Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Monkeys have Landed!

The Monkey socks I mailed to my sock pal have arrived. And they fit! See?

Which reminds me that I need to take better pictures of my socks (and figure out exactly who sent me my socks... her name was on the package, but I can't tell which Gina she is on the sockapalooza list).

ISO Socks

I've liked the look of this tuck stitch (from Vogue Knitting) for years. I used it to make my sister a pair of worsted weight socks years ago, and they went on forever... the purl side is the right side, and for socks, that meant I had to purl the entire pair. Good thing it was worsted weight, huh?

Mom's Feet

Anyway, I thought about it on and off and finally (just this December...) realized I could make them inside out (knitting!), then turn them at the end. I made a pair and gave them to my mom for Christmas. Those are her feet up there, and my toes below. The tuck stitch pattern is worked over 4 stitches, so it's easy to memorize, and that the circumference is easy to adjust: just work the toe increases a few times more or less, keeping a multiple of four.

My Feet

Pattern: three-page PDF (after you purchase the pattern, you'll receive an email with a link to download it)
Cost: $4.00
Yarn required: 350 yarns of light fingering weight
Gauge: 9 sts/in
Needles: I used size 1s
Sample: Anne, from Schaefer Yarn. I used about 2/3 of the skein, with enough left over to make a pair of footlets.

Pattern: See the sidebar for details.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Convertible Yarn Info

Every month I get a couple of emails from people who are thinking about knitting Convertible asking about the yarn (Bambu, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts). I've been answering them all individually (rewriting the same information each time), because the first few times I didn't realize I might ever want that information again, and then I was lazy. But someone's asked again, so I'm writing it up here (the time I save will allow me to knit more, right?)

Convertible Close Up

So, here's the story. My impression is that BMFA was going to release Bambu widely, but then Socks That Rock took off and Bambu was set aside (or maybe it wasn't, and I'm visiting the wrong yarn stores?). Anyway--it's not as widely available as it might be, and it's not that well known. Not unexpectedly, it's 100% bamboo, with many loosely twisted plies (10 or 12, as I recall). Knit up, it's silky soft and very drapey--the fabric feels almost liquid, and I always want to say it feels heavy but I don't think it actually is, just very drapey.

I've never wet-blocked my Convertible, although I was sure I'd need to. It looked like an egg carton while I was knitting it, but I steam blocked it and it flattened right out (I don't think I even had to pin it--I just steamed and patted). And it's stayed flat. It reminds me of silk in that way--it has memory, because it's stayed blocked, but no elasticity. Maybe?

The ball band said the yarn would knit up at 8 or 9 sts/inch, but that would have been very dense--it looks more like a light worsted weight to me. If you subbed in a sock yarn for the Bambu but knit at the listed gauge, I think the solid areas would be a lot more open, unless it was very fuzzy sock yarn.

The size Convertible I knit (16X56 inches, although it's gotten longer and narrower because as it turns out I mostly wear it as a decorative scarf) too almost all 800 yards in the 2 skeins. The leftover wasn't enough for another repeat and edging--I knit another repeat and had to rib back when I ran out of yarn. A complete skein made a center-pull ball about the size of a large orange, but the leftover bit is noticeably smaller than a golf ball. Maybe two grapes? Anyway--I weighed it, and mathed, and it used a little more than 700 yards (of 800 in the two skeins).

And I think that's everything people have asked. If you've found this because you do have a question and I missed it, ask away! And I'd love to see your finsihed Convertible!

Friday, July 27, 2007


I finished knitting the second shawl collared cardigan for Schaefer Yarn last night, and here it is.

Shawl Collared Cardi Pocket

It's too big for me to model successfully, but here's a close up of the pocket, and the great colors. (The picture isn't actually upside down--it just looks that way because of the watch.) And then I woke up in the middle of the night and decided I should finish adding the pocket to the directions (isn't that what you do in the middle of the night?), so I was able to mail it this morning. It used exactly 3 skeins of Esperanza, in the colorway called Indira Gandhi.

