Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I've been tagged!: six weird things about me

Roberta of RobKnits tagged me a few weeks ago. Thanks so much, Roberta, for including me in this fun. Since getting tagged, I've been thinking long and hard about what might be the six weirdest things about me. I've been spending way too much time thinking, and I thought I better post this meme before it falls off the earth. (It's almost everywhere!)

Here are the rules:

"Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

Here goes:

1. For a long time, I thought Mr. Slim Goodbody was god. In my child mind, I thought because I could see his insides, that he must be god. In Sunday School, when our teachers said that we couldn't see god, I protested. He's on my tv, I said.

2. I had a serious, serious crush on the Fonz when I was four. I mean, it was really love. In one episode, Fonzie fell off his motorcycle. Fonzie might be dead. The show was to be continued. I cried. My mother didn't know what to do.

3. I can't go to sleep without socks on. Said socks may come off at some point during the night, but I can't sleep unless I have socks on.

4. I can't think unless my hair is up. Being a writer and a Ph.D. student means that my hair is almost always in a barrette.

5. I keep Chapstick and lip balm companies in business. I even put lip balm on several times during the middle of the night.

6. I'm addicted to my electric toothbrush. I brush more than anyone I know--maybe about six times a day. I know, I know, it can't be good for me.

Not very exciting things. But, it's exciting to think about who I'm going to tag.

You're it:

Crafty Granny

Monica Knits...A LOT!!
a foggy place . . .
From Sheep to Shawls and Socks
Monkey Pants and Hippo Dignity

I thought I would take this opportunity to tag old friends, new friends, and knitters I have yet to meet. Have fun!

the lone knitter

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Square for Stitch Marker; Lucia Socks; More Knitterly Gifts; Contest Prizes Update

A Square for Stitch Marker

Knitting a square is really a pleasant delight after fudging with socks for so long. There's something delicate and surprising yet ordinary and extraordinary about a knitted square. This square was made for Stitch Marker's Test- Along KAL. I followed her pattern exactly using Knit Picks Sock Garden in the Daffodil colorway (discontinued). As you all may know, I absolutely adore this colorway for the childhood memories it evokes. This yarn was left over from my Jaywalkers and was enough to make this square. I was cutting it close: I only had a few inches left! Participants were asked to block to 7 inches, but this yarn would have blocked to 7.5 or 8 inches quite easily.

Lucia Socks

Dear Lucia,

I finished your socks. I made them over my winter break, which helped me to get them done quickly. Usually, with work and that thing called a prospectus, well, socks don't get churned out quite this quickly. Here are the specs for your socks:

Lucia Socks:
Yarn: Trekking Pro Natura 1602 (75% wool, 25% bamboo, no synthetics). (I know that I might have mentioned before that this yarn was not as soft as Regia Bamboo, but it really is soft and has a nice sheen to it.)
Pattern: Astrid's Twirls (modifications: decreased to 68 stitches after gusset)
Timeline: Begun on January 11 and finished on January 21

Don't worry about the tops of the socks looking too skinny--they are very stretchy. Now get over here so I can give them to you!

the Lone Knitter

More Knitterly Gifts

It's a good thing, a very good thing that I'm on a yarn diet. Every year, Manfeet's family does a little Kris Kringle gift exchange. This year, one of his sisters had me, and since I was away in Texas for the holidays, I got my gifts this weekend. I was really spoiled. She got me some nice clothes, three Roland Barthes books, a movie I've been wanting, and lots of knitterly goodness.

What you're seeing are four sock yarns. From left to right, they are Jitterbug in Toscana, the Great Adirondack Yarn Company's Soxie in Maple Leaf, Soxie in Spring Garden, and Jitterbug in Blue Parrot. Manfeet's sister kept saying that if I didn't like these yarns that I could return them. I told her that I loved them, loved them. What I wanted to say was that not even a pack of bears could get me to part with this yarn.

She also got me Sensational Knitted Socks, Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting (although the version I have features a funnier cover than the one linked here), and the 2007 Stitch 'N Bitch Knitter's Calendar. Lots of fun stuff to read through. I almost bought the calendar for myself, so it was a nice surprise.

Contest Prizes Update

Mom J assembled lots of prizes for the blanket drive contest. I'm listing them here in no particular order.

- TEN balls of Lane Borgosesia Merinos Extra Fine (100% merino) in color 33 (pink). These were donated by Susan Cahn and Harriet Shafran over at Knit-a-Bit in Westfield, New Jersey. Thank you, Knit-a-Bit!
- Two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport in the Watercolor colorway, accompanied by The Sock Journal: Knit the Year in Socks.
Two skeins of Lamb's Pride worsted in Creme, accompanied by Traditional Aran Knitting.
- Big-Needle Knit Afghans.
- Knitting Journal,
a really cool way to keep pictures of your finished objects, ballbands, patterns and pattern variations, notes, and sample yarns organized.
- A fabulous yarn caddy for keeping all those balls of yarn in place when you're using more than one ball at a time.

