Yes. Much knitting has taken place, and few photos have been taken. This is my downfall, as I have stated previously. I hate, hate, HATE blogging without at least throwing some pretty knitting photos up here for you to look at.

I have an update on the shawl I asked you all about last time…months ago. I’ve decided to blend some silver-lined beads in with the green ones, and that appears to be working. However, working on this shawl is like pulling teeth at the moment. I feel like I really, really should finish it, but I just haven’t been feeling the joy with that shawl lately. I may wind up putting it away until October (NoNewKnitMo), or I may have a Finishing Fit and just get it done. We’ll see.

I have lots to tell you and show you, but I must unbury lots of things in order to do that. At least we’re getting more natural light these days.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely wooly winter, and that you’re looking forward to spring!


Well, Drat. (In Which I Ask The Opinion Of You, The Viewers At Home)


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This is the kind of situation that makes me go “Rawrgharglebargle” inside my head.

I have this shawl. This shawl has been on my needles for just barely over a year. It’s another Haruni, cast on, according to my records, on the same day as the Haruni in my previous post.

This is, of course, silly, so I decided that I would sit down and finish it. After all, this Haruni was most of the way finished–it just needed the last few rows of Chart A (the body) and all of Chart B (the edging), and it was done like dinner.

I picked it up, checked my place in the chart (thank goodness I kept good notes), and got going again. Things were going smoothly, when I got to the end of Chart A and realized that I was going to run out of beads.

Here is what I have done so far:

Here is how many beads I have left:

(Don’t you just love that little tin? Check out Miss Purl to get your own. I purchased…ah…a few.)

Normally, this would not be a problem. I would simply go to one of my online bead suppliers, order more beads, and wait a few days to finish. Sadly, this is not an option at this time. My bead suppliers appear to be out of stock of the color and type of bead I need, and this particular bead is backordered. This leaves me with three options:

1) Knit the edging without beads. This would look like a design element, but would mean that the shawl would be slightly less sparkly.

2) Take the shawl to my local bead shop and choose some different beads for the edging. Again, this would look like a design element, especially if I got slightly larger beads with a similar finish.

3) Wait for my bead supplier to get the beads back in. Advantage: The beads would all be Consistent, which would be Good. Disadvantage: I don’t want to wait any longer to Get This Shawl Done.

What do you, the Viewers At Home, think? Let me know in the comments.

Clearing the Decks


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I’m doing some finishing, cleaning, redo, and generally spiffing-up of the blog. I want to get some good graphics up here and establish what I really want this blog to look like. Consider this theme a temporary thing until I get things done the way I like them.

I’ve had a bad (good?) case of finish-itis lately, which is a good thing. I’ve finished some things…

(Suki, from The Sock Report, in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! and Madelinetosh Tosh Light respectively)

(Haruni in Handmaiden Sea Silk)

(Phaeodaria from The Sock Report)

…in some different ways…

…and done some things that I can’t actually show you yet.

I’ve been clearing the decks, making room in my knitting queue for some new things, and working my way through some projects that have languished long enough.

Today’s story involves choices. I like choices. I’ve been working on a pair of basic, 3×1 rib socks for myself as “training” for the Ravellenic Games. (This is my first year participating.) I tried Sock 1 on yesterday, and…it was too tight. Blast. I was almost to the toe, but I steeled myself (who wants socks that don’t fit?) and frogged it.

I was all ready to cast on again, when I realized that I didn’t really want to knit this particular pair of socks right now. While I was definitely in the mood for lovely, simple, 3×1 rib socks, this yarn was no longer speaking to me. I argued back and forth with myself for a few seconds (as one does), saying things like “Well, you started those socks; you should finish them.” Then, I realized that I am in charge of my own knitting, and it is for fun. I didn’t have to knit those socks. To the stash I went. The Kroy sock yarn went back into the stash, safely stowed in a plastic zip-top bag, and I wound this instead:

(That’s Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in “STORM Large.”)

Yeah. I am the boss of me.

A Creative Career


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First of all, The Sock Report is up! If you love sock yarn as much as I do, go check it out. It’s waaaaay more than socks. There are socks, shawls, fingerless gloves, and even a sweater! Reading the magazine is free (I wrote two of the book reviews!), and the patterns are a really good deal if you buy the collection. (A dollar a pattern? Heck yes!)

What’s nice about being involved with this project is that it’s opened doors for me. I’m hoping to submit a design to the next issue. I’m starting to learn more about The Knitting Design Industry. I’m doing more sample and test knitting. I’m doing some tech editing. I’m getting paid for most of it, and that’s really exciting.

What this all adds up to is something along the lines of, “Hey, maybe I can swing this dream career of being a knitter/writer/designer. This is possible. Not only that, this is likely.”

The idea of being able to do my Dream Job is absolutely incredible. I’ve always wanted to do something creative as my daily work. This job is going to allow me to work mainly on my own schedule, which will also allow me to create my own designs and maybe finish that novel. The key is going to be self-discipline. Deadlines help, and I’ve been good about meeting those so far.

