Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An Open Letter from Biloxi

Shari Prestemon, Executive Director of Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi, sent this open letter on the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

Dear friends-

Over the last few days your messages of care and concern have poured in by email, and in some cases by phone. Thank you. It has been a stunning reminder of the power of God to hold us together even when the very fabric of our lives is being ripped apart.

Indeed that is how this experience of Hurricane Katrina feels... as if everything has been ripped to shreds --- homes, landscapes, and hearts.

I have never experienced such a thing before, and feel inadequate to the challenge that lies before me personally and before Back Bay Mission as a ministry. But I am strengthened and humbled by your embracing love and your offers of help and funds.

It has become humanly impossible for me to respond individually to the mass of emails I am receiving. But I wanted to write this joint message to share what I know at this point. Some of you will have already received some of this information, and for that I apologize.

First, many of you have been concerned about my personal well-being. I was able to evacuate on Sunday afternoon with two friends (Bruno and Linda Schroeder) and came to Selma, Alabama, where I am staying in a hotel and have been safe. I learned today that my home in Ocean Springs is still standing. For this I am enormously grateful. I will leave Selma tomorrow to attempt to get back to the Coast, so that I can check out my house for myself, and of course, so that I can see what has occurred with Back Bay Mission's campus and begin the process of re-imagining the Mission's ministry for this entirely new time in the life of the Gulf Coast.

Here's what I know at this point:

1) The devastation on the MS Gulf Coast (as well as other places) is entirely devastating. Thousands and thousands of homes have been destroyed, leaving tens of thousands suddenly homeless. East Biloxi, where the Mission is located, seems to have received a particularly hard hit. Aerial footage reveals that a huge area of East Biloxi is simply flattened.

2) In addition to structural devastation, the economy of the MS Gulf Coast has been leveled. With many of the casinos destroyed and others receiving major damage, a huge portion of that economy no longer exists. No homes, no jobs... how can a community survive this?

3) Bridges connecting Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis on the western end of the MS Coast, and Biloxi to Ocean Springs to the east, are simply gone.

4) Much of the Coast cannot yet be accessed by car.

5) There is no power, no phone lines, no sewer for anyone, and will not be for perhaps a very long time. The temps have been in the mid to high 90's.

Here's what we don't know:

1) I don't know how much, if any, of Back Bay Mission's buildings have survived the hurricane.

2) I don't know the whereabouts of several of my staff at Back Bay Mission, and fear the worst for some who had decided to stay on the Coast during the storm the last time I spoke with them. The same is true for several personal friends.

3) I don't know how or when BBM's ministry will be able to begin responding in any meaningful way. I only know that we will do our best to respond, and that the shape of our ministry will in some ways now be very different.

Hopefully, tomorrow and the next day I can make my way into Biloxi to assess the damage at BBM's campus, try to locate friends and staff as possible, and begin to think about next steps. To the extent possible, I may also try to make contact with Red Cross and FEMA personnel to let them know of BBM's intent to be of help and service. Since, however, I will have absolutely no way to communicate with the world if I stay on the Coast, I will likely leave the Coast again and travel to some point north where I can access electricity and phone lines, so that I can begin to work with staff of the United Church of Christ , the Mission's Board of Directors, and many Back Bay Mission friends to strategize our response and begin to plan for our needs and those of the community we serve. Then I will return to begin the work that awaits us. For the moment, this seems the most useful, productive way of using time until staff can be re-gathered and ministry re-configured. I expect this will be a two or three-day period before returning again to the Coast.

So many of you have asked how you can help. Others have indicated willingness to travel to Biloxi to assist in the relief efforts. Still others have begun the process of collecting funds. Thank you for all of this, but please, let me offer a few words of caution:

1) Do not attempt to come to the MS Gulf coast at this time. We want you to come eventually and we will need your helping hands over the coming months and likely years. But now is not yet the time. We need time first to make a thorough assessment, connect with FEMA and the Red Cross, consider how we can best be of service, and think about how we can reasonably accommodate groups who do come to the Coast. If you have interest in coming later as an individual or with a group, you may contact Mary Schaller-Blaufuss, executive for Volunteer Ministries of the United Church of Christ at tel. # 216-736-3214. She will keep a running list and will act as our liaison until we are ready to take that role on.

