Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fearless and broken

This is incredibly difficult to photograph. It is also incredibly difficult to accept. My Fearless Stripes socks, which I didn't wear for months so that I could enter them into the state fair, are falling apart. The yarn is BREAKING. It has broken in at least four places on one sock. My ability to mend and darn is doubtfully up to this challenge. As far as I can tell, these socks will no longer be worn. I have worn them twice, and washed them twice. To wash them, I put them in a delicate machine cycle, with no detergent. I am heartbroken. TWICE! I wore them twice, and the yarn is just breaking apart.

I have a great deal of leftovers, plus a skein of peach that was slated for knee-highs. But I will not bother to make knee highs if the yarn can't last for more than two wearings.

Knitting on the road


I have returned from Seattle! It has been a bit of an interesting trip. Many of my classmates are graduating, and the rest of us see the end in sight. Hence we were all aware that it was coming towards the end. For me, I realized while I was there that it was the second-to-last residency.

There was some yarn shopping, although only one ball of yarn. Picture to come...

And there was much knitting. Even knitting in class, which sparked a discussion of knitting and patterns as a form of tangible information. I have an exciting paper in the works.

Being that I was On The Road, it was natural to work on my Knitting on the Road socks, the much traveled Lost Lornas of Madrid. They're approaching the toes!
Posted by Picasa

New snow bunnies!

Late last night, when we were all in bed,
we put on a DVD and I wove in the ends,
and when the snow bunnies were finished,
I winked my eye and said,
There'll be some HOT TOES in the OLD TOWN tonight.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekend knitting results

I am officially back in school this week. I am already behind. One class has been open and available for some time now, and several students are off and running. This means that by the time class officially starts on Wednesday, there are several posts already made, making those of us that enjoyed our summer until the bitter end totally behind. This leaves me overwhelmed and hampers my ability to ever get caught up. My other class has reading assignements. I have ten scholarly articles and chapters to read before our first class on Thursday. In the face of all this school, I should have began this weekend, but instead, I made a concentrated effort to finish the Snow Bunny socks. When I woke up Saturday morning, they were one inch above the heels. This picture shows an entire Saturday of effort (between all the running about that accompanies Saturday for my 2 highly social kids) and Sunday morning's wee hours knitting.I ceased the mad snow-bunny-knitting when, at about 10:30am, I finally admitted I was going to see an old friend at 3pm, and that I needed to have a house warming gift. Not knowing what colours her new kitchen is, I dug out the brightest, least-likely-to-coordinate cotton yarn, and spent the rest of my Sunday cranking out dishcloths.
At about 2:30, she called to report a basement flood and some serious rooting (don't say anything, Julian), so the visit was postponed. This allowed me time to weave in ends with less stress, and even some time to stop for tea and cookies. My daughter took an ordinary box and transformed it into a cute gift basket, and when they called after dinner to report that their basement was once again safe for all sorts of flushing action, we all hurried over to ooooh, ahhhh at the new house and deliver the gifties.

Ugh. Today I need to study. Who knows when the snow bunny socks will be finished.

Okay, I blocked em

Call me obstinate, accuse me of refusing to learn, tell me I'd already made up my mind in advance and am refusing to accept the evidence...

I blocked em, alright? They look just like they did. The stitches are still as defined as they were. The stripes still have a corduroy-like texture. I don't know exactly what blocking is to have done, but I can't find any new and delightsome features.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

She said, BLOCK THEM

I recently read how the Yarn Harlot ignored the instructions that said to "wet block the cuff." In response, the Knitting Goddess tossed her and the entire contents of her canoe into the river. I read this account with great interest and sympathy. After all, would I have wet blocked the cuff? Doubtfully.

But I'm really not that bright. I should have thought more carefully after reading that. But no, I didn't. I laughed heartily and sympathetically, and went about my business.

