30 March 2006

plugging along

Thank you all for your feedback on my dream. Slowly I'm making sketches, thinking about what I 'saw' and what I can make from it. When it takes more shape, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, I'm pushing along, trying to finish canal du midi #2 before the end of the month. Do you think I can?

Not much else to say now. My friend Lizzie (recipient of Jaywalkers #2) came for a visit early this week and so I've not gotten as much knitting done as I usually do (thus the rush on the second C.d.M). More to post later. But I'll leave you with this (think of these scenic photograph as something akin to the end of the Sunday Morning program, where they close with a minute of beautiful wilderness) -- a view of Kentucky (minus mountain top removal) from Pine Mountain.

27 March 2006

Dreaming in Argyle

or a long and [perhaps too] personal post in which jennie misses she who is gone and thinks of ways to knit her back

My best friend in high school died suddenly and unexpectedly about six weeks before graduation. It was my first experience with death and for months afterward I grappled with an extreme of emotions, ranging from depression to anger, guilt to sadness. Night after night, she would appear in my dreams. And because real life is nothing like tv shows or movies (no medium or sixth sense here), rather than 'listen to what she had to say' in my dream, I would always start screaming and wake in a start. The dreams were terrifying, despite the fact that nothing ever happened in them. Then, one summer night a little over a year after she died, I had a dream where she appeared and, rather than scream, I sat still and listened. We talked, for what seemed like only minutes. But in those dream minutes, I was able to say everything I wanted to say and never got a chance to - that I wished I'd been a better friend, that I was sorry I hadn't been home that day, that I loved her and missed her. And she said all the things I guess I needed to believe she might feel, if one can feel beyond life -- that she was sorry and that she loved me and missed me too. I woke up feeling peaceful. And, for the past eight years, I haven't dreamed of her again.

Two weeks ago, I woke with the distinct memory of having 'seen' my friend. It was a disconcerting feeling that didn't wear off after coffee and work, and I figured I must have dreamed about her, though i could remember none of the specifics of the dream. and then last night, I dreamed about her agian, but this time I remembered the dream -- my friend and I, we didn't talk. She just appeared, as though walking into a room, and then that was it. But get this -- she was knitting. My friend did not knit when she was alive, that I can recall. Her mom did -- I remember looking at her knitting basket and seeing a sweater she was making for my friend -- it had cables on it and I remember thinking how amazing and miraculous they were -- how did she get them to cross? [to this day, whenever I make anything cabled, I think of my friend and her parents, with whom I am no longer in contact].

In my dream, my friend was knitting something argyle. But not a normal argyle... I've been trying to draw what I remember from it since this morning, and I think I've figured it out. It was primarily navy blue, with blue accents (I remember thinking in my dream that blue against blue was strange, but interesting) with an accent color that I can't place (yellow? orange? white?). And now I am obsessed with figuring it out and knitting something in honor of my friend.

Is this crazy? I don't know. My feelings about life, death, and friendship were dramatically shaped by my friend's death. I've never been much of a religious person, and I'm not one now, but I always imagined that last dream to be a 'goodbye' of sorts. So why she's suddenly 'appeared' again in my dreams baffles me. But... there is something kind of neat (?) about seeing her knit, remembering what she was knitting, and trying now to recreate it. Maybe this makes me crazy, but I feel connected somehow through the activity, as though knitting this project keeps her around. It's amazing how much you can miss someone nine years after they've passed away. Who knows if we'd even be friends now if she hadn't died (though, of course, I like to think we would).

Anyway, we'll see where it takes me.

Canal du Midi #1

As expected, I finished the first Canal du Midi sock last night, with about a quarter's worth of yarn left.

Some thoughts:

1. For the last time, Jennie, SWATCH YOUR SOCKS!!! This is the second time in practically as many days I have made a pair of socks that I realized mid-knit were too big. So I messed with the pattern, which I was wanting not to do because i'm trying to use these socks as technique building experiences (not that sizing down isn't technique building, just not the kind of added bonus technique i want to throw in while learning new stitches, new heels, new shaping, etc.).

