Thursday, September 30, 2010

Airplane Knitting

I'm home for the beginning of the holidays - in my family the holidays start the first weekend in October - for the first time in 9 years. I flew of course, home is in Northern Virginia, and that meant plane knitting.

I dithered for a while when I was packing - I knit socks on circular needles and I'm very picky - Addi Turbos, size 1 US, with at least a 40" cord - and I treasure my needles. I also like to knit my socks 2 at a time. I suffer terribly with Second Sock Syndrome (one of my many knitting ailments, see also Yarn Cutting Panic Attacks). I don't take Addis in carryon luggage because I know myself, and I would be distraught if they were confiscated in a security checkpoint. I know we're supposed to be able to take knitting needles on planes nowadays, but I still have nightmares from hearing about someone traveling in Australia whose entire collection of Addis was cut in half at security because of their usefulness as garrotes.

I finally decided I would take some beautiful Brittany 4" dpns (which I was completely addicted to before I discovered Magic Loop) and some Socks that Rock and see how far I could get on a plain old sock.

In the airport in Austin:

Before I got on the plane in Charlotte:

Arrived at Dulles:

They just have a picot hem at the top and are plain old socks. I know they look ridiculous without the gusset in there. I keep telling myself that all socks do.

I'm tempted to pull them out and start again though. I feel like I want a different stitch count to break up the stripes (although I like the stripes) and I'm thinking about making them into Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern by Nancy Bush. I've made those before - here's the photo -

and I am tempted to try them in a variegated now. It would mean undoing all of my progress made on the airplanes, but that would have been lost time anyway.

What do you vote blog world? Simple socks or shell socks?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let This Be A Lesson To Me

At the beginning of last week I saw a frantic Call for Submission for a design for a pair of socks - the publisher had a due date and her previous designer was unable to fulfill her contract. I spent much of the week frantically swatching and knitting samples to try and figure out what I wanted to submit.

I'm new to this, so it took a little time to get a plan I was happy with, something complicated enough that it wasn't self-evident, but not something that felt complicated for the sake of being complicated. I finally have a solid plan with photographs, and I discover that people are already hearing back. It's too late.

So I'm going to take away these points:

  1. I need to be faster.
  2. Things should be close to perfect, but they probably don't have to be completely perfect for the initial submission.
  3. I need to find the happy medium between extensive swatching and . . . not.

Also, I just realized that I never posted the finished pictures of the socks I was working on two weeks ago.

These are the Gentlemen's Fancy Socks by Nancy Bush from the amazing Knitting Vintage Socks. This is one of the best patterns in the world, and it's a great book. The yarn is that 400 yards of Jitterbug I was raving about the other day.

One of my friends knits socks like a whirling dervish and I've never understood how she's been able to have socks that she's never worn, but I think I'm finally reaching that critical mass. I still haven't worn these socks, or even the two pairs I finished right before. Of course, I live in Texas now where it's super hot and on the rare occasion I do leave the house I wear flip flops. So maybe that's the difference.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Last spring, before we left Madison Jorah and I went on a little day trip to southwestern Wisconsin. We hit up some yarn stores and various other places of interest, but surprisingly my favorite stop that day was Country Sampler, a beautiful quilting shop in Spring Green. They had bolts and bolts of fabric and tons of kits and finished samples. I was very much in danger of purchasing a kit for a beautiful pink French Provincial quilt.

I've never actually finished a quilt, but when we were in high school my sister worked in a quilting shop and eventually I saw some of her projects over my mountain of knitting and started a quilt of my own. Over the years I have enjoyed going to quilting shows and looking through the books at JoAnn and other crafty places. I have also killed many, many of what would otherwise been productive hours scanning quilting blogs.

One thing that struck me during our visit to Country Sampler was the number of quilting books about Such-and-Such types of quilts from Texas, and Lone Star quilts, and 30 Quilts with Texas Stars, etc. I remember thinking that I might be in trouble.

Yesterday I went to Gauge Knits to take advantage of a delightful sale. I bought some more Jitterbug, because I can't resist it, and some needles and some yarn for swatching a design. This is the Jitterbug - so beautiful!

My mother-in-law loves green and I've never made her socks before. That is going to have to be corrected.

Isn't this Halloweeny and gorgeous? I want to have pumpkin feet.

This is just cool.

As I was checking out I saw a flyer about the Austin Area Quilt Guild having their annual show. It was closing up in four hours so I thought I'd run down and take a look. It turned out to be more dangerous than I had suspected. I walked out with this:

I don't know when I think I'm going to have time to make a little Christmasy quilt, but I couldn't just leave it there, it was so cute! The ladies at the stand were really nice too, and I'll have to visit their brick and mortar store.

I can't start another craft with another stash. I can't start another craft with another stash. I can't start another craft with another stash. I can't start another craft with another stash. I can't start another craft with another stash.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hey, Cupcake!

