Saturday, January 31, 2009

mail call

When I revealed my pitifully slow sock knitting record, Cookie felt my pain.

Click here to see. Humor me, it's been a long snowy icy week. Just click there.

Lucky for me! Even luckier, she thought it would bother me that the pink socks didn't match exactly in their pinkiness, so I deserved a bonus pair.

Happy feet. (Did you click? try it.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

my next big thing

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...will be knit of this"sweater skein" I nabbed at one of the bygone Hopyard Spinnery stuff-a-bag barn sales. A ginormous single skein, 1200 yards, of Farmhouse Yarns . I've been saving this one. Possibly because of the winding task.

I remembered it as a solid deep wine red but taken from it's bigass storage ziplock today , I discovered it both redder with more variation.0109famvar_  420
Love it. Oh! But what to knit? Maybe this.

p.s. My Emerald is blocking and begging for a button.0109famvar_  423
In case you're wondering: I am , indeed, a stealth member of the NaKniSweMoDo gang. #2, coming up.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the effort to get my arms around it

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We are having a wintry winter. Cold. Snowy. I am trying to embrace it. I do things like take a walk trying to convince myself the views are anything but bleak pretty all monochromatic and ice covered.
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I know I'm really tired of winter when I dig into the old sweater drawer.
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This one circa 1987, still going strong. I tried to find the pattern earlier today , I think it is from a magazine, didn't have the oomph to find which one. I browsed through a hysterical french knitting booklet circa 1985 that could have been called Dolman Sleeves R Us or What to Wear to a Boy George Concert. Loud! graphic! Wiiiide sweaters.

What I can tell you: knit in Brown Sheep Lambs Pride and originally very oversized. Which was the only way you could knit in the 80's, or face arrest by the Sweater Police. I wore it a lot then. Around 1995 I purposefully felted it to fit just so. A little pilly these days, the front & back are knit the same so the neck buckles a little under the chin. Other than that? No complaints.

Except, obviously, about the weather.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

inbox candy

What a kick to see this, sent from my friend Daphne
Back in September, when I exhibited this show at a gallery, we had a knit night, and made up kits for the Noho Boho Hat (Rav link),
(Here's a full hat view, just for reminder.)
Anyhoo,Daphne's mom Mirjam was there. Although she'd never knit in the round, she gamely cast on a Noho Boho on the spot. And then this week I received the line up photo and this note:

Happy New Year!
My mom came to your knitting event at Kehler Liddell and with the pattern and wool that she purchased there, she knit hats for her 16 children, children's spouses, and grandchildren for Chanukah -- and a few more for friends.
We all love them! Thought you'd like to see the results of your inspiration.

Do you love it? Totally made my day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

o happy day!

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A great day in the big wide world . I watched at a movie theater in New Haven.
But look! My handknits made it to the ceremony.knitsat
In the ticketed standing area, my sis with her Aiblinn on the far left, and second from left, Lamar in the Lamar Scarf. I have it on authority the super large tam is there. Just not on his head at this moment. sigh. Six degrees rows stockinette of separation.

And on a much smaller, way less significant, more personal home baking and eating level, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes continues to amaze.
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Before, after , and as the challah disappeared.
Seriously, if I hadn't given up butter years ago, I'd be in major trouble.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

two for three

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One: today's little bread looked as good as it tasted. No. Strike that. It tasted better. Still in love with this bread book. A European Peasant boule, if you must know.
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Two: Feeling the love for Emerald, too. Above, an awkward sleeves-and-body-newly-attached cardigan back view.
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The yarn varies so crazily, look at this sleeve color against the center back. Good thing I won't be walking around with Gomukhasana Arms so it'll hardly be noticed. I strategize use of the skeins, saving the darkest for the wide ribbed collar that's knit on vertically at the end, and swapping in and out some of the very mixed ones.
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Three: Today I found out I have something very special in common with the much admired Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Did I find the ability to knit socks with whiplash speed? Nope. Was it a cleverly observed humorous knitting essay hiding deep within me springing forth for publication? Not a chance. What sprung forth was water dripping from the kitchen ceiling, followed by words springing from my plumber, Frank's, lips, telling me the toilet's waste water pipe has a leak requiring opening the kitchen ceiling and cutting into a cabinet , and an even worse case scenario includes opening a wall, which is only slightly less bad than thinking about bacteria laden H2O falling into the kitchen. I don't think he called Steph's plumber for a consultation, apparently this kind of thing is going around the knitblogging community. For your sakes', I hope its no where near as popular as two-stripe Noro scarves. That's all I'm saying.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

