Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bad Computer, No Biscuit

I had some lovely photos of my finished Serpentine sock uploaded on my laptop Sunday. Apparently a power surge yesterday caused my laptop's brand new hard drive to lose its mind.  I think I deleted photos from the camera so I'll have to remember to take another pic.  Even worse is that I lost the before picture to my French Press Slippers.  The unfelted slipper was about 2 feet long.  The felted slipper fits a size 9 woman's foot quite nicely, albeit a bit loosely about the top opening. I love to document the huge differences between before and after with felted items.

French Press Slippers
These were a lot of fun to make.  I'd been enamored of them before the Yarn Harlot fell under their spell.  (They remind me of the ballet slipper-like house shoes my paternal grandmother used to wear.) Having had a not-so-fun day on that particular day, I used them as a spot of personal retail therapy. I used some stashed Plymouth Galway in navy for them.  I didn't whip out the pair in 90 minutes, but I did get them knit in perhaps 3-4 hours total knitting time.  I have neither put the straps on them nor purchased buttons. There's no telling how long that will take.

Crabby Socks!
I have started sock number 2 for my sister.  I foresee no reason I can't get these finished by Christmas.  I might not even have to work on them in front of her and pretend that they're mine. (She's used to seeing me constantly knit.)  I don't think I'll manage to get my pair finished, though I should be able to make a dent in getting them started. 

I think I have the hang of the magic cast on for toe up socks.  I had to look it up again for this one, but I think I've got it stored in my brain now.  The slip stitch goes on the top needle and the yarn goes round the needles from under/outside. 

The Russian cast off that Wendy describes in her book seems to be a winner in terms of stretchability and simplicity.  I like having an option I can use in case I don't ahve a yarn needle (making the sewn cast off impossible).  It doesn't always happen, but sometimes I don't always have extra tools available and I'd hate to get stuck with no way to proceed.

Pictures of all this stuff coming soon!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Brief Update

A deceased hard drive in my laptop has rather cut into my blogging lately. It's just not as much fun to sit at the desktop computer in the computer room to blog when compared to sitting in the comfy chair with the laptop  while watching old movies.

On the other hand, I have gotten more knitting done....
The Socktoberfest socks are complete. They're a bit larger in circumference than I'd like but a trip through the washing machine this weekend helped that immensely.  From here on out, they'll primarily be handwashed.

I had a sincere go at the Fall 2009 Mystery Shawl and promptly made a mistake about three rows into it.  I'm in the process of tinking back.  I need to figure out where to put markers in it. There are some motif repeats, but nothing really sticks out as a Place Marker Here spot.  Once I get that done, I think progress will pick up dramatically.

The Tri-Cities Sock is past the heel and gusset shaping.  I don't remember where on the foot I am.  This is back to being a 4-5 row repeat so works pretty quickly.  I won't get both socks done by the end of the year but I might get them done by the end of January.

Taking precedence in the knitting queue is a new project: The Crabby McHappypants socks for my sister and me.  The yarn is Socks That Rock Mediumweight in the Crabby McHappypants colorway (corals and blues).  The whole idea came about when my sister commented that she was named  "Assy Jackass McSmartypants" at work one day for being a Smartass/Smartypants.  Later that week I stumbled upon the Crabby McCrabbypants and Crabby McHappypants yarns.  Since we've both been called Crabbypants before too, we thought Crabby yarn was a must have.  Both of us liked the colors in the Crabby McHappypants better than the Crabby McCrabbypants, even if we do like the latter name a whole lot more.

Now I need to knit at least one pair of socks between now and Christmas.  I'm not sure I can get it done.  I've got a lot of baking and some shopping/shipping to get done too. Ideally I'd like to get both pair finished, but I think that's definitely out of the question.

The pattern I've chosen is Serpentine Socks from Wendy Johnson's new book Socks From the Toe Up.  This is my first foray into toe-up socks.  It took a bit of extra research to figure out Judy's Magic Cast-On, but once I got past that, I figured things out quickly enough.  It was really fun to learn a new technique too.
The only thing I need to keep tabs on now is what numbers I use for cast on stitches, length to gusset/heel shaping, etc.  It's not going to be difficult to do, unless I start getting top-down and toe-up numbers switched around.   In hopes of preventing that, I'm putting an old index card box to good use and creating an index card for each of my sock victims recipients.  The front of the card will hold the relevant measurements while the back will hold the information about the actua socks I've knit for them.  Ideallly this would be kept on the computer, but a hard copy card system should work well enough for now.  I'll build a real database later if I get bored.

Update: I have finished the first of the Serpentine Socks. I'm totally sold on the toe-up method though I still prefer DPNs over 2 circulars.  I hate having to push the stitches over the join to get them to the needle tip. It feels like it slows my knitting immensely.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Long Time No Report....

I still haven't purchased yarn for my sister's February Lady Sweater Pullover.  I'd still like to knit it for her (February) birthday.  Perhaps that will be my bit of Thanksgiving shopping this year....

I have, however, actually been knitting.  I am halfway through the 2nd sock from Socktoberfest.

I'm halfway through the first sock of my Tri-Cities Socks (aka Pittsworth by Spilly Jane).

The Fall 2009 Mystery Shawl is still stuck in Clue #1.  I went through a period where I screwed up every row I knit, so I put it aside for a while.  Once I finish my socks I'll pick it back up.

 Darning Pile
Not long ago, Yarn Harlot talked about her experience with Shoemaker Syndrome (or Cobbler Syndrome).  She observed that while she knits socks all the time, she tends to knit them for other people rather than herself and that her socks all tend to be of a similar vintage so they wear out at about the same time.  I have the same problem.

This is my pile of socks that need their heels darned. 

It's only four pair.  I've been trying to remember how old they are and, as near as I can tell, it's been five to eight years since these were knit.  I can't say that I'm terribly upset or surprised that the heels might have small thin spots by this point. On the other hand, I dislike darning socks, not to mention that there is only so much darning that a given sock can take, so I should probably start planning to crank out a stack of replacement socks for myself. Fortunately I have somewhere around 185 sock patterns stored on my computer (plus the hardcopy patterns on my bookshelf) and sufficient sock yarn in my stash to knit 30-ish pair of socks.  I think I'll be in good shape sock-wise before too long.

After I discovered the first pair of socks which needed darning, I when through the rest of my socks to check for others that needed repair.  I also grouped them all by color, just to see if there was a trend or pattern. Surprisingly there really isn't. The most common color is various shades of red. I have no handknit socks in the following colors: black, tan, white or yellow.  I could really use a pair of socks that is dark green (and of course I have no dark green yarn in the sock stash).  The closest match to my dark green sweater I could find today was a pair of socks that is lime green and purple (Lorna's Laces Jungle Stripe). Other than that, I seem to have most colors represented in some way. Mind you, I still have clothes that don't match any existing socks, but if people aren't used to seeing me wear socks that don't entirely match my clothes by now....

I haven't any idea what socks to knit after I get these two pair finished.  Heck, even if I did decide on something (as I'm sure I have done at least twice in the past), I'm sure I'd change my mind before I actually get them started anyway.  At the moment, probably because of the socks I'm currently working on, I'm rather enamored of patterns with twisted stitches. Perhaps something like Pamina or Lohengrin or Magic Mirror.  We'll see what I like when the time comes to actually pick something. :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Slight Change in Plans

I came across a pullover version of the February Lady Sweater and sent the link to my sister (she for whom I was going to knit a FLS for her Feb Birthday).  Personally I think the pullover would be more flattering on me and decided that I'll knit myself one soon.  Sis was initially wishy-washy about which she wanted.  I put my foot down and told her to tell me which one she really liked cuz I wasn't going to spend my time knitting her something that held no magic for her.  She laughed and said pullover.

Finally, Procrastination pays off!  I hadn't even purchased the yarn yet, much less cast on the sweater.  w00t!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

One KAL frogged

Well, Crenellation is no more.  I got to a point where I couldn't get the chart to work for me and I couldn't figure out where I went wrong.  I also wasn't as enamored of the pattern as I had hoped I would be and wasn't terribly thrilled about the prospect of knitting the 2nd sock of the pair.  So I frogged it.

On the other hand, the loss of Crenellation leaves me with more time for the Fall Mystery Shawl and the Socktoberfest Mystery Sock.  The fourth clue for Socktoberfest comes out on Thursday morning.  I don't know if it'll be the foot and toe or just the foot.  I still haven't finished the first clue for the Fall Mystery Shawl (Clue 3 comes out on Saturday).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sock KAL Progress! (Now with picture!)

