Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Christmas FOs...

I'm very lucky in my family, not only because they're lovely people, but because they are, one and all, practitioners of some kind of handcraft- woodworking, sewing, knitting, leatherwork, jewelry...and that's only a few. And not surprisingly, this makes us all very appreciative recipients of handcrafted gifts.

My sister Kate took possession of the Fools Rush socks for her birthday (earlier in the month), and told me she'd worn them through large parts of the big power outage, for their woolly warmth.

My husband was suitably surprised by his sweater...though it wasn't until we got home that he gave me a puzzled look and asked, "When did you find time to knit this, anyway?" Personally, I was thrilled to find that it fit perfectly. Whew!
grey guernsey sweater

My dad cuddled his cabled socks possessively- not that he's in any danger of losing them- no one else in the family could wear a men's size 11 wide sock...! (Those socks? More stitches than the sweater above. Same goes for the Fools Rush socks.) These are the Moss Cable pattern from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. I knit them toe up in a sort of consensus version of all my favorite sock techniques.
cabled socks

And the subject of my last post, a pair of heavily modified Endpaper Mitts also for my sister. These are the mitts that I started, found that I could not get gauge on, and decided to knit anyway, by re-figuring all the stitch counts and just knitting at a much tighter gauge on size 0 needles. I'm still not sure whether the problem was entirely the yarn, or simply that I really prefer a very tight fabric for mitts and socks. At any rate, I was pleased with the result.
Endpaper mitts

And now that this set of deadlines has passed, I can knit anything I want! The colorwork mittens, perhaps, or I can use a hat. Then there's that yarn I bought on sale for a summer top. Except- what's that whooshing sound coming from up ahead? A baby? Well, of course his blanket will be done by February. I'm right on schedule, I've already bought the yarn!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas....

10 pm Christmas eve, the last end of the last knitted gift is woven in, the baking is done, and I'm only a couple of gift bags away from being fully wrapped. Okay, that was maybe a little closer than I wanted to cut it. Partly it's that I was so close to being finished that I took the time to do other things. And partly-

Well, in addition to other useful tips for Christmas knitting, I'd like to mention that if you should a) decide to knit a pattern you've never knit before as a gift, and b) if when you swatch this pattern you find that you *cannot* get gauge in the yarn you have on hand, and c) you decide to use the yarn you have and rewrite the pattern to make it all should possibly not leave this gift to be the last one. Deadlines on the calendar may be closer than they appear.

So. About that enlightenment. Being as I was busy rewriting a knitting pattern on the solstice, I didn't really have time for more than a brief cheer as the sun started to return, but I did indeed note it. I don't mind winter, not even twenty-plus inches of snow we got over the weekend- but the dark, now. The dark, I really hate.

So last week (or the week before??) I was running around trying to make things more light. Exhibit A: I retrieved this lamp from a dark corner (where it was banished due to ugliness) and gave it a place of honor in the living room. It may be ugly, but it has a 100-watt fixture.
mustard-yellow lamp

Then there was this lamp, Exhibit B. If memory serves, it came from a household auction when I was furnishing my first apartment after college. It's a torchiere style, but I found a shade that would clip onto the bulb. It went very well with my Early Garage Sale decor- which is to say nothing matched, so it didn't stand out in the least. Then it experienced a severe electrical failure, and was unplugged for reasons involving not wanting to burn anything down. I eventually got replacement electrical bits from the hardware store and rewired it, but the shade was unsalvageable. So last week I finally dragged the lamp with me to the hardware store and got a shade that actually fit it.

