Monday, July 31, 2006


Still working on my second sock. I turned the heel on Friday and did a few gusset rows over the weekend. I am aiming to finish it this week, so I can start socks for DH.

My Zen, TV-watching, had-a-few-glasses-of-wine-this-evening project is a dog blanket for the Snuggle Project (check out link on sidebar). I am making it up as I go. I had two partial skeins of Lion Brand Homespun leftover from another project. Without an exact length, it was difficult to choose what to do with them. Enter the Snuggle. I am working a triangle with increases until the first leftover runs out, and then continuing onward working a decrease triangle with the second leftover. Hopefully, I will end up with a good-sized square for a shelter doggie who will then be adopted because s/he looks so comfy on a handknit blankie.

On another note, I just realized that the collected wisdom of The Yarn Harlot has collected in my backpack. I brought Secret Life of a Knitter to re-read some favorite bits on the train this morning. I added Knitting Rules and Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much as a result of a pop-in to Borders. This was actually my second purchase of KR, as my otherwise lovely dog Pepper shredded the first one.

And, while I was at it, I figured I could use some meditation as well.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rapidly Finished Objects

Hat in pretty blue wool (Harmony): started Wednesday evening, finished Thursday afternoon.

Matching scarf: started Thursday afternoon, finished Thursday evening.

Recycled Silk Purse (Artfibers’ “Sanskrit”): started Friday morning, finished Sunday afternoon.

This is the end result of roughly three days of cathartic knitting, following my grandfather’s death. I tried to read on my way home Thursday morning, after getting the news at work. I wasn’t able to read, no matter how absorbing the book was and is (Rubicon, by Steven Saylor; a murder mystery set in Ancient Rome).

I have gotten into the habit of taking knitting with me on my commute, and most everywhere else as well. Knitting had become my reward at the end of almost every work day, and less often, a way to wake up on the way to work (I usually read in the mornings). Last Thursday, it had a more serious meaning. I pulled out the sock, and slipped into Zen. Fortunately, the sock is in the cuff phase, which is arguably the most conducive to Knitting Zen. It was literally the only thing that kept me relatively together until I got home.

Once home, I put my things away and walked the dog. After that, I sat down on the couch and knit and knit and knit, starting with the hat I had cast on the night before. Although I did not consciously think about my grandfather (actually grandfathers, as my other one had died a few weeks previously) in some ways, my hands did the thinking that my heart could not bear to do. A lot of that kind of thinking – productive, unfocused, healing thinking, took place over the weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I have been bitten by the fiber bug, and I haven’t even spun so much as a thread yet. My fiber and spindle from Hello Yarn arrived today, you see. Complete with wonderful instructions on how to spin, and beautifully wrapped with a nice note from Adrian Bizilia, the proprietor. Oh, I almost forgot about the pin - she included an adorable little pin that says "Hello Yarn"!

I swooned. If it ever came down to such a desperate state of affairs, I believe I would rather have Blue Faced Leicester than food. I can’t wait to get home and try it out. The kit included hand-dyed BFL, and I ordered some un-dyed BFL as well. I think I might spin them separately and ply the two together. Or something. My mind is reeling at the possibilities. Or unreeling, as the case may be.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


“Me mum’s a witch; me dad’s a muggle. Bit of a shock for him when he found out.”
-Seamus Finnegan, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

I sometimes wonder whether my husband was a bit taken aback by the whole knitting thing. Of all the habits, hobbies and idiosyncrasies that people can be equipped with, knitting certainly isn’t the oddest. It usually doesn’t interfere with other things we might do for fun together, and it hasn’t made me any less attentive to housework, my job, and other necessities of life. I wasn’t ever a particularly good housekeeper anyway!

At the time we met, I had been in a hiatus of probably 2 years, and didn’t pick up knitting again until after we were engaged, and I decided to knit a shawl for myself for our wedding. Even then, my knitting wasn’t out in the open simply because we weren’t living together yet. He had never seen the large and terrifying stash of yarn that even I knew I would never knit, because it was tucked in large plastic crates and hidden in the depths of The Closet.

(The Closet had been the location of the Murphy bed in my circa 1916 apartment; when the Murphy beds were removed for the building’s more recent inhabitants, giant closets with two doors were the result. Mine was stuffed with junk, which went to charity before my husband and I moved in. Much of the stash included).

