Saturday, October 27, 2007

on vacation, and a small game

Bet you already guessed that. Sorry for the unexplained absence; last week was a bit, er... busy. And then we left for vacation.

I'm writing from Salome HQ to let you know that:

a) I'm still alive;
b) I'm sorry for just disappearing;
c) Out of the four knitting projects I brought on vacation, three are socks; and
d) San Francisco still rocks. And Menlo Park is the new Jersey City.

We are hanging out with the Salome crew this weekend and will be in Yosemite next week, and then it will be back to the standard fare of blogging, knitting, whining, etc. I also promise actual knitting content, including a really belated Free Pattern Friday that I had intended to post during Socktober, but somehow the month just slipped away (I know it's not over yet, but I won't be able to post it from the road).

So here's the game (bugheart and les are sadly ineligible for this game): If you're the first person to correctly guess why last week was so crazy, and why October got away from me so quickly, you will win a lovely ball of sock yarn. Leave your guesses in the comments... I have no idea when I'll have internet access again to verify the guesses, but rest assured the sock yarn will be shipped promptly to the winner.

See you in a week!

Monday, October 15, 2007

all workey no knitty

First off: today is blog action day. I already posted an action topic on our blog at work, so rather than write another one, I'm just going to suggest that you pop over to the Pesticide Action Network and sign a letter to the US EPA asking them to withdraw their stupid, stupid decision to bring a very nasty new toxic pesticide onto the market in the US - one that is sure to harm thousands of farmworkers. Sign the letter, and send it to a friend!

= = =

Okay, on to my self-absorbed little blog post:

There is so very little knitting happening here at the pea headquarters lately. My fingers are itching for it, but they are busily occupied with a computer keyboard at all hours of the day and night.

Don't feel too sorry for me; I am working ahead so that we can go on vacation. Two weeks on the west coast! We are going to have some fun with friends in San Francisco, and then go see beautiful Yosemite. I can hardly wait! I've never been there before, but I understand that in Yosemite they have two kinds of skunks - striped and spotted - not to mention all kinds of weasels, martens, and other interesting animals. I'm sure to come back with some lesser-known critters on my to-knit list.

And two weeks of vacation means two weeks of uninhibited knitting: on the plane, in the car, in line at museums, and just plain old leisurely sitting around knitting on places like park benches. It's going to be fabulous. Maybe I'll even finish something for a change!

But in the mean time, it's nose to the grindstone for me. The most knitting I've managed in the last two weeks has been a couple of rows on a random sock. My dreams of posting a sock pattern during Socktoberfest seem to be slowly fading... if I can get away with posting photos of a lonely single sock with the pattern, it may just come to that. How sad. Of course, some of y'all only knit orphan socks (*cough*GraylaGran*cough*), so this would be the perfect pattern for you.

So, I have to fess up to my laziness and stupidity. Last week I did a post for Sew Green in which I wrote about felting without the washing machine, in a technique that uses the dryer. It was an attempt to save a lot of water, and it worked. But I asked whether anyone had methods for felting that also avoided electricity... well, if you're a Knitty reader you know that I didn't bother to do a lick of homework before writing that post (other than trying to figure out how much water my washing machine uses per cycle. Answer: about 50 gallons. Ouch). Christine Olea wrote a great article for the latest Knitty on felting in a bucket with a plunger. Oops. Only half a dozen people pointed it out to me... This is an important lesson. If I'm too busy and distracted to knit, I certainly shouldn't be trying to write about knitting. Duly noted.

Now it's back to work!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

i hope we never see it

I don't like poetry. Well, that's what I've always said. HWWLLB always told me, it's just because you haven't found a poet you like. He is a great lover (and memorizer) of poetry. I've always admired people who can remember a poem they like, let alone recite it from memory.

There are some poems I like, some funny and famous poems by people like William Carlos Williams and e.e. cummings. But maybe I have finally found a poet I like. After reading a bunch of his poems, I am about to go out and buy a book (or two) of collected poetry by Wendell Berry. Here's one I read last night, which he wrote upon inspiration from his daughter, who once said to him: "I hope there's an animal somewhere that nobody has ever seen. And I hope nobody ever sees it."


Being, whose flesh dissolves
at our glance, knower
of the secret sums and measures,
you are always here,
dwelling in the oldest sycamores,
visiting the faithful springs
when they are dark and the foxes
have crept to their edges.
I have come upon pools
in streams, places overgrown
with the woods' shadow,
where I knew you had rested,
watching the little fish
hang still in the flow;
as I approached they seemed
particles of your clear mind
disappearing among the rocks.
I have waked deep in the woods
in the early morning, sure
that while I slept
your gaze passed over me.
That we do not know you
is your perfection
and our hope. The darkness
keeps us near you.

-Wendell Berry

I find this poem incredibly moving. The first time I read it, I was in awe of Berry's reverence and gratitude for mystery, and I cried at the wonder of it (sappy, I know). I love the deep quiet of it, and the idea of perfection in unknowing.

Monday, October 08, 2007

so what do i do with this stuff?

Yesterday on a rare visit to the LYS in my former hometown of Carrboro, I picked up the final ingredient for the Neuse River Waterdog.

lovely roving from three waters farm

Um... so what do I do with it?

The idea is this: the waterdog has these crazy external gills that flap out from its neck like little butterfly wings. I have already knitted and felted the body, but to get these weird free-form gills, I think I need to needle-felt them.

I picked up a great needle-felting tool at a craft swap this summer, but have yet to use the thing. At the other LYS, I was told I should use roving, which as you now know I finally got yesterday. The only solid advice I've received so far is not to hold the roving in my hand while jabbing it with needles. I think I can remember that. But now... I am stuck.

Do I wet it first and mush it into shape? Do I just lay it down and start poking at it with the needles? How do I make it go into the pretty lobed shape that I want for the gills?

I like these pretty lumps of brilliantly-dyed wool though. It's going to be hard to start bashing them into external gills - hopefully I'll have some left over to stare at and fondle afterwards.