Bead or Bead-not ~~ There is no middle ground

by Lee Louise

Serendipity. It has to be serendipity. There is no other explanation. All the pieces fell into place, and against all odds, here I am, about to start another project!

In compliance with the no-knitting-related-expenditures mandate detailed in the preceding post, I have not been buying patterns without prior approval. And so, when I saw that Elizabeth Ravenwood Designs was starting another MKAL in A Big Comfy Doghouse Group on September 22, and that the pattern would cost $4, I was resigned to my fate. I would not participate, because there was no $4 to spend. I was sad, because the ladies in this group are great fun, and I enjoy the give-and-take banter among the participants in the 2016 Year of Lace MKAL. Alas, I thought, the Name the Mystery MKAL was not to be, for me.

Imagine my surprise on the morning of September 22, when I was earburned with a message containing a coupon code for a free pattern from Elizabeth Ravenwood Designs! Sarah is a regular participant in the group’s Caption Contest! thread, and a very funny person. She has won several times, and I have watched her pattern library grow each time, but she was struggling with this picture:


We kibitzed. We talked music theory and song lyrics, and she entered the contest with an entry reminiscent of the Lawrence Welk show:

And a K1!
And a P2!
And a P, S, K, PSSO!

I thought it was very funny. But then I had an idea, and I submitted an entry too:

Let’s start at the very beginning — la, la — Doe! A meer! A female meer!

And that, my friends, is how I won a coupon code for a free pattern. I chose the Name the Mystery MKAL pattern, thus circumventing the mandate, so I could participate in the MKAL. I started studying the thread carefully, determined to enter every contest that I might possibly qualify for. I set up my project page that very day, as a contest entry, squeaking in under the deadline. I submitted a name proposal for this nameless mystery, in order to enter a contest. I will cast my vote for my favorite FO, for the last contest. And why do I do this: Because it’s FUN!!!!

I have named my scarf Lace Cappriccio (also my entry for the name-the-nameless-scarf contest). I had to choose yarn as part of the project page set-up contest, so I went stash diving. I quickly found the perfect yarn, 434 yards of Apple Tree Knits Silk Fingering in the Under Irish Skies Gradient colorway:

And then I printed out the materials list for the pattern, read it, and stopped to consider. Beads. Yes, it really said Beads. Optional beads, true. But Beads. I paused for reflection. I reconsidered. Beads? To bead or not to bead, that became the burning question.

Faced with a major issue like this, I immediately did what everyone does — I posted in the group thread, and asked whether I should include beads or not. I was overwhelmed by the generous responses! I tallied the count, and found 8 in favor of beads,  while 2 were strongly opposed. Oddly, no one was lukewarm. There were no neutral votes. Since, in fact, I actually have been wanting to try beaded knitting, this afternoon I talked it over with my husband, and beads it is!


I went to Bead Couture in Memphis this afternoon and bought some yellow beads. Yellow? you may well ask. I don’t blame you for asking. You can be sure that I asked. But please-please-please, don’t ask me — I took along my daughter, Hillary, who studied art in college, and is considered, among her peers and teachers, as a gifted color expert — blame her, or praise her, the choice was hers. And the amazing thing is, I think it will work!!




Infinity is Really Big, or, Infinity + 3

by Lee Louise

Now, some of my family think that I know my mathematics since I majored in Math as an undergraduate. I will admit that, at one time, I knew lots of mathematics. Truth compels me to admit, sadly enough, that I have also forgotten lots of mathematics. However, one fact remains, embossed on my brain. And if you know your mathematics too, you probably also know this one fact that has remained with me over the years: Infinity is Really, Really Big. In fact, it can’t get any bigger. So, by adding 3 more, you don’t in actuality HAVE 3 more, you still “just” have infinity.

Recently, I began thinking about my wip’s (wip = Work In Progress). There are times when it feels like I have an infinite number of wip’s, besides owning a sizeable stash (stash is yarn stockpiled for starting as-yet-unstarted projects). My husband has expressed a conviction that I do not need to add to my stash, which seems rather heartless to me.

