Knitting and Spinning and Stuff, oh my!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Updates from yesterday...

Socks, completed version:

Forgotten bag, completed version:

The bag works out to be the perfect size to hold a ball of yarn while wandering -- I'm so pleased with it!
Pattern: Mine Own
Yarn: My Handspun

I plan to have the pattern ready to offer soon -- as with the socks, I want to try it out one more time, just because...

Forgotten project, in forgotten bag:
Knitty's Hey Mickey! child's skirt (not that you can tell much about it from the pictures)...

And, not leastly, Knitty's Prickly Girl child's tank, now all but completed:

Is it me, or are armholes longer than the overall garment length perhaps a tad excessive? Has anyone else read this pattern and interpreted it differently than I? I ended up with 15" straps on the front and 15" straps on the back that were supposed to be grafted together to complete the armhole. I'll be tying them together to accommodate a somewhat shorter length. I'm also waiting for a girly try-on before I "frill" the neckline and bottom edge a bit, just in case I need to firm up any gapping or somesuch. Almost fini... And even with my armhole concerns, I adore how it's worked out so far...

More later, I'm off to write a prize email I managed to neglect last night.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Second Wind

What happened? Work happened (expanded job, learning curve, less downtime). Fish happened (sick seahorses, water changes, constant water testing = no evening me time). Hunny happened (his seahorses). Knit happened (I've been swatching, planning, ekeing out what little knitting time I can). Blog sorta got gypped along the way -- I'm sorry.

So I'm badgering Hunny for a notebook (I never knit in bed, but I sure could blog before bed) -- everybody say it winsomely together: "Hunny, a notebook for PJ, please?!". And I've been trying to figure out how to put a little more me time into the mix before the kids come back from camp and make all of this even more complicated. Me time is healthy, they tell me, right?

In the meantime (ha! Me time in the meantime...), here's what I have been doing, at least:

Green Socks:
Somehow I managed not to have the pictures I know I took of these on the sock blockers. They're done, but all I have to show for it is pictures from the past:

Take my word, though, they are among the "what little I've finished" set, and I'll manage pictures soon, promise. I even have another actual WIP version going, since I figured to offer the pattern to the BlogGods and wanted to make sure it actually worked first.

The "This Bag Was Made For Walking" [and knitting] Bag, made from the same handspun green as the socks. I managed to forget both the bag and the next project in line at home this morning, so they're both pictureless as well.

Knitty's Hey Mickey! skirt for Flicka-Dot. In progress, again, picture forthcoming.

Knitty's Prickly Girl tank, also for Flicka-Dot (first day of school, maybe?), blocked and ready to be joined to itself.

And a mystery shawl (no, not the mystery stole, a mystery shawl), to be discussed in more detail another day.

I've given up on Knews for now -- I just didn't find enough time, info, links (mostly time), and I'd rather not stress about whether or not I have something to offer today (online performance anxiety?), vicious cycle and all that. I do want to thank #1 Roving Reporter (get it? get it? Roving reporter?! Tee!) Golden Purl who singlehandedly came up with most of the links that did show. Bet she didn't even consider it a contest along the way, but there you have it. (Jean, I'll email you tonight and we'll see if I just perhaps can aid in your stash enhancement.) And, by the way, if you haven't already, hop on over to Golden Purl's blog -- she's having a contest of her own!

Ta for now, as I'd actually, finally, like to get this posted. Geez Loueeze, I missed you!...

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Your Marks...

Get set...

Waitaminnit... This feels dejavu-ish, somehow...

Today begins another pair -- Socktopia Clementine socks for one last sock-sprint, Knit Off Competition (@wave, @cheer to all the other Team Koigu members). I seem to recall promising myself no more sock races for a ...looong... time, yet somehow.....

Thursday, June 21, 2007




Happy Summer (of Socks) Solstice, everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bear With Me

Not a heavy picture day (read that none, in fact) -- everything I'd want to photo is home and I'm stuck here (everything I'm wanting to swatch is there too... I so miss the days when I'd just run to the LYS for a quick fix...)...

I'm still trying to figure out what pattern to use for the SOS knitalong's beautiful beginnings project. I've determined that the yarn will be the green handspun from the SpinASockAlong project, but I've yet to come up with the perfect pattern for this particular yarn. More specifics tomorrow -- I'm planning on winding and measuring the yarn tonight, and I'm playing with pattern possibilities that may actually be photo-able by then.

My other busily current ~along has started collecting cards for folks to plan Vacation Bingo -- we're to pick out locations of other blogging vacationers and list them on a Bingo card, and our charming "tour guides" will call out places we're "passing" for us to mark off on our Bingo cards. Confused yet? It's really not as complicated as I've made it sound, and I can't wait to get started... I'm guessing this summer's vacations are going to be a blast!

