Thursday, January 31, 2008

No news is, uh, no news

Every day this week, I've said to myself, "By tonight I will have done something worthy of blogging about, and I will blog." Each day I have gotten closer to my goals for this week, but not finished anything.

For example, my cold is getting better, but it is not gone.

I cast on this hat late last week thinking that I'd have it done by Sunday. Or Monday at the latest. And then it was Tuesday, and Wednesday. Now it's Thursday. You get the picture. This is the hat that never ends. I keep knitting around and around on it. I'm even doing the decreases at the top now, but I can't seem to finish it.
And then there is the yarn dying business. I think I know what we're naming it. I haven't certainly picked the name, but it really doesn't matter. At least not until tomorrow. Why? Because I can't register the business until I have an address to give them as my premises. And guess what? Until tomorrow, we are officially without a home in February. I realize this is only technical, future, and not-to-be recognized homelessness, but the fact that I do not have an address to put on the legal forms it holding things up. Friday this will be straightened out; we will sign our new lease. Then I can fill out the forms for the business, and we can move.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

National Geographic and U2?

Apparently National Geographic teamed up with Bono recently and produced the first live action 3-d IMAX movie. It opened at the Smithsonian this weekend, so I took a break from knitting. (Only during the show. I knitted on the Metro and while waiting in line.) and went on a date with my husband.

This is a very good movie. It was awesome, really. I even saw another knitter there. The music is great, with the typical favorites from the War, Joshua Tree, and Achtung Baby albums. It was filmed live at a concert in Argentina, and the layering of the 3D images is spectacular.

If you like U2, go to this. It's opening in other places in the US, like upstate New York on February 15th, and in the UK on the 22nd.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beautiful things

I'm getting ready to sign off of computers and things for the evening, but first wanted to show you the beautiful things that have bloomed in our home this week.

I've done a lot of work on the Annetrelac socks. Three rows of blocks are done. I love how the yarn was spaced dyed. By some miracle, each block takes almost exactly one color repeat. The result is these nearly uniform striped blocks. This is a beautiful surprise. Wow. One of my orchids is blooming as well.
Oh. Oh. Oh. I almost forgot. The Manly Socks and Crapotee were gifts for Dad-E and Mom-E. They got them yesterday, and are tickled.

Off to finish the Shabbat cooking. I'm trying to make my own bread.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Three kinds of news is being murmured around here. It's just not loud enough so you'd know.

First the bad news. Someone who shall remain nameless thinks I have "enough" yarn. The nameless person saw me hunting through my stash for an hour the other night while I was looking for my 9" Denise cable that I needed to start a new hat. I need a hat. I'm the only knitter on the earth without a winter hat, and my sister gave me alpaca. So there. I was going to cast on a hat. But before I could start doing that, I had to find out which UFO the cable was currently holding onto. During the hunt, I unpacked and repacked each box and bag of yarn I have. Yeah, it was in the last one. Anyway, after I found it, this person who I thought understood me so well asked two questions. The first was the afore mentioned "enough" question. The second question was, "how many projects do you have on the needles now?" I think that the answers to the two questions are self evident through circular reasoning.

Don't worry now, I still love this person. Perhaps this problem comes from the fact that his dad has a pair of custom made wool socks, and he does not. He'll change his tune when he is converted. Now, I wonder, where is my other set of size 1.5 DPN's? I have a new project I need to cast on...

The second type of news is the good news. I've found my base yarns. You may be pleased to know that I will definitely be offering a 3-ply ultramerino superwash sock yarn. I'm also thinking of a superwash/bamboo blend and alpaca in fingering weight. I'm also playing around with the laceweight and silk ideas.

This takes me to the third news. St00-pid news. This is my fault. I cannot decide on a name for my yarn, and therefore cannot file the papers. That's right. I am holding up the show. Nah. I'll blame this cold for at least a day more. grumble.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Entrelac socks. This time it's for real.

I'm really gonna finish these. I hope.

Moving around becomes difficult when fresh tissues are needed every few minutes. Oh, well. I couldn't wish for a better excuse to do a lot of knitting. I'll be better soon.Currently, I'm working on the first row of blocks. Entrelac is like magic, really. When you read a pattern, it doesn't seem like it'll work. You just have to take it on faith that it will and move forward.

I hope. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The socks are dead, long live the socks.

