved: sour pickles, hotdogs with relish, granny smith apples with an ever-so-slight glaze of candy-apple coating (just to feel the crisp crunch along with the stickiness), braised red meats, heaps of raw vegetables.

None of these cravings make sense to me; none of those foods, excepting the braised red meats, are foods that I eat regularly or have ever craved at all.

Sunflower Socks

My sunflowers socks were made using my Sunflowers, Texas, fields of colorway (these are 50% superwash merino and 50% tencel) over 60 stitches on size one dpns using a Sherman short-row heel.

I think my last post, bemoaning the slow slow wait for my Ravelry invite, must have made the Ravelry gods feel slightly sorry for me. In one week, my place in line has changed greatly:

  • You signed up on July 14, 2007
  • You are #16310 on the list.
  • 915 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 18118 people are behind you in line.
  • 44% of the list has been invited so far
At this rate, I'll get my invite in about three days. About.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Woolly Boully Country Apple

Well, it seems as if everyone is making Monkey Socks--at least everyone but me. You see, I've had problems with lace-knitting. Lace-knitting does not like me. I tried it once--yo, k2tog, yo, blah blah, and I want to punch someone, especially if I have to pass any slip stitched over anything on top of all of that attention paying and counting.

But no, the Monkey Socks are quite tame; they're relaxing, mesmerizing. I now see why knitters knit one, then two, then three pairs of these. I already want to knit more and more of them. I already want to give some to everyone I know and love.

Monkey Socks

I started these last night, and I didn't want to stop. I'm making these with my new colorway, Country Apple in my 100% superwash merino Softie Sock line.

I've been a bit busy, so I won't be showing those two remaining finished objects just yet. Perhaps this weekend or early next week I will. But I did want to show you all that I too do as monkeys do. I am officially in the club, and coming to think of it, I was getting bored of my stockinette socks. I really was. I was losing interest.

I do feel a bit left out, however. It seems that all the action is over on Ravelry, and I was so naive. I thought that I could sign up at any time. I waited and waited and waited, and that line moves so slowly. It's perhaps the slowest line in the world.

Here is where I am in the queue:
  • You signed up on July 14, 2007
  • You are #16310 on the list.
  • 3937 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 16305 people are behind you in line.
  • 37% of the list has been invited so far
I really feel bad for those folks who are behind me in line. I've been waiting forever, and they will have to wait even longer. In one month, that list only moved by four percent. I'm very grumpy about this.

P.S. Thank you all for your comments and concerns over my mom's package. She has another one coming her way, this time by UPS.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I think I'm getting better

Hand-spun Yarn

I have three finished objects to show you. Three. There's a scarf, a pair of socks, and this hand-spun yarn. I thought that maybe I should show you all three finished objects in this one post, but then I thought better of it, seeing as how I've been so delinquent at posting here as of late. Because my urge to show the finished object is so great, I'll have better successes publishing new posts if I withhold them for later days: or so I've convinced myself.

When it rains it pours certainly rings true for me. It often happens to me just like this. I have no finished objects for what seems like a long, long time, and then out of nowhere I have three. I just wish that only good things would pour.

I've had one of those weeks where I have just thrown my hands up, so expected were the inconveniences, the down-right injustices. I won't bore you with everything that went wrong this week, but there is one thing that I'm very upset about.

My parents live in a rural community, on a rural road. The neighbors collect their mail at a central mail box. Everyone has a key, and packages are put in larger boxes. If you have a package, you will have been given a key to retrieve the package. Well, even with this system, thieves break in and steal packages. My parents have had several packages missing or stolen.

I had sent my mom a very special package. She had been wanting some of these miracle creams, very expensive miracle creams. I happened to find this stuff for a good price, ordered it for her, and tracked the package on-line. The package was DELIVERED, but there was no package. Urgh. I called the USPS headquarters and filed a claim. I don't think they can do anything but log it and keep an eye on the area.

My mom has been making such positive changes in her life. She's eating better, exercising, and buying herself new clothes instead of wearing whatever someone gives her. In a word, she's loving herself, and I thought, by god, she deserves some of this expensive cream and I'm going to get it for her.