And this one is the first sample of the cardigan (which I knit while I was designing it). This one is Esperanza too, but the color is Julia Child. Not that it shows in this picture (which I took with my computer while I was on the phone--multi-tasking is another component of my plan to take terrible pictures), but this one is about inches shorter than the other. I think the plan is to submit them somewhere, but I'm not sure where or for what issue.

Shawl Collared Cardi

Since I had to put my photos into Flickr to add them to Ravelry, I'm going to try using Flickr to put photos into my blog too. If nothing else, it will an easier method of uploading photos I haven't blogged about yet (I'd been adding pictures to a draft post that was essentially a series of pictures, then transferring the code to the real post once it was written). I wasn't thrilled with the way the text wrapped around some of the pictures lately, so I'm going to try pictures all on their own line. The first photos seems kind of tall, huh? Hmmm.

Anyway--with the sample finished, I'm going to work mostly on MS3 and my Tour de France scarf over the weekend, then get started on designing some stuffed animals for Schaefer on Monday (continuing to work on the lace as a break... some break!). Stuffed animals should make for better pictures!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I signed up for Ravelry in the middle of a huge wave of sign ups, so I felt like it would take forever for the computer to get to my name. But it finally got to me, and I've set up an account and started adding things. (I'm archiknist.) Since I started blogging so recently, I don't have pictures of many of my finished projects (some of which I've long since given away or frogged and reknit), but I do have two thick three-ring binders of information about everything I've ever knitted. It's organized by yarn, with a snippet of yarn, the label, notes about how much yarn I used, what pattern, what needle size, when I started and finished it, and what happened to it... why yes, I did chose a profession where organizing information is very important. Why do you ask?

Anyway--I'll be adding things as I take pictures of them. And maybe it will encourage me to write up more patterns to try to sell, or at least to post here. (Which I will list in my lovely third column over there ------>).

I also entered my stash into Ravelry, which I hadn't planned to do because I already have it in an excel spread sheet on my computer (see: choose career involving organization of information, above). But I started just because I could, and then it seemed like I should finish. Yes, that's all there is, with the caveat that I haven't entered my handspun because it might or might not ever be knitted.

And speaking of stash, several of us had a yarn swap a couple of nights ago. I landed 12 skeins of Elann's Peruvian Baby Silk and Baby Cashmere from Emily. They seem destined to be holiday scarves. Pretend you didn't read that if you think I might be giving you a present in December, okay?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Picot Photos

The new camera has a feature that allows you to take multiple photos in quick succession. I think they mean it for sports and kids, but we've been using it to take action shots of knitting. Here are a couple from lunch--the grey cardigan with the picot edges.

With this done and the picot socks finished, I think I may have just about survived the the picot attack without permanent damage, although I did transmit the disease to another (blogless, I think) SnBer, who's made a picot hem on her current sweater. World domination through picots, one sweater at a time.

But back to the sweater. I'm really happy with it--a good combination of comfortable and interesting (to wear, at least). I'm still thinking about a closure of some kind--you should have seen my annoyed expression in the photos that caught me during a gust of wind! On the other hand, those photos do show how neatly the folded-over picot border hides ends, so maybe they're not all bad!


Hey, here's the picture I didn't upload yesterday. To review, it's Ariel from the Natural Dye Studio.

I started clue 4 of the mystery stole last night. I'm not sure why it feel like I'm behind on this--we have an extra week for this clue, and in any case it's not meant to be a race--but it does, and I'm relieve to have started. I'm also making good progress on the sample cardigan for Schaefer Yarns, which has so far escaped photography. It's at least a size too big for me, and without the collar the neck doesn't hold it's shape very well, so I don't think photography would do it justice. But I think the first one (which was the right size) turned out well, so I think this one will be fine too. I'm especially happy with the collar, because most of the shawl collars I've made before were kind of skimpy, as though they didn't have enough extra fabric to stay folded over. This one has short rows all across the back of the neck though, so there's plenty of extra.

And guess what? You know how one of the tires on my bike kept going flat on the long ride Kevin and I did a week ago? When he got home and unloaded the bikes (as I woke up just enough to ask if he needed help and go back to sleep), he discovered that the front tire was completely flat too. Who knows when that happened. We'd checked it initially, but during the ride had barely noticed it because the back tire was going flat so dramatically. But I've heard biking is easier if your tires are properly inflated!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Belated Mail Report

Kevin's back home, and he brought the key to the mailbox! We just have one, which isn't usually a problem since we get home at the same time. But since he and the key have been in NC all week, it turns out that I was missing out on all kinds of great mail.

First off, the socks from my pal, Gina. What great socks--they fit perfectly, and the pattern is really neat. It barely shows in this picture, but it's a wide rib with small cables interspersed in the knit portions (I swear we took a better picture, but I seem to have uploaded the wrong one--I'll try to replace this with the better picture tonight). And I love the color--I was just thinking that I wear a lot of jeans and purple, but somehow haven't made myself any socks in those colors, so these are perfect. They were a big hit at SnB yesterday, and I've decided that hand knitted gifts are the best thing ever. She also sent some tea that smells delicious, and a mini sock blocker key chain with a pattern for a mini sock. So cute! Thanks!

And Sarah, who won the yarn I donated to Claudia's knitters against MS fundraiser sent me some gorgeous yarn to say thanks. Blogger wouldn't let me upload that picture at all, so I'll try again tonight. In the meantime, it's two skeins of Ariel from the Natural Dye Studio. (E-bay store here.) (Laceweight! Silk! Yarn mileage disaster! But so beautiful!) I think the color is Atlantic, although it's a little hard to tell from the picture on my monitor. In any case, it's perfect for me too--silvery purple and blue. Thanks!

And Schaefer Yarn (hi Laura!) sent me two gigantic skeins of Andrea (more 100% silk! Yum! Further yarn mileage disaster!) as payment. I picked the Lilliam Gilbreth colorway, which I also have in heavier weight cotton. i was thinking about a simple tank for the cotton (at least to start with--I have four 400 yard skeins), but now I'm thinking maybe I could use them together (not carry the silk with the cotton, but maybe alternating rows like scribble lace, or a dressy sweater with the silk as the upper yoke?).

And if it ever stops raining, I'll also take a picture of the grey picot-edged cardigan from a couple of weeks ago--I finished it over the weekend (instead of working on the Mystery Stole, my Tour de France scarf, or a sample that I need to finish... bad knitter! Although I'm ready to bind off the sample, so I wasn't 100% distracted.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stuff I've Done: A Meme

This is from Jenn. I've actually wanted to do this one for a while (Okay... I did it once already because I was curious, but deleted it since no one had tagged me yet). Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

[I interpreted "not planning on doing" very loosely--it includes things I'm neutral about, as well as things I'm actively planning not to do. Also, I don't think I knit continental or English, but I'm not actually sure, so I said I don't plan to do either. Let me know if I actually DO knit continental or English, okay?]

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch pattern
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns

Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn

Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn

Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money (but I've designed for money, and knit for yarn)
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting

Dyeing with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding (a shawl for my wedding--and I was eloping, so it was a secret)
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn

Steeks (I like to keep the option of eventually unraveling my sweaters and making something new)
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards

Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO

Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

And a copyright quandary. 5elementknitr asked about the pattern for the Tour de France scarf I'm making. The pattern on the end came from one book, and the one in the center came from another, but I didn't really DO anything to either of them. I'm happy to explain what I did, but it's not much help without the pattern for the Alps border... and I'm not sure if I should post that, since it would be the exact directions from the book (Barbara Walker's second treasury). I can explain to myself why it's okay--BW didn't create the patterns, she just wrote them up, I came up with the idea of putting those two together (at least this time around), no one who was planning to buy the book (which has 800 stitch patterns, at least) would not buy it because I posted one pattern, she meant the patterns to be used, etc. But it still feels funny. Oddly, if I'd done more--incorporated the stitch into a sweater instead of a scarf, say--I wouldn't think twice about posting the directions, but under these circumstances I do. And here's the other odd thing: I don't feel at all uncomfortable about posting the pattern I'm using for the length of the scarf, even though it's not any more mine than the edging is.

