29 August 2007


In the face of so much sad news and hard work to be done, I found a recent spot of brightness in the world I wanted to share.

My dearest friend recently celebrated 10 years of being out and proud. This is quite an accomplishment for anyone, but particularly in her case. A bunch of us met at her family's lake house in NH for a weekend of toasting (both marshmallows and wine), sunning, swimming, and campfires. To properly mark the occasion, an international group of her friends knitted feather and fan strips of brightly colored Rowan Summer Tweed that we are putting together into an afghan for her.

Here is she opening the mysterious bundles:

And here is the not-yet-put-together blanket:

Initially, the rainbow idea felt to me much too contrived and silly. But I find I really love the finished product.

I don't know why, but it has felt nigh on unbearably difficult to stay connected and present this summer. This rainbow blanket's grand corniosity feels in direct opposition to my recent hiding and desperate screwing-closed-of-eyes behavior.

You know that moment in the Care Bears cartoons - when the Care Bears all come together against some bad thing and yell, "Care Bears - CARE!" and all their tummies start glowing and these big beams of light shoot out and push back the badness? That's what this weekend and this project feel like to me. I'm so pleased and proud to have given my friend a tangible reminder of her own strength and survival, and to have shared its creation with so many loving and good people.

Knitting is indeed a blessing. In this seemingly dark time, may we all remember our blessings, and our own ability to survive.

27 August 2007

No words

Pattern: February Baby Sweater, Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM in P620
Needles: US 4
Gauge: about 7 st per inch over pattern
Size: (my guess) good for 3–12 months
Notions: 3 vintage orange glass buttons, bought on honeymoon in Reykjavik

This little pattern was the purest pleasure to knit. The lace repeat is quickly memorized, and the scale is so encouraging you simply can’t put it down. While I was knitting it though, I received the news that the baby I had in mind, working to its probable coloring, had been stillborn. My friend is shocked and bereft—there are no words; we know this—but has bravely decided to try again when the doctors give the word. So this little sweater will be saved for now, and, I hope, serve as a good–luck charm for the future. Would you take a moment and think of my friend, sending her your love?

20 August 2007

Tanned, rested and ready

Wellfleet was profoundly refreshing. We walked so much; I knitted a lot and ate a ton of oysters and socialized more than any other holiday ever (an unexpected advantage of vacationing near home—we knew loads of people there). I’ve come back full of ideas and ready to make some changes, especially in the area of work.

No progress on Moth, but I’ll show you a nice February baby sweater tomorrow. I almost think I might be catching finishitis.

15 August 2007

And Some Said It Would Not Happen -

Goblin Socks! TWO OF THEM!
With a lovely little picot edge.I'm thrilled with how they turned out - I had split the yarn cake into 2 equal weight balls and knit them toe-up until I ran out of yarn. They're super squishy-comfortable. Not too much pooling, but some amazing stripery going on there, no?

I was inspired enough by these socks to start up another pair- using my awesome Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club "Celebration" handspun:(These also, believe it or not, are DONE. Like, a PAIR OF THEM. I just need to take some pictures of them.)

And..........more handspinning! This is the lovely "Granite" colorway from Hello Yarn. I am quite pleased with how it turned out, and I still have another bundle of it left to spin up! I did this 2-ply, and managed to get around 417 yards of a (semi-consistent) fingering weight yarn. The colors are just lovely all together-like. I can't wait to knit this up into something, but what? Any ideas? I should hopefully end up with just over twice this much.In the world of lace, well....I'll admit that I have not made much more progress on Hanami. I'm just shy of being halfway through it; perhaps I'll pick it up again this evening. I'm loving the Lacey Lamb yarn - and I had the opportunity to meet the woman behind Jade Sapphire, the importers of Lacey Lamb! She was thrilled to speak with a Lacey Lamb "consumer", and I was able to see a few more colorways that I was not aware of. Man oh man, I cannot say enough good things about that yarn - it is such a treat to work with - buttery soft, saturated colors, just stunning and wonderful in every way. But enough about that - let me show you my Wing O' The Moth!
I cast-on for this shortly after Max did about a week and a half ago. I've completed one pattern repeat (seems easy enough to get it stuck in the brain) and have since set it down. As this IS supposed to be for a knit-along, and the along-ing part has hit some traffic, I don't feel so guilty having not looked at this since I did that one repeat. Let me make a bit more progress on Hanami, then I promise I'll get back to this, okay? Unless, of course, you feel ready to dive back in, Max!

More to come! I just need to take some pictures to get back up to speed. Stay tuned for: Venus the sheep, in which I tackle wool straight form the shearing stage; more lace (of course); more spinning (naturally); my gallery of unfinished/abandoned projects; some quilting (I'll admit that I am posting on that largely to get a cheerleading squad together in order to complete them); and rainbows.

