No repairman yet
Thursday December 07th 2017, 12:06 am
Filed under: Family,Knit,LYS

Putting it off meant there were now 18 of them. That’s a lot of wool socks. I washed and rinsed them in the sink but there was no spinning them out–there was nothing for it but to squeeze each one long and hard away from the waiting ones. This after pushing myself to finish knitting that cabled hat whether my hands liked it or not (but I did it! No spoiler pictures for now.)

I asked him, Remember that conversation my mom said she had with her mom where Mom said she wished she had a live-in maid like Gram had had before the War, and Gram answered she’d have given her up in a second for a modern washing machine?

Someone young and strong to work that earlier contraption.

I told him, I want to upgrade to a ringer.

He chuckled. Then he asked about the hat: will it be warm enough?

It’s densely knit with overlapping cabled stitches knit on as small needles as as I could manage and it ate through a ton of yarn.

But Alaska. Will it be warm enough for him?

It would be if I lined it, and there’s room, I could, and that was the original intent, but even though I thought I bought extra I don’t have enough yarn left and the store in Anchorage is a bit too far to go back to. I don’t know if they ship. I do know I’m running out of time.

A contrasting color? he offered helpfully.

So what we had here was my husband working himself up to declaring that I must go to, most likely, Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco. (Whose site seems hacked at the moment so I’m not linking it.) They carry Juniper Moon Farms.

So maybe the other Christmas presents and the still-waiting afghan just got pushed further back and that hat isn’t quite so done after all.

Hopefully, having to hand wash and squeeze out every piece of clothing in the house soon will be.



Well that socks
Sunday December 03rd 2017, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

I knit the ribbing for the cuff of my son-in-law’s hat, then doubled every other stitch and hoped that would be enough. Cabling overlaps stitches and draws them in tight and you need a lot more of them to be able to get the thing on your head when you’re done. It sat there for days while I debated whether I needed to rip out and redo those first three rows above the ribbing or not, till I finally decided I had to move forward before I knew enough to decide to go backward. Or not. Try those first cables and see where it got me, but you can’t just sit there.

After all that angst it’s coming out just exactly right and I am very pleased with it. It’s slow going, given that I’m used to knitting lace with its holes and stretch and airspace, whereas this has (at least to some extent) wind-blocking density and a good solid warmth.

As I’ve been working it, the short straight cable needle with its points at each end bemuses me: for years and years, given that I’ve been doing cabled knitting since my teens, I wondered why on earth they sold them in sets of four or five when you only ever needed one.

Right?



Snow worthy
Saturday December 02nd 2017, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

The lightbulb flickered briefly as we were driving I forget where and before I could forget again I told him, “Remind me to block that cowl before Sunday that I knitted on the plane.” Not because he would remember but because I’d be more likely to by asking.

It hit me tonight, oh wait–the cowl! It’s Saturday night!

And so, after rinsing it to relax the lace and spinning it out in the washer, it is hanging close to the heating vents to dry; it’s aran weight yarn (nope–that particular color’s sold out) so unless I take the hairdryer to it, having it ready in the morning is a definite maybe. But I gave it a test run for a day in Alaska (I needed to) and it is definitely warm and cozy.

Mathias-approved, too. Can’t beat that.



Anchorage
Tuesday November 28th 2017, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

We went to the chocolate shop. Twice, actually, for Sam and me, the second time on our way home from the yarn store, where I looked for the softest wool and asked her which color her husband would pick out if he were there.

I took home skeins of something new to me but that I am definitely looking for again: Fourteen (referring to the micron count in the merino), by Juniper Moon Farm.

I did the ribbing that started a hat and then surprised him by saying I had a design question: beanie or cables?

Say what? Double take. I was knitting this for him? We confirmed that cables meant like on his wife’s sweater; “Cables would be nice!”

Alright then!

We played, we giggled, we wore ourselves out.

And we marveled at how gorgeous the landscape is. I remember the unending snow of New Hampshire as being dirty and gray at the roads’ edges as you go by, but everywhere in Anchorage was just enough, not too much yet, of the purest white everywhere, with the towering mountains the most perfect of all. I understood now how one could love this place in winter.

And why a few of the homes here and there are painted in cheerful tropical colors.

They took us to see the edge of the bay and our son-in-law pointed out the textures in what in summer were mud flats; now, though, the tide relentlessly brings in waves of crashing ice under the ice.

There was a stiff wind at the edge there, defining what cold could begin to really mean. We stayed just long enough for Michelle to snap pictures. We were well bundled but my hands were too cold to.



