Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happiness is....

Sometimes happiness is being a completele and utter dork by getting excited that somebody at American Girl bothered to knit quality goods for the dolls that were big part of your childhood (and that you can totally tell that's a wrap and turn heel).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happiness is...

When your handknit socks totally match your outfit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sock blocking

I recently finished an ankle length pair of Child's First Socks from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks as a gift. It was a delightfuly quick knit with lovely results:

Pretty, no?

The yarn I used (name has slipped my mind, but it was hand dyed with indigo I believe) left my hands and bamboo needles faintly blue, so I decided to block the socks before gifting to eliminate excessive dye leakage. I am willing to gift soft, potentially feltable fibers in hand knit socks (willingness subject to change), but consider dye leakage Death for gifted handknits. Who but the knitters themselves are willing to deal with that?

Death eyeballs the handknits for Himself if they fail the blocking test and leak blue.

Fortunately (and surprisingly) the socks did not leak during blocking, even with blasts of steaming hot water. In an unexpected side effect that reveals my failure in foresight of blocking lacy socks, what a big difference blocking made in the presentable-ness of the socks! See below, unblocked on top and blocked on bottom:

Not too shocking for those who block regularly, I know.

I block lace and sweaters that will be seen by the general public and look signficantly better upon blocking, but I never block socks. Usually when I finish a pair I am so pleased I don them immediately and wear them until they cry out for washing. This usually blocks them sufficiently.

Another view where the blocked v. unblocked is more pronounced. Again, unblocked up top and blocked on bottom.

My stance is that socks go on my feet to keep me warm, so blocking just takes time and energy I would rather put towards other things. Plus, if I don't block them I can wear them sooner. But I will have to keep blocking socks in mind for gifted handknits, where presentation matters.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happiness is...

Sometimes happiness is a pair of plaid pj pants (capri!) and a hyperbolic scrubbie made of organic cotten.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Off the needles: owl cowl

This week I cast on and cast off a simple little 3x2 ribbed cowl in a random acrlyic/wool blend gifted to me by Other Mother in one of her wonderful care packages.

Accurate color brought to you by Photoshop, which desaturated the awful yellow that was eating my picture.
Last semester I knit an owl hat out of the same ball for a friend, and I was pleased I had enough left over for a matching cowl (even if I delivered it months later). What makes this more blog-worthy than a tube of 3kx2p rib is how I finished it. I knit a purl turning row, knit about an inch and a half of 3px2k rib, and then folded and sewed the live stitches down. Now there is about an inch and a half of double fabric at the top of the cowl for extra protection against the bitter cold and snow (if we ever have any snow).
Here's what the inside looks like with my seam.
It was the first time I have done a turning row and seamed stitches down, and since I just winged while listening to a lecture about swine flu in virology, I'm pretty pleased with it. I'll have to do this type of finishing for more objects. Specifically, lovely colorwork sweaters that I dream of during class in my copious spare time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happiness is...

Sometimes, happiness is alpaca from the Farmer's Market and memories of a summer garden and eating sunwarmed grape tomoatoes right from the vine.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Have I told you lately

Have I told you lately that my favorite color is lime green?

Trekking XXL, Hedera

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mish mash

On a random note, I love this corner of my bookshelf:

Louie, pictured on the far left, is trying to convince the Koigu from NYC for a hot date. So far negotiations have been unsucessful.

Bones for drawing reference, sock yarn with pattern, random beer bottle that amuses me, science and religion books (religion books obscured by beer and the Bible didn't fit in the frame), frog figurine that nobody gets but me, and a flower from a day of Pirating. This picture probably explains a lot about me.

If anybody has a superb pattern idea for the dark green silky wool under the large skull, I'd love to hear it. Right now I am thinking....colorwork.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


While our for my nightly roam around the block for procastination purposes health and well being, I came across a single string on the sidewalk. It was dark, so I couldn't make out the color, but I could tell it was fingering weight. Intrigued, at first I tugged at it. There was no end in sight. I tugged a bit more, then walked for about five feet and reached down to give it another good tug. I mean, it has got to be attatched to something--lost mitten, teddy bear, secret doorway to an alternate universe, a knitting Hansel and Gretel, an angry groundhog? The possibilities are endless!

After convincing myself I really didn't need random sidewalk yarn (who knows where that sidewalk has been and isn't your stash large enough?), I walked on. But on my way back after giving my imagination time to stew about the exciting possibilities, I hunted down the loose end and started winding it around my fist. Given the possibility of satisfying my curiosity, I have a will with the strength of an over-cooked green bean from the school cafeteria.

Alas, I did not find anything attatched to the other end. When I put the yarn under the light, here is what I found.