2. I wish I had continued the ribbing all the way down the heel. I think it would have a better fit. I can't tell if it would be different if they were knit to gauge or not. I think they also might fit better after blocking (i've never blocked socks before, but this yarn has a lot of streatch and i think it needs it).

3. related to the post about, the square heel (is this what it's called? when you round the heel, you pull in the stitches so that there are always 8 stitches being knit across, rather than rounding out as you ssk or p2tog) doesn't like to stay ON my heel. Will blocking help?

4. The toe is POINTY. My big toe points right through it. It looks fine as long as i'm wearing it, but... I think I'm over the spiral toe. I prefer even decreases and then sewing it up at the end. I don't mind doing this and I think the toe looks cleaner. But now I know.

All that said, I love it. I love this particular colorway of STR that I want to buy another skein and just knit plain socks. The way the colors alternate... it's gorgeous. This photos do it no justice. And I particularly like the kind of tapestry-effect that is created by the combo of the pattern with the variegated yarn. Admittedly, it hides the pattern, but who cares? It looks neat.

So... It's less than a week until the end of the month. I've knit three single socks in the last week. Will I have a pair finished by the end of the month? Stay tuned...

P.S. OH MY GOD. Why did I never use flickr before to download photos? Seriously. I think I've wasted a year of my life if you add up the time I've waited for blogger to get photos up. With flickr it took about two seconds.

P.P.S. I had a dream last night that I just remembered... It will make this the longest post ever if I tell it now, but it is actually knitting related... Maybe later.

25 March 2006

jennie's first meme

Oooh! I got tagged, I got tagged! Leah tagged me for my first meme (and if she thought she was the last person to do this... well, she was wrong). Little Jennie's all grown up.

I think everyone in the world has done this meme, but if you haven't, consider yourself "it".

4 jobs I've had:
1. Chocolate specialist (I kid you not, this was my title) at Lindt Chocolates. This sounds like a dream job, but believe me - I never wanted to eat chocolate again after working there over holidays for a year and a half. I could never get the smell out of my hair or off my clothes.
2. I worked in the Vivarium in the Biology department at UVa cleaning hamster cages. This job sucked. It sucked so much I did it really quickly and finished by lunch every day. So they taught me, just out of high school with no interest in science at all, how to do histology. An even pay off, I think.
3. I taught for two years at UPenn while doing my coursework. It's fun to be a "college professor". Especially when you're only a few years older than your students. I taught World Music and Jazz History and loved it. Most of the time.
4. On again off again Bartender at my dive bar/home in West Philly - Fiume. I miss it. I miss it a lot. It was my cheers. It got me through two challenging years of grad school. It was a terrific way to make great money. And fun, to bat.

4 flims I can watch over and over:
1. the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. I know it by heart.
2. Charade (Audrey Hepburn AND Cary Grant? Does it get any better?)
3. Cold Comfort Farm
4. When Harry Met Sally

4 tv shows I love to watch:
1. America's Next Top Model (don't laugh, please don't laugh)
2. Law and Order (in order of preference: CI, regular Law and Order, and then SVU)
3. House Hunters on HGTV (though I love almost all HGTV shows, especially the ones where they take houses that don't look that bad to begin with and then gut them and make them even nicer for a bazillion dollars)
4. Sex and the City (yeah... I know...)

4 places I've lived:
1. Charlottesville, Virginia
2. Vienna, Austria
3. New York City (Brooklyn, to be precise)
4. Philadelphia, PA

4 places I've been on holiday:
1. Antalia, Turkey
2. Bailey's Island, Maine
3. Paris, France
4. Ocean City, New Jersey

4 websites I visit daily:
1. WHYY (I like to stream philly npr)
2. nytimes.com
3. Sundara Yarn (just to drool and make plans for future projects)
4. so many knitting blogs, it doesn't seem fair to single any one out...

