Pattern: Tropicana, from MagKnits, by Sabine Riefler.

Yarn: One skein of Koigu KPPPM in P319 (pale purple and orange), and one skein of Koigu KPPPM in P113 (peacock) from Article Pract, in Oakland, California. Each skein is $13.50, so $27 for two.

Needles: Inox 8″ DPNs, size 1, also from Article Pract. They come in a set of five; I lost one the first day. I prefer the Susan Bates DPNs, which are shorter and slicker, but yarn stores seem to only carry Inox.

Project began/ended: December 28, 2007 to March 15, 2008.

Notes and Modifications: 

Notes: First, a little info about the name of the socks. Even though Article Pract is in Oakland, I kept thinking it was in Berkeley, since I seem to think all of the East Bay is one big entity. A couple of years ago, when Adam and I went to visit my family, we ate at Pizzaiolo and I was like, OMG, this pizza place is next to a yarn store! But unfortunately, it was closed, which made me sad. So, this past Christmas, when I was having lunch with a friend who had eaten with us at Pizzaiolo, I was like “I need to go to that yarn store.” (This is the same friend who said, “I thought when you said you started a knitting blog, you meant that you were going to use knitting as a metaphor for life; I didn’t realize it was actually going to be about knitting.”) Anyway, I also think the colors are Very Berkeley: Rainbow! Hippy! Vaguely ethnic! Earthy! Peace-loving!

Modifications: The first and most obvious modification was that I striped two colors in the pattern. This was an idea that I got from the many many chevron scarves floating around the internet that use this same feather and fan pattern, and specifically, from’s chevron scarf, aka the scarf that inspired many. I picked two colors of Koigu that I thought would contrast well; the final effect is a little weird, but I do like them. I think ugly colors of sock yarns have a special siren call for me.

The other modification I made is that I started with 66 stitches in a k2, p1 rib, and then I decreased immediately to 55 stitches to begin the pattern. After a few rounds I decreased again to 44 stitches to finish off the rest of the sock. (You can sort of see how I tried two different methods of decreasing–one from the outside in of one repeat and one from the inside out of one repeat above.) This turned out to be a bad idea.

It would have been okay if I had made the sock a little longer, closer to 7″ or 7.5″ instead of 6″, but I freaked out due to the short yardage of Koigu, and began the foot after 6″ of leg. (Also, I was kind of mad, because I had paid almost $30 for this yarn, and I think that buying another skein of yarn would have made these super-expensive socks, only suitable for black-tie events.) In fact, I actually had some yarn left over, so I could have made the leg a little longer, but the way it is now, it kind of puckers and puffs out around the top. Also, the ankle area is tight, but I’m hoping that is going to stretch.

Photo shoot notes: While these photos were being taken, Laura Bennett, Project Runway Season 3 finalist, her husband, and her children were frolicking in the background. I thought about asking her to pose with the socks, but Adam was like, “Um, after she’s seen you wearing them?” And then I realized that asking a reality show celebrity to hold your sweaty socks might be good blog fodder, but potentially really weird behavior.

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, Socks, Uncategorized at March 15th, 2008.

Disclaimer: I am looking like I am great with child in this photo. I am not great with child. I am great with BLTs and not so great with sit-ups, and hence my visible paunch in these photos.

Pattern: Ella, from Knitty, by Wendy Wonnacott

Yarn: Two skeins of Fleece Artist Sea Wool. I bought mine for $28/skein from Knitty City with a gift certificate from Sarah and her mom. Thanks Sarah and Sarah’s Mom!

Needles: Size 5 circulars lace Addis from Knit-a-Way.

Project Began/Ended: I started June 26, 2007 and finished January 30, 2008, so seven months, more or less.

I was inspired to knit this shawl by Wendy’s photos on Knit and Tonic. Hers looked so good that I wanted to make one too. I searched all over for the same color and type of yarn that she used, but couldn’t find it, and ended up buying the Sea Wool instead. At the time, I didn’t really realize that if I used a lighter yarn and smaller needles, I would, technically, need more yarn than called for in the original pattern, which is made from a worsted yarn. But the salesgirl at Knitty City pointed out that I was smaller than the model in the pattern* and that two skeins (which was significantly less yardage than the pattern specified) should be enough. And miraculously, it was!

* As the pattern says, it “is the perfect compliment [sic] for any goddess,” which seems to be a euphemism for taller and larger ladies. I don’t know if larger men are called “gods,” but as a person who has a generally more elf-like figure, two 350 meters skeins of a sock weight yarn were sufficient for my shawl.

