Monday, July 30, 2007

A Day at the Circus

I've decided on a new way of managing some of my reading/knitting. I stopped by Knitty City this past rainy Sunday and poked through the cubbies full of Claudia's Hand Painted Yarns. I wasn't sure I'd find anything I really wanted, since what I really want to make is another Clapotis. However, I've decided that until I can pick the perfect yarn for the Clapotis, it will simply have to wait.

And then my hands found a colorway called "Circus Dancer." And then my brain remembered the book sitting in my bag, Water for Elephants, which is all about the circus.

And before you know it, I had casted on for a pair of Monkeys. And then a brilliant idea hit me. These socks are so perfectly in sync with the book (which I am loving without reservation) that I've decided only to knit socks that complement my reading material. The trick will be finding yarn and patterns that complete the theme du jour. Or du semaine. I'm tingling with nerdy excitement.

The yarn couldn't capture the circus more perfectly. There's some cotton candy in there, the big red-orange stripes of a big top, a sparkly blue-green costume or two, a red ringmaster's jacket, pale orange for lions' manes. And the pattern? I love monkey. I chose it because I was thinking of circus menageries to go along with the yarn. After finishing the picot cuff, I remembered (with astonishing speed) that I was born in the year of the monkey, so it's even more apropos.

The Melon shawl is nearing her completion, so I also casted on (casted? cast?) for Luigi, from Rowan 35. It's for my dad and I'm eliminating the different colored stripes on all the ribbing. My mom likes the pattern, but told me specifically not to put in the "weird" stripes. The yarn is Valley Yarns Northampton from Webs. It feels pretty much the same to me as Cascade 220. Only cheaper and with slightly more yardage.

Miles of stockinette to go before I sleep...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

FO: Daisy Cardi

"When he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock ... his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it." - The Great Gatsby

Daisy Cardigan
Size: 9-12 mos.
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in Delphinium, 5 balls
Needles: Size 3 and 6
Extras: DK cotton yarn in grape and teal for embroidery;
waiting to find perfect buttons

Detail of the front of the cardi. I finished the knitting and weaving in of ends a week ago. It's taken me that long to put in all those embroidered flowers. Finishing and me, we don't speak much.

Oh, but when we do, we can't seem to remember why it is that we don't speak oftener. The original cardi in the book has just one color of flower. I wasn't sure I'd have enough of either scrap yarn for all the daisies, so I just alternated. I like the effect; it's a bit more fun and playful. Perfect for little girls with chubby cheeks. There are still a few things left (namely, blocking the button bands and sewing in buttons) but I consider this a finished object. I think I have another couple weeks to get to the buttons.

There's one thing I will not forgive knitting for: The thinness of my wallet. In addition to the books and the yarn and the needles and the notions, knitting introduced me to etsy. Just when I thought I had gained control over my monstrously greedy addiction to yarn.

The bird's nest pendant was too cute...and I already had enamel bird earrings to complement it. Although I doubt I'll wear this all at once. That might be a little too bird-crazy.

And maybe my favorite earrings, ever. They're hearts! They're leaves! They're hearts and leaves! They're mine, man.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yarn and Daisy Pr0n

Ooh, my first skein of Socks that Rock just arrived...

At first, I was a little taken aback. The color on my monitor made the yellow portion of the skein look much, MUCH more like beige. And then I just took it in stride, because the whole skein does look the way I imagine a Scottish hillside would look. A dusty grey sky hanging over a grassy expanse peppered with purple-blue thistle and sunny cowslip.

The grass and the cowslip...

The sky and the thistle. It's all so Braveheart. Despite Mel Gibson's lunacy, I still think the Scottish accent is the most attractive accent ever. Some of the hottest people in the world are Scottish. Ewan McGregor, Shirley Manson, Sean Connery, Deborah Kerr, Travis, Gerard Butler...I think I could go on. But I won't.

Speaking of Scottish...W.B. Yeats wasn't Scottish, but he was Irish. And that's pretty much the same thing. You know, like Asian people alllooksame. Anyway, I was flipping through some old notes and came across this poem I hadn't read in years. And I was thinking how beautiful it is.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

They used it in this sci-fi action movie, Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale, Emily Watson and Taye Diggs. Bad movie, folks. However, if all you're looking for is some eye candy, it'll definitely tide you over. Sean Bean has a small part and he's the one who reads out the poem. I am a huge fan of Sean Bean as a character actor and he imbued such a sense of beauty into those lines. Later, when I walked by a deli, I caught sight of some vibrant Gerber daisies (my favorite flowers, ever) and purchased a few to brighten up my dreamy but poor life.

I'm not a flash-user with my photos on a normal basis. Mostly I think they distort colors. But these came out by accident and I really appreciated how the flash highlighted the velvety texture of the petals.

