Monday, December 29, 2008

Persephone Gloves: the continued saga


This is a better picture of the Persephone gloves I finished up earlier this month-- cable-wise, at the least. Just sayin.'

Friday, December 19, 2008

FO: Persephone

I don't know if this is what you'd call a very good shot of the cables, but it was the best I was able to do with dark yarn and limited lighting-- one of the few downsides of winter. I suppose I could invest in a better camera. Or I could just wait for sunny days. Not that I'm likely to get either soon, what with the streets being so icy that I would probably not survive a walk to the camera shop.

So the photo's a little quirky, but I'm sharing it anyway, because I adore these gloves.


Pattern: Persephone Cable Fingerless Mitts
Designer: SmarieK
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, heathered blue
Needles: US 2

The cable pattern was easy to memorize but unique enough to still be a fun knit, and visually interesting besides. I did not actually follow the glove pattern: I winged that as I went, as I'm wont to do, just because the formatting of the pattern was a little overly long and I didn't want to waste paper. But it has more or less the same effect, just a different style of gusset.

The Ultra Alpaca Fine was also a pleasure to work with. It had a wonderful texture and a durability that many non-sock laceweights lack, but which is perfectly suited to gloves.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FO: Celtic Cable

It's been dark around here. Dark, dark, dark-- although I expect it will be lightening at least a little bit, soon, what with the incoming solstice.

It's also been cold around here, or at least cold as passes for cold in the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest. There's frost sometimes. And cold fog. And people wear water-repudiating gear. Usually I would be a muddle of jackets and scarves by now, but my body has taken an abrupt swerve toward being overheated all the time. So all my winterweight sweaters and scarves are sitting in a corner, being much neglected.

Including this one.


Pattern: Celtic Cable Neckwarmer
Designer: Lindsay Henricks
Origin: Storm Moon Knits
Yarn: Lush (Classic Elite)
Needles: US 6

It is, sadly, a bit too snug around the neck for me to wear about right now. But it's also soft, warm, and the cable zigged and zagged while being knit without actually taking much of my concentration, allowing me to do other things simultaneously. It's quite a cute pattern, and the chart's well-executed. The yarn will eventually, with substantial petting, nearly full itself, which is exactly what I want it to do (it gets even softer then).

Sooner or later I'll feel cold. And then I can wear it.

The buttons are etched faux mother-of-pearl. Unfortunately I can't seem to get a shot of them that does justice, but they were a better fit than the dark, hand-carved scrap wood ones I'd planned on using. I'm going to snip one off and resew it-- the row of buttons is a bit crooked, but I don't think you can tell here. Don't say anything if you can. I already know.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

It's not that I haven't been knitting; it's that I've been knitting sweaters and want pictures of them being modeled on someone, and my friends all are a)too tall to fit my knits and b)bad at photography. This leaves me to my own terrible devices until I decide to knit something quick and simple.


Like this.

Pattern: Shag
Designer: Lynne Barr
Source: Knitting New Scarves (free pattern from book)
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Chunky, color 4, 3 skeins
Needles: 10.5 US

Trust me when I say that this was a quick and easy project. It's just garter rectangles, knit all in one piece with stitches picked up. I knit it during a movie marathon this weekend with friends, after a few froggings to get the rectangles to the desirable width and height. The yarn, being so bulky, is very warm-- a good January/February scarf. I think I should probably find a button and do a little buttonhole loop to keep it tied shut, as it is too short to wrap.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FO: Buttoned Necklet

Knit Buttoned Necklet
Designer: Lee Burrows
Needles: US 6
Yarn: Manos Silk Garden

My mom came to visit last week, and we stopped in at the store I work at on our way to dinner (delicious Thai food). I should know better than to propagate this sort of behavior, because one of the shop samples immediately caught her eye, and then she found some yarn to match it... and here's the result.


It's an eensy little thing, about 20" or fifty cm long. It still needs buttons, but I'm leaving those to my mother.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FO: Kiehkuralapaset


Kiehkuralapaset/Swirly Mittens (chart)
Designer: AnneL
Origin: Kultalankaa/Golden Thread
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in Old Rose and Black (1 skein each)
Needles: US2, dpns

The Technical
The charts for this were nice and clear; the rest of it is my own number crunching. I worked a row in Old Rose for the cast-on before switching to black for the ribbing, and switched again to Old Rose for the bind-off. For the thumb gussets, I worked m1 increases in alternating colors until they reached the height I wanted, then bound off and continued. It makes for a very sturdy gusset, a little like knit armor. I worked different segments of the chart on each glove, so the spirals are 100% different from each other.

