Sunday, January 20, 2019

By the Light of the Super Blood Wolf Moon

Happy New Year, gentle readers, a couple weeks late! If the way January has started continues during the rest of the year, there will be much last-minute alarums and just-in-time scrambling in 2019. I sincerely hope not, I was hoping for a tranquil, prepared year. Well, onward.

Eclipse of Super Blood Wolf Moon at totality

Tonight there's a total lunar eclipse visible from the continental US, breathlessly dubbed a Super Blood Wolf Moon. It's the only total lunar eclipse of this year, so I'm going to stay up late, bundle up against the cold, and try to get a photo. I'll post the (possibly only blob-like) results above. (ETA: Only a little blurry, not too bad considering it was freaking cold outside and someone may have tripped over the tripod. Anyway, a beautiful copper eclipse moon.)

My first foot of the year is Invitation to the Dance by Caoua Coffee, which was the warmup pattern for Sock Madness 11 (2017). Although I enjoy her patterns for their beauty and erudition, and this one is proving similar to others, I didn't have time to knit it pre-SM and was only a cheerleader for the duration. Maybe this year will be lucky thirteen? Hm.

Invitation to the Dance WIP

I'm excited that after a year away the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge 2019 will reprise the excellent 2017 experience, complete with hashtag (#fijchallenge), a presence on Facebook and on Instagram,Neo-Luddite cell phone and seasonal adjustments for participants in the Southern Hemisphere, who currently are awash in stone fruit, a heat wave, and the Australian Open. The (Northern Hemisphere) January challenge is citrus. I have a new marmalade recipe (a friend's family secret!), and I want to try candying citrus slices. In preparation I bought some crazy-expensive organic citrus because edible peel is a feature. So far I've ::cough:: eaten some excellent grapefruit and made some citrus peel vinegar cleaner. Apparently there are "18 Places You Should Be Cleaning With Vinegar" in the kitchen alone. I have a greasy oven (worse than #3) and a stinky Instant Pot sealing ring (#10) to tackle. No-longer-young-hopefully-not-yet-old fogey and neo-Luddite that I am, I don't quite get Instagram, so that's an additional January challenge for me.

Although my phone may be an impediment, and perhaps that's one more thing to remedy in 2019. Hm.

Amazing to relate, last year's last foot, Holly Jolly Cranberry Biscotti, won one of the prizes in the Sock Knitters Anonymous random prize draws for Nov/Dec 2018, a pattern from This Handmade Life. I'm thrilled. I've participated irregularly in SKA for 12 years, and this is the first time I've won a prize. Maybe it's an auspicious beginning to another lucky thirteen (even though the SKA calendar runs September-August)? Anyway, whee.

Monday, December 31, 2018


On reflection at year end, 2018 seems to have gone by in a blur. While it may not have attained 2016 dumpster fire levels of awful, the cumulative impact of winter snowstorms and autumn hurricanes, familial responsibilities, and especially the seemingly endless weary rounds of endless dreary travel really ground me down. There was sufficient miserable badness that the goodness was almost lost in the fog.

Almost. There were small consolations. Over the summer I discovered Marisa McClellan's much-celebrated tomato jams, and turned out red, orange, and yellow varieties because I grew red and orange tomatoes and got some yellow ones at the farmer's market. Now that summer is gone, a dollop of tomato jam on eggs or in a chowder is so very nice.

Trio of tomato jams

As hard as it is now to recall or even imagine there once were winter Ravellenics or Sock Madness 12, they occurred, and I participated to the limited extent that I could. Sometimes frogging and qualifying are all that one can manage.

2018 Winter Ravellenics   SM12 qualifier, Fee Dragee

Perennial optimist that I am, I also entered make-alongs with every good intention of finishing odd socks and weaving spa cloths. Alas, that didn't go as planned. Ah well, next year.

Hanauma Bay UFO   Hearts UFO

It should be no surprise that one sock – the SM12 qualifier! – went onto the Clothesline of Shame and none came down for a total of ten Singleton Socks of Shame. Not the most ever, but still backwards progress.

Socks of Shame 2018

Singleton Socks of Shame 2018, left to right, oldest to newest: Meadowlands, Fawkes, Julesokker, Love Me Knot, Chain Link, Hanauma Bay, handspun Queen of Diamonds, Twisted Madness, Dropping Madness, Fée Dragée with a counting thread.

One last fibery consolation for the year is my last foot, just-finished holly jolly Cranberry Biscotti by Elizabeth Sullivan. I'm beyond pleased with the way they turned out. I added a beaded cuff, which while not super-visible, nonetheless makes me absurdly happy.

Cranberry Biscotti FO

With the year closing amid increasing economic turmoil and willful political failures, more so than ever knitting has become both solace and expression of resistance. I have no sage advice to offer this New Year's Eve beyond the usual, perhaps all the more important in unusual times: take good care of yerselves...

Drive With Cake

... and see you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Holly Jolly Time

Since it's holly jolly time roundabout Exit 151, it must be time for holly jolly Cranberry Biscotti by Elizabeth Sullivan. It's a second attempt – I'd started this pattern once before in a candy corn colorway, and never finished. Somehow the colors never clicked for me. I'm liking the holly jolly colorway much better.

Holly jolly Cranberry Biscotti singleton

It's a second third fourth attempt for the green Fleece Artist yarn as well, having previously been tried in Green Vine Socks, Whitby Socks (which didn't make the blog), and Little Arrowhead Lace Socks (also didn't make the blog). It's looking like fourth time is the charm.

Holly jolly yarn

The red and white yarns are Koigu. Somehow, in all the sock knitting I've done, I've never made socks with Koigu. Remedying that now.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cheerful Playfellow of Half-Blood Princes

It may be necessary to sit down for this one. I finished a pair of socks in time to meet the deadline for the SKA October/November Architecture Challenge. Go me.

Hidden Stairways FO modeled

This FO is Hidden Stairways by Erica Lueder, worked in Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts Socknado, colorway Lichen In My Crevices. The pattern is playful, easily memorized, and delightfully absorbing. The yarn reminds me of Shakespeare's "rude ragged nurse, sullen playfellow of princes" (the Tower of London) and stands in well for Hogwarts Castle, home of the half-blood Prince. Not to be overly gloomy or lit'ry – this is a happy pairing.

Hidden Stairways FO

Despite all that knitting happiness or perhaps because of the giddy fumes, by some perversity I kept misreading the instructions for Sockdown and posting non-qualifying photos. Ahem. I have no wish to become the scofflaw of SKA. I hope I've got it all right now.

Close up of leg

The pattern is modified by substituting 2x2 ribbing on the cuff, a shortie leg (minimum of 3 inches (7.62 cm)), continuing the pattern down the heel, and tabi toes. Because the staircases at Hogwarts like to change, the second sock was knit with the pattern varied by a half drop. As the Headmaster knows, a good pair of socks is a good thing – these are a much-needed replacement for my poor Clowns). Happiness in sock form.

Saturday, October 20, 2018


Of course now I can't wash my hand.

Hand stamp

I had a good time at Rhinebeck. It was strangely warm this year – not as warm as last year, yet warm enough that heavy coats were not needed and I took off my Blue Wave hat. In the afternoon it briefly rained buckets, more a summer downpour than an autumn rain. The trees were barely turned, too, in the Hudson Valley in the third week of October. Perhaps it's true climate change is coming for our yarn. Hm.

Stitch Marker Swap

However that may be, it was good to be at the fair, good to be with congenial company, good to see so many handknits and so many clusters of knitters doing their things, as the Stitch Marker Swappers, above.

Sheep cookies

There even were sheepie cookies. Which is enough, and more than enough.

Edited to add:

Angry Sheep Zojirushi cozy

Although I didn't have time to knit a new Rhinebeck sweater, I re-purposed an in-the-round Angry Sheep gauge swatch into a cozy for my Zojirushi. I love my Zojirushi, which is a thermal bottle that keeps hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold. The cozy is to protect its finish as it clanks around in my tote bag, not because it needs extra insulation. The swatch is from the yoke of the cardi, which tapers, and the taper in the swatch rather nicely matches the taper in the Zojirushi. Happiness.