Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sock Mojo

I'll admit it: I really like knitting socks.

There's something wondrous about turning the heel, picking up the stitches, creating the gusset. Stitches running perpendicular to one another never cease to amaze me. Dennis even signed me up for the Rockin' Sock Club as a Christmas gift. I enjoy knitting socks.

Or I did.

Way back in February I was planning on knitting some socks for Kate, my four-year old. I would take her to the yarn store, let her pick the yarn, then let her choose a pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. Before any of that could happen, though, I was sidetracked by having my entire family stricken with the stomach flu (except the kids) while my parents were visiting. At the same time, we were supposed to be delivering the hundreds of Girl Scout cookies that Emma had taken orders for a month earlier.

Eventually I did manage to procure some very nice Koigu for Kate's socks, though I foolishly picked the yarn myself. This was a mistake. It took me a couple of aborted tries to settle on a pattern (Again, one I picked myself. Mistake.). I started the sock. It went slowly because by now I was sick again, this time with endless respiratory symptoms. But it went well. The first sock was finished in the early part of March. The second sock never saw the light of day.

I ended up with full-blown bronchitis and mild pneumonia the week of Spring Break. Yep, that was fun. Knitting was impossible for a few weeks. Then came Emma's birthday and a special knitting project (the Egyptian outfit) for her, and before I knew it, we were well into May and still no second sock for Kate. I decided it was time to get back into the sock groove. This was when I discovered how seriously I had screwed with my sock mojo by pre-empting Kate's choice of yarn and pattern.

I cast on, began the second sock, and was well into it by the time I realized that it seemed out of all proportion to my daughter's foot. I tried the original sock on her. It was too small! At first I thought I could fudge it. It was a stretchy ribbed pattern, after all. I tried it on her again a couple of days later. There was no way she could wear a pair of socks that size and retain circulation in her feet. I ripped out the unfinished sock and pouted. I stretched the too-small finished sock and fumed. I even toyed with the idea of frogging that first sock and re-using the yarn for a new, bigger pair, but in the end I knew there was only one thing to do.

At our LYS, Kate picked a lovely green shade of Koigu with flecks of tan, brown, grey, and blue in it. It took her all of 20 seconds to choose the yarn. It took her under a minute to pick a pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. You can see the them at the top of this post. Finished just about 2 weeks ago. Pretty, aren't they? You'd think that was the end of the story. It's not.

Sock mojo firmly back in place, I began a pair of Fourth of July socks for Emma to wear when she walks with her Girl Scout troop in the Independence Day parade. These were knit in strict secrecy as a big surprise, out of lovely Regia Nation Colors. When I finished them this evening and showed them to Emma, she was delighted. Until, that is, she tried to put them on. They are too small. They are, in fact, a perfect fit for Kate.

I have concluded that knitting socks for growing children may not be the best idea.

Left to Right: Kate's original Koigu sock from March, Kate's new Koigu sock from 2 weeks ago, Kate's Fourth of July sock (intended for Emma).

Emma will still get a pair of red, white, and blue socks, but they'll be anklets, as I don't have enough yarn (or time) left for a full pair.

And I'll make them big, so she'll have room to grow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Summer Pubs

Hey, look what came in the mail last week!

I was pleasantly surprised to get my copy of Other Poetry since I had no idea when the new issue was coming. Even better was finding money tucked between the pages and a poem by Arlene Ang. My own "In the Time of Origami" is thrilled to be in such great company.

I'm also delighted to see my flash "Sugar Blues" in Kalliope, which is one of my favorite lit journals.

Coming up soon: Carousel, Main Street Rag, and Ballard Street Poetry Journal.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Blogs that Make You Think

Bev Jackson has given me a Thinking Blogger Award. Thanks Bev!

It is now my duty to bestow the award on five blogs that make me think.

Surviving the Workday by Ms. Theologian (aka Stephanie Anagnoson) never fails to make me think. While the focus is on spirituality in the workplace, this blog incorporates every aspect of ethical thinking you can imagine. More importantly, Ms. Theologian doesn't just think about these things, she acts on them. She provides links and ideas that can help you implement changes for a better life and a better world. Her own experiences with trying to live a conscientous life provide a perfect example.

Over at Knittin' Mom, Chrissy Gardiner also puts her money where her mouth is. She is a co-founder of the breastfeeding advocacy group Mom's Milk Anywhere, writes exquisite knitting patterns, is full-time mother to two young children, and does her part to help the environment by raising her own chickens and recycling 75% of her family's plastic waste. Her commitment to the things she believes in is an inspiration.

I'd be remiss if I didn't include Patry Francis' Simply Wait in this list. Every single post Patry writes is thought-provoking, whether she's musing on random obituaries from the newspaper, observing the world through waittress' eyes, sharing her journey as a first-time novelist, or just talking about her everyday life. It's impossible to read Patry's blog and not be changed.

Over at Zyzzyva Speaks, editor Howard Junker tells it just the way he sees it. He is outspoken and never afraid to point out where and how the literary world has gone wrong. His commentary is sharp, biting, even harsh at times, but never cruel, and he injects humor in the most wonderful ways. Whether you agree with what he has to say or are in violent opposition, there is no doubt that this blog will make you think.

My final choice may seem odd, but this is a blog that I read regularly, though I've never posted a comment. It is Wil Wheaton's WWdN in Exile. I don't read Wil's blog because I'm a huge Star Trek: The Next Generation fan (though I do love the show). It's not because I'm a closet geek, either. I don't read it for the poker, the computer game reviews, or the (to me) completely indecipherable discussions of Linux. I read Wil Wheaton's blog because he is a writer and a parent who has a remarkable way of documenting his own journey through life. When he talks about his kids, I get a lump in my throat imagining my own girls in ten years. When he expresses writerly self-doubt punctuated by moments of clarity and confidence, I'm right there with him. There is nothing on this blog that is not one hundred per cent from this man's heart, and he makes me think about my own journey in wonderful new ways. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's funny as hell.

Thanks to all five of you outstanding bloggers, for making me think! Consider yourselves tagged.

The rules:
Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Barefoot Knits

Presenting: Emma's new knit top and skirt.

The top is Monica from the Spring 2007 Knitty.
The skirt is Twirly Skirt published in InKnitters magazine.

It works as both a skirt and a poncho! Both patterns are from the book Barefoot Knits by Christine Schwender and Paula Heist. Based on these two pieces, it's a book I'm going to want to buy.

I knit these on size US6 needles with Mission Falls 1824 cotton and they came out really nice. I've used the Mission Falls before and it's a very sturdy yarn for kids' clothing. It washes well and holds up forever. Now I have to start on Kate's...