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Overheard in line at Borders June 5, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Books, Overheard.

It was pouring down rain and a grandfather said to his 8 or 9 year old grandson:

“Wow, look at that rain. Too bad we didn’t bring an umbrella. But then, if we had an umbrella, we probably wouldn’t need it. Do you believe we can control the weather by carrying an umbrella?”

Grandson, rather dubiously responded:

“Well… we could control how wet we got.”

PS: If you’re wondering, I bought this and this.


Knitting Progress June 1, 2010

Posted by phoenixhopes in Goals, Knitting.

I learned to knit about five years ago and from the beginning I’ve dreamed about knitting socks. I love the pretty yarns. I love the pretty patterns. I love the idea of wearing a little something I made on my feet. I even love the thought that they will eventually wear out and need to be replaced (weird, I know). But I didn’t make any.

I collected yarn and itty, bitty needles and tried a few times but I wasn’t successful. The results were way too big, or way too small or too tight or too loose or just Not Right. Downright unsatisfactory. Until now:

I am so happy I could burst. There is something absolutely magic about knitting — One can take sticks and string and turn them into something useful and beautiful. I’m slightly amazed every time it works.

Of course, the process wasn’t without a few bumps in the road. The first was getting comfortable and skilled enough as a knitter. Comfortable is the key word here — often there is a gap between what we know how to do and how comfortable and confident we are doing what we know. Then I had to find the right yarn and the right pattern. If you aren’t a knitter, you would be amazed by the number of choices out there!

In February I received the yarn in a swap sponsored by a knitting e-mail list where I’m a member. At first I tried to turn the yarn into a scarf but it wasn’t willing. I liked the colors and the pattern, but the resulting fabric was too unyielding. A scarf, especially one that is a little lacy, should be flowing not stiff.

The next challenge was to find a pattern. I didn’t want something too plain and also not too challenging. Size was an issue as I have larger than average size feet. Many of the cute women’s sock patterns I found didn’t come in my size and I wasn’t about to adapt something on my first try. I finally settled on this one. I love the patterns on this site but this is the first one I purchased. I found it easy to read and follow and I’m sure I’ll purchase more in the future (her scarves and shawls are especially beautiful).

One sock was finished except for sewing closed the toe when I thought to weigh the sock and remaining yarn. Good thing as I was running a little bit short! The finished sock weighed 52 grams and the remaining yarn only 49 grams. I decided to rip back the toe and find a complementary yarn to finish off the socks. I tried a few solid yarns and, even though they matched one of the colors in the body of the sock, the contrast was just too glaring. In the end, I used a complimentary color and alternated rows with the main yarn. I think it turned out pretty well. Almost as though it was planned that way.

Actual knitting time, from beginning to end was about three months. Of course, I am not a monogamous knitter. I often have a few small projects at hand and am occasionally playing around with new ones. When a project frustrates me, it may find itself in a ‘time out’ while I ponder how to solve the problem. That happened when I ran into the problem of the toes and thought through a solution. Also, the bulk of my knitting time comes during my commute on the train and my attention was also captured by a few books during this time.

I’ll definitely be doing this again and have already chosen the next yarn (Sock #3 here). As this yarn has a lot more color action going on, I think I’ll use a plainer pattern.

Now, if Summer can just get out of the way, I have new, warm socks to break in!