An astonishingly purple/fuscia yarn. It's sort of squicky, so I'm pretty sure it's acrylic. I have no idea what I am going to do with it, but I collected a good amount of it and surely one of these days it will be good for something (diagnosis: packrat). Perhaps provisional cast on yarn?

Also, don't you think it's exciting I have figured out how to Photoshop my photos so my skin is no longer excessively yellow and jaundiced?
I got really excited last night when I thought I found another strand on the sidewalk a block away from where I found the original, but sadly it was only a stain on the sidewalk cleverly disguised as yarn.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Somebody ran their car into my porch this morning and then ran away, leaving a small part of their bumper.

I reacted like the logical, rational person I am. I applied this order of operations:

1. Called landlord.
2. Took a picture for documentation purposes.
3. Applied Photoshop.

This amuses me entirely too much.

4. Applied knitting.

Second sleeve of my Must Have Cardigan, woo!

5. Applied steps 3 and 4 to blog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grey Day Blues

  • A sky full of blarg that occasionally spits rain (pictured below)
  • A massive to-do list
  • Urges to stay in bed all day

I didn't learn to truly appreciate sunlight until it wasn't there anymore, just like the 5th needle in my 2.5 mm dp set.

Cure for the lunch hour:
  • 1 bowl of potato leek soup (or soup of your choice)
  • 1 blood red rain coat
  • Crust of bread to dip in soup (or starch of your choice, goldfish crackers are also great)
  • 1 yarn shop owner who lets you eat in his shop and tells you interesting factoids (Today I learned you can eat a deer heart either fried or pickled!)
  • 1 1/2 socks socks on the needles

Suggested ingredients: other knitters who might be in the yarn shop

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Can't do that thing, that keepin' still

I have discovered that my default response to someone's tragedy or distress is to knit them something.

Having grown up with the conviction that if I put my mind to a task I can do it, it's frustrating that for all the opposable thumbs and large brain case of my species I am so impotent to fix people's problems. I can't make the library find the second disc of Terminator. I can't make cats or family or the economy or stomach rats behave. I can't induce sleep. I can't provide the perfect careers for my graduating friends. I can't keep the servers from crashing. I can't add more hours to the day to help with the homework load. I can't make differential equations or physics homework make sense. I don't have a green thumb for growing money trees. I definitely can't cure terminal diseases. Hell, I can't even make the sniffles less sniffly.

It is totally, completely, and utterly mind-boggingly frustrating that I am not omnipotent. I must have been asleep in line when they handed that power out.

So what can I do with my opposable thumbs and brain? Procure sticks and yarn for slow magic. Call me voo-doo, but I do believe there is power in handknits. I believe there's some good mojo going on.

Exhibit A:

I fully realized my mojo theory several months ago when Mountain Man nearly bled to death from a stomach ulcer. I immediately acquired yarn and made an owl hat.

I even made a doofy post about it.

I only knit on it when I was feeling peaceful. I frogged the first try, afraid of the bad mojo from miscounting and refused to pull my usual compromise of sneaking in k2togs or m1s. I knit with yarn that was not only a manly color that matched Mountain Man's wardrobe, but was also environmentally friendly, like Mountain Man himself.

I thought if I could knit my protection, affection, and (admittedly limited) healing powers into the stitches. There is a Head Guard Owl equipped with amber eyes, staring down fate or karma or God or the swine flu or whatever is out there.

Right now he is staring down the camera as it tries to steal his soul.

The Head Guard Owl has a circle of minions at his beck and call. Between them, the Head Guard Owl and his minions fill 360 degress full of watchfullness.
Then I had enough yarn left over to make a cowl of 3x2 ribby goodness, because I firmly believe one can't have enough ribbing in life.

Exhibit A with Exhibit B: Mmm, ribby.

So far it's a system that works okay (except I haven't fully figured out to do when fellow knitters are in distress, since changes are most of them can knit things for themselves that are prettier and better fitting than mine). Mostly I find that I just need to knit faster.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Do that crazy hand jive

I was doing research on nursing schools for after graduation, and somehow I ended up on Ravelry looking at my friends' blogs. (No idea how that happened. Honestly.) I thought:

1. Wow, that looks fun!
2. I should knit blog sometime.
3. Wait, I HAVE a knit blog.
4. Do I remember the login and password for this blog?
5. More importantly, how can I incorporate George Thoroghgood and the Destroyers lyrics into a post?
At which point my blog answered:
The sky is crying
Look at the tears roll down the street
I'm feeling sad and lonely
My baby's left me
Understanding and a little lovin'
A little lovin' is all I need.

