The goose is getting fat

This month is disappearing out from beneath me. Perhaps that draft of my master’s thesis that I handed in this week has something to do with it… perhaps, perhaps. That would also explain the INSANE STARTITIS I am battling. I have piles of projects around, and yet I want to cast on a million more things.

The other cause of all this startitis are the impending holidays. Even Rockerfeller Center is starting to get ready:
Rockerfeller Center

so I am working like mad on Christmas knitting:


I can post these because they are the Grandfather Socks (hopefully they will help combat the chilly toes from poor circulation). Poppop’s level of technological use is the TV remote, so I have no fear he might somehow accidentally surf here and spoil the surprise. The rest of the family, however, are much more technologically literate, so those projects will all have to wait.

I can share this one, though, which I did tonight over three hours of procrastination brainstorming:

Harry's Stockings

These are for my old boss from my college tutoring job. His folks live in the Midwest, and they lost their home in the flooding last spring. Their home…including all the Christmas ornaments. Harry wrote a note about it on Facebook, and talked about how his mom would retell the story of each ornament as she put it up every year, and I teared up right away, because my mom does the same thing. There’s lots of history tied up in those decorations and ornaments, and the idea of losing ours made my heart seize up for a minute. Harry asked if we could help him create a new collection for his Mom, new ornaments and new stories. So I found some appropriately-colored yarn scraps and made a little pair of stockings for Harry’s Mom’s tree, and I will write a little note to go with them, to tell her about how I used to knit in the Writing Center in between sessions. I hope it’s a new story.

I also think I’m knitting more of these little socks, because they’re adorable and fast. I used the Bitty Hat and Sock Ornament (socks only, obviously) from Interweave’s holiday pattern freebie, available from Knitting Daily, and just finished the socks off instead of doing the little toothpick-needle finish. It’s adorable, but it probably wouldn’t ship as well, and I have no Elmer’s around to make little yarn balls, and I really kind of like just a finished mini stocking. I think everyone’s getting one of these this year!

The arrival of the holiday season has all sorts of harbingers: digging out the holiday music (check), the Hershey’s Kiss bell commercial (omgcheckyay!), the arrival in stores of Stella D’Oro Pfeffernuesse (where is it already?) and me, starting to obsessively bake. Check, check, CHECK:

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

They were really good. What thesis?

An Ordinary Sunday

I had a bit of frustration earlier today trying to prep for a midterm when I discovered my college’s Blackboard site had a broken database: instead of seeing lecture powerpoints I was getting strings of code and pages that would not load.

I decided that torturing myself was useless, so instead I went and stuck pins in things. It was very theraputic:

Both the sticking pins in things and knowing I’m finally going to be wearing these three projects. In order:
My So-Called Scarf, knit in Manos Silk Blend in Violets, an impulse buy from Purl Soho.
Anemoi Mitts, knit in Koigu PPPM (green) and Knitpicks Palette (white).
Branching Out, knit in , an amazing gift from Rebecca and Melanie from their SF trip earlier this year.

I also debuted my Harvest Shawl this past weekend:
Clementine Shawl
Pattern: Clementine Shawl, from Interweave Knits Spring 2007 (also available for purchase on Knitting Daily)
Yarn: Bamboo Sport, Harvest Colorway, purchased as a birthday present for myself from The Purple Purl in Toronto.
Needles: Size 5 (I used my Harmony interchangable set).

This pattern was an easy and enjoyable knit. While I did have to glance at the chart every so often, I wasn’t tied to it, and it moved along very quickly. I added one extra repeat for width, as I saw several people suggest on Ravelry, and it was perfect. However, it gained just enough length in blocking, so that the ties fall in a rather awkward spot now, but if worn straight, it looks marvelous. It also works as a scarf, so this is a multi-tasking FO.
The yarn was a new one for me, and I love love love it. Dye-Version is a local Ontario dyer, and I hope she starts selling online sooner or later, because her stuff is amazing. I manhandled most of the available skeins at the Purl when I visited it in August, but I kept coming back to the Harvest colorway, in the Bamboo — the colors were far more vibrant in the Bamboo than any of the other available yarns (even if the scent of the milk fiber was absolutely fascinating) and it has a wonderful silky feel and scent. I don’t know if it’s the bamboo or the dyes or what, but there’s a delicious scent to this yarn, not quite silk, but close, that I have grown rather fond of. There will be more Dye-Version in my future!