The sweater that taught me to gauge swatch years ago (started it three times)
Wednesday November 22nd 2017, 11:29 am
Filed under: Knit

Bagged me a polar bear, I did…



Home delivery
Wednesday November 22nd 2017, 12:22 am
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life

I had to go look up Whistler’s Mother to figure out why this photo reminded me of it. This one’s colorized, of course, a la Ted Turner after he bought those 1920s movies.

And that is 1420 grams of Malabrigo Rios, stuffed back into that ziplock and about to go poof and escape like an octopus



Silliness
Tuesday November 14th 2017, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

I found a project that should have been done several months ago. I just have to pick up stitches along the edge, and…

…leaning way over thataway and checking…

Buttons on the right, right?

He looks at me funny.

I need to add a button band. Buttons on the right?

And hearts on the left!

Me, envisioning that and doing a head tilt: Say what?

He pats his chest with a grin: Heart’s on the left!

OHHHH. Oh Okay. I was picturing you in an oxford shirt with little red hearts all over on just one side and not even on Valentine’s and it just wasn’t… And I definitely wasn’t going to add them to the sweater. It’s the apostrophe I missed. For once in my life I needed to add an apostrophe, not delete it like all those other superfluous ones running around out there indicating possession when the person meant plural, or substituting for the i in is. Heart is on the left. I. See?

Got it.



Glad to have Mecha
Monday November 13th 2017, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Knit

Finished the afghan yarn at hand but its next hank was scoured this morning and not ready yet despite periodic attempts at hairdrying.

I pulled out the hat I’d almost finished on the airplane home.

In the dim light there, trying to get as close to finishing as possible while the number of stitches left on only one circ (the other one had ended up in the overhead bin this time) kept getting smaller and tighter, it turns out I had goofed.

There was nothing for it. You never regret frogging when you know you need to. I did, finished the new top of the thing, got it right, and bam! It is done.



For dyslexics
Sunday November 12th 2017, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

I actually made some noticeable progress on the afghan and it felt great. (After a four hour nap–not over this bug yet.)

Meantime, in case you know anyone with dyslexia, or just for sheer curiosity’s sake, I recommend this article. It says that the patterns of cones in the eyes (there’s a good graphic of them here* about halfway down) are supposed to be different between the two eyes so that the brain parses out the images via the differences. But the cones are lined up the same in dyslexics, so that mirrored images (think d and b) appear the same.

Fascinating. And they offer something one could do about it, with a simple flashing light. A little hope with your science.

 

*That would be at  https://askabiologist.asu.edu/rods-and-cones  but their website will not let me link directly to it.



Held it in suspense
Friday November 10th 2017, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

This evening, at long last, I picked up the (overdue) wedding afghan project that I did not try to stuff into my suitcase last week and started purling the wrong side row.

While looking forward with each stitch to getting to the end so I could turn it around and remember: what was that pattern again?



I don’t know how to do that yet
Monday October 30th 2017, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Knit

Mathias’s pumpkin hat will fit him next year, too, but for now, doubling over the wool on one’s head in Alaska is not a bad thing.

Meantime, some really cool art: it’s not knitting, it’s not crocheting, it’s not what I think of as tatting, it’s not weaving, it’s not macrame…  I would love to see her hands in action. Bobbin lace?

Her website says pillow lace. I’d never heard the term before. But apparently it helped support American Revolutionary War widows.



How now black cowl
Thursday October 26th 2017, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Spinning

So today was only 88F, compared to yesterday’s 94F, which broke a 134-year record, and where the heck is this October thing anyway? But my mango tree is loving the heat.

Meantime, in belief that cool weather will actually come, the cobweb 93/7 merino/vicuna strands that I recently plied on my wheel got knitted up during the airports and flights of this past weekend. One full bobbin’s worth became this thick, soft, warm cowl.

The fabric’s a bit nubbly looking up close (real close) because the merino and the vicuna shrank at different rates when I scoured the yarn.

The look of it very much reminds me of some black tussah silk I plied years ago from a cone or two I’d bought when the legendary Straw Into Gold in Berkeley closed; it had that same nubbliness to it when it was spun and scoured and done and I was never sure why. Unlike the merino, though, the individual silk strands of course did not felt and melt together into a solid nor did it feel rapturous as it ran across my hands for hours at the wheel. It was not slithery shimmery bombyx and I did not love the stuff. I wanted to, but, no.

