Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy H'ween

from me, the kitties and this crazy pumpkin.

Thanks so much to everyone who's emailed and commented asking if I'm ok. I'm ok! I was fighting allergies the week before SAFF, and those fluffo angoras pushed me over the edge. Today I'm going to the doctor; they were going to call in something for me except for the chest congestion, so I have to get my lungs listened to. (Very typical.)

I still have much to say about SAFF, but Betty's post is a great sum-up and shows what everything looked like. I still have to take pictures of the yarn I bought, so more on that later. And here is a fluffy friend, I think his name is Al but it might be Lla, who was very pleasant and perfectly aloof and reminded several people we were NOT at a petting zoo.


Good times!

Update: I'm fine! Got an antibiotic and a new inhaler. My lungs were clear, so just a sinus thing with an asthma attack. Woo!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Y'all are scary!

Roadhouse it was. What a terrible half-hour that made!

Eventually I switched to The Postman, but I'm still not feeling well and I regret that because I dreamed about the movie all night. I think this stuff is trying to go into my lungs, and I need to call the doctor today.

Apologies for the lack of posts but I'm not very entertaining right now anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Signs of trouble

When you're sitting there all sick on the couch, feeling better but still would rather watch a lame-o Patrick Sw*yze movie than get up and put in a dvd, you probably really actually need to just sit there and rest.

At least the hairstyles are funny.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We apologize for the inconvenience.

I've been trying to think of a way to say this all day, and 'under the weather' doesn't seem to cut it. I'd lose friends if I told y'all what is coming out of my head today; after a TERRIFICALLY fun day of hanging out with my fibersisters and inhaling all manner of fiber and allergens, I'm totally wiped, using my neti pot as often as I can stand to, gargling a vile concoction of apple cider vinegar and water to help my sore throat, and snorting periodically in a most unladylike fashion.

Luckily I have large quantities of soup at my disposal, the World Series, and my knitting. I am wearing handknit socks, wrapped up in a blanket, and have two kitties sleeping soundly by my side. I couldn't be a luckier or happier sick girl, but I am sad that I will miss Crazy Aunt Purl's bookstore visit tomorrow.

I had SUCH fun this weekend - meeting everyone I met was like meeting old friends, and everyone seemed just as cool in person as on Ravelry and the blogs, and I am so glad I got to do it. I'll post pictures as soon as I can function, but until then I've got to rest. Doctor tomorrow if I'm not better. Blech.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Roadtripping, frizz, and animal fiber!

Well, I'm packed, I'm frizzy (from loading up my car in the wannabe-fog this morning), and I think it's safe to say I probably packed too much. My back seat is not far from full, and I hope that the car can handle it. (Must have room for purchases as well!)

This morning I put a bag of trash outside to take to the dumpster, and an animal got in it, so I had to clean up trash while I was packing the car. Then one of my yogurts exploded inside the cold bag I was carrying it in...I didn't think I set it down too hard! So hopefully I got through all the frustration up front, and can enjoy myself!

There are a lot of you I hope to meet in person this weekend! :)

I've been watching the Ken Burn's documentary The War, and does anyone else just love the older lady from Alabama who drops all her R's and trills them out when she has to say them? "Wauh." "Bo-oys." "Drrrrream." One of the things I love about southern speech is the tendency to stretch one syllable words into two or three, but also compress two-syllable words down into one. (Storytelling is another.)

Anyway, I wish that I would somehow find out she was a knitter, so I could her her say "merrrinuh" and "fibuh." What's left of my Michigan accent isn't nearly as entertaining.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's Thursday, so it must be sunny!

Grady and Fee have been fighting an epic battle at night, every night, several times a night. I don't know why - neither of them seem particularly moody or off, and as they are not "people" cats it's really hard to tell. There is some extortion going on - she leaves food in her dish for him - and some territorial-jealousy type stuff happening.

I live in an apartment complex with enforced quiet hours, but last night they scared me. I vaguely remember getting up and chasing Grady away from her with the broom. (I'd never hit my cats, but a broom is good for separating them. Or throwing a t-shirt in the general vicinity.)

