Friday, January 30, 2009

Not Rocket Science

or How to Knit Legwarmers

Use Worsted weight yarn and whatever size needles you usually use with worsted. Better yet, use needles one size smaller.

Cast on 48 stitches and join to work in the round.

Work in k2, p2 rib, changing colors as you fancy (or as the yarn supply dictates) until they are long enough.

Bind off loosely.

If you want to make these for a child, cast on 36 sts and proceed as above.

Edited to add: further discussion/elaboration here, here and here.

Not fancy, but functional. This one is about 3/4 done.

The Mix It Up socks are 100 per cent done. I was working on these at my regular Thurs night group last week and happened to mention that this was not self striping yarn. For some reason, this impressed two of the others beyond measure. I don't get it. One of them was working on lace, and the other has made a sweater with stripes. Maybe they were just being polite.


Category #14 in the life destash project is "Things You Can Palm Off on Others".

Here are some nice pieces of cotton fabric, not big enough for actual garments, but would be good for cute crafty projects.

I do not sew worth beans, but I know some people who do. If any of these people happen to show up at Last Saturday Knitting, and happen to want any of this, I'll be hauling it along. Just sayin'.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Some benefits of the grand dispersal

My hands are in pretty good shape, considering that it's winter, from working on using up the 1/2 bottles of hand lotion.

I found a pair of nice warm mittens I had completely forgotten about.

Mr S was inspired to get a hanging organizer for the back of the coat closet door. I think it was really designed for shoes, but the pockets work equally well for hats, gloves, even collapsible umbrellas. (We saw this in action when visiting sister Annie P, and thought it was brilliant.) So the nice warm mittens are easily accessible, yet out of the way.

I can see sections of my bedroom floor that haven't been visible since the turn of the milleneum (also dust and cobwebs that have been there almost as long).

Today I ventured into the basement and found

smocking books. When the dearest daughter was very little, I used to sew for her. I'm sure there are still a couple of smocked dresses in the attic (I haven't ventured that far in the clearing out process yet, but I'm sure they are there). I haven't needed these books in a long time, and probably never will. (If/when grandchildren arrive they will get hand knits). So why hold on to them? I just have a hard time letting go of a good reference book. I dunno, knowledge is power?

For now they will go into the "think about it stack". The think about it stack has been a useful tool in the divestment process. It sits where I nearly trip over it, so I have to notice it. And usually by the third time I look at/trip over something I had thought I might want to keep I say "naaah, let it go." I'm not numbering this bunch yet, though. I just might want to keep them.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Today I am letting go of (#12) some things I've kept out of a sense of obligation.

For the most part, these were gifts. I have a hard time feeling that I can dispose of a gift without in some way rejecting the giver. It's sort of magical thinking, I suppose. Certainly not rational, but there you go. I tend to feel rather guilty..... All the same, I'm letting go of a candle holder and a couple of books, a pin and some CD's, a dress. Call it guilty relief.

On an unambiguously cheerful note, the little baby socks I did on a whim have found a destination. I'll be sending them as part of a package for the Ravelry KFO group's current service project. That just makes me feel good.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hmmm, could be a slipper....

I did this

to test knit a heel. Wanted to make sure that the numbers I came up with on paper actually worked. After setting it down and glancing back at it, I realized that if I just kept knitting a while and then put a toe on it I would have a slipper. I want some slippers, but in heavier yarn. So what you see is probably as far as this particular piece will go. I'll tuck the idea away for later, though.

The yarn is Bernat "Sox", a 60/40 Acrylic/Nylon blend. And for what it is, it's not bad at all: Which is to say, Acrylic will never be Merino, but I've also felt wool blends that weren't appreciably softer, to my touch anyway. My feet (I can't think of a way to put this more delicately) sweat a lot. So for my own use I want sock yarn with some wool or cotton in it. Still, I could see using this yarn for kids' socks, or for a baby sweater.


Today's disposal category is "Things that need to be washed first". (I'm sure St. Vinny's gets lots of donations that aren't clean, but hey, I'm trying to be virtuous here). This lot (#11 ) is just two aprons and a bathrobe. I would show you, but they are in the washing machine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reminder to Self

" Simplicity means to be free of desires and attachments, and supremely happy within.... It entails neither hardship nor deprivation, but the wisdom to work for and be content with what you truly need."
-Paramabansa Yagnanda

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hat Tip Revisited

Phyll commented that spinning pet fur isn't that uncommon, and she's right. My favorite aunt knit a sweater from her Newfie's wool.

What made me initially think the video in my Monday post might be a bit tongue in cheek was the totally deadpan aspect of the testimonials. Much as I love my cats, I'm not sure I want to be carrying around their fur after they are gone. (On the other hand, I may well still be sweeping up their fur long after they are gone, without even a purse to show for it.)

Also, I thought the shot of the cat in the blow dry chamber was totally hysterical.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Hat Tip to Andrew Sullivan

Oddly enough, he found this concept "very, very strange"

No, not spinning. You have to watch it. OK, even I think it is funny when they put it like that.