The Dream Job is also going to mean more blogging. I need to keep the lines of communication open, as well as Write Every Day. (Writing is a skill. Skills are honed with practice.)

For now, I’m going to see about some housework, do some organization, and try to take some photos if the natural light is good today. I hope your life is as hopeful as mine right now, and that your knitting is nearby.

On The Busy-ness of Knitting


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So, yes. I’m still alive, still knitting, just rather busy. This year has been all about World Travel (photos to come), and, I am sad to say, my blogging has definitely suffered for it. This is what happens when you go places where you’re rushing around without reliable internet access. I’ve finished (and photographed) several projects, gotten into test and sample knitting, and done some knitting-related writing. I’ve also been sitting on a secret, and I’ve been given permission to post this wee little link here:

The Sock Report

Go there. Check it out. There’s a contest. You could win yarn!

Of course, all I’m allowed to say about it, really, is “We Love Sock Yarn.” Well, that and “It’s gonna be AWESOME.”

Bucking Tradition (Just A Little)


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I finished my last knitting project of 2011 with about 2 hours to spare.

These are the Nine to Five Socks (Ravelry Link), a pattern that I have made twice for others but never for myself. I should fix that oversight sometime soon. Check out my Ravelry Page for these socks for more details and photos.

Some of my readers may be saying (to themselves, because my readers are polite people), “You know…those socks don’t appear to fit very well.” This is because, while those are my feet, those are not my socks. They’re another been-on-the-needles-for-over-a-year project, promised to my friend Amy ages ago. While my feet are wee and bitsy, her feet are more normal-sized. I hope they will keep her warm. It felt nice to get them done in the stub of the year, another promise kept (if rather late).

On to the New Year!

It is traditional at this time to make Resolutions. I don’t like Resolutions. Somehow, they always feel as though I’m setting myself up for failure, as though, when I fall down occasionally and do things like gain a pound (of flesh or sock yarn), my resolve itself has failed. Because I don’t care to set myself up for a Sneaky Hate Spiral started by waking up one morning in a pile of cookies and yarn (wait, that might not be so bad), I’ve decided that, this year, I’m going to have Goals. It may seem like simple semantics to you, Dear Reader, but it makes a huge difference to me. Goals, if not achieved, are still okay. They carry over. They’re more forgiving. If I miss a Goal, it’s more of a shrug-and-move-on sort of thing, rather than an EPIC-FAIL-my-resolve-is-weak sort of thing. ‘Kay?

So. Knitting Goals for 2012:
1) Finish a knitting project every month. It can be a project that’s been hanging out on the needles for a long time, or it can be one I started that month. The point is to finish something.
2) Avoid buying yarn over the internet. Yarn may still be purchased, but only if I can hand a real person my credit card (or cash–cash is fine) and receive the yarn immediately.
3) Knit down some of this wonderful Sanguine Gryphon yarn in order to make room for some of that wonderful Verdant Gryphon yarn and Cephalopod Yarns yarn. (Yes, Sanguine Gryphon split into two companies. The Yarn is Gone! Long Live the Yarn!)
4) Steek something. I’m trying to learn a new technique this year. Steeking is the scariest one for me, because, once you cut the knitting, there is no going back. Aieee.

Happy New Year, everyone. May your year be full of Knitting Adventures (the fun kind). May your yarn be snarl-free, and may your needles never break.

I’m just going to go and work on this sock now.

Christmas Aftermath


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Oh, Christmas Bush

(Well, WordPress just completely deleted my entire post except for the picture of the Christmas Rosemary Bush. Graugh!)

Alex and I both came out of Christmas celebrations with many happy memories, very spiffy new toys to play with, and colds. I’ve started some knitting, and finished some knitting. Unfortunately, the cold has wiped me out enough (and the weather/light is bad enough) that getting up and digging out the camera and taking photos of stuff sounds not-so-much-fun right now. With luck, I’ll feel better tomorrow.

I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful, stress-free winter holiday. Knit On!

Why No One Names A Child “Organization”


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There’s a theory about naming your children after virtues:  Don’t.  Name a child Patience, and you’ll have someone who can’t sit still for five seconds on end.  Name a child Tolerance, and you’ll wind up with someone who can’t stand anybody. Name a child Chastity, and well. That’s the theory, anyway.

I think this theory is one of the reasons why no one ever names his or her child Organization. (Another reason being the nicknames. There aren’t any. No good ones, anyway.) Very few people (at least, very few people of my acquaintance) are well and truly organized, and most parents don’t want to tempt fate. That said, I’ve never heard of anyone named Slobbiness or Can’t-Be-Bothered-To-Pick-Up-Clutter, either.