This last one was taken in daylight, without flash. This face has no makeup and it's still so gorgeous. I hope I marry a man who will come home bearing gigantic bushels of Gerber daisies for me. And then I will knit him socks.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Art & Yarn

These jaywalkers are my first complete pair o' socks:

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Gauguin, 1 skein
Needles: Addi lace circs, 2.5 mm

Now, the drama behind the socks. I started one top-down and when I started turning the heel, took a look at the yardage of the recommended yarn in the pattern. Gulp. I only had approximately 300 yards while the Opal yarn has 465. Double gulp. I had a major panic attack, posted like a crazy person on Ravelry's technique forums and then decided to do the second sock toe-up. This way, I would be able to see how much I fell short and then maybe fiddle around with cutting off the cuff of the first sock and using contrast yarn to finish them both. It turns out, I just barely made two. The second sock is about 1/4 inch shorter, but at that point I didn't care. They're done. The pattern faces opposite directions, which gives them a kind of haphazard appeal. I love the yarn. I love the colorway. They are thick. Come winter, my toes will be toasty. No more reason for me to complain about how my toes is froze. The colorway, by the way, does not entirely make sense to me. I loves it, but it's called "Gauguin." Now, I don't know about you, but I never really see Gauguin as a huge fan of burgundy and sky blue. Mostly I think of muted blues mixing with lots of tans and yellows. But in honor of this beautiful colorway, I present my favorite Gauguin painting:

This painting hangs in the MFA in Boston. I saw it for the first time as a young, impressionable college student. It's called Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? The words are painted into the top lefthand corner and the (very large) painting depicts the different stages of life. There's a babe in the bottom right corner, the strength of adulthood in the middle and an old woman in the left bottom corner. I can see echoes of the blue in this painting, but not so much the burgundy. Let's agree to call this an occasion of artistic license.

Opposing zigzags, up close and personal. Lots of people have complained about pooling with the Jitterbug, but aside from a small area in the second heel, I really didn't have any problems. I loved, loved, LOVED this yarn. I am sad that the yardage is so short, however. I have heard that the Socks that Rock yarn is similar in feel so I think I'll opt for that next time, just to prevent the coronary thrombosis.

I am a huge fan of the small blotches of cobalt blue and muddy brown/green that are scattered throughout this yarn. It was so fun watching them come up between the long stretches of burgundy and aqua.

Since I am now a sock knitter, I purchased some Artyarns Ultramerino 4 I've been coveting for a loooong time. This will be for my own personal pattern. I thought of something while I knitted the Jaywalkers and I think it's about time I try my hand at designing a (simple) pattern.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Snap Happy

Part of my newfound commitment to the Artist's Way: Photographs taken while wandering the streets of la manzana grande.

Random bit of advertisement on a sidewalk wall. Looks like a forlorn scrap of aging wallpaper, no?

Tile detail on a building in Chelsea. I love the color scheme here. Too bad the rest of the building was rather ugly.

Yes! We have some bananas! We have some bananas today! They look luscious and bursting with potassium.

Shadow of trees on the concrete sidewalk.

How blue is this sky?? I love that if a person with depression is ever looking up that high.

My favorite photo of the day: The kiosks and mailboxes look like a lineup of robots.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Tutti Frutti

First, the lovely, summery, blueberry-ish beginnings of a Tiramisu baby blanket. The pattern is free at Alicia Paulson's blog and the yarn is amazing considering that it's Lion Brand. Not that I automatically discount all Lion Brand products, but most acrylic yarns bother me because they have so little give. Cotton-Ease, however, is soft and springy. I haven't decided yet whether to gift this to baby Beth or to offer it to Binky Patrol or Project Linus. I'm leaning toward one of the blanket charities since Beth will be receiving many hand-knit clothes in the future.

I even have some fresh blueberries chilling in the fridge but I got a little lazy before snapping the photo. The color is "Violet," but it's much bluer than any violet I've ever seen.

I was not lazy with the next photo, however...Melon shawl deserved some melons.

It hit a high of 92 degrees today so I think I needed the visual association of cold melons alongside the warm mohair. Otherwise I will never finish this thing. I'm rounding the second corner of the edging and I know that all my corners are going to turn out wonky. I'm not going to stress about it and just hope that blocking will work a minor miracle. These are those Korean melons, by the way. They look a bit like squash but the insides are white, crisp, firm and sweet.

I've gotten to the beading detail on Joy. Although this may take a hiatus until I finish the baby blanket.

Finally, chocolate has nothing to do with fruit or knitting, but I found these goodies the other day at the Korean supermarket where my mother and I bought those melons. I just liked the vintage mail covers on these but the chocolate itself is yummmmmy. Chocolove, indeed.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sugar Shock

This is the cutest. Baby. Ever.

Baby Beth, wearing the first of many hand-knit items. Baby Cable Vest from Debbie Bliss's Simply Baby pattern book. Look at those cheeks!