My current work in progress:

1. Strandwanderer, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Wollmeise Merino "Pure" in the "Zenzi" colorway on a 3.25 mm (U.S. size 3) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Free!

Yesterday I promised you I’d be giving away something good today. Here you go:

book022807 Free!

This is the new book The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. The link takes you to the publisher’s website, where you can read a brief synopsis of this novel. (It’s being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, as most of you probably already know).

I have four, count ‘em, four, copies to give away. If you’d like a copy, send an email to blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before noon Eastern time on Sunday March 4, and I’ll pick four of you at random to receive copies. Anyone with a mailing address on Planet Earth is welcome to enter the drawing.

I started reading this book as my lunchtime reading, and I’m enjoying it very much so far.

My usual lunchtime reading (while I knit on my current sock-in-progress) usually consists of mysteries. My current favorite mystery “series” are the Ian Rutledge mysteries by Charles Todd and the Inspector Banks mysteries by Peter Robinson. I’m also a huge fan of Robert Goddard’s mysteries. I think I’ve read all that Todd and Goddard have written so far, but I still have a few by Peter Robinson that I’ve not read yet. These are great books to read while knitting something mindless. The plots keep me entertained and my mind engaged so I happily knit away on the sock du jour.

Speaking of the sock . . .

Well, it seems to be regretting its tasteless behavior yesterday. In fact, it wouldn’t come out of the knitting bag for the longest time. Finally, I saw a toe peep out of the bag.

sip022807 Free!

But then it just wanted to blend into the background. Can you find the sock-in-progress in this photo?

sip022807a Free!

And speaking further of socks . . .

Deb asked:
My local knit shop is having a “learn to knit socks” class that sounds interesting. However, all your commenters seem enthralled by your toe up socks, and this class is just the opposite. I’d like to learn the best way right off the bat. Any suggestions? Which should I start off with, any difference? And would I find your toe up pattern on this site?

I don’t think there is any best way. My advice would be to try both top down and toe up and see which one you like the best.

All my free patterns are linked to from my Knitting Gallery page, which in turn is linked to in the blog sidebar, over to the right.

Books for New Knitters

If you are a new or new-ish knitter, check out the comments to yesterday’s entry for excellent iideas for good books for your knitting library. Thanks to everyone who weighed in with an opinion.

Contact!

Lately I’ve been getting comments from people who say they can’t find an email link on my blog. It’s in the sidebar — under the “My Knitting and Spinning Galleries” header it’s the last item in the list and it reads “Contact Me.” You do have to look for it, cuz there’s a lot of stuff in the sidebar!

Mojo or Lack Thereof

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve lost my spinning mojo too. I’ve not touched my wheel since early January.

But I do continue to knit on Cromarty — a little each evening. See?

cromarty022807 Free!

Someone asked if I turn to any other type of needlework when I lose interest in knitting. I used to — but not anymore. I used to be a fiend at counted cross-stitch, and as recently as 5 or 6 years ago had that as my work lunchtime project. The last cross-stitch project I did was a sampler of maritime signal flags that I had framed and gave to my dad for some Christmas or birthday. It was a pretty large project and I think it finally did me in, as I’ve not done any cross-stitch since then. Next time I’m at my parents’ house, I’ll take a picture of the sample, if I remember. I think my dad has it hanging in his study.

I’ve posted some of my cross-stitch pieces in the past. If you go to my February and March 2004 archives, you can see some of my stuff.

In the meantime, Lucy is nonplussed.

lucy022807 Free!

Why is Momma taking pictures of my feet?

lucypaws022807 Free!

Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

Warning: some content and a photo in this blog entry may alarm you.

My sock-in-progress has been looking pretty smug after your comments about its beauty. But imagine my surprise when I caught it on the photocopier at the office this morning.

sip022707 Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

My worst fears were quickly confirmed. Yes, it was photocopying its butt.

sip022707a Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

Fortunately, I caught it before it created a pdf of the copy and emailed it to everyone at the office. (We’ve got one of those whoop-di-do machines that can email pdfs straight from the copier. But we have no microwave or refrigerator. What’s wrong with these people’s priorities?)

