Tag Archives: knitty.com

Sneezy Pollyanna and the Harbingers of Spring

Anna-Liza here. I am not sure that “spring” means much of anything to Lyda anymore, other than the name of the town where I went to high school, since she lives in SoCal. Here in Colorado, spring means a lot.

Sunny days in the 60s alternating with snow.

Wind. Crocus blossoms and, eventually, daffodils. Pollen. Wind. Trees budding out. Crabapples blooming. Wind. Pollen.

Also, hay fever. Spring and fall are both allergy seasons for me, but the shock of spring allergies after a winter of a non-itchy face makes it seem worse. Yes, I have things I can take for the symptoms, but on the worst days nothing relieves them entirely. It’s better, but I’m still Teary, Itchy, Stuffy and Sneezy. And Grumpy. And I wish Doc could come up with something to keep me from wanting to scratch my face off that doesn’t make me Sleepy or Goofy. Yeah, I know that last one’s not a dwarf. Don’t care.

Yesterday it was windy and cool, today it’s snowing. And Darlin’ K is off at Ski Jam 7: Beats on the Steeps for a day of snowboarding and music. Me? I am thinking about tacos for dinner and wondering if takeout Mexican for lunch would be too much. And will I have time for knitting if I spend all day on the internet? Probably not much, so I guess I’d better go get something done! I’m working on Sea Tangles, and I want to have it finished to wear when the weather finally gets warm!

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Hi, I’m Pollyanna, and I’m a Sock Addict

Okay, you probably know who this is. So soon after Lyda’s confessional post, I feel I have to come clean as well. I came to the realization today that I’m not just fond of knitting socks, I’m actually addicted. (As just possibly Knitting Sprite may be starting an addiction to baby hats – but it’s not for me to out another knitter).

Knitting Sprite & me at the Yarn Harlot's gig in 2007. Note the incipient sock.

This epiphany came when I saw this pattern on knitty.com. It’s not that it’s especially beautiful, but it’s elegant and the design is … it’s fuckin’ brilliant, is what it is. The absolute lust that reading the pattern aroused in me was so surprising, yet so familiar. I had to have the pattern! And I do – I have it right now, waiting for me to pick just the right sock yarn (I have PA-LENTY stashed) and find my size 0 DPNs. More accurately, find a set of size 0 DPNs which don’t already have a sock on them.

I need to darn one of these.

You know what? I have a total of two pair of functional handknit socks in my drawer, two pair that need mending, and a single Monkey whose mate was tragically lost in a travel incident. It’s not too surprising that I don’t actually have that many, especially considering the speed at which I get things done. “Speed” would not, in fact, be a particularly accurate term – perhaps it’s more the “slow” at which I get things done.

I'll even make socks for my kids.

But I have lots of socks on the needles. There’s a pair I am making for a massage therapist friend of mine as partial trade for the really fabulous massage she gave me a while ago. For myself, there are … let’s see … the toe-ups, the chevrons, the Pomatomus … um. I was going to give a tally, but I think I don’t actually know how many unfinished socks I’ve got.

One of these is lost in Wyoming.

And then there are the socks that I haven’t started but I want to start, even though I’ve got so many sock-WIPs and sock-UFOs already. Just online, there’s Skew, of course, which I showed you earlier; and there’s Hedera, Bacchus, Salto (dig them crazy cables, man!), River Rapids, the Sandalwood Socks

And of course, there’s Absinthe.

If that’s not addiction, what would you call it?

Pollyanna Tries to Not Hack up a Lung

Hey there, Anna-Liza here.

I’ve pretty much done nothing but sleep, cough, and blow my nose for the last four days. The little cold that Mr. B brought home wasn’t so bad for him or for Darlin’ K, but it hit Mr. R and me pretty hard. Mr. R was home sick Monday and Tuesday. I started feeling bad while I was at work on Monday, and have been home all week since then.

Usually, I take a bunch of supplements and they’ll shorten a cold and lessen its severity. A few times, when I’ve caught it early enough and been fanatical very vigilant about taking my “stuff” right on time, I’ve even been able to avoid it altogether. But this time, I’d been fighting symptoms for a couple of weeks, not quite getting enough sleep, and then dealing with extra stress on top of it. Monday, when Mr. R went down, I forgot to pack my supplements with me when I went to work. By the end of the day I was feeling truly lousy!

I figured I’d be fine with a day or two to rest, but it turned into bronchitis. I finally dragged my ass to the doctor today (I was sleeping so much that I didn’t realize that maybe this was more serious than a cold until last night!) He prescribed an inhaler for daytime and codeine cough syrup at night. Side effects–the inhaler makes me a little jittery, and the syrup makes me groggy. Which is sort of the point, I guess–it’s meant to help me get more sleep instead of waking up sounding like a two-pack-a-day smoker every couple of hours. Oh, I guess that’s another “side effect”-Darlin’ K will be able to get more sleep, too!

Knitting? Not so much. I’d gotten some done on the Monkey socks, but I had to rip most of that out and start over. First, I’d done one too many repeats of the lace pattern on the leg, and then I hadn’t decreased on the heel flap. Although, even if I had, I would have had to rip back past it to fix the repeat problem.

