Monday, January 30, 2012


Eric's birthday was Friday, and I whisked him away for a little adventure-- our home for the weekend:

No electricity, no running water, an outdoor privy-- believe it or not, friends, deprivation of modern conveniences is our idea of a good time.

Some things we did have:

A roaring woodstove-- expertly tended by yours truly

Miles of snowshoe trails

Wintry vistas

Endless cups of tea

Not pictured: fondue. It didn't last long enough for a photo op.

Also, a yurt happens to be the perfect setting for a bit of knitting (and spinning):

I finally whipped the hat sample into shape:

Glacier Bay, meet your new friend, Aurora

AND I taught Eric to knit:

Code name: Cheese Doodle

I'm not allowing myself to get too excited about it yet-- four rounds of stockinette do not a knitter make. But he did sit down and work on it last night without any prompting from me...

Such fun-- though I did rather enjoy the hot shower I took moments after getting home!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In Progress

For the past two weeks, I've been distracted by some unexpected developments in my professional life which may lead to very big changes for me-- good changes, I assure you, but I've been walking a fine line between excitement and panic. So, knitting is somewhat neglected at the moment, though I have made progress on a couple of things.

My Shadow has most of a sleeve:

Gauge worries have evaporated-- the stitch pattern is plenty forgiving, after all-- but now I'm reluctant to progress to the actual sleeve cap... I really love how it's coming out so far, though. Here's a closeup:

I'm also knitting a sample for a pattern I'm writing, which is causing a bit more frustration:

The colors keep trying to blend into each other-- I had to surgically remove a whole section of muddy green from one skein-- and worse, this has distracted me from the fact that my gauge is way off. Maybe I knit my original sample on larger needles? At any rate, I'm going to have to start over... possibly with new colors. It's enjoyable knitting, at least-- I still haven't gotten over self-striping yarn.

By this time next week, some of the work-related excitement may have calmed down a bit-- in the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gears (and spindles) turning

I got an unexpected and entirely welcome gift of fiber from Eric for Christmas-- it's Corriedale top, it's the bees knees, and I have ten ounces of it:

As soon as I opened it and stopped grinning like an idiot the gears started turning... according to the wonderful Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes, "Corriedale makes a smooth and extremely durable worsted yarn."* I started imagining a strong, dense, fine, tightly plied, worsted-spun yarn-- perfect for... SOCKS! I have thus far been immune to the sock-knitting virus, but this stuff really wants to become socks... I'm helpless to resist!

I had no idea if I could actually spin this imaginary yarn, but my sample looks convincing enough:

I'm going to be way too cool wearing socks knitted from my own hand-spun yarn. Just putting that out there.

*Also: "Beginning handspinners love Corriedale because of its pronounced crimp, generous staple length, and ease of handling." So that explains it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finish Line

I'm finishing some things today-- now that I'm no longer in hat assembly-line mode, it's harder to muster the necessary energy. Two things I'm finishing are gifts, so motivating deadlines are involved. Though I tend to think of birthdays as more of a suggestion than an absolute deadline...

There's hand-spun yarn dripping in the shower:

A cowlish item pinned for blocking:

And a pastel object laid out to dry-- it still needs buttons and a drawstring:

Can you guess what it might be? I'm not telling.

Now I can start approximately ten more things without a speck of guilt!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I realize that there hasn't been (so far) much knitting content in this so-called knitting blog, and there's a couple of reasons for that. I have a nearly-completed project that is supposed to be a surprise... and the other projects I've been planning haven't quite launched onto the needles yet. I'm kind of in a pickle of indecision at the moment.

First off, some swatches that are giving me trouble:

My love for SHELTER has become even deeper, if that is possible-- one swatch is clearly much larger than the other, yet there is little difference in the density of the fabric. After washing, the stitches just fluff themselves into perfect cohesiveness. Magical. The problem is, every way I measure gauge, I get a different result. The larger one seems by some measures to be the appropriate gauge for the pattern, but there's enough uncertainty that I remain unconvinced-- add to that the uncertainty of a sweater knit in pieces, multiply by my perfectionism and general indecisiveness, and you get a perfect storm of dithering. Maybe I can convince myself to try knitting a sleeve.


This is meant to become a sample for a pattern I'm writing-- I'm going to be my own test-knitter-- but it looks so lovely in the skein that I can't bear to disturb it at the moment.

My hands are getting itchy, so something's got to give.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Things with snow on them

When I left work Friday it was snowing, the first real snow of winter. It was only an inch and it was gone by Saturday afternoon, but I made hay while it lasted-- things with snow on them are instantly more photogenic, don't you think?

Maybe it's that unearthly snow-light that does it... I can't tell you how much I have been longing for snow. Something must be really wrong with me!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goals vs. Habits

Maybe it's the time of year, but I have been thinking a lot about goals-- this post on zenhabits got me started. Last year I set a ton of goals-- holy moley-- but this year, I'm trying to resist the urge. I don't know if it's possible-- or desirable-- to live entirely without goals, but living entirely for them is kind of stifling. And for those of us with an innate talent for procrastination-- like myself-- more goals = more things that can be put off until tomorrow...

Instead of setting goals for the year, I've just been trying to do things that make me feel good-- cook healthy food, get outdoors, knit, read, think, write. The more time I spend on good habits, the less time there is for bad habits-- like aimlessly surfing the internet for hours. Some enforcement is necessary, though-- my new rule is: no computer time before I have gotten some exercise and completed one household chore. Sounds easy, right? I did it today!

I have found that I can't entirely banish procrastination from my life-- but if I am distracted from cleaning and exercising by reading and knitting, at least I have spent my time well. The same cannot be said for viewing 1500 lolcats...

Last year, I learned to spin, and I think it may be the ultimate form of productive procrastination-- it's so easy to pick up and while away half an hour, thinking all the time "My sink may be full of dirty dishes, but I'm making yarn!"

Look at that fat spindle!

So lately, in lieu of firing up Ye Olde Interwebs, I've been spinning-- every day. This may eventually lead to a houseful of yarn, but the outcome doesn't really concern me. I'm willing to just allow it to be a pleasurable activity that happens to have a useful (and lovely) biproduct:

I have promised to knit something with my handspun... the habit of setting goals is hard to break!

Do you have any goals for 2012? Or are you anti-goal? Do tell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sawyer Mountain... almost

On Sunday we attempted to climb Sawyer Mountain... and ended up mucking around in the woods for a couple of hours. Everything was covered in ice-- rapidly melting in places-- but no snow was to be found, even in the darkest hollows.

In place of blazes, the trail is marked-- inadequately!-- with woodcarvings:

I think this is supposed to be a turtle.

We took a wrong turn and ended up on what we think was Veazie mountain. Perhaps the many fallen trees obstructing the path should have deterred us, but we are nothing if not persistent.

Going the wrong way...

I started to get unsure of my footing on the half-frozen trail surface-- which was the perfect excuse for Eric to show off his wilderness prowess.

Note the expression of glee.

No matter how short the hike, he always brings his trusty saw.

The giant hunting knife was also put to good use:

Now I have a sturdy stick to help me balance:

Or to brandish at riffraff.

After several detours, we finally found the main trail, which we originally took to be a frozen stream. Footing was even dicier and we had yet to find the path to the summit-- which, according to the map, was "easy to miss"-- so we decided to have our tea in a less lofty setting.

This also required specialized equipment.

Though I had hoped to survey 2012 from the top of a mountain, it looks pretty good from the tailgate of our car.

I finished those mittens at 11:30 New Year's Eve-- I can't say I really tested their performance in the 46-degree weather, but they are wonderfully fuzzy.

They're sure to see further adventures in 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012


Naming something new is serious business for me-- the names of my stuffed animals, dolls, and pets have always been carefully considered. I have yet to name a child, but I expect it will cost me no little effort. My last blog had a very clear purpose, and its name placed a limit on both content and duration. Long before it had run its course, I started thinking about whether I wanted to start another blog, and simultaneously about what it would be called. The naming was by far the bigger ordeal-- now the decision is made (at last) you may wonder... of all things, rigatoni? I'll attempt to explain.

Rigatoni is a running joke between me and Eric (my husband)-- I know I'm venturing on "had to be there" territory, but bear with me. Ever since I can remember, Eric has invented ridiculous things to make me laugh. One day he imagined-- out loud, for my benefit-- a third-rate comedian trying to save a dying act by yelling "Rigatoni!" in a nasal, ever-so-slightly French accent. Whatever humor there was in the original exclamation was somehow magnified by repetition, and it soon became our battle cry and all-purpose expression of exuberance. Our wedding was notable for frequent outbursts of "Rigatoni!" The original enthusiasm has dimmed somewhat-- we can now pass fairly calmly down the pasta aisle of the grocery store, and Eric has a new way to make me laugh uncontrollably*-- but along the way, Rigatoni became my Ravelry name, and so it remains. Since Rigatoni is already my knitting alter-ego and this blog will be mainly-- not exclusively-- about knitting, it seemed a fitting title.

That takes care of the christening, I think. If you're here because you followed 52 weeks, 52 hats, I'm thrilled to have you back. If you ended up here by chance, welcome to the dark heart of my fiber obsession, which constantly threatens to engulf larger portions of my life. If you're not here, I can't really blame you for staying away... and if you're still here after the bit about Rigatoni, then you definitely belong.

*If you must know, he sings the phrase "can of tuna" to the tune of "Barracuda"