And, of course, a ball of Trekking 126 will be given away at the end of the contest. For January, the prize is a copy of Knitting for Peace.

Keep your squares, blankets, afghans rolling. Mom J and I are so excited about this drive and contest.

the Lone Knitter

Friday, January 19, 2007

Have any left-over sock yarn?

Larissa over at Stitch Marker has a gorgeous blog, and she's running a little contest involving squares. If you have any left over sock yarn in browns, greens, orange, or deep pinkish reds, then consider knitting a square for her. There's a specific pattern that you'll have access to once you register for the knit-a-long. Your knitting just might end up in a book! Very exciting. But don't ruminate too much--you have until tomorrow, January 20 to sign up.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Say, would you like some Trekking 126?

The mailman brought me something very special today. I had forgotten that I ordered this yarn a long time ago. I now have four balls of Trekking 126. Would you like a ball of this Trekking XXL 126?

One ball of this highly-coveted yarn will be given away in June, at the conclusion of my blanket drive contest.

If you would like to enter, please see the rules here.

Mom J has also assembled some wonderful drool-worthy prizes for the contest, and I'll be posting details soon about those prizes. (There is some Lorna's Laces involved!)

I'm planning on having a different prize each month until the conclusion of the contest in June. (The blanket drive will probably go on longer, but I'm not sure yet at this point if the contest will. We'll see!) If you aren't selected for a prize one month, your entry will be kept in the bag for the following month.

And, of course, all participants will be entered in the Trekking 126 drawing. In fact, to motivate you all, your entries for the Trekking 126 will be greater if you submit early.

If you submit in January, you will get six extra entries to win the Trekking 126. In February, five extra entries. In March, four extra entries. In April, three. In May, two. And in June, one extra entry.

I haven't received any submissions yet for this month, so if you want a copy of Knitting for Peace, your chances of winning it are pretty good if you get your submission mailed by January 31.

Spread the word, y'all!

the Lone Knitter

p.s. Try this technique for making an 8X8 inch square.

How to make a simple 8 x 8 inch square:

Cast on three stitches.
Row 1: Knit each stitch.
Row 2: M1 by knitting into the front and back of the stitch, knit until there are two stitches left on the needle (for the first Row 2, this will be the very next stitch), M1 by knitting into the front and back of the stitch, K1.
Repeat these two rows until the edges of your "triangle" measure 8 inches.
Begin decreases.
Row 1: K1, K2Tog through back loops, knit until there are three stitches left on the needle, K2Tog through front loops (as you normally would), K1.
Row 2: Knit each stitch.
Repeat these two rows until you have three stitches left. Bind off. Weave in ends.

This technique works great with all types of yarn. I like using heavy worsted weight on my size 10 needles. You can change colors and yarn as you see fit, and this method sure beats trying to figure out gauge and then getting it wrong!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Opal Rainforest II Snake Socks for MANFEET; Gifts from Mom J; Happy Blog-anniversary to Me

Opal Rainforest II Snake Socks for MANFEET

I'm back in Brooklyn, just in time for the cold that's heading our way. The airplane ride back was full of bumps, flying over all that weather-radar-green of storms and ice that coveted the mid-west. It's all heading my way.

I finished these socks while I was in Texas, just in time for the cold and my boyfriend's Ph.D. oral examination. (He takes it on Thursday; I've been trying to keep him calm, having gone through it myself back in May.) These are my second pair of MANFEET socks. Everyone seems to have a little nickname for their boyfriends/husbands/partners (the A.D.D. Knitter has her Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon and Lazuli has her Coffeeboy), so I'll start calling my boyfriend MANFEET. And, just to make it cute, every once in a while, I'll refer to him as Manly.

Leslie always does a good job of posting the specs of her finished objects. Here is my attempt:

MANFEET #2 Socks:
Yarn: Opal Rainforest II Snake (MANFEET picked this yarn out himself! How cute!)
Pattern: 68 stitches over size 1 Addis using the magicloop
Timeline: Begun on January 4 and finished on January 10

This yarn was delightful to work with. The yarn has so many subtle gradations and variations, and the socks really do look like milk snakes. Milk snakes mimic coral snakes, which are venomous. In Texas we have both milk snakes and coral snakes, so we have a saying that helps us to remember which snake will kill us: Red touch black friend of Jack, red touch yellow kill a fellow.

