31 January 2006


oooooh! late night splurging, but it's not what you think. I resisted the urge to buy kidsilk haze to make Aimee from Vintage Knits (still debating a color, and really, I should finish one project before I start another and I just ordered yarn for the hourglass sweater); I resisted the urge to buy Koigu, despite finding about fifteen shades of it that I love; instead, I did a little internet surfing and purchased two skeins of Socks that Rock. My excuse? Everyone's doing it and I'm a sucker for peer pressure. And I figure that will give me something to look forward to when I'm done with socks for Melanie and Sara. Then I have two pairs of totally awesome selfish socks for me!

I took a break from socks today and worked on my shrug. I'll post pictures tomorrow if I can manage. I just got accross the back to the other arm and am plugging away, ready to start decreasing. I want to finish it to wear this weekend... it's been a long time since I've made myself something and I feel like I need a treat :)

And thanks to everyone for all the positive feedback on my jaywalkers -- it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (much like my socks!).

Lastly, because I don't like to post without a photo:

This weekend, my friends and I headed down to Hiltons, Virginia for the memorial service for Janette Carter at the Carter Family Fold. If you don't know about Janette or the Carter Family, you should check them out. The Carter Family are generally considered to the be the "first family" of country music and, well, they're amazing. Janette died last weekend... it's the end of an era, really. While we were visiting/filming at the Fold, we spent the night at my friend's parents house in Jonesboro, Tennesee. They have a llama and some sheep. Let me tell you, if I were a llama, I would choose to hang out in a field with a view like this one. It's amazing.

30 January 2006


So, despite the lack of sun, here are the finished Jaywalkers #2:

Pattern: Jaywalker Socks
Yarn: Knitpicks Sock Garden "Geranium"
Needles: some metal dpn, US 2
Started: uhhh... December 24, 2005
Finished: January 28, 2006 (with some other stuff in between)

Notes: I did the same with these that I did with pair #1 -- I sized down the pattern to account for gauge issues.

I love these socks. There are no words... Pair #1 was ok... I wasn't crazy about the "chrismas" effect of the reds and greens together -- I would have liked them better if the greens had pooled and striped with the greens and the reds had pooled and striped with the reds. But these -- these are beautiful. I love the picks against the reds, the bright stripe of green in them, the way they pooled, everything! I'm so selfish, I want to keep them for myself. Look how good they look with my crocs (my measure of a good sock is how good they look in my crocs...):

Sigh... they will look good my mom's crocs, though. And I've got two more pairs of promised socks before I can even think about making a pair for myself. I'm excited to move on from Knitpicks sock yarn. I do love it -- it's so soft and knits really well -- but right now I'm falling deeply in love with the colors of Koigu. I think when I'm done with all of my promised socks, I will splurge and make myself a pair out of koigu. Any suggestions on a place where I can mail order with out it costing an arm and a leg?

28 January 2006


Just before I had to get ready to leave the house (and just before I finished Jaywalker #2!), there was a knock on my door. This is what was there:

Yay! Yarn for Sara's purple socks... these were to be Jaywalker #3, but I might be Jaywalker-ed out. I need to finish the Elfine socks before I start any others, but in the meantime, I'm shopping for new sock patterns...

I also ordered myself some new circulars -- trying Addi Turbos...

And Vintage Knits, which I have been eyeing regularly online and finally decided to just buy. I'm so excited about so many patterns in there... I don't know where to start.

Ok. I'm gonna be late. I'll post pictures of the finished Jaywalker #2 when I get home tomorrow.

let there be light...

And the sun shines again! wooo hooo! And just in time for a driving adventure to the Carter Family Fold this afternoon. Janette Carter (daughter of country music icons A.P. and Sara Carter) passed away last weekend, and they are having a memorial service of sorts this weekend. I'm heading down with some filmmakers from Appalshop to watch/help them document it. Really, I'm just so excited to get out of the house and on the road.

It also seemed like a good time to take some progress shots.

This one is a little shadowy... oh well. I really wanted to finish this last night. I just couldn't do it. I was so tired and my neck still hurt from Wednesday and I just threw in the towel and decided to lie on the couch and watch Ice Diaries instead. I'm on a mission to just get through these socks so I can get on to some other stuff. I'm never promising so many people socks for Christmas again. But... that's not to say I'm not enjoying it. Look at that color!
I really like the way the green/pink pooled. It gives it a neat shadowy effect. More importantly, my mom loves it... I never would have thought. I initially picked out much more muted colors for her -- mauves and greys and pale, heathered greens. But she saw me knitting this one before Christmas and fell in love.

