Friday, March 30, 2007

Pretty Purple Socks Part Deux

If I'm forced to pick a favorite color, it would be blue, particularly sky blues and scrumptious perwinkle shades. But really, I like most colors. Maybe it's my years of quilting that taught me every color has a place, even the ones that make your eyes water at first glance. My stash of quilt fabric is so extensive that I've had friends call up and ask if they can come 'shop' through it because they need 50 different yellows or sixty reds and they know I've got a better selection than the local quilt shops.
Although I don't mix and match yarns in sweaters quite the way I do with fabric on my quilts, I've still managed to collect a considerable variety of colors. Yellows, greens, blues, oranges, some nice neutrals and a smattering of vivid reds - it's like having a rainbow in the closet. But that variety only comes over a fairly lengthy period of time because I tend to go through color phases. They creep up on me. I'll suddenly realize that I've bought nothing but green yarn for the last month or I'll find myself drooling over a particular shade of cameo pink every time I see it.
I guess I knit in color phases, too and I've apparently just gone through a purple phase because here's yet another pair of pretty purple socks, to go with the purple socks I posted last week.
The yarn is from All Spun Up. It's handspun Blue Faced Liecester and is so deliciously, unbelievably soft that it's like slipping on a pair of hand knit clouds. This is my first experience with handspun but definitely not my last. I've purchased three more skeins of sock yarn from Kristen. Besides being super soft and cushy, I love the way the colors shift gently throughout the sock. With commercial sock yarns, I'm prone to be very matchy-matchy and have been known to pull out half a skein of Opal to find the right place to start the color sequence for matching socks. But with these, I didn't have that urge at all. I like the fact that they match without being exact duplicates.
The technical stuff: Knit on a size 1 Knit Picks Classic, Magic Loop style. 64 stitches around and the pattern is a basic cuff down, heel flap and gusset number with wedge toes. This is my default sock, the one that I can knit in my sleep.
Oh, and even if you're not in the market for some pretty hand spun yarns, you should visit Kristen's Esty shop to look at the very, very pretty lace shawl she made.


Quick note: if you're one of the winners, don't forget to email me your snail mail address ASAP! Send it to wickedsplittyATearthlinkDOTnet.

1. The winner of the charcoal grey Elann Esprit is RC!

2. The winner of the navy blue Elann Esprit is Nicole aka The Bookwyrm!

3. The winner of the Elann Sock It To Me Puzzle yarn is Nephele!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

First Flowers!

When I left New Jersey last Thursday we had snow all over the place, some in large drifts. When I walked back through my gate on Sunday, these crocuses met my delighted gaze. Wahoo! Spring has finally made it to northern NJ! Now I'm waltzing around my yard, looking for other signs of blossoming.

For those in other climes, what are the first flowers you see blooming in the spring? Have they shown their happy little faces yet?

Baby Gift

I finally settled on a baby gift for my friends who are adopting. I made this cute little sweater (described as a knitted surplice) and am please with how it turned out. It's very soft, knit of an angorra-blend yarn that I've had in my stash so long I've lost the label. The pattern is from a 1950s Better Homes and Gardens Encyclopedia of Needlework I inherited from my mother. The book is literally falling apart, held together by duct tape.

This project also gave me an excuse to learn spool knitting. (Also called French knitting or corking). The original pattern called for pink ribbon for the ties, but I didn't have any pink ribbon and it's a 45-minute drive to any store that sells such a thing. Plus, I can't tie decent ribbon bows, and ribbon doesn't hold up well to washing, so I decided to knit I-cord on a knitting spool. It's very soft, and stays tied on a squirmy baby.

I didn't have any wooden spools, so my husband made this one for me out of a section of hickory ax handle with a hole drilled through it. Hickory is very hard wood and hammering those four little nails into it was a chore. I thought the process of making the chord was interesting, but wasn't certain what I'd ever use it for beyond ties or perhaps trim on a sweater. Anyone else do French knitting on a spool? What do you use it for?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Favorite Knitting Books

Knitting books are very personal things. One knitter's can't-live-without favorite might elicit nothing but yawns from another.

I recently purchased two highly anticipated sock books. I'd like to tell you I love them. I'd like to tell you they'll be with me until I lay down my circs for the last time. If I did, I'd be lying to you. (I'd also like to tell you the titles but the author in me finds it tough to say negative things about a book in a public forum.)

What are your can't-live-without-'em knitting books? Which ones will you take with you to the grave? Are you an EZ disciple or do you worship at the shrine of Charlene Schurch or Lucy Neatby?

