Saturday, April 07, 2007

Robin's Nest Or Pig's Ear?

Sorry it's been a while. Sock Madness took over again for a few days. This time it was Painted Madness, a delightful cuffed design, cute little garter stitch points all the way round.

It was supposed to come anytime between noon and whenever Irish time on Wednesday, and by 11am the tension was rising - so much so that DH was dragged away from a fascinating browse through a hardware shop and told to hurry up, we needed to get home.

(I probably shouldn't record this, but in the interests of full disclosure I will reveal that DH said two inadvisable things. The first was, 'It's only knitting, for heaven's sake!' and the second was, 'Does it matter all that much when you get this pattern?')

It finally arrived around 3.30 pm West Cork time, and although the intention had genuinely been to use either Yarn Yard's Mango Sorbet or Cherry Tree Hill's emerald Brights, it so happened that about three hours prior to Pattern Lift-Off, postie brought a package from Lisa Souza with three yummy yarns.

On my left, Elektra, on my right Emerald City, and in the middle, what's left of Can't-Elope! once the Painted Madness socks had been finished. Well could you have resisted it? And in fact this gorgeous, almost eatable colourway was ideal for the pattern so beautifully created by Tricia Weatherston especially for Sock Madness.

The socks were started almost immediately since once again it was just one against one, not the somewhat more relaxing group dash for the finishing tape. Thank heaven Celtic Memory is in the Novices group, aka Wendy's Toe-Up Division, since there are a couple of heavyweights out there in the Senior Classes who can turn around a pair of socks in less than twelve hours. Twelve hours, I ask you! Of course that's without comfort stops, sleep, food, unnecessary delaying tactics like those. Here in West Cork we gave up around midnight but woke at 6 am and somehow couldn't get back to sleep, thinking of an almost-finished sock waiting patiently on the windowsill. It was nice, though, to see the sun rise and the baby rabbits come out to play in the field beyond while working unending rounds of stocking stitch on the foot.

Here is Painted Madness Sock One completed and chatting with some early violets. This is a really nice design with a pleasant slipstitch heel, but oh does that double cuff take extra time!

No time to waste, though, so the second sock was dashed at forthwith (had actually done the garter stitch points for the cuff the night before when it became downright impossible to do any more stocking stitch on the first one due to bad temper and the need to vary movement somewhat). DH, having remembered that yes, knitting did matter, rather a lot, was adorable, bringing cups of tea, coffee, chocolate biscuits (very useful those in times of crisis) and generally keeping the dogs out of the way. Muffy was very keen to get in on the sock knitting, insisting she could help, really she could, JUST LET ME TRY, THAT'S ALL!

(It's OK, I bought her off with a pig's ear to chew. Hadn't come across this delicacy before, but found them in a local shop and got one for each of the girls.)

Finally fastened off the toe on Sock Two at 2.30 pm Friday and shrieked for DH to get the camera QUICK!

So much depends in this competition, not only on how quickly you get the socks finished, but also on how speedily they can be transferred to Flickr and thence to the Sock Madness section of Flickr.

You don't realise how much the stress takes out of you until it's all over. Finished an entire packet of chocolate biscuits, crashed out, went to bed early. Feel wonderful today.

Before the Round Three pattern was released, something had to be done to break the tension. Chez Celtic Memory when life is trying, one starts an Aran sweater. There is something incredibly relaxing, satisfying about the mathematical precision of stitches, numbers, rows - yet at the same time you most certainly do not get bored.

This is on 4mm (US 6) Colonial Rosewoods and the yarn my favourite silk/cashmere - you remember, the one that has the aroma of a cesspit when first washed but is fine thereafter. It has beautiful stitch definition and a soft silky feel - well it should have, shouldn't it? The pattern is for a raglan sleeve cardigan, which is the most useful design for Celtic Memory's wardrobe since it can be worn open or buttoned up, sleeves pushed up or down, over casuals or dressies, and can go to the opera more or less as well as the farm. It's calling me to come back to it right now. Nice relaxing stuff after all that heel-turning.

So what was being knitted this fine Easter Saturday if not the Aran? Well, strangely enough, socks...

These are the Mad Pink Cows, the second made from Round One of the contest. Liked the yarn and the pattern so much, went back and got more Crystal Palace Panda Cotton (with bamboo). Started Mad Pink Cow while in So Cal, but then left them to one side while other matters were dealt with. Nearly finished. Still got Mad Green Cow to go, and then all three colours can be mixed and matched with gay abandon.

Must go skein up some yarns to list on eBay. It's been far too long and there have been queries about that nice linen/cotton as well as the finer silk/cashmere. It must be the spring. I'll have those up tomorrow sometime.

