27 January 2007

Dum dee dum dee dum...

I swear, I haven't dropped off the face of the planet. I'm in Philly. Again. I feel like I've been out of town more than in town these last few months, and it's led to some erratic blogging. But -- there will be knitting, news, and photos when I return to the mountains this coming week. Your pomatomus sock questions will be answered (although they are not yet finished), hopefully there will be some endpaper mitts to display, and a new project to show off. See you soon!

17 January 2007

Pomotamus revived

I would like to say, for the record, that ripping back an inch of the foot of the Pomotamus was the most hair-raising, terrifying experience of my brief knitting career. I hope never to have to rip something like that again. All I can say is THANK GOD for that US 000 needles. They were a life saver.

Now off to the knit-night I've organized with some friends in Kentucky (where I will be working on a much more soothing project!)

16 January 2007

Check it!

Oh yeah!

So I treated myself to knitting on Pomotamus while watching Fog of War, which I netflixed ages ago and never had a chance to watch (can I interrupt myself to note that "to netflix" now seems like a completely acceptable verb? My how things have changed!). I was all set to post about the P-sock tonight -- how I first knit one a year ago, how hard it seemed, how I couldn't follow the pattern and how badly the sock turned out (so badly I actually didn't knit the second. This rarely happens). This time around, I flew through the first chart, all the way down the ankle, and turned the heel without even a second thought. It was, to me, a testament to how much I've grown as a knitter in the last year. I had all of these back-patting thoughts planned for my post -- introspective musings about the measuring of progress, adult learning curves and such. But alas! It seems I don't always learn as fast as I think. Because half way through (of so I thought) the second foot chart, I take a moment to actually consult the chart. And lo! I effed up. Damn. I effed up in a way that can't be easily fixed. I was so frustrated, I had to set it aside. I'll figure out how to rip back a sock full of twisted stitches tomorrow.

But I'm worried... could this be a sign of the times to come? So far, everything I've knit in 2007 has had to be at least partially frogged. Like the Spindle-socks-that-aren't. Or the Endpaper mitt disaster, where I repeated two extra rows of the chart, but didn't realize until I was well on my way up the thumb, had to add an after-thought lifeline, rip back and knit again. Sheesh.

Here's to hoping for either more brain power or fewer mistakes the rest of the year! And now, back to the endpaper...

15 January 2007

In other news...

I'm plugging along on the Pomotamus sock. More information soon...

In other news, I'm so close to being done with this grant, I can taste it. This has nudged a little into my knitting time, but when I'm done, I should have a good thirty pages of a chapter finished, and that's uplifting.

Recently, I've noticed that some folks have been posting about creative interests beyond knitting (too many to link to here, but seriously -- everyone's button collections make me want to start collecting buttons. I've got a weakness for collecting). I find it inspiring to see what catches other peoples fancies. So I thought I'd let you guys in on my dirty little secret. I collect saucers.

I love them -- their usefulness, versatility, tiny beauty. It's so much fun to dig through junk shops and antique stores looking for beauties that meet the rules (yes, as with most collections, there are rules -- Well, one rule really -- each saucer in my collection is an "orphan." That is, it doesn't have an accompanying cup, nor did I find it in a store with others like it. They must be lonely saucers, in search of a good home. This keeps me from bringing home every beautiful saucer I see). The above photo is a selection of my current favs from my collection. There is the saucer that inspired the saucer obsession:

A little wedgewood number that I snagged at an antique store in Staunton, Virginia. I love it.

Then there is this puppy:

I got this one in Memphis when I visited last February. It's a store sample, and the little polka dots make even the dullest day chipper.

And this one? Well, the reason why I love it should be obvious :)

You'll notice that my idea of saucer does not necessarily mean that it once had a corresponding tea cup (which, coincidentally, I'd also collect if I weren't, as my dad constantly reminds me, mobile. I'd collect tea pots too... god, I can't wait until I have my own home!). I've included small plates in my "saucer" collection. Like the blue depression glass -- That plate is also the only plate that has violated the "orphan" rule. But I maintain that it was, indeed, technically orphaned, since Jenfee bought all the others and it would have been orhpaned if I hadn't lovingly bought it. So there.

