Saturday, September 30, 2006

Keep it quiet...

Although I have enough projects on the needles right now (basic socks, fair isle mittens, lace shawl, simple shawl for car knitting), I could not resist casting on a swatch for a special holiday project I have in mind....

Friday, September 29, 2006

go with the flow

For Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah afternoon, we took leftovers from the previous evening's round challah to the footbridge over our local creek. Each standing quietly by the railing, we tore off little bits of breads as we considered what we have done over the past year of which we are not proud. Assigning our misdeeds to the bread, we cast the bits into the water. (Son played *Pooh Sticks with some of his, watching the sins swim beneath the bridge and come out the other side.) I, as usual, was a fountain of tears.

The water carries away our sins. It leaves us unburdened of guilt and ready to move on to meaningful action, true repentence, and a better life.

Afterwards, we turned to each other, hugged, and apologized for all we had done that hurt each other, knowingly or unknowingly. This time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is our time to set things to right with each other. So for all of you reading: I am sorry for anything I have said or done that has hurt you, whether I intended to or not, whether I was aware or not.

As we walked back from the water, Son erupted in tears over nothing (he was both tired and hungry), and I snapped at him in frustration and impatience (I was both hungry and tired). Ah, a good start on preparations for next Tashlich....

* * *

Meanwhile, Adamas flows on.

After the fourth repeat...


and after the fifth.


*The link is to the World Pooh Sticks Championships. Wow.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What's On My Bobbin (WOMB)

I've been spending some time with my Annabel Lee and some fiber bought at Adam's Farm in Vermont:



I was thinking of double plying (which will mix the colors)--but I may try Navaho plying it (which will maintain the color changes). Then, perhaps I'll knit up a light lacy ribbed scarf? Not sure yet. Any input?

* * *

Speaking of spinning, have y’all seen these clever new tools made from toys? I love them!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blog Button



Isn't it perfect? Thanks, Kate! (Feel free to copy it to your sidebars, folks.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Beginning Anew

As I sat in Rosh Hashanah services this weekend, I thought about how knitting through them would have made me feel a lot calmer, more focussed, less critical, more spiritual. Unfortunately, many observant Jews feel that knitting violates Shabbat and holiday restrictions against work. Although I do not abide by these, these teachings are integral enough to Judaism that I feel it would be a slap in the face to many in my community for me to knit during services. But my hands felt really empty. For hours and hours.

Instead, at David's suggestion, I tried to envision God as a knitter. (Theoretically I love this idea. Practically, it got me not a whit closer to envisioning God. Luckily, Judaism has room for nonbelief.)

Rosh Hashanah is a time to think back on what has come before and use that knowledge to decide the future direction of our lives, a direction that brings us peace and wholeness.

As the holiday ended this evening, I thought, "What better way to bring a new beginning and a time of peace than by starting a new project?" (It also helped me heal from the Time of No Knitting.)

I bring you the start of Adamas, designed by the same brilliant person who brought us Icarus:

After the upper chart:


After the first repeat of the body chart:


After the second:


And it just keeps marching on, orderly and dependable, after the third:


I was not the only person who started a new project. David, facing a week-long meeting, decided to cast on for his own Irish Hiking Scarf! (I am so pleased to have a partner who understands my reasoning for having several projects going at once.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Blow the Shofar!




Prepare apples and honey so we can start a sweet new year:


L'shanah tovah!

Sock Goes to the County Fair


Last month, David's Second Sock attended the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. He was excited by the prospect of seeing animals, crafts, produce--and the amusement area.

After checking out the admission price board, he was pleased to see that this year, since he was still "Under 2," he could enter for free.


First priority? Fiber animals! He said hello to alpacas and llamas, then greeted goats...


...and especially admired the boy sleeping with his animals.


Sheep!


Being a sock of color, our hero got a little nervous when he seemed to have found himself near a Klan meeting.





He got even more nervous when he saw THIS:


Perhaps the sheep neighborhood was not the best place to hang out after all.

