Friday, December 24, 2010

Moon and Stars

There was a rare total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice Tuesday. The last one was in 1638 and as I doubt I'll be around to see the next one in 2094, I stayed up to watch it. The moon was exceptionally bright – even my poor digicam could capture the effect. Although as usual, it couldn't record totality.

Solstic lunar eclipse

Then I made some stars. My favorite crisp sugar cookies, which DH took to an office party (without telling me, hrmph)...

Sugar cookie cut outs

... and two Little Star cloths to use as hotpads. The first is worked in handspun I received in a fiber swap, the second in Sugar 'n Cream. The designer had Fourth of July stars in mind, but Christmas stars work well too.

Little Star Cloths

The pattern is easy, fast, thrifty, and addicting. I may crochet up a few more just for fun, in between church, feasting, and waiting for Santa. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fa La La

Today my earworm is the medieval Christmas carol, Gaudete [gow-day-tay, Latin for rejoice].

Or view here.

Gaudete Sunday may have been last week, but I'm happy now because my Gaudete socks – Stephanie van der Linden's Advent calendar mystery knit-along pattern – are finished... before the end of Advent and the end of the KAL! They're beauteous (if I do say so myself), comfortable, and I learned some new-to-me techniques. I suppose it had to happen sometime: it was the perfect mystery KAL. Thank you, Steffi!

Gaudete socks

The socks were a great pleasure to knit. I love their fiddly round cast on and their shapely combination of vertical and bias ribbing...

Cuff detail

... and their godet heels and their arch shaping on the sole of the foot. I also love how the changing stitch counts make the lovely Forbidden Woolery yarn shift between pooling and not.

Heel detail   Sole detail

Gaudete is an excellent fit on my Frankenfeet. I did tweak the pattern a bit: although there's a generous size range, from XS to L, I knit the equivalent of an XXS for a better fit. I also wanted a tallish sock, so to accommodate bicyclist's legs, I cast on with US 2s and worked an extra repeat, then changed to US 1s and knit as written, adjusting for the reduced stitch count at the heel turn and toe.

Gaudete socks

So I have shapely new socks for French toast weather. And even if today's blizzard warning was downgraded, motorists in NJ should be aware of a new law that requires clearing snow and ice off an automobile before driving it. Fa la la.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Match Girls

No, I don't mean this poor dear.

Or view here.

I mean the burning desire to have matching Helical Stripe Socks. Or not.

Helical Stripe singleton

Rather to my surprise, some who have seen the singleton ascribe all manner of moral virtue and knitterly prowess to matching – or not – and conversely to the converse. Fascinating. I'm generally inclined to be untroubled by diverse taste, but what say you? Should the second sock be:
a. Done.
b. Matching.
c. 42.
d. Don't know.
e. Other, literally and/or figuratively.

Feel free to select all that apply, and to elaborate in the comments.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Return of the King

On Sunday I found out the Mitten Tree that I was so furiously knitting for (based on the assumption there would be an early deadline to allow time to sort, box, and ship items) will stay up through the New Year. Which means there's more time to knit, also ::cough:: more opportunities to become distracted. Right on cue, DH made big eyes at me.

Manly scarf

So I restarted work on his hibernating manly scarf, a simple rectangle in King Charles Brocade. Considering it's his own fault the scarf was in time out, we'll see how long the restoration lasts.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sock, Shop, and Gardens

Surely the balance of the universe demands that for all the mystery KALs gone wrong, there must be at least a few that go right. So far, so good on Stephanie van der Linden's Advent Calendar KAL – I'm quite liking her mystery sock, Gaudete, inspired by the socks her grandmother used to make. There's also a family resemblance to those oh-so-chic Loeffler Randall Stirrup Socks.

Gaudete in progress

The new-to-me yarn, Forbidden Woolery Footloose, colorway Otoño, reminds me of a slightly heavier version of Malabrigo Sock – very soft and spongy, with little sproing. Ordinarily I might worry about luxuriously comfortable but slouchy socks, but the vertical and bias ribbing of Gaudete compensates nicely. I tell you, it's the balance of the universe.

Forbidden Woolery Footloose, colorway Otoño

For those interested in bending that long arc of the universe, roundabout Exit 151 tomorrow is the Holiday Shop Hop, which features locally made, gently used, and Fair Trade items. Be sure to have your passport stamped to win prizes.

Also, Cornucopia Network is sponsoring the last Open Gardens of the year. To me, gardens that produce even in late fall or early spring are the most impressive of all – have a look.