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October 29, 2006

Mysteries solved

My mom spent the week here and shared some things with me that helped answer some questions I've had for decades now.

I didn't grow up with my grandparents. My mom left Japan when she married my Dad in 1951. I never got to meet my grandmother and she died in 1959. While I was growing up, my mom never shared much about her family in Japan. The little I knew was about my grandfather Kokichi who died when my mom was about 13. She adored her father and felt his loss deeply.


During her visit here, my mom opened up about her own mom. She'd been holding and looking at the sock I'm knitting and told me that her mom was a knitter and "could knit anything." My mom, however, resented her mother's handmade things. She said she would have preferred something purchased in a store over my grandmother's handiwork. She dislked the handknit mittens the most, but she also remembers her mom knitting gloves and socks.


My grandmother was practical, stern, and demanding. She wanted my mom to learn to sew, knit and do well in school. Athough my mom agreed to learn to sew and attend dressmaking school, she stubbornly refused to learn to knit. I never thought there might be a reason I was interested in knitting or that it was a part of my heritage.

I sent my mom home with my handknit socks. And I think she'll actually wear them.

Self-striping socks

October 24, 2006

Adventures in stash enhancement

Lisa Souza Can't Elope Hand-dyed sock yarn
Lisa Souza Knitwear and Dyeworks (colorway above is "Can't Elope")

Alexis mentioned Lisa Souza yarn in one of her entries so I decided to try it for myself. I received the yarn late last week and it's SO incredibly soft and I love the colors in the skein. it's waiting in my sock basket for its future sock fate.

Now if you haven't done so already, scoot on over to Lollygirl's blog and read the great interview with Nancy Bush. Coincidentally, I have been immersing myself in Tasha Tudor so I was delighted to hear that Tasha had once invited Nancy Bush to teach a "Folk Socks" class in her home. In January 2007, I'll be taking an Estonian Lace class with Nancy Bush.

There's a great quote that Tasha Tudor shares in The Private World of Tasha Tudor:

"The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take joy." (Fra Giovanni)

October 18, 2006

Project Paralysis


I have this hovering paralysis resulting from having too much to do. I've avoided the knitting because so much more is pressing in this week. I think this is what Stephen Covey is referring to when he writes about the "tyranny of the urgent." I find myself in Quadrant I when I prefer to be in Quadrant II (.pdf)

The ideal thing would be to work on the socks I started last week; I've turned the heel and completed the gusset decreases so now I'm just working on the foot portion. Obviously, I'd like to finish the pair before the end of the month, but it's not looking good at this point. I remind myself lately that my knitting's not on a deadline around here. It has to remain the ONE thing that helps me keep other important things in perspective.


I've a shop model to complete and a wonderful cardi I'm jonesing to cast on, but it's not a race. I've had some small victories in areas that have been causing me distress. I can't really explain it here without going in to a lot of personal details, but I'm pleased with the steps I've taken with regard to my online presence. I'm much more than just a knitter, but knitting is the only thing I choose to put "out there" publicly.

October 15, 2006

Can something be too inspiring?

Why yes, I think it can.

Between Amy Butler's new book (I've had the book for a few weeks) and the Decor8 blog, I think I just need to take a deep breath. It's tempting to explore the fabric and the sewing but I already have THE KNITTING and it is ENOUGH for me, you know? So although I love it, the new Amy Butler book is going to a new home this week. (But please please check out Decor8 -- it's amazing).

THIS inspired me much more:


Volume 1 will likely keep me busy for a while, but then there's Volume 2 (Cables) and now Volume 3 (Colorwork).

And this smart, sassy girl will probably keep me from taking on that sewing hobby anyway:


I was sent this video along with this comment, "puts things in perspective . . . ." (and it does):

October 11, 2006

Renew and Restore (Sock) Focus

Socktoberfest has helped to renew my focus on sock-knitting, sock finishing, sock mending and stash enhancement, to wit:

Sunshine Yarns' Hungarian Horntail Dragon

This is some gorgeous sock yarn. Check out Sunshine Yarns on Etsy, but please feel free to share your other favorite sock yarn dealers sources in my comments section. The more the merrier!

In the self-reflection vein, I came across this post the other day and considering her awesome finished objects and original designs, I was surprised to read she felt this way about her handknit items -- until I realized that I feel the same way about mine (except for socks). And it's totally okay. In my own experience, I sacrifice fashionabillity in favor of my tactile and color preferences. At times, I think my knitting is meant to teach me something whether or not it's ever finished or worn. I don't like to draw attention to myself and handknitted socks are discreet. I can wear and enjoy them without anybody ever knowing about them. Although I'm not likely to show them to nonknitters, I do get excited about sharing if somebody shows some interest. They are wickedly mysterious no matter how many I knit.

Fortissima Socka in a subdued gray

I cast on for these while I was watching Heroes on Monday night. It's Fortissima Socka in a basic subdued color that knits up beautifully on Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs. I picked a textural pattern that was straightforward enough to allow me to knit through some television watching.

Never fear . . . this knitblog won't be completely sock-centric from now on; it's simply my Socktoberfest indulgence -- sharing about sock knitting. Have you tried it yet?

October 10, 2006

Mason-Dixon Knitting Perfect Sweater

I enjoy a good knitblog saga, and this search for the perfect sweater pattern has been one of my favorites. It's an awesome collaborative effort and in honor of that, check out their creative commons licensing.

Ann's quote: "the perfect sweater is the one you make the way you like it."

October 09, 2006

Sock retrospective


I got serious about sock-knitting last year during Socktoberfest 2005. That's when I made it a priority to really understand the concepts of sock construction. By January 2006, I was making it my goal to have socks on my needles at all times. This was my first completed pair of 2006. The next socks I completed were the Sockapalooza socks for my sock pal Deidre (now, sadly blogless).

For my husband, I knit my first pair of socks for him using Lorna's Laces "Pinstripe." Shepherd Sock is just WONDERFUL to knit with. I enjoyed the yarn so much, I decided to finish the Purl Soho custom-colored Lorna's Laces I purchased last year. I wear these socks often!

After that, it was back to knitting another pair for my husband with Mountain Colors Bearfoot.

Socktobfest Retrospective

This month, I plan to finish at least one in-progress pair of socks in addition to doing a special project in honor of Socktoberfest 2006.

October 02, 2006


I might or might not have purchased something in honor of Socktoberfest Stash Enhancement (a new category worthy of Socktoberfest, don't you think?)

It might or might not be called HUNGARIAN HORNTAIL DRAGON.

And it might or might not have been part of Dani's Sunshine Yarns offerings at her Etsy Shop.

October 01, 2006

Ariann Swatch

Chic Knits Ariann Swatch

There are alternate yarn choices here, but I chose Cascade 220 because it's economical and knits up so well. I visualized this sweater in a green, brown or charcoal and color 9338 is a bit of all three; it's easily something I can wear with black or brown.

I worked yesterday and noticed we have some great new books -- including Yarn Play, by Lisa Shobhana Mason (designer of the Stitch 'n Bitch "Big Bad Baby Blanket"). The photos are wonderful (check out the photo styling - I love it).

Knit 2 Together was in as well. I was reading the review here yesterday morning, so it was great to see it (just one copy?) at the store. I'd definitely read it but I'm not sure if I would buy it for the patterns.

And it's the first day of SOCKTOBERFEST. (Over 1400 1500 participants? Holy cow!) I have something planned for Socktoberfest that I'm hoping to accomplish this month. Stay tuned.

If you aren't reading Bonne Marie's sidebar, you might have missed this: