October 29, 2006

With a yee and a haw

I present the finished Socktoberfest socks.

Sock 1 started September 14, finished October 14.
Sock 2 started October 18, finished October 28.


Next time I think I'll try contrasting colors for the cuff, heel and toe. I could probably get a few more inches of leg, as I've still got plenty of yarn left over. If I used contrasting colors, I might even be able to get something close to a knee-high. Though I'm not sure I've got the fortitude for that much plain knitting.

I'm also still working out the proper stitch count for my skinny legs and big feet. 76 stitches came out too big at the ankle, even with 8 stitches decreased. And then 68 stitches came out too narrow at the arch. They fit, but it's a strain in some spots.


But none of that really matters when you've got girly striped socks and shiny red shoes like these.



October 28, 2006

A preview


All done but for weaving in ends and blocking.

Better pictures tomorrow.

October 27, 2006

With apologies for all that bloviating...

I give you a little eye candy.

My first pair of socks, while they were still socks-in-progress...


The late and lamented Sunshine Yarns sock...


The sock did get to visit some of the special yarn in the stash before its untimely demise. Kind of a Make A Wish Foundation thing for doomed socks...


And the first of the damn Socktoberfest socks, while still in-progress...


Not new work, unfortunately. But I feel bad about the recent lack of yarn porn on this blog.

Just remember, if you touch your stash too much, you might go blind.



My library school class visited the Perkins School for the Blind Tuesday night to learn about accessible information technologies for blind patrons.

Things started on an entertaining note. When we first walked in a little blind girl walked up to one of my classmates, introduced herself, then poked my classmate in the belly and asked “Are you having a baby?”

My classmate just kind of choked and giggled. I, on the other hand, am paranoid and always prepared for just that situation, having stored up a number of harsh retorts just in case someone asks me if I’m pregnant (I’m not). But on second thought it probably would have been mean to use them on a nine-year-old blind kid.

In the less amusing but quite fascinating portion of the visit, we learned a number of interesting things: Particularly startling was that the unemployment rate among the blind is close to 70%. And a very large portion of the vision-impaired population isn’t born blind but becomes blind due to age-related conditions. This presents additional challenges in terms of information access because these older people are much less likely to learn Braille or to be comfortable with sophisticated technology such as JAWS (software that reads the contents of your computer screen aloud) or MP3 players for talking books.

On a more personal level, this was the first time I’d ever really been around blind people. The first goofy thing I realized is how much of audience participation is non-verbal. I usually show I’m paying attention by smiling and nodding. That didn’t work with this group – affirmative sounds were necessary. Similarly, asking a question necessitated saying “Do you mind if I ask a question” vs. raising a hand. And really, imagine trying to have a conversation with someone and never, ever being able to see their body language. All the little cues you take for granted are totally missing.

The other thing I thought was how the hell do blind people go grocery shopping? How do they tell what’s in a can or a box of cereal? I assume many of them have a sighted helper of some kind, but with unemployment rates of upwards of 70%, I can’t imagine that most blind people are able to pay for personal assistance of that kind?

It’s really amazing to think about the challenges inherent in doing even the simplest things: using money, for example. Or picking out clothes to wear. Or weighing yourself or microwaving something. There is adaptive technology such as talking scales and microwaves that help with a lot of this, but it tends to be hugely expensive, not to mention clunky.

If I learn nothing else from this class, I have an ever-growing respect for the challenges disabled people face and an awareness of how important it is to try to ease some of those challenges whenever possible.


As if to reinforce my (none-too-deep) insights into the world of blindness, next came the lameness. Within two minutes of walking into my apartment post-field trip, I coughed. Not a big cough or anything, just a cough. And my entire lower back felt like it exploded. The nice doctors tell me the pain and the inability to walk any faster than a slow hobble are temporary. They’ve even given me pills that should help alleviate the immediate symptoms. Side note: muscle relaxers are amazingly strong stuff. I get happy and loopy for about ten minutes then fall immediately to sleep, during which I don’t move at all but do manage to snore heavily (or so I’m told).

In the meantime, I’m supposed to “go about my daily life.” This is great advice as long as your “daily life” doesn’t include putting on your own socks, picking up anything below waist level, jaywalking, commuting on a crowded train, carrying a heavy laptop bag or knitting. Or staying awake through an entire evening TV show for that matter.

