Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sock Yarns

I've been knitting a lot of socks in the past few months. Ann Budd's article in Interweave Knits on toe-up socks got me re-interested in sock knitting, and that interest quickly became an obsession (witness my entire birthday present list).

There are many sock yarns out there, and I've only tried a few so far; some have produced successful, happy socks, and others have disappointed.

So far, the winner is KnitPicks Essential and Essential Tweed. Besides coming in a good range of colors, knitting up beautifully with no splitting, and being the best bang for your buck, it goes through the washer the best.

Shelridge Farm's fingering weight, while not specifically a sock yarn (ie, it is pure wool with no nylon or other material mixed in), it makes beautiful socks that go through the wash on cold. The finished product is a bit heavier than Essential/Essential Tweed, so these are socks that I save for colder days. Their color choices are almost unlimited so I know I'll be visiting them at Stitches this year.

Jojoland Melody is a good runner-up to Shelridge. Again, not specifically a sock yarn. The drawbacks to Melody is that there is a bit of piling where my boots rub against the sock and that there is a little bit of shrinkage when put through the washer. I've made a couple of stoles using Melody which is honestly a better use of this yarn.

I also used a merino/cashmere blend from Jojoland for my first pair of socks, and they turned out so well: this yarn was a dream to work with and the resulting sock was a pleasure to have on my foot. And then I made the stupid, stupid mistake of putting them in the wash. They felted to the point of not being wearable at all. Duh.

XXL Trekking is ok to work with. I found it a little slippery (for lack of better tactile description); the sock that it produced again was ok but didn't delight my feet the way Essential does.

I'm knitting for StellaPop knits again, so my sock-knitting time has been reduced. I won't be churning out a pair of socks every ten days or so, unfortunately. Next month, my sock-of-the-month birthday gift starts, exposing me to more new sock yarns. It will be interesting to see what comes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Well, I found out today that two of the three hat designs I submitted for consideration were accepted for inclusion in a real book. Two out of three. I'm gobsmacked.

What I submitted were designed for kids, but the editor wants them as adult hats. I can do that. I guess this, paired with the designs accepted by WEBS, makes me a real designer.

Now if my husband would stop snoring, I'd be all-around delighted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Pox on the Nation

I don't like American Idol. It does little to nothing to promote genuine talent and does much to promote the idea that anyone singing into his or her hairbrush in front of the mirror has talent and a chance to "make it". The judges say nothing that is constructive or helpful to the contestants, and the viewing public bases their votes on appearances and what their dim ideas of good are. The contestants, in general, sound alike, both male and female pushing their vocals through their noses and/or singing from the backs of their throats, trying to mimic whoever was last year's winner.

The somewhat talented who look a certain way are selected, molded, and pushed along until they get pooped out at the end of show looking and sounding like every other half-baked singer out there. No one is new, individual, interesting, or exhibiting any breadth of music knowledge.

It is a dumb show.

For a genuine talent, look at Zenia at the Apollo.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a Weekend

This has been a busy week and a very busy weekend. Friday was my birthday, and aside from going to the dentist and meeting the lawyer to sign our wills, it was a great day.

Dinner was at Yakitori Boy again, and again was very good. They now have a liquor license and serve a nice Chardonnay. Very nice indeed.

And since my birthday is all about me, I have no hesitation in telling birthday gifts: a ton of sock yarn, a beautiful way to carry socks-in-progress from knitzi, wooden sock blockers, Knitting America, More Sensational Knitted Socks, a book about Betty Crocker, and a beautiful teapot. As material things go, I was made very happy.

Yesterday, I finished my hat submissions and sent them off; I'm not sure when I'll hear if any have been accepted. Today I put together my submission for knitty; I'm going to hold on for a few days and make sure that it's all what I want and need it to be.

And today, the last issue of For the Love of Yarn is online. My Little Red pattern has finally found a home. I'm sorry to see this webzine go away; the editor has been wonderful to work with and receptive to my designs. Her life has gotten very busy with family, and I understand, but I'm going to miss it.

So with all of that behind me, I'm going to finally get the model knitted up for WEBS and sent out to them.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Oh My

No knitting images today, just food. This is the mac and cheese pie I made for dinner using leftovers from last night's mac and cheese that I made with cubed turkey ham and peas. Tonight I folded it into a pie crust, topped it with buttered bread cubes and baked until done. Oh my. It was so good. And so filling. Thank goodness there was a lot of fresh broccoli served with it. And there's more. Oh my.

Knitting-wise was pretty productive today: I got the first draft of my article for the AKD newsletter written; I got yarn for and started another hat design for the submissions to the "real" book; and I had a good photo session with Siena, my neighbor/model, for the knitty submission that I'm working on. So, for a Sunday, it was pretty busy. And I get a respite from 60 Minutes this week because the SUPER BOWL is on. Oh my.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yakitori Boy

Dinner last night was fantastic. We were seated in a small private room, off to the side, that opened with a sliding shoji-inspired door. Very nice for a celebration for people who like their privacy. The only downside was that the overhead lighting was very dim.

The menu is fabulous, in both its content and its presentation--it's one of the largest picture-menus we have ever seen and the variety of food was extensive. There are soups, offered in different sizes (miso, udon, ramen, tempura with noodles), there are appetizers and sushi, and, the main focus, the Yakitori "Japas"---asian-inspired tapas.

The yakitori are all grilled and served on mini-skewers and are ordered by item. So we had (among all of us) salmon with scallion, chicken liver, chicken skin, ginkgo nuts, chicken with scallion, corn on the cob (slathered with buttery-soy sauce), broccoli, bacon wrapped around mint, salmon neck--there was, I'm sure, more that I can't remember right now.

But we'll be going back next Friday because that's where I'd like to go for my birthday dinner.

And we are getting six more weeks of winter. Why am I not surprised?

Friday, February 1, 2008


This is what today has looked like, all day. I did get the trash and re-cycling out before the heavy rain started. Other than going out to the curb in my pajamas at 7:15, I've been in the house all day. Yesterday afternoon, I got to the post office and mailed off the galleys as well as an order, knowing that it was going to be raining today and knowing that I wasn't really going to want to go out. I even bagged having coffee at Famous this morning, it was raining so hard.

I spent the day knitting and doing knitting-related things: I got the pattern for the sweater I'm working on for WEBS typed up, as well as finishing the pieces for said sweater. I just need now to sew the sweater together, put the buttons on, and work in all the loose ends. Then I can send the model and the pattern off to WEBS.

I finished sock #1 of my latest pair: nutmeg-colored fingering weight yarn from Shelridge Farm . The pattern is small, staggered cables, and the combination of yarn, color and design is very good. I love the yarn from Shelridge Farm---I've been buying from them at Stitches East for years and love the colors, weights, and quality. I've made sweaters, hats, shawls and socks from their yarn and am always happy with the result.

Tonight, we're all going out to dinner to celebrate Rebecca's birthday as well as the sale of the condo/loft that we bought when Jon was in college. He lived there for four (!!) years, before he and Rebecca moved to South Philly. They've eaten at Yakitori before and say that it is very good; reminds them very much of places where they ate in Tokyo. Promises to be a good time.

Tomorrow is Rebecca's actual birthday as well as Groundhog's Day. She will be getting another tattoo, this one of a large octopus. We will be getting six more weeks of winter.