Sunday, July 29, 2007

Foot Fetishists Need Not Apply

A warning was posted earlier this week on a Ravelry discussion board regarding certain perved out foot fetishists on Flickr who have been, shall we say, enjoying all the lovely pics of the lady feet festooned with socks and sandals. I have to say that it gave me a chuckle. I mean now that I think of it, it seems so obvious--OF COURSE those shots of Jaywalkers-in-wedge-sandals are kinky to the max and worthy of libidinal investment! As it turns out we sock knitters have been unwittingly giving those Flickr foot enthusiasts the time of their lives. And since I subscribe to the 'if you're not hurting anybody/breaking any laws/corrupting minors', well, I guess I don't have a huge problem with it. But then again since I know that my Clydesdalesque clodhoppers aren't personally implicated in this affair, who am I to say?
More Socks
My FO of the day is another pair of Thujas. This whole worsted-weight-socks-on-large needles things has been a real gas, but I think I'm putting this pattern away for the time being. I've enjoyed it but it's time to move on. Thuja socks from Knitty in Artyarns Supermerino Specs: Pattern: Thuja from Knitty, Winter 05 Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino #107 , two skeins Needles; size 6 addi turbo Mods: Picot bind-off that to my mind looks semi-dorky Thuja detail Contest Results: I enjoyed the entries for the contest. Not only did I read some interesting anecdotes about gratitude and luck, I got to find out about several killer blogs that I had never seen before. Thank you all! According to the random number generator, i.e. Peeper-lou picking from a hat, fresh from her vacation in Ireland and Morocco, the winner of the Phildar mags is Teabird and the Bearfoot goes to Rosina! Two new faces round these parts, congrats to you both.

Tour de France roundup:
Sadly my project is doa. Let's just say that the Canal du Midi sock project never really got off the ground due to indecision and poor strategy. But this KAL was certainly one of the best ever--thanks Meg and Debby!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wollmeise: Du...Du Hast...Du Hast Mich!!

Cavalcade of Wollmeise!
Certainly a sign of middle age is developing a strong attachment to music that you have no business (at your age!) to be listening to. The DRMC's age inappropriate love object of choice is Maroon 5. At age 50, their fey pop stylings are an odd choice for him. My age inappropriate musical inspiration? None other than those forceful Teutonic metalmeisters Rammstein. My favorite song? Rosenrot, number 1 with a bullet. So when I logged on to the Wollmeise site, would there
really be any doubt in anyone's mind that I would immediately order the sock yarn of that very name? Plus four others? [From left to right you see Rosenrot, Frosch, Rhabarber, Poison #5 & Gewitterhimmel]. Yes, apparently I'm on an 'ordering yarn from Europe' kick (!?). After the brilliant Kauni-from-Denmark acquisition experience, I thought I'd go for broke. Seriously. I'm now broke, but it was so worth it. Isn't that what every fiendish addict secretly feels?

The site is set up in an informal way, your order is placed via an exchange of personal emails with the Wollmeise herself, and the yarn arrives in a lovely parcel. Claudia makes you feel like a friend to whom she just happens to be sending an exquisite gift. When the yarn arrives--a mere several days later, you feel as if you're opening a present of the most extraordinary kind. The utter richness of the colors cannot be overstated. Big, massive thumbs up for this gorgeous yarn and all around experience...if you're thinking of ordering, just do it. Wollmeise ist ausgezeitnicht!!

I do have a modest FO to display. I mean, not only do I buy yarn, I actually knit with it:
Thuja--finished in Artyarns Supermerino
Thuja sock  in Artyarns Supermerino

Pattern: Thuja socks from Knitty
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino, color # 149
Needles: Addi Turbo Size 7, Magic Loop
Mods: These were done a size 7 needle as I wanted a loose gauge for my FIL, who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and needs a little extra give in his socks. To accommodate for this I reduced the stitch count by 4. Artyarns Supermerino couldn't be more perfect--completely soft and beautiful in every way. The next pair will be done on size 6 needles, however.

Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful, perspicacious comments on the contest post. I have enjoyed reading every one of them, and promise to post the results this weekend...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Charmed Life and a contest!

