Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You will never be lovelier than you are now./We will never be here again.

Knitting mojo disappeared for awhile, but has returned. Podster Gloves still in progress, but all that's left are the caps--really liking them. You can see the main feature of the gloves in these photos: the flip-top thumbs that will let me text in the cold. I think I want to make a hat to match the gloves, it occurs to me, so I'd better get on that before winter comes. (Next winter. Let's not kid ourselves.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If this is the future, where is my jetpack, etc., etc.

IT'S A POST IT'S A POST! On a long-abandoned blog! My apologies, loyal Reader; I imagine you've gone on to greener pastures.

I have been plugging away at my knitting, but have recently been experiencing something of a renaissance in it due to Knit Picks' decision to carry a Noro/Mini Mochi knock-off called "Chroma." It's a good deal softer than Noro, although its colors are less vibrant.

I'm using the colorway "Rollerskate" stripped with Elann Sock It To Me heathered dark gray, which I've had stashed for a very long time, to make Glenna C's Podster Gloves (PDF). I wanted mittens in fingering weight and I wanted something that I could still text with, because that's how we roll in the 23rd century. I have a sneaking suspicion that the mods I have made to this pattern (not many) mean that I am essentially knitting socks for my hands. Pic is from my phone, because that's how we roll, etc., etc.

It's getting to be spring--the groundhog said so--and all I want to do is cast on for new projects, so I've got many in the works, including a granny square blanket that will probably not be finished until I retire (try not to hear my bitter laugh, Reader). I don't know if anyone has told you, but crocheting is hard work--more physical than knitting. Should've used a bigger hook. (That's as good a thing as any to end this post on, right?)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Knitting and wool and sheep, oh my!

Hello again!
As you have seen and read below, I knitted my first hat for The Bolter and Lilyriver received my third scarf. See, I saved the Earth a little bit while making them presents because I used Caron's Simply Soft Eco yarn (made from recycled bottles) that I bought at Wal*Mart. My local Wal*Mart has since stopped carrying this yarn (what gives?), so it's a good thing I still have some white, pink, black, blue and green skeins left over from my various summer projects because I love that stuff.

Since then, I made Natalie Larson's Star Crossed Slouchy Beret and have started KnitPicks' Moguls Scarf, which is for my boss.
My slouchy beret is not nearly as awesome as the others I've seen online, but it was my first attempt at cabling and that came out pretty well. (The sizing was off because, I think, I did not use the correct sized needles. It's not really slouchy, whoops.) I used Red Heart Worsted Weight yarn from Wal*Mart.

I went to the Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, N.Y. last Saturday with some good friends. The Dutchess County Fairgrounds was packed, just packed with people. I saw tons of neat hats, scarves and sweaters--all, I assume, were handmade. One of my friends kept shouting out to people who were wearing patterns she recognized. They all beamed with pride and responded with how long the project took or what type of yarn they had used. Such positive energy all around!
And beautiful yarns. By Saturday afternoon, many yarn booths had empty cubbies and hooks. I hope vendors had reserves for Sunday's knitters.

The festival, being about SHEEP and wool, featured animals! Cute white, brown and black animals. Sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas. I cannot begin to describe how a sheep auction works or what an auctioneer says during one, but the auction I saw was like no other I've known. It all sounded like gibberish at 90 mph, but sheep were sold and everyone participating knew what was going on.

Anyway, despite the cold weather and strep throat I was battling, I had a great time and learned a lot about yarns and techniques.

I have decided that after I make my hat with ear flaps (pattern TBD) and the Mogul Scarf, I'm going to learn to make socks. I need socks.

Until next time, buy a newspaper, feed a journalist. (I am Lois Skein, after all!)

Friday, October 9, 2009


A new hat for my birthday, courtesy of Susan! Thanks so much, dude. This was, I believe, Susan's first hat, and it's great--I love the colors! She's been experimenting--as her previous posts suggest--with multi-color stranded knitting. I believe she is currently working on a cabled beret. Lilyriver was also gifted with a nifty scarf; and now we're just waiting for the weather to get cold. I did hear a report that it might be snowing in Catskill....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two-colored zig-zag scarf experiement

Greetings and felicitations!