Mom to the rescue. My mom could see what it could be, and she knitted that yarn into the main color of a very striking ikat-stripe Kaffe Fassett sweater, adding some bright (and yes, bombyx) silks she’d bought at that same sale during a visit here. She is an art dealer’s wife. She looks it when she wears that. It is very, very pretty.

I had not known that that tussah silk, plain in every sense of the word, could become something so glorious. At all. But it could, in the right hands.

Me, I’m going to spin me up some more of this vicuna blend. Even if I only have it in plain black. I want to share the good stuff again.



The more things change, the more we stay the same
Wednesday October 25th 2017, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

That sweet sound of breaking yarn, the second day in a row: alright. They’re done. (Just run in those ends…)

I used to knit during lunchtime (and sometimes in the classroom) in high school. A lot. You’d never have guessed, right? I’m just a lot better at it now than I was then.

The year 40 was coming up and no one had noticed out loud. So Patty said something and Paul chimed in, but somehow it still kept being an SEP: a Somebody Else’s Problem.

They decided they were the somebodies, then, because you just can’t let a number like that go on by–this had to happen. No DJ, no big bash, no overkill, just a simple meet-and-greet and dinner together at a locally famous restaurant with room for a crowd on the lovely grounds in Old Potomac not far from our school.

I would dearly love to go but the invitation came just when I was recovering from the latest head injury. I just didn’t dare risk traveling alone, and my sweetie, bless him, had no particular desire to spend a whole lot of money and time off work during a project-release deadline to go to someone else’s high school reunion where he didn’t know a soul. All it would take is me tripping, falling, and losing some of my speech again in a busy airport, or or or.

So yeah. Not going.

One of our classmates, whose father was a diplomat when we were all growing up near DC, raised his own family back home. In Venezuela.

Patty posted a picture today that showed that he had had the same thought I had had: that even if he couldn’t go, he could send his heart to us all, and that Patty and Paul definitely needed to be thanked. And so his goddaughter showed up today on her doorstep with a beautiful orchid, and Paul got a check covering the cost of the restaurant meal so that someone else could go, whoever that might be.

Me, well, y’know, I do what I do.

The leftover white cashmere/silk is from Mathias’s blanket and the dark Teal Feather hat in Malabrigo Mecha (a little greener than this shows) worked up thick and soft and warm.

I know Patty’s address and I can work the rest out from here. Tomorrow they go out.



Put your thinking caps on
Sunday October 22nd 2017, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

Re the pumpkin hats: I ended up crocheting the stems on Parker’s and Hudson’s, simply because it was far simpler than knitting in the round on so few stitches; I left them as tubes rather than closing them off.

So I told the boys their hats had a secret compartment. That got me instant big grins: I was definitely speaking a little boy’s language. I told Parker, who’s in first grade, that he could write a note and fold it up really tiny and fit it in there if he wanted. (And I thought as I did so of the tiny pocket with a tiny note knitted into one of the squares in one of the get-well blankets made for me by a whole bunch of wonderful knitters in ’09. It’s still in there, and is taken out and read every now and then, amidst all that wonderful warmth.)

Maybe I could have/should have written my own note? But I didn’t want to make time capsules to be reverently set aside unused, I wanted them to play with their wooly pumpkinizings and their imaginations and maybe even prompt their own desires to learn how to say what they’re thinking in the most succinct way to fit into the smallest space. One that is bigger on the inside.

To become writers. Like the five generations before them.



Oops not that one
Sunday October 15th 2017, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

That Arroyo project?

We had to be at church about fifteen minutes early, so after doing the one small thing that needed doing we settled into our seats and I pulled out my knitting. I personally wouldn’t do it during the meetings themselves, but hey.

I loved how the pointillist colorwork was coming out in the fabric.

A dad and teenage daughter sat down behind us a few minutes later, and right after that, I stopped at the start of a row and looked a little harder at the thing. And yeah I had–I’d been missing two stitches right from the beginning and had been going merrily past that point ten times or so without noticing.

I tried. There was no fixing that and making it look good. It took me a moment to get all hundred stitches off that circular needle but then (with a quick glance at the clock–yes, I definitely had time to do this) I had that thing back to (slightly kinked) plain old yarn in no time.

And then I turned to the good friends behind us and said, That’s one of the things I like about knitting. If you make a mistake that is totally unfixable and unredeemable, you can rip it all the way back and it’s totally gone. And you can start over.

They cracked up. Bonus sermon, right?

And I bet, if you ask that kid ten years from now what she remembers about my knitting, it’ll be the day I let’er rip.