Wednesday, July 30, 2008

There was no mashed potatoes.

In which I multi-task

Ever tried to juggle? I'm terrible at it really.

I'm currently working on two classes for the end of my degree while thinking about what my final project will be, running the yarn business, and knitting for Summer of Socks (which is related to the yarn business). Somehow I am doing a lot but it doesn't occur to me that much of it would be interested to my dear readers.

But there is progress on all of these tasks. For one, I have written one short paper this week and am working on a second now. Yes, even now. I'm taking a break from it so my brain can stop smoking. This is of course part of the process because we don't want anything to catch fire.

I've finished yet another single sock. Here it is being modeled on my knifty new sock blockers.
The sock is made of Panda Cotton in Painted Lilac. Unfortunately I can't cast the other on because immediately upon finishing this I cast to my one set of size 1.5 needles a sock for E. Therefore I have three single socks and three other socks in progress that count for SoS. Hopefully I'll knuckle down and finish at least one pair by the weekend. And hopefully it will be the second Durin sock. I have to get that pattern test knitted and published ASAP.

Also in news is a new colorway for Rock Creek Yarn. Behold Cherokee. It's a Smoky Mountains inspired colorway with dusty violet, blue, and orange. It'll be up and available soon enough on the website.

And now back to that paper.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Two socks

And they don't even match.

I finished one socks from each of two patterns today. The first is the Rivendell sock. It's a fairly easy pattern. Really. The only hard part is the wrapped stitches in the cuff.The second sock is Durin. I'm writing it up now. It's my own and will be available on Ravelry and my store in a couple of weeks. This is done in my Cable-icious BFL yarn.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Love the swappin

I got a package today. It came at a very good time. Today isn't a happy day. I seem to have strained my neck on the drive home, and it's got me laid up today. That and E left for a business trip today. But this package from the Sock Yarn From Your Stash swap came today. All the way from Canada.

The package includes a skein of Yarn Pirate's yarn, the pattern for Cookie A's Mingus socks, a really cool small project bag, some rose scented bath goodies from The Body Shop, coffee, chocolates, and some other small gifts.
I love presents.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Windmill Beret

Back on the day the Yarn Harlot came to Nana's Knitting Shop in Oak Lawn, some sort of knitting epidemic spread through the store. I'm not sure how it got started, but it hit me hard. Before it passed, I'd purchased a skein of Noro Silk Garden and a skein of Cascade 220 to knit the "Windmill Beret." Not that I had any idea of what it was. But you know how it is. Sometimes the yarn fumes can cause a disease.

In the following weeks I sat here and cast it on. And ripped it out. And cast it back on. And frogged it. And. Cast. It. On. And. Frogged. That. MF.

ad nauseam

Until I came to Chicago and got some help. Some of the ladies who had caught the disease that day had found ways to deal with it, assuring all of us in the throws of the illness that it's not so bad. And that it gets easier to deal with once you're used to it.

Taking their advice, I cast the hat back on to my needles. Four days later I had this:It's lovely with the shades of green and blue. And all my hair fits inside. I feel a knitting jag coming on.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I just realized. Sweaters hate me.

Before I get on topic, I'd like to say something. I got to Chicago safely. The trip took about 13 hours, including stops. The details of my cross country yarn crawl will be disclosed shortly. Perhaps next week after I finish it. 'Twas a bit stunted, you see. But never fear, I am at Tzurriz's house safe and sound. Without as much delightfully diverse yarn and stories as I'd hope.

(At this time I'd like to address one question I was recently asked. Tzurriz is Yiddish for "trouble," and the apt nickname of a dear friend of mine in the Chicago area. ((Perhaps the name comes from some of her more memorable exploits: spending well over a year trying to introduce me to the Amazing E.))

Perhaps because of the amount of knitterly literature I've absorbed in the last few days, I've been contemplating a serious subject. And oh, by the way, my signed copy of Things I Learned from Knitting was at Tzurriz's after all. Anyway, the subject was my pitiful relationship with the sweater. By this I mean no sweater in particular, but rather all sweaters that I knit much like an ornithologist who has a close relationship with flightless Antarctic birds refers to them collectively as "the penguin."

In my 3.667 years of knitting, I have cast on a total of five sweaters. The first was frogged long ago and very early in my knitting career. No harm, no foul. The second was the Fair Isle Sleeve Top which I still own. It slumbers in a bag. I've worn it once. It is a beautiful work of art and completely unwearable. To this day I haven't to foggiest what the designer was thinking, and I'd like to write her a letter. Third is the Green Tea Raglan. We'll come back to this in a moment. The fourth sweater is a Sahara. Knitting that lovely whizzed by in only six weeks. However, I used some silk for the lace that I'd dyed with Kool-Aid. It wasn't colorfast and faded to a horrid shade of blue-gray. I'm pretty sure it can be saved if I rip off the lace and reknit with something I like better. And then there is the Oriel Lace Blouse. I still have hopes for this blouse. I have only to do the back. It will be done this year. Then I can find out how disappointed I am with it. For now it remains an unrequited love.

The Green Tea Raglan. Sigh. Feel this with me. Sigh....

I finished it in late May. I think I even posted about it with no picture. To review the case history, I purchased the yarn for it in a fire sale at a yarn store. In short order it was cast on for an unsuccessful project and frogged. The Green Tea Raglan was cast on, and according to the pattern I should have just made it with the yardage. Yes, I know I was tempting fate, but let's not dwell on that. In short order I got nearly done but realized that I would run out of yarn sometime during the last sleeve. The knit was cast into prison for months whilst we searched for the one or two balls of what turned out to be a rare yarn. When two perfectly matching balls of another colorway were by an act of yarny heroism in another state by my LYS, the project was restarted and shortly thereafter finished.