Weird. What do you think?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Important Thoughts While Running

1. At my old job, I attended outcomes-based evaluation training where the presenters talked about grant applications which essentially said, "As a result of this project, democracy will flourish." I've taken to using the phrase in normal conversation (with people who have no idea where it came from) to mean any optimistic, somewhat unlikely and disproportionate result. As in, I'll block this, the stitches will smooth out, and then democracy will flourish. I used it today at work (again, with people who had no idea where it came from), and didn't realize till later that I'd accidentally meant it literally, if grandiosely--we were talking about a helping archives in post-conflict societies, and I genuinely do believe that keeping an accurate record of actions and decisions and making it accessible to regular citizens is vital to democracy (take that, current administration and your tendency to classify things at the slightest provocation!)

2. My mom, sisters and I call groundhogs (which are all over the yard of the house where I grew up) Henrys (as in, more than one Henry). This started because when we were in elementary school (I hope!), we saw a groundhog mom and several groundhog babies of unknown gender. Naturally, the mom was Henrietta and the babies were Henry or Henrietta--all called Henry for short. (No idea why we picked Henry/Henrietta rather than Patrick/Patrica, Christopher/Christine, etc.) Over time, this became the generic name for all groundhogs. The point is that I saw a Henry on my run just now--I think it might be my first New Haven Henry.

3. In related news, we saw the cutest baby opossum a couple of days ago. Young enough that it was still clean (or maybe it had just come from the salon?), sitting by the side of the road, and looking like a Disney creature. Usually we just see birds (pigeons, geese, seagulls, and ducks, depending on where we run), rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. (My family, by the way, calls chipmunks hors d'oeuvres, after a foolish specimen who liked to sit on a flat rock like it was a serving tray.)

4. I accumulate a lot of random thoughts when I don't have anyone to talk to while I run, huh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Picot Socks Non-Pattern

Hey, one of the comments a couple of posts ago asked about the pattern for the picot socks (which I finished by the way, and posted on the Sock-A-Month KAL).

It's essentially the same pattern as the seaweed socks, except in stockinette stitch. For the bind off I worked to the height I wanted, worked a row of [K2tog, YO] all around, the worked 5 or 6 more rows (it's a good idea to use a smaller needle for these rows, but I didn't because I'm lazy), and then sewed the live stitches to the inside of the sock.

The sewing was a little tricky, because I didn't want the stitches to show from the outside (especially since the colors might not have matched). I tried just whip-stitching them down, but that didn't seem very secure, and the stitches seemed loose. I think it would have been fine if I had bound off first, but my bind offs are generally tight, and I was looking for stretchy. So in the end I grafted them to the inside.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tour de France Scarf Update

I'm in the airport (free wireless!) on my way back from North Carolina, where Kevin and I were visiting his parents (and aunt, uncle, cousins, their spouses and kids, and possibly some unrelated people who snuck in—come over at about 6 if you’re in the area and feeling hungry, no one will notice). We drove down so we could bring the bikes, and went on a long ride on Sunday morning. Our original plan (which we almost implemented) was to set out at the crack of dawn, bike to a coastal town about 35 miles away, meet his parents for brunch, then bike home. If things were going badly (for me… I’m always the one with the biking crises), we figured I could bail out after breakfast and ride back with my in-laws.

So we set out, and for a while things went well: it’s much flatter down here than near our house, the roads are in better condition, and there wasn’t much traffic. About 15 miles in, I got a flat tire. We had a spare tube (and four canisters of compressed air), so we changed the tire with a minimum of fuss and grease (although we did manage to pour out half of Kevin’s water), but had a hard time with the compressed air canisters and blew through all of them without getting my tire completely inflated. We figured it was good enough to get to the restaurant, called Kevin’s parents to make sure they planned to pack the pump, and set out again.

