September 2005

Last night, I left work “early” (6:45) to meet SuperTarzan at the TLA for the Sufjan Stevens concert. It was probably just as well that we wound up being late, as we still got in and found a spot to stand before the opening act started. I was impressed that I actually liked the opening singer, whose name is Denison Whitmer; it was partly that the songs were good and partly that I could understand nearly all of the words. Yeah, enunciation! (I think a good chunk of my pickiness about enunciation stems from the fact that I have to wear earplugs to concerts in order to not be in pain after about five minutes.) Anyway, Sufjan Stevens and the Illinoisemakers were great, just as I’d hoped. The only downside was that it was standing room and their music isn’t really dance-y enough to do much more than stand.

For Cyn, here’s a (sadly blurry) picture:


Alas, my camera doesn’t have a setting for “I don’t care how dark it is, but it shouldn’t be blurry”. Next time…

Meanwhile, much to the amusement of SuperTarzan (and probably the confusion of a few of the other patrons and quite likely also the waitresses), I pulled out my knitting as soon as the music started. I don’t have a shot of the sock from right before the concert, but here’s what I’ve got now.


I still have a few inches of ribbing to go, but I’m hoping to finish these in the next month or so. Hey, maybe I can wear them for my birthday!

In other sock-related news, it’s finally been cooling off here. I was so happy to be able to wear long sleeves outside this evening, while I walked home.

I’ve been busy with work and worrying and such lately, but I still took a few hours last night to go to Anj‘s house for dinner and knitting. I wound up walking all the way there from work, which is (according to the google pedometer) a little over three miles. It was a very nice walk, even with the light rain, but I’m still glad my walk to work is closer to twenty minutes than an hour. And the solitary walk plus dinner and an evening with a good friend was exactly what I needed.

Oh, and the sock is a little bit taller.

I am beginning to understand Stephanie‘s dislike of variegated yarns for lace. I was all excited that the Diamond Fantasy Shawl pattern came, and I started knitting, and I got this:


I can tolerate some pooling, some puddling, a very little bit of flashing, but not stripes. (On socks, they’re okay, but this isn’t socks.) I came to the conclusion that this yarn needs to be knit into something rectangular, so there won’t be rows short enough for stripes. I went through all of my books and magazines (second time for this yarn…), and came up with a possibility in the North Sea Shawl from Folk Shawls. I cast on fewer repeats than the suggested 109, but it still seems plenty wide. On the other hand, I’m still not sure I’m happy with what the color is doing.


I’m going to finish the second repeat and decide then. In case I decide to switch patterns again, suggestions would be welcome. Assuming I can find an appropriate coordinating yarn for the border, I’m considering something like the Heartland Shawl from Folk Shawls.

For now, though, I’m going to sleep. I’d kind of like to not start this week really tired. I’m sure I’ll get that way over the course of it…

While I was in New York last weekend, I stopped at Habu Textiles. I hadn’t been there before, though I’d heard about it from lots of people. It felt a little weird, since the door opens on a sort of weaving showroom, but I settled in to spend a good, solid forty-five minutes in the closet-sized space with yarn hanging from the wall. Much of the yarn that they have is too fine for much knitting–I was tempted by a beautiful saffrony color, but it was basically thread, so it seemed a tad impractical. And they had a lot of cotton, which I don’t really like knitting with, and a lot of silk. I didn’t see any of the stainless-steel blend for sale, but I did get to touch a sample. I’m not sure I’d want to wear it, but it would be interesting for some sort of hanging.

oodles of laceweight

I wound up buying three kinds of yarn, but you can only see the one that’s for me. The others are gifts for people whom I’d like to surprise… Anyway, the yarn I’m keeping is $11.85 worth of A-93, which translates to close to three thousand yards of natural laceweight wool. I’m thinking about dyeing it, but I can’t quite decide on a color. I have some acid dyes buried in my art supply crate (but no mordants on hand), I was thinking of trying kool-aid dyeing… Maybe red, since that should be doable with kool-aid, or possibly some kind of dark gold-orange color. I’m also debating about splitting it into a few different batches, in which case I might make one of them blue or purple and use it as a gift.

A lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately has been my uncle (the one who got married on Monday), because he’s been in the hospital since Tuesday. The doctors seem to think (this is third-hand, mind you) that they can get rid of the tumors that have been blocking his kidneys, and the impression I got is that it’s safe to be cautiously optimistic.

What’s been bothering me as I try not to think about serious problems that I can’t fix has been that I can’t find my 3.75mm bamboo circular, which means that I can’t start the Diamond Fantasy Shawl.

(As I thought about where I could buy another, I remembered something that one of my coworkers said at happy hour on Wednesday. He’d seen Sophie’s, one of the three yarn stores in Center City Philadelphia, and couldn’t believe that they really only sold yarn and knitting (and crochet) stuff and could still stay in business.)

Then, about half an hour ago, I got a phone call from one of my best friends. There was an explosion in her apartment building last night, a few apartments over and two floors up, and she needs help documenting things for her insurance and cleaning what can be salvaged. An extra added reason for her to need help is that her husband can’t really do anything resembling manual labor right now, since he had a bike accident a few days ago and has a broken collarbone and possibly broken ribs.

I’m going to go to work and feel lucky today.

I just got up to shoo Mel off of the dining table, which is still covered with blocking boards and pins because I need to reblock the shawl. (I couldn’t wait for it to dry fully because I’d’ve missed my train. It was fine for inspiring awe among nonknitters, and it’s not like it was anything like cool enough to wear a shawl last weekend.) When I grabbed him off of the corner closest to me, I thought I saw something drop off of the other side of the table. No, it wasn’t something on top of the blocking board…it was the corner of the blocking board. Ah, well, at least they were cheap. And I have a handy pickup truck for if I want to get some sort of replacement.

In a similar vein, there was a bit of conversation at my lab happy hour (goodbye-probably-only-for-the-semester to our summer rotation student) this evening. I don’t recall quite how we got to the topic, but I said something about how I hadn’t even been knitting yet at happy hour (that time), and then I pulled out my sock, since people were asking what I was knitting these days. Angela asked something about the fiber content, I think Thomas said something about other knitting projects…and somehow the conversation evolved toward my saying something about the size of my stash. Being nonknitters, they did not immediately think of yarn or spinning fiber. Nope. Much mirth ensued. (But no one gets either flame or smoke anything like that close to my yarn stash! Even the Chanukah candles stay on the table, on the other side of the room.)

And, while I’m being tangential and rambly because it’s late: On the train to Trenton on Saturday, a group of women sat down in the seat across from me and found a small (~2cm square) ziplock bag of green leafy stuff, which I (and they, clearly) presumed was what my labmates pretended to think my stash was. (In case you were wondering, they gave it to the conductor as soon as he came by.)

I am absolutely insanely busy right now, both with work and with my personal life. I’ve been running around, visiting with lots of different people… Since I want to run more literally (on my elliptical machine) in the morning, I’m just going to post a few pictures.

the Empire State Building, as viewed from behind the coleus in my grandmother’s window

Great name for a retirement home, isn’t it? This is from the 92nd St Y street fair on Sunday.

I won a wonderful prize from the Give a Little drawing. I thought it was going to be one cd, but it turned out to be eight! It was a very nice package to find on my desk when I got back from NYC.

the second wildfoote sock, at Jill‘s last night: that little bit of yarn next to it is what’s left of the first skein

I decided a few days ago (Tuesdayish) that I was going to try to pull a Stephanie and finish both my flower basket shawl and the wedding present for my uncle by the end of the week. The fact that I almost immediately thereafter borrowed four books from Kirsten put a bit of a kink in that plan. My new plan is to just finish the wedding present for Thanksgiving, which is going to be my next trip to New York.

Tonight, though, I one-more-rowed myself into finishing the flower basket shawl. I’m hoping it’ll be dry enough to pack by the time I leave in three hours.


