31 August, 2006

What I did on my vacation

While I am looking for the tapestry needle to bind off my first sock, I just wanted to share with you all my funniest pattern book. I know many models have done knitting patterns in their early days, before going on to become famous. For example Cindy Crawford, Andie MacDowell, the actress who plays that crazy Sheila on that one soap opera The Young and the Restless (or as we called it in college, The Dumb and the Useless)... all did a few knitting patterns before they hit it big.

I am guessing that didn't happen with these models.

mc78 did some hilarous captions for the pictures. You absolutely must check them out here!

Shot entirely on location in Switzerland.

I would like to see a modern pattern book with cocktails.

We have all the most high tech toys.

Going for the intellectual look.

Even the fake braids can't get the attention of these guys.

Nice classic sweaters. But I wonder what they are so concerned about.

I love the expression.

You went to Switzerland with your model airplane?

Striking an action pose to look like an outdoor guy. This is my favorite.

Please, no fishing jokes.

The sweaters are very nice, like all Spinnerin patterns. But I can't even see them, I am too distracted!

24 August, 2006

I give in

Socks, socks, socks are everywhere. I love handknitted wool socks, and I still wear some made for me by my grandmothers. Thick socks for winter boots. They are so comfortable and they could never, never be duplicated by something store-bought.

Myself, though, I was never interested in knitting socks, except for replacing my grandmothers' socks when they wear out some day. When Nancy Bush started coming out with her sock books, oh more than ten years ago, I thought why would anybody want to knit socks enough to write a book about it? How many socks could a person possibly want? Socks are just for utility, kind of dull. I mostly associated handknit socks with Birkenstocks, and I was never one for Birkenstocks either. Knitting socks was just silly when you could be knitting a sweater, or a jacket, or a scarf, something that can be seen while you are wearing it. To me, knitting was all about the glory of a beautiful sweater, the drape and warmth of a large knitted fabric.

Forgive me for my prejudice. My resolve to never make socks is wearing down. First of all, there are all these magically beautiful sock yarns. Here is one that Kris showed on her blog, and here is the result. Turquoise, lime green, with a touch of yellow, such a gorgeous color combination. Here is another on Yahaira's blog. The stripes are so cheerful, looking at them just make me smile. I drool over Lornas Laces Bittersweet and Socks That Rock County Clare and Curious Yarns Ocean. The truth is, I really just want more reasons to handle beautiful, gorgeous, soft, colorful yarn.

So, I determined to knit some socks. I started my preparations by buying a book. I like to do my research properly. The Charlene Schurch book Sensational Knitted Socks seemed like a good comprehensive intro. Charts for making all the patterns in any gauge, and toe up, toe down, any way you want. The patterns are divided into chapters with four stitch patterns, five stitch patterns, cable patterns and so on, all of which you can make in any gauge and any size. I LOVE this kind of layout. And after a while I had to have Nancy Bush Vintage Socks, who could resist?

And then I started picking up a sock yarn here and there. First secretly some Wildfoote in brown and gray, handknit socks were for boots after all. This was months before I even acknowledged that knitting socks might be ok. Then I got a bunch of Silja, in solid colors, I had to stock up as it was being discontinued in this country. And some Plymouth Sockotta. And some Patons Kroy. And some GGH Marathon. Last week I got a ball of Trekking. It doesn't seem so expensive to get a skein here and there. Wait, is this some kind of marketing ploy?

The time is right for my first basic, solid colored sock:

I decided to do a very simple pattern for the first pair. This is the Beaded Rib in Sensational Socks, knit with Silja sockyarn. I am extremely paranoid about either running out of yarn, or making the sock too short, so it's toe up for me this time. I am also extremely picky about wanting socks that are very stretchy, so I went with a variation of rib. For the same reason, I will probably never do anything really fancy in patterning.

I am enjoying it. It's going pretty fast in spite of the thin needles. Each round is so short, that when I tell myself I'll just do one more round I end up doing several. The sock is growing at a VERY satisfying rate. And there will be no finishing, and only four ends to darn in. I might be a convert! But will they be comfortable? Will I be able to wear wool socks over bare feet? Time will tell.

From a fashion standpoint, one thing I have not figured out yet, is when I will wear them. All my shoes are either dressy for wearing with hose, or they are for wearing with bare feet in the summer. I don't wear any shoes at all that require "trouser socks". I certainly can't wear them with sneakers.

Will this be a fashion faux pas? Will I be able to coordinate? Stay tuned.

20 August, 2006

A scarecrow and a sun worshipper

The Elspeth bolero is coming along. It's missing one sleeve still, but that seems ok for a scarecrow. Challenge #6 was to find an unusual model. The scarecrow is guarding the high-bush blueberries, but it seems that the birds have taken most of the fruit already. The cultivated blueberry bushes are five-six feet tall, which is quite surprising to a Norwegian. In Norway, blueberries grow wild on the floor of the forests, little plants maybe ten inches tall, covering the forest. At our house here in Mass, we have six big bushes, and they are a little bit leggy at the moment, but they should fill out by next year after the pruning we did. And next year maybe we will put the net around them, to protect from the voracious birds. I love birds, but I love blueberries, too!

We moved into this house a year ago now, and we thought we would take it easy with landscaping the first summer. Wait and see how all the things planted by the previous owners turned out. Turns out that was a good idea, because flowering things have been popping up in the most unexpected places. And the blueberry bushes actually had lots of berries, they just didn't have a chance to ripen. I should have put that scarecrow up sooner!

I can't believe it's been a month since I posted anything. Not much knitting has been happening, and it's been busy with friends and family visiting, including Blossom and Ohana, and going to the beach. It's been fun. While Blossom was here, we did some sewing. Check out the beautiful Cherry Bomb dress she made. It's so perfect, the style and the cheerful fabric!

The weather has been very good, and here is somebody who has been loving it:

Every time I walk Pippi when it's warm and sunny, she plops down and stretches out on the grass. Greyhounds LOVE the heat. And she doesn't care that the grass has mostly been burnt off by the hot sun. (I know, it's pretty sad) But maybe next year we should also try to use those fancy garden implements called sprinklers.

Amazing Lace #6

A scarecrow wearing a one sleeved Elspeth bolero is watching over the blueberry bushes.