But I digress. The period between moving in and the wedding was relatively calm on the knitting front. Just the shawl here and there, and then more frequently as the big day seemed ever closer. And then things changed.

As the shawl neared completion, I began scouting for other projects, thinking that once the wedding was over, I would want to keep busy. Naturally, I started some of these before the shawl was done (just to take the edge off, you understand); and these are among my FOs listed in my intro.

Shelving my knitting books and organizing my patterns brought inspiration. Surfing the web clued me in to a world of knitters and resources that was only beginning to form when I started knitting several years ago. It had all blossomed during my hiatus. I came back into the fold enthusiastically. I knit every day, even if it is just a couple of rows. I am constantly on the lookout for patterns and ideas. I talk about knitting more than I ever talked about the wedding. My modest stash sits proudly and neatly in a basket in the living room, waiting to be knitted. My life feels quite complete.

Sure, there are some guidelines, as there ought to be when you’re sharing a dwelling with a non-knitter. Stash containment/management is a priority. Yarn purchases are carefully considered. But I think all of this is making me a better, choosier knitter. I am investing more thought and more of myself into each project. As Stephanie Pearl-McPhee describes it in her book, Yarn Harlot: the Secret Life of a Knitter, I think that I am moving from being a knitter to a Knitter.

Wait until he finds out I am going to learn to spin!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I found the other size 8 needle! Lost in the sofa as I initially thought. My husband was right - it did turn up when I was looking for something else. I found it when I dropped a DPN, and it rolled into the narrow space between the cushion I was sitting on and the side of the sofa. Since I was sitting on the cushion, that space was a little more accessible; when I reached in for the DPN, the size 8 was easily found as well. Very nice! I promptly swatched the wool for my Aran, only to discover that, while I got gauge, I think the wool wants to be a little more drapey. I might have to find a different pattern for it. Most of my other Aran patterns aren’t charted, unfortunately, although I could certainly do a chart myself. Ugh.

The Turn of the Sock:

After an initial bout of confusion, I figured out the mysteries of the short rows and turned the heel. That was actually the easy part. After that, I somehow picked up the heel flap stitches in the wrong direction, and had to play around with a couple of DPNs in order to get everything divided correctly and going in the right direction. Everything’s great now in gusset-land, and it should be pretty easy until we get to the toe.

I really like knitting socks. It’s kind of like hiking. Even though you’re walking more or less as you usually do, the terrain and scenery vary quite a bit, and the going can get tricky here and there. Keeps things interesting.

More Project Updates:

I have three rows and the fringe left to do on the triangle shawl. I should be able to finish that tonight.

The funnel neck sweater will move up in queue after the shawl is finished. Since it is pretty simple (stockinette and shaping), I think it will be a good project to fit in between more complicated knitterly endeavors.

I am afraid I will need to frog the Floral Gathering Sac. I am not satisfied with the increases (yarn-overs) on the bottom. They seem too open to me for something that needs to be sturdy. And with yarn this beautiful, and such a great pattern, I am being an ultra-perfectionist. I am considering knitting and purling in the same stitch for the first few rounds of the increases – just on the bottom – and switching to yarn-overs later, when the eyelets will be prettier and not impact the structure of the bag. I am also considering doing just the bottom on smaller DPNs so it is tighter. Not a huge hurry on this one. I want to be ready to start the color pattern when we leave for the honeymoon on September 1.

Some new projects I am thinking of:

1. The Fake-A-Gamo. Check it out here. I am doing both the handle bag from new yarn, and using the same stitch pattern for a clutch out of stash yarn (two balls of Artfibers “Schooner” in a brown/cream tweed).

2. Reversible Cable Shawl (from Vogue Knitting, American Designers). I have loved this Lily Chin pattern since I first started knitting. I am probably going to do it in Lorna’s Laces “Heaven,” (one of the solids, color TBD).

3. Geometric Scarf (from Vogue Knitting On the Go – Scarves) in the specified KPM no. 2231 (pink).

4. Golf Club Covers for my husband (from – probably will do stripes corresponding to the club number, instead of the Fair Isle pattern).

5. Lots of socks.

6. Scarf in Colinette Mohair. As the Yarn Harlot suggests in her book Knitting Rules!, I am going to do a “halfway” scarf in lace – knitting each half in the lace pattern, followed by garter stitch, and grafting the two halves so the lace is symmetrical on both ends. I only have one ball in this color, and I want to use every inch of it. It should be a nice one to tuck into a coat or sweater.