Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Last one on the block.

I am about six months behind everyone else on this. But weren't you just itching to add yourself to another map?

Olga's Friends | Add As Friend

UPDATE: Sorry, y'all, I shouldn't have assumed that everyone would know what this was. (And you know what they say about ASSUME!) This Frappr map is a cool way to visually represent where all your friends are. Add yourselves as my friends! Start a map of your own! As Crazy Aunt Purl says, it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's beautiful out here in the hill country.

My sockpal yarn FINALLY arrived!

It took two full weeks, but just feast your eyes on the gorgeosity of this Hill Country Yarn. Ummmm. As previously mentioned, the Pecan Tree colorway is for my sockpal, and the Hook Em Horns colors are for a friend who loves the Longhorns waaaay more than I do. Being a grad student, my school spirit is significantly diminshed from the undegrads (you just know too much about your institution now, way more than you want to, and there is no loving blindly anymore). But this is Sweet Feet sock yarn we're talking about. Even burnt orange looks lovely in merino wool.

I think I'm going to knit Straight Laced Socks from Knitty, because the directions are also a tutorial on knitting with two circs, which I really want to learn. And I like the simple lace pattern, too.

Question for you socksters: I'm a little worried about getting a good fit. Should I be concerned about negative ease? If her feet are 8 inches from heel to toe, for example, should I knit the sock 7 or 7 1/2 inches long to ensure a snug fit?

In other news, you can read about my misadventures in sewing here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Be vewy, vewy quiet.

You are about to get a glimpse of the rarest of species to be found here on Yo La Tejo. The gauge swatch.

Maybe it's been isolated from its herd, but...what a sad little specimen this is!

I swatched to make a Picovoli tee from the Adrienne Vittadini Marissa yarn I picked up over the winter break at We'll Keep You in Stitches in Chicago. I decided I needed to actually swatch (even though hot needles in my eyes are infintely preferable) because I really want this to fit well! The Marissa is half cotton, half silk, and previous experience with cotton tells me that it likes to sag, sag, sag. I knit Bonne Marie's Chickami ages ago with Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, and ended up with a tank that was perfect...for my mom! I certainly don't begrudge her the top (if you check out my Flickr photos, you'll see that she looks quite fetching in it), but I want this one to stay with me.

Anyway, I even knitted this swatch in the round (sliding the swatch around on the circs with floats in the back in order to get a more accurate gauge), and I even gave it a little bath to see if it would grow. I was satisfied with my gauge once it dried, but I have to confess, I didn't cut the floats in the back, so that I could frog the yarn and use it (in true ghetto style!). Hey, it's Adrienne Vittadini yarn...momma didn't raise no fools.

I picked two colors--lime green and lavender--because I liked the way they looked together. One problem, though. I don't like stripes, and I don't want to do colorwork. What to do? Knit big chunks of each color, in a Mondrian type of design? Mehhh. That might look weird. I decided to suck it up and just knit stripes.

So progress is being made, as you can see. Too lazy to decide on a stripe pattern, I decided to let fate dictate. I am rolling dice to see how many rows to knit for each color! I let my friends, if they're around, take a turn with the die, and I just knit to my little stockinette-loving heart's content.

The only problem is the color changes/jogs, which are underneath the arm. They are fugly, let me tell you. But hey! That's what strategically placed purses are for.

How to go from Zero to Three Knitting Deadlines, Without Even Trying.