Other non-along... I'm still fretting over the wedding shawl I mentioned and then sort of lost in the flow a while ago. My sister-in-law is getting married in a year (I can say this now as I've already chatted with her a bit about it) and I want to do some sort of lace shawl for her. She's planning on two ceremonies, one in Shanghai (where she and her fiancee live) and another in New York (she comes from Massachusetts, and that's close enough for most of the stateside friends and family), so I'll need to come up with something that will do double duty. I have some quite fine laceweight cashmere/silk blend in white that I'm hoping to use -- my swatch came out quite soft and I loved it right up to the point where I miscounted and dropped a bunch of stitches and managed to flummox the whole thing all at once (note to self: this is definitely a heavy-duty lifeline project!). The thing, though, is that I started thinking about this so long ago and just finally go the go-ahead, and now I'm not as excited as I was at the beginning. It's such a big project, and I still have to plan it out (we're thinking a combination of cultures, blended into the one shawl, possibly a Faroe style shawl with some Scandinavian and some Chinese styling...), and I'm not sure how to motivate myself to actually get going. I do still love the idea, and I'm hoping it'll pick up for me once I actually get it started......................... Also, if I do Faroe style shaping and the final fits through a wedding ring, does it still count as a ring shawl, does anybody know, or would it have to be a square or round shawl to qualify (silly detail, but it actually has some bearing...)?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Green Sheep, Green Sheep,

Have you any wool?
Yes indeed, and my bobbin's full!

Singles to be Navajo-plied for the SpinASockAlong -- I'm thinking, perhaps to tie a few non-fiber "ends" together and call this a mult-along project. I'm working on a pair of socks (see below) of my own devising. I'm anticipating reworking the first set and tweaking the pattern a bit -- and I wanted something special for the first pair of "Summer of Socks", so, mine own yarn, mine own pattern, and two ~alongs for the price of one!

Knewsworthy for today:

  • Probably ya'll already know about it, but Knitty's summer issue is now available;

  • January One is hosting a "guess how many" contest;

  • And The Panopticon has announced an endeavor to begin "collecting" knitters to be photographed for his 1000 Knitters project, beginning on Saturday, July 14th in Chicago. Somehow, I'd expect Franklin will probably have more knitters than he can handle, but this is to be an ongoing project and, well, there you have it...

  • Monday, June 11, 2007

    Knewslink: Hot Off The Press

    and all that!

    Melanie at Pink Lemon Twist has opened up signups for her current mystery lace project: Mystery Stole 3, complete with the tantalizing question mark of beads in her button. I've knit the first mystery, sadly got sidetracked on the second (I did knit the socks), and I can attest that Melanie's patterns are well written and quite lovely. And yes, I've already joined up, and no, I'm not in anyway affiliated...

    According to her blog desc, the first "clue" set of instructions will go out on Friday, June 29th, and subsequent clues will be available on Fridays thereafter. Supply requirements are posted in a file on the Yahoo Mystery Stole 3 page. At the very least, take a look!

    Vacation Questionnaire

    (for the Knitters' Virtual Vacation Swap):

    1. If you could visit any state in the US, which would it be and why?
    Alaska, hands down...Hmm... quiviut, traditional knitting, unspoiled nature, and did I mention quiviut?

    2. If you could visit any country in the world, other than your own, which would it be and why?
    Sweden or Australia, it'd be difficult to decide...
    As for Sweden, my ancestry is Swedish and I've particularly been drawn to Nordic knitting styles. I'd love to visit my "roots" and see what modern Swedish life and knitting is like now; to hopefully visit some of the past in person, rather than strictly through my book collection; and maybe be able to spend some time out and about in the other Nordic countries as well (if you're gonna travel that far, how could you not?)
    As you may have gathered from #1, fiber is a necessity for any vacation I plan... I am also a once was diver, and love the marine life, and somehow Australia has always been up there among places I'd like to visit, even before I was fixated on fish and fiber...

    3. Have you ever driven across several states/providence/countries?
    Yes, I've been on several cross-northern-US trips, driving from Massachusetts to Seattle and/or back. The last time, we drove to Seattle and took Amtrak back -- a highly recommended way to travel (particularly for a knitter!).

    4. Have you ever visited someplace you consider exotic? Where was it?
    No, I haven't. I'd consider Hawaii or Bali-Bali or the like to be traditionally exotic, but I suspect I'd enjoy something with a bit more of a knitterly focus a bit more...

    5. What was your favorite "travel" vacation? Why?
    It would have to have been the trip to Seattle and Amtrak back. I've never been on any other official "vacation", really, so that was special in and of itself. I did discover that some of the family we were visiting in Seattle also knit and we did a mini-touristy-yarn crawl. I didn't know about the Swedish/Nordic heritage museum in Seattle at the time, so if I ever go back...

    6. Have you ever played tourist in your own home city/state (if international, country)? Explain.
    Not really, not in Massachusetts. I did a bit of that when I lived in New York (school trips, etc.) and after I moved to Massachusetts I visited NY with a friend of mine and we played tourist a bit together (went to the top of the WTC, dinner out, etc.), but I've never really done that here. I'm quite looking forward to it now!

    7. Are you a museum visitor, beach comber or an amusement seeker?
    Some of each. I tend toward museums with a focus -- I've enjoyed the Childrens' Museum and Science Museum, and I'd plan to visit museums that focused on my interests, but I'm not much into artsy stuff or the like.

    8. What's your favorite type of yarn?
    Anything wool -- I knit mainly lace and socks, so I tend to stick with those weights if I'm not picking yarn for a particular project.

    9. What's your least favorite type of yarn?
    I'm afraid I'm one of the can't stand acrylic snobs (though I have occasionally found a specialty acrylic that I'd maybe knit with, I tend to "hands off" acrylic in general.

