Monday, October 31, 2005

New Clogs Soon

Thank you for all of your encouraging words about the marathon! I think it would be hilarious to incorporate a knitted item into my outfit, but I think the extra weight might be the straw that breaks my back. Instead, I'm going to lend my knitted devil hat (navy with red horns) to my mom so she's easier for me to spot while running, and maybe she'll even wear her Vegan fox.

On Friday afternoon I went over to Stitches (not my favorite LYS, but dangerously close to the office) to pick up a little more black Cascade 220 in case I run out before I finish Rogue sleeve #2. They had none, so I was forced to spend my money on other yarn because I don't have enough unfinished projects sitting around the house. I got four balls of Patons merino in black and gray so that I can make a pair (or two) of Fiber Trends felted clogs.

I already started and the pattern is wild. Most knitting patterns are fairly intuitive and you can cruise along for a while without obsessively checking the instructions for each row. Not so much with the clogs. Every row is like k2, m1, k1, m1, k32, m1, ssk, turn work, p1, p2tog, p47, do the hokey pokey, p1. I'm totally unable to predict what's going to come next. But it is addictive because they're knitted holding two strands together using size 13 needles and they go FAST! The immediate gratification is so worth the hand pain from knitting with drumsticks. Next I'm going to make a sweater like that – a big puffy thing that I can knit up in 20 minutes.

Tonight I'm having a brother and friends over for spooky enchiladas and then we're headed downtown for the Halloween parade, so I should have some GREAT pictures tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lots of Coffee

Knitters – do you ever wear a “beacon” knitted item to a crowded nonknitting event just to see if there are others in the crowd? I feel like it must act as a homing signal; “Here I am, come talk to me, I am a knitter.” I must confess that I do it, and I feel a little sad on the subway when no one asks “Is that a clapotis?” If you see a girl with messy hair on the subway wearing a blue clapotis, and maybe rubbing it against her face a little because its sooo soft, just say hi!

I finally have my voice back, sort of, and I’m feeling a bit better. This morning is the first time I’ve had caffeine in a week and WOW! I feel like if I jumped I’d stick to the ceiling like a cartoon cat. Maybe I wasn’t sick after all, maybe I just needed some coffee?

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to function at work, or if I’ll just run very fast in tiny circles around my desk. Now I’m wondering if I should lay off the caffeine for another week and then fuel up right before and throughout the marathon. Surely it isn’t wise to shock my body too much, but a little performance enhancing of the Javanese variety might be just what I need.

Yep, the marathon. Next Sunday (November 6) I’ll be running the NYC marathon. I am ill prepared, slightly injured, and have never run more than 18 miles in my life. Until a month ago I had never run more than 13 miles. Until two months ago, I had never run more than 6 miles. Not ideal conditions. But, as J pointed out, it really adds to the suspense of whether I’m going to finish, which makes things much more exciting for my fans. My new training strategy is just to eat carbs like crazy for the next week; fun for me, horrifying for supermodels everywhere.

In knitting news, Rogue sleeve #2 is rolling along, but things are getting tense as the last skein is quickly being depleted. This weekend should reveal whether I’ll make it through, or whether sleevecap #2 will be a contrasting and exciting new black dyelot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I am sick and I am not leaving the couch today. Blech.

There are pros and cons to being sick. The cons: achy head, twitchy inability to concentrate, I’m hot, no, I’m cold, oh, I’m hot again, and so on, constant need to get off the couch for tea and tissues, etc.

And I am the only sick person I know whose appetite increases and who gains weight when she’s sick. Most folks lie around getting all wan and slender, but I go for everything in sight, the spicier the better.

But the pro: WAY more knitting time. I expect great progress on the second Rogue sleeve by the end of the day.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lemon Lady

Sleevey progress!

But because pictures of a growing sleeve are pretty dull, I'll share another photo with you. Seen at my deli at lunch today...

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I've read many blogs where knitters describe yarn as sproingy and now I finally know what they mean. Now that the alpaca and I are "taking some time apart" I'm back to my Rogue. (You blog readers didn't know that I was working on a Rogue, because that was pre-blog, but I was, and I cast it aside the moment the mercury crept over 70 degrees.) Not just any Rogue, my Rogue is multicolored!

When I tossed it away it was nothing more than a sleeveless vest in dire need of blocking, but I'm making progress on sleeve #1. See…

(Sorry about the dreadful picture, the yarn is black.) I cant believe how sproingy (yes, I finally get it) and lovely this yarn feels after that alpaca! Alpaca is essentially sproingless and I now know that sproingyness is a quality I appreciate in my yarn. And you know what I'm knitting with??? Cascade 220. Just imagine how I'm going to feel when I get my hands on the fancy yarns in the special box under my bed. I may never leave the house again.