They do this every couple of months, and then things settle down and they get downright friendly. I just changed out the Feliway again, and it doesn't seem to be affecting the battle one way or the other, so possibly they are just playing. But shrieking, hissing and growling at top volume at 1am is just not going to work.

I have no knitting news, and no pictures. But tomorrow Betty and I are going on an adventure! And right now, I need some soup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hi again!

Once again, I apologize for the severe lack of posting. I've been super busy at work, and can't seem to get myself to do much in the way of picture taking in the dark. I did get a weird one of Grady -

Grady is an odd one.

I have no idea what he's doing there. I think he tries to move in his sleep and does a sort of zombie crawl.

And Grumperina talked about this the other day - Canal du Midi syndrome, she calls it. Woefully, poetically awful photos of socks run alongside a perfectly beautiful pattern that never gets noticed because of the photography.

The Merino Lace socks from Favorite Socks are one such example, and I have to admit that being able to actually SEE the lace pattern swayed me, and I cast on for them last week. I ignored them quite a bit, then picked them up last night after having done about five rounds, and zoooooom:

Merino lace sock

(I apologize for the extremely poor light in the picture. I feel sure that when the sun eventually comes out, it will love this sock.)

I'm midway through the heel flap already, and this sock is a genuine Jen curiosity - the rare sock that gets made with a longer than 5" cuff. It's such a cool pattern, and I'm so enamored of it I don't want to go to bed. I kinda forgot about Glee. I spent all day Saturday (when I should have been hooking up Haloscan comments) knitting a penguin for my niece. And on Sunday I spent all day knitting his feet, because this penguin MUST have blue toes. (I will explain more at a later date.) I ended up double-knitting them, and I'm really happy. But I have not been very productive.

So anyway...more tomorrow! (I hope.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Go Titans!

Apologies to the Houstonians out there. We barely eeked it out but wow, what a game. The drama!

The cats would like me to post pictures of them. They feel I've been neglecting them with blogging too many words and no pictures. I had a signed manifesto nailed to my bedroom door this morning with a cat-claw for a nail.



Also, tomorrow I have to get my teeth cleaned, which I have said before that I really, really hate, and it still feels weird to be going to a new dentist I didn't choose, but everything else is the same in the office, etc. So I can't think of a witty blog post.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Here you are

A lovely chapeau for your pretty head. If you have a skein of yarn that just wants to show off its color - this one's for you. :) It's simple, big, warm and squishy. Pattern link opens pdf and follows the pictures. If you knit it, please let me know!

(A samara is one of those helicoptery seed pods that fall from maple trees each year. I remember being a kid and wading through gobs of them on the street - when they turn brown, they are beautiful. This yarn reminds me of them.)



Samaras Hat


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It was a dark and stormy night

(Apologies to Snoopy.) Thanks for reading yesterday. Colour is all about perception, you know.

We had some major storms come through last night, complete with tornado warnings and terrible mispronounciations of local town names by meteorologists. (Hint: in the South, it's not "ville" - it's "vuhl." Nashvuhl. Etc.) If you are a transplanted midwesterner like me, that i is a schwa, and 'Nashvehl' is the best you'll probably ever get.

I got the emergency stuff out, cleared off the patio because of the high winds coming our way, and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Nothing woke me up until 4am, when I got up and went to bed.

I bought some new yarn - Hemp for Knitting #210 Hempwol. It's a giant ball of tweedy goodness. I swatched already last night in it. I am trying to decide if I want to make a one-skein project out of it as originally planned, or buy more of it and make a garment. It's lovely!

This weekend I am for-sure hooking up Halo comments, and also if all goes well there will be a new hat pattern. Hope your Friday is happy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Altering things - a looooong post

I'm sorry for the lack of cool knitting content, I really am and I hope you'll put up with more artistic-type ramblings tonight. In addition to not making much progress on Glee, I cabled my Log Cabin Socks backwards, so I ripped back to the ribbing, and I have only done about four rows of my new sock. Which you wouldn't know anything about because I haven't told you - Conwy is on hold. I love the pattern, but the yarn? Not for socks. I am just trying to get up the courage to admit it to myself. Also, at work I am in the Land of 1,000 Meetings and I just finished a big freelance project. So, not a lot of inspiration going on!

