Monday, 25 June 2007

Embossed Leaves Socks - done, done, done!

Love them, they are great in spite of the yucky yellow. Yellow and I usually get along but never ever when green is in the room. You know yellow and green should never been seen except in the washing machine (yeah I know it is supposed to be blue but that is ridiculous because everyone knows green and blue are great mates).

And the toe, Stella asked what it is (and then she went on to mention all these different toes that I had never ever heard of and are still not sure they exist - once again proving she is the smartest knitter I know! Or the one who can spin the best bull, not sure which, not sure it matters.). I mean it really is a star. Not like wow it is a star! A rock star! But literally a star. It actually finishes off the leaves over your toe. Cool huh.

Pattern followed to the T except for a change of yarn and one less repeat in the foot. I did it first with the suggested amount of repeats and the sock felt a little baggy so I ripped it back. They fit perfectly. I was about to say I will make these again but that is simply a lie, I won't. The list is too long and life is too I was thinking about a little monkeying about next..........what do you think?

Saturday, 23 June 2007

My thing................

As you know there has been a lot of thinking about knitting going on here lately.

I have also been thinking about how knitting looks to the knitting outsider. Have you ever had a nonknitter tell you they would be bored by knitting and felt surprise over such sentiment? Bored, are you nuts?! But really why isn't it boring? You perform the same act over and over for thousand of stitches and many hours. Even when I am just knitting a simple garter stitch I am entertained. How is it I am not bored? I get bored with other monotonous tasks. My rationale in the past has been that "knitting is my thing". My thing, what does that even mean? What is about the act of knitting that has so captured my attention. I have tried crocheting and in small doses it is okay but it isn't my thing. I felt in my heart of hearts I would adore weaving but for some reason it isn't proving to be my thing either. Why? You know I have no idea.

A couple of weeks ago I went to an upholstery class. I am going to be reupholstering all the furniture in my home. In my ignorance and yes arrogance I proclaimed I would have no trouble reupholstering the furniture - I mean how hard could it be? I would get a book and I would work it out. A local school had a weekend class and I thought why not, maybe get some pointers. Well as you may have already guessed I was a bloody fool. There is a reason why you pay a lot of money to get furniture reupholstered. It is right up there with knitting in time spent to accomplish a project and skill required to make it look anything other than a dog's dinner. I bought in a chair and then spent the next day and half removing the fabric and the many, many staples. I seem to inspire pity by many of the other participants for how monotonous my task was. But I had the time of my life. As each piece of fabric came off I marvelled over how completely clever upholstery was (like how the construction of a sock gets you every time you stop and think about it - "and then I turn the corner, with my knitting, just knit a corner"). And the rhythm of deconstructing the piece soothed me and emptied my mind so I could think more clearly like knitting does. And then slowly rebuilding the chair delighted me. And then it hit me upholstery is my thing. I never expected upholstery to be my thing, and so this takes me by surprise. It has also made me realise I don't really know what is going to give me fever until I try it. I find this thought really odd.

I have resigned up for this class in September (it is the next one available) and I can't wait. I still have to finish the chair plus this time I am going to bring something that requires me to respring it. Oh and did I mention upholstery tools, they really rock! Power stapler - bang bang, stick it up buster! (Don't try that at home because as we all know it isn't safe to point a stapler on an air compressor at someone. Please note I am in no way advocating you point a stapler at anyone. Not unless it is really funny or they really annoy you, only then.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Book Review: Interweave's Favorite Socks

As promised my review of Interweave Favorite Socks (or rather the correct spelling Favourite, but for now let us amuse our American friends) (Random thing #9: dropping the u's from words and changing the s to a z, it really picks my ass. 270 million people does not make it right.).

So anyway, ..... I love this book. If you are a sock knitter go and buy it. Simple really, enough said. Bye.

God I crack myself up.

You want more convincing right?

