There’s A Reason I Knit Socks ……….

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There is a reason I knit socks. It’s because they don’t take forever, you don’t have to knit 18 inches of stockinette and I can wear them. Sad to say, I’m not much for wearing wool sweaters – never being a super-cold person and if I get cold I just put on layers. Sigh.

This is the last sock for my son in the Madelinetosh Sock Blue Nile color way he chose. They are super squishy and nice. I love my Tosh socks ……. and I have 4 more skeins of Tosh to knit.

Saturday I cast on my sweater, joined it to knit in the round (the blasted thing was 81 inches – a big over-sized sweater) only when I  joined it – I twisted the stitches and didn’t figure that out until 9 rows were done. I am not in the mood to cast it on again. I will not wear a sweater that is 81″ wide. I will not wear a wool sweater. I wore the one I finished just after my husband died today to go out. I was extremely warm and it isn’t warm in Maine yet. So now I sit and stare at that yarn and I have no idea what to make from it. I think I will have to let it hibernate for a while until something grabs me. I could make a cardigan – and I could make socks from the yarn. We all know I like making socks. And we wear them ………..

Color and Happiness

Colored Pencils

I’m not sure where my love for color entered my life. It could have been in kindergarten when I got to mess with fingerpaints? I would have been 5 then and color has informed my whole life.

I love rich, over saturated colors, calm milky colors and colors that speak to me of the sea, like turquoise and white and pine and gray. I love wearing gray which makes me feel homey and comfortable.

From fingerpainting to painting to quilting with wild fabric to making my own clothing with bright colors to knitting with bright yarn — all of these have made me happy. My next step is going to be knitting with more than one color at a time. This should be good, right? Sure, just as long as I can keep from tangling the yarns and knit right and left-handed. Since I’m left-handed, the left-handed bit should be easy – but you see, Mom was right-handed and where else could I learn knitting? No where else but from Mom. So now I get to retrain myself just a little ……… and I’m ready.

I’ll be using directions and patterns from this book –

latvian mittens

and you can see just a few of the lovely mitten patterns in this book. There’s another title I’m going after too, next month, after I read this one cover to cover and plot my mittens. I cannot wait.

My late husband was from Latvia. He is currently thrilled to bits with the idea that I will attempt a Latvian mitten pattern. How do I know this? Because everything I did fiber-wise, thrilled him to bits. So he can look over my shoulder and let me know which patterns he likes the best. And I will knit them.

I’m finishing up the most beautiful socks in Blue Nile by Madelinetosh –

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and I’m wearing my Mad-tosh socks. Once this last (second!) sock is done, I’m going to take a break from sock knitting for a bit and start my sweater from this yarn:

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which I so gladly found at Imagiknit in San Francisco. All of you knitters dying to get hold of colors of Malabrigo Mechita that you can’t find anywhere? Go to imagiknit.com – they have them all!!!!!!!

That sweater is going to take some time …….. and since none of the 6 skeins I got look remotely like another one, I will be alternating two skeins at a time. It’s a good time of year for a long project  and if I get antsy I can always cast on another sock, right?

And then, when the weather gets awesome, I’m  going to Belfast and I’m going to visit Heavenly Socks Yarn shop. Oh yes, more color …………….

Fly Over

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I live in a town with a National Guard base. It’s the Air National Guard and when they fly, they fly. They fly re-fueling planes out of Bangor and other large aircraft too, I think. I only know that when they rev up their engines for take-off, it is loud. And I’m miles away from the airport. They must be training this week. Last night, late, a huge plane revved up and took off. I swear the glass in my windows rattled.

Today some big jet of some kind, which could have been commercial, went flying over my house. It sounded like the roar of doom. I don’t know if it was a military plane or just had a differing flight path than normal. When we looked at houses, we stayed away from those in the direct path into the airport. At one place we were looking, I  was standing outside (I didn’t like the house at all but my husband was checking it all out) and a passenger jet from overseas came in for a landing. I could have shaken hands with the people on board, I swear. There was no way I was living there.

Other than listening to large planes land and take off, I’ve been rolling yarn into a ball. I don’t have a ball winder and a swift, nor am I liable to get them. I have a chair and my hands. It works out but just takes me longer. I’m really good at winding balls of yarn now. I wound one ball this morning and poof that’s it for me. I find I’m in the middle of spring fever and I need something new to get stuck into. But who can settle? Not me.

