29 July 2006


1. Thank you all for your needle suggestions. I fear the Knitpicks needles... I've heard such mixed things about them. I'm going home for a visit tomorrow (my grandmother will be in town -- she's 90. I like to see her when a get a chance). I think I'll pop into the LYS and check out some addi turbos.

2. I had a dream last night that I finished Orangina. I wonder if that's some kind of subconscious suggestion? In my dream, it had all kinds of problems (on one side the lace was much more open than the other -- as though I had knit them on two drastically different sized needles). It doesn't have these problems in real life. Hmmm....

3. I joined a new KAL. Two, actually. Before the deadline closed, I joined Yarn Aboard II. I'm pretty excited about it... yarn exchanges make a girl happy. I was just pleased that I didn't miss the deadline. Then, this morning, I joined the Mystery Sock KAL. I'm pretty excited about the whole premise for this project -- knitting these free sock patterns off the internet that none of us want to knit because there are no pictures of the socks. It's a surprise how it will really turn out and it's a service to knitters in the future. And, we all know, I love to knit socks.

Off to teach a flatfooting/clogging workshop. More knitting to come.

27 July 2006


Feeling inspired, I sat down to do some work on T-SALP. I've been using addi naturas, US 2 with a silk lace yarn. Tonight I almost threw the whole thing down in frustration because it took me 20 minutes (TWENTY!) to pull the yarn-over row over both joins (from cord to metal and metal to bamboo) to do the purl row. I cannot keep doing this -- it's why the damn thing is taking so long.

So -- does anyone have any suggestions for good US 2 needles that might not have joins at all, or if they do, have really, really smooth joins? I don't have a lot of money to spend, so cheaper is better. But I can't keep tearing up the yarn trying to pull it over these deep joins, so I'll consider all options.



Another birthday come and gone... I spent the day in Lexington, Kentucky eating good food, shopping at Wild Oates (what does it say about me that I was just so excited to go grocery shopping on my birthday? But I got organic meat! And Annie's Mac and Cheese! And Braggs!), browsing in a book store, and most importantly -- dancing. It was a good time, following an even better weekend. I did not place at the Sparta Fiddler's Convention, but made up for it having a rip-roaring time, dancing and drinking until the very wee hours. All in all, a weekend that made up for all the sh*%t going on recently.

Also in non-knitting news -- I will be presenting a paper at the Society for American Music's conference (to be held in Pittsburg this coming March). I wasn't expecting to hear for weeks, so when I got the e-mail yesterday it took me by complete surprise. Now I just have to write the damn thing...

I have been knitting -- finishing the heel to the second sock for my mom, working away on T-SALP (which may never be finished... I haven't posted pictures in ages), considering starting the second potamomus sock, and this:

Yeah, that's what you think it is. I caved -- I'm knitting my very own, lace-weight clapotis. We'll see if I like it. I haven't gotten to my first dropped stitch yet, but already I'm feeling ambivalent and thinking about ripping it out. I wanted something mindless to work on over the weekend and this is what happened.... we'll see.

20 July 2006

I'm melting

I'm also crazy. Today, which might be one of the hottest days I've experienced here in the mountains (and in my house... I think my AC is broken!), I did a crazy thing. I knit a winter hat. I think I've been feeling a little over-socked recently, and wanted a project I could finish in an evening (while watching Season 2 of Project Runway. Curses to MintyFresh for pointing out that I could download these through iTunes...

This afternoon, I received an early birthday present from one of my good friends. Jennifer, also a (blogless) knitter, knows that when a girl can't buy herself yarn, it's an ideal time to gift it. So she sent me two beautiful, dusty pink skeins of Misti Alpaca worsted and two skeins of a very, very interesting merino -- Laines Du Nord Korall Fancy.

The Korall Fancy is basically a 3 ply, with each ply DK weight and a different color.

Jennfie knows my love for "ropey" yarn, and sent me the skeins to see what I thought. I love it. What started as a test swatch turned into this (don't mind the bad picture... better ones will be posted soon after blocking and in decent light).

It's the "shocking pink coif" from Knitty Spring '03. I've been wanting to make something along these lines for a while -- I have curly hair, which makes hat wearing in the winter a disaster. Once I put the hat on, I can't take it off again without the worst case of hat-hair ever. I usually go hatless in the winter unless I'm participating in winter sports. But now -- beautiful coif stays intact while my ears remain warm. Woo Hoo! The yarn is beautiful knit up, like moss. And I got to use my new Lantern Moon needles -- knit a little under-gauge, but it's warmer that way. The second skein is either going to become mittens or fingerless gloves... not sure yet.

In the meantime, I've survived today on sweet tea (mint and sencha green mixed, sweetened with brown sugar -- I highly recommend it. Light, perfect for days this humid and hot), fresh bread I baked this afternoon, with lemon curd (mmm... lemon curd), and Maker's Mark pulled directly from the freezer (I hate ice in my whiskey-- waters it down -- but make the whiskey cold? A dream).

