Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Socks for clogs

Look, Mizar sock No. 1 is finished!

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And it even fits me! A nice surprise, it looked so small and tight when on the needles.
It still feels pretty tight fitting, but I have not washed it yet, and I believe that this Shetland wool will soften and bloom a bit in the wash. I love Mizar, but when I was working on it, I half promised it to a friend with smaller feet, so I might have to give it (and its other half, when completed) away.

Still, I am happy, because the pattern was challenging enough but not a headache, and it went relatively quickly on my long DPNs, size 3 (although I thought I was working on 4s all the time!). If I have to give this pair away, I’ll knit another pair on size 4 and maybe add a couple of stitches for better ease. Just for the record, I am not a sock knitter, this is only my 4th pair, but clog socks might convert me yet.

Here is a shot of the heel, to show the pattern going all the way down, as appropriate for clog wearing. I apologize for the photo, but it wasn’t easy to capture my own heel. At least I waxed my legs yesterday…..

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Mizar pattern from ‘Socks for sandals and clogs’ by Anna Zilboorg.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Colorful ribbons

A couple of entries ago, I mentioned I wanted to knit the Side to Side Ribbon Pullover , and I was considering buying the recommended yarn, Berroco Zen.

Well, the plan has changed, after precious advice from the ribbon expert Subway Knitter. I started chanting ribbon ribbon ribbon until a couple of neuron connected in my brain and I remembered the silk ribbon I had stashed, another amazing gift from my mother. It is Garza di Organzino, all the way from Florence.

Amazingly, I did a mini swatch (I do not have much to spare, if any), and the gauge was ok. So I got started and here is the beginning of a sleeve.

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It is a very unusual yarn to work with, very dry, slippery and clingy at the same time, and I have to be careful not to poke my needle through it. It does not seem to drape much, which might be a concern for this pattern. And in case it does not work, I’m kind of stuck, because Garza does not unravel well (I unraveled part of the swatch and it looked all crinkly).

But the shimmering colors are so beautiful, and the ribbon is so light and smooth. I really do hope the top will turn out ok!

On other news, my Mizar sock has progressed past the heel and it looks very pretty, but way too small for me. That’s ok, I still enjoy knitting it and I will easily find a worthy recipient somewhere. It was such an impulse project, never stopped to consider any measurements, so I am not disappointed.

Actually, I am disappointed, but by something else entirely: I broke my yarn diet! And I did it in the most stupid way possible: after an exhausting day at the zoo, I stopped at an unknown-to-me yarn store with two overtired children and a fried brain, looked all around, saw nothing special, went to the sale bin and bought a whole lot of cotton that I have no need for, no special liking for and was not especially a good buy (well, it was a good buy, but nothing that could not be passed up). My only excuse is that the salesperson glared at me the whole time, so I thought I’d better buy something. I am planning to return it, but the store is way out of my way. Maybe at the weekend.

One last thing: like other have said, Blogger comments will not give an email address for whoever has left a comment, and if you do not have a Blogger account, I do not even know your name. So I can’t answer all your very nice comments as I’d like to. As they say, I apologize for any inconvenience, I wish it was easier to get back to all of you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Not the Debbie Bliss Club

You know, I was not going to blog tonight, not for lack of knitting content (granted, there is not that much worth blogging about), but for sheer tiredness.

But just before bedtime, Giacomo, my 7 year-old, came down and asked me what would happen if something like a book was by any chance left outside: would it be blown away?

I said that would certainly be possible. So he asked me to let him go and retrieve this ‘book’ from his newly built fort. Permission was granted, and he came back with this booklet and insisted on reading it to me.

please forgive a mother’s weakness, I just can’t help sharing it with you all:

Club Charectar!

chapter I: plans
all plans must have codes
* more complactad more better
* everybody knows piglatan
* codes like “code blue” are cool
* sybols

chapter II: plans
all plans must have revange
* get enemies in trouble
* get back when defited
* boss them around

Chapter III: Actois
Actions must have sneakeness.
* no noticing
* good hearing
* spying

chaper IIII: actions
Actions must have hard work.
* different people have different hard yobs

Original spelling and punctuation preserved. And since I know you want to know, the club’s name is TUFF, Totally Unidentified Flying Freaks.

Do you think is time to take the Calvin & Hobbes books away?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Ecco a voi…

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Humbug, pattern from Rowan Magazine 37, yarn Rowan Summer Tweed, color Salad.
In all its unblocked, unwashed beauty. It took longer to seam it than to knit it, just about, because seaming time (i.e. knitting time when I can actually concentrate on what I am doing) is scarce. So, as soon as I dealt with the last end, I put it on and asked my ever obliging daughter to take a picture. Cutting off my head was optional, but she managed anyway.

I like Humbug more than I expected, considering that I started it mainly to use up some stash with a pattern that I could knit when studying. Summer Tweed has a very dry feel, but it seems to get softer when handled. It also discards a surprising amount of vegetation. I am curious to see how it comes out of the wash, where it is sitting right now.

All in all, a pretty satisfactory project. And it fits me!*

For my next plain knitting project, I went back to a pattern from last Spring IK, the Side-to-Side Ribbon top. And I dug out the ribbon yarn that I have, Pavia, a cotton ribbon bias-cut yarn by Classic Elite (no link available) courtesy of the Great Stash Redistribution Box (thanks Amy and anonymous donor). I like the pattern and I like the yarn, but together they did not convince me. So I let things stew for a few days. And then things clicked: Berroco Zen (the yarn called for this project) is on sale at Webs, and Pavia would be perfect for a baby blanket, so it gets assigned to the Pinwheel blanket.

