Friday, June 29, 2012

Battleship Socks

I've finally finished another pair of plain stockinette socks.  This pair is for Mike.  I think on my Ravelry account I've even given them the unimaginative, yet quite descriptive, name of "Another Pair of Socks for Mike."  I was clearly having some issues with creativity at that moment.  (I just checked Ravelry.  I named them "More Socks for Mike."  I guess I was thinking if I was going to be boring, I should be brief, too.)

However, I've decided to rename these socks The Battleship Socks.  Because much like the movie of the same name, these socks were a bit of a slog and quite frankly, fraught with problems from the get-go. 

First, one should use the proper equiptment.  I chose a very nice blue self-striping sock yarn from Opal.  Then I decided to try out my new Blue Sky needles, which are extremely dark and only four inches.  I had never used sock needles that short before and they took some time to get used to using without poking myself in the palm.  Once I figured that out, I was sailing right along.  (Get it? Sailing?  Battleship? tee hee)

Until that evening.  Once I lost the light of day, it was really difficult to knit with dark-ish yarn on the Blue Sky needles.  Man, those things are dark.  It was hard to see the stitches.  So these became my only knit during the day socks. 

And then I broke a needle.  And since I hate--I'm using the word hate here-- knitting socks with four needles, I stopped working on them until I could get another set of the Blue Sky needles.  Couldn't I have just subbed in another needle from a different set?  Yes, except that my other pair of US1s was (and still is) in use on another pair of stockinette socks that I actually could knit at night.

I brought them with me to Squam.  sigh, Squam.  They (actually at that time, these socks were an "it", one sock only) saw some knitting time there, but not much.  Socks are not the best project for evenings around a campfire.  Not enough light for me, and maybe a little too much talking.  Oh, and some wine.  (Note to self: next year, pack knitting projects that aren't socks.)

Just like any other stockinette socks I've made, once I got into a groove with these, they were finished rather quickly.  I actually took them to the movies with me on Saturday night.  What movie?  Yup, Battleship.  It was playing on base, and Mike wanted to see it.  I'm going to have to assume some of the fault here, because I was the one who pointed out that it was playing on base.  I managed to knit three rows before the movie started, and about ten rows after I left the movie to sit in the lobby and wait for Mike.

I have left three movies in my entire life.  I love movies, even bad ones.  But I couldn't take this one.  Oh, is was sooooo bad.  And loud.  The glass in the trophy cases in the lobby was shaking.  Mike liked it, but he rates his movies by the amount of explosions so this rated fairly high.

To summarize (points can apply to either the socks, the movie, or both):

::  Cast matters.  Sometimes you don't need  $25 needles, when $5 ones will do.  Or sometimes you don't need a big name actor.
::  Know what is going to happen after a couple of hours.  If you are going to lose the light (or the story) assess your materials honestly and create a back-up plan.  Something to knit only at night.  Or a side story involving a model-turned-actress.
::  If something breaks, find a solution.  I bought a new set of needles.  I don't know what the producers of Battleship did.  Nothing is what I would guess.
::  Always bring knitting with you, because you never know when you can get in a couple of rows.

Friday, June 22, 2012

And the knitting is still standing!*

Saturday afternoon at Squam was our free afternoon.  The lot of us at Pine Ledge had talked about napping or taking a hike, but because the weather was so clear and sunny and our dock had finally dried off, we all eventually made our way down to the dock to sit.  We sat and knit.  Or we sat and embroidered.  Or we sat and did nothing.

As my legs dangled in the water, I noticed that eventually the seat of my jeans was wet.  I figured it was because I had been moving around and denim, like most fabrics, eventually wicked some of the lake into itself.  Or it could have been the local fisherman out for a cruise through eel infested waters we frightened off with our overly friendly hello.  (He did eventually get us back, as he sped off and the wake from his boat almost swamped the deck.  Another reason for my wet pants, and an excellent use of the universe foreshadowing what was to be.)

I'm not sure how long we sat.  An hour.  Two.  Long enough that a couple people eventually joined us.  So there we were, eleven of us total, enjoying a beautiful afternoon.  At one point I looked at one of the dock posts and said to Amy, "That post is leaning at about a thirty degree angle."  About three minutes later we were sitting in chest high water.

