Monday, May 29, 2006

Showdown at the Not-So-OK Corral

It's Day 1 of Amazing Lace, and things are not going smoothly at team Holier Than No One. I knew early this morning that Prissy Miss Doily was not happy. At first I thought she might be angry that I've been working on The Socks rather than her. I tried to explain that the Summer of Socks knit along starts on June 21st, so I have to finish my WIP socks in time to cast on new projects. Then I thought the Ott light might be in her eyes, so I made some adjustments. Still, she was not happy. "Great", I thought. "Just what this team needs, a Prima Dona." I could hear the unfinished STS sniggering in the background.

Knowing as I do that the key to a winning team is communication, I asked her what she needed to make her happy.

"Well, you could stop calling me Prissy Miss Doily, for a start."

"Fine. What shall I call you then?"


After that, I didn't have the heart to tell him he's being knit out of yarn called "Sissy."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ready, Set, Go!

As I posted final grades yesterday, my heart give a little leap. O.K., a big leap. A leap of enormous height. I wonder if students have any idea that their profs look forward to summer break as much as they do? 2.5 glorious months off. It's like being a stay at home mom, only without the kids. My biggest challenge will be remembering what day of the week it is. Last night Dave and I saw The Da Vinci Code. Maybe I'm just too easy to please, but I liked it. Not as much as the book, but then I never expect movies to live up to books. Unless John Cusack is in them.

The theater is next to a B&N, so part of our movie-going ritual is a pre-flick trip to look at books. I came home with this one. As you can see, part of the stash came out of storage to pay homage:

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why I love Summer Vacation

I gave my last final exam of the semester yesterday, so although I have some grading to do, I consider this to be the first official day of summer vacation. And it's turning out to be a pretty darn good day. Dave and I went out to breakfast this morning, which is one of my favorite things to do. Then I knit for a while. I'm plugging away on the border of the Shetland Tea shawl. I also did a few rows of Prissy Miss Doily and a few rounds on the generic sock. I listened to some Harry Potter on tape (Chamber of Secrets, for about the ninety-eleventh time. We have all of them and I listen to them over and over.) The Giants lost, but you can't have everything, right? And tonight I get to have dinner and sit and knit with Beth, one of my most favorite knitting buds. And while I'm feeling pretty good about working on my WIPs today, I'm hearing the siren song of this:
Sock yarn. Lovely, lovely sock yarn, just waiting to be needle-bound. I have the attention span of a gnat. But it's been a really good day.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Trouble in Paradise

Amazing Lace Captain's Log May 21, 2006

I thought I had everyting under control. The 3 rejected projects, while disappointed at being left off the team, agreed to serve as support staff, as long as I agreed to work on them in the time remaining before Amazing Lace actually starts.

Cooper is enthusiastic about being team mascot. So important to have a team mascot, and Cooper is a licker, so I'll never have to worry when it comes time to spit-splice! :-)

The rest of the support staff -- Otto the Ott light, the Pile-'O-Stitch Markers, the needles (Prissy Miss Doily requires 000!), tea -- are all ready to go.

So, what's the trouble in the little slice of paradise that is Team Holier-Than-No-One?

It's the crochet cotton. Prissy Miss Doily requires #20 crochet cotton, and I've been practicing the cast-on. But cotton is tense, it's unyielding, it has no give. Not good signs for a teammate. I'm used to Zephyr. Zephyr makes a fine teammate. Always willing to stretch that extra centimeter. Always happy to make room for the needle for those K2Tog.

I can see that cotton is going to require a firm hand. We'll see how we get along as time goes by.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Captain My Captain

Captain's Amazing Lace Log: May 19, 2006

I have decided on my team for Amazing Lace. The decisions required of me have taxed my negotiating skills almost to the breaking point, but I am happy with my team.

Choosing my pattern was a difficult task. There were several contenders: partially completed Feather and Fan and Shetland Tea shawls, and a pair of Birch Leaf socks. These 3 made the argument that since they were all from A Gathering of Lace they are natural teammates. They lobbied hard for a team of WIPs. They claimed this would give me the incentive I need to actually finish a project or 2. I gave careful consideration ot this argument, but I REALLY want to knit a doily!

In the end, it was the Shetland Tea Shawl that spoiled things for the group. She took umbrage at my consideration of a doily.

STS: "A doily? That puny thing? And she'll be made of cotton! She'll be, why she'll be CHEAP!"

DOILY: "Cheap? Cheap? Who are you calling cheap? You're made of Knitpicks, you hussy!"

And so it went. In the end, it got ugly, and I feared that the patterns would tear each other apart and the yarn would get hopelessly tangled. I decided that if STS and Doily couldn't get along, I'd have to choose, so I chose Doily. I also decided to make this a multi-project endeavor, and added the Lacy Lattice Stole (from Fiddlesticks). Really, it was the Lacy Lattice Stole's yarn that tipped the scales. She'll be made of Indigo Zephyr and she had no problem working alongside the crochet cotton that will be Doily.

