Monday, August 29, 2016

Pretty Socks

 

Goodness, these socks are so pretty. I hadn't ever really thought about socks being pretty before--socks are kind of utilitarian for me, and I've made some that were wacky and could only wear them around the house, and some that were plain, but in pretty yarn that didn't get worn very much either, but these are just completely lovely, and I want to wear them all the time. Maybe the trick is pretty pattern + plain yarn, instead of the other way around?

These are the Longing For Gotland socks, designed by Pia Kammeborn (pattern is here) and I knit them in Quince and Co. Finch, colors "Storm", "Frost", and "Nasturtium". On size ZERO needles, which are the size of toothpicks. And it was fun, fun, fun! I think I'll make about seven more pairs of these.

I haven't really longed for Gotland, myself, but I might start now.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mercy

Finally it has cooled off and the rain is coming down. Able now to imagine a world where I am not stuck to something, or slumped on the floor in front of the fan in a half-waking, dreamlike, fugue state, I sat up and found myself, scraped together some industry, and swept the rugs. I located my dusty stove and made a strange stew out of wrinkly vegetable drawer remainders. And of course I started about fifty-seven new projects, because I can operate my brain again now. Summer is delicious. I am lugubrious in the heat, almost a non-Newtonian fluid, practically wearing nothing but a sarong and flip-flops. Thoughts drift in and out, an icy drink melts slowly into a puddle, the wildflowers in my abandoned garden vibrate with bees. I slide my eyeballs painstakingly to one side, toward the tiny roar of a hummingbird, who comes up to the porch to investigate me, because I have lain so still, unblinking and dissolving, for so long that he thinks I may be some sort of plant material. I relish all this, and I dream tearfully of it during the long, desperate months of winter, when we cannot even get out the front door, but I have to say that I am fully restored now, all cells are sweat-purged of toxins or whatever, all bones are liquified to a summery-softness. Hummingbirds have been watched. I am done. Healed. Ready to move around again, and to leave a magazine on the kitchen table without having to later scrub away the layer of paper it leaves behind. This cool, fresh, clean air is making me cry with the mercy of it. Rain, rain, rain. Wash me.

 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Putting the sweat in sweater

 

I am beside myself with wanting to show you this thing in action, but friends, it is so hot here, and I just can't right now. I will, and soon, because dang, it turned out really well--look at those luscious cables! And that collar! It stands up against the back of my neck and snuggles there like a sweaty hug. Hoo! In a few months, I'll love that. When the weather shuts up, I'll put on the flannel plaid button shirt and skinny jeans and boots that this pullover [Hitch, by Vanessa Ewing] is begging for, and you'll be able to see the whole thing, but today the white hot sun is blaring down at me like the gigantic nuclear furnace it really is, and I don't want to put on this gorgeously thick, fluffy, wooly, cozy, cuddly, smooshy sweater, not even for the two minutes it would take to snap a photo.

I had to block it three times--the third time was my own fault--and I might still cut away the clumsy cuffs and redo them, and I'm not really 100% committed to the buttons, but my love for this finished garment is pretty huge. I've got the cable fever, got it bad. I want to make this now. I am dreaming of fall, and kind of hoping for a sidewalk full of leaves to shoosh through. Wishing for cooler weather! What? I hardly recognize myself. A sweater like this will do that to a person.

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A computer sleeve and a dream

 

Almost everything I make is for me, mostly because I am aware that not everyone has the same enthusiasm for nifty little sewn doodads and stuff with buttons and things made out of scraps as I have. My enthusiasm runneth over, ya'll, and if I can make it myself, well, get out of my way, because I am dropping everything and crafting. However, and I know this will shock some of you--there are people out there who would rather...hold on to something, this is hard to hear...get stuff from a store. Well. NOT TODAY, FRIENDS. Not today.

The doctor asked me to make him something. Running through my head right now is a long list of the crafty stuff I have foisted upon this man over the years--the very first socks I ever knitted come to mind, which he didn't even laugh at, and which would have fit an elephant, and the vest I gave him for christmas that hung down to his knees like a weird tunic--and still, he showed me his fancy new laptop, which is thinner than a stick of gum and looks like a stiff wind would break it, and he asked me to sew him a sleeve for it, "like the one you made for yours" [Aw! He noticed something I made!] "only less flowery." I did, in an effort to have this thing look slightly more Pro, try and fail to install a zipper, and in the end he had to accept my usual button-closure treatment, but he did so graciously.

