Thursday, May 24, 2007
Hip-Hip Hurray! Hip-Hip Hurray!! That's three cheers for Hooks & Needles, my lovely new LYS. I went to the Knit Night last night and it was so nice. Kallee, the owner, is kind and funny and very welcoming. They have an excellent yarn selection and a respectable stock of needles - including Brittanys, which I had never before seen in person and Addi-Turbos, my well established favorites. I was thrilled to see she even has the new Addi lace needles - I don't knit lace and yet I was so pleased to see this. Go figure.
It is so nice to have found this place. I will definitely be going back. You'll be pleased to know, as well, that no one was shocked by my giddiness or even batted an eye when I was caught sniffing the Trekking Pro Natura.
I resisted the very real urge to take pictures of the shop and the knitters. I wasn't sure if anyone there would be keen on my particular brand of slightly kooky. Maybe I'll take pictures next week.
A Quick Bit of Sock Talk
I have approximately 1/4" more (about 4 rows) of leg knitting to do before starting the heel of this sock. I really want to try the short row heel but the more I have considered it, the more I think I am going to do the short row heel on the green ribbed destined-for-Dulaan socks and stick with the traditional heel flap on these socks. It seems to me that the flap heel would wear better. Any thoughts?
I should be finished up with those last few rows and ready to start the heel this evening but I may ruminate on it a bit more and delay the decision making by casting on the second sock.
Knitters on Tour
Thursday, June 7, the Yarn Harlot will be visiting the Copperfield's Books in Petaluma, CA. Petaluma is about a 2.5 hour drive from my house and I would really love to go see her. (I've already asked my boss for the time off and I can take it if I decide to. It would be nice to actually take a day off to do something fun for me.) I don't know anyone who is going and I don't know any knitters who live nearby and would want to make the trip together. (Anyone interested in $3.49 a gallon for gas?) It is a strange dilemma. As a rule, I am not at all shy and yet contemplating making this trip by myself makes me feeling as nervous as a 16-year-old virgin on prom night.
I did find out that Jenn, my SP10 hostess, and her mother are going. It would be nice to meet them. Are any of you planning to attend this event? Have any of you attended one of her events in the past?
Books on CD
Audiobooks go with knitting like coconut rum goes with pineapple juice. I've been fortunate to discover that a local used book store has an excellent and varied selection of Audiobooks. Last week I was in there and ended up leaving with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read this book ages ago and enjoyed it then but it is interesting what a difference a bit of distance makes. There are things I notice now that I had completely forgotten (or missed) at the time of the first reading and there were things I remembered about this book that were wholly inaccurate.
In a perfect world, what book do you want to listen to while knitting?
"Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means they have a history." - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
It was a little after midnight when I took three dripping wet skeins of newly dyed wool out in to my front yard. I had heard that one of our neighbors had had a truck vandalized Thursday night, which is extremely unusual as I neighborhood is known for peace and quite and basic lack of nonsense, but I was not concerned.
I'm sure you already know this but I am very enthusiastic about dying yarn with Kool-Aid (as with many yarn related things.) The Kool-Aid trick, though, is like magic to me. I am fascinated and I feel the need to tell everyone about it. Also, I am absolutely a night owl and the later it gets, the cheerier I feel.
When I first went outside, there were two police cars driving down the street very slowly with their lights out. I didn't think much of it, and went about my business. Apparently they don't see a lot of this sort of thing in our town late at night because as they came back up the street, one of the police officers got out of his car and, shining his flashlight in my direction, came over to see what I was up to.
We said hello and then he asked what I was doing so I explained to him that I was dying yarn with Kool-aid and before I could stop myself, I said, "See? Smell it - it smells all fruity like Kool-aid!" Apparently yarn dying is too much excitement for me because I just burst out with things like that to the nice police officer!
He smiled, a smile that I imagine is usually reserved for lunatics. Then he said, "Umm, ma'am? Do you frequently dye yarn in your front yard in the middle of the night?" And I answered, of course, "Not nearly as often as I'd like to."
I hear myself talking and my inner voice is saying "SHUT UP!" but my mouth just keeps going.
Eventually, I guess, he determined that I was harmless (maybe nuts, but harmless) so he walked back to the other officer's car and I heard him say, "She's dying yarn. With Kool-Aid" (Pause) "No seriously."
