Thursday, June 28, 2007


It's gotten hot roundabout Exit 151, in the mid-90s F (~35° C). The other evening there was a loud Blam!, then power was out for 10 hours. Yesterday evening I noticed this addition to the local landscape. It wasn't there yesterday morning.

PSE&G box

It's painted green, which I suppose makes it less noticeable, but is surrounded by orange cones... for visibility. It's also teetering, has a multitude of thick black cables and hazard signs, and it hums. Evidently it gets the job done – during last night's monsoonal lightning storm, the lights and, more critically, the air conditioner never flickered once.

Progress on interminable edging knitting continues. The Spider's Web Fichu is supposed to be a half-hexagon, but after it reached the formless blob stage, it was difficult to say which geometric plane it most resembled. Now enough of the edge is bound off to see that it looks a lot like three-quarters of a square.

Three-quarter square shawl

Attempts to shape it into a half-hexagon resulted in hyperbolic ripples, most noticeable at the edge. It's strange how the half-hexagon seems smaller than the three-quarters square, in person as well as in the pix.

Half hexagon shawl

Oh well. As I imagine the finished shawl will sit on the shoulders nicely, its metaphysical form doesn't bother me. Now to polish off that interminable edging! Knit, knit, knit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


While I was away this weekend, a second excellent parcel arrived from my Spin to Knit swap angel, Jen. Her lovely marled "floating green" yarn (it has a golf ball bead!) was a nice surprise on my return. Thank you, Jen!

S2K skein

My Ravelry invite also arrived – I can be found at jerseyknitter. As numerous others have already said, Ravelry is an amazing way to organize one's knitting and crochet. While there's a strong temptation to upload every project I've worked on back to the dawn of time, I'm going to start the clock now and work forward, then fill in as I return to hibernating (or in this weather, estivating) UFOs.

Synod in the City was a blast – I reconnected with old friends, heard some fine speakers, sang a lot, prayed some, knit some, took lots of blurry pix, ate 'way too many cookies, frolicked in the perfect weather, and basically had a very good time. I also had lunch with one of the youth groups, which decided after reasoned consideration that John Thomas, the General Minister and President, is...

The hottie

... a "hottie." I nearly spewed my beverage! Ah, impudent youth.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Let It Shine

Summer of Socks 2007 buttonHappy Summer! It's the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, which means Summer of Socks begins, literally.

For my first official SOS socks, I'm starting a pair of Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake in SWTC Tofutsies, colorway 720, Sweep You Off Your Feet. Seems strangely (if somewhat ominously) appropriate. I did a fiddly modified cast on to emphasize the waviness. It may prove more successful conceptually than experientially – we'll see.

Tidal Wave sock

This weekend I'm taking the sock to Synod in the City, a ginormous church gathering in Hartford. Synod is kinda like a family reunion that includes lots of cookies, singing, dancing, praying, preaching, and some business. Here's a rousing preview of the theme hymn, "This Little Light of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine" from South Church, Concord.

Or view the video here.

OK, seriously, Sen. Barack Obama, a member of Trinity Church, Chicago, is one of the keynote speakers. One of my favorite authors, Marilynne Robinson, will be there and one of my favorite preachers, the Rev. Prof. Peter J. Gomes, and many others. There's going to be a live streaming webcast of selected events for those who can't be there.

UCC 50th Anniversary logo

Hm, I wonder how many church folk I can persuade to pose with the sock?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


An appointment took me to Midtown Manhattan, so I took advantage of proximity and spent some time looking in the Garment District for beads for the half-hexagon shawl. At New York Beads (Sixth Avenue between 38th & 39th Streets), I found these wood beads at an unbeatable price. The store is eye-boggling – I'm definitely going back for beads for the Mystery Stole, once I figure out what yarn I'm using.

Wooden beads

Now to attach 'em = interminable edging knitting. Knit, knit, knit.

Beaded shawl edging

In the photos in Victorian Lace Today, the beaded edgings all look a bit stretched out. So I chose very lightweight beads and knit the edging tightly. Turns out that doesn't help – apparently the edging just likes to stretch.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Vacuum Abhorred

While my telcom service was in the dark zone last week, the international space station came uncomfortably close to being lost in space, which put my computer troubles in perspective. Untroubled as I was by the vacuum of cyber-space, I finished my first Jaywalkers, modified for cycling. It was cool enough (45° F or 7° C) to want to wear them, which was nice.

Jelly bean Jaywalker socks

I love the bright colors and similar-but-not-quite-the- same pattern repeats. The yarn is Lion Brand Magic Stripes in Jelly Bean Stripe, a hard-wearing yarn in an inspired colorway. Having cycled and also gardened in this pair, I'd like to have more Jaywalkers in Jelly Bean and in the Regatta colorway, too. Wouldncha know it, now that I've finally figured out what to do with the yarn and the pattern, Kim tells me LB is discontinuing the line. [ETA: Oops, it was blogless Nancy, not Kim!] Nuts.