Tomorrow, I head to another fiddler's convention. Fingers crossed I'll get another ribbon...

Not knitting related

I've never been much of a shoe person. Don't get me wrong, I like shoes. But I'm not easily swayed by style or what I see in the stores. I usually envision a pair of shoes that I want -- a particular style or idea -- and then spend months shopping until I find them. So my shoe collection is pretty small.

While Spitey was here (and yes, thanks for asking, we had a great time -- it was so nice to have such a good friend here. I really needed it and feel much refreshed from his visit), we were looking at boots online. He's worn a hole in the bottom of his and needs a new pair. This boot shopping was a dangerous and stupid thing for me to do. I've spent the past few days since he left looking at boots online. You'll remember how much I love my boots. They are doing well -- they need to be resoled pretty badly, but they are wearing nicely and I love them. The problem is that they have rubber soles. I loved this when I bought them -- makes them better for winter wear. I've gone hiking in them. They seem more durable. But they aren't the world's dressiest boots (remember, I wear boots all the time) and rubber soles are terrible for dancing. At these competitions, you aren't allowed to wear taps, so I dance in my boots. But leather soles are really a necessity for flatfooting and I don't own any. Thus, the boot search. My birthday is on Tuesday. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could justify the purchase (still working on that). That is, until I saw these boots:

I am absolutely in love with these boots. I need them. Aren't they the most perfect thing you've ever seen?

All other boots pale in comparison. They are beauty itself. Unfortunately, they are also $475. I have never spent this much on anything except for rent, my car, and my computer. So alas, they will not be mine. But, oh! A girl can dream...

16 July 2006

Three things...

... that make me happy today:

Second prize in the flatfoot competition at the Tazewell Fiddler's Convention (Julie, my "teacher" got first!)

Beautiful Ebony Lantern Moon needles, which I ordered months ago, before the moratorium on all purchases having to do with yarn. They were backordered and just got here today -- good timing. I needed a pick-me-up. They are so smooth and beautiful and... decadent!

The third thing has no photo. Any minute now, there will be a knock on my door. It will be Spitey, one of my bestest friends in the whole world (to be remembered from the month-hole sweater). He is making an impromptu trip to see me. I couldn't be more excited... the company of a friend who knows me like he does is soooo needed right now. So... I'll be back in a few days.

15 July 2006

Dancing (and Banjo-pickin') in the rain

Guess what I found? My battery charger!

Pattern: Jaywalkers, of course -- though I call these the "Batman socks"
Yarn: Knit Picks Sock Garden in "Pansy"
Needles: Metal dpns, size 1
Begun: (this is embarassing...) 7 February 2006
Completed: 10 July 2006
Thoughts: These took me long enough! But... I'm really happy with them. For some reason, the pooling in these socks was almost identical. I could have made them more similar (when choosing where to put the heel) but decided that I liked the almost-mirror image of them. I call them Batman socks for two reasons -- my friend Sara (for whom these are a very, belated Christmas gift) has had, since our sophomore year of college, the nickname Batman. All of my friends still call her that: "Have you talked to the Bat lately?" or "Hey Batman, can you pass me that bottle of wine?" or "Bat, awesome green car!". Yeah. I mentioned back in February that this name has stuck so much that her mom is referred to as "The Batmom." All because she dressed up as Batman for halloween that year (strange, that our friend Amy who dressed as Robin was never once referred to as Robin after that day). I also call these Batman socks because the colors seem very Batmanish, which makes up for the fact that they are nowhere near as purple (the Bat's favorite color) as I had wanted. I hope she likes them...

I also finished the first of the River Rapids socks for my mom, in the Nature's Palette (yummy, yummy, yummy) that I got from Pure Knits.

I cast on for the second last night... hopefully an FO by next week.

Today, I'm on my way to the Fiddler's Convention in Tazewell, Virginia, where I will be competing in my first flatfooting competition. I'm nervous and excited about it... I've never even seen a flatfooting contest before, so I'm not sure what I'm in for. A lot of these old guys are amazing dancers, and I don't know what the folks up in Tazewell like (there are different styles of flatfooting, ranging from flashy to really understated). I also only have rubber-soled boots (leather would be better) and I'm worried I won't make enough noise... We'll see. Motivated by my goal to place and get a ribbon this weekend, I did this last night:

That's a registration form for the Galax Old Fiddler's Convention.

I'm officially registered (or will be, once they receive it!) for their dance contest too. The Galax Fiddler's Convention is an old time, big deal. It's a week long, it's been happening forever (71 years) and it's pretty well known. Eeesh! Maybe I need to make myself a pair of "dancing socks" for luck :)

13 July 2006


I still can't find the damn charger for my camera. This is very annoying. I have pretty FOs to show you!