My fantasies of getting a lot of knitting done while bedridden have been dashed, in large part due to not being bedridden and not being able to sit comfortably for any length of time. Part of me actually thinks this is somehow the second sock’s fault – like it’s conspiring not to be finished in time for Socktoberfest.

Then I have to remind myself that it’s an inanimate object and, as much as it may seem to have free will and a cruel sense of humor, it is in fact just a half-finished sock.

And while I do realize that my current infirmity is in no way comparable to a life-long disability, it certainly has been humbling. Even this temporary problem has given me an all-new respect for the challenge of navigating in the world with a disability.

First of all, people stare at you. Gaggles of fifteen-year-old girls may go so far as to laugh and point. Should that happen and you are a librarian-in-training, you will use all your self-control not to yell at them because you realize they’re fifteen and absolutely do not care what you think.

Second, things move really, really quickly: cars whiz through crosswalks and the doors and turnstiles on the T move too fast and revolving doors whack you in the butt and the elevator makes angry noises because the doors have been standing open for too long. I have all new sympathy for how long it takes frail, elderly people to get places. I will do my level best not to find them infuriating from now on.

Third, it’s incredibly frustrating to suddenly face a drastic reduction in your abilities. I’m not typically a weepy type, but I’ve come to tears a good half-dozen times in the past few days out of sheer frustration and fury at not being able to accomplish basic things on my own. I can’t imagine the patience and strength of will it takes to acclimate to a permanent disability.

So I’m trying to view this as a learning experience. And not in a macho “that which does not kill me makes me stronger” kind of way.

If nothing else, I hope this newfound (and rather alien) sensitivity to the needs and difficulties of others stays with me after I’ve recovered. I hope I remember to be grateful for a basically functioning body that allows me to easily accomplish simple things. I hope it motivates me to start doing yoga again. I hope I remember how incredibly nice my friends and coworkers have been in helping me over the past few days. And I hope I can figure out an appropriate way to thank the boyfriend for all his heroic fetching and carrying and bringing of food.

I hope, I hope, I hope.

October 22, 2006

Walking the walk

I know I can talk the talk. But there's been a whole lot of talking on this blog recently and not a whole lot of knitting. Today, I finally, finally got some knitting done.

There were a lot of other things I should have done today. I should have worked. I should have done a bunch of reading for school. I should have been doing laundry. But none of those things would have been as much fun as this was. This being one fingerless glove from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.


The coolest part is that it's basically all 2x2 ribbing. There's some wackiness involved in making the thumb hole, but mostly you just scootch the ribbing repeat over by one every four rows. And it makes little spirals! Brilliant!

And, here's the most amazing part: I didn't hate knitting the 2x2 ribbing.

In fact, it was pure glee from start to finish. I actually can't wait to get started on the second one!

In opposition to Goldilocks

Warning: long post that makes almost no mention of knitting.

There’s an article in today’s Times describing Starbucks’ continuing expansion into cultural tastemaking. According to the article, Starbucks is using its trusted brand to introduce its many customers to non-coffee products such as CDs, books and movies. The movie Akeelah and the Bee, Mitch Albom’s new book, and Starbucks-produced jazz compilation CDs were just a few of the examples cited. The reasoning for many customers seems to be “I like the coffee, so I’ll probably like this too.”

Like everything else about Starbucks, all of these items are carefully calibrated to appeal to a particular sensibility, what the article describes as the “Starbucks Aesthetic.” These products are “Inspirational but not hokey, familiar but not ubiquitous…” and “provide an education without being preachy.” They’re “not racy or dark” but they are “thought-provoking.”

Starbucks customers are like a cultural Goldilocks, searching for something not too transgressive, nor to mainstream, but something that's juuuust right.

The Times even described one customer that was grateful for Starbucks’ help in editing down his cultural choices (!) because, as he said, “some people of caring hearts and minds have looked at this and felt it was worthwhile and beneficial and would create a good vibe in the world.” Leaving aside the fact that “caring hearts and minds” and “multi-billion dollar corporation” are phrases that almost never occur to me simultaneously, my immediate reaction was intense irritation, out of all proportion to the actual content of the article. I underlined and made marginal notes. I ranted over breakfast.