That smudge on the picture?  That is a drop of water.  My camera was under water for a minute or two while I 1) figured out what was going on and why I was sitting in the water, and 2) grabbed my knitting bag and held it above water level.  (I knew the camera was waterproof to a certain extent-- the reason I bought was a trip to an area where it rains a LOT-- I didn't realize I could dunk for an extended period of time and it would still work.  Love it even more now.)

Grabbing the craft supplies was everyone's first instinct. Knitting held aloft we waded through what was left of the dock. 

Luckily no one was hurt.  One person lost their cell phone, and another lost a pattern (handwritten and designed by her, so irreplaceable) but that seems to be the extent of it. 

Some people asked how many people we had on the dock.  To this I say, don't build a thirty foot dock if it can't hold eleven women.  Just sayin'.

*Title courtesy of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, slightly modified for my purposes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Squam.  What can I say about that hasn't been said already? 

The view from our dock.

So what hasn't been said?  My story, I suppose, of how I ended up there.  I'm not sure how exactly I heard about Squam Art Workshops.  Probably through one of the blogs I read.  When I found out about it in January, I was coming to the end of a particularly rough year.  It wasn't the worst year ever, but in the running.  Squam was my gift to me for getting through. 

I was nervous to go.  Something like this pushes me to the limits of my comfort zone.  I'm not good at small talk and I generally prefer to hang out and observe groups of people before joining in.  And really, when was the last time you slept in a twin bed in a room with someone you didn't know just hours before? 

I was so hesitant that I almost didn't go several times.  But go I did.  On the plane there I decided that I was not going to listen to that little voice in the back of my head that second guesses my every move.  The one that tells me that people won't understand my sense of humor, so not to tell the joke.  Or says to not talk, period, because why?  I gave myself over to the Squam experience.  I wanted to get out of my own way so I could really enjoy this thing that people have raved about. 

And I am glad I did.  I gave myself over to Squam, and in return it gave me so much.  I left Squam with so much more than I came with.  I left having met some wonderful people, learning some interesting skills, hearing some funny, touching, poignant stories, and feeling renewed as a creative spirit. 

I left Squam wanting to:

::  create.  Whether it is knitting or embroidery or other crafting, I feel a renewed commitment to making my world a little more beautiful by putting beauty into it.

::  connect.  Meeting seven new women and leaving with seven more friends made me realize that my soul craves connections with like-minded people.

::  share.  I want to update this site more, and be more faithful about keeping track of what I do.  Sometimes in my insular world, I forget that there are others who might be interested in who I am and what I do.

::  forgive.  Squam opened my heart and my mind.  I want to bring that openness into my whole life and move past some things.

What I didn't leave Squam with?  Many pictures.  Next time I'll have my camera out all the time.  But until then, I leave you with some of the few shots I did take.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another reason why I love my husband

He had the house clean when I got home from Squam.  Not only was the house clean, but two of the closets that we have been talking about organizing were organized.  And he had dinner!  It was a pizza, true, but it was a Hawaiian pizza, one of my favorites, not his.  Honestly, neither of these things surprised me.  He is the neater person of the two of us, and he is always looking for a reason to eat pizza.  But I love him because he vacuums because he wants to vacuum and not because he is looking to score some brownie points with me.

AND.... he patiently sat through my show and tell of my new yarn and yarn bag.  Now that is why I love him--because he is interested in the the things that interest me.

And now, without further adieu, the loot:

The skeins on the left are from The Woolen Rabbit.  The grey one is for socks for Mike, and the three others are for a Color Affection Shawl (Rav link ).  The bag was made by my roommate's friend, who should be starting an Etsy shop soon.  The kit in plastic wrap is from French Press Knits and is the kit for her slippers.  I think I might be one of the last few people in the knitting world who hasn't made these yet.  The little rolls in front are embroidery patterns from Rebecca Ringquist.

Oh, and I also bought some handmade shoes, but as those are handmade I don't have them yet.  But shoes and wool in the same place?  Sign me up for next year!

A post on the wonderfulness of Squam is in the works.  Stay tuned.