4 favorite yarns:
1. Blue Sky Alpaca (I've never owned any... just petted it non-stop in the yarn store)
2. Debbie Bliss Baby alpaca-silk (another love-to-pet)
3. Socks that Rock (yes... I love it, I do)
4. the silk that I bought in Memphis

I've turned the heel (with some ripping and reknitting) on the canal du midi sock. I keep meaning to post pictures, but then figure I'll knit more. I'm gonna try to finish tonight, so maybe there will be a dark completion shot later. I hate to post without a photo, so...

I was supposed to out of town this weekend to hear Dwight Yoakam play in Atlanta. But my travel companion and trip-organizer had meetings all day that he couldn't get out of (don't feel bad Robert!), and so we didn' go. I have been feeling a little stir-crazy lately, so yesterday, we hopped in the car and drove the two hours down to Johnson City, Tennesee. I'm a strong support of the idependent bookstore, so keep that in mind when I say that I spent the day in a Barnes and Noble yesterday and rarely has suburban mega-shopping made me so happy. It's been a very long time (since January?) since I've been in a bookstore. I spent a long time picking out books for my two year old godson (I can't wait until he's a little older... there were so many books I wanted to get him that he's too young for -- Richard Scarry's "What People Do All Day", Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends", etc.). I looked through Cultural Studies and Social Science books (because I'm a dork). I felt overwhelmed by fiction and disgusted by the sadness of their music section. And then, because a girl can't resist, I went to the craft section and looked at knitting books. Which brings me to the picture. There was something really nice and small-world-ish about being in a Barnes and Noble in suburban Tennessee and finding a book by a fellow blogger. I didn't buy it (tight budget - only books for the godson were bought), but took a picture to mark the moment.

Wow. It's kind of a blurry picture. I blame it on the coffee.

Personal growth

I'm a selfish person. Ask my parents. I like to do things for me and I like to get my way. My friends in college used to joke that I thought I was the center of the universe (I'm not quite that selfish) and once, in the lobby of a hotel, my friend Jonthan rotated like a star around my sun to illustrate that fact to his wife and my friend Jennifer. Yep. Sometimes, I let what I want get in the way of what other people want. Now, I think this selfishness has gotten better as I've gotten older. I'd like to think of myself as more thoughtful, a much better listener (this I know to be true, actually), a better friend, more giving. But this year is the year to beat all years -- because this year, knitting made me a less selfish person. Why?

Because I love knitting for other people. I don't know what it is... I love making things for friends. I love giving away knitted things. I love buying yarn with the intention of sending it, miraculously transformed, to someone else. There are actually very few things I have knit for myself. I woke up this morning, started reading yarn blogs, and started planning yarn to buy for friends when I'm allowed to buy yarn again. I don't know why I feel this way... Maybe it's because nothing really lives up to my expectations and I can only see the flaws in it? Or maybe, and this comes as a shock even to me, it's because I love the process more than the actual product (except, maybe, with these Canal du Midi socks -- progress photos to come later because the ones I just hastily snapped against my keyboard computer stink and it's too cold to go outside in my pjs). I can't wait until April. I have two gift designs in my head that I'm dying to buy yarn for... at as a treat to myself (and the gift recipient), I'm going to buy the yarn for that project from Sundara. Because I'm dying to try what everone else loves (did I mention I'm a follower too?)

Thank you all for your posts and thoughts and comments. I really appreciate it. I'm trying to learn how to make it so I can respond to posts via e-mail with out having to look up the poster's e-mail address and then type it into my gmail account, etc. etc. There must be an easier way... other people do it. And I have responses to everyone!

So... the sun shines yet again, despite the rain and snow and blackness we had yesterday. I have three rows of canal du midi to rip out, six to knit, and then I'm onto the heel flap (and I have the disturbing thought that I might need a second skein of STR to finish these, making them the most expensive socks of all time... i'm keeping my fingers crossed).

23 March 2006

Oh, what a beautiful morning!

Four things made me very happy this morning. They are:

1. Sun. The sun is shining for the second day in a row, and although it is still pretty cold out, there is the hint of spring in the air.