I expected to like this book but I really like this book. It is not a "how to knit socks" book. It would be terrible for a beginner or as a stand alone guide. It is simply a pattern book, nothing more, nothing less. And yes if you have been an avid collector of IK you will have most of these patterns so all you are buying is the convenient little package they come in. But the package, ahh, the package is really quite lovely. Why are not all knitting books spiral bound? Cause you see when they are you can read and knit, at the same time, no worries. Isn't that great? And yes I know that some among us rush out to their nearest Kinkos and spiral bound their knitting books on a regular basis. But I must tell you those are the same people who dust the places no one can see like the top of shelves and besides my nearest Kinkos is California and that may be a little too far..... But back to those spiral bounding knitters - good on them and yes I will be happy to become best friends with you if you spiral bound for me too. Okay. I am getting distracted today, aren't you pleased I am not a podcast and you can skim through these mumblings of mine.

The book, the book, oh yes. Spiral bound, terrific, great idea.

Photography and layout, nice.

Cables, lace, colourwork, plain, for men, for women; the bases are all covered.

The patterns, lovely.

You know they are kinda quiet in their way too, maybe this is why I am feeling a connection. They aren't flashy but they just grow on you in all their cleverness. You look then you read and then as if a light comes on you realise why there is a shrine devoted to Nancy Bush in the Sock Knitters Hall of Fame. What there is no shrine? Well there should be she is one clever woman. Lets do something about that shall we. But bless I am a chatty Cathy today so shut up Tanya and do some show and tell. That's what they came for.

Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark. Aren't they just lovely in their elegance and simplicity. As always.

Ilga's Socks by Nancy Bush. I love these ones. They look fun to make don't you think?

Embossed Leaves Socks by Mona Schmidt. These socks along with the Waving Lace Ones on the front cover are the popular kids in the class. But you can see why.......

Two-yarn Resoleable Socks by Wayne Pfeffer. So cool. You knit the sock without the sole and then pick up and knit the sole in a different colour or more durable yarn as suggested by the designer. The idea is when the sole wears out you can easily rip it out and knit a new one. Clever huh.

Austrian Socks by Candace Eisner Strick. Be still my beating heart, these socks are so pretty.

Padded Footlets by Mary Snyder. These ones have double thickness for cushioning on the sole. Now I am not so big on the short length but I think I may "borrow" this idea for a pair of hiking boot socks. I just think it would be so comfy.

Hidden Passion Socks by Jaya Srikrishnan. These ones have a really interesting construction. Check out Grumperina, she made a pair and blogged the progress. There is a secret message in them. oooooooo. Am I the only one who thinks I could do better than X and O? Damn I just gave away the secret!

Eastern European Footlets by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Seamless intarsia in the round. I am not telling you how, you will have to buy the book (or winter 2003 of IK).

They have a nice range of socks in different weights. I think Ann Budd (the editor) chose well.

I do have one complaint and I think it is kinda a big one. There are 6 previously unpublished projects in this book and for some reason they are all Ann Budd designs. I think Ann Budd is a really talented designer but not only do I think this is odd I also think it is inappropriate. She is the editor. All 6? I can't really think of a reason she wouldn't have seized this opportunity to showcase one of the hot new designers, Cookie or Eunny both spring to mind. You know while we are at it, why only one knee high? Now I know it is being said that knee highs are just a flash in the pan and only for women who want to dance around like underage school girls. Give me a flippant break. Have these naysayers ever heard of boots, more importantly have they ever tried to wear regular socks with boots. That's right, big pain in the ass. Knee highs good. Underage school girls, oh never mind. Buy the book.

Monday, 18 June 2007

I have a new friend........

When it was decided that the Thneed had to become a shut-in it became necessary to cast on for a travelling project. It had to be self contained, slight and easy to get along with. Of course my mind turned to socks as one always should.

For a long time I have had my eye on the Embossed Leaves socks and had some suitable greenish Socks That Rock in the stash. I like to think of them as my celebration knit for ordering Interweave Favorite Socks, (I had the pattern in the mag - Winter 2005) (the book has arrived, I will review it tomorrow - cross my heart).