On the left, 5 packets of lime kool-aid and one packet of grape. On the right, my first attempted at multi-color dying. 3 packets each of lemonade, orange, strawberry and black cherry. The third skein went on to its new home before I had a chance to photograph it.
SOCK IT TO ME
In sock news, thank you all so so much for your input. I decided to start over on the Size 1 needles, with different yarn (Austermann Step that I overdyed to make it more murky) and 88 stitches. I've ditched the ribbing (I know, I am a wuss) and I am about 4 inches along on the leg. This is much better. At first it seemed really big but I am trusting the math. I think it is going to be right this time. (I am eternally hopefully.)
Edited to Add: It has come to my attention that our town has a new yarn store. It is about 1/2 mile from my house. Apparently it has been there about a month. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. And I'm also appalled that I am so late in receiving this news. From the description the informant gave me, I have past it a minimum of 20 times in the last month. Obviously my skills of observation are rusty.
This is a hectic week but I am oh so very hopeful that I will be able to get over there tomorrow evening, as I'm told that Wednesday evenings from 7-9 is "Open House". Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted.
“There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us, That it ill behooves any of us, To find fault with the rest of us.” -Author Unknown
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Last night, while contemplating the fate of the heel of the sock we discussed yesterday, I decided now might be a good time to try it on a man's foot. (When it was about 3 inches long, I tried it on my own foot/leg and it was fine.) My husband is the only man living at my house so I used his foot. He has a fairly average man-foot. (While I did not take measurements of the recipient foot, I have looked and they are close to the size of my Mister's feet.) I'll breeze right past the part where I pushed and shoved and struggle and tried and cursed and cried (a tiny bit) to tell you: It does not fit. No way, no how. No amount of cajoling or forcing would get this sock on his foot.
I have been wracking my brain trying to think of a man I know who might actually be able to wear this sock. Maybe my 9 year old nephew.
Honestly, I should have noticed along the way that maybe this sock wasn't going to work. It did look a bit narrow but I was convinced it was the ribbing and that, once on the foot, it would have a comfy fit. But no. I could not get it over his heel. I tried to convince myself otherwise but the fact is: the leg of the sock must go past the heel.
So. I will be starting over. I'm not going rip this sock out; I am going to go ahead and knit these socks (not right now, but before I put them aside, I am going to try the short row heel - what do I have to lose now???) Maybe I will send them to the Dulaan project. That might soothe my bitterness a little, if they were to go to a good cause.
Ironically, I was just reading one of the Yarn Harlot's books the other night (can't remember which one) and there was some discussion over this phenomenon and I sort of wondered at this. I had never had it happen to me. Who knew it would come back to bite me in the ass in such short order? I did swatch for this project (heck, I've already made 2/3 of a sock from this yarn and this pattern and it is lovely and human-sized) and I was confident that it would be a good fit. Alas, no.
When I start this next sock (which I will probably do shortly so I don't decide to give up) do ya'll think I should go up a needle size, maybe? (I've been using size 1.) I had convinced myself that the Size 1's would make a better fabric but maybe not. Maybe I am not experienced enough to make this kind of decision on my own. (Obviously.) I have never used 2's for socks. I've used 2's for other things but not socks. What do ya'll think? I'm going to make this next go with Austermann Step, which recommends a size 2 or 3 needle. Luckily numbers are the same in all languages as there is no English on the label.
I think tonight is a good night for some wine.
Today's Quote: I'm torn so I'll let you choose.
"It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again." - Charles Kettering
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it." - W.C. Fields
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Going to the Birds
Our neighborhood, particularly our little street, is basically a peacefully little corner of the universe. Lately, though, there must be something in the air. The weather has been heating up but the late evenings/nights have still been pretty cool so we have been sleeping with the windows open and apparently we have some birds in our neighborhood who missed out on that day at Bird College where they taught the rule "Thou shalt not chirp and squawk at 2:00 a.m." I first heard them last Friday morning, when I was trying to go to sleep. Friday night they were quiet but then Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, they chirped and chirped and chirped. They chirped so loudly that the chirping showed up in my dreams. I'm not even sure where these birds are living, as I know they aren't in the one tree in our front yard. Maybe in the bushes...I need to find out which of the neighbors spiked their bird feeder.
Also, while I am an enthusiastic supporter of young people embracing instrumental music, I am somewhat less than keen on the boy across the street practicing his trumpet in the front yard at 6:30 on Sunday morning.
