Friday, January 19, 2007

I can knit in the dark

My friend Brian has sent me a pair of these.

They are knitting needles, size 10.5, with lighted tips for knitting in dim light. They're hilarious. when I called him to thank him, he related the following story:

I was walking down the street and passed by a store and there were two women in the window knitting with them, so I decided I had to buy them for you.

I went in [I ask, "Was it a yarn store?"] -- yes, it was a yarn store -- and said I wanted to buy a pair for my friend who was a knitter.

She asked me, "What gauge does she knit at?"

I said, "Um, I don't know....."

She said, "Well, what does she like to knit?"

I said, "Ummm...she knit me a scarf, once...." [this was the scarf I knitted in grad school, fifteen years ago, the very first thing I ever knit]

She rolled her eyes, and sighed very loudly. I said, "I am just going to choose them by the color I like, and you can tell me if it's an unreasonable size."

And that's what he did. They're a nice purple. Isn't he sweet?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Weekend of knitting

It's MLKJ weekend, so I have celebrated by knitting.

I have finished the first of my toe-up socks:

It fits my boyfriend perfectly, so I am pretty proud of myself. Now...must fight Second Sock Syndrome!

I also took a break from the sock to knit this:

This is knit from an Insubordiknit Monster Hat kit. The handspun yarn is beautiful and soft, and I really enjoyed working with it.

Being a Monster Hat kit, it came with this lovely little monster patch:

(It has an open skull)

But, once I got the hat knit, the monster didn't really seem to fit it. I will have to use him for something else.

The hat is topless because I have a big head, and I like hats to cover my ears. I knew, therefore, that I would not have enough yarn for a full coverage hat, so I designed this, which I suppose technically is more of a headband. I like this design, though, because it lets me keep my ponytail neat:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More socks

Here are better pictures of the black socks.

I am knitting these out of Smiley's cashmere, using a pattern I've cobbled together myself. I am using Judy's magic cast-on, wiseneedle's proportions and heel, and a mistake rib pattern on the top of the instep and aound the leg.

Here's a close-up of the cast-on:

This is my first pair of toe-up socks, and I chose this cast-on because, I have to admit, I have a block against provisional cast-ons. They seem fussy to me, for some reason. Anyway, this is gloriously simple, and produces, with little or no effort, a totally seamless toe. Since I hate seaming and grafting, I love the idea of totally seamless socks!

The heel I am less happy with:

You can't really see it here, but it looks crummy. I don't like having to pick up two wraps on the same stitch. Sometime I could only get one. This is definitely too fussy and annoying for me. I am debating whether to switch to a Sherman heel on the second sock, or do this one again for the sake of making them identical.

I love the mistake rib--it's pretty, but not too feminine since I am making these for my sweetie. I like the strong vertical lines, and also the 3-D aspect--the ridges stick out nicely. On the top of the instep, I used 27 stitches in order to have both edges of the pattern match; one I got the leg, I added a stitch so that the leg is 56 stitches around. I knit the stockingnette sole on 6s and the mistake rib on 4s because the rib comes in a wider stitch gauge. But it also comes in at a shorter row gauge, so I had to throw in a couple makeup rows. On the leg, I'm on 4s the whole way around, but I am thinking of gradually increasing my needle size as I go up to incorporate some easy leg shaping. We'll see!

We'll also see if I can repeat all of this improvisation on the second sock...because I'm not taking notes :-).

Monday, January 08, 2007


I just want to take a moment to crow:

Crow about what?

The sock, which I am making toe-up with a fabulous magic cast-on? The fact that I've designed the thing myself, and it looks mighty nice?

No. That will be later (with a better picture).

I'll give you a hint. See that manuscript under the sock? It's a manuscript I am reading for work. It's quite an interesting one, about dreams, and the place of the image in religion (it argues that Judeo-Christian religion is a religion of the word). I am about 110 pages in.

No, I didn't write this manuscript (good grief).

No, I didn't acquire it; I am not its editor.

Give up?

I have figured out how to read while knitting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An Ode to Honeycrisps

Warning: no knitting content here!

Let me first say: I don't like apples. I never have. And I've given them a very good chance: I've tried Granny Smiths, MacIntoshes, Galas, Fujis, Cortlandts, Macouns, Braeburns. And some are better than others. Some are passable enough that I've thought, "This isn't bad. Maybe I'll buy more." So I buy two or three more, I eat one, and the rest sit in my fridge for months until I finally give up and throw them away. I eat apples, when I eat them, because they're good for me. Not because I like them. They are never sweet enough, juicy enough, crisp enough. They are always just a little too mealy, with a skin that turns to leather in my mouth and refuses to be swallowed no matter how long I chew. I don't like apples.

Sometimes, I bake them in pies, and then they are yummy.

Then, one day last month, I was in the grocery store, once again eyeing the apples and thinking, "It's winter. It's apples or nothing. Try a new one. Maybe, just maybe, this time, you'll find it." I saw a kind I'd never seen before, a Honeycrisp. Its name suggested sweetness and crispness, two things I feel are lacking in every apple I've ever tried. I know apple names mean nothing (Red Delicious, anyone?), but I bought a couple. Why not.

I took them home. I dutifully ate one.

I loved it. It is everything I've always wanted in an apple--sweet, crispy, and so juicy you have to suck on it a little when you bite it, or juice might run down your arm. It is the first and only apple I have ever eaten as a treat. I take one to work and I eat it at 10:30 because I can't wait 'til lunch. You know how diet gurus are always telling you to eat apples when you want something crisp--like potato chips--or sweet? I've always thought that people who advise this must hate food. They must never have eaten a potato chip in their lives.

Maybe they've been eating Honeycrisps.

Alas, they are hard to find. When I ran back to the store to buy more, they were gone. I've since found more at the farmer's market (I bought four. Then I went back and bought five), but that's a bit of a trek. Then, tonight I found some at another grocery store, after visiting three other stores in vain. I grabbed seven before they disappear again.

I'm obsessed. If you see some when you're out shopping, buy them. Eat one, and send the rest to me (kidding).

(Kind of.)

Fickleness, thy name is Knitter

Well, small knitted gifts are past, and I am back to thinking about sweaters.

No, I am not working on either of my two sweater WIPs. Yes, this is the beginning of an entirely new sweater. I am fickle. On the bright side, though, it's a true stash buster, using Berroco Pleasure, an angora blend yarn I've had for some time, awaiting the right project. That project is this:

From the Spring/Summer 2005 Vogue Knitting, a pattern by Norah Gaughan, who always has interesting designs. I fell in love with the construction of this--the lace strip comes down one side of the opening, turns at the bottom, and comes back up the other side. The sweater is therefore closed at the bottom--it is not a cardigan.

I have a weakness for unusual design--this summer I made a Roundabout Tank top from Gaughan's book KNITTING NATURE, which was essentially a strip that wrapped around the body. Not the most flattering thing, but the construction was extremely cool.

In other news, my boyfriend has requested a pair of socks. I've knitted him things (hats) before, of course, but never at his request. I'm pretty pleased that he likes my knitting enough to ask for something, and I am busily planning the socks. I think I will try making this pair toe-up, which will require my learning a provisional cast-on.

I will get back to the Kool-Aid sweater eventually--right now it's winter, though, and even though it's been remarkably warm so far this season, I am hankering for a nice fuzzy sweater. Which I will probably not finish until July :-).