I finished yesterday my first two-toned scarf, made for my sister. Who just moved to Virginia. Timing, folks, timing.

Anyway, I found in Wal*Mart some Caron Nature Spun simply soft eco yarn made from recycled bottles. I now have five skeins of this stuff, which really is super soft. The colors are nice, bright, and the yarn has a little shine to it. I have no idea how the stuff will fare in the winter.

My sister's scarf was a real learning experience. I sort of followed Barbara Breiter's Odd Ball Scarf pattern, but as you can see, I pretty much did my own thing.

The scarf has some gaps and bumps where I switched colors (I will have to learn to twist my colors a more evenly next time) and pulls from where I stretched one color across another color (in the back). I held the color with a stitch from another color, so basically had the yarn pulled across the back. I thought I had provided enough give to keep the scarf flat, but I didn't, and it got all puckered. So, yesterday I snipped the pulls and tied the ends off so the scarf doesn't unravel. Breiter suggested cutting the yarn into pieces and weaving in all the ends. I should have followed her advice and will next time I do a multicolored project.

Luckily I have a nice sister who said the flaws made the scarf look more home-made and unique.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Confessions of a new knitter

Greetings all! I am proud to announce that I am probably two hours away from finishing my first scarf.

This scarf has taken me at for what feels like an eternity to come as far as I have with this project.

I should say here that I have only made a pot holder before this scarf. No picture folks, it has holes and something like an appendage.

Back to business. The scarf is made with Red Heart yarn I purchased at my friendly, neighborhood Wal*Mart. It is 30 stitches wide, and is currently about 3.5 feet long but will probably top off at just under 4 feet. We'll see how close I come to that guestimate.
I thought of the pattern myself and is pretty simple. Hey, I am new at this and really only know how to knit and purl. Nothing fancy. (Actually, there is a good chance that my stitches are not executed well. I learned to do this online and with some e-mailed instructions from lilyriver and The Bolter (thanks, guys).) Back to the pattern. It goes like this: the first row is all knit stitches; the second row has six purl stitches, six knit stitches, six purl stitches, six knit stitches and six purl stitches. After 25 rows, I switched the order of knit and purl stitches just to give it a little something extra.

So why has this project taken me so long? The first two attempts yielded scarves that were something like 80 stitches wide. Yikes!! I unraveled my first attempt after about 20 rows. However, I used about half a skein (about 50 rows maybe) before I unraveled the scarf, which more closely resembled a very small blanket. I was at home for Easter at the time and my sister was shocked when I took the thing apart to start over.

I have a problem casting on that perhaps you will read about. Perhaps not.

Some other problems I have encountered include knots (thanks to The Bolter I no longer fear cutting a knot out and weaving in the loose yarn ends into a project) and adding stitches. My stitches are not all uniform in size or tightness. But I am getting better at that.

One saving grace of using multi-colored yarn is that the colors help me see which stitch may need to come out or what part of the knot can be loosened by pulling what end. I just bought some monochome yarn for my next project. We shall see how well I fare. We shall see.

Until then, happy reading and happier knitting.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pocket full of poseys.

Let me tell you, Reader, sometimes a knitting project just goes right. As Lilyriver can attest, I normally start a project at least three or four times, often in vastly different and generally inappropriate yarns and needle sizes, before it starts doing what I want it to do. But this Hemlock Ring blanket and I were MFEO, in internet parlance. I convey emotion through chatspeak because I spend too much time on the internet and have forgotten how to read books.

But no matter. My semester ended a week ago, and since then, thanks to the help of three quarters of a season of Fringe and half a season of DS9, I cranked out most of the aforementioned Hemlock Ring blanket. I can think of no better way to decompress. It was damn near cathartic. You'll have to forgive me, Reader; freedom, even temporary freedom (time marches on; one must prepare to teach one's summer course), makes me ecstatic.

