Spicy Podcast and Mild Socks

More lovely 18th century Chinese porcelains to inspire you…
Aren’t they gorgeous? There are more photos below, but this is my favorite. That red looks as transluscent and luscious as a candy apple.

Isn’t it funny how candy apples always look much better than they taste? Caramel apples, too. Unless the apple is cut into wedges and dipped in a bowl of melted caramel. I had it that way in Lancaster County, PA one time. Leave it to those Pennsylvania Dutch to come up with a new sugar delivery system.

Sorry I was so grouchy last post! To be honest, I probably will hold true to my vow, but I thought Kristen made some good points in her comment. So, to follow up on my “when in Rome” title, here’s a new cliche for you: Variety is the spice of life…(Really, it is!)

So I guess my knitting life hasn’t been very spicy lately. No variety, at any rate. I’m still working on the slipped-stitch Koigu socks for my step father. One is finished and the other is about halfway done. When both socks are finished and blocked, I’ll post some more photos, but for now there’s nothing interesting to post about them. And that’s the extent of this week’s knitting! I’m on a mindless knitting kick, just wanting to relax and not have to think about pattern repeats, so that’s OK.

On the spicier side, however, is one of my new favorite podcasts: Knitters Uncensored. From the very first podcast I was drawn in by these three expats…funny (they always make me laugh out loud), friendly, interesting, crazy, sometimes a bit on the…um…”adult” side (which is very OK by me), and definitely about knitting.

Another plus, in my opinion, is that the podcast isn’t chock-full of music. I have my own music on my pod, and tend to avoid podcasts that include more than a couple of songs. (I prefer none, actually, but one or two are fine.) Also, Knitters Uncensored tends to run on the long side (an hour or more).

For some reason, podcasters worry about running too long. But I happen to enjoy long casts if they’re good: Like being in the middle of a great book and knowing you have a couple hundred pages yet to go. It’s satisfying, and gives me lots of guilt-free knitting time. Not that I ever feel guilty about it…but you know.

So give Knitters Uncensored a try…I think you’ll like them :-)

I also want to mention that Neighborhood Fiber Co. had a really successful trip to TNNA and The Knitter’s Connection in June. Karida got several orders from stores across the country, so you may see some great D.C. yarn turning up in your LYS. If not, you should go check out the Web site where you can drool over her pretty colors.

Until next time, then. Thanks for coming back, and happy knitting!

When in Rome…? (or: How to deal with annoying fake words)

I’ve decided to take a vow.

Never again will these words pass through my lips:

1) Sproingy: Come on. This isn’t a real word! It’s an irritating pseudo-word concocted by knitters, crocheters and the like to describe yarn and related fibery fabrics. I like to believe that, if we try really hard, we can come up with descriptive words without resorting to inventing them.

2) Squooshy: Ditto. Squishy is OK. Squooshy is not.

3) Knitterly: As in “I just love knitterly details…” Blech. Again, not a real word. Though by now OED has probably been bullied into considering it for their next edition.

4) Touch base: Used ALL THE TIME here in D.C. “We need to touch base about that project before the weekend.” “Hi! It’s meeeee. Just calling to touch base since we haven’t seen each other in, like, ages.” Ugh. Puhleeze give it a rest, K-Streeters and non-profiteers.

And, oh, there are so many more.

Maybe I’m just being grumpy. Maybe I’m tired. Or maybe I’ve been a writer and editor (and devotee of several languages, though not fluently) long enough to have developed a set-in-stone opinion about how our vocabulary changes.

I’ll freely admit to being one of the geeky grammar people like the editors of the Chicago Manual of Style, whose latest edition was delayed by a weeks-long argument about em dashes versus en dashes. Hmmm…I’d have enjoyed being in on that debate.

Sometimes I’m OK with it. For example, “Web site” is almost always “website” now, and “e-mail” is becoming “email.” Are these gramatically correct? Nope. But I can live with them.

Other times I am not OK with new words and jargon. I believe they’re a direct result of our culture’s tremendous decrease in reading. It makes sense: Read more books, learn more words. Then you’ll always have a descriptive term up your sleeve and won’t need to make up dumb words like “sproingy.”

OR…When in Rome…

Maybe it would be fun to start making up the most dimwitted fake words in the world and insidiously spreading them amongst the non-reading masses via the good ole “Internets”

Anyone with me?

Frog, Monkey, Sock

This is the yarn I decided to use for the chevron scarf in June:I’d planned to make this my “vacation knit” when we went to Indy. But after about six inches, the blatant stripeyness started to make me crazy. So I decided to go for a more muted color palette and frogged it…Thank goodness I always pack several projects when I go on vacation!

Now, allow me to introduce you to the socks I’m making for my stepfather (whose Christmas present was never mailed to him by the artist we ordered it from, remember?). After trying a few different patterns and yarns, I ended up back with the Koigu charcoal/brown colorway:
The pattern is a basic slip-stitch ribbing, with 1×1 rib at the top and an eye-of-partridge heel. I incorporated Charlene Schurch’s garter stitch edging along the heel, just for fun.

Also, instead of using the usual “K1” next to the gusset decreases, I decided to work a P1…it helps set off the trim little decreases and enhances the ribbing on the instep. These are some WARM socks! I stuck my hand inside to better see the pattern last night and was surprised at the insulating quality of this stitch…
Finally, I’ve found the right pattern for the right wool–You just can’t go wrong with Koigu. Sock #1 is almost done, so I’ll soon have an “on-the-foot” photo for you.

By the way, last weekend we went to an estate sale on Q Street near Dupont Circle…I’d been in the house before, when it was on the market (pale green marble wall in the hallway, gigantic old fireplace in the kitchen…lovely), and enjoyed this opportunity to show it to Chris. We picked up a handful of CDs, a pile of silk scarves, a long black wool coat with a black fur-trimmed hood/collar (for me–$12.00!), and a couple of little pictures…
“Monkey-on-a-feather,” from Costa Rica. Strangely intriguing…

PS. I have a question: Would anyone be interested in the patterns I’ve been “unventing”? Over the past several months I’ve racked up a few patterns for items I’ve designed on-the-needles: Fingerless gloves, camera sock, iPod case, various socks, neck warmer, etc. Just let me know if you’d like me to write up the patterns. I’ll be happy to share :-)

Inspiration

18th century Chinese porcelain…
(Photo taken at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC)

Isn’t this lovely? I could just eat it! Yum.

On and off the needles…

Alpaca cowl (neckwarmer) made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca and some “real” 100% alpaca yarn I bought at MDSW last year:

This was a gift for my friend Elena. I hope it keeps her toasty and feels like a big hug every time she puts it on!

iPod cover made with Manos del Uruguay and Jaeger DK-weight cotton…
I know you’ve seen this already, but I like this picture better than the other. This is an easy project, and can be finished in about two hours total.

Plain old stocking-stitch socks made with Online summer weight sock yarn…
Currently on hold while I finish a pair of socks I’m giving as a gift.

Hope you all have a great weekend! My laptop battery’s about to die, so I’ll write more soon.

Watch this space!

Hi…

I’ve been gone for a while. But I’m back.

I’ll be putting up a new post tomorrow–Friday the 13th!

BTW: It’s always a lucky day for me. I hope it is for you, too :-)