Next up was Exhibit C, another floor lamp with lovely wrought-iron-work that my parents got us. That started making unpleasant crackling noises during the summer and also got unplugged (see re: Exhibit B, not burning things down). This lamp had already been rewired- my dad did it before he gave it to us. So that I gave a little more thought to. The bulb is always the first thing to check, but that wasn't it. (A relief since I'm glad to know that bulbs don't make that sort of noise.) The cord seemed to be in good shape, and was anyway not likely, since the lamp had been rewired so recently. That left the switch. I got a new switch, replaced it, and yay! Another working lamp.
wrought iron floor lamp

That brings us to the last and most challenging barrier to my aspirations to extreme candlepower. Exhibit D- it's one of four hanging lamps in the library, almost brand new, and with the diabolical timing usually known only to major appliances, it stopped working about six weeks after the warranty ran out.
library lamp

We've verified that there's current going into the lamp. So. This seems likely to be a switch problem as well. The lamp has three bulbs which can be turned on using one switch. With considerable difficulty, I dismantled the fixture and located the switch. The replacement switch appears to be the right sort. I carefully unwired the old switch, wired up the new one, and we rehung the lamp (from the 14-foot cathedral ceiling--oy!). And--it doesn't work. Darn and drat. So I'm back to square one. Time to finally break down and get a multimeter, and go over this again from the start. Because after going to all the trouble to take the darned thing apart once, I'm not accepting defeat.

In the meantime..I'm three lights ahead of the game. And I'm not staying up until four am knitting, either. I call it a net win for the season.

Happy holidays, and I hope you're not knitting until 4 am either!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


When I was a kid, waking up in the morning to some kind of fearsome weather, it was an exciting moment. My sister and I would huddle next to the radio, listening for our town in the alphabetical list of school closings- and let out a whoop at the delightful moment when we heard our school name. Snow day!

As an adult, snow days are pretty rare- nothing short of a real disaster causes my work to close. The day last year when we were let out early because we'd had 30 inches of snow (over 3/4 of a meter) in eight hours? Involved a three hour commute home followed by several more hours of shoveling. Kind of sucks the fun out of it, really.

So when I got up yesterday in the dark, powerless deluge of freezing rain and showered by candlelight I wasn't thinking about much except whether I could score a doughnut and coffee on my way to work in lieu of breakfast. (I could- double chocolate and cinnamon coffee- it was the highlight of the morning.) I headed out into a dim landscape of bleached trees and white-limned branches. When I turned into the street my job is on, I saw this:
fallen tree in ice storm

Moments later, I found that my work was dark and empty. A lone employee keeping station by the light of a fork-truck headlamp told me we were down, they'd call if we got power back, but they weren't expecting it until Sunday.

So I turned around and headed home. By this time we had some actual daylight and I could see more clearly what we were up against.
ice-covered bush The news reports had by this time enlightened me to the scope of the thing.

Back in my chilly living room by 8 am, I contemplated my options. At some point I needed to build a fire in the woodstove. But the really important question- what to knit? I had started swatching for the last remaining Christmas project, but I needed needles in a size I didn't have. But that would be for later. Right now, I needed a simple project, something that I could work in variable light. What I had was sock yarn. So:

Garter rib in Panda Soy (soy/bamboo blend), colorway Fudge Brownie). Soft and lovely stuff, and it's giving me a wicked sweet craving. I've christened these the Fudge Brownie Sundae socks.

Just about the time I was thinking about calling my LYS and seeing if they were open, my work called. Power's back, come on down. When I got home in the evening, I knit brownie sundae socks by the light of an oil lamp beside the wood stove. If it weren't for the many many people still struggling without power, I'd call it a pleasant diversion.

We got power back early this morning, my LYS has supplied needles to continue swatching the Christmas project, and I'm back on track. Now I just need to figure out how to put the socks down...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Zippy Project

I'm procrastinating on enlightenment again, so I'll talk about another project.

I gave up on purses some years ago in favor of a little bag that straps to my waist. I started using it for travel because I liked having my hands free for luggage, and every vacation it took longer to switch back- until I finally got rid of my purse and that was that.

The current bag was a relatively recent purchase, which is why I was rather miffed when the zipper broke. Okay, it had something to do with cramming more stuff into it than was probably strictly practical. But really, these bags are supposed to be sturdy. It's the principle of the thing. Also, it took me an annoying amount of shopping, which I dislike, to actually find one I liked, neutral in color, the right size, a separate pocket for my gym pass, business cards and phone...