The Fluff
My knitting is not always practical. I mean, sure, socks and sweaters are imminently useful things. Even gag gifts have a use... the expression I'm awarded after handing someone a bacon scarf can keep me coasting happily for days-- it's like therapy in a tiny knitted package. kier1

Occasionally I want to do things that don't have uses; that's to say, I will love every moment of knitting them but never, ever wear them, and never, ever gift them, because I know no one who will wear them. This means these knits will lurk in my closet, which I'm rather afraid of because that will soon mean knitted items will lurk in the 250 or so square feet of the rest of my living space. Elaborate traditional raglans are one of them. Scratchy colorwork gloves in Latvian or Scandinavian traditions are another one... a major one. They're tiny, right? So knitting lots of them can't do anyone harm-- they weigh a lot less than a sweater!

Except that I live in a temperate climate. And even when it is ostensibly cold out, I stick to gloves.

These are my compromise. They fulfilled that colorwork itch (I try to imagine what kind of colorwork I'd wear on a regular basis and my horrible sense of color combos comes up with... grey on black?). I cut them off just at the knuckles instead of knitting up the entire chart for a traditional mitten shape, so they're perfect for drab but not harsh days, and for typing in on very cold days. The chart is awesome-- kind of punkish modern in these colors. Chic. And I tailored them so they fit my hands like, well, gloves.

I think they and I will get along well.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FO: Manos, Scarf of Cables


Pattern: Cabled Lace Scarf
Designer: Meg White
Origin: The Kninja
Yarn: Manos Silk Blend, black, two skeins
Needles: US 10

This is actually a coworker's design and a shop pattern. It knit up quickly -over the course of two days, and I wasn't particularly trying- and the reversible cables have a great dimensional vitality that I think is emphasized by the lacy lattices in-between. The final dimensions are 8 inches by about 6 feet. It needs blocking but I'm reluctant to squish the cables.

Yes, the scarf is hanging out between the legs of a sculptural support. I was surprised I managed to pull off such a well-detailed indoor photo; I absolutely could not do that in my own apartment.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

FO: Flight Mitts

snowflakes1 I was down in California scoping out art schools for the sister with my family a couple weeks ago, and decided I needed a good quite autumnal project for the flight. Unfortunately, I forgot that teeny tiny keychain pocket knives are apparently flight risks.* They really push you to mail those things home for $12. I checked my luggage instead so I didn't have to lose the sentimental value of a $8 scissors/emery board/tweezers set my grandpa had given me.

This means, of course, that I got impatient on the plane and ended up working the fingers of the gloves by splitting the yarn with my teeth (classy). Ultimately I redid all the fingers on that one glove, because it turns out that plastic needles are inadequate for weaving in fingering weight ends. Which I suspected from the outset, but I'd already finished my book because I read to quickly.

The pattern was entirely worthwhile, though. Straightforward, easily memorized lace pattern and nice gussets. I worked it up exactly as written.

Pattern: Snowflake Fingerless Gloves
Designer: Chris O'Brien
Yarn: Panda Silk, black
Needles: US1s, dpns

*I keep trying to picture this and fail; every time I visualize attacking some unfortunate flight attendant with the knife attachment, it bends in half on contact and then she flings me over the refreshment cart and proceeds to batter me with cans of soda. My house keys are more threatening.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hello, September


I stepped outside this morning to take these pictures and the sky was evenly grey from one end of the horizon to the other-- that kind of pale mist grey that probably won't rain on you, but just might. Nothing irregular, but there's been a definite autumn twinge in the air for the past week, even when it's sunny and technically warm out. Fall's coming in a little quicker than normal.

I love this weather. I do feel like I didn't get a summer, though; I barely made use of my fan at all, and it's probably safe to pack it into its box for the year and pull out the space heater. My apartment walls didn't lose their natural cool until nearly the end of August.

I can't say whether Frida Kahlo* would have embraced this weather as much as I do, but she certainly posed patiently while I attached clothes pins to her and found a good backdrop. I was feeling headachy yesterday so I stayed at home and cut some cheap chiyogami paper into strips that I glued and sealed onto the pins. I might go find a varnish or lacquer later, but the craftstore I went to didn't have anything I was certain wouldn't discolor the paper.

*If you get a chance, go see the exhibit of her work that's traveling around right now. It's a good sampling of her art and shows a lot of the mixed media effects that you can't see in reproductions-- she often painted fresco style or on metal, and occasionally made frames part of her paintings as well. It's also accompanied by some comprehensive photo galleries about her life and her acquaintances.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Things As They Are

I do not seem to be doing enough with this blog. This is by and large because I've been busy with things of little concern. To keep you distracted from that, let me share this with you:


It's a little needle felting kit on sale at the store I work at; locally made and perhaps a little overpriced for what it contains, but with very clear photographic instructions. I think I'll be making this one up for my dad (it was either the penguin or the hedgehogs).