The bike wasn’t quite right—something was squeaking, and we never did quite figure out what it was—but we made it. We ate (a lot!), pumped up the tire, and set off for home. My in-laws stayed in the town to shop for a bit—which turned out to be a good thing, because about 16 miles into the 37 mile trip home, my tire was flat again. When they passed us, we pumped the tire again, and set off. Eight miles later, flat again. Fortunately, Kevin’s parents had stopped on the route to wait for us, so we pumped the tire again, and set off. A few miles later, flat again. We crawled along till we got up to their car, filled the tire, and started off again (yes, we’re a little slow—why do you ask?). That time, the tire got flat in barely a mile—and I finally gave up. We loaded the bike into the car, and got a ride home. Kevin finished off the ride (and added a little bit… evidently, 74 miles wasn’t quite enough). Even with the tire, I rode 69.5 miles—my furthest ever.

And I only tipped over once—at an intersection, right next to my in-laws' car. (I swear, one day I’m going to fall onto a stranger’s car, and it will really be embarrassing!)

The way this relates knitting is that I brought my Tour de France project with me (in the bag with my spare tube and air canister—it’s such sporty knitting). I brought it in case I needed to wait somewhere, but I didn’t work on it after all. The picture is actually from Saturday night, but it looks pretty much the same, just longer. I really like the "Alps" lace pattern along the lower edge, and the fill pattern I'm using for the middle is just the right amount of interesting and able-to-knit-while-talking (in contrast to the border, which took my whole brain).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Seaweed Socks

These are my sock a month KAL socks from last month... I finally wrote up the pattern, so here it is:

Circumference: 8 inches unstretched
Foot length: 8.5 inches, unstretched
Cuff height: 6.5 inches

1 skein Happy Fuzzy Yarn Sock Yarn (80% wool, 20% nylon; 425 yds/4 oz. skein)
1 set US size 1/2.25 mm double pointed needles
tapestry needle

36 sts/48 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, unstretched

BO = bind off
CO = cast on
K = knit
M1 = increase 1, using preferred method
P = purl
K2tog = knit 2 together
Sl = slip
St(s) = stitch(es)
Stst = stockinette stitch

SEAWEED PATTERN, from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury
Row 1 and 2: *P4, K2, repeat from * across [ending P1].
Row 3 and 4: *P3, K3, repeat from * across [ending P1].
Row 5 and 6: *P2, K4, repeat from * across [ending P1].
Row 7 and 8: P1, *K4, P2, repeat from * across, end K4, P1 [P1].
Row 9 and 10: P1, *K3, P3, repeat from * across, end K3, P2 [P1].
Row 11 and 12: P1, *K2, P4, repeat from * across, end K2, P3 [P1].

Using 2 needles, CO 32 sts using figure-eight cast-on (there will be 16 sts on each needle). Knit 1 round even.

Work increase round as follows: * K1, M1, K to 1 st from end of first needle, M1, K1, then repeat from * on second side.
Knit 1 round even, without increases.
Repeat these 2 rounds 9 times more: 72 sts.

At some point, it will become easier to work these sts on 3 or 4 needles (with an additional needle to knit sts onto). I think it’s more stable to use 3 needles and knit onto a 4th, but some people find that it’s easier to avoid ladders if they use 4 sts and knit onto a 5th. If you use four needles, the start of the round/one side of the foot will be at the beginning of needle 1, and the other side of the foot will be after needle 2. If you use three needles, the start of the round/side of the foot will still be at the beginning of needle 1, but the other side of the foot will be in the middle of needle 2—I like to put a marker there so I don’t accidentally continue the stitch pattern onto the sole of the foot.

On the next round, you will begin working the seaweed pattern on the top of the foot (the first 36 sts). However, in order to center the pattern, you’ll need to work it over 37 sts, always purling the last stitch. To set this up, work row 1 of the pattern 5 times as *P4, K2, repeat from * across. On the next repeat, P4, K1, then increase by knitting into the front and back of the next st. Knit the remaining 36 sts on this round.

Continue without further increases, working the first 37 sts in seaweed pattern, including the last P1 in brackets, and the second 36 sts in stst. Stop at the beginning of a round, on either row 5 or 11, when the foot measures 7 inches from the toe, or about 1.5 inches less than desired length.

Decreasing short rows:
Note: until the last row, the heel is worked back and forth on the second 36 sts.