So that's why for the last two or three weeks I've been going around with the broken zipper fastened with a safety pin. Until tonight:
zippered bag

Yeah, I bought a new zipper and replaced the broken one. This, contrary to the title of the post, was not an especially fast project. First I ripped the broken zipper out. This was the point of no return- the bag wasn't really usable with raw edges of fabric hanging out, so it meant I had no choice but to go ahead and finish.

Then I rethreaded the sewing machine. Which then jammed repeatedly for some reason that's probably obvious, but I lacked the patience to troubleshoot it at this time. So I pulled out my backup machine. (See, you recalcitrant tool? You can be replaced. Think about it.) This one having been recently propitiated with the sacrifice of three machine needles during the giant drapery project, consented to let me make it sew.

Okay, the top stitching isn't the straightest. (You didn't think the lack of close-up was an accident?) But at least I won't be going around unzipped.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Six Appeal

So, Karen tagged me for the following meme:
*Go to your sixth picture folder and pick your sixth picture.
*Pray you remember the details.
*Tag five others.

And since I'm currently in straight out Christmas knitting mode, which really ought to have some elements of stealth to it, I thought, sure. And I wonder what it will be? So I counted six folders, six photos....and what I had were fabric swatches for the giant theatrical drape project. "Well," I said. "That's boring." So I deleted them, thus cannily giving myself a new sixth folder. Which had only four pictures in it. So I reversed the sort order- and got both lousy test pictures I took when I first got my new camera *and* less than six! (Karen, is this supposed to be a trick meme?)

So I deleted the crummy test photos, and the next folder was birthday pictures of my nephews, also fewer than six! Clearly this is a sign that I need to consolidate some folders and delete all the crap. Finally I went to the six times six folder (36th) and found a sort that actually yielded a photo:
cat on a lap

This is hardly surprising, since Woats is way more photogenic than any other member of the household, and has her picture taken a lot. (Often sleeping, since when she's awake, she'll come over interestedly to sniff the camera, and all I get is a gigantic nose and a couple of whiskers.)

Of course, only when I went to post this, did I realize that I could equally well have gone to my online albums. The sixth photo in the sixth album there was this:
load bearing beam

Okay, most people probably think this is pretty boring too, but it's a darned rare sight- the load bearing beam that holds up the new second story of my house (now covered over with drywall and paint). It was step one in a project to turn this house:
ranch before construction

Into this one:
colonial after construction

Neither my husband nor I were very experienced carpenters before the start of the project, but we were a lot more experienced by the end of it.

Along the way, I got a lovely new sewing/craft room:
sewing room

And the piece de resistance- the library:

We're quite ridiculously pleased with the way it all turned out. (As if you couldn't tell from all the pictures!) If your thirst for home renovation photos is still unslaked, check out my project website. It started out as a handful of photos that I took daily to keep my other half informed (I was living in the house during the construction, he wasn't). I posted them online for easier access, and since they were there, forwarded them to family members, and it snowballed from there.

So the last instruction of this meme is to tag other people- but I'm not entirely certain I actually *have* five readers, so I believe I'll renege on that part of it.

Tune in next time for a post I guarantee will be enlightening!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Mittens of My Discontent

So, here's the mitten I cast on in my despondency over the (as it turns out) momentary setback of the Fools Rush socks:
icewine mitten

The Icewine Mittens by Aemmeleia. This is my first really heavily charted pattern, and while I'm enjoying the pattern, I've reached the dismal conclusion that these are not going to fit me, despite making gauge. This is the first time I've made this style of mitten, and I had some concerns going in about whether there would be space for the thumb. And I was right to be concerned- I'm probably going to have to rip this back a ways and improvise a thumb gusset. My hands are very broad at the base of the thumb, and I really rely on that gusset for a comfortable fit. The plain pattern I usually use for mittens for myself is a man's size, which fits my rather large hands pretty well.

And in other news- more socks:
cabled socks

These are the moss cable from Charlene's Schurch's trusty book Sensational Knitted Socks. A charming pattern suitable for even the fussiest male. I think the yarn is more Trekking, but I'll have to find the ball band, which seems to have disappeared.