Look mad.
I spent some time luxuriating at the beachknitting away my Madison Blues. I had a full view of the ocean and sucessfully did not get sand all up in my yarn.
Move it on over.
While there, I (almost) completely knit a pair Tofutsies Gentleman Fancy swamp socks:

Socks for some Madison Shoes.

I also saw large bugs that look like window decorations if you don't look too closely:

Hey Angela, do you get bugs this size in TX?

And what is a vacation at the beach without souvinere yarn from the lovely Dale?

Alpaca with a Twist in Cory pink: I broke a thousand hearts before I met you. I'll break a thousand more, baby, before I am through.
It is becoming the Shoulder Shawl in Syrian pattern from Victorian Lace Today:
A super simple pattern I can knit in class. Could possibly can be knit after one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer.
Now I have to work on getting a haircut and getting a real job so I can have money to buy yarn AND pay off my student loans after graduation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Awakening

I am super excited because of the GREEN!!

Daffodils! (probably...I will be able to say more once they have bloomed)

I took advantage of the sun and warmth and blue sky and sat out on the porch of the Student Union to finish turning the heel of Betsy second socks.

The rest of the student body emerged from the libraries to enjoy the weather too.

I have reached the point where I have started too many projects but haven't finished any of them, and it is making me anxious because I have so many things I want to knit. To remedy this, I have been making some extra time for my acorn scarf, which is a repeat and a half away from finishing.

The elusive acorn scarf (alpaca subspecies), seen here warming itself in the spring sun. This specimen is an adolescent that will soon reach maturity. It still have some growing up to do; pretty soon it will sprout a picot edge, become blocked, and withdraw from the world to hibernate in the scarf drawer for the summer.

Fortunately, spring break is fast approaching when I shall have ample travel and knitting time. Advantageous, because I will probably return from my adventures with souvenir sock yarn.

PS--I am listening to my first Lime and Violet podcast (#83). So far they not talked about knitting or yarn, but have been so entertaining with stories of exploding boobs and sea cows that I don't really mind.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I've got a lovely bunch of Great Horned Owls! Here they are all standing in a row:

Big ones, small ones, all that sit on your head

Wait, you are confused?

Northern Saw Whet Owl

You do not see the resemblance?

The Great Horned Owl

Perhaps this will help:


This weekend I shall have to stalk Bead Paradise for some real eyes and actually finish knitting the decreases and sewing in my loose ends.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Knitting in Classes

I used to get to class a few minutes early and get a few rows in before the professor arrived and the intellectual excitement started. It was motivation to get to class early and it gave me small knitting breaks throughout the day. Even though I have just enough brain capacity to knit and listen at the same time, I always tucked it away to be polite to the speaker, who I assumed was a non-knitter and wouldn't understand that I wasn't ignoring their lecture.

Then I started knitting through the opening announcements...

...through the extra-curricular lectures I attended for my own edification and edumacation...

....through my Calvin and Hobbes Exco...

...through the lectures of the class I was auditing...

....and now I knit with wild abandon through every class that I can.

I have discovered it can help me pay attention during lecture, especially a lecture that doesn't require me to take a lot of notes but requires a lot of listening. I work on my dummy knitting, usually a sock, and it keeps my hands occupied and my body still so my brain stops roaming and focuses on the discussion at hand. I have yet to encounter a professor that takes offense, and I find the risk of unintentional rudeness is a worthwhile trade-off for the heightened engagement.

This week during classes I have finished the first of a pair of socks for my weaving teacher, who does not knit but loves handknit socks.

Online superwash sockyarn, size 2.25 mm needles, size 10 feet

For this pair of socks, I am trying to get over my subconscious fear of long cuffs and learn how to execute the short row heel. I love how the red and white has striped up. It makes for a particularly groovy toe.

Yes, I am easily entertained.

I am currently working on the cuff of its companion,

Seen here on a date with Louie, who likes hiking, skiing, and befriending burnt popcorn.

but have temporarily abandoned it for some fuzzy brown owl butts.

It'll make more visual sense once I knit the rest the owls, promise.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


You know bio lab has beaten your brain when you point to the turtle skeleton and identify the femur bone as a lamprey, which is in fact an aquatic parasite that sort of resembles an eel with spiral teeth.

The lamprey is a vertebrate in the class agnatha, the jawless vertebrates, and is studied as a model for the first vertebrates that arose in the Cambrian. It uses its teeth made of keretin to drill into fish, where it latches on and sucks their blood.

The only cure is a plain stockinette sock and hot chocolate.

Project: Tofutsies of the Sea Socks
Yarn: Tofutsies
Needles: 2.25 mm
Hot Chocolate: not pictured

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Out of Context

Today's Out of Context knitting quote:

"I think I like his butt better than I like his face."