Work across the first 37 sts in pattern, then:
Row 1: K35. Bring yarn to back of work. Slip unworked st to working needle. Turn work, and slip the unworked st back to the first needle.
Row 2: P34. Bring yarn to front of work. Slip unworked st to working needle. Turn work, and slip the unworked st back to the first needle.
Row 3: Same as row 1, but K33 sts before wrapping and turning work.
Row 4: Same as row 2, but P32 sts before wrapping and turning work.

Continue in this manner, working 1 fewer st before wrapping and turning, until 16 unwrapped sts remain.

Increasing short rows:
Row 1: K to st before the first wrapped st. K this st together with the wrap by sliding the needle through the wrap and the st at the same time. Wrap the next st as in decreasing short rows and turn work.

Row 2: P to the st before the first wrapped st. P this st together with the wrap by sliding the needle through the wrap and the st at the same time. Wrap the next st as in decreasing short rows and turn work.

Repeat these 2 rows, picking up both wraps, until only 1 wrapped st remains on each side of the heel.

Next row (RS): K to st before remaining wrapped st. K this st, together with the wrap. Do not turn, but resume working in the round by continuing on to the next needle in seaweed pattern (starting with row 7 or 1, depending on where you stopped). When next wrapped st is reached, work the wraps together with the st, and continue in seaweed pattern. Work the last 2 sts of the round as a K2tog or P2tog (rather than simple K or P, to reduce the stitch count to 72 again. Note that you will no longer be working the extra P1 in brackets from this point forward.

Continue to work in seaweed pattern till cuff measures 6 inches, or desired length, from top of heel.

Work 6 rounds in K1, P1 rib, then bind off all sts loosely, using preferred method. I like the kitchner bind off, although it’s a pain in the neck. There are some good directions here.

[ETA on 11/26/07: this pattern is also available as a free PDF through The Garter Belt, right here.]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


It’s been steamily hot the past few afternoons, so Kevin and I have been running in the morning (much to his chagrin). Since Wednesday is long run day, this means that we dragged ourselves out of bed at 4 this morning, planning to run 18 miles before work. And we actually did! (And weren’t even that late! Starting with our next long run, we’ve arranged to come in late, so this won’t be an issue.)

We ran from our house, over to the Farmington Canal Trail, then 3.5 miles up the trail (starting at the lower end of the long green section on the map--this section is about 10 miles long, total), and then back home. (Just as an aside, how funny is the phrase “linear park”? There’s a sign over the trail that welcomes you to the Farmington Canal Linear Park, which makes me smile every time I see it… it’s totally accurate, because the park is only as wide as the railroad right of way, but still funny! At least when you’re exhausted. As though the park is only 1 dimensional! Maybe you need to be math-y, as well as tired?) The sun rose about 3 miles in, although it was still kind of dim and misty when we got home. And wow! but it was humid. The humidity when we started was about 95%, and at one point must have reached 100% because the air filled with little raindrops.

The other thing that’s funny (?) about running that far is that by the end, it’s all I can do to keep going. You know those peppy runners whose ponytails bounce as the spring over curbs, small dogs, trashcans, and Jersey barriers? Not me—I’m not springy under the best of circumstances, and after a couple of hours any spring I might have started with is used up. At that point, I’m essentially running out of inertia, and anything that disrupts that (curbs, needing to pause for traffic, other runners, pedestrians, etc.) seems like it will require more energy than I can possibly muster. I wonder a lot what other runners think we’re up to—are they long distance runners themselves, and do they recognize what’s going on? Or do they run for 30 minutes or an hour, tops, and wonder what’s wrong with us? (In reality, I don’t think we look as pathetic as we feel. Or at least I hope not!)

I know this sounds like I hate running, but I really don’t—I actually love that I can do this (however slowly), since it’s so unlike my image of myself. Plus, it lets me eat more cookies.

More later (if I can muster the energy), including the Mystery Sole, my Tour de France KAL scarf, and the cardi I'm knitting for Schaefer Yarns (which it turns out I can blog about after all).

