Friday, September 29, 2006

Sock War Stand Down

Sock Wars is on the brink of becoming un-fun. I keep trying to figure out what to do next, but I'm suffering a severe lack of information and that's generating stress I don't need. So screw it. I'm just going to wait for someone else to pick up the slack. Either I will receive my death socks in the mail, or someone will send me yarn for my next victim.

Flickr is down this morning, causing my profile photo not to load. It's a crappy picture anyways, so I'm prompted to look for a better one. My current IM buddy icon, which I created at, has been growing on me. It's low-res and doesn't look good as a Blogger Profile photo, but it's cute enough to post here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weapons armed...acquiring target....

Sock Wars got off to a halting start because the remnants of Hurricane Gordon smacked Northern Ireland where Yarn Monkey, the organizer, lives. Because she had trouble sending dossiers out through email, she posted the pattern for the Sock of Doom on her blog. It was Friday afternoon, and I was still at work, but I took a break and cast-on.

About 49 hours later, I was finished.

I still don't have a dossier, but I've corresponded with my target (I needed to find out if "Yarn Fairy" wore a men's size 7 or a women's). I've told her (Yarn Fairy is a "she") that she's safe as long as I don't know where to send the socks. But how safe am I?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wondrous Woven Cables

At last. Nancy Marchant's "Wondrous Woven Cables" from Arans & Celtics on its owner.

(Isn't he cute?)

The yarn is "Blueberry" Jo Sharp Tweed DK wool. I slightly adapted the pattern to knit it in the round. Originally started November 6, 2004, I made rapid progress through the rest of the month. But once I started the sleeves (both at the same time, in the round on two circulars), progress became slow and halting. I would put it down for months at a time, and then later have to spend an entire evening figuring out where I was (and where I was going).

Next sweater? I've been admiring YarnHarlot's gansey.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Knitting the Wong Way

My mom taught me to knit in 1999, when we were visiting my sister in Maine for Thanksgiving. She laments that I'm a better knitter than she is. It's not true: I just get bored more easily, and I have stubborn rules about sewing, so that makes me more adventurous. My stitches are more even, but she's faster. (She props her right needle in her lap, leaving her right hand free to throw the yarn).

Wanting to improve, she signed up for a class at her LYS for the Wong Way of Knitting; "It's easy on your hands, fast, and helps to improve gauge," says the shop newsletter. I figured, Eh, my technique's fine, speedy and ergonomic enough for my purposes, so I'll pass.

Well, last night one of my students was knitting with that technique and it was amazing, especially her purling. I woke up this morning thinking, "I've got to try this." So I did some Googling and was shocked to see that Andrea Wong is here in Columbus! Not visiting, but actually lives here in central Ohio. For all I know, I may actually have even talked with her in Temptations.

I keep telling you: central Ohio is a knitter's paradise.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sock Class

If enough people (more than one) have signed up, I'll start teaching a three week toe-up socks class tomorrow. This is what I have come to call the "Steep Learning Curve" socks, because everything you need to know to make these socks you have to learn all at once: Turkish cast-on, knitting on circular needles, and short row toes. My class handout (large PDF) is basically just a fancy version of the Perfect Sock Pattern wiki, but I added a bibliography to it this weekend. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Beth M. asked where I'm teaching. At Craftsman Hill Fibers in Mt. Vernon, Tuesdays 9/12 - 9/26, 6:30 - 8:30. You can register by calling the store, 740-392-7724.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The end of sweater constipation?

My company inspired Cat to have nightmares about bizarre games of word hockey. But we had a good dinner, I learned about the cast of characters in her son's comic strip "Bucktooth Larry" (great politics for a 12-year-old), and we knitted. I have again picked up the sweater for Mike, again figured out where the hell I am on it, and made visible progress.

I'm almost done with the back. A few more rows and I'll do some shaping for the shoulder seam, then I'll flip it over and work the chest. The sleeves are all finished, and ready to attach. (If you're just joining me, this is the sweater I started in November 2004. It's the "Wondrous Woven Cables" sweater from Arans & Celtics, knit in "Blueberry" Jo Sharp Tweed).

Friday, September 08, 2006

Weapons Check

The arsenal for Sock Wars 2006 will be DK yarn and size 5 needles. I'm not the least bit surprised, but it seems to be causing some consternation in comment threads and the Sock Wars forum.

