Maybe Not

I’m not sure the park was the answer.  Now the walk was nice, and posing the tentacles proved alarmingly entertaining.  They enjoyed their trip to the park, and I very much enjoyed the perplexed expressions on the faces of the various onlookers as I posed the tentacles and photographed them.  But really, I think they might be an indoor sort of prop.  Either that, or I am just too easily entertained and I want an excuse to keep playing with them.  Or possibly there was some sort of traumatic giant spider/disgusting slug incident I don’t want to talk about.  Either way, I’m not done with these yet.

A Squirm?

My camera battery is charging as I type this.  Once it’s done, I’ll pop it back in my camera (no really, this part is important, if I forget it, I swear a lot), put my camera in its bag, and walk to the park.  While in the bag, my camera will be keeping company with a whole passel of tentacles (what is the collective noun for tentacles?  a grip of tentacles? a slither? a squirm?).  I’m going to the park to try and find somewhere to snap a few shots of them.

Well, that, and to ensure that I actually get outside and move around from time to time.  Knitting and writing are both inside and sitting down sort of activities, it’s important to remember that outside is sometimes nice.

Once I have a picture, I’ll spread the tentacle love and see if we can get everyone to share my flavor of crazy.

Well Dressed Pumpkin

Why yes that is a pumpkin.  Three of them really.  Well, I’m not actually sure if the white one or the green one are technically pumpkins, but they’re playing the role of pumpkin for me this year.  And yes they’re still on the porch.  As far as I’m concerned the pumpkins can reasonably hang out on the porch and be considered ‘festive decorations’ rather than ‘signs of terrible yard maintenance habits’ until Thanksgiving weekend or until the squirrels devour them — whichever comes first.

Why do you ask?  Oh, you were surprised about the neck warmer on the pumpkin.  Well, that’s slightly more reasonable.  Really though, do you have anything better in your immediate vicinity around which you could drape a woolly scrap of fluff for a quick photo?  Because the pumpkin was the best I could manage on short notice.  The cats weren’t going to cut it, and taking a picture of your own neck is more challenging than you might think (and it’s a really really unflattering angle if you get it wrong).  I may see if I can co-opt a photogenic friend into modeling it for a proper photo next weekend.

I’m still under-buttoned, but the bone skewer is growing on me.  The wrap is too.  It’s more or less a one row pattern.  It looks almost exactly the same on the front and back, it doesn’t curl, and it’s super lofty, which means its warm.  You could make it just about any size you wanted and it’s soothing to knit while not quite being totally mindless.  Perhaps most importantly, it matches most of my pajamas, which means I can convince myself it’s fine to wear it around inside when I’m cold.  It was the perfect thing to do with a shortish skein of somewhat…eclectic…yarn.  What more can you ask of a quick knit?

Just as important, this means I’ve finished Heather’s socks, the tentacles, and the neck wrap all in the space of a few days.  This feels like progress, like getting things done, like ticking things off the dread and dire list, which is spiffy in all ways.

Seeking Balance

Real tentacles are damn scary.  I think tentacle-bedecked sea creatures are among the creepiest things out there — worse than bugs, far worse than snakes.  Go look at pictures of squid and octopus and cuttlefish and see if you don’t get a case of the screaming heebie-jeebies.  If that doesn’t work, read about giant squid.  Guaranteed sea monster dreams for weeks, at least if your brain runs along the same lines as mine.

Knitting, on the other hand, sometimes has a certain tendency to lean toward the overly cute.  Certainly not all knitting.  Maybe not even most knitting.  But there is a small contingent of teddy bear sweaters and stuffed toys that definitely flirts with twee.  I’m starting to think it’s the faces…maybe knitting shouldn’t have faces.  That’s not even quite it though.  There are some seriously awesome knitted marshmallows/computers/vegetables that have had hilarious little faces put on them.  Perhaps it’s that things that would normally have faces (like bears or reindeer) shouldn’t be given faces in knit form?  I’ll have to think on it some more.

So somehow the idea of knitted tentacles is deeply satisfying.  Take something frightening and strip all its power by making it soft and cuddly.  It also has the distinct benefit of not needing a face.  I am quite unreasonably amused.  I’ve made two in the last 24 hours.  It’s a sickness.

Tick Marks

The good thing about a fit of profligate casting on is that you can have a whole host of projects that are mere minutes from completion.  Last night I finished off the socks for Heather’s book.  I can’t show you much, but I can give you a tiny peek of the toes just to prove they’re done (still wet, still on the blockers, but done).  They’re in Briar Rose’s Grandma’s Blessing in…um…a lovely blue/brown/green color the name of which is forever lost to me as it isn’t listed on the tag.  It’s also from one of their 450 yard put ups (as opposed to the 600 yard style they do now).  I got it at the 2009 Great Lakes Fiber Show and this was the perfect project for it.  I got three of their skeins at that show, and this is the second one I’ve used.  The other was for Propitiate, which means that they’ve both been used in socks for The Boy.  The third skein has been earmarked for something for me.  Every time I see Propitiate, I’m impressed by how well they’ve held up and how the fabric just gets better with washing.  I want some too!

Next up, finish the tentacle, hat, birthday socks, neck warmer, zombie socks, and swirly socks.  That ‘On The Needles’ section over there is getting way too long.  This is why I usually only knit one or two things at a time…I don’t like the menacing glare of a looming list.  One stitch at a time, right?