What do you do when your mother calls you, very sad and crying? Well, you do what you can without upsetting her more. So, I'm going to tell her that I was protected by some buyer protection policy (which is not true--I did buy the stuff from eBay, but I don't think you're protected in case of thief--oh, and that day, PayPal wouldn't let me pay with my American Express card, which protects me against theft. (You see how easily the universe conspires against me?)) and order her another one. I'll have it shipped by UPS this time. I don't trust whoever stole our last package to not steal it again. (And I won't buy it from the same eBay seller who hasn't even bothered to return my simple email, asking if there was insurance on the package or not--bad, bad customer service.)

In my mom's very Buddhist way, she says, Well, let them have it. That's what she always says when something unjust happens. Let them have it.

I'm so sorry to bore you with this story, but if this does happen to you, don't take it lying down. Report it to the USPS. They should know if there are areas with lots of mail theft.

Hand-spun Yarn

I now return to the knitting content of this post: the handspun was this. It's superwash merino in the Punk colorway (discontinued), hand-dyed by Pigeonroof Studios. It spun up beautifully. I loved working with merino. It's 124 yards.

I think I'm getting better at the spinning, although this yarn is still a bit over spun. It's more uniform that the previous yarns I spun, however.

I want to knit it up, but I'm not sure what to knit it into. Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

From the Depths of the Chevron

Chevron Scarf

Forgive me for having neglected this blog for longer than I'm known to, but you see, I've been working away at a little project that will haunt me if I don't finish it by this time next year. It's my dissertation, and I've been plugging away at it, two pages a day, sometimes less, sometimes a bit more; it is coming along.

Not much sock knitting these days. I'm excited, however, to start a Monkey Sock. Angela at Fluid Pudding just made a Monkey Sock using my Red Robin: Bird, Nest, & Eggs yarn, and it is beautiful. Look here and here.

I have been working away on my Chevron Scarf. By now this scarf is so famous that I don't think I need to say what book this pattern is in, but my dissertation mind, forever documenting, tells me that I must! Do I resist? I don't know. I really don't know.

I'm making this scarf with some awesome sock yarn from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company that was gifted to me this past Christmas by one of Manly's sisters. I'm using Soxie in Maple Leaf and Spring Garden. The color combination is just stunning, and I won't ever, ever get bored of seeing how the colors develop and play off of one another in this scarf.

Chevron Scarf

I wasn't always working on this scarf; in fact, I kind of loathed knitting it. Then I switched my 16" metal circulars for 9" bamboo straights. Oh, love. I'm in love with knitting again. I think I just need to realize that I'm a bamboo-needle kind of girl and stop trying to hang with the metal crowd. It's not working out.

I bought the needles on Friday, when two of my dear knitting friends (they comment here as JaneD and tigerlily) and I ventured into a yarn store after lunch. JaneD is going to start sock knitting. Oh, yes. Another one of those is on the brink of being born.

I do slip a few things into my etsy shop now and again. I also do special orders and reserves, so let me know if there's anything you're dying to get your hands on.

My first roving

Speaking of my etsy shop: I'll be selling rovings there soon. I think. I hope. I dyed my first roving up last night, and while it didn't quite turn out quite how I envisioned, I think it's lovely, and it didn't felt! I'm so excited to spin it up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Woolly Boully Softie up at the Loopy Ewe

My Softie Sock yarn (100% superwash merino) is up at the Loopy Ewe, but you might want to act fast if you want some--many of the colorways have already disappeared. Do not despair--the Yarn Grove still has some of the popular colorways in stock.

Sunshine Family

I wanted to share a little story about a new colorway I have that's up at the Loopy Ewe right now. It's called "Sunshine Family." Does that ring a bell at all? If you're about my age, it might. The Sunshine Family were my favorite dolls. I managed to get this off of eBay a few years ago:

I'm sorry that the picture quality is so bad--I took it with my old camera when I was in Texas a few months ago. Texas is where my doll collection is. What else is in the collection? I might be a bit too embarrassed to say right now. I still have the Sunshine Family dolls that I played with as a child, but I wanted these--untouched, promising, evoking the anticipating.

There's more to this new colorway than that. I was obsessed with yellow as a child. Second in line were orange and green. I was girl who preferred Bert over Ernie. I loved our 70s kitchen. My mother had a crocheted doll that was done up in yellow, orange, and green. She made me a chevron blanket in those colors. These are the colors that, when seen in this combination, make me feel happy. I think that deserves some socks.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Woolly Boully Softie Sock at the Yarn Grove

Chocolate-Cherrie Poochie

I've been a bit absent from blog-land lately. I've been trying to reroute my brain to think more academically; I mean, I've been doing a lot of dissertation preparing. I'm trying to spread myself into that realm for a while.