Now I am off to find out what is burning in my oven and finish unpacking all my luggage (friends, if ever traveling with me, book a separate flight so you don't have to hang around while my baggage is searched. Again. Just in case.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

FO: Noemi


It's the middle of August and we've had a stretch of hot weather and thunder-storms ... but all I want to do is knit scarves. I had designated this sweater season, to see if I could finish a last summer garment and start on a couple warmer tops for the winter, but all that sweater yarn is now hiding out in my closet so I don't cannibalize it for enormous winter wraps. I've been dreaming of thick winter scarves made from 1400 or so yards of worsted weight, and there isn't much out there to convince me that this is not a good idea.

So I'm writing this sunburnt from an afternoon spent paddle-boating on the lake, and a night spent watching trashy movies and thunderstorms. My apartment thinks it's an oven, which means I knit all the more because I don't have the concentration ability for anything else when I'm inside it (perhaps I should head out to a cafe so I can get something useful done).

The scarf is "Noemi," from the first Norah Gaughan collection. I knit it on US 9s with three skeins of Cash Vero in a cranberry color-- about 300 yds, which makes for a 7 foot scarf in this lace pattern. The booklet has some very nice charts in it, and this was one of them. I still need to block it, but that's going to wait until it's cooler.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Salon des Refuses...

impressionists_3Truth be told, I'm actually quite happy with these socks. It took a bit of a voyage getting to this point, though: I knit the first sock on US1s, which turned out to make the heel so tight I could barely force it up to my ankles. Then, after working it again on US2s I found that my picot bind-off was too tight, so I undid it, worked a sewn bind-off, and then sewed it down to form the picot. Then, of course, the office cat had a great deal to say about how I was photographing them, and would usually interfere so much as to completely obscure the socks, until I posed in such a way that he was satisfied.

But, you know. Overall, these are fairly awesome little summer socks.

Pattern: Impressionist Socks
Designer: Closca de nou
Yarn: Regia Mosaik Color
Needles: US2, double-points

Friday, July 18, 2008

FO: Lace Ribbon Scarf


Lace Ribbon Scarf
Designer: Veronik Avery
Source: Knitty
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug colorway "Velvet Bilberry," 320 yards
Length: about 4 feet

First of all, a correction: the yarn used is a deep purple verging on black. I couldn't get a good shot of the scarf that was also color-accurate, and I didn't want to bother for a long time in Photoshop.

I love this pattern; I'd do it again, longer, and perhaps a little wider as well. It's mindless lace, perfect for working on while, well, working, and it has a great dramatic result.

I am unlikely to buy Jitterbug again without unskeining and combing over the entire skein carefully. It's not a horrendous yarn, but for a yarn meant to have a smooth consistency it had far too many slubs and, also, the connection of a different -and very strikingly different- dye lot. I don't think the difference is visible in the picture; it's more striking when the color is accurate. It also didn't feel like it would hold up to feet (I'd initially planned to knit a pair of socks from it). These problems are common in the yarn and I'd heard about them before but conveniently forgot about it when I saw the colorway. I like the scarf quite well regardless, but if I ever want consistency from something, Jitterbug's clearly not the way to go.

C'est la vie, and a rather lovely life it is, too.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My favorite top...


Pattern: Green Gables
Designers: Sarah & Rachel (
Yarn: Hempathy
Needles: US6 and 4

I'm delighted by the way this knit up. It was more or less a mindless knit, kept alongside my laptop while I read or worked on other things. In the way of things, this means it took me longer to finish than it otherwise might; I tend to prioritize more exciting knits. But it's a perfect look for me, which I'll some day prove when I can pin someone down to give me a photo shoot.

Modifications: I knit for the size 40-43, but had to rip back to a slightly smaller size because I would have swum in it at the 43-inch mark. I left off the ribbing on the bottom edge in the interest of a stockinette roll, to mimic the slight roll on the back of the neck.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maneki Neko

One of my blogging motifs, I know, is the amount of time I spend vexing about how I knit pranks and gifts and end up feeling that in nine out of ten instances, my effort was expected, or not appreciated, or, hell, not even understood. Another motif I'm sure everyone easily recognizes is how I then belabor the point.

neko_front_miniBut -you don't have to hold your breath!- this is not one of those cases. This is a gift for someone I know I can knit for.

This doesn't mean he's easy to knit for, mind. Not a scarf guy. Not a hat man. Socks and sweaters? I'm too lazy. This leaves me two options: fingerless gloves and cat-themed miscellany. And they have been appreciated, by which I mean worn out and worn some more, and he gets the time, and the effort, and thinks that that I did it in the first place is worth compliments years later.

