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Archive for January, 2011

Darn It!

Ever fall in love, have your heart broken, and then restored? I have, and it all has to do with my Dragon Socks.

I wrote recently about the heartbreak of finding holes in the first pair of socks that I ever knit, but it wasn’t just those socks. Three pairs of socks have developed holes, including (sniff) my beloved Dragon Socks (nicknamed Henry the Hungarian Horntail)…my most favoritest socks I’ve ever made. In fact, the Dragon had the worst hole of all…a gargantuan crevice that left most of my heel hanging out. At one point I even threw that sock away, admitting defeat, only to immediately pull it back out and hold it close to my chest (Please forgive me for almost letting you go!). I almost cried. So Henry the Hungarian Horntail lie languishing in the back of my sock drawer for weeks waiting for a miracle.

Then a couple of days ago I came across something online about darning. What is darning, you ask? Darning is the art of repairing socks by weaving a patch over the hole: an art which in our throwaway culture has been largely lost. I watched the video below and learned everything I needed to resuscitate my beloved socks. The video is a bit lengthy and slow-moving, but also extremely thorough and if you’re like me, written instructions sometimes aren’t quite enough. I need to see it being done.

After watching the video I practiced on a pair of brown socks I made two years ago that apparently got snagged on a stray nail in the floor, ripping a hole close to the heel. I like these socks okay, but I didn’t want to do my first darning experiment on the socks I love the most. Of course, I don’t have any more of that yarn left, so I repaired the sock using some leftover maroon and tan sock yarn. The resulting repair job succeeded but looked a bit like a scab thanks to the coloration. Oh, and since I don’t have a darning egg (an essential tool for darning) I went to my musical instruments and got an egg shaker so the process was a little noisier than it would otherwise have been.

This morning while home with a sick child, I braved the more extensive hole in Henry. Not only was the hole bigger than the one in the brown sock, but the yarn around it was weak, so I felt the need to go a bit further beyond the hole to make it good and strong. SUCCESS!! One thing I find interesting is that Henry has clearly faded a bit, because even using the exact same yarn I knit the Dragon in, the patch is clearly a bit darker than the rest of the sock.

I am proud to say that I am now wearing Henry the Hungarian Horntail Sock and having been reunited with an old friend, I am at peace.

The Scab

First strands across the hole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going the other way...

One happy Dragon

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Dragon Hunters

I’m watching a movie called Dragon Hunters with my girls right now and though it’s not outstanding entry into the computer-animated fantasy genre, it’s pretty good. It’s about a couple of con men who claim to be dragon hunters in a land that’s teeming with the fire-breathing creatures. The daughter of a real live (retired due to blindness) dragon hunter tags along to learn the trade.

What I love about this movie is the prominence of knitting in the storyline. Lian-Chu, the “gentle giant” character (think Fezzik from The Princess Bride) has an affinity for the craft thanks to the tutelage of his mother, who was apparently killed in a dragon attack. In the scene above, he’s knitting some tights to replace the ones he ripped in a battle.

The character is ragged on for his knitting by both his partner Gwizdo (very similar to Vizzini, also from The Princess Bride) and the little girl, Zoe. But he loves knitting. This movie does a lot to defend the practice of knitting even among big, tough dudes. While I am not tough, I find it heartening to see this portrayal of knitting.

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Snow Day!!

I love my job as a music teacher, especially when my kids get to show off for the public by performing. Last night we had two amazing concerts at my school, during which my students sang their hearts out. They sang with more energy than usual, probably largely due to the news, just as the first concert was beginning, that school was cancelled for the next day. All over the room, kids were planning sleepovers and such. Excitement was in the air!

My take on the snow day is ease and comfort. I make plans to do very little of any consequence, at least as the muggle world would see it (Muggles being non-magical folk, aka non-knitters). I woke up fairly early this morning and saw that about 8″ had already fallen (good call, Superintendent!) and as I write this after 9 am, it’s still falling furiously. One of my favorite things is to sit and watch the snow fall while I knit, and after baking banana muffins with the long-overdue brown fruit on the counter that’s exactly what I plan to do.

Muffins and coffee with extra fiber

This week I have made significant progress on Devil’s Snare Sock #2, and I hope to get near to finishing today. I may take a break from that one to do a little work on the Grove scarf, but I find that one a little annoying due to the need to reverse a raised rib and the various decreases associated with the pattern (my favorite–p2togtbl–an obnoxiously awkward stitch to execute). Besides, since my 9-year old made me a scarf for Christmas, I feel a little guilty knitting on one with her around, even if she is completely preoccupied by the Christmas Wii.

Yes, that's a Snuggie. Laugh all you want...Snuggies were made for snow days.

Tomorrow I go back to the hustle and bustle of a busy week, with the 8th grade concert and rehearsals for the school musical. But today I knit. And drink coffee. And just hang out with my girls. This was the perfect oasis in the midst of a very busy week. Thank you, Mother Nature.

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A Whole Lotta New

This year I did something I haven’t done in a long time…I brought in the new year properly. The past several years I’ve celebrated the new year by sleeping but decided to bring in 2011 among friends at my church’s New Year’s gathering. We had the traditional champagne toast, and many hugs went around. It was a beautiful thing. But you see, 2011 is kinda’ different, and it needed special treatment.

New Year’s Day 2011 saw a major New Year’s shift as my wife moved up to Maine for a stint working and living at the Newforest Institute. This job seems absolutely perfect for her, doing things she’s always wanted to do while being back among people and institutions that she loves. She is still my best friend so I am truly excited about this wonderful opportunity and wish her all of the best as she starts this new chapter in her life.

This does, of course, mean the new adventure of single-daddy-dom for me, something which both excites and scares me. But we have a good thing here where we are, and I think the girls and I are gonna do great. The sun is rising on a new spin on our lives and I embrace it with joy and fluffy yarn.

As the new year begins, I also begin rehearsals for the musical at my school, “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.,” a scaled-down, 1 1/2 hour version of the 3-hour-long classic (the original is WAY too long for middle school). I love that all of the major plot points stay intact quite nicely in this version despite its condensed length.

I also brought in the new year with the completion of a fabulous new sock, Devil’s Snare (yes, inspired by the killer plant in Harry Potter) knit in Malabrigo Sock in Stonechat colorway. I love this yarn and pattern with a burning passion, despite the fact that the yarn had several breaks in it as if it had fallen prey to a box cutter at some point. Good thing I know how to join. These socks (or rather this sock, since I haven’t done #2 yet) have inspired me to consider the Yarn Harlot’s idea of a self-imposed sock club, with the plan of knitting a pair per month. I’m counting Devil’s Snare as January (no shame in getting a head start!). We’ll see what comes of it.

Finally, for my last bit of new, I got a set of the new Knit Picks Zephyr acrylic interchangeable needles. My mom gave me a Visa gift card for Christmas in just the right amount for them, and I just HAD to buy them. A friend had been telling me for several months how much she loves hers, and she was so right. The acrylic tips are a little stickier than I’m used to, but they work well, and I love how sharp and pointy they are. I foresee many wondrous years of knitting with these.

And now that I have posted bad photographic images of my knitting, I must finish the last little bit of holiday eggnog in the house as I relax on this chilly winter evening. Good night, all.

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