Please don't think that based on the title of this post there is any Harry Potter content to be had on this blog. My use of the adjective charmed instead refers to the fact that in the last 72 hours I have won TWO contests! Both have provided me with luscious skeins of sock yarn from two lovely knitters. For giving a summer reading recommendation (Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You), Laura sent me my choice of Cider Moon Glacier. I chose 'Peas and Carrots', because it reminded me of a favorite saying at dinner time from my household c. 1974, "eat every carrot and pee/pea on your plate!":
Cider Moon Glacier sock yarn in "Peas and Carrots"

For sharing a traumatic travel story (mine involved a giant pot of honey dripping on hysterical passengers on a bus in Morocco.), Becky sent me two skeins of Koigu:
koigu p116
Before you make any hilarious 'coals to Newcastle remarks', please know that they are two skeins that I actually have never seen, do not own, and adore. Read all of the entries, they are hilarious. Faith should have won in my book, but I'm not complaining!

Speaking of contests, Jen has a fabulous one on her blog and let me just say right now that I am hoping that the third time will be a charm for me, because the prize is unbelievable...greed is so unattractive, isn't it?

In other contest related news, my brother was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics!!! He wrote a song for MadTv called 'Merry Ex-mas', sung by the très gyno composite Tori McLaughlin. We are all very excited for him, despite the fact that he is threatening to permanently change his name to Emmy® Nominated Bruce McCoy™...

All of this good luck has motivated me to share the love and run a little contest of my own. My project for the Tour de France kal is the très compliqué Nancy Bush Canal du Midi socks and earlier this week, after just not being satisfied with the yarn--Mountain Colors Bearfoot--I frogged the hell out these babies. Canal du Midi--ickI restarted the project with the yarn I should've been using all along, my beloved Louet Gems. Canal du Midi-loveThe stitch definition is so much better with this, I am so happy I bit the bullet on this one. There would have been a point in my knitting life that ripping wouldn't have even been an option. Can I just say how much I hate any mohair content in sock yarn? Blech. In any case, the contest:

Tell me how you are living a charmed (not necessarily knitting) life. How have you been lucky? What recent (not necessarily knitting) decisions have you made that you are happy about?

There will be two prizes for the randomly number generated winners, one will be
two French Phildar knitting and crochet mags, the other will be a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot. If you're on Ravelry, I'll even let you choose it from my stash. Post your answers here on or before Thursday, and good luck!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Major Realization

Sock-it-to-me Toe Up Chevron socks in Dream in Color Smooshy
I have a friend who is legendary for calling up her other friends with 'major realizations' that are in fact nothing of the sort. They are usually so painfully obvious that they don't even qualify as ideas that are vaguely new or interesting. "
Guess what, I realize that if I eat less junk food, I feel better". "Major realization: guys don't like it if you try to control them" and my personal favorite, "If I spent less money, I'd have more in my bank account at the end of the month". Well my days of bemused superiority are over, because I have my own major realization:

The more you work on multiple projects at once, the less you actually accomplish.

Yes, my non-stop knitting wonderland has come to a grinding halt due to lack of real progress on anything. Flitting from project to project may have its advantages in the natural world, but it spells nothing but disaster for a crafter. I thought project promiscuity was the way to go, but as it turns out, monogamy has its advantages. So yesterday I
buckled down (to resurrect a parent/teacher conference golden chestnut) and completed something. I forced myself to finish the Elann Toe-Up Chevron Socks and experienced a rush of adrenaline-induced satisfaction whilst moving these socks from the wip to finished category on Ravelry--don't tell me that that moment hasn't been a beacon for many of you while imagining actually finishing something!

Sock-it-to-me Toe Up Chevron socks in Dream in Color Smooshy
The Specs:
Pattern: Sock-it-to-me Toe-up Chevron sock pattern
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Cool Fire
Needles: Size 2 HiyaHiya circs, Magic Loop
Mods: none to speak of!

