Round Peg In a Square Hole-crafts

Friday, September 29, 2006

Aaaaand OUT the door they go!

So! Tight tension not withstanding, the second pair of International Socks of Doom are out the door! (Finished them last night, Prioritied them out today; she should be dead by Monday.) I left in the waste yarn that my target put them on to send to me, so that the recipient could see how much each of her assassins had done. I thought it was interesting.

Oh! And my target received her socks and liked them. I think I forgot to mention that she works at Marshall Spaceflight Center and hit me up for a job when she found out I work at JPL. I'm forwarding her resume to folks in the propulsion section (that's what her thesis is on) and think it would be totally cool if she got a job because of Sock Wars!

Now, again the waiting......

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sock Wars! Round Two

My target, talkingnerdy, was a good egg and sent her in-progress socks Priority Mail, so I got them on Wednesday. She has turned both heels, so I only have the (size 13!) foot to finish. However, she knit REALLY TIGHT! She used worsted instead of DK and size 6 needles to get the right gauge; I had to drop down to size *3* needles to get the same gauge! AND pull the yarn really tight. Yikes! My hands were tired after only half an hour of knitting this way. This is NOT going to go as fast as the first pair! I'm so glad she got as far as she did!

We'll see if I can finish these in time to mail them tomorrow. Otherwise, I'll movie-up Friday night until they're done.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

They're on their way!

Captions: 1) first International Sock of Doom, with the heel turned; approx 3 hours of work; 2) first finished ISoD; 3) the pair

My first pair of International Socks of Doom are on their way to my target even as I write this! This has been a lot of fun, though I think I'll get on the forum and try to work out with the others some way of tightening up the game. I really like the game aspect, but there has to be a way to get around the fact that some folks are flaking.

It's too bad that Gordon had to stick his windy nose into this, but Yarn Monkey did everything she could to try to get the game started despite him. When she finally got power and internet access back, her email was still down, so she just posted the pattern to her blog. When, by the next day, she still didn't couldn't get our target dossiers to us, she posted Assassin-Target pairs, with emails, so we could get the info ourselves. (From the posts on the forum, I'm not the only one who had finished socks and no address to send them to; fortunately for me, I finished them on Saturday night, and there was no postal service on Sunday, so getting the address on Sunday was no real hardship.) Anyway, my target has already sent me her half-finished socks, even though she hasn't received hers, which I thought was sweet of her. I should get them by the weekend, so I should be able to mail the next set by next Monday. (Took me about 7 hours to make this pair (they go REALLY fast), and I would expect that number to only go down, particularly since my target was knitting both socks at the same time, so they're both past the heel and only have the foot to go. )

Looking forward to the next round!

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Sock Wars on hold

So, 'long about 5:00 p.m. yesterday, I started checking my email, looking for the pattern and info on my target for Sock Wars. It's been a very long week, and I had wanted to take part of the day off yesterday, but needed to be available to get the pattern as soon as it was posted. So, I sat and stitched in my office (counted cross stitch for my mother is almost done; I'm down to the last of the backstitch), checking my email occassionally; say, every 45 seconds or so. Eventually, I checked it less frequently, and finally gave up aroun 6:30, quite disappointed.

Much later that night, when I finally got home, I thought about checking for the pattern, but realized that, if it was there, I would be up half the night knitting, and I had a 7:00 yoga class AND an 8:00 meeting I had to run.

Woke up this morning with the horrible realization that she might have posted the pattern to the forum IN WHICH CASE I WAS HOURS BEHIND! Checked the forum, checked her website, checked my email--nada, zip. Harumph.

Checked various times throughout the day, with no results. Finally, I read on the forum that there was a huge storm in the UK last night and many people are without power. Ding! We have a winner--Yarn Monkey lives in Belfast.

So, nearly 800 people around the world are waiting with bare needles and balled yarn, compulsively checking their email, and hoping Yarn Monkey and her family and friends are all safe.

(Is it here yet? I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.....)

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Knitting Update

The previous post was written some time ago, for the Costumers' Guild West newsletter, Squeals from the Ghodfuzzy. Many other entries here were also written for Squeals, at various times in the past, and there will be more posts from the past, as I dig them out.

