Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trekking Sock Finished!

That's right! That's *two* things I've finished this week. To make it even better, the Trekking sock is the second of the pair, so I have a new pair of socks to wear!

The pattern is my default "generic" sock pattern. It's beaded rib done over 60 stitches. The ribbing continues down the instep. If I were to guess, I'd say about half of my handknit socks followed this pattern. The rest are either plain 2x2 rib or are the Braided Toeholder pattern from 3Trails Designs (now defunct).

I have already cast on the second sock of the most recent pair of Braided Toeholder socks in Mountain Colors Bear Foot. I can't remember the name of the color for these socks.

Also on the needles now is a chemo cap. A friend's mom has been diagnosed with stage 2/stage 3 breast cancer. I offered to knit her a hat since she's starting chemo soon and her hair will be going on hiatus. It turns out that one of the first things she asked my friend was if I'd knit her a hat. It's a simple roll brim hat knit in Lion Brand Homespun. Not my favorite yarn to work with, but it's soft and it's in a nice blue color. I may pick up some Bernat Boa tomorrow and work on a 2nd hat for her. Perhaps I'll try knitting a hat when I'm at the movies this week, instead of a dishcloth.

Winter Holiday Knitting
For various reasons I don't knit people things for the holidays. That's not to say I don't give out holiday gifts which are hand knit, but I don't set specific goals of knitting X things for Y people. It's too hard to knit to deadline and, for me, it takes all the fun out of the knitting. If I'm going to spend my time knitting something for someone, I want it to be fun. Personally, I'd much rather knit something and just give it to them at random when it's finished. That also adds an extra element of surprise/delight since the recipient has absolutely no idea that the gift is coming. I do give away dishcloths at the winter holidays, but those get knit when I'm at the movies throughout the year. I give away as many as I get done and divide them up even among the folks who I know like them and use them. No pressure. No muss. No fuss.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kiri Completed!

And I even blocked it! Here's a pic of it hanging out on my bed. I think the re-knitted section was done on a needle that was 1mm smaller than the original. Not enough of a difference to be particularly visible unless you look really closely for a long time.

Today I'm leaning toward working on my blue Trekking sock. I got to the start of the heel flap yesterday evening. The heel always seems to go pretty quickly. There are a couple of football games today I'd like to watch so that might be good timing. I really need to do a bit more work on my house too (patching holes in duct insulation), so the knitting might be a good break. By the end of the weekend, I might have a finished pair of socks!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Kiri Kiri!

Ok, so I'm focused again on the Kiri. I am on repeat number 3 of the four that I was going to re-knit. I ought to be able to finish that up this weekend, barring any difficulties or distractions. I promise to post pictures. (Sorry I haven't had many photos lately. There just hasn't been much to photograph.)

______________ While Knitting
Lately there hasn't been anything worth watching on TV while I knit, not even on my favorite Turner Classic Movies. So I have been using audiobooks from my library to keep my brain occupied while I knit. I can check out 10 books at a time for two weeks. The downloadable books are just *awesome*! This past week I listened to The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson (and read by the author). It was quite entertaining. If you like humorous essays, this might strike your fancy. Next up, Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card.

For some reason I need to be doing something while I knit. I can't just sit and knit. My mind starts to wander and then I make mistakes in my knitting. I also get distracted and end up not knitting for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. So I need to read, watch TV/movie or listen to talk radio or an audiobook. Just enough to keep me occupied so I can knit. I know I'm missing details on the movie or the book, but I'm able to knit for a couple hours at a time, so I'm ok with that.

What do you do while you knit?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Stay on target! Stay on target!"

I am having all sorts of difficulties deciding between working on the Kiri or the Swan Lake/Mystery Stole. I'm sort of alternating between the two. I probably ought to just focus on the Kiri and get it done, then focus on the Mystery Stole. At the rate I'm going I could drag out the two of them for another month or two. It's starting to get cold out so I ought to finish one of the silly things before too long. And I have another five skeins of alpaca laceweight on the way too, which will, no doubt, get me thinking about starting a new project.

Just two more repeats and the border left on the Kiri. I've just started Chart H on the Swan Lake. I'm a member of the Mystic Waters shawl knitalong, but I haven't even started that yet. I'm curious to see how big it will be and what it looks like before I start. What I've seen so far doesn't have me completely enamored, but that could just be me being grumpy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The New and Improved Fiber Room

The fiber room got put back together last night in good time. I have managed to gain quite a bit of space and will gain another 9 square feet when I get rid of my extra computer monitor (and box). I don't quite have enough room to set up my loom, but it's really close and I could rearrange a few bins to gain that space pretty easily if I wanted to weave.

