Sunday, March 8, 2009

Therapy knitting & spinning

My former work mentor is out of the hospital & his pain is medicated appropriately. He's started radiation -- and all we can do is hope that it'll shrink (and hopefully destroy) the tumor in his brain. On top of this, my current work partner has to have emergency surgery. So, my workload is about to double. Fabulous. Time for some therapy knitting and spinning!

Last fall at Yarn School I dyed pounds and pounds of fiber. I've only taken pictures of production from day one. Above is BFL superwash roving that was crocheted into a single chain braid before dying. It was soaked in water, doused in acid dye, sprayed with citric acid, covered in plastic, and heated in a microwave for about 5 minutes. The color turned out great, and I love the chromatography affect as the color spreads into undyed sections. I've started prepping this fiber to be spun. I'm a little stuck on a regular 3-ply, navajo ply, or fractal method. We'll see.

In the fall I like to knit autumn-looking socks. For some reason the colors above forced me to pluck them from the mill-ends bucket at Needlework Unlimited and begged to become a pair of socks. After a little play on figuring out a toe-up heel flap formula that works for different sizes, I found something that worked.

and finally, here's a pair from last spring that have been marinating in my desk at work. Again these are toe-up socks knit from Koigu mill-ends. Many cousins in my family have received a pair of hand-knit socks. These are destined for Mary!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Do you ever find yourself in a strange obsessive-compulsive state when upset? Tonight I found myself standing over the produce section trying to find the perfect blood orange, the perfect bosc pear, and trying to decide what varieties of apples to buy...
Work has been intensely busy, so there's little time to reflect during the day. Today someone whispered something in my ear - a message to be discussed downstairs. It was horrible, horrible news.

Up until ten months ago I had the most wonderful work mentor. We almost always shared the same philosophy and goals to serve. Working side-by-side on multiple projects, we never grew tired of each others' company. I always knew that I was lucky to have him help guide my career. He was certainly more disciplined than myself when it came to exercise and diet -- and I always aspired (I still aspire) to reach his level of devotion to health.

I was upset, yet happy to see him leave the workplace when he decided it was time to retire. He's been on my mind recently because we both just celebrated birthdays - and the candles from the cake I made last week were from his retirement party.

Ten months after that party he is now resting in a hospital just blocks from his former work space to mitigate severe pain. A hospital, I hear, who does not have fruit that lives up to his standards. He has an aggressive form of cancer. The tumor in his brain grew exponentially in the last two weeks and he's started to lose vision in one eye. Today was his first day of radiation therapy-- it's just too dangerous to surgically remove the mass.

We're going to have lunch together tomorrow. So, this evening I found myself looking for the perfect gala apple and perfect asian pear...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Focus on Finishing

Anyone else currently forcing themselves to focus on finishing any languishing UFOs in sight around the house? My "Sock Drawer of Shame" continues to grow, and I have two unfinished sweaters who want to be worn sooner rather than later! (Wild Apple for me-- or perhaps my mom since she won't stop asking for a Turquoise Light Bohus sweater, Patrick for my brother.)
Hopefully by the end of March I'll have a few finished FOs. To get things started, here's the first one:
Last fall I started a pair of super simple socks at the same time. They were knit with koigu purchased from the Yarnery about three years ago. I used 2 US1 (2.25mm) k.p. circs with Cookie A's fabulous and free pattern at Monkey. (Yes, again!) The pattern was modified by knitting the purls, and changing YOs to M1s.
...and, they were too small. The results above were frogged in December.
I ripped back to the ribbing, and changed the M1s to YOs. This minor change gave me enough stretch to pop these tubes over my high instep. In retrospect, I'm really happy that I had to rip, because I just love the pooling results:

Now, I thought these were pretty short socks. Apparently Wollmeise sock yarn has really spoiled me with 510-575 yards/skein. Koigu only has 175yds/skein - thus a total of 350 for this pair. Right as I was decreasing I ran out of yarn! After a little stash diving I found a skein of dark brown koigu just for the tips of the toes.Perhaps this is a little silly, but I love knitting socks that match your lovely, well-worn shoes:


So, now I'm finishing another pair of koigu socks - this time from last spring!