As it's Easter, I wanted to give you a specially happy picture, and here DH and I had one of our rare disagreements. I thought you would like a robin gathering moss for its nest. He thought you would prefer Muffy the Yarnslayer chewing on her pig's ear. Which of us was right? You be the judge.

Joy at Easter to everyone. Bring greenery into your home and listen to the voices on the breeze.


Kelly said...

Sock madness indeed - you really have been knitting up a storm. I especially like the pink mad cow socks. And the cute robin photo gets my vote - such a beautiful little bird. It makes me long for spring, as we are having a snowy Easter weekend across Ontario.

picperfic said...

oh glad I'm not in this contest, I'm exhausted just reading about your antics. Beautiful work btw...and I love the photo of the robin!

Anonymous said...

Are we sure Jo is still writing this blog? Maybe she has been taken over by a sock-knitting alien. How else to explain the sock madness frenzy of the last few weeks? ;)
BTW, as much as I like Muffy, I vote for the robin's picture.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you are back! Though I've been keeping up with you over at Sock Madness and you are one busy chick. Quite impressed by your work since you started out in the less experienced catagory. That's a label you will never wear again! And I loved your comment that now as the field narrows, you feel like a schoolgirl who accidently walked into the advanced class.

Dissenting voice here. Although I loved the beautiful little robin, truly a delight, Muffy stole my heart as always.

Annoying voice of your conscience...Celtic Vest? Where are you on it? Like an inch from finishing the trim? Is it finished and you are just saving it for an announcement?

Kelly, is that your cute little hedgehog?

ravelling said...

I'm another one glad not to have plunged into Sock Madness, I've even failed in my commitment to the Sock-a-month challenge (the shame) - yours are lovely though :)
I vote for the robin, purely on the grounds of springiness.

Lynn said...

I prefer the robin, although the pup is pretty adorable, too.

And I just have to say this: All you sock knitters are nuts. In a nice way, of course, but utterly nuts.

P.S.: My Blogger verification word is fpmsqkal [really, it is!]. Does that stand for Funny Peculiar Mad Sock Queens Knit-a-long?

Ronni said...

The robin is delightfully springy but Muffy chomping on her pig's ear is quite cute. It's a tie here.

I've been enjoying reading your blog for a while now but have particularly enjoyed the sock madness posts. I'm so glad to be observing it. It sounds like you're having a fun time with it. I'm actually quite tempted to see about joining in if it is done again just because it sounds so fun as you describe it. I'm quite astounded by the idea of 12 hour socks though. Wow!

Dez Crawford said...

As usual I like both Muffy and the robin. I also love the robin's moss. I am a helpless junkie for all things moss-related.

Fab socks, and I just love the Can't Elope yarn. Now I have to get some. Love. It.

The Mad Pink Cow socks look just like our magenta azaleas in full bloom with only a few leaves peeking out between the flowers.

Maybe next year I will enter Sock Madness. This year I am cranking on a deadline for a shawl which is a Big Secret Surprise but you will all hear about it before Mother's Day (2nd Sunday in May for those of you not in the States).

Happy Easter Jo, from Baton Rouge where we are having the last cool spell of the year, expecting a light frost tonight.

Anonymous said...

The socks are gorgeous. I could never do the sock competition you are doing. I think my heart would give out. And, as adorable as your puppy is, I love the robin photo. :)

I was thinking about you the other day while at my LYS. My son, Jordan, is going to a HArry Potter birthday party next week and has the option of wearing school robes or muggle clothes. He asked me to knit him a Gryffindor scarf. After scouring the store, by far the best yarn was Galway "Irish worsted knitting wool".
I'm surprised how softly it is knitting up; I expected something more scratchy. And I'm also surprised at how many people recognise that label. I'll be knitting away at a hockey arena, or at the karate studio, or wherever, and someone always says, "Oh, that's that Irish wool. It's lovely, isn't it?"

Anonymous said...

Beautiful socks, JO! Never worry about those socks-in-12-hours weirdos, you're doing amazing! Thank you for the beautiful birdie photo, as well; it's made my Easter weekend.

rho said...

Socks are beautiful. And I cannot pick between Muffy and the robin they are both super pictures.

Whatever you do DO NOT get the pups the cow hooves to chew on -- it is like the heat of summer in muddy cow pens with lots of manure that is being stirred up -- NASTY!!! Ask me how I know..

I frogged my 2 socks on 2 circs yesterday in a fit of insanity - I hated them fro turning the heel right up to grafting the toes - so rather than hating them forever it was better to frog it -- put the balls in the bottom of my lantern moon basket with the hopes that by the time I get to those balls I will have forgotten the curse that is on that yarn. And immediately cast on a new pair of socks so they didn't stay tainted in my mind.

pacalaga said...