That said, I have to say that I am VERY focused on knitting right now, probably because of the Sock War, which starts Friday (although, since the coordinator is in Ireland, which (as I am VERY familiar with from my work) is 7 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time, I'm hoping that I'll see the pattern in my email box 'long about 5 p.m. Thursday....). I bought new yarn for it, though I had some DK weight yarn on hand, because those posting to the forum seem to be a bit pickier than I about the fibers they use. I tend to use acrylics, as they wash well, and are cheaper, but I only work with stuff that feels nice; still, I was a little intimidated by all this knowledgeable talk of yarns of various compositions, so went ahead and bought new "good" stuff. And, as long as I was buying, I bought some silk and alpaca to make myself socks, in case I don't like the ones that kill me off in the competition, or in case I DON'T get killed. And, another set of needles, in case the new stuff doesn't knit up like the old and.... (It is just dangerous to allow me to enter a yarn store. I have more self-control where fabric is concerned. Well, at least a little more.)

But the bestest news is what I saw in a new knitting catalog that came yesterday. Don't know how I got on their list, and won't be buying any of their yarn (Yikes! The prices!) but they have the needles I've been looking for for, literally, years. They're made of fake balene, i.e. whalebone and, if they are ANYTHING like the one circular needle I've been working with for over 20 years, I will be in heaven. Its smoother than wood, but not slippery like metal, so the stitches move easily, but don't fall off the needles. It's warmer than plastic or metal, not as brittle (nor NEARLY as expensive!) as wood. It is just a fabulous material, always assuming that it is as my old one is. I'm going to order some (probably DPs) to see what they're like. If they pass muster, I suspect I will be replacing all my bamboo DPs, at the very least. Squeeeee!

Other knitting news: I agreed to make a shawl/wrap/something for a friend to put in the auction basket for her daughters' school class. This HAS to wait for the Sock War, the Christening Gown, and the Christmas rush to be over, but of course, I'm thinking about it now. Want to do something in chenille, both because it is soft and because it knits up fast. Having trouble finding just what I want, however. May have to put an eyelash with something else, instead. I'll keep you posted. Also, I saw the most bizarre thing in Michael's: knitting needles with lighted tips, I kid you not, and they come complete with the first set of batteries. I suspect it would drive me crazy, and not sure I want to pay that much for them, but may have to have a pair, just...well, because!

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Friday, September 15, 2006

I was Knitting When Knitting Wasn't Cool

(with apologies to the country western song)

Apparently, knitting is “in” now. Who knew? A couple of bellwether celebrities take up a craft, and suddenly, it’s big news.

Now, I’m not objecting. It means that there are lots of fabulous new yarns out. It means I can wear some of the things I’ve made over the years and look stylish, while being warm (which, after all, was the original point of making the things). And there are lots of wonderful new patterns out there. (Check out and I’m currently making the sweater on the White Lies homepage, and just finished the corselette and stockings.) And it gives me something to make for my just-pre-teen-great-niece, that I have some hope she might like and wear.

All this is to the good. But I’ve been knitting since I was about 10. I’ve picked it up and (you should pardon the expression) dropped it many times over the years. It stood me in good stead when I was dirt poor—that year, all the women in my (very large) family got leg warmers for Christmas (when leg warmers were last “in”). It kept me awake when I was studying organic chemistry (the bane of my undergrad years). And I took flack for it; called “granny”, getting funny looks on the bus or the bus stop, being dismissed as not serious in graduate seminars. So, it’s a little hard to have these “Julia-Roberts-come-latelies” waltz in and pick up something that has been a part of my life for so many years and suddenly, it’s “cool”. And, while I think it’s great that knitted clothes and accessories are back in fashion, it’s a little sad to see so much of it be so....plain. I think it’s great that there are simple patterns out there that are very accessible to beginners. But where are the challenging stitches in the stores? The patterns are out there, but made-articles with anything more complex than a simple cable pattern are few and far between. There is such complexity and beauty possible in knitting, it’s sad to see so little of it being explored in fashion. And, because so many of these things are being made off-shore, the prices are very low, too low for home-grown knitters to compete.

So, I guess I’m saying I’m of two minds about this new popularity of knitting. Maybe the best course to take is to make sure I get all the patterns I’m interested in as soon as possible, and stockpile some of these amazing yarns. ‘Cuz who knows how long this “new” fad of knitting will last?


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sock Wars!

O.K., this is just too cool. I don't really have the time, money, or energy to do this, but that isn't going to stop me! It's like the old game of Assasin, but with a twist: to "kill" your "target", you have to knit them a pair of socks. If you receive a pair of socks before you finish knitting yours, you've been "killed", and you send your "assasin" the unfinished socks you are working on, and the info on your "target". They then try to "kill" that person by finishing those socks. This way, everyone except the winner gets a pair of socks, and the winner gets bragging rights. Totally cool!

I doubt that I will win, but it sounds like fun. Gotta give it a try!

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