Damn you, camera!

I do not understand my camera. When I try to turn it on, it flashes a little red light tauntingly and then shuts off. It is made of evil. I know that it is made of evil, because I put new batteries into it and it ate them and shut off. And then did it again. And yet, this afternoon, my six year old got it to turn on and took a series of flash enhanced photos of our messy living room, so clearly this is just an attempt on the part of the camera to drive me to madness. I had thought that I was my own nemesis, but I was clearly wrong. It’s the Camera of Doom.

The reason that this is so very sad is that I have got so so many finished projects that I’d love to show you, because, as much as I believe in the power of words (mightier than swords and all that) they do seem less powerful than pictures when it comes to finished knit objects. Anyway, a brief list of finished things you have not seen, with some perhaps left off: 3 pairs of garter stitch mitts, a Steve Zissou inspired hat for the mister, a pair of fauve Axel mitts, a single woodman’s thick sock, and that’s without the unfinished and my scrummy new birthday Malabrigo.

So I’m a little frustrated. Anyway, without pictures, I’m left to actually having to rely on my narrative powers, and so I thought I’d try to tell you all about how it’s been going on the knitting front.

First off, the birthday yarn. For reasons good, I asked people to forgo buying me gifts this year and instead contribute to the fund to buy Mr. Kninja a new computer. Ours is unreliable, and he’s going freelance this month, so our procrastination in buying a decent machine could go on no longer. This was all very sensible, but as my birthday approached I began to feel rather glum about the idea of not getting anything silly and surprising on my birthday. I found myself in danger of pouting, so I decided to buck up and buy myself one silly and fun skein of yarn, perhaps a nice solid Malabrigo to make a Koolhaas hat for myself. At the store, I saw some pretty skeins of Malabrigo, but nothing quite like what I was looking for. That’s when I was shown the new shipment of Malabrigo in the back room.

Holy cats! None of it was solid, but a lot of it was Seleccion Privada, the handpainted stuff. I’ve never seen such soft merino so saturated with color. I think the color must have made me dizzy in truth, because I forgot that I dislike the look of highly variegated yarn knit up and went ahead and purchased a skein of the wildest autumn colors you have ever seen. I love autumn colors, so I figured that this was a good idea. Then I got home and looked at it in a more sober light.

And I hated it. Don’t get me wrong – I still loved every single individual color, but the overall effect was too loud, too intense – just too much for me. Still, I gamely cast on for a pair of Axel Mitts. That’s when the yarn began to pool. It began to pool with the intense red-orange and the intense gold ending up in the same spots, and the greens and browns and deep purples in the same spots, and this meant it looked like candy corns meets the swamp monster.

I was going to rip them out, which seemed a shame, because with my eyes closed, they were perfect. Malabrigo is wonderful for the Axel mitts, let me tell you. Just not insane, variegated, autumnal Malabrigo. Anyway, before I ripped them out, I showed them to Mr. Kninja, who LOVED them. He is not often so enthusiastic about my knitting, but he was thrilled.

So I finished them (nice fast project – took just a few hours) and Mr. Kninja got new mitts for my birthday. I cannot recommend the pattern highly enough. It’s easy, but interesting, and it goes fast, and you end up with something stylish and sensible. Poifect.

Mr. Kninja also got a sock. Because he asked me to make him socks with what was left, and there was just enough for a single thick sock. He’s going to buy a second skein in order to have a matched pair.

The sock, by the way, looks awesome. When the yarn doesn’t pool, it’s actually very beautiful. Still too parti for my taste, but it’s really lovely, and I think I may just be too vanilla and pasty to appreciate it.

Anyway, Mr. Kninja redeemed the weird birthday by running out and coming back home with two new skeins of Malabrigo just for me. They’re Autumn Forest colored, a very much more subdued combination of green and red brown. He also brought me Devil in the White City, which I’d been wanting to read. I now have, and it was good, but apparently I like my history as vanilla as my yarn, because I was very put off by the way that the author imagined the thoughts of historical figures. I finished the book and said, “I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I wish he’d made it more boring.” If I had been his editor, I’d have been standing over his shoulder yelling, “Drier! Make it dry!”

So that’s the story of the birthday yarn. I’m undecided on what to do with my new Malabrigo wealth, but I do need a new hat, and my hands have been cold, so I think something to cover both head and hands is in order.

I’m about 85% done with the first of my Sweetheart socks, and I wanted to report back on that. As is well known to regular readers of this blog, I don’t do socks, so this is an adventure in the extreme. I feel that I may have been overly ambitious on my first foray into the wilds of sock knitting. The Sweetheart socks are really a gorgeous pattern, and I adore what is coming off of my needles, but I have a dark feeling that these are much more work than socks usually are, and it is not endearing sock knitting to me. Size 0 needles, 84 stitches, and a hell of a lot of cables means that I make about an inch or an inch and a half a day, 2 to 3 inches on a good day. I picked the socks because I wanted a lovely product for my work, but I am not enjoying the process much.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a great pattern. And I liked turning the heel considerably, and I think I may knit socks from now on. I just think it probably would have been smarter for me if I’d started with lace socks. Because as I’m approaching the finish line with the first sock (and admiring it over and over again – it is a thing of beauty) all I can think is, “Oh, sweet onion chutney, I’ve got to do this all over again!”

It is a thought that fills me with dread and fills my hands and shoulders with cramps. But it may also be what converts me to the dark side with all of you dedicated sock knitters. Godfrey Daniels, mother of pearl.

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5 Responses to “Damn you, camera!”

  1. Elin Says:

    I’m knitting the Sweetheart socks too and I’m finding them equally time-consuming. i haven’t even turned the heel on the first one yet. And I like knitting socks!

  2. orata Says:

    Mmmmmalabrigo! I just can’t get inspired by the colors at my LYS right now. Hot fuchsia, dark purple, and beige-on-tan. I wish they had some crazy autumnal colors in stock. I need to try that yarn.

    I’ve been vaguely wanting to read Devil in the White City, but somehow it always seemed too dry when I picked it up in the bookstore. Sounds like that is not the case?

    If you like historical turn of the century books, I highly recommend Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gould. Awesome book, lots of cameos by historical figures including Philo T. Farnsworth and the Marx Brothers during their vaudeville days, and it’s set in the Bay Area during the early part of the 20th century. Carter rides the Key Route into Oakland–which, as I’m sure you know from the street name, used to run right through Albany. And it’s all about magicians and presidents and has a twisty, satisfying plot.

  3. Tracy Says:

    The good thing about socks is that you get so excited to show off a pair of Hand Knit Socks that everyone will ooh and ahh over, and you’ve already done the pattern, so the second one seems to go a little quicker.

  4. christis Says:

    I so love reading your writing! You crack me up! I am sorry that your camera is made of pure evil. Ours seems to be made of it too sometimes!

    I’m proud to say I’ve written SOMETHING every day this month! So yay for me! Check me out: http://christis-blahblahblog.blogspot.com

  5. orata Says:

    Hi!
    Just thought I would let you know I have given you an award of some kind:
    http://featherandfan.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/awards-wips-and-plans-winter-eats/

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