Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pretty Colors

Can you believe the summer is half over!!   This weekend is a long one in Ontario and I'm so ready to have some fun.  Work has been crazy busy and next week promises to be the same.  A pair of plain stockinette socks were just the ticket for relaxing evening knitting. 

Project details over at Ravelry

And as an extra special treat, there was a prezzie waiting for me when I got home:

Isn't it pretty!  I won a contest over at Lismi Knits for guessing what project she was working on.  It was Lizard Ridge and that pattern is engraved on my brain.  Thanks Christine!!  I love the yarn.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lost in Translation

I like to read, almost too much.  If a book is too interesting, I'll keep reading it and neglect other important things like going for walks or knitting or sleeping.  Therefore weekday reading must not be too interesting and so I am currently re-reading Don Quixote.  The first time was for my university novel class which was twenty years ago.  Don Q has gotten livelier and more interesting over the years.  What, you say my comprehension has grown?  How kind of you.

The thing I want to share with you is the translator's note to the following passage.  In this scene Don Quixote's friends and housekeeper are going over his books deciding which ones to burn because they believe that the novels of chivalry have blurred Don Q's grasp on reality, causing him to think he is a knight.
"With all my heart," said the barber; and not caring to tire himself with reading more books of chivalry, he told the housekeeper to take all the big ones and throw them into the yard. It was not said to one dull or deaf, but to one who enjoyed burning them more than cleaning out the biggest and finest cobwebs. So, seizing about eight at a time, she flung them out of the window.
 I am reading a Norton critical edition, geared towards students.  The footnote adds clarification for the translation of what the housekeeper enjoyed less than burning the books; the part in italics. The footnote explains:
Ormsby and others translate this as "weave cloth" or "weave a tapestry," which seems illogical.  Perhaps the text is faulty.
Faulty!  I laughed out loud.  When I think of the fiber artists I know and read about who can barely keep their hands off their projects, I perfectly well understand what Cervantes was writing here and I'll bet you do too.  The online translations do better by the author's original intentions:
"With all my heart," said the barber; and not caring to tire himself with reading more books of chivalry, he told the housekeeper to take all the big ones and throw them into the yard. It was not said to one dull or deaf, but to one who enjoyed burning them more than weaving the broadest and finest web that could be; and seizing about eight at a time, she flung them out of the window.
 Ah yes!  That would be a true test of what is more enjoyable.  I think what was really lost in translation was a man's comprehension of how much a woman might enjoy her weaving.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I've got no knits that are news-worthy to share.  I did finish the second foot on Jim's Clessidra knee-highs which is nice.   And I made a stupendous error in judgment with regards to gauge that has temporarily halted progress on my Lizard Ridge blanket.

See, I was having difficulty finding the right needles to work the strips of the pattern.  I tried circulars, but the cable was getting in my way. So I bought a pair of pink plastic needles at the Zellars in Waterloo because they are short.  I knit most of the stripes on them, but after a while they made my hands ache because the yarn doesn't slide around on them well.  I got really fed up with them.  Yet I was eager to work on the project because I could see the end nearing, so I switched needles at home for a pair of DPNs, putting point protectors on the ends so the yarn wouldn't slide off.  Now I could go to town on the project and did, finishing the last strip this week in Waterloo.


As I was about ready to bind off, I was congratulating myself on having so much more yarn leftover than usual....

And then it hit me.  I'll bet my gauge was off between the pink plastic needles and the DPNs.  Why the heck didn't I check?  Did I think I was immune to the laws of gauge?   What a bone head!  I made myself step away from the knitting and stuffed the offending fabric into it's ziploc baggie for the trip back to London.

Then I pondered my choices and I've come to my conclusion. I'm not going to rip, or re-knit or let this project die a slow death at the back of the closet.  I have a plan and this is it. I'm going to knit this smaller gauged strip to match the length of the other strips.  Yes, the lizard's ridges won't match up and I've decided that this is going to be the creative, innovative, wonderful feature of my blanket.  I'm also considering buying a few more balls of Noro to make another small-gauge strip, just to emphasize this special feature of my blanket. 