But I did want to stop in and say hi and that I miss everyone.

Prizes have been mailed. If you won some of my yarn, I still have to dye it up, but I'll send you an email to let you know when to expect it.

Jane at the Yarn Grove has some of my Softie Sock up in her store! Stop by if you have a minute.

I also made two new Poochies: Chocolate-Cherrie Poochie (above) and Pink-Lemonie Poochie (below). The new Poochies are available in my etsy shop. I have two new Poochies coming soon: Ph.D. Poochie (yes, the tuition bill is due soon!) and Prissy Poochie.

Pink-Lemonie Poochie

For now, the Poochies are an etsy exclusive. They are made in colorways that may or may not be repeated, and they are twisted into little lap-dog shaped skeins. They are sold at a price that is slightly lower than my regular yarns to help them all find homes.

I've also been trying to spin, but the humidity isn't very nice to my spinning wheel or my roving. I did manage to spin this into this:

Handspun BFL

I just starting spinning merino, and I don't know if I can go back to BFL, which now feels harsh and difficult to draft compared to merino. I don't think, however, I could have started spinning with merino--you do have to move faster and be more sensitive to the fibers. I know now why everyone says that spinning with merino is like spinning a cloud or butter or a dream.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Prizes, prizes

Before I announce the prize winners, I just want to tell you all how generous and thoughtful you people are. I received A LOT of squares. I haven't counted them yet, but there are a lot. I also received some touching notes and cards that reminded me why I started this blanket drive in the first place: I wanted to help others work through their pain or memories or anxiety or feelings (good or bad) in a positive way, a way that would physically manifest into something that could comfort someone else. But most of all, I wanted, of course, to do this for Mom J and her sister Georgene. Thank you all so much. Mom J has been touched. I've been touched. Your generosity will touch the lives of others.

Here are the raffle winners:

Brittany Birch Knitting Needles, size 13 (donated by the Brittany Company; donation acquired by Mom J): Jody
Lane Borgosesia Merinos Extra Fine, 10 balls, pink (donated by Knit-a-Bit in Westfield, NJ; donation acquired by Mom J): Heather of the ADD Knitter
Too Cute!: Cotton Knits for Toddlers by Debby Ware (donated by Jody): LM Bartle
Yarn Caddy (donated by Knit-a-Bit; donation acquired by Mom J): Marylou B
Scheepjes sock yarn (donated by Leslie of the Silver Fork Saga): Jilian
Opal sock yarn (donated by the ADD Knitter): Senora Fuerte of Mommy! Look What I Made!
Knitting Journal (donated by Mom J): Michelle of All Things Crafted and her Aunt Sieka
Trekking XXL 126 (the grand prize?): Mims C

And because I was so taken by everyone's spirit of giving, I'm throwing in a couple of skeins of Woolly Boully yarn as a consolation prize.

The consolation winners are:

Jessica C.
Geri T.

Thank you everyone who participated. I promise to post pictures as soon as all the squares are sewed together. I love love all of you. Thank you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

These Little Poochies Went Very Quickly

Little Poochie

Guess what everyone? Manly drew the names of the contest winners yesterday! I'm looking around my stash for extra prizes, but I have a feeling that I'll just throw in some skeins of my Woolly Boully yarn. So, I'll have to draw those winners tomorrow. I'll also post the drawing results here tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Well, Manly's leaving on a trip tomorrow, so today is spend-the-day-with-Manly-day and no yarn dyeing or yarn winding or yarn anything today. He's still sleeping right now, so I'm sneaking this post in. By the by, this is my restriction--you know I love you if I'm putting the fiber away for you.

See the little skein of yarn above? It's name is Little Poochie. At first, I didn't want to name it, thinking that I would become too attached to it. (Animals have a way of staying around once they're named.) There were only six in the liter, and they went very quickly. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find them homes. Because they were so popular, I'm working on a secret Poochie project.

p.s. Thank you all so much for your kind and sympathetic words about my migraine. I'm feeling much better now.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Edith Piaf Knit

Edith Piaf knit. This is a photograph of her knitting in her hospital bed after having stomach surgery. If you haven't seen La Vie en Rose, go out and see it. But don't see it, say, in the early hours of a beautiful day. You will cry. (I cried when I saw the preview even.) You'll well up throughout the movie, and at the end, the very end, you won't be able to drag yourself from the dark of the theatre.

