There Is a Shawl

I only knit one Christmas present this year. It was a shawl.

closeup of Goldielocks Shawl

The Fleece Artist Goldielocks Triangle Shawl, to be exact. You know, the one that I’ve been calling the Shawl of Doom. It’s 56% Kid Mohair, 24% Silk, 20% Nylon, and 100% infuriating. The colours go very well with my giant purple stuffed hedgehog, but I actually made it for my mother.

giant stuffed hedgehog wearing Goldielocks Shawl-in-progress

I finished knitting it on December 23 and blocked it on December 24 by pinning it to a hotel bed and spritzing it with water.

me wearing the Goldielocks Shawl

I would explain why I spent Christmas in a hotel, but that would take far too long. My bus to New York leaves in less than three hours, and of course I am still packing. Mare and I certainly have some yarn shopping to do once we get there! Maybe I will make “Blog more often” one of my New Year’s resolutions and actually explain about the hotel next week. Or maybe not.

Posted in Finished Objects | 3 Comments

30 Days of Alcatraz

The end of November means the end of National Novel Writing Month, which means that once again I can rejoin the world of the living. I actually hit 50,000 words on November 28, and yesterday I went to knitting night for the first time all month, did some cross stitching for the first time in ages, and only wrote a measly one thousand words.

I was technically taking part in a NaNo online chat while I was at knitting night, but declined to take part in the hour-long “word war,” since there was no way I could type that much and still hope to get any knitting done. When the other people in chat were tallying up their word counts for the hour, I said that mine was “about five rows of a shawl.”

I did not do very much knitting in November. I did, however, show the Margaret sock a good time. I took her to an Emm Gryner show on November 2, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. There were maybe about ten people in the audience, because the venue had done basically nothing to promote the show. We were ten very appreciative people, though. And who wouldn’t appreciate an evening that included Emm Gryner and Darren Eedens playing the theme song from The Littlest Hobo?

Emm was very gracious about holding the sock, and, as you may be able to tell from her tour diary entry, she also thought it was cool that she was holding a sock that Judy Blume had held. I love people who don’t think that Can I take a picture of you holding a half-knit sock? is a weird question at all.

Emm Gryner, the Margaret sock, and me

The title of this blog entry has been brought to you by Emm Gryner’s song “89 Days of Alcatraz” and Gennifer Choldenko’s novel Al Capone Shine My Shoes.

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You may notice that the date of this post is a HORRIBLE LIE, since I am posting it well after Halloween. But these are the two pictures I meant to post on Halloween, and then I didn’t do it for some reason (i.e., laziness, forgetfulness). They are Halloween-themed, though, so please, let’s all just feed into my delusion and pretend that it is still Halloween.

First of all, bat cloth, bat cloth, BAAAAAAAAAAT CLOTHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

bat cloth, bat cloth, BAT CLOTH!

Furthermore, spiderweb!

dew on a spiderweb

I saw this dew-bedazzled spiderweb one morning as I stopped to tie my shoe on my way to work. So then I stopped to take a picture of it (the spiderweb, obviously, not my shoe, though admittedly the last batch of photos that I took included an accidental closeup of my knee) and I was late, but it was totally worth it. Although it would have been even more worth it if it were a better photo, but I takes what I can gets.

The Shawl of Doom marches on. It is one of those slow sort of funeral-dirge death marches, but at least it is marching.

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Hey, I Have a Blog!

No, I didn’t entirely forget that I had a blog. Yes, I did entirely forget to update it. I’ve been thinking lately that this site seriously needs a design makeover, which will take some time to do. Every time I think about posting, I just feel bad that I haven’t had time to prettify my poor blog, so I’ve just been trying to put it out of my mind. I AM SORRY!

The current interminable knitting project is the Return of the Shawl of Doom. It’s a simple garter stitch triangular shawl in Fleece Artist Goldielocks that I put aside (or possibly hurled violently aside) about two years ago because the yarn was driving me crazy crazier. I am now much more capable of working with this yarn and it is no longer causing me to gnash my teeth every time I pick it up. So this is not yet a story with a happy ending, but at least it is a story with a Happy Bit Somewhere After the Beginning but Not Quite at the Middle Yet.

