Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Taking It To The Bank

The lovely and multitasking Tracy took the opportunity of a visit to the bank to make some progress on her sock. Here we see her knitting while waiting for the bank dude to return from wherever bankers disappear to indefinitely after saying "wait here, I'll be right back." The small yet noble and valiant handknit sock-in-progress was made for just such occasions. Yay, Tracy!

If you haven't yet entered the contest, you have until tomorrow midnight EST.

Tracy neglected to fill me in on the gorgeous scarf and legwear she is sporting, but Solomon in all his glory was not thus arrayed. Heck, Solomon probably didn't even know how to knit.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Science Project

I've known how to knit since I was about six, although I didn't get serious about it until about eight years ago. Thereby hangs a tale I keep meaning to tell you, but not today. Today my topic is Fear of Felting.

In my entire knitting career I've never felted anything on purpose. Having suddenly and involuntarily bequeathed at least one very nice sweater to my sister, seven years younger than I and thoroughly undeserving, I've always viewed felting with suspicion.

Now, however, Taz needs mittens, and red is his favorite color, and the only suitable yarn in my stash is a bulky single-ply wool I bought intending someday to get my friend Anne to teach me to make something like one of her gorgeous bags, or at least a felted tote. So, felted mittens. I will admit that I've been averse to felting partly because it seems like some kind of alchemy: what you end up with looks nothing like what you started with, so how do you know it'll turn out right?

The greenish stuff is acrylic. My theory is that when I felt the mittens, the wool will felt, the acrylic won't, and I will then pull it out and insert another, smaller-gauge wool yarn into the holes and knit cuffs. Wish me luck.

A reminder: the sock photo contest is open until January 31. Socksterhood is powerful! If you've posted a photo but haven't left a comment on the contest post, please do, lest I miss your entry. I've stumbled across at least one entirely by accident.

Scarf City

It looks like three will be my total for the Red Scarf Project. Miss B was kind enough to do a photo shoot for me so that I can finally get some pictures up. Here she models scarf 1, with large reversible cables and reversible baby cable ribs. Note that she has been looking at too many fashion magazines. I did manage to retain creative discretion at all times, despite her informing me, "Mom, real models don't look at the camera, and they never smile."

Here we have scarf 2, with the baby cable and braided ribs (cat optional). The pattern is sort of a simplified version of the first one.

Miss B did model the third scarf for me, but it was about two feet long at the time, and when it was finished and ready for its close-up she was busy with her homework. (Really, kids these days.) I started it last Saturday, choosing enormous yarn and needles, 7 mm, in the hope that it would go fast, which it did. This was due partly to yarn and needle size and partly to my wish to be shut of the yarn as soon as possible. It's Berroco Foliage, and it's thick and thin and very splitty. Eventually, about six inches from the end, I got used to it and didn't have to think about it much.

And here it is (click to embiggen and see the pattern a little better). I really do love these colors: I can forgive the yarn its shortcomings because it's so pretty. Generally I'm a bit snobby about yarn that does all the work for you, and, speaking of creative discretion, I will decide when I personally wish to change colors, thank you very much. (Control freak? Moi? Surely you jest.) Now and then, however, I'm willing to make an exception. I wouldn't knit with this yarn again unless someone who totally deserved it really wanted me to, but I'm very happy to have made this scarf.

The pattern is very simple (another reason for the quick knit), and at some point I'll get around to charting it; for now I've just written it out.

Cast on a multiple of 6 sts plus 3: I used 27 sts at about 4 sts per inch.
Row 1: k4, *p1, k5, end last repeat k4.
Row 2: p4, *k1, p5, end last repeat p4.
Row 3: repeat row 1.
Row 4: k3, *p1, k1, p1, k3.
Row 5: p3, *k1, p1, k1, p3.
Row 6: repeat row 4.
Repeat these 6 rows until done, ending with row 3 if you're anal about symmetry (see above re: control freak). Bind off.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Woolly Wednesday

Once a month or so the stars align so that all three of my Wednesday knitting groups meet, and I just wander in a wool-induced daze from one to the next. First up yesterday was a knitting and photo session at St*rbucks with Manise and Laurie. Manise may be blogless, but she is an intrepid public sock knitter. Note the Muggle in the background.

After another spell of knitting at Jen's, enlivened by good company and Jen's most excellent blueberry bread (hi, Ruth! hi, Liz! hi, Lauren! hi, Dale!, hi, Renate!, hi, Jen!), I felt almost equal to tackling the feral boxes that keep multiplying in our room and Miss B's.

I am not good at organizing, and I am a pack rat. I also seem to find both of these traits attractive in a mate, and both seem to have a genetic component, so the clutter tends to build up. At a certain point I reach clutter overload, and, being unable to figure out how to begin or where I can buy dynamite, practice selective blindness instead. Yesterday, however, Miss B and I nerved ourselves to go through her clothes, including the most recent batch bequeathed to her by her four female cousins — when you are a born pack rat it doesn't help to have four times as many clothes as you need arriving at your house every few months — and succeeded in paring them down to a supply that would fit comfortably in her dresser. There is of course much more to do, but it's a start. Feeling virtuous, we galloped off to the Javaroom, where more public sock knitting was going on.