Generally, by the end of a large project, I want to die. The thing about knitting is that most of the work is rote: the repetition of a particular pattern over and over again to achieve a desired result. But I was born in the eighties, and I demand instant results! This is because of music videos, as I understand it. Nevertheless, this project remained enjoyable up until the last 536-stitch repeat of five rows, at which point I started to wish the baby I knit this for was less of a human and more of a Polly Pocket. (The eighties, you know.)

Project notes: I used the Rainey Sisters' helpful compilation PDF, and I followed their feather-and-fan chart all the way, three repeats past Brooklyn Tweed's. The link above takes you to Brooklyn Tweed's project page; he adapted the pattern for a blanket from a doily. His blanket is a HW/Bulky-adult-lap-blanket. To make it light, small, and machine-washable for a baby, I used Knit Picks Comfy worsted weight in Honeydew with a size 8 needle. The yarn is cotton/acrylic and everything you could hope for in a blanket yarn. It's very light and easy to work with (read: not splitty); for this color, at least, shedding was minimal. The blocked blanket (sigh: the pictures are from while it was being blocked; if you want artistry in project photography, surf on over to Brooklyn Tweed) measured 52" in diameter.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A sucker born every minute.

Reader! God help me. I'm typing this mostly because it's either that or sit on my hands: that's how badly I want some of this new City Tweed yarn from KnitPicks. I love all the colors--all of them, even the yellow--but it's the Jacquard that's sending me over the edge. Someone better start posting negative reviews on Ravelry soon to kill my ardor here. It's not like I don't have plenty of yarn, and hell, it's not even like I don't have plenty of tweed yarn. But this yarn appeals to my baser, bargain-loving, sweater-project-fantasizing instincts.

For god's sake, Reader, send help.*

*By help I mean a few skeins of City Tweed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Morning tasks are often mixed: I have spun yarn for twelve ells of cloth, and you have killed Kjartan.

It has come to my attention that I have been woefully neglectful about keeping up with this blog, Reader. And this is true. My knitting has been rather sad lately: I'm just about done with the first Palette striped sock I blogged about four months (yikes) ago and am just about done with the pair of striped socks I blogged about for months ago (double yikes) and am working on the second sock of a pair of Gentleman's Fancy Sock I started, but did not blog about, four months ago (kill me now).

(At right is said Gentleman's Fancy Sock, which for reasons I do not understand scanned in black-and-white. The sock, I assure you, is dark blue.)

I knitted a little bit on my March Basic Cardigan: I've just got the sleeves & the finishing left on it, but the truth is that I've almost entirely lost interest in the project. I'll have to wait until my interest in it revives. These things go in cycles, you know.

Despite being surrounded by the wreckage of all of these half-finished projects, I'm contemplating starting yet another project: a baby blanket for my new baby cousin, Celine. My hesitation in this--aside from the fact that I've been incapable of finishing much of anything since Christmas, apparently--was that I have not knit anything for her three sisters, but I figure that none of the girls would be jealous of a blanket knit by a person they've either never met or don't remember. I'll keep an eye out for Hannah Montana sweater patterns or whatever.

Perhaps, Reader, you could weigh in on the blanket patterns I'm considering:
  1. Pinwheel Blanket in solid or stripe
  2. Star Blanket
  3. Ribbon Blanket in solid or stripe
I'm thinking either the Star Blanket in a solid or the Ribbon blanket in light green and light pink. I'll ask you what I ask my students: thoughts/feelings?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Things that smell after three days.

All right, all right, another picture of mittens in a bush. Seen one picture of mittens in a bush and I suppose you've seen 'em all, but bear with me.

These mittens were really fun to knit--every last fish, even, and we're talking triple digits here. The pattern is spillyjane's Swedish Fish, a bit modified--I took out a column of fish and made some minor adjustments from there. I started out by knitting the pattern as-is but, as usual, my gauge was way off. I wanted mittens, not oven mitts.