Sometimes a knitter's gotta do what a knitter's gotta do. And sometimes that means turning pretty things into gaily colored piles of ramen.
The Entrelac socks were beautiful, and I love the yarn. But the yarn is not for socks; I picked the wrong thing. Mercerized cotton socks are a bad idea. Mercerized cotton socks with yarn carried inside between entrelac blocks is a terrible idea. Live and learn, I guess. This yarn will one day be turned into something nice. Something entrelac. Just not something for wearing on the feet.

I have cast on their replacement, the Annetrelac socks. I hope these turn out more practical for wearing. Eunny's pattern for the Entrelac socks was clever and stunning, but perhaps not all that great for wearing. I mean, entrelac even on the soles? The new socks are made from one skein of yarn, and the foot part is all stockinette. They are on the needles, but I'm still working on the ribbing. So they're not anything interesting for you so see.

Monday, January 21, 2008

An idea

I was sitting around today looking at my stash and my cats and my husband when I got an idea. I've been shivering with a cold, and probably transferring my desires to others, but my idea looks something like this:I thought that maybe Scott TC would like a sweater. What else am I going to do with that crazy yarn? It would be fluffy and cute. He's almost naked and acts like he's cold this time of the year.

Don't worry too much. I'm kinda sick and have no energy to actually cast anything on. In fact, I'll probably forget all about this by tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's done, done I say!

So I've finally finished a Clapotis. I'll never make another. This was sort of a trial of pain and determination for me since the life sentence of the other one. For some reason, I needed to finish one, you know to prove that I could withstand it. That I was stronger than this knit.

The Crap-o-tee is not a difficult pattern. It's a very, very (seriously and dangerously) boring thing to knit. In fact, this knit was so bored that it fell asleep under my coffee table for two whole weeks nearly unnoticed.

It's a very good thing that I like the yarn so much. I had a hank of Geisha from Blue Moon Fiber Arts in my stash when the mishegas overtook me to start this project. Geisha is a Mohair/silk blend, so it's got a lovely shine and drape. It's also very soft and has a good halo effect. I'm sure this wrap will be put to good use.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

One long post about one day

My trip to Chicago was short, productive, and anything but dull. You'll all be pleased to know that I successfully finished that class. It was a close call, though. I was almost late, and late means "YOU CANNOT PASS." Getting halfway across the country via air was as stupid as usual. The plane was late and my knitting caused a small uproar.

Thursday was my first practical lesson on why Chicagoans are awesome. This is not to offend non-Chicagoans, but to pay homage to all of us who are snowed upon and know how to handle it with grace. Thursday it snowed in Maryland for the first time this winter. It does snow here every winter, but not often. There was a bit more than three inches, and the result was mass hysteria. Did you know that they shut down schools for three inches of snow? Oh, and they don't seem to have plows here. Well, I have to admit an exaggeration. I saw a total of six plows on my hour and a half drive to the Baltimore airport. If it had been in any northern city of this type (Like Chicago), there would have been thousands of plow/salt trucks out removing every single flake as it fell so as not to hold up business. Chicago politicians' careers are literally made and broken on their ability to rid the streets and boulevards of snow. On that excessively long drive, many cars had to to turn around in the middle of the road because other cars that could not get up hills. I never saw so many people wide-eyed with terror since the swim portion of my last triathlon. I did make it to the airport in time for my flight, and it was late. We actually pulled away from the gate on time, but say out on the tarmac for over an hour and a half waiting for I-know-not-what. But we did get the excitement of being de-iced twice.

When I fly I am always amazed at the sensation my knitting can cause. On every flight, I get some sort of interesting attention. Most often, it's just women who saw their grandmas knitting, never learned, and are at once curious and amazed to see a young woman going at it in public. Other times, it's worried passengers wondering how the heck I got all those pointy sticks on the plane. (The TSA's guidelines allow knitting on planes, check out this link for details and recommendations.) A few are airline attendants who see KIP'ers all the time and are taking bets on what I'm making. This time, however, was unique. I had my bag seized at the security check and emptied. I was asked what all "this" was about, and explained that it was my knitting. The fortunate resolution was that the guard frowned for a moment and let me go on. Silly muggles.

My yarn and I returned to my little family here in Maryland last night in time for Shabbat dinner of fish and fattah. They were very happy to see me and the Manly Socks.E and Duncan were happy to see me.Scott TC gave me his own type of welcome home.

The Manly Socks did get finished on the plane whilst we all waited for de-icing. The Crapotee, however was not so lucky. It's close, so close, to being done torturing me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Sorry, sorry, sorry. I've been trying to get my butt in gear and post (almost) every day. You'd think I would have time. Not that I don't have the time. I do. Maybe I'm lazy. Or maybe I want to say something good when I come on here.


