gotta step it up

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

it continues to be cold, wet, and icy outside. it is also gray, brown, black, and white.
it feels as chilly as it looks, believe me; when i went out to shovel the walk for the mail carrier the last two days, it was more a matter of scooping thick, watery gruel.

but i felt lucky—not once did i fall on my butt, as i have been known to do in these conditions (most spectacularly in fact—just like in the cartoons—with long legs flying out from under me).

inside we have a much more cheerful story.

first, i’d like to say happy birthday to my friend jocelyn, who as you may know, has test-knit her way into my heart over the course of this year.
just kidding—i’m sure we’d be friends even if she didn’t know knit from crochet. but since she is so awesome, it would be ever so nice if you took a moment to go wish her a happy day (she loves her BD just as much as i do).

there’s cooking—we’ve done lots of that this week in order to warm up the house and get our taste buds out of the winter doldrums.

david went grocery shopping yesterday and now we are well stocked for weekend cooking. i have to share these tomatoes—he first brought them home for christmas eve dinner and i was skeptical. normally we do not buy tomatoes off season.

but the antipasto demands it so we tried these and they are scrumptious—they taste a lot like the ones we grow ourselves in season.
then we used the leftovers in the spinach pie and wow. the flavor improves even more for using them in a baked dish.

today i’m going to cook indian food and a pot of soup to go with another one of those yummy spinach pies (i never got around to that the other day, oops).

and there’s knitting; the snow shawl grows daily

the puddle of it spreading like the slush outside. please believe me that it is indeed growing, and that i am working on it as fast as i can. i know some of you are growing impatient, but it’s a square (which equals TWO triangle shawls) and by nature, knits up a bit more slowly than a smaller shawl, no matter what.

the rows are now something like 600 or more stitches, and i still have a lot of (increasingly longer) rows to go.

i take a zen approach to a project like this; i enjoy each row for what it holds and try to knit on the piece for as many hours as i can manage in a day. i find it nice that there is a large bulk of knitting to do here; it’s something i can settle in familiarly with and cozy up to.

telling it to hurry up! doesn’t make it go faster, nor i think is it the point. it’s better to look at it as an opportunity for lots of knitting and thinking time, rather than a product-oriented race.

that’s why i have some smaller projects on the needles to entertain us all with. like socks. in fact i have lots of socks news today.

i finished up the acorn socks which just needed a toe after my efforts in class.

sooo satisfying to have these completed.i love them very much but i think that if i keep them for myself i will consider them too precious to wear very often—i am far too practical and simple in my sock taste. i just need well-fitting, smooth, warm socks. my most well-worn ones are very plain, or have a knit/purl texture. so, i’m putting them away on the sock shelf for a possible gift.

every year about this time i take a good, long look at this shelf and realize once again that i have work to do. this shelf holds all the sock inventory that results from what i knit during the year. i stockpile the new ones here, and give them out as needed.

the left side is for ladies socks and the right side is for men’s socks (i keep the mitts stacked in the middle). you can see there is a disparity in the inventory right now. to be fair, i have a lot of men in my life that need/love handknit socks, and who wear them proudly in all weather. as for ladies, there is just me, and i’m very easy on my socks so they don’t need replacing as often. i might also give a single pair here or there to a girlfriend as a gift, but because i design a lot of lace socks, i have plenty to share.

the men need several pair each, and every year, too. i could knit a pair each week just for them and they’d get used. so that gaping hole there? that’s a bit scary. it is time to get cracking on the mansocks. er, well, the unisex socks i should say, because don’t we all love to wear their stuff constantly sometimes?

this past year i have concentrated on using yarns that have some nylon in the blend for the mansocks. i used to make them all from handspun, but i have noticed that the ones with nylon really do wear better, and from a design perspective, translate well into suggested yarns for patterns. using them gives me the opportunity to share some of the wonderful hand-dyed selections available.

however, david says that his favorites are the handspun ones, so this year i’m going to mix it up a little. i started this new pair in some handspun coopworth the other night

mmmm, cushy. the stitch pattern is a knit/purl geometric texture that he already loves (he’s so square!). the sock pattern will include several size variations so that a thinner yarn could be used with smaller needles. for instance, this yarn is more of a sport weight, and 60 stitches is plenty for even david’s wide feet. but if i was using a regular sock yarn, like this ranco, i could cast on the 70-stitch size and still achieve the right fit for him.

the beauty of the multi-size patterns is that they not only expand your choice in fit, but your choice of yarn as well—they are great stash-busters. the key is knowing how many stitches you normally cast on for a sock in one weight versus another.

wow, this post is getting long. i think i’ll save the rest of the sock news for next time.

because we have to get ready for a big day tomorrow . . . . the signs are all around:

cards from mom

mysterious boxes in the mail that can’t be opened yet

and just in case you didn’t see the message on the front, or was about to tear into the box without turning it over

there is another warning on the back.
there are boxes that CAN be opened from people who can’t wait

from kim—she beaded the handles and i LOVE them. we need some serving tools, too, so it is a doubly-good gift.
and naturally, there is chocolate

(kim promises that these are the best chocolates on earth, and lemme tell you she’s been everywhere and she knows her treats.)

somebody’s having a birthday . . . .

60 thoughts on “gotta step it up

  1. Happy birthday!! Those chocolates look good… (I’ll have to find out from Kim in June where she gets them 🙂 ) I’m very impressed with your sock shelf; the socks I knit around here are snatched up immediately by one of four bottomless sock drawers! And the shawl is looking wonderful — I keep imagining it like a beautiful jellyfish, with all of this hidden shawl tucked underneath.

  2. Happy birthday! Hope all your wishes come true this year and that life is kind to you and yours. (I now have serious cutlery envy and I didn’t know that was possible!)

Comments are closed.