Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Foiled again

Progress on the Urban Aran has once again come to a screeching halt. This time it's the zipper that's thrown a wrench into the works. I can't find an appropriate zipper locally. That's right, I live in a metropolitan area of over 5 million people, and I can't find the right zipper.

No problem, I'll just order one. That means, however, that I won't be able to take my new sweater with me to New Zealand. We leave next Monday, and even if the new zipper arrived in record time, I still wouldn't have time to install it before we jet off. Sigh. It's already warmed up so much in Texas that I likely won't be wearing this sweater until next winter.

What I'm trying to say in too many words is that there will be no photos of the finished Urban Aran until the end of March. Gah!

All the last minute trip planning has slowed work on my current socks too.

I fear that toeless socks will never be as popular as fingerless gloves, so I suppose it's time to close up this baby.

For those who are wondering, the yarn is Knit Picks Essential in Grass, the same yarn I just gave away. These socks should be finished in time for me to wear them on St. Patrick's Day. In New Zealand!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Spartacus revealed!

And the winner is...kelp! Kelp, I couldn't find an email address for you, so please email me with your mailing address. My previous contest experience unfortunately requires me to state that if the winner does not contact me within one week, I will randomly select a new winner.

I wish I had enough sock yarn for the multitudes of Spartaci, but alas, I don't. (Well, that may not be entirely true, but I refuse to go count the sock yarn stash.) Thanks to all for the enthusiastic responses! There will be more contests in the future.

In other news, once I stopped sniveling over my too-long Urban Aran sleeves, it only took about an hour to reknit both sleeve caps. I'll be seaming this weekend!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

In which I discuss my shortcomings as a knitter

The good news: The collar on the Urban Aran is coming along quite nicely. Picking up stitches is never as much of an ordeal as I expect it to be.

The bad news: The sleeves are too long. Too. Freaking. Long. They grew more during washing than I expected them to, and well, I may have made them a bit longer than directed in the first place. Although I am somewhat short in stature, I have freakishly long monkey arms. Sleeves are usually too short on me, so I knitted an extra inch into the Urban Aran sleeves without a second thought. Thus, the knitting gods smote me down for being presumptuous.

Yesterday I was too sick at heart to start ripping out my sleeve caps, so I started on a new sock.

The pattern is Charlene Schurch's Ripple Weave Socks from the Fall 2006 Vogue Knitting. With all the twisted stitches, this pattern strongly reminds me of Pomatomus, and I suppose that's why I selected it. There is a rather glaring error in Row 3 of the pattern chart. Yeah, it was really glaring after I knitted through Row 4, then realized there was something strange going on. The error truly is obvious just by looking at the chart, but clearly I am not observant enough. VK is not observant either, as there is still no correction for the chart on their errata page. I found out later that the error is, however, well documented in the blogosphere.

On a happy note, the responses to the "I am Spartacus" contest have given me a chronic case of the giggles! I may never be able to watch that film again without imagining all the rebel slaves wearing colorful socks with their sandals.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I promised y'all a contest, didn't I?

Being included in this month's edition of Yarnival seems like as good a reason as any to have a contest. However, it's with a bit of trepidation that I embark on this giveaway. You see, the winner of my first contest never came forward to claim the prize, despite several attempts at contact on my part. It made me sad, really. In the interest of putting all of that behind me, though, I'm willing to give it another go.

Anyway, when I made my public plea for the person who submitted my post to Yarnival to come forward, I had some idea of sending that person a bit of yarn as a way to say thank you. Well, that person remains anonymous, and yet, I still want to give yarn away. Sock yarn. This yarn, specifically.

Yarn makes me happy.

There are two 50 gram balls of Knit Picks Essential in Grass, a lovely spring-like green. Next is a 100 gram ball of Regia Strato in the Circus colorway (#5738). Last is a 4 ounce skein of Lisa Souza Sock! in the Mars Quake colorway (this one is particularly hard for me to give up). Plus, the prize package may include a few extra goodies.

How to Enter

It's simple. Just leave a comment on this post stating, "I'm Spartacus!" Also acceptable is, "No, I'm Spartacus!" or any variant thereof. Anyone worldwide is welcome to enter, but only one entry per person, please. The contest will remain open until noon (Central Standard Time) this Friday, February 23rd. On Friday afternoon, I'll pick a winner at random.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Yarn impressions

Ready for Spring

Smoky Mountain Fibers superwash sock yarn
Rosewood (left) and BlueBerry Bushes (right)

Singin' the Blues

Oldfield Creek 80% wool 20% nylon sock yarn
(colorways are not named)

My Darling Tweed

Classic Elite Skye Tweed in Upland Green (#1272)


A couple of people asked about the item under my blocking board on my Feb. 13th post. It's a cabled afghan, and yes, I did make it. The afghan is my own design, and it's crocheted, not knitted. I've always loved cables!

There is not much knitting happening around here right now. I'm preparing for a small dinner party tomorrow night, so all my time is taken up with scrubbing the house and making preparations for my sumptuous feast (ha!). Knitting on the Urban Aran will recommence on Sunday. I'm still hoping to have it finished some time next week. Those plans might be foiled if I can't find the right zipper locally.

