Monday, March 30, 2009

Great Socks, Bad Pictures

Anastasia Socks are done!

And they're great! I think next time I will go top-down, but I'm really glad that I tried them this way this time and I love them.

They're really started a Finishing kick for me too - I finally bought that Dream in Color Classy Deep Seaflower that I've been ogling for weeks and I haven't even swatched it yet - after I finished the Anastasia Socks, I worked on the Dove Neckwarmer. I'm not sure I love it, but I can't take it out again - Manos can't deal with that much working- it's already starting to pill. I sort of agree with Elizabeth though - sometimes you just have to get over the pilling because Manos is so lovely. I'll get a picture of it after Jorah comes home.

That's right - Jorah's away this week - partying it up with the other mathematicians in LA. Expect a high knitting content this week. I'll be knitting like a fiend. Right now I'm washing handknits. Always fun. (That wasn't sarcastic, I enjoy washing handknits.) Off I go, to gently squeeze and lay out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Rereading this morning's post, I just realized that I described the Anastasia Socks (or the yarn used to make them) as cute no less than five times. I apologize to all of my English teachers.

Anastasia Socks

I had a good finishing things kind of weekend. The Black Hole Sweater (Christmas Tree of Life) is finally finished, as are the Rustic Rib socks. Both of those were for Jorah. When he comes home I'll try and do a little photoshoot - I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

In celebration I started the Anastasia Socks that I've been thinking about for ages. I helped someone at the yarn store figure out how to do them months ago and they've been in the back of my mind ever since. I have to say, they're super cute, and going really fast.

I'm doing two at once because I've never done toe-up before, and thus, don't have a standard recipe for them. I wanted to make sure that these would be the same. I'm not sure how I'm going to like the fit - most of the sock mavens I know prefer top down with a heel flap, but I can tell you right now, these are not my last Anastasia Socks. In future, I may make them top down with a heel flap, but they are so cute they're definitely going to be around for awhile.

The pattern is from Pepperknit, a great blog, and they're a really cute girly sock, so obviously I had to make them in a cute, girly yarn. Dream in Color Smooshy, Ruby River. Jorah gave me the yarn for Christmas and it wasn't my favorite wound up in the skein, but as you can see; it's super cute knit up. The color is closer in the first picture.

Yay for handknit socks!

And now off to wash some dishes. And maybe scare up some lunch in a bit.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Take THAT Black Hole Sweater!

I'm going to seam you within an inch of your life.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


It's been a pretty hard week so far. I have had a headache since Sunday, Monday was a terrible day at work, and I fell and hurt myself pretty badly. In a shocking display of lack of grace, I managed to fall on and very painfully hurt the small of my back. It is incredibly painful still, over 36 hours later and there is a dark purple hand sized bruise.

I came home today and parked myself in the big soft chair and read for five or so hours until I finished my book. I didn't listen to music while I read or watch tv or even knit. I just read and read and read. I feel better than I've felt for quite a while. Now that I have finished my book, the headache is back a little, but I'm left with that quietness I've been missing.

This is something I discover over and over again. I am eternally grateful to the people in my life who taught me how to love reading. That is something that can be so frustrating with the kids at school - I don't understand the ones who hate to read; when I was in second grade I could be kept busy for hours with a stack of books. I love that books are such a big part of my life, I love the places they take me, the emotions they evoke.

Jorah and I congratulate ourselves occasionally on being books and movies people. Our idea of a great Saturday night is to wander around the big bookstore on the west side for a few hours picking out a big stack of books or movies, and then putting most of them back, but getting some. I remember a day at Oberlin where I took a blanket out under a tree and just read for most of a Saturday - one of my best days there. I remember days reading in the swing on the back porch at my parents' house, or climbing out my bedroom window and reading on the roof.

Today I read the second half of Assassin's Quest, the third book in the Farseer Triology, which is the first triology in a triology of triologies about the awakening of magic and the saving of the world in a fantasy land. The Farseer is about a young royal bastard, Fitz, and his friends trying to save their kingdom, the Six Duchies. The next is about the traders from Bingtown who live far to the south of the Six Duchies, and the third triology returns to Fitz and his friends in crisis again. They are written by genius Robin Hobb.

