Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sock Poetry

Regular readers will know I like to reference a poem from time to time. Of course, I usually end up on the same poem, my favorite poem... until today. Today I've got something else, new to me, maybe new to you? Enjoy!

Monkey sock cast on

Ode to my Socks by Pablo Neruda

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.

I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,

my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,

my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This week in non-blogging bloggery

It's not just me, right? This has been quite a week all around. Highlights include:

1. A visit from old friends... and two fantastic documentaries. Johnny Cash's America and The Night James Brown Saved Boston. I'm inspired in new ways, thank you very much.

2. When friends visit, everybody eats! Breakfast at Genies, drinks at Higgins, and dinner at Clyde Common. I'm a broken record but I love Portland!

3. Speaking of records, I cast on some socks inspired by licorice pizza: RPM.


4. The new president. What can I say that hasn't been said a million times?

5. Items 1 through 4 make me want to dance. I miss good old fashioned house parties, with spiked punch and waving your hands in the air like you don't care.

6. I just finished up a new pattern that will be released in the Fall Knitscene. Only about 7 months before I can tease it. Unless you count this as a tease. Which you shouldn't.

7. I also finished a different pattern to be released in the Spring/Summer Vogue. Of course it's a different pattern. Why do I put things the way I do?

8. I've got a new pattern to be released next week, Prairie House Shawl. Inspired by something Laura Ingalls Wilder might sport in anticipation of spring. Modeled here by my pal Brooke:

Prairie House Heather Shawl

9. I made two lasagnas today. One with butternut squash, the other with roasted veggies. I'm freezing them and eating as needed. Man I wish I could share them with someone. I'll say it, I want to share them with YOU.

10. More snow. Seriously, people.

December 2008 - Portland

Monday, January 12, 2009

Breaking a sweater curse

2009: A year with big goals and real potential.

One such goal is knitting a sweater that fits. Yes, a simple goal, but one I have failed to achieve as of yet. How embarrassing to admit!

I've cast on and frogged dozens of sweaters in my life. There was always a Problem. Sometimes it was the yarn, sometimes the pattern. Often it was the knitting. The story is nearly the same every time.

It was two years ago I attempted to make a simple cardigan.

I wanted a raglan style cardigan that I could fall in love with. A sweater that I would end up wearing every day. A simple, natural, old fashioned, plain-and-tall hand knit cardigan. Alas! It was not meant to be.

If I could pinpoint where the sweater went wrong I would say it was in the expectations phase. I wanted the sweater to be what it could never be. I was looking for the stuff only dreams are made of... cozy, soft, perfect, timeless, classic, flattering, etc. I may as well been hoping to knit a unicorn. That was the first problem.

I had enough natural wool to make the project, but there were many questions. Could a girl my size, shape and complexion look okay in a bulky knit shapeless, colorless sweater? Probably not. Was my gauge consistent? Not especially. Did I knit the whole thing anyway, including seaming and weaving in the loose ends perfectly? Of course. I'm no amateur.

Put kindly, the sweater could have fit a small horse. More honestly, it would have fit a full grown alpha-male gorilla. I wore it around the house for a day or two, in denial. I kept checking the mirror to see if it looked okay, and it never did. I posed like they do in knitting magazines when the shaping on a garment is bad. I hugged myself, I reached for an apple in an imaginary tree, and I twirled around, laughing. It helped a little, but the sweater was hopeless.


It was The Stupid Sweater. I undid everything and returned the wool from beast to balls, which now live in a rubbermaid container in my basement. Recently I made leg warmers out of 2 of the balls:

Koolhaas Leg Warmers

Knitting the yarn into something new helped erase the memory of the ugly. But what about some new yarn, a new pattern, and a new start?

Pattern: Glee by Zephyr Style.

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in color Mossay.


Glee Sweater

I got pretty far on the medium size and then I tried it on... I'm knitting the small size now. What's a sweater without some frogging? I would have tried it on sooner but it's always too cold! To try on a sweater! O the irony!

In summary, this could be the sweater that breaks the curse. Then again, so much can still go wrong. I remain hopeful.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What I'm up to

Here's how I occupy my time instead of blogging:

1. Bad movie bingo: a game invented by Lee and Pete. You get a bingo board and cross off any cliches that occur.

On new year's eve we played this game and watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, yelling out things like "rain because it's sad!" We nearly had blackout.

Check out the game here. Speaking of new year's eve...

2. Mac n' cheese pizza? No, don't call the cops on me. You don't have to call it pizza but you have to admit you're curious. The instructions are found in the "Yay you voted" PDF.

3. Trying to stay warm: hot water bottles! They are simple yet effective.

December 2008 - Portland

4. Is this where I admit to reading the Twilight series? I am not a 16 year old girl but I played one once. When I was 13. And then again when I was 25. I think I'm ready to read big girl books again.

5. Chocolate Hazelnut milkshakes from Burgerville. Local hazelnuts. Crazy delicious. Sustainable fast food?

6. Polishing the book proposal. I have a great idea for a knitting book in a time when publishers are saturated with knitting books.

7. Leg warmers Made using the cable motif from the Koolhaas hat pattern by Jared Flood.

Koolhaas Leg Warmers

8. Pandora. Customizable internet radio based on a scientific principle. I found it's best to create multiple stations rather than trying to make one great mega station.

9. Summer Heights High on HBO. I can watch TV while knitting so I'm at peace with it.

10. You. I'm thinking about you and what you're up to. Hey, what are you up to?