Zephyr: "No problem, Dude. I can get along with anyone."

Must be the 50% silk that makes her so smooth and easy-going.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the support staff that will be joining me on the race.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maybe it's something in the water

I'm a modern woman. At least I think I am. I have short, spikey hair with a stripe in front. I have an i-pod. I listen to reasonably hip music (Dave Matthews is sort of hip, right?). I knit in public, which is VERY hip these days. I drink soy milk (in my lattes). I can program a VCR. OK, that last one is a big fat lie. I don't like knick-knacks (aside from the "shabby-chic" vintage tea things I collect).

So how come I have this unstoppable desire, yen, hankering, longing even, to knit........a doily. An old-fashined, made-out-of crochet-cotton, put-it-on-your-grandma's-table doily. Heck, I don't even really know what crochet cotton is. I don't crochet, nor do I often knit with cotton yarn. I just know that I want to use my size 0 needles for something other than socks.

I've been feeling this way for a while now, so I recently did what I always do when I want to try something new; I bought some books. Doily pattern books. And I've been looking through them. I'm pretty sure I want to start with this one.

I may choose this as my Amazing Lace teammate. Or maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and decide on this instead.

Of course, everyone who knows me knows I will almost certainly cast on both. And finish neither. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A pair of socks

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. As you can see from the photo, I finished a pair of socks. See? Aren't they cool?
I never said both socks were part of the same pair. Actually, this photo is for Donni, who shaved her head to raise money for cancer research. I wanted her to see that I have really short hair, too. On purpose, but without such a noble purpose.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Well, here are my answers, Secret Pal. As I mentioned in my email to you, I do plan to start blogging regularly again soon. Thanks for being my Secret Pal!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love to knit with merino wool, wool silk blends, and of course any sock yarn. I’m not really into the novelty yarns, but they do have their place in those twirly Stitch Diva scarves. I like texture (cables, lace, etc.) so I usually use smooth yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
You mean besides "strewn all over the house?" I keep my straights in a tall box and my circs are in a big plastic bag. I also have a zippered fishing tackle thingy with a bunch of big plastic sleeves that I plan to put my circs in one of these days.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I’ve been knitting for about 2.5 years. I consider myself an intermediate knitter, but I’m not afraid to try patterns that are labeled for experienced knitters. I feel I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve been at this obsession.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love the earthy/herbal scents: rosemary, sage, thyme, patchouli, ylang-ylang, musk, vanilla, clove. I also like lavender a lot, and grapefruit. I don’t really care for flowery scents or non-citrus fruity stuff.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?I like candy. I like all sorts of candy. I am not a candy snob (although I do like really good chocolates). I like caramel and licorice very much, too. And English toffee. And fruit slices. And Violet Crumble.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?I don’t spin, but I do cross-stitch. I used to cross-stitch a lot, until I got obsessed with knitting. I plan to learn to crochet one of these days.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)Right now I’m listening to a lot of Dixie Chicks, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello. I also like Sheryl Crow and other women like her. I like Norah Jones. I like show tunes, too. My computer plays MP3’s and I have an ipod that I listen to at the gym.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?I love sage green, dark green, purples, purple/blues, black, grey. The only colors I really don’t wear are yellow and orange. Not a real neon sort of gal for tops and such, but I love wild, bright sock yarns in any colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?I have a husband (Dave), 2 dogs (Cooper and Jake) and two rats (Fred and George). No kids.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?I wear all of those things. Sometimes all at once. Actually, that’s a lie; I don’t have any ponchos. But I’m not opposed to them. I do like shrugs and plan to make some for myself once my sock and lace knitting obsession dies down a bit.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?Socks and lace shawls. Which is strange since I love going bearfoot and don’t actually wear my shawls much.

13. What are you knitting right now?Socks and lace shawls. To be more specific, I have 4 pair of socks on the needles (a plain pair, and 3 with lace). I’m also working on the border of the Shetland Tea Shawl and the body of the Feather and Fan Shawl, both from A Gathering of Lace. I’m also working on a stole of my own design (probably going to be a disaster), using patterns from Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?I like addi turbo circs. I just haven’t found others with joins I can live with. I do have some Inox circs that I use for socks (addis are so expensive and I work on lots of socks at a time, on 2 circs instead of double-points). But I use straights if I’m making something without a lot of stitches, just to avoid the join.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?Yes, I have both.

17. How did you learn to knit?I took a class at my LYS, Rumplestiltskin.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?I started a sweater right when I learned to knit, and it’s still not done (almost tho). So about 2.5 years old. I’m most definitely a process knitter; I enjoy the journey and don’t get all that stressed about finishing.

19. What is your favorite holiday?Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re for family and I especially love our Christmas traditions.

20. Is there anything that you collect?Antique/old tea things.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?Fiddlesticks: Tina and the Lacy Lattice Stole. I’ve been eyeing those patterns for a while.
I subscribe to Interweave, Knitters and Vogue.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?I’d like to learn to knit and purl backwards.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. I wear a size 8.5 shoe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
January 25th.