I wore this, as I intended when I picked the pattern, to a dinner celebrating my uncle’s wedding last weekend. The ceremony was in Dallas so my family wasn’t able to be there but we had a lovely dinner on Halloween night. Turns out, the shorter “shawlette” length is perfect for dining — no long awkward ends to get caught on chairs or trail in one’s plate. I’m extremely happy with this FO, and I’ll be repeating both the project and the yarn.
Clementine Shawl

(PS — see those little ghosties in the window? Bernat Glow-in-the-dark yarn! It’s a trip. Excellent for all your Halloween crafting needs.)

Rhinebeck Recovery

I observed what I am now calling the Highest of High Holy Holidays in the knitter’s pantheon last week. Rhinebeck is something we knitters wait all year for, saving our pennies and making lists, and frantically knitting items to showoff to the crowd. It’s overwhelming and sheep-scented and the longest lines are tied for the Fold (where they sell STR) and the booth that sells the homemade pot pies.

I had the joy of hosting my dear friend J for the weekend when she flew down from Toronto to join me, and we took the train into the city and then up to Croton, where Melissa met us to drive the rest of the way up and we all proceeded to dive in headfirst. Here, have some pictures:


1. My train station, long before sunrise 2. Grand Central at dawn 3. Display at Brooks Farm 4. This sign speaks for itself, doesn’t it? 5. One of many seasonally appropriate displays 6. Lace display at A Touch of Twist (my absolute favorite) 7. The line for Franklin’s book signing at Carolina Homespun 8. Franklin & Me! 9. Pumpkin Carving 10. Melissa showing off some colorway serendipity. 11. Summoning People for the Ethical Treatment of Muppets! 12. Outside the Horticulture building 13. Ready for his close-up 14. A strange and mysterious creature 15. Shearing aftermath 16. Hanging out 17. Making a run for it 18. Longest Stocking Ever 19. Llama 20. Alpaca 21. J making friends with a llama (and lookit her beautiful shaw!) 22. Colorwork 23. Late in the day the sun started doing beautiful things with yarn 24. Lesson time 25. Read the dunce cap 26. Flame Tree 27. I had to wonder if this U-Haul was for a vendor or some lucky shopper! 28. This followed Melissa home (lucky girl)!

I shopped til I dropped, too:
Rhinebeck Stash

In this picture are:
– two kits from Holiday Yarns/the Tsock Tsarina (Oktoberfest socks and the Vintage Leaves) and a skein of Jennifer’s Sock Flock yarn in Candy Cane (which I think wants to be these socks
-from A Touch of Twist: four skeins of fingering weight Impressions in Oriental Lantern and Phoenix from the Ashes, which I think will make some awesome colorwork mittens; three skeins of Zephyr lace in Admiral blue. (These guys are my absolute favorites. They make great yarns, and Melissa bought her new wheel from them.)
-one skein Done Roving Happy Feet sock yarn in Cherry Pits
-two skeins of sock yarn from Sliver Moon Farm in Grape Ice, which I think would make really beautiful Rivendell socks
-two skeins of Socks That Rock, one in Loch Ness (hiding because I have Sekrit Holiday Plans for it) and one Rare Gem in a beautiful magenta
-copy of the Lenore socks pattern by the Harlot from last year’s Rockin’ Sock club
-many, many skeins from Wild Apple Farms 100% wool: one each of the red and natural for myself to make a christmas stocking (I have an idea for one with candy cane stripes and an afterthought heel) and ten skeins of the light sheep grey, which I think will make a smashing Eris cardigan/a>.
-autographed copy of Franklin’s

Not a bad haul at all.
Then I fell asleep on the train home, took J to the museum on Sunday, and was so worn out by the end of the weekend I couldn’t even manage typing. And now the week is nearly over, and I have no excuses to not be working on my master’s capstone… except for the knowledge of all this new yarn, calling out to me. I need more arms, clearly.

Stories about socks.

Knitting’s like a virus. You catch it, it incubates, all of a sudden you start presenting all of these symptoms ( staying up all night working on a project, stashing, explaining the virtues of merino to complete strangers on the train) and then — THEN you start to infect other people.