I won't spoil all the knitting episodes in the film. I will leave those delights for you to find.

I spent most of Thursday in bed. In her book, The White Album, Joan Didion has a fabulous essay called "In Bed." I was in bed for the reason Didion gave in her essay. I had what the doctors call a migraine. I refuse to believe they are migraines. Doctors will not listen to me when I try to them them that the headaches are related to my cycle. They just want to give me a prescription; I don't take my migraine medicine--it makes me feel as if an enormous pressure is being exerted on my brain and I immediately become nauseated. The medicine doesn't make the headache go away anyhow--it stays, beating dull, hibernating behind my eye.

I usually get headaches on my right side. They usually aren't too bad; I can go about my day, uncomfortable, but functional, usually squinting and distracted and feeling as if I'm underwater. This time, the headache started on my left side. I kept seeing what looked like fluttering bat's wings in the corner of left eye. Then the left side of my face went numb. So I made myself take my medicine and lie in the dark of my bedroom.

I wish I could have knit.

I cried because I was so upset that I couldn't get anything done. Didion, in her essay, says that no one will understand why you don't just take an aspirin, why you just don't shake it off. They have no idea. Believe me, I would always rather be knitting if I could.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunflowers, Texas, fields of


I got sunflowers for my birthday; Manly bought them for me.

Sunflowers 3

The sunflowers signaled the final push. For months, I had been planning a sunflower colorway.

Why sunflowers? I'm not sure. In Texas, fields and fields of them overtake the landscape. The Texas sunflowers are really a type of wildflower. Farmers would call them weeds. They've always struck me as beautiful, in perfect opposition to cotton fields and corn.

Here is a patch of Texas sunflowers, on a hill at my parents' house. It was so hot and humid when I snapped this shot--you can see how the humidity seeped into the camera.

Texas Sunflowers

I've never been drawn to sunflowers as a favorite flower, preferring instead the highly fragrant, the small buds of blooming things: lilac, lily of the valley, jasmine.

But there is something about what the sunflower invokes in me emotionally. It must be the yellow, the yellow pulling at my childself, the brown of my eyes, the green of promise and youth and pastures.

In Utah a few summers ago, while fishing, I happened upon a hillside covered with yellow flowers. I thought that perhaps they were Utah's version of wild sunflowers.

Utah Sky with Sunflowers

A few minutes after I snapped this photograph, it began to rain. The lake's waves rose and the rain pelted it fiercely. All the while, black clouds continued to swell and boom and invade the valley. I had a tremendous, dreadful sense of deja vu.

Sunflowers 2

Whatever my pull or attraction, here is my new colorway, Sunflowers, Texas, fields of. The yarn base is a 50% superwash merino and 50% tencel. This skein contains 400 yards and each section of yellow has been handpainted with a speck of brown to mirror the brown center of the sunflower.

I hadn't knit with merino/tencel previously, but started a sock a few nights ago. I love it. It's soft and shimmery and a treat to feel and look it. The tencel works like nylon--it adds strength to the softness of the merino. What is tencel? It's a natural fiber, found in cellulose (think wood pulp) that has been extracted through a manmade process. The result is a strong yet silky fiber.


Three skeins will be available in my etsy shop. I'll only be listing one at a time, but let me know if you want more than one and I'll be happy to relist.

Blanket drive contest update: I'll be drawing the names of the winners next week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I had a birthday

On Saturday, I had one hell of a treat. Manly's sister got us tickets to the Yankee's game, but not just any tickets. We had a Luxury Suite. Manly's whole family came out for the day. We had a private air-conditioned indoor room with a fridge full of cold beer and a buffet of hotdogsfriedfingerfood goodness. And, the best part--we had our own bathroom!

My, my. But, how sweet! Manly's sister got me a birthday cake!

It also happened to be Old-Timer's day at the stadium, so we were in for that extra treat. I got to see Yogi Berra, finally. I have a joke that goes like this: whatever the Yankee's trivia question may be, the answer is always Yogi Berra.

I've been obsessed with spinning lately. I spun this, into this:

This skein measures 185 yards and is BFL. I finally figured out how to draft within the "drafting triangle." If you don't spin, the drafting triangle is the area between your spinning hand and your fiber hand, or something like that. Before, I would draft all my fiber into little skinny pieces, but now, I can predraft and then draft as I spin, which is delightful, dreamy, meditative, calming. I love it. Half of this was spun with my old method, and the other half with my "ah-ha I figured it out" method.

