Saturday, January 28, 2006

Celebrate Good Times! Come on!

Last night we had my friends Bob, Sheri, and Emily over Shabbat dinner. (For those of you not familiar, [short form] the Jewish Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday night and is observed in the home with a big meal.) Emmy’s significant other, Maxine, was unable to come because of a last minute schedule change at the hospital. (Allow me to kvell...Maxine is a DOCTOR!)

Bob, Sheri and Emmy are more than just friends. They are Family of Affinity. We chose each other, and they are very important to us.

Our Shabbat dinner was much different that a dinner in an Orthodox household. Because the Chinese New Year is this week, we celebrated with a Chinese dinner:

Steamed plain bao
Steamed read bean paste bao
Choy Sum – Chinese broccoli
Chicken dumplings
Celery & Shitake dumplings
Steamed beef and tangerine balls
White Rice
Chocolate-walnut streudel

A pretty good spread, if I do say so myself.

Sheri arrived with a belated birthday gift – a fabulous rug which looks spectacular in our bedroom. It is very thick and luxurious underfoot!

Sheri is a remarkable woman: a successful lawyer, an accomplished real estate mogul, an incredibly generous friend, and the most gracious hostess.

Sheri is also, and this is not the least of her admirable qualities, the finest thrift-store shopper in the history of the world. 8 out of 10 beautiful things in our home were gifts from Sheri, acquired at thrift stores throughout the Chicago area.

And her home is a showplace. A huge Georgian overlooking a golf course, she loves to tell the story about how the house was such a bargain she bought it without showing it to her husband. And it is a good thing she bought it, too, since she needs the room for entertaining. Sheri can easily serve 200 people on china with sterling flatware without resorting to breaking out the BAD Limoges or silver plate. Again, all from thrift stores.

I think the best thing, though, that I can say about Sheri is that she is a loyal and caring and stalwart friend. When things aren’t going well, she calls you to pep you up. When things are going great, she’s right by your side to tell you what a good job you are doing. Even if we don’t see each other for a month or two, I don’t have to worry she has forsaken me. She is unwavering and steadfast. I want to be her when I grow up.

If only she’d learn to knit! Then we’d have a million more hours to spend together!

Speaking of knitting:

I have finished my first sock – well, except for the final kitchener stitch at the toe and blocking. I'm holding off on the kitchener because I've never done it before and, while I've seen a video clip and I'read about it, I'm going to wait until my Stitch n Bitch to do it so I have the support and oversight of my Bitches.

I enjoyed knitting the sock immensely and have already cast on the mate! I think I’m hooked. Oh, and so I don't get comments -- yes, the stitches are being held on a broken knitting needle. (It looks so horribly violent!) I learned a lesson...if you are going to try on a sock while it is on the sticks, divide the stitches between FOUR needles, not three. They do not bend.

I like plain socks…I want my next pair to be a simple pair of black or grey…I wear mostly black clothes, and I would like to knit a pair for dress. Does anybody have suggestions for sock patterns? Maybe a book of patterns? Also, I’m looking for a sock yarn with cotton content in solid colors. Any recommendations?


Anonymous said...

The sock came out great. Love the colors. If you're looking for an easy pattern try the fluted bannister. Done over 5 stitches and 4 rows. Row 1: Knit 4 Purl 1 Row 2: Knit 3 Purl 2 Row 3: Knit 2 Purl 3 Row 4: Knit 4 Purl 1. Goes really fast and my father (who only wears plain black socks)said the pattern was ok(which means it's fantastic in father termology.

Kerry said...

Hi Aidan, your sock looks great. Have you looked at the Lang Jawoll yarn, they have a cotton/wool/synthetics in sock weight, and a black colour. Brown Sheep's Cotton Fine is cotton/wool 80/20, recommended for socks but not much stretchiness.
Kerry, an Australian male knitter.

Ted said...

Anon's recommendation for fluted bannister would be good.

Bug Franklin to borrow Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks". Lots of stitch patterns in there that would be appropriate for men's socks. The biggest problem you'll have is getting them to stay up, but one does see sock garters occasionally.

Enjoy grafting. It's a wonderful skill when you learn it, and if you learn to do it by understanding what's going on in the fabric -- rather than just a bunch of movements you remember with some kind of verse -- more's the better. That said, I rarely graft sock toes anymore, as I use a shaping that obviates it.

Elisabeth said...

Nancy is really good with the kitchner stitch--she always helps Mary with it. And she should be there tonight because she's picking up scarves for the Red Scarf Project. Love the sock--aren't they addictive?

Julie said...

Stahl Socka Cotton is an excellent wool/cotton/nylon sock yarn in suitable dark neutral colors. I've bought it from, so I don't know how widely available it is.

I recommend Nancy Bush's latest sock book: Knitting Vintage Socks. There are some handsome socks in it.

And if Nancy isn't around tonight, I can help you with the kitchner stitch.


Ryan said...

"The support and oversight of my Bitches?" That was so funny on so many levels, I actually snorted.

Anonymous said...

Another easy and quick pattern with creat results is the Waffle sock. Pattern is done over 4 stitches and 4 rows. Rows 1 and 2: Knit 2 Purl 2. Rows 3 and 4: Knit all stitches. Sadly, I must report that this failed the father test as he prefers about 3" of ribbing at the top of socks. I donated them to charity so at least someone ended up with warm feet out of the deal.

Franklin said...

I'll be YOUR bitch any day, Aidan honey.

sahara said...

I'm a four needle sock fan. It's easier on the stitches too.

Your sock is beautiful. There's something sexy about a man who wears black clothing with a pair of bright socks. It says "underneath these clothes is a (fill in the blank)."

The kitchener stitch is easy, once you learn the path the yarn takes through the stitches.