We’re melting like crazy here – I’m so pleased because now I’m not freezing to death inside. Since it’s warm out, my heat pump is putting all sorts of nice warm air into the house. And I’m loving it because it’s so much cheaper than oil. Let the season of mud begin.

Spring cleaning may have to happen, but let’s face it – it isn’t the most fun thing to do when you’re antsy. I found years ago that I clean really well when I’m pissed. Well, shoot. I’m not pissed anymore ……. so the interest in cleaning is like nah. I’ll have to think of something that really pissed me off so I can get in the mood. I can handle that – piece of cake.

I have some knitting books coming my way and I can’t wait to read them. And look at the pictures! And think about whether or not I’m ready to tackle something different. I think I can do stranded color work and these books will give me the directions. Plus they’re full of projects that won’t take forever and won’t cost an arm and a leg. Since I don’t have spare arms and legs ………… And I need to decide if I’m going to get a different needle for my sweater or if I’m going to knit it on the circular needles  I have. I have been spoiled by Signature Needle Arts needles and I use them all the time for socks. I have two circular needles by the company and they make knitting so much easier. Someone said it’s like  knitting with a piece of jewelry – so true!

Ok times up. Time to get back to these gorgeous socks –

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We All Like It

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This yarn is rarer than um, something I can’t think of right off the top of my head.  Rare as heck actually. This is Malabrigo’s new Mechita yarn – a gorgeous single ply in unbelievably bold colors. This color is called Diana. I don’t care what its name is, I want it. All of my normal suppliers have Mechita. None of them have it in this color. I want this color. I wanted this yarn the moment I heard it was coming out …… all of  my mittens are knit in Malabrigo and I did a sweater in Malabrigo worsted over the winter. It seems I’m not going to get this yarn. Nobody has it anymore. That color – among a few other contenders – is gone. Maybe. There are thousands of places to look …… and I will look at them all.

Do I want this color because I love it or because I can’t get any? I’m contrary that way. I must have been hell to live with (I can hear my husband laughing from the other side right now saying “MUST?”) My son doesn’t seem to think so,  but then again we don’t get on each other’s nerves. Being a lot alike helps I think. Or a lot non-alike. One or the other.

Since Friday, I have been searching for some store, any store, any website anywhere that had this in stock so I could buy it. I just can’t imagine living without it. I have the perfect cardigan pattern that I am willing to try if I can just get my hands on this stuff. And I would rather knit socks the rest of my life than make a sweater. Sweaters take a long time.

Luckily, I am on an austerity program. I can sit here and pat myself on the back that I can’t find this yarn because I’m being really good. I can’t afford to be anything else. But I do have to have stuff to do …….. so hard to rationalize my way into spending money when I just keep thinking “groceries” “oil”, etc. I did promise myself that next month no yarn will enter the house. I have plenty of sock yarn and if I run out (not possible in a month) I can just wait until May to make more socks.

Speaking of socks, I found myself knitting green socks on St. Patrick’s Day. One of them was done, one is on the needles …… and how pretty is this?

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It is greener in person, but there are areas of blue-green and brownish green. This is new sock yarn for me, Madelinetosh Sock and I love it. I think this is going to be a great alternative to Koigu, which I also love but the skeins are small in yardage. I’m wearing my Koigu socks now and my feet are warm ……… not an easy thing to accomplish in Maine, where it is 19 degrees right now and the wind is blowing a gale.

We’ve had some kind of winter weather since the weekend and it keeps on coming. We usually (always) get a storm for St. Patrick’s Day and this year was no exception. We’ve gotten so used to snow that a storm with 4 to 6 inches doesn’t even leave an impression. I will be glad though to see green grass, to go outside without boots on and without a coat. I want spring. Now.

While I’m waiting for spring, I’m going to look for that yarn. Hard.

Mega Dirty Dishes Supper Tonight

photo credit food network.com
photo credit food network.com

Here’s the link to the recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-fusilli-with-arugula-recipe.html. It does dirty quite a few dishes ………

I cannot even describe in just words how luscious this is. I even leave out the arugula and the tomatoes – we just do it with broccoli. It has garlic, heavy cream (I do half and half because I just have to hold the line somewhere), parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice and tons of pepper. We love this. We don’t make this super often, but when we do WE EAT IT.

