Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Getting Ready for Project Spectrum

Tomorrow is March 1st, and the highly anticipated beginning of Lolly's Project Spectrum! I'm really excited about this craft-along -- both working on my own projects and also seeing what other people do. I went to the craft store this weekend and got supplies for the Postcard Swap... And, of course, I have red yarn...

My goal for Project Spectrum is to challenge myself to be creative in new ways -- not just knitting. To that end, I've been looking around for inspiration and have found some great podcasts on crafts in general. There's a link to CraftySanity in the sidebar. I have listened to two of Jennifer's episodes and they are great. Like KnitCast, each episode features an interview with a creative person. The ones that I listened to were interviews with Jeffrey Yamaguchi, the author of 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity, and Lady Linoleum of the blog Monster Crochet. Her latest interview is with Deirdre Flint, she of the fantastic songs "Boob Fairy" and "Presidential Succession," which have been featured on Cast On. I cannot wait to hear that one!

Craftypod is another fabulous podcast, by Sister DG. I've only listened to one of these episodes -- it was an interview with Kathy Cano Murillo of Crafty Chica and author of Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life. Their discussion was primarily about Dia de los Muertos, so I listened to this about four months too late (or eight months too early!), but I still got a lot out of it.

Whip up is a blog dedicated to all types of crafting, and is also very inspiring. I was psyched to see Cover Your Head! mentioned in a recent post about knitalongs.

So, other than the knitblogs, what inspires you in your crafty endeavors?

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Thanks for all the nice comments about my Regia socks. I really like them, and they look super cute with my Dansko Marcelles. (Funny -- when I just googled "Dansko Marcelles" three of the top ten results were knitblog posts, including ones from Courtney and Cara.) Also, I had decided yesterday that I had to wear them, looked in my closet, and realized I have a green sweater that is almost an exact match for the green in the socks!

Like President Logan in this season of 24, I have let others make the tough decisions. Mother Lode is the winner for my sock pal socks. This colorway received about 67% of the votes. Of course, that's not counting the votes for "oh, they're both nice!" or "gee, I don't know." Now, I just have to pick a pattern. Hmmm...

G and I got the afternoon off today, thanks to free babysitting from the grandparents. We went to see Capote, and I can highly recommend it. Both Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as Truman Capote) and Catherine Keener (as Harper Lee) were outstanding.

Hope you all had successful endings to your Knitting Olympics, however you define success. I am looking forward to catching up on Bloglines and hearing all about it!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Toes in a Pocket*

They're fun but they're boring**
They're dull but they're bright***
They're loud but they're quiet, yeah
They're plain but they're wild
They're wool and they're Regia^
They're cute, but they're ugly baby^^

What it all comes down to
Is I'm gonna win that Bearfoot yeah
I've got my toes in a pocket
And an F on Chrissy's sidebar.^^^

* Scroll down to fru_gal's comment here.
** With apologies to Alanis Morrissette, whose cool song "Hand In My Pocket" is almost enough to make me forgive her for asking that musical question, "Isn't it ironic?" To which the only correct answer is, "Actually, no, it isn't."
*** Yeah. These colors. I don't wear either orange or bright pink. What possessed me? I don't know. This yarn has been in my stash for dog's years. I guess the colors just appealed to me. Hey! They kind of match the Edgar!
^ The yarn is Regia self-striping sock yarn in the color Ringel Clown. I used about one ball. I hope I have enough left to make my sister a pair of footies. This yarn would make very cute footies. I wasn't starting with two full balls, because some of this got into a tangle with some black eyelash. Don't ask, it's in my shadowy knitting past.
^^ Well, Mr. A said they were ugly. I think they're cute. What does he know? Are you still with me with the footnotes? This post is like the bastard love child of Alanis Morrissette and David Foster Wallace.
^^^ Yay! A pair of socks for February! I really wanted to get in on the Bearfoot drawing, so Chrissy, give me an F. Other things you might want to know. These were knit toe-up using a Turkish cast-on. I used US1/2.5 mm Addi Turbos -- a 40 inch circular for the Magic Loop, baby! Magic Loop roolz! DPN droolz! My gauge was 7 sts/inch and I cast on 52 sts for the foot. They fit great. The leg is K3,P1 rib. The round before the bind off, I increased 1 st every 4th st. This made the little flare at the top, but also made it possible for me to get my foot in the sock. My big problem with toe-up socks is avoiding a tight bind-off. Other than a picot bind off, or using bigger needles, anyone have any ideas?

Friday, February 24, 2006


... hot black coffee...

... a bagel with lox spread...

... a nice fat novel...