I have to admit, I originally had mixed feelings about this project. It was a triangular shawl (very old lady-ish) and knit from variegated yarn (the color of which looked disturbingly like the dead undergrowth on evergreens in the winter). Also, the Sea Wool kept puking up puffs of undyed “sea wool,” [whatever that’s a euphemism for], which made me worried that the yarn would either be too thin in places if I picked out the puffs, or have weird bits if I left them in (I did a combination of both, and I would vote for picking out). I did a bit of an internet search and it seems that though not all batches have this tufty sea wool problem, quite a few other people have also had this problem.

But it turned out great! I love it! I made the triangle version, because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough for the V-version. (Also, unless my math is off, one skein of wool had considerably less wool than the other, leading to me binding off the shawl in the middle of a motif, instead of at the end like you’re supposed to.)

It’s surprisingly warm (though, thanks to global warming, New York was strangely balmy on a February day) and amazingly light.

Also: You can use it as a cape!

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, lace, Shawls, Uncategorized at February 5th, 2008.

What is that weird lumpy thing? Why it’s the Moldy Little Alien Bu*ts shawl. (I looked at my stats, and I was getting regular hits from people looking for “lit*tle bu*ts” and I was extrememly disturbed and hence my new censored name for the shawl.)

You’ll have to wait a few days for a shot of it in action, but it’s blocked and ready to go…and it’s truly beautiful. I’m still not convinced of shawls being fashionable, but some sort of knitting fumes overcame me and now I want an entire chest of shawls. If I can convert to shawls, I’m not sure what terrible paths I may wander down next. Fanny packs? Stonewashed jeans? I don’t know and I am scared.

Lekkercraft kindly tagged me with a “You Make My Day” award, which was very nice, especially because I sometimes worry that all of my readers are people who are searching for “li*tle but*s” and I have to say that they are not my preferred demographic.

I’m also glad this meme is going around, because as Lekkercraft pointed out, there seems to be a rash of babies and book deals or something going around, and there’s a dearth of frequently updated knit blogs. I read all the big ones, of course, and here’s another six that I like to read (not all knitting related). I’ll try to add another four or so over the next few posts.

1. Lickety Knit Rachel’s knit blog is fairly big, I think, but it is still one of the funniest. I wish she would update EVERY DAY, but apparently she has other things to do.

2. Knit The Hell Up I recently discovered this blog, and I think the writer’s voice is sarcastic and amusing.

3./4. Store blogs: The Loopy Ewe I’ve never ordered from this site, but I still read this blog all the time. I’ve said this before, but I think Sheri’s blog is really an asset to her business–I always WANT to order from her, but I don’t really have any need, so I’ll just stay an internet window shopper for now. The Purl Bee has beautiful projects and inspirations, and I’m still lusting after this nightgown that was featured on the blog a while ago.

5./6. Okay. I’m combining two here together. And let me say that I am well aware that reading about television is kind of weird and a short skip and a jump to a Large Print Reader’s Digest-reading lifestyle. Once, I read Proust, now I read about tv online. Anyway.

Moving on with shame: The first one is the insane Gossip Girl recapper for Television Without Pity. Written by some dude named Jacob, who lives in Austin, TX, let me quote from the previous episode’s recap:

Any system has rules, whether it’s gender roles or heterosexuality or rich-dad/poor-dad class structure, and your option is to learn those rules and perform them properly, in order to be rewarded by that system….But any system, social or otherwise, still operates in terms of game theory. Step out of the game altogether, reclaim your space, and you forfeit the right to those rewards, because you’re no longer in the running. So the deal that you’re actually making, when you agree to quit the team or come out of the closet or admit aloud or publicly that you’re a sexual being — a whore, by the rules of the game — is what shame was invented to contain and administrate. Shame exists in society for one reason only: to keep everybody playing the game.

Jacob is either the most off-topic / purple-prose recapper in TWOP history or some sort of idiot-savant genius–I can’t decide. His belief that Gossip Girl is art operating “at the top of its game” (his words, not mine) is fascinating, and I highly recommend his recaps.

Along these lines, Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly has this hilarious online column called The Glutton, where he randomly rambles about his pop culture obsessions every Wednesday. His wife loves Tim Riggins* from Friday Night Lights, and if you, like me and Dalton Ross’s wife (Christina Kelly, a fine editor and writer in her own right) are weirdly addicted to teen dramas, then The Glutton’s constant grumblings about his wife’s age-inappropriate crushes will be deeply amusing.

* Any right-thinking woman who has seen Friday Night Lights LOVES Tim Riggins, including me. To quote Davd Foster Wallace [about cruise ship captains, but this sentiment could be easily be applied to Tim Riggins] “women of all ages and estrogen-levels swooned, sighed, wobbled, lash-batted, growled, and hubba’d when one of [them]…went by.”

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, Shawls, Uncategorized at January 30th, 2008.