I just want to spin all day now. I'm spinning this now. I'd like to try dyeing my own rovings, but for now, I think I need to see how different colors and color combinations and amounts of color spin up.

In other news, this arrived in my mail last week. You may order it here or here or here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I've been knitting

Thank you so much to all of you who commented on your favorite colorways and which colorways might make a good DK weight yarn. It was surprising for me to see which colorways were a hit. The popular ones seem to be Moonflowers, Wisteria, Kelp Seahorse, Fishing With My Father, and Red Robin: Bird, Nest, & Eggs. Thank you so much, everyone. I really appreciate your thoughts.

I used an on-line random number generator, and lucky number 13 was the integer that came up. TigerLily was the 13th person to comment, so the prize goes to her. Congrats, TigerLily!

I've been knitting.

I have three pairs of socks that I haven't shown you all yet. The socks above (pictures were taken with my old camera) were made for my mother, over 60 stitches on size one dpns, using my Autumn's Tremblings yarn. My mother told me that she prefers anklets. Well, why didn't you say so earlier? Anklets? Geez. I'll knit you a whole basket of anklets, mom.

And guess what other bit of knitter's fortune befell me while I was in Texas: my little sister told me that she too prefers anklets.

These anklets, for my little sister, were made with size one dpns over 60 stitches with Opal Tiger. Her school colors are orange and black; their mascot is the panther; I thought, close enough. She's in marching band; they made it to the state competition last year; I don't know why I'm thinking of these anklets as good-luck charms. Somehow, while knitting them, I thought, if she has these, they'll go to state again.

It's very easy for me to see now why "witches" in old stories were also spinners and/or knitters.

And, I did, indeed, make some socks for me. These lovelies were made with size one dpns over 60 stitches using Trekking XXL 126. My mother saw the yarn and LOVED it, so she's getting a pair of Trekking 126 anklets very soon.

Michelle of All Things Crafted sent us six lovely squares. Four were crocheted by her Aunt Sieka (let me know, Michelle, if I spelled her name wrong) and two were knit by Michelle. These squares are for Elwin, a survivor, and in memory of Roger Jimmo. Thank you so much, Michelle!

I'll do a special blanket-drive blog post within the next two weeks, and in that post I'll announce all the winners of the special prizes. Thank you all so much for making this happen.

In the meantime, I have a lot of yarn to dye.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Real Meanie

You might have noticed that in my earlier post, I said that my Meanie Sock was 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon; previously, however, my yarn was tagged as 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon. The mistake was caused by my taking this information from a sample I had of the yarn and not clarifying the yarn content with my distributor. I only discovered this discrepancy when I tried to reorder the yarn last week. I sincerely apologize for this oversight.

I've heard great reviews from many of you about my nylon/merino yarn base--many of you have touted it as the softest sock yarn ever, something I also strongly agree with. If you are, however, unhappy with this news, please contact me at emeraldatlas [at] yahoo [dot] com, and I will be happy to work something out with you.

My distributor is working on getting a 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon yarn either late summer or early fall. I plan on sampling this yarn, and I'll let you all know which nylon base I like better. For now, I can say that I love my original yarn base; I love dyeing it, knitting with it, and wearing it.

In other news, I dyed up two prototypes of Woolly Boully BIG Boully in the Wisteria colorway. (Many thanks to all of you who made color suggestions--I'll be announcing the winner after the contest's close.) Because they are prototypes, I'll be selling them at a discount in my etsy shop. They'll be listed sometime today.

My new camera came in last week, but I must be doing something terribly wrong. My yarn isn't photographing well. Am I doing something wrong? The camera is a Canon PowerShot. Any suggestions would be welcomed. It seems as if the colors of my yarn only show up truly in the underwater mode. This seems strange to me.

Oh, and the picture above of the leaf is to show you what happens when a normal houseplant, in this case an ivy, is planted into the ground and allowed to grow as it will in a greenhouse.

Again, I feel really badly about mistaking my yarn base as an 80/20 and not as a 75/25. My sincerest apologies and gratitude go out to all of you who have been so supportive of me. I have certainly learned a lot about running a dyeing business. Dyeing yarn has been so fulfilling for me, and I've never been so happy. It's really wonderful to be able to work on something that I love so much.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lotus Seed Pod & New Contest & Squares

This a seed pod of a lotus. The seeds are edible, and they taste clean, hardy, immaculate. These lotus blooms are from my parents' pond in Texas. They have a few ponds throughout their property. The lotus pond is my favorite. This photo was taken with my old camera. Guess who placed an order for new camera? Yep yep yep. I'm so excited. It will be here Thursday.