2. Coffee.

Coffee always makes me happy (what does it say about me that sometimes, when I drink my morning cup, I feel a sensation akin to love for my coffee?), but it makes me particularly happy to drink it out of my favorite coffee mug. The Green Line was the cafe across the street from my house when I lived in West Philly. My roomate worked there. My friends 'lived' there. I knew the people who owned it. It was the quintessential 'neighborhood hang out.' Now, I love living in Virginia. I'm very happy here. But sometimes, I miss the city so much, it hurts. The Green Line is one of the things I miss the most.

3. Canal du Midi socks, in STR Marbles (see how much the ball of yarn looks like a marble? I LOVE this!).

Ok, so maybe I've fallen in love again with variegated yarn. Because this stuff is lovely, and as far as I can tell, it's not going to obscure the pattern (fingers crossed). I also have been reminided that I really do prefer knitting on dpns over magic loop. I have a beautiful STR jaywalker on the needle right now that i just can't bring myself to work on because I don't like doing magic loop... dpn socks seem to fly off the needle for me (or at least the first one does... i'm treading dangerous terretory starting a new sock when I haven't finished the mate to yesterday's blue sock).

4. This. I love knitblog love. Theresa totally made my day.

I hope you all have a day that is as good as today promises to be.

P.S. some time, somewhere that I can no longer find, someone posted an alternative to blogger for downloading pictures onto this site. I have been having a b**ch of a time getting photos onto here the last two days. Suggestions?

22 March 2006

Lots and lots of Blue Sock(s)

So I finished my first Yukon sock. It became a good technique-learning sock and I'm really pleased with the results (except that it's a little large...)

I was really careful in the construction of this sock and I think it is the first sock I've ever made where there are no mistakes (did I just jinx myself?). I learned some stuff too -- I learned to pick up the front half of the chain stitch instead of the whole stitch when picking up along the heel flap. If you knit the front half through the back of the loop, you don't get those annoying little holes all along the heel flat.

This is also the first time I've shaped the toe by even spacing the decreases at the end of each needle, rather than at the end of needles 1 and 3 and the beginning of needles 2 and 4 (is there a name for this kind of toe shaping?).

I'm not crazy about the yarn. I think I'm tired of variegated yarn, or at least yarn with such large color changes. I want to make patterned socks, and this yarn fails. I began this sock as the Conwy sock from Knitting on the Road. You can see where I began the pattern at the top of the sock, and the fact that the yarn completely obscures all detail. I just shifted into a nice rib and made the sock, and again, it's a perfectly serviceable sock. But... I think I'm done for a while with variegated sock yarn (at least, I'm not buying any more of it... I still have several skeins in my stash I'll probably use to make similarly 'boring' and yet serviceable and tecnique-enhancing socks). Eunny made a nice point of variation, and while I love the color combos in variegated yarn, and find myself drawn to sharp color contrasts in yarn-in-a-hank, I'm never as pleased when I see it knit up. The distraction if it now is too much... it's time to grow up and embrace solids :)

I also need to get size 0 needes. I used US 1 for these and they knit big. I'd like a denser fabric with this yarn.

P.S. I hate blogger. It took me all day to post this. grrr...

21 March 2006


Hmmm... did someone say it was supposed to be spring? Because Appalachia clearly didn't get the message.

At least I got a chance to enjoy the outdoors this weekend, before the snow came in. I went hiking on Saturday with some folks from Appalshop and some folks visiting from NYU/Tisch out to a waterfall (the first waterfall of it's size I've ever seen). It just felt so good to get outdoors... it's amazing how close to nature I am here, and yet I have to drive forty-five minutes to go hiking. I walked more living in the city than I do now. Oh well...