What do you all collect?

13 January 2007

Hip-Hop-Happening Saturday Night

I realized today that I haven't left my house (other than to walk up the lane to the mailbox and back) in a week. No wonder I'm depressed. But I'm almost -- ALMOST -- done with my last major grant (three more days. Just three more days and I'm done).

My Saturday night?

[that would be a copy of my dissertation half-chapter that needs revision and the in progress ankle of an all-too-famous sock pattern. More on that tomorrow]

My hot date?

Oh yeah. That's right folks. It's either a sign that I'm a grown up or a hopeless dork, but this baby was one of my favorite Christmas presents. Cat hair dust bunnies don't stand a chance in the presence of the Turquoise Wonder. Ha HA!

Have a good weekend, all!

11 January 2007

More things to cure all ills

Thanks for all of your comments on the Swallowtail! I'm so pleased with how it turned out, and I think it's made me a lace convert -- I keep finding all these new patterns I want to make. So get ready for more lace to come.

So here and there over the last few days, I've been working on small new projects. I'm in the throes of my last major grant application and have had to lay down the law when it comes to knitting (something, I suppose, I should do more often) -- no knitting until I've written at least three pages (or whatever my daily goal happens to be. Today, for example, it is to finish the nasty draft of this proposal). So in the evenings, while trying to think of how to say something, or deciding where I want to go next in this chapter, or generally giving my brain a break, I've been craving small things to knit -- things that can be knit in pieces (and, of course, from the stash, since I'm dead-set on not buying yarn until March). This little guy is a product of this craving. [This picture does him no justice...]

Pattern: Elephant loveable toy, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: less than 1 skein of Malabrigo (Frost Gray), Misti Alpaca Worsted (in pink) for the nose, scraps of Knitpicks Gloss for the eyes, and Sundara Merino Sport for the snazzy Kerchief.
Needles: Clover bamboo dpns, 4.25 mm US 6

Modifications: Well, other than yarn selection, I knit the whole thing on dpns -- The pattern calls for this very complicated process of knitting from the legs up the body on two circulars. Bah! I knit the legs flat, and then rearranged them on dpns with half the leg stitches on each of four dpns. Worked fine. If I had it to do again, I'd knit the arms on slightly smaller needles. My gauge knitting in the round is considerably tighter than it is knitting/purling stocking flat (knitting socks is beginning to take it's toll... my purl tension is considerably looser than my knit. doh!) and it's noticeable. I sewed the ears on a little wonky, but i think that's part of the little elephant's charm. I stuffed him with yarn scraps, so not a thing was wasted in the process. What a fun and rewarding (and adorable!) knit. Any name ideas?

I just finished brewing coffee. This will be the first cup of coffee I've had in almost a week. I decided to cut back this year, after I found myself going through almost a pot a day in November. Coffee is my treat to myself today.

[and for those of you who think I seem to be churning out a lot of projects these days (Minty), I don't really knit that fast. I've had a lot of things languishing around, half finished, that I've suddenly motivated to complete. Also, keep in mind I live in a town of 78, about three hours from a reasonable sized city (and movie theaters. and restaurants. and FRIENDS) and I have no day job. Things can get pretty dull chez Twinknit in the winter, and knitting has proven to be an excellent way to pass my evenings).

09 January 2007

Cure All

I was having a really down day. That is, until I unpinned this:

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, from Interweave Fall 2006
Yarn: Drops Alpaca 2 skeins (plus some Misti Alpaca laceweight in black...I ran out of yarn)
Needles: Addi Natura circulars, 4.5 mm, US 7

Thoughts: There are no words for the joy this shawl makes me feel. This is my first completed and blocked lace, and I'm hooked. I ran out of yarn at the end which was frustrating, but in the end, I just decided to use black for the last border, just like the tail of the Swallow bird:

(I didn't really put that much thought into it at the time, but I like the argument).

I'm wearing it now... maybe it will help me write this grant application quicker. If not, then at least it made me feel better! Lace and fresh bread will cure al ills...

