Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Joy of Sox

Well, not too long ago I posted that I was chugging merrily along on my Classic Lines Cardi. Shortly after that blithe remark I discovered the terrible fact that somewhere along the line I suffered a major gauge blunder wherein I am getting too many stitches to the inch and waaay too many rows to the inch. This sleeve:
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should taper smoothly all along its length instead of changing angle 2/3 of the way up where I finished the increases. I didn't realize this at the time though, and went right ahead with the body; the result is that all the waist shaping ended up in the first six inches of the sweater instead of, I don't know, following the contour of hip-->waist-->bust. I'm disgusted with it and have stuffed it in the bottom of its project bag and banished it from my sight until I get over my mad.

This left me free to return to my first love: socks. In a rush of productivity I finished the green Diagonal Lace Socks, though I won't have a picture until I get together with my friend Sarah next weekend; I am through trying to photograph my own feet until I learn to use the timer on my camera! Now I'm done with those, however, I couldn't decide between two skeins of my hand-dyed yarn so I cast on both.

First is a skein of "Platinum Sock" from Wool2Dye4. This yarn is a tight-twisted wool/nylon blend that feels very smooth and almost hard. The bright white color of the base yarn let me dye it with very pale colors:
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The pattern I picked is "Escher Socks" from Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn, although I changed the construction to toe-up and am also changing the heel. So I guess it's 'inspired by' the Escher Socks pattern!
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In their current unstretched state these socks look pretty much like plain ribbing, but when on the foot the'll have an interesting, kind of honeycombed look. I love the soft, broad stripes I'm getting.

The other sock gets its interest from color rather than pattern. It's an utterly plain top-down stockinette sock with a picot-hemmed cuff:
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but it couldn't be brighter without my needing sunglasses to work on it! I dyed this yarn last year and I call it "Popsicle" for obvious reasons. I'm through the heel flap on the first sock but I'm saving the leg of the second sock for this weekend. I'm going to a conference on Eucharistic theology in the Eastern Church on Friday and Saturday, and I plan to knit to keep my hands busy so I can stay awake while listening to the speakers. (Hey, cut me some slack - I'll have worked all day on Friday before driving up to Cleveland!) Hence the need for a project I can knit without looking at more than once every five minutes or so. Voila! Popsicle Socks!

By the way, I had an amusing time posing and photographing yarn in my burning bush and my pot of chives:
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Flash That Stash

I had so much fun a few weeks ago arranging all my lace yarn into a color wheel and taking its picture that I decided to do the same thing with my sock yarn. Now that's a really scary proposition - I am fond of lace yarn (think chocolate) but addicted to sock yarn (think cocaine).

I have this afternoon off, so I hauled the sock yarn storage boxes all downstairs, went out on the lawn and started playing. The arrangement was quite challenging - does this yarn that has blue, brown and purple belong in Blue, Brown, Purple or Multi? Is this one a red brown or a brown red? This is the kind of thing that makes most guys I know go completely bonkers; it's a good thing the main man in my life has four feet and a tail.

Well, here it is in all its glory:
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66 pairs of socks' worth of yarn. At my current rate of knitting, that represents a steady 5.5 years of work. I think of it as a form of insurance against economic downturns!

Monday, October 5, 2009

My new favorite phrase

I'm listening to Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma on my iPod as Buster and I take our daily constitutional. (Yay, Audible.com!) I'm in chapter 19, on hunting for mushrooms. In it, Pollan remarks that many popular pastimes and hobbies consist of 'playing at satisfying our creaturely needs' and notes his own fondness for gardening, using my new favorite phrase. So now I'll steal it for myself and go around describing knitting as

"my atavism of choice"!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Movie Reviews: Juno

I must be one of the last three people in the USA who hadn't seen Juno - it was an indie hit when it came out in 2007. It'd been on my list pretty much since it came out, too, and even in my Netflix queue. However, if you could see that queue you'd see how heavily tilted towards TV-on-DVD it is, and most days given the choice I'd way rather watch two episodes of commercial-free TV than a 90-minute movie. So Juno kept getting shuffled farther and farther down the list.

So last week I was talking about movies with a library patron and she asked about Juno. I told her what the general consensus had been - it got like a 93% positive score on the Tomatometer at RottenTomatoes.com - but I had to say I hadn't seen it myself. So I checked out a copy.

Last night I finally got around to watching it. In fact, I watched it twice through, plus all the Bonus Features except the commentary track (that's my plan for tonight). [Actually, this is one of the reasons I don't watch movies that often. Rather than a single 90-minute commitment I usually end up watching them more than once, especially if there's a commentary track, which I am a sucker for. So the darn things suck up three or four hours minimum and that's hard to fit into my overcrowded schedule.]

Without saying too much about it for the other two people who haven't seen the movie yet, it is about a teen pregnancy, and it certainly earned its PG-13 via crude language and crude verbal imagery. But I really loved the wit and spark of the script, and the characters were overwhelmingly sympathetic and believable (though they had the usual movie-character ability to think of and say things in the quirky, interesting and funny way I can only rarely manage in real life). A couple of times I thought they were going to take it in a very very very bad direction, but they didn't go there.

As a Catholic, it would be a mistake to describe Juno as a "pro-life" movie. That makes it sound like a message picture and that's definitely not the case. But it shows Juno, having made one bad decision (well, a couple), proceed to make several very good ones, and I love the way 1) Juno never for a minute thinks that at sixteen she's ready to be a mom, and neither do the people around her and 2) the way adoption actually gets positive press. This is a topic rather dear to my own heart, so yay Juno!

The three main actresses, Ellen Page as Juno, Jennifer Garner as Vanessa and Allison Janney as Bren, are all wonderful. Ellen Page carries the movie, of course, but Bren gets some marvelous lines. As for Jennifer Garner, because she's playing a rather uptight character her face looks severe in most of her scenes. Then the couple of times she throws a full-on smile at the camera, whoa Jackie! you just about fall over with the beauty of it.

Not for the easily offended, but I loved this movie. Read real reviews at rogerebert.com and decentfilms.com! Oh, and on the insightful Church of the Masses blog too!