Sunday, September 30, 2007

this just in

"Your invitation was sent on September 16, 2007. We just sent you a new copy of the email (from in case it was lost or eaten by a spam filter."

oh good.
Now I'll have something to do to fill my empty hours when the book goes off to the publisher at the end of the week. Gotta go. A few hundred images to finalize. How is it that deadline already? And why is it that I'm checking my Ravelry queue spot and making up blogposts ?

Friday, September 28, 2007

let us now praise wool socks

...were the words running like a zipper billboard across the base of my skull when I stayed in this cabin , on the scenic shores of Lake Sebago in Maine a couple of weekends ago.
And when I say scenic, I mean pristine beauty with a SNAP in the air. Like 40 degrees F at night. No windows.

I left my sunny 80 degree neighborhood to attend this 3 day professional meeting, haphazardly grabbing a pair of wool socks on the way to my ride north. Just in case. I wore them day and night . I think they saved me.
My colleagues are still skeptical when I say I spent a great part of the year photographing sheep, alpaca and goat farms for a travel & knitting book. Pretty much a conversation stopper. There was one person who talked ruminants with me, because he and his talented wife just published
this book. Excellent reading, vicarious pilgrimages are such a pleasure. Only problem is it makes you crave goat cheese, big time.

Back to my theme: In particular , let us praise the knitting of worsted weight socks. That's right, gentle reader, I finished a pair of socks in less than 2 weeks. Me! The Slowest Sock Knitter around *that'd make me SSK around, wouldn't it?

I think I'm on to something. It feels a tad remedial, a bit like cheating, but I love these heavy socks, I love immediate gratification...and I have so little pride.
ps I also love Artyarns SuperMerino . The first of these socks took 1 skein plus an annoyingly small extra bit , about 3 yards , from a 2nd skein The second sock took one skein neatly. I think its a couple of rounds shorter in the cuff. Don't tell anyone, OK?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

what the inarticulate pirate shouted

Arrrrrgh! Go sea!
(Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day)

pattern: Argosy from Knitty Winter 06
yarn: hand painted worsted weight silk from HipKnits
needles: size 7 us
finished dimensions: about 62" long by 5 " across at widest
the lowdown:
Last month's vacation knitting, blocked yesterday. I was worried about not having enough yarn, with a 180 yard skein, so I narrowed the pattern . There's SO much yarn leftover. Maybe enough t0 make a second scarf, not quite as long. Crazy! If only I'd weighed it I'd be more accurate but I'm guessing it took less than 120 yards. I think that qualifies this pattern as a good worsted one-skeiner.
thumbs up? oh yes. Easy to memorize the pattern, quick to knit, fun to look at, plays well with a variegated / changing yarn. The silk might be a little floppy for my taste but ooh you should see the pearlescence of it. what's not to like? I definitely recommend it as a quality knit, in, oh, I don't know, maybe a shade of, hmmm, RED!
I'm not alone:
check out these Argosies or the wrap version at the designer's blog.

Here's a truer view of its colors, a really perfect blues/steel/touch of yellowish-brownish tinge. It really does look like the water, seen from below on a sunny day, in my neighborhood. Maybe not the cleanest body of saltwater but one of my favorite places on the planet.
I think we can agree this proves I'm no Julia Trice, can that woman rock a self-portrait or what? Be sure to scroll down to the knit nightie and jeans shots from that link.
I stand (or lean) in awe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

slow learner

Things I learned since Sunday that I already knew (or should have known)

Item 1
Old friends and annual gatherings are the best way to spend an afternoon. Especially if there's at least one other knitter

Item 2
It definitely takes more than 2 skeins of Artyarns SuperMerino to make a pair of socks in my foot size.

Item 3
Webs is fab on the phone. So easy to order from and happy to grab matching skeins off their shelves. Webs has a discount if you spend , um, more than one skein's worth.

Item 4
It is dangerous to leave your credit card sitting next to the computer after you order body lotion because put together with Item 3 above, you will end up with two pair of additional socks' worth of Artyarns Supermerino. Holiday knitting, here we come.

Item 5
Referring to item 4 above, because you will uncharacteristically order a groovy new camera strap to stand out from the boys. An item you haven't felt necessary since...forever.
You hope it'll arrive in time for an awesome photo op in a couple of weeks. (Hint, get your red scarves knit and sent in, they can appear on famous senators' necks)
A sweet new year to all of you celebrating tomorrow!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


we could use some rain but the sunflowers are hanging in there
So there I was writing a reply to your kind comments about my much traveled slow socks. I was saying it looked like I wasn't hitting the road again so soon, when I found myself on an overnight zip to Vermont for last minute book revisions.