Gifts from Mom J

Mom J was so overwhelmingly thoughtful. (If you haven't seen her blogs yet, go visit!) For Christmas, she gave me so many gifts. I'll focus on the ones that I know you knitters will love.

Here is the beginning:

This knitting bag was full, I mean full of knitting things: stitch markers, row markers, point-protectors, a tape measure and other thoughtful things of which a knitter can never have too many.

There were also this book on knitting tams, a kaleidoscope, and Knit Picks Palette yarn for a tam project. I'm so excited to learn new techniques, and this tam project is perfect for overcoming my fears of using more than one strand of yarn at a time, combining color, and charts. The kaleidoscope is for viewing color combinations or balls of yarn to see how they'll mesh together. It's a really cool technique that's discussed in the book.

I also got these goodies:

I got sock blockers! Sock blockers! Now my socks can look extra-nice in photos and I can throw out my budget cardboard ones. The sock blockers, in case you're taken, are from this eBay vendor.

I also got two sock yarns that I've been eyeing for a long time now: Lorna's Laces in the Daffodil colorway and Claudia's Handpainted in the Red Wagon colorway.

I think the Red Wagon colorway ought to be renamed to something like Apple Picking, because when I look at the yarn, I don't see a red wagon; instead, I see so many varieties of apples--there's golden delicious, red delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, and the whites and cremes of the insides.

The Red Wagon is on top of a new table that Manly got me for Christmas. For a long time, we had a hideous formica-particle-wood-affair that we detested and never used. We were very glad to oust it from our apartment and kick it to the curb where some other Brooklynite gladly picked it up and took it home.

Happy Blog-anniversary to Me

I began this blog on January 13, 2006. I remember reading everyone else's knitting blogs and wanting one of my own, and here I am one year later with real readers. Thank you so much everyone who reads me--it makes me feel so less lonely of a knitter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Regia Bamboo Socks and, yes, a fabric stash

I made these socks using Regia Bamboo 1071 (45% bamboo, 40% superwash new wool, and 15% polyamide), which my Hot Socks swap pal Lee sent me. These were a really quick knit. I used a 3x1 rib, Sherman short-row heel, and regular decreased toe over 64 stitches on size 1 dpns.
Regia Bamboo is incredibly soft. It's fluffy and bouncy and has a little strand of something that looks like it's made of pearls. Trekking also has a new line of bamboo sock yarn, but it doesn't compare with the Regia in terms of softness.
The socks are resting on a new addition to, yes, my fabric stash. Leslie warned me that some day, I would find myself hunting down and hoarding fabric; behold, the prediction has come true. The Lone Knitter would like to try her hand at quilting this year.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Opal Hundertwasser 650 Socks; Stash Enhancement; First Contest Prize; Other Things

Opal Hundertwasser 650 Socks

Here are my miracle socks, knitted in just five days! Perhaps I just loved the Opal Hundertwasser 650 so much. Perhaps I'm knitting faster. Or, perhaps, as my boyfriend says, "Maybe it's because you're not doing anything else but knitting."

These socks were made over 60 stitches on size 1 Addis, with a traditional heelflap and decreased, kitchenered toe. The cuff is my favorite 2x2 2" rib. I think self-striping yarns look best with a heelflap, and I think they also look best when they don't match. Apparently, Hundertwasser never matched his socks, so I really didn't want these socks to match.

Stash Enhancement

I had to go back to NYC for a few days, while there, the mailman left me a little package. Inside, there were six balls of sock yarn. What you're seeing are Trekking Pro Natura 1602, Opal Rainforest II Tiger, Snake, and Caterpillar, Regia in black, and Opal Hundertwasser 894. (These yarns were purchased before my yarn diet.)

First Contest Prize

Mom J and her sister Aunt P are assembling prizes for the blanket drive contest. In the meantime, I'd like to offer the first prize for the contest.

If you submit for the contest during the month of January, you'll be entered in a drawing to win Knitting for Peace: Making the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time.

Submissions must be postmarked by January 31.

For contest details, click here.

Other Things

I'm back in Texas, but I can't wait to get back to New York. Mom J got me lots of Christmas knitting goodies, and I'm anxious to get back to them. I have pictures to post soon of all the wonderful things that she got me. She really spoiled me: I got Lorna's Laces and Claudia's Handpainted and many, many other things.

I also finished a pair of socks using the Regia Bamboo that my Hot Socks swap pal Lee gave me. I'll also post pictures of those soon.

I'm enjoying Texas and its red sunsets, mesquite trees, rolling purple-green hills, and cacti. It makes me think there ought to be a sock yarn called Texas. Perhaps I'll dye one.