Monday, December 31, 2007

Can't Think of a Title That Relates to the Date and Doesn't Sound Fatalistic

Red-tailed hawk in the tree in front of our window

Dear Blog-

Well, the day after I posted last time about my horrible cold, I was in the ER. I woke up that morning feeling like absolute crap - really weak, coughing up a storm, and was rather afraid that I had pneumonia again. So I had DH come home and take me to the ER and several hours, one chest X-ray, and lots of drugs and about $1,000 later, found out that no, I was just really sick, and it was a good thing I went to the ER because all this stuff apparently causes dire things to happen with asthma. Yes, I am still, slowly, paying it all off. I also discovered that Mucinex and I don't agree, because as my dose of it started to wear off, I actually started to feel less weak and helpless. The stuff actually made me feel worse.

That being the end of October, with the start of November I needed to dive into my Xmas knitting. Now you probably recall last year that I posted pictures here when I finished my sister's gift, only to have her post in the comments that she loved her gift and couldn't wait for Christmas to come so that she could have it. Dang! I wasn't falling for that again! So I didn't post while working on her gift this year, because I just KNEW I would mess it up again if I did.

Here is her finished gift, the William Street Socks from Interweave Knits. This was my first pair of toe-up socks. I wasn't avoiding them, just hadn't run into one I had to knit before now. My only complaint - and it is a pretty strong one - is that this yarn, Regia Tweed 6-ply, was NOT easily available, and it just annoys me when designers use yarns that you then cannot find anywhere. You know that I'm not shy about substituting yarns in a pattern, but I really liked the look of this one. Plus, this is a 6-ply sock yarn, so a little thicker than the average bear. I googled and googled. I goggled til I was about 20 pages deep into the google search. Every entry that claimed they carried the yarn, when I emailed or called them they didn't really carry the 6-ply. I found one woman on ebay who was selling it but would only sell it in groups of two skeins. I needed three. And I was so annoyed that I didn't want to order one lone skein I didn't need, or order a total of six skeins because then if I was going to use this yarn again, I would want to use a different color, not the same thing as last time, you know? Stupid cow would NOT budge. So after a week of desperate searching I finally went onto the knitting lists and kvetched about designers who use yarns that you cannot buy anywhere on the North American continent. And got an email reply from this wonderful goddess:

(Ok, I am trying to past the info here and Blogger [big surprise] won't let me. It highlights all my text above, and I'm afraid that if I then hit 'paste' it will erase everything I have written, leaving just her email in place. The blogging version of a changeling.)

Anyway, her name is Joyce, I don't think her shop has a website but her email is phone is 800-859-YARN. The yarn is $7.50 per skein, she only charges actual shipping, and that stuff was here fast. The yarn is really lovely to work with, nice and soft, and the color and tweediness are gorgeous.

William Street Socks

So when it came time to knit the Snicket Socks for my other sister, I chose the Regia Tweed 4-ply that we had in the shop. Same yarn, just a bit thinner. Also very nice. This was an enjoyable pattern to work, and like the William Street socks, once you got into the groove of what was happening with the cable when, it made a great portable project. My word of advice on these socks - when it comes time to work the heel and she generously tells you that you can either work a favorite short-row heel of your own choosing or work the one she has in the pattern, go for the one in the pattern, because every other short-row heel I tried on these socks really was awful, with more holes than a sieve. And that kind of defeats the purpose in a pair of socks, don't you think? When I gave up and tried the short-row heel in the pattern, it worked like a charm. Lesson learned.

A close-up of Snicket Socks texture

Snicket Socks try-on with my pasty legs and Christmas lights waiting in the wings

Then DH had to leave town and go to Sacramento for the week after Thanksgiving for some training for his new job. Time to do some stealth knitting on a pair of socks for him. These are the Diagonal Cross-Rib socks from Favorite Socks by Interweave Knits. Love that book! I used Wildfoote in a gray/black marl that knitted up so beautifully. Again, like the other two patterns, this one was so easy to follow once you got going. Back to a flap-and-turn heel for this pair after two short-row heel pairs for the sisters, and I really do prefer to work a short-row heel. But sometimes the flap-and-turn looks better for certain socks, and this was certainly the case here. I was allllmost finished with them when he came back, and had to hide the sock bag down the side of the couch to whip out when he wasn't home or was down the hall at his computer. I think I finally finished them up in the chair in our bedroom, knowing that if he came home suddenly I could dash into the bathroom with them. The fabric reminds me of old ragg-wool socks, with the coloring.

DH's Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks in Wildfoote

Detail of Diagonal Cross-Ribs

In the meantime I was working full-time days between working in the shop, teaching classes, and teaching private lessons. Then it was 6-day weeks of full-time days. It was getting ugly, and I had our annual book-group Christmas party coming up. I decided to take the advice of my SIL, an all-round great entertainer, who advises that one should never clean before a party. I didn't. It took me three days to clean up after, but never mind that. Just as it has become traditional in our group for me to always host the December book-group, it has also become traditional that in the gift-giving process, I am to always give a felted bag. I really didn't want to start a new bag at that point, with everything else I had going on, so I decided to throw this one into the fray. It is based upon a pattern by Irene York, which I then felted and added a drawstring to. And beads. You gotta have beads.

Luckily my friend Diane lives just on the other side of the neighborhood, because at one point when she was possessor of the bag, she decided to wear it as a hat. I am saving this photo for blackmail. That is Dana and Betsy in the background, Betsy is the one who ended up with the bag

Then time to quickly whip up this hat from the Interweave Knits Holiday '07 for a class, using Frog Tree Alpaca in dk weight. Looks great, don't know who to give it to. The pattern and chart could have been written better, but wasn't too terrible.

Infected now with the sock bug, I am making a pair of entrelac socks for myself, and just finished the heel last night on sock two. When I whipped these out on Christmas to work on them, my mother - in true shades of her own mother - piped up, Boy, I sure never would have picked out those colors for sock yarn! Thinking this was a rather cheeky remark, I replied, Then you had better act like you like them when you get them for your birthday. Now, according to what she has told my sister, she thinks she is getting these socks for her birthday. Hmmm... has hell already frozen over? But it looks like I might need to make her some b-day socks. This pattern is the Annetrelac Socks from the IK Holiday '07

So this (look down) will be my project to begin working in earnest tomorrow, with the New Year. We'll talk more about that later. Time to go to work.

Keep knitting and Happy New Year-


PS- And thanks for being such loyal readers, through the thick and thin of '07!


Blogger T said...

Now I know why I ran out of time before Christmas - you used it all up!

Holy cow, when did you sleep? All that knitting, working, throwing a party...

All of your projects turned out beautifully!


2:28 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

That bird up there is watching your knitting like a hawk.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Teaching Handwork said...

Those look delicious! I want to wear them right now...or make a pair myself!

9:49 PM  
Blogger Deb said...


It IS a hawk, but not a red-tail. I think it's a sharp-shinned hawk.

birder, knitter, Kiwi-shopper
(sonomaswan on Rav)

7:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home