I've gotten to the end of Clue #2 on the Through the Loops Socktoberfest sock.  Stayed up past my bedtime tonight to do it, but I think it was worth it.  I'll post a picture tomorrow.  I'm too tired to mess with it now. (Update: Pic posted.)

Next up: get caught up on the Solid Socks KAL (aka Crenellation).  I still haven't done more than a row or two on the first clue and I think the second clue might have come out this past weekend.  (I really need to put the clue schedules on a calendar or I'm going to get completely confused/lost.  I already thought the MMario MMystery started in November instead of January 2010.  Oops.)

I did start casting on for the Fall Mystery Shawl 2009 (FMS09) from Goddess Knits.  But then I got sidetracked by watching Castle on Hulu and needed to work on something less brain-intensive.  As soon as I get Crenellation up to speed I'll get cracking on the shawl.  The news on the FMS09 is that we're knitting a stole from each end, so each clue will need to be done twice and then the two halves are grafted together.  Some of the KAL participants aren't very happy about that since they don't like grafting.  I don't like it much either, but it's not going to stop me.  I'll just have to practice my grafting before I finish the shawl.  I'm absolutely NOT going to let grafting get between me and a lovely lace stole.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Let's Not Do That Again

I just hand wound a 1300 yard ball of lace weight yarn. It was supposed to be a center-pull ball, but apparently the yarn is sticking to itself a wee bit too much for that to work.  I will have to finally get myself a ball winder.  I've been meaning to buy one for some time, just never quite got around to it. (There's a 3300 yard skein of cobweb weight merino in my stash that has been languishing for about 5 years until I obtained a ball winder.)  It'll be a Strauch ball winder.  They make a good quality product that's well-built.  I've been very happy with the drum carder I have from Strauch, so I might as well own their ball winder too. 

The yarn I was winding is for the Goddess Knits Fall Mystery Shawl 2009.  I'm using Penny Rose's Carrie (80% merino, 20% silk) in gold.  It's a gorgeous warm butter yellow.  I expect it'll make the shawl feel that much warmer.  Clue number one came out today.  I expect I'll finish it in about twice the time the knitalong is scheduled to take, but that's just an estimate.

Sock KALs....
I thought I had Clue #2 of the Through the Loops Socktoberfest Sock finished, but when looking at the photos of other people's socks realized that I completely skipped the part of the instructions that said "repeat these rows 5 times".  Oopsies.  On the other hand, this means the sock length will be much more to my liking.

The Solid Sock group's Mystery sock has been cast on, but that's all the further it's gotten.  I'll have to check when Clue #2 on that one comes out.

And now I'm going to work on the TtL Socktoberfest while I watch Hulu and let the lace yarn sit and think about its poor behavior earlier today....

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ta Daaaaaaa!

I have completed Sis' Striped Socks.  All three of them.  Why have just two socks that don't match when you can have three?!

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Lobster Pinch (the red/pink) and Apricot Smoothie, purchased at Haus of Yarn.
Pattern: My basic sock top-down pattern knit over 64 stitches. K2, P2 rib for the cuff and instep.
Needles: Size 2 dpns.

I'll get these in the mail tomorrow or Friday, along with a t-shirt that reads "Will trade sister for candy".  Long ago, she probably would have too, except that I used to just give her all the Halloween candy I didn't like, which was most of it.  I'm the only person I've ever met that would have to dump out the previous year's Halloween candy in order to go Trick-or-Treating.

That reminds me, it's time to go buy another bag of Mary Janes..... (It's an amusing coincidence that the wrappers kinda match the socks!!)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chemo Cap Done!

The chemo cap is finished!  It is currently tumbling around in the dryer after having a bit of a wash.

Speaking of Wash....
I talked to Boy a bit this evening. While we chatted, I happened to be browsing sock patterns on Ravelry and somehow managed to stumble across Wash's Sweater.  I mentioned Wash's Sweater, since Boy is a fan of Firefly.  He immediately Googled it and said that he had decided that he was going to start wearing sweaters in the winter again.  And that he would wear a sweater like that if someone happened to knit it in a size that would fit him.  When I asked if that was a roundabout way of asking me to knit him a sweater he said "maaaaaaybe".  I told him that I would consider knitting him a sweater but only if he picked out the yarn so that the color and degree of softness would suit him.  I also pointed out that an adult-sized sweater often takes me a couple years to finish.  He said it wasn't a rush and that I should knit the other stuff on my list of things to knit first.  (He's obviously not seen my Ravelry queue--there are over 300 items listed there now.)  Maybe, if the yarn has been chosen by that time, I'll cast on after the first of the year....

New Sock KAL

Since it was a depressingly chilly and dreary weekend, I decided to cheer myself up by joining the Socktoberfest 2009 KAL sponsored by Through the Loops.  This is the yarn I'm using for it. It's one of the three skeins of hand-painted sock yarn I purchased at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in July 2009.  The yarn line is called Riot of Colors.  I hope I can get more of that next time I stop by the shop.

And, since I was still a bit mopey, I also cast on Crenellation, which is the October / November Solid Sock Group mystery knit.  Of course, I'm not actually using a solid color yarn (I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a multi-color blue colorway.)  I think it'll still turn out fine and I'll knit the next Solid Sock pattern out of a solid color to appease any irritated sock knitting spirits.

In addition to starting two new socks, I got all the way to the toe shaping of Sis' Striped Sock #3, added a couple inches to the body of the Blueberry Sweater, ordered the yarn for the Goddess Knits Fall Mystery Shawl 2009 and darned holes in a pair of existing socks (two more pair to go).  All in all, it was a fairly productive weekend, knitting-wise. If the weather remains damp and dreary the rest of the week, I might get a lot of knitting done in the evenings too!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Whatever Happened to Travel Knitting?

Had a 2 1/2 day trip to Nashville. Got very little knitting done.  For starters, I was the driver to/from Nashville (which is totally fine).  I also discovered that Pittsworth is one of those patterns to which you need to pay attention when you knit.  Each round is short enough that I don't really memorize a row/round repeat (only two repeats per row) and the vertical repeat is 49 rows long.  On the other hand, I do still like the pattern a lot for this yarn.  Anyway, it used to be that I got a LOT of knitting done on trips because I'd just hang out in my hotel room at night and knit.  I was in my room at night, but not much knitting got done, mostly because I was either talking on the phone or too braindead to follow a fairly complex pattern.  Next time I'll bring a less complicated project....

I didn't mean to, but I stumbled across the Through the Loops Socktoberfest KAL.  I even cast on the sock last night, though I have since decided to switch yarns.  I wasn't sure that the ShibuiKnits Sock yarn had sufficient yardage to finish the socks and didn't' want to risk running out.  I'll cast on with the winning yarn momentarily.  I've decided to go with an autumn colored handpaint yarn called Riot of Colors that I purchased at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles, IL.  It was dyed by one of the students in a dyeing class.  I thought the autumn colors would be suitable for something called Socktoberfest, even if the pattern itself isn't really fall-like.  It's still gorgeous yarn.

Chemo Cap
I expect to finish the chemo cap this weekend.  I'm past the patterned section and only need to do the decreases at the top of the hat.  I haven't read that part of the pattern very closely, but surely I could manage to finish that in a couple hours of TV time.  It'll be good to get it finished and on its way to its recipient.

Holiday Knitting
I'm still planning to knit my sister a February Lady Sweater for either Christmas or her birthday (late February).  I still haven't purchased the yarn for that.  I'd like to finish the Critterknits for niece and nephew that I started last winter.  I still owe niece a hat and some mittens. (At least, I don't think I finished the mittens.)  I still owe nephew a hat and scarf.  One of these days I'll knit them sweaters too.  Also on the holiday list for 2009 are some dishcloths.

Boy Socks Received!
Speaking of gift knitting....Boy received his socks on Wednesday.  I told him they probably should be washed before wearing and explained the recommended washing process.  He said he's wash them over the weekend and wear them next week.  His resolve lasted less than 10 minutes.  He wore the socks to work on Thursday and he said they fit marvelously all day long.  I allowed as how I could be talked into knitting him more socks if he asked me to and if he picked out the colors for me.  He said he'd be happy to supply me with a list.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chemo Cap Snafu

Remember a while back when I said I was going to knit the Santa Cruz cap?  Then I changed to Interlude and finally decided on the Snowdrop Beret?  I got a whole pattern repeat of Snowdrop done last weekend.  Didn't have much knitting time this week, at least not much knitting time for knitting that required any sort of brain function. It's very much been a K2, P2 or garter stitch kind of week, mentally.  Here's proof of that:

One night this past week I decided I'd work a couple rounds of the Chemo Cap just to be making progress on it.  So I did.  I got up to Round 13, which requires a cable needle that I'd put away, so I set the cap aside until today.  Today I knit three or four more rounds and finished the pattern repeat.  When I sat back to admire my work, I realized what was wrong.