I have one minor critique of the pattern: the decreases at the top are worked on the edge of the needles--I did the project on two circs, as I do all colorwork--rather than one stitch in, and that left me with giant gaps. I added a whip stitch border to the mittens (not as horrible as it sounds, I promise) that fixed the problem. This may very well be a me-problem and not a pattern problem, but if you knit these, you should keep an eye on the decreases.

The yarn was, per the pattern, Knit Picks's Palette. The common complaint about Palette is that it has a limited range of colors: there are currently about fifty color choices, but no good choice for orange, for example. (I bought a ball of Tumeric, but it was both too dull and too close to the yellow). Colors are discontinued relatively quickly, and, at least when I ordered, there were maybe ten colors on backorder. Luckily, I had a great deal of flexibility with color for this pattern: the recipient only requested that the main color not be white. My first thought was that I'd go eighties and do black as the MC and sort of neon colors for the fish, and I still like that idea pretty well. Obviously, however, I went with blue--the fish are swimming, see--and I like the contrast colors. I'm a little iffy on the red--it's more saturated than the other colors except for the MC. I think a good orange would've helped balance it out.

As a yarn, though, I think Palette is great. The dyeing, admittedly, isn't amazing; the colors aren't very rich (although this, of course, depends on the color--and I think Palette has some pretty damn amazing heathers, which didn't fit my vision for this project). However, it's a soft yarn and only gets softer with washing, and I love the way the finished product feels. This is a particularly good thing, considering that I have almost five full balls of it. I started a striped sock, at left, from the leftovers, but I think a smarter way of doing this (the mitten) project would be to get a ball of self-striping with long color repeats.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Leaves on grass.

Friends, Romans, loyal Readers-- the Squirrel and Oak mittens all done, and just in time for a pretentious New Year's Day photoshoot. I offer you the obligatory dead leaves shot! See, there's an oak leaf on the mitten, and those are some dead oak leaves!!1!one! I think!

Well: the mittens turned out pretty well and all that, although I have to admit that there were one or twelve tense moments when I realized that the squirrel mitten (not pictured here, but available on the Rav) was actually larger than the leaf mitten, even though I knit them two days apart. I suppose once I had the first one down I was less anxious about the second. I put the larger mitten through a delicate, low-spin wash cycle and it came out about the right size.

I think Lion Wool is great stuff--it's sturdy, but not scratchy, and it doesn't feel like it'll pill overmuch. I also think the color palette, while limited, is very good: they're modern, bright, and well saturated. I like this yarn enough to consider it for a sweater project--if, you know, I ever finish any sweaters. I think it's not quite as cost effective as it ought to be; it's 85g and 158 yards to a ball, and I think it's priced the same as Patons Classic Wool (no longer merino), which is around 220 yards to a ball. But if I could only shop at big box craft stores and had no Cascade 220 at my disposal, I'd still pick Lion Wool; and I'd consider Lion Wool seriously for any project that needy a hearty wool.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Posted below about the mitten saga, Reader--a story that is sadly bereft of visual aids. No one wants a picture of a half-frogged, tear-soaked mitten.

At left, a picture of a project I finished in November: the Norwegian Star Earflap hat. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed, a wool/angora blend. The yarn is wonderfully soft and I love the angora halo (I am not sure it can properly be called a halo? but anyway, the angora fuzziness). The problem with this hat is that it's not actually super, super warm. The yarn is very light. If I were to knit this hat again, I think I would do it in a bulky or a heavy worsted yarn.

And here's my current stockinette sock-in-progress, knit mostly in the movies. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Coney Island. Felici is soft but surprisingly durable--the pair I knit in Felici Pebble has held up well so far. I like the short color repeats on this one. I am including two shots of what is clearly a very boring project because the picture with the bag is truer color-wise.