The original pattern doesn’t call for a heel flap decrease, but I have sort of narrow heels and find things fit better when I do that. I’d made the notes on the pattern showing how I’d done it on the first sock, and then I ignored my own notes! I’m so smart — and so detail oriented! But now I’ve ripped back, have the proper number of repeats on the leg, and the heel flap has the right number of stitches for my modifications. But I haven’t knit all the way back to where I was when I discovered the mistakes. Really, I’ve been so wiped out that even simple knitting has just seemed like too much effort. I even had to sit down to make myself a sandwich for lunch! *fade in violin music*

However, I think it’s safe now for me to disclose one bit of gift knitting that I’ve finished. My friend Amy, from work, just had a baby–a little boy. And I made her the Devil Baby Blanket from Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, & Covered in Cat Hair. It’s a darn cute blanket, but frankly I got bogged down in the endless stockinette part. If I’d been making this for myself (to do which I have NO OCCASION! None! Ahem) I would never have gotten it done. You know what I mean, you’ve read my whining about it many times already. I love the look of simple stockinette sweaters and things with fancy edgings or a single, subtle, possibly off-center cable … but actually knitting it makes my brain numb. (Hence the Monkey socks). It also turned out rather … huge. Definitely not newborn size. In fact … well, here’s a picture:

 My model is my dear friend Techieangel (that’s her Ravelry name). You may notice that the hood fits her head rather loosely, and that the tail falls below her knees. She’s nearly 6 feet tall, so you might say that it’s an ample blanket. Here’s another shot:

 You may have noticed that she’s pregnant. She’s not the one this blanket was knit for, but I do have a little more gift knitting I’ll be showing you after her shower on Sunday. Assuming I make it! I really hope I do–I’m sick of being sick!

Speaking of the Monkey socks, have you seen the Fall Knitty.com yet? There’s some fun stuff in it–an Op Art baby blanket that makes me think of old Bugs Bunny cartoons (more stockinette! But with cool stripes!), a really interesting pattern for a large scarf or small shawl, and … well, there’s this sock pattern. And I’m feeling a little … obsessed. The thing is, it’s rated “extra spicy”, which is more advanced than I’ve tried yet. I’ve found the knitty.com rating system to be pretty accurate, so I’m a little worried. It says this pattern ” … provides the experienced knitter with a challenge … ”

I rate myself as an “adventurous intermediate” knitter. Will I be able to knit these without a mental breakdown? If so, will I be able to wear them before I’m checked into an old age home? They’re just so cool–I especially love the little double cable down the sides that splits at the heel gussett … could I be getting in over my head?

Or could this merely be yet another way for me to avoid finishing my WIPs and UFOs?

Um, don’t answer that.

Pollyanna and the Cavalcade of Socks

Anna-Liza here.

A couple of years ago, when I decided it was time to learn about socks, I really didn’t envision it becoming quite the addiction that is has. (Sub-addiction?) After all, I figured learning to knit socks would give me some new skills and a small canvas kind of project to try things out on. I can always use another pair of socks, whereas there does come a time when one more scarf seems rather pointless. And the number of people I’ll give knitted gifts to is a bit limited. So really, learning sock construction was entirely motivated by practical reasons.

But here I am, with nine completed pairs of socks and oh, let’s see, two in active rotation on the needles, plus a pair of toe-ups I have no good reason not to finish, a pair I frogged and will have to forgive the pattern or find another for that particular yarn, and … I don’t want to say how many skeins of sock yarn in the stash. Because I would have to actually know how many skeins there are before I could tell you. But I just picked up two skeins of Araucania handpainted to add to it. (Hey, a sub-stash!) So I think it’s maybe gone beyond the strictly practical. Especially since both active pairs are lace, and at least one of the completed pairs is lace. Yeah, lace socks–strictly practical. Really.

The nine completed pairs include five pairs for the kids and four for me. One of mine, the cabled socks, I’ve never worn. Immediately after I finished them, I managed to lose one. I know it’s in the house, and I’ve narrowed down where it really has to be … mixed in with all the seasonal and outgrown clothes in several large plastic boxes. I’ll find it someday. (Someday my sock will come … someday I’ll find the one, and how thrilling that moment will be, when the sock of my dreams comes to me …)

I’m down to the gusset on the second Pomatomous sock. I have yet to take a single photo, but they’re turning out bee-yoooouuu-tifully in the Trekking Pro Natura bamboo/wool blend. It’s about as perfect a match of yarn to pattern as I’ve ever had. I got sort of stuck when, just when I was about to pick up the gusset stitches, I lost the pattern. I wasn’t near a computer when I discovered it was missing, but I have printed out another and am working away on them again. Hooray for modern technology! And this is why I always make two working photocopies when I’m doing a pattern from a book or magazine. (Yes, that is legal under fair use, as long as they’re for your own personal use.)

The Monkey socks are perhaps halfway down the second leg. These aren’t quite such a perfect match, but they’ll do very well, thank you. These are in Panda Cotton in the Fall Herbs colorway (bamboo/cotton, do you see a trend here?), and the colors do pool, but not too obnoxiously. Which is pretty much why I chose Monkey as the pattern. I’m doing these on size 0s, people! The pattern is written for a larger foot, and I always have to go down at least one needle size anyway. If I do this pattern again, I might go to the size 0 needles or I might take two columns out of the pattern repeat, making it both narrower and a bit shorter.

Those of you who follow these things will have noticed that both of these are Cookie A patterns. Yes, indeedy, I’ve definitely become one of her fans. I’m also a pretty big fan of Knitty.com, even when they don’t have a lot in a particular issue I like. Overall, I get more patterns there than anywhere else but Interweave Knits. I am feeling a pretty strong pull toward Salto, which is in the current — Spring 2008 — issue of Knitty.com. It’s not Cookie A. this time, but it’s a pretty damn interesting sock.

And how many people of your acquaintance can say that with a straight face?