... socks on the needles.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thinking About My Sockpal!

Upon seeing all of the updates on Alison's blog, I began thinking about my sockpal socks. The only guidance she sent, as I think I mentioned before, was wool or wool blend, and machine washable. I decided to use Lorna's Laces, and picked up two skeins of Mother Lode on Monday.

Pretty, isn't it? It caught my eye immediately. A very nice employee at the LYS was assisting me by pulling the LL out of a bin crampacked with LL and Koigu and said, "Do you see anything that appeals to you?" I replied that I was making the socks for someone I don't know. She laughed and said, "I thought you were going to say that you were making them for someone you don't like! If that were the case, I would have told you not to use Lorna's Laces!" Indeed.

Then I wondered if perhaps these colors were either too fall-ish or just not crowd pleasers generally. I remembered that I have some LL in the Seaside colorway in my stash.

So, what do you think, gentle readers? Mother Lode or Seaside?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Another Knitalong?

Annie had the excellent idea of a Sunrise Circle Jacket Knitalong! I think I could handle another KAL, in spite of signing up for Eunny's Stole-along, which is highly likely to kick my butt. Besides, I've been thinking that I haven't knit a sweater in awhile.

Edited to say: Mintyfresh helpfully pointed out that there already is a knitalong for this beautiful jacket. So if you want to knitalong, go here! I'm heading over there now to sign up.

(See my Poetry Monday entry here.)

This Is For Cat

Heja Sverige!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Problem with Project Polygamy

...is that it makes blogging difficult. When you've made just a little progress on three different projects, that doesn't make for very exciting photographs or pictures.

So, instead, why not some thoughts on recent issues of knitting magazines?

Last year, I joined Rowan International and was excited to receive the member gift, which was two balls of KidSilk Haze. After several months, I now have a plan for it. But I haven't been as thrilled with the actual magazines and the latest issue was really a letdown. There wasn't much in there that I would want to knit or wear. (I guess the cover should have tipped me off.) Carolina is pretty, and might be a nice project to knit, but the photo isn't convincing me that it would wear well. Jasmine is nice too, but I've pretty much decided that cotton is not my friend. I am not sure whether I should renew my membership or not.

I did recently order four back issues (numbers 30, 31, 32, and 34) for the astoundingly low price of 9.99 British pounds. Even with shipping, that's a great deal. I have received the two autumn/winter issues, and there are some really lovely patterns in those.

I also recently received my Spring 2006 Interweave Knits. I love this magazine. I really enjoy the articles, especially Amy Singer's column and the reviews. I love that they include sock and lace projects. Either the editors really understand what the knitting community wants, or we all want to knit these kinds of things because they are in IK. In any case, it makes browsing the magazine a satisfying knitting fix!

I really like Kate Gilbert's Sunrise Circle Jacket. Ingenious construction! I also am thinking about making Ann Budd's Pullover Flair sometime. It looks like a sweater that could easily become a favorite. Plus, I love those wide rib patterns.

Finally, because I cannot resist magazines in general and knitting magazines in particular, I recently bought the latest copy of Knit.1. Most of these projects are too young, edgy, bulky, or froufy for me to actually wear. But, for some reason, I really enjoy this magazine. I like the fact that the issues are themed -- this one is the "travel issue." There was a really cute article providing key knitting phrases (such as "Oh dear, I have to rip back. Again.") in ten languages. The German translations were provided by Sockapaloooza momma Alison. There were also profiles of knitters from several countries, of varying ages. One of the featured knitters was Anna of My Fashionable Life. It was a little thrill to see someone I "know."

There were a few cute patterns too. Mari Lynn Patrick's stewardess minidress is not something that I can wear, without looking very silly. But it would make a great pullover if you knitted a shorter version. And how cute are these socks? I love them!

It is very cold here, and I could actually use those mittens. Back to the knitting here and now!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mittens, Lace, Socks

So, here's the progress on the mitten. I haven't been working on it for the past few days, though, because it makes my hands hurt. Instead of working on the mittens, I've been going back and forth between the Nautilus socks (I need that "F" -- see sidebar!) and Backyard Leaves.

Backyard Leaves. Sigh... If one could be utterly in love with a knitting project, I would be head over heels for Backyard Leaves. It is a great pattern -- fun to knit, and soothing without being boring. I can literally feel my blood pressure drop while I am working on it. Unfortunately, there's some tinking in my future, because I seem to be short two stitches on one side of the marker. Even so, I can't wait to get back to it.

