Archive for 2008

i got (almost) nothin’

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

we finally got a little dusting of snow to cover some of the gray and brown that we’ve been looking at for the last couple of weeks. it was nice to wake up to see snowflakes flying around out there.

i’ve been doing a lot of kitting and pattern writing these last few days but i can’t show very much of it here (argh, you know how i feel about that!)

fortunately, my current big secret project is a wonderful mix of greens that i enjoy picking up and working with, so it won’t be too long til i’m on to something i can blog more about

i’m also still finishing up my brother’s second sock

it’s almost done; i have a little more to knit in pattern and then the toe shaping; i should be able to get it done today. i hope so; i need to get this in the mail ASAP; his birthday is saturday and we have a holiday tomorrow. i figure if i can get it done after lunch, we can maybe run it to the post office for last-minute delivery. i’m also sending him the luxor socks—i can’t wait to see how he likes the bamboo blend i used in those. and he’s getting a pair of wiggle mitts

even though he lives in texas where it’s warm, he manages operations in an unheated warehouse, which gets chilly in winter. he has to write and use the computer a lot and i think these will be great for him.

next thing you know, we’ll have him wearing manLace . . .

i didn’t say much about my christmas gift from david this year, because . . . well, he can be a little gift-giving-challenged. as in, he always remembers the important days with gifts that for him, are totally romantic and appropriate, but sometimes leave me scratching my head (last year i got a digital weather station). this year’s gift was so far out in that realm that telling about it will give you the wrong idea about him.

but he made up for it this week—in spades

this is my dad’s old desk, inherited by him from the uncle or cousin who built it, then handed down to me when my mom moved out of our family home. having been stored in our attic where we proceeded to abuse it with stickers, paint, and hand tools, it used to be almost-black with gunk and old varnish. not so much the patina of time as the fallout from a life of extreme hardship.

anyway, david worked away at it, keeping some of the old scars and getting rid of the super-ugly ones (like pools of yellow enamel paint meant for airplane models, circa 1967). then he rubbed it with a clear wax finish to bring out the grain in the wide variety of woods used in it

and now it’s a beauty. there’s going to be some renovation in my workroom area this month and once that’s complete, the desk will be moved up there. it’ll be great to have the additional writing and shelf space in that room as well as a reminder of my dad’s family.

i’m trying to organize goals for the coming year; it’s going to be a challenging one i know. more about that tomorrow, though—must go knit man sock.

lacunae sock

Monday, December 29th, 2008

this sock has a secret—what looks like a humble 2-by-2 rib opens up to a mesmerizing texture of cocoon shapes that provide cozy warmth. the twist-stitch pattern adds a sturdy hand to the fabric and a snug fit around the foot to help it stay put.

shown here in blue moon fiber arts socks that rock® lightweight, colorway muddy bottom breakdown.

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

many thanks to tina, who sent the amazing yarn used in the sample—i’m always happy to work with her fine fibers.
anne marie (sadly blogless) was the inspiration for getting this pattern to the finishing line—she urged me to design a sock, then offered to test knit it, and then, she knit two pair.
thank you as well to rachel who suffered through a few re-dos of the pattern before we had it where we wanted it. thanks!

ok, that’s enough break now . . .

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

when i work out i use exercise videos. i love that someone else has organized a weight-lifting or yoga routine so i don’t have to. sure, some of them are corny, but the good ones help me stay focused—my mind tends to wander on its own.
i have one weightlifting DVD that’s pretty tough, but still has a perky instructor. it just cracks me up if she tells me to take a break (a rare but necessary indulgence)—i know that in about 15 seconds she’s going to take it right back: ok, that’s enough break now, she pipes up, we don’t want to cool off too much. heavens, no, not us.

every time i start to think that more time off would be great, i think of her. after all, more time off just means that more stuff piles up on my to-do list.
so i tell myself, that’s enough break, now.
and if i say it just right, it makes me smile.

we had a lovely, lovely holiday—time off to do whatever we felt like doing is a huge treat to us.
i spent christmas day knitting and finished up the sweater i started earlier this week

it’s a reconstruction of a sweater i knit myself a few years back (in pumpkin) that i love and wear often. i’ve had this henry’s attic mohair to make another one for some time and decided a few weeks back that i should do it over christmas, since it’s a super-quick and simple knit.