Tonight I'm taking it easy and knitting the Kiri. I am fighting the urge to knit some baby sweaters for charity this Christmas season. This urge is probably being driven by finding my bins of miscellaneous acrylic and odd ball wool yarns. They'd be perfect for making baby surprise jackets or even wallaby sweaters, as well as hats. I feel the need to do something that would be appreciated by someone, even if just by a random baby. Of course, I cannot find the address of the hospital to which I used to send preemie hats. *sigh*

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh Dear....

I am taking advantage of the long weekend to rearrange my fiber studio. I had initially intended to empty several boxes and then assemble the sewing table my Mom gave me when I moved. The former was accomplished successfully. The latter was not. You see, my evil plan included assembling the table and then placing my stash of storage bins under and on top of said table. Except that the table would actually obstruct more or the room than the bins by themselves. So I shampooed the carpet under the bins and will put them back in their places in the morning.

While I was at this mass reorganization, I happened to inventory my fleece stash. I had always thought I had seven fleeces. It would seem I was mistaken. I have thirteen fleeces and that doesn't count the two fleeces that I have put in the garden as mulch/compost. This includes four fantastic Coopworth fleeces from Hidden Valley Farm. I started collected the gray fleeces (one dark, one light and one medium) when I had considered weaving myself a Lord of the Rings replica cloak. Soon after purchasing the first two gray fleeces, I changed my mind about this but didn't let that get in the way of purchasing additional fleeces.

The rest of the fleece collection includes two dark gray Shetland fleeces, one white Shetland fleece, a dark gray fleece labelled "Munchkin", two fine wool crossbred fleeces (at least part Border Leicester)from Cascade Sheep and Wool, one medium cream colored fleece with some veggie matter in it, one steel gray coarse and curly fleece and two Romney cross fleeces I bought from some 4-H kids (mild to moderate veggie matter and possibly slightly felted from storage). I really ought to send some of these things out for processing, though what I'd be most likely to send are the very fleeces that I'd rather play with myself--the Coopworths.

So here's my question: why is it that the sheep's fleeces apparently multiplied but I still have the same 4 ounces of angora rabbit fur that I started with? Shouldn't it be the bunny that reproduced?

Spinning Progress

I plied up a bobbin of worsted weight merino three-ply on Friday night. I could probably get another bobbin plied tomorrow after work. Once the singles are all plied, I will start in on the Autumn Leaves roving for a change from the plain white merino. I might get enough yarn from the Autumn Leaves to make a vest. If I could remember which issue of Knitters' magazine the On the Point vest was in, I might consider adapting that pattern to use this yarn.

Speaking of yarn, I found where I'd stored all my handspun. I have enough gray Romney worsted weight to make a aran vest. I don't know if I have enough of the merino worsted weight to do much with yet. There are also the two skeins of lumpy bumpy stuff I made when I first started spinning. It might make a good hat, but I haven't even tried yet.

Knitting Progress
I re-knit the toes of a pair of Socka socks this weekend. It's getting chilly enough in the mornings that I like to wear socks to work now. This makes for marvelous motivation to get one's holey socks darned. I also fixed the toe from the turquoise JaWoll socks I made ten years ago. I was surprised to see how much they had faded, until I thought about how old the socks actually are. I suppose it's to be expected that they might fade after that long, even with handwashing. Of course, it's also to be expected that there might have been some wear in the toe area too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Washing of the Sweaters

It's the end of daylight savings time and the weather has gotten cooler. I have begun the fall edition of washing all my sweaters. This house and the last house I lived in both have carpet beetles, so I try to keep a close eye on things. Although I escort nearly all bugs and spiders out of the house, these little critters I squish. Mostly what I find are the larvae or larval skins. I rarely find adults. The larvae are voracious eaters of wool, skin, hair and even leather. The adults just hang out on the window sill, as far as I can tell. I have found larvae on the bathroom counter, on sweaters (next to holes they ate), on the carpet, on the bedspread and on the walls. I have, of course, found them occasionally in my yarn and fiber stash. That's part of the reason why I keep it sealed in big plastic bins rather than on shelves out in the open. I try as much as I can to deny access to the munchies.

So the cotton sweaters went in the washing machine yesterday and I handwashed about half of the wool and mohair sweaters. Later this week I'll wash the other half of the sweaters, then put them all back. It also gives me a chance to go over everything and check for pulled threads, missing buttons, and other minor repair issues.

Minor Knitting Action
I did finish a repeat of the Kiri yesterday (three and a half rows). I will knit three more repeats and call it quits. I keep thinking I can knit a whole repeat in an evening, but at the bottom edge of the shawl it takes a while to knit a row. I haven't gotten around to counting the stitches yet. Part of me wants to know and part of me doesn't want to know. I thought about knitting away the day today, but I brought some work home with me and really need to do that instead. I also need to finish baking cookies for Twitchh and the SCinet fiber team. Set-up for the SuperComputing conference, SC07, starts tomorrow morning.

Maybe this evening I can get back to the Kiri....