Monday, April 30, 2018

Excuses

Whoa, somehow almost the entire months of March and April have zipped by, full of whoa and woe, and I got nothing, except maybe excuses for not blogging. They're reasonably good excuses.

First, two of my trees split during the endless series of nor'easters in March. Here's one, the other wasn't as photogenic. So many other trees roundabout Exit 151 were damaged in the storms, it took a long time to get on the queue for tree service. Woe.

Poor tree

There was a modicum of sock knitting. I finished one Fée Dragée on time, so qualified for Sock Madness patterns, but not for competition. Which given all the other cray-cray going on at casa Jersey Knitter is just as well. I thought about unpicking the toe, then figured whoa, it's not broke, so don't fix it.

Fée Dragée singleton

There was a LOT of traveling and a little knitting on planes and trains. Most of the time I was so frazzled, I forgot to bring my mini-Beyoncé, and when I remembered to pack her, I forgot to get her out to take pix. Then I forgot where I put this Soul Mate Hearts Sock, and it remains unfinished. Woe.

Hearts socks on train

I was so busy, I almost missed the cherry blossoms. Gentle readers know that is most unlike me. Whoa! Woe!

Peak bloom

So so long to March and April, full of whoa and woe. They were enough to make one collapse in a quivering heap of protoplasm. They were enough to make one decide to skip MDS&W. They were enough to make one sigh, "Il faut cultiver notre jardin."

First asparagus shoot

Wait. I have asparagus. That changes everything!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March Sighs

March has come in roaring like a lion roundabout Exit 151! There was a big storm in the Northeast on Friday, and with the turn of the calendar, the qualifyingSock Madness button pattern for Sock Madness dropped. I spent the Friday storm snug in casa Jersey Knitter swatching, swatching, swatching the pattern, Fée Dragée [Sugar Plum Fairy] by Caoua Coffee, and finally decided to go with this blue and white combination.

Fée Dragée wip

The color play is not what I expected. The blue yarn by itself looks rather steely, so I expected when paired with white it would be wintry. Instead, it's nautical-bright. I like the way the white slip stitch dots pop – I was hoping for something reminiscent of the horizontal snow falling outside when I cast on, and that at least is true. So it's a keeper. Also, I must knit much faster if I hope to qualify for competition.

Speaking of which, as expected for me this Ravellenics was not exactly covered in fibery glory.Ravellenic Games busson Instead, I earned two richly deserved Agony of Defeat consolation medals for two DNF socks. Oh well. But I did frog an ancient UFO from Area 151 – astonishing to relate, one that predates Ravelry but was documented by blog. Here's the required before photo of the UFO. One observer fancifully observed the welts resemble bacon. Er, maybe it's spring fever?

UFO

Here's the required after photo of the reclaimed yarn. The yarn is a multi-stranded bouclé, which added a degree of difficulty to frogging. The effort was good enough for an Aerial Unwind medal.

Re-skeined

I'd forgotten how much I like this discontinued yarn, Noro Blossom. And I was reminded how annoyed I was to find it had two put ups, 40 g and 50 g, and (of course) I had the 40-g put up and thus Not Enough Yarn for the project I had in mind. Old loves, old quarrels. Ah, Noro. Sigh.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

All Ahead Slow

With two days left in the Ravellenics, I just finished a singleton sock. Yay, me but either I must knit much faster, with the concomitant frustrations, if I cherish any hopes of earning any medals or laurels, or continue moving forward, albeit slowly, and stop worrying about external pressures.

Soul Mate Heart Socks singleton

Meanwhile, my tabi-toed Send in the Clowns socks suffered a blowout on the right heel and left big toe. This is the second time this brand of yarn failed after moderate wear, which is disappointing.

Blowout

I know from sad experience that when sock yarn fails it's rarely worth the effort to darn the sock. Because when the yarn is this worn, it means the sock is on the verge of going to pieces – new holes inevitably appear at an ever-increasing rate. It's far better to move on and knit new socks.

Alas, this relative lack of rapid forward progress does not bode well for the upcoming Sock Madness 12. I can't say I mind overmuch. It wouldn't be the first time I ended up out of that competition.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Time to Make a Change

I started feeling dissatisfied with my Supporter's Socks. It's not the pattern, I'd knit it before; it's not the yarn either; the match just doesn't seem right. This is as far as I got. Not very, as things go. Conversely, not too far to turn back. The season of Lent is all about metanoia – re-thinking, repenting, turning back.

Disappointing Supporter's Sock

Under similar circumstances, sometimes I'd slog onward and keep on knitting, sometimes I'd set the project aside to hibernate. Not this time, even though it's my first foot.

Frogged

Sometimes one just wants a happier sock. Sometimes one needs a happier sock. This is Soul Mate Heart Socks by Elly Fales. It's a happy sock.

Soul Mate Heart Socks in progress

That's better. I'm double-dipping with Ravellenics Sock Hockey and February Sockdown (new to me designer), too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mid-February Convergences

Happy (?) Valentine's Ash Wednesday! Every once and again Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday coincide, and while neither ordinarily are important observances for me, their convergence leads to a burst of daft churchy humor that I find irresistible for its skewering of the more extreme sentiments of both holidays. YMMV, of course.

Convergence

Seriously, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a seven-week churchy season of self-improvement through fasting, prayer, penitence, and charitable giving. The season ends on Easter, which this year falls on April Fool's Day, another convergence. Ahem. At Church of the Improv one Lenten goal is to fast from using plastic. First steps include avoiding single-use plastic shopping bags and refusing plastic drinking straws at home and in restaurants. Easy-peasy – I already have an ever-expanding collection of reusable shopping bags and, on the rare occasions when I use straws, have some re-usable stainless steel ones. (I note the experience of bumping a metal straw against mouth or teeth, even very gently, greatly reduces any desire to use straws!) Anyway, MY big challenge is I'm still struggling with the vast amounts of plastic I use for stash storage. In the nine years since I started worrying in public about the matter, I have yet to find a good alternative. Hm.

Meanwhile, after much hemming and hawing, I discarded my previous plan and cast on my first Ravellenics project, a re-visit of Supporter's Socks by Linda Pankhurst. The first time around I used my own handspun; this time I'm using Fortissima Alpaka (and not liking the way it sheds). As I'm knitting along with Team BBMF, I'm fortified with my very own mini-Beyoncé and themed Sbux card. (To exactingly correct readers: Yes, I'm aware the Year of the Rooster gives way to the Year of the Dog in two days.)

Ravellenics Supporter's Socks wip

The sock is also my first foot of the new year, yet another convergence. While it's not-normal to have waited six weeks to start my first foot, it's excitingly normal to be knitting along. The last few months years have been so difficult and have passed in such a rapid blur, it's quite the treat to sit and knit, and it's in that spirit of gratitude with which I'll start my Lenten journey today.

Edited to add the hideous news of a school shooting today, this one in Florida. I like to believe a better world is possible, that such sickening acts of violence are not-normal, but they have become so frequent and active shooter training for schoolchildren has become so common that it's clear the failure is not of imagination, but of political will. And that's a cause for repentence this sad evening.