On to produce!


Sock took a ride on the tractor...


... on his way to the "old-timey" display. There he met some friendly spinners:




They steered sock to the Fleece-to-Shawl contest going on near the crafts displays.


After watching the contest for a while, he explored the displays of quilts, hooked rugs, crocheted and knitted objects, and handsewing. He longingly cuddled up to a ribbon, dreaming of the possibilities when he matures.


Seeing the beautiful jams and jellies, breads and cakes, Sock was getting hungry.


He decided to walk down the midway to the amusement area with its rides and food booths. On the way, he excitedly posed with a firefighter!


The rides were overwhelming, but the kind ticket lady at the ball-throwing booth made him feel welcome.


The ticket guy at Son's favorite amusement (a climbing/sliding/running fun house) seemed more like a bouncer...


...at a gay bar. (I hope some of of you old enough to remember pink triangles like the one on the left. If not, just check out the rainbow canopy on the right.)


Before we left, Sock insisted on trying some quintessential fair food. He scooted up to the booth...


...and enjoyed some funnel cake to top off his grand adventure.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

thinking of you

While we were in Vermont and NY, we saw so much fiber (both on the hoof and off), so many beautiful handmade objects from weavings to spinning to carving to knitting to ..., so much beautiful New England countryside, even gorgeous photography.

All in all, I was thinking of you folks constantly. "Oh, Knitting Iris would love those sewn aprons!" or "LOOK at that gorgeous quilt! Wouldn't my all my quilting blogger friends love it?"

One of my favorite finds--unfortunately not caught by my camera--was a little roadside treasure shop called "Lolly's Luscious Luxuries." I'm sure our Lolly would have loved the store!

And, of course these made me think of Beadlizard:



Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Singleton Socks, Etc.

I think I've found an answer to what to do with my very odd sock and the single mitten! (But I must admit I am still sorely tempted by Spec's suggestion that the solo mitten would be a lovely Barbie sleeping bag or hamster hotel. And the anonymous suggestion that I think of the socks as "Looking Glass Socks" is certainly very reassuring.)

Amputeehee is cooking up a great project where knitters can donate either singles or sets of socks, mittens, and gloves:

There’s one more thought I have been having about handknit single socks. It
involves organizing a donation program to get them to amputees returning from
the war. There's a slew of them. I’ve been investigating how to set that up ...
and I’ve got a plan developing. If any of you have second sock syndrome (and the
resulting lonely first sock), I might just have a really good home for your
onesies soon. Or you could knit a complete pair and help dress up a prosthesis
;-)

...Wrote the letter to Walter Reed Military Hospital to start the
wheels turning for "Single Socks for Soldiers" .... If they accept, this will be
a program where knitters can donate their single socks to amputee vets. Full
pairs will be welcome as some amputees like to play dress up with their fake
legs, and I'm willing to collect gloves and mittens, too.



Keep your eye on her blog for specifics!

More Dealings with the "J" Perfectionism Demon

At a long and intense board meeting last night, I was knitting a sock to keep me sane and well-behaved. After I had passed the decreases after the heel pick-ups, I felt a bump of yarn against my fingers and looked down. Sure enough, there was a knot--and the new yarn was tied on at a completely different color.

As I looked at the yarn around the outside of the ball, I realized that the sequence ahead was the reverse of what it should be. It needed to be rewound in reverse order--and I did not feel I could do that subtly in the middle of the meeting.

What should I do? Not KNIT? So I continued on, struggling with the thought that when I knit the second sock, I'll have to unwind a correctly-wound ball in order to construct a matching sock.

Or, gulp, I could try to live with, egads, fraternal socks.... Do any of you share this absolute revulsion with me? I feel a little queasy just looking at this sock.

* * *

BTW, FemiKnit Mafia yesterday led me to a fantastic very-short film about an obsessive knitter. Check it out!

