Archive for August, 2007

UFOs

August 22, 2007

Well, Franklin and the Harlot are showing off their unfinished objects today, so I’m going to be a total bandwagon-jumper type person and do the same. I don’t know that mine are as exciting as theirs, but here we go:

It’s the Melon Scarf from the absolutely scrumptious book Victorian Lace Today, knit in some really lovely hand-dyed merino from Rebelle. It might as well live in that La-Z-Boy for all the work I’ve done on it lately. There’s really no particular reason it’s languishing other than I can’t seem to get motivated to knit a scarf when it’s freakin’ ninety thousand degrees outside.

Number two:

This is the Chocolate Creme Top from Knitting Lingerie Style another fabulous book. It’s in that wonderwool, Cascade 220. You can see from this picture that it is completely knit and only lacks finishing – but oh, how I hate seaming and even more do I hate picking up and knitting, which I need to do with the neckline and armholes. It’s embarrassing how close this is to being done, really.

Number three:

The wonderful Jaywalkers – I love this pattern, but I already know they won’t fit me – the tops are too tight. So I can’t get motivated to finish them. I guess I could give them as a gift. But they will always hold a place in my heart as my first (semi)successful sock attempt.

And four:

Le Slouch – in practically-edible-it’s-so-yummy Malabrigo. But – seed stitch. Ack.  And again, million degree weather.

One more:

My sad, sad Dappled Lace Cafe Curtain, murdered in cold blood by this little girl:

Ignore that “Who, me?” look and her general adorableness – had you seen the carnage, you would be aghast.

Those are all the unfinished items that haven’t been recently discussed (i.e., Branching Out, Waving Lace Socks) that I have photos of. There are some others lurking about that shan’t be discussed.

And does this stop me from casting on new projects?  Of course not.  Or from buying more yarn?  Never!

More detail than you probably wanted about socks and scarves

August 19, 2007

Firstly, a much better picture of the Waving Lace Socks:

It’s artsy cause it’s in some plants! Seriously, I have no idea what these are – we have them in our front and back yard – they came with the house. Most of the year, they just look like clumps of long, fat grass, then at the end of the summer, they sprout these pretty lavender-esque stalks. Then they get all crispy and die and come back next year.

And, I have to show a closeup of the gusset, because I’m so proud of it:

I really, really hate picking up stitches – and til now, I wasn’t very good at it. But I think I did a pretty good job on this one! I’m really enjoying this pattern – it’s good for a newbie sock knitter, I think – the lace is a 20-row repeat, but it’s very intuitive and not hard at all to follow. I think I mentioned before that this pattern is from Favorite Socks – love this book. Most of the patterns are new to me (many appeared previously in Interweave Knits magazine) since I haven’t been knitting all that long, and there are lots of different options – toe up, top down, 5 needles, 2 circs, lace, plain – you name it. I get all kinds of inspired looking at it. I think next will be the Merino Lace socks.

Next up – Branching Out, version 2.0. Why the second iteration? Well, check out this photo:

Looks good, right? Nice, fuzzy, pink scarf. WRONG. Scratchy, sneezy, squeaky pink scarf. This was one of my very first lace projects, and also before I pretty much started using exclusively natural fibers. I picked some “mohair” type yarn (a yarn that shall remain nameless) to knit this with. I worked on it for a while, then got distracted and set it aside. Some months later I picked it back up – and could not STAND the yarn. I tried to knit one row and it made my teeth hurt.

So today, I went to my LYS (Magpie Yarn – run by two lovely ladies named Diane and Jane – if you are in KY, you should go there!) and picked up a skein of green Silky Wool to try again. Here we are one repeat in:

I’ve used this yarn before, and I like it, I’m just not sure I love it with this pattern. The wool and silk take the dye differently, giving it a bit of a marled look, and I don’t know if that will be good for the lace pattern. At least for me – I know people make lace stuff from hand-dyed yarn all the time, but my own tastes are pretty simple. So we’ll see – but no matter what, it won’t be that ickified pink crap!

By the way, did anyone notice the mistake in the first version? Look here:

Not sure what I did there, but that would have made me absolutely nuts. So it’s just as well I didn’t finish it!

Finally, some eye candy – check out this gorgeous bag I also got at Magpie:

Cause you know, you need a tiny silk bag to carry your current sock in.

Already?

August 15, 2007

It’s feast or famine, people. No posts for two weeks, then two in as many days.

As promised, a shot of the Waving Lace sock:

I apologize for the craptacular pic – we don’t have a lot of light in our house, and it’s night, so dark and semi-blurry is what we got. I just finished the heel, next step is to turn it. That’s not my strongest suit at this point, so we will see how it goes. I was hoping to finish at least one of these by tomorrow night for a gift; obviously that is not going to happen. I figured if I got one done, I could wrap it up and let her know the other was on the way!

I like this pattern a lot – it’s lace without being overly complex and it has been a quick knit – I think I started them Sunday night.

I finished a wonderful book this weekend – I have to share. It is The Girls by Lori Lansens – recommended to me by my friend Meredith. She doesn’t usually steer me wrong, and this was no exception. Just a lovely, lovely book. It’s an autobiographical novel of two conjoined twins – and if that sounds odd or exploitative sounding, it is not. The writing is lovely, and the structure of the book is compelling – each sister takes turns telling their story, sometimes with completely different takes on events. One of my favorites so far this year.