But, tonight I was playing around in Photoshop and even though I'm real sad I didn't save my file with all the layers, I did save a composite of what I was doing. This is an adjusted picture of Fee, taken with daylight behind her. It's not a super-good shot, and my intention was to show you that so you focus on technique rather than on the shot itself. (More on that later.)

Messed with

For you geeky techno-types, I took out a lot of saturation in the master, upped the greens, did a shadow/highlight adjustment that took out a lot of the extra midtone in the darker levels, did some selective colour adjustments in the reds, greens and blacks, and blurred out the background a little bit. Oh, and painted out the speaker.

That's a lot o words to basically say that I lightened the overall picture, turned up the contrast in some levels but pulled out the overall RGB totals in the blacks to remove the muddiness. Here is the original.


This photo has some obvious problems. The composition is decent, but the overall contrast level is too dramatic for the subject. She should be well-lit, but parts of her face are too much in shadow (that's the muddiness) and parts of the background are too different from the subject - too much contrast. Backgrounds are best when simple. In this photo we have some nice leading-lines from the table and shadow line sending you in to the center of the photo, but the books and speakers are distracting. The big black box (my behemoth, 1991 tv stand) is a distraction against all the white - a black hole.

So basically what you have is the inability to see the subject because of a distracting background and low-light on her face. With me? Because now I am going to explain it all! In great detail!

What I did to this photo is something you might end up doing with your wardrobe, your makeup or even your knitting - I simplified it. The first thing I did was look at it, overall, as an object. Not as a cat - as a rectangular photo. Right away you can see that the left-side of the frame (right side of kitty's face) is lighter than the rest. This would be interesting if dramatically lit, but draws all the attention to the outside of the frame (a no-no) and takes away from her eyes. Also, my kitty has orange brackets over her eyebrows, and I wanted them to be seen.

So, step one was to figure out the focus of the picture - what it is, and what I want it to be. Like I said - extrapolate. Do you want the shape of your sweater to be noticed (the fit), or the colorwork? Interesting how sweaters with a lot of stranded stuff on them tend to be drop-shouldered and boxy. The form isn't important - the color is. If the form is important, like on those cabled socks? Use a color that doesn't distract from the form; no variegateds, or one that is only subtly variegated.

Overall I had to lighten the parts in shadow. But simply lightening them up didn't take care of the muddiness. In a digital photo, that mud comes from a lot of colours all plugging in together. Basically what was happening (technically) was too much colour in all the channels. So I removed some of the overall saturation - the total colour in each channel. (Geeky!) This lightens the photo without giving it a cast and keeps the contrast going.

But I wanted those eyes to be the focus. So I pulled the overall photo down towards black-and-white, EXCEPT for the green in her eyes. (The lesson here is that in a field of neutrals, colors draw more attention. It's called simultaneous contrast. It's also why picture frames are usually black, brown or gray.)

When I got that all done, though, I thought the eyes looked garish. I wanted the same liquid-light feeling I was getting from the face to be in the eyes. So I knocked down the overall contrast level without graying the thing out by adjusting the intensity of the shadows down to where I liked it.

The effect, I think, is a little cold but feels like window light on a winter day. Remember, y'all, photos liiiiiie. They lie. Each of these photos tells a different story, but only one of them does it well. The adjusted photo is much more interesting, though I quite possibly like the colour better on the original. But because it's not a good shot to start with, it relies on technique to carry it. (That is not a place you want to find yourself - it's a gimmick.)

How can you relate this to knitting? Pick one thing to focus on in a piece. If you love the form, pick a simple colour. If you love the riot of colour, pick a fairly simple shape. To narrow down your color choices, start by picking one that doesn't work. If that navy (no matter how much you like it) just seems sort of overbearing next to your dove gray, try a middle-toned steel blue instead. Contrast is the difference between the lightest lights, and the darkest darks. Simplifying the contrast - narrowing it, really - helps a lot. Both photos of Fee are relatively low-contrast, with one tending to darks and the other to lights. The lighter one actually has more contrast on her face, but less contrast with the background.