Monday, October 17, 2005

USM in Purgatory

I spent part of the weekend knitting away on the sleeve of my USM sweater but, last night, after knitting about 10 inches, I finally admitted to myself that the whole thing looks like crap.

Rather than rip out, continue knitting, or start the other sleeve for comparison, I chose option D, what any sensible knitter would do, and threw it in the corner on top of the Purgatory Laundry Pile. (Garments that have been worn, but not worn so much that they are actually dirty. For example, the yoga pants I put on when I escape the office, but only wear for a few hours before bed. You all know what I'm talking about, don't even try to pretend you wear this stuff for two hours and put it in the wash.)

I think maybe I need a little break from the USM sweater because I'm starting to hate it with a burning scratchy passion. Especially the alpaca, which I'm starting to think is actually evil and trying to do me harm. I first became concerned when my spit splicing attempt gave me a coughing fit. Could it be that the alpaca does not want to be part of a sweater? That it is not interested in playing on the knitting team? Why is it jumping into my throat this way? As I sit here writing about it I feel all nettle-throated, like it is choking me from afar. And the red spot on my hand, and the weird looking short rows, and the fuzz bunny behind the chair. All the fault of the ALPACA! So I think me and the sweater need a little time apart to reevaluate our relationship and our priorities.

This will give me time to work on some other WIPs like my cozy Manos sweater, (my own design), the sleeves of my Rogue (such a great sweater, neglected when the weather warmed up), the Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls, and my neck thingy out of Insubordiknit handspun.

TTFN Alpaca!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Barney Rubble?

I made some good progress on the USM sweater – I knitted up the front and back, and basted the shoulders together so I could try it on. Here it is…

J laughed his head off and said that I looked like Barney Rubble!

Nice. You can see what I supportive knitting environment I live in. It’s a wonder I knit at all. And you can be sure that I don't knit anything for that ungrateful wretch J. In fact, he lives in fear of hand knitted garments. When he is being particularly pesky (daily) I threaten him with reindeer sweaters and pom pom hats.

Nevertheless, I see his point - hopefully when I add the neck (a deep U neck edged in green) it will resemble Barney's vest-dress a little bit less. And I think I should probably add some sleeves, no? One question though - will the green neck edging, green bottom trim and green sleeve tips be too cutesy matchey? Keep in mind that my typical outfit is black with accents of gray. I could do the U neck edging in brown instead, if that would look less dopey. I'm just not sure, but I'm hoping to play around with it a bit more tonight. Until then, Yabba Dabba Doo!

Breaking news, Knitted Robots ! Some are even wearing sweaters and pearls. I think one of them wants to come live with me. Thank you R. Raisinhater for this excellent link!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Union Square Progress (but not much)

I finally got back to work on the USM pullover. I had about two hours on the train yesterday and I finished up the back and started work on the front. As I mentioned before, I'm sort of fooling around with the design and trying to make a deep green trimmed U in the front. So far it looks like this...

I was initially going to knit the green trim as part of the design, but I think that method will cause the neckline to curl in on itself incessantly. Instead, I'm leaving out the green trim on the sides and, at the end, I'm going to pick up stitches (sort of like a button band) and knit the trim, hemming it under just like the bottom and shoulder portions. I'm not sure if this will actually work, and whether it will be too bulky, but it seems like the best way to get this slippy alpaca to keep its shape. I suspect I'll also need to follow the short row shaping in the original pattern, otherwise the points of the U will be up on my neck in a miserable and itchy way. I wish I could stay home on this gray and rainy day to finish the front of this sweater, but off to work I go. Many times I've considered trying to knit secretly under my desk, perhaps today is the day.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My Weekend

There are times in life when you want to have a little privacy. Sometimes you want an extra special lot of privacy. Lets just imagine that it is one of those times, and perhaps you, the privacy-seeker, are sitting, seeking privacy, in a special private room on a special special seat (yes, perhaps you know what I am saying now? The special seat with the magical flushing properties?) And so you are sitting, having special private time, and perhaps flipping through a weekly publication, when out of the corner of your eye you see a little twitch.

“Hmmm,” you think to yourself, “was that a little twitch over there near the tub?” No, no, perhaps it was just an eye spasm.


“Yes, perhaps that was a little twitch, perhaps I will casually cast my eyes twitch-ward and see what might be making that twitchy motion,” you may think casually to yourself.


And then you realize that your special private time is not so special or private because you have a little companion, your old friend periplaneta americana, the American cockroach. And he is watching you poo. And he has a really good seat, right up by all the action. And he is BIG. He is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis long, not including his wavy antler things. And he looks like maybe he is starting to feel restless, and he might want to get in on the excitement a little.