I had knit seven rounds FROM THE SANTA CRUZ PATTERN on my Snowdrop Beret .

So I frogged an inch of hat.  Now I'm ensconced in my comfy chair with a mug of hot Sleepytime tea, watching Ben-Hur on TCM.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to make up the ground I lost.  The recipient of the chemo cap is probably a month into chemo at this point.  I need to get this finished before she a) finishes chemo and b) regrows her hair!!!  This hat needs to get with the program and STOP STRUGGLING TO NOT BE KNIT!!!!!  Bad hat!! No biscuit!!  (On the other hand, I have completely lost my sulky, crabby attitude about this project since it started misbehaving.  I am now completely determined to kick its soft blue butt and show it who is boss!!)

I would just switch over to the Tri-Cities Socks (aka Pittsworth by SpillyJane), but I'm ready to start a 49 round repeat cable pattern.  If I haven't the brain power for Snowdrop, I certainly haven't got enough brain left for Pittsworth.*sigh*

One thing I can say about Spa yarn by Caron.  It holds up well to repeated knitting and frogging.  I'm getting used to the splittiness of it and managing to not split many stitches now.  I'm also using some rather pointy Bry-Flex needles too, which I'm sure helps.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chemo Cap Reborn

So I frogged the too small Santa Cruz hat and started Interlude by Marya Speton.  I got halfway through the ribbing when I spied the Snowdrop Beret on Marya's blog.  I liked Snowdrop so much that I decided to knit it instead.  I'm just about to start the lace pattern now.

I'm also reminded that it's really hard for me to get into knitting when I'm knitting because I have to, not because I want to knit.  I also realized that I tend to knit as a background activity while I read or watch a movie.  It's very different when I'm supposed to be knitting, then need to find something else to fill the background.  Too bad I can't figure out how to simultaneously knit and type (or surf the internet).  I am, at least, mentally re-ordering my Ravelry queue and sort of making a list of stuff to clean/declutter/fix/do around the house...

Project Pictures and Project Woes

First, for the good pictures, we have the Boy Socks (all finished save for the weaving in of the ends) and we have Sis' Striped Sock #3, just ready to turn the heel.

Now for the project woes....
The chemo cap is nice to look at, but only about 12 inches in circumference when unstretched.  Although a bald head is smaller than a hairy head, I suspect that it's not small enough to allow this hat to fit.  As much as I dislike this yarn, I'm not really keen on ripping out and starting over.  I had just talked myself into finishing the hat quickly by promising myself I could start the Pittsworth/Tri-Cities socks as soon as I was done too.  Grrrrr.  Now I need to figure out what to do with the hat--either change needle size or cast on more stitches

The other woe isn't a complete and utter woe.  This is a sock that I'm designing myself using Barbara Walker's Fractured Lattice pattern.

I had hoped the stitch pattern would show more stitch definition than it does.  I haven't decided if I want to rip it out and start with a new pattern I devised the other night or if I want to just keep going and get this pattern proofed/tested.  Just because I'm not overly keen on the pattern doesn't mean other folks won't like it.  I am, however, really excited about the next pattern idea.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Productive Headache

I woke up this morning with a headache, probably of sinus origin, that left me pretty much uninterested in doing anything but sitting in my comfy chair.  Knitting on any of my current projects (stripey socks, chemo cap, Errold's Grove or blueberry sweater) wasn't even appealing.  The new Knitty did create some interest in knitting.  I have added Clandestine, Cathedral, Girl Friday, Kernel, and Zozo to my Ravelry queue.  I nearly cast on one of the sock patterns, but decided that it would be too much effort. (By that time my stomach was beginning to be upset too.)

So I decided to work on the sock pattern I started developing nearly a year ago. (Don't ask me how this is less work than casting on an already written pattern, because I have no idea. Brain said it was easier.) I had already written out the pattern on paper and had even cast on and knit the ribbing, then stopped.  Now I'm a few rounds into the pattern itself as I sit here and watch Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring on DVD and sip some caffeinated beverages.  The headache is abating.  Now I'll need to decide whether to continue with the productive knitting or move on to some productive yardwork or decluttering.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Boy Socks Done!

Well, I got the Boy Socks finished, but not, of course, while I was visiting Boy.  I got most of the way down the foot by the time I left Boy's house and all the way to the toe shaping before I got back to my house. (Gotta love a long flight for lots of good knitting time.)  Can't say I can complain about my progress.  I actually started my trip to visit Boy with a sock which was about 1 centimeter tall.

On the first flight leg of my trip, my seatmate asked if I'd have a sweater by the time we got to our first stop and said he didn't know how long it took to knit things..  I replied that we wouldn't have a sweater but we would have a good bit of sock leg.  He thought that was pretty cool. Later on I amazed him because I was reading the airline magazine *and* still knitting. Apparently he'd been watching me for some time. Initially he thought I was just flipping through the magazine, but not really reading it.  Then he realized that I was actually reading and continuing to knit (while not looking at my knitting at all). He was truly amazed when I told him that I sometimes knit at the movies, even though I told him that I keep to simple, uncomplicated stuff for knitting in the dark

On leg number two, my seatmate asked what I was making and we chatted about knitting in general. Being a Union electrician, he understood the concept of paying more money for a high quality, long-lasting job. The idea of paying $20 for the yarn to make socks which might last me 5+ years was not absurd to him. He also admired the finished sock #1.  We chatted nicely the whole flight about various things, including the nasty face the flight attendant made at a fellow passenger who left the overhead bin door open.  All in all, it was a fun trip out and I got all the way to the heel turning by the end of the travel.

During my visit with Boy, I got a goodly chunk of knitting done, thanks to one road trip and a couple evenings hanging out at home.  I could have gotten more done on the boat tour we did, but I was too worried about dropping a needle.  I also took far too many pictures to have had much time for knitting.  Most importantly during the trip, Boy tried on the re-knit Sock #1 and declared it to be an excellent fit.  Of course I didn't really take good notes on what I did to make Sock #1 fit better the 2nd time, so I'll have to hope that Sock #2 mostly matches.  (I know that I made the toe shaping more gradual, but exactly what I did isn't documented. Fortunately "close enough" will likely be good enough.)

The flights back weren't quite as prolific in a knitting sense.  Leg number one was spent writing a summary of my trip.  Knitting on leg number two was interrupted rather frequently by taking photos of the landscape passing beneath the plane (I like flying over mountains).  And I took a bit of a nap too.  But I got the second sock finished on the day after I returned so that's pretty good.  I'll stick the socks in the next box o' cookies I mail to Boy.  He's very excited.

Yarn Souveniers!
There are two yarn stores in the area where Boy lives.  One of them, Sheep's Clothing, is actually just a mile or two away from his house.  I purchased two skeins of Socrates sock yarn there.  I picked out the colors Dress Blues and Navi's Blue. To my eyes these are more of a purple heather and a teal heather, but they're gorgeous regardless of name.  I'm favoring the Fisher Price socks by Loumms and the Naive socks by spillyjane for these yarns.

The other shop is Knitty Gritty and I found a skein of Misti Alpaca sock yarn there.  The colorway I chose, Maple Gray, reminded me of the colors of the landscape in the Tri-Cities area.  I've decided that this yarn will become a pair of Tri-Cities socks.  I've chosen the pattern Pittsworth by spillyjane.  I thought it would reflect the three rivers that run through/near the cities and the three cities themselves, plus the steppes, orchards and fields.  These socks are rather high up in the queue right now.

I find it amusing that I all the yarns I bought were alpaca blends.  I hope that they wear well.  I'd hate to end up with gorgeous socks that wear out far too soon.  I'll have to pay attention to having a proper tight gauge.

Sis' Stripey Socks
I'm working on the heel flap of Sock #3.  I might get past the gusset shaping by the end of the weekend. I've got a metric bucketload of house- and yardwork to do this weekend.  Part of it is getting back on track after travel and part of it is getting things squared away for some house repairs/maintenance and an impending upcoming move.