On the other hand, I think I may have frightened the neighbors two doors down yesterday afternoon. I was out in the front yard, laying in the grass (I had to get just the right angle), posing my yarn and socks (for ya'll) and the neighbor man, who is probably in his early sixties, was out front working on his truck. When his wife came out, she was across the driveway from him and he said, in a loudish voice, "Dear? What is that girl doing?" They were staring at me so I waved and said, "I'm taking pictures of my new yarn." The awkward smiles and half waves suggest to me that they are not knitters.
Let's Talk Socks
I am making actual progress on the Dr. Doctor socks. As I'm sure you are aware, the progress on this sock has been slow going but I think we (me and the sock) have hit our stride now. Recently we entered the knitting vortex, in which I started knitting on a sock that was 5.25" from the cuff and after nearly 2 hours of knitting, it was . . . yes, 5.25" from the cuff.
(I call this picture Six Glorious Inches Frolicking in the Grass)
At long last, I'm ready for the heel now. All the socks I've ever knit (total: 2) used the basic heel flap method of turning a heel. I was quite happy with those socks and will absolutely do that vanilla sock again. I am, however, feeling that twitchy, restless desire of wanting to try something new. The other day, I saw this short-row heel over at FiberJinx, which I found via Cara. I love that heel, love the way it looks. I think I want to use that heel method for these socks. But I am afraid.
I know that several (well most) of you are more experienced sock knitters than I, so I am asking for your help/advice/guidance. She references these three links with short-row heel tutorials. Can anyone tell me which one is best? Do you know of a better way? I am eager to get going on this heel.
“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you do not try.” -Beverly Sill
Monday, May 14, 2007
Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.
Here are my facts:
1. Like RC, I had Lasik eye surgery three years ago. I can't think of anything I've done in my life that I have been quite so glad I've done. It is wonderful. No contacts! No glasses! I can see, I can see, I can see!!!
2. I have a nearly freakish ability to remember numbers, particularly phone numbers. I have always been this way.
3. I have never been thin and, while I would not object to losing some weight, I have no aspirations to be what anyone would ever call "skinny". Contrary to popular perception, not all fat women are secretly crying in their Rocky Road, longing to look like Calista Flockhart. (Though I wouldn't mind keeping company with Harrison Ford.)
4. Like RC and Trish before her, I love to read but my reading has been on a serious downward spiral ever since I learned to knit.
5. My car once broke down on the side of the road. This was before I had a cell phone so I had to repair my car by myself. I used Fimo clay that I had in the trunk.
6. I once hit an owl with my car. More accurately, an owl flew into my car while I was driving down the road. (This is the same car that was involved in the incident in #5)
7. I love sushi, particularly yellowtail (hamachi).
Those I'm tagging:
7. Dr. B
There you have it!
Don't wander too far . . . I have another post. With pictures! Yarn in the mail! Sock progress! Need some sock advice!
Thrilling stuff, I tell ya.
"Sometimes sushi is just superb, and other times there's nothing like a great big steak. It depends where your taste buds are at the time." -Francesca Annis
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
*Photo by Andrew Dunn. I found it on it here on Wikipedia.
This morning on the way to work, my husband and I passed a brightly painted converted bus. As we came upon it, I saw the words painted across the front in fancy, scrolled lettering: C.M. Circus. Along the side it said, in the same stylish font, Culpepper & Merriweather Circus. Behind it, we saw several other Culpepper & Merriweather trucks and vans and I am absurdly happy about it. They were headed toward the town where I live but, sadly, I doubt that is their destination. C&M is among the higher order of Circuses, what with Miss Simone (the trapeze artist) and the Perez High-Wire Trio and Miss Carolyn and her Dog & Pony Revue and Miss Karina with her high-energy hula hoop act. And camels. They have performing camels. I checked their website to see if they are going to be nearby but there was no tour schedule posted.
In early October nearly three years ago, right before I got married, there was a carnival where I live and I wrote something about it that has just been sitting around unread and when we saw the circus convoy this morning, I was reminded of this. I found it and reread it and that day is vivid in my mind. Funny the things that stay with us.
Except for the addition of a couple of links, I am posting it here in its original form.
I love the fair. And the circus. And the carnival. My fiancé thinks it is just a matter of my roots showing, but I am like a little kid when it comes to the carnival.
