Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Earlier in the month KD and I went on our second annual knitting retreat. I love the place where it's held. Not just because the Kent Manor Inn is a sweet spot - are knitting retreats held anywhere else? - but because this particular sweet spot was unknown to me before we started going there on retreat, even though I've lived here for decades, and I could, if I had to, walk home from it. Somehow that makes it extra sweet.

Last year's focus was on color work; this year's was on finishing techniques. I didn't learn as many new things, but I took to heart a pithy lesson: learn to say to the pattern, "You are not the boss of me." (I may have taken this lesson so much to heart that returning to a job where  someone actually IS the boss fo me was a little harder than it might have been. But I digress.)

The retreat project was a knitted cover for a small pillow. Since I have no place for decorative pillows in my life, I made sure (with the help of the retreat's sponsor, the lovely Knitting Boutique) that the colors for my pillow and KD's pillow would compliment each other. This pillow is now at her house, waiting to be paired with hers. I decided the colors looked like earth, air, fire, and water, so I chose moss stitch for the green earth, a single star stitch for the purple night sky, dumped the rosy coals into reverse stockinette, and found a wavy cable pattern for the blue sea - which also let me explore seaming the top of one square to the side of the other. It was more than tempting to knit the whole thing at once, without seams, but the seams were the point of the project, after all. And I wouldn't have been able to make the waves horizontal.

Aren't the strips on the back sweet? If I wore striped sweaters, I would SO make a sweater of those colors. I love when other people pick colors for me. The original pattern called for buttons and buttonholes, but I went for an overlapping envelope, like my European pillowcases.

Meanwhile, I've finished a pair of socks and am on the second sock for three other pairs.

Pattern:    Nutkin
Yarn:        Paton's Kroy Sock FX in Copper Colors
Mods:      Instead of a purl row at the hem fold, I did a k2tog/yo row for a picot edge.
                Decreased the sole of the foot down to 26 sts.
                Decreased 4 sts every other row for toe until 24 sts left. The "earbumps" on the
                ends of the weaving disappeared after the first day I wore them, as they
                always do.

What ailed me wasn't Second Sock Syndrome. It was... Startitis. I haven't yet cast on anything - I think the pillow helped. But the pairing of yarn and patterns is well underway, and any minute now I shall break out and cast on about six things at once.

And NKD has hooked me up with an absolutely ridiculous project wish has me laughing before I've even started. More on that later.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Symptom Check

It's cold and flu season, and also a deeply cold winter. So there's a certain amount of symptom checking going on all the time. Is this a runny nose because I'm coming down with something, or because I just came inside from below-zero weather? Is my throat ticklish because the air is dry, or because I'm developing a sore throat? Whether these are fleeting thoughts or day-long obsessions depends on the individual, of course. But I believe we all have that moment when something catches our attention and we stop to decide whether this is something to worry about.

Here is that moment this week. This certainly looks like the onset of an unexpected bout of Second Sock Syndrome, something I have been lucky enough to escape thus far. Starting at 12 and running 'round the clock, we have
  • one completed Nutkin sock from Patons Kroy Socks Fx in Copper (yes, I finally got tired of knitting that yarn into Hermione's Everyday Socks);
  • one just-past-the-heel Oliver from  Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball in W├╝rzelsepp (my new favorite word);
  • one just-past-the-heel Eyelet Rib in a delicious summer sky shade (Temple Turquoise) of Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock;
  • and one completed-but-flawed standard toe-up sock in leftover Berroco Sox (I've given up keeping discontinued colors straight).
Except for the last one, which turned up in a stash dive and has unclear fit issues, none of the others are abandoned projects. I just happen to be knitting a lot of socks at the moment (see deeply cold winter above). The Wildfoote are my office knitting, home for the weekend for a sanity check (I knit these from memory, and it's always a good idea to make sure memory hasn't wandered down some strange sidepath). And the Nutkin and Oliver are my tv knitting, still very much what I'm working on at the moment. So I think I'm okay. I haven't had the urge to cast on any more socks.

Lace, however, is another matter...