In other news (hi, socksister Ina!), I am due to get my Hill Country sock yarn any day now, so I can commence knitting my sockpal's socks. Any day now. I actually just got an email from Discount Yarn Sale telling me that the package was shipped out today, so things are going to have to start happening around here. I have a few patterns in mind, but really my big dilemma will be deciding between a lace sock or a ribbed/cabled sock. Maybe when I see the yarn, it will speak to me. (And maybe, if I can quiet the other voices in my head, I will hear it!)
Sockpal Deadline: May 2

Plus, I volunteered today to knit a shrug for my roommate so that she can wear it to a wedding, in about two or three weeks. She mentioned wanting one, and I jumped all over it, because I love her and I love knitting, so what more provocation do I need? She liked this.
Shrug Deadline: March 11

And if that's not enough stuff happening around here, I joined the Sew? I Knit! sew-along about a month ago, but have just gotten around to adding the button to my sidebar. I got my sewing machine, oh, back in September (I think), and have managed to fix a few hems and even sew a pillow, but have been itching to expand my repertoire. Our first project is a skirt, and I have the pattern and the fabric all picked out, but have yet to find the time to start cutting.
Skirt Deadline: March 20

Hi! The girl who wouldn't join the Knitting Olympics because she fears deadlines more than the dentist? (In case you don't know about my deathly fear of the dentist, that's a lot of fear, y'all.) If I took my school deadlines as seriously as I take these knitting deadlines, well. I might now be within spitting distance of graduation day!

P.S. Does anyone know why Blogger sometimes dumps all the sidebar contents down at the bottom? I was adding my Sew I Knit button, and everything suddenly went bonkers. It's making me crazy!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Letters! We get Letters!

(cue the Paul Schaeffer orchestra swinging into the CBS Mailbag song.)

We get STACKS and STACKS of Letters! Leeeetteeeerrrrrrrs!!!

Just kidding...I do not get stacks and stacks of letters, but I think my last post drew the most comments I've ever had! Which, my roommate pointed out, will happen when you don't post in a week and a half.

I've been off doing school stuff, reading about Puerto Rican transnationalism, migration, and displacement, but I've been thinking about YOU all every day, and sneaking peeks at your blogs whenever I can. Commenting, even, once in a while, but even those have had to be plenty abridged. So this weekend I get to take a breath and catch up a little bit.

I haven't had the chance to respond to all of your sweet comments about my socks, so let me take this opportunity to say thank you! I wore them until it was clear that they needed to go in the wash, and since I haven't done the wash, there they stay.

On that note, though, I thought it would be good to review some of the comments I got over the past week and a half, and share them with you all for your edification and reading pleasure.

On Cascade Fixation.

Amanda exclaims:

Gorgeous socks! And I'm so glad to hear good things about the Fixation. I've been eyeing some, myself, but have wondered if it affects your gauge at all? (I'm sort of a tight knitter.)

I can't answer this with absolute certainty, Amanda, because I would rather stick hot needles in my eyes than do gauge swatching, and so did not do one for these socks. But I'm sure that there's a little compensating/adjusting to be done, because I noticed that I was pulling/stretching the yarn as I knit, which probably made for a tighter fabric. But since I'm typically a loose knitter, maybe that canceled it out. Maybe if you're a tight knitter, you're going to need to try and hold the yarn more loosely or go up a needle size.

Kathy notes:

Beautiful broadripples. Love the colorway. Tell all your fixation friends, that it is fun to knit with, but an uncomfortable wear. Truly. Nothing like some nice superwash wool. Fixation actually hurts my heels when I wear it. Sorry. Just my experience. I ve heard it from others as well.

So, all of my Fixation Friends (I love this! Should we start a club?), beware of the heel rubbing. Mine were nothing less than comfy, but I wore mine with backless clogs, so maybe there was a lot less rubbing potential there. If my socks start bugging me, I'll be sure to give fair warning.

On other knitting-related matters.

Thank you all for your input on the sock yarn color dilemma I had regarding all the scrumptious Hill Country Yarn colorways. I loved them all, but finally chose the green and brown Pecan Tree colorway, and...drumroll please...the Longhorn burnt orange! Gah! Why would I do such a thing? Well, my sockpal sister helpfully suggested I just ASK my sockpal (ooh! lightbulb moment!), so I sent her a little email and she really just loved all the colorways except the sandstone, because she is a redhead. So, I ultimately liked the Pecan colors for her, but I also have friends who bleed burnt orange, and I'm sure one of them would appreciate some Longhorn socks.