Chemo Hat
The chemo hat is trying to entice me with its softness and nice color.  I really don't like the splitty yarn very much at all.  The hat will be needed by the end of the week, but I've already let the hat organizer know that it'll be closer to the end of the month the way my schedule has been.  Unfortunately it's not likely the recipient will grow her hair back by then so I'm still in good shape time-wise.  So, if I get sick of the stripey sock, I'll have a crack at the hat and vice-versa.  Perhaps I'll stagger things so it's 15 minutes each project.  Wonder where I put the hat pattern.....

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I hate knitting for an obligation.  It never ends up being a project I care about. More often than not, there are other things I need to be knitting instead (like the two socks that need to be finished in the next two weeks) and I usually end up having to knit with yarn I really dislike because whatever project it is rarely is knit with a decent wool or wool blend yarn.  I get to knit a chemo cap that's supposed to be delivered in <2 weeks.  Nevermind that I'm travelling for about half that time.  Nevermind that I don't have much knitting time at all right now with the burgeoning novel H1N1 flu outbreak. Oh and after I announced what yarn I was going to use (complete with picture), someone else when out and bought yarn in the same color then expected me to change things.  Since there are apparently several people making hats, I'm tempted to just bail on it except then I would a) feel guilty and b) probably be bashed by the other persons involved, which shouldn't bother me but it does.

Knitting is supposed to be fun. This isn't it. :-(

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gauge Issues

My sleeve for the blueberry sweater was nicely on gauge with the recommended size of needles. Actually, the sleeve was the gauge swatch. After getting the sleeve to nearly the appropriate pre-underarm length, I decided to start the body of the sweater. Apparently I am knitting more tightly now as I have added 1/2-1 stitch per inch. Now I have to figure out if I want to find a larger needle (I'm already knitting with size 11 needles) or if I want to re-figure the math or if I want to concentrate on knitting more loosely. I'd rather not re-figure the math for the gauge I'm actually getting. EZ actually cautions about knitting this sweater at a different gauge because the shoulder shaping doesn't work right. At the moment, I'm not terribly excited about the idea of going shopping for a size 13 needle. On the other hand, I don't know that I could consistently knit more loosely.

Gauge lately has become a problem for me. My sister's two striped socks are actually at slightly different gauges. I have no idea why. I used the exact same yarn and needles for both socks, but the second sock is tighter than the first. I don't recall being more stressed for sock #2 or knitting particularly tightly, but apparently I did. The difference in gauge means one sock fits more snugly than the other. It will be interesting to see how the third sock fits and whether it's of the tighter or looser gauge. Here's hoping my gauge issues sort themselves out soon and I become more consistent between knitting sessions. It would be nice to have a sweater whose body and sleeves don't have wavy sides due to inconsistent gauge.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Incremental Progress....

The third sock is now about 3 inches tall. The first sleeve is about 3/4 of the way to the armpit. And I'm already trying to figure out what I want to work on next--shawl, sock or sweater. It might be a shawl, but I would feel obligated to finish Errold's Grove first. (For some reason it feels "wrong" to have more than one shawl going at a time. Maybe I think I'll get confused between the two projects, though it's perfectly normal to have three or more socks on the needles.)

If the next project is a sock, I think I'll skip the Monkey Socks I cast on for myself and use the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the blue/gray colorway that I don't much like. I might make another pair of Zombie socks or Anita Williams' Firenze the Centaur socks. I definitely want to make With a Twist from the Knitters Brewing Company, but with a different colorway than the blue/gray Lorna's Laces. I might use one of the new yarns I bought at Fine Line in July.

If the next project is a sweater, I haven't decided whether to find the Freedom Sweater or whether to start something new, like a Veste Everest or the Must Have Cardigan. Or I could do something completely crazy like finish sweater projects I've already started--like the purple vest or the orange tank or the green polo (that just needs seaming up). Perhaps when I start weeding through the boxes of junk in the spare bedroom, I'll weed through a box of yarn/knitting stuff and put all the works in project into a single labelled tote.

I'm becoming accustomed to knitting in the evenings at least a few nights a week. I've been too tired to do much yardwork lately and there's less of it to do anyway. It's been quite relaxing to knit for an hour or two while watching Hulu or a DVD. I've not quite gotten into listening to a book on tape while knitting, but I'm sure that would be fun too if I had the right book. Perhaps that will be my next task--find a good series of fiction audiobooks with which to knit.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sis' Striped Socks Now With Picture!

Here are the first two socks.
The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug knit on size 2 needles. I cast on 64 stitches and worked in K2,P2 rib for the leg and top of the foot. Basic flap heel. This is essentially my generic sock pattern. (I prefer ribbed socks to stockinette stitch socks as I think they stay up better, being both a bit more grippy and stiff.)

Blueberry Sweater, Incarnation #2....
Some time ago I started knitting a seed stitch pullover in Cleckheaton's Drop Dead Gorgeous (DDG) yarn. It's a bulky thick/thin silk/acrylic blend yarn in blues and purples. I had started using the seed stitch pullover pattern in Simply Beautiful Sweaters but had to fudge the gauge. I wasn't really happy with the body of the sweater and I was really unhappy with the sleeves, so I ended up frogging it last winter. Now I've decided to make one of EZ's Wishbone Sweaters.

I started the sleeve three times last night. The first time I didn't cast on the right number of stitches. The second time I cast on the right number of stitches and started the sleeve in stockinette stitch only to discover that I really don't like this yarn knit into stockinette stitch. The third time I cast on the right number of stitches and have been knitting along in seed stitch. I still get 2.5 sts per inch (was getting closer to 3 sts per inch in stockinette) so I'll still be on target to follow EZ's instructions. It took me a couple of increase rounds to get the paired increases done in pattern correctly. At first I had three stitches in between the two increases, but eventually decided that a single stitch in between was the way to go. And I am absolutely not going to bother with a faux seam and drop the column of stitches down to be crocheted up after. I'd never find the stitches again with this yarn and if I did, you'd never see the "seam" anyway.

After a couple hours of television (and fussing at my increases), I have one sleeve that is about 5 inches tall. If I knit on it pretty regularly during my TV/Hulu watching, I ought to make pretty decent speedy progress.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Beginnings!

I still haven't taken a good photo of the finished striped socks. I have, however, cast on sock #3. It'll be a helix-striped sock with one-row stripes.

I've also decided that I need to start a sweater for myself. I've cast on the sleeve (three times now) for one of the Wishbone Sweaters in Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. At first I couldn't count right and then after knitting two inches in stockinette stitch, I have decided that I really like this yarn much better in seed stitch. The yarn is Cleckheaton's Drop Dead Gorgeous in the colorway Blueberries. I'm using size 11 needles which gives me a gauge of 2 1/2 stitches per inch, so this ought to go fairly quickly. If things go as planned, I ought to have a sweater to wear in a month or two.

My first idea for a new project today was to start in on the Must Have Cardigan, except I could only find the yarn in my stash and not the pattern book. Then I thought I could start on a Veste Everest, but I couldn't track down the yarn. After that, I thought I would work on my Freedom Sweater pullover but I don't know which bin the the sweater is in, although I do know where the pattern is. (There seems to be a trend here....) What I could find is the DDG yarn, so I might as well get the Blueberry Pullover going again and get a long-term WIP off my list of things to get done.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sis' Striped Socks Finished!

I just wanted to make the quick announcement. I still have the ends to run in, of course, but as far as I'm concerned, the pair is finished. I'll post a picture tomorrow. And cast on sock #3 of the set. Might get a good chunk of it knit up too, depending upon my energy level and the weather. There's a lot of yardwork that I could get done too.

Monday, August 03, 2009

First First Sock Progress....

Since I was home sick over teh weekend, I got a lot of knitting done. The first sock of Sis' striped socks was ripped back to the end of the first stripe and I started to re-knit. I'm now working on the heel flap. Assuming my head doesn't asplode on me tonight, I might get past the heel turn and another inch down the food. If I feel like death warmed over in the morning, I may decide to call in sick. Oddly enough, I said that about this morning too, but I felt pretty decent until just before the end of the day.

Still trying to figure out the next project. I'm kind of thinking a nice cardi for work would be nice. Let's not talk about the unfinished adult-sized sweaters languishing in the WIP bins....

Friday, July 31, 2009

Second First Sock Complete!