08 January 2007

Plays well with others, but...

Cannot follow directions. Case in point -- my first FO of 2007 (Let's home this isn't a sign of things to come!)

Pattern: Well, it was supposed to be the Spindle Socks, but I can't follow directions, so I guess it's really my own.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 2 skeins, in color #340002 (a beautiful pale green)
Needles: Clover bamboo dpns, 2.75 mm (US 2)

Thoughts/Modifications: Well, like I said, I can't follow directions. I misread the pattern and didn't notice that there was a 2 purl column between each set of three cables (when the cable change direction). I didn't notice this until I'd done all the ribbing and started the first set of cables. But I was on a time constraint (I was desperately trying to finish socks for my girlfriends from college before we all met up in Boston. I didn't succeed. But I'm much farther along than last year, when I finished the last pair in July!). So I fudged the pattern a little and got it to work out so there were still six cables (three in each direction) across the front. It wasn't until I reached the toe of the first sock that I noticed this:

See it? When I picked up stitches along the heel flap and began knitting in the round again, I inadvertently switched the direction of the cables. All of them. Again, no time to rip back. So I just repeated all of my mistakes on the second sock. Oh well. They are still delicious socks -- great color (can you tell I'm craving spring?), I love this cable, and the cashermino is so squishy and decadent on the feet. Anna's pattern is wonderful too -- very easy to cable with out a cable needle (thanks to the slipped stitches in those cables) and knits up quickly. They're blocking now, and then they're off in the mail to Mel. I might have to make myself a pair (following the directions, of course).

In other news, I joined the 2007 UFO Resurrection. I'm gonna get my WIPs under control (this is one of my New Years Yarn Resolutions -- along with only knitting from stash for the months of January and February... possibly even March!). My list of UFOs so far (and I know there'll be more)?

1. Swallowtail shawl
2. New England Socks
3. TSALP (still)
4. Mom's Faroese shawl (frog pond)
5. Union Square Market (frog pond)
6. Spitey's Sweater (frog pond, when I feel capable)
7. Kitty Pi
8. Anthropologie Sweater (frog pond, I think...)
9. Orangina

I've gotten a head start on #1 (and, indirectly, #5)... I put it down months ago when I realized I was going to run out of yarn. I couldn't find more on my last trip to Philly and the poor thing has been sitting around 15 rows from completion. So this weekend, I finally picked it back up and re-evaluated the yarn situation. I thought that perhaps the yarn still attached to my unfrogged beginning of the Union Market Sweater might do the trick. So I painstakingly ripped it out (and believe me, this was no fun -- alpaca is sticky!),

rewound it, and am now plugging away (after doing my very first spit-felted join... I'm never weaving in ends again!). I hope to have the thing blocking by midweek. Hurrah!

07 January 2007

2006 in Review

I'm back from my east coast rambles and cozily, if sleepily, installed back in my little mountain home. I'm still in the process of catching up on my blog reading, but it seems as though everyone had lovely holidays. I have a lot to post about, but I'm going to follow Rachel's lead, and stagger my posts. This saves y'all from a monster post and gives me fodder for posting all week while I try and pull together a grant application (nothing like starting a new year with grant writing. Woo hoo!).

I had a plan to post pictures -- like my last FO of 2006, etc. But I woke up this morning and, well, it's "froggy". See?

Bad light for new-photo-taking. So instead, I present you (a little belatedly) with 2006 in Review. It's been a big year. According to my files, in 2006, I knit:

1 sweater
1 shrug
13 pairs of socks
8 pairs of fingerless gloves
2 hats
1 scarf
1 pair of mittens
5 miscellaneous

Of these, 9 were for me (the shrug, 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of fingerless gloves, the mittens, the hat, and the wrist rest) and the rest were gifts of "commissions" (i.e. "Hey, can you make me one of those?").

I still have 9 projects OTN, incomplete.

To Be Completed...

My goal for the beginning of 2007? To start getting some of these off the needle. Then I can make room for some new projects! More on my Knitting resolutions tomorrow!