Saturday, February 26, 2011

What the fat needles hath wrought

This turned out better than I anticipated.  It took about two hours to make on size 13 dpns and a circ.

I hope I can wrest it from Ted.

The pattern is "Handpaint Hat," by Linda Daniels, of Northampton Wools.  I found it in Knit Hats! Fifteen Cool Patterns to Keep You Warm, Gwen Steege, ed. (Storey Publishing, 2002).  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fat needles

Dreary weather has a way of fomenting impatience, and I have become extremely impatient for warmer weather. Hence yesterday I convinced H to drive us (and Lola) to Logee's Greenhouse in Danielson, Connecticut so that we could imagine ourselves in the tropics.

This hothouse citrus tree, planted in the 1930s, has grafted branches of ten different fruits.
One of the many camellias in bloom.
By the time we left Logee's I was feeling warmer and craving hot colors--deep pink and orange. I am sure this yen began when I witnessed Orla and Quentin's nuptials on V-day, as they both wore impressively tropical hues. In fact, ever since donating the Hip-Hop yarn worn by Orla, I had been ruminating on the several skeins of it that take up quite a bit of space in my stash room.

Fortunately we had lunch in the nearby town of Putnam, Connecticut, and parked quite near Woolworks, Ltd. We ate at a forgettable restaurant while Lola waited in the car. Afterwards, H returned to the car to walk Lola, while I sashayed into Woolworks.

Like most of Putnam's downtown businesses, it's harbored in an oddly renovated building of limited architectural merit. Inside, however, is a different story. This place is radiant with positive fiber energy! I found a warm, very replete LYS, with a serious collection of spinning wheels and a spinner-in-residence. The staffers were really congenial and charming, and gave me a good sense of the shop's array of yarns and notions. Unlike many LYS which seem to have only two skeins of any given yarn in any given color, and maybe one of the color you really want, Woolworks' shelves were fully stocked with yarns ranging from Reynolds and Sirdar to Cascade, Malabrigo, and very interesting local (CT) yarns, such as Corriedale worsted from Brown Farm of Scotland, CT, and  Fibers 4 Ewe sock yarn of merino, nylon, and milk fiber.

Also, I was thrilled to find a set of #13 dpns--wooden, no less!--and purchased them and a skein of Fibers4Ewe sock yarn forthwith. Contrary to what you may suspect from this odd juxtaposition of merchandise, the large needles are for knitting a hat with the Berocco Hip Hop yarn so fashionably worn by Orla on Valentine's Day.

Especially as I have been focused on socks for the last few months--they have become something of an obsession, actually--and have been working with size one and two dpns--my fingers have been thinking about the other end of the spectrum, as they have a somewhat polarized mentality (likely the result of so many years of piano practice). Having just begun this hat with chunky yarn and clunky needles, I can say that while it does knit up extremely fast, it is also deeply clumsy to knit with such oversized tools... So the benefits and disadvantages cancel each other, IMHO. As for the hat...we shall see what we think when it's over and done with. Orla and Ted have promised to model it.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Orla and Quentin tied the knot today, in the Woodville Chapel o' Love, located near the mouth of Babbling Brook and the northern shore of the Wood River. The ecumenical ceremony was jointly performed by GloBug and Dinosoap, who were ordained Human Ministers for the occasion. Moon Goon was Maid of Honor, and Cobi was Best Man. The bride wore an artfully-coiled skein of Berocco Hip-Hop in the Red Spyda colorway, chosen specially to complement Quentin's signature scarf. Musical accompaniment was provided by "When Birds Do Sing," an avian vocal quartet.


Following the ceremony, the happy couple posed for an official portrait in a nearby tree.

Flags were hung in honor of the newlyweds.

And they were welcomed as a couple into the realm of conventional society by Molly, their self-appointed guardian.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I ♥ my old sweater...

Regress with me to's a cold, dreary day in February, by which time the relentless ice and snow of winter have turned everyone into a mental case. I am in the process of divorce, and custodial parent of sons, ages eight and four. Between doing the mother thing--balancing child-care and two horribly-paid college teaching jobs in two cities fifty miles apart--and burdened with a Greek chorus of doomsaying relatives and the ex-husband from hell, between talking interminably to lawyers and therapists and trying to reinvent my life, post-divorce, I am, shall we say, a bit tense?

Then, for reasons long forgotten, I find myself surprisingly alone in the car, near an outlet store in Needham, Massachusetts called De Celle, and all the fibers of my being tilt into shopping mode. An inner voice tells me to buy, to buy, to buy, though I have little money and no real need for anything to wear. As if in a dream, I enter De Celle's, my body automatically propelled through its glassy doors, past the handbags and hats, the umbrellas and dresses, to the section demarcated "Ladies Tops." A while later, I emerge with this sweater, which once (but no longer) had an inner label stating "hand-knitted in Great Britain."

I wear it every Valentine's Day.  And also whenever I feel a strong need for protective magic.

The sweater has sustained some moth damage over the past twenty-three years. But it's been a stalwart friend, and I love it still.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cabin Fever

Today's tedium of snow was interrupted by the tedium of ice glazing trees, shrubs, branches, twigs; streets turned to skating rinks, a midday meltdown creating ponds on top of ice--all destined to refreeze by evening.   This is getting old.

Click here for the free pattern!