Monday, July 9, 2007

Photo Catch Up

Since I'm constantly behind on photos, it will come as no surprise that (now that I'm 10 rows from finishing my next pair of socks), I've finally taken a picture of the socks I finished 2 weekends ago for my Sock Pal--Monkey socks, using the April club yarn from Socks that Rock.

The yarn is a new one for STR--a wool and silk blend, and I really enjoyed working with it. You can't tell from this picture, but it looks almost like it's 1 ply of silk and several plies of wool (rather than a mix of wool and silk throughout), because one of the plies is lighter than the rest, making the yarn slightly tweedy.

I'm glad I finished these well ahead of the deadline (we're supposed to send them to they arrive at the beginning of August) because I said I was willing to ship internationally, so my pal's socks have a longer trip than most. I'm also going to send her the rest of the skein (in case she needs to make repairs eventually), some maple sugar candy from Lake Placid (since that's where I knit most of the socks), and maybe some other yarn, if it fits in the package.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I've joined the Tour de France KAL (see my new button? Over on the left and down a bit?), and just like my real biking, I've managed to start out behind (my ability to fall behind in the first 10 feet of a bike ride is truly impressive, so at least I'm being consistent).

I was planning to knit a second version of a cardigan I designed for Schaefer Yarns--in the very accommodating "things I'd wear in a French cafe" category. While not appropriate for a TdF spectator (the yarn is a chunky alpaca), it's exactly the kind of sweater I always wish I was wearing as I'm starting a marathon, on the grounds that if I was wearing a thick sweater, I wouldn't be about to torture myself for four and a half hours, so it seemed appropriate--plus, I haven't started it and I need to finish it by the time the tour ends.

But, if they don't want me to write about the cardigan (I'm not sure yet), that would be pretty boring KAL-ing, so I've been trying to think of something else... and I had plenty of time to think today, because Kevin and I did our long bike for the week--75 miles for him, 56 miles for me (for the locals, we went up 17 to 79. Kevin turned off on 148 (I think), and I stayed on 79 down to Madison, where it rejoins 1. I waited in Madison till Kevin reappeared--I'm not quite sure how he got back to 1--then we stayed on 1 back to New Haven). Since I planned to wait, I brought my second Lorna's Laces sock to keep me entertained--I've gotten past the heel and partway up the ankle. We avoided disaster on the bike, and the weather was gorgeous, so there's not much to say. I nearly tipped over once but I unhooked my second foot and caught myself--I'm making progress!

But back to the knit along: my first thought was that I'd knit the Alpine Lace Shawl from Victorian Lace Today (I've been wanting to knit it, and in my mind the Tour de France is comprised entirely of mountains... maybe because I hate hills, and am most impressed by the riders who seem to discover an extra gear partway up, then suddenly zip past everyone?). But that's patterned on both sides, and with the Mystery Stole to work on too, I'm not sure my poor brain is up for a second complex lace project.

Okay then, what about another lace shawl or scarf named something French-ish? I looked when I got home, and I didn't find anything. But I did see a border called Alpine edging in the second Walker treasury (not yet in the Walker Treasury Project, sorry), and realized I could use that to make my own scarf, like the wide bordered scarves in Victorian Lace Today (which have the border pattern cross-wise on the two short ends, joined by a simple stitch to make up most of the length). Most of the VLT scarves have garter stitch as the body of the scarf, but I found a couple of simple "fill" patterns in the Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting, which will be slightly more interesting to knit. And, if you squint at them just right, some of them look like those shots of the peloton on tv--taken from above, when everyone is bunched up and moving together like part of the same being. (When I mess up the pattern I've just described as simple, it will be a crash in the middle of the peloton.)

(Naturally, the Amazon links are just for illustration, and you should buy these books from your local yarn store or independent bookstore.)

Speaking of which--this is not how anyone else thinks about sports, but I spend a good portion of the time I'm watching sports thinking about what it must be like to lose at that level. I know what losing is like at my (very slow) level, and it's not like losing (it isn't losing, for that matter), because I'm just happy to have run or biked that far, and happy to be done. But losing when you could have won--if you hadn't crashed, or hadn't gotten that flat, or had biked a little bit faster, or had gotten up that last hill a little more quickly, or had been able to sleep the night before, or whatever... kind of makes me glad I'm not good enough to have to deal with that kind of pressure.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

When Picots Attack

I've been thinking hard, and I think I've only made one thing before with a picot edge--a little top-down capelet that I don't wear very often (I should have known that since all I wear all winter are sweaters, and I'd never need both a capelet and a sweater, that I wouldn't use it very often... at least it was quick!)