2) Re: financial support. Do not send checks or cash in the mail to the Mission, as the postal system is likely not functioning. We have no way of knowing if our banks are operational, or whether any wire transfers are feasible. For now, hold those precious gifts you collect for us. We will surely need them, there is no doubt, and we hope you will send them in a general, non-designated way so that we can use them best according to the needs in front of us. But please wait for now. I will work to get you information on how to get those dollars to us when it is possible to do so. In addition, please know that the UCC national setting has established a Hurricane Recovery Fund to which you may also contribute in the interest of wider hurricane relief. You can access that information on the UCC website at

3) Stay informed. The UCC is developing a Hurricane Katrina page on its website, and that page will include a link or section dedicated to Back Bay Mission up-dates. I encourage you to seek information there on our status as time goes on. Keep others informed as well. Please feel free to forward emails as I send them to others you know might be interested. It will simply be impossible for us to communicate in as comprehensive a manner as we would wish.

4) Don't forget about us and the LA, MS, AL, and FL Gulf Coasts when the network and cable stations' coverage begins to fade. The needs we have will be enormous and will continue for months and certainly for years.

5) Pray. The basic and spiritual needs of people on the Coast, and of BBM staff, will be enormous. Grief is and will be profound. The challenge of service and ministry in this new context is unfathomable. We need every morsel of faithful healing you can send our way, and we are grateful for the consoling prayers you have already lifted to heaven on our behalf.

I'm sure I have forgotten to share much that you are interested in, and some of you asked very specific questions that may not have been answered here. I will continue to up-date you via email as I am able.

But of course know that over the next two or three days I will have no ability to communicate from the Gulf Coast itself.

Thank you again for all your healing graces and faithful companionship.
It is precious to me and to Back Bay Mission, especially in these times.


After Katrina

This morning I'm thinking of the scenes of devastation along the Gulf Coast and the impromptu navy of small boats racing the still-rising water to rescue trapped people in New Orleans. Lives are at stake – every moment and every effort counts. Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu commended prayer. I can do that, so I'm doing it.

Today is also the Secret Pal 5 reveal. Again, that's something I can do, so I'm doing it.

Hello to Becca! I hope you enjoyed your goodies – I had a lot of fun picking them out for you. Did you guess it was me?

Thanks to your informative blog, I discovered two new-to-me stores, one bricks-and-mortar and the other online. The first is Dylan's Candy Bar. What a mind-blowing place! I also had a blast exploring Kawaii Gifts online.

And hello to the Secret Pal spoiling me! I think I have figured out the identity of la pal secrète, but let me wait to find out for certain. In the meantime, let me say I've loved your thoughtful packages and the glimpses they provide into French life. The most wonderful gift has been getting a sense of France beyond Paris. Thank you for sharing that with me.

I'm happy to say that the Phildar Lambswool is turning into beautiful Leaf Socks, which I will proudly wear to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck next month.

Right now I have a backlog of knitting, so I'm going to set the Anny Blatt aside for the moment. When inspiration strikes and time permits, I'll be sure to post progress pix and let you know what develops.

(Incidentally, la pal secrète may know that Louisiana is the most French of the U.S. states. It's not just the names: Louisiana, New Orleans, Landrieu. Plots of land are divided according to the Napoleonic system, in long thin strips radiating from the rivers and state law is based on the Code Napoléon rather than English common law.)

Finally, hugs, kisses, and a big Thank You! to fearless SP5 listmom Rox for organizing all 600+ of us. She kept on keeping on, even through some rough patches.

As for me, SP5 was a sufficiently happy experience that I've signed up for SP6.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I Am Lord Voldemort?!??

The Sockapal-2-za sock is not merely a diva and a good sport, she's also (cough) a pointy-heel bluestocking. Miss America may have abandoned Atlantic City (roundabout Exit 40), but here she is, striking a pose with Laura's clever bookscarf and The Half-Blood Prince.

Sockapal-2-za sock and HP bookscarf

Here she is with her favorite quote from the book, "I do love knitting patterns." And world peace, too!

Sockapal-2-za sock loves knitting!

As for me, ordinarily I'm a fan of online quizzes and Myers-Briggs personality typing. But...

Harry Potter Personality Quiz by Pirate Monkeys Inc.
Apparently, I am Lord Voldemort
Actually, that sounds like a lot of opinionated knitters. See all the possible results.

At least the Sorting Hat has better news.
I'm in Ravenclaw!
be sorted @

Time for a Ravenclaw bookscarf! I like heraldic copper better than silver with the deep blue tincture, so it's a book bookscarf for me.