Woolly sock weather has definitely arrived in New England- yesterday it was below freezing with a stiff wind- perfect weather for a seven mile walk (I'm joking- it wasn't perfect weather, though I really did take the walk). I saw rimes of ice on the edges of the stream as I walked by. Definitely the kind of weather that makes me want to be covered in knitting!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Someone Watches Over Fools

So when last we left our footgear, we were most of a foot short of a full sock. And silly me, I thought my biggest issue was going to be what other yarn to choose to make up a full order. The first skein of Trekking came from Webs, you see, and their sliding discount (not to mention shipping charges) is powerful incentive to buy more than just one ball of yarn.

But I'm currently already six or seven projects ahead of myself, which I know makes me a piker. But I really was really having trouble thinking what additional projects I wanted to do. So I went online to look and found...Webs was out of my colorway. Back-ordered. Hope to have more in several weeks. (Let me say here, that Webs' customer service is quite excellent, and it's not their fault they were unable to help in this instance.)

I was crushed. Despondent. Had to cast on a pair of mittens to take my mind off it. (We'll get into the issue of why, when you have a Christmas list full of stuff with deadlines, one feels the need to start something completely new in another post.)

So I idly googled Trekking, wondering if by any chance anyone else had it. Preferably someone else who wouldn't charge me an arm and a leg in shipping. I knew that my local yarn store doesn't carry Trekking. I looked at sites for several other stores in the area, noted one possible to call. And then. Up pops the name of a store a few towns over that I'd never heard of. That I drive right by every week on my way to karate. "Nah," I said. "That would be just too convenient. Still, I should check it out."

They had one skein left in the right colorway.

completed socks

And here they are- the Fools Rush sock by Cassiana. Very charming pattern, clearly written. I had to size it up considerably, between the 00(!!) needles, the fine yarn, and the large feet, but I quite like the results.

Now maybe I should knit something on the Christmas list, eh?

Monday, November 3, 2008


I can't say the Trekking Fools socks were going swimmingly even before the latest snafu. Partly it was the sweaterus interruptus in the middle, and partly it was inattention on my part, but I managed to repeatedly do silly things that needed to be ripped back- once a missed pattern row, that I spotted several rounds later; several missed stitches in the heel flap that made the heel stitch look half-ribbed and half-diagonal; and last but not least, I got through all the gusset decreases on the second sock without noticing that the first sock decreased every other round, not every round.

And while I probably had an excellent reason for it, I'm now at a loss to understand why I thought it was a good idea to do this pair of socks on 00 needles. A pattern repeat is ten rounds, and with a hundred stitches around the sock (for a ladies size 10), I had to work fairly hard to ignore that it was a thousand stitches for every pattern round I re-knit.

But this I can't ignore:
three- quarters of a pair of socks

I'm out of yarn. And not just a little short. About 6 inches short. It's the sort of thing that really should have occurred to me when I decided to make these with a standard leg length instead of the short length I usually prefer. After all, if it takes nearly all of a 460 yard skein to make ankle socks, it does make sense that adding three inches to each sock will require more yarn, doesn't it?

I think I'll blame the time change for everything.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Along with all the other things to love about fall- there's apple season. I'm a big fan of the humble apple. It's tasty fixed so many ways. And this year I have every reason not to restrain myself, because my sister and her husband have given me a bushel and a half of apples from their trees.
boxes of apples

So, we've had applesauce. I make it in bulk using a food mill. I'm not generally a fan of single-use gadgets, but this one is so darned useful if you like applesauce, that it's worth every minute of cabinet space for the 11 months of the year it waits for its true purpose. So all I do is wash and quarter the apples and remove stems. (These being somewhat feral apples, I also remove unwanted wildlife. Future dinner guests will be happy to know that part.) Fill a big pot.
apples in pot

Add water and boil to mush. Then run the whole mess through the food mill (sort of a pan with a sieve in the bottom and a crank/paddle arrangement that presses the mush through the sieve. Then add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg (and sometimes ginger) to taste. Yum.
food mill with applesauce

And it freezes very well, without the funny taste (or all the work) of canning. I either pour the sauce into a bag inside a container (seal the bag, freeze, then you can pop the frozen sauce-in-a-bag out of the container and reclaim the container for use). Or I pour them into my collection of single-serving yogurt cups. The cups are easy to decant into a bowl, and five minutes in the microwave gives me hot applesauce for breakfast on a cold winter morning.

