Wednesday, May 23, 2007

To Becky, With Love

[In which I get the best sock swap pal ever, gush enthusiastically, tell seven things on demand, and fail to follow instructions]

When I first got myself involved with the Hogwarts Sock Swap, I went to one of those sorting links and got myself sorted, just like I'm supposed to. Then, about a week later, it dawned on me that I probably could've skewed the results to get a color combination that I'd really like.

I started worrying, a little bit, that I'd get ... bumblebee socks that I'd always want to hide under long-ish jeans, much like some of the socks I've knitted for myself. After all, there have been plenty pictures posted that I haven't liked the looks of much at all. There have been a lot of nice socks, if only they weren't in black and really dark bright yellow.

Meanwhile, I have been watching pictures go up on the Hogwarts sock swap blog that I do like. There was this one post of a washcloth that I thought was really, really cool. And the same knitter posted that she'd mailed her package, which, as you can see, was absolutely lovely. I found myself hoping she was my pal.

Then I got tagged for the seven things meme by Becky. And I poked around on her blog a bit and I found the socks she knit for her swap pal and I thought, "Gosh, I like those a lot." And I also thought, "Look! She's the same person as knit that really good-looking dishcloth!" And then I thought, "Oh, she can't be my pal. She posted not-anonymously to my blog."

So while I was taking my sweet time looking for seven bloggers who hadn't already been tagged for the seven things meme, that beautiful package was winging its way through the mail ... to me!

A part of me didn't want to unwrap it. Wrapped packages are so attractive, don't you think? And Becky got all this properly-colored tissue paper and ribbon and made such a beautiful package out of this!

But I felt a timely thank-you was most important, and ripped the lovely wrapping to shreds to find this...

No socks? Well, I hadn't unwrapped quite everything. Look at this stuff! She sent me two different kinds of SweeTarts. I must live in the wrong part of the country or something. I've never seen chewy SweeTarts! (They're good!) The bowl is a 7-quart Good Cook Bowl. Don't worry, I will use this! Ghirardelli 60% Dark Chocolate mmmmmmmmm! Chili-pepper (perhaps jalapeƱo?) and spice sticky notes and a magnetic shopping list. Clover Bamboo double-pointed needles, 7" long size 2. I'm thinking I'll make a hat on those. Out of sock yarn. The coveted dishcloth itself! And...a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Watercolor! Yes, yes, YES!

But wait! the SOCKS!

Not only are these beauties MINE...

But they fit PERFECTLY!

If your monitor has washed-out the yellow like mine has, Becky used a slightly paler-than-required shade of yellow. I think I might have asked for that, but I don't remember clearly. I really, really like these and will NOT be hiding them under long jeans. The stitch pattern is really nice, too. Just a little texture that goes really nicely with the yarn.

Becky gave me the ball-band from the socks. She used Louet Gems, which not only meets my stringent requirements for being machine-washable, but I have heard a rumor that this is the yarn used to make that gorgeous hand-dyed line we know as Koigu.

She also sent a little note saying this was her first sock swap. Becky, you knit great socks, and I am not worthy.

So here are my seven things:

1/ I am the only child of two only children.
2/ My father's parents were born in the town in Germany (Hameln) where the story of the Pied Piper originated. I still have relatives there and I visit once in a while. My German is atrocious.
3/ I do not own a television, and I actually found a man who also does not have a television. He's perfect for me in so many other ways it's as if we'd been raised to be together.
4/ I'm right-handed, and when I was a kid, for fun, I taught myself to write with my left had. This came in really handy when I broke my right collarbone in high school and couldn't get my right arm up on a desk for six weeks.
5/ Mental illness runs in my family. Sometimes I feel very guilty about being ok.
6/ I still haven't graduated from college.
7/ I own two different models of Hybrid cars. One is the Honda Insight, and the other is the Hybrid version of the Honda Civic. Both have manual transmissions, even though most hybrids are automatics.

As far as finding people to tag, I'm not doing so well. A lot of people on my blogroll have already been tagged, even if they haven't answered the tag yet. I noticed that Dave declined to even participate, in the most clever way (scroll to the bottom of the post)! So here's an open invitation to anybody who'd like to be tagged - you're it! If you'd like it to be official, let me know and I'll come on over and tag you! The rules of the meme are that you tag seven people and list seven things about yourself. Well, it's easier than the 100 things meme, eh?

