Racing Stripes

So, I had this sweater I was going to finish but I used up all the yarn and went fishing around in the pit of leftovers for something suitable to sew it up with. And, somehow I found myself picking out colours for yet another sideways scrap scarf. I always think I’m going to do some cool colourwork or something with my odds and ends, and yet:

Clearly it will never get old.

This one’s kind of different though, on account of the orange stripes, right? I do love a complementary colour scheme.

Speaking of racing stripes, I’ve lately been reading Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep: The Tale of the First Tour de France by Peter Cossins. (Those are some of the more interesting professions of the original participants.) It gets off to a kind of a slow start, given that interest in old-timey sporting newspapers and their owners is limited at best. But once the race gets going it’s more interesting. Started in 1903 to sell newspapers, it’s almost as much along the lines of those “plucky reporter does wacky adventure” kind of stunts as a sporting event. The dusty roads! The overnight stages! The cheating! The drama! Who doesn’t love a wacky spectacle?

Next time, sweater! Which will hopefully not turn out to be a wacky spectacle.

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Fresh Air!

Ah, y’all, finally some cool weather. I finished my latest socks:

Pretty, huh? Pattern is Berkshires, knit in String Theory Colorworks. Colourway is White Dwarf. Made a game effort to match the stripes and it mostly worked. The wide stripe sequence is a bit too simple on its own for my liking – you can see it on the bottom of the foot. I like how the zig-zags liven it up a bit.

Then, instead of casting on more summertime socks I picked up a sweater that had been sitting out the hot weather. Just need some sleeves!

The back-to-school September-ness also has me thinking more about books. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately, although I did read The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte. The parts about dinosaurs are super interesting – how can you go wrong with dinosaurs? The parts about his paleontologist colleagues are … oddly gushy. Like, I started to wonder if they’re really all brilliant, charming and generally excellent or if they’re so cranky and thin skinned that he was worried about them reading his book and getting offended.

What shall I read next? Decisions, decisions …

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Sock Jag

Well, summer continues apace – I see the current humidex is 35C. So, still stuck inside knitting. I finished those zigzag socks from the other day:

Pattern is Zigzagular Socks, yarn is Sweet Fibre Yarns Super Sweet Socks in Tea Leaves. I’m so absurdly pleased with them. Now I just need the weather to cool enough for wool socks. (Wednesday night, looks like? I’m so prepared!)

What else to do but cast on another pair of zig-zaggy socks? Apparently I’m going with a theme here.

Pattern is Berkshires. I’m moreĀ amused by self striping yarns than I should be, and the stripes are coming out pretty cool here.

Got any favourite sock patterns?

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The Sock Days of Summer

When I think of summer, I always daydream about picnics, days at the beach, camping trips and similar outdoorsy fun. Alas, in reality summer inevitably seems to feature far too many days when it’s too hot and/or humid to even contemplate going outside. Lately I keep checking the forecast and thinking that seems like totally reasonable temperatures, then the air is so thick and humid I start wondering if one can drown while waiting for the bus.

Obviously there’s nothing to do but stay home and knit socks.

One of those busy variegated skeins had me scrolling through patterns and thinking hard. Naturally, I finally settled on…

Plain old stocking stitch. Yarn is Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Gadgets and Gizmos. It obligingly didn’t pool but I do find the first leg it markedly yellower than the rest. Also, I can’t get the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid out of my head.

It was still stupid humid out so I cast on another pair. Halfway done:

Pattern is Zigzagular Socks, which I came across while looking for variegated yarn patterns, but using a semisolid here since I’m contrary. I like the simplicity of it in a quieter yarn.

Maybe by the time I’m done it’ll be wool socks weather?

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The City of Falling Angels

Y’all, I probably should have gone to the opera when I went to Venice. I’m the kind of philistine who doesn’t much care for opera but the theatre itself would be neat to see. The Fenice burned down in 1996, which is the beginning of The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (the guy who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.) It so happens he turned up in town that day and decided to write a book.

It’s partly about the fire (arson? negligence?) and rebuilding of the Fenice with gossipy sidetracks about various inhabitants of Venice. It’s also a mix of interesting and, uh, not. There’s a master glass maker who makes fiery Fenice vases, a scandal with Ezra Pound’s mistress and of course the fire investigation. Then things get bogged down in way too much detail about Save Venice politics and backstabbing. I just don’t care. At all.

It did make me want to go back to Venice and look at it all again.

Since it’s been too miserably humid to do much else lately I’ve finished a shawl:

Looks a little fiery, right?

Specs: Northern Lights knit in Blue Brick Point Pelee Lace.

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Travelling Scarf

Usually, when I go travelling I bring some knitting along, and usually I imagine I’ll spend my vacation knitting furiously. The thing will be done when I come back. Hey, I’ll wear it on the ride home! Maybe I should bring something else to work on just in case…

This never happens.

But, nevertheless, faced with the wish for lots of mindless travel knitting that will definitely fit in my carry-on, I go for laceweight scarves/shawls. I’ve got in the habit of knitting a plain garter top down triangle then adding some kind of border once I get home and start worrying about running out of yarn.

Here’s the one from California:

This one’s from Scotland:

For my recent jaunt to Portugal I decided to change things up and actually use a pattern. Wild, huh? True to form I made limited progress on the trip itself (I didn’t want to spill port on it after all.) But this way when I get home I can knit while daydreaming about vacation. Finished this weekend:

I kept worrying it was going to wind up too small but the corners didn’t even fit in the shot.

Specs: passione-amorosa knit in Fleece Artist Suri Blue that I’ve had hanging around waaay too long. No mods really except more repeats in a lighter yarn. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the last repeat but I’m glad I went for it. No leftovers, which always feels so much tidier.

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I must be a slow learner because I always think vacation will mean so much knitting and reading and yet I’m always wrong. There’s too much else to do! Why do I keep wasting suitcase room on books and yarn?

But I do have some new socks:

Plain socks in Hedgehog Fibres Sock. The colour is called Dijon but it reminds me more of cake than mustard. You know, that yellow birthday cake with sprinkles in it? I may need to make some cake to go with my socks. As you do.

On the books front, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss is one of those books that’s all about the premise. Lady monsters from classic literature (Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein, Dr Moreau, etc.) solve mysteries. With Sherlock Holmes. Fun! I don’t know what is says about me that there are so many classics I’ve never got to but apparently I’ve read all the monstery ones.

Back in the day I read the Little House books as a kid, and despite having not looked at them in years, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser was super fascinating. It’s sort of a behind the scenes look at Laura the person vs. Laura the character. Wouldn’t it be satisfying to rewrite your life the way it should have happened? In my memoirs I plan to always have perfect hair.

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