Socks, and more socks

Published on Tuesday July 11th, 2006

It’s another sockfest Chez Blue Garter these days. My mother’s here (she’s actually painting my basement as I type – such a good mother is surely deserving of handknit socks!), so I’ve been able to gift her these:

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These are, of course, the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road. My mother and I have actually been to Conwy (I was thirteen, and thought scrambling all over the crumbling castle was about the best thing ever) and blue is her favorite color, so I thought these would be perfect for her. I knit them on US #0 circs, so I had to adapt the pattern somewhat. In hindsight, I probably would have been fine with #1′s. The socks are a pretty snug fit, even on my narrow feet. But I like the way the Lorna’s Laces stripes so beautifully on #0′s – #1′s make it flash, in my experience, and this sort of tabby effect pleases me much more.

I’ve also finished one of these:

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Love, love this Pomatomus sock. I made one little error in the last chart repetition before the toe – I swear there’s something a little goofy in the instructions – but you can’t really tell, and it’s the part that will be in my shoe anyway. Again, this yarn is fabulous Claudia Handpainted in “Plumlicious”, worked on #2′s as the pattern directs. I didn’t get row gauge, so I shortened the heel flap to avoid knitting a full-on toga for my heel, and I sort of freestyled the toe decreases. Other than that, I’m working Pomatomus exactly as directed. Time to cast on its mate!

But first, back to the basement. My poor indentured parents shouldn’t slave alone, handknits or not.

One last peep before I go:

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Tour de Fleece handspun, Part 1! I’ve made two spindles full like this. The folks at the local bike shop where I’m watching the Tour have probably never seen anyone spin and watch cycling at the same time. But they’re kind of digging it, I think. Our new neighbors manage the store and they’re awesome. Yay for awesome neighbors!

The Borrowers Aloft

Published on Tuesday June 27th, 2006

Eep, we did it! We closed on the house! I signed my initials to countless pages of hoodoo legal jabber ensuring that I’ll wind up in debtor’s prison if I don’t bestow vast chunks of my net worth on the bank each month. My signature now appears above the words “Borrower #1″ on a tome of documents thick enough to stun an ox. Mr. Garter’s “Borrower #2.” We are the borrowers, and we drifted through the rest of the afternoon in a bubble of ether heady enough to fend off the Dear-Lord, what-have-we-done panic, at least for the moment. We even managed to open five new bank accounts along the way. (Our new bank is adorable. They gave us t-shirts designed to welcome us to the city and to promote local pride. Mr. Garter’s is egg-yolk yellow and says “Portlander”. Mine is sky blue and says “PDXIST”, which sounds vaguely illicit in a pleasing sort of way.)

Most importantly, we caught the last ten minutes of the France v. Spain match at a bar near the title company’s office. I have a long-standing affection for Les Bleus, having been in France during their victorious ’98 World Cup ride, and having been educated about the players and their merits by a lot of enthusiastic little schoolboys. (I was nearly run over by the Team Austria bus while riding my bicycle near their training center, by the by.) So I was happy to see them go through to the quarterfinals, and delighted that Zizou made that beautiful final goal.

I’ve turned the heel and worked the gusset of Pomatomus, and I’m swooning over the perfection of this yarn and this pattern in company. Pictures tomorrow, if there’s time between taking Mr. Garter to the dentist and both of us to the chiropractor and back to the bank and over to help my aunt move some of her things… And if I can catch my breath after all that, I’ll relate to you a most marvelous Sockapaloooza story.

Hippotomatomus…

Published on Saturday June 24th, 2006

…Was my interpretation of “hippopotamus” as a child (maybe because my mother’s side of the family passed down a freakish tendency to say “tomahto”), and now it’s what comes to mind when I’m trying to remember the name of that groovy sock pattern everyone’s knitting. The first time I saw them, I knew I had to make myself a pair. I finally finished the Conwy socks, and I was too impatient to even set up a photo shoot before I cast on Pomatomus yesterday. So here’s my beginning:

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Reclining in the slug-eaten calibrachoa. Poor sock deserves better, I decided. So I went around to my mother-in-law’s side of the house to pose it among the dianthus.

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Much nicer. I’m using Claudia Handpainted fingering weight in “Plumlicious” – oh, how plummy! I love the way it’s working up with nary a flash nor a pool – this happy result has persisted through the first two repetitions of Chart A since I took these pictures. And I haven’t found the pattern to be too toothy yet, although I did have to tear out half a chart repetition this morning when I got a little too glued to the Germany-Sweden match. World Cup soccer is prime for knitting, by the way. Nothing is as ideal as the Tour de France*, but soccer is a close second. Unfortunately, the Viennese Shrug requires a little too much attention to the pattern to be good TV knitting, but I’d say it’s five eighths finished. Of course, I’m not going to want to model it for you while it’s 95 degrees, which is the weather we’re having this week. We’ll have to take some pictures at dawn while it’s still cool (and this is the beauty of Portland – unlike NYC, it really does cool off most comfortably after the sun goes down). Fingers crossed, but I think I’m going to be very pleased with my modifications. I’ve also finished the Scarf-for-Money, which I’ll block tomorrow and then mail back to New York. No pictures, of course, but I’ll say that should you get the chance to knit with Rio de la Plata wool, you should absolutely snap it up.

What’s next? I need to pull up my socks and just finish Rosalind’s crochet edging. I’ve totally lost steam with that project because I’m pretty sure it isn’t going to fit me very well when it’s all done, and I’ll have to find someone to whom I can give it away. I also have some design projects in the works, and an entire blanket that’s supposed to be done by October. Sigh. Don’t you just wish you could knit faster? It’s not that I don’t take pleasure in the process. I actually mind frogging much less than most people I know, because it’s so enjoyable to keep working on the piece (present issues with Rosalind notwithstanding). But there are so many ideas in my head that I just can’t keep up! I made it a goal to work on my own designs this year, and I just need to start realizing my sketches in yarn. Luckily, between the World Cup and the fast-approaching Tour, there’s lots of good knitting time blocked out.

*Coming soon: a post about what I’ll be doing during the Tour, besides cheering on Ivan Basso!

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