Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Letting go

In the Great Spring Cleaning of 2010, I finally admitted to myself that this hat just wasn't working:

So I let it go. It was a lot bigger than this when I started. It was such a dud that it didn't occur to me to photograph it for posterity. Or as a cautionary tale about throwing together two hand-dyed sock yarns. I was just thinking I might get good at this letting go business when this showed up in my stash (I have no idea how it got there):

The Dale of Norway Notre Dame ski sweater.

When the Yarn Harlot knit the Dale of Norway Whistler sweater as her Olympic Knitting project in February, the pattern book (Dale of Norway Commemorative Collection 8501) started selling like hotcakes. Then it went out of print. Then it sold out. Just about everywhere. A copy of this booklet that had been recently sold for $16.95 suddenly went for over $200 on eBay. There is only one word for that.


The problem was that after it was impossible to find, I became captivated by a different sweater in the same booklet. I never had the tiniest urge to knit a Norwegian sweater, not even a little bit, but this sweater called to me. I Googled. I lurked. I eBayed. I commented on Ravelry. Vicki saw my comment and sweetly mentioned she had seen a copy in a shop off the beaten path. Nordic Accents in Elkhart Lake is not a yarn shop. She sells lots of beautiful Nordic things but also just happened to a have copy of the elusive booklet, and would I like to buy some yarn with that? Since the goldenrod and tartan green are discontinued colors, and soft blue seems rare, I put together my yarn pack from two different sources. It was a multi-email endeavor, but the proprietress was so patient and helpful. The next time I am in Elkhart Lake, I will be browsing her Finnish glass birds.

Now before you all rush to eBay to splurge a couple of C notes, WoolyBaaBaa now has the patterns available as PDF downloads; reprints may or may not be on the way. Oh, and thank you Vicki. (I think.)

Monday, March 15, 2010


I have been doing my part to keep the winter weather from coming back: knitting warm, felted, woolly mittens. As long as I keep knitting mittens to conquer extreme cold I figure we are guaranteed 65 degrees and sunshine, and these mittens will stay on the shelf until next December. Jane says it is like washing your car to make it rain.

The Virginia Tech mittens AKA Hokie Hands:
The mitten on the left has been through a few hot water washes to shrink it down from almost 20 inches to a normal mitten size. I experimented with intarsia in the round to put a VT logo on the palms, then decided it would be winter 2020 before I worked that out. Plain stripes are the better part of valor. Chicago maroon and burnt orange are unique when it comes to college colors, not beautiful, but they did kind of grow on me.
Knitting mittens has got to have at least as much mojo as Phil the groundhog, don't you think?
(I used a cobbled together pattern from a mountain climbing forum to simulate Dachstein mittens using about $1.75 worth of thrift store wool yarn on size 10 needles. The orange is worsted weight, the maroon is 2 strands of fingering held together.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blocked and Everything

I-cord around the neckline & armholes, washed, blocked and wearable:

Knitting through the back loop makes the cables and ribbing stand out better than they otherwise would in this soft half merino-half alpaca yarn. I like that, especially in the ribbing. Next time I will work in some shoulder shaping. My gauge on the cables is not only narrower but shorter. It makes my neckline pull down.

Knitting something shaped like a person has me thinking about knitting a sweater for myself. The ratty, black wool, cabled cardigan I bought in the last millennium and wear regularly desperately needs to be replaced. I love it because wool is an honest to goodness miracle fiber. Even mountain climbers have swung back from the techy trend to wool and wool blends. Since the biggest thing I ever knit for myself was a scarf, a new red wool sweater would be an event.

Maybe after I finish the Virginia Tech mittens.

And Miss Marple socks. And another Swedish Dubblemossa. Did I mention I am still working on the circular shawl Azucena? I am at the interminable stage. I knit for hours to get ... 2 centimeters.

In the meantime, to celebrate today I made a lemon pound cake and my favorite sauce to go with it. The recipe starts, "Boil together a cup of water, a small half-cup of sugar and a piece of butter the size of an egg." One can hardly argue with directions like that.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

March 4

Today is the anniversary of the day Noah let the animals out of the Ark. He opened the doors and said, "March Fourth!"

Trust me, it's funnier when you tell it to someone than it is in writing. I was in the post office, writing the date on a customs form, looking the post mistress dead in the eye when I told her this. We all had a good laugh. I have been telling this joke once a year for decades.

To put that in perspective, when I started telling this joke, you could find a pay phone practically anywhere. (Maybe even an actual phone booth.) Now you hardly see pay phones at all. I bet there is an entire generation out there that has never used one. Here is a photo of a recent, rare double sighting:

When I started telling this joke, the cokes in the vending machines had actual pull off tabs. The tabs were handy for making long, glamorous chain necklaces and, for the really ambitious, entire chain-mail shirts. Now the coke machines have matching water machines. (When I started telling this joke, we weren't afraid to drink our water from bubblers.)

When I started telling this joke, we thought it was funny that you could get beer in the vending machines in the barracks in Germany. Now almost anything comes from a vending machine.

I don't tell many jokes because I am flagrantly, stupendously, amazingly un-funny at joke telling, yet I have been telling this joke for a very long time. Now I have a new joke to tell. The woman in line behind me at the post office said she was at a children's church service where they were asked, "Do you know why chickens don't talk to God?"

"Because God doesn't like fowl language."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Gold Medal

I did it! I earned a gold medal this year in the Knitting Olympics by knitting Meg Swansen's Double-V Vest between the time the Olympic torch was lit and when it was extinguished 16 days later.
Some might notice, even from my low-light cell phone photograph, that the vest is not actually finished. It still counts. Each knitting Olympian chose his or her own challenge. From the beginning, my goal was to get the knitting done before the torch went out, NOT the finishing. I knew before I even started that it would take a few days for me to get up the nerve to slash some of my precious stitches with a scissors. (There are steeks at the armholes and at the v neck.)

For me, that's a lot of knitting, and I rarely knit to a deadline. Trust me, it still counts.