(Tangentially, this affects makeup choices. Women with blond hair and porcelain skin (low contrast) simply can't wear bright makeup without looking clownish. Women with dark hair and pale skin (high contrast) need brighter colors because the difference is overwhelming. Ever wonder why dark-haired, pale-skinned women look fantastic in navy? And I look like a ghost in a navy shirt? I have fairly even contrast - eyes, hair and skin all relatively the same color. There are some things i just can't do. So I dye my hair darker and wear heavier eyeliner. Experiment! Try using your makeup a different way than you've done before, just to see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.)

Thank you for flying Random Airways, please remain seated until the captain has turned off the Fasten Seatbelt sign. :) Hope y'all enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting Keeps Me Sane, Except When It Drives Me Crazy

Y'all, I do not know what has happened to my knitting mojo lately. I have tons of projects going, and keep on starting things, and knit every day. But apparently I am making absolutely zero progress.

I am up to over 300 stitches per row on Glee, and let me tell you what. I put a safety pin on the row I started Friday night, just to mark my progress for the weekend. Knitted all day Saturday on it, as well as a lovely hat I'll have to show you when the light is better. Knitted on it a ton on Sunday. And GUESS how much progress I made? One-and-a-half inches of fabric. THAT'S IT. So really, pictures of my knitting right now would be like watching paint dry.

So today I am going to distract you with one of my ruminations on the creative process. I don't know why, but I woke up thinking "art is in the details." I've been making a lot of illustrations lately that involve tons of layering - many, many layers of graffiti, silhouettes, scrolly things, plants and other business. Colours. Textures. It's amazing (even to me) that I do this professionally and yet I still don't *really* know what's going to happen when I start an illustration. After years of doing it professionally, I still have to trust the process. There is something organic going on that I can't put my finger on.

In other words, I've studied typefaces since 1991. Photography. Composition. Colour theory. Layout. Design. Fashion. I spend days every month looking - at fashion, album covers, web design, movies, magazines, trying to get ideas. I read design theory, I sketch. (If you are in a creative pursuit you would be wise to do the same kinds of things. I joke all the time that I have a little team of guys who live in the back of my brain who come up with my ideas. They need raw materials - different things to combine, interpret, rework. Many of the 'end-result' things I do are a direct result of simply looking around, filling the well in my brain up with whatever I can get my eyes on, and letting my mind reinterpret it.)

People, I am going to say this, because it needs to be said. Having a good camera will not make you a photographer. Having a set of ebony pencils and graphite sticks will not give you the ability to become a sketch artist. Having an arsenal of typefaces will not make you a type designer. Art is about much more than tools. You can use a disposable Kodak and a #2 pencil for all I care.

The web has made it much more convenient to self-publish all this "art," but what is really happening is that people are skipping the thinking part of making something, spending too much time on actually making it, and ending up with junk. I'm not referring to anybody in particular - you might have a nice camera, but it doesn't mean I'm talking to you! I think good materials are important - I am certainly not saying we all need to go back to film and watercolour paper. But I *am* saying that tools won't do the work for you. The mental work. The creative work of seeing a thing in your mind and being able to know what you need to do on paper to make it real.

Knitting is essentially a technical pursuit, but there are times when each of us uses creativity and problem-solving to make something into what we want it to be. Having a full set of rosewood needles and rooms full of expensive yarn won't make you a good knitter, and it won't help you get those short-rows just right. It will make your experience a more comfortable one, but it won't do the mental work for you. Buildings are three-dimensional sculpture, as knitting is. But not all buildings are art. Some are purely functional, and some are truly visionary. The in-between is where most of us spend our lives. Pretty and functional is what most of us want.

In the same way, then, I am saying that there is more to being creative than just making something. It has to be functional in some way, even if it's simply inspiring someone to think. (This is the *commercial* artist in me talking, remember.) Some things are art for some people, but not for others. Not all of us are makeup artists; but most of us still manage to get out the door in the morning and don't get made fun of. Not all of us are photographers, but most of us still manage to make technically sound, useful pictures of our knitting. Not all of us are writers, but most of us still manage to get a good blog post going.

