Posts for : January 2014

Socks!! 4

You knitters already know this, but for any woodworkers or bird watchers who might have ended up here, let me say that if you’ve never worn a pair of handmade socks, hurry up and befriend a knitter! There’s nothing better.


Gridiron Socks 2


I finished these yesterday. The yarn is yummy Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock that I got at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair a few years ago. It sat in my stash making yarn eyes at me until I found myself in need of some crazy-colored sock yarn for a Knit-A-Long my friend and sock mentor Debi was hosting in our Raverly group. They feature Debi’s Short Row Heel with Mini-Flap and Gusset, and they’ve turned out to be the comfiest of all the comfy socks I’ve every knit! I’m not taking them off until at least the end of April.


Gridiron Socks 4


Pablo Neruda would understand:

Ode to My Socks

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

~ Pablo Neruda
Gridiron Socks

Look! A Llama!! 2

It’s so sad when good blogs go bad. Not bad bad – but quiet, less active, un-updated. You know what I mean. It’s hard not to take it personally, at least a little. And there’s that hole where all the good stuff used to be.

I adored Crochet With Raymond. It ran for about two years from 2010 to mid-2012. Alice and her cat, Raymond, showed up every day or so with gorgeous pictures of beyond gorgeous fibery projects. There were frequent tutorials and plenty of Raymond stories and all kinds of things to ooh and ahhh over, and it just never failed to make me happy and leave me feeling inspired.

As Alice got on with life, though, keeping the blog up-to-date began to take a back seat to other things. Eventually, it stopped altogether. It’s perfectly understandable. But sad. For us fans. I miss reading about Alice and Raymond.

Then there are the blogs that don’t completely stop; they just get . . . less energetic. This sort of blog goes from being something absolutely regular and dependable to something less regular and dependable. Here, I think of Little Cotton Rabbits and Julie Williams crazy amazing color sense and, of course, of Franklin Habit’s The Panopticon.

For a number of years, Franklin Habit was not only the smartest, funniest, most charming knitting blogger around, but he was also so darn dependable that it started to feel like we were pals. For years I’d wake up, kiss my husband, feed the dogs, get a cup of coffee, and log on to the computer to see what Franklin was up to.

If work was yucky or errands were piling up or the holidays were causing me stress, I could always turn to Franklin to be reminded that all we had to do was keep on knitting and eventually everything would sort itself out. Then Franklin went and got famous, and everyone wanted him to be everywhere, and even though he’s awesome, he’s still only one person, so . . . less blogging. This totally makes sense. But it’s sad. For us fans.

How do Jean Miles and The Yarn Harlot do it? Thanks GOODNESS for Jean Miles and The Yarn Harlot. But HOW do they do it?

I’m so far from having any kind of answer to this question that — Look! A llama!!


1 13 5


This is the lovely Knickita. She donated this:


Cupcake Sprinkles 3


Which (with the addition of a little bit of sari silk for the spots of color) allowed me to make this:


Lin Lin FO 7




Lin Lin FO 4




Lin Lin FO 5


What were we talking about?

Some Things I’ve Learned 0

Dear Knitters,

Here are some things I’ve learned since the last time we talked.

1. It is a seriously bad idea to try to hold onto a cat who doesn’t want to be held onto.

2. Wearing Crocs in the mud . . . just don’t.

3. Indoor plumbing is a blessing from the gods never to be taken for granted.

4. The slipperiness of llama poop defies the laws of physics.

5. Shopping at Walmart should only be attempted when you are ready for anything. ANYTHING.


1 13 14 adj

In other news:

–My lace ambitions have been put on hold for the moment. I’m still scheming but have been distracted by the learning opportunities mentioned above and planning my project for the revamped Ravellenic Games. After much consideration, I’ve decided to go with something fun and straightforward in a fabulous rainbow Koigu KPPM. My project will be Kristen Kapur’s Ida’s Kitchen hat. I’ll post pictures when the yarn arrives!

–And socks. Always knit socks.

Can you hear me now? 2

Do you ever feel like there’s so much data coming your way from so many different channels that your brain might explode? I read something a couple of years ago that explored the theory that humans can only care deeply about individuals up to a certain number and that, beyond that, greater numbers make genuine empathy less and less possible. A person might go to enormous lengths to help the family next door whose house burned down but be completely unable to process – on a personal level – the idea of 610,042 homeless people in the U.S. on a particular night in January.

As a coping mechanism, this makes sense. If you’re tending your own fire and keeping things that go bump in the night away from your own cave, you can’t afford to expend too much time and energy worrying about the people in the caves over the mountain or across the ocean. The effort probably won’t help them, and it might cause you to get eaten by bears.

With our current interconnectedness, though, so many important things are just a website or a TV channel away. Now, we’re all in one big cave together.

Only we aren’t. It seems to me that human connectedness has become a much more complicated thing than it once was. “Can you hear me now?”

