Monday, February 22, 2010

Greatest Yarns Ever, continued

Years ago, I heard the story of a mitten knitter, who never finished a pair without immediately casting on another. She would say, "The day that I do not have a mitten on the needles, is the day that I will be dead." The years went by, and her hands stayed busy, providing much comfort to cold hands in her family and community. One evening, as her gnarled, weary hands finished another pair, she calmly wove in the ends in the mitten, and lovingly put away her needles, and went to bed.
She never woke up.
Now, knitters are a superstitious group. So, I never finish a sock without immediately casting on another. Of course, since I usually have at least four pair on the needles at any given time, I believe myself to be pretty safe. But, hey, you never know.

As a devoted sock knitter, I would be remiss in not including what I believe to be the most delicious sock yarn ever.
Last week, I came home from work, foot sore and cold. I put on one of my pairs of socks knit from Mountain Colors, Bearfoot, and immediately sighed in pleasure and comfort. Yum.

Bearfoot is a blend of 60% Superwash Wool, 25% Mohair, and 15% Nylon. It washes in the machine beautifully, and is a dream to knit. The colors are glorious. The color below is Eureka.

This is an amazing sock yarn, and my all time favorite.

I use size 2 needles, and cast on 64 stitches. And while I truly admire the complex, gorgeous patterns for socks out there, when it comes to socks, I just want to knit around on autopilot. I always have a sock next to the telephone, and one in the car in case of a breakdown. If I have to wait for AAA, I will have a soothing, mindless project to calm my nerves.

This colorway is Sapphire Trail, and the sock that I will be knitting next.
Spring can't be far off, but you still have time to crank out a pair of cozy, soft, luxurious socks for yourself.
Knit on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chillblains and Fingernail Polish

I have long adhered to a suggestion of Joseph Campbell- if you read a book that really moves you, then read that writer's entire body of work. In the early 1980's I began a journey through the books of Charles Dickens.

His evocative characters, exposure of the indignities and ignorance of poverty, and marvelous story lines held me spell bound through the years. Dickens is not subtle. There is no moral ambiguity. If a person is unkempt or slovenly, they are sure to be thoroughly and terminally bad. This appealed to me in my youth. I also enjoyed mentally living in this world.

So, when, in my thirties, I started experiencing little cuts around my finger tips, I thought of Bob Cratchit, hovering over a tiny flame in  Old Scrooge's office.

Chillblains. Through the miracle of the internet machine, I now know that chillblains are an inflammation of the small blood vessels on your extremities. I provide you with this definition to spare you from the horrible photos produced when googling the word, "chillblains". But years ago, to my romantic imagination, it sounded like a perfect word for a condition that until recently, I thought only Bob Cratchit and I suffered.

Now, I know that my friends Lupie and Gail have that condition also.

Imagine half a dozen deep paper cuts around the tips of your fingers and around your cuticles. It is more than inconvenient. It is quite painful.

Bandaids are expensive and futile. Liquid Bandage is an excellent option. When you put it on, expect about 5 seconds of pain. Once it dries, expect the cut to clear up in a few days.

This winter (it seems to be a cold weather condition) I have been experimenting. This seems to be the most effective treatment. Try it before bed in the morning:

1. Wash your hands.
2. Put Lotil cream on your hands, rubbing it into the little cuts.
3. Next morning, put clear fingernail polish on the cuts.

YES. I sincerely believe that clear, cheap, 99 cent fingernail polish is identical to "Liquid Bandage". I will probably get a rude message from the makers of Liquid Bandage. But that is my story, and I am sticking to it.
So, no yarn or knitting for this post. But hopefully, it will help all of you crafters out there.