Nada.

It’s what I got. Nothing, nil, zero, rien, zip, zilch, nada.

This weekend should have been a flurry of knitting and finished objects, and this blog post brought to you on a lovely snowy Tuesday afternoon should have contained the Blackrose socks. But, alas. For some reason I can’t comprehend, I didn’t knit a stitch this weekend. Or yesterday.

Why, do you ask, should this weekend have been a flurry of knitting? I spent (roughly) eleven hours in various buses. Even non-knitters know that this is primo knit time. And yet… nothing. I just sat there like a schlep and listened to music and napped.

But maybe tomorrow I’ll have charming pictures of my university in the recent snowfall for you guys.

Homeward bound

A pseudo-photo essay by Yours Truly. (Or, conversely: “Comments on socks and why I don’t want to knit them right now”)

As of Monday night, I found myself pleased in a very sort of hostile, dominating way on finishing Ryan’s socks. I already knew that after I finished his socks that it would be immediately onto another pair of socks for my aunt, because she sends me amazing care packages and to not give her something for Christmas would be an atrocity. Except… I really do not want to be knitting socks right now.

So, Tuesday morning, I had this:

and this:

As much as you and I would both like to believe, that suitcase there isn’t chock full of yarn. I wish it was. Instead, only the top is full of yarn. But I can assure you, as that suitcase was stuffed to the brim when I was making my way towards New Jersey, it’s a miracle at all that I managed to fit everything I came with and MOAR YARN into the little red bag of death for my return trip home. (Did you notice the blog’s new slogan? Better living through MOAR YARN! We should all have MOAR YARN.)

Soon after, I found myself sitting at the Philadelphia International Airport (the magical land where 31 comes before 25… don’t even get me started on that place, I have so many bad things to say about it) with this:

and this:

(I have just now realized that this is a very terrible picture because it’s blurry. My apologies. However, the color of the yarn is extremely accurate. I would take a better picture, but… I [accidentally?] left the sock at my sister’s house today after babysitting my nephews.)

(There are many parenthetical remarks today.)

As I began working on this sock, the Blackrose sock, I was thinking many things:

1. I was tired of knitting socks.
2. I want to knit lace and cables (Royale and Laminaria, specifically).
3. Jojoland Melody, the yarn I’m currently using, has a love hate relationship with me.
4. Knitting socks right now was tedious.
5. Blackrose is a lovely pattern and goes quickly.
6. I WANT TO KNIT SOMETHING OTHER THAN SOCKS.

The socks are actually going swimmingly, however. The lace pattern is easy, quick, and when you think about one needle of lace and then seven needles of stockinette, it’s the perfect blend of Zen and Work. It would really be a much better experience for me if I hadn’t just knit a pair of socks.

Can you tell I’m suffering from project tedium?

In other news, I really want a ball winder. And books on how to dye yarn.

An unexpected development

I suddenly want to start dyeing my own yarn. I’ve got the hots for color, and I want to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Starting with sock yarn, because sock yarn is the most interesting.

H’oo boy. This is going to be quite the adventure… I can already tell.

2011 knitting goals

Samurai Knitter does a thing every year where she lists goals she’d like to get done for the new year (mostly knitting). Today as I was gawking at yarn and thinking of the tedium of socks (I want to knit cabled pullovers and lace shawls, dammit, but Christmas still calls), when I started going through a list of things I’d like to knit. And then suddenly these two things came together, and so here’s a list of knitting goals I’d like to get done in 2011. It’s a good idea, anyway. What’s a knit blog for if not to track your knitting progress? I’m not just rambling to the peanut gallery, here. I’m trying to keep track of things I do.

(I was thinking of doing a “2010 in Review” post, but I finished, what, like, three things? Not much of a review. Anyway. The goals.)

(1) Finish more things. I know, I know, this may not sound like a relevant goal, because I’ve finished a hat and a scarf and a pair of socks in the past month. Clearly I am finishing what I start. I think my days of no finished knit projects are over… but I’d just like to make sure. So for now, this is big and bold and important.
(2) Keep up with my sock club. Knit ALL the socks. Etc.
(3) Royale. I was going to start it in December, but I never got past the swatching stage (more on my retardedly tight gauge some other time), and then I went home for break and didn’t take the yarn for it, because my packing space was limited and I had Christmas knitting to do anyway. Not necessarily the most accommodative situation for seven or eight skeins of wool. This is a big undertaking for me, though, because I’ve never knit cables or a sweater before. Nada. I’ve also never knit something that needed to fit someone (other than the socks, but we won’t speak of that). So it’s a worthy goal.
(4) I also want to knit a serious colorwork sweater.
(5) I want to knit something in a lace tradition (Estonian, Orenburg, Shetland, etc.) that is seriously difficult. You know. Just to pull my hair out, for fun.
(6) I want to knit a very thin, very see-through pullover to wear over a tank top in the summer time. Out of this. Yup, that’s right. Linen, in laceweight. Yes, I did say a pullover. It’ll probably be long sleeved. Expanding my fiber frontiers!

Food for thought, definitely.

Coming up next: my trip home, the knitting done during said travel experience, and socks.

O, happy day!

Yarn, books, and finished objects. Is there anything better?