Friday, August 26, 2005


The last time the digicam was not responding to its programming, I made a SoHo loop-d-loop and had no pix to show for it. At least this time I have some archive photos stashed away (thanks to George), see below and in the sidebar.

Photo of bonsai Candle Tree

This old jersey is a gauge swatch worked in cotton thread. It's a bonsai-sized version of The Candle Tree from A Treasury of Knitting Patterns 1 by Barbara Walker, one of my all-time favorites. That's a New Jersey quarter for scale.

I used the same pattern for the John Glick Afghan Project (the project formerly known as Blanket). Here's the new square and the old gauge swatch, with a Jersey quarter. The green version is worked in baby yarn and is 8 inches square, still fairly small. Incidentally, Annie has extended the deadline for the Afghan Project, so do send her a square or two and add to the avalanche in her mailbox.

Photo of small and bonsai Candle Tree

One of these days, maybe I'll make a sequoia-sized Candle Tree.

As long as I'm looping, that earlier adventure was a visit to Purl for the Loop-d-Loop trunk show and book signing by author Teva Durham.Photo of Loop-d-Loop cover

Teva's wonderfully down-to-earth, warm, funny, sensible, and sensitive. And she really knows her knitting. Her designs may be caviary to the general SnBer – they are high style, high quality garments handknit from luxurious fibers with full fashioning, almost impossible to duplicate by machine. Some are virtuoso projects; others quite do-able. It was an inspiration to be able to examine her samples. Amazingly, despite their strong visual presence, many are almost weightless. I'm going to try some in the coming months.

No visit to Purl is complete without a stop at Once Upon a Tart, next door. And around the corner there's the delight of something else called Ina. Next time, I'll try to have pix to share.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Software and Yarnware

Nothing escapes Judy (the fastest knitter I know), including the new Yarnware store in West Orange, roundabout Exit 145. Meredith has had an online presence for some time, but the bricks-and-mortar shop just opened in July.

Naturally, I had to have a look. To paraphrase Howard Carter, I saw – wonderful things. Okay, maybe Howard's find is more fabulous, but Yarnware offers classes, a Thursday evening knitting circle, and a choice selection of luxury and budget yarn, patterns, and accessories. I even got to see my blog on the shop computer. It looks, er, different. Am I the only person left in the blogoverse with an 800 x 600 monitor?

By a twist of fate, I even had my digicam with me, but the obstinate gadget refused to obey its programming. At first I thought it was the batteries and, like your average crazed blogger, made Meredith cannibalize her wall clock (that didn't work, but it really was most obliging of her), then left the store in search of batteries, bought some, and returned, only to discover far more serious recalcitrance was afoot. Oh, not again. Open the pod bay doors, HAL, it's time for new software.

Put another way, there are no pix. No matter, it just means a return visit is in order. Meanwhile, friends of Yarnware are invited to knit in public at "Wild About Cashmere" at the Short Hills Saks Fifth Avenue on

Wednesday, September 21     6-9 pm
Saturday, September 24        10-7 pm

The event is free, just RSVP Meredith at Yarnware at 973-669-0372.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Links, Jinx, and Finks

This post is all about going someplace else.

The sign up for Secret Pal 6 is open through September 3. I've enjoyed participating in SP5 so much that I signed up right away. Both the pal I'm spoiling and the pal spoiling me have been terrific. And the SP5 host, the fearless Rox, has been absolutely amazing, keeping on keeping on through a very rough patch. It's taking eight SP6 hosts to replace her!

True blue Hufflepuff Alison has revived the Weasley-Along, and I've signed up for it and for the HP Knitters webring. HP Knitters buttonI missed the first knit-along last fall, so am really looking forward to this tour. There's the challenge of finishing before the next movie is released November 18 and, for those who want an official weasley, the thrill of the chase for the elusive, OP Rowan pattern. Be warned – some kits contain a barely legible, hardly legal photocopy. I got a legal pattern through the KnitList, but found myself wishing I knew the jinx for price-gougers.

Speaking of Slytherin types, it would seem that Belle Armoire pulled a fast one on Julie, who documents her side of the dispute. It's difficult to say what's worse, the ugly behavior of the Belle editors or their stupidity. Julie's felted Booga Bag must be one of the most instantly recognizable designs in the blogoverse, not to mention she's the respected listmom of the Knitting Blogs webring.

But that's quite enough out of me. Follow the links, go someplace else, and come back again soon.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Blanket Project

It was dangerously hot (100+ F or 37.7+ C) over the weekend, then an array of intense thunderstorms roared through the region last night. It was amazing how distinct the squall lines were – heavy rain would start, then stop, as abruptly as if on a switch. Roundabout Exit 151 we lost power for a while, which provided the perfect setting for finishing a small project.