ETA: I did think at first that it was a complete put on, but, I dunno, there's a website.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moving Right Along

As you can see, there has been progress on the "Mix It Up" socks. They are looking rather rustic, but, I think, cheerful.

The current elimination category is (#10) catalogs. There really aren't too many piled up around the house at the moment, because a lot of them go straight into the recycling while I'm still at the Post Office. That's kind of a cheat, though. It keeps some of the clutter out of the house, but doesn't do anything to eliminate the waste. So a couple of days ago I started calling companies to ask that they stop sending them. Then I thought I would try one of the online services to do this, and I went to

It was pretty easy to register. We'll see how well it works. A lot of the companies listed have not entered into an agreement with Catalog Choice, so I'm not sure if this will be effective or not. Have to give kudos to Patternworks for being one that has agreed. I like looking through their catalogs, but I know how to find them online, so it seems better to save the paper and the energy used to transport them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Unrelated Items

Friend Gayle sent the link to a knitting related story in The USA Today. Always like to see knitting covered in the MSM, and I must say I would have a more kindly regard for airports if they all stocked little knitting kits in their gift stores.


A.Pazoo! Why did you not tell me that Scott and Zelda are buried in a certain city in MD which will remain nameless here, but you know where I mean?

(If that seems cryptic to anyone else, well just keep in mind that any occasional non-knitting readers of this this blog have absolutely no clue what I am talking about when I start nattering on about "short row" vs "band".)

You know it is cold when you (or more probably, I) have to scrape frost off of the inside of the windshield before heading out to work.

I hadn't worn these in several years, because they require hand washing, and I got tired of that routine. They came out of the closet this week, because nothing is warmer than slightly felted 100% wool. (Well maybe alpaca, but I don't have any alpaca socks.) So I guess some things are worth hanging on to.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting Back on the Horse That Threw You

I did, momentarily, consider the option suggested by Magnusmog and Tracy, which was to just forge ahead with non-matching socks. I'm not averse to a little asymmetry. In fact, the striping pattern on the second was a little off, and I had noticed this before I caught on to the (really larger) rib vs stockinette discrepancy. I'd decided that was a variation I could live with. But what tipped me in favor of frogging was the sense that the difference in texture would feel funny around my ankles. Don't know if this would really be the case, but I went ahead and ripped. I'm now nearly caught up again on the second sock.

See that nice sunshine? Don't be fooled; it's damn cold out.

I'm going to go with one strand of red held with one strand of white for the heels (and, when I get to them, the toes). I've decided want something without gusset decreases, so that leaves the "afterthought", some variation of the "short row" and the "band" as possibilities (maybe others I'm not aware of). I'm leaning toward the band. I did look up something called a Jo Jo (or Yo Yo) heel that is a sort of short row variation I would really like to try - but I haven't mentally sorted out how to handle the color change with that one, so I think I'll leave it for another time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The light bulb goes on

I-cord for little thumbs, why didn't I figure that out? It seems so obvious once it's pointed out. Anyway, thanks Linda for the illuminating comment.


On the clearing out stuff front I've had a realization of a different sort: if a thing has been sitting in the same place long enough, it becomes functionally invisible. Alas, not actually invisible, I just stop noticing it amid the other clutter, or in some cases behind the other clutter. So today's disposal group (#9) is a mixed lot.

After I took the picture I also threw onto the pile a couple sets of old aluminum double points (too heavy & slippery for me), and a felted bag that was an experiment gone awry. It was one of those things I kept wanting to like, but never did. Also some leftover Christmas cards (about three years' worth).

I never seem to send exactly a box of cards. I'll go through 3/4 of a box, or a box and a half, but it never comes out even. So I save the few left over, thinking I will use them the next year. But by the next year, I can't remember exactly who got which cards the year before. The light bulb has gone on that it's kind of pointless to hold on to them.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sometime last week I finished the leg of the first "mixing it up" sock.

It's waiting for a decision on heel color and style. Also, I like to work on two socks alternately, so that I'm done with both at more or less the same time. The total knitting time isn't any quicker this way. It just avoids that moment of "Oh, gee, now I'm going to have to start all over again."

I decided to start the leg of the second sock while Mr S and I watched videos on Saturday night. It really moved along, I was just about one stripe repeat short of done by the end of the evening. Except,

I forgot to stop ribbing.

Just when you think you have explored every possibility for goofing up your knitting, you find that you have not. Oh, gee, I guess I'm going to have to start all over again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Absolutely too cute

Molly Bee has made the teeniest mittens, and they are so cute. Scroll down past Ben, who is also cute, but definitely not teeny. I clicked on the mitten picture for a closer look, because I thought, "Maybe I can make some of those." And maybe I can, though at the moment I have a hard time imagining I could muster the dexterity to work those itty-bitty thumbs.

On the "clearing things out" front, I have (#8) a stack of magazines ready to take to the free box at the library. They could just go into the recycling, but I'd like to think that at least one other person might get some use out of them first.