Lately I’ve been in and out of the doctor’s office with one of those non-urgent but annoying issues that leaves you with lots of time to sit in a waiting room cooling your jets. So last time I went, like any good knitter, I brought a sock, and I sat in the waiting room and knit. I had other patients stopping me with questions, and then one of the receptionists demanded to see how I was turning the heel and asked me what the pattern was and proceed to pick my brain for good websites. Then they sent me into a room to wait, and the doctor came in, saw me knitting, and proceeded to exclaim over it for quite some time.

Well, today I was sitting in that same exam room, knitting while I waited for her to come in, and when she did, she pointed her finger at me. “You!” Me? I wondered if I’d bounced a check or something, when she starts laughing and waving her hand at my sock. “You’re the one. You came in with your knitting, and then I went and learned how and now I have no more free time and I never get anything done! Show me how you knit, I want to see how you make the stitches.” She wouldn’t let me leave until I’d spilled my guts about things like Knitpicks and Knitty and Ravelry, and promised to bring in some FOs for her to look over when I go back next.

I think I might bring her some yarn. Just to keep her symptoms from getting too out of control.

The socks in question:
Waving Lace Socks

Pattern: Waving Lace Socks, by Evelyn A. Clark. Published in Favorite Socks. (This is the pattern on the cover, even.)
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sock Multi in Watercolor
Needles: Bamboo DPNs, size 1
Notes: These are the first socks I’ve made with Lorna’s, and oh boy I think I’m in love. I wore them for the first time a few days ago, and they fit comfortably and smoothly. I was pleasantly surprised by the hand (foot?) of the fabric, and when they were on my feet I forgot there were socks there at all. More of this yarn, please.
The pattern was a lot of fun, and I’ll be repeating it at some point. The lace is easy to memorize and fun to watch coming off the needles, and it is solid and simple enough to stand up to a busy colorway like this one. I figured I’d take a chance and see how they two went together, and I’m glad they did. One thing for next time: I will be careful to read the first chart (for the scalloped edging) the right way – not backwards, making upside down un-scalloped edging. By the time I realized I was having some chart issues, I was halfway through the first sock, and the only solution was to repeat the mistake on the second one and call it a feature.

On a more solemn note, I dubbed these the “Grandmommy Socks” on Ravelry. My grandmother passed recently, and this sock was the last thing I’d knit in her presence. She actually examined the first finished sock the night before she died, was unimpressed with the colors — in her defense, the lighting in the hospital made the whole thing look like a rather muddy brown — and asked me how I made such tiny stitches. It took a while before I could pick them up, after that, but they are finally finished now, and every time I pick them up I think of her, and I expect I always will.
Waving Lace Socks

And if you check the Yarn Harlot’s blog post from her Brooklyn reading the other day, you’ll see me! I certainly got plenty of chances to see Stephanie:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Socks Yarn Harlot!

She did a great reading, and then proceeded to honor my good buddy and fellow stitchenbitcher Rebecca and her Eye of Jupiter sock with a moment of Internet Fame that I think is richly deserved. I got to watch Rebecca conceive and wrestle that sock into being, and I’m just tickled she made such an impression with it. Made an already enjoyable night even more awesome.

Fuzz Therapy

Er. Hi there. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Life seems to have gotten the better of my knitblogging for, oh, many moons. Clearly, this updating thing needs a little work.

But it’s not like I wasn’t knitting during all that! Oh, no, lots of knitting going on. I’ve gotten a good chunk of my Christmas knitting done, a bunch of socks, and two beautiful baby sets for old co-workers of mine who are both expecting new arrivals this autumn. And there was some stash acquisition over the summer in DC, Philly, and Toronto — but now stashing is mostly on hold, because Rhinebeck is just around the corner! (Franklin, or the Harlot…I’m torn!)

But this past week, I knit a very simple project: a pair of Fetching:
Mom's Fetching

My mom asked me, about a week and a half ago, if I could make her some sort of fingerless mitten-ey thing (her words) for her to wear in the mornings when she takes her walks. It was too cold first thing, she said, to go un-mittened, but not so cold as to need her fingers covered, and she wanted to be able to get to her keys easily. But — when you have time, she adds. (There is that small matter of a master’s thesis at the moment, you see.)

