Monthly Archives: February 2010

Oooooooohhhh, That’s Gotta Hurt, Pollyanna!

Well folks, Anna-Liza (also known as Pollyanna of the Rockies) has suffered a setback in her quest for gold. Ignoring her own advice to keep her steady pace, she rushed ahead into the heel flap and only discovered the leg was too short after turning the heel and picking up the gusset stitches. We caught up with Anna-Liza at her dining room table, where she made the stunning discovery.

“I was just congratulating myself on one of the most perfect gusset-stitch pickups I’d ever completed, when I realized something looked not quite right. I laid the first sock out next to the second, and realized I was probably two, possibly three rounds short on the second leg. Nobody likes to wear socks like that. It was disappointing, but I frogged. All the way back past the heel flap.”

We asked Anna-Liza if she still thought she had any chance at the gold after such a major mistake.

“Well, anonymous sports announcer, I think I do. I rushed things and made a pretty big mistake, but I caught it before it could completely destroy my chances. I’ve already frogged back and knit back down to where the heel flap should really start, and I’ve got a couple rows done on the flap. I’m not going to push myself to regain all my lost ground at once – I plan to have some tea, read a little trashy escapist fiction, get a good night’s sleep, and have at that heel flap again tomorrow.

If I could do a perfect gusset-stitch pickup once, I think I can do it again. And then I’ll be back on track to finish this thing before the closing ceremonies end.”

So there you have it folks, another Knitting Olympian with grit and determination. We’ll see if that’s enough to make gold this year.

Pollyanna Quotes Again

In the Second Scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised a story is written concerning one day when the apprentice Clodpool, in a rebellious mood, approached Wen and spake thusly:

“Master, what is the difference between a humanistic, monastic system of belief in which wisdom is sought by means of an apparently nonsensical system of questions and answers, and a lot of mystic gibberish made up on the spur of the moment?”

Wen considered this for some time, and at last said: “A fish!”

And Clodpool went away, satisfied.

             From Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett



            DEATH, from  Night Watch by Terry Prachett


Fear the random hippos.

            From Going Postal


In one way or another, are we not all looking for our cow?

            From Thud!

Pollyanna is only human

Susan talks to her grandfather, DEATH (who speaks in capitals):

“All right,” said Susan, “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need…  fantasies to make life bearable.”


              From Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Pollyanna’s Medal Chances Are in Danger

Anna-Liza here. Here’s the first pair of my Knitting Olympics socks (my commitment is two pair).

Looks pretty good, yes? No. No they don’t. You know why? They should have been finished yesterday, but I’m still on the heel flap of the second sock. Curses and swear words.

Of course, Mr B’s birthday party was yesterday (he’s six now). I didn’t get a single stitch in. Today is bread baking day, but there should be time in between risings, etc. to knit. It’s snowing (still), so staying in and knitting (and baking) is very appealing. Theoretically, I could get a lot of catchup done today, which would be good since I still have to show up at work and earn my paycheck for 40 hours this week.

We’ll see how I do with the challenge of knitting while keeping snowbound kids entertained. Maybe I’ll break out the duct tape.

Darn It, Pollyanna!

Anna-Liza here.  Two pair of my handknit socks have holes now, and one is my favorite cream-colored cabled pair.

I know the Yarn Harlot’s way to darn socks – say “Darn it!” in a loud voice while dropping them into the wastebasket, but she also apparently knits at the speed of sound about five times faster than I do, so I’m going to have to learn a more … restorative way to darn them.

Actually, that should be past tense, because I’ve gone and done it. Here are a couple of “before pictures”:

The one in the cream socks was on the sole, at the ball of the foot. The ones in the wine socks were where my big toes’ nails wore holes – super-nails, they are, and I don’t know why I don’t wear holes at that spot more often. The cream ones are sock yarn and the wine ones are worsted weight.

I wanted to learn Swiss darning, which is basically duplicate stitch but, of course, if you don’t catch the holes before they become holes (when the yarn is wearing thin but hasn’t broken yet), you don’t exactly have an existing stitch to duplicate. I found some videos to help me out with that. (This post isn’t a tutorial, because these videos are much more helpful than anything I could show you).

You get the idea. (These videos are both from Knitpicks, by the way). I watched the videos and I borrowed a darning egg from a neighbor, who said “Those? I’d heard that’s what they were for. We’ve got three or four. I can loan you one.” Apparently they have them around as tchatchkes. (Thanks, Jackie and Dan! It was quite useful). If I hadn’t happened to have run into Dan and mentioned it in passing, I would have been using a light bulb.

Here’s the cream sock repair in progress:

I still have a lot of the yarn from these socks. Unfortunately, the wine socks used up all my yarn, so I had to improvise. I didn’t even have anything close to that color. So I went with a different color with the same value, and it worked better than I expected.

The contrast is much less obvious when I’m wearing the socks and looking at them from a bodylength away – the deep green almost blends in with the deep wine color. And anyway, the repaired spots will be inside my shoes.

I got really ambitious and repaired a hole in the sleeve of one of Darlin’ K’s pullovers, a nice Norwegian-style one that he looks dashing in. I used the cream sock yarn, which was actually a reasonably close match to the marled sportweight yarn the sweater was originally made of. (No, I didn’t make that one – he’s had it since before I met him). I forgot to take pictures, but it turned out well.

I will say that a really good source of light is enormously helpful. I did the dark socks next to a window on a sunny day. Even with the lighter colors, a good light was very important. And the darning egg was crucial, too. I wouldn’t need something exactly that size and shape, but something hard, smooth, with curved surface that fits into the garment and can be held easily would be required. Something like …  a lightbulb (thanks for that tip, Marin!) Or a mini-football. Or … a darning egg.

I want a darning egg. Darn it.