30 September 2006


FO #2 this week...

Pattern: The Road to Oslo, from Knitting on the Road
Yarn: One skein of super old yarn I picked up for $0.50 at an antique store, and part of one skein of green wool I bought in Austria six years ago, long before I knew how to knit for real

Needles: US 3 and US 4 dpns, wood
Begun: 26 September 2006
Finished: 30 September 2006
Notes: The world's quickest knit. Really. I knit the first one in one day. I loved the idea of wearing these folded down over the top of winter boots to keep out the snow (the original design for the socks in Norway). I love colorwork. I love that the yarn I used was all OLD. They need to be blocked, but I wanted to get them up at the end of the month.

29 September 2006

One down...

... many more to go.

Pattern: My own
Yarn: less that one skein of Misti Alpaca Bulky (can't find the tag for the colorway)
Needles: Ebony Lantern Moon, US 8 (my glorious decadence needles)
Notions: Some navy beans, plastic sandwich bags (for the beans), three antique buttons from my button stash (yes, I have a button stash)
Begun: 28 September 2006
Finished: 28 September 2006

Thoughts: Fun, quick, easy, usefull. This might be the world's most decadenc wrist-rest (I keep wanting to type wrist wrest) ever. Misti Alapca is like heaven in a yarn, especially once it's knit up. I'm a total convert (and remember my insane love for alpaca). I almost stitched the whole thing together, but decided in the last minute to make it button closed, just in case the beans need replacing or I want to change the amount of stuffing in it (I only stuffed with beans -- I might want to add some yarn-scrap padding to the top, but I thought I'd try using it for a while and see if the height was right, etc.) Right now, my evaluation is that it needs some top stuffing -- the beans shift under the weight of my hands and now there are two indentations where my wrists go. I'll fix it this afternoon. But all in all, I love it. And it is definitely one of the most usefull things I've knit to date (and the first household item I've made -- on to dishcloths!)

28 September 2006

100th Post (State of the Union)

I've been planning this post all week without even knowing it was my hundredth post. But it seems somehow appropriate to time these two events simultaneously, so I will use this blog moment to evaluate the state of my (knitting) union these days.

Folks, it's not looking good. There are a lot of WIPS, especially long-time WIPS that I'm tired of working on. There are a lot of "one sock wonders" floating around my house. There are projects I once loved but the spark is gone. There are things I can't bear to frog. There are things I should just suck it up and finish. Here is a (hopefully not too lengthy) evaluation of knitting chez Jennie.

Unfinished Socks:

Pomatomus socks

I started these before I started blogging, last December, as a Christmas gift. I made one, hated the way the yarn and the pattern coincided, hated the fact that my gauge was off and it was too big, threw it in my scraps box and tried to stop thinking about it. A few weeks ago, I pulled out the second skein of yarn and needles and cast on for sock #2. Lo and Behold, my knitting has improved tremendously since last December. Not only can I accurately read a lace chart, but my gague is much, much tighter. Now what? Can't decide whether to finish sock #2, the frog and reknit the first sock, see if I have enough yarn to knit three all together, or throw in the towel, use sock #1 as a christmas stocking and gift the yarn.

Mystery Sock (i.e. Piece of crap obstacle sock)

I hate this sock. Hate it. It's too small, the pattern is weird, the gauge is too tight. Hate. It. Must rip it out. Can't stand to even look at it. It lurks in the scraps box for now.

Huron Sock

I love this sock. I loved knitting it until I got to the foot. The foot was a pain (carrying the yarn in the back for the three rows where there was no "lice" pattern on the top of the foot was tremendously tedious). I want to knit the second, but need to build up some stamina.

New England Sock

I made the first one. Then my life got complicated. I started the second one last week. Those needles sure are tiny.

"Thinking Socks"

I forgot I hated magic loop...

The Road To Oslo

When Nancy Bush says that socks are a quick knit, she's not joking. These will be an FO tomorrow. Note: I love the part when you turn it inside out and keep knitting so that you can fold the cuff down. Why is that so much fun?

Wraps and Shawls


O woe is T-SALP, other wise known as the top secret amazing lace project that I didn't complete for the Amazing Lace which I pretty much washed out of after week one. Yeah. The yarn for this shawl is beautiful. I'm making it for my mommy, who I love. But the pattern I chose is so. damn. boring. to. knit. Really. It looks so beautiful that I can't rip what I've done and do something else -- I know it will be worth it in the end. But I can't bear to knit it. I know it's just gonna take stamina and some kind of strategy. Slow and steady wins the race...