In addition to the industrial production of applesauce, we've had pie.
apple pie

Apple crisp.
apple crisp

And applesauce spice cake (my grandmother's recipe).
apple cake

There's only one thing that scares me a little. I'm only halfway through the first box of apples.

Friday, October 24, 2008


It's rare that a knit grabs me so hard that I drop everything else to work on it. But the colorwork pullover was just such a knit. Five weeks from cast on to blocking has got to be a new record for me.
colorwork sweater

Woats got bored with helping knit after a while, but the yarn itself hasn't lost it's appeal:
Woats sniffs the yarn

Of course with the advent of cooler weather, I suspect that I could practice the tuba and she still wouldn't get off my lap.

I wasn't entirely confident about how the yoke was coming out, but blocking helped a lot. Blocking also let me stretch the sweater a critical couple of inches that I think will improve the fit. Enormously fun, I'm clearly going to have to do more colorwork. I will say, the two-handed technique was way, way easier than my one previous attempt (when I swapped yarn back and forth in my dominant hand and just about went cuckoo). And it's a huge advantage to learning two-handed technique if you start out being a right-handed Continental knitter. I'm not especially fast knitting English style, but I didn't have to be- being able to use both hands at all made it all go much more smoothly.

So then to celebrate finishing, I shopped. (That thud you hear is my mother fainting dead away in shock.) No, really. For more yarn. The colorwork sweater used up most of eight balls of merino I had on hand, and that was the last yarn I had in any quantity. I've got a bunch of odd balls of acrylic, a few balls of sock yarn, some scraps from other projects and that's about it. And, my LYS was having a sale. Hence:

Some nice plain superwash wool for a baby blanket. And I am officially saying that anyone of my acquaintance who tells me they're expecting? Should consider delaying the birth of the child. I've got a schedule to think about.
superwash wool

Then we have some lovely bamboo-soy blend sock yarn, part of my quest to try different yarns and fibers. I've been extremely curious about how the bamboo will wear since I found out it was a cool-weather wicking fiber. These should make a good pair of go-anywhere types of socks.
bamboo sock yarn

And last but not least, more bamboo- this I want to use for a summer top. I'm starting to notice some attrition from my last big summer clothes shopping trip-(well, it was in 1992). I've only had to take the radical step of demoting a few things to the ragbag, but there are bunch of other clothes I've had to reluctantly banish from the work wardrobe. (There's business casual, and then just casual...)
bamboo yarn

And I'm resisting the urge to cast on all of these. Priorities. Plans. I've got socks to knit, and one or two things for the holidays. And in the meantime, I need to go pull out a few hundred pattern books and magazines that I can reject contemptuously before knitting the baby blanket to an improvised design. Hey, why mess with success? I finished the sweater!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Seasonal Finery

I'd hold onto the daylight with teeth and fingernails if I could, but even with the shortening of the days, I've always loved fall. The cool air, the brilliant colors. On a sunny day the trees have their party clothes on, and on a cloudy one they practically glow.

Weekend before last, I went hiking on Mt. Monadnock in southern NH. The leaves were still turning:
autumn leaves

From the top of the mountain, you can see the splashes of color running down the side of the ridge:
view from the summit

Then last weekend, I was out in western Massachusetts, and shot some nice foliage around the college town of Amherst:
town center
across the field
a wayside church
If you'd like more foliage, there are more pictures of Monadnock and of Amherst. Leaf season is all too short, so I'm delighted that I've been able to get out and enjoy it this year.

And for the last of my recent travels with knitting, I battled traffic on Wednesday to get down to Cambridge and hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak. I picked up her new book at the reading, but then ducked around the corner to check out Porter Square Books, the lovely bookstore that was sponsoring the event. And found something else I'd been looking for:
new books

I'm really hoping for a long lovely autumn, but when the nasty weather arrives, I'll be ready for it. This weekend? I may need to buy yarn.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Photo Op

And now that I've finally had a sunny day to shoot some decent photos, the Optic Waves Beaded Scarf:

It didn't grow as much in blocking as I'd hoped, but 54" isn't a bad length for something that is really an accessory. The blocking did spread out the lace and show off the scallops of the pattern beautifully. Now all it needs is to find its destined recipient. Surely there will be someone who will love it as it deserves.