I'm on the verge of making a knitpicks order for yarn to make the Hourglass sweater for my friend Melissa. My friends and I don't really do birthday presents... we do "no occasion presents" -- when you see something for someone that you think they would like, you buy it and gift it, even if it is eight months after your birthday. But Melissa just turned 27 on the 24th and this year, I felt like I wanted to give her something. Meliss is one of those people who truly appreciate handknitted things. Every time I've given her something, she has ooohed and aaaahed and worn it until it can be worn no more. It makes me want to knit more things for her. And the hourglass sweater is totally her style, especially the slight flash-dance tendencies of the neckline (Melissa loves flashdance. I found out over New Years that she knows all the words to the flashdance song. She is the only person I know who knows them). Making this sweater for her also solves my recent dillema -- I want to knit sweaters all the time, but I have too many of my own. Now I can have the satisfaction of knitting the sweater and the satisfaction of giving a very nice gift to someone else. I'm pretty excited about it and I think I'm going to make this project my "during the Olympics" knit. Lots of stst, knitting in the round (I've never knit a sweater not in the round... maybe that should be my next project)... it should be a pretty easy in-front-of-the-tv knit.

To close... every day when I walk to my mailbox, I wish I had my camera to take a picture of the McClure river, which runs through my backyard. It doesn't matter if it is sunny or cloudy, raining or snowing, it always looks beautiful. Today, I remembered.

My camera is definitely freaking out a bit because of all the light... I didn't notice until now how saturated this photo is around the tree line. The sky is really a deep cerulean today... oh well. Another shot of the hillside:

Same saturation problems, but you get the idea... (that's my driveway in the foreground). It's so amazing here... even in the dead of winter, it's beautiful.

26 January 2006


I just finished watching a very intense documentary called "Stranger with a Camera." It's a film generally about Hugh O'Connor, a Canadian filmmaker who came down to eastern Kentucky (just over the border from me) in the late 60's to film footage for a documentary series called US. While there, he filmed a family living in a house they rented from a local man, Hobart Ison. To make a long story disturbingly short, Ison found out about the filming, came down to tell them to get off his land, and Hugh O'Connor ended up dead. It was pretty highly publicized at the time and still gets mentioned from time to time in books on Appalachia and ethnography texts (my advisor even warned me of this kind of thing when I came down here). The movie itself is more directly about representation and the dillema of the documentarian, particularly those who come from this area and then turn the camera back on their own community. I've been wanting to watch this film for a long time, particularly because I encorporate film in my own work and partly because I have begun to feel the discomfort attempting to represent a community of which I am not immediately a member. Although I live here, and have been living here for the last three months, although I know many people know and the woman at the gas station calls me "baby" when I fill up my truck, although the guys at my local jam session greet me with warm smiles and encouragement when I show up there every week, I have been hesitant to bring my minidisc recorder or my (still or motion) cameras. No, I'm not worried I'm going to get shot. And that wasn't really the point of the film today -- what worries me is the line between sensationalism and romanticism and the comfortable (and ethnical) margin that lies between them, sometimes so difficult to find. I am a central Virginian, transplanted to Brooklyn, transplanted to Philadelphia, transplanted to the mountains of Appalachian Virginia, trying to find a way to make this experience make sense to people who haave never been here, all the while trying to make it make sense to the people who live here... I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if I really know what I'm doing...

That said, I had an amazing time at the jam session I went to last night. It's my weekly session, in a diner my neighbor owns, just up the road from my house. I've been going for almost three months now and for the first time, I really felt like I was part of the community and not an outsider anymore. I played the whole night, which I am suffering for today with what can only be called "banjo neck." My banjo weighs in close to 20 lbs. I'm not in the greatest shape these days and apparently holding a 20 lb banjo for four hours strapped around your neck and then sleeping funny in a cold bedroom aren't so good for your muscles. I can't really move my head or neck or shoulders today. Knitting has been kinda out of the question. It wasn't until I took a few ibuprofen that I could even type today... stupid stupid stupid. It's like running 10 miles after not running for a month.

And, just in case you were wondering if it was coming, the knitting content for today:

(Pardon the ugly linoleum... my sun porch is the best place to take pictures light-wise, if not floor-wise) I made some progress last night on my Elfine socks. I sewed up the tips (next time I will check out this turkish cast on -- thanks leah!) and made it through 1.5 repeats of the pattern. They are so pretty, though I have concerns that they might be a little loose after some wear. We'll see... if they are too big, I can always keep them and knit mel another pair :) I couldn't get a picture of these without the kitties... I tried. Notice how Phoebe is eyeing that piece of yarn...

Oh... I almost forgot -- I finally wove in the ends of my Jaywalker #1. Completed and ready to be mailed out.

Pattern: the infamous Jaywalker Socks
Yarn: Knitpicks Sock Garden "Hollyberry"
Needles: god... I have no idea... some metal dpns size US 2
Started: December 29, 2005
Completed: January 25, 2006 (I took some time off between socks one and two)

Notes: I sized them down a little, to compensate for gauge issues... Oh, and they are designed for someone with size 5.5 feet (I wear an 8. How I managed to get them on my feet for these photos is beyond me... I've found Jaywalkers to be very forgiving, size wise)

Hurrah! One pair down, three more to go before I've completed my ridiculous holiday obligations. sigh...

