Sunday, July 5, 2015


Amid the patriotic festivities yesterday I found myself distracted by a head-spinning existential Tour de Fleece quandry.TourdeFleece What to spin?

Back in May I thought I'd try ply on the fly using an MDS&W 2015 fairing, a braid of Into the Whirled Falkland with the suggestive colorway name Rhinebeck. It's somewhat similar to ITW colorway Royal Platypus (purchased at Rhinebeck 2009, spun for TdF 2010, and knit up for Sock Madness 2011). I thought it would be interesting to compare the finished yarns. It's a worthy goal but somehow the enterprise no longer appeals.

Into the Whirled Falkland, colorway Rhinebeck

Then I thought about various braids that for various good reasons are only part-finished. There's ::cough:: a fair number. Finishing them (or at least one) this summer would be a good thing. Yet what beckoned was these braids of Cloverleaf Farms Merino, colorway Chili Peppers.

Cloverleaf Farms Merino, colorway Chili Peppers

These fiery beauties were a 2014 MDS&W fairing. I dimly recollect I was going to spin them for competition, then spun and won with Gale's Art undyed BFL instead. This time I plan to spin to weave, then to sew a minimally tailored SAORI-style vest... not without some trepidation. A lot of handspun, handwoven textiles look like they have the weight and drape of cowhide, and I'm hoping for something rather lighter and more supple. So, goal the first will be to finish the spinning during TdF; goal the next will be to evaluate the finished woven fabric. Allons-y!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dec Page

It's the Fourth of July holiday weekend in the U.S., which means among other things somehow the entire month of June got away from me, including my 10th blogoversary. Welp, I can't do anything substantive about that just now, but I'll give it a go a bit later. In the meantime, gentle readers, amuse yerselves with this animated image from an article on the Declaration of Independence. For those who may have been wondering, the date of the document is significant: the nation's birthday.

The weekend seems a good a time to reflect on why some Americans find this foundational document racist. Or maybe the deeper question of why all Americans don't acknowledge our national original sin and engage in the difficult work to expiate it. Lately it seems a particularly urgent question, one that requires attention at the highest levels and by everyone. It was only a week ago that President Obama gave the eulogy for slain South Carolina state senator and pastor Clementa C. Pinckney.

For all that solemnity and deep thinking, my weekend has been fun thus far. It's not an irony, it's just life. The county concert and fireworks was Wednesday, there are parades and more fireworks tomorrow, not to mention the Tour de Fleece has its Grand Départ. But more on that later this weekend.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Today is Manhattanhenge! Or, to be precise, half-sun Manhattanhenge – the day the half-disk of the setting sun aligns with the Manhattan street grid and illuminates both sides of its cross streets evenly with no shadows. With all the tall buildings, it's just like Stonehenge, sorta. Tomorrow is full-sun Manhattanhenge. The phenomena, beloved of urban photographers, are as meaningful or as random as you make it. If you miss it, not to worry -- there's another alignment on July 12 and 13, plus there's winter Manhattanhenge, which involves the rising sun (not nearly as popular as the summer setting sun for some reason) and some other cities have their own-henge phenomena.

Meanwhile, Sock Madness 9 is winding down and Summer of Socks 2015 is heating up. I suppose The Stroop Stroop Socks by Ros Clarke could be considered my crossover pattern from one to the other. Maybe those stroopwafel motifs could be construed as sun signs overlaid by the Manhattan grid. It's a rare triple-dip with SKA as well. The above photo shows progress as of Memorial Day (didn't have the time to post until now; also, how can there be hockey in late May?). The goal is to finish before the end of the month – we'll see how the stars align.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Proverbial Old Wineskin

One of my favorite pairs of socks, Juta's Stockings by Nancy Bush, suffered a double blowout at the heels. Sadness!

Juta with double blowout

I considered darning the holes or possibly knitting over them, but realized the yarn at the heels had become like the proverbial old wineskin, so worn that the stress of patching would only cause further damage. So I started a new pair, this time in black.

New Juta in progress

Black is the new purple!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Les Belles Chaussettes sans Merci

After returning from MDS&W and while still thinking lovely warped thoughts, I decided to inspect the contents of the sock drawer to search out and forestall any activity by the dreaded müth. Preoccupied though I was in this worthy endeavor, methought I heard a faint cry, "Les Belles Chaussettes sans Merci hath thee in thrall!" It was very faint, and my first impulse was denial. It couldn't possibly be true, because I'm a ploddingly slow, easily distracted process knitter. But I couldn't deny my own knitting. Yep, those are my socks.

Les Belles Chaussettes sans Merci

That's 41 mid-calf socks in the outer ring, 19 shortie socks in the inner ring. Some are pre-Ravelryites. Some are even Before Blog. The photo doesn't include three pairs of socks I got in swaps, Skew (which somehow is always somewhere else at class photo time), seven Socks of Shame, and uncounted numbers of other wips.

The newest addition to the outer ring of Les Belles Chaussettes sans Merci is a lovely Sock Madness pattern, Longing for Spring by Caoua Coffee, worked in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway Clara's Garden. Pictured with spring violets because the erudite designer references Mozart and violets.

Longing for Spring, modeled with spring violets

Although I was knocked out of Sock Madness competition, I knit the socks to a regulation 80 rounds on the foot and more-than-regulation 70 rounds on the leg. I usually have difficulty fitting toe-up socks on my Frankenfeet, particularly at the heel – this one is a tad loose everywhere except the heel, a perfect length on the foot, and short in the leg. Other Madness knitters found it knit up roomier than expected. The toe and heel turn are new-to-me constructions. Were I to knit this charming sock again, I'd consider knitting a half-size smaller, keeping the toe, and substituting a different heel.

Considering Les Belles Chaussettes sans Merci et al. en masse, it seems like a lot of socks. Not too many – never, there's still so much to learn and try! – but perhaps with such numbers I can afford to spend some energy elsewhere. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to have a new hobby after all.