In random order I give you the following:

  • Elizabeth Zimmerman's An Opinionated Knitter

  • EZ's Knitting Workshop

  • All 3 Sally Melville books

  • Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet (Or is it Warm Feet, Cool Socks?)

  • Socks! Socks! Socks!

  • Twisted Sisters sock book

  • THE Wendy's book

  • Nora Gaughan's newest (title not in front of me, but it references nature)

  • Compassionate Knitting - Tara Jon Manning

  • Men In Knits - Tara Jon Manning

I am the first to admit that I am a drama queen. Goldisox says I see the world not only in technicolor, but with stereophonic sound and a laugh track. I mean, I hate going into the bank because the second I walk through the door I imagine armed robbers bursting in behind me, guns drawn, faces masked, screaming for us to hit the ground or somebody's gonna get hurt. I hear the gunfire. I hear the screams. I see myself scrunching along the tile floor in search of the alarm button that will summon or teeny tiny police force . . . all this in the time it takes to deposit a check.

Let's just say I'm not exactly the kind of knitter/woman you'd figure would be drawn to a Zen Buddhist approach to knitting. But I am. Tara Jon Manning's book resonates with me in a way I can't properly articulate. Knitting is more than just knitting. It's a connection to a deeper something that sooner or later I'm determined to understand. My inner child? Your inner child? All those generations of knitters who came before us? I wish I knew.

STASHBUSTER GIVEAWAY: Elann Esprit in charcoal grey

I'll get right to the point: 2 balls of Elann Esprit (their Fixation clone) in a beautiful medium charcoal.

All you have to do is stake your claim in Comments and cross your fingers. The winner will be announced on Friday.

Good luck!

STASHBUSTER GIVEAWAY: Navy blue Elann Esprit

Sorry. I didn't mean to yawn at you but it's 6 a.m. and I'm not a morning person.

How about 3 balls of Elann Esprit in a rich navy blue? (Esprit is Elann's version of Fixation.)

Trust me, it makes great socks.

Stake your claim in Comments and the winner will be drawn on Friday.

Good luck!


It's 5:44 in the morning. I've been working for an hour. This is not an easy thing for a night owl.

In order to soothe my troubled and exhausted computer-destroying soul, how about another sock yarn giveaway!

This time it's two skeins of Elann Sock It To Me Puzzle in a beautiful mix of spring-y greens and luscious blues. Stake your claim in Comments and the RNG (Random Number Generator) will decide for me on Friday.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


We have winners! (Sorry I didn't post it yesterday but I've been busy chiseling my words onto stone . . . life without a computer ain't easy.) (This is coming from Goldisox's laptop.)

Anyway, without further ado (what on earth is "ado" anyway?):

1. GEORG is the winner of the blue Elann Sock It To Me sock yarn.

2. . . . and GEORG is also the winner of the cream Elann Sock It To Me sock yarn!!

As always, the winners were drawn using the Random Number Generator at - the winning numbers were #7 and #5.

Georg, you know the drill. Please email me your snail mail info and I'll zip these out. (Well, as quickly as I zip anything anywhere these days.)


More to come in the next day or two.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


There it is, a project far more boring than Laura’s 10-stitch swatches: seven inches of 58 stockinette stitches in basic black yarn. It’s a…wait for it!...pocket lining. I remind myself it’s for a good cause, my MIL’s sweater, but it’s sure nothing to blog about.

So I’m going to talk about a book I’m thoroughly enjoying, Bill Bryson’s memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Bryson always makes me laugh. In fact, I tried to listen to his book about traveling in Australia while I jogged on my treadmill. I finally had to stop because I’d laugh so hard that I’d fall off the machine.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is equally entertaining but it’s also a brilliantly vivid description of the 50s, the period in which Bryson grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. Now I grew up in the 60s but my hometown in West Virginia was about a decade behind everyone else so much of what he writes about resonates with me. We had a bomb shelter, we had black-and-white television (although the shows were slightly different and we got fewer channels), we had the same candy and comic books and toys. Bryson’s writing is so evocative that it carries me back to a time and place I don’t think about all the much anymore. What a joy it is!

Bryson writes well about a child’s point of view. He doesn’t pretend he is a child but he remembers clearly what it was like and conveys the pleasures and fears of youth with great accuracy and humor, always humor.

The dark side of the 50s is not ignored. Bryson reminds us of the Communist witch hunts, the hydrogen bomb testing (which people took picnics out to watch!), the polio epidemic and other things which as a child I wasn’t entirely aware of (although I don’t think polio was such an issue in the 60s, even in my neck of the woods). I was fascinated to discover why my favorite comic books changed so dramatically; someone decreed that the muscular Supermen and gorgeous Millie the Models were bad for the moral fiber of the youth of the nation and so they turned them all into cartoonish Archies and Caspers, neither of which I liked nearly as much. Who knew?

