Monday, June 23, 2014

City Market Catacombs

On Saturday, a group of us did a little sightseeing in our own city, visiting the catacombs below Indy's City Market (tour info here).

The remaining above-ground portion of Tomlimson Hall

Tomlinson Hall was a two-story structure with the catacombs underneath. It was built in the 1880s and burned down in 1958. It was a large space; the second floor was an auditorium that could seat 3,500. Nobody seems to know what the catacombs were used for, but perhaps it was storage for the market vendors.

Most of the catacombs looked like this:

But there were a few surprises, such as a bicycle:

a circle of chairs that I'm pretty sure is used for a ghost support group:

and a brick that anyone my age recognizes immediately from watching Scooby Doo:

I'm sure if you press on that brick, a secret door opens. Sadly, it was in the arch over our heads, so we didn't get to try it out.

After the tour, we went into City Market for lunch. It's quite beautiful and wasn't swamped on Saturday like it is during the week.

 Windows in City Market


Monday, June 16, 2014

Somebody's Watching You

I was five when my great-grandmother passed away. I remember being in her house in the aftermath while the adults tried to figure out how to handle a house full of stuff. I remember asking if I could have something. The adults asked me what I wanted.

I knew exactly what I wanted. I tore down the hall, picked it up, and struggled back down the hallway show it to the adults.

Looking back, I understand they were probably profoundly relieved. At the time, I couldn't believe that I was being allowed to take something so precious.


This is a bowling-pin shaped piece of plastic filled with something heavy, probably sand. I assume my great-grandmother crocheted it, but I don't actually know. I loved it, and it was my doorstop until I went to college. Then it was packed into a box, which found its way into the basement.

Recently, it was unearthed in what I like to call the Wet Basement of Despair. Many, many things went into a dumpster that day, but he did not. He came home with me.

And lo, he smelled terrible. I soaked him for a couple days in a sudsy sink, then sat him outside to dry until his presence drove our dog, Dexter, crazy with rage. When it became clear that Dexter could not be convinced that this wasn't a live animal staring at him--well, not staring, but more about that later--in a taunting manner from the patio, I brought him in again to finish drying in the kitchen.

He still smelled. I soaked him again, rubbing his acrylic self ferociously. That did the trick.

There was still a problem though. My family's beagle, Ralph, had a fondness for the plastic noses on stuffed animals, particularly those of my oldest sister. He would grab one off her bed and have it nose-less before any of us realized what was happening. Apparently at some point he couldn't find a nose in Becky's room, and that was the day the crocheted bowling pin dog doorstop lost both his eyes.

I went button shopping and found almost exactly what I was looking for. They were perhaps a bit smaller than the eyes I remember, and I'm pretty sure the original eyes were gold-accented rather than black, but they're the right shape and have the center crystal I remember. I sewed them on a couple days ago, put him on the floor and stepped back to admire him---

---and realized how truly, profoundly hideous he is.

Doesn't matter. I'm glad he's home with me again.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Diagonal Rib Socks

After the Wray, I wanted a nice, soothing pair of socks. I went through my Ravelry favorites, and found Ann Budd's Diagonal Rib Socks. Perfect!

Diagonal Rib Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Ball and Skein's Sophia, Avalon colorway

I can't remember how I came to own this skein, and I wish I did. It's fantastic. It's very squishy, very round, and it was a pleasure to knit with. I have every confidence I'm going to love wearing these when it gets cooler.

The pattern itself is my favorite kind of sock pattern. It ticks all the boxes: top-down, lots of  ribbing to give it stretch, and a 4-row pattern that I could memorize after doing it a couple times. The pattern is available for free from Knitting Daily's website here.

I've started a couple new projects, a scrap scarf that will be a gift (another Mini Mania) and the Fire Opal Tee. I know it's been only a month since I tried to convince myself to knit from my stash rather than buying yarn for this sweater, but there was a yarn sale, you see, and I went with a coworker to help her pick out yarn for a baby blanket. Naturally, I needed to buy yarn as well.... to support a local business. Yes! That's it! I was supporting a local business while doing a nice deed for a friend. Basically, the only answer was to buy yarn, and the fact that I bought yarn earmarked for a project rather than just a random skein of something pretty is commendable.

That's right. I not only justified buying yarn for a new project when I have tons of yarn for projects in my stash, but I actually convinced myself the purchase was the most ethical decision I could make. Feel free to use that line or reasoning for yourself.

Monday, June 9, 2014


The Wray is complete, and, miracle of miracles, it's cool enough to wear it today!

Wray (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, Smoke Heather colorway

Knitting a sweater in laceweight is hardcore and slightly badass... well, as badass as something can be with tiny flower buttons. I wouldn't want to do it for every sweater, but it certainly makes for a lovely drape.

There is so. much. ribbing. Breathe through it. It will make the fit very forgiving if, like me, you didn't get anywhere close to gauge on your swatch. I blocked the swatch, measured, calculated, measured again, looked at it with my head cocked at different angles, and finally took a deep breath, chose the size that corresponds to the pants I wear, and hoped for the best. Clearly, this should have bitten me on the ass. It did not. I assume this has something to do with karma, and I'm not going to look at it closely at all. (I'm also going to try to not make a habit of it.)

Twee buttons! I love 'em.

I only made two changes. First, I added a fifth button on the front after a friend warned me about button placement and saggy boobs. I'm not sure I have big enough boobs where this could be a problem, but it doesn't hurt to put another button on there to be sure.

Second, I added 10 rounds to each sleeve. I love the pleat, but I think the sleeve needed a bit more length for me.

A note: The bind off is a pain. I'm not convinced at all that it shows as a picot bind off. However, I decided that the hem was going to need as much weight as it could get to hang correctly, and the fussy bind off provided enough yarn to do just that. For that reason, I'd probably do it again even though it made me die a little inside.

Today is the first day I've worn this, but I'm falling in love with it. I think it's really flattering (although a bit shed-y), and the fabric is soft enough I've been petting myself periodically. I'm really glad I sucked it up and powered through.*

(By the way? Socks feel really fast after this.)

*I feel I need to say this: I know I knit this in less than a month, and that in no way qualifies as a long knit. I get it. But I knit on this A LOT. A lot a lot. Really, a startling amount when you consider I have a job and a partner and am unable to sit in a rocking chair on the porch of a mountain cabin with my knitting all day. I'm glad I did it, but now I've been reading fluffy mysteries in my free time and enjoying not knitting laceweight.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons

After work found me in the button aisle. I found myself incapable of picking what buttons to put on the sweater,* so I brought two sets home.

On one hand, sensible:

Hmmm... Those are fine.

You know what? I knit a SWEATER out of LACEWEIGHT yarn. I can put whatever buttons I want on it.

Twee it is!

There was one other purchase; I can't wait to show you what it's for. Two words: vintage crochet.
Who am I kidding? I can't keep it to two words. 

Vintage crochet by my great-grandmother unearthed in my mom's basement.

I can't show it to you now because it's drying after a vigorous handwashing in the kitchen sink... again.  Soon!

*Yes, it's done! I'll take pictures and post it soon! There will be lots of exclamation points!