Monday, January 29, 2007


The marathon snowday knitting two weeks ago burnt me out a little bit. I found myself working on long-abandoned UFOs -- the simplicity of projects from back in the days when I was capable of little else turned out to be quite soothing. Other days, I didn't knit at all, which was itself oddly refreshing.

In the meantime, I've been cooking, cleaning, partying, house hunting, and visiting my mom, the latter of which allowed me to snap a couple shots of this:

This afghan is what made me a knitter. I should rephrase: It was the first of many things that made me a knitter. My mother knit this as she and my father drove from New Hampshire to Alaska in a VW Bus in the summer of 1969. It helped keep them warm for the 6 years they spent in Fairbanks while my Dad completed grad school, and it traveled from there to Virginia, Massachusetts, and finally, in 1978, to Oregon.

Starting when I was 4 or 5, I would spread it out on the floor, lie down on my stomach, and ask my mom the names of the different stitch patterns, until I had them all memorized. It didn't take long before I wanted to know the secrets of knitting myself. (It didn't really take, those first few lessons. I learned to knit and to purl, and this remained the extent of my knitting knowledge until just over a year ago.)

Here's the exciting part: the afghan was originally supposed to have a crocheted border and tassels, which my mother omitted in a striking instance of fashion foresight. This means that she ended up with a whole boatload of leftover yarn, which has now found it's way into my hands.

Between this, some other 70's goodness from my mom, and a yet-to-be-bloggily-unveiled Christmas present, I have what might be called a stash for the first time in my life. (This is going to help mightily with my No New Yarn Until April pact.) In other words, I have yarn for which to find a project, and not vice versa. In yet other words, I have enough for a sweater and then some.

But what sweater? Something worthy of this yarn's history and status in my life. Something cabley, obviously, and probably a cardigan or I'll almost never wear it. I thought of Central Park, but as much as I love it, it doesn't seem special enough, somehow. I thought of the Urban Aran, but it really needs a chunkier yarn than this. I thought of trying to design something on my own, maybe borrowing some elements from the afghan itself, but I'm a little intimidated by that notion -- I think at the very least I should have completed one sweater before I try to pull one out of thin air, right? Maybe I can cobble together elements of different patterns? Any ideas are more than welcome.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lightbar eye candy

IMG_0158.JPG, originally uploaded by furplepig.

Around this time last year, my friends Mykle and Chet threw the best, smartest, Portlandy-est party ever. They made a big pyramidal tent out of white tarp, rigged up a bunch of very bright, very golden lights, requested folks to wear white, and served up delirious quantities of champagne. For one evening, we all left our seasonal affective disorder behind, and I'm not just saying that -- I've rarely seen a more cheerful and energetic bunch of people in February. You can check out more pics here, but this one, from one of the tent's darker corners, is my favorite.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Perfect timing

Dear Portland Weather,

I sincerely apologize for all the smack-talking I've been doing in the last few weeks. In fact, I hereby pledge not to complain to or about you for at least the next two weeks, because you seriously hooked me up today.


The entire three day weekend was like this:
It was perfect, with the minor exception of my not getting nearly enough sleep. So when I woke up today, cranky and tired and wanting nothing more than to be in a warm bed with a sleeping lady, it was like this:

I'm not normally one to let a few inches of snow deter me from my duties, but I work at the top of a big hill, along with 8,000 other people, many of whom have never lived in Minnesota. Enough said.

This weekend also marked my first knitaversary -- I started knitting For Reals one year ago yesterday -- and I celebrated with not one but three FOs.

Respectively: a quick, chunky tricolor scarf in GGH Aspen; Eunny's Anemoi Mittens in Dalegarn Baby Ull; Shedir in Rowan Calmer.

I reversed the colors on the second mitten (excluding the cuff) for fear of running out of the grey, but I shouldn't have worried -- I had plenty left of both. I did run out of Calmer with just a few rows left, despite doing only 4 repeats of the main chart, but I don't mind having another almost-full ball of this stuff around, because I know I can get a 3-repeat model out of what I have left. And I will too; Shedir is easily the best hat pattern I've knit. The way the decreases are hidden in the criss-crossing lines is total genius.

Now maybe I can finally get back to that pomatomus...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Particularly welcome.

It is my favorite kind of day in Portland today -- cold and bright, of course. It's particularly welcome after weeks of cool and damp, and it reminds me of the last time we were graced with such crispness: right after Christmas, when The Lady snapped this bit of eye candy.

She has quite the eye for lillies, it turns out. I'm slowly realizing, however, that we may need to be a two camera household. This strikes the logical half (or... uh, 80%) of my brain as silly and superfluous, and it strikes my bank account as impossible. But that doesn't change the fact that I have no pictures of the Shedir I started a few days ago. Both it and the pair of Anemoi have to be done and out of the house by Monday though, so don't be afeared. Documentation is imminent.

Happy Friday, y'all. Enjoy the long weekend!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

That's what I get for thinking "dominant" meant "on top".

Oh, little mitten, how I love you.

The Lady said to me last night, "That's easily the most beautiful thing you've ever knit", and I think I have to agree. My joy is only slightly tempered by two things -- 1. a little unevenness that I guess is almost inevitable in my first colorwork project, and 2. my own stupidity. I read Nona's post on yarn dominance months ago. I read it again when Grumperina linked it. I thought I knew it so well that I didn't need to read it when Eunny linked it. But I misremembered: I thought the yarn on top was the dominant yarn. It doesn't matter much in the cuff, the swirls, or the thumb, but the lozenge pattern at the top (and on the palm) isn't as crisp as I'd like.

It's a gift for a non-knitter, and I know she'll love them and not even notice a problem. But she probably would notice if the two were different, so now I have to knowingly knit the second mitten "wrong". Oh well. Stranding is fun enough to make up for it, and I'll get it right next time.