Jorah went to the Pet Store after work to buy dog food for our voracious hounds and came home with a little white box.

And inside the little white box are 4 beautiful cupcakes!!!

Oh Cupcakes, you are a fad of which I shall not soon tire.


1. I finished the small size of my Skoosh Socks pattern.

I hope that the recipient likes them. They are for the woman who recruited me to go work in the Adirondacks this summer. She came out for a week to train me and help me get set up (on her own dime) and then when she came out later for her two weeks of vacation she brought me my very own handmade inkle loom and spent much of her time helping me out. She's a really great woman. I'm going to find a way to turn these socks in for the House Cup, but I don't know where they are going yet.

As far as the pattern goes I'm glad that I took the time to knit the socks in a different size before I released the final PDF because a couple of things did end up scaling differently.

2. On a recent trek to Gauge I discovered that Colinette Jitterbug is coming in 400 yard skeins now. I can't find these lovely big skeins anywhere else online - they aren't even listed in Ravelry's database - but they are EXCELLENT. I've never bought Jitterbug before because the yardage was so short, but both skeins I took home are already on their way to becoming something.

Fire - a delightful pinky red - is becoming some another pair of Gentlemen's Fancy Socks by Nancy Bush. This will be my third pair. Red is so hard to photograph. They are fantastic in person and not at all this weird upsetting neon pink you see here.

I also bought some Pharaoh, which is gorgeous, but I'm not ready to show it to anyone yet.


3. In the evenings, when we're watching PTI, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report (the nightly lineup) I am working on a project for the House Cup that makes me laugh like a crazy person.

One of the other Ravenclaws drew our attention to this blog post from Hyperbole and a Half. Being Ravenclaws, we all thought that it was hilarious. And so, The Alot Along was born. The assignment for Charms is to plan a break in at Gringotts, and many of the Ravenclaws (and a couple of students from other houses) are planning a massive heist with the Alots. People are crafting things such as Alot of Ambition, Alot of Gold, Alot of Stealth. And I am crafting Alot of Luck.

Because I abhor fun furs as a general rule I decided to make a smooth bodied Alot all covered in Shamrocks. But them I began to think, "What am I going to do with a smooth bodied Alot all covered in Shamrocks?" So I'm making mittens, to which I shall attach Alot horns and eyeballs.

They aren't perfect - they're not gift or design quality, but they are fun and I'll get some mittens out of it. The yarn is Dale of Norway Baby Ull from a very old colorwork project long since frogged. I just have bits and scraps of much of it, so I'm holding two strands together and working them at the same time. It's basically coming out worsted weight.

4. I'm working on a brand new website as part of my plan to become a Real Designer. It's one of the main reasons I was able to justify buying a Mac, and it is pretty fun. I especially love how you can drag in photos and resize them and move them around. That's my idea of a good time! (See dork alert above.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Am Offended

Okay, so I know that The Colbert Report is a joke show, but this lady is not joking and this is beyond the pale. Stephan Colbert's guest tonight is a woman who has written a book about How to be a Preppy. She describes her book thusly:
"A Preppy is somebody who has tremendous ease, tremendous confidence, a little goofy, a little sporty and uses received wisdom, because having new ideas of your own is not Prep . . . It's really somebody who has a classic outlook on life, as well as a classic wardrobe . . . There are also people who are aspiring to prepdom and for them this is a moment where they can actually say I want a self improvement program that allows me to wear khakis, allows me to drink bloodies and allows me to casually toss my sweater over my shoulder . . . (Prepdom) is about fitting in. What are we going to do in a world with Polar Fleece and the internet?"

I am almost speechless here. I don't understand how this can not be a joke. She is completely serious though, down to her Ann Taylor shift dress. All I can think of is this:

In case you can't read it, the poster says, "Conformity: It's the one who is different that gets left out in the cold." Poster originally seen on How I Met Your Mother and yanked from Be Awesome Instead.

To sum up: What you wear is just as important as the fact that you are unable to think for yourself. Excellent, lady. Well done.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Skoosh Socks

I just put the finishing touches on my new FREE pattern:

Skoosh Socks are top down socks with patterning around the cuff and down either side of the legs and foot. They come in three sizes, and are a fun, quick knit. You can download the pattern through Ravelry here. As always, feel free to PM me on Ravelry at anytime if you have questions, or email me at doviejay (at) me (dot) com.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last Year's Resolutions

I am late posting this wrap up - when I went back through the old entries I discovered that I set these resolutions at the beginning of August, not the end. So after 13 months, this is what I've got.