Thoughtful Annie organized the Blanket Project in memory of John Glick. My contribution to the project is a square in one of my favorite patterns, Candle Tree from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns 1, worked in Dale Baby Ull washable wool. Appropriately, it was pinned out by candlelight.

Candle Tree square for Blanket Project

Baby Ull is very soft and, like many washable wool yarns, a bit odd. When I wet-blocked the square with a splash of Eucalan, it grew nearly 30%. Aiee. DH, on hearing disconsolate moaning, suggested throwing it in the washing machine and (gasp) the dryer. That shrank it back down, but left the edges curled. Then the power went and with it, the option to use steam. Undeterred, I pinned out the little beastie to eight inches square and gave it a spritz of water, which seems to have tamed the curl.

Flushed with that success and applying flawless logic, DH is now insisting that if I wet block all his sweaters that have, ahem, somehow gotten smaller, they will magically fit again. Having been trumped at my own game, I'm not making any progress explaining why this may not work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Cocktail Monkeys, or More Cosmic Oddness

Beth said I should mention the cocktail monkeys. I'm ever one to oblige, so here they are, below and in the sidebar. Don't thank me, thank Beth.

Photo of cocktail monkey keeper

Strictly speaking, this is not an Old Jersey – for one thing, it's not a jersey. Actually, no one is quite sure what it is, only what it's not. I finished it in May, so it's hardly old. But that was BB (before blog) and there was no opportunity to to share it with the virtual world. Plus in August no one cares to fuss over its dubious ontology.

A functional description of the objet would be something like failed pen holder turned cocktail monkey keeper. A topical description would be closer to Hobbies Gone Wrong with a slightly lower level of obsessiveness. It's that difference of degree that makes all the difference.

Cosmic oddness first became noticeable when Beth attended a staff retreat in March. Cocktail monkeys were involved. As a serious time management tool. Really. You could look it up – just search on the works of William Oncken, Jr., whose articles in Harvard Business Review are some of that august business journal's most-requested reprints. For the business solutions, not the drink recipes, of course. It's all about empowerment, taking responsibility, and not passing the monkey.

Mere days after the retreat came spring Knitty with Kristin Goedert's fabulous hemp Cocktail Monkey Bag. Between the appeal of her design, the growing cosmic oddness, and the fact I'd never worked with hemp before, the bag immediately moved to the top of my project queue.

Just as immediately, things started to go wrong. It took a while to locate the specified materials, in part because I was looking in the wrong places. My local hardware store doesn't carry hemp twine, but all the big chain crafts stores have it in the beading section. I couldn't get gauge and working with twine made my hands hurt. The sizing in the twine smells something awful, too. I never did find the specified fringe and ended up using two shades of green Fun Fur held together.

After struggling a bit, I gave up on the bag, but not on Kristen's concept. Out came the trusty crochet hook and the rectangular knitted bag morphed into a crocheted cylindrical approximation of a palm tree. I actually like the crochet fabric better than the knit. It was only after the objet was blocking (stretched over a can of black beans) that I realized it's too tall and insufficiently weighty to be a pen holder. At least soaking and blocking got rid of most of the sizing which, as Kristen notes, leaches out as a vile yellow liquid.

Always resourceful, Beth put the failed pen holder to use as a cocktail monkey keeper. It resides in her office, where it keeps the cocktail monkeys very well. Almost no one has noticed or maybe they're too afraid to comment. As almost no one traipsing in and out of her office reads HBR, almost no one would seem to have comprehended the significance of this approximation of a palm tree. Sigh.

And that's how a crocheted cocktail monkey keeper ends up on a knitting blog as an Old Jersey.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

The Princeton Event 2005

Perhaps it should first be noted that The Princeton Event yesterday did not actually take place in Princeton, but was a tour through the surrounding prosperous farm country of central Jersey. Instead of glimpses of dreaming spires and historic homes, there were endless fields of beans. This is, after all, the Garden State.

Photo of green beans

DH had hoped to ride, but had to work. Our plan was to meet up with a friend who was another no-show. However, after the ride I did find Tom and his friends Ray and Jon, who ride recumbent biycles. Tom is holding the Sockapal-2-za sock.

