Tuesday, February 28, 2006


In search of a little color in my life, last night I cast on for Pomatomi for my Sockapaloooza socks. This activity was accompanied by a rousing rendition of the Pomatomus Chorus. Handel rolled in his grave; Bailey covered her ears. But can I help it if Pomatomus and Hallelujah have the same number of syllables?

Anyway, I am discontent. The Pomatomus has a prettyish side:

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and a decidedly yucky side:

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Now, as it turns out, I have to frog this little cufflet anyway. (Because I am too stupid to read a pattern, that's why. Oh wait, you mean you want me to knit with a particular size of needle? How unusual!) And it is possible that if I knit this pattern on #2s, instead of #1s, that the blue might disperse itself more widey through the sock, and I might be more pleased with the result. On the other hand, it might not. Also, the Bearfoot is not particularly sproingy, and the K2togTBL which you have to do 6 times every round? Murderous on the hands, and on the needles. So I'm wondering if this is really the best pattern.

1) Cast on for Pomatomus w/#2s, see where it takes me.
2) Go back to the Stitchionary and make up my own pattern. Which I already did try, but failed to produce anthing satisfactorily fishy, "tiny scales" notwithstanding.
3) Give up on the fish themed socks entirely and begin what will no doubt be a long and fruitless search for a pattern that encourages striping in variegated yarns. Hmm. I wonder where on earth I could find a pattern that does that?

Saturday, February 25, 2006


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Will it never end?

No wonder my knitting's been so drab lately.

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Clockwise from bottom left:

1) The neck hug, worn daily since its completion.

2) Black watch cap, which exists as of this morning. Literally every single day this winter I have been irritated that I did not have a warm black hat, and literally every morning, my id and my superego would have the following conversation: "Dammit! I wish I had a black hat. I should just go buy one. No! You are not allowed to buy accessories when you have yarn for 1000000 hats in stash. But I don't have any blaaaaaaaaaaaack yarn. YES YOU DO. But it's not soooooooooooooooft enough. Dammit!" And then I would put on my crappy white hat from Target that doesn't fit and go about my day. Yesterday, I finally got fed up, parted with some of the Christmas gift certificate and picked up some more of that wildly overpriced but sinfully, insanely, addictively soft Rio de la Plata at the LYS. And voila, black hat. No pattern; I just, you know, knit a hat. With decreases and stuff.

3) A second pair of the Almost-Knee socks, in Lorna's semi-solid Chocolate. This is so I can take notes and write down the recipe to share. Also so that I can have a second pair.

And 4) The body of Hourglass, Part Deux, which has only been a sleeve since last you saw it.

So, individually, all things that I like a lot. But all together? What a pile of blah.

At least one of us has some color in her life:
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Snake lifespan: three days and counting. Running a close second to Purple Squeaky Man in the Length of Time Before Eviscerated category.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

In which we conclusively establish that the true beauty of silk cannot be captured by my crappy camera.

Back in August, Bailey's Uncle Marc (because you break up with your partner, not with the kids, you know) sent me for my birthday a pair of beautiful Lantern Moon needles and a skein of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb. Even at the time (a time during which I was not laughing much), this cracked me up, because I could imagine the dialogue at Hill Country Weavers:

Marc: "Hi, I wanted to get a present for someone who knits, but I don't really know what I'm looking for."
HCW Sales Clerk, internally: "YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!"
HCW Sales Clerk, externally: "Well, we have some lovely items over in the, er, Luxury Corner. Don't you think she deserves something very, very special?"

And I do. And really, if you're going to spend the money, I must say that I have gotten enormous aesthetic pleasure--both visual and tactile--out of the ebony Lantern Moons, to the point that I am considering splurging on a set of DPNs, although I'm not sure they make 1s, which would be the most practical size for me to buy.

But the Lantern Moons? People, they are nothing compared to the Lion & Lamb. I'd let it marinate in stash for a while, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to make with it, and now I am sad, because I could have had this luxury all winter. I have never felt anything as soft as this, and I'm sure I've never knit with anything as beautiful. The silk...the silk. I fell asleep on the couch last night clinging to a little scrap of it, like it was the softest, most beautiful security blanket ever. This yarn--and I think this is the highest compliment I can give it, considering that I have no other inclinations in this directions--this yarn made me want to learn to spin.

Anyhoo, what I made. The simplest, most utilitarian thing, but the yarn elevates it into something else again. It's just a neck gaiter, a little wabi-sabi, since I was paying more attention to the yarn than to counting rows.

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The buttons are the find of the century (and the work of a moment at Jo-Ann's); they pick up both the color and the luster of the Mineshaft exactly.

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Yup, just a neck gaiter. But I like to think of it as the softest hug my neck ever got.

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Neck Hug Recipe:
Yarn: 1 skein Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb
Needles: Size 10
Notions: Buttons, needle that will fit through buttons.
Gauge: With yarn held doubled, 4 stitches and 6 rows per inch

With yarn held doubled, CO 25 stitches. Use a loose cast-on, as your CO row will be your buttonholes later. CO more or less depending on the length of your neck.

Slip first stitch at beginning of each row.
Row 1: K
Row 2: P
Row 3: K
Row 4: P
Row 5: P
Row 6: K
Pow 7: P
Pow 8: K

Repeat Rows 1-8 15 times, or as many times as your neck requires.

Switch to seed stitch:
Row 1 *K1, P1*, K1
Row 2 *P1 K1*, P1

Repeat rows 1 & 2 4 times, decreasing 1 stitch at end of every other row while maintaining pattern. (This will form a seed stitch flap that will lie flat and prevent drafts.)

Cast off. Weave in ends.

