A trip north, with socks

Published on Friday May 5th, 2006

Last weekend Mr. Garter and I took a jaunt up to Seattle to visit friends and relatives. I had an ulterior motive, too – the Seattle Knitting and Fiber Arts Expo was in full swing, too, and I wasn’t about to miss that. I didn’t know what to expect: the only knitting festival I’d attended previously was New York Sheep & Wool at Rhinebeck, and clearly an event held in the Seattle Marriott wasn’t going to be featuring quite so many wooly beasties. And while sheep dog trials in a hotel sound like a pretty good time to me (certainly the dog would be required to load the sheep into the elevator and bring them up or down to the correct floor), I didn’t get my hopes up. Sure enough, the Seattle Knitting Expo was a smaller and tamer affair. I hadn’t signed up for any classes, so I just browsed through the twenty or so vendors’ booths. Blue Moon was there, rocking their famous sock yarn (I didn’t buy any, since I stocked up at Knit Purl a few weeks ago and I still have a huge stash of it from Christmas), but I was disappointed not to see Brooks Farms in attendance. I did do a little stashing at Pat Fly’s Angora Valley booth – I picked up an 800 (!) yard hank of 3-ply wool in “Tartan”, a mix of berry tones, and a 650-yard skein of Fly Super Sport Monarch (formerly Happy Trails 3-ply – a dead ringer for the midweight STR at a much more generous yardage and better price, and superwash to boot) in shades of teal. By the time I had finished shopping, it was raining buckets and the temperature had plummeted. The weather had been so mid-summer glorious all week that I hadn’t even packed a sweater for my trip. So I sat in the lobby shivering in my Clapotis and knit like a fiend on Hourglass. When the rain lightened up a little, I fetched a car for the woman I’d been chatting with (an awesome green Buick with the vanity plate “I KNIT”) and then made my way back to the relatives’ house.

On Monday we drove up to visit my parents for a few days. And of course there was the Sockapaloooza deadline to meet. I almost got the Dalarnas in the mail for Tuesday. Sometimes I forget that when you’re on an island things work a little differently. It turns out the airline that used to carry our mail got all delinquent with their rent payments to the airport and lost their accreditation, so they aren’t allowed to carry the mail anymore. This means the mail has to go out by boat, and that means the post office has changed their hours and now closes at 3:00. Not 3:00:27, which is approximately when I turned up at the door with my package. Alas, my most pathetic appeals could not sway the man locking said door. So the socks had to wing their way to my pal in the other Washington Wednesday morning before I boarded the ferry for a day hike on a neighboring island. But I’m pleased with them – thanks to those of you who suggested blocking on coat hangers. (Click for big!)




Dalarna socks from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road

Dale Baby Ull in cherry red

US#0 Addi circs

As I mentioned previously, I modified the pattern to replace the leg shaping with ribbing. Otherwise, I followed it as written. It has the swirling toe decreases that many people seem to dislike, as they produce a somewhat pointy toe, but I decided to trust Nancy. The blocking rounded out the toes a bit.

I really did knit these babies on the road – in Friday Harbor, WA; Portland, OR; Alpine, TX; Big Bend National Park; and Kansas City, MO. I just hope they fit my pal.

And now I get to await the arrival of my own socks. One of the perks is that I have an actual mailbox to watch. It’s my very first mailbox. Okay, it’s really Mr. Garter’s parents’ mailbox. But my mail comes there, too, and it’s a real novelty for me. Growing up we had a post office box because packs of rowdy boys tend to play mailbox baseball from their trucks. (We’re a little short of teen entertainment in my home community. At least we haven’t resorted to wholesale cow tipping.) Lots of people have mailboxes anyway, but my parents didn’t want to deal with one. So it’s quite a thrill for me to put the electric bill in the box and tip up the little red flag. And it’s totally fun when the postmobile heaves in sight.

Next up: Hourglass sweater!

God bless Texas weddings

Published on Tuesday April 25th, 2006

I’m home from the Great Wedding Tour of Spring 2006 – three in four weeks! Whew! My beautiful sister-in-law’s wedding in Alpine, TX was a hoot:

My Sister-in-Law Laughing

This photo also captures the elusive Mr. Garter: I’m not sure if he’s ever appeared on the blog, but there he is in full stripey regalia behind his twin. Handsome devil, isn’t he? Mr. Garter has a strong sense of style, which I admire in a man. Too bad you can’t see all the jazzy stripes and the bright orange lining of this jacket, or the orange bow tie he wore with it for my uncle’s wedding last weekend. (His sister nixed the bow tie for her wedding, so he wore a more somber navy tie…but it had a print of Democratic donkeys. That’s my man!)

His sister has flair herself – check out these awesome cowgirl boots she wore under the big white dress:

Great Boots!

