Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Am I the Last One Again?

Look at this gorgeous stuff! As an Edgar Allen Poe fan, I LOVE this yarn, and the Raven notes, and the gorgeous gothic pattern by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. This makes me look forward to the Raven series as well!

Received: October 29th 6pm Hawaii Time.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club Installment October 2007. Lenore colorway in STR Raven Series Lightweight Merino Superwash. Lenore pattern by the Yarn Harlot herself! This means top-down, DPNs (Although I don't think I have #1 DPNs...)

My wonderful DBF came home to me reading the Dyer Notes, and exclaimed, "Well? Aren't you going to show it to me?" He liked the color, hated the plastic spiders, and flipped through the pattern, saying, "It's really sexy. Although usually when I see someone taking photos of their feet it is you. And maybe that is why I think it is sexy?"
I love him!
(Yes, he is still knitting- working on a sock right now. And like the rest of us, he has begun aquiring a stash beyond his current conceivable projects. Come over to the dark side my sweet! Muh-ah-ha-HAH!)

The irony of a new October shipment?
This is what I just started on Saturday:
August shipment: Summer of Love Lace pattern in Flower Power. So I am a little behind? I just got email confirmation for the 2008 club as well...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finished! Flow Motion Socks

Began: Technically 10/17/07 (But that was after 2 false starts: One on a standard sock and once on this pattern.)
Complete: 10/27/07
Pattern: Flow Motion Socks. Cat Bordhi. Vogue Knitting Magazine Fall 2006. Pattern # 11. Errata on Cat Bordhi's site includes figure-8 cast on instead of provisional cast-on listed in magazine, along with more details on the sizing.
Yarn: SWTC Tofutsie Sock Yarn, 2 strands held together. Probably only like half of one skein, since I probably have enough left over for another pair of standard socks. Pink. This yarn is mostly wool with other fibers mixed in: Most noteable Chitlin, made from shrimp and crab shells. It is very soft. (Do you think it will turn red if boiled? hehehe!)
Needles: Clover Bamboo DPN. I started these on a US 3 3.25mm for an 8 stitch figur-8 cast on, then changed to a US4 3.5mm after I had 12 stitches on each needle. This was originally a mistake. After knitting a few rows I decided #3s were too small, and being too lazy to rip out, I just noted it and switched to a larger needle. I copied the mistake on the 2nd sock. Now that I look at it: I think it's a good mistake. You know how you always have to go back and tighten the stitches on a figure-8 cast on? Not so with smaller needles. Heh.
Needle Note: I had began a sock using #2s, and ripped them out for being too big. I then followed the pattern and used a size 6. They were too big as well.
Alterations: Besides the needle size, also used a figure-8 cast-on (only to discover that was what was intended by the designer). Otherwise: Followed pattern to the letter. Rare, I know.
Problems: On each sock I ended up with 2 extra stitches after the heel flap. I think it happened somewhere at the beginning of the heel flap and wasn't noticed until the end. As there is a "set-up row" before the ankle, I just fudged that until I had the right number of stitches. anyone else have this problem?
I love these socks! I love the lacy pattern and the color, but most of all I love how she skipped the usual side-gusset increase of stitches and instead increased right on top of the arch: A place I usually need room anyway! And such a gorgeous increase! Not just "M1 knit around" like a gusset, but a whole lace pattern! I am excited to get my hands on Cat Bordhi's new book (New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One), since I think she primarily explores alternative methods for the standard sock patterns.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Knitting is teaching me patience. Or at least it is distracting me from irritation. They may be the same thing.
I finished the first Flow Motion sock while stuck in traffic. (This time, I wasn't driving!) I am prone to motion-sickness, and fare better when I am the one in control of the vehicle. This means I hardly ever knit while I'm a passenger (nor can I read. Car trips as a kid were hell.) This weekend I flew over to Oahu for my Uncle's birthday party. I knit waiting at the gate, I knit on the airplane, I knit as a passenger in my Aunt's car as we were stuck in traffic on the North Shore (surf was nice: Saturday, full of surfers and cars, big enough for a nice ride and small enough for beginners.) I knit while I waited for other people to pack, and then I finally finished sock #1 while in line for gas at Costco.

A note about that:
I saw this great Paul Taylor Ballet once where he had a line of people waiting for something that was happening offstage. Each person in line reacted differently: There was the impatient one who yelled and pushed, the cutter, the person squashed up to the guy in front of him (had him at the supermarket yesterday), and the dreamer who stared into space while the gap in front of her grew. Paul Taylor had no knitter in the ballet.
Our car at the Costco Gas line was much the same: Dad was impatient and bitching at all the slow people in front of him, and inching up their tailpipes. Mom was concerned that the gas tank was on the wrong side, and the other lines were moving faster than ours. Uncle got out of the car, ran around it to spot the gas tank, then stopped traffic and waved us into another line. I knit. At the pump, everyone is screaming and rushing and the card machine won't work and the attendant is called... I bound off the last stitch and held it up... My Uncle thought it was cute.