Bits and Pieces

Having the furnace on is lovely.  It is definitely warmer with the furnace on, but it’s not exactly warm.  We have an old house (built in 1920), and it has the original windows and absolutely no insulation in the walls.  We love it, it’s beautiful, but it is more than a bit drafty.  We also have an old furnace.  It’s not quite as old as the house, but is still rather elderly as these things go.  The combination of old furnace and drafty house means the gas bill gets rather staggering if we set the heat above about 58.  So we spend the winter well wrapped up.  Now please don’t worry that this is any sort of a hardship.  We’re both wired for the cold and are likely to start cracking the windows if it gets much warmer than that.  We’re totally fine.

The only time it’s a problem is if I have to sit still for a long time.  Say, to work on the computer.  Or knit.  Or read.  The obvious solution is to have lots of little bits of wooliness about to wrap up in if I happen to be sitting still for a while or sitting somewhere exceptionally drafty.  I’m almost always wearing woolly socks, and I’ve got fingerless mitts scattered all over the house.  I also have a little mini scarf/neck warmer thing I made with some of my earliest handspun, and I love it dearly.  Last night, instead of, say, working on any of the zillion other things I really should be knitting, I cast on for another one.  Now the yarn I’m using is like my second handspun ever.  I know it’s more or less crap.  I did it on a lousy toy spindle, and I had no idea what I was doing (not that I know much now, but I know enough to know this was not done well).  I’m pretending the whole project is an experiment in making the best of a yarn with some…erm…challenging characteristics.  It’s bulky, there’s not much of it, and it changes in thickness rather dramatically from one spot to the next.  But it is soft, and it’s one of the very few blue things I like (the roving was the colorway Superstition and came from etsy seller Fiber Optic).

And thanks to everyone who likes my I’m-sick-and-can’t-be-bothered-to-do-anything-hard socks.  While they’re super simple to make, they’re oddly challenging to write up.  I’ll probably do it eventually if enough people are interested, but it will have to be some time early next year at the soonest.  There are just too many other things going on to get it done any sooner.  The next thing I finish will be Heather’s sock (likely done tonight).  Then my friend’s hat.  And I may need to make an extra tentacle for another project.  Then I’ve got some birthday socks I really should make some progress on if they’re to be for this birthday.  I think I really need to institute a moratorium on casting on until some of the current projects are done.  I’m not usually prone to such scattered knitting, but lately I’ve been helpless to resist.

I Really Meant It

Yes, tentacles.  Grabby, twisty, vaguely menacing tentacles.  I strongly recommend you don’t knit your own.  They’re maddeningly addictive.  You’ll need at least three, likely more (I’m hoping I’ll be able to call it quits at five, but I’m by no means certain).  You’ll find yourself peering at your leftover bits of yarn going hmm, are you a sea-monster shade?

So far they’ve been shown to entertain me (not that challenging really), The Boy, the kittens, various other knit-susceptible friends, and a marauding three year old who wandered by.  I’ve chosen to keep mine in the little charging caddy I have on my desk (seemed fitting), but they’ve also found themselves posed with coffee cups, absinthe bottles, various houseplants, and wee tiny lego men.  The possibilities for wasting alarming amounts of time are more or less endless.  Flee while you still can.

A Scandalous Absence

I know.  It was a shameful lapse.  It came without warning.  It lasted too long.  It’s just been that kind of week around here.  There hasn’t been any one dramatic upheaval, just lots of little unexpected changes.  It’s just been…busy.  Alas, not that satisfying kind of busy where at least you feel like you’re getting lots of things accomplished.  Nope.  Instead it’s been that really infuriating kind of busy where you feel like you’re working crazy hard just to keep up.  And, perhaps worst of all from your perspective, it’s the kind of busy that doesn’t lend itself to knitting.  Somehow I doubt you come here to hear that the oven is on the fritz, or to revel in the tale of my (unsuccessful) attempt to summit Mount Laundry.

There is a wee bit of progress on the knitting front, but it’s also a bit scattered.  I’m working on the second of the blue lacy socks.  They’ll likely be called Gramercy and they’re coming out some time in mid September (assuming of course I can get the second one done and take it out for photos between now and then).  I’ve cast on a was-supposed-to-be-mindless-but-then-I-went-and-shot-that-all-to-hell sock that I’ll be able to show you soon.  I’ve got Heather’s What Would Madame Defarge Knit socks well underway.  They’re damn cool, but the very antitheses of mindless.

And then, somewhere in the middle of all that, I fell pray to the knitting equivalent of crack.  I lost all track of my good sense and spent a lot of time knitting tentacles.  Yes I mean that in the most literal sense.  Stand-alone, three-dimensional tentacles…those grabby squirmy things hanging out on your favorite sea critter.  As an aside (and a deeply pedantic aside at that), the things on an octopus, and most of the things on a squid or cuttlefish, are technically arms.  Squid and cuttlefish have both arms and tentacles, while some beasties have only tentacles.  Arms (well, cephalopod arms, likely not your arms) generally have suckers all down one side, while tentacles usually have suckers only at the tip.  Got all that? Excellent.  So with that background I can clarify and say that I’ve been knitting cephalopod arms and blithely calling them tentacles.  I have every intention of continuing to call them tentacles too, as ‘cephalopod arms’ just doesn’t sound as cuddly.