Posted in Frustrations, Site, WIPs | 1 Comment

There Was Supposed to Be a Funny Post.

I had a partially written blog post a while ago, but I scrapped it. It was supposed to be a funny post detailing the suckiness of my life lately. My fridge was broken, then all my electricity stopped working and I couldn’t even plug in my fan in the middle of a heat wave, then once everything else was fixed the stove didn’t work, because the wiring in that outlet had been causing the electricity problems. This was all happening while I was trying to clean my apartment before my parents visited, which felt kind of pointless considering people were making holes in the wall to get at the wiring, so there was plaster dust around and I had to move my desk right into the middle of the living room, where it very much does not fit, to get it away from the wall/holes/wiring. Oh, and then my vacation plans were complicated by a hurricane. You know, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, one gets to a point where one’s life sucks so much that it isn’t funny anymore, and I reached that critical mass recently. Therefore, I shall not be making with the funny today.

I also happen to be feeling nauseous today, which is not at all surprising in light of everything sucking. Given my luck lately, it would be more surprising if I were not sick. At the moment, I’m hungry and am trying to figure out what I can eat that won’t make me barf.

Speaking of barfing, Kaytlyn is pregnant,1 and Mare and I are totally excited, because we know that if we wanted to knit something insane like the Chicken Viking Hat for the baby, Kaytlyn and Addison are much more likely to approve of it than anyone else we know who has kids.

And speaking of Mare, I promised her that someday I would post photos of the beaver statue adorned with her scarf, so I am keeping my promise.

beaver with a scarf

The large stone rodent is ready for his (her?) close-up!

close-up of beaver with a scarf

The scarf probably only remained on the beaver for a couple of hours before it was liberated by someone who (presumably) wanted a pretty scarf, but the lamppost cozy is still on the lamppost after two-and-a-half months.

No, the Margaret socks are still not finished, on account of I have a tendency to get distracted by shiny things. My current shiny thing is restarting the pink Orangina (AKA Rosina) tank top I abandoned last year. So far I’ve knit about three inches of tank top.

Oh, well. You gotta start somewhere.

1By “speaking of barfing,” I was referring to the all-day morning sickness Kaytlyn detailed in her blog. I didn’t mean, “Ew, babies, gross.” Although babies are gross. They leak. Constantly.

Posted in Frustrations, WIPs | 3 Comments

Are You There God? It’s Me, Sock.

The sock had a fabulous time at ALA 2009 in Chicago. As I mentioned before, my boyfriend brought my sock-in-progress with him and asked various people to hold the sock for photos. Because I am insane, and he is indulgent and unflappable. We learned that some of my favourite young adult authors are a) oddly agreeable about posing with partially-knit socks and b) much more photogenic than I am. Seriously, these are the most awesome sock-holding photos I have ever seen. Sure, other people’s Barack Obama and Gord Downie sock photos are cool, but this is more my style. (Sorry, Mr. President. Sorry, Gord.)

Judy Blume wearing my sock on her hand

Judy Blume is wearing my sock on her hand. JUDY BLUME IS WEARING MY SOCK ON HER HAND. Excuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag for a while.

signed copy of Superfudge

Apparently she enjoyed the concept of the travelling, poseable, bloggable sock, because she DREW ME A KITTY FACE. Judy Blume. Doodled a KITTY FACE. For ME.

I am not even jealous that my boyfriend was there and I wasn’t, because if I had been there, I would have been fangirlish about everyone and humiliated myself. When I was nine, I kept a diary in my Judy Blume Memory Book, beginning each entry with the words, “Dear Judy.” So if I ever actually met Judy Blume, I would babble something like, “Wow, I can’t believe this, like, seriously, when I was a kid my family had a myna bird named Uncle Feather because my little brother was totally obsessed with Superfudge, which makes sense, ’cause he was always so much like Fudge, and thanks for teaching me that everyone feels like they don’t fit in and it’s okay that I’m not normal ’cause nobody is normal, oh, and please write Alison’s story someday, because you’ve written Stephanie‘s and Rachel‘s, and you know it’s got to be a trilogy. Although I’m looking forward to the YA historical fiction you’re working on now, too.”

