Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New hat

I saw this hat at the new Fall Knitty and couldn't resist making one immediately! Tuesday I felt kinda crappy (actually, I still do) so I played hooky from work and knit this up. Today I went back to work and spent all day wishing I was home knitting!


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I finished the booties!

I'm really bad at finishing things. I hate hate hate sewing up seams, so projects often languish for months just minutes from completion! Today I pulled the booties back out and seamed them up--took about an hour to seam and add the edging along the opening. Here they are from the top, showing, well, showing how uneven my gage is. The white one is clearly a lot bigger than the grey one! Argh! They also show off my lovely leg hair!

Here is how they are supposed to look....

I need to felt them a hair, the white more than the gray. Hopefully I can get them to come out the same size.....


Three teddies

I finished the blue and white teddy (except for embroidering on his face). Here is an earlier version, whose embroidered face has almost worn off, and a tiny teddy from a pattern in Interweave Knits. The tape measure is in inches! The two big teddies were both knit from the Bubby pattern at Knitty and usually I can finish one in an evening.


I saw someone's blog about bookmarks (now I've forgotten who, in the rush to read all the new ISE5 blogs!) and decided to make some of my own! They are all patterns from one of Barbara Walker's 4 treasuries. I knit about 10 and ripped the first several when I realized they wouldn't work. It's more complicated picking a pattern than I thought! My favorite is the top orange on--the result looks almost woven and has fooled 2 knitters already.


Sunday, September 09, 2007


I'm halfway through this report about the declining age of puberty which starts off with this disturbing sentence:

"Over the past few years, studies have revealed that girls as young as two are entering puberty."

It's written by Sandra Steingraber who is one of my favorite writers.


Projects that failed

I had a stab at knitting a mobius scarf/shawl/headwrap thing from Elizabeth Zimmerman. I was knitting twin rib which I loved the look of, using Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton which is so soft you almost can't feel it. I work with a lot of outdoorsy types who scorn cotton because in the mountains, "cotton kills", so I always have this vaguely guilty feeling that I love it so much. However, I didn't really pay attention to how much yarn I'd need, so after knitting the thing up and grafting the ends together I realized it was far too short for neck-and-head and far too long for an oversized neck gaiter. So I ripped it:


Teddy bear

A colleague just had a baby, so I'm knitting up a little teddy bear. I've made a bunch of these and I love knitting them!!


Friday, September 07, 2007

Why so slow

I just finished Why So Slow, about why there are still so few women "at the top" in academia, business, or any profession. It's pretty disturbing, documenting the kinds of small slights and difference treatment/reactions that women experience. On their own these things are very small, but they DO add up--the author discusses the accumulation of advantage and shows mathematically how this kind of thing adds up over a lifetime.

One thing I really liked is that she didn't discuss family responsibilities in too much detail. Sometimes I feel like women are ghetto-ized when the whole "balancing family and work" burden is placed on our doorstep, as though children are entirely our responsibility. I feel like it perpetuates the cultural assumption that men DON'T need to balance this too (and take up their share of family responsibility). It also never rang true to me that this explained why there are still so few women in the upper reaches of any profession.

As discouraging as it was (a lot of things need to change), it was also validating--at least I know I'm not just imagining it when I think that many suggestions I make at a meeting are ignored only to be mentioned 5 minutes later by someone else and then discussed.


hatred, craving, and delusion

I just started Destructive Emotions, and I'm riveted. It documents a mutli-day conversation between the Dalai Lama and a handful of top neuroscietists about destructive emotions. In Buddhism the three really destructive, corrosive emotions are hatred, craving, and delusion. I'm not at all trained in Buddhism, but here is my take on these three:

  • hatred is pretty clear--that horrible, soul-overtaking rage and loathing of someone or something.
  • craving is fixating on something, obsessing about it. I read once the Buddhist expression "happiness is not wanting", which I've found to be true--the more I want something and focus on it and chase after it the more miserable I make myself. This isn't to say I never want anything or pursue something. I'm talking about the next level, where obsessing about the thing eats away at me, takes over my thoughts day and night.
  • delusion--perhaps my 'favorite' because it's been the most enlightening for me. Some years back I embarked on a course of what I like to call "emotional surgery" where I cleaned out some dead wood I'd accumulated over the years. One thing that came up over and over was what I called dishonesty, or delusion, where I consciously or unconciously distorted the truth about a situation. I may have thought I was doing myself a favor but this distortion inevitably led to some resentment and misery on my part. To give a small, perhaps trivial example, if I go into a shop and the clerk is rude to me, I previously would leave the shop and be angry the rest of the day about how that clerk was rude to ME, and trying to ruin my day. It's a very self-centered way of viewing the world. The fact is I have no idea what was going on with the clerk (family or health problems? who knows!) and I could choose not to take it personally. There are a million more examples, but they all tend to revolve around me adding a layer of interpretation or meaning to something, and this delusion, or untruth was the source of much of my unhappiness.