So...I'm going to go back to weaving the ends in on the socks I'm knitting for this sock swap. Too many ends. Waaaaay too many ends.

Time for another chewy SweeTart. Mmmm.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


[In which I finally upload a picture and pick my own jog-less join method.]

If you've read Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys recently, you'll recognize what happened to me to cause me to change my posting style. I just received the book back from someone and went looking for the part about the lime (because I had run across mention of it and couldn't remember anything about a lime and didn't have the book at the time, which then permanently attached the existence of the lime into my consciousness in a way it could never have been attached before.) Of course, once I found the lime, I had to read the rest of the book.

If I'm not careful, this is going to turn into one of those Batteries Not Included experiences. We had cable back in the late '80s, and one of the premium movie channels was doing a one month free promotion. I would come home from work and channel surf until I found myself watching Batteries Not Included. I usually watched to the end. But in that entire month, I only actually saw the beginning of the movie once. I very vehemently did not want to buy this channel after that experience. So much for the get 'em hooked with the free trial marketing strategy!

Still waiting for the promised picture? Oh, alright!

These are the Tulip Socks designed for me by my From the Heart Swap partner, Cathy!

I turned out not to be up to the task of taking a decent picture of them on me. They're lovely, though. And the rolled cuff is really neat! Thank you so much, Cathy!

Meanwhile, I've been knitting and not taking pictures. I finally got some Lang JaWoll in acceptable colors to use for the Hogwart's Sock Swap and had to start over from scratch at about three inches in.

Here's the thing. I'm really sure that I'll give away who I'm matched with if I post a picture. So ... sorry. I'll tell you all about what I picked to make and why after the socks have been received. But I can tell you about my gauge experience. I have knit about four pairs of socks in Lang JaWoll after swearing I would never, ever touch the stuff again after I failed miserably to turn the heel on the first sock I tried after about 20 years after the first sock I ever knit. (From that experience I learned that blindly following a pattern was not enough to make something you could wear.) I must've ripped that heel out five times before giving up in frustration and getting myself some inexpensive KnitPicks yarn to fight with.

So I picked the sock which seemed the closest to what I'm planning to knit for my swap pal and measured the gauge on it in as many places as I possibly could. I came up with a pretty consistent 9.5 stitches per inch. I cast on and started knitting and concluded very quickly that something was not right. My pal has feet that are narrower than mine, and I had cast on more stitches than I need for my own socks and these socks were clearly coming out considerably larger in circumference than my ordinary socks. So I checked the gauge on all the other socks - the ones where the only place I can check the gauge is on the bottom of the foot - and concluded that my gauge in that yarn with those needles is ... 8 stitches per inch.

I decided not to send them with a note suggesting that perhaps after repeated washing she could borrow the socks from her husband once in a while to see if they'd shrunk enough.

But my other problem was that I hated the way the "jog-less join" was coming out. Knitting two stitches together with both yarns and then pulling on the ends wasn't making so much of a jog-less join as a wonky join. I just didn't like it.

Enter a combination of Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice (something about when joining a new piece of yarn to knit one stitch with both the old and new one and then knit with the new one) and Nancy Bush's tendency to have a seam stitch (one purled stitch). I've been purling the one join stitch with both yarns and it's looking pretty jog-less to me.

Hey, I'm satisfied. That's about as good as it's gonna get.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's true, I have no pictures


I'm in a flurry.

But I finally bought yarn for my swaps. Actually, I bought yarn for one of my swaps already, and when it came it was all wrong. So I went and found something else.

I also made an Argosy in the past week. I used size 10 needles and mohair yarn and it's lovely. When I put up pictures, you'll be amazed. It's shockingly lovely (and considerably less than 26 repeats!). It went really quickly.

And the kipper bags are on Clearance. I got a set. They're wonderful. Go get one before they're all gone. I'm serious!

I'm in a quandary. What to do on May 30? I have to choose between the Harlot and Weird Al. Weird Al will be within twenty minutes of my house and I am completely likely to run into lots of friends at the concert. The Harlot will be at WEBS and it's an hour and a half from my house and I have to go to work the next day. But it looks like that's the closest she's going to come for some time, since I missed her the last time she came through here. I know I'm going to end up going to Weird Al. But it bugs me to miss Harlot. Grrr.

I've actually re-scheduled another appointment I had on that evening, or I wouldn't have been able to choose between the two, so I suppose I should be happy for that much choice!

Whine whine whine, complain complain complain.

"I can't complain, but I do anyway." -me

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