The look on his face when I handed him this was deeply cheering. He's waiting to find out whether he's gotten into grad school, and the results are coming in right around his birthday, so I figure it was a gift of necessity. I don't believe in luck as a force, but well wishes are well wishes.

The pattern, by the way, is by Justine Turner, and can be found here (pdf). I worked it on 10s with bulky Armytage, carried with Merino Stripes for the stripes along the back. The accents are done in some FrogTree Alpaca (ears), Sunday Best by Reynolds (collar), and a blue single ply (fish) I think was put out by Karabella yarns but lost the label since it was scrap for a hat for my mother a few years back. The face is embroidered with cotton crochet thread. I made a few changes to the pattern, knitting the crown of the head differently, and knitting the pink panels on the ears.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

When There Are Just Too Many Choices In Life

I am the kind of person who gets annoyed in grocery stores because she's been asked to pick up a bag of chips for a party, and then soon after finds herself standing in an aisle lined wall to wall with not only twelve different brands but a hundred different flavors among them. Often this results in panic and departure without chips, followed by a trip to the tiniest gas station convenience store known in the hope that they will only have two or three varieties.

I used to think that meant I had some ingrained taboo against variety, but that's actually rather far from the case. In fact, if I don't get enough of it, I get a little rabid and start developing nervous twitches and a sudden yen to travel miles on foot.

This has been damaging my creative life recently. I multi-task as a matter of due course, so it's pretty typical for me to have two or three knitting projects and two or three active fiction pieces going all at once, and maybe a linoleum block print under the knife, too. My hobbies abound, but I'm used to it, and once one of the stories/knitting projects hit critical mass, I stop working on the others until I've finished that one.

Not right now. Oh god, not right now. My life has been stalled by too many options. My knitting queue is all a tangle. Example: the yarn I wanted to use for something of my own design would look simply splendid in another pattern, unlike the yarn that I was actually going to use in that other pattern, which is for all other practical reasons perfectly good yarn well-suited to that design, but it's just not striking me the right way even though it did two months ago when I chose it after three weeks of deliberations for that design. And, of course, that yarn would be sadly inadequate in the design I have planned. Now, take that example and multiply it by three different sweaters.

To top it off, this problem is so painfully irrelevant in the long or short of things that it's embarrassing just to admit to it.

But! I keep knitting.


Pattern: Clover
Designer: Kate Blackburn
Source: The Inside Loop
Yarn: Happy Feet
Needles: US1s

A quick and pleasant knit. I didn't have any conflicts about this one, except now that it's done, and I'm no longer certain it should be the appointed partner sock to the Fruitloops sock I finished in antique denim Claudia handpaint.

That said, it's a good pattern and was a fun knit. It should not be blamed for my indecision.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summery Scarves

My mother is chronically cold. Always, always, always cold. Half the time I think I've inherited her base temperature, but fortunately for the rest of the time I seem to get along fairly well in normal people clothing. For the best, because otherwise I would have to knit summer scarves for two people.


Half a Haruha

Pattern: Haruha
Designer: Tikru
Source: Made by Myself
Yarn: Frog Tree Pima Cotton/Silk
Needles: US6/4mm

Since the original pattern called for fingering weight, and the yarn I used is most definitely not, I reduced the stitch pattern to just one repetition. It's a short thing, too-- only wraps around one. Anathema to my idea of a scarf, but, well, if it makes mum happy...

Edited to add: err, and here's the direct link to the English version of the pattern. Despite perusing the blog occasionally, I'd managed to blank that it's largely in Finnish.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Fall

The weekend before last, I went with a couple friends to see The Fall, which is beautiful, sometimes slightly hair-raising, and highly recommendable.

Today, I carried home a bag full of pale periwinkle/lavender Kathmandu Aran. The two are quite linked.

That said, late spring still thinks it's winter here. "June-uary" is being bandied about, and the description is not terribly far off. Right now it's dark out for the time of year (it should be light until nearly 10) and the wind's blowing hard outside the windows. I did manage to take some pictures Saturday, though, so I'd like to introduce you to the esteemed:


Pattern: Fruit Loops
Designer: Kristi Geraci
Yarn: Claudia Handpaint Fingering, Antique Jeans
Needles: US1, dpns

Right now this sock is all alone in the world. I'm feeling a little out of balance right now, so I'm going to "match" it with a sock done in a similar lace pattern but in very fiery red Happy Feet. That said, this was a nice, straight-forward, not too fussy pattern. The Claudia fuzzed a little on me, but not badly (although I had to reinforce a couple segments due to negligence). I really like the look of this sock, although the stitch pattern was repetitive enough that I probably won't knit it again, unlike, say, Fire-starter or Mad Color Weave.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

March (May) of the socks

My plans to switch from machine-knit to mismatched handmade socks is in high gear. I now have four pairs.