  • Tell people when they piss me off rather than get all angsty and hurt.
  • Ice skate at Tenney Park
  • Go to the Farmer's Market whenever possible
  • Make steps to get the sleep thing sorted out
  • Join/start a knitting group
  • Try to get into Camp
  • Get some healthy strategies for letting work go
  • Go through the stash and list unloved yarns for trade on Ravelry
  • Go through the house and take things to Goodwill every 3 months
  • Put all the music on the computer onto SB's old iPod
  • Read new books, not just the same old favorites
  • Go to Thursday music at the Terrace
  • Celebrate Jorah's graduation in style
  • Visit The Fold
  • Go to a Badger Football Game
  • Don't let being nice mean I'm not tough with people who deserve it
  • Call people I want to hang out with and ask to see them

Not Accomplished:
  • Submit patterns for publication
  • Finish the Madison Heartwarmer using the weaving technique
  • Get a Tattoo
  • Get back in the habit of going to the gym
  • Put at least 1 pattern a month up on Ravelry
  • Update the blog frequently (at least 10 times a month) and use photos
  • No knitting patterns by other people until after dinner
  • Walk the Lakeshore path out to Picnic Point
  • Go out on Lake Mendota on some form of a boat

The accomplishment I have enjoyed the most would definitely be the reading goals. It has been great getting into all these new books and it's definitely something I'll keep up for this year.

Obviously the design related goals will be taking a front seat in the next year. I'm working on a new list to help keep me on track during what is going to be a very busy fall.

Still need to get that tattoo though.

Monday, September 6, 2010

More Socks Than You Can Shake a Pointy Stick At

These are today's socks!

First up are the March Shipment of the Rockin Sock Club - Slip Jig Socks in My Wild Irishgirlie.

I pronounce this a delightful and enjoyable pattern to knit. I would also like to say that I love this colorway. In fact, I love it so much that I see it again in my future. I think it would be amazing for girlie babies, and as it happens, I know several.

Let me also direct your attention to the cunning little circles on the cuff. They make me think of dancing, and the whole time we did this little photoshoot I was ballerina-girl. Something you may not know about me is that once upon a time, I was quite the dancer.

Next we have a pair of prototype socks.

This yarn is Three Irish Girls Beckon Stretch Merino in the colorway Father Time. I also have some baby booties in this colorway around here somewhere, if I could just hunt them up.

And here are the socks that came from the Prototype Socks pictured and characterized above. I name them Skoosh Socks. Here they are in Socks That Rock Spy Say Guacamolay - again may I just say, this colorway rocked my socks. It rocked them hard.

I'm putting the final touches on the pattern, and working through the smallest size - a gift for a friend. I've got to tell you, they are taking forever. It's probably because they are smaller than my usual sock and I expect them to go faster.

These are Happy Hands Toe Jamz, colorway Spirit In The Sky. I love these colors too - and this song is one of the great songs of all times. That's something cool about Happy Hands sock yarns; they're named after songs. I have some Brown Eyed Girl in my kit that's going to be some beautiful socks one of these days.

I'm working on some other behind-the-scenes stuff here, but I am going to try to get the Skoosh Socks up and running later this week. Very exciting!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Arbitrary Thursday

I have a bunch of little things to post about so here they are, in no particular order:

1. I have three pairs of socks to photograph and blog, but I need a photographer's assistant, and he is at work. I also have a pair of yoga socks to photograph and blog, but I can't find them.

2. It is allergy season and I am sniffly, cranky, and tired.

3. I love my new studio! I need to get a few more things in place and then I will take pictures to show you.

4. I have spent most of my time in Texas designing a new free pattern for some socks. After I get the photos of it (and finish knitting one more test pair to make sure that everything is up to code) I shall put it up on Ravelry.

5. My dog Lucky has a felted flower toy which I must throw for him every 3 minutes. A day in which he does not find the flower 6 or 8 hundred times is a day wasted.

6. I really wish I had practiced drawing more after I got out of school. Just now realizing that would have been a good skill to have.

7. I could have started gathering information for this whole Becoming a Knitting Designer thing a long time ago. Why do I not yet own copies of Knitting From the Top, Sweater Design in Plain English, and The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design? I especially want the Knitgrrl one.

8. I think I'm going to really love this job.

9. It was late last night and dinner never really happened so we went to the Austin Culver's. It was just like being at home. Oh, Wisconsin, how I miss you.

10. Going to a yarn store later today with a new friend from the HPKCHC. Always a good thing mixing knitting, yarn stores, and Harry Potter.

11. Big plans this weekend!

a. UW @ UNLV - we're going to go to watch the game at a bar with all of the other UW alums here in Austin. (Not to mention that football is starting, my favorite time of year!)
b. Going to see an interview with and then a one man show by Kevin McDonald - our favorite Kid in the Hall! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Kids in the Hall is one of the best things on the planet!

12. And Monday is Labor Day! Even though I don't really get days off any more that is still exciting!