With all the lemon zest and lemon juice, this pasta dish tastes like spring. And since it FEELS like spring out there – I’m eating things that taste like spring!

48

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It’s going to be 48 degrees tomorrow. All of this “stuff” (I wanted to put in a rude word here) will start running down my driveway to the street. A lot of it will end up in my basement. I don’t feel so bad though, because a lot of it will end up in everyone’s basement. I am not alone.

This is the time of year when I start to feel “antsy”. Crawly, get me out of here, please give me something different to do antsy. I clean obsessively for about 5 minutes because I hate house cleaning. I do want it done though and I’m it in the house cleaning lottery.

It’s way too early to plan the garden for this summer – it will only make me crazy picking out plants and dreaming about sunshine and green things. Green things are much nicer than white things. I’m not going to go shopping either, although I could – I have promised myself that I will never be out of money again – not ever. Imagine Scarlett in the scene from Gone With the Wind as she digs up that lonely carrot – screaming about how she will never be in that position again – well, that’s me. So I’m not going to go out and look for kitschy stuff for the house ………… I’m going to stay here and be good and be bored. Good and bored.

I have another sock on the needles …….. my sock knitting time is being cut back by the lure of sunshine and warm temperatures. My feet are currently ensconced in beautiful Koigu socks that feel so comfortable it’s like wearing air. There just isn’t enough yardage in a skein of Koigu for me though. I had to add toes in a different yarn. If I absolutely must have Koigu, I will have to buy a solid to go with it to make heels and toes. I cannot spend $42 for a pair of socks which is what 3 skeins of Koigu would be. No. Sock knitting, like everything else, will not break my budget. I do think I have knitter’s elbow though …… I’m thinking about learning scooping instead of doing throwing. That might help. And my Signature needles are SO sharp I have a little hole in my finger.  It doesn’t feel good. I try not to hit it again every time I move a stitch from one needle to the other ………

I could bake. That’s possible. Maybe a couple of loaves of bread would be a good idea. Or some pita which are great with salads and the homemade kind makes those in plastic at the store taste like discs of sand. That might happen ………

 

Lunch (with plenty left over)

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I don’t make this as often as I could. It’s Excellent Apple Salad from the Tassajara Cookbook. The only thing I do differently is leave out the mint. I never have any and I don’t miss it.

This is a wonderful bowl of healthiness with apples (I used two Ruby Frost, a new variety for me and one Honey Crisp), celery, chopped walnuts, dried cherries in a dressing of lemon juice, honey and a teensy bit of apple cider vinegar. Add a pinch or two of salt and you have lunch ……

One Done, One To Go

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Taking a photo at night doesn’t give you the best idea of what this sock looks like. It’s much darker than in the picture, but I had to kill the flash and turn on the overhead light just to get a photo that wasn’t washed out pink. My photo-editing software is out of commission for a bit.

You can tell this is one big sock. They’re for my son – somehow I’ve gotten into the habit of one for him, one for me, one for him, etc. I don’t know how I fell into that. I gave him a pair and all he could do was rave about them and now he wants no other socks but ones I make.

Today, being the day of big relief, I got my phone live again. It has been pure torture living without my iPhone. It just didn’t make sense no more than what I actually use it. And it helped keep the wolf at bay while the government decided I was alive. As I said, whew.

I have one more red sock to knit ……. and I understand second sock syndrome a lot. It isn’t that I don’t want to finish a pair, it’s just that I want to see how the next yarn is going to look … so I’ll rush that second red sock out and get on to my next pair …….

For you sock knitters, this is the Regia Colormania in the color way Fiesta. I saw it in the color way Night on Susan B. Anderson’s blog and had to have it. When I found the red – I had to have that too.

For my son I just knit the sock with the same pattern only on a US 1.5 instead of a 1. That gives him all the room he needs. I’ve only had one pair of socks be too big for him and I think that was the yarn. And I love both my Signature Needle Arts sock needles and the Knitter’s Pride sock needle set I received for Christmas. Both brands of needles are great although I do usually reach for my Signature needles first.

I’m sitting here in my nice, warm house, getting ready to put a few more inches on sock number two. And then I get to decide on my next pair.

Whew

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10 weeks. That’s all it took. I now can pay bills, buy food, order oil – live. I didn’t think I was going to survive that 10 weeks. I was alternatively scared and pissed. Now I’m so relieved I have no bones in my body. Whew.