If you’re looking for a chuckle, a wash of nostalgia, and some gorgeous and sharp descriptive writing, you might want to give The Thunderbolt Kid a look.

Do you have any favorite books that remind you of an especially interesting time in your lives?

Labels: ,

Blue Screen of Death and Help Me, Aruni!

#1. This is coming to you from Goldisox's laptop. The fact that my I-Kill-Electronics-Simply-By-Breathing hands are touching his keyboard is testament to the gravity of what happened.

What happened, you ask. I'll tell you.

My laptop died!!!!!!!!!

Here are words a writer in the end run on a book never wants to see on her computer screen:

Hard Drive Failure Iminent! Save your work now!

You also don't want to see Kernel Data Inpage Error followed by the sound of a garbage truck trapped inside your laptop.

Yes, I lost everything. Yes, I had backup . . . for most stuff. My snailmail address book is gone. My print history. Some emails from the last two days or so. Yes, I ordered a new laptop. Yes, I feel like I've lost my last best hold on sanity.

2. Just before it happened, Aruni contacted me with her information. Unfortunately the Blue Screen of Death devoured it. So, Aruni, if you see this please please resend your note.

Is Mercury still retrograde? It's gotta be. Stuff like this shouldn't be happening . . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pretty Purple Socks

I thought I'd celebrate the first day of Spring by sharing my newly finished socks, toes grafted this morning, photographed in frosty early morning sunshine.

This is my first pair of socks from Blue Moon's Socks That Rock yarn. Now that I've actually had these on my feet, I can add to the chorus of praise for the STR yarn. Like everyone else in Blogland, I love this yarn. It's soft and cushy and has a nice tight twist that makes it feel almost crisp at the same time. The colors have extraordinary depth and richness and the finished socks please me no end.

The color is Purple Rain which I believe I bought from the Blue Moon booth at the Black Sheep Gathering this past summer. The pattern is garter rib - 1 round of K2, P2, 1 round of straight knitting. It has a wonderful elasticity to it and worked beautifully with this yarn. No dramatic pooling, just a lovely all over mottled effect. I used a size 1 Addi Turbo, 64 stitches and the Magic Loop method. Nothing fancy about the heels or toes, just a basic heel flap, which I love and a standard toe.

I may have mentioned before that I knit just about everywhere. One of my favorite times for sock knitting is when I take a walk. Since I don't need to watch simple round and round knitting, I can enjoy the beauties of nature - or dodge speeding cars, depending on the location - and get some knitting done on the latest sock-in-progress. A couple of weeks ago, the socks and I went to a local park for a walk. At the beginning of the path I usually walk, there was a new sign warning of the possibility of mountain lion attacks. I paused to glance at it before continuing on. (Lest you think I have a death wish, I'd like to point out that this was a generic warning, rather than an indication that cougars had been seen prowling the local bike paths.)

As I walked further from the main part of the park, my imagination began to chew over the whole idea of a mountain lion attack. What would I do if a great tawny beast suddenly appeared, eyes gleaming with blood lust, fangs dripping with...well, drippy stuff? Okay, in reality, what I'd probably do is become cougar kibble but what's the fun in imagining that?

Scenario one went something like this: I'd give the big cat a cool and threatening look, putting forth the image of a dangerous predator and hope that this cougar would mistake the smell of glazed donut on my breath for the odor of freshly killed mule deer. Impressed by my dangerous demeanor, the great, hulking beast would turn and go off about its business.

Scenario two involved the cat ignoring my cool and threatening look and lunging for my throat. Naturally, I would react with lightening speed, defending myself with all the tools at my disposal. My tool kit was pretty limited. I had a cell phone but I could hardly count on the damned thing to ring at just the right moment to send the great cat fleeing in terror from the tinny sounds of Sugar Shack. The only other weapon at hand was my knitting. A size 1 Addi Turbo and a half finished sock. I could maybe poke the cat in the eye but it seemed unlikely that any self-respecting cougar was going to sit still for this. With images of a slavering maw opened wide to engulf me, I thought of shoving the sock down the cat's throat.

And immediately, the internal knitter shrieked, "You can't do that. This is Socks That Rock yarn."

I guess that says something about my priorities.