So first to the yarn. I love STR. I really do. But I must admit the colourway that I am knitting these socks in leaves me a little grumpy. After a thoroughly enjoyable burst of handpainted yarns I decided I prefer solid or almost solid coloured yarn. I really enjoy lace or cables in my socks and the handpainted yarns hide too much detail. I ordered this colourway online and it looked like a mixture of greens which I declared perfect for my future Embossed Leaves socks. It arrived with some green and a rather shocking yellow. The name is Emerald Isle, what would have you thought? Anyway in the same shipment I got some other lovely colours so I was able to push this colourway to the back promising to bring it back to the light of day one day. Alas it is now my last skein of STR so that day has come.

On a more positive note I love this pattern. It is charming the pants right off me. It is so easy to memorise and just whizzes along. I can see why it has a fan club in the bloggersphire. I have even heard it said that some will now love no other! The toe was just plain exciting. That is right I called a toe exciting, call me what you will, I won't take it back. It is a star. Couldn't get a decent photo of it, I tried but oh how I tried.

So ends today's progress report.

We are moving along my socks and I.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Learning to be quiet.........

Firstly let me thank you all for your lovely supportive comments. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the comments I receive. You know when you ask your kids a question, then you ask again and again and again......and again...and then you yell and then they answer (all theoretical of course, not my kids, my kids are perfect). Well sometimes that how blogging feels (never ever that frustrating), you put ideas and thoughts out there and you have no idea whether anyone is listening and then out of the blue comes a voice and it feels good. So thank you, thank you very much.

So where am I at with my knitting?

Well as you all knew, I couldn't stop. I guess knitting is my yoga after all. But I do feel very quiet with my knitting at the moment. And that is okay. I live life out loud and that crosses over to my knitting. Sometimes I get worried that I will die before I get to do all that I want to do, knit all that I want to knit, see all that I want to see, learn all that I want to learn. Sometimes I share these thoughts and others always think I am odd for it. Maybe because I truly believe I will live to at least 90 in good health and that seems like plenty of time to most. But there is so much life to live. I don't want to leave this world with regrets. So sometimes I overdo it. (Shut up Ted, it is only sometimes, define sometimes then mister!).

So for a change I don't feel urgent about what I am doing. I don't feel the need to cast on a million projects. I don't feel the need to be planning, planning, planning. I feel strangely peaceful. I just want to knit for knitting sake. That's it. Hell at the moment I'm not even trying to talk Ted into buying a sailboat so we can sail around the world, you know even though we can't sail and I get terribly seasick; details, details, details.

My dryer is overflowing with UFO's and WIP's. I have some charity knitting I have put off for too long. I plan to frog where necessary and finish up all else. Maybe even the dryer will be empty before I start anew, maybe. I like the sound of that.
I also plan to use this down time to play with some of the other crafts that I dapple in and some I have been meaning to try.

And of course I owe you all a hundred and one book reviews as promised.

This slowing down thing isn't all bad; who would have thought it.

And because blogs need photos.

See cupcakes do rule the world.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

The thneed is dead, long live the ?............

At first the joke was funny...........

I had to start a sock because the thneed had had to become a shut-in and while we don't like to use the word chubby in this house, if the shoe fits.......

Then other people started making their "funny, ha-ha" comments - "good lord what are you making there? A new cover for the camper!"......

Remember how I mentioned I may run out of yarn because I am one ball short well unless someone is stealing in in the middle of night and running off an extra ball or 7 well then..... I am much more short than that let me tell ya.

Then I slipped into my state of denial that creativity can overcome all, think how great it will look with different colour sleeves! Gorgeous! Except as a more experienced knitter I had a niggly feeling that all may not be right.

Then I pulled the damn thing over my head and it fit like a sleeping bag.

Oh damn. My knitting mojo is off at the moment.