    10. What items do you like to knit/crochet?
    Socks and lace items. I also like cabled work -- variety, I love trying new things, and whatever I'm working on now will likely be the opposite end of the spectrum from what I was working on last. There's almost always at least one pair of socks on the needles. I know how, but I rarely crochet.

    11. What do you pack, knit/crochet wise when you go on vacation?
    Socks, what else? :*) I'll often also pack a lace project, for long stretches when I can focus, especially since a big project can compact into such a small space.

    12. What other crafts do you do/would like to do other than Knit/Crochet?
    I'm also an avid spinner; I spin a lot of my own yarn. I've been trying not to pick up any new... er... habits... as I've barely time for the ones I've already committed to...

    13. Are you allergic to anything? (Yarn wise or treat wise)
    Not as far as I know.

    14. What is your favorite color? Least Favorite?
    Favorite color is red; least would be tan, I guess. As Elmo is fond of saying, I love all colors, though I admit I tend to choose brights rather than pastels more often than not.

    15. Sweet or Savory (Treat not personality)?
    Savory, indeed.

    16. Anything else we are forgetting to ask that you think your partner desperately needs to know?
    Can't think of anything...

    Wednesday, June 6, 2007

    The Search for Thirst

    Rather than repeat an already wonderfully put post, I'll direct you to Golden Purl's "A Good Cause" page -- though the post may be a bit poignant, the cause is dear and the goal is hopefully easily reachable. Here's hoping we can surpass the goal, as Purl suggests, "stitch" by "stitch"....

    Similar and different, all at once, it's time for Claudia's yearly 150 mile! Knitters Against MS ride. Similar, a worthwhile cause, an important cause; different in that this fits the contest category as well -- the prizelist is impressive; I'll refer you directly to Claudia's site for a listing.

    And wait, there's more still -- along ~Alongs, Nona Knits is rather enforcing the ~along concept by offering the pattern for her new "Sidewinders: A PerpenSOCKular Pattern" (a sideways sock pattern that looks to work and fit well, note to all the SockManiacs that might recall a related thread during the competition)... where was I?... oh, offering the pattern in installments so we can all knit along separately together :*) The sock is quite pretty, and I fully plan to be amongst the ~alongers...

    I actually have some blogstuff to post as well, so I may be back again later (depending upon how much work-type-work I actually get done today -- you think my thus far prudently unnamed employer might appreciate it if I came into the office to actually do some work along the way?).

    Before I go, though, public thanks to Golden Purl, our reporter in the field, for being the first to offer much appreciated KnitKnews suggestions. If there are other links you'd like to see, please don't be shy to say so!


    Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    4'10", Otherwise Known as Shorty

    Quick update today... You'll have noticed the links above this post, I hope -- my plan is that they'll stay available until they naturally "expire", making it easy to get from here to there until there is no longer knewslinky... Suggestions welcomed, and hopefully the list will lengthen...

    New for today, or recent for today, as the case may be... The Girl on the Rocks contest asks folks for opinions relating to drum carders and/or crafting materials...

    Also, just in case you hadn't read about it on one of the other numerous blogs planning for the weekend, this Saturday is the official Worldwide Knit in Public Day and there's lots going on. For those in my home Boston area, Guido of It's a Purl Man podcast fame will be hosting a KIP get together at Copley Plaza from 12:00 through 4:00. For those whose response is "Copley what?", the KIP main page lists a lot of other events by city / state / country that may sound more familiar or accessible.

    Friday, June 1, 2007

    Just Two KnewsFlashes Today --

    can you guess what this:

    has to do with this? See, I knew it, you're so smart! I've been knitting since I was three (well, attempting to at three, I admit, but it did ultimately develop into what I call knitting today... -- and no, I have no intention of offering how many years ago that was, other than many...) and I've been knitting socks for years now. One of the reasons I tend to prefer toe up is that I have an invisible cast on that works to start off a round, seamless toe, and, well, grafting is Grafting. It sounds easy, and I've seen folks do it and make it look easy, but when I try, I quickly remember why I prefer toe up socks *insert rueful grin*. Apparently I'm not alone... Anyway, when I read Nona's Epiphany, I kinda felt like "here we go again", but I was at the toes of these:

    so what did I have to lose? You know what? Epiphany! Hope it works for you too if you aren't already an accomplished grafter (or committed to toe up socks ;`) that is...

    Oh, and you've probably figured from above, Horcrux are finished. I may have had too much yarn for the first pair out of this yarn, but there definitely wasn't too much yarn for the second, as evidenced by the interesting toe combo (which doesn't look quite as abrupt in person). Specs:
    Yarn: Schaeffer Lola, left over from Sock Madness Mad-Tini socks
    Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US1
    Pattern: Horcrux Socks

    KnewsFlash the Second is heavy on the Flash, light on the Knews (aka, more like a teaser than any actual info...). To put it into a thousand words or less:

    Hubby is helping out techwise and the (hopefully imminent) goal will be to move here to there, there being, and I'm hesitating to do too much implementation (doesn't that sound like I almost know what I'm doing here? -- read that bribing folks to link to me and send Knewsbits in) before we move. But I'm committed (or will be, one way or the other) and excited and having fun making plans, and just not very good at being patient, so....................................

    Item last: Here's my SpinASock to date...

