What Else?

You guys all know the book is going up for preorders on Tuesday.  And I’m sure you can imagine how calm and cool and collected that has me feeling.  Yup, super relaxed, that’s me.  Not at all dervish like or engaged in any sort of frantic scramble to make sure things are organized just so for that.  Nope, not at all.  But just so you don’t think I’ve been lolling about, monogramming cupcakes and alphabetizing my spice drawer while I wait for the big day, I thought I’d come tell you about a whole different project.

Many of you know the delightful Heather Ordover, the mastermind behind Craftlit and its sister podcast, Just The Books.  But Heather isn’t content with just bringing you hours and hours of podcasty goodness.  Oh no, overachiever that she is, she’s also responsible for a host of marvelous books of her own.  It started back in 2011 with What Would Madame Defarge Knit? (to which I had the pleasure of contributing my Cthulhu Waits socks).  And now she’s doing it again.  The sequel, What (Else) Would Madame Defarge Knit? is just about to come out.  Once again, I’ve was lucky enough to contribute to the book (this time with an adorable hat and cuff set that I’m just itching to have out in the world).  If you want to be in on all the festivities, you should sign up for the book’s mailing list.  You’ll get the occasional newsletter, some lovely free patterns, and of course an announcement the moment the book goes live.  I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be marvelous!


As you may perhaps recall, a few months ago The Boy and I took a stroll to a little stream in the woods for a bit of a photo shoot.  Just as a public service announcement, I’m still not sure splashing around in freezing water with pneumonia is a good idea.  I am, in fact, fairly sure it is not a good idea.  But it was entertaining.  And cold.

The photos were for Heather’s charming new book What Would Madame Defarge Knit?, which came out this weekend.  It’s a collection of patterns based on characters from classic literature.  You can see a bit more about it here.

I, perhaps not surprisingly, based my pattern on The Call of Cthulhu.  Everyone has their quirks.  Lovecraft is one of mine.  I have no good explanation for why I find his writing so charming.  There really is no good reason.  Yet I am helpless before it.

The socks are unapologetically quirky.  Wee grabby tentacles creep up over your foot and wrap around your ankle.  The cables are marked out by changes in texture and framed by lots of tiny cables.  You can either follow the charts exactly, or experiment with some changes of your own. They’re surprisingly subtle, for something covered in squirmy feelers.  Make yourself a pair and perhaps they’ll keep you safe when the Old Ones rise.

What Would Madame Defarge Preorder

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I was lucky enough to contribute a pattern to Heather Ordover’s upcoming book, What Would Madame Defarge Knit:  Creations Inspired by Classic Characters.  Heather is the mastermind behind the Craft Lit podcast, and this book is a perfect next step on her path to being appointed benevolent dictator for life.  Heather’s pulled together a lovely group of designers (I’m still not sure why she let me in…shhhh, don’t tell her I’m making this up as I go along!), and has created an absolutely fabulous book.

Today, in celebration of Charles Dickens’ 199th birthday, the book is now available for preorder.  You can see all the details over at the Cooperative Press site, and you can see sneak peeks of all the lovely projects at the new WWMDFK site.

Are You Running Late?

Heather, she of What Would Madam Defarge Knit? brilliance, is feeling festive and wants to help you along in your holiday planning.  If you’ve not quite gotten your cards figured out yet, she’s got you covered.  Perfect for all your knitterly friends!

There are more goodies to come (some are tentacle-themed goodies are in the line up for later if the rumors are true), so keep an eye out over there for updates!

Far Too Much Fun

It was a photo-ish sort of weekend.  Saturday we wandered over to a local stream to take sock pictures.  You’ve seen a bit of that.  Then on Sunday, we took pictures of the hat.

Now as charming and helpful a model as The Boy is (he spent his Saturday cheerfully standing in a cold stream having his feet photographed after all), I couldn’t quite see him sporting a fetching pastel periwinkle hat and mitts.  I actually think the hat could work for guys if it was made in a guy-ish color (or at least a color that the guy wearing it liked), but this is just not his shade.  I sure wasn’t going to do it.  I’m still leery of hats and loathe having my picture taken.  Sullen and suspicious doesn’t usually make for a good photo.

Luckily, my lovely friend Lauren is a braver woman than I!  Isn’t she awesome?  She rocked the hat and we had a marvelous time.  Can’t you tell we’re having fun?  And it almost looks like we’re in some sort of proper outdoor setting instead of standing in the corner of my minuscule back yard (seriously, the grassy part is four steps wide and three steps deep, it’s tiny).  The pattern is with testers now.

As Promised

I checked with Heather.  She said it was ok.  No really, she did.  She said I could show you the socks.  Secrecy be damned.  Really.  Here ya go.

I think having a website is awesome just because you get to torment others.  It makes me a bad person, but I’m comfortable with that.  Everyone needs a hobby, right?  How often, as a grown up, can your really dance around going ‘I know a seeeeeeeecret’ without someone smacking you.  Having a website lets me do that while safely out of smacking range.  I like it.

A Wee Bit Nippy

This weekend The Boy and I trooped off to take pictures of the socks for Heather’s book.  We needed a fairly specific look.  Generally, I’m quite happy to just go out in the yard and wing it.  Alas, that wouldn’t really work for these.  We needed water and rocks.  Luckily, The Boy knew a spot.  Also luckily, it was the warmest day we’ve had for weeks.  Note that ‘warmest’ does not necessarily equal ‘warm.’  I checked.  That water is cold.  Luckily it’s only about ankle deep, but ankle deep in freezing water (while wearing sandals, which seemed like a good idea at the time) is still awfully darn chilly.  We got good pictures though.  I’ll try to share some once I’ve gotten the ok from Heather. 

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.

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.