Last night, I picked up my treasures from the State Fair. As an aside, I've had nightmares since dropping them off that I would A) space off the pick up dates or B) misplace those receipts that allow me to pick them back up. So on the first of two pick up dates, I was THERE. Finally, Roxxy came home, the bunny came home, I can give away the baby hat and socks, and most of all, finally I can wear my Fearless Striped Sox. When I had these items in my hot little hands, I turned over the entry tags and read the comments on the back. On the bunny, (3rd place ribbon) the judge had suggested I work on making my edging stitches neater. Good point. Had I, when I was making Bunny, thought I'd be entering her in the State Fair, I'd likely have been more careful. As it was, I was stealing moments between all the other things that had to be done, and just finished her as quickly as possible. On the baby set, (2nd place ribbon) the judge wrote "nice work", which I accept graciously and gratefully. On Roxxy, the judge wrote "very interesting", which made me howl with laughter. "Interesting" is often used to mean "I totally don't get it but I can see you put a lot of effort into it." I want to say it often applies to some one of an older generation commenting on the artistic efforts of some one of a younger generation, such as our 60-something former Library Director trying to find something to say about our 21 year old art student's installation, however, with me pushing 40, I'm flattering myself to think I'm a member of a younger anything. Still, I'm convinced the judge belongs to an older generation. It could be the style of cursive employed. Maybe I'm engaging in stereotypes here... but I've digressed. On my fabulous fearless stripes, which earned an honourable mention, the judge wrote "Not blocked properly." That was it, my metaphysical toss in the river. The State Fair instructions say clearly to block all items. And you know what? I have never ever seen blocking do anything for socks. The socks were shaped just how I wanted them to be shaped, laying flat and nice and I thought they looked perfect. Apparently the judge could tell that I'd skipped this all important step.

I arrived home full of curiosity, properly put in my place, with the determination to block one sock and see how the results compare to the original. Probably the yarn would bloom and grow, like edelweiss. But that was last night. You know what? Screw that. I'm wearing these socks. I've waited MONTHS to wear them. I've got this brand new green lime shirt to enjoy, and it just BEGS to be worn with my Fearless Stripes.

PS Don't tell that judge, but I didn't block the baby hat and sox, either. The ones that got second place.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

a new heirloom!

Our recent trip to the family home was in honour of 50 years of marriage. Congratulations, Mom and Dad!!

While there, among many other things, I asked if my mom was hiding any heirloom darning eggs in her sewing basket. No, she wasn't, but it caught my father's interest, and after a little web browsing, look what he made! Thanks Dad!

Snow Bunny Socks

Knitting in the car, knitting on breaks at Saturday work, and a little knitting in the wee hours of the morning, and we're on our way towards a new pair of socks.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lucky Lurker September

A lovely day at home from work. 2 books to read, Stargirl and Love, Stargirl, and then a package of yarn! Socks to cast on!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

oh dear, what can the matter be?

Oh dear, what can the matter be?
Roxxy's so late at the fair

At the state fair, we walked into the Home Arts building, and the first thing that greeted us was a lonely goth dolly. If she could, she would walk to the mike and say,

I'm at the State Fair
My soul laid bare
I cannot care...

Roxxy earned a 3rd place ribbon at the fair. First and second place in her category, doll made completely of yarn, were both much larger, acrylic, and crocheted. And very cute. When she went to the State Fair, Roxxy knew she was entering the land of Cute and Country Kitchen, but she wanted to take them on, anyway. I'm very proud of her!

After some searching, next we found Bunny, mounted on cardboard and sewn to the backing with a little navy thread:

Bunny, too, earned a 3rd place ribbon in the category of toy made of fabric. Because she's so tiny, I mounted her before submitting her, according to the rules.

Next we found the Fearless Stripes. I went into the fair thinking these were my strongest entry.

I have to admit that winning the blue ribbon in socks last year, my first year entering, rather spoiled me. It was difficult to be happy with Honorable Mention, but really, that's quite honorable! Best of all, I can pick up these socks in a week and then I can finally wear them! I've been keeping them unworn for months just so I could enter them.

As the little girls continued to wander through the building, my daughter's friend said, "Look at those cute little socks!" and my daughter said, "My mom made those!!!"

My highest ribbon was a 2nd place in the Baby Ensemble category. Wheee! I'd better give them to baby before she grows out of them. :)

I certainly can't complain, having earned a ribbon for every entry for the 2nd year in a row. Last year I earned a blue in socks, a red in misc knitting, and a red in girl's dresses.]

The last thing we saw at the fair left my ears ringing. Yes, I took my kids plus an extra to see....