    I've been laundrying, and spinning, and laundrying and spinning (and spinning), and laundrying, and spinning (and prepping fiber, and spinning) (and spinning), and you get the picture, yes? Two bobbins, as I started off on one wheel and moved to one near the laundrymess afterwards. But there'll be enough to need two bobbins, anyway, I figure, and there's only so much laundrymess I can lay claim to. Ultimately, the plan is to Navajo-ply* the singles into a three ply and knit socks, pattern yet undecided. Oh, and please forgive the flash-ed photos; I did try to take a set without flash, but they were blurry, and by the time I got them onto my Mac to choose, well, this seemed the least offensive of the bunch.

    * I'm told that Navajo-plying is no longer considered the appropriate term, as it's questionable whether "chained three ply-ing" actually originated from Navajo spinners. That said, it was certainly made known to me as Navajo-plying, and I do admit to still using Band Aids and Scotch tape, so I guess I'll just have to be questionable for now...

    Happy weekend, all!

    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    KnitKnews the First

    Otherwise known as an Attempt
    To organize a Scatterblog...

    Diva Knitting is having a contest in which she requests folks to comment on what makes a good blog for them, what, in particular, about a blog makes one want to return again. Hmm.... Intriguing... What makes me want to return? Humor, stories, pictures, FOs, all the usual... But if I had to figure one all-encompassing point, it would definitely be the humanity, the knowing of someone through their humor, stories, pictures, FOs... A sense of kinship, if you will. Which brings me to my blog, written by shyer than I may come across me, the me that has difficulty fostering a sense of kinship even with folks I'm close to RL... In thinking about this, it occurs that this may be behind the writing block I've had recently -- it's not so much that I'm unwilling to share, it's moreso that I can't imagine how you, gentle reader, might possibly be interested in the mundane that is my daily life.

    So the crux of the issue: writing is difficult because I'm afraid y'all will be bored by the same things that attract me the most to other folks' blogs. What to do, what to do. I could try to be funny, but I'm not really, truly... I can give you stories, but eventually they'll have to be contrived... I can, however, offer news, pertinencies, a collection of the mundane and the not, blurb by blurb, catalogued to help weed through it (I've added librarian to my collection of must have been past lives -- gotta love making lists of stuff!).

    Today I offer Knit Knews...

    ... The contest that sparked this all off: Diva Knitting's blogiversary contest. Leave a comment by midnight tonight telling the Diva what makes for a good knit blog...

    ... MimKnits Three Questions contest... Fairly self-explanatory -- note that MimKnits is not accepting responses via comments, she requests that you email her instead. Contest ends at 12:27 AM Mountain Time on Friday, June 1st (interesting choice of timing explained in the contest notes)...

    For both the get me started links to these contests and the idea of Knit Knews "Contest Central", I must credit Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos. I've long visited her site for the quick up low down on who is having which contests where, and I expect she'll continue to provide info in a much more exciting fashion than I'll manage. Hopefully my lists will offer a variety of other blips and blurbs as well and I won't end up stepping on her toes or whatnot -- and I totally encourage you to stop by her place to see what else I've missed...

    To start, I'm pretty much offering detail on a few of my sidebar items...
    ... Firstly, the Knitters' Virtual Vacation Swap is now "open for business", first stop Kiritimati, Christmas Islands (Christmas in June, would that be then, almost?)... The whole Virtual Vacation thing sounds like a blast to me -- why'ncha stop by and have a look? They're limiting themselves to 150 tourists, so hurry on by -- be there or be mitered!

    ... New to me, as I wasn't part of Socktopia during the first Knit Off, but they're planning a Rematch for sometime soon (June, possibly, exact date not yet specified). If you're interested, I'd imagine that joining Socktopia would be a good place to start...

    ... Small stuff, comparitively, but the Anonymous SockLady? Socker-Person? SockAlongIst? SheWhoBlogs at Socks Anonymous and I are starting our SpinASockAlong as of today. Really, it's just the two of us so far; we both got a set o' socks worth ball of the same wool in the same color at the same fair, and we'll both be spinning for socks, knitting for socks, and seeing just how the two pairs compare. Should be a cool-ish experiment, with maybe a laugh or two along the way. We're not, though, committed to being exclusive, so if you want to sit down and SpinASock along with us, give us a hey-hey, please do. (I know there was at least one tentative nibble on the virtual fishing line, but I've managed to lose the comment/info, I'm so sorry -- please, give me another head's up if you'd still like to play along?)

    I've had a rotating linklist in my sidebar for almost as long as I've had a blog. I like this idea, and I'd like to expand it into a composite of knitblogs (hopefully eventually to be randomized with each reload; working on that, not quite as easy as you, or at least *I'd* imagine...). If you've a knitblog and you'd like to be linked, please give me a shout out -- merrier is more and all that!

    And, you guessed, have you guessed, I'd love to hear more about Contests, SheepAlongs, and any little Knitbits you'd like to have broadcasted... I'll be watching for you at blogthis at pulselabs dot com (you know the routine with the @ and the . doncha?) and hopefully we'll keep the Knews hopping. At the very least, I'll know where to find my links; hopefully you'll be able to find yours here as well... (And dare I mention that perhaps, if this works, there might be ~~shhh~~ goodies ~~shhh~~ here and there? Randomness, pure randomness, but anyone who knows me knows that there might be an item or two in my stash that I could afford to share, just maybe...) So drop me a line, tell me about your contest, your party, your online eventalong!

