Published on Thursday October 8th, 2009

I realized I’ve been keeping you all in terrible suspense about the state of my possibly piratish eye. Turns out it was just irritated and what I thought might be a flap of peeling eyeball was only cornesomethingsomething, or a weird eyeball wrinkle with a six-syllable name I forgot as soon as the eye doctor pronounced it.  She gave me some eyedrops and sent me on my way.

So off we went, patchless and parrotless, to Friday Harbor for a long weekend. I escape up home whenever I can, and this looked like the only opportunity until New Year’s.


My parents are building a new house perched on a knoll in a madrona grove. You can see Mt. Baker, the Olympic range, and even Mt. Rainier on a clear day from the site. It was not that clear a day, but the last sun filtering through the trees and warming the valley below was delicious. This stone patio is going to get a lot of use, I’m sure.


(Yes, it’s funny that the dog’s belly appears to be the light source in the picture.

“Darling, it’s a bit dim in my reading corner. Would you turn on the Labrador?”)

Pssst… spot the handknit socks? I’m not sure you could miss them given the comical length of the pants I’m wearing. I am not so good at packing hastily, and although I dried and retrieved the last round of laundry before we left, I did not take my jeans from the basket and place them in the pile of clothing to take north. So I borrowed pants from my mom, who isn’t as tall as I am.

Next time I’ll tell you about our trip over to Lopez and the exciting wool I brought home. Yes, it was a good weekend in more ways than one!



Published on Sunday August 30th, 2009





Ta-da! A sock comes out of another sock! And except for weaving in the cast-on tail, they’re ready to go right on your feet! (Okay, I did have to weave in the inner sock’s toe tail after the fact. And I could have done the cast-on tails before I separated them, but I didn’t.) Sure enough, the ankles are really baggy, but I wisely decreased the gussets down to a foot circumference I knew would work, and the deep ribbed cuffs are quite comfy and the socks don’t sag when you’re wearing them. Plus if I ever suffer swollen ankles from, say, pregnancy or unguarded cavorting over the Devonshire countryside á la Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, I’ll have just the socks for the occasion. (I must tell you these circumstances look equally unlikely at the moment, but it never hurts a girl to be prepared.)

Will I knit two socks together in this manner again? Probably not, as it’s simpler to knit them side by side on two circulars. One has more freedom to work interesting stitch motifs (or ANY stitch motifs) that way, and not having so many stitches crammed onto my favored 5″ dpns is easier on the hands. I found ladders at the needle joins were unavoidable. But for a utilitarian pair of vanilla socks, these will serve quite well. The Koigu was happy on the US #1.5 needles, and I’m glad to have finally knit up these two pretty skeins, given to me by Formerly Abundant Lisa in New York many years ago. (Lisa still possesses an abundance of many fine qualities… she just doesn’t blog anymore, and I miss her. Also, it is her birthday today. Happy birthday, Lisa!) I’ll wear these often.

Hey, anybody out there familiar with the landscape of eastern Oregon or in possession of a fine atlas? These pictures were taken just off I-84 where it follows the Oregon Trail northwest of Ontario in Malheur County. We were about to drive into some beautiful, chalky, rumpled hills. They reminded me of oddly of Yorkshire, were it hot and dessicated and its heather replaced with sagebrush. These pictures don’t show the segment of golden, folded, heat-hazed landscape I liked best, as there weren’t any turnouts and I didn’t fancy the Camry’s modest acceleration abilities against the flotilla of heavily laden trucks that accompanied most of our drive to Idaho. I cannot find out whether these hills have a name. Tub Mountain is marked as their high point, but none of my maps, paper or Google, is specific enough to tell me more.

Come to think of it, I don’t believe we’ve rewarded good research on this blog since I wanted to know how the Shetland wool called mooskit came by its name. It’s time we did so again. And I feel knowledge of geography is frankly undervalued now that your cell phone can direct you absolutely anywhere and rob you of the adventure of exploring. Be the first to find me the name of these hills and I’ll send you a little something from ye olde yarn stash (which I am reorganizing at last). Or some chocolate, if you don’t knit. (I hope there’s some romance in the name. I’ll be disappointed if it’s dull… but the reward will stand.)

