Monday, August 31, 2009

Cool Wave

This August – and the Summer of Socks 2009 – closes with a summer cool wave. Y'know, the opposite of a heat wave.SOS09 button And after tropical quantities of heat and rain, I'm loving the temperate weather and this excellent pattern, Clouds Socks by Rebecca A. The felicitous combination of colors and shapes make me think of water, the late Sen. Kennedy and his love of sailing, and the decades-long drought in the U.S. West.

Clouds Sock toe detail

Clouds is perfect for self-striping yarn, in this case Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett, colorway 4261 Landscape Caribbean. The clouds are formed by w&t short rows. There's only one sock at the moment (which would benefit from blocking), but I'm not stressing about that.

Clouds singleton

Ordinarily I avoid short row heels and toes because of fit issues, but they seemed fitting technique-wise, so that's what I knit (gasp!). I substituted the yo short row heel and toe from Priscilla's Dream Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts for the w&t short rows. I also used zigzag bind off to emphasize the undulating stripes. Some find the technique fussy and the resulting ridge bothersome; I like the decorative effect – we'll see how it wears.

Meanwhile, Molly's happy Horcrux Sock is coming along: the lace section and calf shaping are finished, on to the heel.

Happy Horcrux Socks calf shaping

Despite my distraction and meager output this year, I'm glad to have participated in SOS – and I'm glad it was low stress. As always, many thanks go to Jessica and her helpful elves for an excellent knit-along!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spinner's End

While I never managed to scrape together much enthusiasm for my project for the Tour de Fleece last month,* last week I started spinning like a crazy thing and this week have finished yarn to flash. The difference? I had a very clearly defined end purpose for the yarn in mind. What happens next? Er, hrumph.

Zarzuela's Fibers Merino chunky weight

I spun up most of a 4 oz braid of Zarzuela's Fibers Merino, colorway Maine Blueberry, into 105 yds (96 m) lumpy bumpy chunky weight for Quincy, an intriguing Moebius hat by Jared Flood. Alas, there's not quite enough yarn. Hrumph.

Yarn Hollow Merino Tussah fingering weight

And I spun 2.1 oz of Yarn Hollow 80/20 Merino Tussah, colorway Antique Map, into 191 yds (174 m) lofty fingering for a Storm Cloud Shawlette by Hanna Breetz. The hank looks so good draped over my blazer and I'm feeling so dang lazy, I may not bother with knitting. Hrumph.

* That means my New Year's vow #4 is about to come due, details next month.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Green Stash Flash

Just for Molly, a quick post – and a flash of yarn, Dream in Color Smooshy, Happy Forest. It's a lovely new line at the newly revived Modern Yarn. Double yay!

Dream in Color Smooshy

I'm swapping Molly a pair of my handknit socks for a set of her hand-wrought dpns in the Great Hand Knit Sock Trade '09. She asked for Horcrux Socks by Susan Lawrence (a Six Sox Knitalong pattern from 2007), so that's what I'll be casting on. To be continued.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Grand Time

For five glorious hours on Saturday, NYC closed most of Park Avenue (yes, the Park Avenue) and a couple other streets to auto traffic as part of its Summer Streets program. One of my all-time favorite views is of Grand Central Terminal from South Park Avenue and the weather was as rare as the opportunity, so DH and I simply had to investigate.

South facade, Grand Central Terminal

We had a grand time. The south approach to Grand Central is normally restricted to cars only – it was beautiful to see people making their way up the incline on foot, on bikes, and even in wheelchairs, all grinning. Life in a great city is often tinged with the sublime; that is, the built environment can be as awesome, exhilarating, and terrifying as a Bierstadt landscape. Some flee it, but for others the chance to experience it car-free is not to be missed. Summer Streets continues on August 15 and 22, and we hope to be back for more.

Then again, this week it's turned hot, hazy, and humid all at once, like the very worst of summer crammed into a few days. It could be a good time to check out more on the esthetic of the sublime at an excellent exhibit at The Newark Museum.

Cycling back to bicycling, I've been knitting prezzies for some of my bike buddies. Here's a Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, knit of Grand Rapids-dyed Yarn Hollow Elemental yarn for Kelly.

Swallowtail shawl

The yarn is hard to photograph – most of the time it looks cedar green, but sometimes it has a purple cast, rather like an artichoke. Silver strands add a glimmer too subtle for my poor digicam to capture.

Bud detail   Nupp detail

And here's a pair of Bike Helmet Ear Warmers by Amy O'Neill Houck, knit of Araucania Ranco Solid for Michael, who abandoned forgot left his bike lock in our car. Let's hope the earwarmers, which fit over the straps of a bike helmet, prompt him to set a good example and wear his helmet. (Gentle readers will understand that when it comes to bike helmets, nagging = caring.)

Bike helmet earwarmers

Finally, for stbyra, who left a question on the previous post but no contact info for a response, my clear clogs are a special version of Sloggers clogs. I bought 'em at Loopy Yarns in Chicago and have seen them on occasion at fiber festivals and online.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yipes Stripes

The signs of economic stimulus have reached Exit 151, literally. A number of county roads are being milled and re-surfaced this week, which means no parking...

No parking August 3 to 5

... and rough pavement...

Grooved pavement ahead!

... and closed roads, except for access to Applegate Farm. Thank goodness one can still get to Applegate's!

Road closed

A little bird told me that when the re-surfaced roads are painted, they will get two new features, striped shoulders and enhanced crosswalks. I hope that's so. Shoulder striping is a proven traffic-calming measure, yet some homeowners oppose it because they feel it mars the "suburban character" of a street. I can appreciate the sentiment, but it seems to me the hazards and nuisances posed by auto traffic moving at 50 mph (80 kph) on a residential street reduce property values more. I like striping.

Obviously. This is my second pair of striped cycling socks in ONline Supersocke 100, this time in Holiday Color 998.