I cast on for the second sock and knit on the plane and 2 hours at the gate. I didn't even mind that I had to wait so long at the gate. At least the airport wasn't in motion! Two places I did not knit: The birthday party, and in the airport security lines. I figured that waving pointy sticks under the noses of TSA agents was just asking for confiscation.

Thanks to Nartian for letting me know that the pattern in Vogue is erred, and Cat Bordhi has some errata listed on her website. I had already decided that the provisional cast-on toe made no sense and gone with a figure-8 instead. The foot measurements I guessed from my ripped-out version, and they are working pretty well. But I still don't know why I ended up with an extra 2 stitches after the heel flap. Whatever I did, at least I am consistent: The second sock also had an extra 2 stitches.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lost My Ability to Knit

I have three WIPs right now and I hate them all. Gauge is wrong on the Cromarty. Tilted Duster has huge batwings in the armpits. Fed up with these two, I cast on with some recently stashed Tofutsie yarn, planning to make some easy socks. I used pretty #2 Sox Stix from Lantern Moon that I had recently purchased on vacation.

They were huge. I ripped them, and wondered about how long it had been since I knit a sock with DPNs instead of 2 circulars. Do you think that made a difference? I used the same yarn again and started Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion Socks from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006 using #6's. I thought I was pretty good at socks by now, but they are also huge. Last night I threw the knitting. And I'm not talking Throwing vs. Picking: I threw the sock across the room. Then I threw the yarn: Both Skeins, one following the other. Then I threw the magazine. Followed by the tape measure. DBF cleaned them up this morning because I couldn't stand to see them.

I have never thrown knitting before. Cakes: Yes. I had a wonderful pastry mentor who taught me that sometimes, no matter how long you struggle with a cake, sometimes the more you mess with it the worse it gets. At those times, it is often better to cut your losses and start again. At that point, nothing is more satisfying than taking that cake, and all it's frustrations and hours of work and just hurling the sweet, sticky f**ker across a room (preferably into the trash can). In knitting I guess we call that "frogging", but somehow the creative-destruction of frogging isn't quite as satisfying as the violent hurling of a squish of cake and frosting.
See, I guess I thought I was pretty good at this knitting thing. Hubris! I felt it was a satisfying use of time. You use your mind and your hands, and something pretty happens. And I think maybe I was happy with how I was getting the socks to fit on my feet. I felt like I knew the size and curves of my feet pretty well, and when I was frustrated with being unable to fit the Tilted Duster to my body I turned back to the comfort of socks. "I can DO socks", I thought. It was like when I feel too fat to go clothes shopping, but shoes and bags are fair game?
And the Hubris of thinking I know what I am doing: When you get those polls or Memes that ask, "Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced knitter?" What do you answer? I would like to think I am beyond beginner: But I have had to take a step down recently, and come to terms with a few truths that land me smack in the beginner's camp:

  • I don't know how to fit my body. In fact, I don't truthfully even see my body correctly. Recently I learned what "long-waist", "short rise", and "rounded shoulders" mean. I hear that short-row-shaping will help me, but I have never done short-rows on my body (just like...sock heels and toes?) I also suspect raglan shaping won't look good on rounded shoulders + big bust. (Can anyone confirm that?)
  • The fit successes I have had are luck. My gauge swatch almost never translates to a large object, I have never even measured my foot or calculated my magic sock numbers or anything. In fact, the only place I ever really have measured is my bust, and since it is disproportionate, that almost always assures a mis-fit.
  • I have made myself only 3 sweaters, and they are all too big.

Does anyone have recommendations for books that deal with shaping and fitting and what shapes look good on what bodies? I plan on going back and reading all those sections in all the books I have. That is, after I frog this sock AGAIN.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Finished Vacation Scarf!

Pattern: Amy R. Singer's Montego Bay Scarf from Interweave Knits Summer 2007
Began: September 27 2007 on a plane to Wisconsin
Completed: October 4th, upon return.
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock Silkie in Lunasea: One Skein
Needles: 10.5 Boyle Circular

Pattern Changes: Used larger needles than called for: I wanted a more open look.
I knit away while on vacation until it was over 6 feet. Upon returning home, I measured the remaining yarn for the fringe (Wraps-Per-DVD-case) and realized I didn't have enough for the 200/12" pieces for the fringe. I only had enough for 88 pieces, or 44 per side. No matter, I didn't really want a huge fringe, prefering a longer scarf. I just divided the 88 evenly and made a fringe out of that. I braided 2 of them, and decided I didn't really like that so left the rest. A very fun pattern, easy to memorize, and great for a vacation project. Grew at a satisfying rate, and I was able, after awhile, to wear it as I knit (for warmth).
DBF also took me to Grafton Fibers again, where they were really wonderful and stayed open for us on a day they were usually closed. Got the following stash: (Note the 3 on the bottom of the photo belong to DBF. Also presented his grandbaby with the sweater I knit and the blanket he knit. (I shall find that photo of him in his new knitwear- super cute!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Who's Got a Button?