In other news...the stealth project is also done. It wasn't stealthy the last time it was here, but I've since found out that more people were reading this blog than I realized. (Hint- if you've any reason to suspect I might be giving you something knitted for Christmas- don't click on the package. There are also more photos on the the Ravelry project page.)

And yes, that officially makes three completed FOs on my Christmas list. I might actually finish everything, if I can resist the urge to add more! (Not to mention the urge to get obsessed with projects that *aren't* on the Christmas list! Yes, colorwork sweater, I'm looking at you.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Surprising Turn of Speed

As I've been knitting around and around the first sleeve of the colorwork pullover, I've been thinking about Toni's comment on how quickly this is all going:
colorwork sweater pieces

Yes, that really is the whole body of the sweater, ready to have the sleeves joined on, underneath the first sleeve. I cast on the ribbing in the middle of last week, and started first band of colorwork on Friday evening. So- this is going unusually quickly. Being of a scientific turn of mind, I considered several hypotheses for why this might be the case.

Hypothesis #1: I'm a really fast knitter.

I really like this one. Unfortunately, over twenty years of experience suggests that while I'm reasonably expeditious, I'm not unusually fast. To check this, I timed myself on a representative round of the body. I did stack the deck by making it one of the plain stockinette rounds in one color, which would presumably represent my maximum possible knitting speed...and, no, not really. Research shows that experienced knitters may produce anywhere from 12 to over 100 st/in (depending on the type of knitting). My 42 st/min maximum is quite respectable, but not exceptional.

Hypothesis #2: I've developed the supernatural ability to siphon progress from the projects of other crafters.

This occurred to me because of the of the many times I've heard people say on a project that they knit and knit and knit and don't seem to be getting anywhere. I had kind of mixed feelings about this. Because if this was what I was doing, I'd feel obliged to give it back. Which is a problem, because it's really cool and I don't want to if other crafters found out I was doing it, they'd come after me with many pointy implements of retribution I have no idea how. Fortunately, I could not posit any plausible mechanism by which this could occur.

Hypothesis #3 Assistance of the feline persuasion.
cat on pattern book

Okay this was a long shot. (And an excuse for gratuitous cute cat photos.) But, Woats has been taking an unusual amount of interest in this sweater. Normally she likes to knead people exclusively, but she has several times kneaded the sweater-in-progress (it wasn't even on my lap), curled up on it for a nap, and kneaded the ball of yarn. She's also helpfully sat on the sweater and pattern and talked to me while I was knitting. But none of these things obviously translate into knitting progress.
cat kneading sweater

It was at about this point that I realized that I had done almost nothing at home for the past five days except knit. This had several causes- first the crappy weather, which made sitting on the couch underneath a cat with yarn in my hands pretty attractive. Not that it's hard to sap my will to do housework. Really, almost any excuse will do.

And then there was my karate practice on Monday, where I and another middle-aged student spent much of the class throwing each other on the floor and practicing techniques coming off a forward roll (somersault). Since I don't bounce quite the way I did in my twenties--or even thirties--this resulted in a certain amount of stiffness and disinclination to move off the couch except for more yarn or ibuprofen. (See notes above re sapping will to do housework.)

My conclusion? Spending a lot of time knitting results in swift progress on a project. Drat. And here I thought I was on to something new.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


It rained all day Saturday and much of Sunday this weekend. While this was a tad depressing, it was also an excellent excuse to put off dismantling and storing the pool hardware. (This task involves crawling around under the deck with tools, and swearing a lot--a filter with two hundred pounds of wet sand in it? Nobody's idea of a good time.)