Blueberry Hill (AKA Low-Fat & Luscious)

With apologies to both Fats Domino and Tennyson, in the spring a young-at-heart woman's fancy turns to ... blueberries. And to blueberry dessert recipes as low in fat and as luscious as possible. Following is one of my family's favorites:

Blueberry Cream Pie

1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust (store-bought works but check fat content)

Mix together in a bowl:

1 14 ounce can Eagle Brand fat-free, sweeted condensed milk
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 Cup evaporated skim milk (in place of heavy cream)

In another bowl, fold together lightly:

2 Cups fresh blueberries (well-dried after rinsing)
(frozen unsugared blueberries work, too)
1 Cup fat-free Cool Whip (or whipped topping of your choice)

Fold 2nd bowl into 1st bowl and put it all in the graham cracker pie crust. Chill in the refrigerator at least 6-8 hours before serving. After slicing, spoon any leftover berries on each piece.


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

STASHBUSTER GIVEAWAY: Because it's Tuesday, that's why

I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm suffering from Deadline Psychosis and Cabin Fever which means Goldisox is busy hiding all the sharp objects.

Yarn, however, isn't sharp. It's soft. It's cuddly. It can be manipulated into a great pair of socks.

You know the drill. Stake your claim in Comments and I'll pick a randomly generated winner on Friday.

BTW: Aruni and mizmikie, your wins are still awaiting snail mail addresses.

3 skeins of ELANN SOCK IT TO ME Essential 4 Ply (enough to make a lavish pair of socks with some left over)

50 grams - 230 yards per skein

Made in Italy

A rich vibrant blue #7318

Don't be shy!

Labels: , ,

STASHBUSTER GIVEAWAY: because it's still Tuesday

What I said before.

3 skeins of Elann SOCK IT TO ME Collection Essential 4 Ply in a lovely cream color.

You know the drill!

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 19, 2007


After a hiatus of several weeks from knitting, I’m back at work on the swatches for the Masters Level 2 certificate. So far, I’m having no problems with the techniques the swatches illustrate…except for the selvedges in the very narrow strips that are to be seamed together. I cannot do an attractive, even selvedge on a 10-stitch wide strip to save my soul…yet. I’ve made some progress by switching needles and experimenting with small changes in my usual knitting style. My samples no longer look like a one-legged arthritic goose knit them. They’re merely amateurish.

Gotta say though, I’m so ready to knit something fun.

What's My Line?

You know who we are. We're writers.

Well, at least we're writers at the moment. We weren't always writers and five years from now some of us (me) just might be standing behind a counter somewhere asking, "Would you like fries with that?"

(Yes, I'm in the end run with the book.) (Yes, I'm struggling.) (And yes, I'm considering throwing myself under an 18-wheeler.)

Maybe you were a pirate before you settled down and became a neurosurgeon. Maybe you are a minister, a goalie, a seat-filler for awards shows.

Before I sold my first book I made it my business to be shamelessly underemployed. Kind of like saving myself for the right career . . .

I did, however, earn money doing the following:
  1. I worked the stationery counter at Macy's Queens
  2. I answered phones for Skinner Macaroni in Omaha
  3. I was a clerk in a psychiatric hospital in Omaha
  4. I spent one infamous morning frying Filet O'Fish sandwiches at McDonald's in Lakewood, NJ in spring 1970 until Goldisox rescued me
  5. I segued from frying fish sandwiches to dusting buttons at W. T. Grant's, also in Lakewood
  6. I worked freelance as a stenotype note reader then taught the skill in Queens during the winter of 1970-1971 while Goldisox was overseas. The woman I worked for was known as The Whore of Wall Street.
  7. I typed envelopes for a tyrant on Long Island
  8. I learned data entry then computer programming in the mid-1970s at a small company on LI
  9. I handled promotion (part time) for a brilliant fiber artist (also on Long Island) while I prayed one day I'd have someone to handle promotion for me (actually I sold my first book right after I quit working for her)
  10. I worked one day for Dime Savings Bank. I would rather fry fish sandwiches.

How about you? What have you done to earn a buck?

Labels: ,

A-Frogging we will go

I have spent the last week knitting and unravelling a whole series of baby gifts -- socks, booties and a knitted shirt. Nothing satisfies me. I've tried different patterns, different yarns. I'm enjoying the actual process of knitting (these are all simple projects) just haven't liked the way anything looks.

Writing is like this sometimes, too -- write a few pages, throw them away. Start a project, hate it, try something else. It's frustrating, but apparently part of my process.

These things seem to come in spells -- a period where nothing suits, and then I hit upon the right project and all is well. I'm hoping this passes soon for both knitting and writing.

