Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's next for our herione, the Philistine?

Finishing my prelim exams has been such a tremendous weight off my mind, but I am now finding myself floundering a bit, asking myself, 'What next? What do I do with myself now that it isn't an absolute necessity for me to study for my exams 10 hours a day?' I'm finding it amazingly difficult to transition into the next big project: the dissertation. I'm finding it especially difficult to transition into the dissertation with the onset of spring. It just doesn't seem right to delve into this next huge undertaking at the *end* of the school year. Not... quite... yet...

Now that I've gained a bit of freedom and breathing room from my studies, I've finally taken the opportunity to expand my crafty horizons. I have been dreaming about quilting for a long, long while now. Mostly after having seen this beauty. (Ah, Maritza, my crafty muse). But it has always seemed like one of those big transitions, from knitting to quilting. I've still only recently become okay at knitting, and I haven't even knit any big lace thing yet (though, that, too, is on the horizon...)--quilting has just always seemed a bit too complicated to get involved with. I mean, you need a whole different set of tools, which I don't have. You need fabric, which I know nothing about and don't have. You need to have a clue about how to sew, which I don't have. And you need time and patience, which I haven't had much of... until recently.

But once I get something into my head, there's no stopping me, really. I have certainly discovered the lure of fabric. All it took was spending a little time on the internets surfing around the fabric stores and I was hit with massive amounts of quilty inspiration. Let's just say that finding fabric I liked was about as hard as finding sock yarn I like. Amy Butler polka dots and wall flowers, Alexander Henry birds and paper cranes... the list goes on. My fear of not being inspired by fabrics like I am yarn was utterly unfounded. It didn't take me long at all to discover *exactly* which prints and designers I like most. And once I started thinking about quilting combinations, there was no stopping me.

And so dreaming up ideas for quilts has replaced knitting single socks lately. And dream up quilts I have. What has transpired in this week away from knitting is that I have planned out no less than four quilts that I want to make. F O U R. The fabric combinations above and below are the beginnings of two of them. Above is the Birds and Gnomes Quilt-to-Be and below is the Colorful Chocolate Quilt-to-Be. I am very excited about both.

This one will have more fabrics added in, but I am trying to take this fabric acquisition thing slowly. Trying, anyway. But these two quilts are all planned out and I am ready to start. Now I just need that sewing machine and all those fun quilting tools. Oh, and some books to tell me how to do it. These all seem like minor details to me, though, because, for once, I have a little bit of time for myself and a lot of inspiration, so this quilting thing might finally happen.

Stay tuned... this blog might just become the Knitting and Quilting Philistine.

Also, the single socks will recommence on April 1, with the Project Spectrum color change to E A R T H.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


First things first, for all of you who have been following my trials and tribulations of the ominous prelim exams, they are over and I passed. Thank you all for your well-wishing during the past crazy two months of studying and hating my crapademic lifestyle. What have I been up to since March 2, the last time I posted, you ask? Well, I have one word for you: socks. Okay, actually, I have two words for you: single socks. The beauty above is a Spearfish sock knit using Fleece Artist 3/6 in Beet. Such a vixen, this sock is.

Some--though I suspect not all--of you will be happy to know that the Single Sock Liberation Movement is a far cry from being just another passing fad on the knitting scene. I am currently entrenched in my latest project--Project Spectrum 3.0 The Single Sock Edition. Yes, friends, my Philistine magic can skew any interesting and well thought out project into a fun new excuse to knit a bunch of single socks with not even the slightest concern for the second sock. I am currently knitting (and will continue to knit) single socks in the colors of the Project Spectrum Elements colors. The past two months have been devoted to F I R E--pink, red, and orange.

This cable-y beauty is a Liebchen sock, knit using Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk yarn in Dusk. The alpaca and silk blend yarn is wonderful for socks; the silk makes it strong and shiny, while the alpaca makes it all fuzzy, warm and comfy. Once the mate comes along (don't hold your breath, though), these are going to make perfect bed socks!

And the ribbed back of the leg ensures a wonderful fit.

This 'un is a Sock of Kindness knit using Sundara sock yarn in Papaya over Grapefruit. I don't think I've ever made a sock that fit my foot so well. Num.

This sweet red singlet was another fun knit. It's actually knit from a pattern available at the moment only in Finnish, the Strawberry Fields Socks. Lucky for me, I happened to email Kris for some help, and, despite not being Finnish or knowing a lick of Finnish, she decided it would be fun to translate Finnish into English. Go figure, because she translated it perfectly (as Tehri, who IS Finnish, has attested to). And Tehri has contacted the designer to make the pattern available in English, which should happen sometime soon, in the event that a) you are interested in making this sock, and b) you don't speak/read a lick of Finnish.

Perhaps a closer inspection of the heel and toe will convince you that, despite not knowing Finnish, you want to knit this sock? Beautiful heel, with the garter stitch rib traveling all the way down the heel.

And the side panels of garter stitch rib travel all the way down to the tip of the toe, which I think is an amazing detail. It's what made me seek out Kris' translating skills in the first place.

And who can go wrong with the stockinette Koigu sock? I call this one the Picot + Koigu = LOVE sock. It's the first in a long, long series planned. I needed a reason to need to use lots and lots of Koigu, so I created one. A sock series. Ah, again, that Philistine magic up-to-no-goodery hard at work.

There you have it: the F I R E single socks.
E A R T H single socks will begin promptly on April 1. And I, for one, can't wait.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Finished: Giotto-With-the-Flow Socks & Prelims 2, 3, & 4

Hello, all. Wow, do months just fly right by you before you know it when you're all stressy and preliming. I promised to show you some more finished socks long ago, and I've finally shown up to do it...

Finished: Giotto-With-the-Flow Socks
Pattern: These socks are a hybrid of of Anna Bell's Giotto Socks and Evelyn Clark's Go With the Flow Socks from IK's Favorite Socks. The idea for the hybrid was inspired by Whitney's clever machinations.
Fiber: Sundara Sock Yarn in Gray Green over Mint (one of my most favorite yarn colorways ever; that Sundara, she's a genius.)
Size: women's foot
Needles: size 1 Knit Picks circular needle
Date Started: a long time ago
Date Completed: January 2008
Modifications: No modifications from the two patterns. I knit the top section of the Giottos as written and the bottom section of the Go With the Flow pattern as written.

Love these socks. And such wonderful lounging-in-the-bed-socks.

Not that I've had much time for lounging in the bed any time recently...

Along with another pair (PAIR!) of socks, I've also finished my last three prelim written exams. If only I could say that the whole shebang was over and done. But the oral was canceled on account of a teensy bit of snow. It'll all be over soon, though. This Friday is the big day, finally. Then... maybe more time to blog? I'm hoping, anyway. I've missed you guys!

Up next: I rediscover what it's like to *not* spend twelve hours a day trying not to fail PhD preliminary exams. Also, my progress with Project Spectrum 3.0.

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