Monday, February 27, 2006


From left to right, that's the llama, the alpaca, and my first skein of two-ply, 15 yards of white Corriedale. Plying was kind of a pain, but it took the extra twist out of my over-spun singles, and after I soaked and dried it to set the twist, it turned into this lovely fluffy soft stuff! We're having a kool-aid dyeing party on Sunday and I'm thinking of taking the rest of the white roving to experiment with.

I start my new job on Wednesday! Luckily for me, we're having beautiful weather, so I went out to run errands today. I stopped at the library, and while I was there I thought I might as well look at the knitting books. The advantage of not looking up the call number for "knitting" is that you have to wander around the 700s saying "I know it's here somewhere," and then you end up finding a copy of "High Whorling" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Or at least that's what happened to me. I'm hoping to learn great and useful things!

In case you were all wondering, I did indeed finish my Olympic knitting, and posted at 1 AM Saturday at the Team CO blog to prove it. It's a SURPRISE, though, so full details will be forthcoming soon, but not quite yet. I will say that I learned a great deal, that The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques is a fantastic resource, and my finishing skills have increased so much that I can make some really good-looking stuff.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Today Erica and I went to the Alpaca Extravaganza! We met up with Jenifer and Meike and her Alex, and had a great time looking at all the adorable alpacas. There were also, of course, Things To Buy, like rovings and handspun yarn and handknit garments and alpaca-shaped cookie cutters. (No kidding.) Some of the yarns were beautiful but none of them really insisted on coming home with me, but I did pick up some lovely rovings for spinning practice: 1 oz. of red-brown suri from that handsome guy on the left up there, who goes by the name of "Reggae Rock-It," and 2 oz. of fiber from a llama named Kelly, a blend of her natural brown/gray and a bit that was dyed sage green. I can't wait to start spinning it all up!

The Extravaganza will also be going on tomorrow (Sunday) all day at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Check it out!

Friday, February 24, 2006


Oh, it's been too many days... so sorry. But I've been working like a fiend on my secret Olympic project and it's nearly done! I promise that soon there will be a very exciting post - not the project, that has to wait, but details from tomorrow's Knitting Field Trip, which will involve new yarn, spinning fibers, and large fluffy animals. Wait and see!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Deep freeze

I'm afraid I don't have much of interest to say this evening. It's -8 F outside and I've barely left the house for two days, just going out to shovel snow and rescue Oliver from having to take the bus home. It doesn't make for exciting blog posts: "Today I drank five cups of tea and wore my Capilene thermals!" But the Olympic knitting is progressing nicely and I have high hopes, though there may be a last-minute sprint to the finish involving all the 1x1 rib stitch on the button band.

I had to take a break from watching the Olympics, though. The ice-dancing costumes. Ow, my eyes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Chocolate Day!

This is Peaches. She and I want to wish everyone a happy post-Valentine's Day, when all the chocolate goes on sale!

The box she's holding, though, came home with Oliver last night from the Belgian chocolate shop downtown. Its contents are disappearing rapidly! We had a nice quiet evening at home, punctuated by our inability to open a bottle of wine - I suspect that wine purchased in Oregon (Bridgeview Riesling, my favorite) experiences some sort of pressure thing when brought to 5000+ feet. My Swiss Army knife was not up to the challenge until I held the bottleneck under hot water for a minute. I think a trip to Peppercorn for a better corkscrew is in order. Conveniently, they also sell chocolate. How 'bout that?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Unloved Sock Yarn!

My yarn from the Unloved Sock Yarn swap has arrived! It's from Cate, and the package contained all this good stuff: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock merino in teal green, a lovely card, and of course, fabulous chocolates. :) I've been wanting more solid sock yarns to make all of the neat lace patterns in the Nancy Bush books. Thanks, Cate!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

More on the Belarus scarves

After some careful use of the TiVo and a little Google work, I can tell you that the scarves seen in this picture are, in fact, the same pattern seen on the Belarussian flag, which is a traditional textile motif. Isn't that cool?

I also noticed that the Estonian team was wearing white hats and mittens with a single traditional motif knit in blue. I don't, unfortunately, own Nancy Bush's book Folk Knitting in Estonia, but I know it's in there - it's the diamond pattern in the sock on the front cover.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Knitter changes techniques mid-competition

Yes! It's true, I was sitting there last night watching the opening ceremonies (what was up with all the disco?), knitting stockinette stitch and thinking about how much I disliked purling. So I went to and watched the video for purling, Continental-style. OMG IT IS SO MUCH BETTER. I'm still a little awkward but it's no slower than my old English-style purl, and it's easier on my hands. I'm still working knit stitches English-style, but once the Olympics are over and I'm not under time pressure I may switch all the way. Never fear, my Anglophilia is intact in all other aspects - it's just that this Continental thing makes so much more sense.

Speaking of the opening ceremonies, there were some really good outfits. In my opinion, the Brits and the Kazakhs had the best scarves (though there were many more nice ones), and I liked the chic French off-white scarf/hat ensemble, but the Mongolians and Kyrgyz had the most awesome hats. Coincidentally, the traditional felt Kyrgyz hats were featured in the latest issue of PieceWork. Kate Gilbert also draws our attention to the stunning scarves of the Belarus women. Romania also had some nice side-to-side knit scarves. India had neat traditional woven hats.

But I have just one question: Who on earth came up with the waltzing cow couples???

Friday, February 10, 2006

And they're off!

I have everything I need for the Knitting Olympics: yarn (newly wound by hand into center-pull balls!), needles, pattern, swatch, tea, a TiVo scheduled to record lots of skiing, and a fresh batch of chocolate-chip cookies. I even had a good warm-up this morning, shoveling snow off our porch and sidewalk. And I'm wearing my lucky socks, the first pair I ever made (purple worsted wool with a simple lace pattern). But I'm afraid you'll all have to wait to see my project, because it's a surprise!