And I nodded, and mentally went through my stash, and said sure. I had some Knitpicks Wool of the Andes floating around, but she said no rush, so I pushed it to the back of my mind.

But we had a very bad day, last week, when a close relative was admitted to the hospital, and passed the following morning. It was a peaceful passing with family present, following a long and full life, but the next few days of wakes and funerals were difficult all the same, for my mom especially. And the brutal truth is that there’s really only so much you can do; each person has to work through their grief in their own way, and my mom did so by throwing herself into preparations and cleaning. I? I needed to keep my hands busy. So that day I cast on for some Fetching, with her request in mind.

Mom's Fetching

In between running around, the visitations, seeing other relatives, I cabled and knit. I have a sock on the needles, but I’d been knitting it while visiting the hospital and it seemed too raw to work on that. The Fetching were safe and easy and didn’t require any thought. Monday we buried my relative, and my family gathered together for a few hours to share a meal and comfort one another before everyone scattered back to their lives. With nothing else to do and fingers itching to be busy, I picked up the second Fetching and finished it, and wove in my ends. And the next day, I gave them to Mom to try on, and they fit perfectly.

Mom's Fetching

Pattern: Fetching
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Gold Kettle-dyed
Needles: US5 DPNs

Notes: I’ve heard varying reports about the new KP kettle-dyes, but the gold WotA I was very pleased with. It’s a subtle effect, and worked to highlight the cables instead of swallow them. I made a few modifications to this, based on prior iterations of this pattern. I cast on 50 stitches instead of 45 and worked one extra cable. I added a cable on both the top and bottom, making four cables beneath and two above. I also threw in a couple of extra rows before the thumb. I skipped the picot bindoff (I’ve found it curls and makes an unintentionally raggedy effect) and used the k2tog bindoff instead. The end result was much cleaner. There’s still a bit of curl happening, mostly on the first mitt I finished, but it won’t hurt anyone, and will be helped with a bit of a block. I’m really happy with how these came out.
Mom's Fetching

Sheepy Goodness

I think my visit to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is best summed up thusly:


That would be my haul, including four skeins of A Touch of Twist Alpaca in Andean Trails (2000 yards of it!), a beautiful purple-and-green Merino/Tencel sock weight skein from Ellen’s Half Pint Farms, some brown-silver-grey Brooks Farm Acero (on sale, even!), and some beautiful eggplant colored cotton/silk/flax, which was going for 500 yards for nine bucks. I got two. I wish I could remember the vendor’s name!

And yes, that is a bag of Koigu mill ends under all that. Would you like a close up? Of course you would, it’s Koigu.

Koigu Mill Ends

Isn’t that pretty? I had an awful lot of fun fighting my way into a booth that made the 6 train at rush hour look abandoned, picking out a three hundred dollar bag of ends, and then whittling it down to something more reasonable. I think it’ll become a shawl, or maybe I’ll just keep it and pet it an awful lot.

I really enjoyed the festival, although it was very crowded. Compared to Rhinebeck, the grounds were much smaller, making for more densely populated tents and barns. Getting anywhere to see or feel yarn was a struggle, and the lines for food and bathrooms were prohibitively long. I was in attendance with my good friends Missy, Eman and Kel, and all four of us were twitchy from the crowds by 1 pm — but we’d also walked through every barn and shed, seen a bunch of baaaaby animals, and pretty much gotten everything on our lists, plus some. So we decamped to the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company in Ellicott City, for a three plus hour lunch before heading off our separate ways.

Lots of good yarn, cute critters, tasty food and beer and good company — and I didn’t get sunburned! And my “Learned to Knit in Prison” bag (from The Panopticon) got quite a few laughs. (Also just the right size for controlling the stash enhancement — I decided when the bag was full I was done shopping. Worked out quite well.)

