Monday, January 08, 2007

Magic Loop, Among Other Things

I'm a Magic Looper! I honestly never thought I would be -- what's the point, after all? I love my DPNs, they're honest and sturdy and serviceable. All those things you want in a needle, and yet ....

I got on the two circulars bandwagon at one point. And they work fine. Yes, there's the need to have two needles in every size, and the feeling like you're knitting with a floppy octopus, and the ladders I get in my socks. They're fine ... but I always go back to my DPNs - reliable, always where you expect them to be. And don't even talk to me about two socks on two circulars. For me, that turns something pleasurable into something so stressful it's not even worth discussing.

But the Loop -- somehow that seemed outside my understanding. Oh, I've viewed those videos online that make it seem so simple. At one point I think I even paid $7 for that funky little booklet that was supposed to explain the mystery that was the Loop. I haven't seen that booklet in years, and somehow I never got IT. The Loop never made sense to me.

Then, yesterday, sitting at our first guild Shop Hop knit-in of the year (The Purly Gates, thanks Ginger and Dana!), I watched Karen knitting the most beautiful Malabrigo lace-weight yarn into the most beautiful Charlene Schurch socks, and I begged her to share with me the mystery, the magic, the ecstasy that is the Loop. Ten seconds later (what in the world was my problem - I should have gotten this years ago), I was jumping up, plucking a 32 inch Addi off the rack, and transferring the last few rows of my CIC sock to it. And knitting. Simplicity itself. Ahh .... While I was there, I fell in love with a Mission Falls baby sweater (Sam) that just screamed to be made for my new (third?) cousin Diego. I think that will be knitting for the Mountain retreat.

And in other knitting news in the Pug household, I did, of course, finish that second CIC sock minutes later, so FO #2 for the year. I was using stash yarn, some green wool from God-Knows-Where and some natural-color discontinued Passport yarn. Do you remember Passport? It was manufactured for a short time for Michael's and I bought several skeins, all of which are gone now. It was 80% wool, a little scratchy but knits up soft and I don't know why Michael's discontinued it. But it was perfect yarn for knitting in a houseful of pugs, because in the natural shade at least, it was sort of pug-colored and therefore impervious to pug hair. And, of course, pug hair is what we have in mass quantity in this house. Normally, when I see a pug hair in my knitting, I have one of two reactions:

o If the knitting is for me, I go, awwww, that's my baby's hair. Cool!
o But if the knitting is for someone else, possibly even someone who doesn't regard pug hair as a sacred relic, I feel guilty. I pluck, I tweeze, I remove and destroy, looking over my shoulder all the time.

Anyway, I'll wash these socks and hope those little fawn and black things that look suspiciously like pug hair are really part of the yarn.

And, let me see, there have ben some additions to the Pug knitting library: Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falck and Knit Christmas Stockings by Gwen Steege. Both are part of my non-resolution to knit in the Christmas spirit all year to avoid the awful Christmas rage that take me over in the fall. And I ordered Nicky Epstein's Nicky's Knitted Christmas Stockings from Amazon after seeing someone knitting one of the most amazing Christmas stockings at this month's guild meeting.

Well, speaking of the guild meeting, it was a terrific meeting, as usual. A speaker talked to us about color -- sort of an updated version of the Color Me Beautiful thing we all did in the 70's. But the fellowship was wonderful -- I love our members. We named a nominating committee for next year's slate of officers, and that made me sad, because I'm almost at the end of my two year stint as president. Before that I did two years as treasurer. So next year I'll still be on the board as past-president and then ... I guess I'm done. I'll definitely find some way to stay involved -- run workshops, or something.

And, of course, I bought two hanks of Jitterbug, Colinette's new sock yarn from one of our guild member shops, Needle Nook. I convinced myself I was buying it to send to my sister Debbie for her birthday, but, uh, no. Well, she might get one of the hanks at some point, but, uh, no, not today. The colors were just so amazing ... and it didn't surprise me to see Karen and Debra buy more at Purly Gates yesterday. Very soft, very colorful. My only concern is that there are 267 meters in a hank, which is, I guess, around 300 yards, which might make a rather short sock for my size 10 foot. Well, we'll see.

Just in case you think I forgot about actually sending Debbie's gift to her, no, I got it in the mail on Saturday. It's knitting-related so it can be revealed later.