Good luck to all knitters! Spectators, enjoy watching the spectacle of all of us working like crazy for the next two weeks!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Basket case

After much fussing and ripping and re-knitting on Tuesday, I finally arrived at a new sock plan. The yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Lodge Grass colorway. I started on the Conwy pattern (from Knitting on the Road), but after the success of the Elfine socks, decided I wanted to knit it toe-up instead of top-down. Figure-8 cast-on, knit knit knit, swear grumble rip. The Conwy pattern is kind of tricky to knit, and with the fuzzy mohair content and dark color of this yarn, I could tell all that fancy patterning was just going to vanish. So I poked around in Beautiful Knitting Patterns and tried a lace pattern, with the same effect. At this point I was at my first meeting of the Boulder Handknitting Guild. The meeting was a lot of fun; the people are really nice and I think I can learn a lot from them. As it happened, we had to move the meeting to the Borders cafe at the last minute. What does Borders sell? Yeah, that's right. I picked up a copy of Sensational Knitted Socks and flipped through it, and the result is this wonderful basketweave rib. It's easy, it looks great, and it highlights the colors, but the pattern doesn't fight with the yarn. I worked on it for hours last night at S&B and this is the result.

You may have noticed that I'm knitting these on a long #1 bamboo circular needle. This is one of the two that I picked up on the Denver expedition a few weeks ago. To my great annoyance, the #1.5 Addi Natura snapped right off at the join almost as soon as I started using it. These are from Crystal Palace, and while the join is a bit rough, it's not as much of a problem with magic loop technique and obviously my knitting is flying right along.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I've been good about clearing out finished projects from the list in the sidebar, but not so good about posting new projects! So today I took lots of pictures, and you can see the updates over on the right. I'm making a pair of felted slippers from Lamb's Pride worsted (blue with silver trim), using the FiberTrends pattern. I started another pair of beaded wristlets in Plassard fingering-weight alpaca, with a star pattern in blue beads. I'm about to re-start the Conwy socks in Bearfoot yarn, but I don't have a picture yet. Do I have too many WIPs? You bet!

And I've been working on the Paloma sweater every day. I finished the colorwork, got the hang of stranding, and am now working the complicated 32-stitch lattice cable pattern. It rolls terribly so it's hard to photograph, but I'm hoping that a good solid blocking and sewing the front & back together will fix that eventually. I love the way the revised color pattern came out and I like watching the cable develop, though it's a little scary since I'm blindly following the pattern and hoping it actually works.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


The Rock Creek Elfine Socks are done!!!

They're fantastic. They fit perfectly, they're incredibly comfortable and warm and soft, the colors are beautiful, and I think I need about six more pairs. I think the short-row heel is the best part of the fit, despite all of the cursing and ripping I had to do to get it right. I have tiny narrow heels and socks with heel flaps never seem to fit quite right. I am hereby stepping out into the world of Reworking Sock Patterns, as I've already cast on a pair of Conwy socks (from "Knitting on the Road") and I may just have to change the heel.

Of course I have to have more pictures: on the right you can see the colors more clearly, on the sole, and on the left, a clearer shot of the lace pattern.

Details: Pattern: Elfine's Socks, worked on US#1.5 needles with 4 fewer stitches on the sole and heel to account for narrow feet, and fewer repeats on the leg for a shorter ankle sock. Yarn: 1 skein of hand-dyed merino sock yarn in the "Rock Creek" colorway from Sunshine Yarns. I still have a fairly large ball of yarn left over from the generous 440-yard skein. I worked part of the first sock with Addi Turbo needles and the Magic Loop method, but switched to Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs when the Addis started to hurt my hands.

I highly recommend this yarn and pattern to everyone!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Next stop Kendall

Last night we watched Next Stop Wonderland, one of my favorite movies. It's quiet and a little melancholy, and was entirely filmed in Boston. Since I lived there for 6 years, during college and my early 20s, I spent a lot of time walking around the city feeling quiet and melancholy, and so the movie really resonates with me.

Also, it has cute penguins, a lovely soundtrack, and Hope Davis in a series of fantastic sweaters. I spent a while looking for a gray wool turtleneck like hers before realizing that I look terrible in that shade of gray. Last night I noticed she also has an off-white cabled wrap cardigan, and something that looks like red mohair... I'll have to go back and look more closely.

For some reason, I also find myself wanting to watch Amelie today. I think it's because I love the aesthetics of both films. I like the way they decorate their apartments, the way they dress, the colors of the background scenery. So, readers, what movies make you want to redecorate, or wear a new skirt, or otherwise change your artistic outlook on life?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bloggers Silent Poetry Reading

Idea provided here. This is one of my favorite poems; it's a long one but worth every word.

Sunflower Sutra by Allen Ginsberg

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.

Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.

The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hungover like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.

Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust--

--I rushed up enchanted--it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake--my visions--Harlem

and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the past--

and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye--

corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb,

leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear, Unholy battered old thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then!

The grime was no man's grime but death and human locomotives,

all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artificial worse-than-dirt--industrial--modern--all that civilization spotting your crazy golden crown--

and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar bills, skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what more could I name, the smoked ashes of some cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the milky breasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs & sphincters of dynamos--all these

entangled in your mummied roots--and you there standing before me in the sunset, all your glory in your form!

A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze!

How many flies buzzed round you innocent of your grime, while you cursed the heavens of the railroad and your flower soul?

Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?

You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!

And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!

So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter,

and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack's soul too, and anyone who'll listen,

--We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we're blessed by our own seed & golden hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.