I feel ambivalent, and the ambivalence has made me stop knitting. I love dropping stitches. But I'm not sure I even really like it. The yarn is awesome (I love the sheen of Schaefer Anne!), but maybe better suited for something else? I'm not sure yet.

Swallow Tail

I have never been a fan of small shawls (or shawls at all for that matter), but I think they are gonna be my new accessory. I started this shawl on Tuesday. I'm almost done with the Budding Lace portion. I'm knitting it with some Drops Alpaca -- so it's thicker than lace weight. Love it. Hope to be done with it (if my fingers cooperate. More in this later).



I've attatched the two pieces, I'm an inch or so down the ribbing. I'm terrified it is too big. And so I stopped knitting.

Anthropologie Sweater

I love everything about this except that the whole thing scares me. I hate short sweaters -- I never wear them. Why would I knit one, using a whole lot of beautiful aplaca? It just seemed right. I can't figure out how long to make it, though, or how long the arms should be. So I knit a row here and there and think about it. I might love it short. I thought shrugs were stupid, and now I wear my "arms" all the time.


New Advisor Socks

I need to rip out the bind off on one ankle and re-do it. I'm too lazy. Idiot.

Too Sad

Spitey's Sweater

This is proof (?) that the boyfriend sweater thing is not a myth. I've never been a very superstitious person and a year and a half ago, for Spitey's 31st Birthday, I offered to knit him a sweater. He'd been asking, I thought it was sweet, I loved the yarn he picked, the total cost of it was exactly $31 -- It seemed fated. And yet... we broke up when I moved here. I worked on it some in vain during the long, lonley, and incredibly sad first few months I was here, and managed to finish the body (up to the armpits), one sleeve, and part of the second. Then I relegated it to the bottom of one of my WIP boxes so I wouldn't have to confront it. This sweater reminds me of him. It's just one of those things -- I'm still in love him and hate thinking about it. He was my best friend. Ripping out this sweater is like... erasing something? I don't know. There you have it. TMI.

Brand New WIP

Wrist cushion

I started this today. Because my hands HURT. I've been typing a lot (transcribing interviews, working on proposals, etc) and knitting a lot and the two are not mixing. I don't think there is anything seriously wrong (I think my hands are just out of shape from not typing much this last year -- I touch type and type fast. It's a workout, especially for the last two fingers on my left hand) but I'd like to keep it that way. So I'm knitting one of those ergonomic wrist rests to go in front of the keyboard. I'm using Misti Alpaca bulky, a skein that I've had lying around since I fell in love with it at Vagabond -- a yarn shop and boutique in Philly -- over a year ago. I've never know what to do with it (one skein doesn't go all that far). But this is perfect -- it feels sooo good on my wrists. I'm using "sand" stitch, but I can't decide which side I like better. What do you think?


And that ends the summary... It was long, I know. And there are other little things I've not included that I know I'll rip eventually or that I know I won't finish. I have to say, I thought I was worse off than this. With a little effort, I could get most of these done (fingers crossed).

And now, speaking of fingers... off to give them a rest.

21 September 2006

Wednesday's Happiness on Thursday

I could have sworn I posted yesterday, but apparently I didn't. Oops.

Well, we've all been talking about it, but I thought I'd share that autumn has hit the Appalachian mountains too. As soon as I got back from Philly, I knew the weather here had turned. There was that crispness to the air, even when it wasn't chilly. And although the leaves are still green, here and there I'll notice an edge of red, a few leaves falling over the road, the inclination for spectacular color. This will be my first full autumn here in the mountains... I've been so many years in the city, where fall seems to come and go and I've barely had time to notice it. I can't wait to bask in two full months of glorious color, sweaters, crisp hikes, mornings when you can see your breath, apple pies, and fall festivals. I love it.

So, in celebration of autumn, I'm doing my Wednesday "favorite things" today:

1) My new desk.

While in Philly, I took a trip to Ikea, which was supposed to yield a new desk (because nothing makes a girl more excited about writing her dissertation than the excuse to buy new organizational materials. At least, not when the girl is me!) They were sold out of everything - damn undergrads - and I ended up just buying a set of "saw horses" to prop up a butcher block that belonged to my dad from waaaay back, before I was even born. This butcher block was hand crafted especially for my dad (he traded some jewelry for it -- dad used to be a silversmith) and it was a part of my household for as long as I can remember. Last summer, my parents moved to a brand new house and didn't need it anymore. So I took it. All year, it's been serving as a neglected knitting table (when do I ever knit at my knitting table? I knit at my desk, on the couch, in bed, standing in the kitchen, in the car...). So this week, it was reincarnated, combined with my old desk to make an L, and I'm in "office heaven." I love it.

