My body language says “no” and so does my mouth.

I used to feel like I had a neon sign over my head that said, “Wackos and emotional cripples – come talk to this one!!!”  Many years ago, I even managed to attract the same utter nut-job twice over the course of two years, in two radically different zip codes. But it has been a long time since I was catnip to the people whose coat sleeves come with extra inches and buckles.  Maybe it’s one of the side effects of being older, or being married.  Whatever it is, I haven’t missed it.

And then came yesterday’s commute home.

I was sitting by the window, earbuds in my ears, knitting away on my latest sock, sublimely minding my own business, when someone sits down next to me.  I have an impression of weediness, but otherwise I don’t really pay attention (I try not to be completely in my own world: it is wise, after all, to pay some attention to what is going on around when on public transportation – but as long as you don’t smell, don’t fall asleep on me, and don’t intrude unduly on my personal space, I don’t care who you are).  After just a few moments, I get the impression I am being observed.  This isn’t completely uncommon: I have had some delightful conversations with other knitters, interested teenagers, and those just generally curious as a result of knitting on the Metro.  But there is that other feeling of being watched – if you’re female, you know what I mean.  That kind of creepy, weird, can’t-put-your-finger-on-it feeling.  Weedy Guy was giving this impression.

I also get the impression that I may have been spoken to.  I remove an earbud and say, “excuse me?”  Weedy Guy says, “Oh – I said hello.”  Great.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m on public transport I generally maintain the fiction that my fellow passengers are invisible, unless there is some sort of natural opening.  Sitting down next to someone who is wearing earbuds and is obviously engrossed in some sort of project – there’s no natural opening there.  So Weedy Guy also has inappropriate boundary issues.  I put my earbud back in and continue to knit and listen.  I also make sure my left hand is turned to prominently display my engagement and wedding rings.  Back off, Weedy Guy with Inappropriate Boundary Issues.

Oh, but Weedy Guy with Inappropriate Boundary Issues isn’t done.  A few minutes later, I get another impression that I am being spoken to again.  Again, the removal of earbud and, “Excuse me?”

“Is that going to be a sweater?”  Not an uncommon question – the cuff of a sock could easily be the cuff of a sweater sleeve.

“No, a sock,” I respond.  I am about to put the earbud back in when Weedy Guy with Inappropriate Boundary Issues says, “But where is the toe?”

I have about 2 inches of this sock worked at this point, but to me it clearly looks like the top of a sock if you orient your mind away from thoughts of sleeves and towards thoughts of socks.  I don’t know anyone outside of a newborn who might need a 2-inch sock, and the cuff on this sucker isn’t going to fit a newborn.  It is also clear that even on a knitting machine, an entire sock doesn’t just… materialize.  You have to start somewhere.  I gesture a few inches below the cuff and say, “Well, it’s going to be somewhere down here when I get to it.”

“But where is it?”  Oh, great.  He isn’t just Weedy Guy with Inappropriate Boundary Issues, he’s Stupid Weedy Guy with Inappropriate Boundary Issues.  He’s also slightly agitated, which is freaky.  It’s just a sock, dude.  A sock you will never see again, God willing.

“I haven’t knit it yet.  I’m knitting the sock from the top.”

“But how do you knit from the top?”

It is so self-evident to me how you knit from the top that I don’t even know how to answer this.  I mean, it exists – it’s there.  The top of the sock is in my hand.  I say, firmly (possibly rudely – by now, I know I’m deep into neon-sign territory), “YOU JUST DO.”

Earbud firmly jammed back in my ear, I am no longer at home to Stupid Weedy Guy with Inappropriate Boundary Issues.  After all, there are only so many adjectives you can append to a total stranger before things get out of hand.

The most wonderful time of the year…

Sorry all, for the earworm.  And no, there are no jolly elves in red suits for this particular non-holiday.  It’s just the first full weekend in May, which means Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

The weather looks like it’s going to be …not so great.  Not like last year, anyway.  But that’s okay.  We’re not really going for yarn, just for shearling slippers (mine have given up the ghost after about three or four years of constant use and John, poor man doesn’t have any at all).  There may be a yarn purchase or two.  Maybe.  I’m not ruling it out, but I do have something of a yarn shop in my office/studio/cave of exploded projects, and I really don’t need any more.

Stop snickering, you in the back.  Do I have to turn this car around?

Anyway, time to go jump on John in a very annoying kid-on-Christmas-morning kind of way.

Yes we can… haz bukkit

John, Mel, Yvonne, and I made a snowy trek into Frederick, MD yesterday.

Frederick - snow.

(Yes, for all of my northern friends – that is a piddling amount of snow. But it’s the only snow we’ve had here all winter).

Our mission? Beer and yarn. We visited The Flying Barrel for brewing supplies and Eleganza for yarn. John picked up a brewing kit:

We can haz bukkit

Basically, some specialty equipment and two very big buckets.

I picked up some lovely blue and green yarn. I’m pondering a scarf pattern.

And that’s pretty much us today. We have friends out on the Mall in the scrum of the Inauguration, but my crowd-phobic self isn’t really interested in standing in the cold to watch the JumboTron. So instead, we have me baking bread and John brewing liquid bread.

Well, it only took a month and a half…

…actually, it took about two weeks of knitting in the evenings and then about a month before I had the opportunity to go to my friend Mel’s to use her superior little machine for felting.  (It’s superior for felting in that it’s a small-volume, aggressive little beast.  Probably not superior for gentle care of clothes, but everyone has their own special talents.)