On one hand, as knitters, we can come together through Ravelry and thousands of individual blogs and websites in a worldwide community of people who share a passion. Fiber lovers in Australia can share patterns and ideas with people from Lebanon to Duluth. We’re a small world, and it feels great!

On the other hand, while many of us are busy planning our knitting projects to coincide with long stretches of TV watching during the Winter Olympics coming up in Sochi, we’re learning that the Russian cave can be a pretty awful place if you’re on the wrong side of what passes for “normal” in that country or if your views differ much from the state-sanctioned ones.

Over the last few days, a big section of the usually friendly world of Ravelry has exploded into a fractured, angry place, and it all has to do with this one big cave idea.If you’re not familiar with Ravelry, it’s a social networking site for fiber people. There are well over three and a half million registered users, and in my experience, it is generally a constructive, rich environment for connecting with other people who love knitting as much as I do. Every two years when the Olympics roll around, Ravelry hosts the Ravellenic Games. Knitters (and crocheters and spinners and weavers) challenge themselves to various feats of fiberly daring while everyone enjoys the Olympic Games on TV.

This year, the normal camaraderie has been turned on its head. The line between a “no politics in the main games forum” rule and the need to respond to Russia’s wide range of human rights abuses in the lead-up to the games has become a very blurry one indeed. I’m the co-captain of one of the Ravellenic Games teams, and I’ve spent many hours over the last two days trying to keep up with it all. In the process I’ve been challenged to think long and hard about the nature of our global connectedness.

At one extreme people want to “just get back to our knitting,” and at the other extreme people are accusing fellow Ravelry members of practically being Putin himself for looking the other way while outrageous persecution is going on.

In the main thread alone, there have been well over a thousand posts since Monday morning with some pointing out that this is a life-and-death issue that can’t be ignored and others pointing out that their own lives are dire beyond repair due to illness or personal tragedy and that knitting, crochet, Ravelry . . . is the one blessed escape so please stop talking about the idea of athletes and their families being arrested and hidden away indefinitely in Russian prisons for being gay. A few times the same people have found themselves actually voicing points from both sides.

By the time last night wound down, I was feeling mentally flattened by the whole thing. Everyone is right. Everyone is wrong. Where do you situate yourself to sort it all out? I truly don’t know. My plan today is to spend less time reading posts and more time knitting as I think about it.

Meanwhile, the current winter storm has brought record low temperatures to caves all over the U.S. Here’s what our house looked like yesterday.


Jan6 1


The weather is beautiful but extremely cold. And look at this:


Jan6 2


That is a picture of thyme. I found it on a little shelf full of organic plants at the grocery store last Spring. It had pretty well died by mid-summer. For some reason, I planted the “dead” stalk in an empty space in the garden. I’m so glad I did. It’s come roaring back and appears to be surviving even this below-zero stretch of temperatures.

Stay warm, my friends, and try to find yourselves a little time to knit.

Friday Thoughts 0


Guess what. Jean Miles has started a new, once-in-a-lifetime lace shawl, the Unst Bridal Shawl. Can you believe it?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently following along in 2006 as Jean knits the Princess Shawl, and the whole idea of this kind of immense project has taken a mighty hold on my brain. It seems over-the-top in that scary but oh-so-tempting way that something like skydiving might. You’d have to be utterly committed before the jump. Starting and not finishing would be such a terrible let down. At the same time, part of the attraction lies in having to let go of the outcome.

At one point during the knitting of the Princess Shawl, Jean says this:

If I knew for sure what the word “Zen-like” means, I might say that this is a Zenlike experience. There is no realistic prospect of finishing in any sort of imaginable future — of finishing the edging, even, let alone the shawl. The whole pleasure resides in the process, like life itself.

Mmmmm . . .

With the fun of the finishing and wearing or finishing and gifting so remote, would you knit in a different way, with a different mindset? How about the fact that I have no imaginable use for such a thing? Does that make the whole prospect more or less outrageous? Owen Meany, anyone?

While trying to figure all of this out, I’ve signed up for Eunny Jang’s lace class on Craftsy. I’ve also been doing some reading trying to get my mind around exactly what such a large, lace shawl would entail in terms of knowledge and skills. Surely, I’d need to work up to it with some smaller projects, but which ones?

In the meantime, I’m two squares into the Lizard Ridge, and I hope to wrap up the Lin-Lin Shawl before the end of next week. That’s a picture of the Lizard Ridge squares above. The Lin-Lin will be hard to photograph until it’s off the needles, but I’ll keep you posted. There will be car travel this weekend, and you know what that means!

2014 0

Happy New Year!

May your 2014 be filled with health, happiness, and plenty of knitting!

January 1st


P.S. I think I’m going to be okay with that extra stitch in my Lizard Ridge. It’s not something I’d want to get used to, but I’m pretty sure I can roll with it this once. Score one for sanity.