I am so glad when things do finally click, such a relief!

Of course, my yarn diet is in the way, but I am on my 10th project from stash, I think it might be time for a break

*Kiri update coming shortly.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Overdue Thanks!
Last week I received many wonderful gifts, some of them completely unexpected. My lovely friend Polly read my enquiry on the Rowan forum, about knitting this design, Martha from the latest Rowan, in Botany (a wool 4-ply Rowan yarn, discontinued) instead than using the yarn the pattern calls for, Rowan Cotton 4-ply.

And promptly decided to send me in the mail this instead:

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The perfect yarn in the perfect (discontinued) shade! I was speechless for a few minutes when I opened the package and read the card, which says more or less: Martha is a summery knit, I have just the right yarn and now it’s yours!
Polly rocks!

My next rock star is my mother: her package for S. Benedetto arrived late, but was well worth the wait: in amidst scrumptious humongous chocolate eggs, toys for the children, Moon Boots for me for next winter (in case it snows again, you know), and many other things, there were these:

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Six, I mean six, needlepoint cushion covers, designed, I believe, by Kaffe Fassett. I bought all the kits, when I was in Scotland and had a fling with needlework, but then returned full time to knitting, so my mother inherited them and made them all…..for me! My mind boggles at the thought of how many hours of work are in these cushions. I love them beyond words.
I will need to go and buy a new couch just for them. And I love my mother, not just because of her wonderful gifts, but because SHE is wonderful! GRAZIE, MAMMA!

What would Ben do?
I felt extremely flattered that Wendy, Elisa and Maryse thought I was of some help in their knitting quandaries. However, today Ben would just bang her head against the wall repeatedly:
maybe you remember Kiri, the blue sweater with the pretty neck ruffle. Maybe I have told you what size I was making it, but just in case I did not, I was following the directions for a medium size, bust of 91 cm. Which usually works for me without any adjustment. What I neglected to do was to check on the schematics what the finished size of the garment was supposed to be. So I went along happily, blocked it, join the shoulders, knit the neck ruffles, all the way thinking: this looks too big, but ignoring myself. Then I joined a sleeve cap, finally draped on me and, believe me ('cause I do not have the heart of taking a picture) Kiri is HUGE! It would easily fit a much bigger woman than me.

Of course, I blamed myself and my lazy attitude: why did I not check gauge and row gauge and measured as I went along and all that stuff. But you know what: even if I had bothered, it would not have changed a thing, because my finished pieces, I discovered, are EXACTLY the measurements of the final garment in the pattern. What I want to know is this:
Why for a bust measurement of 91 cm, front and back are designed to measure 60 cm each? eh? Why?

Ben does not not what to do with Kiri, she is still too mad.

Revolting against Stocking Stitch
Last Tuesday, I suddenly found myselg grabbing a sock book I have not looked at for 2 years, grab some yarn from a basket, some DPNS from another basket, and casting on for this:

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Mizar, in Shetland wool, two strands together.
Admittedly, one of the most difficult patterns in the book (according to Zilboorg herself), one that I have to pay attention to, and I do not even like knitting socks that much. But you know, one can take only so many weeks of plain stocking stitch in one’s life. Since January, stocking stitch has dominated my knitting, because it’s the only thing I can knit while reading/studying. Tuesday my knitting boredom threshold snapped.

Now I feel refreshed (although not enough to face reknitting Kiri).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A grand day out

Well, afternoon, evening, night, whatever! Yes, you have already read about it, it’s all over the web, along with Wendy’s signature belly, and yes it’s all true! We had so much fun! It was really hard to leave early and I regret missing the funnest* part, involving dexterous use of Sharpies and who knows what else. While the extra batteries came with me, my camera stayed at home, so no pictures here. Except to show off the fantastic yarn I got in the swap.

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And just as well I got it and nobody attempted to swap with me, or it would have turned ugly; because this is just the perfect yarn for me, my color and my yarn philosophy all in one (check it out at Sweet Grass Wool). In fact, I remember growling at Melanie for even looking mildly interested in it.

Anyway, thank you Debbie for hosting us, and Melanie, for getting us organized, and Maryse, Elisa and Wendy for such a great evening. I never imagined that being a knitter would evolve in such a social and fun thing.

This brings me to my next point, something I have been ruminating for a while. I have been knitting for over 20 yrs, and have always enjoyed it. However, it is only in the last couple of years that knitting has changed from just a past-time, an activity to keep my hands busy and productive (I have to have an item at the end of it, the process itself is not enough for me), to an active interest. And that is all because of the knitting community on the web, which has opened up my eyes not only to different techniques and patterns and yarns, but to the people involved with knitting. Now, I can’t figure why it happens that the knitters I meet online and in person are invariably amazing, fun, interesting people, compared to the people I may meet in other settings. I know it is not just for their knitting. I mean, the knitting is cool, but the web knitters/bloggers are the stars, by a long way.

So when I was reading Colleen’s post a few days ago, talking about the motivation behind the ‘new’ knitters and wondering if they’ll keep knitting when its novelty and popularity wears off, I found myself thinking ‘never mind the knitting, it’s the blogging community that I hope will still be there in 10 years time’. I know there will always be knitters, somewhere. But what if blogging goes out of fashion and we’ll all get out of touch? That is what worries me, knitting in a vacuum, again….with not even a Sharpie in sight!!

*my spellchecker tells me this is not a real world, but my children use it all the time, so I have now officially adopted it. I mean, my spellchecker does not even recognize blog as a real word, so how reliable can it be?