I'm leaving for the Baltimore Airport in a half hour for a trip to Chicago. I'm really only going to be there for about 16 hours including sleeping. So I won't get to see anyone but Grandpa. (Hi grandpa! I'll see you tonight after class!) This trip is to be a momentous one for finishing things. One, I'm going to finish my current class. After this there will only be four more until I can get my Master's degree. Two, the manly socks will be bound off at last on the plane. Three, I expect to get done with the second crapotee by the weekend. Yay! It's been a long time since I finished something.

Other activities for this Chicago trip include casting on the Annetrelac socks tonight. I'll be using my Zen String Bambewe in Strawberry Fields. You remember this one:Pretty pretty...

And I'm going to teach a sock virgin the basics. We may have a new devotee by tonight.

Monday, January 14, 2008


A lot of my mental energy lately is involved in selecting yarns for my business. I feel like the selection of base yarns is the most important supplier decision I have to make. Specifically, I want to start with a really great sock yarn. You know the type, that perfect one. It's soft, springy, and warm. It slides through your hands and feels smooth but firm. It also blooms very prettily, creating a soft halo around your tired feet when you put them on. Ahh, the perfect sock yarn.

I've received several samples of base yarn for socks. I want superwash merino. I don't have the buying power to demand some specially spun stuff, so I have to look at what is readily available on the market. So far I've seen three. They're all the same thing really, and not what I want. So I keep digging. I know I'll find it.

As for the other yarns, I know where I'd get those. There's a mill in India that I've purchased yarn from before, and I like their products. They have single ply undyed silks for sale there. If you've been in my knitting groups, you've seen it. I've done some Kool-Aid dying before. There's also a chance that I could import recycled sari yarn directly from them if any of you are interested.

I'm very excited. This could be very cool.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hobbit feet

E and I have been enjoying a nice weekend of sitting around the house, cleaning, and cooking. That's my favorite part of being a housewife, the cooking. Today we're making a big chicken soup while he watches the Chargers vs. Colts game. (I can't say I give two shites about football, but the Colts are clearly the enemy.) I am knitting with the downtime.

(BTW, if you can tell me how to make nice fluffy matzoh balls, I'd be forever in your debt. Mine could be used to bombard tanks.)

These manly socks are nearly done. I have to say, making socks for male Weisberg types is a lot more work than I'm used to. I have pretty small and narrow feet. A pair of socks to cover my little hooves are each about 52 stitches around and take less than 300 yards of yarn. Perhaps less than 250 yards. On the other hand, the Weisbergs have feet like Hobbits: hairy and nearly as wide as they are long. These socks are 70 stitches around and will used all of one hank of lightweight Socks That Rock.
This would seem to partially explain why hand pain is delaying the completion of these socks. The thumb problem is better most of the time, but I do notice it after an hour or more of knitting. My other problem is a third (yes, third) degree burn on my other hand that I gave myself over a week ago. It's small but very to slow heal, and will likely leave an interesting scar. I'll spare you the photo.

Like I said before, I enjoy all the cooking I've been doing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Baby steps

I can report more progress today in all conceivable and bloggable activities.

First of all, I just came from a job interview. It seems like a low stress, low importance government job. Just what I need. And it also seems like I might get it. Yay.

Second of all, I went to the local knitting group and knitted last night. I think I even made at least one friend there. She's another string lady who is owned by Cornish Rex cats. (FYI, Scott TC is a Cornish Rex.)

Third of all is progress on the yarn dying operation. I 'm basing colorways on things I've seen in my world travels. If you want to hear something fancy, I'm finding my inspiration in the wondrous variety of creation. (blah blah, gag gag) I have noodled up about 5 colorways so far. Also, samples of sock yarn for dying arrived today. I am busily fondling them now. After I'm done with that, I will concentrate on thinking up a name and starting the legal paperwork.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Venturing out

Life is starting to become normal, or ehem, regular around here. We're settling into life here together very well. I'm even finding things to do and making friends. The Amazing E and I went to a local synagogue this past Saturday. I have to commend my husband on his bravery. The congregation is a small "conservadox" one (I am most comfortable in this setting), meaning the services are all in Hebrew. E's been to some Reform services before, but he was totally lost at this one. Also, since he was new and was wearing his fancy wedding tallit (prayer shawl), he was asked many times to read from the Torah, carry it, or otherwise participate. He handled everything magnificently, and ended up with many offers of help learning the liturgy and language so he can take part in the future. We also met another young couple who live across the road from us, and plan on having a meal with them soon. Today and tomorrow I will be further venturing out into the local world to find new and exciting adventures. This morning I will head over to the Navy base to use the gym. My husband is an active member of our country's uniformed services, so I am apparently entitled to all sorts of interesting benefits. Use of the lap pool seems to be one of them. Tomorrow I will try to find the local knitting group. I hope they are nice. I've certainly had good luck meeting friends through knitting in the past.

