Friday, October 26, 2007

Where have I been?

Its been a while since I posted and I don't even know why. Except maybe I've been busy getting info up on Ravelry and playing there a good bit. Its fun; yes it is!

My green thumb
I am a miserable gardener, especially with indoor plants. I don't even try with them anymore. But this past May on Beth's bday, I received a cluster of African Violets in charming little pots from my undead sister (oh, that was so bad...). I'm kind to them and they occupy a very prominent display point but I really only interact with them when they show rather acute signs of need for water or sun from a different angle; I just want to minimize my contact with them so I don't ya know, kill them.... so imagine my surprise to see this....

Not only do they LIVE here, they actually seem to THRIVE! My violets are blooming! Yippee! So pretty! Thanks Tracy!

Decennial Housing Maintenance
Yep,nearly 10 years here and the house was definitely showing the wear of 10 years of Northern exposure on the front (mildew growing on columns) and torrid Southern Exposure in back (dried, cracked wood trim, rotting wood...) not to mention 10 years of peanutbutter and jelly hands up the beautiful staircase, purple sharpie murals when Daddy wasn't looking. So we've been bringing things back up to spec around here and before the flooding rains of 2007 began we'd made good headway: both decks cleaned, treated, sealed; all exterior wood trim scraped/repaired/replaced; shutters and dormers painted, pressure washed the exterior... and indoors ladies and gentlemen, this:

"Macadamia Nut Brown" by Duron. Sigh. I've longed to have this foyer painted forEVER. Thank you, superMario Brothers. Isn't it preeeeeettttty?

We've decided to go ahead and some more interior painting but since the rains began, we've not seen or heard from the jefe. I'm confident they'll return as they've left a good deal of gear here and we've not paid them for their efforts heretofore. Still, I do wish they'd come and give me the revised estimates for the additional painting.

New on the Needles
Well, I'm making a lot of progress on the Traveler's stockings, well beyond the detail band but not quite to the heel flap. I had to shelve Daniel's sweater because well, I was out of yarn (hate it when that happens). Anyway, any knitter will tell you its important to have more than one project going at once: one on tiny needles, one on bigger needles; something small for on the run, something larger for fun. So I needed something that was knit with needles more substantial than broom straw. I was all fired up to knit a sweater for Haley but Miss Priss didn't want me to knit the yarn I'd already purchased for the project, NO! So while I await the purchase of her colors, I've begun a project for Anna:

Why, you may ask, am I so much better able to select yarns that please Anna than Haley? Dear Readers, I am not. I simply learned my lesson with Haley. I did not offer Anna a choice. And that has made all the difference... the pattern is a very simple v-neck pullover, set-in sleeves, hooded "sweatshirt like" affair with contrasting pouch pocket sewn on. It will be cu-uuute in these hot pinks and reds.

It must be hard for non-knitters to comprehend, but there are genuine stars in the knitting world. People who take the craft to new levels, folks who understand the craft and design construction so well that they can do almost anything. Such a person was Elizabeth Zimmerman who is genuinely revered among knitters who long to take charge of their knitting and produce articles that are unique and fit their intended recipient regardless of pattern limitations, yarn guage, etc. Today knitters have several stars, Cat Bordhi not the least among them. She is near and dear to my heart because she is sock genius. I received earlier this week her very new New Pathways for Sock Knitters . Its been much hyped and like many of you must be thinking, I wondered what all the hubub was about. I had even seen Ms. Bordhi discuss the book on a television show and was only mildly curious about it. Still, all around the knitting blogosphere, there is a nearly palpable buzz about this work so I had to check it out.

I have to admit: it is amazing. For centuries, socks have been constructed one of two ways: cuff down with a heel flap and gusset (my favorite) or toe up with an inserted heel. Both of these approaches inserted additional fabric at the widest point of the garment, the arch. There have been several different procedural approaches about but essentially, they all fell into these two categories. Ms. Bordhi tells a tale of discovering, under a tree in Northern Indiana, that the expansion of fabric to accomodate the arch didn't actually have to be placed at the arch, it could in fact be place anywhere in the mid-section of the foot and the fit would not be a bit compromised. Or so she has written in this new book. It is really quite difficult to believe but it opens very many design possibilities for socks.

Ok. I know that's about as geeky as I should get about sock design. Suffice it to say, I'm VERY excited to pick up my next sock project in the near future and take one of these on. I'm thinking of her Ocean-Toes:

(thanks to author of for her photo)

With no heel flap, no gusset decreasing, these must seem like something entirely different than sock knitting! Can't wait!

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