Because I clearly don't have enough to do, and can't get enough of lace, I have decided to join Eunny's Sampler Stole-along. (Scroll down to see a picture of the project and get some details.) She's going to set up a separate blog for it, and the official start date will be March 1st -- after the Knitting Olympics. I may be getting in way over my head, but it looks like a fun project! Come on, all you lace knitters out there (::cough, Olga, cough, Chris, cough::), join in!

And I have been feeling serious Sockapaloooza guilt seeing all of Alison's updates. There are people who have finished their socks! (This route is not for me, though, because it would make me CRAZY not being able to send them out.) My sock pal is blogless, and gave me the following two pieces of guidance: wool or wool blend and machine washable. I am torn between trying to wrest out some more information, or really just picking something that I think most people would like. My sock pal's foot is bigger than mine, so Jaywalkers are out, because I would fear that they didn't fit. I may go with the Rib and Cables, in Lorna's Laces. Any other suggestions for interesting, superwash yarns, and patterns that are forgiving in fit?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Poetry Monday

I saw this very fun blog project over at What-Ho, Good Egg? ** On Mondays, Nodda is posting poems and every month the theme is changing. This month, it's love and affection. Here's my contribution.
Love Is More Thicker Than Forget
e.e. cummings (1940)
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky


In Olympic news, I made astounding progress on the mitten. Maybe too much so. Knitting Cascade 220 in stranded colorwork on 3.5 mm needles is a bit tough on the hands. I'm back to Backyard Leaves for a bit.

**ASIDE: This is a smashingly brilliant name for a blog. Those who have not been introduced to the joys of P.G. Wodehouse are undoubtedly scratching the old nogg. If you are one of those, scoot over to your bookseller and plunk down a little of the ready money for one of his tomes. Highly recommended, of course, are the Jeeves and Wooster stories, but Uncle Fred in the Springtime also charms, and Psmith in the City is one of the funniest books ever printed. Go on, we'll be here when you get back.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Unofficial Team Pinot

... for everyone who doesn't drink any f#$%ing merlot. I'm enjoying my Olympics, both knitting and athletic. Yesterday, I watched downhill skiing whilst knitting away on Backyard Leaves. This morning, as giant snowflakes began to fall, I cast on for what will forever be my Zen Olympic mittens. From Lapland.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Proof Is in the Swatching

You all had excellent advice for me about which color should be the primary contrasting color in my mittens. Final tally: nine votes for wine, five votes for teal, four votes for "swatch it!" and a few abstentions! For the record, I was leaning slightly toward wine as the main CC.

"Swatch it" is of course excellent advice, and with my trepidation about size 2 needles, it was a given. Both Eunny and Juniper made the point that the teal is quite vivid and contrasts more highly with the cream. Therefore, it might be better to make that the main contrasting color, since it's going to be screaming for attention. That made some sense to me, so that's the first swatch I made, on 3 mm needles.

I really thought as I was working this swatch, that this was going to be the winner. The gauge seems to be slightly off, on the small side. The designer must be the loosest knitter ever. You know what I mean.

Next swatch, 3.5 mm needles. This time, wine takes the center stage. I wasn't really sure about it, so I knit a little more in teal at the top of the swatch. Gauge is a slightly big on this size needles, but I'm going with the 3.5 mms. As Elizabeth Zimmermann famously said, "Nothing is horrider than a tight mitten." But the color scheme? I don't know! This one looks pretty good to me, too! I was expecting the teal to jump out in a most impertinent and unattractive manner, but actually, it doesn't.

Considering this is my first attempt at all-over stranded colorwork, I'd say it's not bad. My stitches look okay, but note that the tension is wonky, particularly where I am changing colors on alternate stitches. Helpful tips from the more experienced are always warmly received.

By the way, Catherine ... you are right. These will be possibly the warmest, densest mittens ever!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

On the Sidelines

Yep, I wimped out of the Knitting Olympics. I thought about doing it with no intention of actually trying to "medal." But, then, where's the fun in that? And if I signed up, I'd feel compelled to work only on the mittens and neglect my Backyard Leaves and Nautilus, even if I had no reasonable expectation of finishing on time. I'll be cheering you all on, though!

But I am going to knit the mittens. I think it might be a good idea to do a little something smaller in stranded colorwork, before I try to knit The Sweater Vest.

Here's where I'm a little stumped. Which contrasting color should take center stage, the wine or the teal? Or am I insane to think that these colors work together at all, in which case I should choose a two-color pattern and throw one of these colors back to the stash? (Do not be afraid to say, Laura those colors are hideous together. I will not be offended in the slightest. I will say they look a little better together in person.) By the way, the pattern is Mittens from Lapland, from Folk Mittens.