Here's a NEW CONTEST for you folks:

As you might know, I'm currently testing out various yarn bases to develop Woolly Boully BIG BOULLY, a dk weight sock yarn.

My questions for you are: a.) Which of my colorways would you like to see in a dk weight?; and b.) Which two of my colorways do you like the best?

Sheri has a nice gallery of my sold-out skeins here, or you can browse the sold items at my etsy shop.

The winner, which will be chosen by a random number generator, will win a skein of my yarn in the colorway and yarn base of their choice. If you want to enter, just leave me a comment to this post with your answers to my questions by midnight on Tuesday, July 3.

Squares and an Extension

I've heard from some of you that there are squares on their way to me. I'm extending the postmark deadline to June 30th, so get those squares in the mail. I'll be doing the prize drawings shortly after that.

Here are some squares that were waiting for me upon my return to Brooklyn.

Senora Fuerte of Mommy, Look What I Made, sent in four lovely squares. Thank you, Senora. The browns and blues are so lovely together.

Kabira sent in these three beautiful squares. They are in honor of her mother, a cancer survivor, and in memory of her father and dear friend Sura. Thank you so much, Kabira, for sharing these with us.

Jessica sent in the a box of ten (!) squares. Wow. Thank you so much, Jessica, for your overwhelming generosity. Your squares are delightful.

Kathy of 3 Grrrls Knit sent in these squares with a touching note.

Kathy's note said: "My squares are for everyone who has been touched by cancer. My mother died of cancer, my husband had melanoma. (We were lucky and caught it early.) There are also the people like you and me who don't have cancer but love someone who does/die. So, my two squares are for all the people who are affected." I was so touched by Kathy's note that I wanted to share it with everyone. Thank you, Kathy.

Oh, and what do you know? Mims, who sent in squares throughout the contest, writes a knitting blog for the Orgeonian. Wow.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Woolly Boully Shop Update

This isn't the important post. The important post is below this one, so please read that one if you haven't already.

I did, however, want to let you all know that I'll be doing a shop update right after I post this.

I'll have a couple of skeins in my original yarn base (Woolly Boully Meanie Sock) in the following colorways:

Woolly Boully Neapolitan
Lotus Blooms
Brooklyn Candy

I'll also have a couple of skeins in a new 100% superwash merino yarn base (Woolly Boully Softie Sock) in the following colorway:

Fishing With My Father

Also, there will be some changes to my yarn line. The different yarn bases that I will be using will have different names.

Woolly Boully Meanie Sock: my original super soft and fluffy yarn base: 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon. This is by far my favorite sock yarn. I'm calling this yarn base "Meanie" because of the nylon content; however, don't let the name or nylon content fool you--this stuff is super soft and just glides off the needles. You don't notice the nylon at all--it feels and works up like a pure merino.

Woolly Boully Softie Sock: a new 100% superwash merino base. I wanted to bring my colorways to those sock knitters who enjoy a shiny and twisted yarn. This yarn is so pretty to look at and is also super soft. I really enjoyed knitting with it. This one also glides off the needles and is springy.

And, coming soon will be Woolly Boully BIG BOULLY: a dk weight 100% superwash merino sock yarn for those of you who want some instant sock gratification.

Okay, that's enough of a plug for today.

Please please read the previous post if you haven't already; my father read it and said that it made his day. Oh, I knew this knitting blog was good for something.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Late Father's Day Post

I grew up fishing. There was a pond within walking distance of my childhood home; we caught sunfish there; my sister and I used bamboo poles. Instead of going to amusement parks, my family and I went camping, sometimes for weeks at a time. We fished at Texas lakes and quite often at the Texas coast, in a city called Corpus Christi, where an old airplane runway at the Navy base there served as a fishing pier.

In the photo above, I think I must be just about one, and my father is fishing at Brauning Lake. The tree you see is a type of willow; it doesn't weep.

My father said his new socks fit perfectly, that the heel was where the heel should be.

These socks (men's size 14) were made with my own Woolly Boully sock yarn in the Fishing With My Father colorway, which I dreamt up just for my father, over 72 stitches. I decreased to 68 after the gusset.

* * *

I received some squares while I was away, but I'll reserve those and contest news for another post. I wanted to keep this one for my father.