Thursday, February 26, 2009

How do I do it?

Why is it whenever I run out of yarn halfway through something, it turns out to be the only color that nobody carries?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Must improve the quality of couch literature

By that, I mean the assortment of magazines and books scattered on or near the couch, which I reach for when Jamie settles in to nurse for a good long time, especially if it looks like one of those meals he's going to fall asleep after, rather than a quick snack.
I was reading a borrowed copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting (the first book) and got sucked into the mesmerizing photos of log cabin whatnots and cotton what-have-yous, and before I knew it, I was actually thinking it might be a smart and useful thing to knit a rug.
A rug.
Therein lies madness.
The way I got the Fool to knit was by whining about a (boring and tedious) rug I was making in (mind-numbing) garter stitch with doubled strands of (hard to manage) cotton. Somehow, I think if I started a second rug, he wouldn't fall for it again.
Luckily, Jamie nodded off and I slipped him from my lap onto a cozy floor nest of quilts and blankets, where he sleeps still, and I have not run out to buy enough of anything to knit a rug.

In other news, Rachel continues on with her second sock. She's knitting it on two circulars, having decided dpns are not her thing, and it's going well. She just finished decreasing for the gusset. We're knitting this together through a string of in-person encounters spaced out with text messages in between and occasional phone calls, where either the Fool or I answer questions.
Yesterday, she texted me from class to report that she had dropped a couple stitches and didn't know how to pick them up, and couldn't call me from class to ask.
So I emailed her a link to a video on how to pick up stitches.
She called later to say she'd spent hours that day trying to figure out how to pick up a dropped purl stitch from the video, which only showed how to pick up dropped knit stitches. Then, after beating away at this problem, she realized ... if she turned the knitting around, she'd be picking up a knit stitch on the back side, which is a purl on the front side.
Frustrating in the utmost, considering how much time she spent messing around until this occurred to her, but I was very pleased because she figured it out on her own and a good chunk of knitting is figuring out problems.
Anyway, we are playing for a dance she is calling tomorrow night, so I'm going to try to remember to get a picture of her sock to show you all. It's from the KnitPicks self striping yarn, and it's very soft and the colors are great.

Friday, February 20, 2009

That Carol, smart lady

Yesterday, Carol suggested in the comments that I get Jamie some yarn of his own to mess with in hopes he will leave the yarn alone that I am trying to knit with.
In thinking about this, I spent a little time confusing what I've read in books about raising babies with what I've read in books about training dogs (which means Jamie is in for an interesting childhood if I can't start keeping these two topics straight), particularly the part that says you should never give a dog an old shoe to chew on, because dogs can't tell old shoes from new shoes and the dog will start destroying every shoe it finds.
But I thought, heck, I'll give this a try, so I dug in the stash and came up with a few odds and bobs of acrylic and mystery yarns people gave me when they heard I had taken up knitting.

It's been remarkably successful. I sit on the rug and knit and he sits on the rug next to me happily - and quietly - pulling at the balls and making a huge tangle.

"Look," he says, "Something Angus and I can do together!"
I wonder how long it will be until he figures out that to really have fun with yarn, you need some needles.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Angus is on my list again. Two nights ago, he burrowed under the covers in the middle of the night and amused himself by biting my toes while I slept. Three nights ago, he walked in circles on top of me trying to find a nice corner of the afghan I was using so he could rub himself rudely on it. Tonight, he took off with a sock in progress (barely in progress; only a half inch of ribbing, but still...) and completely disemboweled the center pull ball so now, I have a big farking mess of Claudia's Handpainted yarn.
Meanwhile, Jamie continues to practice crawling. I rearranged the living room a little bit so he has the whole rug to crawl on, rather than rolling around in the other half of the room. I think it's an improvement because he can see me through the kitchen pass-through and therefore is not as sad when I go do something frivolous like make myself breakfast or a cup of tea. He's reached the cling-on stage, so he prefers to be with me all the time, possum-like.
That is, when he does not prefer to be looking at things I would like him to leave alone. I've littered the rug with board books, toys, etc., but he would rather find magazines to chew on and a bag of yarn to play with.
He also disemboweled a center pull ball of Cascade 220.

It's been a rough day for yarn chez Sock Knitters.
I cast on for a Tulip baby sweater in an assortment of blues and greens. I like to call it the Algae sweater. It's using up odds and ends of yarn, so I'm pleased about that. It's also a crazy fun thing to knit.

There are socks in progress too. This one is for my Uncle Merle, who lives in a retirement home in Honolulu, and although that is not a guy you think would want wool socks, he was admiring the ones I was making while in Hawaii and remarking that now that he is old, his feet get very cold at night and he can't get the building maintenance guy to turn the air conditioning down in his room. I asked him what his shoe size was and he said, "Big. Too big. Size 11."
Hah. The Fool wears a 12.

This is a little something from Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn, by Carol Sulcoski, which I think is a very neat book. I've been waiting to cast something on from that, and here it is. I plan to use odds and bobs for toes, cuff and heels, and some Regia stretch for the main part of the sock.