As for knitting, I've been ploughing along on socks. I got the Knitting on the Road book in the mail, and after a lot of time sitting on the couch yesterday, knitting and ripping and knitting and ripping, I learned that while it is fun to have brightly colored yarn (i love bright colors), variegated yarn is a waste for interesting sock patterns. I need to invest (what's that? an excuse to buy more yarn?) in some solid color sock yarn... or something with a very subtle variation... Koigu, here I come! First, I started the Canal du Midi socks in Knitpicks Hawaii (in honor of my finished abstract and my wishful and hopefull thoughts that it will be accepted so I can go to Hawaii -- though who knew Hawaii was so pink? Wish yellow replaced the pink in this yarn). It took me about two hours to cast on, what with learning the whole double cast-on thing and then casting on too tightly and struggling to knit the stitches. Then, I realized that you couldn't seen the pattern at all, what with all the striping of the yarn. So I took this (fairly ineffectual) photo and ripped it out.

Then I started the Conwy socks in Yukon, hoping the stripe pattern wouldn't be so prominent. No such luck. But I love the k1 p1 k3 p1 ribbing and the texture of the fabric, so I kept what I had -- using five pattern repeats as a border and just ribbing the rest. I'm gonna make these knee socks.

I also finished one of the Batman Jaywalkers and cast on for the second (pardon the scrappiness of these photos -- there's no light today and I just popped photos so i could post. but -- notice how all of my knitting is 'posing' today on the awesome 'rustic' kitty tower my dad made for Hank and Phoebe. My dad makes furniture of the 'rustic Adirondak' variety -- from found sticks and branches. The cats took to the tower right away... it's their favorite place, especially when it snows!).

16 March 2006


So i finished that abstract last night, an hour before the deadline, and honestly i think i feel pretty good about it. i don't expect it to be accepted -- when you write about appalachian music and coal mining, it's hard to feel good about getting accepted to a conference taking place in hawaii with an emphasis on pacific island and southeast asian themes, but... what the hell? if i get accepted, i have a good excuse to go to hawaii (and probably some assistance to pay for it). besides, i'm supposed to go on the job market next fall, and the annual conference is the best way to do it. i think i just feel good about sitting down and actually pulling my thoughts together in a formal way for the first time since i moved here. i'm on to something... not sure what it is yet, but it made me feel good about my work. and everyone needs that once and a while.

off to do more research. knitting info to be posted later.

15 March 2006


I ask you, how long should it take to write 250 words? Half and hour? An hour? 250 words is not much. It's one paragraph, half a page, maybe. It has taken me days, and still I have nothing to show for it. Hours of staring at my computer, thinking while driving, while showering, while sleeping... stewing on it while hanging out with friends, while knitting (or not knitting), while cooking... and still, I have nothing to show for it except pages of scrappy notes and a rapidly approaching deadline. It is surprisingly challenging to write an abstract for a paper that deals with research you are still in the process of doing. I feel like I can't get enough distance to analyze it. I'm frustrated. T minus four hours and counting...

All of that said, I'm wasting time now re-considering my knitting priorities. First, a show of progress:

Jaywalkers for Jennie, in STR "Fire on the Mountain"

Orangina, rumbled, but oh so pretty.

I am definitely still on a yarn diet, partially out of need (no money and not a lot of space) and partially for the challenge (it's interesting to think of what I can make with what I have, rather than running around buying yarn for new projects). That said, Theresa points out that 64 skeins is a pretty modest stash. It is - and it's fun to have yarn to look at, to touch, to be inspired by. So, I have reconsidered my priorities. What needs to happen is a little finishing. I need to get all of these projects (like Jaywalkers #3 and 4) off the needles so that some of the stuff I have stewing in my mind can be knit. I still am not allowed to buy yarn until May, but I have enough in progress to make that feasible. And in the meantime, I can use some of my stash yarn to work on technique, which is sorely needed.

I've also set a goal to spend some time thinking and, more specifically, writing about knitting. I used to love to write, and sometimes I think graduate school beat that love right out of me. Writing became something utilitarian, something that needed to be done to meet a deadline and definitely not something that I connected to beauty and creativity. It is important to me to write a dissertation that is beautiful as well as informative, and though my dissertation has virtually nothing to do with knitting, I think if I can remember my love of writing though outlets not related to my dissertation, it will inspire me to write more creatively in my dissertation. Hopefully, this will have the bonus result of some posts that are better written than my usual off-the-top-of-the-head ranting.