Here is the newly made second first sock and what's left of the unraveled first first sock. Had I been thinking clearly last night, I'd have taken a photo of the two first socks before I unraveled the one that is too short in the leg. The sock in progress will have a red heel and an orange toe, so will essentially be the "opposite" sock of this one.

I believe I will have sufficient yarn left to make a third sock to go with the first two. The third sock of the pair will be a helix-striped sock with one-row stripes for an even less identical pair of socks on my sister's feet. (She already buys the mismatched socks that come in sets of threes, so this will make sense to her and won't bug her a bit.)

This weekend should yield quite a bit of knitting time. I feel myself coming down with either a cold or an influenza-like illness today. If I develop a fever in the next day or two, I'll end up stuck at home for 7 days or until my symptoms resolve. That makes for lots of knitting time, assuming I'm not too miserable feelign to knit. (I'd really rather just go to work, but given that I'm the person who sends out the public health guidance about isolating sick people at home for a week, it would be rather inappropriate for me to blow off the recommendations and work while ill.)

Now for the Important Question....
What do I knit next? Start another pair of socks for me? Finish Errold's Grove? Start a new shawl? Start a completely different project? Finish spinning up the merino/tencel roving from months ago? Decision, decisions....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Travel Knitting Redux....

I headed north this past week for my sister's graduation from nursing school. I had her try on the first of the striped socks and, as I feared, the leg was too short. I did, however, get most of the second first sock knit with a longer leg, though I just realized (now that I'm three hours away and on my way home) that I failed to have her try on the new first sock to verify the leg length is good. Sis is thinking that to lengthen the first sock that all I will need to do is add on to the top of the leg. That would be true if this was a toe-up sock, but it's not and I wouldn't be happy with the sock if I just tacked on an extra couple of stripes. I'm perfectly fine ripping out the entire sock and re-doing it right. But then, you knew I was crazy.

Nearly all the progress made on the second first sock came while driving my Grandmother back to Iowa. Or rather, while sis drove and I knitted in the front seat. Grandma sat in the middle row, while the niece and nephew sat in the back row and watched DVDs. Niece is enthralled with my knitting (which she sometimes calls "sewing") and likes to hold the ball of yarn while she watches me. Perhaps I'll get her some needles and yarn for Christmas. She's just about to turn 6 years old. She could manage a garter stitch potholder/project, I think.

Travel Yarn Buying....
You may or may not remember that when Sis visited Nashville a few months back that she became enamored of the February Lady Sweater. We made a foray over to the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles. I figured we might at least settle on a yarn color, if not actually find the yarn itself. We very nearly actually got the yarn, except they were a couple balls short. Sis has chosen Brown Sheep Naturespun in Plumberry.

While we were at it, Sis bought a pair of earrings that a student in a lampwork class made and I picked up three skeins of handpainted sock yarn, plus a skein of lace yarn with a label entirely printed in Chinese. I was only going to buy two skeins of sockyarn but when I asked Sis to help me decide between two particular colors, she said she'd buy one of them for me and then I wouldn't have to choose at all. Gotta love a sister who not only wears, but also requests hand knit items *AND* enables fiber purchases. I'll post pictures in the next few days.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Travel Knitting Report...

I knit exactly one round on the travel sock. While killing time before my poster presentation. That's it. That is all the knitting I got done.

Now that I'm back home, I'm looking at a long weekend with very little work that I have to do. I have decided that I'm going to throw in some DVDs and knit myself silly. I have some socks to finish by Thursday and I'm only to the heel on the first one!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Travel Knitting!

I've decided that the Eastery/Spring-y colored yarn will become Monkey Socks. I was tempted by the Spring Forward pattern too, but Boy thought the texture of the Spring Forward pattern would get lost in the variegated color of the yarn.

Coincidentally, I have decided that when I make Sis and I the Crabby McHappypants socks that they will also be Monkey Socks.

As the backup knitting project (in case I get to a stuck spot or something bad happens), I'm taking the striped socks for my sister too. They'll go in my suitcase.

Tomorrow morning I head to the airport. I should get a couple of hours of knitting in between the airport and the plane. The meeting starts tomorrow evening with the keynote speech and a wine/cheese reception that is, oddly enough, sponsored by Kraft. I wonder if it will actually be Kraft cheese that is served or if it will be just paid for by Kraft. The technical sessions start bright and early at 8am Monday. The meeting ends Wednesday at 5pm and I fly back that night. That will be a looooong day. Of course, that's also the day of my presentation. On the other hand, with travel on Sunday and a couple of long days, I will have put in a full work week by the time I get back to my house on Wednesday. After a conference call on Thursday morning and turning in my timesheet, I'll have to flex off the rest of the week according to company policy. (We're not allowed to accrue overtime or comp time.)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Travel Knitting Time Coming Soon

I'll be travelling part of each of the next two weeks. That means I get to knit on planes! and knit in the car when other people drive! Too bad I can't knit while I drive as I'll have two 7+ hour drives.

For travel knitting, I will be good and take my sister's striped socks. Errold's Grove is too big to travel well. I don't want to risk snagging it on something or dropping any stitches. Part of me really wants to start a new pair of socks. Like either another pair of Fawkes or maybe a pair of Monkey Socks or Pomatamous. I haven't had a new pair of socks for me in ages a month or two. *sighs*

The only down side to my sister's socks is that they're striped, so I have two active balls of yarn, instead of one smallish ball per sock. Maybe I'll have a plane-knitting sock for me and hotel-knitting sock for her. Then I wouldn't have to worry about accidentally yanking a ball of yarn out of my backpack and having it roll to the back or front of the plane, tangling up everybody's feet and leading to a mid-air yarn disaster.

Ok. That's it then. I'm knitting myself some new socks. I think I'll pick a cotton/wool blend and see about some pattern that reminds me of spring/summer weather.

Update: Just snagged a ball of OnLine Supersocke 100 in color 788. This is a self-striping yarn in spring/Easter-y shades of pink, purple, gree, yellow and blue. Now I just need to pick a pattern....I think something with a wee bit of lace perhaps. Any ideas or suggestions?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Checking In

It's been a while since I last posted. I have actually been knitting. Watching Eureka on Hulu and on DVD makes for wonderful knitting time. Henry and Carter have some really good lines. I made good progress on the Errold's Grove shawl getting through seasons 2 and 3. Now I'm ready for Season 4 to start and I'm nearly finished with the Bond Birds border. I'm currently on round 115. The Companion Tracks border starts at round 123.

On the occasional evening when I haven't got the mental capacity for lace knitting, I've been making progress on my sister's striped socks. I'm just starting the heel flap on sock number one. I've decided that these socks will be a graduation present for her. She graduates from nursing school on the 23rd of July. That should be plenty of time to get 1.5 socks finished.

I've decided that Sis and I will have matching Crabby McHappypants socks for Christmas this year. I'll order the yarn either late this week or early next week. That will give me plenty of time to get them knit.

Then, since I started thinking about Christmas knitting, I started to think about last year's incomplete Critter Knits projects for my niece and nephew. And the pullovers I was going to knit them too. The evil bargaining process is trying to begin. You know that process "If I start now *and* I knit three days a week for an hour..." I can usually avoid it, but for some reason I have this urge to knit for Niece and Nephew. *sigh*

Saturday, June 13, 2009

World-wide Knit in Public Day!

I'm not actually doing anything to celebrate. The closest official gathering is >2 1/2 hours away. I have too much work to do around the house to go hang out at the local bookstore/coffeeshop and scare people with my knitting.

This evening, however, I will be watching part of Eureka (season 2) and knitting. That'll just have to be close enough to WWKiP for this year.

With regards to my current knitting progress, I am on round 103 and going strong. That puts me at starting the 2nd of three pattern repeats in the Bond Birds border. This is going pretty quickly even though all the rounds are getting longer every other row.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Finally A Picture

Of course, it's still not blocked or even stretched out. I'm at round 95 according to the pattern, though with the extra repeats I've added earlier, that's not really accurate. But it's what I'll go with for the purposes of keeping track of things and noting progress.

I'm working on the Bond Bird section now. This will make lace hearts. If I read the pattern correctly, I'll have three rows of lace hearts. Then there are 30 rows of Companion's Tracks (uncharted), which might give me a bit of trouble since I added extra repeats into the center. I may end up charting this section myself just so I can keep track of things.