They machine wash well so far, and I'm wearing them two days a week. Upsides: they wear well. Downsides: I suspect they will be too hot in summer, and unfortunately my danskos, the best for showing them off, are also prone to snagging fabric on their buckles. This bothered me less when it happened to machine-knit socks.


Pattern: Mad Color Weave
Designer: Tina Lorin
Source: Sock Madness
Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles: US1s, double-points

I tried out a new toe, with fewer decreases-- it's comfortable, but very boxy. Otherwise I followed the pattern more or less exactly. Here's a better shot of the texture: madweave1

In additional knitterly news, I've finished my first sock from Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways to Sock Knitting." It's a Cables & Corrugations toe-up sock knit in Maizy. I'm also working on a Fruit Loop, from the most recent knitty.

I was meaning to ramble at length about my notions-related purchase at the Ave Fair in Seattle, but I'm feeling a tad laconic, so I think I will save that for another day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Annie the Abstinence-Only Advocate


Annie the Abstinence-Only Advocate, accompanied by knit condoms
Pattern: Condom Critter
Designer: Nicole Lohr
Source: Naughty Needles
Materials: handspun, denim scraps, screws and nuts (hee!), misc. yarn

Pattern: Olde Reliable
Designer: Robyn Wade
Source: AntiCraft
Materials: misc. yarn

Annie was an abstinence advocate who toured schools in 13 contiguous US states, teaching her unique perspective on genitalia until she came to the realization that students didn't listen all that well to her. Why, most of them participated in pre-marital chicanery like masturbating and, gasp, dry-humping. So Annie went on a rampage against the rambunctuous future breeders of America, starting a misinformation campaign by handing out knitted condoms in schoolyards. Due to the lack of proper sex-ed, some students fell for it. There are now warrants out for her arrest.

Annie is on the lamb, residing at the house of a friend of mine, pretending to be a birthday gift.

I decided that would be the appropriate home for her after having earlier received the book Naughty Needles. There were "hints" written on strips of paper over a couple pages (apparently I am also supposed to show up at that door in a "cave girl" bikini).

I really ought to start investing less time into my gag gifts. This one-upped the bacon scarf of times past; not only did I knit, stuff, and sew up Annie, but I spun up the yarn I knit her with.

Yet, somehow it's all worth it when that condom critter ends up seated on a fireplace mantle, glaring down at us with gleaming metal eyes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Look! New Pose!


Pattern by Stephanie van der Linden
Needles: US2, double-points
Yarn: Maizy, by Crystal Palace (color= kelp grey)
Source: Socken-Kreativ-Liste (yahoo groups)

New pose, same doorframe. My grand intention this morning was to go out and accomplish a garden photoshoot before work; the abundance of rain changed my mind. There is no way I was going to lay my Mirabella Cardigan out in the grass in that (pictures of that will come... later). Likewise, I wasn't about to step out in socks.

This gorgeous pattern is from the Socken-Kreativ-Liste on Yahoo Groups. Admittedly, I lost my copy of the pattern some time after turning the heel, and decided to wing it from there, which is a shame because my version leaves out a very nice detailing on the top of the foot about an inch from the toes. It knit up very, very quickly-- I finished the bulk of the foot of the sock at a housewarming party. It's a little snug through the heel but fits well once I get the cuff over that unavoidable protruding bone.

Well, I can wait awhile and knit another.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two isn't a trend


pattern by Deb Barnhill
needles: US1, double-points
yarn: Happy Feet
source: Knitty

From this, you might deduce that:

a)I am left-footed, and
b)I am too lazy to venture any further than the stairs of my building to take pictures in the sunlight

You'd be mostly right, only it's not so much laziness as that my feet hurt too much to put shoes on. It took two weeks to finish this sock, which I suppose is not terribly long given that I've spent the majority of that time marathon-working on two sweaters.

Anyway. Coupling is a cute pattern; I like the way it turned out but would probably do it with a solid yarn next time. Haha, I said do it. The cuff's on the short side but mostly so it will match up with another, similarly colored sock I have lying about. I'm trying a little match-making, see, because this coupling, like all my other socks, is a bachelorette.

/pathetic humor

The cuff also has a ruffle. I didn't have a tapestry needle on hand to work an elastic sewn bind-off, so I worked *k1, yo, p1, yo across one round and then bound off. It's a perfect fit in the foot, but I'm afraid the ankle's going to be a bit baggy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Pattern: Firestarter
Designer: Yarnissima
Source: Ravelry
Yarn: Trekking XXL, color lost along with the ballband.