There is a traveling carnival in town, in the parking lot of a shopping center here in town this weekend and as I drove by today, they were setting up. I was practically giddy! I stopped and watched them, leaning against a tree then sitting in the grass, for about 15 minutes. It was the highlight of my day.
When I was little, I wanted to be one of two things when I grew up: an astronaut or a trapeze artist. I didn't become either but I am still in love with the circus. I don't know where this fascination comes from but it is apparently ingrained in the fiber of my being. When I first stopped, I was watching the guys set up the Gravitron. This is my favorite carnival ride! Two of the guys working on it were nearly toothless. The third one didn't have a shirt on, but I am certain that the multi-week-old grime build-up protected him from the sun.
As I watched, two people, a man and a woman, came out of the candied apple/cotton candy hut. She was probably six feet tall and had massive, long, tall blonde hair and a Dolly Parton build. She was wearing an outfit that would make Daisy Duke blush and spitting tobacco into a small mason jar…which, amazingly didn’t smudge her hot pink lipstick. He had a bald head and the biggest smile I've ever seen, framed by shiny red cheeks. I can't remember the last time I saw a carnival midget. My heart leapt.
I saw a huge, huge fat woman with thinning purplish-white hair, wearing a tangerine-lemon-lime polyester muumuu feeding some goats and two borderline-malnourished children carrying little glass bowls over to where I can only assume was the soon-to-be-site of the goldfish toss game.
And I saw a man with a lazy eye carrying a spool of cable, walking around as if he was looking for something to do but hoped in his heart that he wouldn't find anything. He had two lit cigarettes hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Both of them were mostly ash at that point, just dangling precariously in front of his weathered face. He looked to be about 40 years old but I could tell by the way he carried himself and by the glint in his good eye that he was probably closer to 25 or 30. He saw me watching then and smiled at me. I nodded, smiled sheepishly and turned away. I don't know why I blushed. I guess, somehow, I felt as if I was seeing something I wasn't supposed to see. I felt like I was eavesdropping.
When I was certain he'd gone on about his business, I sat down on the pavement near my car and watched a little while longer. Two old men were working on the aging Ferris wheel. Securing cables, hammering crossbars, testing connections. They worked steadily, efficiently, silently. The moved around and together like ballerinas performing a solemn ballet.
As I watched, I just started laughing. Gleefully. The giggles just built up inside of me like champagne bubbles. It started in my toes. I had a sense that I was witnessing some sort of backwoods, white-trash Brigadoon.
I probably won't go to that carnival this weekend. I've never been able to convince my fiancé to go to one in the nearly 9 years I've known him and I see no reason that this time will be any different. But I am a happier person tonight because they are there.
To this day, I would join the circus and be a gypsy if I could find a way to do it without sacrificing plumbing, financial security, a law abiding lifestyle and basic hygiene.
'Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now." - P.T. Barnum
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Luckily this weekend did provide some knitting time. I made some good progress on the sock. It is a little slower going than would be ideal but that is of my own doing. Here is sock one at 4.5".
I am making the body of these socks in a K6, P2 ribbing, with a 1" K2, P2 ribbed cuff. Knitting around and around on this sock, I am reminded that I really do like to zone out when I am knitting and lately the K6, P2 ribbing doesn't allow my mind to wander too far. But I like them and I'm happy with the look so they are worth it.
I did a bit on the baby blanket yesterday but it is temporarily in time out. Can you see why?Yesterday afternoon, I got together with some friends to - imagine it - do some knitting! In the last few weeks, one friend who has never tried knitting before said she wanted to learn and two others who had learned to varying degrees many years ago, wanted to get a refresher so that was fun. Maybe they will all decide to take up knitting more regularly. If I can't meet knitting friends, perhaps I can create them.
One last thing. Friday night I spend the evening hanging out with my twin sister, Katy. I've mentioned her before and since we both had on make-up, I took advantage of the opportunity to take our picture. (Her on the left, me on the right.) Katy, who is ten minutes older, is a nurse. She is funny and smart and snide and sarcastic and really mostly wonderful. She has a wicked, sometimes disruptive, contagious laugh. She is largely responsible for my love of both quotes and rollercoasters. As you might expect, I've known Katy longer than I've known anyone in the world and there has never been a time I wasn't glad to be a twin, to be her twin. She isn't a blogger but she has recently purchased herself a Mac, discovered Yahoo messenger and connected her own "air internet", and we are thoroughly proud of her. So I thought it was high time to introduce her to the knitters.