There are other socks in progress as well, but I decided taking pictures at night with a flash is not as good as doing it during the day, so more on all that later.
And now to sleep, where I will undoubtedly find Angus' hairy butt on my half of the bed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Knitting in Hawaii

I realized I never wrote about the fibery aspects of the trip. For all the jokes that are made about not needing sweaters in Hawaii - I think those only apply to people who don't live there.
The Fool observed that the tourists were the ones going around in shorts in the 70-degree weather, whereas the natives were all wearing long pants.
We did manage to visit some yarn stores, besides the one the Fool mentioned. They sell a fair amount of novelty yarn - but then again, knitters and crocheters in Hawaii make these - yarn leis - and they make novelty yarn look pretty darn good, I think.

Here's a selection hanging on the wall at Yarn and Friends (which is incongrously located in a medical building and which we managed to fail to visit twice times because once, it was closed on the day we were there, and a second time, the shop closed early for some reason. But the third time was the charm.)

A closeup of the crocheted leis.

And another. The shop owner offered to show me how to do it if I knew how to crochet, but unfortunately, I don't. Got a souvenir skein of dishcloth cotton instead.

Then it was on to Isle Knit, located on the 14th floor of an office building. It's a tiny little shop, but a really nice owner and full of lots of fun things. A ball of sock yarn followed the Fool home, and the pattern for this little guy followed me home. (The gecko. Not the baby. I know how to make babies.)

Hawaii has lots of geckos everywhere. We had two that lived in the house with us and kept scooting off under the microwave when I tried to show them to Jamie. The first time the Fool and I visited, the year after we were married, he was stunned to see a gecko scampering around on the wall of a Thai restaurant and everyone else basically ignoring it.
Finally, these are the friendly knitters of the Honolulu Stitch 'n' Bitch.

They meet at Ward Center on Thursday nights and have a Ravelry group where you can figure out how to meet them yourself if you are inclined. We got lots of tips on where to go and what to do, including how to find a beach where sea turtles sunned themselves.

It's a gray rainy day here. All I see when I look out the window are tree branches that came down over the winter (expect a blog post on wood cutting as soon as it warms up for good.) In a little bit, Jamie and I are heading into the city for an Irish set dance gig with the Fool and Edward, but meanwhile, Angus wants you to all see what a good babysitter he is, watching Jamie nap.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Rachel knat a sack!

Sorry. Inside joke. My friend Adina asked what the proper past tense of "knit" was. We decided it ought to be "knat," or depending on how the knitting went, maybe "knot."
And it wasn't a sack, it was her first sock!
Rachel and I ran the green room for the University of Chicago Folk Festival this past weekend, and one of the cold truths of show biz is that there's a lot of down time. It's why I learned to knit in the first place - being the house manager for folk concerts leaves a person with a lot of sitting-around time.
Anyway, she said she wanted to learn how to make socks. So I brought two sets of dpns and some spare yarn and showed her how. We knit tiny little socks. Rachel's fit Jamie fine, so she's going to make him a second one. As it is winter, he can use woolly socks.

Here it is! On a foot, so we know it works. Yay Rachel! She just placed a KnitPicks order, so I think we got her.
In addition to this, it was a great festival. Jamie was very even-keeled throughout the whole weekend, basically only fussing at us when he wanted something - feeding, a new diaper, a change of scenery. He practiced his crawling in the green room, chewed on great Chicago fiddler Liz Carroll (at least he has good taste, the Fool remarked. And at least Liz has kids, so she's used to this kind of thing, I said) and visited with lots of contra dance and music friends. He bit a couple noses, giggled at peoples' funny faces and grabbed eyeglasses.
The Fool got to play many tunes with Quebecois fiddler Lisa Ornstein at the party and in the green room, which was a great thrill for him. He's admired her for a long time and had a great time getting to know her better.

This picture makes me a little crazy, compositionally speaking. Lisa is to the right, the Fool is to the left, and our friend Jeffrey, who is not really relevant to the action other than to be standing in the middle is smack dab in the center of my photo, possibly even staring at the camera. Sigh. I've been working so hard on taking better pictures....

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Festive folk

It's the University of Chicago Folk Fest this weekend (if you're in town, come on out! Today and tomorrow.) Rachel and I ran the artists' green room last night; we'll do the same tonight. The Fool wore Jamie around, who slept in the sling when he was tired, visited with people when he was awake, practiced crawling, flirted with college women and listened to lots of music. I Cajun danced with Edward, helped with Jamie when necessary ... and most exciting?
Started to teach Rachel how to knit socks.
I'm showing her how to do it on dpns, because they're cheap and readily available, but she might be a 2-circs knitter at heart. We cast on, joined without twisting and worked on the cuff off a tiny little practice sock last night.
Tonight, I think we'll turn the heel and pick up for the gusset.
OK - off to toss my bean and barley salad (not a euphemism) and then back to campus.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Move over, Boppy

Did you know, a skein of Socks That Rock and a ball of Austermann Step, when arranged properly, make a great nursing pillow?