Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I just wanted to state for the record that I think there's something really obscene about how the foot of a toe-up sock dangling while you knit the leg looks.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

For Tay

Because you wanted proof.

Edit 5/31: For inquiring minds, my mother and I designed the dress (9 hours apart!) after the dresses Arwen wears in the Lord of the Rings movies (she's annoying, but her dresses are gorgeous!). Since I didn't really want to mess with silk velvet while afflicted with wedding brain, I asked my mother to make it. Besides, she's a better seamstress than I am.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Isn't it funny...

..how when you're happily hip-deep in knitting, with projects to finish and projects to start that all have deadlines, that you get caught up in completely non-knitting projects?

The weather is lovely today, so lovely that I began to think about pulling out and wearing one of my favorite medieval-styled gowns. It's (gosh!) nearly ten years old now, and much-worn and -loved. It's also probably not going to live another ten years, since it's made of handkerchief-weight linen, which is now starting to wear holes at some seams. Although it's starting to wear thin in the fabric, it's actually mostly intact. I've had to repair and alter it a few times - the different-colored gores and guards I put on it to honor my foster father, the patches where the sleeves started to shred in the wash, etc. Well, I pulled it out today, and put it on, and was startled to find that it no longer fits as it used to! I've added some curves here and there, but as recently as maybe a year ago it was loose in all those places still..

Well, I don't mind a few womanly curves here and there, and my husband sure doesn't, either. ;p So, I'm taking this as an opportunity to do some refurbishing I've been dreaming about for some time now. I've already taken off the sleeves and the band of black around the neck. My current plan is to drop the neckline a couple of inches (it was always maybe a bit too modest) and add new, shorter sleeves.. same weight linen, but yet another different color, probably navy (because that's the color of the scraps I saw while I was tooling around in those bits earlier). So the gown will end up faded orange (the original color), with faded black gores and new dark navy sleeves. I'm ok with that. It's meant to be comfortable, not fancy!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monk socks update

I spent several very intense hours yesterday working on these. I finished the foot, rounded the heel and am a couple inches up the leg of the first. I am still not a fan of toe-up, I think it"s to do with not knowing when I"ll end, which I have a much better grasp of top down. I also just plain like top-town construction better, especially in regards to heels (although I gather there are toe-up techniques for gussetted heels, I have not seen any of them). However, I am glad to have had this pair to work on to learn more.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Super Sox Beverage contest

Favorite beverage would be Jamba Juice, in one of 4 or 5 favorite flavors. Unless it's chilly and we're too poor for Jamba (which is most of the time), in which case it's hot tea (usually actually almost lukewarm by the time I'm done steeping it!).

Favorite snack is harder, because most of the things I like to snack on are either dusted with flavoring powder, or sticky, and therefore don't mix well with knitting. In general, my favorite snack is K.C. Masterpiece Lay's, but I also like more snooty chips.. such as the Cheddar Beer Kettle chips I have out as I type (which do not, by the way, go with Jamba Juice very well. *sigh*).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You guys are crazy!

So I'm knitting my friend a pair of socks; he's entering a Benedictine abbey, and I thought he needed some cool black socks to go with his "little black dress" as he calls it. After some consultation with measurements and such, I decided to make his socks toe-up; he has BIG feet and wants the tops pretty long, and I'm not sure how far the yarn I have will go. Plus, I wanted to learn the technique; I don't think I'll like it for the long run (I'm really not a huge fan of short rows), but I should a) have it in my arsenal, and b) know what I'm talking about when I bash it. ;p

I started the first one, and then decided I didn't like how the gauge was working out (as mentioned in previous posts, I'm experimenting with using 0s instead of 1s, and liking the fabric better overall), so I frogged what I had and restarted.

Version 1 was made with a provisional caston and short row toe; I didn't like it, because I split a lot of the initial stitches when I took out the crochet. In the meantime, the latest IK came to my mailbox, with a lovely article on toe-up socks. Ok, I thought, let's try the Eastern cast-on illustrated there, you've been wanting to try that for a couple years.