And now you are in a very bad situation. You do some leaping (partially-clad) and screaming of “DIE DIE YOU M*&!#RF@#%#R” and some other not so nice language. The perverty roach spectator does not like this one bit, and there is running and leaping on his part, and most likely little roachy screaming as well. And you kill him, almost, with a well aimed flip flop. You thank the lord above that this one time you managed to pull out some kind of hand eye coordination that was never there in middle school (perhaps the lack of clothing helps unfetter your throwing arm?). But the killing is not complete and he starts up, much slower now, with more of the twitching and lazy antler waving. And you prepare yourself accordingly (by using half a roll of toilet paper to insulate your hand from his body) and dispatch him to the only fitting place, since he was soooo interested in the first place, and flush him around and down.

And how was your weekend?

Friday, October 07, 2005


Hey – Lawyers love blogs!

It starts out “[i]nside every lawyer, it is said, there is a brilliant writer, held back by professional ambition or by fear of failure. Nowhere is that truism more evident than in the explosion of online blogs by, for and about lawyers.” Ooh, yes, This made me feel better because, in fact, I am a lawyer. And I am not held back by personal ambition, so that is good! Maybe somehow the brilliant will come out?

Actually, I have been waiting for the brilliance for a while now. Ever since I didn’t make girls ensemble or the varsity hockey team, I’ve been waiting for that moment to shine. I keep looking out for that special talent that is going to make me superlative in some way. I know, if I actually applied myself and practiced I might actually achieve a respectable level of success. Instead, I’m going for the lotto approach. This is why I always hold off a bit, keep a few things on the back burner for that rainy day when I can discover that I am the fair isle mitten knitter master of the universe! Or something like that.

As I wait for the gift to present itself, I do things like cook food and knit stuff and read books. But I fear that as time goes by I’m actually getting stupider. When I was a wee pre-teen nerd, my vocabulary seemed extensive. I wowed teachers and adults right and left with my use of words like "versatile", "congenial", and "sesquapedalianism". I knew the difference between which and that, the correct use of the you're/your/youse guys'/y'all's, and how to diagram a sentence.

But since I left the cozy nest of academia, (or perhaps its all the wine), I've felt bits of brain turning to ooze and losing their powers. There are certain words I've noticed a lot of people throwing around in smartypants cocktail conversation lately and I have no idea what these words mean.

: is a novel which traces the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character from (usually) childhood to maturity. (I cant even pronounce this one – who the hell says this! Except they really do, I’ve heard it.)

(Hmmm, a shout out to all you pretentious writers and perhaps some of my acquaintances, "you keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means.")

Schadenfreude : Schadenfreude is usually believed to not have a direct English equivalent. (Ha – this makes me feel better!) It is defined as pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune or "shameful joy".

(This one was in Avenue Q and now everyone is throwing it around like they invented the word. Here I am using it correctly: “I feel great schadenfreude that you just totally misused the word bildungsroman.”)

: a German word meaning shape or form, in English, gestalt refers to the concept where an entity's properties cannot be discovered from the total properties of its parts.

(Ok – people DEFINITELY have been misusing this one right and left, this is not at all what I thought it meant. I'm comforted in the fact that at least I'm not wandering around misusing all these words in public, but only in the privacy of my own head!)

Furthermore, I would just like to note that all of these are German words – is there some kind of trend among those who wish to appear intellectual that compels them to use German? Is this cool? What next, lederhosen?

Torpor : is a state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility, lethargy or apathy, and, in animals, a regulated hypothermia in an endotherm lasting just a few hours. A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.
To be honest, this one has always been a problem for me. I got it wrong on the PSATs (see, I am a big nerd for remembering this and being bitter about it) and then AGAIN on the SATs (but not such a big nerd that I actually learned the definition).

And sometimes I think people in the office don’t quite understand words like “tweak.” These words are supposed to mean something like “make minor modifications”, not “completely rewrite this entire damn memo just because I didn’t explain the assignment to you correctly in the first place.” Or something like that, you know.

And there is never a need to use Latin lawyer words like pari passu or res ipsa loquitur. I may perhaps be of the lawyerish persuasion but I have no idea what those things mean. There are perfectly acceptable English translations – stop showing off!