I tried the string-through-the-top blocking method, and then I added more pins because it didn’t seem to be working properly. Fortunately, I’m not as picky as some about blocking perfectly, especially because I figure I can reblock it later if it seems off when it’s not being compared to gingham.

I’d talk more, but I haven’t started packing yet…

I’ve found that knitting expanding lace triangles is a three-phase process. There’s the beginning, in which I’m learning the pattern but the rows are very short. There’s a middle phase, when I’ve almost learned the pattern, so that even though the rows are getting longer, I’m making progress quickly. And then there’s a third phase, when I already know the pattern, it’s not really interesting anymore, and the rows are really long. At this point, progress is slow. I’m in the middle of the third phase on the flower basket shawl. I just finished the eleventh repeat. I think I’m going to knit one more repeat from the middle chart and then switch to the edging chart, for a total of thirteen basket repeats.

In the meantime, while my enthusiasm rebuilds, I’m preparing for my next lace shawl project. I figure I should try to at least start projects with all most of my Maryland yarn* before going to Rhinebeck, so I’ve balled the yarn for my next lace shawl:

lovely backdrop, eh?

The next question: What pattern should I use? I’ve only got a little over 600 yards.** It’s variegated yarn with enough colors that I’d like the pattern to be pretty simple, but it shouldn’t be boring, either. I rather like the “knit a point-up triangle and add edging” format, because it’s a way to knit a full-sized shawl without being really bored by the end, but the “knit a rectangle in one pattern, switch to another, and then knit a second rectangle in the first pattern and graft them together” might be good, too.

*The orange mohair is going to wait until I’ve spun up the second shade of orange wool-mohair, so it won’t be started until well after Rhinebeck.

**Judging by the flower basket shawl, that should be plenty, but I’ve been having trouble finding a suitable pattern.

I came home at 5:30 yesterday especially for the farmers’ market. Here’s what’s left this afternoon. (I couldn’t seem to get my camera to focus on the apples/pears instead of the table, so I present to you this oddly-photoshopped picture. The background colors are picked from the fruits.)

oh, look! a crappy picture!

I ate two Asian pears as soon as I got them home, and I’ve already had two honeycrisps. The giant apples pictured are more honeycrisps (my new favorite apple), and the small apples are….something elses, two of each. I haven’t tried them yet. I may wind up going to the less-local market on Saturday so I can get more honeycrisps, at which point I’ll try to note what kinds these others are.

Mmmm, local fruit.

As you may have noticed from the button in the sidebar, I’ve joined Secret Pal 6. My answers to the questionnaire are in the extended entry.


Today has been pretty lousy, but it hasn’t been entirely bad. I got some really nice pictures this morning (for work, and I’m about to take some more), the weather’s almost nice–just a smidgen too warm for me, but very pretty, and I’ve made some progress on spinning thicker singles. Also, several people have said that the crinkly mohair blend skeins are probably underplied and that I can just spin them again to add more ply-twist. And I’ve ordered yarn for the wedding present that I’d like to be able to gift in two weeks (it’s not going to be wire, after all).

I can’t think of any other reason for this yarn (and the other wool-mohair I’ve spun) to look this crinkly, particularly in comparison with the merino-silk… I think it’s getting stuck in the plying or something. Maybe it’ll help if I do that whole slidey fuzz-reducing thing, the plies will stick together less? It might help, but the fact that it looked so nice before I set the twist makes me wonder.

the skein, yesterday morning

So, now that I’ve finished off that batch of wool-mohair, I’ve started on the orange merino-silk. After that, I’ve got this:

mmm, more orange

That’s more wool-mohair from Three Waters Farm, matching the stuff I just finished spinning except for the darkest color. So pretty….

Since I haven’t done much knitting lately and I’m thinking of a knitted gift for my uncle’s wedding in two weeks, I picked up needles again last night.

look, knitted wire!

My plan is to knit them a bowl or basket of some kind. I doubt I’ll have it done by the 18th, when I go up to New York, but I’d like to at least know that I can knit wire nicely. And then I can have it done for Thanksgiving, when I’ll see them again.