25 January 2006

not much light, not much progress

I haven't done much. I went out to Kentucky yesterday to spend the day with some friends (they work at Appalshop -- a neat place!) and didn't get back until this afternoon. I brought my geranium jaywalkers with me and worked a little more on the ankle, but not enough to warrant a picture. I did join the sock-a-month knitalong. I figure I'm already on a roll, have a headstart for January, and why shouldn't everyone in my family have handknit socks? Really!

I do have a question (though I'm not sure there is anyone, yet, to answer it). My question is this:

Did I do something wrong? I've never knit socks from the toe up before and I don't know if this is normal or whether I cast on wrong or read the directions wrong or what... Do I stitch this together when I finish the sock? I know I can fix it in the end, but I'd like to " do it right" next time.

It's flurrying outside right now... the sun keeps coming in and out of the clouds and when it hits the snow, it looks like iridescent glitter. Pretty. That's one of many positive things I can say for my experience down here in the mountains -- even the cold and dreary days are positively beautiful. And the sunny days -- they're breath taking. It's almost enough to make this die-hard city girl move to the mountains for good. Almost.

Ok. I need to go practice my banjer and maybe knit a little more on my elfines before heading out to a jam tonight. But I leave you with this: gratuituous kitten shots.

This is Hank (named for Hank Williams, of course -- the greatest country music singer EVER). This is Hank's favorite place to sit. He knows he's not allowed to sit on my desk, so he's taken to sitting with his tush on my lap and his front paws on the desk top. That way, he obeys the rules and he can still watch the cursor move around the screen.

Phoebe is Hank's little sister. She likes to sit in the tiny bit of space between my back and the back of my desk chair. Sometimes I forget she's there (not good). Other times, it's like having a living heat pad on the small of my back.

My tinies are five months old and absolutely sweetpeas (except that Phoebe likes to maliciously nibble apart the one strand of yarn that connects my knitting project to the ball of yarn. She doesn't chew any other yarn. Just that one string. She's done it five times now. It would drive me crazy if she weren't so damn cute).

24 January 2006

socks, socks, and more socks!

So this is what I have done with the month of january...

This is my second pair of Jaywalker... in progress. They're for my mom (brighter than I thought she would like, but she really fell in love with the way the colors merge. You can't tell here, but there's some really interesting red/pink combos in there). I'm using knitpicks sock garden "geranium."

I also made these (my first Jaywalkers):

Yes, they are small. My friend has small feel. They look weird here, but trust me, they're pretty nice looking. If I do say so myself. These are also Knitpicks sock garden (this is what happens when you have no LYS -- all of my yarn right now comes from Knitpicks, except for the stuff I bought before I left Philly). I sized the pattern down (I cast on 68 stitches instead of 76/84) because I only had size 2 needles and that pushed my gauge off. It was the first time I had ever modified a sock pattern, and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

And then, drum roll please, my proudest knitting accomplishemnt of 2006:


Wow. The color is WAY off in this photo (there's been a lack of sun down here lately). This pair of socks (slated for my Indiana friend Mel) promise to be my proudest knitting accomplishment -- not only are they knit magic loop, but I'm knitting two at once, AND it's my first pair of lace locks (Elfine socks - hurrah!). I have a feeling I'm going to finish these in the next few days. I'm addicted.

I still have one more pair to make (for Sara) before I finish my Christmas commitment and then I have one finished pomatomus sock from this winter's knitty that I feel like I should make a mate for. But the pattern was a struggle for me, the yarn looks crap, I messed up in the middle, and my needles were too big so the sock is too floppy. I can't stand the thought of ripping it out, but I'm not sure I'm up to knitting another. We'll see...

Taking the Leap

So... after months of thinking about it, joking about it, lurking around, and knitting like a fiend, today is the day. I woke up this morning and decided that I would finally start my own knitting blog. There were several incidents motivating my decision to get off my lazy ass and start writing:

1) an incredibly productive knitting month
2) my move to appalachia and the subsequent loss of a knitting community (i.e. being able to hold up a crumpled, needle studded twist of yarn and say "see what i made?!?" and have someone be proud... or at least understand)
3) the fact that everyone is making jaywalker socks right now and I am finishing my third pair and I want to bond.
4) I need help sometimes, and now I have no one to ask (for example, what do I do about a sweater that I knit out of patagonia nature cotton that I'm afraid is going to grow to the size of the incredible hulk... can I tighten it up? or is it just a bad idea to make a yolk sweater out of cotton?)
5) most importantly, that yesterday I learned not only magic loop but also how to knit two socks at once. Let me tell you, it's a miracle - A MIRACLE - to be able to knit two socks at once. and there was no one to understand... no one to pat me on the back. no one to say anything other that "oh. wow." with a tone of vague confusion.

So here I am. I need to figure out how to post pictures. I've been making a lot of socks (this is what happens when you promise your girlfriends socks for christmas. you knit socks forever...). I need to figure out a lot of things. But I'm here.