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Qualified Perceptions
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harrock (hah, I was wondering when "fearless" got purple hair, but that's because he's not fearless here...) and I went to Alden & Harlow last night (I cannot remember the name of this place to save my life. I have to keep looking it up). It's in Harvard Square, on the lower level surrounding the entrance to the Brattle Theater.

It's one of those "small plates" places that's become more common, with the "locally sourced produce" attribute that is also very common, but my goodness it was tasty, sufficient to really stand out. It reminded me a little bit of Gargoyles, in that there were some Very Odd Things (my first cocktail was chosen based on the fact that it had "salted radish" as an ingredient; a lamb plate came with "carrot mash" which was more or less a finely shredded-not-quite-pureed carrot cake), and a little bit of Spoke, in that everything came with interesting tasty sauces and veggie accoutrements which I had to protect from being cleared by the waitstaff. On a late Sunday evening, it wasn't full at all, and wasn't noisy, though the tables are close together so there could be conversation overlap. (It also had a very cream-filled burrata that I mention for mathhobbit , that Jerry regarded very suspiciously, as it looked kind of like a poached ostrich egg.)

I am already planning to go back and try all the dishes that I didn't have last time. Well, maybe not all of them at once.
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This is one of my go-to patterns now for "what to do with wildly multicolor yarn"; this particular colorway is Yankee Dyer's "Crazy Monkey Love".  I think it's awesome - it manages to have a coherent sort of palette while still having tons of different colors.    I worked on the socks a lot on vacation, though I didn't finish them until the day I came back, so they are not a (slightly belated) Father's Day present, they'll have to be a Christmas present instead.


(I also returned from vacation with a lot of knitting homework: a knotted necklace for Isabelle, a scarfy thing for Mom, something made out of the multicolor yarn that Amelia liked, and more clothes for Mantis and Pink Penguin.   And the nieces have discovered the existence of needle felting.)

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After finishing the keyhole scarves, I had a reasonable amount of very soft cashmere-containing yarn in both colors, which seemed a shame to put in the infinite pile of leftover yarn, or turn it all into little octopodes. So I turned it into hand octopodes instead! Except then there wasn't enough of the dark green yarn, so I used leftovers from these socks, and alternated back and forth between the two greens. They matched nicely, and the older yarn added some color changes to the "water" which seemed appropriate.







They fit my hands reasonably well; someone with hands in the ballpark of mine could wear them. Are they yours?

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This pattern is "Monkey", one of the most popular (free) sock patterns on Ravelry at this point. The combination of minor lace and reverse stockinette triangles make them really lumpy before blocking - I wish I had taken a "before" picture, since the "after" looks so well behaved.

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Part of the bonus of going to new yarn stores with harrock is that sometimes he'll point at something and say "ooh! I want one of those!" So I get to feel useful and also like I'm not just dragging him to stores he has no interest in, and he gets stuff he likes. Everyone wins! The blue yarn came from the most recent trip to Minneapolis; the beige yarn was in my stash from when Windsor Button closed (sniff). Now the leftovers are turning into octopus fingerless gloves, because why not?

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Zen Yarn Garden keeps sending me advertisements for shawl kits, and every year or so I grab one. They have a really nice single-ply silk yarn which is shiny and soft and decadent. Anyway, I finished this while in the Non-Frozen North, and now it's for Vicki (Jerry's mom's housemate), who could use something as an anti-stress shield. Not that shawls are magic, but it's what I've got.

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A while ago, I made blue and white totoros for Amelia and Isabelle. At a later visit, there was some hinting that they wanted a grey totoro too, but the white one had been lost. I was kind of grumbly that the previous toys had to be found first, but then they successfully found the white totoro after all. So here is a Big Grey Totoro, and a bunch of soot sprites. I tried a little bit to add a crochet grin, but it didn't look right, and the whiskers aren't quite right either, but the soot sprites are perfect! (And really really easy.) (When crocheting with fun fur, the "wrong" side is fuzzier.)

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So, these socks are described as "Take a pair of side to side socks (like these) and then tilt them (like Skew)." You're knitting a strip that goes around the foot (with some short rows to add extra fabric at the instep), to be seamed together.

The pattern is brilliant, though there's a part where it says "Your strip needs to stretch to X; if it doesn't, knit more" and mine didn't, so I knit more. That made the sock longer, so now it fits me rather than the person I was imagining it would be for. Oops. The yarn is Twisted Fiber Arts wide striping yarn, which turns into narrow striping here; it's still some of my favorite.

Knitting the first one wasn't very hard (my main problem is that when using Judy's Magic Cast On over 180 stitches, my cast on row is too tight), but knitting the second one was a bear. To makes the stripes slant in the opposite direction, you work the shaping just the same, but on the purl side. As it turns out, my hands know that the purl side is the boring side - you do all the interesting stuff on the knit side - so when I wasn't paying attention, I just blew through the increase and decrease markers, and had to rip back again to do it right.

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