Just one sock here. I have an aversion to duplicates, and after knitting Hedera (yes, I did finish them) awhile back and realizing that I derived absolutely no joy from the entire second sock, it dawned on me that... well, I'm never going to knit a matching pair of socks again. Many things in life demand tedium, and socks shouldn't.

So singletons it is.

That aside, I'm delighted with this sock. Yarnissima's kits would be very tempting to me if not for my relatively low income+ the international shipping rate + the exchange rate.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ce n'est pas une pipe


It's not knitting, either, but I like it. Pendant made from one sliced shell (species?), about three inches of wire, one misc. small watch part/gear, created pearl (black), and of course various clasps, rings, and cord for the necklace itself. I keep thinking I should make more jewelry; maybe this is a start (and then, I suppose, I will rename my blog something like "The Pinko Bitch Tinkers...")

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sweet Alyssum


Sweet Alyssum shawlette, pattern by Lisa Dykstra.

This is for the black dress that, given the rate at which my shopping efforts have gone, I am probably going to need to make myself. I have a lack of formal wear which is becoming inconvenient. Friends of mine, I am placing a mandatory moratorium on weddings, funerals (especially funerals), graduations, costume masquerades, or anything fancy you set your minds to.

That said, it is very, very nice to not only have my computer running in top shape again, but also to have all my photo-editing programs and drivers back in place. Huzzah.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Overdone is In Vogue

I've had a lot to do, and not that much time for blogging, nor much good weather for taking photos (which is as well, because I'm inching through several sweaters, and progress of an inch or two a day really isn't worth recording).

But we got the Spring issue of Vogue Knitting in at the shop earlier this week, and I feel the need to publicly announce, for the record, that I don't understand it.

Well, no. I understand that Vogue is all about a lifestyle; what I don't have is a frame of reference to understand (by which I mean appreciate) that lifestyle. Most of it is a class thing, and the rest of it is an East Coast thing. Not being of a certain class native to the original 13 colonies, I simply can't make myself enthusiastic about themes of summer houses, prep schools, and polo.

Therefore, I don't buy Vogue. I still glance at it every season, because I've become something of a fashion geek (an inattentive fashion geek), but I don't care for the themes, and there's not much in there that I'd knit for myself.

But I'm feeling horribly, wretchedly, delightfully catty about this season's themes. No pictures, I'm afraid (that would probably involve numerous copyrights, and I'm lazy), but you can get a gander here.

Where should I start expressing my distaste? I found the entire issue overly sentimental and tacky, except for a couple pieces I found WASPishly bland. But the "African safari" theme in the Ecologique session took the cake. Vogue's tendency of cramming its black and asian models into "exotic" themes lacks imagination, is often trite, and has a veneer of 19th century World Fair.* But you have to look at the eyes of the model in the faux-African textile tank. I love her expression-- as she stares, her eyes might as well flash semaphore for "You're doing this without any hint of irony, aren't you?" at the editorial staff.

note: I will admit that I gravitate toward Vladimir Teriokhin and Norah Gaughan as usual, but it took a couple times flipping through the zine before the safari theme dimmed enough from my mind for me to appreciate them.

*They don't always do this, but if there's a bit of Orientalism in the magazine, you can bet there's an Asian woman wearing it. Likewise if they're pulling out the big-game hunting guns.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Aune, Completed

Maybe, at some point, I'll get pictures of me wearing this-- but that will have to wait until I have an ally-in-photography. I'm sure I've blogged about this before, but it took me awhile to get the gumption to not only knit but crochet together all the hexagons, so I'll go on at length about it; it's the Aune Skirt from Norah Gaughan's first collection. As usual for her knits, I worked it about two sizes smaller than my actual size, and on smaller needles.


I also shortened it by one tier of hexagons, because the original length would have fallen to mid-calf on me. All well and good, really, and that would suit the style of the skirt generally... but skirts that length have the downside of making me look about half my height. So I avoided that cruel fate.

It's good to have a major project ready to wear now; I'm working on three at the moment, and it feels like none of them are getting done.


Now, due to some foolishness precipitated by a half-off fire sale at Hilltop in the Queen Anne district, I can now add Matilda Jane (by Ysolda Teague) to my queue.

I am never going to a 50% sale again. Ever. Crowd around and let me tell you why.

My reason for going was innocent: walking around Queen Anne sounded like a lovely thing to do on a Saturday morning before the shopping crowds woke up. Nice yarn at a sweater-worthy prices sounded like a perk, too. So I showed up on foot at 10:20, expecting to get a cup of coffee and promenade around the area a few times.

Except there was a line stretching down the front stairs. Strange. Well, I got into line, pulled out a sock, and remarked to the woman nearest me, "I hadn't expected this."