You know I am scraping the bottom of the blog barrel when I resort to candid photos of my sock-in-progress photocopying its butt. Apologies to sensitive readers.

Moving on.

This sock is being knitted from the Yarn Pirate superwash wool, not the wool/tencel blend. Call me weird, but I’m not overly fond of tencel blends for socks. I can’t give you a rational reason for that, it’s just not to my liking.

Mary asked:
Do you swatch for socks, or have you knit so many of them that you really don’t need to, anymore? If you do swatch, do you knit your swatch in the round, or do you just knit a flat square?

If I’m knitting from fingering weight sock yarn, I don’t swatch, because I know from experience how many stitches I need. Any minor differences in the yarns don’t really matter, because I am knitting socks with negative ease, so all that happens is that I have socks of very slightly varying snugness.

If I’m knitting socks from something other than fingering weight, then I do swatch. But just barely — I just knit a tiny square to measure.

Beth in WI asked:
Why the tapering interest in Cromarty? Is it that once the repeats are memorized, there’s nothing new to do?

It’s not so much that my interest in Cromarty is tapering, it’s that I’m bored with all knitting right now. I’ve not even thought about what I’m going to knit after Cromarty — I simply can’t muster the enthusiasm. I’ve been putting in less time every day on my knitting as well. I’m not concerned, though. Even though my knitting mojo has deserted me at the present, I know at some point my enthusiasm will return.

cromarty022707 Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

Lynette asked:
I am a beginner/advanced beginner, and was wondering what books you would suggest as “must haves” for the beginner, both as reference, and as patterns beyond scarves and basic wraps. Is there a remedial lace book? Intarsia? General sweaters? I know that once we get to intermediate and advanced, knitters will differ as to what is essential in their libraries, but could you help out a beginner?

I need some help on this one. I’ve been knitting since I was a tiny tot, so I don’t really have much experience with must-have books for beginners that are currently available. Anyone want to weigh in with opinions here?

In a blatant and shameless attempt to keep you coming back here when I don’t have much of anything interesting, I will give away something really nice. Details in tomorrow’s blog entry!

Lucy is intrigued.

lucy022707 Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

“Hmmmmmmm . . . ”

lucy022707a Sensitive Blog Readers Take Note

Tips

Not knitting tips, but blog-searching tips.

I get lots of questions every day about stuff that I’ve previously posted in my blog. For example, whenever I post a photo of a completed pair of socks, like this one:

blueterracotta022607 Tips

I get several emails asking me where I bought my sock blockers. You can easily find the blog entries where I talk about sock blockers by using the “Search” function on my blog, which is available in the sidebar.

If you are reading my blog by clicking on the link for the daily archive page in Bloglines, you don’t see the sidebar on my main blog page. Go to the top of the page and click on “Main” to take you to the main blog page.

main022607 Tips

Then look over to the right — there’s a search box in the side bar:

search022607 Tips

Enter “sock blockers” in the box and click on the “Search” button. You’ll get a list of results — blog entries where sock blockers were mentioned. If you scroll through the results, you’ll find a couple of entries where I put a link to where I bought my sock blockers.

Another common question I get a lot — how I bind off my toe-up socks so that they are not too tight. Enter “bind off” or “bind off socks” in the search box and you’ll get a list of entries where I talk about that.

Another common question is what yarn, what pattern, or what size needles am I using for a current project. Check the sidebar under “My Current Work in Progress” where I list all this information. If I remember where I got the yarn, that’s listed too.

wip022607 Tips

Anyhow, those completed socks are done in Claudia Handpainted sock yarn in the “Blue Terracotta” colorway, using my generic toe-up pattern with a feather and fan pattern on the leg.

And here is my new mouse cozy sock in progress:

sip022607 Tips

This is Yarn Pirate sock yarn in the “Malamute” colorway. Yarn was acquired from The Loopy Ewe. This is my first time using the Yarn Pirate sock yarn and I like it very much. It’s an ootch finer than the Claudia sock yarn with a very tight twist and it knits up into a lovely soft fabric. Fun colorway too!