Monk's travel satchel

I have loved this bag since I first saw it. I'm not very good at purling (seems a bit awkward for my hand) so I despaired at the miles of seed stitch, even though I absolutely adore how seed stitch looks. Earlier this year I learned to purl the German way (where the yarn stays behind the work the whole time--the right needle does some serious swan dives poking around to make the stitch, but it keeps me from having to hold the yarn down in front which hurts my hand). It makes more sense now that in German the two stitches are "rechts" (right) and "links" (left) rather than knit and purl. This purl is supposed to be ultra fast, although I'm incredibly slow at it--far slower than if I just did a usual purl, but because it's less irritating I actually keep working, so in the end it's much better! I'm about halfway done with the eternal strap that starts the pattern off.

This is some super tiny wool/silk blend yarn I'm working with, triple stranded to make a normal gage! I had bought the yarn for weaving but had to sell my loom when I moved to Switzerland. I figured I could do a lot of lace knitting, although that hasn't turned out to be the case. Instead I realized I can use multiple strands and use up my stash!



I've always loved bonnets since obsessively reading Little House on the Prairie books, and a visit to Williamsburg as a child. Then I impulse bought this gorgeous variegated cotton-linen blend yarn that was on sale, apparently because they weren't restocking it. I have three balls, but it's not quite enough to do anything. I tried some dishcloths but I realized it needed a really plain stockinette to show off the beautiful color. I found this bonnety thing and I loved it!

The colors are a bit washed out, so here is a closeup showing the yarn better. I need to learn how to take closeups if I'm going to keep blogging.


Danish booties

I picked up this Danish bootie pattern in a great little shop in the Swedish island of Gotland this spring. It claimed to be one size fits all, but my feet are apparently kinda large so I had to fiddle with the pattern a bit and add an extra repeat of the pattern. The pattern was offered in Danish, Norwegian, and German. My german isn't so great, nor had I ever tried to read a knitting pattern in german. It came out ok since I'm a relatively experienced knitter, but it sure seemed like some parts of the directions were missing. I still am not sure if they were (the pattern writer assumed we'd know how to fill in the gaps) or if I just couldn't make out the german...

This meant I was running short of the grey, so the other slipper is white with grey accents. I guess I can tell left from right that way? Ha ha! They are all done except I can't seem to seam them up--I tried once three different times and couldn't get the rhythm of it. I HATE sewing--I'd far prefer to knit a cardigan in the round and steek it than seem (or purl all those rows!). Got to sit down and get this done!


Hemp dishcloth

I've become a bit obsessed with hemp. It's such an amazing fiber (like linen), and it's so much easier on the earth than cotton. It's so absorbant!!! Knitting with it is a bit of a pain--makes my hands ache it's so stiff. I wanted to knit one of the linen dishcloths in Mason Dixon Knitting, but decided to use hemp instead:

It's a bit loose, but I guess that in about 10 years and 500 washes this is going to be the best towel I've ever owned!


Accidental orange

This is a skein of yarn I spun this spring. I was teaching myself to dye--I thought I was making red roving but wasn't quite sure about the dye amounts. I somehow imagined if I didn't have enough that it would turn out pink and I could just knit up something for my then-5 year old niece who is deep into the pink stage. Instead I got this.

I kind of like it, actually, since I'm obsessed with fall and earthy colors. It's definitely best used as an accent color, though!


The forever shawl

I started this shawl at Christmas, 2005, when some of my family came to visit. I hurt my wrists hauling our bags around running for tight train connections, so then I couldn't knit for a couple of months. I picked it up again during a summer school, but then somehow haven't really touched it since. I guess it's too overwhelming? It takes a lot of concentration, so no watching TV while I knit this. It's an enormous triangle shape--hard to see bunched up on the needle, but I'm at the wide base of the triangle. Stretched out I think it would be 4 or 5 feet. This is my first time working on straight needles--I learned to knit on Addi Turbos and use them for everything unless I have to go to double pointeds. But this yarn (thread???) is so fine and slippery it was hard to work on metal needles, so I finally bought a pair of wood needles this summer hoping it would inspire me.... The pattern is from Three-cornered and Long Shawls (about halfway down the page), a book of Icelandic lace patterns. They are gorgeous, but not quick!


The sweater grows

Still can't seem to get posting regularly, but now that I joined in the fifth International Scarf Exchange, I'm obliged to blog, so perhaps I'll get in the habit of it!

The sweater is coming along--I took a break for much of the summer. Who wants 2 pounds of wool in their lap?? I'm almost to the shoulder seams--you can see the armhole steek on the side here (this is the front again).

It seems freakishly long, somehow, but then I've never knit an adult sweater in this shape (I knit a raglan one so the sleeves were melded in and it looked much more sweatery). I was hoping to put a big frothy shawl collar on it, but I really can't figure out how to knit that. I'm not working from a pattern, but from Knitting in the Old Way, and I can't quite visualize the shawl collar. I still have a couple inches to go till I make the shoulder seams, so I'm not commited yet. Maybe I'll still figure it out!