Anyone else in a frogging mood?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Erin Go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Frankie McKenzie McCoy Baker
Fran Baker

Labels: , ,

Wherein She Starts Stalking Alpaca

The New Jersey Sheep obtained a restraining order which keeps the New Jersey Knitter 300 yards away from them at all time . . . which led the New Jersey Knitter to start stalking alpaca right up the road.
A few years ago I started playing around with a book idea. (Someone Like You which came out in 2005)) I knew it would be about two sisters (I love to write about sisters and big families; probably because I am an only child and my family could fit on a postage stamp!) and that one of the sisters would be a knitwear designer up in Maine who raised sheep and alpaca and had a community of like-minded knitters working with her. It wouldn't be a major plot point (meaning the book wasn't about knitting in any way) but the love of knitting would filter through the plot and help define who Catherine was.
Now I've told you before that I'm an all-or-nothing kind of woman. When I throw myself into a project, I throw myself head first and I don't come up for air until I start seeing that white light beckoning me home. Now how could I write about a woman who raised sheep and alpaca if I didn't learn something about the raising of sheep and alpaca? I remembered seeing signs locally for alpaca farms. I Googled. I discovered I lived practically within walking distance (assuming I was the athletic, energetic type and not the lazy sedentary book-readin' knittin' sloth I am) of a few alpaca farms. (I've already told you that when we first moved to this town it was Sheep Central.) Anyway (how many times can I say anyway??) one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I had a 4" binder filled with information on alpaca breeding, feeding, shearing, spinning, dyeing, knitting, wearing. I learned a wonderful new word -- cria -- and fell totally in love with alpaca.
I read story after story of middle-aged couples who threw aside their normal suburban lives to become alpaca farmers (ranchers?) with nothing more than a dream and some acreage. I started leaving pin-up photos of alpaca all around the house. On the bathroom mirror. On the fridge. On Goldisox's pillow. "We could do this," I told him. "We could sell everything, buy a rundown farmhouse with land, use our 401Ks to buy a pair (or two) of breeding alpaca) and live on the land." (Oh, shades of 1970!) I could see it now: I'd quit getting my hair straightened and colored and became serious and earnest and personally organic. I would grow my own vegetables (assuming I stopped shrieking every time I saw one of those hideous tomato-eating horned monsters that lurked in my veggie garden), pump water from a well while Goldisox chopped our own firewood (my next blog -- no joke, unfotunately) and walked around humming This Land Is Your Land.

No more worrying about deadlines. No more sleepless nights praying somebody out there who isn't related to me actually buys one of my books. (I have a small family, remember? Not too many sales to be had there!) No more days spent praying that my sad and sorry brain would be able to spit out one more story.
I'd be an alpaca farmer!
It was a lovely fantasy while it lasted. I gathered all of my info. We dreamed the dream for a month or two. And then I typed the magic words The End. (Not really. I've never actually typed The End but I've told you that before, haven't I?) No more writing about Catherine the knitwear designer and her merry band.
You see, I'm fickle. Most writers are. We're faithless scoundrels who will abandon our first love the second our new love comes along. I waved a fond farewell to alpaca and started stalking Episcopalians for my next book. (Just Like Heaven which is out now.) I briefly considered converting last year during the writing process but, fortunately for Episcopalians and Anglicans everywhere, I finished the book before I could take the leap.

Right now I'm deep in deadline demetia. I am so close to the end of the book I can taste it but I'm. Not. There. Yet. At this moment I am alternately an aging Rod Stewart-esque rocker, a fancy cake baker, a blue-collar attorney, and an oceanographer. I have a stack of books next to me on how to turn a slab of baked goods into a work of art and have become quite proficient in forcing a blob of fondant into a seamless sheet of sugary goodness.

There are days when I really do love my job.

But every time I see one of those adorable alpaca faces I can't help wondering what it would be like to start all over again doing something completely unexpected before it really is The End.
Once upon a time I wanted to sing backup for Gladys Knight and The Pips. I still do but there are no more Pips and Gladys doesn't really need me. Talk about a dream job.
What's your dream job? Logic and reason be damned! What would you like to be when you grow up?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Warning: This post has nothing to do with knitting

It was 70 degrees and sunny here yesterday. Instead of cleaning all the plaster dust off every surface in my house (we had four rooms painted last week), I sat outside on my brick patio and basked in the balmy weather. Which reminded me of sandals.