What with all this knitting, I finished red scarf #2. The pattern's in the sidebar. Since it's cold out now, I have this cavewoman urge to knit hats and earwarmers and socks and mittens all at once, which probably won't work. (Add being a better starter than finisher to the above list of neuroses, and you can understand why most of the pictures you see of the interior of my house are quite tightly cropped.) Taz really does need a new pair of mittens, though (did I mention that we tend to lose things?), so I'll work on those.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sock Power

No doubt you've heard by now about the, ahem, technical difficulties that Blue Moon Fiber Arts, of Socks That Rock fame, has been experiencing lately. If you haven't, I couldn't possibly do the story the justice it has already gotten from Stephanie and Cara, so I'll wait here while you go read all about it.

Done? OK. I was not alone in my initial reaction of please tell me who these expensively suited male boneheads are so that I may immediately inform them of their utter boneheaditude and, should it turn out that I do business with them, forthwith sever any such relationship. I was rightly and forcibly reminded, however, that a vengeful spirit emits altogether the wrong energy, that while we knitters possess more awesome power than we know, we must always use it for good. And, admiring Margene's resolve to demonstrate the Power of Socks by knitting them in public, I decided to take things one step further.

Therefore a contest. To enter, 1) post on your blog a picture of yourself knitting sock(s) in public (this must be a new post with, preferably, a new picture, but at least one not previously posted on your blog) 2) leave a comment on this post informing me that you have done so. If you don't have a blog, you may either post the picture elsewhere online or send it to me at rhymeswithfuchsia AT comcast DOT net, and I will post it here, or not, as you wish. In either case, pleeease forget not the comment so that I can keep track of everyone in one place. One lucky winner drawn at random will receive sock yarn to be named later, and for every entry (one per person, please), I will donate $1.00 USD to MSF. The contest will remain open until the end of the month.

NOTE: Your photo must make it obvious that the place where you are knitting is indeed public and visible to unsuspecting Muggles. (Edited to add: Ruth is quite correct that knitting in a yarn or craft store doesn't startle the multitude and that these venues therefore won't count as public.) Aside from that, I make no restrictions, but, while I realize that you are all highly technosavvy and capable of conducting all kinds of business without ever leaving your computer chair, let me just mention how fun and educational it would be if bankers all across this great land suddenly noticed an increase in customers knitting socks while waiting in line.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Kissing The Sky

The weather has gone totally nuts. I would have had this post up sooner, but I just had to go sit on the back deck and knit while the sun went down. It was at least 70 degrees today. We had about an inch of snow a week or so ago, long gone of course, and that's been the total for the season so far. Meanwhile, places like Albuquerque keep getting walloped.

I started a new red scarf in the same alpaca yarn as the first one. It's a simple rib pattern, some of them twisted, some not. Rather like my thought processes. I'll have the pattern up soon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Conan, The Grammarian

Yesterday morning I got the latest red-scarf pattern all ready to post; I just needed to upload the files and put the link on my blog, which I figured I'd do right after knitting group. As soon as I got there and pulled out the scarf to work on, however, I was reminded of #6 on my list (note that I did not call this a list of resolutions: I should probably have headed it Ten More Bricks on the Road to Hell) and encouraged to submit the design for publication. I am using "encouraged" here in the sense of "hectored, bullied, nagged, and badgered mercilessly until I gave in," and I am employing the passive voice quite deliberately so as to avoid placing blame where it is richly deserved doesn't belong.

Sadly, however, this means that not only can I give you neither the pattern for nor even a picture of the scarf-in-progress, I can't send it to Red Scarf either. So I will shortly be starting another scarf in simple ribbing.

Instead of a pattern, therefore, I have been inspired by Norma to offer as a public service a brief mnemonic primer on the correct use of its and it's. While I admit that getting this right seems in no way correlated with the ability to turn out consistently funny, moving, inspirational and otherwise effective prose, seeing it wrong will someday drive me wacko; and, let's face it, I'm not too far from the edge. So here we go.

My, your, his, her, and its are all possessive pronouns.

I'm, you're, he's, she's, and it's are all contractions of pronouns and the present tense of the verb to be, meaning I am, you are, and so forth.

You will note that none of the possessive pronouns has an apostrophe (observing in passing that none means not one and is thus singular), and every contraction does have one. By replacing it with another pronoun, you can see whether to use the apostrophe.

While I'm on the subject, I would like point out that might is the past tense of may and is required for conditions contrary to fact. It is incorrect to say "If he had caught that ball, he may have scored a touchdown." Sportscasters have a lot to answer for. (Please do not tell me that that should be "a lot for which to answer": that's the sort of nonsense up with which I won't put.)

Thank you. I feel better now.