Finally, grandson Jake came into the Inner Knitting Sanctum last night to chat. After asking what might be the most naive question of all ("uh, DB, uh, what do y'all DO at those knit-in thingies?"), he began to fondle the Reversible Cable Scarf, #1 FO for the year. I originally bought the yarn (Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool) with him in mind, then mentally assigned the project to the semi-spouse, then decided it would hold in the 2007 Christmas pile. But watching him hold and stroke the scarf, I immediately knew it was his. He left with it wound around his neck after a big hug.

It's all good.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Yarn Diet? Not!

With all the current emphasis on stash dieting in blogland these days, any normal person would be embarrassed to admit on January 3 that her grotesquely swollen stash had grown but I'm not exactly normal. So, it is not without pride that I mention that yarn arrived at my office today. And if my darn camera phone would work, you'd see a photo of it. Maybe next time. No, wait, here are the photos from the eBay listings - I hope the seller will forgive me. S/he gave such great service I'll definitely be buying from him/her again. I won the auction on the 31st and on the 3rd they're on my desk. You can't really ask for better service than that

The deep red and purple is a bulky weight that will become a CIC sweater. This pink and purple yarn will be CIC socks. Some little Russian girls are going to be very happy that I have no resolve at all.

And, by the way, here's what one quiz thinks about me. Actually, I hate espresso. I like a little coffee with my cream, and usually drink two cups a day of (I'm almost embarrassed to tell you this but I will anyway - don't hate me) Folgers coffee with Vanilla flavored creamer. When I go to Starbucks, which is any time my yarn habit leaves me with cash in my wallet, I'm a Venti White Chocolate Mocha type of gal.

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Monday, January 01, 2007

And the New Year Begins ...

I've been on leave for over a week, highly unusual for me. When I first applied for the leave, it was because I thought I'd be with my kids over the holiday. I quickly realized that they had plans of their own (imagine that!) and, after our pre-Christmas days together, I would be dismissed. Problem? Not so much.

I've been enjoying being at home. It's been wonderful. Of course, I've had to hear from the semi-spouse about how nice it is to have me be if I'm not always pleasant. But it's true that I'm much more commute, no long hours away from home, no work-related stress. We've actually spent a couple of days together, doing domestic-type things. Again, highly unusual. Because of his weird work schedule, and mine, we so seldom have a day to do stuff together--have a lunch out, househunt, go to Costco together. It's been very nice.

So you'd think I would have really accomplished a lot. Again, not so much. I've knit, of course. Cooper's gansey needs the sleeves attached and the side seams sewn. But for some reason, I'm struggling with this small piece of the project. I'm not comfortable with it. I'm going to take it to the guild meeting on Thursday and ask Donna to help me with it. I don't know why knitting for my daughters (and, by definition, knitting for their children IS knitting for the daughters) is so stressful. I think it's because both of them have extremely high standards and neither of them does any crafts--thus their expectations are for perfection. And I usually fall somewhat short. So, Cooper's gansey is almost but not quite done.

I did finish the Lion Brand pattern reversible cable scarf. Love that pattern! The wool was Mission Falls 1824 superwash wool and I love the finished item. (It was originally scheduled to be a Christmas present but the weather's been so mild here in the south--I'll put it in the box for next year, assuming I can find it.) I took a picture on my camera phone but for some reason it won't send. You know, if it's not one thing, it's your mother. I thought I might have a problem with Blogspot, but no, it's the phone. It's probably a password thing--I changed my password at work and it's all connected. Oh, well. Tomorrow's another day.

And I'm about 2/3 done with the first sock of a pair for the newest CIC challenge. The yarn is from the stash, so I'm actually beginning the year by destashing. Of course, I spent the past weekend re-stashing, just in case I might run out, but this is a quibble. I still am destashing. I'm holding to this thought! This challenge is for the bigger kids, which I'm interpreting to be 8-14 year olds in the main. So this sock is about a men's size 6, which should fit someone. Again, photo in the camera phone, but not here.

And by the way, before you ask, No, I haven't spent the past week doing housework or laundry. Or organizing the office or the garage. Or putting away the Christmas decorations. I baked cookies before Christmas, and even baked a special cake for Ken that he loves and I don't. So I'm done with cooking until well into 2007. As for laundry, well, I can do that anytime, and as for housework, why?