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    Camera No Here

    Socks, no picture. Madness socks are finished, and worn, even. I'm happy to say that the sparklies are okay on the feet (the socks are kinda squishy, even), and exciting to the eye. The pattern even shows, at least a little.

    Horcrux are getting there; heels are turned, today we're aiming toward the toes. Modded to lose the ribbing below the zigzag pattern and on the top of the foot so that the socks hopefully won't look quite so much like they're carrying the bubble of a water tower inside them when they're idle (yes, I realize that it would have been fine once they're on a pair of feet, but...)

    Rest of everything, well, I'm still a bit bleh and feeling rather uninteresting. I have some pretty stash to flash, but again, see the title. Well, actually, camera no here, stash no here, so double whammy and all that. Hopefully next week will be a bit brighter and I'll actually have an offering worth relaying...

    For now, I'll stick with the two new links on the sidebar -- if you're into the sock thing, please have a look at Summer of Socks. I know there are a bunch of folk from Sock Madness signed up, which all by itself should make for a funalong; I have high hopes for this summer's knitting.

    Also new, the Knitter's Virtual Vacation Swap. Signups haven't actually started yet, but I plan on joining as soon as they do. Dunno if there'll be an actual vacation in our plans this summer, but I can think of a bunch of places I'd like to visit with a fellow knitter as tourguide, and I can't think of many things more fun to do than plan a Boston area itinerary for a knitter friend of mine own... This could be exciting!

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Yes, I Do Still Live Here...

    It feels like quite a long time since I've stopped by; I've been a bit distracted (now the folks at work really think I'm nuts -- not only am I compulsive about knitting but, "Christene, it is just a fish!" I have learned an awful lot about "just fishes" in the past week or so; that's got to be good for ye ol' synapses at the very least.

    But, lemme see, you come here for knitting content, don't you?

    There has been some -- I'm still knitting away on the last Madness pattern (Madness is over, long live the Madness!). My purple-ish-black-glittery stuff was probably not the yarn to show the pattern stitch off in full glory, but I like the socks and I'm quite happy with how they look once they get a leg in them. And this was my last chance -- I was determined to use handspun for one pair of socks and I finished plying this stuff just in time.

    Sock One, meet Sock Two. More soon when they're done.

    What else is on the needles? Hmm.. the short memory test list:

    1. Horcrux Socks for Flicka out of left over Madness yarn.
    2. Round Six Madness socks in a yellow and heathery grey I'm not terribly mad about.
    3. Socks of the unknown pattern that I'll probably be ripping and reapplying.
    4. Shawl edging, soon to be picked up again (got left behind in sheer.. er.. Madness).
    5. Shawl design, though I've sorta lost the umph for a bit. It'll come back, right, please say yes?
    6. Another lace project yet to be plotted out. This one's been simmering a while, lost the umph, and is starting to give me some little nudges. So the question is, are we compulsive or flighty, or can the two coexist?

    Not too bad; I've had more going at once, and socks number (2) are on the homestretch (are nearly finished socks like broken cookies, do they not count toward the total?)

    Of course, that's not to say I won't be sampling a new, whole cookie or so while I'm there... This is courtesy of Alabama Fiber Dreams and a contest that I (who woulda thunk?) won! I've never tried Tiny Toes, and now that I have some, I'm finding the colors quite hard to resist... and I'm thinking that the current Socktopia Pattern -- Carolina -- might be a good match for it too...

    Interlacements Tiny Toes (originally scheduled to debut last Friday for Flash Friday), 100% Superwash Merino, Color 210. Thank you so much, Bubblesknits, you have no idea how timely your package was to this emaciatedly yarn-fasting knitter!

    S'all for now, not too chatty today, I'm afraid -- can somebody pass me two aspirin and some inspiration to swallow it with? Please?...

    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    What were you thinking?

    He relaxed, and said simply, "O Duck Spit!"

    That's my story, and I'm sticking with it, and you can't make me say different. And, just to prove the point, the next time things are headed downhill for me, I'm determined to remember, I'm gonna add character and use my very own ODS expletive!

    Puffer story is not all that exciting, but, continuation...
    I spent my summers working at protecting a local salt marsh, heading out on the school's boat (actually, it kinda looked like a piece of a dock broke off and someone stuck a motor on it, but it was quite functional for all that), and generally pretending to monitor water conditions, learn stuff and earn some extra credit at school while actually accomplishing little more than attaining what seemed to be a never ending level of sunburn. (Yup, I know, but I still manage to burn no matter what, high SPF's just make the redness fade faster.) Anyway, scene set.

    Late-ish summer, the Gulf Stream heads through the particular area of New York where we were working, and we'd be out pulling a seine net from as deep as we could stand to where we could actually see what kind of rocks and cans we'd managed to snare, because the Gulf Stream brought all kinds of special rocks and cans you didn't normally see in NY through with it -- you knew that already, no? Seriously, though, it was quite memorable. You could literally feel the abrupt change in temperature like a wind blowing through the water... Your ankle would be cold, your hips would be cold, but the water passing your knee was gloriously warm. Totally amazing! And it did bring fish you didn't normally see. This particular day we were hoping to catch some eels as we thought we might be able to get them into one of the tanks at school and keep it going there. (Not the smartest idea we ever had, though we did ultimately manage to get a few into a bucket without getting bitten. Don't recall the final disposition of said eels, though I also don't recall ever seeing them in a tank.)