Reader(s), any words you’d like to add? It’s the weekend – are you going to a cocktail with any snooty types? Keep your ears open and cultivate your own little garden of pet peeves.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Smokiversary to me

Today is my one month smokiversary (that means I haven’t smoked for an entire month). I really do miss smoking. I’m not grossed out by smokers - I actually want to grab them and make out with them – but it is getting a bit easier. Some of the benefits of not smoking anymore…

1.) I no longer sit at dinner anxious to finish so I can go have a smoke
2.) I save at least $5.00 per day (cigarettes in NY are almost $8 per pack) – that is $150 this month, or $1825 per year
3.) I can run faster and longer – 15 miles last weekend (I’m training for the marathon, normally I would never run these insanely long distances)
4.) I smell better
5.) A certain person does not complain about the smoky smell of the apartment and my hair
6.) I feel stronger and healthier
7.) I am not grouchy when I’m missing my smokes (now I’m just grouchy all the time)
8.) I have more time to knit!

I also noticed that I never had a sweet tooth before but suddenly, after dinner, I’m craving Toblerone, or one of these.

Here (the freezer door) is where I used to keep my emergency pack of cigarettes.

See, just butter, coffee, breadcrumbs, frozen homemade tomato sauce, some stuff for my favorite meatball recipe, and so forth. No cigarettes. It was so hard to throw out that last pack when I quit. I had to pretend that I wasn’t really quitting, just stopping for the day. I cant believe it has been a whole month.

In other news, today I joined the NYC Knitters ring set up by Fig and Plum!

Hence the Name of the Blog

No, I have not been knitting, so there is not much to post here on the knitting blog. But I did make some great chili this past weekend, and I wrote about it on my food blog, Hold the Raisins.

I wonder if it is totally superfluous to have two blogs, one for food and one for knitting. Maybe it is a bit silly; both are crafts, both are labors of love. You can buy a perfectly lovely sweater for far less money (and time) than it takes to knit one, you can (at least where I live) order fantastic takeout for only a little more $$ (and far less time) as cooking dinner. Why bother with either of these activities? Why do we spend the time, the effort, the mental anguish – why not just go out and buy it?

This is a question that has been hanging around in my head quite a bit lately, and I know others have written on this issue. Its easy to say you are a “process” knitter, but is that label really enough to explain the hours and hours spent creating garments, thinking about patterns, reading knitting blogs, sniffing yarn. The same goes for cooking. People say the accomplishment of creating a meal themselves justifies the labor; they enjoy the smells of a warm kitchen, the feel of making meatballs, the knowledge that they are repeating a process performed by so many other generations. But I’m starting to think these explanations are not enough. Why am I perfectly happy taking my pants to be hemmed by the tailor, having my couch professionally reupholstered, drinking beer brewed by people far away? Why don’t I have any urge to grow my own hops? Why do I single out knitting and cooking this way?

And why do I, and so many others, feel compelled to write about it – to share what is typically, at least in the case of knitting, a very solitary activity? Do we want to talk about it because it is so very solitary, or is there an aspect of the creativity that is enhanced by the community environment? Do I want to write about food because I want to share my thoughts and recipes with others, or just because I want an excuse to take photos of my chili?

Enough crazy talk. Go play some Web Sudoku!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Dear Sockpal

First, a closeup photo of the neck thingy I'm working on, knit from Insubordiknit handspun. The yarn is delicious, but nearly impossible to photograph in the wild!

And a letter I wrote.

Dear Sockpal,

How are you? (No, not you, RecipientSockpal, although your hat is really cabletastic and I want to make one for my own self!) I mean you, the mystery sockpal who is perhaps knitting away as we speak on socks meant for me. I’m feeling sort of guilty. I feel guilty because I am worried that you are feeling guilty because you haven't sent my socks yet. (Yes, crazy.)

The socks you are making me (or have made for me or intend/intended to make for me) have not arrived and I just wanted to let you know that I really am ok with that. The fact that you haven’t sent them means you are perhaps either a.) not so good with deadlines or b.) busy with other important stuff.

If it is the case that you are not so good with deadlines, please don’t stress about the socks because it is still sort of hot here in New York, and sock weather really hasn’t started quite yet. More importantly, I cant wear handkint socks until November 7 anyway. You see, my feet are having a hard time right now – they are training for the NYC marathon and they are, how shall we say nicely, not so fresh? They have very very scratchy bits. I would not, could not, wear any handknit socks without first donning a protective underlayer. This condition will persist until after November 6 (MARATHON DAY!). So give yourself a little extension till then, if you’d like.

If you are busy with other important stuff, you go do that stuff. Maybe you are having a baby. Maybe some bastard took away your job. Maybe you are plagued with international houseguests who are visiting for a far longer time than you ever anticipated they would? (Not that I would know anything about that, and I’m not bitter about it either, even though they broke the coffee maker, of all things.) Maybe your hand hurts or the wool is itchy or your pets are sick or your boss is evil. Forget the deadline, forget the socks if you must, its cool with me. Just don't feel guilty.

Best Regards,