My advice to you in any creative pursuit is - give your workers some materials to mess around with. Develop your technical skills, down to the very last detail. Your work as a photographer will never be good enough if you can't get skin tones right. Your work as a designer will never be good enough if you don't learn to properly set type. Your work as a knitter will never be good enough if you don't learn how to knit evenly and skillfully. Work on honing those skillz, and work on seeing. What makes something work? Why does her hair work in that ponytail, day after day? What makes her outfit hip, but not stuffy and unimaginative even though it's still appropriate for business? What makes that shot work - colour? composition? personality? light? What makes that magazine readable (now we are getting into the geekiness, for reals).

Do your thing, and do it well. Don't cut any corners. Pay attention. Keep changing. Work *hard* at it, not halfway. "Good enough" really isn't. If you're going to be a professional, you have to know that at minimum everybody you are competing with will have near-perfect technical skill. And you have to build on that minimum to really get anywhere. An art director like me...I'm not just looking for a good photographer. There are thousands. I'm looking for that something special, and 'that something special but not lit quite right' is not going to cut it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


So by now y'all have heard about this wonderful new book called The Gentle Art of Domesticity, by Jane Brocket. Jane is an Englishwoman, the book looks and sounds beautiful, and it turns out it hasn't had the best reception in the UK because apparently for some women, doing domestic-type things like cooking and baking around the house (or sewing, or knitting) is looked down on as a sign of negative advancement for women.

Which I have been thinking about for a few days, and which totally baffles me. (Disclaimer: I haven't read Jane's book, just her blog - and the general idea is the same whether you've read it or not.)

It seems to me that the whole idea of feminism is freedom, right? So let's take political freedom first of all. Many people think political freedom is the basic freedom to disagree with your government. Well, in a sense - but that is very narrow-minded. Political freedom is also the basic freedom to agree with your government. Because in a totalitarian society, everyone is forced to agree. Nobody has the liberty of agreement by choice, and nobody has the liberty to disagree.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Freedom for women does in fact mean freedom to be out in the workforce, vote, do all the things in the world they want to do - but it's also the freedom to be a stay-at-home mom or wife if that is what they want. Instead of a choice that's made for you, you can make it yourself. There is a reason Martha Stewart is so successful. She's an amazing businesswoman, but she's also tapping into something a lot of women care about. (Whether you or I do, I am not sure - I respect Martha, but I don't think I will be out in the garage re-caning chairs anytime soon. But I also respect the right of Martha to do so if she chooses.)

In other words, it's just as un-freeing to tell a citizen he must always disagree with government, and it's just as un-freeing to tell a woman she must be a working, busy woman with no interest in making a nice home. It's still somebody else making the decision for you.

How to Keep House

Some weeks ago I found a charming little book at a yard sale (my first ever!) and couldn't resist paying the 25 cents for it even though it meant trying to find a place in my suitcase. Even a book written in 1946 puts very little pressure on women to keep a nice home or be disgraced. There is definitely a tone of authority in this book, but it's not condemnatory - and I doubt very many people would sell very many books doing the same thing today. The idea is to find a little bit of pleasure in making things nice. (There is nothing wrong with that.)


(I particularly love the bit about keeping your lamp shades as straight as your stocking seams.)

So today I'm asking you - if you're interested - to go check out Jane's blog, Yarnstorm, and read the spirit with which she writes. Then check out the opinion column about her book and see what you think of it. The author is free to define her life however she chooses, but she is NOT free to define mine - or Jane's. Isn't it true that the whole idea behind freedom is that we choose, and not somebody else?

(Theologically there is a parallel as well. When the Bible talks about freedom, it also says don't use your freedom to cause others to sin. So sometimes freedom in that context is freedom to NOT do something, because it benefits another person.)

Keep on rockin' in the free world, y'all.


Friday, October 12, 2007


Sometimes things happen at the oddest moments, like when you're innocently walking around a drugstore smelling the shower gels on the off chance you might find something you like as well as Lush and then you round a corner and see a bottle of Jean Naté (100% more free!) and junior high just floods back over you again. You can smell the Babe deodorant all your friends wore, and see your curling iron over there in the corner, caked with Aqua-Net Extra Super Hold hairspray, hear Adam Ant yelling "stand and deliver!" in the background...oh boy, we were dorky back then. Funny how it doesn't take much to bring it all back.