"Cushion the painful effects of hard blows by keeping the enthusiasm going strong, even if doing so requires struggle." - Norman Vincent Peale
Friday, May 04, 2007
What was I doing?? I was
knitting a sock. When I told her what I was doing she said, "Oh." (pause) "Wow." In a very even tone, with raised eyebrows and weak smile. I just smiled, a little smug, knowing that she has no idea what she is missing.
The pictures in this recent Yarn Harlot post have been on my mind. I love to see knitter's hands knitting. Will you show me yours? email me a picture or post it to your blog and leave me a comment and I will compile a list of links for a post next week. (Surely over the weekend you will be knitting and you can find a volunteer photographer or do some sort of contortionist maneuvers and take your own.) I'm going to try to round up a better picture of my own, as this yarn is very dark and the needles are very small. (Thanks for trying, Lori.)
Oh, also, I got yarn in the mail!! I participated in All Things Heather's recent fundraiser and (like magic) yarn arrived to me in the mail. It is beautiful and soft and happy yarn and the colors couldn't be more perfect if I had picked them out myself. It is resting in the glass bowl with my pretty sock yarns and I am ruminating over what it will be. I am thinking it needs to be knit up for a good cause, considering its altruistic upbringing...maybe baby hats for the hospital? We'll see. Thanks, Heather!
"Sometimes you do take your life in your hands going in certain places and it's very unpredictable, but that's thrill of it, the excitement of it all. I do like a little danger in life!" -Marc Almond
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I haven't been sleeping much the last 5 days or so and my mind is starting to wander. When you don't sleep, you don't dream and when I don't dream, my daytime mind gets muddled. There is a school of thought that says dreaming is the mind's way of untangling all the things that were left tangled up at the end of the waking day. Sometimes I think this is maybe so.
And then, with a cluttery mind, you start thinking about random stuff. Also, your writing (and speaking) becomes borderline nonsensical.
One of these days I am going to meet some other knitters in person and I am not going to feel like a lame ass for knitting in public.
My ankle still hurts a lot and I wear my brace and I'm careful with it just like I've been told to do but at night, when it is quiet and I am alone and my husband is sleeping and I am not, I cannot stop thinking about it. It makes me sort of sick thinking about it and I am now convinced that one of these days I am going to go back to the doctor and he is going to tell me it is not better and I am not sure I will be able to be stoic at that point.
Get Fuzzy is perhaps the funniest comic strip ever written.
One of these days, all of the coffee I drink is going to eat a hole in my stomach and infiltrate the rest of my organs. If I have to get a stomach transplant, I would like to request the stomach of a skinny girl.
One of these days, I am going to be one of those women who fixes her hair just so everyday and doesn't put her make-up on in the car on the way to work.
Ever since I was a little kid, I sleep best in a moving car. One of these days, I hope to have sufficient expendable income to buy a specially appointed car and then hire someone to drive me around in it all night to let me sleep. He will need a heavy coat because we will have to run the air conditioner full blast so I can snuggle up under a blanket. It occurred to me that a tour bus would be ideal for these purposes. Too bad I have a less than stellar singing voice.
I have recently fallen in love with the song I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) by Sandi Thom. I am listening to it over and over, diligently trying to find my happy place.
Wikipedia is like crack, without all the nasty side effects.
I need a new cell phone but I can't be bothered with doing the shopping and hoopla involved to get one.
One of these days, I want to pack a bag with sufficient clothes, knitting, etc. for a week or 10 days away from home and I want to drive to the airport and fly somewhere. I just want to walk in and look at all the departing flights and pick one. I'll just walk up to the ticket counter and plunk down the cash (or the credit card or traveler's checks - whatever, the payment method is irrelevant). I will call someone - my mother, probably - to let them know I am going and not to worry, I am fine, I will be back in 10 days. Then I will walk calmly to the (most likely) international terminal and I will wait for my plane and I will spontaneously go somewhere and have a wonderful time and then I will come home all happy and refreshed and brimming with fancy stories and hundreds of pictures. I will have plenty to blog about when I get back.
Lori says I have weird ambitions.
What do you want to do one of these days?
“The ninety and nine are with dreams content but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.” -Edgar Allan Poe