Wednesday, September 19, 2007

End of the Summer of Socks

This is the fourth and final pair completed for the Summer of Socks. It ended up being a completely plain sock, but I think it will be my favorite. I love the stripes and the pink heel and toe are from a slightly thicker yarn. These may be the most comfortable socks I've made. Overall, the Summer of Socks was a success for me, because it encouraged me to actually complete pairs of socks, not just randomly cast on something new after I lose interest. I didn't ever think I had a shot at most socks knit, so I didn't end up disappointed or anything. Knowing that I have to work six days a week really puts the sock knitting slightly behind some other things in life, like eating and sleeping. Most of my sock knitting happened at night while watching the Red Sox (no, I do not wish to discuss that right now). I did win some stitch markers, and the best part? Four finished pairs of socks. Now I just need to convince myself that finishing the three half done pairs would a good thing. The post season games are coming along soon, and hopefully there will be a WHOLE BIG BUNCH of Red Sox games to knit along with this October.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Good, Big Doings

On a rain and sun speckled day this weekend, in the old granite quarried hills of central Vermont, my brother married his best friend. We were under a heated tent canopy, and young white birches, grapevine, and mums made that space feel like the woods in early fall. Bright paper lanterns hung from the ceiling. Into their vows, my brother wove home, family, friendship, deep love and respect. It was a brief, but very moving ceremony.

Our family has increased exponentially. Not only is my brother a parent of a 5 and 8 year old now, but he has three brothers-in-law. And another set of parents. All of whom I enjoyed immensely this weekend. With our extended family and friends, we laughed and celebrated as long as we could stand it, and on Sunday, dragged ourselves home completely exhausted. A good day - right up there on my list of best days ever.

I sat on our porch at home late that afternoon, and tried to puzzle out the wedding jitters i seemed to have had all weekend. I adore my sister-in-law. She's fantastic. My brother is happy. They glow. So why was I so emotional and jumpy?

The Better Half came and sat with me in the sun, let me read some E.B. White essays to him. A very comforting sort, White. He is the author of "Stuart Little" and my all time favorite "Charlotte's Web". His essays are timeless and so down to earth. A bit of White and my brain began to make some sense of things again.

Of the three siblings in my family, I'm the oldest by four years. By the time my brother came along, I was ready for someone to boss around. And boy, did I. He was so good natured about it... which changed eventually, of course. He was such a sunny, affectionate little person. A dreamer and a doer. Always busy at one or the other, sometimes both at the same time. He's been through a lot. Relationships, Iraq, life in general. I admit to hovering sometimes, to offering my opinion when I think I'm entitled to do so. I fret over his emotional health, his self esteem, his happiness. But lately, I haven't been fretting. Not really at all. And I'm a natural fretter. New worries go into my brain as if it were a rock tumbler. A little tossing about with some grains of sand, and I've worn away all the sharp edges. I experience their new texture like some kind of zen meditation. It's how I adjust, prioritize, make sense of things. I haven't been pulling my brother's worry stones out at all lately. He's happy, he has people (and one sweet dog with a penchant for running away) to go home to every night, and to wake up to each morning. He feels loved and cared for.

As a pseudo-parent, this fretless view of my brother was a big adjustment for me. Oh sure, there's interesting stuff on the road ahead, but for a change, he is equipped with excellent traveling companions. You dream of all sorts of wonderful things for the people you love - and sometimes it feels like being a grown up means accepting that they may never actually happen, no matter how hard you wish. But I got this one, this wish and it's pretty amazing. No wonder I was all emotional. With this Very Good Thing that has happened between my brother and my sister-in-law, and the children, life has given me a big, fat thumbs up.

I am a firm believer in family=pie. So, of course quiche was present at the post-wedding brunch for family. Family agreed, and both quiches disappeared. I attribute that not so much to my baking skills, but more to the fact that a buttery crust and bacon (yay fat content!) are an easy sell.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Summer of Socks Update

Even though I've been really bad about blog posts for the Summer of Socks, I have been knitting! In fact, if I actually completed all the socks that hit my needles, instead of frogging them, I'd easily have twice the number I have now. Somehow, even with a clear idea and a gauge swatch, what you get isn't always what you wanted. Anyway! I have three completed pairs right now to show off.

First socks off the needles:

These are Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in a special colorway from Simply Socks Yarn Co. I used the Baby Cable Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, casting on 56 stitches with 2.75mm needles. For these I used a plain stockinette heel flap, since they seemed busy enough already, without a heel pattern. They are extremely soft and comfy!
The second ones I finished are actually the first ones I cast on. These are Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Icehouse, in the Cross Hatch Lace Pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. (Yes, I have both books and I love them.)
I used a short row heel on these, since I've got a pair of socks made from the same yarn that pooled in a questionable manner with a heel flap. They ended up being a little snug, but the pattern and yarn makes me very happy.

These next socks are sort of not really socks. They're footies, so I don't know if they will count towards my total number of socks knit. They only took one Red Sox game to knit, so if they don't count at least they didn't take a lot of time. They're made from Sereknity's Sock Options Sport Weight in her Rock Lobster colorway. This is the first time I've used her yarn, and I have to say, I love it! So soft, so squishy, so fast to knit up. I can't say enough about this yarn! Must have more!!!

These footies were knit as part of the Sox Knitters group on Ravelry. We decided to all knit red socks for the Red Sox during the games as our little way of helping them beat the Yankees. That sort of fell flat since they beat us, badly. But it was a nice idea and I love my socks.
I have two other pairs on the needles right now. Can't have just one! The first is just straight stockinette and the other is a simple rib pattern, so hopefully I can knit like a fiend for the next little bit and get them done!
PS to blogger - I'm so hating you and your stupid "dashboard"!!! Any weird formatting errors in this post are totally your fault, since you won't let me fix them! Auuuggghhh! Bad Blogger! Bad!