Perhaps it was the fashionable company that led me to break all my own Rules Concerning Garments Lacking Fronts and don the infamous One Skein Wonder. However, it seems that the camera sensed my hesitation – not a single picture of the shrug came out clearly enough to be useful for the blog! Here’s the one shot that shows a little peep (these first three photos are courtesy of my talented friend Sean Scrivner, by the way):

The Shrug is Barely Visible

Clearly I think it’s hilarious that I’m wearing this thing at all. So I’ll have to do a little shruggy photo shoot for you tomorrow.

Meanwhile, as I traipsed about the west, the clock was ticking for Sockapaloooza. Here’s Dalarna sock #1, reclining in the glory that was the (surprisingly enormous) trunk of our candy red Chevy Cobalt full of gerbera daisies for the wedding:

Sock 1

Sock 2

These socks have been quite the little travelers – I’ve knit them in five states! Sock #2 is past the heel and gusset (the last decreases were knit in the car this afternoon waiting for emissions testing at the DEQ), and since my pal has small feet, I anticipate finishing in the next couple of days. They want blocking, though, so I need to allow myself a couple of extra days before they hit the mail. I’m sort of considering going out to my father-in-law’s little workshop to see if he has a band saw and some scraps of wood I might use to whip up a set of sock blockers. I want them to be looking their best for my pal, but I’m just not willing to drop thirty dollars for the Fiber Trends model I spied in the LYS. This kind of situation makes me appreciate how spoiled rotten I was to grow up with a woodworking dad and a fully loaded woodshop at my disposal. Were I up on the island, I’d trot down the hill right now, have a rummage in the scrap bin, and fire up the power tools. Yippee ki yi yay!

Okay, more hot shrug action tomorrow, as long as the thing is reasonably dry after its post-Texas bath. Cotton is truly incredible at holding moisture.

Howdy, y’all

Published on Thursday April 13th, 2006

I’m back in Texas. Yep, I didn’t learn my lesson the last time…. But Mr. Garter’s sister is getting hitched on Saturday, so here we are. I cast on for my second Sockapaloooza sock yesterday during the three-hour drive from El Paso. Since today is the calm before the nuptial storm, I hope to get a good portion of the leg finished. Tomorrow I’ll be filling Mason jars with green sand and votive candles and tying ribbons on tiny bells and the like, so knitting time will probably be scarce for the next few days. My one-skein wonder is complete, though! It truly was a wonder that I was able to finish it. I wish I could show you the eensy weensy pile of leftover yarn – it’s just the inch-long tail scraps I snipped off. I had to go back and tear out a few rows of the sleeve trim in order to finish the bare minimum of ribbing around the “body”. (I laugh, calling it a body.) It fits, and the decorative stitch work I added looks pretty awesome, I must say. It makes me feel thismuch less goofy wearing a shrug.

After the wedding I’ll be kicking around southwest Texas for a week before we fly up to Kansas City for my uncle’s wedding. So I may not have much computer access. Just pray for me that there won’t be any trips to the ER to report when next I write.

Psst – did you see the Knitter’s Review today? Seattle Knitting and Fiber Arts Expo, baby! I’m there! If you’re in the area and might want to meet up there, please drop me a line. I really need to meet some northwest knitters.

Where I knit now

Published on Sunday April 2nd, 2006

Here are my new digs:

And this is where I ply my needles:

Yes, I am knitting! This is the first of my Sockapaloooza socks, Nancy Bush’s Dalarna pattern from Knitting on the Road. I’ve had to modify it a teeny bit for my limited resources. I only have US #0 needles (the pattern calls for #1s), and Dale Baby Ull instead of Wendy Guernsey wool. And because it’s the first time I’ve made socks for anyone other than myself (or my mother, who doesn’t count because her ankles and feet are the same size as mine), I was nervous about the leg shaping. So I cheated: I’m keeping my stitch count the same and working ribbing down the back of the sock instead of following Nancy’s instructions for shapely stockinette decreases. This way it will fit just about anybody, unless my pal has very large calves. I’m thinking we all should have included a leg circumference measurement in our Sockapaloooza specifications.

It took me a long time to settle on a pattern for my pal. And because I didn’t have access to the stash yarn I was originally planning to use (it may be in California now – cross your fingers!), I was forced to buy extra sock yarn while I was weighing my options:

Quiet, O Ye of Little Stash. I know I have no self control. But I know exactly what these are going to be, see? The Lorna’s Laces is for Conwy, and the STR is for the Traveller’s Stockings. I’ve wanted to make both these socks for ages. I may even do the Conwy socks in time for my mother’s birthday. There, isn’t that noble? Stash acquisition doesn’t count if it’s for gift knitting, right?

Next time I’ll show you my progress on Hourglass, I promise.