So, that left me only procrastinating on indoor chores this weekend. So in between saying things like, "I really ought to--" I started a sweater:
colorwork sweater

This is based on the one-piece knit-in-the-round sweater from EZ's Knitting Without Tears. Much of the yarn is some very nice merino given to me by a friend. The design is being driven in part by yarn quantities-- the gray is the only yarn I can get more of. So I'm reserving a lot of the green for the sleeve cuffs and yoke. The white shouldn't be a problem- I seem to have plenty and also, from what I've read I'll have to be a little sparing with the decoration on the yoke, to avoid it pulling in. As is not unusual, I'm making it up as I go along.

In other news, I finally shot a picture of the shelves I put up in the garage a couple of weeks ago.

My husband says this will result only in having shelves full of stuff with every available surface remaining covered. My theory is that a judicious combination of getting rid of things we don't use, combined with putting thing the things we do use away when we're done with them, will eventually result in a semblance of order. I have a dreadful premonition that he may be right, though--entropy is on his side.

I finally blocked the Optic Waves scarf. I'll give a FO photo shoot when it's dry.

And I found the mistake that was making the heel of the Trekking Fools sock look weird, ripped back to fix it, and re-knit what I'd ripped. (No picture, it doesn't look a lot different from the last time you saw it.)

So, not unproductive. But I'm still ready for the sun to come out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I don't usually think of myself as a whimsical traveler, but sometimes, a friend calls you up on a Thursday evening and says, 'Hey, I'm going to New York City on Saturday. Want to come?' And I look at plans for the weekend- some work for my job I hadn't been able to get to during the week, cleaning the pool, laundry-- and realize that I'd really rather hit the road with a sock and some good company. I live north of Boston, so doing this as a day trip was going to take a certain amount of stamina. We were up at five-thirty, on the road at six, picked up our friend at six-thirty, arrived in Stamford CT in time for the 8:50 train and were walking out of Grand Central at a quarter to ten.
Grand Central Terminal

I should perhaps clarify that the stamina wasn't actually mine, since I got in the car and promptly fell asleep for another couple of hours...

We spent a lot of time looking for books at the Strand (we found them), and walking around looking at architecture. The afternoon found us at the Brooklyn Art Museum, and we walked some more before heading back into Greenwich Village for dinner. I liked this street in Brooklyn.

Notes for the frugal- We shipped a boxful of books back to (beautiful tax-free) NH- and it cost less than the NY state sales tax. Yes, shipping cost less than carrying them out with us. (Because when you ship to an out of state location, any tax is paid to the destination state, if applicable.) Whee! And two orders of excellent Chinese dumplings with two drinks, an order of steamed pork buns and a vast sesame pancake cost us $5.75 -that was lunch for two. Who says there aren't any bargains in the big city?!

The sock:
Fools rush sock

The Fools Rush Sock by Cassiana- a lovely design, just enough complexity to be interesting yet simple enough to show off the yarn well. You might remember that I recently used the lace ribbing from this pattern for the fan lace socks. The yarn is Trekking XXL. I'm quite charmed by the colorway- I had no idea what this was going to look like knitted. Clearly, I've been underestimating the potential of these seemingly odd-looking plies.

Sunday, not surprisingly, was a day of sleeping late, staggering around in a daze and knitting something uncomplicated. It rained off and on all day, so I didn't even feel badly about not doing anything. (Okay, the pool still needs cleaning. I feel a little badly about that.) Less complex knitting means the Log Cabin Moderne, now up to about 18 inches on a side. When I can get the cat away from it.
cat sleeping on blanket-in-progress

Also cooking- I keep thinking one of these days we need to declare a 'clear out the freezer month', and not getting around to it. But we made a good start yesterday- some cooked chicken, mashed potatoes, a random can of chicken broth and some ancient frozen corn got turned into *vastly* more attractive chicken pot pies... (there were some intermediate steps involving grilled onions and making gravy, but the end result was lovely). And of course this let us avoid anything as strenuous as grocery shopping (something which should definitely be considered when we run out of pot pie). Although-- what I mainly need is fruit, and I *do* still have that bag of rhubarb in the freezer ready to be made into sauce....generally motivating myself to do something isn't a problem if I can convince myself that it's an alternative to shopping!