Monday, October 20, 2014

Post Factum: August

While others were off frolicking at Rhinebeck this weekend, I spent my time catching up!

Diamond Head

In August, I made an unplanned visit to Hawai'i. It was a very stressful time, not least because while I was there Hurricane Iselle and Hurricane Julio roared by the islands only a few days apart. It wasn't a pleasure trip for me, so the rough weather merely added to the stress and didn't spoil my trip, but I felt bad for vacationers who rushed to the airport in advance of the storms to try to book flights home. (Among other inconveniences, the beaches were all closed, so my Hanauma Bay singleton couldn't visit Hanauma Bay. It posed with the newspaper instead, which was not very satisfactory at all.)

In Hawai'i, full emergency preparations means rushing out and stocking up on necessities like Spam, bottled water, batteries, prescription medication, toilet paper, and gasoline. The stores were stripped! But... notice that preposition. The hurricanes roared by.Guy Hagi meme Except for a rural section on the Big Island of Hawai'i that sustained some heavy damage (and now is threatened by lava), everyone else was fine. Apparently the five tall summits on the Big Island sheared off the bottom of the first storm, causing it to become disorganized, and the second storm missed the islands altogether. It rained a bit more than usual. After days of urgent exhortations to prepare, the anti-climax led to a proliferation of memes mocking a local weatherman, Guy Hagi.

There's new Guy Hagi memes now that Hurricane Ana was another near-miss. It's been an exceptionally busy hurricane season in the Pacific; by contrast, after starting with a bang, the Atlantic season has been relatively quiet. Thankfully so!

Also in August, DH and I went to the U.S. Open. It was perhaps the nicest weather and the most interesting tennis I've ever been privileged to experience. We made a point of watching Caroline Wozniacki again.

Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki has been having a tumultuous year off the courts, so it was great to see her playing so well &nash; winning this match against Andrea Petkovic, and going on to upset Maria Sharapova, to defeat Sara Errani, and advancing to the final when Peng Shuai collapsed. In the final she lost to Serena Williams. Next month she's running in the NYC Marathon to raise money for Team for Kids. The experts say tennis players shouldn't do marathons events, it messes up their primary conditioning or somesuch. However that may be, I'm looking forward to seeing Wozniacki run.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Post Factum: Socks

I'm playing catch up yet again. So much time has slipped by and so many half-written posts have accumulated that it might make sense to discard the past and restart with a fresh slate. Except I don't want to do that, which means I have a problem of my own making. Right. Onward.

Referring back to ::cough:: July, during the TdF I finished a Singleton Sock of Shame leftover from last year's Sock Madness, Bricks and Tiles by Anita Grahn. It's the third Sock of Shame pair completed this year.

Bricks and Tiles Socks, modeled

One reason I've persisted in blogging these socks I love their pretty purl welts. Another is their interesting modified afterthought heel, here shown zipped.

Afterthought heel, zipped

Ordinarily afterthought heels don't fit my Frankenfeet very well. However, this one increases the number of stitches on the sole, as can be seen by comparing the number of stitches on the leg needle with the number of stitches on the sole needle in the unzipped photo of the heel. For reasons that escape me, this pic best captures the sock color.

Afterthought heel, unzipped

The extra sole stitches are decreased by means of a sole gusset. I don't much care for decreases on the sole of a sock, but I have to admit this heel is pretty clever.

Bricks and Tiles FO

Although it is rather funny-looking, at least to my eyes. I'm so accustomed to both the fit and the esthetics of a flap heel and gusset sock that I think I'll stick to that, but I'm glad I tried something new. Were I to re-visit this pattern, I might try a single-color version with a traditional heel.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Off to the March

Where I'll be today: the NYC People's Climate March.

People's Climate March button

Knowing how these sorts of events go, I'm bringing a sock in progress, of course. Nothing fancy, just a little something to pass the time.

Sock in progress

We'll see how far I get. To be continued....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Everyday Lace: A Review and Scavenger Hunt

Right, where was I? The steady diet of woecakes is becoming pretty monotonous, let me tell you. But enough whinging, it's my turn for the Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt!Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt button

Like several other participating bloggers, I responded to blogger and first-time author Heather Zoppetti's call for book reviewers and in due course was supplied with a pre-publication eBook review copy of Everyday Lace, published by Interweave/F+W, which I must delete after my review is complete. I received no payment or other consideration in exchange for my review. (That does rather provide perverse incentives to procrastinators, nu?) And although both the author and the Interweave Digital Marketer offered some guidelines, my words and opinions are my own.

As its title implies, Everyday Lace is an excellent introduction to making lace knitting part of, well, every day. The look of the book is appropriately quotidien yet still wonderful, more Rhinebeck than Downtown Abbey (not to knock DA, I love both). Heather's experience as a sought-after knitting instructor shines from each page,Everyday Lace cover and the first chapter on Lace-Knitting Essentials and Glossary and Sources of Yarn at the end are particularly informative and valuable.

The heart of the book are three chapters of patterns, sensibly organized by ambient temperature – Warm, Transitional, and Cold. The esthetic is appealingly fresh, modern, and original – there are no vintage doily or tablecloth patterns re-purposed as garments here. There are written and charted instructions and just the right amount of guidance to help a less experienced knitter yet not annoy a more experienced one. I took a closer look at two patterns, Christiana Headband and Swatara Socks.

Christiana Headband is lace knitting at its most basic: a lace rectangle. Some designers might stop there and call it a bookmark, but our author cleverly folds the flat piece – great spatial reasoning! – into a stylish headband that looks great and fits great. It's not only an excellent first lace project, it's also a good use of the small quantities of handspun yarn that novice spinners tend to produce. What better use of a spinner's oh-so-precious first yards or meters than to wear them proudly on one's head? I made Christiana out of some Blue Suede Shoes yarn leftover from my handspun Simple Skyp Socks, wore it, and liked it so much that I started another out of linen Quince Sparrow. But life intervened and that project has the slows (sigh). I'm still dithering about going to Rhinebeck (where Heather will be signing books!); if I do go, I'll make yet another for the occasion.

Christiana Headbands

Swatara Socks are more advanced, not only because they are socks but also because the graceful mirror-image center lace panel and the lace clocks repeat over different numbers of rounds, so some concentration is needed. I'm knitting mine as part of September Sockdown. As I prefer a taller sock than specified in the pattern, I added a full repeat of the center panel. Here's the sock before the heel flap, which is as far as I've knit.

Swatara Sock wip

Overall, I'd cheerfully recommend Everyday Lace. There's much to appeal to knitters of all skill levels and ages, although many designs are particularly aimed at younger and less experienced lace knitters. A knitter who works through the patterns will discover unobtrusive expertise, careful pattern-writing, and thoroughly modern style. Do have a look at the book on the publisher's website and all the patterns on Ravelry.

Everyday Lace Scavenger Hunt button

Gentle readers who have been following the blog tour know what comes next: the Scavenger Hunt questions!

Heather's question: Where does Heather live and work?

My question: How'd I do at the Garden State Sheep & Fiber Festival?

Good luck to happy scavengers and congratulations and thanks to our author!

Every Day Woecakes

Oh hai. On top of all my other woecakes, teh Internet ate my review of Everyday Lace by Heather Zoppetti. I'm re-constructing it, be back before noon.

Please Stand By button

ETA: Updated! Sorry about the technical difficulties, find the book review here.