My parents, wise as they are, refrained from naming me Organization, but that didn’t help me. Despite their best efforts, I am a horribly disorganized person. My middle name is also emphatically not Self-Discipline. I am easily distracted by shiny objects, and the only way I’m able to find things once I’ve put them down is to leave them out in plain sight. If I put things away tidily, I forget where they are and wander around in a frustrated rage trying to remember where I’ve put them. This mainly applies to projects. Some things can go safely in a drawer (like socks) and be found again; other things (like that sweater-in-progress that I’m still looking for) cannot. I have a hard time finishing things in a timely fashion. This also applies to projects.

I am not proud of this. I wish that I were more self-disciplined, able to truly finish things (like writing up patterns once I’ve finished test-knitting them, or making better progress on that novel I’m writing). I also realize that there is a solution to my problem: Practice. I must practice finishing things, and that means working on them regularly. It means actually looking at the novel, pulling it up on the computer, finishing a chapter or two. It means actually working a few rows on that blanket (which I did this morning) before allowing myself to be distracted by the Very Squishy Socks. It means taking out those pattern notes that are quite comprehensible to me but would be absolute balderdash to the uninitiated (i.e. people who do not live in the confines of my head) and typing them up in a clear and concise format with proper English and spelling and grammar and everything.

It’s not like organization and self-discipline are bad things. They would make my life so much easier, if I would just buckle down.

Beginning is easier than finishing. Knitting is easier than organizing. (For me, anyway.) That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room in my life for both.

For now, however, it’s nearly one in the morning, and I need to go do something else I’m good at. Organization and Self-Discipline can wait on my very good friend, Sleep.

Holiday Special: How To Make An Apple Pie


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WARNING: This entry is high in sugar and low in fiber.

This year, I spent Thanksgiving with Alex and his side of the family. Our contribution to The Big Feast was an apple pie. Alex makes a lovely apple pie, and we thought you might like to know how to do it.

First, you make the dough and put it in the fridge. (Not pictured. It involved a Cuisinart and was very quick and boring.)

Next, you source out your usual job (peeling and coring the apples) to cheap child labor using a machine.

“Hey, this is hard!”

(That’s my niece, Chiara, on the left and my husband, Alex, on the right. We are totally getting one of those hand-crank machines for our house.)

Next, liberally flour a butcher block island with flour.

“This part is fun!”

(Added to this photo is my charming sister-in-law, Marina. She’s supervising.)

Take half of the dough out of the fridge. Press out the dough…

…then roll the dough out on the floured surface.

“I want to use the rolling pin!”

Once your dough is at the desired thickness, roll it around the rolling pin. Use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to the pie pan. (It’s best to let the adult part of the team do this part.)

Mix the apples with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a little bit of sugar, then dump them in the pie pan.

Next, get the other half of the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on the floured surface. Cut it into strips and make a lattice top. (Child labor helps with the placing of the strips, but not with the cutting.)

Put the pie in the oven and feed your child labor…

…and your photographer.

Take the pie out of the oven when it’s done, forget to take a photo of it until it is decimated by relatives and friends, and have a happy holiday anyway. (The pie was delicious.)

Work on your sock.

Enjoy the peace.

A Conversation Between Me, Myself, and I Regarding Socks


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Like many artistic people, I talk to myself. (I am choosing to believe that talking to myself is an artistic trait indicative of a creative mind, as opposed to a sign that I am losing my marbles.) Here is an example of the type of conversation I have with myself about knitting:

SCENE: Home, on the couch, looking at Ravelry on my laptop. A package arrives.

I: Ooh, my order from Tanis Fiber Arts has arrived. What lovely, squishy yarn. I shall wind it right away and cast on a pair of socks to reward myself for finishing all those other socks.

MYSELF: You don’t need any socks. You have lots of socks. You need mittens. Your hands are always cold, plus your rainbow handwarmers have holes in them. You should knit yourself some nice mittens out of that yarn.

ME: I like socks.

I: But this yarn is green. I don’t have any green socks.

MYSELF: Liar. You have those pretty Madeline Tosh socks. They’re green.

I: They’re old socks, and they’re too short for me. I need new green socks.

MYSELF: You do not. Your hands are cold. Knit mittens.

I: (Reasonably) By the time I finished a pair of mittens out of this yarn, winter would be over. I have perfectly serviceable leather gloves. They are warm and nicely lined. I don’t have to knit all of my accessories. I can knit nice mittens later. Besides, I want to try out this sock pattern.

ME: (Without discussing further with I or Myself, casts on socks while they natter on.)


I argue with Myself a lot, especially about knitting. I say things like, “Shouldn’t you be finishing that shawl” and “You can’t wear only one sock, you know” and “You promised that knitted thing to your friend, So-And-So; shouldn’t you be working on that?” Honestly, it’s my hobby; I should be able to knit what I want. It’s hard to get Myself to understand that.

I hope that all of my American readers have a lovely, peaceful Thanksgiving. I hope that all of my non-American readers have a wonderful day!