Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Foot Notes

Incredible to relate, during the blog drought I started and finished a pair of socks. Could the drought have been so long? Objectively it wasn't, or rather the combination of pattern, Puschkinia by Kirsten Kapur, and yarn, Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes Paintbox Gradient, were just so compelling that time stood still. Whatever. I'm quite pleased with the results.

Puschkinia FO

The yarn was an impulse splurge at last year's MDS&W. I don't often do that, but I'm glad I indulged. For one thing, I fell in love with Foot Notes while making Camino de Santiago. (Did I ever post its FO photo? No?? Gah, lemme fix that.) The yarn is wonderful to knit, on the softer and less sproingy side, yet with excellent stitch definition.

Camino de Santiago

Then there's the colors. Foot Notes Paintbox Gradients are comprised of 15 skeins of 30 yards (27 m) each. I selected the Wild Thyme colorway – it was very hard to choose, they're all so wonderful. Costly too, but ah well.

Foot Notes Paintbox Gradient, Wild Thyme

The pattern is masterfully written, as all of Kirsten's are, with helpful exposition for less experienced knitters (but not so much more experienced knitters become annoyed). In the flower section I made the CC yarn dominant over the MC yarn, and reversed that in the ticking stripe sections. I offset the ticking stripes just for fun, made an eye of partridge heel for fit, and a contrast toe to match the heel. It was a most enjoyable knit. Were I to knit the pattern again, I'd use two solids rather than a gradient to make the colorwork and stripes pop. But that's for next time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Great Blizzard of 2015

Sorry about yet another blog drought. Sigh.

Speaking of the weather, according to the quite alarming forecasts, overnight was supposed to be the Great Blizzard of 2015. There was the usual rush to the supermarket, then the tri-state region hunkered down with travel bans, warnings of white out conditions, and expectations of setting snowfall records. But the storm formed 90 miles to the east, so the forecast 30+ inches (76+ cm) of snow never materialized roundabout Exit 151, although other locations were hard hit. In the end we got maybe 5 inches (12.7 cm). Oh well, I'm relieved and disinclined to grumble at the forecasters. Instead, I made a nosewarmer.


I modified the pattern, knitting and decreasing in the round instead of knitting flat and using short rows. I worked the decreases opposite from the way one would work a sock toe (ie, ssk, k2, k2tog instead of k2tog, k2, ssk). The nosewarmer is for the next Free Art Friday Montclair (#fafmtclr), February 6. My first offering disappeared satisfyingly quickly, but there was no finder's photo posted, which is a bit of a bummer. I'm hoping for a finder's photo this time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

First Friday

Happy New Year! Roundabout casa Jersey Knitter it seems especially auspicious that 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. In Japan the New Year's postage stamp depicts a knitter sheep that has finished the scarf it was making 12 years ago. May that bode well for the many UFOs buzzing around Area 151!

Year of the Sheep post card stamps

Photo credit: AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama.

Indeed, encouraged by that example, I dug out an, er, vintage UFO, the wee beaded bag from ::cough:: September 2006 and finished it with an I-cord strap and a beaded edging around the flap. It felt wonderfully right, as if I'd never put it down. Behold, the first FO of the new year (with NJ quarter for scale)!

Wee beaded bag

It seems to me one shouldn't hoard such good karma for oneself. Accordingly, I left the wee bag by BAB for Free Art Friday Montclair (#fafmtclr), a local version of a global scavenger hunt. A lot of FAF pieces involve graphic arts, but I thought an objet could add a touch of whimsy to the day. It does seem as if some FAF scavengers take things a bit too seriously, as if the goal is having rather than finding. That said, if you find the wee bag, take it if you wish – it's free. Or, leave it to brighten someone else's day.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Last Sock

Behold the Singleton Socks of Shame! During the year three socks came down from the clothesline of shame, none went up for a total of seven Socks of Shame at year end 2014. Not too shabby – this tough year is tied with 2011 and 2012 for the lowest number of singletons of shame.

Singleton Socks of Shame, year end 2014

Singleton Socks of Shame 2014, left to right: Meadowlands, Fawkes, Julesokker, Love Me Knot, Clouds, Chain Link, Hanauma Bay.

I was very tempted to try to finish the Hanauma Bay pair and set a new record, but common sense prevailed. While I've sometimes willingly complicated my life, lately there have been so many involuntary complications that a space for grace makes for greater peace and happiness. I did finish my Ixslein socks for November Sockdown, and it is they that have the honor of being the last FO of the year.

Ixslein FOs

On the Asian calendar 2015 is the Year of the Sheep, which would seem to bode well for crafters. May it be so! See you next year!!

Edited to correct the last digit of the new year, oops.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Raft of Disconnects

Gentle readers, at year end I'm pondering an odd disconnect or maybe even a whole raft of 'em. Objectively it was a productive crafty year yet it doesn't quite feel that way to me, perhaps because so much of the time I was playing catch up, not least on the blog. Or maybe it was the incessant snow and cold last winter – strange now to think I was freezing soap bubbles for amusement last January.

Big and wee Sockdolager Frozen soap bubble Martha Stewart mittens Moulin Rouge Shawlette Sochi Olympics and Scar sock

Equally strange to think the Sochi Olympics and Russia's seizure of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine may have been related, or that the Ravellenics could implode over human rights and successfully reform.

Granny Hearts Scar socks Betty's Tee, frogged 40 Bags in 40 Days Artfully Simply Infinity Cowl

Then there was the marvel that was the Boston Marathon Scarf Project: simple, yet powerful and so right. Love wins!

Brucie Boston Strong scarf MDS&W sheep Sockdolager Bike the Drive 2014

The summer was full of alarums of all natures and more family crises. Which likely had its effects, positive and negative, on all my crafting, including my Tour de Fleece spinning.

Camino de Santiago socks Tour de Fleece fiber and spindle Hurricane Arthur storm track Skein of Sweetness and Light Bricks and Tiles socks
TdF spinning Hanauma sock and storm tracks for Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio Small quilt Small project bag Blue ribbons
Christiana headbands Salunga beret People's Climate March Columbus Day harvest Cricket loom

In the midst of this, DH gave me a Cricket loom and I discovered I rather like weaving. It takes me a long period of concentrated effort to warp the thing, and (sadly) tranquil blocks of time are a somewhat scarce commodity at the moment. I put the loom away for the holidays, but I do hope to spend more time becoming familiar with rigid heddle weaving next year.

Cricket scarf Homespun prayer shawl #1 Mitten Tree hats Cream Circles hotpads Benedict Cumberbatch bookmarks
Homespun prayer shawl #2 Prayer shawl pins Spiral Sock frogged Shorty Friday Harbor tabi socks Ixslein socks

So that's my crafty year in pictures. The display is partly an attempt to remind/convince myself of the year gone by, which even now doesn't quite hang together for me and perhaps never will. But I did my bit, and there's just one last post for tomorrow and my fibery 2014 will be complete.