(my dress form is a little better-endowed in the shoulders and bosom than i, so it looks curvier on it than on me)

i knit the sleeves to the underarm on christmas eve and then cast on and worked the body christmas day. i had to rip back a few inches near the top because my first pass at the shaping wasn’t exactly to my liking (i was working from memories of the first version), but the second try was the charm.

i finished off the neck while we watched TV christmas night—i really wanted this to be done as fast as possible; it’s no use treating oneself to personal knitting if it puts everything behind by dragging out into the work week. plus, it leaves me wanting to make yet another, maybe in a bigger size for a more casual fit.
and yay, having a new sweater in no time to add to my wardrobe?? priceless.

i love, love, love the voluptuous cable and its lazy, slinky, drunken path up the front of the sweater, where it piles up in drifts around the funnel neck. easy-peasy, and i don’t know if it would work in a heavier yarn, but it sure works well in featherweight mohair. plus, it provides a little extra wind protection for wearing with an open coat or jacket. the sweater weighs next to nothing, but it’s warm. yum.

(i’m aiming at making a pattern for it, but as you know, i’m a little, er, behind on my sweater patterns. i am serious about getting on top of that situation—i appreciate everyone being so patient about it.)

the other thing i did over christmas was to work on the messy state of my workroom. i spent a couple of hours in there christmas night and accomplished some clearing up

all the yarns that were piled up in the middle of the floor have been boxed up and organized sensibly so that i can get at them just as easily, but still use my workroom, too

clear plastic containers of a manageable size are a lifesaver.

now that i’ve reclaimed the main floorspace, i can bring a spinning wheel up there for cozy evenings of spinning (and wow, the light up here is just so much better, along with the heat). i think i’ll bring my merlin tree wheel up for spinning some of those small batches of precious fibers acquired at shows into laceweight yarn.

but not until i finish the job

i still have this desk mess to clear up; these are all the swatches i’ve knit for design projects over the last year and they need to be “archived” (which, at this point, is a matter of shoving them in a box—there’ll be time to catalog them when i’m old).

and then there is the table. this is harder because i have no bookshelf space at the moment for those books. it’s coming, but it’ll be awhile—it’s sort-of dependent on the renovation of the room next door (more on that another day).

but i can certainly sort and shelve the magazines—i have magazine files waiting just for them, and room in the bookcase devoted to that; it’s just a matter of me putting in a couple more hours on that stuff.
then a good dusting and vacuuming and i’m done.

then i can bring the wheel up and play. it’s a deal.

yesterday i worked on swatching for a secret project that i need to write a pattern for; i’m casting on today, as soon as i’m done here. then, it’s off to the test knitting goddesses to work on for a few weeks. meanwhile, i still have small projects to work on, too—it’s going to be a busy month.

so i’m trying like crazy to finish up these socks for my brother

to send out at the end of the week for his birthday. i think if i take them everywhere with me for the next few days, they’ll get done.
then i can go back to the poppy socks i got on the needles way before christmas and put aside to get ready for the holidays . . . i’m pretty excited about those and anxious to get back to them.

the second lacunae sock is nearing completion as well

and anne marie showed me hers today (beautiful in mountain colors bearfoot).

it sounds like a tornado of activity, but it has felt surprisingly calm here this week, which contributes to getting a lot done, i guess.
i was glad to wake up today and realize it was sunday . . .

because sunday, of course, is for spinning (linda, we missed you; sorry you don’t feel well). i started my second bobbin of briar rose BFL (and the second one-third of the total amount of fiber), having finally finished the first third

like i said, it’s going to take a while to gt through all of it but i am not pressuring myself to rush it—pressure is free and plentiful from elsewhere . . .

merry, merry

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

merry christmas everyone . . . i hope you are enjoying a day off doing whatever you love most.
for us, it will be a quiet day at home with each other. somehow, i’ll figure out how to turn the tree lights on without waking david up (they’re on a timer and i can’t seem to override it, electronics genius that i am). then i’ll knit the day away, maybe take a break for a “nap”, heh. we’re having homemade pizza for dinner, yum.

as promised, i started right away the other night on a new project for myself

in a cheerful color of henry’s attic mohair (my favorite) that’s been in my stash for ages—i mean, like ten years. i’m going to keep it a bit of a mystery for now because i want to do a reveal when it’s complete.