Find 3 or 4 appropriately-colored buttons that will fit through the stitches on your cast-on row. (My buttons are 3/4 inch.) Wrap gaiter around neck to determine button placement; gaiter should be snug, but not tight. Seed Stitch flap should be underneath cast-on edge. Mark location of overlap. Sew buttons securely. Button up and enjoy the luxury!

NB. You could certainly knit a version of this in the round with no fuss. I like the buttoned version a) for the aesthetics and b) because I'll be able to move the butons over if the gaiter gets stretched out, extending its useful life. You could also knit in buttonholes so that you don't have to use the CO stitches. I didn't do this a) because I am lazy and b) because I didn't have my buttons in advance. You, on the other hand, might be more industrious and more prepared than I am. In fact, it's highly likely that you're both.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


It was 8 degrees outside today. Bailey and I stayed snug inside.

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Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, colorway Black Purl, 2 skeins
Needles: Clover Bamboo, size 2 for feet, 3 for legs and 7 for bindoff.
Pattern: My own.
Begun: January 23rd
Finished: February 17th
Notes: Next time, I will be investigating elastic thread to carry along with the ribbing.

This concludes our experiment, never to be repeated, with Lorna's variegated colorways. Except for something utterly beautiful, which I will show you tomorrow. In the meantime, go say hello to Philippa. She's new in town.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hurry UP, Spring!

Bringing me down:

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Bailey often hangs out in the tree at the park so the other dogs can't get her. She is afeared of them.

Perhaps you cannot tell, but the air in that picture is full of freezing rain, the worst kind of rain there is.

Cheering me up:

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A lovely hand-hooked rug, a Christmas gift from Courker and the Pinto Bean

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Sweet little birds, bought for a song from the lovely and talented Anna.

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A cheery pink bag. It feels wrong to carry it yet, but soon it wil be time.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Could be worse, I guess.

Well, if they've gotta pool, at least they're pooling kind of identically:

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I am SO excited for these socks to be done; it has taken a turn for the freezing here, and I want to wear them ALL the time. Luckily, I have another pair's worth of Shepherd Sport (in a solid colorway, thank Pete) stashed away.

Amanda reminded me that there has really been a dearth of Bailey on the blog lately. So, for Amanda, whose pup is far away, and for my BFF (nom de blog: Puppy) who came to visit me this weekend:

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(Puppy emailed me mid-Eleanor because he could not figure out what I was making: "but what is it going to be? A scarf? A giant tea cozy? A bailey cozy?")

Friday, February 10, 2006

Out of the mouths of babes...

A student, upon my arrival, wrapped in Eleanor, in class this morning:

"That's.....a really big scarf."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It Came From The Seventies....

Yup, El's done. I'm not quite sure about her.

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I feel like I'm channeling either Braveheart or your frizzy-haired, kooktastic art teacher from high school who also ran Drama Club.

One thing I'm quite happy with: I just did tassels at the ends as opposed to the knotted fringe.

Oh, and another thing: one finished project, three new skills! With Lady Eleanor, I learned entrelac, knitting backwards and crochet. Huzzah!

Pattern: Lady Eleanor, by Kathleen Powers Johnson, form Scarf Style
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden; 10 skeins 82; 3 skeins 86
Needles: Size 9 Lantern Moon straights
Started: January 10, 2006
Finished: February 7, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In which I make an ass of myself at the Gap.

So I've been on a little clothing-buying spree lately, thanks to the Gap's debut of its new tall clothes--I know, I know, short people: it's hard for you too. But YOU CAN TAKE YOUR HEMS UP. I cannot magically add fabric where there is none. So, sweatshops shmeatshops: I've been buying a lot of stuff at the Gap.

The other day, the UPS man showed up with my new Curvy Flare Double Button Cords (hi, Curvy Flare fit! Love you!) but, to my dismay, they had obviously been returned-they were squished up inside already-ripped packaging, and, horrors, had been EMBROIDERED on. As in, somebody had started a half-assed embroidery project on the back pockets, got tired of it, and returned the pants. See?

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So today, since I don't teach, I marched over to the Gap in the mall (and don't get me started about how I have to order my clothes online, like some circus sideshow freak, rather than just buying them in the store in the first place, like normal people are allowed to do), plunked the pants down on the counter, and ranted about customer service and quality control and blah dee blah. To which the man behind the counter calmly replied, "Actually, they just come like that."


But I ask you. First, does that embroidery look remotely professional, or like something you would want adorning your ass? And second, is there even one tiny word about back-pocket embroidery in the description?

I'm heading off to tackle that shit with my seam ripper.

Oh, and Lady Eleanor? She's blocking.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


I left that Mountain Colors out on the dining room table so that I could ponder the perfect pattern for it, and it's been nagging at me: the colors remind me of something, but what?

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Then, this morning, I got it:

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Hmm. This calls for a fish-themed sock pattern, I think. Vogue Stitchionary, here I come!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Let the socking begin!

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Gee. I hope I can find some yarn for my sock pal.

Heh. Actually, the frontrunner right now is the Mountain Colors Bearfoot up there in front, in Bitterroot Rainbow. Natural fibers? Check. Bright colors? Check. Now I just have to decide on a stitch pattern.

And by the way, welcome to those of you who are popping by because I'm your Sock Sister. I'll be sending out an email when Alison forwards me the final list, but in the meantime, I'll just say that I'm looking forward to meeting all of you through your blogs (or by email, if you're blogless) and seeing what kind of sock creations you come up with!

Oh, and also, as part of the Silent Poetry Reading, via Sydney:

More Snow Falling

One huge hush the whole day.
No wind. Just endless in-
exorable cliche,
the same old stuff again

and again. . . . We need old stuff
sometimes. As in liturgy.
Or a declaration of love.
No frills, just infinity.

-Peter Kane Dufault
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