I didn't find any shower gel that smelled very good. It's all soapy smelling, if that makes sense, and smelling soapy is sort of odd to me. Soapy and women's perfume-y. And I have a sinus headache thing going, so it really was kind of like going out to try on pants when you have PMS, there's just not going to be anything that makes you truly happy out there on days like that.

Uh...I worked some on Glee last night. That's right! I'm knitting Glee from Zephyr Style. The whole thing started last week at SnB when I saw Alicia working on a gorgeous version of Wicked, and suddenly ZS was what I needed. I have eight skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, which is surely more than enough to make a long-sleeve version. (I am debating knitting the sleeves straight down, very little shaping, and letting the cuffs roll. And no hooks-and-eyes, I don't think.) I didn't say anything about it at first because I felt like I was making such slow progress on it, but really it's going pretty fast.

Anyway, today check out Slacker internet radio. You can personalize it, and it sounds a HECK of a lot better than Pandora. Also is easier to use. Have fun!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

FO and two cats

For some reason on Sunday I was struck by an uncontrollable urge to knit a turtle, so knit a turtle is what I did. Meet


Aerial of Sheldon

I couldn't find the plastic safety eyes, so I used this tutorial for making them. It was really really really hard to punch circles out of the felt. (I think I bought the wrong felt or something.) But eventually it worked. I used Tahki Cotton Classic and size 3 and size 4 needles. Otherwise, followed the pattern completely blindly. Had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Sometimes that's a good thing! Very fun, very fast, and what a nice little terrapin Sheldon turned out to be. (That is a leash around his neck, in case he gets unruly.)

Somebody thinks she's hiding:

Somebody thinks she's hiding

And Grady is generally annoyed by the paparazzi trying to take his picture while he trains for his professional snoozing competitions.

Grady reaches new heights of snooziness

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I forgot about the game, which I'll be watching at noon - so I already ran the random number generator. The winner is marylou! I don't know if she has a blog or what, because Blogger sez the profile is set to random. Help us out, gallie! Oh, and email me your address (see sidebar) so I can send you some yarn. I'll send you a picture of the two choices, and you can tell me what you'd like.

Woo hoo! Thanks for playing, my Spanish galleons! :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

So-and-Sos, unite!

Anybody who came out as The Ugly One, just remember how makey-outey she got for her boy-girl birthday party in the Tenthennial Extravaganza!

And there is nothing wrong with So-and-So, except that she makes up her boyfriend Brett Bretterson. Otherwise, she's cute and funny and pretty smart, too!

So Flickr partners with a lot of companies, and one of them is Moo. You can get a set of Moo cards, tiny, printed calling cards that feature your photos. (You can also get Moo notecards and stickerbooks.) You get to pick which photos, and you get to pick the crop. (For those not artistically inclined, the software is very helpful and shows you what the crop will look like, and what's grayed-out won't print. Easy!

Here is one of my Moo cards:
Fee says, "Moo."

I have to say, professionally, as a designer who deals with major printing stuff - these are very well done indeed. Top quality. Very inexpensive. On the back you can leave the Flickr logo or put your profile picture plus four lines of text.

I think I got 20 different photos on mine - they tell you how many of each card you'll get if it divides up weird - and some of them were kinda experimental, but some others, I'm really happy with. I would totally do this again. :) Mean Girl likes!

Next order of business! I joined a sock swap on the Knittyboard last summer, and those Tesselating Lace socks I was so darn secretive about were for my pal,
Pixie. And this week, my socks from Pixie arrived! The pattern is Beatrix, from Gigi over at
Socktopia. And Pixie dyed the yarn! Very pretty. I've never had a pair of socks that patterned only on the backs. Thank you, Pix!

Sock pal socks from Knittyboard sock swap

Sock pal socks from Knittyboard sock swap

(Yes, I do need self-tanner!)

Hope y'all have a happy Saturday! For now, I have to go get ready to look SOOOO GOOD!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I know I promised a post about Moo cards yesterday, but I'm super-busy and it will have to wait till...tomorrow? I guess. Meantime, go watch some Teen Girl Squad - you know you want to be Cheerleader! :o)

Then take this quiz: Which Teen Girl Squad Character Are You? and leave a comment letting me know which one you are by midnight CDT Saturday.