Now, one of the common reasons people state for preferring knitting socks toe-up is that that way they don't have to graft the toe. Evidently many knitters view grafting (or Kitchener stitch) much the way I view dentists: something to be avoided as much as humanly possible. Personally, I find it a interesting technical detail requiring attention, but I have a soothing rhythm that gets me through it quite happily - when I choose to graft my toes. As often as not, I simply run the end of my yarn through the final stitches a couple times, and then weave the end in.

Version 2 of my Monk Socks started with the aforementioned Eastern caston. I quickly noticed not only that I probably shouldn't have done it the first time in dim light and with black yarn, but also that it's more or less reverse Kitchener: in other words, you build the sock up from the squiggle of yarn that holds the ends shut when knitted from the top down. It was a huge pain in the *$$! I found it vastly more work to knit that little squiggle and slowly increase it to something resembling a toe than I have ever found it to graft, even in the days when I had to find the directions in my battered copy of Knitting Without Tears ever single time.

To make things even more exciting, naturally, since I didn't cast on at the top edge, I'll have to cast off there - and activity I dislike even more than making short rows!

It's a good thing I love my friend, or I'd be frogging again and working sensibly from the top down. ^_^

7 Random things

Peggy poked me for this. I don't think I know 7 people I'd tag for this; in fact, I don't think I know 1. I'll do the trivia anyway tho.

The Rules are:
1: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 7 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 7 people and include their names.
4: Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Seven Random Things:
1. I love candles - but mostly unscented ones, since most artificial scents make me sick.
2. Like Peggy, I want to become a midwife. (at least, I think I do...)
3. My favorite reading is Young Adult Fantasy - well, certain authors. And I collect them near-obsessively.
4. I don't think I can crochet worth beans, but I pick it up every now and then so I can make lace (like, Irish Crochet. You know, the really complicated stuff...).
5. I love fresh air, to the point that I have to have open windows even in the coldest part of winter - but I hate being cold, so I'll crank the heaters to compensate.
6. I saw the first Star Wars movie (the first one, not Episode I), when it first opened, at the tender age of 3 months.
7. Before I 'became a knitter', I always took a book with me when I went somewhere. Now I take both a book and my knitting - even to the knitting guild!

That was pretty tough. As I mentioned above, I'm not tagging anyone for this, since there's about only my brother I'd feel comfortable with, and he's not a knitter. So this meme won't spread further from me!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ok, so I'm joining the Super Sox Box Swap. Looks like fun, I've been looking to find a sock swap thing to join, I'm glad to have found one before the signup period was over!

Super Sox Box Swap Questionnaire:

What are your favorite colors? What colors make you cringe? Well, I tend to prefer blues, greens, purples and the like, but I sometimes find myself drawn to wierd oranges and even pinks sometimes, which then knit up into some of my favorite socks. So it all depends. If it's right, it's right!

Are you a new sock knitter? how long have you been knitting socks? I've been knitting socks since Stitches West '03, so a little over 4 years now.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? I usually prefer multicolored yarns, so that I don't get bored with what I'm seeing, but my current WIP, which I've ripped completely 3 times now, is a solid sort of slate blue (KnitPicks Gloss in Dusk), and I'm not bored with the color yet.. so again, it depends on the individual yarn and its color.

What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn? Wool. Merino, preferably. And I've noticed that I'm coming to detest nylon/wool or nylon/cotton/wool blends.

Where do you usually knit socks? Anywhere I have time, space, and light, from sitting at my computer to riding the bus to car trips to dinner at my in-law's. I find movies don't work, because I can't see my stitches!

Where do you usually carry/store small projects? When I was in grad school, I put my knitting (and tools) into a nifty project envelope I found at a stationery store, and put that into my backpack. Now I put the envelope into a bright red shoulder bag, which also often carries larger projects as well.

What are your favorite sock knitting patterns? Any favorite designers? The sock I've made the very most is the Waving Lace sock from an IK (I could look it up, but...). I've also made the Country Socks from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks prolly half a dozen times. I really like Nancy Bush. I don't always like her designs, but I want to own all of her sock books. I also want to meet a new favorite sock designer - I like the look of Cookie A.'s work, but my budget is too small to really look at her very seriously right now.

What are your favorite sock knitting techniques? Uh.. knit? Well, more seriously, I just recently learned how to make an eye of partridge heel, and I'm totally in love with it. I'm way more of a top-down person, although I do have a toe-up pair on the needles, because I figure I should learn it before I knock it! I love making lace socks, and I love tall socks (always hard, because I'm long and have long feet, and the skeins you can buy never have enough to make them...). I prefer patterns that involve ribbing of some sort.