And so, I decided to add 3 more wip’s to my already infinitely large set of wip’s. While the total, inexpressible number of Lee Louise’s wip’s did not get any bigger, I did manage to decrease my stash by 2 skeins of beautiful blue Ella Rae Merino Lace DK, 1/2 skein of Burnt Earth Foothills Fingering from Lost City Knits, and the remaining partial skeins of manly gray Regia 4-ply.

And so, on one memorable day earlier this month, I started them one after another in one fell swoop, and the 3 new wip’s looked something like this:

That’s a blue Catlett Shawl (Susanna IC design), a red Master of the Horses, Hounds, and Hawks Mitt (Elizabeth Ravenwood), and a gray Neverland and Oz sock (Heidi Nick), if you couldn’t guess that from the pictures. And I don’t expect you could.

I am making some progress:


I am having fun. I added 3 to infinity and infinity didn’t get bigger; when I finish these 2 wip’s, and subtract 2, infinity will not get smaller. BUT, my stash has decreased to the tune of the depletion of all of my wool and nylon blend sock yarn. If I hope to knit another pair of socks, I. Must. Buy. More. Stash.



A Picture of the Sun ~~ by Hillary

There once was a lake shining in the noon
Blinding the eyes of all who dared gaze upon it
Wind rippled its glowing surface, casting shadows
Small waves of light and murk we only saw through a lens.

The filter dims, flattens, changes the truth
Any camera, painting, mirror, even the eyes do this.
To one can be certain they see reality
Even water, which reflects everything, is not honest.

There once was a lake shining in the noon

But logic says it was the sun instead.

Tootsie Roll Sock

by Lee Louise

I accepted the challenge to knit a Tootsie Roll sock, on July 15. What fun, I said — knit a sock!! I can do that! I can knit one sock… for my husband, Tom. And, if I knit two, he can wear them!! So I didn’t follow my inclination and use brightly colored self striping sock yarn (follow the link above to see how this pattern zings when you use colorful yarn). Instead, I checked my stash for some nice, serviceable gray. Conservative gray. Manly gray.

Eureka! There were still a few skeins of gray Regia 4-ply that have been kicking around the house for years. 9 or 10 years ago, I bought a whole bag full of this beautiful gray yarn:


My husband had learned to knit in the Marketplace at Stitches Midwest, because he wanted to knit himself some socks. I bought the yarn and gave him a copy of Cat Bordhi’s book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters. He used 3 balls of yarn and knit 2 1/2 socks in the past 10 years. All the same color, but nothing “identical” about them, I might add. BUT, I have once again claimed this yarn as MINE. And if I find the book, I will probably appropriate that as well.

On July 25, I cast on and started the ribbing:


Regia 4-ply is an old favorite of mine, as is this heathery gray colorway. Unfortunately, this yarn has been discontinued and so, when it is gone, I will be unable to get more. And that’s a shame, because I would if I could.

A month passed, as months do. I knit on the sock some, and then I didn’t knit on the sock for days at a time. Poor neglected sock! On August 29,  I finally grafted the toe. The sock is a slouchy sock, and as I knit it I had serious misgivings about whether it would fit Tom or not, which may account for not pressing on and finishing in 3 or 4 days, as I could have:


The sock scrunches up on the horizontal rib, making it appear shorter and wider than it really is. With a foot in it, it fills out nicely — more nicely than I had dared to hope as I knit. Tom is modeling here, and I think it is a very nice sock:

I especially like the appearance of the heel (no gusset hole!!)


The graft didn’t come out as well as I would like, but that is an issue with my execution of the graft, and not with the pattern, which is well written and easy to follow. Tom says that if I make another, he will wear them, and so I will. But maybe not tomorrow, or even next month. Because let’s face it, knitting socks for a man who wears 9 1/2 EEEE(E) shoes requires courage. It truly is an act of love.