Sunday, June 25, 2006

be happy you're not covered in greasy seal soot

Recent reading: just finished The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party, by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. Imagine being marooned on Antarctica for two years. Now imagine feeling obligated to bury thousands of pounds of supplies in several depots 700 miles into the continent. On foot. In blizzards. Antarctic blizzards. Trust me, you can't even begin to imagine it. If you've read any of the Shackleton stuff you'll be amazed by what you missed--this is an incredible story, every bit as incredible as the Endurance saga, and masterfully told. There are many characters and few photos, but Tyler-Lewis manages to make the various individuals recognizable and palpable. Four stars plus.

I might not pick up a new book before we leave for Berlin on Thursday. I like to have a fresh read on a long trip. These are the books I'm bringing with me:

Doctor Zhivago
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Devil and the White City
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

I'll knit between now and then. I'm also bringing three sock projects and NO OTHER KNITTING. And my yoga mat. And my laptop. Roughing it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

glad to see the back of the bob socks

OK, well, they're done.

bob socks
pattern: wendy's generic toe-up
yarn: regia something
needles: US 0's for most of it, US 1's for the top inch of ribbing, and US 3's for the bind off
modifications: 3 X 1 ribbing for the leg

I love this yarn, and I loved starting the toes this way, but the leg part was very frustrating, required a few rippings before I could wear them, and still feels kind of snug. It's possible that I've been knitting so much that my gauge is tightening, and I therefore simply knit the socks too small. Anyway, DONE.

to build a better bob sock

Well, I knit up the second bob sock following Wendy's Generic Toe-up Sock Pattern, and although it is (deliberately) 2" shorter than the first one (i.e., it doesn't try to reach over the "powerful" part of my calves) and I bound off using size 3 needles (compared to the size 0 needles with which I knit the socks)... it is still too damn tight at the top. I did not have this problem with top-down socks, so I'm a little baffled. My new plan is to rip out the top inch of ribbing and increase by four stitches (as Wendy recommends in her pattern) and at least one needle size. If that doesn't work, I might just give up on the toe-up sock. :-(

Otherwise I really love these socks. Pics at some more completed stage.

My education in the knitting of socks continues hand-in-hand with my education in blogging. I have yet to develop a blog voice that fills me with joy. With other kinds of writing I've found that this is largely an audience problem, which is to say that I sound funny if I don't have a clear sense of who I'm writing for. Two solutions occur to me:

1. I could make up a fictitious correspondent, let's call her "Poodle," for example, and write my blog entries to her.

2. I could share my blog with someone, a la Mason-Dixon Knitting. I love this idea. The perfect correspondents for this purpose would be The Wise Ones, my two graduate school buddies (from lo these many years past), except that........ they are (gasp) not knitters. But what the hell, they could write about other stuff, right? I provide the knitting, singing, and poodle content, they provide the academic, career, Unitarian, dance, and cat content, just to name a few possibilities? The other stumbling block would be their very demanding jobs, but maybe the benefits to soul and intellect of sharing a blog with me would cancel that out.

Just thoughts.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

new do

The poodle has her summer do! And doesn't she look happy about it. I love the way she comes out all skinny and pointy. She only weighs 37 lbs. under all those curls. Nothin' but curls and bones.

My sweetie just left for a week in Poland. I hate it when he leaves. But this week will be the last week of school (all half days), so that will be easy. Then he'll be home for four days before we all leave for summer in Berlin! Prima! Toll! Viel Spass!

My in-laws gave me a lovely check for my birthday with which to buy something nice for myself in Germany. I'm thinking....... YARN. Anybody know any good LYS's in Berlin?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

the bob sock

Meet the bob sock, so called because it was knit, from about 1/2" above the toe to where you see it now, while waiting for my friend Bob to get into, through, and out of his retinal re-attachment surgery. Which went well, thanks for asking. Maybe I can get this puppy off the needles while I take Bob to his eye doctor this afternoon.

As a thank-you, Bob gave me a Richard Shindell cd, Vuelta, which is awesome and bookends beautifully with the Richard Shindell cd, Blue Divide, that my sweetie gave me for my birthday. If you don't already love Richard Shindell, go out and discover him (start with Somewhere near Paterson, or Cry Cry Cry, which he made with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky).

Anyway, the bob sock. It's my first go at the toe-up sock, using Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock pattern (sorry I don't know how to link yet; I'll learn), and I'm very much infatuated with the toe-up sock. It's entirely possible that all three pairs of socks I intend to knit this summer in Berlin (one for my sweetie, one for The Movie Maven--my 12-year-old daughter-- and one for the Penguin--my 10-year-old son). No, I have no plans to knit socks for the poodle. She already has a sweater, which she doesn't even like. And as soon as I figure out how to put FO's in a sidebar, I'll post a pic.

Monday, June 05, 2006

very important "person"


seasonally inappropriate gifts

But what the hell, I'm a knitter. I make knitted gifts. These voodoo wrist warmers are for my indispensible support system, my graduate school buddies. The reddish ones are for Tracy and the tealish ones are for Susan. Worsted weight yarn from my stash, size 3 dpns, pattern from

recent reading

Just finished Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. The ending is pat and disappointing, but the rest of the book is brilliant. The narrator (a 9-year-old named Philip Roth) is a gem, and the premise (that Charles Lindbergh wins the presidential election and the US is plummeted into an era of latent fascism) is so believable, at least as it gets played out in this book, that it reads as a cautionary tale. Four stars (out of five).

I can't recommend strongly enough that everybody read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. I am a wimp about things like terror, injustice, suspense, gore... and I loved this book. I'd never read Capote before (never really liked the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's--don't tell my daughter the classic movie afficionado), but now I'm panting to read more. Don't think of it as a murder story. Think of it as a collection of beautiful character studies. Five stars.

Just started The Lost Men, by Kelly Tyler-Lewis. A Shackleton spin-off. Who knew there was another whole exploration party attached to the Shackleton trans-Antarctic mission? that did NOT all survive? Completely absorbing so far.

Now again, when I figure out how to get people to see my blog, can somebody tell me how to put things like "recent reading" in a sidebar?

Friday, June 02, 2006

hol(e)y jaywalkers

First FO to blog! Koigu jaywalkers. They're a little too short for my feet because I was worried about running out of yarn (I needn't have been), but perfectly wearable. I loooove koigu. BUT... I did have some issues.

See that hole, right at the ankle where I picked up the 16 gusset stitches? It happened with both socks, and on both of my first pair of jaywalkers, but only on that first side of the gusset. Can anyone tell me why that happened? And then can anybody tell me how to make it so anyone ever sees my blog?

First blog!


No idea how this blog thing is going to work. I have a feeling it could really eat up my time...... but I've had so much fun and learned so much reading other knitters' blogs that I had to give it a go. Stay tuned!