I saw this pair of red sandals in a catalogue that I just fell in love with and now I want to go shoe shopping. Not yarn shopping (because, to borrow Barbara’s complaint, I’ve lost my knitting mojo), not bathing suit shopping (I desperately need to do this but you know how much fun it is), shoe shopping! Yes, I know this plays into the worst stereotypes of women’s bad habits but I’ve decided that there are good reasons we like shoe shopping above all else:

1) You don’t have to take off your clothes to try on shoes.
2) Your shoe size doesn’t fluctuate with your weight (except after pregnancy when my feet went up a whole size!).
3) A great pair of shoes can jazz up the oldest, dullest outfit in your closet.
4) You don’t have to buy anything else to go with the shoes. Well, maybe a bag but it’s not a requirement.
5) Shoes don’t require hemming.

So what do you shop for when you’re feeling good? How about when you’re feeling bad? Is it different?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

When Knitter Met Sheep - A Central NJ Adventure

See the happy New Jersey sheep minding their own business on a cold Friday afternoon in winter.

See the happy New Jersey sheep as they suddenly spy the Nosy New Jersey Knitter aiming her digital camera through the fence.

See the Wise New Jersey Sheep who spied the Nosy New Jersey Knitter turn and head for higher ground.

"Run, sheep, run! The woman has Addis and she knows how to use them!"

See the Relieved New Jersey Sheep watch the Nosy New Jersey Knitter as she snaps her last photo and runs back to the relative warmth of her car.

Hear the Slightly Smug New Jersey Sheep as they have the last laugh.

The Nosy New Jersey Knitter is allergic to wool.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

GUEST PETS: Catmum's Grrl Cats

Here is what Catmum has to say about these two beautiful girls: "Here's the two grrl cats, both rescue cats from Animal Friends Rescue Project here in Monterey, CA. they joined Brutus, who rescued us, as I said before. Zoe Godzilla is the first picture, in her kitty pi bed (thank you Wendy). she is the manager of not only the household, but the neighborhood, she supervises everyone and everything. The second picture is Brigid, who we adopted first. she is fairly shy, but has warmed with time and patience. They all three like to help with the knitting, and each has their own felted kitty pi bed, as well as many felted catnip mice. and here's my blog:"

Friday, March 09, 2007

GUEST PET: Colleen and Seamus

Originally uploaded by sockhoppers.
I can't tell you how much I love absolutely everything about this photo!

Colleen Teerling says: "This is Seamus. I got him a few months ago when his previous owner couldn't keep him. Since I'm hardly indoors during the summer, I figured he should come outside and do things with me. He loves canoeing and kayaking. Being a cat who enjoys life on the edge, his favourite spots are on the deck of the kayak, as
close to the bow as I'll allow him, and on the very pointy little prow of the canoe. (That way he gets to be first off to go exploring the islands we stop at.)"


Originally uploaded by sockhoppers.
This is 1917****394's six year old (gorgeous) Samoyed.

(Clearly I should have checked my filter folders months ago.)

Thursday, March 08, 2007


<==Sister Mary Dominic used to whack the desk with a metal ruler to get the girls' attention but I've found this to be much more effective.


You are both sock yarn winners! Please email me your snail mail addresses and I'll pop your prizes into the mail.


Labels: ,

GET FELTED - Tanya's Prefelted Mittens

Originally uploaded by sockhoppers.
I'll let Tanya tell you about these wonders:

"I finally finished my project for the felt along! Before Christmas I had the whole first mitten completed and started the second when I decided there was no way I would have enough yarn. I did the only rational thing I could do - buried it in a corner of the closet. :) About two weeks ago I decided to try to finish up some odds and ends. Feeling reckless I found the spot in my pattern and started back at the mittens. Sucess!

Here are the before and after felting pictures. The threads you can see in the second picture are all that is left of the yarn - both colors!"

GET FELTED - Tanya's Mittens Almost Done

Originally uploaded by sockhoppers.
Tanya says, "The threads you can see in the second picture are all that is left of the yarn--both colors!"

GET FELTED - Tanya's FInished Mittens

Originally uploaded by sockhoppers.
I found Tanya's photos hidden away in the GET FELTED folder. And here I thought I was so smart with all my filtering devices. HINT: they only work if you remember to check the folders!!

I absolutely love these.


My house is a disaster due to a master bathroom renovation which has somehow expanded to painting three other rooms. I’m madly revising a book proposal to resubmit to an editor who’s interested. My supposedly former boss called and begged me to work Monday night. I had a houseguest all weekend (which included two Devils hockey games and a trip to Rockefeller Center to ice skate!) and I’m leaving for Puerto Rico on Friday. Who has time to knit?

(That's me waving from the Rock Center skating rink.)