Look at the fabric he chose for the lining:

Skulls. It glows in the dark. There is so much to love about this guy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer days with lace curtain

These beautiful (dry, windy, hot) summer days are going by so quickly. I eat warm yellow peaches every day, two-handed, leaning over the sink, like a greedy child. I shred, chop, or slice zucchini into everything I eat, and still more arrive on my doorstep--zucchini is so hard to love, but it is here in abundance, and I am doing my best. If I shred it into a green salad, I don't even notice it's there, which apart from the garbage is my favorite way to dispose of a zucchini.

Looking for new ways to make a fresh mess, I conducted a little experiment with a white polyester lace curtain from the thrift store. White doesn't seem to have much place in my messy life, and this proper granny curtain was looking a little prim in the window. A little too clean. What with the polyester and all I despaired of being able to dye it, and I was about to go in search of a dirtier-looking one when I suddenly remembered a tidbit gleaned a few years ago from an Annie Sloan book--you can use chalk paint to "dye" fabric. (Maybe you've seen the beautiful blue curtains she made from antique linens and, dang, blue paint. Amazing. There's a picture of them here.) I had some chalk paint in the cupboard already--Folk Art Chalk in a sort of brownish-gray color called "Castle". Annie's instructions say to mix 1 tablespoon of paint with about 1 liter of tepid water--now, I have no idea how much a liter is, so I just put a blob of paint into a bowl and then filled it with what seemed like approximately some water, maybe a half-gallon--and then stirred it with my hands until I couldn't feel the paint blob anymore. I dunked the curtain in there, wrung it out, and hung it on the clothesline, where the hot wind blew it dry in about four minutes.

I ironed it to set the color, and then hung it in the window, where it fluttered very satisfyingly, in a very summer-cottage kind of way, and where it looked properly dingy and not white at all. I can't quite believe it worked--I have painted a lace curtain, and lo, it is good. All of a sudden, anything can be any color I want. Holy cow, nothing is safe.

Off now to eat another peach.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Zipper

Sewing! Oh, sewing. The thing is that unless I'm doing it by hand, sewing requires a lot of tools, and I have been totally spoiled by knitting and crochet, which, of course, requires nothing but string and a fancy stick or two--the simplicity of that is honestly one of the main reasons I love knitting and crocheting so much. Just having my work in progress in a basket beside my chair where I can pick it up anytime I have a few spare minutes is so delicious to me. But on the other hand, ya'll, sewing is FAST, and I just love the stuff I end up with when I do get out all the tools and make the mess. There will be pieces of thread stuck to my shirt all day no matter what I do, but whatever. This little doodad (with a dreaded zipper, argh, zippers...where's the zipper foot, now I need a teeny screwdriver, and I'm probably going to break at least one needle as I inevitably run over something metal, and also interfacing, now where the heck did I stash the interfacing, and definitely an iron now that I think about it...see what I mean? I'm tired already) is the Petal Pouch by Anna Graham, from the [oh my goodness, so wonderful] Making magazine--If you dithered too long and didn't get a copy of Making, I am so sorry to tell you it's now sold out. It's really awfully pretty to look at. Anyway, ever since I saw a photo of the inside of Martha Stewart's handbag, all scrupulously tidy and orderly with nothing but zippered bags containing the tiny detritus that accumulates in a person's handbag, I, a natural slob who craves order, have had an insatiable need for zippered bags. This is one of many in my life, and there will be many more. I should probably put the zipper foot where I'll know where to find it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Green

We have established, I think, that I like gray.

And black, and brown, and oatmeal, and all the neutrals, really.

So what the heck is up with this chartreuse pullover?

I asked myself the same question. As you know, unless I am working with gray, I am virtually always riddled with doubts. [Holy cow, this yarn--Malabrigo Worsted, in "Lettuce"--is really pretty green. Quite green. Awfully green. I mean, whoa...it looks like guacamole. It looks like grass clippings. Can a person wear this color, really?]. Knit on and on, enjoying the simplicity of the plain rounds, the supreme softness of the Malabrigo. Snuggle it. Worry about it. Love it in theory, in the skein and in the wound-up ball. Periodically hold it up next to face beside mirror. [Will people ask me if I'm feeling okay?].

I asked a friend what color she thought this was. She said, "Umm." I said, "The label says 'Lettuce'." She said, "Hmm."

Maybe it's the magical soft summer light, or maybe it's Doc's crazy photography skills, or maybe I was right in my uncharacteristic boldness when I chose this yarn, but heck yeah. I am feeling fine.

Pattern: Mediumweight Pullover by Hannah Fettig.