12 August 2007

And that makes this another summer during which I do not read Moby Dick

We’re heading off for a week in Wellfleet today, and here’s what I’m bringing to read. It’s the End of the Summer of Self-Improvement (yep, had to drop out of intensive Spanish) and the beginning of Books I’ve Really Been Looking Forward To. (Come to think of it, we’re probably in the middle of that, as my all-day Hallowsthon is what put me irrecoverably behind in Spanish to start with.)

The Armistead Maupin was a birthday gift from Emily and Briana. I was so surprised! They had asked Joe for hints, but for a moment I thought they had seen into the heart of my secret hippie soul. I really loved these books, back in the day, and I will be so happy to take off the chill that Sure of You left me with. (That horrid Mary Ann! Maybe she redeems herself in this book...)

Now I wish to draw your attention to the fourth book down, Sons of Heaven, by Kage Baker. This is the final volume in a series about a race of time-traveling immortal slaves, some of whom might be plotting against their masters. I cannot express how clever and absorbing they are; if you are not completely enchanted by the first one, Garden of Iden, you absolutely will be by the second volume, which made me shriek aloud. Try them.

That’s it then! The knitting is packed, the beach bags are packed, the tea is packed—we’re off. See you in a week.

10 August 2007


Pattern: Saartje’s Bootees (pdf)
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM
Needles: US 1 (2s would have been better)
Gauge: between 7.5 and 8 st per inch
Size: Newborn; right bootie: 3 5/8" long, left bootie: 3 3/8" (aargh)
Notions: 4 vintage pale green cat-eye buttons

Something spooky happened while knitting these booties: my gauge got tighter from one bootie to the next. Though I’ve always disliked being a loose knitter, I’ve never been able to tighten up. Until now, apparently. Oh, well! Many, many humans have one foot larger than the other - perhaps this baby, due November, gender unknown, will too.

The next pair, for a baby due October, follows shortly. This was a very pleasing pattern to knit. A modification I’ll make next time is adding one or two stitches to the top strap (alternating from left to right). That would make the top strap fit more nicely over the bottom, when buttoned.

I keep saying this, but omigosh! It’s so hard to go in to work this morning. I have the two final dvds in the second season of Veronica Mars and it’s raining. But it’s my last day before vacation, so I must. Cheerio!

07 August 2007

No-good, two-timin’ KAL pal

Hi Stacie! I have a confession to make:

Wing o’ the Moth isn’t back on the needles yet. While I probably don’t actually have to wait until I can get bifocals, I just haven’t been compelled to up and cast on for the third time. Not like I was compelled to knit some booties after seeing Adrian’s at the Lazy Redliners SnB. Compelled, I say.

Above is my first pair, quickly abandoned when I decided, in the dim light at 10pm, that they looked, well, not like clown vomit, precisely, but... Maybe baby-clown spit-up. None of the expecting parents on my list are quite hippie-ish enough for a pair of these. Although they’re looking better in this morning’s foggy light.

Here’s the first of a better pair. It’s Koigu KPPPM in a color I think of as Taos. I don’t know that the yarn will actually be heavy enough. It’s an experiment. One I’d like to stay home to complete and then write up. I’m making the larger size—let’s call them “beegbootee.”

My spoils from last night’s stash-be-gone include this 8oz hank of Hello Yarn superwash merino, whose slightly wonky spin caused Adrian to label it a dud. Not to me it’s not. Yum. Yum, yum, yum. Thank you, Adrian!

At this point, I still plan on taking Moth to the Cape with me next week, but Stacie: you should be ready to perform an intervention if I can’t talk about anything but beegbootees over the next few days.

05 August 2007

I know, it’s totally weird

Yes, it’s weird to post a picture of myself wearing my hand-knit bra. But 1. it’s the first FO I’ve chalked up since about February and 2. there is no posting the panties.

That is all.

Brand-spankin’-new skivvies

mon petit chou braMon Petit Chou, I am done with you! I couldn’t find the suggested 1/8" ribbon so I settled for 3/16", which is a little too wide. Then I couldn’t get the same ribbon in 1/4" for the bra straps, so I think I’m going to swap out the skinny stuff for the fatter, because I like the color better—it’s very Nurse Nancy—even though it will obscure more skin. The fact is, the bottoms are too big and have to be laced up pretty tight, spoiling any peekaboo effect anyway.

So I’m not crazy about the fit. The bra cups are good, but the band is too big; the panties are ok in the hips but too big in the waist. I shouldn’t have made the biggest size, but that doesn’t usually occur to a person who can’t even buy jeans off the rack.