I thought about it first in the context of libraries, wondering if it would be possible for libraries to brand themselves as, if not cultural tastemakers, at least as trusted guides in a similar way. I know, I know - library users do have the same respect for librarians as Starbucks customers have for Starbucks. But Starbucks gets a gigantic two page story in the Sunday Times. Public libraries, not so much.

Obviously, the library needs to appeal to a broader constituency than Starbucks’ core customer, described in the article as early 40’s, well-educated and with an average income of $90,000 a year. But it seems to me that if a coffee shop chain can become a trusted source for advice on movies, music and reading material, a library - staffed by people with a masters’ degree in helping people find relevant, interesting information - should be able to do the same.

The other (non-library) issue here is that feeling smug about buying just the right middlebrow compilation CD reeks of NPR-listening, overpriced coffee-drinking, ineffectual liberalism. The kind of liberalism that shops at Trader Joe’s and drinks Fair-Trade coffee but votes for a Republican governor because, while they do support adequate social services in theory, they really do feel they’re paying too much in taxes.

And why does that piss me off so much? Because I am an NPR-listening, Starbucks-drinking middle class elitist liberal in many ways (though I’ve never voted for a Republican governor and would be fine with paying more in taxes). I do however feel like I’m making the world a better place by going to independent bookstores, by buying organic cereal, or by eating free-range eggs. I prefer local heirloom tomatoes, artfully distressed furniture, and interesting shoes.

I may shop at the Gap and Anthropologie and Ann Taylor, but I think logos and corporate emblems are vulgar. I don’t have a car, and I take public transportation to and from work every day. But I’m endlessly grateful that the boyfriend has a car and I don’t really need to take the T anywhere that might be really inconvenient.

Plus, I knit. I buy yarn that’s handspun and dyed by a Peruvian women’s cooperative. Aren’t I virtuous?

David Brooks neatly skewered this worldview in his book Bobos in Paradise. Although sorely lacking in sociological depth and rigor, Bobos was an uncomfortable, and often hilarious, critique of precisely my lifestyle (or at least my potential lifestyle, in a rather higher tax bracket). Now I don’t particularly like or respect David Brooks, but his belabored central point, that there’s some hypocrisy in this behavior, did hit home.

I do firmly believe that local, organic food is better for consumers and the environment than the food produced and shipped across the world by agribusiness conglomerates. I believe local businesses give more back to the community than chain stores. I believe there is a real danger in the homogenization of taste and the loss of local variety and the ever-increasing commodification of American life. And I do believe making something unique and beautiful with your hands is better than buying a mass-produced item in a store.

The problem, of course, is that my small lifestyle changes are ultimately completely insignificant. Occasionally eating hormone-free beef is not fixing anything. And I sometimes think that making those kinds of small changes satisfies people’s do-gooder urges enough that they don’t need to work for substantive change.

If there’s a vague feeling that all is not right with the world, rather than researching an issue, writing letters, attending demonstrations, lobbying politicians, or doing anything else that requires real effort, I just boycott Wal-Mart. And I feel like a good person, a virtuous, socially conscious person because of it. The world may be full of problems, but I am living righteously in my small way.

The other problem with making these decisions is that they are ultimately circumscribed by the same consumerist worldview I object to in the first place. It’s consumption-as-resistance instead of actual resistance. Not only is it remarkably expensive to live this way, it’s also very, very comfortable.

Thus the ridiculously strong irritation with Starbucks and their safe-yet-moderately interesting cultural products. Because I feel like just their kind of Goldilocks. And "just right" isn't at all the same thing as "righteous."

October 21, 2006


Still working on the second sock. I haven't been posting progress pictures because progress is slow and if you've seen the first sock the second sock is kind of boring.

Unless you're me and you're knitting the second sock from a second skein and it turns out COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN THE FIRST SOCK.


Risa asked earlier what yarn I was using (go ahead and click, you should congratulate her on the cutie socktoberfest sock anyway- I'll wait). I'm using the ever-popular Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in Girly Stripe, which I've mostly been enjoying.

Until now. The two skeins are absolutely, positively from the same dye lot. But the color runs are a bit longer in the second skein and the purple is much darker, making the second sock look less stripey and more splotchy.