Remember those bright days of the cable down raglan. Headed for the frog pond as we speak -again. It turns out the yarn was so unbelievably wrong and not just because it isn't gray. A total beginners mistake. And yes I swatched like mad, just maybe I was a little blind with the swatches. Because it is like right in front my nose wrong. Like drive everyone at knit night crazy with the is it wrong kind of questions, wanting deep down for someone to confirm what it is I know but don't want to admit.

Jo Sharp Mohair Tank - frog pond. You haven't even seen this one. This one has been sitting in the dryer (oh yeah I keep my WIP's in an antique dryer that we use as a side table in the study, it is funny no one seems to think it strange we have a dryer as a side table but all have been taken back by the knitting and yarn inside it; muggles). Anyway it is sitting in the dryer waiting for me to wake up and smell the coffee. The yarn is great, it was a gift from the Yarns in the Farms Knit Night when I left (they are all so nice, seriously, go there) but the pattern just turned out all wrong. I kinda look like a sausage in it. I don't look good as a sausage.

And now the thneed..............

So last night as I got into bed totally despondent I said to Ted "all my knitting sucks, how can I still make all these silly mistakes, what's the point, I suck, maybe I should take a break.........."

To which he answered "maybe you should".

"No I mean really take a break, like no knitting kind of break, like NONE"

"Yeah maybe you should"

"No really, like put away the knitting, I am not joking, NO knitting"

"Yep I know"

And then sadly "but what would I do with myself? How would I stay busy?"

And I guess that is the crunch isn't it. I love to knit. I love the busyness of the act. I love how at all times I am a useful, creative being. But what if I am no longer useful? What if what I make has become so inconsistent that most of the time I am just wasting time? Should I stop? I wanted Ted to tell me not to be mad and of course I should keep knitting but maybe he said the truth. Maybe I do need a break. What do you think? Do I really want you to tell me the truth or do I just want you to talk me into carrying on? I don't know.

What do you do when/if you get to this place?

Friday, 8 June 2007

8 Random Things........

Emily tagged me with 8 random things (yeah I know I said 7 but there you go, 8 it is ).

The Rules:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.

2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.

3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.

4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

So here are my 8 random things:

1. I always use the real swear word when retelling a story or something I overheard. I hate using the "f word" or some other way to say fuck, it gives the word too much power and makes me feel like a small child. I think swear words are ugly and prefer not to use them. While we would rather our kids not use them we don't ban them from doing so as quite frankly we have much bigger battles to fight. We have rules about their use; never directed at anyone, no racial, sexist or other nasty hurtful names, not in front of Grammy, and always in the right context. For example "no darling, it is not I hate the fuck Yankees, it is I hate the fucking Yankees", and no the Yankees aren't "someone" they are an evil force apparently, so I am told. This is where I think other families get weird, their kids are absolutely forbidden from saying shit but they can call each other "sissy girls" or "don't be gay". Weird.

2. I absolutely suck at milking goats. Cows I haven't tried and nor do I plan to. This was when I went through my "must make all the cheese/butter/yogurt for the family". Thank god I woke up from that insanity.

3. I don't really like the term wife and husband, we use the term partner with each other and when we refer about the other in public. It drives my father in law crazy. He used to call me "the mother of Ted's child" when he introduced me to others (before we were legally married).

4. I now use the American term for a toilet - a bathroom. It irritates the hell out of my Grandma. It confuses other kiwis, they think I want to take a shower at their house. When did I get so prudish. "Could I use your toilet?" seems so rude.

5. When I am president of the world chocolate and peanut butter combined will be banned. Completely outlawed. I am sorry but I am deaf to all pleas and yes I have tried it, even under the influence of liquor and I despise it. I like peanut butter, I like chocolate but together - vomit.

6. I have never, ever done any illegal drugs, even pot, not even a puff. This seems to make me odd in most circles, even inspires pity. It is really very simple. When I was a kid my mum told me that it is all very well and fine to play around with drugs but if I got caught and convicted I would be unable to leave New Zealand as most other countries won't allow someone with a drug conviction to enter. That took care of any temptation I may have had. You don't muck around with the freedom to travel.