2) Coffee.

Does coffee make the list every time? My mommy bought me that mug. I love it (although I'm trying to abandon my (inherited, I might add) pack rat qualities).

3) My new "thinking socks".

These might look like procrastination to you -- after all, I have two pairs of socks half finished and several other projects either OTK or seriously belated. But -- I love to write, and I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself, but I have a very, very hard time in the early stages of writing getting my thoughts on to paper. I had the same problem last summer when I was trying to write my dissertation proposal. What saved me were the cable and rib socks from Interweave Fall '05. They were my first serious pair of socks (I'd invented a pattern the previous winter... sometime, I'll show you pictures) and I knit them with a beautiful shade of Trekking (long before I'd even read a knit-blog and knew how popular the yarn was). Whenever I got stuck, or didn't know how to say something, I'd sit down and knit. Something about the repetative activity, engaging, but not so engaging that I couldn't think, freed my mind to be creative. And after only a few rows, I'd find a solution to my writing block. So... yesterday, I started new thinking socks. These are knit with the impossibly loud shade of Knit Picks memories "Hawaii" (for obvious reasons) and are destined to become my second pair of toe-up, two-at-once socks and my very first pair of plain-jane stockinette socks. We'll see if I get bored. I just wanted something easy that I didn't have to concentrate on.

4) The fact that I'm wearing a sweater this morning.

See that plaid sleeve under the sweater? Oh yeah. I'm not embarassed to admit that is my ankle length, long sleeve, plaid flannel nightgown. Did I mention I'm single (and 75, apparently)? But seriously, I love these L.L. Bean flannel night gowns that look like they come straight from a turn of the century farm house. Maybe it's the part of me that never grew up, that loves 'playing pretend'. But as soon as it gets cold out, I put this nightgown on at night, snuggle down in my cold bed, and imagine I'm living in the Big Woods.

5) The reason I can wear a sweater?

That's the thermostat inside my house. It's 55 outside. It was 55 all day yesterday. Want to see what I wore yesterday? Because it's also on my list:

6) This sweater.

My mom just gave me this sweater. She bought it in Greece when she visited there over 25 years ago. This sweater is not just amazing because I LOVE the fit. My mom told me that when she bought it, she went to a store, picked out the pattern she wanted, got sized for it, and then cavorted around Greece and came back in a few days (a few days!) to pick it up, completed. Folks, they knit it while she waited and it's hand knit!

Edited to say that my mom writes the following:
"I love the pictures etc. on your blog. So much fun to read. The sweater, by the way, was purchased in Mykonos, that picture-perfect island with all the little white churches. And it wasn't really a "store" since I don't recall they had any stores there in 1968 (yup -- I'm really old -- it was the summer I went to Israel and worked picking grapefruit on a kibbutz one year after the War of '67). It was more like someone's house. But you got everything else right."

There are a million more things that make me happy -- like soup (really, I love anything that comes in a bowl and can be eaten with a spoon. Try me), the fact that Julie is coming to hang out at my house tonight (I live forty five minutes from all my friends... they never come here to play), the prospect of possibly finishing my five page proposal (rough draft) this week. But, I'll stop at six. Besides, those are the most photogenic six anyway.

Happy Autumn!

19 September 2006



Sorry about the long absense. The trip to Philly was good and bad. I missed it there so much I wanted to cry and never leave, and I hated it there so much I wanted to cry and couldn't wait to leave. I did amazing things I never get to do (like see a Czech New Wave film from 1970 scored with live music) and things I hope never to do again (like wait in the Spring Garden police station for an hour and a half at midnight because someone smashed the passenger side window of the car I left unattended for a total of two minutes to steal my purse and my iPod. I don't want to talk about it). Generally, it was completely overwhelming and I got not a single, solitary stitch of knitting done. I didn't even set foot in any of the yarn stores I love so much. No yarn, the whole time. I did get a truly fantabulous pair of new cowboy boots (this was, obviously, before my wallet and iPod were stolen). They look like this:

Love. Them.

Right now, I'm drowning in the beginning of what promises to be an insane autumn. I'll try to post regularly, but I'm in the throes of dissertation writing now -- I have grant applications up the whazoo due in November, and a lot of writing (including most of my first chapter) to get done for them. Bare with me.

But... it's good to be back and there will hopefully be some knitting progress soon. In the meantime, I have a lot of blog-reading to catch up on!