China

I must start by writing that this post is not about knitting. If you read further, you will encounter sad content that may trigger emotional responses for some readers. I will not think less of you if you stop reading now, and choose to close your browser.

One year ago, I was sitting at my dining room table with a Notary Republic, signing a ridiculous number of papers, and handing over a very large cashier’s check. All of this happened as two contractors were ripping the side of my house apart to replace two patio doors.

So much has happened since that day, and I’ve been negligent about blogging the details. Granted the flurry of activity involved in moving really didn’t leave much time for blogging. I wish that I could write that the move was the only eventful thing that happened in the past year. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury.

Three weeks ago, my beautiful China died. It was unexpected, and it happened very fast. In some way, I’m thankful for the speed in which this occurred. There was no time to debate options, and the final decision was clear. I’m so grateful for the 12 wonderful years that I had with her, and I miss her more than words can say. I’ve reached some level of acceptance about her loss; although, there are some moments when I am reduced to inconsolable sobbing. She was a joy. I long for her affection, and her constant chatter. The house is so strangely quiet without her.

I am happy to write that my other 3 cats are all well. They each mourn her in their own way. They’ve now mostly settled into a new routine. They are each much more affectionate. Perhaps, they know that I need the comfort.

I know that life will continue as it must, and that I will adapt to her absence. I will always miss China, and I’m certain that moments will come to trigger the deep sense of loss that I feel now. I take comfort in knowing that now and forever more, she is at peace, free of pain, warm, and safe. I’m grateful for the warm wishes and sympathy that has been expressed by so many of my friends.

I am almost settled in my new house, and I continue to look for just the right piece of furniture to make it home. I am knitting; although, my knitting productivity has taken a hit in recent weeks. I have some design ideas rolling around in my head, so the blog will return to a happy knitting place that is mostly about socks in the future.

Honestly, I’ve struggled with this post. Sharing news like this on a blog seems very impersonal. I know this content really has nothing to do with hand knit socks, which is what brings most of you here. Nevertheless, I feel a need to honor China for the joyous companion that she was. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite pictures of my baby girl. I think they capture her personality, and I hope they help to end this post on a happy note.

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Lesula

This week, Knitty launched its 15th anniversary issue, and I am delighted to be one of the contributors. Since this is a special occasion, Amy did provide guidance to design something inspired by the one of the patterns featured in the past 15 years. Of course, I knew I wanted to do something based on Monkey because what sock designer out there can’t say they haven’t been influenced by Cookie.

I played with several ideas, most of which will never see the light of day. Inspiration finally struck in the middle of the night to do something colorwork. At this point in the process, I had been staring at the Monkey charts so much that I could see them in my sleep. I focused on the triangles formed from the purl stitches, and that was the starting point for Lesula.

As much as I love colorwork socks, the tendency for a jog to occur in the pattern really bothers me. This is a consequence of the fact that knitting in the round is really knitting in a spiral. I admire people who can live with the job, sadly I’m not one of them. There are ways to deal with this. When I worked on Cordon, I incorporated the jog into the pattern. For these socks, I basically broke the jog by incorporating a colorwork seam into the back of the legs.

Technically, the jog is still there. It’s just not apparent because of the seam. That seam pattern also gets reused on the sole, which appeals to my desire to keep things tied together.

The architecture of the sock is the typical top down, heel flap & gusset construction. The only potentially tricky thing is the sock starts in the middle of the back of the leg. If you are working these socks on two circular needles or are working two-at-a-time, you’ll need to rearrange some stitches when you get to the heel flap. Also, since I’m sure someone will eventually ask, the longest float is 5 stitches, so hopefully no one’s toe will get caught.

On a completely different note, I would like to thank everyone for the well wishes earlier this month. The area where I live was extremely fortunate. The hurricane really only caused damage to some trees. I was never without power, and only lost internet for one day (ironically, this was 3 days after the storm). The area has mostly returned to normal. Grocery stores are fully stocked, and gasoline no longer requires sitting in long lines. There is just some remaining debris here and there.

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Safe

The kitties and I made it through the night safe and sound. I still have power!!!

I’m a bit tired, so I’ll post more once I’ve had a chance to catch up on sleep.

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Quick Update

I know, I’ve been neglecting the blog lately. Most of my knitting these days is secret knitting, which makes blogging about knitting a bit of a challenge.

I did want to write a quick post where I stand in terms of Hurricane Irma. If you’ve been reading this for a while, you’ll know I moved to the Tampa Bay area of Florida just over 6 months ago. In the unlikely event that anyone reading this hasn’t been watching the news, Florida currently sits in the path of Hurricane Irma, one of the largest hurricanes in recorded history. This is the same storm that devastated Barbuda and the Virgin Islands.

My current plan is to shelter in place with the kitties. My house has been shuttered since Wednesday. Given the storm’s current track, it should weaken to Category 2 by the time it hits Central Florida. The risk of storm surge where I live is low, and storm surge is really the biggest threat to me where hurricanes are concerned. I’m stocked up with peanut butter, water, cat food, wine, and my stash. I also have a contingency plan in the event that I need to leave my house in case of extended utility disruption. I would describe my current state of mind as concerned but not anxious.

I do expect to lose power at some point this weekend, so the blog will most likely return to its quiet neglected state for a bit. When the storm clears, and power and internet are restored, I promise to post an update, since I know some of you are concerned.

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Doing Battle

Over the past two months, I have been engaged in what I now refer to as an epic battle. It started with some lovely Miss Babs Yarn that I picked up earlier this year. It is what I hope to be a sweater quantity of heavy fingering weight yarn, perfect for the lightweight cardigan that a Floridian needs to have on hand (seriously, you would not believe the intensity in which they blast the A/C in restaurants). I made some cable swatches which I am still rather pleased with.

I may have shared these on an earlier post, but my memory is questionable, and I’m feeling too lazy to check.

I crunched some numbers, and I cast on. Technically, I cast on three times. In the first attempt, I bungled the cast on edge, and thought I could live with it until I had completed 2 1/2 inches of ribbing. Apparently, I don’t know me because it finally bothered me enough to rip it out and cast on again. I finished the ribbing the second time, and decided to double-check my number crunching. This was when I realized I made a huge error. The ribbing is denser than the cables, and I based my stitch count on the ribbing (that is a rookie move on my part). Rather than attempt to hide decreasing away over 30 stitches in one row, I ripped it out and started again.

I finished the ribbing. Yes, I know the color looks different, but it’s not. My what a difference the lighting, and the background can make. The grey is the accurate color.

I started the cables.

The stitch counts were correct, and everything seemed to be working swimmingly, but something was nagging at me. I crunched numbers again, and again, and again, and it finally dawned on me what the error was. When the decreases start happening for the neck, too much of the wrong cable would be consumed by the decreases leaving me with something I wouldn’t be happy with.

Yes, I ripped the whole skein out. I know that looks like two skeins, but there was a knot in the skein, so I broke the yarn & rejoined at one of the ends.

It may seem that this cardigan has defeated me, but the cardigan has clearly not met me before.

That’s a fresh skein. The original has been washed to get all the kinks out & will be rejoined at an appropriate time.

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