In the interim I have pumped out a few FOs, which I will write up in more detail, but here’s a look anyhow:

My So-Called Scarf Birthday socks - Embossed Leaves Gansey Christmas Stocking
Click to embiggen

So despite my pledge to post once a week or so, I obviously have not been, although there’s been plenty of knitting going on. As always happens in the midst of the semester, I am suffering from a massive bout of Startitis. I have, currently, on the needles:

  • A sweater (Frontier Blues Jacket, from latest Knitscene, in Cotton-Ease)
  • a scarf (My So-Called, in Manos Silk Blend in Violets…mmm)
  • Anemoi mittens (still, I know, I know…it’s hard to do homework and deal with the chart, so it’s been hibernating)
  • a stocking (Gansey Stocking from Interweave’s Christmas Stockings – starting Christmas early)
  • socks (Broadripple, as anklets, in KP Dancing)
  • other socks (Jaywalkers, in KP Felici in Clay, which are all done but one toe)

…and I also cast off on a sekrit project last week, about which I will only say damn, Blue Moon, your yarn is awesome. Pictures of all these things will come, I swear.

Other things I am working on include, well, work, and schoolwork (including two major projects, one for each class), and doing my best to avoid pollen. That is not going so well.

HOWEVER. Next week I am going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival, so there will be lots of pictures from that. I am very excited, because it’s a festival and it’s full of YARN.

FO: Nantucket Clapotis

Nantucket Clapotis

I finally got around to weaving in the ends on my beautiful Nantucket Clapotis, modeled here by Skippy. I wore it this morning, and almost didn’t take it off when I got to the office, it’s so soft. And seeing as how March hasn’t reached lamb stage yet (ahem, five days left, March, let’s get moving) it seems I’ll have some opportunity to enjoy it.

Pattern: Clapotis

Yarn: Great Adirondak Sireno, Nantucket Blue colorway

Needles: US5 bamboo circs

This yarn was a real splurge for me. Two of the lawyers I work for got together and got me a gift certificate to WEBS for the holidays, and I decided that I might as well get something amazing and splurge, so… I did. Considering that it’s 675 yards to the skein, it’s not as much of an extravagance as it seemed at first. But how extravagant is this clapotis? Beautiful drape, soft to the touch, and the colors just glow.

This was my third clapotis, and I think I’m finally bored with the pattern, but it makes such warm and distinctive scarves that I know I’ll keep coming back to it. There’s a real elegance in the construction that never fails to delight me, even when I hit that never-ending stretch of straight rows.

I haven’t blocked it this one out yet, but I think I’m going to have to. I prefer the waves of a loosely-blocked Clapotis, but there’s some serious curling going on right now that is hiding those waves. However, that doesn’t interfere with my more visceral enjoyment!

More pictures on my Flickr here.

Other notes:
Thanks to Glenna C I’ve fallen off the destashing wagon, and now have a sweater’s worth (plus some) of KP Palette at home, to turn into a Venezia sweater. I estimate this will take approximately a million billion years. I have not yet climbed back on board the wagon, either, as there might have been a little blackout while at the Blue Moon website today. (Not responsible for any debt incurred from clicking that link.)

I have discovered the gloriousness that is the Lime & Violet podcasts. I have been catching up and was listening on the train this morning (while weaving in ends on baby booties for a coworker) and nearly spat out coffee on several occasions. The guy next to me gave me a nervous look ever time I started chuckling, which just made me chuckle louder. What did he expect, really? Two crazy ladies who alternate between TMI and discussing the glories of fiber are really an unbeatable combination.

And then, inspired by all this talk of dying yarn, I went and bought some half-off easter egg dying kits at the drugstore on my lunch hour, with a goal in mind: attempting my very own hand-dyed yarn. Because I need more fiber-related insanity in my life.

On the needles: Second half of my Jaywalkers, sleeve of Baby’s First Sweater, my never-ending Lady Eleanor, and almost done with the baby booties. Phew.

Anemoi Mittens

Just a quick pop-of-the-head to show off one-half of my Anemoi Mittens, which I finished over the weekend. I love, love, love this pattern, and I put this on and wave it around and wonder that something so lovely actually came off my needles. (It helps that the pattern is so magnificent.)

Anemoi Mittens - halfway done!

Maybe I can finish the second one in something shorter than two weeks, so I actually get to wear them a bit…

***kicking socks

I had to be at work extremely early today, which required taking a much earlier train on this, the first work week after the fair increase kicked in. My early train encountered switch problems, which then led to the engineer using a lead foot on the throttle, resulting in a station stop where we overshot the platform by three cars.


But I’m OK with all that, because I’m wearing asskicking socks today. Bring it on, Monday, my toes are toasty warm in my Monkey socks: