Wednesday, August 29, 2012

THIS is why I have the Internet

KnitKnack, a yarn shop in NJ, has given us a bit of loveliness. I found it here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I have a lot of sock yarn. I have so much sock yarn that I have accepted that not all of it should become socks.

Enter Nefertim.

Nefertim (mine ravelled here) knit in madelinetosh pashmina, Black Velvet colorway

It starts with two stitches (top center) and rapidly increases. It's plain stockinette with regularly-spaced increases and then POW! a lotus border. It ends with an odd bind off that required a crochet hook and a Debbie Stoller's book. I like the bind off, and it wasn't as difficult as I feared.

The yarn is... luminescent. It's shiny and soft and lovely. Part of me was sad it won't be on my feet since it would have more skin contact that way, but then I realized I could just wear it topless and have the same experience. Problem solved.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zen Moment

Sometimes Often I get so focused on getting the project finished that I don't actually enjoy it.

Zigzag socks (mine ravelled here)
(The color is discontinued, so buy it now if you want it. It's a slightly rose-y pink.)

These socks are for my mom. I don't need them until Christmas. They're a 16 row repeat that's easy to follow. 

Today at lunch, I had a Zen moment. I was able to feel the enjoyment of using very nice, very sharp needles to make easy, even stitches.

I don't have them often, despite my Buddhist leanings, but they're glorious when they arrive.

Koan: Is a sock that has been frogged still a sock?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Anybody Seen the Bandwagon?

I'm often slow to adopt new things.

I had my first drink at age 22.

I became a vegetarian at 31.

I got my first tattoo at 33.

I often don't start watching TV shows until they're already off the air.

I've come to accept that part of myself that likes to look carefully at other people trying something new and wait to see if it blows up on them. I recognize it takes me a long time to decide that it's actually safe.

In the spirit of this, I have never knit a clapotis. There are over nineteen thousand entries on Ravelry for clapotis projects. I think that's enough to ensure that there's not a horrible mistake in the pattern, no?

Clapotis (mine ravelled here), 
knit in Alpaca with a Twist's Mojito yarn in Hugs and Kisses colorway

I had yarn leftover from my Off-Rib Cardigan, and that's what I used for this. The pattern calls for yarn of this weight, but tons of people have knit it with much, much lighter yarn as well. I think it looks great either way.

It's an easy knit, and it's surprisingly satisfying to drop stitches and pop pop pop them down their diagonal row. Purposeful destruction in knitting! No wonder nineteen thousand people are talking about it on Ravelry.

One of my goals is to wear things like this more often. I am very much a utilitarian dresser. My preference would be to wear jeans and a t-shirt every day. (You've heard about this before.)

Maybe I'll now occasionally wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a clapotis.

Baby steps.

Friday, August 10, 2012

'Olina on My Mind

It's astounding how using the correct yarn in a project makes the knitting enjoyable, whereas the wrong yarn makes you want to stab people with your needles.

'Olinas are finished!

'Olina Socks (mine ravelled here), knit in Cascade Heritage yarn, color 5612 (Moss)

You can see why they were worth doing over even though the first attempt was so horrifying and demoralizing. The left and right socks are nearly mirror images of one another. The pattern travels up half of the top of the foot and then wraps around the side of the leg until you get to the cuff. You have gorgeous pattern running up the outside of each leg.

The vines and leaves are set against a purl background, and it makes the twists of the vine really stand out well.

I did the short-row heel, which I'm not a fan of, and I did them toe-up, which I'm not a fan of, but they were worth it. I'm not convinced I'm picking up the wraps from the short rows properly, but I didn't care enough to look it up. I will admit that I'm getting better at all the weird parts of toe-up socks, so knitting them is not quite as horrifying as it was a month ago.*

I feel happy and relieved these are finished. I love them a lot, and they were worth the work. Maybe someday it will even get cool enough to wear them!

*I'm looking at you, Fire Starter and Paper Moon. Your time is coming.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

From the Garden

The drought in my neck of the woods has been extreme.  I'm not being overly dramatic; I can prove it. 

I lost about half the perennials in my new bed, including the gorgeous 'Kent Beauty' oregano.* The grass may be gone, but the trees and shrubs look to have survived. I'm fortunate in that I have a small yard. I can keep it watered with a hose fairly easily. Even though we're on a watering ban, we're allowed to water gardens and plantings--just not the lawn. Fair enough.

The vegetable garden has been doing surprisingly well in all of this. In addition to the drought, we've also had record-breaking heat. The tomatoes don't seem to mind. I have to figure out how to preserve some roma tomatoes.** I also have started getting some tomatoes like this:

Here, you can see how it dwarfs a car.

I call it Frankenmato.

*Insert pause for weeping and gnashing of teeth, followed by intense feelings of guilt. 
** I grew up canning, but I bought a flat top stove because I WAS SURE I was never going to can. Now I need to figure out freezing or something. Share your thoughts if you have them.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Blow for Science

I was a biology minor in college, and I have a healthy respect for the scientific method. I often find myself frustrated that life doesn't lend itself to careful testing, finding the problem by systematically eliminating variables.

Knitting gives me that opportunity. I frogged the socks and am ready to start the pattern again.

The yarn is clearly the main problem, but it's also possible that knitting toe-up and using square needles in that particular size were problems. If I want to really confirm that the problem was with the yarn, I should just switch out the yarn and keep all the other variables the same.

Of course, if it's not just the yarn, I'd need to go back to the original yarn and switch out something else.

Now I remember. The scientific method takes too long and makes you test things you know aren't going to work.

I'm trying again with these variables: new yarn, new shape of needle, new needle size, same pattern, knitting toe-up.

Sorry, Science. Maybe next time.