Yes, we saw Weird Al Yankovic.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

the Attack

It's obvious from previous reviews that I read a lot of youth and young adult fiction. I enjoy it a great deal, but I also recognize that to an adult, it's a bit like eating candy for every meal. YA fiction is quick and easy to read. This doesn't mean it isn't thought provoking. Many books for youth address difficult or compelling subjects, but they still usually mean a quicker and simpler read for me. Sometimes I make myself read an adult book like we adults make ourselves eat vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I do like many vegetables, but there are times when I eat vegetables just because I know I should. Similarly, I enjoy adult books, I just sometimes am too wrapped up in my YA books to think about them.

I catalogued The Attack more than a year ago. I browse the jackets of most books that cross my desk, and this one's compelling summary haunted me until I finally sought out and read the book. Dr. Amin Jaafari, a Beduin Arab who has become a naturalized Israeli in Tel Aviv, is a respected doctor living in an affluent neighbourhood with his beautiful wife. One night, a terrorist's bomb tears apart a nearby cafe, and he labours intensely to save and repair the brutalized bodies. When he has worked beyond the point of exhaustion, he receives the news that rocks his world just as potently as the bomb rocked the cafe: his wife is among the dead, and the injuries she sustained suggest that she herself was the suicide bomber.

The Attack takes the reader vividly inside the Isreal-Palestine conflict, introducing the reader to the society on both sides of the violent disagreement. Readers participate vividly in the doctor's trauma, horror, and grief. The book poignantly questions how some can live a life of privilege and happiness while others must experience humiliation, horror, and violence.

(crossposted to itbit)

Monday, September 03, 2007

A view without knitting


I was strapped into a harness, high on a mountain side, about to go whizzing down the mountain on a zip line, when the attendant said, "You're going to drop some 1100 feet in the next few seconds. Put your fingers in your ears so your ears won't bleed."

Posted by Picasa

Knitting with a view


It never happens that when I'm at home and I wake up early, I think, "I shall go sit outside and knit!" It seems to happen when I'm in strange and exotic locations, and thus this morning found me sitting on our porch with a narrow view of a highly developed mountainside, enjoying the stillness while working on my sock. While I sat, I pondered this tendency, and noticed that the last time this happened, I also had a handy porch with a place to sit. At home I have a very small porch, now I'm wondering... if I place a chair on it, will I drift outside in the wee hours at home, also?
Posted by Picasa

Knitting on the Road

Since May, my lone Conwy from Knitting on the Road, has been languishing. The suspicious disappearance of its mate in security in Madrid has been a surprisingly difficult emotional blow. I have given a great deal of thought to the lonesome sock #2. I seriously considered just ripping it out: after all, I'm not all that happy about the rampant pooling of the pretty colours. I also could not locate the tag, which I assume was thrown out by the grandparents while we were out of the country, and so I didn't have a hope in matching the colours to another skein. However, I went ahead and ordered a replacement earlier this summer, balled it up, and stuck it in my bag. Where it stayed.

Yesterday morning I pulled out the half-made sock, the new ball, and the book, and had a long moment with them all. I decided that the lone sock reminds me so strongly of meandering through olive groves on a tour bus north through Adalusia, that I absolutely have to keep it. I love the feel of the yarn so much that I will go ahead, make a mate, and complete the socks. I have had to stop fussing about the fact that the socks don't match. They cannot match. They will never match. I must just love them for what they are.

I made a great deal of progress on sock #3 this weekend, attaching new memories to the pair of socks, for we were high up the mountains in a condo with some friends.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 01, 2007

No knitting on the road


Well, another summer trip, this one a quick last-minute voyage. We arrived back in the knick of time, 13 hours before school started. Although I brought along Knitting on the Road, I didn't even touch it. My handy chauffeur stayed home, and I did all the driving, which really puts a crimp in your knitting. I did finish up the dishcloth that is pictured half-done here. It was the twin of the completed dishcloth as shown. Kids and I stayed with 2 different households, and the thank-you gifts were hand-made dishcloths and farmer's market soap. One of our hostesses knits her own, but she noted that she was running low, and that all the ones she knits she gives away, so I had spared her having to knit herself more.
Posted by Picasa