The Fitz books have a special place in my heart because the characters all seem so real to me. I'm a pretty introverted and often lonely person and characters like Fitz and Verity and Burrich and Molly and Chade and Patience and Kettriken and Nighteyes mean more to me than many people I used to know. That makes me somewhat uncomfortable now that I examine it. Do I love them because they cannot hurt me? Because Fitz loves so fiercely and Verity is so true and Kettriken is all honor and strength? They are certainly flawed in the books - that is one thing that makes them mean so much. Maybe it is because they are flawed, but test themselves and rise to the challenge after all. Fitz is certainly the most flawed, but you see his mind the most, how much he has suffered, and cannot help but empathize with him.

Yes, I suppose all of my Farseer friends are somewhat idealized. But I like them the better for it and being with them soothes me in a way that being with real people doesn't. As Giles says,

The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and... everybody lives happily ever after.

That isn't really how it goes in Fitz, for one thing, lots of people die. But I am comforted all the same.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Two Thousand and MINE

I love my new sweater.

This is the first sweater I've ever knit for myself - I've been knitting for 14 years. I've made sweaters before - my parents, my grandparents, my husband, various babies, but never for myself. I am hooked. I didn't realize it would be like this - I didn't know that it would fit perfectly, and be so soft, and just my color, with sleeves just the right length.

The Bleeding Heart Raglan is a top-down raglan that I made up pretty much as I went along. It's named after the lace panels (Bleeding Heart Lace). I love Bleeding Hearts in real life and everything just clicked together for this project. It took 19 skeins of Classic Elite Waterlily in the Bramble colorway. I initially did a different neckline, but it looked really sloppy, so I pulled out the neck and then knitted the colar ribbing up.

There are a few things I would do differently were I to make it again (not a crazy suggestion, have I mentioned that I LOVE this sweater?). I would futz with the CO number a little bit, to make the upper ribbing easier to place, and I would change the shaping a little bit too. Right now the back and front are identical - I would make the back narrower. I might make the whole sweater a smidge smaller, actually - the Waterlily grew a little bit when I blocked it. I still think it looks great though.

Now all I can think about is knitting more sweaters for myself, and more and more! A wonderful friend gave me a skein of Manos Wool Classica in the Dove colorway (my middle name is Dove, my husband calls me Dovie, which is my favorite name) and I'm knitting it into a little neckwarmer. Really I want to knit it into a sweater with a colorwork yoke all out of Manos - it's just so beautiful - gray and pale peach and sage all at once. Or I want to make a February Lady out of Happy Forest Dream in Color Classy. Or a hoodie out of Night Watch Dream in Color Classy.

Because I do not have the money to do any of these things, I've started my new Heartwarmer. The Wisconsin Heartwamer. So far I'm still in the boring (but awesome) purple section. I made this shawl once before, for my sister. (By the way, the one I made for my sister is on the Ravelry page for the pattern - pictures 4 & 5.) I really think that it's one of the most beautiful things that I've ever made:

And so I decided that it's time for me to start my very own. After I finished hers I went ahead and bought the yarn to make one for myself, so I've had it stashed for over a year. The cool thing though, is that because I could write a book called Let's Not Waste any Yarn, Shall We? I'm using the leftovers from hers and combining them with the yarn I bought four months later for mine. Mountain Colors dye lots are so different that her purple was really purpley/red, and the one I bought for mine is realy more purpley/blue/brown, so they are combining in a really pretty and subtle way. (I'm doing two rows each and then switching to the other ball.)

Sock progress remains slow. When I work on them they zip, but I'm so distracted by the Wisconsin Heartwarmer that I'm not working on them much. Jorah's Christmas Tree of Life sweater made a huge leap forward (I finished the front and started the sleeves.) But then I stopped. I'll go back to it though - Heartwarmer is on tiny needles, my hands like a gauge change every so often.

This all adds up to Two Thousand and Mine - as the Selfish Knitters on Ravelry have christened 2009. I've never knit much for myself before, but now I'm all about it.