7. I cannot stand being called a girl. I am okay with it if you would use the term boy for a man. For example: "I think I will meet the girls/boys for a coffee", tongue in cheek, cutesy like. However if you come in and say "the girl is here to do your taxes" and in walks a woman, well..... I think it is rude and disrespectful. I also get cranky with women who tell me that they want to be called a girl because then they feel young (and giggly, and not worthy of respect, and immature, and immaterial). Damn it haven't we have come far enough to be proud of our years and experience! My 4 year old is a girl but I am 37 and I am a woman.

8. Ted and I once lived in a blue VW bus for a year in Australia. Just travelling from beach to beach "freedom camping", picking fruit, painting houses, carving a driftwood chess set. We still have the chess set, now my son plays with it.

I tag Stella, Liz Knits, Faith, Yarns in the Farms, Kathleen, (I ran out of possible candidates so 5 will have to suffice, this meme has been everywhere!) - sorry kids spill your guts.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

What you hear about quilters ain't all true...........

So there is a knitter in our knit group who upon hearing us joke about how crazy knitters are commented that "we ain't half crazy as them quilters, those quilters they are the really crazy ones". The rest of us unsure who really was the craziest murmured unsure affirmations. I may have kinda forgot to mention I quilt but since I am a knitter who quilts not a quilter that knits that craziest than a knitter at a yarn sale doesn't really apply to me.

Since I have huge amounts of spare time and don't know what to do with myself I figured I would make some fancy pants curtains, patchwork curtains, quilted curtains, call them what you will (the too much time, that was me making a joke, you can close your mouth now and laugh). So there I am at the local quilting store trying to find fabric for my "lets make them feel sick with so many spirals" curtains for the study and found NOTHING. Most of the curtains will be out of recycled fabric from op shops but I needed that little something special, know what I mean. I needed white fabric with a small black print, no other colours. NOTHING, I swear. Then this woman overhearing my plight mentions she may have something in her stash and asks for my name and address so she can send them to me. Just like that. And she did. And they were perfect. And she was from out of town so she had to wait until she went home. And she went to her local quilting store and discovered they had 3 fabrics that would suit. And she got samples cut and included them with the business card of the store so I could order them if I wish. And she included a lovely handwritten note wishing me well on my project. And she had no idea even what I was making with it as we never even had a conversation. Just like that. And now I feel really bad about what I had said about quilters. And even if quilters are crazy, well they are nice and kind and that outweighs crazy any day.

And yes I spread some knitting love back her way. These are blocking as we speak and will go out in the post tomorrow with a big thank you. I hope she likes them.

(Stats for all you knitting geeks: Fetching, knit in 100% alpaca in case she is sensitive to wool)

Monday, 4 June 2007

I haven't forgotten you...............

Sorry for the lack of posts but life keeps getting in the way.......

I will be really back within the next day or so, promise, but until then some snippets on what life has held for me lately................

...........this weekend I got to see a real life naked chair (no wait in order to get the really good google hits I need to add the word photo or picture. Try that again, a naked photo of a chair in a great picture setting, that is what I saw)

...........I experienced a random act of kindness from a stranger, a very thoughtful gift. Amazing how those acts can change you isn't it. Do people who do them realise that? Do I?

...........I called myself an artist for the first time and it felt really good, a little fraudulent but good.

............I learnt that not only do I need craft space but also a workshop with lots of powertools. Why did I not realise how cool powertools are? Especially tools with a compressor attached, oh yes siree.

.............Realised I can be okay with furniture with "Tui is a fucking cunt" carved into it as long as it is good looking.

..............I have been tagged with "7 things" and are desperately trying to come up with 7 random things about myself. It is times like this I realise how shy and private I really am. Most people who know me don't believe this because I always try to act like I am not shy but it is true.

..............Cupcakes do rule the world.