Oh, and I've got an idea for a contest, so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Surprises can be good

Oh my gosh, one of my posts is featured in the February edition of Yarnival! It's a great issue—go check it out.

What I'm dying to know is who submitted my post. I'm pretty sure it wasn't me, and I don't have a history of sleepwalking (or sleepsurfing). So if it was you, please fess up so I can thank you properly.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In defense of commercial holidays

Box of truffles for a man who won't mind that the box is pink and will share with me: $25

Dinner for two at an uncrowded Indian restaurant: $50

An entire evening spent with a husband who will not be connected to his laptop: incalculable*

*I chose not to use the "P" word, as I have no wish to receive a cease and desist letter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Postcard from Sleeve Island: Wish you were here!

One sleeve down, one to go. Since my blocking board won't hold all the sweater pieces, I'm now blocking the body pieces in preparation for seaming.

The end is so near I can taste it. With any luck, this will be in the FO pile by next week. However, I'm not particularly looking forward to zipper installation, considering the trouble others have had. Please think good thoughts for me.

Friday, February 09, 2007

10 Reasons I Am Not a Good Texan

  1. I don't eat beef.
  2. I use my turn signals when I drive.
  3. I begin to wilt when the temperature rises above 80°F.
  4. The chili I make is vegetarian (vegan, actually). And it contains beans. When the authorities hear of this, I fully expect to be driven out of the state.
  5. I don't own a pair of cowboy boots.
  6. I drive a Japanese car.
  7. The aforementioned car does not have a gun rack installed.
  8. I want to shriek like a little girl whenever I see a large insect. (It's true what they say: everything is bigger in Texas.)
  9. I like snow. And mountains.
  10. I have never voted for George W. Bush. Really, that should be #1.

(This list is, of course, meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Texans are really nice people. Super nice. That's why I'm surprised by all the terrible drivers down here.)


OK, I think I understand why so many knitbloggers have multiple projects going at any given time. You see, having only one project makes for some terribly uninteresting blog fodder. Case in point: the Urban Aran.

Yes, there has been a bit of progress, but really, it looks much the same as the last photo I posted. I do apologize. (Yawn!)

I do have an injury to report, however. In a battle between me and a kitchen knife, the knife won.

Now, I pride myself on being a rather competent cook. My first thought upon cutting myself was not, "Oh no, must stop the bleeding!" Instead, it was, "How could I be so stupid?!" I was actually embarrassed about it, and there were not even any witnesses to my blunder.

Who knew the left thumb is so important to the knitting process? My little boo-boo has slowed my speed considerably. Knit two, purl two, ouch.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Knitting interrupted

My knitting plans have been foiled by baking. Result: not a lot of progress on the Urban Aran, but there are lots of cookies. Lots of cookies.

molasses cookies

chocolate chip cookies

Half went to my brother-in-law for his birthday. The other half went to my former coworkers, who have been sending me emails telling me about how they've all lost weight since being deprived of my baking. I would think weight loss is a good thing, but how can I resist when they use terms like "wasting away"?

For a nonprofessional baker like myself, 15 dozen cookies in one day is too much. I'm tired.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Socks for a gentleman

Yesterday I finished the Gentleman's Fancy Socks. They took longer than usual to complete because I've also been working on the Urban Aran. In any case, we are pleased.

Yarn: Fearless Fibers superwash merino sock yarn in the Deepest Forest colorway.
Pattern: Gentleman's Fancy Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush.
Needles: size 0 Knit Picks DPNs.
Modifications: I didn't do the calf shaping since the Professor, with his skinny man legs, doesn't require it. Also, I omitted the "seam stitch" on the heel flap.

No disrespect to Nancy Bush intended, but it's the yarn that makes these socks special. It's soft and squishy, and the colors are drool-worthy. This yarn is among the thinnest sock yarns I've used, but that doesn't bother me. I like knitting socks at a small gauge.

Now I can work full time on the Urban Aran. Today I'll finish the back and start on the front pieces. Things are moving along!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bloggers' (silent) poetry reading

OK, I thought I'd join in on this. I can't claim to have read much poetry, but this has been one of my favorites for years. (There are lots of charming musical versions of it too.)

Raglan Road

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay—
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay—
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

~Patrick Kavanagh


Yesterday was a sick day in my house. The Professor stayed home with the worst migraine he's had in years, and I had a mystery illness. Either it was some sort of 24 hour bug, or I made myself ill in sympathy with him. It was bad enough that I didn't knit a stitch all day. That's the sign of a serious illness in my book! Oddly, I feel fine today.

Progress continues on the Urban Aran. I'm finally past the point where I ripped out my first attempt. Knitting the next size up was a good decision; thanks to everyone who encouraged me to do it. Since I don't know any knitters in "real life," I truly appreciate all of your input.

Wearing my favorite socks while knitting.

I'm still really liking the pattern. Assuming I don't screw things up, this sweater is going to be a stunner. My main worry is that it will be too warm to wear it by the time I finish.

I thought I'd share a photo I took out of my computer room window the other night. The sunset was spectacular, and although I didn't have a very good vantage point, I had to snap a few photos. This one turned out pretty well, despite the fact that I neglected to turn off the flash.