(hint: it’s not a bathrobe. not because i won’t make one, but because i don’t have enough of this yarn for one . . .)
it’s a really quick favorite and i hope to finish it in the next couple of days.

the color is the perfect foil for the weather—guess what? it’s gray outside.
some people have asked me what i mean when i talk about it being so gray in ohio. they just can’t picture that gray skies could be such a bad thing. let me illustrate

this was the sky yesterday morning at 10 am. it was pretty much still the same at 4pm, maybe a little darker.
now, granted, today it is “sunny”, so it’s a little brighter

see there? in the bottom right corner?? that bright spot?? that’s it. that’s the much-talked-about-
but-rarely-glimpsed sun. if i go around to the front of the house it’s slightly less cloudy

and you can even see that the sky can be blue.
this is winter in ohio. it’s like this for approximately 29 out of 30 days from mid-october through march. fortunately i am a gray junkie—i can look at gray all day, so visually i don’t mind this a bit.
it does make it hard to get out of bed in the morning because i can’t tell if it’s daytime or not (that’s my excuse and i’m sticking with it).

so we concentrate on making colorful things indoors to avoid the cold and gray outside.

last night we went to beckie’s for christmas even and had a wonderfully merry visit with friends. i brought my sock to knit on and got the cuff done

i’m like to finish these socks this week to send to my brother joe for his birthday next week.
they were originally intended for my nephew james, but i switched them out when i saw they wouldn’t be done for his visit monday. and now i’m really glad—james got the woolier tesserae socks that were originally on joe’s pile

and was completely smitten with them. he announced at breakfast the other day that he decided they’d be his “around the house” socks for keeping warm because they’re so snuggly.

and the blue-gray socks will be more suited to my brother’s texas climate. the yarn for those is araucania ranco, and i’m liking the way it knits up a lot. that is, i like having knit it. it’s not as luxurious as some other yarns to actually make stitches with, but the finished fabric is really good. david has been test-driving the quality by wearing his school socks regularly, which i knit with ranco, and it seems to wear very well—no pills, no excess fuzziness, no thinning of the fabric yet. it’s a lot like lorna’s laces, i think.

i also put a few inches on my second lacunae sock while we watched movies the other night

another one i’d like to finish this week; we have a pattern, it’s been test-knit, and we’re all set to go, except for some photos.
now, this is a yarn that is a pleasure to knit stitches with—blue moon socks that rock lightweight. i don’t have socks made with STR yet, so i don’t know how it wears, but i can tell from trying them on that they’ll be cushy and wonderful. the fabric does, indeed rock, with crisp stitch definition and great depth of color.

a couple of absolutely beautiful christmas surprises arrived in the mail from friends this week that i want to share. from my friend lisa (lisa who also gave me blocking wires once, and who i thank silently every time i use them, which is a lot).

this gorgeously cushy neckwarmer, the colors of the ohio sky, hahaha. but since i’m an addict for the color gray, this piece is really, really me. thank you lisa; this is incredibly thoughtful and precious; getting handknit gifts is a rare treat.

and then there was a box from my good friend nan (who started her own blog this week—go see, i’ll wait). you already know nan—she is one of the amazing women who has test knit many of the shawls we completed in the past 18 months. her work is exquisite and she’s willing to take on any project, even if she hasn’t done a particular thing before. and she does it really, really well.
i can’t help myself; nan likes to stay behind the scenes and i want to brag about her, what can i say?? now she has a blog though, so it’s a must to talk about her beautiful knitting now.

so the other day a heavy box from nan lands on doorstep. inside were a couple of boxes of favorite chocolates from see’s, with a small wrapped bundle of softness tucked between (great camoflauge, nan). these are a pair of entangled stitches, in dream in color smooshy, colorway november muse.

aren’t they exquisite?? i can’t believe someone made these for me. this is SO not a project i would knit for myself in a million years. but the best part is—well, actually, there are two best parts. first, the gloves have been nan’s companions on a recent trip through latin america, traveling the panama canal by boat, traversing costa rica, traipsing through mexico, and on home to the west coast again. a written summary of their trip was included with the gift. fabulous.

the other best part is that they fit as if nan measured every square inch of my hands. and that’s no small thing—i have unusually large hands for my size; i normally buy men’s gloves to get the right fit (but those aren’t always pretty . . .). women’s gloves never quite work. i was a little nervous when i slipped these on but no need to be—they are absolutely perfect. and they look great with my new jacket—SCORE. how did she do that?

it’s a wonderful christmas already and we haven’t even really started the day here; there are a couple of things under the tree to open, and a luxuriously empty afternoon. so i’m off now to pick up my knitting and make some holiday calls to family. have a peaceful day.