Monday, April 25, 2011

Scofflaw Socks

One of my aunts is an avid royals watcher; me, not so much. Alas, neither of us received an invitation to this Friday's wedding of the century (a phrase that makes her sigh and me gag). I briefly thought about knitting her some corgi slippers to mark the day, but no. At least I have newly finished handspun socks in colorway Royal Platypus, modeled on my pasty spring legs with some pale spring flowers – the New Jersey state flower, wild violets.

Supporter's Socks and wild violets

I'm inordinately pleased with these socks, which are mine from spun fiber to FO (as much of the process I want to own, at least for now) and with the way the pix capture the richly saturated figgy colors of the Into the Whirled BFL.

Into the Whirled BFL, Royal Platypus

The excellent sock pattern, Supporter's Socks by Linda Pankhurst, was the qualifying round in this year's Sock Madness. I was eliminated, but in some respects, losing was liberating. Sock Madness patterns tend to be a bit short in the leg, a bit long in the foot for my taste, and for competition one must knit the pattern as written or larger. My socks are taller than pattern in the leg, shorter than pattern in the foot. Then there's mystery variation between the legs – the stitch gauge is more or less the same, but the row gauge is 'way off. Can you see it?

Pre-pox and pox-made legs

Part of the leg variation is due to the vagaries of handspun, but most is because I finished one sock, contracted a pox, and tried to knit on while medicated. I thought about frogging the second sock and re-knitting, but decided a pox on that! The socks differ from pattern and from each other – if that bugs the knitting police, all I have to say to them is Pbbt.

FroyoAlso today, I got the long-awaited Nook Color software update to Android 2.2, or Froyo. There be Flash and apps! I'm enjoying the toys, although demanding creature that I am, I liked the speed of the old non-Flash-y browser and I'm not sure why there needs to be a paid app for functions (such as a calculator) that seem like they oughta be native to a computing machine. But not to criticize – the app store is only a day old and I'm still exploring the update.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cherryblossomland 2011

Last week was a trying one roundabout Exit 151, which made cherry blossom viewing in Branch Brook Park all the more consoling. Even though sometimes it rained like crazy so my viewing was done from inside the car. (The blurry spots in the photo are rain on the windshield.)

Cherryblossom viewing from the car

Sometimes the trees were tempest-tossed. Like most spring-flowering plants, cherryblossom trees are tougher than they look. If it weren't for the rain, wind, and flooding, this year was one of the more spectacular.

I was hoping to go on the Brick City Bike Collective Cherry Blossom Bike Tour to honor fallen sakura cyclists.Cherry Blossom Bike Tour logo Branch Brook Park in bloom season is my favorite spring bike ride. But there were three funerals at Church of the Improv this weekend, all beloved members of the community who left it when released from their ravaged bodies, although too soon for the rest of us. So instead of going on a memorial ride, I attended the memorial services and pondered impermanence and mortality.

And I finished my languishing Tokena singleton, a Sock Madness pattern from two years ago. I quit working on it when I was eliminated from competition, but I always return to my UFOs eventually.

Tokena singleton inside out

Given the hiatus, I was concerned there might be gauge issues upon resuming knitting. But as this inside out view shows, there weren't, which is something to smile about.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pink Watch

After the March weather reverted to roaring like a lion (that'll learn me to complain about an early thaw!), after floods, after divers other spring surprises, it's finally time for the pink watch. A few months ago I bought a fancy heart rate monitor from pknit. She suggested I put it to use immediately, but the notion of shoveling snow in the zone was so depressing I put it away instead. Here it is, ready to go.

Pink heart rate monitor

Branch Brook Park is also ready to show off – this year Newark Restaurant Week coincides with the Cherry Blossom Festival. There's even a Bloom Season Barometer in front of the visitors center that indicates that at the moment the majority of the trees in Cherryblossomland are: Budding.

Cherry Blossom Barometer

I suppose the barometer is a useful thing, although perhaps it would be better placed on the website or even at the entrances to the park... because if one is at the visitor center in the middle of the park, one can determine the condition of the trees for oneself by direct observation.

Heavy bud

Which is not meant as a complaint, merely a constructive suggestion. While buds may lack the charm of blossoms, forward-looking optimists are happy to see them. And I never tire of scouting the park for the early bloomers, which have a delicate grace all their own.

Early bloomer

Pity the same cannot be said of my knitting. I started this SKA January Mystery Sock and, alas, am bored. The beads, the STR Raven Clan colorway, the goth girl vibe – they bore me.

SKA January Mystery Sock in progress

Sigh. It's time to think pink.