13 March 2006

losing track and Stash Busting, Spring 2006

I've not been posting much recently, or at least not much of substance. My parents were visiting from Charlottesville this weekend. It was fun to show them around and see some stuff I haven't actually gotten a chance to explore yet. They left yesterday morning, and I've been focusing on work (non-knitting related work, that is) ever since. I have an abstract deadline on Wednesday and some interviews to figure out, and they've been sucking up my thoughts.

But, a girl needs a knitting break every now and then, so I thought I would assess my project status right now, make some plans for my yarn, and come up with a stash-busting strategy (remeber -- not allowed to buy yarn until I knit a significant portion of what I have). So... On the needles or in the immediate line up right now, we have:

1. Orangina -- I'm about 1/2 way up the back.
2. Batman's Jaywalkers - I'm on the heel flap of sock #1. I was supposed to get these to her for Christmas. Maybe I should just finish them already...
3. STR Jaywalkers for me - I'm pretty much done with the heel... and tired of jaywalking
4. Child's Placket sweater for my godson - this needs to get finished ASAP for his birthday
5. Fingerless gloves for my cousin - these are a commission from my mom. Need to think yarn and sizing. Any ideas how big around the hands of a fairly small 9 year old are?
6. Camisole from LMKG out of silk - I just can' twait to start this...

Right now, I have 64 skeins in my stash, including yarn for the projects listed above. I also have a lot of 'left over' yarn, but didn't count that. So... It's March 13. I think I should be able to halve my stash by May 13. That's a skein every two days or so. Not so hard... We'll see how that goes.

Lastly, an FO shot -- I knitted my mom a pair of fingerless gloves from LMKG while she was here this weekend with yarn leftover from Melissa's Hourglass. Here they are:

Pattern: Wristwarmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Silk in "Pool" ('over-stock' from the Hourglass Sweater)
Needles: Clover Bamboo dpns, US 7
Started: March 11, 2006
Finished: March 12, 2006

Notes: These were a little experiment to see if this yarn itched my mom (she is very sensitive to wool these days and I wanted to know if the Andean Silk itched as much as, say, alpaca does). It was also a good way to bust a skein from my stash (unfortunately before the great stash-busting caper of Spring 2006). Again, this is the easiest and quickest design and I love the stitch pattern (though I think the combo of stitch and yarn with my mom's tiny bone structure makes these look a little bulky on her. But she loves them and that's all that matters).

07 March 2006

what to do...

So, a question -- what can you make with one skein of yarn with extreme variation in thickness? I've seen yarn like this around, but never messed around with it. I tried playing with this yarn today (I'm envisioning a gift for my friend S who seems to need a pick-me-up) but I have no idea how to deal with it - what size needles? what kind of project? I had initially thought fingerless gloves (my fall back one-skein project) but it seems the variation is too much. Then I thought neato airy scarf, but I can't figure out a pattern (I hate - HATE - garter stitch scarves... really, even stockinette scarves... I actually don't really like knitted scarves at all, but maybe that's because I haven't found a good pattern yet.... yes, i know it's weird for a knitter to dislike knitted scarves. hey, my first project was a hat... I never really went through the garter stitch scarf phase). Any ideas? See how much it varies?

Other notes -- finished hourglass:

Pattern: Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (won't link again...)
Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Silk in "Pool"
Needles: Addi Natura US 7 24" Circular, Clover Bamboo US 7 dpn
Started: 7 February 2006
Finished: 4 March 2006

Notes: I can't believe it actually took me a month to finish... it seems to have spun along a lot quicker.... No modificationsn at all, except that I knit the sleeves on dpns (don't like using circulars for sleeves) and I screwed up on the first sleeve and didn't start the above-the-elbow increases until later than told, so I repeated it on both sides (couldn't bear to rip out several inches of sleeve). It looks great on. It's off in the mail to Melissa and hopefully she'll send me a picture of it on. This was a quick and easy knit... I love doing raglan shoulders. I'd make myself one, but I have monkey-long arms and have gotten in the habit over the years of pushing my sleeves up all the time. I couldn't stand not being able to do it in this sweater. Maybe I'll modify it... but not until my yarn diet is over. I love Andean Silk. It does sometimes have small imperfections, but nothing that would make me not want to use it. It has lovely drape. And it's very soft.