What techniques would you like to try? Well, I loved the way Eunny's entrelac socks in the Spring 07 IK looked.. especially since I've been wanting to learn entrelac for some time, but have never been able to justify the yarn expense (cuz you have to do something with the learning piece!). I guess I'm more inerested in different patterns with techniques I know well, than in trying something different.

Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting? Both socks on the needles right now are on circs.. but that was because my favorite dpns were involved in something else when I cast on (and I don't have enough size 0 dpns any more for one of the projects!). I'm equally comfortable with 2 circs or 4-5 dpns.

What are some of your favorite yarns? My favoritest yarn I've worked with is Koigu. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn was interesting; I'm not happy about how the nylon is wearing, but I'd like to do more with it.

What yarn do you adore and yearn for? I'd absolutely LOVE to try STR!

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? Um.. I'd have to go cruising. I'd love to feel free to go browse Cookie A.'s collection; the few things of hers I've looked at are amazing!

Favorite kinds of needles? (brand, materials, straights, circs, etc.) The circs I use are 16" Addi Turbos (sizes 0 and 1). My favoritest dpns are Brittany in birch, the short ones that look like toothpicks (and break like them, too!). I have those in size 1; I don't know if they make 0s, that might be too small for the wood! I don't like metal dpns, I find them too heavy for the fabric, usually.

If you were a sepcific kind of yarn, what would you be? Oh, gosh, I don't know.. I don't think I've met enough yarns! Something snuggly and warm, probably a merino blended with alpaca or silk or something similarly pretty, but refined, not a bulky. I couldn't really name a particular yarn.

Do you have a favorite mail-able candy or snack? Sweet or salty? My favorite cracker is White Parmesan Cheez-its, which I don't get very often.

Do you collect anything? um... orts? stray scraps of paper? dust? Books, actually, I have a pretty decent library of my favorite sf authors, knitting references, and costuming references (one of my other geeks being the making and wearing of historical costumes).

What is your favorite scent? Lavender. But in pure, as essential oil, not artificially, and not usually mixed with anything. If it's a choice between an artificial or mixed lavender or nothing, I'll go for nothing!

Will you be celebrating a birthday, anniversary, etc. between now and the close of the swap? No.

What is your favorite animal? Real animal? Cats. Fantasy animal? Dragon.

Do you have pets? What are their names/species/ages? We have two cats: the elder (at about 6 years) is named Eevie; she's fat, white-and-black, and long-haired. The younger (just a year) is named Peppar, and is shorthaired and black.

Tell me the best quote you've ever heard or read. Ask me an easy one why don't you? I have half an MA in Lit, I've read so much... I think one of the few that consistently stays with me is Churchill's "The only thing we need fear is fear itself." I could dig up some others.. Eleanor Roosevelt, Oscar Wilde, etc., but the Churchill comes to me immediately. Edit: I was just reading Ina May Gaskin's Spiritual Midwifery, and the instant I read, "Truly caring for people cannot be a part time job," I made it my email sig, because that's my life.

What is your motto in life? Somewhere between "Life is good" and "One damn thing after another." I'm not much on one-liners; I think too much.

Do you have a wishlist? (Amazon, LYS, etc.) No, but I could make one if my buddy wants to see one!

Anything else you wish to share? Nothing I can think of off-hand; ask me!

Allergies? Nothing relevant to this, although I am sensitive to cigar and cigarette smoke.

Coffee? Tea? Tea! I like Earl Grey and Constant Comment. My auntie gave me this yummy French tea with flowers in it once...

Monday, May 07, 2007

*coff*. Some people's children...

Finally made another Magic28 sock yesterday; now for its mate. You know, I thought I had more worsted scraps than it seems I do?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Hydrogen Bomb of Enlightened Togetherness. What's yours?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

For a good time, go here. Don't blame me if you get your keyboard sticky.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I feel bad. Still only one pair of Magic 28s done. I'll try to rectify that today - no excuse when they're so easy! Except for the two other socks I have on needles, plus the Argosy, plus the BSJ, plus the tank... *sighs* So much to knit, so little time!