Not me, I’m afraid. So this blog is about not knitting. Yes, I occasionally gaze longingly at the two project bags sitting beside my family room couch but I never get to touch them. One reason is that I find the scarf I’m knitting a bit dull; it’s only for those moments when I can’t concentrate on the work but want something to keep my hands busy. And right now I have too much to keep my hands busy! The MIL sweater is at a point where I need help but I don’t have time to go to the LYS for it. What’s a knitter to do?

Not knit.

What stops you from knitting?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Think I'm In Love!

The title says it all.

This is another winner from Oat Couture. It's called Silverlake and I really do think I'm in love.
The front and back are each done in two separate pieces. Seaming is on the outside as a design feature.
Worsted or chunky.
It looks like it would drape beautifully on the body, doesn't it?
This is why I get so little knitting accomplished. I spend way too much time daydreaming about knitting!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's Next?

See my problem? Too many choices! The one thing I'm sure of is that this one's for me.
That said, I'm trying to zero in on my next project and am having trouble settling in on a pattern. Let me tell you what's what.
1. Oat Couture's West Side Raglan has had my attention for a year or more. Easy-peasy. Wearable. Maybe Rowan Denim? Or one of the stretchy Schachenmayer yarns I purchased from Elann at prices so good they bordered on obscene.
2. This is SELMA, a freebie from the Berroco site. I can easily picture it knitted up in Denim Silk from my stash.
3. See that man's top-down V-neck from Knitting Pure & Simple? Wouldn't that be slouchy and wearable and wonderful in Rowan Denim, all faded and soft and washed?
4. The pattern for the Lorna's Laces cardi is spectacular: top down and the only seaming is a tiny portion of the underarm. Which yarn??
5. I love love love this KP&S top-down cardi. I adore the seed stitch edging. I love the cord tie. I can see this in pure wool (not for me but I can see it) or some lovely silky blend. This is calling to me big time.
6. I purchased the Swing Top pattern at mecca (aka Patternworks) almost two years ago. I also purchased the Soy Silk (in turquoise) with which to make it. I still love both the pattern and the yarn but can't seem to motivate myself to do anything with either. Any suggestions?
See my dilemma? I'm not a fast knitter. This will be a major commitment of time. Not to mention the fact that, like Dallas and THE Wendy before me, I want to make a new "old" sweater. I want something instantly familiar, instantly comfortable, instantly a favorite.
Which one do you prefer? Any suggestions on yarn? Technique?

Labels: , , ,

A Tale of a Happy Fool

Aren't those clouds beautiful? They're pretty enough to be a distracting hazard for people like me who tend to watch nature when I should be watching what I'm doing. That's what happened last week. There I was, ankle-deep in mud, digging a trench along the new greenhouse. The plan was to direct the snowmelt and storm drainage around and away from the structure instead of letting it continue its natural path right through it. (Somebody didn't plan well, but that's another story.) So I jam the shovel into the muck and start to lift. I notice movement at the edge of my vision and turn my head, just a bit, to gawk at a red-tailed hawk soaring low just north of me. Now, the smart thing would have been to stop digging. But no, not me. I continue both digging and gawking, two dangerously incompatible activities. One misjudged twist, and -- ouch! There goes my back. And just when my strained wrist had recovered almost enough for me to pick up the knitting again.

Shortly thereafter I foolishly tried to at least pull the shovel out of the muck, and my view switched to this:

It wasn't so bad though, not yet. I was lying in this:

The cold water negated any immediate need for an ice pack. I lay there for a while, muttering words unfit for tender ears and contemplating my own foolishness, the uncomfortable days ahead, and the long list of things that would not get done. Blue, my favorite old dog (pictured above), licked my face, in case I needed reviving. Then the other two dogs noticed, and a scuffle over licking privileges ensued. Once that was settled, and I'd worked myself up to moving, I attempted to rise. Ralphie (below on the left) moved in close to help. He's 80 pounds of strong muscle and trained to stand still and strong when I'm slip-sliding on the ice and need his steadiness to help me regain my footing. The tactic works equally well in the muck, it seems. And so, with his help, I managed to stand. And then, it happened. I lifted my fingers from his fur, noticed that the recent warm weather had triggered a bit of shedding. So I bent -- I actually bent over, groaning with pain, and finger combed through his fur for enough hair to hand twist into a thread.
Really, it's a sickness. It has to be. Who else would stand ankle deep in the muck, shivering with cold, soaking wet and injured, in order to finger spin dog hair into a thread to evaluate the season's potential for creating unusual yarn? I worked up a thread about a foot long, then added enough twist to ply it back on itself. I spared another moment to admire how the sun glistened on my little bit of yarn, then turned toward the house.