Not much knitting progress can be reported. I've worked a bit on those manly socks, but my thumb is still a bit sore and I don't want to push my luck.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

As long as it's the new year

I may as well make resolutions to my knitting projects. Not that these vows usually work, but I do feel a need to try to finish things rather than filling all my needles with half done projects. My vow is to resolve certain UFO's in short order.

1. Item: Manly socks
Status: Down to the flaps
Resolution: These must be finished. Pronto!

2. Item: +3 socks of Doom!
Status: Gusset finished on one sock.
Resolution: I'll get back to these when the manly socks are done, and the +3 of damage to my thumb is healed. They will be done!

3. Item: Rheingold Wrap
Status: 25% done
Resolution: This will be a long term project that will be finished in 2008. I do pick it up and love it regularly. After all, it is a Starmore.

4. Item: Crapotee #2
Status: Down to the decreases
Resolution: This must be finished. Pronto! It may even redeem the entire pattern.

5. Item: Entrelac socks
Status: Both finished up to the heels.
Resolution: I think these are beautiful. I think I should make entrelac socks, however out of this pattern for Annetrelac Socks. I love the colors, I love how these socks look. However, I have a terror of wearing them with their mercerized cotton yarn, entrelac on the feet, and carried yarn inside. Blister city. I think they are destined to be frogged. Perhaps the yarn will be turned into something later.

6. Item: Crapotee
Status: Doomed
Resolution: This project is forever doomed. It is in prison. The parole board has no mercy for it. Besides, the warden has not located the prisoner in the depths of the packed stash.

7. Item: Green Tea Raglan
Status: Only one sleeve to go
Resolution: This will be finished soon in a fury of weekend knitting. After all, there is only one sleeve yet to knit.

8. Item: Oriel Lace Blouse
Status: Front and parts of sleeves finished
Resolution: I love this knit, and I will work on it over the next few months. Probably after Clapotis #2 and project #7 are done.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Get into yarn dying?

I'm wondering if you yarn people who read this blog would help me out with a decision. I've been toying with an idea for about a year. The idea is to start a small dying and yarn goodies operation. I've become addicted to hand dyed sock yarn, and interested in doing it myself since the ladies at Froebe Fibers started up. Now I have time to think about this in real life.

I know my vision and my inspiration. I know what I want my wares to look like. I also know what I'm good at and what I need to learn. I have even found suppliers.

1. I want to sell hand-dyed sock yarn, a selection of hand-dyed fingering weight "luxury" yarns, and fancy-schmancy stitch markers.
2. I've seen yarns that are dyed the way I want. I just don't know what the technique is. I'd say Jitterbug is one that does it well, a someone monochromatic or shaded base with saturated flecks. I haven't been able to produce this with experiments. I think I need a book. Do you know a good one?
3. I am skilled at lampworking. Really. I made a living off of it for about a year once. I could make my own beads for the stitch markers.

What do you think? Seriously. Any suggestions or advice?

Time to start writing that business plan... (Did you think that my husband or I would do this without a written one?)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Instead of knitting snaps, yarn pr0n

I'm still not knitting. E bought me a thumb splint yesterday to perhaps allow me to knit, or at least help me heal, but it's still painful. So no knitting.

In lieu of knitting mishegas, I'll tell you about my recent yarn acquisition mishegas. You see, right before the move I felt like I'd never get to buy yarn again. So of course I bought lots. Here's my December haul. It includes a mill bag each of Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere and a fingering weight alpaca purchased cheap on ebay. Also purchased were three skeins of STR. Two here are Silky STR in Dreidel and a skein of lightweight in one of the Raven Clan colors. Not shown is the skein I'm using to make the manly socks. There's also an orange-y bundle of Jitterbug sock yarn. Finally, we have the gift from Tzurriz of the Cascade Quattro highland wool.Oh, and how could I forget. My sister Eileen gave me this:Ooooohhhh. Aaaaahhhh. It's baby alpaca.

I figure I've acquired at least enough to see me through a six month yarn drought, not that it will really take me that long to find yarn here. I've already picked up some fumes.