Now that I'm closer to the finish than I thought I was, I'm really excited to work on this project. I'm actually as excited now as I was when I first started this project.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Errold's Grove Update

I have finished the Ghost Cats in Border A. I am now starting the Bond Birds section in Border B. That puts me on round 91 out of 154. That's really quite manageable, when I look at it in terms of row count. Of course, I'm at over 400 stitches per round at the moment, if my math is correct. In the grand scheme of things, that's really not that many stitches per round either.

Once the body is done, I've got the edging to knit onto the shawl, which is joined to the shawl body every other round. This is a 23 stitch wide edging with a 10 row repeat. I've never done a knitted on edging before, so this could be fun. I may learn how to knit backwards on the return rows, rather than turning the whole project each row. We'll see how it goes.

Still no pictures. Perhaps when I finish the bond birds I'll get the thing spread out on a bit of scrap yarn. I'm not even entirely certain what this thing will look like when I'm finished, given that only one or two people have ever even knit this thing. I'm sure I'll like it though. And I'll have a bunch of yarn left over. I started with 2400 yards of Yarn Place Graceful. I'll have to weigh the finished product (or the remaining yarn) to estimate how much yarn is left. If I'm smart, I'll label the yarn ball with the yardage estimate and weight to simplify future project planning.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First of the Ghost Cats Completed

Of course, I have no picture of this because I haven't wanted to risk dropping stitches just to put the shawl on some waste yarn for a photo. I have been diligently knitting a round or two each evening. With a three-day weekend starting tonight and expected rainy weather (so no yard work), I might get some serious progress made on Errold's Grove. No where near finishing it, but I might get through the Bond Birds section. I'm still excited about finishing this project.

I do have a pair of socks to darn. The heels on my blue socks are wearing thin. I had forgotten all about that until I saw them tucked into my knitting basket this evening.

Sitting here, writing this blog entry, I'm now getting excited about the idea of spending the weekend knitting and relaxing. And maybe doing a wee bit of housekeeping to get things shipshape again. It'll be fun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Slowly but Surely

After having bragged about starting the Sister Socks, I haven't even looked at them. I have, however, managed to complete at least one round on the Errold's Grove shawl every day this week. At the current rate of knitting, it'll only take me 82 more days to get to the border. I have no way to estimate how long the border will take me. I have only glanced at the border directions. I believe the border is knit onto the shawl, perpendicular to the edge. (There was something in there about joining a border stitch to a live stitch on the shawl.)

I am a teensy bit concerned that the diameter of the shawl won't be quite large enough. I'm a bit less than halfway through the knitting, but the diameter right now is perhaps 2.5-3 feet (estimated). If it ends up being six feet across, that would work. I don't want it to be much less than five feet. My wingspan from fingertip to fingertip is five and a half feet. A five foot shawl would do nicely, I think. This will be my first square shawl, so I'm not entirely sure how wide I want/need it to be. I'm sure I can figure out a way to add pattern repeats before the border if I need to do that too.

Baby Knitting
A colleague of mine is having her first baby in about 7 1/2 months. I have, until now, primarily reserved my baby knitting for charity or for family members. But colleague is a lot of fun and I think she'd get a kick out of a baby sweater made just for her baby. She'd appreciate the work that goes into it too, since she makes jewelry herself, so understands the time, thought and skill that goes into a handmade gift. I'll ponder the idea for a few more weeks.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sister Socks Started

Well, I guess the "slump" has passed. I finished casting on my sister's socks this weekend while watching Firefly on Hulu. These are great TV/movie knitting since they are simple 2x2 rib. I just keep an eye on the tangling of the two yarns and remember to switch colors every 9-10 rows.

The colors really remind me of a fruit smoothie. I'll start the second sock with the strawberry color, rather than the apricot, so the socks will be fraternal twins. They'll have opposite colors on their heels and toes too.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Well, maybe not nothing after all....

For some odd reason, I felt compelled to pick out a round and a half of knitting on Errold's Grove so I could start knitting it again. That took about 45 minutes, which completely by chance perfectly coincided with the length of an episode of Stargate SG-1 on Hulu. I almost started to knit the first round after the ripping back, but wisely decided that turning right around and screwing it up after I fixed it probably wasn't a good plan. It'll still be there tomorrow. As my reward for cleaning up my house.

I'm on call all weekend and the weather is expected to be horribly rainy. I potentially have guests coming next weekend and, with the current H1N1 flu outbreak, may not have any tidying up time this week, nevermind cleaning the boxes o' stuff out of the living room. So this weekend is major clean out/up time with laceknitting rewards. I figure a round of lace for every hour of cleaning is a nice ratio of work to play.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

After All That....Nothing.

I bought new yarn. I cast on half the stitches for my sister's sock. I dug out the next sock yarn for me. I moved my knitting projects around the house. After all of this, all my interest in knitting has vanished.

Largely, I think I'm mostly tired. I've been spending a lot of time outside doing heavy yardwork both after work and on weekends. When I do spend time inside, it seems to be catching up on the usual life stuff--paying bills, cooking meals, cleaning, doing laundry. When I finally sit down, I mostly just want to sit and stare blindly at not much. This is not terribly conducive to much knitting.

Of course, I just peeked at Lankakamero and completely fell in love with the Vernal Equinox Surprise shawl again. Isn't it gorgeous? I've got some J. Knits Lace-a-licious in Pueblo (very pale green) that would be perfect.

Yes, I am in complete denial about how mentally exhausted I am when I have knitting time and how complicated lace patterns are a disaster waiting to happen when one is knitting while tired. But it's a pretty denial, don't you think?

Sister's Stripey Socks
So, I cast on half the stitches for the first sock. I had intended to knit the socks with one-row stripes and to knit them using the helix knitting method for avoiding jogs in the stripes (see the current Interweave Knitting for more on this or Google Joan's Helix Hat). Rather than just knitting the socks according to my decisions, I called my sister and asked how she'd like her socks to be striped. She said 1/2" stripes. Hmmm. This complicates things a bit. First, there will be jogs to manage. Second, I will have to carry the yarn vertically between color changes, which is not impossible, but can be tricky to do smoothly. The lazy part of me says to just do it my way anyway. The nicer, more ethical part of me says to knit them per her request since they're *her* socks and I can't pretend I don't know what she wants. So they sit in my knitting basket. *sigh*

Monday, April 20, 2009

Yarn Shopping Results!

My yarn retail therapy day was a success! My sister was more than happy to visit a yarn store with me as part of our day running around Nashville. She was even happier when I told her she should pick out yarn for a pair of socks that I'd knit for her. Right inside the door at Haus of Yarn was a display of Colinette Jitterbug. She really liked the bright colors, but blanched a bit at the price ($20/skein). After looking at all the sock yarn in the store, I finally convinced her that she needed to pick out two skeins of sock yarn and I didn't care a rat's patootie what the pricetag read. She finally settled on Lobster Pinch and Apricot, to be knit in stripes with solid heels and toes (one set of each color, of course).

For myself, I chose a skein of Skacel merino lace in a dusty grape color and two skeins of Misti Alpaca lace in a wine colorway, with both colors sister-approved. One of these two yarns will become an Aeolian Shawl for me.

The woman who rang up my purchase was having trouble finding the right color code for the Misti Alpaca and ended up only charging me for one of the two skeins. I didn't even notice until late last night, then didn't get home today before they closed. I'll give them a call tomorrow and see about paying them for the 2nd skein. If they can't charge my card over the phone, I can send them a check via the mail.

While we were waiting to pay for the goods, I pointed out the shop model of Pam Wynne's February Lady Sweater hanging overhead, knit in a reddish brown wool. Sis thought it was gorgeous and mused that the sleeves might be modified to be more narrow and full-length, rather than the wider 3/4 length shown in the model. I told her it was a very easy sweater to knit, should be readily alterable and that I'd even seen it in a pullover version. She then asked if it was something that might be knittable by Christmas. I laughed and said yes. Now I just need to track down the right yarn. I think Sis might have had a stroke if I'd bought it right then.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yarn Shopping Coming Soon!

I will be taking a day trip tomorrow to hang out with my sister, who is in Nashville at a conference. I'm going to take her out for lunch, we'll stop by the Parthenon and hit Haus of Yarn. There's nothing in particular that I am looking for, but I had a fairly crappy week, so a bit of retail therapy might be nice. I am thinking that perhaps a couple skeins of sock yarn or some lace weight for a shawl would be nice. I really have no idea what I want. Presumably the right yarn will talk to me when it sees me. And if none of it talks to me, then I'll leave it all in the store. Mostly the highlight of the day will be running around with Sis. Maybe I'll get her to pick out some sock yarn for herself. I haven't knit any socks for her in at least 5 years.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Queen of Cups Finished!