In that picture you can see my travel-sock set-up: the bag is from Etsy seller stuckinillinois. Her craftsmanship is excellent and her prices are more than reasonable. I do the travel sock on two circs, though I prefer to knit socks on DPNs, so I don't drop stitches. I don't need to look at a pattern anymore--I'm on pair seven of these, so I should hope not--but I carry instructions from Double Diamond Knits in case I forget (again) how to do the heel cup.

All right, that was dull as dishwater. Just be glad you got photos this time, Reader.

Sinners in the hands of an angry god.

I have a tale of woe for you, Reader. I suppose it's less a tale than a catalogue of blights upon the soul. Sit down; get comfortable. You might need a drink for this one.

I have made at least--at least!--eight attempts to knit the Squirrel & Oak mittens from Hello Yarn. I should note that I have knit these before. I have knit these successfully before. Indeed, I'd count the previous incarnation of them as one of my most successful knitting projects ever. But Reader, I have grown prideful. I wanted to replicate my success. And I--well, I should say now that I don't think this is all my fault. The pattern said to use sport weight! I was just following the pattern! But no. I can't blame the pattern. The pattern worked once for me, even. The devil must be in my needles! It's got to be the needles.

Attempts I have made to knit the Squirrel and Oak mittens:
  1. With Elann Peruvian Quecha. I hate this yarn. It's scratchy and sheds like hell. But I had some on hand in a deep purple and a lovely contrasting light pink, and I, despite the voice in my head telling me no, cast on anyway. Got about a third of the way through the first mitten when I realized that the yarn wasn't going to get any less horrible even if I really, really wanted it to.

  2. With Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. Kept casting on, knitting a few inches, and hating how my colorwork looked. While this pattern calls for a sportweight yarn, I found the Ultra Alpaca Light--ostensibly a DK, but seemed like a light DK--too thin.

  3. This one hurts the most. With Mission Falls 138. This is the DK version of Mission Falls 1820, and I chose it because 1820 is a robust, elastic wool. I should've known this one was doomed when the yarn tangled so badly whilst I was winding it that I had to spend two hours fixing it. Cast on, knit three inches, and frogged no less than three times. Finally got it going at a decent tension. Spent most of yesterday on the leaf mitten. Kept ignoring that the mitten was floppy (i.e., the gauge was too loose*) until close to the end, when I realized it was looking too long. I decided to block it to see if I'd like how it looked better then. Guess what happens to superwash wool knit too loosely, Reader? Guess what always happens to superwash wool knit too loosely? It grew, Reader. It grew and it grew, and like any possessed thing, it had to be stopped.

    I shot this one in the head and put it out of its misery. And mine.

  4. With Lion Wool. I'm about three inches into the first mitten. I do not have the heart to continue just yet. Who knows what might befall this mitten? Maybe the yarn will spontaneously disintegrate. Well: I know one thing. Like a captain and her ship, this mitten and I share a destiny, and we'll be going down together.
*Yeah, all right, I'll admit it: I didn't do a gauge swatch. They're mittens, for heaven's sake. I knit this mitten on size 4 circs and assumed that would be tight enough, since yarn actually calls for sizes 5-7. I know I'm a loose knitter, but I didn't think I knit that loosely. Had the same problem with the Ultra Alpaca Light too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This song is for the rats.

Have to photograph a couple of things for you, Reader, and will do so--well. It is probably best I make you no promises, don't you think? I knit an earflap hat lately out of Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed, a wool/angora blend that's really wonderful Must also photograph for you the scarf I turned into a sweater for my new Dell Mini (I think we can guess what my priorities are if the computer gets a sweater before I do)--it's the old cabled scarf that I began two years ago and hadn't had the heart to pull out.

Current projects: am working on some flip-top mittens (Urban Necessities pattern) out of Malabrigo in an absolutely stunning rich blue. A bit fiddly because the mittens have fingers. Still working on the March Basic cardigan--have not actively knit on it in a few weeks because I'm afraid it might be too small. The last incarnation of this sweater was too big. Goldilocks does not have the fortitude to try for "just right" just yet. Have the back done (pictured) and one side.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A word is elegy to what it signifies.