This was an enjoyable, easy-to-memorize pattern that I highly recommend. The Smooshy is a soft yarn that comes in a myriad of fantastic color ways, see 'Lipstick Lava' and 'Beach Fog' below. The yardage is truly impressive--450 yards, enough that I can now make Tween Thing a pair of socks from it. This was my first opportunity to use my new Chinese HiyaHiya needles. They are amazing. The cable is ultra-flexible and the joins rival those of Addi Turbos and Knitpicks. Check them out and they have the nice made in China price of $7.50. Yes, just one more way the Red Giant is kicking our flabby American asses, people.

Dream in Color 'Lipstick Lava'Dream in Color 'Beach Fog'

Speaking of Ravelry, (don't worry, I'm not going to drone on about how amazing it is because I could never do justice to how completely life-altering it is proving to be) my friend Dinty Moore--that is actually his name--sent me a link to a Techcrunch article about Ravelry. You have to read the piece as well as the reactions to believe it. The article talks about the popularity of the site in a '
knitting, who knew?' sort of way. The gearheads post many 'knitters use computers?' type of comments. These statements are not new to anyone here, but Casey aka Awesome Whiz behind Ravelry posts a great comment that gently puts the nerds in their place. Check it out!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Minnesota Nice

Borealis Yarns sock room
Before going over to the dark side of 'round the clock knitting (watch for a cavalcade of FOs later this week), my husband and I spent an all too short week in Minneapolis visiting my parents. I was supposed to have an awesome knit blogger meet-up with Ali of Skeins her Way, but Northworst Airlines had other ideas. Next time! Once we finally arrived, I went to what might be the most amazing (in terms of sock yarn) LYS ever--Borealis Yarns in St. Paul. Wow. This place blows doors off the competition in terms of the shear amount of sock yarn they have, indeed they have an entire room devoted only to that. And the employees are the embodiment of
Minnesota Nice. I picked up several skeins of Dream in Color Smooshy and am loving it. Pictured below is 'Cool Fire':
Dream in Color 'Cool Fire'

Star Valley
While away we also visited my very close friends Phil and Randy at their farm in southwest Wisconsin. My mother recently said that "...every bit of trouble Heather ever got into was with Phil". Yes, that's true, but we're all grown up now. He is one of the head honchos at Star Valley Flowers, a huge flower farm that specializes in flowering branches. If you watch Martha Stewart, he has been on several times (most recently in Feb.) forcing branches. He and his partner are getting an entire flock of sheep as well as a ram and, if you can believe it, a llama. This ornery bugger keeps a watch over the flock and will supposedly stomp any coyotes or wolves that try to make of with a ewe. Good luck guys!
Phil and future nemesis
Phil's future nemesis!

Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon
Besides visiting the farm and shopping, we did things that we can't do here in Pennsyltucky, like visit coffee shops with wi-fi. Note the Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon's unstoppable technique for reading in public--yes, he's wearing ear plugs. Could he be any more charming?

Mother in Green Gable
I do have one FO to show you, it's the Green Gable from several months ago. I decided to give it to my mom as the color was less than flattering on me. She's looking very regal for someone who has a Willy Warmer in her desk drawer, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Den of Knitting Iniquity!

For anyone that was wondering what would happen to me while those kiddie winkies were half a world away and the D.R.M.C. was in Durham, N.C. at the lab doing his proton routine, well, that mystery has been solved. Clearly when left to my own devices I cannot be trusted to keep the knitting within the boundaries of reason. No sooner had he turned the key in the ignition than I transformed our sweet little home into something entirely other: a Den of Knitting Iniquity.

Behold the dining room table: Dining room

The window sill:Window sill

The kitchen table: kitchen

People, none of these are even sanctioned craft areas. That's what the entire third floor is for! In the few short days that I have been alone my house has become a topographical representation of a twisted mind that thinks only of its one pleasure: Knitting. Yes Dark Master, I serve thee.

Of course part of being in maniacal knitting mode comes the inability to focus on one project at a time (hence the title of this blog). Foreseeing the potential problem that hours and hours of unstructured knitting could present, I have set forth a rigid schedule for myself as I know the importance of discipline:

The A.D.D. Knitter Schedule for July, 2007:
Embossed Leaves in Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn
6:30-8:30am: Embossed Leaves socks. SUCH an amazingly fun pattern and the Fleece Artist
merino sock yarn is maddeningly gorgeous. I need to limit my time with this project as if I had my druthers I'd only ever work on this, and that would be very undisciplined.