Does this always happen with Lorna's? Or did I get lucky? More experienced knitters, please advise.

In the meantime, I'm working very hard to consider this mismatched sock thing charming.

I'm just struggling with the part where I bought self-striping yarn specifically to avoid splotchy socks. But I know pretending to love the second sock isn't working very well.

How do I know?

Because I'm committing yarn adultery...


And I didn't just lust in my heart. I poked and fondled my stash. I browsed patterns. I flirted with fingerless gloves. And I wound up yarn for two different projects. I'm so ashamed.

October 18, 2006


I’ve been thinking about the homeless guy I saw earlier this week, the one with the HELP ME GET DRUNK sign. The librarian-in-training class I’m taking this semester is on Literacy and Services to Underserved Populations. So I should be growing more sensitive to literacy issues, right?

I already know that a staggering percentage of impoverished and incarcerated populations have very low or practically non-existent literacy skills. I imagine the same is true of homeless populations. So I started thinking What if that homeless guy couldn’t read?

What if he asked someone else to write that sign for him? What if he thought it said ‘Homeless and sober – please help’ or ‘Will work for food’? What if it’s the homeless equivalent of a ‘Kick Me’ sign joke?

There he was with a homeless guy ‘Kick Me’ sign and I’m making fun of him. I’m a jerk.

Besides affording an opportunity for me to feel insensitive, my literacy class yielded not one but two fiber arts-related run-ins last night. I went on a field trip to visit a library-based literacy class last night for a group project and it turns out one of the women in my group is a crocheter (seriously, I’m finding crochet peeps everywhere - it makes me wonder if they know something I don't). She spotted the sock-in-progress* poking out of my bag and we ended up talking needlesports for most of a lengthy T and bus ride home.

Another knitter was sitting in front of us (the 66 bus was crawling with yarny types last night), furiously working 2x2 ribbing on teeny double-points for the entire ride, so as I was getting off I asked “Sock or sleeve?” She said “Sleeve.” I said “Cool.” We shared a silent look of perfect understanding, and then I stepped off the bus.

I like to think the whole exchange had a pleasingly terse, masculine, almost Hemingway-esque vibe to it, if you can picture Hemingway with less repressed homoerotic tension and more knitting.

* “Progress” in this case being a generous term for the first inch of Socktoberfest sock # 2’s ribbing. Further progress stalled until tomorrow at the earliest due to having left said Socktoberfest sock at work. I was hoping Sock 2 would be less disaster-prone than sock 1, but thus far? Not so much.

October 16, 2006

On being "open"

I’m not what you would describe as an “open” person or a person who “shares feelings” well. Mostly I replace “feelings” with a combination of wine, self-mockery, and ironic finger-quotes. (Never doubt the power of ironic finger-quotes to trivialize emotional discourse. I’m making them right now, just without my fingers).

In a clear violation of the ironic finger-quoter social contract, I’ve recently been encouraged by a wide variety of people to be less “closed off” and more “emotionally available.” Judgmental people.

So trying to share my thoughts and feelings is a new thing, and frankly I'm really bad at it. I think I need signposts, or maybe flashcards, or some other very clear set of rules that will tell me what is good sharing (I’m worried about my presentation tomorrow?) vs. bad sharing (Every single time you open your mouth I just want you to SHUT IT?).

For example, I sat through an entire hour-long meeting this morning with my zipper undone. You’d think any one of my four female coworkers in the conference room could have, I don’t know, subtly motioned to me that my underpants were showing, but no. I discovered this on my own after the meeting ended.

Showing your underpants at a meeting clearly falls into the “bad sharing” category. This is the level of obviousness I understand.

Then this afternoon I saw a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk near my office building holding a neatly hand-lettered cardboard sign that said HELP ME GET DRUNK. If I hadn’t been walking with my boss, I totally would have given him a dollar.

Probably more than a dollar, because that’s the kind of openness I can get behind.

October 14, 2006

11475 stitches later

I have a completed sock.

Sock Part 1

Only 11475 more stitches to go before I have a pair.

