Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Making Progress

I chose my wife, as she did her wedding gown,
for qualities that would wear well.
-Oliver Goldsmith

Ever notice how the blog and real (knitting) life don't always have a 1:1 correspondence? The vast majority of my knitting time has been going towards The Chuppah, and yet I haven't posted much about it recently. (Last progress photo here.) And so I present great progress: I had all sorts of grand plans to get home and get a nice daylight photo today, but you know how those best laid plans can go . . . To appease those who can't see much above, here's an (unblocked) close-up: The progress portrayed above is a little more than half of the center section. That would be 6' wide by 3' long, for those of you keeping track, and represents about 1/3 of the overall knitting. Right on schedule. And you know how much I love schedules!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Weather or Not

We all grumble about the weather
but--but--but nothing is done about it.
-Mark Twain

You know that I've grumbled a bit about the weather in San Diego. It's always sunny. No variety. Who wants to be in a place where it's always nice? I have to say, though, that in the last two days while my parents are buried in ice and the beau's parents are buried in snow, I've both gone Rollerblading around the bay and - AND - gone swimming. Outside. I think I'm beginning to appreciate this.

And in other San Diego travel news, we headed up into the mountains over the weekend. Beautiful - see above. It was extra-beautiful because we took the scenic route (Yes, I was navigating. Why do you ask?). Ultimately, though, we did reach our destination: Palomar Observatory. It was excellent for so many reasons. Not the least of which was this:
SNOW! Yes, that is an actual snow man. Made of snow. With acorns for buttons. And with Rowena. He tried to help me out. See how nicely it's coming along? After the fun of the ruffle, the stockinette stitch is so soothing. And I'm loving the KnitPicks Ambrosia. I don't know how it wears long-term, but it is lovely to knit. Rowena was just the thing for those windy mountain rows. I did knit a few rounds of the New England Sock (which I WILL finish by the end of the February), but looking down was not recommended.

There wasn't much in the way of snow, but plenty of people were trying to sled anyway. I had no idea what we were getting into, weather-wise, since I've never really believed my mom when she told me it was snowing in San Diego. Doesn't it just figure that I wasn't wearing any handknit socks that day? It was a sneaker kind of day . . until the snow.

And speaking of handknit socks, thank you for all your sympathy on the last post. Those socks are five years old, made of $2 of wool remnants, and have been darned on 3 separate occasions, the yarn has been mildly felted, and they are just done. Good socks probably deserve a good retirement.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Told You It Was Tragic

There are only two tragedies in life:
one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
-Oscar Wilde

See how it has already been darned in three colors? These poor socks have had it!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Urgent Telegram

San Diego 21Feb2007 11:30 pm PDT

Camera battery dead STOP Hole in another handknit sock STOP Too severe for darning STOP Knitter and sock-wearer distraught STOP

Clearly, one can never have enough handknit socks. Stay tuned for the shocking photographic evidence of the limits of darning. You, too, will be amazed and astounded. Me? I feel the urge to knit some striped wool socks. . .

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It is the artist's business to create sunshine when the sun fails.
-Romain Rolland

My parents must be the best of luck. In the middle of two weeks of rain, (relative) chilliness, and general winterness, my parents came from the stormy northeast and got the two nicest San Diego days we've had in weeks. Absolutely beautiful. Warm. Sunny. Everything San Diego is supposed to be. And as soon as they left? More rain. Not that I'm complaining - I'd rather have off in the sun and work in the rain.

In between all the catching up, we did some touristy stuff showed the sock a good time.

Knitting on the USS Midway:
(and some fun facts)

Daily food requirements:

Meals served: 13,000
Bread: 1,000 loaves
Pies for one serving each: 650
Beef for one large serving each: 4,250 lbs.
Vegetables: 5,000 lbs.
Meat: 4,500 lbs.
Dry provisions: 20,000 lbs.
Potatoes: 3,000 lbs.

Here's the sock enjoying the view off the Midway (towards NAS North Island - can you see the active carrier the USS Nimitz in the distance?)