But back to the picot edging: except for the caplet, I have led a deprived, picot-less existence until this week. This week, however, I have been attacked by a picot virus, and am picoting everything I can get my hands on (the Mystery Stole is safe for the moment, but maybe only because I'm just following the directions).

My symptoms: the current socks, started over the weekend when I finished my pal's socks, and currently partway up the second foot thanks to a lovely Sunday afternoon and evening spent with USAir, and the sweater I'm designing as I go (still awaiting Something Interesting around the neck and sleeves).

The socks are just toe-up stockinette. I think I mentioned before that I had every intention of working some kind of stitch pattern--first on the foot, and then when that didn't happen, at least on the cuff--but I was hypnotized by the stripes and I didn't want to mess them up. Aren't they great stripes? (Thanks Greeley! This is really fun yarn! Everyone else: it's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in the seaside colorway, #203).

And the sweater is the greyish-lavender cotton cashmere blend from Debbie Bliss, purchased at the Webs sale in May. I'd spoken very sternly to myself before SnB field trip to the sale about not buying yarn, but as it turns out I'm easily led astray. Also, I had a gift certificate.

I can tell my case of the picots is serious because I was willing to sew down the inside hem on both the socks and the sweater... and because I'm thinking about picoting the cuffs of the sweater and perhaps even around the front edge and neck. I'm leaning towards elbow-length or slightly longer sleeves, probably somewhat on the full side (I can't decide whether I should actually increase towards the elbow, or just not decrease). I'm always pushing my sleeves up to my elbows anyway, and since I don't think I want the cardigan to close in the front, I won't wear it when it's really arctic, so my lower arms shouldn't get chilly.

What I can't decide is if the neck and front edges would be interesting enough if I just worked a very deep double hem (with picots at the folded edge, of course)... maybe 3-4 inches deep? Or would that be too much bulk at the neck, if it wanted to fold over? But maybe it wouldn't want to fold over, just stand up a little on the back of my neck?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sock Pal Socks and Mystery Stole Pix

So, here are some photos at last, only slightly out of date.

First, an action shot of me working on my sock pal's first sock last weekend in Lake Placid (at a Chinese restaurant with quite possibly the slowest-for-no-apparent-reason service I've every experienced... but they were very nice, I had my sock, and the food was yummy when it did arrive).

And then an in-progress shot of the same sock from the following day, stuffed with a towel to show the Monkey-ness.

As nearly everyone who knits this pattern has noticed, it's incredibly addictive to knit--this is my second pair, and while I was working on them I was thinking about making the pair I'm working on now Monkeys too (I didn't, but it was close). I'm done with the pair for my pal, but I'm not quite sure how I'm going to take pictures of them, since her feet are a little bit smaller than mine (and smaller than my sock blockers).

In other news, here's chart A, more or less, of the Mystery Stole (that's about 50 rows). I took this picture over the weekend, because I was worried again that I didn't like it after all. I liked the swatch, remember, but then once I knit a bit of the actual design, I got to worrying (again) that the stitches near the yarn overs still looked funny with smaller needles. Rather than ripping, I figured I should block it and think some more (focusing on the disastrous increase in yarn mileage which would result from buying more lace yarn helped me be patient).

But, remember that I was staying in a hotel, so I didn't have most of my knitting supplies. First I tried to block it by just getting wet, but then it wasn't staying flat without pins, so I ran some metal knitting needles through the eyelets along the edges and used them to spread it out while my mom ironed it (gently, through a dry washcloth). After it was dry, I stared at it some more, and decided I was being too critical, and that I liked it after all. Maybe.

In any case, I've knit a few more rows since this picture was taken, and--barring disaster--I should be done with clue 1 in plenty of time for clue 2.