Also, when the designer says that I am going to knit this worsted on size 2 needles, does she mean size 2 needles?! Zoinks! I used size 9s and this yarn on Kepler.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's the Word? Oh, Yeah ... MWAH!

Thanks everyone for all your nice comments about yesterday's post. Upon further reflection, I evidently need not have worried. Bloggers, learn from me. Breathe deeply before posting. Then again, it gave me an opportunity to make a mission statement of sorts.

Affiknitty ... Bringing You Encouragement and Enthusiasm, Since 2005.
Oh yeah, one other thing. What I said about the "mwah's" going over the top? I totally take that back. None of us can ever receive enough "mwah's." I plan to give them out freely, and without reservation. Because it is never not OK to tell someone how much they are appreciated.
Now, on to more pressing matters. Someone predicted recently that I would probably cave and join the Knitting Olympics. Listening to Whit's podcast today weakened my resolve. If I were to join the Knitting Olympics, which I really think I am not, I would knit these.

Please, someone tell me it's too late to join.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Thoughts on Blogging

I was visiting Craftylily just now, and she linked to a post written by Annie about how bloggers can be exclusionary. In particular, she mentioned the posting of thank you's and pictures of gifts received from other bloggers and the general "mwah, isn't blogging great, I just love you" tone of a lot of posts.

This really got me to thinking. I have been thinking a lot lately about blogging, and how it makes the world seem like a much smaller place. In a "we're all neighbors" sort of way, not in a "we're all eating McDonald's" sort of way. It really does create a community of people from all over the planet, who are tied together with -- well in our case -- yarn! I think some "mwah's" are likely to result when friends are made, but I agree that it can go over the top, too.

After you've been blogging for awhile, and particularly if you know you're not the only person reading it, you definitely start thinking about what you want to accomplish with your blog beyond documenting your own knitting. Some people like to provide technical help, some people like to provide humor, some people like to sell patterns, whatever. It's all good.

I am not a great knitter, only a really enthusiastic one. I am never going to teach the world to steek. It is unlikely that I will create the next sock pattern to sweep the Internet like wildfire. But I figure one thing I can do is dole out the encouragement and enthusiasm, both for knitting and blogging about knitting. That, I think I can do. That goal is in the back of mind when I am posting and putting things on my blog.

Whether it's linking to a new blog in the sidebar, or giving out goodies, I really am hoping to make the circle bigger, not smaller. Just in case that's not coming across, I wanted to state it flatly. I really, really, really hope that no one has read Affiknitty and felt as though it was the Mean Girls' table in the high school cafeteria. If you have ever felt slighted by something I posted here, I truly am sorry.

Thanks for all the nice comments about Edgar. His charm is growing on me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Edgar, C'est Fini.

Pattern: Edgar by Silke Hupka, from the Fall 2005 Knitty.

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, color # 87, almost two full balls.

Needles: Knit flat on US9/5.5 mm Addi Turbos

Size: Extra long size, measured 4.5 inches wide and 73 inches long before washing or blocking.

I like it. The colors are fabulous. It was interesting to see that the color changes were not exactly the same in the two balls, although they were the same color number and dye lot. Ask me how much I love that purple/fuchsia/pink/yellow combo. And I don't wear hot pink or yellow, ever. Of course, I had not the patience to wait until it was washed to blog about it. I'll give you an update on the softness/drape factor after it's had a bath.

Because I have this desire to move KALs off the sidebar, this is going to be my project for the "It's NOT a Gift" KAL. Of course, everything else I have made this year also qualifies.

Ahem, Once Again, the Winners Are...

I did this whole post once yesterday and published it, and it was on the blog, and then it just disappeared. I had written this whole big post about the nature of blogging, and the benefits of commenting, etc., and now it's gone. Feh. You're going to have to settle for the short version.

Besides, this is what you really want to know!* I tried to leave comments at everyone's blogs, but then Blogger had its big meltdown.

The Lorna's Laces goes to ... Atla from Atla Knits.
The KnitPicks Shadow goes to ... Kris from Strikker.
The Sunshine Yarns Worsted goes to ... Jenny from Too Many Projects.
The Colinette Giotto goes to ... Jessica from Common Threads.
The Knit Picks Color Your Own goes to ... Kim from See Kim Knit.
And the Alpaca Fingering goes to ... Olga from Yo La Tejo.

I did this contest largely so that I could discover the real people behind my stat counter stats. And how better to do that than through the comments! Comments are what makes blogging a community rather than a bunch of people talking to themselves. It can be time consuming, though. But you don't have to leave long comments, or comment on every post you read. I think it's nice to say "hi" every once in a while, though. Especially if you're visiting a new blog and like it, the blogger would love to hear that and know how you found them! Hope this doesn't sound preachy -- it's as much a reminder to myself as anything!