I immediately thought of my stash of Philosopher's Wool that has utterly failed to become a sweater. (It was a valuable moment of self-discovery: I like knitting textures; I don't like knitting colors). I had some work-related podcast listening to do, so I cast-on for a gauge tube. After work, I finished the tube, cut it in half, and measured.

Stitches per inch is good; I'm right abound 22. I'm coming up short for rows per inch though -- Yarn Monkey says 30, I have 34, but I don't expect that to be a problem. (You know, that was my gauge problem with the Wild Things crown. There are tight knitters and loose knitters; I wonder if I'm a "short" knitter?)

Nevertheless, this yarn should do nicely for the Sock of Doom.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Book List Meme

Something is up with Blogger RSS feeds, so it's days later that I noticed Ken tagged me.
  1. One book that changed your life: The Demon-Haunted World: science as a candle in the dark by Carl Sagan. My affection for superstition used to extend beyond liberal tolerance, into a New Age-y view that everyone's beliefs were real in their own worlds. Sagan showed a way to reject magical thinking, to declare that some things are just wrong, and to still respond in wonder to the miracle of existence. And he was even somewhat respectful about it.

  2. One book that you've read more than once: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. So should you.

  3. One book you'd want on a desert island: I'm tempted to say SAS Survival Handbook: how to survive in the wild, in any climate, on land or at sea by John Wiseman, but I'd probably be sorry and wish instead that I had an edition of the complete works of Shakespeare.

  4. One book that made you laugh: Any David Sedaris. Any Molly Ivins. I laughed so hard at Me Talk Pretty One Day in LaGuardia Airport that it was embarrassing. Even better on audiobook.

  5. One book that made you cry: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

  6. One book that you wish had been written: How the Republicans Will Steal the 2000 Election, and Lead Us into War in the Middle East (c1999).

  7. One book that you wish had never been written: There is nothing that I wish had not been written. There are things that I wish had not had the impact they've had. But if I had to pick one thing in particular, I'd say Leviticus.

  8. One book you're currently reading: The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde. Fractured fairy tales for adults, complete with acrobatic puns. Fforde gives into meta-narrative witticisms maybe a bit too easily, but I love it.

  9. One book you've been meaning to read: Skybreaker, Kenneth Oppel's sequel to Airborn (which I loved) has been next to the bed all year. I was really looking forward to it, but I couldn't get into it, so I set it aside, waiting to be in a better mood.

  10. Tag 6 people: I agree with TrickyTricot -- this is the blog equivalent of a chain letter, and I'm not going to impose it on someone unwillingly (still, Ken, I was flattered that you picked me...residual "picked last for sports teams" neurosis). I'd be interested in the answers of anyone who cares to read my blog; I only know who some of you are, so consider yourself invited to respond, and leave me a comment so I know to go look at it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Craftr: My latest million dollar idea

This morning, after a couple Google queries, I figured out how to add a LibraryThing widget to my sidebar. I've had a LibraryThing account since last November, but I haven't really done anything with it: the retrocon work is just overwhelming. So earlier today I added the three books I'm reading or listening to now, removed the dozen test titles I'd put in over the past year, and pasted the Javascript widget where I wanted it on the page. This might inspire me to keep working in LibraryThing.

It would be cool if there was something similar for knitting, some Web 2.0 community site that let crafters create accounts, record details about their projects, upload pictures, allow tagging and commenting. Simple RSS widgets could be dropped into blogs (automatically generating nifty percentage bars -- this whole idea occurred to me because I can't make this code work in Blogger Beta, and even if I could, the prospect of editing HTML code every time I want to update my "On the Needles" sidebar makes me want to scrap the whole thing). I see mash-up possibilities, with Flickr of course, but maybe even Etsy.

What do you all think, Gentle Readers? Could one "Craftr" (or "CraftThing") site cover the needs of knittrs, weavrs, spinnrs, etc.? Just the yarn crafts, or could it be expanded out to embrace quiltrs and beadrs? Maybe each separate craft would feature-creep it in too many directions? As a knittr, I think I'd want the project database to include pattern source, start and end dates, materials, and progress indicator. Notes and journal fields would be important, and specifics (like dye lots, gauges, needles, etc.) could be recorded there.