"Neither did I," she said. Apparently no one in the entire line had expected it, even when it stretched around the block. Seeing trendy 20-somethings queue up with matrons (dowdy and not) and the rare man caused traffic some confusion. We were asked if Barrack Obama was showing up in town-- in jest, but we were still asked. A fire engine slowed down, rolled down its window, and a guy called out, "Is this a fire sale?"

So the shop opened at 11. I was near the front of the line, so I got in quickly, and realized only a little while afterward that, well... there was no line control. EVERYONE was coming in.

By the time I realized this, there wasn't an escape route. So I stuck with the crowd. I couldn't get into parts of the store because they were blocked off by bodies, and I couldn't get out because, well, people were getting in. I did find things on my shopping list (the afore-mentioned yarn for Matilda Jane), but that was entirely by accident (the finding, not the list-- I always have a list of what projects I want to make, the yarns they call for and the gauge and composition in case I find a replacement at a good price), and then I found my way into the check out line, which took a good half hour to move through.

In short, it was completely, ravingly mad in there. The joy of it, I suppose, is how nice people were. There was no use of elbows (there was pushing, but that's because we were packed in like pickles), and everyone was astoundingly polite: "I'm so sorry I bumped you," "I'm not really feeling you up," "Oh, that wasn't your foot, was it?" "You dropped this!" "Oh, here, if you're looking for another skein in this color..." were just a few of the intentions directed at me. At one point, as I was maneuvering through a door, a woman turned around, smiled at me, and showed off the Shibui she'd found. I'm glad there was so much good will in there.

I think I was probably the only asshole there, and that's only by virtue of me being direct. I'd see someone in the crowd and say, "Hey! I want to be where you are. Should we switch places?" and so on and so forth, and briefly there was a chant following me from one end of the main room to the other: "There she goes! There she goes!"

And there it is. Madness.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Which I Throw a Tizzy

I majored in history. It's something I take very seriously. This means that I occasionally do peculiar things: I study old furnaces and watches in search of date of manufacture; I often laugh aloud during dramatic moments in historical films; I've made the not-to-be-repeated error of discussing trench warfare in the bedroom (boys do not find this as charming as discussions of the shenanigans of French urban explorers). Also, lazy research can send me into a blind fury.

Please, behold this religious image of the Virgin Mary knitting:


Now, please examine the following text from the introduction of The Knitting Man(ual), by Kristin Spurkland:

"People across Europe were employed in the knitting cottage industry, primarily outputting socks and stockings for the wealthy classes. (para) Surprisingly, these early knitting professionals were unquestionably men. In the beginning, knitting was a strictly male endeavor, and remained so until the Industrial Revolution mechanized production. While both men and women followed knitting into the factories, hand-knitting at home began its transformation into a feminine art..."

I call bullshit. Moreover, I call bullshit on five key points:

Firstly, the Virgin is not admiring her boyfriend's knitting in the above-featured 15th century altarpiece panel by the Master Bertram. The creation of this painting rather pre-dates the Industrial Revolution, as do many other depictions of women knitting.

Secondly, both men and women have knit since, well, the dawn of knitting, although who knit what and why varies depending on era and country. Sailors and goatherds, and others who spent a lot of time waiting and watching (soldiers in the trenches I'm not supposed to talk about) often knit. As did women who had a lot of other things to do with their time, but also needed to clothe their families.

Thirdly, the author seems to have confused cottage industries with knitting guilds, which for several centuries (like most official professions) employed only men. Cottage industry often employed whole families; everyone from toddlers old enough to sort colored thread and buttons to grandparents would take part.

Fourthly, a case study: the early Lowell's textile mills in America. When the mills first started, they tried to hire almost exclusively young, single women from rural backgrounds. The idea is that women could be paid less than men, and women isolated from their families were less likely to make a fuss about wages or hours. And, when mills were rare and the wages comparatively high, it's true that they didn't. That didn't last long. I encourage you to google Lowell's mill women. When men and women did work in factories, the work tended to be gender segregated.

Fifthly... "began its transformation into a feminine art"?! Not only is that patently inaccurate, but it paints a very Victorian middle-upper upper-class picture, with women only knitting christening gowns and dainty gloves... because knitting practical garments like socks would indicate that one needed to work for a living. Spurkland's introduction ignores the realities of knitting, and trivializes women's history with it in the interest of making it appealing to men again.

Pant. Pant. Sigh.

By contrast, review the following brief excerpt from Michael del Vecchio's introduction to Knitting With Balls:

"People knit because they were poor (and cold) and the politics of gender had little to do with it."

