It had to happen sometime

This is a post about my cat. If you don’t like cats, if you think the proliferation of cat pictures/videos/blogs on the Internet is a sign of the deterioration of civilisation and impending apocalypse, if even hearing about cats in conversation makes you sneeze, move along. There’s nothing to see here. (more…)

A sample of things to come

One of my responsibilities at TiK is to knit samples for the shop. It’s useful for us to be able to point at a piece of knitted (or crocheted) stuff for each yarn we have, since people sometimes have trouble looking at a ball or hank of yarn and imagining what it will look and feel like when it’s knitted up. (In the case of some yarns, the packaging makes it impossible to accurately imagine what it’ll be like.) After a mad flurry of knitting for the Knitting and Stitching Show last year I was set to the task of designing what became the Lava Flow Cowl, and that took a while. I was mostly left alone after that, but spring and summer yarns are coming in and need samples made. (The Saroyan snuck in there, a quick and pleasurable knit.)

We received the Misty book last week, and I was impressed with the classic shapes and light yarns. Even though I’m on deck to knit a garment in laceweight (yikes!), I volunteered to make the Starr hat. I’m using Debbie Bliss Cotton DK, as the yarn called for in the pattern is also a DK cotton (that we don’t stock). I’d prefer a charted pattern, but like most patterns I didn’t mind so much once I settled into it and got the gist of how the stitch pattern flows.

Starr closeup

Still quiet

With the shadow of the Sackboys removed, I have moved on to other handknitting challenges and obligations. The Big Commission still looms (haha) overhead, but after meditating on the recent issues with it over the past few days I have more ideas for how to deal with it and get it done and get on with forgetting about it.

Last night I headed out to see Amanda Palmer (AFP) and assorted hangers-on. It was meant to be part of the Evelyn Evelyn tour, but the massive travel snarl created by the volcano ash prevented most of the actual show from showing up. The result? A completely random opening act Bitter Ruin, who blew me away. I would have bought a CD if there were any left. This was followed by a sort of shadow of the actual Evelyn Evelyn stage show, with AFP describing what would be happening and Jason Webley (the other Evelyn) joining via webcast. They had pretty successfully figured out how to sing together in spite of the 2-second lag, so it was possible to get some idea of what the music would have been like had they been in the same room and wearing the same dress. (Not identical dresses, the two of them in the same dress.)

AFP’s solo set at the end went well, and the debut of “Fuck the Ashcloud,” AFP’s and Neil’s impromptu songwriting collaboration lamenting the impending cancellation of their planned week together went about as well as anyone could have expected.

I got lucky, I think. The show took place at the Academy, where I’d seen JoCo in the basement venue. I’d never been in the upstairs, which is a slightly bigger, two-tiered deal. I wasn’t in the front of the queue, so all the space by the stage was taken by the time I got in and I headed upstairs to the bar. There were couches set up, and no indication that I wasn’t allowed to sit on them…so I ended up slouching in a comfy couch on a balcony for the entire show. The area is often reserved for people with VIP tickets, but this time it was open to anyone of drinking age. Awesome. I had a lovely evening.

I also finished a pair of socks. What better project to take to a show about a pair of conjoined twin singer/songwriters than a sock?

Socks

Extreme yarn acquisition

I had a slight falling down in the past couple weeks. In the wake of a very bad month financially (in which Revenue panicked and kept all my money thinking I was suddenly very rich since I briefly had two employers), I went a little bananas. A friend went “home” to the US to visit and offered to buy stuff, which ended up being the last straw. I spent some quality time on the Loopy Ewe website and solved my sock yarn problem.

This is one of the things I bought. I have a problem with the colour green. I can’t wear most shades of it without looking washed out, but I love it desperately. So I buy green sock yarn and I take pictures of it.

Fiber optic Blackbird, close up

That’s Fiber Optic Foot Notes in “Blackbird,” a shade of green that makes me weak in the knees.

The shop got in its latest order of Malabrigo, still (to my knowledge) the only LYS in Ireland where you can get Malagbrigo at all. The stuff flies off the shelves. Last time, I bought two skeins of the lace. This time it was two skeins of sock.

Malabrigo Abril, close up

That’s Abril. It is a fairly normal colourway for me — dark. Blues. Purples (controversial, but I have a history of showing interest in purple when it’s teamed up with blue or green). No real surprises there. The second one came out of left field though:

Archangel, close up

How would you describe that colour? Pink? Orange? Pinks and oranges with a little purple thrown in? No words can explain this colourway such that it would sound appealing to me. If you described it to me, I would not get excited about it. I would choose the other option, if it was down to this skein and something else and I was basing the decision on a description. Yet I find it compelling. Archangel is a weird colourway.

Weirder still is the fact that these two skeins of Malabrigo sock are not ever going to become socks due to my strict rule regarding nylon content. (100% wool wears out too fast. I won’t knit socks with it anymore, at least not socks I plan to wear.) So these skeins might go straight into my sock yarn blanket. Which is supposed to be made of leftovers…

Weekly knitting roundup

After what seems like months of obligatory knitting, I have turned the corner and started enjoying wool again. I finished the Sackboys:

Sackboy twins

Their older brother has already been handed off. I did the stitching in different colours for each one; that plus the usual inconsistencies in handmade goods ensure each toy is unique. It bothered me at first (the shape of the black-stitched Sackboy’s head irked me for a while) but I now find it charming. They are cute on their own, but they are positively adorable next to each other. It’s for the best that I don’t have all three of them to take pictures of, as it may create a cuteness singularity.

I started another pair of plain socks. I can’t remember why, but I had a good reason at the time: I remembered! It was for the pub quiz in Dalkey, which I attended with a skein of knitters and thought I’d need simple knitting for.

Regia sock in progress

These haven’t progressed much since this picture was taken because I’ve been busy with my reward for finishing the Sackboys:

March Mosaic Socks, in progress

I like these socks. I like the wool. I like the colours. I even like that it’s a simple pattern but requires a little attention to ensure I stay on track. That sort of thing is new for me — I tend to swing wildly towards the outer reaches of the complexity spectrum. It has to be either so easy I can knit with my eyes closed or ridiculously involved. Historically, striving for balance has been a good thing for me, and I think these socks are a good step (haha) in the right direction.

These socks provide yet another reminder that I really like the toe-up heel flap sock construction. The only thing it has going against it is that I haven’t memorized it, so I won’t use it as my default plain sock pattern. (I have strict rules for plain socks, created over years of sock wearing/knitting. The wool must contain nylon, and the sock pattern must be in my head.)

Luckily, the Fiesta Baby Boom does contain nylon. Only time will tell how well it stands up to the wear and tear I visit upon my socks.

Fiesta Baby Boom, in a yarn cake