    But you're not here to hear that -- you're here to hear how, in this net with huge holes, this tiny, adorable little fish managed to find its way into my hands cupped with water. I picked it up, and it promptly threw up in my hands (water cupped therein, I'm happy to say -- it's not good for puffers to puff in the air), or at least it looked that way to me. Then it pulled itself together, jumped out of my hands and swam away. I never did manage to identify it, beyond, of course, it being a puffer that definitely didn't belong where it was. But I've been smitten ever since, and it really does feel like Bertie is finally my puffer come home!

    Long way to go for not a ton of story, hope it was at least entertaining... Catch up with you again soon!

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007

    A Poet She Ain't

    There once was a lad from Nantucket
    Who caught his foot inside a bucket.
    When he fell down some stairs
    He gave up on his cares;
    He relaxed and said simply, "O ..."

    I tried to resist, truly I did, but I seem to be caught inside a bucket... er... fishbowl... er... tank... well, the water's salty, anyway. Don't recall if I mentioned, but Flicka-Dot got a tank for her birthday which has been cycled and set up with some mini reef denizens, all in plans of adding, of course, what else, Nemo. Fishtanks seem to have spawned, though, in my home. First there was Flicka's, then there needed to be an isolation tank, of course, and then there was suddenly a tank set up to keep the extra live rock going and prime filters, and then there is a tank that may be a breeding set up for some as yet mysterious breed. And then hubby decided that the tank he's planning on building isn't exactly the right size, so he'll build that and then start in on the new perfect waterhome. Doesn't all this sound suspiciously like what happens when we walk into a yarn store -- maybe we don't .really. need it, but... well, it is the perfect color, or just the right texture, and it would go so well with.......

    Now when all this started, I recapped my marine history (marine science major, 8 years of marine science, summers, 4 years of the usual sciences, worked at the aquarium, was a diver for a while, ha, thought you knew me, didn't you? This was all back in the stone age, though...) and stated something to the effect of: "Happy to have the fish around, but don't expect me to get involved. I've done my penance, and besides, I definitely don't need another time consuming hobby." But all this has also led to a multitude of trips to all of the semi-local LFS's (yes, they are called that, imagine!), and I suppose it was inevitable.

    I have a soft spot in my heart for pufferfish (story for another day, remind me, willya?), and there it was (I think it's a she, but I'm not sure, totally, how to tell and she is a juvenile, so... Let's just refer to her as "she" to make me happy, hmm, and revise it later if we need to.). Her name is Bertie (see, it'd be okay if we have to "revise"), she picked it herself, just like my wheels all picked their names. She's a Valentini's Sharpnosed Puffer (actually, Canthigaster valentini, to be specific), she's adorable, and she's won my heart. So much so that you haven't heard from me in a bit because I'm researching every word I can find about puffers and Valentini's. Oh, and she's a Mother's Day present from the Dot and her Daddy. (And the not quite perfect sized in-progress tank should be perfect sized for her, once, of course, it's built and prepped and she's clear of isolation...)

    I do have some knitting to recap -- I've finished the first of the Sock Madness Mad for Fair Isle Batik Socks of last round, well, almost, and with some slight amendments. I plan on using the two patterns as alternates for the top of the feet and used a plain 1x1 checkerboard for the sole (I just couldn't bear to walk on such pretty patterns!) and I repeated the leg pattern an additional time and extended the ribbing a bit for a slightly longer leg. I also left a waste yarn row in place of knitting the heel in and will add the heel after I knit the second sock, mainly to stretch a bit and try out a heel I've never done before. Anyway, here you go:

    And, with that, back to the books! (Oh, and I hope you don't mind the duality -- I'll be starting a technical-ish journal, but, just because, I'd expect there'll be a fair bit of Bertie showing up here as well... Knitting and Spinning and Fish, oh my! indeed...)

    Friday, May 4, 2007


    Socks Anonymous mentioned in her Gore Place post that we’re planning a SpinASockAlong (anyone else out there feel like joining us? Strictly voluntarily unofficial and all that, though I suppose it could develop into buttons and more, all depending...) er... Using some neon green wool that we both just happen to have in traditional "pair of socks portion" (happy coincidence that, no? @grin). So what better stash to FlashFriday than that? Goggles, anyone? Watch out for your eyes…

    Also, the final sheepy S.A. picture, augmented by one she didn’t use...

    (photos courtesy of Socks Anonymous)
    These were some small sheep – medium dog sized, to be exact, and that’s sizing for the adults. I know Shetlands are smallish, but they didn’t look like the picture of Shetlands that I carry in my head (which could very well be "out of focus" – no shepherd, I). Anyone recognize the type of sheep – inquiring minds and all that. If it helps, the sheep were penned in the Rabbit Habit tent, though no one there seemed to know anything about them.

    Brigid (I think Thumb Gusset is you, yes?), you asked about the ultimate purpose of my lace swatches. Would you accept an "I haven’t the foggiest clue?" Sean suggests that I’m a process knitter, so that’s okay, but actually I started off swatching possibilities for a wedding shawl. I have since been told that a shawl may not be the best choice for the particular recipient (particular recipient, no promises, but please do let me know if you happen to read this and I’ve been told wrongly). All worked out nicely as one of the swatches I didn’t show (didn’t get blocked with the rest of 'em) ended up being perfect for a triangular center that’s been waiting for a border for almost a year now, so that project has come out of detention at long last. And that I’ll have to get around to photoing soon – difficult as it’s not very easy to stretch out, size wise – if only so y’all can see all the lifeline/stitch markers embedded in it. I think even Sean was surprised, and I’d’ve bet he’d seen most everything... No notes on this one, though, just markers, but the same effect, easier to count and make sure I get both sides to actually match and all that.

