January 17, 2011


 Cold hands

Bright sky

Runny nose

Sweaty face

Big smile

Sturdy legs

I love a winter morning run. 

January 12, 2011

There are worse things I could do (worse)

I like to knit and I like to talk about knitting, but I don't really enjoy taking pictures of knitting.  I like taking pictures of friends, capturing special moments, but I'm not a gifted photographer and it comes across in my photos.  And that's OK!  I bake better cakes and cookies and brownies than most people I know; I can spot a burgeoning romance a block away; I'm pretty good with languages and I get along really well with uncles and in-laws.  I'm not looking for sympathy; I'm just stating a fact.  A fact that is clear when you see these:

I did not take these.  Jim, the recipient of these tweedy socks, did.  I gave them to him before I had a chance to photograph them so I told him he'd need to take some snaps for me so I'd have documentation of the finished product (he's a professional, you see).  Man, did he pull through. 

Pattern: My own
Yarn: Rowan Rowanfleck DK Tweed
Needles: 3.5mm & 3.75mm
Started: January 4
Finished: January 8

Jim is a dear friend with excellent and specific taste.  His style is a little retro, a little modern and a little Scandinavian (perhaps I should have started with Scandinavian and just have been done with it).  He is one of my most adored friends, and I wanted to give him something special for Christmas, but I knew the gift would need to be both useful and tasteful.  Jim is one of those people who is always pairing down, so extras hold little appeal for him.  It wasn't until after the 25th (but before the Epiphany, so still in the Christmas season) that I knew what I would give him: a hand knitted pair of house socks.  What I call house socks are socks that are heavier and denser than usual and warm enough to function as slippers, without the bulky sole.  Perfect for someone who likes to open a window for fresh air, or spend weekends at an underheated Pennsylvania cabin.

I couldn't find a sock pattern that was quite what I was looking for, so I improvised this one after consulting a couple of toe-up sock patterns I'd followed before (for fingering and worsted weight yarns).  I really like to-up construction; I especially like the Magic 8 cast on.  It really is like magic because suddenly you have a toe without seams!  Anyway, I started these knowing only that Jim wears a 9 1/2 or 10 shoe.  Fortunately I have man-sized feet, so I was able to try these on as I knit them to see if they would fit. 

They do! And he loves them.  What's better than that?

So, in closing, I'd say  that there are worse things that I could be worse at than photography.  Right, Rizz?

January 9, 2011

Sock it to me!

One of my first FOs of 2011 is a pair of socks I started in October 2010. These were done as part of a one clue released each week knit-a-long, and I was going gangbusters for the first three weeks, until test knitting and holiday knitting intervened.  I was kind of relieved to set them aside, though; I'm not sure why.  They weren't particularly difficult.

Pattern: TTL Mystery Sock 2010, by Kristen Kapur
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock
Needles: US 1/2.25mm
Started: October 9, 2010
Finished: January 3, 2011

I modified the pattern a bit.  The "tiny trowels" pattern on the ankle was getting to be a bit much for me, and so I decided to work in rib stitch along the foot instead, which was both faster and easier.  It also made them less fussy, and as I've said before, I'm not a fan of fussy knits.

This yarn I love.  I bought it when I was visiting my dad in Portland last fall.  I didn't spend time with any knitters while I was there, but I do have a very indulgent friend who very kindly took me to a couple of yarn stores I'd investigated. I picked up this skein at Twisted, which had a sizable collection or yarns dyed by small, independent dyers.  I'd never seen anything by Hazel Knits before and I loved this color, so it seemed like a good choice.  It was.

I hadn't been back to Portland for years, and it's changed a lot.  In addition to drinking delicious coffee and eating delicious pie, I saw a tiny museum

saw some crazy yard statuary

saw some hippies (natch)

hung out with a super cute niblette

and walked the city with my dad.

It was a great trip.  

January 7, 2011

From Minnesota with love

For my birthday last year I received a super special gift from a friend and fellow knitter who lives in Minnesota: a skein of handspun. 

The yarn itself was really exciting, but layered on top of the gift was a coincidence that made it really exciting for me.  Almost two years earlier, I had commented on flickr about a beautiful baby blanket that I saw in a friend's photo. He told me it was made by a super cool knitter/spinner he knows in Minneapolis.  End of story? Not quite.  Turns out, Stephanie special ordered this yarn for me from the very same spinner: Nuttnbunny.  There's nothing quite like the feeling of getting a truly spot-on present.

I considered making mittens or a hat with the skein, but in the end decided to use it for something that would be treated a bit more gently: a sweater. 

I was snowbound when I shot this; perhaps that accounts for my sour countenance.

Pattern: #22 Garter Yoke Cardigan, by Melissa LeBarre
Yarn: Zealana Eco Cashmere Merino Blend (body), Nuttnbunny
Needles: 4.5mm
Start: September 5
Finish: September 20

I had been wanting to make this sweater since I saw it in Knit 1 magazine two years ago, a feeling that was underscored when I met the designer, Melissa, during our roadtrip to Webs.  Quite a few knitters have knit with the colorblock modification and my calculations told me that I would have enough of the handspun to make it work.  My initial instinct was to work the body using a grey yarn, but (a) I have almost as many grey sweaters as I do horizontally striped shirts and (b) I thought the grey might accent the purple and pinks of the handspun in a rather 6th grade way.  There's quite a bit of brown in the yarn, so I decided to go that route instead.

Very glad that I did.  The yarn was a bit of a leap of faith for me, as I ordered it online, but it matches exceedingly well.  The cheap wood buttons make me quite happy, too.  I am less happy, however, with my button sewing abilities.  I sewed the buttons too close to the buttonband's outer edge, not realizing that this would result in noticeable gapping in the region of my bosoms.  Easily enough fixed, but let's be realistic:  I finished the sweater in September and only got around to sewing on the buttons on December 27th.  This is how she's going to stay for the foreseeable future.  And that's OK by me.