Beautiful pictures, but I vote for the robin too. I can't help it - it's all the hope of spring, tied up in that one photo. Good job with the socks, they came out nice. I just regrafted the toes of my mad-tinis - I took my time finishing those since I was knocked out last round, and I must say it's more fun to watch y'all panic than to partake myself. :-D
Besides, I have a new toy!

Anonymous said...

I love those "Mad Cows" ..gorgeous colours . You might find you have lots of silk-purses now despite the saying ! I have to say we dined on a far supierior part of Mr. Piggy yesterday but not being a dog I guess I can't imagine the sheer pleasure. As for that yarn ..scrummy. What I havn't fessed up to was the huge sale at my L.Y.S where they sold off all the Jaegar D.K at 35% off . I have a huge bag of colours to make Holly a fair-isle . It's a shame though because hardly anyone does pure wool now in plain colours and Rowan's new range is twice the price.

Denise said...

It's hard to choose between the two photos, but I think the robin is my favorite this time (only by the smallest margin, mind you). The colors and springtime theme are perfect. Your robins look so much different than the ones here in the US, or I should say at least here in my part of the US - the Pacific NW.

Muffy really seems to be enjoying her pig ear!

As the world's slowest knitter I could never enter a contest like this but I'm enjoying reading about your adventures. I can't believe what a speedy, productive knitter you are. Your hands must be a complete blur when you are knitting!

Anonymous said...

I love all of the yarns, especially the Can't Elope. I'm another one, though, who's glad she didn't sign up for the Sock Madness. I knit socks constantly but I'm definately not a fast knitter and there's nothing like a deadline or speed contest to make me want to do anything else in the world but what I'm being timed to do.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'll pick a dog, for anything, 99 percent of the time. But I'm afraid that this time the bird is going to, very slighty, edge out Muffy. It just says spring.

Cindy/Snid said...

Oh my gosh! You got some of the colorway (for your mad pink socks) I have been trying to find! I absolutely adore that color. My friend Hannah made a Dream Swatch with it and it is totally cute. Congrats on making it to the 4th round!!!!

Roggey said...

I can't wait to see that Elektra knitted up!

Abby said...

I'm loving the socks. They're great.
I'm impressed.

And as for the pics, definitely the robin. It's winter again here in Ohio, so I'm longing for spring.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I vote for the robin.

Fiberjoy said...

Elektra! What a fantastic, rich yarn. Too grand to hide inside shoes.

The robin gets my vote. There's little competition between a pig's ear and a bit of moss. :-)

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Sock Madness - won't you soon be able to bare your toes to the sun! If you are like me, that only lasts about a week, and then you will be trying to decide which beautiful pair will keep the toes warm!
No sign of Cul de Sac!!

Margreet said...

Congratulations! You have been nominated for a Thinking Blogger Award.

I chose your blog, because I love the way you write about your favourite craft, knitting, and because you inspire me to keep on going.

The thinking blogger award comes with a challenge: should you decide to accept the award, you have to nominate 5 other blogs for this same award. And write a post on your blog where you mention the person who nominated you: Margreet, at

in which you also give the links to the 5 nominated blogs. You can go to my blog for more info.

Whether you accept my nomination or not...I will keep on reading your blog, because it gives me joy, and we can’t have enough of that!!

Anonymous said...

I can't decide which picture I prefer! The robin is so industrious and yet looks happy! Muffy looks like ecstasy personified! I'm glad that you shared both pictures with us!

You're socks are looking so great!

Did you finish the red vest - maybe I just missed it!

Loralie said...

Wow, sounds like a lot of work, yet tons of fun! I like that Aran sweater you started! You are right -- they are very versatile! The colors of the yarn you received are very pretty also! I am glad you chose to use some!

Muffy is very cute, for sure, but as I often enjoy the little, light things I personally prefer the sweet little robin! It is adorable!

Laura said...

All I have to say is that I'm glad it's you, not me, who's participating in Sock Madness. Goodness! I would have been out in the first round. LOL

Need to add here, that after reading your blog when you were visitng this lovely land of southern California (I would have given a shout out, but you weren't actually that close to me in your travels) that I had to go find some Panda Cotton sock yarn. I thought for sure my LYS would have it, but no such luck. I did finally get my hands on some (periwinkle), and am looking forward to knitting some lacey, summery anklet-height socks from it.

You fiend you.

Laura said...

P.S. I think the Robin is more Easter-y, but Muffy is terribly cute.

Terrie D. (StarSpry) said...

Lovely socks!

Although I think Muffy is so cute, the robin is just adorable! :)