06 March 2006

what was I thinking?

Hmmm... sometimes I wonder where my brain is. I cast on tonight to make the Child's Placket Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for my godson, who will be turning two this month. I'm using Knit Picks Crayon, which I'm really, really excited about in the flesh (way more excited than I was about its looks online). It knits up soft and dreamy. So I pull out my needles, start knitting away, get about halfway up the body when I realize it looks awfully large for a size 2-4. And I start to think "Gee, jennie, it might have been smart to knit a gauge swatch before you launched into the body." So I measure gauge and I'm way off... I'm way off because i'm an ├╝ber-idiot. In addition to forgoing a gauge swatch, I also was knitting on needles of the wrong size (although the pattern calls for US 7, the yarn knits to gauge on US 5-6). A final sign of my idiocy? When doing some math to see if I could get away with not buying a new set of needles (remember, i'm on a knitting-related-purchasing diet) I realized that even if I had the correct size needles, I still didn't order enough yarn. The pattern calls for 5 skeins of yarn with a yardage of 130 per skein. I ordered 4 skeins of yarn that comes 110 yards/skein. Hello? Brain? Are you in there? So now, I guess, I have to order more yarn. Or I could wait, knit it out with an adjusted pattern to avoid buying new needles, and see if I need a new skein or not... what do you think? I actually don't mind knitting on needles a little large. It makes the fabric really loose and soft, and my godson lives in florida (although he takes trips to NJ and NY to visit family sometimes), so a looser weight sweater will be better. Hmmm...

I have way too many projects OTN right now... Trying to finish things up. I'm so burned out on jaywalkers right now that I'm thinking about ripping out my STR start and using that yarn for a different pattern. I'm in the process (for two weeks now) of turning the heel on the first of the Batman jaywalkers. But, in the past two days, I've worked my way up the back of Orangina and I'm loving it. I'm knitting it in an obscene shade of turquoise (knitpicks shine - which rocks, by the way) which I blame on my current obsession with the 1950's obsession with the southwest (my favorite color combo in my head right now? turquoise and red. I picture wearing my turquoise orangina with an oatmeal below-the-knee skirt and a large, chunky red wood bead necklace - the skirt's in the works... the necklace is in my mind). It seems strange to be knitting for summer when it's still in the 30s here. But the heat of Memphis inspired me, and I'm keeping my eye on warmer weather.

To close -- I try not to post gratuitous pictures of my kitties on here, but today I came into my study, and both Hank and Phoebe were crammed into the box that Hank usually claimes as his own. It was so cute, I had to snap a picture.

05 March 2006

yarn porn

As promised, photos of my new yarn. They're all there except for one skein of Cotton Fleece which I swatched to almost nothing. I'm into cotton right now. Now, keep in mind that I did not pay full price for a single one of these skeins. In fact, they were all $1 - $2 skeins except for the mauve silk, which I got 50% off. Well worth it, I think.

Reynolds Mandalay 100% silk, 2 skeins
98 yards/skein, color #39
I love this silk. It's beautiful, rough feeling, and a nice neutral colorway. I think if i have enough, this will make either a scarf or a mobius cowl. Not sure yet...

Tahki Yarns Shannon 100% wool, 1 skein
92 yards, color #19
They had a whole stack of this stuff and I really love the colors together. I used self control, bought one skein to swatch and see what i thought. I loved it, but didn't buy more, mostly because it is getting warmer out and I don't really need another wool sweater now. Besides, it would be a purely impulsive purchase, and I have plenty of 'planned 'sweaters that need yarn. So... the rest of this skein is destined to be fingerless gloves for friends, I think.