Crew: 4,500
Monthly payroll: $1.2 million
Telephones: 1,500
Compartments: 2,000
Electric motors: more than 2,000
Miles of piping: 200
Miles of copper conductor: 3,000
Miles of fire hose: 4.5
Fresh water produced: 240,000 gallons daily

And . . . 18 hospital beds, 1 ICU bed, 2 ORs, and an X-ray department. Not to mention the fun of twice-daily sick call.
The sock (and the beau) even enjoyed experiencing the ejection seats for themselves. Something tells me that my Brittany Birch needles wouldn't do so well at the excessive G-forces of being ejected from a fighter jet . . . Oh, and the sock? The tweedy goodness of the Plain Winter Socks for the Knitting Vintage Socks Knitalong. Worsted weight - flying by! (Pun intended.)

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fun for the Whole Family

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.
-Anthony Brandt

My parents are in town this weekend, and - in spite of all the time spent playing tourist and eating in favorite restaurants - it does bring up some good knitting content. You may recall that they are some of the most grateful recipients of knitted gifts. My mom is the only adult other than myself for whom I've ever made a sweater, and she expresses her gratitude often. Now she gets a second one. Remember my closet-cleaning frenzy? The sleeves need to be rolled up a bit, but it fits my mom well. And look how happy she is!

That's the upside. The downside? It's slight, but my dad is walking around torturing the beau about how much he loves his handknit socks, and didn't he wish he had some of his own. It's cruel, really.

Have a great weekend, folks.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mending Hearts

Like Banbury tinkers that in mending one hole make three.

I know I was due to post yesterday, but my Valentine's Day had pretty much zero knitting content. I did knit a few rows of The Chuppah, which is for a wedding, but since that's the knitting I'm doing all the time these days, well, it's a stretch. Plus, I was too busy being charmed by the beau to worry about the blog. At any rate, I did hear a whole bunch of new - and really cheesy - "heart" jokes, courtesy of the cardiology department. They actually presented a case of a broken heart (i.e. catastrophic myocardial rupture) on Valentine's Day. Some people have a morbid sense of humor.

The relevance? Give it a moment's thought and think of all the cheesy mending hearts jokes I'm sparing you by posting this the day after Valentine's Day. I'm doing you a favor. Really.

These are the first pair of socks I ever started. Not the first that I finished, but that's a different story for a different day. . .

These are the socks that made me appreciate self-striping sock yarn, and the ease and pleasure of dpns, and all that soothing stockinette stitch in the round, over and over and over on my favorite Brittany Birch dpns. And now:

These are the next socks on my darning list.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

My Color Purple

I think it pisses God off if you walk by
the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
-Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The magic of turning a heel:

The wonderful tweediness of tweed:This is the joy of knitting socks.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007


Rodeo cowboys usually keep goin' until they're crippled-
injured by animals, run out of money for entry fees
and traveling expenses, quit or get killed in the arena.
-Chris LeDoux

Is your knitting scattered all over two apartments, three purses, and your locker at work? Do you feel like you've been in a haze where you can't tell a ruffle from a cable, a lace lattice from a beaded rib? Have I got a solution for you!

WIP RoundupClockwise from top left: The Chuppah, Rowena, The Humbug Pillow, The New England Socks, a ball of yarn meant to be Dalarna socks, and Plain Winter Socks.

The beauty of the UFO Resurrection (and yes, The New England Socks seem to be in this photo as a Work in Progress, doesn't it?) is that all those other projects? They don't count. Of the above, I can only really claim to be making progress on The Chuppah and the Plain Winter Socks, but Rowena gets a few rows when I'm on the phone, and the Humbug Pillow when I'm reading email. Overall, quite manageable. Quite.

If only I didn't want to drop it all and knit the new Interweave Knits from cover to cover . . .

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fun in February

February, fill the dyke with what thou dost like.
-Thomas Tusser

I'm sure that most of you have noticed that it is February already. Me? I'm just catching up. I was fine in January, but lately I've been writing "2006" on all of my orders. One of these years . . .

At any rate, we now switched into Block 9 of 13 of this whole internship. That means a new month of the reading plan. And a new month of The UFO Resurrection. And new socks in the Knitting Vintage Socks and Knitting on the Road Knitalongs. Here are my plans:
  1. The Reading Plan: I have a lot of knitting on the plate right now and am still in closet-cleaning mode. So instead of knitting a new project from one book this month, I'm getting rid of two. Not only does it create more shelf space, but it has the same effect on my knit-to-not ratio.
  2. UFO Resurrection: I have plans to sew on the zippers of Ribby Cardi and Rogue. But I suspect that the New England Socks are more portable and might get finished first.
  3. Knitting Vintage Socks: Forgive the poorly lit photo, but I've started the Gentlemen's Plain Winter Socks. I wanted some cushy wool, so I adjusted the gauge for worsted weight.
  4. Knitting on the Road: The sock at the moment is Dalarna, which I knit years ago for a roommate, long before I had a blog or a camera. I have some Briggs and Little Durasport that might do nicely, but these may wait until next month. It is a two-month long knitalong.
  5. Internal Medicine Wards: Still trying not to kill people . . . And the reason I'm too tired to put links in this post. Google is your friend if you're curious.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

How I Learned to Knit

Good people are good because
they've come to wisdom through failure.