How would I have humiliated myself in front of Laurie Halse Anderson, this year’s Margaret A. Edwards Award winner, author of the modern YA classic Speak, Twisted, and Wintergirls, and other great books? Well, I’d probably say something like, “Sometimes, when it gets really bad, I sleep with a copy of Speak under my pillow, because I know that at least Melinda understands me even if nobody else does.” Then I would promptly burst into tears, which would at least prevent me from saying anything else embarrassing. Oh, and I know for sure that would happen because I burst into tears just writing that.

Laurie Halse Anderson holding my sock

The line for Neil Gaiman was too long, so my boyfriend kinneared him.

the sock in the vicinity of Neil Gaiman

Well, kinda sorta kinneared him. I’m pretty sure it was not all that surreptitious, since he took seven photos, but he did manage to get Neil and the sock in the same picture without, you know, asking if he could.

a stocking is stalking Neil Gaiman

I believe I am safe in assuming that I do not have to explain who Neil Gaiman is. He is magical and he can do everything. In addition to his general awesomness, he won the Newbery Medal this year for The Graveyard Book. (By the way, have you seen the Coraline Sweater pattern?)

Here is John Green wearing a Nerdfighters shirt. He is the author of Printz Award winner Looking for Alaska, Printz Honor Book An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. The other day, I said, almost completely seriously, “I want to be John Green when I grow up.” The fly in the ointment is that he’s only three years older than I am. Clearly, if I want to be John Green when I grow up, I should hurry up and finish the second draft of my angsty teen novel (and somehow magically make it not suck anymore).

John Green holding my sock

I may not have literally humiliated myself in front of Holly Black, but back in February, she ran a contest on her LiveJournal, and I did win an autographed ARC of Geektastic: Stories From the Nerd Herd, the fabulous short story collection that she and Cecil Castellucci edited, and I never thanked her for it. The woman who wrote Tithe, Valiant (which was the best book that I read in the year 2006), Ironside, and The Spiderwick Chronicles deserves better than that. I’m sorry, Holly! My parents brought me up better than that! It’s not their fault! I just suck! Thank you for the book, and for your toleration of the sock!

Holly Black with my sock

My boyfriend told me that Melina Marchetta seemed intrigued by the travelling sock dealio. Maybe he’s correct, or maybe she’s just incredibly good at Acting Normal and Friendly in Front of the Crazy Sock Man, but either way, it’s cool. The especially cool thing about a Melina Marchetta/Sock photo is that, apart from Judy Blume, she was the only author there whose YA or kids’ books I actually read when I was within the target age range for them. Well, “book” in the singular, in this case, since I first read Looking for Alibrandi when I was thirteen or so, but Saving Francesca wasn’t published until I was twenty-four. (No, I haven’t read Jellicoe Road yet. Yes, I know it won the Printz. Yes, I know I should be beaten for this dereliction of duty. I’ll read it soon, I swear.)

Melina Marchetta holding my sock

Look, this blog entry is getting hella long, and I am running out of steam. So here is E. Lockhart! She writes books! They are good! One of them is The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which was a Printz Honor Book this year, and which I did read, despite not having gotten around to Jellicoe Road yet.

E. Lockhart and the sock

Brother/sister team Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm write (Jenni) and draw (Matthew) the kids’ graphic novel series Babymouse. They both do other things, too (two of Jenni’s novels are Newbery Honor Books), but it is Babymouse that I am obsessed with. Babymouse likes books, the colour pink, and eating cupcakes. A girl after my own heart.

Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm, and sock

Also? My own brother? Would totally never go out in public wearing that outfit. Pity.

I would like to point out that I really do read books for grown-ups sometimes, and I was a Sherman Alexie fan long before the publication of his YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Although I’m not sure that saying “I read books for adults written by a man who is holding a sock over his nose” is the best evidence of my maturity. He is a much better sport than I am, since I don’t know if I’d do that with a stranger’s sock.

Sherman Alexie with the sock on his nose

These are the guys behind the comic Unshelved. Unless you work in a library or are in library school, you probably don’t read it. But you totally should.

the Unshelved guys with my sock

Not everybody who held the sock was human, or even technically alive.