And I couldn't help myself. I hobbled along the path and planned a sweater. Two-ply, handspun, with a soft nubby texture, most likely knit in a pebble stitch. One ply of the yarn would be a naturally colored blend of sheep's wool, from Tinkerbelle the Babydoll Southdown ewe and Ralphie's soft white undercoat. The other ply would be Tinkerbelle's wool dyed in a colorway that captured the colors of the sky above and the muted greens and browns of the ground where I'd been. I'd call it my Happy Fool Sweater.

I'm taking more care with this little back injury than I did with the wrist. After all, I have things to do. Sheep to shear, a dog to comb out, yarn to spin, a sweater to knit -- and of course, a book to write. And there are many more magnificent clouds in the sky to contemplate . . . carefully.


It's cold. It's windy. It's early. Let's get right to the winners! (NOTE TO WINNERS: please email me your snail mail addresses and I'll send out the yarn immediately.)

1. The winners of the peachy-pink Sockotta are:

a. Mary Campbell
b. mizmikey

2. The winner of the manly Regia is Aruni.

3. And the winner of the shades of blue Sockotta is loribird.

Congratulations to all the winners. More drawings to come. Soon!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, March 02, 2007


WINNERS: Mary Campbell and mizmikey

You thought the blue/green Sockotta was gorgeous? Take a look at this fabulous peach/spring green/hot pink/golden yellow mix. Details are the same as below. It's color #5 and I have


Stake your claim in COMMENTS and I'll draw the lucky winners on Tuesday March 5th!

Labels: , ,

ANOTHER STASHBUSTER GIVEAWAY: Regia Line Steps for the Manly Man

The winner is: ARUNI.

This is Goldisox-approved "guy" yarn. Even the most color-phobic male out there would approve of this sober yet sophisticated sock yarn.

The details:

Regia 4 ply Line Steps Color #5371 - Anthracite.

100 grams - almost 4 ounces

420 meters - around 430 yards

75% Wool

25% Polyamide

Machine washable.

It knits up like a dream.

Stake your claim in Comments and I'll pick a winner on Tuesday March 6th!

Labels: , ,


The winner is: loribird.

The thinning of the woolly herd continues.

I found another skein of the pretty blue/green Sockotta.


Available: 1 100-gram skein of Plymouth Sockotta from the Italian Collection. 45% cotton; 40% superwash; 15% nylon. 100% gorgeousness.The picture absolutely does it NO JUSTICE at all. It's a deeper blue with green tones in it, almost marled. Lovely lovely stuff. It's just I've been there, knitted that, and it's time to try new things. (When I buy yarn again, that is.)414 yards. Machine washable. Color #8.

You know the drill. Stake your claim in the Comments section and a "winner" will be announced March 6th.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007


The blue Sockotta:

The lucky winner is "Traveler." Congratulations!! Now all you have to do is email me with your snail mail address and I'll pop it in the mail.

The Regia Cotton:
The lucky winner is "t. m." Hooray! Email me your snail mail address and I'll get it out to you immediately.

And (DRUM ROLL, PLEASE) the winner of the $100 WEBS gift certificate is:
LIS57 !!!
Congratulations! I'll need your snail mail address (WEBS sends a paper certificate) so email me ASAP and I'll get things rolling!
Stay tuned, knitters! More goodies coming VERY SOON!

My Mother-in-Law is a Hooker

Got your attention, didn't I? But she's not THAT kind of hooker; she's a rug hooker. She makes gorgeous works of art for our floors. Here are just a few examples:

This is the "Oriental" that lies in front of our living room fireplace. She chose the colors to complement the larger Oriental rug in the room.

For my son, she catered to his passion for soccer. It matches the wallpaper border in his room.

My Darling Daughter loves fantasy so she got a copy of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry in the Musee de Cluny. My marvelous MIL changed the color scheme so it would fit in with DD's bedroom decor.

These are just a few of the stunning rugs we have in our home. So I decided I should knit my MIL something as a reciprocal gesture. She chose:

A sweater!

Not just any sweater but a copy of one she loves which another daughter-in-law gave her several years ago. My skills don't rise to copying so I enlisted my lovely Yarn Lady who came up with a pattern. And she wants it in black. (What's with my family? Everyone wears black all the time!) There's not much of it to see yet so I won't post a photo but it is in progress. She'll probably get it for her birthday in September. ;-)

Just for fun, fill the in the following blank: My mother-in-law is_____________.

(Warning: your MIL might be reading this blog!)

Labels: , , ,