Then I spent hours properly seaming and blocking. Then I wore the perfect knit with glee. Three times.

Then some fiendish cat decided it was his mommy and kneaded it with his claws while it sat in its place waiting to be lovingly hand washed. All those little bamboo threads that make up the yarn got frayed on one part near the bottom. It's unwearable. It's only on one section near the bottom hem of the back, but it's several square inches of very frayed fabric.

And I don't know if I can get anymore of that yarn. Boo hoo hoo. Perhaps sweaters are never to be, and I am destined to knit socks forever. And perhaps this is deductive reasoning at work.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Knitting and driving

At 7 am sharp (ish) tomorrow morning, I'll be leaving to drive to Chicago. More accurately, I'll be driving to Flossmoor, IL and visiting Chicago on almost every one of the nine days I'll be in the area.

As anyone who has done cross country driving knows, particularly if you've made the trip before and seen all the sights along the way, it's hour after hour of trance-like boredom. According to Google Maps my trip tomorrow will take 11 hours and 17 minutes. At the posted speed limits. Not that I will admit that I intend to break the law on my trip, but I will take note that Ohio seems to enforce speed limits and Indiana does not. And as we know, I am a woman and therefore will have to stop to pee. So let's say that my trip will take 12 hours door to door.

12 hours is a lot of time to sit in a small metal box, even if it is moving and dangerous speeds. So I've been trying to figure out how to make it more enjoyable. My immediate reflex is the think that I should combine knitting with this trip. Of course. However, my vice-like grasp of the obvious tells me that I should certainly not actually knit while driving 90 65 miles per hour down a highway shared with triple trailers. Especially since I'm working on socks on very pointy size 1.5 metal needles. And most especially since my husband is clearly a Jewish mother in his heart.

So I've looked for other ways to incorporate knitting with the drive. My success has been mixed. I found At Knit's End by the Yarn Harlot on iTunes audiobooks. And it's read by herself! A real treat. My big failure, or more accurately the failure of muggle web designers, it that none of the driving direction pages allow you to search for yarn stores along your route. I'm going to keep looking for a site that will. Or I'll make my million by designing such a thing. Damn it.

So right now I'm packing and manually making a list of yarn stores easily access able to my route and thinking about how I will be away from this guy way too long. We're newlyweds, after all.
Does anyone know how long it takes to play the entire Rock Band Aerosmith game? He got it yesterday to ease his suffering while I'm gone. I'm just wondering when I can start expecting phone calls about missing me and asking where the clean underwear are.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Keep on sockin'

Despite the stoopidness of my tummy, I have been taking advantage of this summer to have fun and get a lot done. But you know that. It's why I'm not blogging much.

Summer of Socks is coming along. Fifteen days in, I have something like 2.25 pairs of socks knit. The latest finished was the Campfire socks. They seemed to have been well received by Ravelers, so I think I'll write up the pattern soon. It's an easy columnar lace pattern, and with the thickness and elasticity of Jitterbug, they were only 54 stitches around. Oh, and yes. My legs and feet are that pasty white. Modest dress is not conducive to the tan. Not that a fair lass like me ever really tanned in the sun.

So I've cast on new socks. When I brought this Great Adirondack Soxie yarn in the Birch colorway home, the Amazing E immediately declared it "Sindarin." I knew then I had to use it for Rivendell socks, which I'd been eying and spying since the Harlot knit them. This is the first sock. I'm calling them "Imladris" because that's the name for Rivendell in Sindarin, the language of the Wood Elves. (and I know I'm a nerd.)The only part that's really hard are figuring out the wrapped stitches at the top.

E's got a four day weekend this weekend. Very important government employees, you know. Anyway, we've been chilling out and resting. Even so, I've also done a lot. Today we went blueberry picking at a local "you pick'em" orchard. Man, that's a smart business plan. They do the labor to plant the crops, but people pay to come and pick them and take them away. At any rate, we got two pounds of the biggest blueberries I've ever seen. I made a batch of awesome muffins for us. E's gorging himself on the now.

I've also been working on yet another paper for school. Whew. After two years, I'm finally in the home stretch. Just a couple more classes and the seminar next week. Oh, did you know? I will be coming to Chicago on Wednesday and staying for nine days to go to that seminar.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I got that paper in. And my final for another class. I have another final due next week before I leave for Chicago. But I didn't work on it today. Or yesterday.

Today I had, ehem, medical procedures. I'll not use the "c" word here, but the procedures involved looking into my guts from both directions. Insidious has been back of late, so my new Navy docs wanted to look inside. It seems there's nothing horrible to report. No giant holes or bad diseases. Just a lot of irritation. And a strange anatomical thing involving my large intestine. Very interesting, but not dangerous.

So I've been home feeling crumby and knitting. For a little change, right now I'm feeling crumby and stoned while knitting. The sedatives have not quite worn off.

All this crumbiness and knitting has produced even more Summer of Socks progress. I'm nearly done with my second pair. There are another of my own creations made from Jitterbug sock yarn. I'm calling it Campfire Socks because I think they look like burning sticks.

I can report other good news. E loves me and is bringing me raspberry sorbet for a cool treat.