    S’all for now, I guess. Madness starts again tonight. I’m sidelining it, but I do plan on knitting along. Yay, more stash to flash..

    Haven’t quite decided which combo to go with yet.

    Also, I’m having a bit of difficulty deciding which actual participant to root for… Yarnatic is matched with Knitter473 and blogless Joy with Stitchinwench and, what to do, I want them all to win! G’luck, ladies, I wish you all the best!

    Tuesday, May 1, 2007

    Swatch This Space

    I'm going to have to move on from swatches very soon -- I'm running out of nifty titles for posts...

    This weekend Kat (you remember her, Socks Anonymous) and Pojke-Dot and I headed off to a sheep shearing at Gore Place (Flicka had her own busy day type stuff to do). The boy was rather nonplussed about the shearing itself, but he did seem to enjoy the herding demonstration, and he wooted a bit about all the wooden toys (you know, the ones I wouldn't buy for him *grimace*), and he's been petting the stuffed llama I did buy for him ever since while spouting about how he saw a real one. I'd say success... There are pictures, however it was a joint effort between my camera and Kat's skills, so you'll have to find them on her blog (I'm given to understand that she's hoping to cover the full discourse maybe later today...)

    For today, I have, yuppa, you guessed, more lace swatches. Different project, still fermenting and all, possibly a wedding shawl, possibly something totally different, much depends on details and all. Here goes:

    Kidsilk Haze; KnitPicks US3 needles
    Pattern: There's a pattern? Well, there was a design, but it didn't work out quite as I'd envisioned. Still, it is kinda nice in its irregularity; there may yet be a place for it somewhere someday.

    Kidsilk Haze; KnitPicks US3 needles again
    Edging; what more is there to say. This one goes into the holding cell...

    Kidsilk Night; AddiLace US3 needles.
    This is an adaptation of a pattern from Gossamer Webs by Galina Khmeleva. I'll dig up more specifics if someone asks or if I actually use it for something...

    Laceweight 100% mohair, specifics I don't recall; AddiLace US3 needles.
    This one I'll have to look up. It's an adaptation of a multicolor pattern called Marriage Tracks, converted by me, from a not so common book whose name I don't recall. Again, ask if you want specifics, and I'll make sure to have more detail if this ever shows up here again. This one, though, is a contender.

    I'll drop in again and give a head's up when it's time for us to head over to Kat's place. S'all for now...

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Saturday, In the Park...

    Rarely do I have funnish weekend stuff to report, other than laundry and my pitiful attempts to rein in the disaster that is my normal household condition, but funnish Saturday was. Socks Anonymous' Kat traveled to my neck of the woods and visited with my darling Dots and I. Fortunately, she visited us at a nearby park (convenient to Panera's lunch, how happy is that?), so the Dots found a few other distractions and only demanded her undivided attention about half the time. I may have tried to compete with them, but even without a touch of laryngitis, my kids manage decible levels I can only dream of, and they tend to be much cuter, determined, persuasive (or some combination of the three). We did manage some knitting anyway, didn't we Kat?, and being able to sit, soak in the sun (Yes, Sun! Finally!) and just be for a bit was quite wonderful.

    Bad blogger, brought the camera but no pictures :*( Slap my wrists and all that, but I tell you, I was blissfully not thinking... And admiring... If you've not been over to Socks Anonymous, go wave hello and ask for some more pictures -- she's an incredible knitter (and has knitting .calluses., can you believe?!!) and manages to make it all look quite easy (lace in the park, distractions and all!). Oh, and Pojke Dot points out that she's also quite talented at "swinging him higherer and fasterer", don't forget that!

    So, for today, for me, I've been swatching and swatching for a lace project (two lace projects, actually) that I'm not sure enough about to commit to blogwise yet. I submit, then, pictures of the first set of swatches. More to come after blocking, not to mention more to come after, well, knitting, and charting, and can you say, "Starting at the beginning of the beginning, we are?" These two are slightly different, any preferences? (And yes, they were blocked, but unfortunately not photoed immediately after, and they slept all folded up for a few days in-between...)

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    End the Madness!

    Well, not actually, but end the competition for me at least... Kristi R. (whose blog, I understand, may or may not work for you; apparently her site has been victim to one of those upgrade related "disabilities") kicked my butt; I thought I was a fast knitter, but I gotta say, Kristi, you were scorching! I'll be watching and cheering for you next round...

    I got to decreasing for the second sock's toe on Sunday morning at about 3:00A, and then I discovered that Kristi had already finished. The socks languished a bit afterwards, I admit; as close as they were to being done, I didn't actually touch them again until Monday morning. And then it took until today to photo them for your viewing pleasure.