I have finally gotten this pair of socks finished. I actually put finishing the 2nd sock on my list of things to get done this past weekend. So, without further ado, here they are:
Pattern: Queen of Cups from Spring 2007 Knitty
Yarn: Shibui Knits Sock in color Jewel
Needles: U.S. Size 2
Comments: The cuff is a bit short for my preferences. I might have had enough yarn to add another 1/2 repeat to the cuff, but it would have cut things awfully close for the finishing. In any event, they're certainly wearable and they're gorgeous socks. I think this yarn would make for a beautiful scarf too.

Next up, finishing the first Boy Sock and getting it sent off for a fitting. I've been rather distracted from my knitting by my garden and yardwork. Perhaps if there is a bit of rain later this week I'll get the Boy Sock's toe re-knit longer and wider.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

More Organizing!!

But first, there are giveaways to share with you!! I am not the only person having a spring cleaning and organizing spree this year. earthchicknits is cleaning things up too and also having a giveaway in the process. Head on over there to see her cleaning and organizing progress.

It doesn't involve spring cleaning at all, but it is a giveaway for a good cause. orinda5 is hosting a giveaway to benefit the Roseville String Ensemble. At the moment, the ensemble does not have sufficient funds for the 2009-2010 season. orinda5 wants to keep the ensemble going so she is giving away some lovely prize packages (enough Malabrigo worsted for a sweater, Malabrigo lace weight plus beads and a shawl pin, and a sock yarn package including yarn for two socks, stitch markers and a tote bag to hold it all). Please consider going to her site and making a donation to the Roseville String Ensemble via the conveniently provided Paypal button when you enter the giveaway.

Fiber Room Finished!
As for my fiber room, I think I've got it put back together now. I even put artwork up on the wall which I never do, as evidenced by the four or five framed posters/paintings leaning against various walls in my house. There are three bins of fleece headed to the garage. There are another three or four bins of fabric and clothing I need to sort through. I don't think the fabric will fit on the shelves in the closet, so may need to figure out an alternate storage place.

That's a Strauch's Finest drum carder in the back corner with a set of Indigo Hound 5-pitch combs next to it . I bought the drum carder used from a woman in Washington state last year with some of my tax refund, talked Boy into picking it up from her son (they were both located in the same town), and Boy shipped it to me. I love it. The combs I picked up at the Fleece Fair in Greencastle, IN (now known as The Fiber Event and happening next weekend!) With my worktable set up, I now have a nice place to use both of these tools, instead of sitting or kneeling on the floor next to the coffee table to use them.

The desk chair is a rather old, but ergonomically designed, wooden desk chair I found in an "antique" shop years ago. I think I paid $50 for it. I need to adjust its height, but other than that, it's remarkably comfortable even without padding. I love the lumbar support when I lean back and put my feet up.

The cloud of fiber on the table is some white Coopworth I washed just to see how clean it would get. It's a brilliant white. It will make some spectacular yarn. I'd consider dyeing some of the fiber or yarn, but I wouldn't want to screw it up with an ugly color or by accidentally felting it, so I'll probably leave it natural white.

The bins of yarn are toward the front, with the fleeces and prepared fiber at the back. That's a white shetland fleece at the top of the pile in the back.

The stereo cabinet is holding the two plastic boxes of knitting needles and patterns I got from my paternal grandmother. The bottom cubbyhole contains the Critter Knits book and the WIP totebag. The two boxes in front have been put in their proper places.

The three bins with the fiber on top are holding the grey coopworth fleece that I've teased open in preparation for washing. Once it's all washed, I'll comb it. I did some preliminary carding, but didn't like the end product as much as I like the combed product.

As for the loose fiber on top, that's Romney (I think) that I washed some time ago and carded. It wasn't washed thoroughly however, so it is pretty sticky feeling. I'll re-wash it in the next week or so. I really need to quit "sampling" the fleeces by washing bits and pieces and just focus on getting a whole fleece ready to go, otherwise I'll continue to lose track of what I'm doing.

It's very nice to have all my fibery goodness in one place. I will probably move my living room knitting basket and other odds/ends into the fiber room. To me it feels like I'll be more productive with an actual space to do fibery things, but only time will tell.

Darning Socks!

I found this marvelous sock darning tutorial today. I had been wondering how to fix a large hole in two of my socks that encompassed a 3x4 stitch area, but wasn't sure how to duplicate stitch/darn over a place where NO STITCHES were. Now I know! I'm actually excited to try this. Perhaps darning socks will be my reward today for getting other work done.

Shawl KAL Progress?
Yeah, nothing to report there. I got caught up with other tasks this week. I still haven't even swatched for it. I remain hopeful that I'll get the swatch done this week.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Re-Assembly in Progress!

I started putting things back together in the fiber room this week. In the process I discovered some yarn I forgot I had, like the two "cheeses" (1 pound total) of Fingerlakes Un-Spun Silk in a nice pale raspberry and some Lorna's Laces Bullfrog and Butterflies in a khaki color.

I have always thought the Un-Spun would make some nice gloves, though since the "yarn" has almost no twist, I don't think they would be very durable. Perhaps a scarf or scarves would be a better choice. I'm not sure it would be quite sturdy enough for a shawl either. I figure I have about 1000 yards if I use it as 2-ply. Not sure what I'll do with the Bullfrogs and Butterflies.

Anyway, this is what things look like now.

The yarn bins will be closest to the table and the sock yarn bin may remain under the table. (The lone skein of yarn on top will be the next socks I knit.)

The fleece bins are furthest from the table. There are approximately 9 bins of yarn and about 18 bins of fleece and prepared fiber. (YIKES!) There are some fabric bins too and I intend to store the fabric on the shelves in the closet, once I clean the crap out of the closet. I don't have that much fabric and a lot of the stuff on the shelves in the closet just needs to go away or at least go somewhere else. That would be a nice solution. Leaving the fabric bins in the room would take up too much space for me to be able to use the table.

My goal for today is to have the table cleaned off and the yarn bins neatly stacked up, ready to go. The fleece bins are all labeled with what is inside. I may or may not get to labeling the yarn bins. Right now the only yarn bins labeled are the acrylics, sock yarn and lace yarn. I think it's doable to get this room all squared away and presentable today. My reward for cleaning up really well today will be to mow my lawn tomorrow and to buy a new video card for my gaming computer. W00t!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New KAL!

I've joined the Secrets of the Shawl KAL. Yes, I know I still haven't finished the Critters for this past winter. Yes, I know all the bins from my fiber room are still spread around the house. Yes, I know I still haven't finished the 2nd Queen of Cups sock or Errold's Grove or the Boy Socks or even darned the 2 pair of socks waiting by my knitting basket. What can I say. I think I needed something new and group-oriented to work on. It's been a rough week and the new KAL sounded like something that might cheer me up a bit.

Now I just need to decide between the cone of red wool or the cone of black wool. And knitting a swatch would be a good idea. Perhaps I'll do that tonight while I watch Wall-E on DVD. Right after I put three bins back in the fiber room and finish my laundry.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fiber Room Re-Build!

I got the carpet steam cleaned and the new work table assembled. The carpet on that side of the room didn't dry as quickly as I hoped it would, so I put plastic wrap underneath the ends of the table to keep them from soaking up moisture from the carpet. I'm excited about having an actual work area set up. To the right of the table will be a small set of cubbyholes/shelves. Not sure what I'll put on them yet. Further to the right (out of the photo) is my floor loom. On the left side of the room will be the storage bins and probably a short bookshelf. I'll still have to weed out the number of bins or else there won't be room for me to get to the work table, much less to sit at it.

(No, the room isn't quite as pink as it appears in the picture. It's much less pale and the carpet is a nondescript tan, not rose colored.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Good and Bad Discovery

I only wear handknit socks to work anymore. The bad discovery is that two pair of these socks have holes in the heels. They just plain wore through. They are at least five years old, so it shouldn't been too terribly surprising that they are wearing out. Now I need to decide if I want to fix the holes or just toss the socks. The frugal part of me says mend them, even if the mending isn't going to be terribly neat.