October 13, 2006

Knitting smut

Awesome Meredith has a special talent, besides helping me acquire yarn. She also finds kitsch-tastic pattern books everywhere - in thrift shops, at yard sales, I swear sometimes the more aggressive 70's patterns just heave themselves at her bodily as she's passing innocently by.

Her latest find was the 1969 "Gypsy Vest Book" which, as you might guess, had vests, vests and more vests. One vest was very, very special...


I really intended to come up with something witty to say about it, but the knitting porn pretty much speaks for itself.

Plus, I caught the last 20 minutes of Stitchy McYarnpants at Porter Square Books tonight. And I am humbled.

October 12, 2006

Too sick to knit

I had all these fantasies about being sick - I would lounge on my couch, knitting furiously while periodically dabbing daintily at my ever-so-slightly damp nose. Instead, I spent a lot of time knocked out on cold medicine, just "having a quick lie down" that would turn into three hour stretches of complete unconsciousness.

Needless to say, very little knitting has been done. I've also completely lost my sense of taste, so whatever I eat tastes like unflavored oatmeal. This makes food texture very important, because I really, really hate oatmeal. Baked ziti? Not good. Salad greens? Better. I might as well eat healthy if I can't taste anything, no?

I also think I might have spotted subway knitter in the wild yesterday. If not, I should apologize to the stranger I looked at so oddly for such a long time at Government Center yesterday evening.

Finally, I met a very nice crocheter on the train today, who asked after my sock. We talked yarn stores and preferred fibers. I also clued her in to the joy that is Windsor Button. I feel like my work is done for the day.

Alas, it's really only just starting...

October 9, 2006

I am not alone

This blog thing is the best. Not only do I spend way less time boring my non-knitting friends with knitting blather ('cause I can bore the entire internet, see), but there's all kinds of validation to be found.

Take Teep for example. Pattern-averse, half-assed swatcher, not the world's fastest knitter, and funny as hell: "I'm not using a pattern except as something I can hold my knitting up in front of and say things like, "La La La, I can't *hear* you!". Awesome.

In my own knitting news, I was couch-ridden with a wicked chest cold today (hear that, boyfriend? And yes, I Blame You). Minimal sock knitting was accomplished in between the horking phlegm and the chills and the sweating.

More importantly, I picked up an exciting new knitting skill. Well mostly a frogging skill, which given how much time I spend frogging things is probably more important than new knitting skills. I used to just pulled out the needles, rip back the stitches to where I made the mistake and then spend ages picking up each stitch individually. This was infuriating.

Turns out you can pick up the stitches before the mistake, then pull out the needles, rip out the work to where you've picked up the stitches and not spend hours fiddling with stupid, splitty yarn.

I ripped out the whole heel flap and puckered gusset and spent less than two minutes getting the stitches back on the needles.

It's like magic. If magic were self-evident, logical and clearly illustrated with helpful pictures in an introductory knitting book.

October 8, 2006

Dispatches from the very good goat department

Our trip to the Topsfield Fair began inauspiciously, with bad traffic at the Topsfield exit.

The traffic jam did give us an opportunity to sing along loudly, and embarrassingly, to my friend’s newly purchased Simon & Garfunkel Live in NY CD. There’s a wonderful moment in the middle of the show where Simon (or Garfunkel?) commends the civic-mindedness of “the guys selling loose joints” because they planned to donate half their proceeds to the city. Drug dealers these days have no sense of social responsibility.

In any case, after an hour of excruciating inching, we were informed that the fair parking lots were full and we would have to catch the shuttle from the satellite parking lot. I managed not to ask the nice policeman why the hell no one thought to tell people that before they spent an hour sitting unnecessarily in traffic. Ergh. Things didn’t improve much once we hit the satellite parking lot.


If I ever wondered how much I love fried foods and rubber frog-catapulting games, the answer is “an extremely unhealthy amount" because a full hour later, we were squeezed onto a school bus and dropped at the fairgrounds. And then things improved immeasurably. There were lights...


And rides...


And snacks...


There was a Latino dude playing the traditional Peruvian folk tune “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love with You” on the pan pipes.

And, of course, there was this sign...


And this...


There were chicks hatching, which was really very cool until I noticed two of the chicks were having a rough time. One just lay there with a leg awkwardly twisted up and over its chest, racked by really painful-looking seizures. Another misshapen runty one kept trying, and failing, to stand. A little kid asked his distressed-looking mother if the runty chick was “going to make it” and in a stricken voice she told him “I don’t think so.”