Marks & Kattens Higgin's, 45% cotton 45% acrylic 10% viscose
90 meters/skein, color #1442 (6 skeins), color #1340 (3 skeins)
Cotton... I'm loving cotton. Green is not really my shade (sometimes it makes my skin look yellow), but I'm thinking this might be enough for a summery little tank or something. Especially if I stripe it with the white. Or it can be gifted to one of my friends who can actually wear green.

Classic Elite Studio, 70% viscose 30% linen, 1 skein
108 yards, color #5816
I love the way this stuff feels and looks. Jennifer is making a shell out of it and it looks lovely knit up. I don't know what to do with one skein, but it's a good way to try out a new yarn.

Bertagna Filati fashion stile, 50% merino 50% acrylic, 1 skein
84 meters, color #2892
This stuff is cool... it's three dimensional, blue with yellow and red strands running through it, not twisted with it... it doesn't knit up as exciting as it looks in the skein though. Not sure what to use it for, but it was only $1.00.

Mystery Skein, 100% wool, 1 skein
Yeah... I lost the tag for this already. I feel dumb...

And, the crowning glory purchase:

Filatura De Crosa Luxury, 100% silk, 8 skeins
160 yards/skein, color #25

I LOVE THIS YARN. It's beautiful, the perfect color, the perfect texture. It knits up like a dream, so shiny, smooth and with beautiful drape. It was not cheap, but at 50% off, it was significantly cheaper than it should have been and the only time silk has ever been in my price range. I'm using this to make the Cami from Last Minute Knitted gifts. It's mine, ALL MINE!

And lastly, on my final afternoon in Memphis, Jennifer and I had some time to kill. So we went shopping for fabric and I made this while watching the last episodes of season 4 of the Gilmore Girls:

I should note here that I used to work in the costume shop in college. Sewing is really my first 'craft.' As a kid, I was a big handsewer, and to this day I prefer hand sewing to machine sewing (this skirt was most definitely made by machine!). I also don't use patterns -- this skirt was of my own concoction, kind of created as I went along. Add to that the bonus challenge of not having a tape measure... it was a lot of fun. I've been wanting to join the "Sew? I Knit" sew-along, but felt guilty. Because really, it's more like "Knit? I sew!" for me...

P.S. It took so long to load these pictures, I now have more to say. I finshed the Hourglass Sweater last night. It needs a steam blocking and then I'm sticking it in the mail tomorrow. It's a surprise for my friend Melissa, who is a hard working lawyer in NYC. Hopefully this will make her smile. Pictures to come tomorrow.

home again, home again, jiggity jig!

And I'm back... well, i've been back for a few days now, but haven't had the energy to post. I was supposed to drive back on Tuesday, but was having such a good time over there in Memphis that I delayed my trip for two more days (my excuse? it seemed like a shame to drive on Mardi Gras). I did almost everything i wanted to while in Memphis. I saw the Mississippi. I went to Arkansas (well, West Memphis Arkansas, which is hardly Arkansas at all, but at least I passed under the state sign!). I went to a 'real' juke joint (the Blue Worm) and a 'fake' juke joint (the B.B. King Blues Club on Beale Street). I drank whiskey in a bar and coffee in multiple coffee shops. I went to Al Green's church on Sunday. I went to Graceland. I even got to do some of the things I like best, whether in Memphis or not - like hang out all afternoon on the couch with Jennifer, knitting and watching the Gilmore Girls. I ate. I ate A LOT. and.... i seriously broke my pledge not to buy more than a skein or two of yarn. in my own defense, everything I bought was on sale. But I bought a lot of yarn. Pictures will come later today, now that the sun is out and my camera battery is almost recharged. But... I have lots of new projects in the works and lots of one-skein 'test yarns' that are screaming for good (useful!) one-skein projects.

Anyway... it's good to be back home. I'm slowly catching up on everyone else's knitting -- amazing Olympic projects! I miss the Memphis weather, though. It was 70 when I left Memphis. My first day back in the mountains the high was 34. sigh... I know the coolness will pay off when summer rolls around, but I'm ready for spring.

More photos later today!