Monday, October 30, 2006


Well, here are mom's socks, on my feet:

I used, in total, slightly less than two balls of Louisa Harding Kimono Angora in color #4, and somewhat less than 3 balls of Elann's Baby Cashmere in "Claret," knit at 6 stitches per inch on size 3 double-points.

The pattern comes from the sock book shaped like a sock; I don't remember what the pattern is called, as I have already returned the book ton its owner :-).

It's got a subtle windowpane texture which is lost, visually, in the variegated yarn, but trust me: it looks nice in 3D.

The Kimono Angora is 70% angora, 25% wool, 5% nylon; the Baby Cashmere is 60% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, and 10% cashmere. I guess that makes these socks 35% angora, 30% baby alpaca, 27.5% wool, 5% cashmere, and 2.5% nylon. Easily the most luxurious socks I have ever had on my feet. I love them, and I have been well-bitten by the sock bug. I think I will make socks for my dad for Christmas, too, in 100% cashmere, as he is a cashmere junkie.

I love the Kimono Angora, by the way: it is soft and fuzzy as angora should be, but it doesn't have the shedding I associate with angora and, most importantly, it doesn't itch. I'm not joking: I stuck my swatch inside my bra for a few hours and didn't notice it at all. Normally if I put something with angora next to my skin, it itches like crazy. This is a great tragedy for me, as I adore angora. But I can wear Kimono Angora! I only wish it weren't so darned expensive; I'd make a sweater out of it.

Maybe I can afford a Kimono Angora bikini :-).

Friday, October 27, 2006


I am not a big fan of knitted lace. I think it's a bit clunky, and not at all airy or ethereal, as lace should be. This is too bad, because knitting lace is actually kind of fun, what little I've done of it. I like yarnovers. I like it better than I like cables, which require too much fiddling around with a little cable needle that I'm always misplacing.

So, not being a fan of knitted lace, I have completely ignored most knitted lace patterns I've seen. Yeah, I thought, it would be fun, but it's ugly.

Then I saw this.

Now, I know that I am by no means the first or the only person to be impressed by the Yarn Harlot. I am very late to the party. And much, much praise has been heaped on this shawl, and justly so. It's stunning. It is so stunning that it has inspired in me a fierce desire to knit some lace.

Here's the problem: I have no use for a shawl. Lace knitters seem to knit lots and lots of shawls, and for the most part when I admire a piece of lace knitting, it is usually a shawl. They're pretty amazing. But my life is not a shawl-wearing life. I can barely keep the pashmina I have in my office to guard against the arctic air conditioning off of the floor long enough that I don't roll my chair over it more than three times a day. If I knit a shawl, it will lie folded up in my closet, to be admired on occasion but never worn. And even though that is the fate of a lot of my knitting, I just can't accept starting out a project with that understanding in mind. That's a lot of knitting for art's sake.

Unfortunately, last weekend I bought a sweater at a thrift store in a lovely cream 66% wool / 34% silk blend. As is my wont, I am the process of unraveling this beauty to have a sweater's worth of yarn for a mere $4.50. The yarn is thinner than I normally go for--it looks like sport or even fingering weight--and so, naturally, it has become the focus of my lace hunger.

And so, with my better judgment in full protest, I have been looking high and low for a top with a lace that is sufficiently pretty to feed my idea of what lace should be, yet not so over-the-top that it looks ridiculous, and have been having real problems. For a while, it looked like I might win the battle, Finicky Taste uniting with Better Judgment (not to mention a few things like WIP Baby Dress and WIP Mom's Socks) to fight off the lace urge long enough to let it die, as so many of my knitting urges do. Then, I flipped through the Winter Vogue Knitting again, and came upon this:

Mind you, I have flipped through this issue several times already, and never paused on this. It's ridiculously girly, and the stupid model's pose makes it impossible to tell what it looks like. But, but...look at that sleeve! I love the lace, and I love the way the end of the sleeve flares, and I love, love, love the geometric hem of the sleeve, which kind of reins in the floral fantasy. As for the rest of the thing....well. I like the ruffled neckline well enough (I actually am in a ruffle period in my life right now. I know: I need help), though it's a bit aggressive for my taste, and, frankly, combined with the lace it's just a little too much. I don't like the length--I'm not sure I'll have enough yarn for it, and I think it will look dumb.

But the major problem is, am I going to wear a lace top? In white, no less? Am I that princessy? Is there any way I could conceivably modify this that it would be wearable? Do I care?

Or, to put it more simply...what do I knit for?

Friday, October 20, 2006


As promised, some pictures.

Here is my sweetie's hat.

Yes, that's "hat," not "hats." It's a Mets hat on one side, and, when you turn it inside-out, it's a Rangers hat.

I am, I must admit, insanely proud of this hat. I made it up myself. I charted the design, I made the pom-poms. I basically figured out intarsia and duplicate stitching as I went along. Probably if I had it to do again, I would do things differently, and better, but I love this nonetheless.

I only hope it not to big for my sweetie's tiny pinhead :-).

Here is a pic of my mom's sock:

I knitted this with a strand of Elann's Baby Cashmere and a strand Louisa Harding Kimono Angora, held together. It is beautifully fuzzy and soft, and very warm: the perfect sleeping sock. Not bad fo my first attempt at sock-making, I must admit. And socks are the perfect portable kntting: I knitted the bulk of this one on a plane.

Now, I just have to finish the second one before Christmas!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Traveling and knitting

I realize I have been remiss in updating this blog, but I have been traveling (and knitting).

I am home now, with considerable progress made on:

1) Mom's socks: I have finished one sock, and it's soft and beautiful and I am totally in love with it.

2) My boyfriend's hat: the deadline for this is Nov. 10, but happily I am nearly done. It looks pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself, despite the challenges of the Rangers logo. I just have a lot of duplicate-stitch embroidery to do, and the finishing, which will be the tricky part. But I think I may even be done with this tonight!

3) A Lizard Ridge afghan: this is a pattern in the new knitty. I love it, even though I don't really like Noro Kureyon, and even though I flat-out hate afghans. Yet I could not resist this. It's pretty, each block is small and quick to knit, and it's interesting. I am almost done with the second of 22 blocks. I have no idea what I am going to do with it when it's done: I really dislike afghans.

The Somewhat Cowl and the mittens are stalled, alas, as I try to meet deadlines. In the twinkle-in-the-eye stage: a baby dress and booties for a friend having a baby in December, and a baby blanket for my boyfriend's brother, whose wife is having a baby in February.

Pictures to come!