It’s so wonderful when children can be exposed to the miracle of life – and the inevitability of suffering and death - at such a very young age.

I also saw real live sheep for the first time since I started knitting. Sheep are soooo much more exciting when you’re a knitter. They’re yarn, with legs.


I even managed to accomplish some hat knitting…


Many thanks to my fabulous friend Megan for driving and being such excellent (and patient) company.

October 6, 2006

On the having of standards

I did a quick perusal of my August and September entries and it appears that in two months I’ve completed two socks, frogged one other, stopped knitting another sock after part-frogging it several times, finished a hat that was already 2/3 complete and started on another hat - a hat that I’ve already started, frogged and re-started three times. I do a lot of frogging.

I think I’d like to spend less time ripping shit out and more time finishing things.

In the meantime, I’ve decided I should rename my blog. From now on librarian-in-training should be accessed via i-rip-shit-out.blogspot.com.

I wonder if this penchant for starting, mangling, then not finishing projects means:
1) I need to improve my knitting skills, or…
2) I need to lower my standards

Doubtful? Work with me for a minute.

Option 1: It’s possible I’m just a really crappy knitter. I’d be ok with that. It’s also possible that I would be a much better knitter if I could just get over my aversion to gauge swatching. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that won’t change any time soon.

So thankfully there’s also Option 2: it could be that my standards are too high. If I could just abandon concepts like “fit” and “drape,” I would be much more successful in my “finishing projects” goal.

For example, I'm a systems analyst By Day. This means I help design, test and implement internal systems for a consulting company. A few days ago, my knitterly coworker and I were testing a bug fix on one of our systems and chatting idly while waiting for several (agonizingly slow) pages to load.

Suddenly, she looked up at me and said “IF I HAD TO USE THIS SYSTEM EVERY DAY, I WOULD DIE.”

And I said, “That’s exactly the kind of user experience we were looking for.” Mind you, this (agonizingly slow) system was considered a successful implementation! That’s the kind of standards I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

There are several other workaround options: I could try to befriend way more people, preferably people that come in way more sizes. To hell with this “normal size” group of friends I have. I want people with shockingly humongous heads and miniscule feet! Barrel chests with stubby little arms! Scrawny legs, broad heels and strangely square toes.

My new tag line can be....Misshapen? Freakish? Disproportionate? Have I got knitwear for you!

Also, my friends totally need to get with the breeding program. If baby knits turn out too big, they will always fit the recipient eventually. Selfish friends.

Seriously though, I need to fucking back off a little bit on the frogging thing. I need to remind myself that I took up knitting for fun. I need to remember that I’ve been knitting all of a year, and it’s ok if I’m not turning out sock after sock in between gorgeous lace shawls and saucily redesigned sweaters nearly every day.

I work. I’m in grad school. And I have the attention span of a hyperactive blowfly. On crack. I will most likely never be that kind of knitter.

And that's perfectly fine with me. Standards be damned.

October 5, 2006

Sock History

Lollygirl suggested that Socktoberfest types share their sock history, so here goes...

I started making socks this summer. I blame, er, credit, the Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Rules and her utterly charming chapter on the allure of sock knitting. Plus knitting socks makes me feel like a super-genius.

I originally taught myself using the Harlot’s Rules and the free pattern on a (hideous) ball of Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn. Over the summer I also took a sock knitting class at A Good Yarn, wherein I discovered I already knew how to knit socks, but was reassured to hear that my “mistakes” (ladders, holes at the gusset) were totally normal and could be fixed with practice and some yanking.

I had already made two other socks (not a pair) before making the first full pair for my sock knitting class. Considering that I made them out of DK-weight alpaca at the end of August, they’ve had minimal wear and have consequently held up brilliantly.

That first pair is chock-full of mistakes, but I pretty much adore them just the way they are.

In terms of construction, I might try a short-row heel next or toe-up, but so far it’s been plain old top-down, heel flapping on DPNs for me. There's something pleasingly tidy and old-fashioned about that method.