I’ve been staying with my friend for a few days, and today I had the great pleasure to take a little daytrip to Princeton, NJ. Yep, the Princeton that’s home to Princeton University. It was a nice, quaint little town, and the scenery driving there looked something like this from my vantage point:

There was a better shot opportunity a little further back, on top of a giant hill and the country scenery just spread out for miles and miles. It was very beautiful and awe-inspiring, so much so that I could only sit there and go, “Ooooooh…” And I, quite the novice photographer who’s not used to having a camera or taking any sort of pictures whatsoever, didn’t think to snap a photo until it was too late. I had to wait for the next hill, which wasn’t nearly as impressive as the last. The country around here really gives you a feel for amber waves of grain. Very hilly, very farmlike, very scenic. Absolutely beautiful. I love the east coast.

Princeton was a lovely, quaint little town (then again, most towns here are the definition of quaint). Nice coffeehouses, nice shops, and a bookstore that instilled a serious case of booklust in me. I walked away with only one book, but I wanted to buy twenty others. If you’re ever in Princeton, you have to go check out Labyrinth Books. Super serious awesome stuff is in there.

One of the things on the agenda was, of course, to go check out the local yarn store, Pins & Needles. My friend here is a budding knitter and knit me a very lovely alpaca scarf for Christmas, so he knows the importance of visiting yarn shops. He makes quite the travel companion. But woe was us, because we walked into the yarn shop literally five minutes before it closed! I was only able to grab a quick skein of sock yarn…

But in retrospect, the choice was easy. It’s so gorgeous. Lovely, lovely Misti Alpaca sock yarn, in colorway “Seattle.” 50% alpaca, 30% merino, 10% silk and 10% nylon. My fingers are already itching to get a sock on the needles with this luscious beauty, but I’m saving it for a special occasion.

That would have been enough to make my day, but after we got home, I took a nap, and had MOAR INDIAN FOOD for dinner…

That’s right. Finished. I’m slightly worried, because instead of feeling the usual finished-object fondess over these socks, I’m feeling hostile domination. The second sock fought every stitch of the way and created more problems for me than I’d like to admit. I feel like finishing these socks at all was a giant “FUCK YOU” to the sock that tried to one-up me. But they’re finished, and even though they’re too big, the recipient loves them to pieces. So I guess that’s what matters, right?

Knit with KnitPicks Stroll Kettle Dyed Sock yarn, in colorway gold. Pretty good for the price. Nice and squooshy, didn’t really split too much. I’d knit with it again, but the kettle dyed yarn seems to be discontinued.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to start some Blackrose socks with some lovely Jojoland Melody.

I love color (or, Goodbye 2010)

Today, I was working on the Sunshine socks. I have a myriad of things to say about the second sock, mostly in the ballpark of that the second sock is naught but lies and deceit. It really is. The stitches lie to me, they slip, the gusset has been uncharacteristically tricky, etc. But, when I was working on them today, I had quite the revelation about part of the reason why I love yarn so much. It’s because I love color to an extreme degree.

Color is wonderful, fascinating, vivid, and really, I guess I love anything that engages the senses. My favorite food in Indian food, my favorite music is anything that makes me want to dance, my favorite smells are intense citrus, and my eyes love to feast on colors and designs that use colors (Gustav Klimt, anyone?). Today I was admiring my sock yarn, ripped back and loosely wound in gloriously springy and squooshy little rounds, all golden and lovely. The beauty of it struck me. Working with yarn as it flows through your fingers and onto the needles is working with a pure manifestation of color, as much so as working with paints or other artistic mediums. This delights me in the deepest and most simplistic sense.

I’m off to go collect lovely yarns, now. I already got a head start!

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Seen above: delicious, delicious DK weight alpaca of about 665 yds, and its companion, two skeins of 440 yds sock yarn! Lovely, lovely. I got them as late Christmas presents. My friend got an entire bag full of beautiful Manos wool in various variegated colorways. I’m exceedingly jealous.

It’s about two hours until the new year, here. I think I’m going to add a sidebar tomorrow of Finished 2011 projects!

Design dreams

(See also, alternate title: A break from the photo montage.)

So, like any knitter, I buy yarn and then it doesn’t turn into what I’d planned. In this specific case, I have roughly 1760 yards of ultramarine laceweight sitting around. This number boggled me when I calculated it. I have no idea why I bought this much yarn when I only needed half of it for the now long-dead dreams of the Advent calendar scarf. I think I’d planned to knit some fingerless mittens with it, too, but who knows. It’s beautiful and I’m glad I have all of it.

In something seemingly unrelated, my aunt got me the most beautiful shawl/stole for Christmas. It’s wonderful, looks like a peacock’s tail, and is from Malaysia. Even though previously I thought that I wasn’t a shawl person, possessing this shawl has immediately reversed this thought process. This shawl is amazing, beautiful, and just wearing it makes me want to knit ten million shawls to wear.

Naturally, my 1760 yards of ultramarine laceweight suddenly gained a purpose. But when I started cruising Ravelry for shawl patterns to knit, none of them seemed to click with me. When I search for a pattern, I have a very specific criteria in mind, and if a pattern doesn’t meet that criteria, then I skip it. What I wanted from the Rav search engine was something rectangular with a nice lace repeat that was repeating, slightly Turkish, and centered out (by centered out I mean something like this, not this). I always go into a search with high expectations and then when they aren’t met, I sulk and pout and frown until…

I’ll just design a damn shawl. And yes, it will probably be grafted together in the center.

So that brings, what? A lace panel vest, a t-shirt cardigan, and now a shawl to my list? (I also want to toy around with making a notoriously difficult music score into a knitted blanket, recreating Hope’s scarf from Final Fantasy 13, and knitting lanscapes… but that’s a blog post for a different day.) I’ve got design dreams, big time.