Hey, how about a gratuitous adorable dog photo?

And another!

That’s the little terror that ate my knitting. But look at that face – how could I stay mad?

Stay tuned – if I can overcome the embarrassment, I’ll post a photo of my incredibly disorganized stash next time!

Shed a tear…

August 14, 2007

…for the death of two projects. My pretty lace curtain and my summertime tunic…both dead. Why, you ask? Ruby. Our foster dog – she killed them both. It was my fault, really – I knew she had a tendency to get into my yarn – fortunately, up til this weekend she only got into stash. So I bagged up my two projects in ziplocs and left them on the coffee table.

My mistake.

When I got up Sunday morning, she had chewed through the bags, reduced one set of Brittany birch needles to splinters, and chewed up a pair of circs. Sigh. And of course both projects have to be frogged.

Ah, well. Good thing I like to knit (since I’ll be reknitting both) and that neither were too far along – just about three inches on the lace curtain and four or five on the summertime tunic.

I, of course, have already moved on, and cast on for the Waving Lace socks from Favorite Socks. Almost ready to turn the heel on the first! No picks yet, but I’ll post as soon as I can get around to taking them.

Reads and re-reads

August 1, 2007

I’m quite a voracious reader – I always have been. I’ve never really kept track of what I read until this year – my husband has kept a reading log for several years, and I decided to try it myself this year. It’s interesting to track patterns in my reading – and to see how many books I’ve read. I’m averaging about two a week – not bad. Some more, some less, depending on how everything else in my life is going. It certainly helps that I’m a very fast reader – I don’t know how fast as I’ve never timed it, but I can easily read a 400 page book in a day, given the time.

But another thing I’ve always done is re-read favorites. There are some books I’ve probably read 15 or 20 times – re-reading an old favorite, for me, is like the mental equivalent of your favorite p.j.s – soft, familiar, and something you want to slip into after a hard day.

So, in no particular order, some of my habitual re-reads.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird – with #2, tied for my all time favorite book. Every time I read this book, something different strikes me. The book has changed over the course of my life – when I first read it at about 12, it was all about Scout – to me, it was a book about a little girl. Later, in college, it was all about the social injustice. Now that I’m older and thinking about having kids of my own, it’s about family – how our biological and adopted families can impact our own lives and the lives of those around us. And in another ten years, it will be about something totally different.

2. Pride & PrejudiceQuite simply, the best romance ever. After all, aren’t Elizabeth and Darcy the prototypical romantic couple? Man and woman meet. Man and woman can’t stand each other. Man falls for woman, bungles it all up, pushes her away further. Woman realizes he’s the love of her life after all. Happy ending. How many Hollywood movies and countless other inferior romances follow this exact pattern? Plus, it’s hilarious (really!) and a striking social commentary on what it meant to be a woman in Regency England. That’s part of Austen’s genius – sneaking in the socio-political bits underneath the comedy and romance so you hardly even notice it!

3. Bridget Jones’ Diary – I’m not afraid to admit it, I love this book. It doesn’t hurt that it’s essentially a re-write of P&P, but it is laugh-out-loud funny, heartrending, and occasionally infuriating. I may not want to be Bridget Jones, but I’d sure like to hang out with her.

4. To Say Nothing of the Dog – a spectacular – and uncategorizable -novel by Connie Willis. Part sci-fi, part romance, part comedy of errors, this book is a joy from start to finish.

5. The Anne of Green Gables series – I have a very distinct memory of being bored at my Grandmother’s house one summer, and her handing me the first of this series to read. I turned my nose up at it – it sounded boring. Some time later, I picked it back up, loved it, and bought the rest of series. You’ve got to love Anne – her imagination, her many “scrapes” – truly great books for girls.

6. The Stand – Yup, Stephen King. I read all of his stuff, but I really love this one. A sprawling end-of-the-world epic – good vs. evil, all that fun stuff.

7. The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde – terribly, terribly fun and clever books. The literary allusions come at you fast – try to keep up! Featuring a heroine who can “book jump” – that is, actually enter books and interact with the characters. Possibly my favorite scene in all the books is when Thursday attends an anger management class with the cast of Wuthering Heights. Check out his website, too – great fun.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I love all her books, but this one is probably my favorite. Scary, scary stuff with a feminist (but by no means overly didactic) bent.

8. Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones – DWJ is truly the greatest (semi-)undiscovered kids/YA author out there. This book would be at home in either the YA or the adult section. Fantasy, sort of – set in our world but also parallel worlds that pop up in a lot of her books.

9. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – I love all of his stuff, but this is the one I come back to the most. A book about the London that’s under London – a wonderful book made from a semi-crap (I say with utmost affection, as I own it and have seen it a couple of times) BBC tv series. Now that I’ve been to London, it’s even more fun!

10. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – absolutely the most hilarious book you will ever read about the apocalypse. Seriously. There is nothing in this book that you will not love.

And there are many more, but these have made it into that upper echelon of yearly or every other yearly (is that biannual? I can never remember if that means twice a year or every other year) re-reads. If you see something that looks interesting, have a look! Or let me know what your re-reads are – I’m always looking for new ones to add to the list!

**A note on the hyperlinks – I’ve linked all titles to Powell’s (and generally do) because they are the most easily accessible online independently owned bookstore. But I encourage you to patronize your own local independent as much as possible. They are a dying breed and deserve your business!