Of course, this is only a temporary measure, as the magazines keep coming into the house. This makes me think I need to reconsider our subscription list.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An Invite

Yesterday's mail brought "A personal invitation to join the knitting elite" from Vogue Knitting. Think my name will go up in lights somewhere if I subscribe?

Now if they could magically bestow on me the wit (and sheer productivity) of the Yarn Harlot, along with Debbie New's technical ingenuity and Deborah Newton's knowledge of garment construction, then throw in the color sense of Kaffe Fassett or Kristin Nicholas, oh and Janet Szabo's skill with cables and Nicki Epstein's general brilliance - well, in that case I'd happily sign up for life.

But somehow, I think membership in "the knitting elite" takes more than just buying four magazines a year.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thought for the day

Sneezing with a mouth full of oatmeal is not a good idea.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I've been spending a bit of time

(too much, probably) looking at Suffolk churches. Online of course, not in person. It all started when I did a Google image search for "angel roofs". (Those of you who are Dorothy Sayers fans will understand why.) The search led to a really exceptional website and now I stay up too late at night looking at pictures.

In the same search I came up with The Sock Tsarina's The Nine Tailor's Sock I will never knit this (too many things on my mental list already) but I'm delighted by the thematic and technical virtuosity and the fact that someone has based a sock pattern on one of my favorite books.

Packed up and ready to go (#7)

Odds and ends of yarn destined for the High School art teacher, who has already told me she can put them to good use.

If you have been keeping track, you may notice that I am already probably close to eliminating 50 discreet items from my life. But there is still such a lot of stuff to be eliminated that I am aiming for 50 groups of items - though a "group" can be anything from two on up.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Disposal Categories

Tracy commented, "The clutter guy on Oprah says there's two types of clutter 1)Sentimental and 2)I might need it someday." And really, that about covers it. But I am finding subcategories.

Today's (# 6 on my list) has been "things half used up." More specifically, things half used, then pushed to the back of the closet/cupboard/drawer and forgotten. Some of these things only need to be pulled to the front and intentionally used (1/2 tin of Ghiradelli cocoa, 1/2 bottle of hand lotion, another 1/2 bottle of hand lotion). The others (2 bottles of half dried nail polish, 3 lipsticks in colors I won't wear again, seed packets several years past their germination date) The cosmetics are going in the trash. I will toss the seeds outside.

I also found a half used can a spray starch. I haven't quite decided what to do with that yet. I really need to find someone who actually irons things, with starch. That person doesn't live in this house....

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Not (!) Hard to Get Rid Of

Every year, our friend Aileen in California sends exactly the same gift. And it is always perfect. Utterly enjoyable, and takes up no storage space whatsoever. (Well a little space on the table for a few days, but none at all after that.)

Waaaay back in May I started a second Hudson River Triangle, and during the early summer I finished about 75%. Then it sat. Around about September I finished all but about the last 15 rows. Then it sat. I don't know why. It just did. Finally, during our long drive to Illinois on the 27th, I polished it off. This morning I wove in the ends, gave it a soak, and spread it out to dry.

Maybe by next summer I'll feel motivated to give it a more formal blocking, but maybe not.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Mixing it up

Sometimes I like to play with colors by combining yarns. I decided to "get rid" of some sock yarn that had been sitting around for ages by using it up.
I have one yarn that is a black and white twist with occasional spots of green, and I'm knitting it together with, alternately, a solid white and a solid turquoise for tweedy looking stripes.

This results in something close to a sport weight, and will make nice warm winter socks.

I took the picture using this:

It is the cutest little tripod ever, a gift from my great sister A. It bends all over every which way, and I think may be the perfect solution to "how to take pictures of socks on my own feet". Also, it seems to have a cheerful personality, and looking at it makes me smile.

On the destashing my life beyond yarn front, today's topic is (#5) mugs. We have way too many mugs. This is because Mr S keeps acquiring them. Some come as "teacher gifts". But mostly he picks them up himself. Some are souvenirs from trips. The majority come from thrift stores. The man can hardly pass a thrift store without stopping in and picking up a mug. He buys them because they say "Elvis" or come from a city we have visited once or just because they are nice and big. This has led to a large and aesthetically diverse assortment. The problem with trimming it down is that I really can't give away his stuff (I wouldn't want him giving away my stuff). But I have managed to weed out a few that came from my side of the family, as it were. This includes three truly beautiful (and actually matching) ones that my mother gave to me because she really never used them and didn't have room for them. I never really use them, either. If you live long enough, one way to get rid of stuff is to give it to your grown children. My grown child is still living in an apartment about 2 feet square, so that isn't an option here. The mugs are headed for the thrift store.

I'm quite excited that I've just signed up for a class to be taught by Nancy Bush at the Sow's Ear in February. It's based on her Knitting Vintage Socks, which, oddly, is one of her books I don't have. But I would take it no matter what the subject. I love, love, love both Folk Socks and Folk Knitting is Estonia. I'll happily go learn anything she has to teach.