Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tangerine Tango is the new beige...

Gentle knitters, I've been thinking about colors and why some of them are always thrillingly luscious (rosy pink, dark red) or comforting (navy, natural) or safety nets (black, brown), while others make us gag or engender a love-hate relationship. Let's consider, for instance, avocado green or "harvest" gold, which were a big deal in the 1960s and '70s, to the extent that many people actually bought kitchen appliances, shag rugs, drapes, etc. in those colors and regretted their tragically expensive choice within a very short time. Once enveloped by avocado green and harvest gold (a murky yellow-brown evoking ?) those fond feelings simply evaporated, and then where was the love?

Well, it's 2012 and now orange is in--specifically a shade called Tangerine Tango, which is Pantone's Color of the Year. The Knitting Goddess tells me the Color of the Year, flogged in fashion and décor, is an industry-generated ploy. For me, orange is the color equivalent of a scream for attention, since where I live you can't, by law, walk in the woods without wearing orange, else you risk being taken for wild game and shot at by a local yahoo who's out there proving his manliness. In fact, the one orange hand-knitted item in the house is a scarf I made H a while ago, specifically to increase his visibility when we stroll with Lola in nature-land.

Yet rather than feel that Tangerine Tango is a color I might grow to hate in the manner of avocado green and harvest gold, which I truly detest, I think of it as a color I'd grow to ignore because in a way it's so ubiquitous--the outerwear we don to maximize visibility in the woods, strip-mall signage, Halloween clichés, Fanta and Cheetos. Perhaps that's the inevitable fate of any Color of the Year, to become beige-i-fied.

These musings prompted me to inspect the orange yarns in my stash, and to compare them with natural oranges (tangerines, actually, and the last of the carrot harvest). There is a tonal harmony here, but a little orange goes a very long way, and I enjoy it best in combinations.

Here Lola unhappily models my (now) Evolved Sweater (formerly known as the Evolving Sweater), which as you can see features orange in combination with an eclectic assortment of colors and yarns.

Monday, February 13, 2012


It's a self-evident truth that V-day is nearly upon us. Recently, as I perused the assortment of regular daily emails that fly into my Inbox, I happened upon this from Knitting Daily, a charming and completely free-of-charge felted heart pattern designed by Mags Kandis.

In a eureka! moment I realized that my knitting of these lumpy little valentines would accomplish much in one fell swoop:

  • I'd use up scraps of yarn;
  • I'd practice "wrapping" stitches, as the pattern called for;
  • I'd practice short rows;
  • I'd try out a knitting app I'd downloaded onto my Iphone;
  • and...I'd end up with several funky knitted heart-like things.
Well, it all worked like a charm, I'm happy to say. 

Knitted heart in primitive evolutionary stage.

Does not this open-faced heart resemble a ginko leaf? And gingkos are evolutionarily both primitive, in the sense of being very ancient, and also sui generis among trees.  (Don't ask why I know this.)

Following the 18-row pattern, I did a long-tail cast-on (thanks to the Knitting Goddess, who demo'd it for me and led me through two practices), reviewed the wrap-and-turn process of short rows (again thanks to the Knitting Goddess, who was, I think, born knowing all of this very useful stuff), and worked my way down the lines. But...I'm not a diligent note-taker, and it soon was apparent that I needed an aide-memoire.

Then I recalled that a few weeks ago I'd done a search in the App Store using the keyword "knitting," and had found a few gizmos to download.  (About these as a group, stay tuned for a future post.) One, Knit Counter Lite, seemed like it might be just the ticket, and I must say it was. With a mere tap of my pinkie, I kept track of rows and where I was, exactly, in the midst of them.

This might not seem like such a big deal to those who enjoy the tactile sensations of paper and pencil to tick off the rows completed, but I am the kind of person who starts with a paper and pencil and then gets annoyed because I don't want to put down the knitting to use them, so I say forget that, and I then do promptly forget where I am in the pattern.  With the Knit Counter Lite app, I could hold the knitting and simultaneously add each row with a tiny tap, or subtract  if I ripped one (or more) out. No longer was I lost nel mezzo del caminn, as it were.

I can't remember if this app was free of charge, and my Iphone won't tell me. A more sophisticated Knit Counter by the same company (Cordless Dog) costs $3.99 to download, and it's probably worth the price of admission, as it does quite a bit more than the Lite version.

Practical-minded knitters are undoubtedly wondering what I plan to do with these fuzzy felted hearts...and so am I, though Ted thinks they make a great bikini.

At this point I'm not worried about their purpose, but more inclined to say, along with M. Pascal, "the heart has its reasons...."

(Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Do you know that memory game, played during long, boring car rides, where one person says, "I'm going on a trip and I'm taking my [fill in the blank]"? Then the second person says "I'm going on a trip and I'm taking [the thing first mentioned] and [another thing]."  Etcetera, ad nauseam. That was my life today trying to figure out which knitting project to bring with me to Long Island, where I'll be visiting my aunt.

I kept telling myself, "I'm going on a trip and I'm going to bring the brown fair-isle socks."  Then, playing the part of the next participant:  "I'm going on a trip and I'm going to bring the brown fair-isle socks and the evolving sweater." Then, a while later, "I'm going on a trip and I'm going to take the brown fair-isle socks, the evolving sweater, and the blue  variegated socks."

Because if I didn't have enough knitting along, I might run out of things to knit. OMG!

Then Ted said, "Get a grip.  You're only gone for two-and-a-half days."

So, I'm just taking two pairs of socks.  I'll be spending some significant hours on Amtrak and the LIRR; maybe I'll finish them both!

Meanwhile, the Evolving Sweater has once again regressed owing to another cable needle tragedy--this time the plastic cable separated from the metal screw-post.  I am starting to hate circular needles.

The malevolent needle is hanging out on the right.

As you perhaps know, we are having an unseasonably warm winter. Today, the first of February, the temperature in Westerly, Rhode Island was almost 60F, and the ambient flora are behaving accordingly. There are already snowdrops blooming in the garden!