Tonight was the second week some friends of mine and I have gotten together to have a little impromptu knitting circle. More specifically, for the second night, I have tried to teach two friends to knit. I thought I was pretty good at this. Right before I left Philly, I sucessfully taught two friends how to work the wool and sticks -- I even had one of them doing cables by the end of her first lesson (she was really ambitious and unusually dextrous). But today was a totally different beast. It might be because I was unprepared -- I woke up at 6:30 this morning to go running over in Kentucky and spent the day out there, dealing with various elements of the personal problems I mentioned in the last post. Not the best mental space to approach teaching. I didn't have my usual array of needles and yarn (to teach them weight and appropriate needle size) or gauge swatches that can teach how to recognize knits and purls, twisted stitches, yarn overs, and dropped stitches. I only had one piece of my own knitting with me, and it was a particularly complicated pair of socks on size 0 dpns. Not the best teaching tool. I might have struggled because one woman was using a kinky purple almost-novelty yarn (not a good first yarn -- too hard to see your stitches, too hard to keep an even tension, too hard to run smoothly through your fingers). I struggled to articulate what I was trying to say -- how do you explain the long-tail cast-on to someone in words? For some reason, watching me and repeating wasn't working. I completely failed at reminding another friend how to purl because she knits American and I have always knitted continental (at least as long as I can remember). I have no idea how American knitting works, and I had no books to consult. I feel a little discouraged. I guess what's important is that they aren't, but...

Most importantly, I found the whole experience educational -- It made me realize how far I've come in the last year and a half and how much of knitting is personal discovery. I've developed a whole new understanding of fiber, color, and texture in the last year, just from messing around on my own. I've figured out what techniques work for me and what don't, what kind of needles I like, what happens when you use needles too small and too big, how to pick up dropped stitches, and how to fix mistakes without frogging, all without guidance. So much of the process of knitting, I'm coming to realize, is intuitive and can't be taught. For some reason, today, this amazed me.

Also amazing -- earlier in the afternoon, I went over to a friend's house and had a few beers on her porch. The sun was shining and I could hear the wind rustling the leaves down in the holler. At least I thought it was leaves, until I looked up and realized that it was a wall of rain. I sat and watched the rain come up the valley until it hit the house, a torrential downpour. All the while the sun shone, and there was an enormous, if faint, rainbow. It was an incredible thing -- much like watching the weather roll in across the plains out west. But here I was, in the middle of a dense patch of mountains. So unexpected and so beautiful.

I'm giving myself a few more days, and then I'll find some sort of alternative to digital photos, because lets be honest -- photoless posts stink.

P.S. Yesterday, in a fit of craving, I made bagels. Real, honest-to-god bagels. I was skeptical about whether it would all work -- I'm very, very picky about my bagels, which is why I've not had one since I moved here. But I was incredibly impressed with this recipe and pretty pleased with myself. They had the perfect crunchy outside, chewy (but not cakey, doughy, or bready) insides... delicious. With a longer rise nexttime, they might be pretty damn close to perfection (for bagels made by hand on an electric stove in a kitchen in central Appalachia, that is).

12 July 2006


I swear. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. There's just been a lot going on. Some of it is work-related, which is only moderately interesting to post about (it's not been festival or star-sighting related work, otherwise I would). Some of it has been personal, which means I won't really post about it. Some knitting has been accomplished though (I will say that having access to sharp, pointy sticks when very angry is not always a good thing).

In desperate need of a change of scenery, I took a spontaneous trip to visit my parents this last weekend, which meant a trip to their LYS. My mom had to go to the dentist, so I figured I'd kill time in the yarn store until she was done. Conveniently, her appointment ran half an hour late, just enough time to wear down my defenses. I bought yarn. Even though I'm not supposed to buy anymore yarn until after Hawaii. But I had self control and bought two beautiful skeins of Lorna's Laces, and that's it. I figured, given all that's been going on, I deserved a beautiful pair of socks for myself. That's right -- deserved. Hee hee.

As soon as I can put my hands on my battery charger, there will be pictures some FO's and some yarn. I'm on a mad mission to finish up old projects. I've been frogging and reknitting and ploughing away on old things to make room for some new stuff that will make me happy. It's all part of an attempt to reorganize and re-prioritize my life. We'll see how this all goes...

03 July 2006


I'm having a bad knitting week. Bad. Last night, plugging away on a pair of socks, I realized that ten rows back, I had flipped the lace pattern and done a repeat backwards (don't ask). So now I have to rip it back (size 0 needles!) and reknit.

A few days before, I picked up Orangina, on a kick to finish, and realized that five rows back, I had messed up and the pattern was off. So I have to rip back.

I'm knitting another, simple pair of socks. I've turned the heel and I knitting the foot and I think I used a needle size too large and the socks look to holey. I might need to rip it back.

And just now, working on T-SALP, I realized that I didn't leave myself a note that I was in a middle row on the pattern repeat, picked up in the wrong place, and knit an extra row. So now I need to rip back. Lace. I need to rip back lace.

I give up. I just want something that doesn't need to be ripped back.