I do have Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, though I haven’t tried it out yet. Oddly, I’m always willing to buy yarn that might not pan out, but I just can’t make myself invest in several Addis for a sock-knitting method I might not like. And I don’t do enough knitting with fingering weight yarn to justify teeny tiny Addis for anything else.

As for yarn, I’ve tried Opal, Lorna’s, Sunshine Yarns and Lion Magic Stripe, as well as the DK-weight alpaca. Mostly, I’m just a big slut for cute colors and stripes. The yarn itself matters less to me.

Just the one pair so far, so I guess I'm a sock novice. I’ve started and frogged three or four others, and I’m currently in a fight with my most recent sock (I love him so, but I'm afraid we're not meant to be together).

So I suppose in the spirit of Socktoberfest, I should be knitting something sockish, instead of just talking about it…

Off to the knitting!

October 4, 2006


I'm so completely in love with this new yarn. And not just because it has the cutest label I've ever seen (happy sheep! knitting!)...


No, I also love it because it's so pants-crappingly beautiful.


[Updated November 10, 2006 to replace the photo I deleted from my Flickr account]

My photo in no way does it justice. In real life, this yarn is the most wonderful combination of green-blue glass and smoky silver and stormy seas, with forest floors and old moss and bursts of Martha Stewart blue and apple green thrown in. I get excited every time I pick it up, just to see what color might come up next.

It's so beautiful that I think I achieved knitting nirvana. I twisted the stitches - not once, but TWICE - while joining for the first round in the hat. And I absolutely didn't care. I really thought "Yay, more knitting!" as I ripped it out. And every time I come across a gigantic hunk of organic matter (twig? hoof? poop? nail clippings?) mashed inside the yarn, I calmly pluck it out and keep knitting.

In fact, I give full credit to this yarn for the cute Australian that started chatting me up on the T yesterday while I was knitting with it. When I told the boyfriend all about it, he responded with withering (yet strangely sexy) sarcasm, "Yeah, I'm sure he was really interested in your knitting."

This is the boyfriend that texted me today that he was watching TV in my apartment but would also "guard yarn in case of intruders." I do love him.

In library news, my class visited the Thomas Crane library in Quincy yesterday, and I feel ever so much better about everything. The library was beautiful and lively and light-filled, not to mention well-funded. They have up-to-date technology everywhere and real live birds in the children's room and the center of their library is a three-story atrium with a cafe and performance space. It's the kind of place where the patrons complain that the staff is too loud and that they lack librarian-ish decorum.

It reminded me that there absolutely are libraries I would be thrilled to work in. Thank f-ing God.

October 3, 2006

Too many crayons

My boss has twin boys that just started kindergarten. When she was back-to-school shopping, she mentioned that the kindergarten gave very specific instructions regarding the number of crayons to purchase. Something like 12 or 18, not the monster-size box (with 68 crayons and an awesome built-in crayon sharpener) I remember so fondly from my elementary school days.

Apparently, if young children have too many crayons, it takes them forever to decide which crayon to use. Hear that - too many colors equals paralyzing indecision.

Ah, you may say, "but you're not a five year old."

Or "you're a grown-up, you should totally be able to cope with having lots of yarn."

But oh how wrong you would be. No. Idea. What. To. Knit. Next.

October 1, 2006

Knitting math

Finding more brown yarn
+ procrastination
= a finished hat!

This hat has been languishing in my Unfinished Object basket since last spring. I actually finished it (the first time) in March, then ripped out the top third after re-reading the part of the pattern that said, in all caps:


I believe I decided the pattern was "not the boss of me" and decreased every row instead. This turned out badly and I was irritated, so the hat remained unfinished. Until now.....

I keep sneaking into the bathroom to admire it while it's blocking. Now I know it's nothing particularly spectacular, but I do so love a finished object. Finishing makes me feel like the kind of knitter that doesn't just sluttishly start project after project, abandoning them as soon as they have a problem. The kind of knitter that won't be seduced by any soft, gorgeously colored yarn that saunters by.

The kind of knitter, in short, that finishes what she started.

Maybe I'll pick up something else from the UFO basket today.

Maybe I'll virtuously finish EVERY SINGLE F-ING THING IN THE DAMN BASKET....

Or maybe I'm still high from all that yarn I bought yesterday.