Now for the good part of the holey discovery. I realize that I need to hurry up and knit myself some more socks! I haven't knit myself socks since I finished the Fawkes Socks months and months ago. Time to whip out the second of the Queen of Cups socks and then turn out another pair right away. I think the second pair of socks will be a pair of Spring Forward socks from the Summer 2008 Knitty. I've got some nice spring-like wool from Unique Sheep that's already tagged to become Spring Forward. I'm also a bit fond of the Baroque Socks from Fall 2008 as well. I won't even mention the list of socks I have queued up on Ravelry. :o)

Cleaning Up

I had the crazy idea to empty out my fiber room this evening and steam clean half the carpet. I'll clean the other half tomorrow morning. Perhaps by tomorrow evening the carpet will be dry enough that I can assemble the work table that goes in there. Then I'll need to figure out how to arrange the table, loom, and storage bins and get things moved back. Not all of the bins will go back in the room, so I'll have to decide what goes elsewhere in the house and figure out where that elsewhere will be. I suspect that will be the garage. I can't wait until the first warm weekend so that I can re-arrange the garage and get a bunch of stuff thrown out of there too.

Once the work table is set up, I'll have a permanent place to leave my wool combs, drum carder and sewing machine. Right now I end up hauling them out to the living room if I want to use any of those items. This, of course, makes a mess in the living room and makes it highly unlikely that I'll work on any large project for very long since I dislike a messy, cluttered living room.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I *completely* forgot about sign-ups for Sock Madness this year. Needless to say, they were full up about six days ago. Poopers. Last year was fun, even if I did only barely make it into round 2. Oh well. Maybe next year.

On the other hand, I'm seriously considering having a go at the Goddess Knits mystery knitalong #12. It's only $6 and the previous KAL patterns have been spectacular. I'm thinking that it could be my reward for losing 15 pounds over the past six months and becoming a regular gym rat before work.

In other not-so-great news, I had a crack at Errold's Grove last night for a little bit. I am positive I introduced errors into the last half round I worked on. This wouldn't be so bad, except that when I thought I was "correcting errors" in the previous round, I was actually introducing them. Oopsies. So I need to undo the past 1 1/2 rounds. I should probably let it sit for the next week or two and finish up the Gator Scarf though.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Yarn to Go!

Here's the array of yarn that I'm shipping off to the Society of St. Margaret in Roxbury, MA.

In the lower left are 18 balls of Stahl Hochland Tweed that I once thought I turn into a sweater for me. In the middle are some yellow and blue DreamBaby DK and Peter Pan DK.. The multiple skeins of white/cream yarn in the upper right are skeins of yarn from afghan kits I was given by folks who no longer crochet. Yarn weights vary from bulky to DK and fibers are mostly acrylic, wool or wool/acrylic blends. Some of it is yarn that I got on sale and figured I'd find a project for later. Some of it is yarn that I purchased specifically for a project, but ended up with much more yarn than I needed or never got around to knitting the project. The bright DK stuff is yarn I purchased for knitting baby stuff for my niece and nephew (now 5 and 3 years old, respectively). Since all of this is yarn I haven't touched since I moved almost three years ago, I figure it is time to let it go somewhere that it *will* be used.

I'm excited to get this yarn on its way to its new home, not only so that it can soon become something beautiful and useful, but also to make way for more creativity in my own fiber world. I almost have enough room to set up my work table in my fiber room now.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I'm Becoming an Addict!

I can't stop washing fleeces. I did find two fleeces that I need to save for washing outdoors though. I have two long-wool fleeces (I think one is a Lincoln or Romney cross) that shed an incredible amount of dirt when soaked in cold water overnight. An absolutely amazing amount of dirt. Almost enough dirt to pot a plant with. I can't wait until spring/summer arrive so I can soak these fleeces outdoors and then dump the water on my garden. The dirt and other sheep cooties might do wonders on the plants.

Right now I've got a chunk of white Shetland soaking. Of course, what I really need to do is just keep chipping away at washing the silly Coopworth that I wrote about a few days ago, but my ADHD tendencies are causing me to flit about without focus. I'm writing myself a note, which I will post in my fiber/fleece room, that reads "You may only wash the Coopworth fleece until it's all washed, *THEN* you c an wash other fleeces. Otherwise you may never finish with the first fleece before you burnout or lose interest." *sigh*

As for tonight, I might knit on the Gator Scarf this evening, after I finish the final chapter of my overdue library book. (It's only one day overdue, I can't renew it and I'm soooooooo close to finishing it and finding out whodunnit! I can only hope that the person waiting for it to be returned understands my logic and forgives me for making them wait.)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Coopworth Fleece #1 ready to wash!

I finally got the first of the grey Coopworth fleeces teased open and ready to wash. When I first started teasing open the fleece, I'd tease open a bunch, then wash it when I got tired of teasing. At this point there is already about 1/3 of the fleece washed. Now I'll alternate washing and combing. Given my rather restricted washing and drying space, I can wash about three "batches" of fleece in two weeks in the winter. I have discovered that this particular fleece benefits greatly from an overnight cold water soak, followed by a hot, soapy wash. There is a remarkable amount of dirt that comes out with the cold water. The end result is quite excellent. I look forward to combing and eventually spinning this fleece. I have no idea what project it will become or what sort of yarn I'll spin from it, but it'll be fun to work with.

For a brief moment, after I finished the last of the Coopworth teasing, I immediately went to my fleece stash and tried to figure out what fleece I'd start teasing open next. I nearly started in on the first fleece I ever purchased (a nice light grey Romney), when it occurred to me that I really needed to finish with the washing and combing of the first fleece before getting into the next one. If nothing else, I might remember what I'm doing and where I'm storing stuff if I do things that way. It also occurred to me that I need to start a spinner's notebook so that I'm writing down what I'm doing with a given fleece, just in case I end up having a big time break in the middle.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Destashing for a Good Cause!

While reading through the knitlist today, I came across a message from Sister Grace of the Sisters of St. Margaret in Boston, MA. She indicated that their group knits scarves using donated yarn, then sells the scarves to raise money for their mission work in Haiti. This is most excellent timing since I've been wanting to clear out my yarn stash quite a bit, but didn't just want to take yarn to the Goodwill store. I really wanted the yarn to be used by someone for a good purpose.

I made a cursory pass through my yarn stash this evening. I'm apparently ready to get rid of more yarn than I thought. Close to two Rubbermaid bins worth, actually. There are yarns in there that I'm just not going to use. It's not that there is anything wrong with them. Either my tastes have changed or they were a screaming deal on sale and I thought I had an idea for them at the time but never quite got around to actually knitting the project. Some of these are yarns I bought to knit baby stuff, but the "babies" are now 5 and 3 years old! Approximately a quarter of the yarn is stuff that was given to me when I was given my loom. It's good wool yarn--some of it is Harrisville wool on cones--but I haven't done a darned thing with it in over 7 years, so I think I can let it go to folks who WILL do something with it.

The determination of what to keep vs. what to donate came down to "Am I realistically going to knit with this yarn in the next 12 months? Do I have a specific project in mind for this yarn? Would I wear something made from this yarn? Do I really love this yarn and want to keep it/knit with it?" If I couldn't answer "yes" to these questions, I figured it was time to let it go.

When I wrote to Sister Grace, I mentioned that I could also send knitted scarves and she said that would be fine too, so I even have a place to send my charity knitting too! I haven't done any charity knitting in a while, but I would like to knit my way through my Mountain Goat yarn stash and also try out the beautiful cabled scarf patterns of SmarieK Knits. I'm a whole lot more motivated to knit things as experiments if they get used by someone at some point. Not only do I get to try new patterns, but I also get to do someone some good and perhaps my scarf or other project will bring someone warmth and joy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Starting Bobbin Two!

I have spun up the first bobbin of the merino/tencel roving. There is still room on the first bobbin for more yarn, but I'm trying to at least approximate the same spinning order for the colors between the two plies. Once I get the second set of three pre-drafted roving bits spun, I'll look at what's left of the roving and divide it lengthwise for the last of the spinning.

I have definitely decided on making this a two-ply lace weight. I think it would be beautiful in a water- or sea-themed shawl. Creatures of the Reef might work, but I'm also considering MMario's Spanish Armada. I'm not sure I'll end up with quite enough yarn to knit Spanish Armada unless I use larger needles (size 7 or 8) than I would typically use for lace. MMario says he's done the whole thing with 1000 yards on size 8 needles. Other knitters have used 1400-1500 yards, but smaller needles.

On the Critter front, I have woven in the ends on one of the Gator Mitts and have finished the second mitt. I got caught up in cooking and cleaning this evening and didn't get any further knitting done.