And yes, I am still slogging along on Cromarty.

cromarty022607 Tips

And because I am boring even myself here, I’ll show you something awesome:

mohair022607 Tips

Handspun mohair that L-B sent me a couple of weeks ago. Yummers! She spun it from handpainted mohair roving from Holly Spring Homespun. There’s 160 yards, heavy worsted weight.

And a secret about Lucy:

lucy022607 Tips

She loves to help change the sheets on the bed!

Snowy Sunday

Will you look at that — snow!

snow022507 Snowy Sunday

It’s a good day to stay in and knit. And I’m pleased to report that I finished the sleeve and calculate that I have enough yarn to finish Cromarty.

cromarty022507 Snowy Sunday

So I started the front:

cromarty022507a Snowy Sunday

Teddy consented to model my sock in progress:

sip022507 Snowy Sunday

And Lucy felt the need to get up from her nap to wiggle.

lucy022507 Snowy Sunday

That is all.

Random Thursday

I seem to be droning on a lot about non-knitting stuff lately, don’t I? I think this is because I am in the throes of my annual February Funk. I don’t seem able to get too enthusiastic about any of my knitting (or anything at all, really), the weather is dreary, and I seem to have forgotten how to sleep. But I know it will pass, so I slog on with the knitting. And I offer you some random observations and thoughts, you lucky things.

Confession: I love Rap Cat. Lucy may not agree with me, but I find him strangely compelling. I might have to join the Rapcat fan club. But I am publically promising here and now not to buy a little Rapcat outift for Lucy to wear.

Knit-related confession: I am a huge Lime & Violet fangrrl! I almost never listen to podcasts, but on a whim listened to the Lime & Violet podcast for the first time last week and it just cracked me up. Love ya, Miss Lime! Love ya, Miss Violet! If I knew where you were, geographically speaking, I might hafta stalk y’all. (Just kidding about the stalking. Honest.)

Knitting message board confession: On my first attempt to register for the Lime & Violet Message Board of DOOOM I made many, many feeble attempts to correctly type in the confirmation string of letters, and made a mistake every time. The registration process finally kicked me out and told me politely to try again later. Gah, I am lame! But I did successfully register later the same day.

Lunchtime hijinks: A couple of you asked if we had coffee and/or watercooler in our office. To this I respond: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! We should be so lucky. All coffee and water has to be purchased. Well, there are drinking fountains out in the hallways, but you could not pay me enough to drink from one of them.God only knows what is swimming in the pipes here.

Today’s still life with sock-in-progress:

sip022207 Random Thursday

Sock-in-progress as Coke Can Cozy.

(A couple of you were concerned that Teddy has not been modeling my sock-in-progress lately. Fear not, he is not ill, nor has he been made redundant. He’s on vacation. Aruba, I think.)

In answer to a comments question, I find feather and fan to be moderately stretchy in a sock. At least, my feather and fan socks do not fall down. But that could be due to fat legs rather than stretchy socks.

New sock yarn! New sock yarn!

envy022207 Random Thursday

Lorna’s Laces in the new “Envy” colorway — purchased from The Loopy Ewe, of course!

Today’s Cromarty pic:

cromarty022207 Random Thursday

Today’s Lucy pic:

lucy022207 Random Thursday

She is being nonchalant here. Only very rarely does Lucy bother my yarn. And the last time she did, it was to unwind a small ball of cashmere I had left over from knitting a scarf. Girl’s got taste.

My new toy:

sheldon022207 Random Thursday

My new iPod Shuffle. Swoon! How tiny is it?

sheldon022207a Random Thursday

And here he is, getting a playlist downloaded to him from my iTunes library. Note the mess around my computer!

sheldon022207b Random Thursday

And a random fact:

L-B thinks I’m weird because when I was talking to her on the phone a little while ago I stuck my head inside the clothes dryer so my voice would have an echo. Really, I don’t see anything weird about that.