Friday, August 17, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: I do still drool over yarn.

The drooling doesn't cut into my reading time much.

This was the only thing I actually asked for for Xmas last year: a whole pound of Henry's Attic Andromeda. It's luscious and wonderful and a good deal, being undyed and unskeined, but damned if I was going to wind it into hanks by hand. So I put it away and forgot about it for awhile, and then finally...

... I broke down and got myself a Mama Bear Swift. I like it because it's good for both winding and unwinding.

I love this stuff even more now that it's off the cone. It's a 50/50 worsted wool-silk blend, very similar to Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb, or Sundara's Aran Silky Merino. (In fact, I feel like I heard somewhere that this is the base yarn Sundara uses... but I could be totally making that up.)

But seriously. How can anything be so simultaneously shiny and fuzzy? (Shuzzy, if you will.)

Next week: I try my hand at dyeing. Figure I'd better make a mess of the kitchen before we get around to remodeling it.


Post-Sockapalooza, not much knitting is happening around here. I have two WIPs at the moment, neither progressed much beyond the last time you saw them, and this is why:

This book grabbed me by the (proverbial) balls and didn't let go. Still hasn't, really, although I finished it last night. Nothing in this book was what I have come to expect, and yet it is never surprising for the sake of surprise. Everything about it, but most particularly Strange and Norrell's relationship, is executed in a way that is somehow quiet, subtle, and also tremendously elaborate. (And witty too.) I can't get over it. And, Oh! Childermass! How can I express my love for this character? I can't.

What I'm trying to say is that this book made me want to read, voraciously, in a way that the likes of Harry Potter -- which I thoroughly enjoyed -- never could. Which brings me to my point, if indeed I had one: Knitting cuts into my reading time, HARD. I've known this all along, really, but for a while I think I sort of assumed that knitting would be a passing fancy. (I am nothing if not prone to dilettantism.) But that doesn't appear to be the case, does it? And being an obsessive record-keeper, I can no longer ignore the numbers: I moved to Portland 3 years ago, after I graduated from college. In the first year and a half, I read 48 books, including a few long term committments. Then I re-took-up knitting, and in the year and a half since then, I've read 15. This is unacceptable.

So I'm making a commitment: I have two hours, every day, to pursue anything my little brain desires, so long as it's portable. From here on out, there will always be a knitting project AND a book in my very capacious bag.

So how about you guys? What did you used to do more of, before you took up your current crafty pursuits? Do you miss it? Or was the change intentional? Oh, and most importantly, what should I read next?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My sockapal = awesome.

So, in the rush to get my own pal's socks out the door? I halfway forgot that someone out there was knitting socks for me.

I don't knit for myself much, so I've never had a pair of handknit socks before, and I really, truly love these. Blogless Diana of Durham, North Carolina, you are a rad, rad lady.
I love that she really LISTENED to what I told her I like: warm colors, lace is cool but no huge holes, not TOO much variegation. The fit could not be better. She even made sure to ask me what my favorite heel was!

Slipstitch, natch.

She didn't mention what pattern this is, but it looks like River Rapids to me. Back me up on that, somebody? The yarn is Great Feats, from the folks at (who, though they dye a lovely skein of yarn, could use some help in the web design deparment). It's 20% nylon, so I have good faith that this pair can stand up to serious use.

Which is good, because they've already been subjected to my dog-fur-covered floors.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Redemption, mostly.

Baudepaloozalaires, A.K.A. A pair of socks that is neither as long-legged nor as punctual as I'd planned, but still very pretty if I do say so myself, A.K.A. the 36-hour sock:

Faced with two very mismatched socks ('very' being a relative term)I had three choices:
A. Knit a second sock in the lighter dyelot, on US 2s, knowing my pal specifically requested a fine gauge.
B. Rip out the lighter, looser sock, and knit two new socks on US 1s. Starting on Tuesday night.
C. Rip the darker, finer, better fitting sock (of which dyelot I had but one skein) back to where it weighed just under half of the total, reknit the ribbing, and knit a second short, dark, fine sock.

Once option C occurred to me, there really seemed no other choice. To whoever first thought to knit a sock toe-up? THANK YOU.

I think the thing I'm the happiest about, actually, is that despite the roadblocks and the frustration, and the almost crying late at night, I genuinely enjoyed knitting these -- all three of them. I think that means I like to knit or something.

And should I ever feel like knitting this pattern again (it could be awhile), I'm already halfway to a pair of my own.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


In her youth, my mother was a knitter, a seamstress, and a clerk in a dye and finishing company. I could not possibly count the number of times I have heard her say "make sure to check the dyelot!"

Of course, I don't remember her ever saying "if you're knitting two of something, you should probably use the same needle size for each". But I imagine that's just because she overestimates her daughter's intelligence.