Anyway, here are pattern errata for the left bra cup, should you need them. I’ve put my corrections in **stars**:
Row 35: Sl1, **k2**, yo etc. (not Sl1, k1, k2tog)
Row 37: Sl1, **k1, k2tog**, etc. (not Sl1, k2, yo)
These two rows were reversed, apparently.
Row 39: Sl1, k1, ssk, **k1**, etc.
Row 41: should read 14 st before end, not before marker, as should following rows
Row 43: Sl1, **k2tog, yo**, ssk, k1
Row 45: Sl1, **yo, k2**
Row 47: Sl1, **k1**
Row 51: **P1**, yo, p2tog, etc.

That’s how I managed, anyway!

There were some rather good finds at the thrift store yesterday: Paper Denim & Cloth jeans for my brother–in–law, four good pairs of cotton velvet pants for my sister’s quilt, a couple stupendous paisley shirts, never worn, this strangely abstract Mexican tourist jacket (what is that thing in the middle there? A sombrero? A disconnected joystick?) And the embroidery is unusual—it uses a chenille sort of technique.

Here are the paisleys. I think I like the more orange one on the right best, though it has a bit of discoloration along the sleeve crease.

But the find of the day was this beautiful non-vintage wrap top with a subtle metallic thread. The tag reads “Maple,” a brand I’ve never seen before. I’m totally in love with it:

Can’t wait to wear it! Here’s the truth though: I now own too much clothing. Something I need to contemplate with some seriousness pretty soon now. Taking care of my clothes has started to feel too time-consuming. And I only wear one outfit per day, most days, so having a closetful shouldn’t require more maintenance time than having a quarter-closetful. It just does, somehow.

But the idea of giving up thrifting! Oi, how could I?

In other knitting news, I cast on for Wing o’ the Moth today during SnB, and ripped out five times. Felt like running a marathon, too. OMG: I’m exhausted. More proof that I just can’t knit and socialize! Tomorrow I’m bringing something simple to knit, so my cursing doesn’t put a damper on the fun.

03 August 2007

Home for the weekend

Flatirons from Chatauqua ParkYou may recognize the rock formations above as the Flatirons, in Boulder, Colorado. Because I am very, very old and grew up in a simpler, less population-dense time, this is part of the view that I woke up to every morning (although, being a couple miles away, we used to have a truly magnificent panorama of foothills—but the view out my old bedroom window has filled in with now-mature trees).

It’s really spoilt me for life. I’m very hard to please where scenery is concerned. New England is full of the picturesque, to be sure, if you like dairy farms and H.H. Richardson and that sort of thing, but for majesty and magnificence and commanding presence and emotional force... Well, you have to go west. Even a three-day-weekend dose of natural beauty is a powerful thing.

Above is my little fambly, on a “hike” at Chautauqua. My sister’s son will be three next month, so he doesn’t go all day, but he’s really kind of a trouper! We visited my sister’s native-plant nursery, Harlequin’s Gardens (which is located in northeast Boulder next to, by coincidence I assume, the clown school), where I got some sedums for my strawberry planter and a good hardy rosemary called Arp. (We packed them in a little insulated lunchbox, which gave airport security a laugh.) I had two Breadworks’ bread-pudding muffins, picked up some fantastic Silk Road (Drum Mountain White Cloud and Hairy Crab) teas, and went for a long walk past my old junior high every day. It was lovely to see everyone, and I remembered, as I always do when I head west, how I like life to be.

Nesco slow cookerThrift: Above is the forerunner to the Crockpot, the Nesco slow cooker, a hand-me-down from the very generous and knowledgeable Dave Sakowski of Magpie. This one was probably made in the early 30s, and as you can see, is a lovely blush color. There has been a struggle over it in my house; Joe feels it is simply too big for an objet of mere decoration, and I have agreed to use it in the garden, a la You Grow Girl, but... not yet! Pink enamel is a thing of beauty, and if it’s going to be a planter, it needs the right plant.

Knit: Finally, I expect to finish my Petit Chou bra tomorrow, when I hit the thrifts for an old bra to cannibalize hardware from. And then we will have the promised errata!

01 August 2007

Welcome to the Laboratory

And (some of you) said it would never happen.

But here we have a second Goblin sock!I cast-on last night and got just a wee bit past the toe. I'm running off on a mini-vacation, and I figured this would be a great opportunity to work through this second sock. I *still* don't understand the fascination/obsession with sock knitting. It's just like knitting sleeves, which I don't really care for either. It can't be the "second sock/sleeve/etc" thing either, because I do quite enjoy knitting gloves and mittens. We'll see how I feel upon completion of this the second sock. (Remember, science experiment is not over yet - not until I have a PAIR of socks off the needles.)

So Hanami rests. Though only briefly, I assure you. Hanami will also be travelling with me, so I expect some progress there as well. In the meantime, the spinning will have to wait a bit, though I desperately want to tackle the rest of that lovely blue-brown Hello Yarn bundle of fiber......