Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Stitches East is this weekend, and I can't make up my mind whether to go or not. My parents live just thirty minutes outside Hartford, making it a relatively easy drive once I'm down in Connecticut. And I know my father and stepmother will be happy to spend the day with Oliver who, in turn, will be happy to spend the day with his "fuzzin" * Carolina, while I'm fondling wool all day. Here's the boy and his "fuzzin":
But then there's the cost: about $10 to get in, plus parking -- which tends to be outrageous in Hartford, and that's saying a lot because I'm used to paying for Boston parking -- and then the temptation of all that yarn. Sigh. I just filed my taxes this weekend and owe a small fortune, plus I'm still paying off medical bills from the summer. On top of this, I can't get my car inspected until I have about $600 worth of repair work done. No need to feel sorry for me, though. In the last month I've gotten enough yarn to knit three sweaters, and I have a nice stockpile of wool for mittens and sock yarn for my beloved handknit socks.

Ok, I've made my decision. No Stitches East for me this year. I will be strong and spend the weekend at my parents' house, happily knitting away and avoiding throngs of people, jostling, overspending ... and All. That. Wool.


Anyway, I've been knitting away for Socktoberfest. Here, one half of a finished pair of "plain vanilla socks," knit out of Red Heart sock yarn, which is actually quite nice to knit. (Yeah, so I'm a yarn snob.) The colors kind of remind me of Jamaica thus why I may start calling these my "Rasta Socks." Raveled here.

This next pair I started yesterday, a pair of woodsman's socks from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Around. KA is the only E. Zimmermann knitting book I don't own, thus why you see that barcode at the top of the book. Libraries rule! I love love LOVE knitting these because the worsted weight wool on #4 needles is quick knitting. I'm used to knitting with fingering yarn on #0 or #1 needles. I added a 1" ribbed cuff in red, and I'm going to knit the toes red, too. By the weekend I should have a cozy pair of heavy wool socks for my winter boots.

*fuzzin = furry + cousin (Carolina is my younger brother's dog)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First pair for Socktoberfest

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Oh how I love fall. Fall means I can walk around in warm wooly socks handknit especially for me. What a luxury!


Pattern: Almondine socks

Designer: Anne Hanson (from Sock Knitting Master Class)

Yarn: Miss Babs Yummy Superwash Sock Yarn in Forest Afternoon (it's really much greener IRL than blue)

Needles: #1 DPNs

Ravelry details here

Monday, October 3, 2011

Much ado about Kate's shrug

Wedding stylist Clare Mukherjee writes in the Huffington Post today that her most oft requested bridal garments lately aren't panties that give brides a Pippa Middleton derrière, but Angora boleros or shrugs like the one the Duchess of Cambridge wore to her wedding reception (above).

Mukherjee writes about her search, "I tentatively Googled 'angora white bolero' with my fingers/legs/arms/toes crossed. I was met with a plethora of links to eBay and other auction sites screaming various self-selling headlines, such as 'Kate Middleton hand knit angora bolero' and 'Be a princess in your own knit wedding shrug-100% ANGRORA' (sic). Clicking on these links led me to photographs of middle aged women proudly sporting their carefully hand knitted 'princess shrugs'. I sighed, I appreciated these women's efforts and they had clearly put a lot of time and love into their creations, but they were undeniably hand-made and did not have a sleek enough appearance for a bride on her big day."

I haven't seen the pictures of these middle-aged women who proudly sport their hand-knitted  "princess shrugs," but I sense a bit of snobbery with the "middle-aged" and  "undeniably hand-made." The author, panicked that her Googling has gone for naught, finally finds what she's looking for: "A dear stylist friend back in London provided me with a web link to a British store called Monsoon that shipped internationally (phew) and had the most perfect, affordable ($100) simple, neat, tidy, polished, slick and sleek little white 100 percent angora bolero that any stylist or bride could possible dream of! I was in bolero heaven and the relief I felt was indescribable."

Now the simple sleek $100 white bolero is very pretty and a stylist probably doesn't have the kind of budget for hand-knit, but really? An angora sweater serged together in a factory Lord-knows-where is the winner? (Last year the Guardian called out Monsoon for its child labor and low-wage practices, despite the company's fair trade claims .) That's kind of amusing since Kate's certainly didn't come from a High Street chain, but was probably hand-knit by a craftsperson on the Alexander McQueen team.

Here, some sleek hand-knit boleros that are Kate -- and young bride -- worthy.

Bolero/Shrug #1

Bolero/Shrug #2 (not angora)

Bolero/Shrug #3 (Vogue Knitting)


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dance (and fashion) in East London

I spotted this clever UK-produced ad for Westfield Stratford (huge shopping mall) on a couple blogs last week. No breakdancing  -- maybe they didn't break dance in East London? -- but otherwise fun to watch. Enjoy!

If it's October, it must be Socktoberfest

For months I've been hearing about Socktoberfest and yesterday I figured out what it's all about. There's a group on Ravelry that spends the month focused on knitting socks. My kind of group! I adore knitting socks, and I've had my Almondines on my needles for a couple months. I'd like to finish them off this weekend, then move on to some Christmas knitting for my friends and family, and maybe a couple pair of "plain vanilla" socks for myself.

I'm also working on my Owls sweater. Last night I spent a couple enjoyable hours on the couch knitting the body ribbing, admiring my smooth even stitches. So you know where this is going, right? I switch up to a bigger needle for the stockinette body and notice that I twisted my join, so what I've got is this Mobius ribbing that's completely useless. I had to rip everything out. Grrr.

But at least I got a couple hours of relaxing knitting in.