I have failed, failed, failed you, Reader. I wish I had more knitting news to report, but, alas, my progress has been limited; I have not quite shaken my desire for rote stockinette. I'm working on the March Basic cardigan with the yarn I reclaimed from my Wicked, and it's going along fine. I finished a pair of stockinette Trekking socks and have started another in Knit Picks Felici, color Provence.

I knit another Odessa--it's a brilliant pattern for sure, and I can see myself knitting more of them in the future. I gave it away before I photographed it, though; I did it in a very, very soft Berroco Jasper, color Brown Santiago (3810), and was mildly disappointed at the murkiness of the colors. I thought the self-striping would be more apparent. The pattern is luckily charming enough on its own. I hope.

What made me think of you, Reader, is that I'm feeling the faint stirrings of desire for lace, of all things, and have been admiring the Seascape stole and shopping for laceweight in a deep, rich blue. What I really ought to do is knit myself an earflap hat against the coming winter--coming slowly, of course; thanks, global warming--or concentrate on my sweater, but I've been feeling a bit anxious that I haven't challenged myself enough.

But of course I'm thinking about knitting again because I should be thinking about books and poetry and teaching, and I'm off again now, with sincere apologies. Next time there will be pictures or blood.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Warm Welcome Back?

So, it's the last week of summer, and I've finally finished something that seems worth sharing here. This is the Arabesque afghan I started for my sister back in February and just finally mailed to her this afternoon. I used several brands of cheap worsted weight wool (mostly Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, but also Ella Rae Classic, Brown Sheep Nature Spun, and Paton's Merino), and I can safely say that they are all more or less the same, or at least not different enough to matter. The most tedious part of the whole process was the 4 rounds of single crochet I did for the border. Each round took an entire evening to work! But it gives a nice finished edge, so I'm glad I slogged through it. This project also gave me the chance to take advantage of all the spaces our awesome new apartment offers for cat-free blocking. I taped together a "blocking board" out of moving boxes, pinned the afghan down at the crucial corners, and left it on our not-quite-porch to dry entirely unmolested by Joe and Hazel. Very exciting.
I realize that a return to blogging after such a long absence really merits a more interesting post, but I'm not feeling up to much more than a set of progress shots, so here they are, as proof this thing got finished, whether or not it gets lost in the mail! Next up, an Impossible Wedding Afghan: one month to finish Knitty's Totally Autumn in 8 skeins of heather green Cestari yarn. So all I have to do it knit it 7 times faster than I knit the last afghan! Never let it be said I shy away from crafty challenges...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

She was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat.

I haven't been challenging myself much knitting-wise lately, Reader; I've been waiting for the right project and contenting myself with miles and miles and miles of stockinette for socks. It's soothing, but not exactly productive in the right way if you've already got almost more pairs of wool stockinette socks than you need for a Jersey winter and certainly more than you need for a Jersey summer. One of these days, though, I'll post about the sock yarns I've used; I've done enough now that the comparison might be a useful one.

Above is a pair I finished a couple of weeks ago out of Opal Hundertwasser, colorway Der Blaue Mond. The way the yarn worked out--complementary if not identical--was mostly an accident, but I kind of love it. The thing about Opal is that it's pretty unpleasant until you wash it--like, not terrible and not scratchy, exactly, but not a bucket of joy to work with--but it's durable, and I fully intend to be wearing these socks at the End Times.

More interestingly: I completed an Alan Dart toy cat pattern with the fussiest finishing I have ever done in my life. The pattern is total genius--I set out looking for something as realistic as possible I had to knit the thing twice because I was also teaching myself basic intarsia wrong and I made a less-than-stellar yarn choice. The yarn was Berroco Comfort DK, which is a good acrylic, but it's acrylic and splitty. It would have sufficed if I hadn't also needed to redo the intarsia, but I couldn't make myself do it unless I had some other incentive, so I switched to Ultra Alpaca Light. Now, I love Ultra Alpaca generally, though it drapes too much to use for a lot of things, but the off-white is just wonderful--I never wear white and would never gravitate to it as a color, but in alpaca it's creamy and looks like it would spread like butter. It was a pleasure knitting with it on this project.