Except I have to get over my annoyance with the project to actually knit it.   I won't deny that I started a plain stockinette sock this weekend.  I'm thinking of it as a confidence booster.  Also, there were distractions. We had a fun Saturday night out.  The whole family went to visit old friends who also have teen aged kids and the eight of us all went downtown to the Home County Folk Festival to listen to Bruce Cockburn.  It was a beautiful evening and just the way you want a summer's day to end, by forgetting all your troubles.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Randomly Rambling

I'm rambling along this Saturday morning with a collection of knit-thoughts to share with you. 

I've refooted Jim's favourite socks, Clesidra (first knit in April 2007). Remember when I darned them? Well darned if that didn't work so well. The patch held, but it wasn't big enough.  Jim wears the socks a lot and they were just wore out.

Then another knitter asked why didn't I reknit the foot? Good question! I even found a whole ball of the exact same sock yarn in the stash. This time around I made an improvement by adding re-enforcement at the exact spots that wore out.

 It's an intarsia patch just at the ball of the foot.  There's a similar one at the heel turn.  It's not a lot of fun to knit, but I expect that it will extend the life of the sock.  Jim pulled the first completed one on last night with a sigh of "Ah, my old friend."  How's that for appreciation! 

In the "I should have my head examined" department, I've been thinking about that Rowan Aran weight yarn and dreaming over sweater patterns.  This past week has been so hot, with temperatures in the 30s, and so muggy, the air has been a soup of smog and moisture, that one can't even step out the door without breaking into a sweat that immediately pools into a slick of moisture on the skin.  Everyone has been huddled inside air conditioning.  Actually, I'm sitting under the air vent at work, so I've been well refrigerated.  I've found it necessary to wear my shawls, and step outside to "heat up" periodically.  Perhaps that's why I'm dreaming of knitting sweaters.

So I've narrowed it down to two patterns I love.  The contenders are Faery Ring and St. Brigid.  The problem of course is fit.  I don't want this sort of fit:

So I'd have to do some modifications to either pattern to account for my shape.  Faery Ring has a style similar to one of my favourite store bought sweaters that I love.

I know I'm going to love working with the Rowan yarn and I want a finished object that I will want to wear a lot.  Even though it's still hot, I may start swatching soon.  A swatch will tell me a lot more about which pattern is better suited to the yarn.

This week, Mason-Dixon Knitting posted a link to the same video I'd posted last weekend.  I clicked the link through to where Kay had seen it and darned if that blog didn't link back to here.  An example of six degrees of separation on the knitternet. Or only three I guess...

I've been reading "The Dog by the Cradle, the Serpent Beneath".  Not your typical light summer reading, but I've been enjoying it.  It makes me think.  The author examines how humans treat animals and the contradictions in our treatment. She also writes about various activists and their ideas. I haven't quite finished reading it and I'm curious to see what her personal stance will turn out to be.  I'm still thinking about my own.

Okay, I'm rambled out.  Have a great weekend!!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Must See YouTube

When someone asks you why you knit, point them to this video. 

Thanks Marcy!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Live or Let Rip

I'm almost finished the fourth strip for my Lizard Ridge afghan and I have finally decided, after weeks of effort, that perhaps this isn't a very pretty strip.  In fact it may be the ugliest strip ever knitted for a Noro blanket. 

Perhaps it will look better in context.  Once it is surrounded by the other strips, this fugly one may pick up some tips on looking good from its peers.  Or it may be that this strip will make the others look even prettier just by being near them, like a homely bridesmaid in a wedding party.  

I've decided to finish it.  After all, I won't really know until all the strips are blocked and laying out together.  If I think it ruins the blanket I can always buy more yarn (I'm good at that) and make a new strip.