pps & soon i'll move on

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Finally finished socks of summer oh eight! Started in July (click if you are curious what the yarn looked like in a ball, who knew it would stripe so nicely?), knit slowly all summer, mostly on the beach sitting around with neighbors on Sundays.
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They were trying to have a lottery to decide sock ownership but no way was I planning to let these go. I knit socks sooo slowly, each pair is held dear. By the end of August they were just about done. I put them aside to save for the neighborhood New Years Eve bonfire. To wear, not to burn. (duh!). Finished Sunday, instead. No problem, we conveniently have 5 inches of fresh snow & ice, new socks gratefully placed on my happy feet.
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yarn: Sock Hop from Dancing Leaf Farm
needles: size 2US
pattern: just your basic top down with a 3-1 rib
Wish I'd made taller cuffs, I was worried about the yardage and of course had a huge amount leftover. I know, that's the reason for toe up. Maybe the next pair! Wonderful yarn, by the way.
And, drumroll,bounce1 the nephew in the sizable Bounce. Yow, that stretched. Overlook the cheesy silouetting, please. My sister sent this jpeg with the background blending into the tam, and we can't have that. Definitely the biggest hat I ever knit that fit someone- his dreads are all at least as long as the one in front, and he's tucking them into the hat. I just might knit him another with a deeper but smaller (in circumference) brim and slightly less stretchy tam-ness. Maybe I'll use a bunch of mixed Noro leftovers, that'd be cool, wouldn't it?
Or not.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Sitting by the inbox, awaiting a promised jpeg of the big-haired nephew in his supersized Bounce (rav link) that he swears fits perfectly. To fill the time, a follow up on unfinished business:
Seasonal food & celebrating. Check! We invited friends over for Vodkas & Latkes. Ten pounds of potatoes later, much fun, the house smelled like frying spuds & onions for a week. We did pretty well with the vodka, too. I hadn't bought vodka in years and was blown away to find a choice of, like, fifty kinds? None of them ginger FYI but, whew, everything else. The day I made that little potato head for the invite photo, I left it sitting on the counter. My 15 yo came home, shook his head and said "y'know, Mom, you really need to get a life"
1208famvar_315A knitting gift given to a sister who is now (insert sinister laugh) a compulsive knitter herself. Since she's at the "hey I've accumulated a bunch of yarny stuff but what to carry it around in and why can't I find a tape measure" stage, I planned to put together a little project bag with everything but the knitting . You know: tape measure, crochet hook, little scissors, stitchmarkers in a little tin. Conveniently enough found Julip Bags , who had a lovely EBTK (yeah--that's Everything But The Knitting) bag for sale. The one I ordered had a fab bright red lining and an art nouveau-ish taupe, brown & turquoise flower pattern outside. Delivery so fast I felt it it arrived the moment I clicked online. My only disappointment: it came so beautifully wrapped , I couldn't peek a preview.
I added a set of
Harmony dpns and there ya go, oh, yeah, during chanukah I escorted said sister to a LYS . I helped her select a skein of sock yarn which, she says may or may not become socks.
The other knitterly gift tossed around came to me from the sister above. At Rhinebeck she chatted with Jennie the Potter, and forbade me to walk by that booth or look online. Being obedient, I didn't. Being short-memoried, I totally forgot so ....surprise! A sheepy tea mug. I'm wary of attracting sheep themed stuff, considering my reputation for, you know, lurking around fiber farms. Most of it's too cute or too pink (sorry Cookie, nothing personal) for my taste- but this one? The exception.
Let's see, what else? The big pile of green Araucania Naturewool Chunky is on the needles again, this time as Emerald. After going through hundreds- yes, I really do mean hundreds- of patterns I settled on this. I hope I didn't choose it for it's colorly association, I'm so damn suggestible.
people More as it stacks up.More as it stacks up.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

start as you mean to go on*

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My first knitting act of 2009 was un-doing. A fresh beginning, not letting a mistake go unaddressed, no stepping around the misdeed as it slumped in a pile in the corner. I love a little mixed metaphor to start the year, don't you?

You last saw this yarn as my Imogen in progress. I finished in mid November, enjoying every stitch.
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Here she is, completed in all her capacious glory. I could have smoothed the shoulders for the shot better, this was unblocked but you get the idea. I am sorry to report that shortly after making this image, I wove in all the ends. And only then tried her on.
(I know. What could I have been thinking? I have sweaters I've been wearing for months that still have the odd end flapping around inside).
Anyway, Imogen is waaay too much woman for me. My gauge swatching had been on target but even wrapped overlapping to the max around the front, I had huge bags of extra fabric in the upper back, hanging down behind the arms. I could have fit another person in there with me.1108GZUCKER_200I adore working with this yarn, and same for the pattern with its unusual construction but after studying all the Imogens over at Ravelry and exchanging emails with other folks swamped by their Imogens, I'm going to make some other squooshy cardigan with this. Although I am still resisting temptation to try again- in a size S rather than L.

May I add? It is
a lot of work to unravel a huge sweater in which one has conscientiously swapped out two or three skeins of yarn every couple of rows to blend variegated shades. Good thing I enjoy a messy tangle every now & then. (yeah, another metaphor. Whatever!)
I love the way shades of green pop in the neighborhood landscape in winter. Give me a few weeks and I'll be popping on the beach, in my new green, properly fitting cardigan .

*I first heard this wonderful phrase- so Mary Poppins-ish, isn't it?- on Brenda Dayne's Cast On podcast of the same name, here, from a year ago. Go giv'er a listen. It's been rumbling around in my brain ever since, resonating like crazy. This year, action!