Photo of Ray, Jon, sock, Tom

It turns out the guys are well trained in husbandly encouragement of the fiber arts – Ray's DW knits, Jon's needlepoints, and Tom's weaves. Our paths have come close to crossing before now, including at MDS&W. If that weren't enough cosmic oddness, while we were getting acquainted during lunch a woman none of us know plopped herself down and started chatting amiably. She seemed very interested in Jon and Ray, less interested in Tom, not at all interested in me. On a bike tour a 'bent bicycle is a sure draw for gearheads, but who knew it's a chick magnet as well.

My pre-ride jitters may have been unfounded, but the ride was not without difficulties. About half a mile out, I discovered that my bicycle rack had come unbolted from its rails in such a way that the rack would flop backwards, causing the rack trunk to drag on the ground. There's nothing like a slow return to the car while happy riders are whizzing by in the other direction to sour one's mood! After much improvising, the rack could be jammed forward onto the rails, but it could not be stabilized enough to carry the trunk. The most essential things I usually carry in the rack trunk (sunscreen, cell phone, spare inner tube) had to be hurriedly crammed into my jersey pocket and everything else stowed in the car. In the flurry of repacking, I'm afraid the Crème de Marron was left behind. Sigh.

Back on the road, things improved immediately. The ride was well-organized and a lot of fun. Besides all the green beans, I saw a stand of black walnut trees with a fine crop coming along (make a note of that for later!), some mutant corn with ears where the tassels should be (eeeeuw – shoulda taken a picture, but didn't), and this charming mailbox.

Photo of rooster mailbox

I love the unexpected touch of violet. Across the road are yet more green beans. Why did the chicken cross the road?

There were some picturesque farmstand signs. That's non-mutant corn in the background.

Photo of signs

The signs were advertising the most enticing small farmstands. This one is on the honor system, with the price list on the blackboard and moneybag in the white basket.

Photo of farmstand

After the ride, the guys could not be convinced to go to Princeton with me and instead went to Economy Bike Shop in Hamilton Square. Perhaps it was the puzzling lack of vendor exhibits at The Princeton Event or maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that Glenmarle Woolworks and Pins and Needles are in Princeton. As DH would advise, "Run! Run far, run fast – don't look back!!"

My objective this time was to try the ice cream at the Bent Spoon, a relatively new place that received excellent reviews from the Munchmobile. Their ice cream is a luxurious cross between premium ice cream and gelato and it comes in made-fresh-daily artisanal flavors such as honey sage and cucumber mint. I had chocolate tangerine, which was heavenly. The legend is growing that the place is named for an episode in The Matrix, but their logo is a recumbent spoon – a 'bent spoon, there is no spoon with a bend. Alas, no pix here as the place was thronged and I didn't bring enough model releases.

Speaking of which, it would seem the sock is a bit of a diva. She categorically refused to pose with common green beans, but consented to be photographed with the cute mailbox, while jauntily perched on the bicycle seat. The bike has an orange cue sheet clipped to its handlebars. Also notice how the bike rack is tipped forward, sigh.

Photo of Sockapal-2-za sock

That about sums up the day.

[Added 8/8/05] Tom says Ms. Mystery turned up at Economy Bike Shop! At some point cosmic oddness segues into synchronicity - perhaps we'll be seeing more of Mystery in the future.

Friday, August 5, 2005

When Worlds Collide

I've been wondering if this weekend will be more like SP5 or more like When Worlds Collide.

More wonderful goodies have arrived from my Secret Pal in France and with them, a wonderful new-to-me word. Thank you, Secret Pal, for this especially meaningful package!

Photo of SP5 goodies

The new word is chiné, which my mini Larousse defines as mottled, flecked, or clouded. La pal secrète uses it to describe the fabric created by well-behaved variegated yarn. English-speaking knitters have lots of terms for the bad variegated yarn behavior (striping, pooling, spotting, shazaaming or shazaming, flashing, swirly pooling, puddling, argyling) and some have even convinced themselves it can be a desirable design element in a scarf (eyeroll), but we seem to lack a word for the good. Strange.

There's much of regional and personal interest in this SP5 package, which makes it extra-special. My pal visited her parents in the scenic Gorges du Verdon – in the photo that's a bundle of lavender flowers from their garden next to a plump lavender sachet, a map of Verdon Regional Nature Park, postcards, a pack of souvenir playing cards with photos of the steep gorges and rapids of the Verdon River (it's a French deck of cards, so the face cards do not say K, Q, J for king, queen, jack, but R, D, V for roi, dame, valet). Happily, the lavender flowers arrived intact, nicely cushioned by a handkerchief that's a memento from a cousin's wedding a year ago, carefully tied with bright red string (which I untied - I hope that's OK). Happy First Anniversary, Aïda and Mathieu!