On the flip side, I also think that as a blogger, it's nice to respond to every comment you get, but sometimes that's not possible. I at least try to respond via email or blog comment to new commenters, or to people with questions.**

There is one blogger whose comments are so consistently sweet, thoughtful, funny, supportive, and encouraging that she frankly leaves the rest of us in her dust. And she still knits! Chris from Bits of Knits is that blogger. Chris, for being the Best Damn Commenter in Blogland, you deserve a treat. So send me an email with your address. I think you'll be pleased with the surprise I have for you!

*Winners were determined by a random number generator.
** Of course, there are times when I would like to respond, but I don't have an email or a blog link to go with the comment. Either because the commenter doesn't leave one, or it's not in their Blogger profile, or Blogger just messes up.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ever So Slightly Obsessed

All I want is...socks. Here's my latest project, Nautilus by Anna Bell. Kind of hard to see the pattern, but it's a lovely lace rib. I'm using Koigu KPPM #P850. Actually, the colors are fairly true in the picture. It's looking to be a wonderful marriage of yarn and pattern. But it's not a mindless knit, at least not for me, the Lace Novice. So, I had to cast on these...

I know, I know! I said I was done with Jaywalkers for a while. But it is a great pattern for self-striping yarn, and it's easy and mindless while not being totally boring. The yarn is Jessie's A Piece of Vermont self-striping yarn in a colorway she calls "Preppy." So cute. But I'm going to have to frog this, because it's going to be too big, and I don't have smaller needles that don't make me want to scream. So I'm either going to have to place an emergency Patternworks order, or find another pattern.

Check out those lovely toes, if I don't say so myself. Turkish cast on, you rock my little world. Speaking of socks, did you see Bonne Marie's recent post on sock knitting, and her cool button?

I got my sock pal for Sockapaloooza, and I am so excited that it's all getting started! My sock pal is blogless though, so I can't blogstalk her for inspiration. Also, her foot is a different size than mine and I am a little nervous about getting the right fit. I am planning to start researching patterns, yarns, the issue of negative ease, etc. this weekend. Fun, fun, fun! Suggestions and advice are more than welcome.

CONTEST UPDATE: Tomorrow, I am going to draw the names from those who have left a comment on one of the posts starting with Monday's. I hope to post the winners tomorrow as well, but it's the weekend and for this stay-at-home mom, that's often the hardest time to post. So I may not get to it until late Saturday night or even Sunday. But you won't have to wait for long!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Silent Poetry Reading

Here's a one-day-only meme that's a winner. Started by Grace's Poppies.

"Litany" by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine.
Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass,
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is no way you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of the rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley,
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's teacup.
But don't worry, I am not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and -- somehow --
the wine.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

If I Were Going to Do the Knitting Olympics...

...which I am not, because I have already committed to a position of Zen-like calm and lovingkindness toward myself and my knitting, it would be because I am a joiner and I really love all the knitting teams that are popping up.

I have to tell you, when I heard about Team Wales, I was tempted to reverse my decision and plunge into the madness. I'm going to sound like a Big Dork, but I heart Brenda Dayne. The words Pick up your pointy sticks, it's time to Cast On make me practically giddy. Let us not forget that knitting podcast pioneer, Marie Irshad of KnitCast.

And who could resist this button? It's so cool!

But if I were to be a Knitting Olympian, which I am not, I would want to knit for Team Iceland. As far as I can tell, no one has started a Team Iceland, which is practically criminal, considering that it is the Home of Lopi! There are many other wonderful things about Iceland, besides the sheep, if that weren't enough. From what I have heard, it is a charming place. It is cold and green, which we all know I love, and it has volcanoes!

Culturally, it has much to offer. I have already expressed my devotion to Sigur Ros, who create the most beautiful, otherworldly, innovative music ever. Two of my favorite bloggers are writing from Iceland, Sheep and No City and The Iceland Weather Report (motto: "Cooler Than Thou. On Some Days.").

Here is a picture of me in one of my favorite sweaters, which is from Iceland. My mother bought it in the airport in Reykjavik, which means she probably paid way too much for it. It is ridiculously oversized and makes me look as big as the side of a fjord. And it's a little itchy. But it is really warm, and I love it. My mom was about to give it to Goodwill (like Oxfam for you non-Americans), but I saved it.

Anyway, there really ought to be a Team Iceland. So if any of you crazy Knitting Olympians decide to form a team, I'll be cheering you on!