What a nice and concise way to briefly acknowledge the nature of knitting without needed to give people a wildly inaccurate history lesson. I approve.

And to think, this came about because I wanted to tell people about some of the devices I like to see in knitting books. Maybe later.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sore Fingers

I've been terrible with holiday gifts. I mean this is the most generic way possible, as, having no holidays of my own, my giftgiving season started this year around Eid and detoured through Christmas and Solstice until it seemed silly to hand people packages any longer. Except, well, I actually feel obligated to hand a few other people gifts.
It took me far too long to put these together. The wire bits required maybe five minutes of my time apiece... but finding the right leather crimps? Choosing lobster claw clasps over whatever those other ones are called?

Now that they're finally finished, of course, they're just taking up space on my table. I should rectify that.

PS: my measuring tape decided it didn't really like hiding in my bed anyway, and has now come out and agreed to continue being of good use.

Friday, February 1, 2008

One of those days...

Ever had one of those days where you just... lose something? Where you know it's not really gone gone, but it's skittered off to some hidey-hole where you won't find it until you stop searching?

Uh-huh. I'm having one of them right now. There's a pristine little gauge swatch on my ironing board as we speak, but... my stupid friggin' measuring tape is off having a night on the town (I assume).

Measuring tape, if you're out there-- whatever I said, I didn't mean it. Just come back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some Days, You Need a Very Big Scarf

It's not precisely the season for outdoor photo shoots. It was just a couple degrees above freezing when I went out to take this shot (in, because I am practical, my leaky shoes and no sweater to speak of), and starting to rain (or is it sleet? not heavily enough for me to decide), and of course, being just shy of 4:30, the sun is well convinced that I can't see it through the cloud cover. It's mostly right.

But really, that just means it's the perfect weather for wearing this.


I don't know what possessed me. The thing is four balls of Merino Stripes (the grey and charcoal colorway, I think 04, but I managed to lose all four wrappers), knit diagonally, and just shy of 9 feet long. If I throw it around my neck and don't wrap it anywhere, the edges drag on the ground. Honestly, there's only about a month out of the year when I can pretend to wear it. Mostly it wears me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

At the Gates of Madness


I've posted pictures of this before; it's the most popular pattern I've written for the yarn store. I've taught approximately six classes based around it (it teaches knitting on two circs, cables, kitchener, thumb gussets...) in the 5 months I've worked there. One of the women who took the class a couple months ago came in today, and told me that she's knitted seven pairs of these since the class.

This leaves me, which I think perhaps may be understandable, feeling validated.

Seven pairs.

Speaking of the shop, yarn has been awfully exciting lately. We donated a bunch of yarn we've stopped carrying, and brought in loads new more stuff... several series of Sublime yarns, Queensland Kathmandu Aran (a lovely tweed, soft enough I might even knit with it), Happy Feet, some new Jo Sharp yarns, some crimped baby camel... we also (finally) got in the 01 (white) color of Urban Silk. I'd been hankering after that since Skacel gave us samples of it, but it was on back-order for a long while. I've had a pair of gloves stewing in the back of my mind for months, and they will presumably be quickly reproduced in that.

Sock yarn has been too enchanting to me recently. I haven't been buying, but ah, the temptation when we got in some bamboo-silk-superwash blends. Somehow this sock lust has percolated from the back of my mind into one little, obstinate thought: what law mandates I knit socks in pairs? What's wrong with one-offs, as long as I have enough one-offs to alternate on both feet?

This way lies madness.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Bacon Scramble


Yes, bacon.*

It's an inexcusably bad shot, but my excuse -nonetheless- is that it's very hard to get an indoor shot of a slice of seven-foot long scarf, low on fat.**

Anyway. The dirty details: the scarf was crocheted from three skeins of Berocco Ultra Alpaca (2 reds, one white), plus some odds and ends of off-white I had lying around, on a size K hook. Nice and loose, but not too lacy. A gift for a close friend who cannot eat pork products for religious reasons. I couldn't explain all the elaborate in-jokes that have touched on this if I tried, but I'll give you this: I picked up the hook when he sent me a link to an image of bacon chocolate chip cookies.

I'm the kind of person who firmly believes in discordant taste combinations. But bacon chocolate chip cookies are -and I'm the official word on this, honest- wrong.

He gave me a package containing the communist party. And I mean that as literally as you can possibly imagine.

*Oh god oh god please ignore the rust splotch on my cast-iron crepe pan. It's gone now, and I've re-oiled the thing and hung it on its normal lonely hook in my kitchen.

**Someone mentioned in the comments that, if they crocheted, they'd be all over a bacon scarf. I didn't write up a chart, but after the fact I discovered a slice of bacon chart for knit or crochet. I hope that sets you on your bacony way.