Cat in the Hat, not Fox in Socks

The sock even hung out with the LibraryThing rhino. No, I do not know why LibraryThing has a rhino. It is beyond my ken. Well, except for the fact that everybody would be happier if they had an inflatable rhino. That, I understand.

sock on rhino horn

DID I MENTION THAT JUDY BLUME WORE MY SOCK ON HER HAND? I am totally naming that sock pattern “Margaret.”

Posted in Cool Stuff, Reading, WIPs | 12 Comments

Sock in the (Windy) City

My boyfriend is in Chicago for the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, and since I couldn’t go, I did the next best thing.

I sent the sock.

six pattern repeats on my first toe-up sock

There’s not much sock yet, only the toe and six pattern repeats, but I obviously had to take a break from working on it in order to send it to Chicago, as I haven’t learned to knit through telekinesis. Yet. My boyfriend is gamely showing the sock a good time, kinnearing authors with the sock in the background, getting people to hold the sock, and acquiring signed books for me. Isn’t he the best boyfriend ever? I can’t wait to see sock photos, receive all the goodies he has picked up for me, and, oh yeah, learn helpful things about our profession that he has gleaned from the sessions there.

Since Sock the First is on vacay without me, I started Sock the Second, but I did not get very far with it (the toe and two pattern repeats) before I had to put it aside for the time being. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens this week, and I decided I needed a Hip House Scarf from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel. In Gryffindor colours, the third-year trapped-bar stripe pattern. I started it Friday night, and I know it’s a skinny scarf, but I’m really going to have to knit at warp speed if I want it to be finished by 11:55 p.m. Tuesday night—and I do.

Posted in Cool Stuff, WIPs | 1 Comment

Apparently We Are Amish

Today is rainy, gloomy, and horrible. I actually like rainy, gloomy, and horrible weather, but today it’s a hindrance, because my boyfriend and I were planning to go to the fair today, but “rain at times heavy with the risk of a thunderstorm” does not seem like ideal conditions for riding large metal contraptions outdoors. So it looks like we’re going to wait until tomorrow.

Last Saturday, however, was glorious, sunny, and warm, which was serendipitous, since it was World Wide Knit in Public Day, and in Fredericton, we were knitting in public. Outdoors. Specifically, in front of the yarn shop. With considerably less planning than last year. (The lovely event notice I wrote up included the line “Hosted by: We’re sort of developing plans organically on Ravelry.”)

The turnout was quite good, considering how last-minute it was and how many people had other commitments that weekend. I think the most people we had sitting in lawnchairs on the sidewalk and knitting at one time was seven, with others arriving and leaving as their schedules allowed.

Kitten knitting in public

I actually have quite a few photos of people KIPping, but since I don’t know how well people I’d never met before would react to me posting pictures of them on the Internet, I’ll stick with a photo of Kathy, Trish, and me.

Kathy, Trish, and me

More people were induced to join Ravelry, more people later found one another on Ravelry, we taught some passers-by about WWKiP Day and were pleasantly surprised to discover that a few passers-by already knew it was WWKiP Day (fellow knitters? people who saw the—ahem!—highly popular WWKiP Day knitting book display at the library?), my awesome boyfriend did my laundry while I spent six hours knitting, a tourist took pictures of us, some guy walking by called us Amish, and a good time was had by all.

There was also some knit graffiti, in the vein of the scarf on the panther statue last year. Sadly, I never got to see that in person.

One of the lampposts on Queen Street now has a lamppost cozy.

lamp post cozy on Queen Street

It looked great last Saturday, but now it’s all slumped down onto the conical section below the most cylindral part, as it is clearly too big to properly fit on that pole.

One of the dolphins frolicking in Freddy the Nude Dude’s fountain celebrated WWKiP Day by wearing a little scarf around his tail. That only lasted until some point on Monday, when presumably a city employee was ordered to remove it.

Freddy the Nude Dude and the Classical Dolphins

My friend Mare just sent me some photos of another Animal Statue With a Scarf, which I’ll include in another post. Mare is a better photographer than I am, although so is everybody.