Which brings me to my next letter.

Daily Texican writes:

I find it quite disturbing that I continue to read about knitting. Nonetheless, I seem to be drawn. And, I must disagree w/ your dislike for burnt orange.

Daily Texican! The power of the yarn compels you. The power of the yarn compels you! And see? I did choose the burnt orange. :-)

And in response to my plea for your honest opinion.

Anonymous says:

Be honest, eh?

All right, fine.
One time I threw up in your car. I like to kick cats. I never vote. I sometimes don't flush and I never wash my hands. And while we're at it, I don't really care for knitting all that much. I buy my socks at Target. They're a beautiful off-white. Wait, why did I join this knitting web-ring anyway?

At first, I was completely befuddled. Was this pure, unadulterated snark? Or was this good-natured ribbing? Then, I realized...oh, it's Mike.

Y'all, Mike is one of the funniest people I know, and likes to go undercover to harass me anonymously about my knitting. Once I realized this, I just laughed my ass off.

Now he's started his own blog. Go on and check it out, and don't forget to say howdy! Don't be afraid to leave a little good-natured snark...he likes it!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


FO, baybee, FO!!!! I present to you, the long-time-in-the-making Broadripples!

Pattern: Broadripple, by Rob Matyska
Yarn: Cascade Fixation, color 9989
Needles: Size 3 Boye DPNs
Time on the needles: Forever (ok. more like four months)

They grace the feet of my lovely roommate Jennifer, because I would rather be taking the photograph than modeling the goods. Control freak, me? Naaaahh. I was actually going for an Interweave Knit kinda photo here, but I was missing, you know, natural light, the perfect stool, a decent camera. In other words, the essentials.

I can't say enough good things about this yarn! (Clearly, because I said them already in this post, near the end.) It will not slide off the needles, not even the cheap-ass, ghetto Boye aluminums I used--you could do the Pee Wee Herman Tequila dance with the UFO sock in your hands, and you will not drop a single stitch! If you're a beginning sock knitter, getting used to DPNs, this is a blessing. And the yarn makes such a nice, springy fabric; the socks hug your feet like they never want to let go. I may wear them all the way through the end of winter (which, here in Austin, will be in about two weeks).

Heather and I have been racing--she with her Flared Lace Smoke Ring, and me with my socks. Olly olly oxen free, Heather! Smoke ring, come out come out wherever you are!

In more socky news, I got my Sockapaloooza Pal info, which I'm sure many of you have, as well. This is my first time participating in the festivities, and I was thrilled to see that my pal is in the U.K.! Alison encouraged us to send with the finished socks a postcard or something from our hometowns, so that got me to thinking about even the kind of yarn I want to use. I saw Hill Country Yarn on Lolly's blog a while ago, and realized that this would the be the perfect yarn.

Now, to choose between colorways. (I just noticed that it takes Discount Yarn Sale 2-3 weeks to ship, so I'd better hustle!) I'm partial to the Bluebonnet and the Pecan Orchard, and found a couple of links that nicely illustrate the inspiration for these. But a friend suggested that it might be fun to send the Longhorns colors to jolly old England. Personally, I think that burnt orange is the most heinous color ever chosen by a school and doesn't flatter anybody, but then I thought...hey! Might be fun. What do y'all think? Be honest!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Silent Poetry Reading

In celebration of St. Brigid's Day, a bloggers' silent poetry reading. Found on Laura's blog, started by Grace's Poppies.

Vino Tinto by Sandra Cisneros

Dark wine reminds me of you.
The burgundies and cabernets.
The tang and thrum and hiss
that spiral like Egyptian silk,
blood bit from a lip, black
smoke from a cigarette.

Nights that swell like cork.
This night. A thousand.
Under a single lamplight.
In public or alone.
Very late or very early.
When I write my poems.

Something of you still taut
still tugs still pulls,
a rope that trembled
hummed between us.
Hummed, love, didn't it.
Love, how it hummed.