No complaints. Love the designer. Love Montpelier. What a shame to be spitting distance from Norma-land and only 2 days short of the Vt Sheep & Wool with no extra time.

However. The drive is not without rewards.
GZucker0907famVar_003First pitstop is Putney for a good sandwich and snacks. While I was waiting for my order I tried some patchouli & lime scented body lotion, and fell in love with it. Vermont is the kind of place where patchouli & lime smells just right, kind of like buying cowboy boots and hats while in Texas, or big turquoise jewelry in the southwest, or pink flamingo print sundresses in Florida. You get home and say "what was I thinking?" . In this case , my bad . I used the same scented tester on the way home, and three people told me how utterly great I smelled. (no, wait, as of now I am saved by online shopping if you meet me in the coming months, take a whiff).

Back on the road , the Green Mountain Spinnery, is around the corner in Putney.GZucker0907famVar_002 The only yarn I'm yearning for now is heavier weight superwash sock, which isn't their thing. For old times' sake, I had to stick my head in. I used to stock up on yarn whenever I passed by, back in the dark days. You know,the years before the internet but after all the good yarn stores had closed . There were two guys picking over fleeces outside in the sun, and inside, the usual friendly folks, and the mill whirring away. I peeked in ,I like spinning bobbins and gears, I squeezed and petted skeins , I considered this cardigan pattern. Not this visit. This time, 2 more hours to drive.

The work went splendidly. The next afternoon homeward bound, another favorite, the infamous Webs in Northampton, Massachusetts.
GZucker0907famVar_005 (1)
It doesn't have much , as they say in real estate, curb appeal. Inside, always wow.
With 15 minutes to run in, seek sock yarn, and pay, I vowed not to go anywhere near the back warehouse room. Its ginormous, full to the rafters with industrial shelving, piled with sale priced yarn . The list on the website is the tip of the iceberg. You can easily lose an hour a morning. My usual MO is go straight back, then when I'm done, venture into the also spacious front sales room . There's enough floor to kneel between the shelves and lay out skeins, and indulge in all the decision making rituals you require without blocking fellow shoppers.

This visit I decided quickly in the retail front , I paid, I asked to use the restroom...and clearly the knitting goddesses are in on this : the lav is in the warehouse. I only lost another twenty minutes, and promised myself a more sane visit soon, upon spying the tall shelf with Noro closeouts as I hustled by.

A sales woman complimented my speed and focus. Maybe she saw the crazed gleam in my eye. Maybe it was the wafting patchouli & lime .

My just-what-I-had-in-mind-purchase:GZucker0907famVar_009
Artyarns Supermerino worsted weight, for some quicker knitting of socks. This seems to be working - without much knitting time at all I've almost completed a sock in 2 days. And soft! The only drama is whether I need more than 2 skeins to get the little doggies done.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

give me an S

It was almost a Summer of Sock no ess for me.
While others crank out the footwear, I literally drag my feet. Some people amaze me with beautiful socks debuting weekly. Not I! I need months for ordinary 3-1 rib pair like these. Aside from being the slowest knit socks in the world, they're also possibly the most traveled inknitero (although I can think of one contender with some serious moving partial sock documentation ).

I cast on in January in DC, and since then I knit on them in cars, on planes, on trains and ferries. They were at a ranch in Texas in February, then the Navajo reservation in Arizona,they made it to book group, I drug them into the sand on beaches down the street at home and in Delaware. They had a dip in beer at a party, a nice soap soak and dry and just this morning while sewing them up, I dropped the needle with tail thread, mid-kitchener, into my coffee. The upside? If it turns out I lose in the Most traveled sock category maybe they are Most Beveraged.

They visited ranches in Montana and a farm in Minnesota
I added inches at early season youth football practice (do. not. ask.)and had a few glorious knitting moments at Fish Creek Falls in Colorado. Their presence let me focus on something other than the waves of fear washing over me as members of our hiking party (my sons & niece & nephew) were freeclimbing rocks higher up in ways that were unbearable to watch. (it doesn't look that tricky in the photos but believe me, you have to be willing to take some leaps)
bigviewfishcreekfallsknit (that's a rare blog appearance for Dave, too) I think that's the 2nd sock.

I'm not that slow a knitter, its just that socks are filler knitting for me, when I have a moment or two, or will be chatting while knitting or need a tiny bit of distraction. Even so, I've decided to up my ouput. I've sworn to knit heavier yarn weight socks for the next season.

ps. Here's something else I've been waiting for all summer-
GZucker080721_175 the fattest of the 4 kinds of sunflower in the front garden to open, at the same time as the morning glories. If the first frost holds off , I'll have the front of the house cheerfully exuding a Crazy Lady Lives Here motif for six weeks or so.