Monday, September 18, 2006

easing up on things

Since I learned to knit as a youngster, people have told me I knit like my grandmother. Whenever I hear this, I am flattered, encouraged, nostalgic. It was she who taught me to knit in the first place. She filled our closets with beautiful sweaters. She was devoted to wonderful yarns, bought by friends on their travels around the world. I am honored when anyone says I knit like she did.

I am also sure that because I knit like my grandmother, I cannot do colorwork.

Granny was a tight knitter. My mother, a former loose knitter who no longer knits at all, used to make raglan "ski sweaters" with colorwork at the yoke--but Granny's attempts with two colors left her with puckered fabric and an uneasy feeling about her imperfections.

For a long time, I have hesitated to try colorwork, knowing that my hands pull the yarn taut just as Granny's hands did, knowing my desires for perfection rival my grandmother's.

But here I am, too-tight strands and all, loving it. I love holding one yarn English, one yard Continental, watching the pictures appear as I draw with my stitches...


...watching the side motif march forward on the sides of the mittens...


...and looking that peasant thumb, marked with contrasting waste yarn, so lovely that I cannot dream of ripping it out and replacing it.


But then, I realize, I do not have enough yarn for a second mitten....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Ravenous Raven: A Last Hurrah

For dinner we made CSA Soup. The stock was made from vegetable and fruit trimmings and chicken bones, all stuck in the freezer whenever we have them and made into soup whenever we're in the mood. This time we added onions, zucchini and squash, anaheim peppers, blue potatoes, lima beans, some leftover rice (not local) from take-out Chinese, and some canned black beans (also not local). We topped it with one of our favorite local cheeses and served it up in my favorite bowls, made by a potter in North Carolina.



After we ate our soup, we made dessert. First we whizzed plums in the food processor, added a bit of maple sugar melted in a wee bit of hot water, and refridgerated the resulting mix. When everything was cold, we poured it in the ice cream maker and churned every few minutes. Delicious!





This is my last meal for One Local Summer. What a great project this has been, Liz! Thanks!

Friday, September 15, 2006

His Homespun, His Hat

Tuesday night I knitted a hat for my 7yo. It is a simple rustic warm winter cap.



It is knit from homespun, always special. But this project is a special treasure. I alternated rows of my very first wheel-spun yarn and my son's very first plied yarn. He made it from one strand of spun pencil roving and one strand of fiber he put through a friend's drum carder. Here's a close-up of his spinning:



Luckily, the last few days have been cool enough for Son to model the hat!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"all about her..."

I am blown away by the prize gift amendment that just arrived in my mailbox. A few weeks ago, Stuntmother sent me a box of treasures. She included a note that there was another little item that would arrive later. Well--here it is:

Stitch markers from Zephyr that have little sayings such as "I knit, therefore I am," "To knit or not to knit, that is the question," "Oops, I knit it again!" (perfect for a pattern repeat marker), "If you knit it, they will come"...



...and THIS one...



It says: "Quoth the Maven, 'Knit some more!'"

* * *

On top of this amazing gift, the sock yarn Stuntmother sent me in the earlier box has totally become a new favorite. Here are the socks:





The yarn is dyed by Lisa Souza. I just ordered some more of her sock yarn to keep the family's hands busy and our luggage light during our fall and winter travels. Can't wait to try out some of the other gorgeous colorways!

* * *

Incidentally, Stuntmother just posted a list of deep answers the internet provided her when she spun the 8-ball and asked what she needed. As she did, I plugged "[my name] needs" into the search engine. The Google Gods don't seem to have that much to say to me, but they certainly were clever:

The Purloined Letter's author:

"needs a new name"

"needs adoptive parents who will support her mental therapy program"

"needs more than skills to escape the trap"

"needs a shave?"

"needs her vaccinations, worm tablets, and flea control"

"needs to write the word, then say the word, then say each letter as she writes it down again"

"needs to apply lots of make-up so she can perform in her latest dramatic role"

"needs a night of pure bliss that is all about her"

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