-William Saroyan

Two Sharp Sticks
(by far one of my favorite names for a blog) is having a knitaversary party. I love any good excuse for a party, especially a knitting party, . . . and I don't have a whole lot of new knitting content. Did you want to see the Chuppah? It's a little longer than this. Use your imagination. In the meantime, I'm going to go back in my imagination and join in the party with my contribution.

How I Learned to Knit, by Theresa

It was a dark and stormy night in Providence, RI.
Well, it was dark, at least. It was December.
Our heroine was in a moment of crisis.
It was exam period.
I reached deep into my soul and realized that my destiny lay in yarn.
Or I was web-surfing instead of studying biostatistics and somehow the idea struck.
I braved the elements in a daring trek to gather the necessary supplies.
It was cold. And Michael's was in a whole 'nother state. The fact that it was a mere six miles away? A fact of New England life. And there was a Lesiure Arts kits and some ugly acrylic. Yellow.
I struggled all night to master the knit stitch, working against all the forces of nature, including the terrible light in my college dorm room, and the relative dearth of online tutorials in 2000.
This much is true.
I began to knit everywhere.
But what did I make? Garter stitch scarves in Lion Brand Homespun. For an entire year I made absolutely nothing except garter stitch scarves. Until Every. Single. Person. I knew had a scarf.
It was move on, branch out, or die. Basic law of biology.
Biology - what I was not studying the night I learned to knit.
And I found support in the online knitting community. In particular, I discovered Folk Mittens. I made a pair of basic mittens on dpns and was hooked for life.
Out of Kitchen Cotton. And the two mittens are radically different sizes. I've never been so proud of anything I knit. But blogs are so much better than The Knitlist, even though I am forever grateful they introduced me to the idea of knitting with wool.

By the way, I got an "A" on that exam.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Mission

Truth can never be confined to time and culture;
in history it is known, but it also reaches beyond history.
-John Paul II

And the answer is . . . Mission San Luis Rey.(It was overcast. Better photos on the website.)

Most of you correctly ascertained that the day trip the beau and I enjoyed was, indeed, a southern California mission, and most of you also realized that there are three missions within an easy drive of San Diego: Mission San Diego de Acala, Mission San Luis Rey, and Mission San Juan Capistrano. We ended up at San Luis Rey purely on a whim - we'd been driving up the coast on the 101 and found ourselves in Oceanside. So we followed the signs and explored this gem of early California history. Highly recommended if you're in the area.

Until you get there, though, there are winners. The first winner is the first one to get the correct answer: Janelle. She does live pretty close to San Luis Rey, but plenty of my other nearly-neighbors got it wrong. And I chose another random winner from the rest of the correct answers (there seems to be a correlation between correct answers and sending it to my email: Pam. (Go look at her Am Kamin. I love that sweater.) Winners, send me your addresses and I'll send you some yarn.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

The (Silent) Poetry Reading

It is happiness.
-Mary Oliver

It's the second annual Blogger's (Silent) Poetry Reading in honor of St. Brigid's Day. My contribution is from Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets.


You can
die for it -
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so,
their small bodies be bound

to the stake
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar
fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

blazes for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breaths I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter


Thursday, February 01, 2007


The only things one can admire at length
are those one admires without knowing why.
-Jean Rostand

1. Lucky Guesses
You are doing great on the "Where is Rowena" guesses. Keep them coming until tomorrow and I'll randomly pick a couple of lucky guesses from the correct winners.

2. Lucky Flitgirl and Toasty Joe
I have not much in the way of interesting photos at the moment. All the knitting this week so far has been working on the Chuppah. It looks like this, but longer.

3. Lucky Me
I got a great package in the mail yesterday; ironically it was a belated Christmas gift from the lucky recipient of the Railway Stitch socks I finished belatedly. Look what it included! This is yarn from Iceland, personally imported by my friend. I knew he deserved handknit socks . . .

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