I’ve been reading about Knitta‘s stuff pretty much since they came into existence, but I only recently started reading the Masquerade blog, which I now love. I don’t know why I said “reading,” when it’s almost entirely photographs. And I’m familiar with The Ladies’ Fancywork Society (a crochet street-art crew!) and the awesomeness that is Knitted Landscape and some others, but I’ll have to visit every single link on the Yarn Bombing blogroll to see what nifty things I have been missing out on. How much am I looking forward to this book? Let me count the ways. Oh, and speaking of books, how annoyed am I that the release date for Stitch ‘n Bitch Extreme keeps getting pushed further and further back?

I was working on my first toe-up socks on WWKiP Day. This is how they looked then.

toe of my first toe-up sock

That is also how they look now. They used to have a little bit of foot, too, besides just a toe, but I ripped it out. Then I knit a little bit more foot. Then I ripped it out. Then I knit a little bit more foot. Then I ripped it out.

I don’t want to talk about it right now.

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture(?), Frustrations, Reading, WIPs | 3 Comments

Meet the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee!

My mother recently adopted two kittens! There is a black one

itty bitty black kitty!

and a white one,

itty bitty white kitty!

and the word on the street is that they are both very rambunctious (I believe the word “evil” may have been used). Which is to be expected. We kittens are are a rambunctious lot. I have not yet met them, but plan to this summer. Oh, and the kittens are both dudes, so they are my little brothers.

Speaking of which, my mom finally got my (allegedly) human brother to send photos of the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimonos, too. You know, the ones that we finished knitting in December? Although I posted a picture of mine months ago, I hadn’t seen what it looked like once my mom sewed the ribbon onto it. So as well as having guest photos in this post (all of them were taken either by my mom or my brother), I have some guest knitting, too. Hers is the greenish one in front, although it doesn’t look too greenish in this picture.

two Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimonos

It’s made from acrylic. I forget what kind of acrylic, but it was nice stuff. I think she got it at Baadeck Yarns. Mine is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. Yeah, I gave a baby item that must be handwashed to the parents of twin babies and a preschooler, because I’m a jerk like that.

beribboned baby kimono

I finished knitting Branching Out, but I haven’t blocked it yet, and I won’t get around to doing that until sometime next week. This week I have a virus which has provided me with an extremely sore throat, a headache, and exhaustion, so now I am going to fall into bed with a good murder mystery.

Posted in Finished Objects, Kitties, Reading, WIPs | 3 Comments

Laziness Is an Art Form… Right?

Believe it or not, it’s not because I’m too lazy to write that I haven’t been posting. It’s because I’ve been too lazy to crop and de-uglify my photos in Photoshop. I consider writing photoless posts, but then I think how stupid that is when I have so many relevant yarny photos on my hard drive, so I just don’t do anything.

I finished my third pair of socks, which I named the Rockin’ in the Free World Socks because 1) I went to a Neil Young concert this month (to which I did not even take the socks, because we were down on the floor rather than up in the stands and I figured that DPNs would be hazardous), and 2) I got Kevin from Moist to hold one of the socks. So they, um, rock.

Rockin in the Free World Socks

I have no idea how long the first sock of the pair took because I put it aside and forgot about it for something like five months, but I do know that the second sock took me nineteen days. That isn’t bad — for me. I’m trying to find a good stitch pattern for the next pair of socks, but I don’t have immediate plans to start actually knitting them.

Oh, and here is one of last year’s Tangled Up in Blue socks. I finished knitting these last August, and then I tossed them aside and ignored them until last week, when I wove the ends in. All four of the ends. If I were any lazier, I would probably be dead.

Tangled Up in Blue Sock

Last week I started Branching Out. (Psst, if you’d been following me on Twitter, you’d already know that. @ KnitKitten, of course.) I am using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in hot pink. This would be the same Silky Wool I blogged about on September 3, 2006. When I said, “I am in no hurry,” apparently I really was not kidding.

Branching Out is going well. I wonder what kind of hell I have doomed myself to by daring to say something like that. I have done eight pattern repeats out of a projected twenty-seven, and it looks more or less like it is supposed to. There might be some uneven tension or twisted stitches, but so far nothing really horrible is wrong with it.

Anyway, I’ve gotta go. I’ve got a scarf to knit and a whole lot of photographs to beat into submission.

Posted in Finished Objects, WIPs | 1 Comment