The finishing, though: gross. I need to learn how to do it properly. I just kind of made it up as I went along, which meant there was a lot of redoing of seams. I think it turned out basically all right--certainly better than I had thought it would. I had to do a last minute substitution on the eyes, so the cat looks perpetually startled. I wound up using felt for the mouth and nose--I've never learned to embroider--and I think it works okay. She was named Esme by her new parents, and sometimes I get pictures of her adventures.

Lastly: another pair of socks, 3X1 rib. I did the first sock maybe a year and a half ago and decided that I may as well do the other earlier this summer while I was in such a productive sock-mode. The problem is that I had written down, in various places, three different needle sizes and had no idea at all which was the correct one. This wouldn't have mattered so much--a 0 and a 1 and a 1.5 only vary by .25mm each--if I hadn't been using a variegated yarn that pooled absolutely dreadfully. The picture at left is of the first sock. I didn't take a picture of the second, but just imagine the foot of the first sock, only going all the way up. The pooling doesn't bother me so much--I never knit matching socks, so whatever--but I loathe the way the yarn pooled on the second sock. I wanted the tops to have the same variegated and the feet to have the same flashing, and no amount of playing with needle sizes was going to give me that. I think this yarn--it's Jojoland Kaleidoscope--was the first hand-dyed yarn I ever bought, and I didn't know a thing about hand-dyed yarn and only a little about my own color preferences. I didn't think to consider, for example, that how a yarn looks in the hank doesn't tell you how it's going to look knitted up--and of course there's no real way to find this out, either, without knitting it up; but now I know enough to know that wow, orange is really not my scene, even if it is a rich autumnal orange and even if it looks lovely mixed into purple and green and blue. Despite all my smack-talking about these socks, though, I do kind of love them, the way we all loved troll dolls for awhile: they're ugly as hell, but charming when you get right down to it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Part III: Pictorial Motifs from The needles excellency

I have saved the best for last, Reader. While I was looking through The needles excellency, I was startled to find this design:

Why was I so surprised, you ask? Does it contain the text of Cardenio in its little squares? Does it prove the existence of the Knights Templar once and for all? That Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone??!!!!

No. I hope you're not disappointed, Reader, because it's better than all of those things. You see, the picture was already hanging on my wall:

My aunt made this when she was in high school, and after we cleaned out my grandmother's house, it went to me. My grandmother was an excellent crafter, and my aunt is, too, and they're both responsible for my continued (if all-thumbs) interest in knitting*. And, it turns out, seventeenth-century needlework. My aunt says she found the design in an old Dover pattern book. Isn't it neat to see it in color?

*Nana taught me how to crochet a long time ago, among other things. Unfortunately, I think I never learned how to crochet much more than rectangles, but you'd be surprised at how well crocheted rectangles work as Barbie gowns. My aunt sent me her knitting needles, crochet hooks, and other supplies, all of which are in heavy use at Casa Swinging Squares.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Part II: Pictorial motifs from The needles excellency

Lest you think I have forgotten you, Reader--well, I have not. The needles excellency doesn't contain many pictorial motifs that would be knit-daptable, so, um, these are kind of weird.

The birds are kind of cute. The flowers on the right scream "Feed me, Seymour!" to me and also look vaguely dirty.
And on the off chance you have some Renaissance Faire hunters on ye knite liste:
Why that, um, hunting dog (?) on the left has a pelican beak, I do not know. Maybe it is really a jackalope. Oh, wait, no, I guess it's a hare looking backwards at a hunting dog that is roughly the size of a man. I know people were shorter back then, but that's a little ridiculous.

One more part to go in this scintillating series!1!!one!!1