I'll put everybody who comments on THIS post with their TGS quiz result into a random number generator this Sunday at noon and send one lucky winner a skein of handpainted sock yarn. Do it! I know it's so high-school, but who cares??? (PS, I'm So-and-So.)


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FO: Poseidon socks

Finished Poseidon socks

Pattern: Poseidon Socks (look in the sidebar)
Yarn: All Things Heather semi-solid sock yarn in Greens, available at The Sweet Sheep
Needles: 2.5mm Inox Express
Modifications: Well...the heel, toe and cuff. I really enjoyed Elinor's pattern as-is, but I wanted a quick sock fix and that meant doing my own toe-up heel and toe instead of learning hers. I cast on with a Queen Kahuna cast-on, I think 15 stitches on each side, and increased at the corners every other round until I had the right number of stitches. For the heel, when I got to the point where the sock just met the front of my leg, I started increasing every other round on the bottom only till I had 20 more stitches than I started with (60% more), then turned the heel (like you do with a flap heel). No flap, toe up, gusseted heel. I love how this heel fits me, so I use it pretty much exclusively. For the cuff, I was just playing around with ribbing and finally decided to do 1x1 twisted rib. But the pattern is absolutely gorgeous as-is...I just can't help messing around with most sock patterns I knit.

Try them! There are no purl stitches in this sock until the ribbing. The lace pattern is made from yarnovers and decreases only. It's really cool how it wiggles back and forth.

Happy Tuesday. Thank you for all the lovely comments and support about Jemima, and the lovely comments about Fee. She is blushing. Tomorrow: Moo cards!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

A suitcase full of courage

Yesterday I seamed the other sleeve on Jemima, pinned the sides together and tried it on. Sadly, there appears to have been a complete lack of foresight on my part, and I ended up frogging every stitch. Allow me to explain.

My shape is wide shoulders, narrow waist, slightly bigger hips than waist. I am also very long-waisted. I had doubts about Jemima from the beginning - only 12" from armhole to hip was supposed to give me this slouchy weekender look in the pictures? I kept thinking "not" but kept on knitting. (Second mistake.) I knit all the pieces to size, put them together on the raglans, knit the placket, seamed it in, picked up stitches all around for the collar, which is supposed to be wide and slouchy while at the same time being fairly shallow...and it didn't fit. The huge collar called for in the pattern was actually snug on my shoulders.

See, the thing is, I have decent shoulders - according to shape and proportion, I am at least lucky that they are fairly muscular. But I can't even wear a v-neck, because it ends up riding up on me till it's basically a crewneck with an ugly point. If I try to wear anything plunging (not that I have the goods for that), I look ...strange. There are certain shaped necklines I can wear. Crewneck, definitely. Boatneck, yes. Very low v-neck with something underneath, check.

I really thought the neck on Jemima would work for me. But I think in these circumstances - needing an extra-big neck opening - I ought to have knit the next size up. See, you can't really cover it up when the placket won't close around your shoulders. No way to add more fabric, no way it will block out to size. Either the arm and front/back stitches are going to look stretched, or you have to rip it.

I nearly cast on for a Tangled-Yoke cardigan, but I don't honestly think I'll be able to wear a tangled-yoke anything. The inherent design in that sweater - accent on the shoulders, which it must fit - isn't a good look for me. I have said before that the best clothing ought to lie for you and make your stomach flatter, your legs longer, etc. This accent-on-shoulder thing is not a lie I want to tell.

So y'all, I ripped my Jemima and didn't start the Tangled Yoke. And immediately wound yarn and cast on for a Cobblestone sweater. The yarn I am using has history. One of my stepmom's friends has a daughter-in-law whose mother has Alzheimer's and can't knit anymore. I inherited 7 skeins of Rowanspun Aran from her circa 1998 - the labels are old, but I can't tell. Just know it's not the new Rowan labels. It's inky blue and tweedy and soft. I have plenty-enough yarn for a Cobblestone.

The title of the post comes from a Phil-and-Paul-ism, the Tour de France commentators. "He's digging deep into his suitcase full of courage!" is one of their trademark remarks. I think it takes a suitcase full of courage to admit something doesn't fit you. The ripping? Not so much - just hook up the ball winder and go, it makes it a lot less painful.

And thank God I didn't weave in any ends!