    Now that I no longer have to stress about er... enjoy the fierce competition, I've been free to obsess (doesn't "obsess" look like it's spelled wrong? I looked it up at and everything!) er... free to obsess about other projects. I've been contemplating a rather involved lacey undertaking (read that swatching stitch patterns -- anyone know of an overall suitable lace stitch pattern that would appear similar to small rings, offhand?), and, in between, replacing my mad socks with themed socks. One of Socktopia's April themes is "April Showers". I first started plotting umbrellas and raindrops, then dropped Socktopia's submission entirely to start thinking about a baby gift for a friend. (Okay, so when I'm not being obsessive, I admit to a bit of flightiness...) Bam, hit me like a ton of rocks. May I present:

    April's Shower... April's Shower socklets will be augmented with some other small person paraphernalia -- fortunately for me, April's shower isn't actually occurring in April...

    Catch up with you again soon!....

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Buttons Galore

    Greedy Gus: These are mine, all mine, Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine!

    Feel free to grab one for You You You You You...
    (You know the drill, please save to your own server and all that.)

    Tomorrow we start again; I'm a bit concerned whether I'll be able to add that Round 4 trophy afterwards. I suspect the temperature is rising a bit for the Sweet Sixteen-ers, as we've been dubbed (there are sixteen Sock Madness-ees going into Round 4), and, you know what, it might not be a bad thing not to have to scramble quite so much with each round. Doesn't mean I won't be giving Kristi R. a run for her money, though... Where's that pattern? Lemme at it!

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    Sock Mechanics 101-1/2

    ...or all the disjointed little nothings Grandma let me figure out on my own (most often some "I'm not admitting to" years later...)...

    Warning: Long and rambling post today.

    Wanna follow a pattern? e-valu-ate it (isn't that a tacky way to remind oneself?)! I often simply work with my own basic sock mechanics as I go, but you can't say it often enough, and everyone skimps on it anyway (and no, I'm not going to say "swatch" -- my theory is that socks are swatch sized and good for swatching out pattern stitches in and of themselves)... Read the pattern first! Then, unless you're participating in Sock Madness and need to follow the pattern to the letter, merge the pattern with your own basic sock mechanics, and you're set to go.

    Note tags, or "We Don't Need No Stinking Pattern!" When I'm working with my "own basic sock mechanics" style socks, I use little note tags pinned to the pattern (or knitted right in, more often than not) to make sure I can duplicate my steps. Then I can tape all the little tags to a sheet of paper and, Voila!, instant pattern! When I'm following a "someone else's" pattern, I pin the next step (i.e., 'knit straight to 4"' or 'gusset to 16 sts') for convenience. This can also double as a guide to where the beginning of a round begins, if needed, and it comes in mighty handy when you're trying to pick up where you left off when you get back to this WIP that became preempted by that really luscious colorway, you know, the one that took backseat to that super soft what was that stuff, btw?; that got dropped for the latest round of Sock Madness...

    Along the lines of knitting markers in, I most often simply take a scrap of contrasting yarn and knit it along with the stitch I'm trying to mark or slip a loop of contrasting yarn over the stitch. When I'm done, it can be cut or just pulls right out. When I want to add a note, I can tie it on and not worry about losing it. And not that I ever need to frog my work, because I'd never make a mistake you know (@grimace), but if I .were. to frog, the markers would still be where they need to be. And all this has the added bonus of totally perplexing even other sock knitters when they try to figure out why your socks are growing all those circus colored fringes all over the place.

    (I am aware that neither of the sample pictures are of socks, but I have surprisingly few in-progress sock pictures. For some reason, I seem to finish them and snip/pluck the fringes before photo-ing... Note to self...)

    Most top down socks have about the same number of rows in the heel flap as there are stitches across. Set a marker (here I like to use a more traditional marker, often an animal shaped one, because it pleases the three year old in me, often, particularly, a little silver dolphin that used to be a lone dangly earring once upon a... [is this a run-on parenthetical yet?])... Umm-where-was-I?... Set a marker at the beginning and move it over by two stitches: when the "dolphin swims" all the way across, you're done, no counting.

    Wedge toes generally start decreasing for toes at the beginning of the little toe -- which on me happens to be same as from heel of my hand to tip of the middle finger. Speaking of which, measure your body parts! I can measure from 1 inch to 8 inches with one hand and its digits alone (thumb to first joint, 1"; tip of thumb to second joint, 2"; width across hand at knuckles, 3", base of thumb to tip of index finger, 4"; and so on...). Good because, despite having eleventy-million cutesy tape measures, I never have one when I need it...

    Do we go on three or count to three and then go? -- Keep track of all the minor decisions you make along the way. Toe decreases: do you decrease every other row to half the number of stitches, then knit one more plain, or do you decrease every other row to half and then begin every row decreases right away? You bind of at half of that number of stitches, but what if half is an odd number? Do you close the toe at half plus one, half minus one (which would have you knit an additional row than half plus one), or do you fudge and decrease in the middle of the last row to end with that odd number? In the grand scheme of things, these are probably insignificant details, but in the toe scheme of things, you might tell the difference, especially if you do it differently between the two socks. Don't assume you'll remember... (These are also, you'll already have guessed, great places for those little scraps of confetti papers you've been knitting in since the first paragraph, yes?)

    I'm sure there's more I've forgotten to stutter about -- they'll just have to go into another blogday. But in the meantime, feel free to stucker-sticker me with a large "Kick Me" Post It (aren't Post Its the most wonderful knitting tool?) on my back if you catch me forgetting to not forget any of the above -- this was supposed to be my forever reminder...........