In all the pix and the postcards, I'm amazed by how pale and yellow the soil is. I don't think I've ever seen soil quite like that in the U.S. (not that I've been everywhere in the country). Roundabout Exit 151, the soil is mostly "Jersey clay," which is dark red, rich in iron, acid, heavy, and poor-draining. That's very good for plants that like moist bog conditions, such as the State Fruit, blueberry, but it's no wonder lavender plants sulk around here!

The only gorge near Exit 151 is on the Passaic River in Paterson. For most of its length the Passaic River Photo of Great Fallsis either swampy or marshy, but in "Silk City" it has dangerous rapids (which once powered the silk mills), then makes a sharp Z-bend and plunges through a narrow chasm of dark rock over the Great Falls of the Passaic. In the Eastern U.S., these 80-foot (24 m) waterfalls are second (albeit a distant second) only to mighty Niagara Falls. It's impressive to us, but tiny compared with the 2,300-foot (700 m) deep Grand Canyon of the Verdon. The Great Falls look their best in this photo by Andy Szymczak; in times of drought, the falls are reduced to a mere dribble.

Back to indoor scenery! The beauteous Anny Blatt Rustique in the SP5 package is 100% wool roving, very soft. I'll have to hide it from the local felting goddess, who always wants to felt things (a mania I don't share). This yarn is much too nice for such a terrible fate! Perhaps it wants to be Teva Durham's brilliant Braided Neckpiece in Loop-d-Loop. The pooling on the braided part of the neckpiece would be different than the pooling on the main part, which could be really interesting.

The last items in this incredible variety pack are lemon verbena soap (so good for refreshing tired summer skin), a clever boxwood jam spoon with a peg on the handle to keep it from falling into the jam, three packs of a jasmine-mint gum that tastes like an equal blend of mild mint (quite unlike overpowering Altoids) and flowers and says, "Relax" on the wrapper, and a tube of very tasty Crème de Marron or chestnut spread. This last is decorated with a smiling man made of chestnuts and, inspired by the postcard with a bicycle on it, I know exactly what to do with it.

Tomorrow is THE PRINCETON EVENT, an annual bicycle tour of the Princeton area. I'm riding with Tom Photo of Tom cyclingand some of his friends, who call themselves Team Spare Tyre. Many cyclists like to slurp energy gels as a snack during a tour, which is acceptable if that's all one has, the poor things. Thanks to la pal secrète I will carry something much nicer in my jersey pocket. In keeping with the Knitting Blogs tradition, I will also take my Sockapal-2-za sock (and digicam, of course). This intrusion of the knitting blogoverse into the bicycle world may take some explaining to the Spare Tyres. Well, if words fail, there's always the expedient of bribing mollifying them with Crème de Marron. No doubt that will be immediately comprehensible – after all, the chestnut man's head looks a little like a bicycle helmet. If that doesn't work, I'm moving to Planet Zyra.

Saturday also is the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; Tuesday of Nagasaki. So I'll carry a string of peace cranes and the hope and prayer for a future more like SP5 and less like When Worlds Collide.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

SP5 Prezzie Now a WIP!

[IT advisory 08/04/2005: we are experiencing technical difficulties uploading photos. Do not adjust your computer. Please stand by.]

The Phildar Lambswool from my Secret Pal is now a work in progress! Here's the beginning of Cindy Walker's lovely Leaf Socks in Socks, Socks, Socks.

Photo of Leaf Socks

The pattern looks involved, but actually is a lot of fun to work. The lace ladders swing, the bobbles add a great pop of texture, and I love 'most anything with leaves.

Most of the sock is Field of Wheat lace with large bobbles on the leg and small bobbles on the foot to avoid pinching inside shoes. There's an ingenious panel of leaves – with stems! – running down the leg. The original has a leaf border at the cuff; I've altered the pattern, adding a k1 p1 rib and omitting the leaf border.

Other alterations I'm pondering include running the lace and bobbles down the heel (I usually wear handmade socks with clogs), making the bobbles on the foot even smaller than in the pattern, and substituting a wedge toe for the star toe. I'm also going to chart a mirror image of the leaf pattern to produce a true right and left sock.

The plan is to wear these socks to Rhinebeck in October. It will be nice to have a small reminder of la pal secrète along with me.