2 September: I think I’ve set you an impossible task. I’ve looked at a zillion different maps and I just can’t find that those hills have a name. I’m going to declare Molly the winner of the contest since she found Pine Tree Ridge, one of the only two named topographical features in the area. (The other is Moore’s Hollow, which I think is sort of visible as a cleft in the distant background of these photos.) Pine Tree Ridge is just at the edge of the region I’m speaking of. I can’t say I saw a single tree of any kind there, but perhaps there was once a pine tree and that’s why that particular ridge was notable. Anyway, we’ll try to have an easier contest again before year’s end!

A Summit sock

Published on Thursday August 20th, 2009

Our Sock Summit homework for Meg Swansen’s Arch-Shaped Stockings class was to work the leg of a child’s sock in Guernsey wool over 44 stitches. I had no Guernsey wool and felt I’d better not even try to order just one skein from Schoolhouse Press, because who’s ever been able to justify paying the full shipping rate for one skein of yarn? We all know what road that leads down, and since I haven’t knit up all the wool I bought from them last year at Knitting Camp, I decided I’d just pull something from the stash. I thought it should still be something from Schoolhouse, and I had lots of Satakieli left over from a hat. It would be quite a bit lighter than Guernsey, but I figured I’d knit it on 2’s or 3’s and it would be okay.

No dice. My 3 dpns were in the second Islander Sweater. My 2’s were in a baby bootie and a mitten. My 1.5’s were in the Makarovna socks. This is what happens when you start too many projects and don’t finish them in a timely manner, kids. So I cast on with my 1’s. (Luckily I have two sets. The other was in a glove.) And I have a very small sock to show for it.


I really should have put something in this photograph for scale. You’ll just have to believe me that the sole of this sock is about 3″ long. Oh well. It will make a charming Christmas tree ornament, don’t you think? Possibly it could go on quite a small baby, although since babies’ feet don’t really have arches I think the clever shaping is probably moot.


This is only one version of seven possible arch-shaped stockings you get with Meg’s pattern. This twisted-stitch sock is the most basic; there’s another lovely Bavarian-style twisted-stitch one, an Aran style patterned after the original knee socks Elizabeth knit for Meg in the ’60s, and several gorgeous colorwork versions. They’re fun to knit, and I loved trying on the Aran knee socks. There might be a pair of those in my future.

The class itself was marvelous, of course. It turned out a friend’s mother from my hometown was in the same session, so we sat together. Meg and Amy recognized me from Camp (and I think it’s amazing how they can do that… all those campers, and they remember our faces!) and said lovely things about Daisy Daisy, which I was glad to have brought to the chilly Convention Center. It’s such a treat to spend time in their presence; if you ever get the chance of a class with them or an opportunity to go up to Wisconsin for Camp or one of their other events, you should leap at it.

In other sock news:


That is a sock inside another sock, both ready for grafting. In fact, they are now grafted. The inside sock I did first (the only option if you don’t want to separate them at this point, and believe me, I want the full magical value of pulling a finished sock out at the end), in the usual way. Then I had to stop and scratch my head. Oh, right. The outside sock is inside out. It has to be grafted inside out. So instead of knit purl, purl knit… purl knit, knit purl? Yep. But you’d be amazed how difficult it is to train yourself out of a little mantra and set of motions you know so well. I accomplished it, though, and along the way I made a realization that ought to serve me well in tackling more difficult grafting… non-stockinet grafting, for instance. Each stitch requires first its opposite, then its own. So a purl stitch must be purled on the first pass, then knit on the second pass. I knew this in a vague way, of course, but once I started thinking about it that way I saw that I could now become a master graftswoman. Bring on hoods with fancy cable patterns!

So the Makarovna socks are grafted, but I decided I had to wait for an audience other than the cat for the moment of truth. We’re off for a few days of family reunion, so the amazing sock trick can be performed in front of all my husband’s relations!