My hair has gotten significantly longer in the last month and a half, but it still has the flapper-esque look I was going for:

New hat

Pattern: Dietrich, from Twist Collective. Mods on Ravelry.

Dang.

Somebody else came up with what would be the most perfect name in the world for me, if I were to ever open a yarn and fiber shop.

Probably best that they have it – I’ll probably never chase that rainbow anyway.  And it’s too good to not use.

Nativity play

We had a good Thanksgiving.

Some cats had some nice lounging

Sunshine LoLo

Simon bliss

The meal seemed to go over well:

Holiday table

I made a particularly pretty pie:

Pretty pie

And Mom indulged in the creation of a bunch of teeny sweaters – it was like a particularly cute obsession acted out in scraps of leftover sock yarn:

Mom's teeny sweater obsession

And finally, we’re currently sitting here deconstructing the performance art piece that is John hanging lights on the Christmas tree.  It’s rather nice.

Um…. yeah. I do still knit.

My Ravelry page has been rather a fly in amber over the last few months.  Not much going on over there for me.  Frankly, I’ve been pretty much just doing socks lately, and I mostly don’t document those – just pop ‘em on my feet.

But I did pick up some Misti Alpaca handpainted sock yarn as a souvenir in Maine, and did up a Lace Ribbon scarf .  I wanted a longer, skinny kind of scarf – multiple wraps ’round the neck, or a long, loose drape – so I took out two of the pattern repeats.  It was perfect train knitting – quickly memorized, small, portable.  Best of all, it’s not a sock, so it really wanted to be photographed:

Lace Ribbon scarf

Yes, it’s VERY long.

Lace ribbon closeup

But very pretty.  I think it’s a good’un, myself.

You know, sometimes people really don’t suck.

I got a note from someone who cast on my Baby Fern Scarf , who actually took the time to e-mail me to say she liked it:

What a simple and lovely pattern. Thanks for taking the time to put it out there!

I have to say, this made my day.

I admit it.

I don’t get it.

A bunch of my Ravelry friends have queued this sweater out of the latest Knitty.  My not getting it probably has a lot to do with me, not with the sweater: I am absolutely the wrong body type to wear it (strike 1), I am solidly in the anti-bobble camp (strike 2 – also see above re: “wrong body type”), and detatchable sleeves give me 80′s flashbacks of the worst kind (strike 3 – it’s the detatchable sleeves that really confuse me.  What can I say?  I’m way too preppy and square for detatchable sleeves).  I will be very interested to see iterations of this design in the wild, especially in the case of inevitable knitter modifications.

I would, however, like to shout a positively ENORMOUS “congratulations!” to my friend Robynn, whose “Twist and Shout” is lovely (and lovely on her in the photos).

Blogging the Blob

I promised Robynn photos of the blob, so here they be:

Blob – wide-shot:

Bee shawl - final phase

Blob – closeup of final motif:

Bee shawl - closeup of final motif

Extra bonus knitting content – a sock for John, cobbled together with ideas from Cat Bordhi’s latest fever-dream, er, book :

John's raven socks - well, sock

(I really like that heel, and this was my first foray into linen stitch, which is a bit of a pain, but the effect is nice).

Extra bonus holiday weekend cute – LoLo the lounger:

The Yoga of Cute

(Yes, that’s Milo. I have a slightly wacky habit of nipping a nickname off the back of our pets’ names. So MacIntosh becomes Tosh or Toshie, Simon becomes MonMon or Mon-ster, and Milo has become Lo, Little Lo, or LoLo.  Those with single-syllable names don’t have this indignity visited upon them, so Dash is safe.)

Robynn also tagged me , and while I’m not generally memealicious, I decided to go along…

What was I doing ten years ago?

Hmm…. May of 1998.  I had just moved to the DC area for the first time.  I purchased my first house in Arlington, VA (everyone told me I was out of my mind for buying, the market would tank any minute, everything was overpriced… um… yah.  Not so much.)  I had one cat (Mon, MonMon, Monster).  I wasn’t in a relationship, and for the first time in my adult life, I was pretty cool with that.

Five things on my to-do list for today:

  1. Write this post
  2. Work more on the blob bee shawl
  3. Clean up the kitchen
  4. Relax
  5. Relax some more (holiday, don’cha know)

Snacks I enjoy:

Mostly things with salt – potato chips, corn chips and salsa, and the like, but I also really like pickles… mmm.  Pickles.  Salt and chocolate together are also favorites, like chocolate-covered pretzels, and while it’s not salty, chocolate-covered ginger is a dangerous new discovery.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Um… wow.  The world kind of explodes when you think that way, doesn’t it?  My mom and I used to play a game called "dream house" – we would talk about various aspects of what home would look like if money was no object: location, features, what sort of special rooms we might have.  This is kind of like that, except there’s a personal and a public side to it.  Clearly there would be a lovely home (well, homes – favorite places like Colorado and Paris spring immediately to mind), and there would be travel to places I want to visit but wouldn’t necessarily want to live (India, the rest of Europe, New Zealand), but there would also be the "doing good" part of having that much money, and knowing me, it would be about education and independence.  I suppose I would either fund a foundation and work with people who are committed to enable independence through education, or find a foundation that’s already doing that sort of work and work with them.

Places I have lived:

It’s a pretty short list: New Hampshire (Hollis and Manchester); Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota; the DC suburbs of Maryland and Virginia; Somerville, Massachusetts (I’m only including places where I’ve had an address on my driver’s license – there are other places I have spent considerable time – like London, England, or Menlo Park, California).

Tag?

Umm…. well – let’s see.  How ’bout Marie , Lianne , and Daisy ?