8:30-9:45am: Coffee, newspaper, shower (on an as needed basis).

Canal du Midi in Mountain Colors Bearfoot
9:45-noon: Canal du Midi socks, my Tour de France kal project. This is some high cognitive load knitting, so I must approach it during the late morning when I am in a state of peak mental alertness. I am very glad that I have until July 29th to finish these...I am doing these in Mountain Colors Bearfoot and am wishing that I would've opted for some Louet Gems, just something with a little more stitch definition. But I am only in the beginning stages of this project, so I will refrain from judgment.

noon-1:30pm: Lunch, errands, bloglines.

1:30-3:30pm: I do actual work for my day job!

3:30-5:00pm: Free knitting project time. This unscheduled time is an open period when I am free to work on an unspecified knitting project that might require extra attention.

5:00-6:00pm: Cocktail of choice (yes I drink alone, do you have a problem with that?) on front porch, savory snacks like Doodads
or Triscuits. Greet neighbors and people who are coming home from their strenuous work days.

6:00pm: Dinner. Alone.

6:15-8:00pm: Unspecified Internet time.

8:00-11:00pm: Work on Kauni sweater while I watch movie of my own choosing. When the DRMC is away, I am free to watch vapid Jennifer Aniston movies, y'all, and no one can criticize me for being hoodwinked by the culture industry. While the girls are away I am not required to watch anything with Corbin Bleu--even though he is a major doll with that impossibly adorable hair.

11:00pm: Lights out! I have a busy day ahead of me...

So there you have my strenuous drill. Lather, rinse, repeat!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gag gift. Literally.

Gag gift.

Last week I visited my freewheeling Unitarian parents in Minneapolis. Without fail going back to the house where I was born and spent my entire life propels me instantly back to my adolescence: I start raiding the fridge for ice cream, staying up late and talking on the phone, and rummaging through my parents' drawers. I'm not proud of these fiendish adolescent behaviors, I'm just trying to contextualize the photo pictured above. Now, I can safely say that I could have gone my entire life not knowing about this particular knitted garment and been perfectly happy. But no, my childish impulses had to get the best of me, and this is what I find. Luckily my mom is an open sort who gets a huge kick out of my 'hissy fits', and she was delighted to see my reaction of revulsion and disgust. She told me that it was a gag gift that someone had given my dad in the '70s. Gag gift indeed. Well luckily it's never too late for therapy, right?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Magical Mystery Tour

I have recently discussed my new found enthusiasm for Nancy Bush's
Knitting on the Road. Not only are the patterns in the book appealing, but the concept of the book is an intriguing one. Each pattern relates to a certain place that the author has visited. One of the most popular patterns in the book--Conwy-- happens to relate to a place I have a very strong personal attachment to as my grandparents lived there for my entire life and we visited them there nearly every summer.

For a time North Wales was the place to which English from Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire retired to--sort of like Arizona in the United States. After a life of frugality and saving, they bought a cottage in
Llandudno, the town next to Conwy. Their cottage was perched on top of a large hill from which you could see Conwy Castle, the inspiration for the Nancy Bush pattern. Their back garden opened onto a large green pasture (see A.D.D. Knitter, c.1970, pictured above) where local sheep grazed and shepherds trained their work dogs. Working on the pattern I thought about my grandparents and the magical place that they lived and enjoyed revisiting the time that my family spent with them.
Pattern: Conwy from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug
Needles: Size 2 circular
Mods: It seemed entirely appropriate to use a Welsh yarn for this project. Colinette Jitterbug is a dream to knit with--very springy à la STR. I modified the pattern and did it toe-up using the Magic Loop method as I have sworn off cuff-down forevah.

As children my brother and I spent many carefree hours playing behind my grandparents' cottage on the hill. When I was an older adolescent I would take my diary, climb up to the top which was craggy and steep, watch the clouds roll in across the bay and dream about my future. North Wales was pure magic, and as an adult I realize how fortunate I am to have been imprinted by my experiences there. I am curious: What special childhood places have left an indelible impression on you?