Also, I finished the body of my half-hexagon shawl, but as per usual got stuck finding the right beads for the edging. I joined the Mystery Stole 3 KAL, which has 2,000+ participants and another beady pattern. Destash re-organized. The new Knitty came out and I felt deprived, but after viewing, perhaps I didn't miss too much. Deer browsed on the tomato plants (they'll recover) and a woodchuck munched the cauliflower plants down to the ground (they won't). There are more tiny pests (see the sidebar) in the vegetable patch than I've ever seen before, too.

To fulfill a promise made in a moment of weakness, I started an Alpine Knit Scarf (which is stole-sized) from Victorian Lace Today (p. 36) in Habu XS-45, 20/3 bamboo in colorway 9 lavender. I only have yarn pix (I'm still catching up), but a progress photo may be seen on the Modern Yarn blog.

Habu bamboo laceweight yarn

The yarn is beautiful, with a lovely sheen. It's almost as slinky as rayon – in this extreme fineness, at times a bit frustrating to knit, even for an experienced knitter. The knit fabric is ethereally soft and light, with a fabulous drape and excellent next-to-skin feel. The digicam seems to like this yarn – its color looks true (it's very like the color of chive blossoms), without the radioactive flash that silk or rayon can sometimes have in pix. Now that it's turned hot (90°+ F or 32°+ C) again, it's my first choice among projects while I cower in the basement.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I'm reduced to blogging from the public library today and perforce must be brief. It's almost not worth the botheration, except yesterday this wonderful package arrived from fellow Sockapaloozer Janine of For Knit About It.

Goodies from Janine!

Thank you, Janine! That was perfect timing – it really made my week. There's sheepy notepaper, fragrant lavender soap, a mini-sock kit with fiery yarn, a mini-sock blocker keychain, and a sweet note, all wrapped in pretty dot paper. I've wanted a mini-sock blocker for quite some time. Squee!

Before bicycling over to the library, I made my now-daily irate phone call to Verizon. Still no clue when I'll be back online. On the way over, I noticed a fleet of Verizon trucks, which I hope is a good thing. Uh-oh, my session is timing out – 'bye!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The good news is the fancy new lemon computer is back and seems to be working.

The bad news is there's a major Internet outage roundabout Exit 151.

I'm blogging via an improbable collection of mobile gadgets. The good news is it can be done! Just no pix and a short post (probably also good news). Back when my ISP is back online.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Garden Got Soles

Last spring I used some jute twine to crochet a pair of soles for Jennifer Appleby's über-cute Seaside Espadrilles in Interweave Crochet Spring 2006. Alas, the project never quite got off the ground, as it were, and became a UFO. A year later, the espas are still only soles.

Crochet espadrille soles

While I could use new beach footwear, after the soaking rain from Tropical Rainstorm Barry, the main crop tomato plants needed staking and the bean trellis wanted securing. And jute is my favorite garden twine, so...

Raveled soles

It occurs to me this is the second time I've ditched a Jennifer Appleby pattern. They're cute and clever, but somehow don't quite make the cut. Oh well, the veggie patch is much happier now and that's one less UFO.

This 'Rutgers' tomato plant needs a good rousing cheer, though. Two weeks after transplanting, it's still under 5 in (13 cm) tall. By contrast, this 'Celebrity' tomato plant is 18 in (45 cm) tall – see all the twine needed to stake it? (The digicam color balance is off, the mulch didn't really change color between pix.)

Little 'Rutgers' tomato plant   Big 'Celebrity' tomato plant

'Rutgers' is an heirloom Jersey tomato – it oughta feel at home roundabout Exit 151, especially with the old teacher's college up the hill. Go Rutgers!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Still Life with Macrofocus

While playing with the digicam macrofocus, I spied with my U.S. 17 (12.75 mm) needlesizer...

US 17 needlesizer

... my first tomato of the year! It's the state vegetable* of New Jersey, you know.

First tomato

Here's the tomato plant with the fancy new lemon computer, boxed for return to the factory. The local authorized repair geeks told me, "It doesn't boot." (I already knew that.) The next step is factory service.

First tomato and computer

With any luck, I'll have a ripe tomato around the 4th of July. I have no idea when the fancy new lemon computer will be back.

* Tomato classification seems to stir partisan passions, yet it generally goes unremarked when other botanic fruits (corn, beans, nuts, eggplant, squash, pumpkin, peppers, avocado, plantain, etc) are labeled vegetables. Wonder why.