Knitting and Spinning and Stuff, oh my!

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...