When I was little I used to like to play in my mother's sewing supplies: Bright ribbons and bobbins of wound thread, bits of fabric and buttons! Over years of sewing and mending, she had accumulated a large pile of buttons, which she stored in a Chock-O-Nuts coffee can which had been covered with contact paper. (We went through a period in the Seventies that included art projects of Contact Paper, tissue-paper mache, and crayons melted on an electric warming tray. I also recall something about shrinking styrofoam cups in the oven to make little leprechaun hats? Painted with green Tempura paint and adorned with a feather?) If I recall correctly, the coffee can of buttons was covered in a shiny gold foil and bright pink design remniscent of flocked wallpaper.

I remember how the plastic lid was slightly transparent, allowing a glimpse into the treasure below. I recall the sound of the buttons rattling in the can, and the distinct sensual pleasure of sinking my fingers deep into the plastic and metal buttons, like beach pebbles or pirate treasure.

She still has the buttons, although I was dissapointed to see that they are stored in a practical rubbermaid tub these days: The coffee can and it's bright contact-papered surface and plastic lid has apparently succumbed to the rust and wear of age.

Yesterday I dug through them, looking for ideas or treasures that can be used to close my in-progress tilted duster. These days the button collection includes less of the fun plastic children's buttons of the 70's, and more of those little envelopes of spare buttons from shirts and skirts, and buttons found in the dryer filter or laundry basket. They are mostly small: white, black, or pearly.

My mother pulled out a tiny daisy button, fingered it lovingly and said, "You had these on a little dress at some point." I remembered.

A few of the ones from my memory:

The daisy, the red smiley face, bright flowers, the white balls, the white one with the red rings... And one pulled off the couch: We all love that couch, and it has since been re-covered with a similar tweedy woven fabric, only this time less bright, less 70's, less cat-scratched, and somehow less familiar.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reasons the Harlot Should Come to Hawaii

A list for Jayme-the-wonder-publicist. (Aloha to all y'all who are following the link from Stephanie's blog!)

  1. Canadian winter. I hear it is cold. Grey. Miserable. You wouldn't want The Talent to get those winter blahs, would you?
  2. Careful reading of Stephanie's books reveals one skein of wool purchased in Hawaii, stashed as a travel memoir, and testament to the rarity and somewhat uselessness of wool in Hawaii. We wouldn't want that skein to get lonely, would we? Not when we have Hawaii Homegrown Wool Company for roving!
  3. Aloha Knitters Group: They meet on Oahu, have blogs, have a Ravelry group, and would love to host a Harlot party! Those of us on outer islands are obsessed enough to fly to Oahu, the "Gathering Place". They have bookstores there. Plenty of chairs, I am sure. If they don't have enough chairs, we can sit on the ground. It isn't like there is snow on the ground or anything!
  4. We are starved for attention. We just assume no one ever wants to come all the way out here to visit us. The truth is, we have one of the most beautiful States in the Union. Beaches, volcanos, mountains, jungles, cattle plains, even snow on the top of Mauna Kea. We love hosting guests. (I shouldn't really have to work this hard to sell it, right? I mean, it is HAWAII fergawdssakes!)
  5. Kona Coffee. Vats of it. You can go to where it is grown and roll around in the freshly plucked berries. You can tour coffee plantations and drink all the samples you want. We also have beer (Kona Brewing Company, Mehana Brewery, etc.) and copious vegetarian food including Macadamias, Guavas, Papayas, Cocoa Pods, Pineapple, coconut, taro, breadfruit...
  6. Flights are very reasonable, especially in the middle of winter from the West Coast. There aren't a ton of them, so they don't leave at horrid times in the morning, which would lessen the chances of needing to awaken at 3 in the morning. (And if they were early, see #5 above: KONA COFFEE. Did I mention the coffee?)
  7. Eyelash Yarn. Sold everywhere and used for those ubiquitous fuzzy leis. Save us. Seriously. We will fan you with banana leaves and leave you offerings of chocolate covered Kona coffee beans.
  8. I can promise you no snakes. I can't do anything about the spiders- sorry. However, I can promise that there are many people here with crazier, fuzzier, bigger, frizzier hair than you. Humidity + Ocean water (currently the ocean is 80 degrees Fahrenheit) means big hair is the trend.
  9. Hawaii State Washcloths! How shall you ever complete your collection unless we lure you here! Think how exotic they would be! (Eyelash yarn? Heh.)
  10. A chance to actually find out if that knitted bikini holds up in warm ocean water. Imagine the blogging possibilities!
  11. Finally: (Jayme... don't you get to come with on at least some of the tour dates? Choose wisely. That's all I'm saying.)
Stephanie: Thank you for your words and your community-building spirit. Knitters who stop by: This list is for you as well. Come visit us! Bring your knitting!