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March 26, 2013

Easter Socks and Jeans

Grandma's Easter socks have been completed so I'll be able to give her both pairs of socks this weekend when I see her for Easter.

I only cleaned out my chest of drawers (haven't even touched the dresser yet) and I found EIGHT pairs of jeans that I had forgotten about. They are brand new and fit. I thought I was down to my last two pairs and was about to buy more. In addition to those eight, I found two additional pairs that are also brand new and fit and just need to be hemmed.

It's like shopping in my own wardrobe but way more cost effective!

March 22, 2013

Socks-ward Ho!

In a fit of guilt, I powered through Grandma's Christmas socks and finished them. I feel terrible when I'm behind on those because my knit socks are the only socks she ever wears and she loves getting them. She is a knitter herself so she's the perfect recipient. I'm just such a fickle knitter that I get easily distracted and then she doesn't get socks from me. This year was her 95th birthday and I realized that someday I'll feel terrible I can't knit her anymore socks. I wasn't enjoying the basketweave pattern much but it was making a nice thick material and the colors are perfect for her so I got those done and then looked around for another sock project for her. She deserves at least two pair this year I think.

This Elann Esprit has been languishing in my stash for years (I don't see the multi-colorways anymore). I don't like knitting with it much because it is very elastic. It makes a nice sock though and it is really fun to do with a lace pattern because it holds onto the leg really well. The colors are fairly neutral so I think she'll be able to pair these with a lot of outfits. I also thought she could use some warmer weather socks. She wears the wool socks I make her year-round. I know she has some circulation issues that are common with age so the warmth is probably welcome even in warm weather but these will still help warm her feet without being too warm.

I found the pattern on Ravelry (which looks like it is knit in the same colorway by coincidence. I swear I have more imagination that this.) and liked it because it was super simple and mindless and it really ended up being the perfect pattern for this yarn. It was just entertaining enough that I've whipped through them pretty fast (for me) and I'm on the last few inches before I start the toe. I'll probably have them done for the next time I see her.

My allergies have been so horrific that I didn't continue the Great Organization Clean-Out last weekend. This weekend I should be back in business and I'll tackle the drawers in my bedroom. This should be gripping as weeding out t-shirts seems to be hard for me.

Fitness-wise I've kept up the swimming 3x a week. I need to bring in strength training again. It has the most impact on making my back feel better. I also want a new goal. Working towards the 1 mile goal for swimming was so much fun and motivating. I hit that a couple months ago and that accomplishment felt wonderful. I want another goal to keep moving me forward.

I was going to share a gratuitous cute-kitty photo but the Flickr app is being horrible. Not everyone wants to be social all the time Flickr!

January 24, 2012

Small Projects

Hey, knitting going on!

I cast on for Grandma's birthday socks. There is no question that she gets socks because she didn't get them for Christmas again and was not happy.

I also whipped up a quick infinity scarf for Mom because she likes them and will be in Oregon's wine country in a few months with her friends so I think she could use it. I believe this is a Rowan yarn but I've had it for years. It is a lovely, loosely spun creamy white with a strand of ribbon running through it. The ribbon goes from light blue to navy. I think it will be really pretty with Mom's long silver hair. This is just a simple seed stitch and I just kept going until I ran out of yarn.

The lighting is terrible in this picture because it is such a grey, dark day. Even for Oregon it is grey and rainy. (better color representation here)

I have so much yarn stash and I really want to embark on a reduction project. Weed out the clothes, shoes, books, etc. But this should include my yarn which is overflowing one closet, the tops of bookcases, under the desk, and on and on. I think, at the very least, I will try to eat up those onesie twosie skeins I accumulated with the idea that I would do a hat or scarf. If I do one of those a month and give it away to someone, it chips away at it a little. I still need to do a major purge.

This Saturday I'm going to haul it all out of all the nooks and crannies and halve it (at the very LEAST). I'll take a picture of the before to blow your mind and then I'll start posting it on Ravalry and eBay. Probably should have done this in the Fall...

Gratuitous greyhound picture to distract from my hoarding project. I piled up the dog beds to vacuum and my old girl, Sapphire (who turned 15 last month) managed to get up there and claim the pile as her own. Pretty good considering her shakey hind end!

August 02, 2011

Sock Summit Recap

I don't know if it is possible to do a comprehensive debrief of the Sock Summit. So much happens in those 4 days. Half of it I'm not even a part of (they had demonstrations and lectures at the same time as classes) or there was so much going on I couldn't capture it in a single post. Nor do I think you want to read such excruciating detail.

So I'll sum it up in a general impression. I have few pictures because my phone died every day by noon. I think it was the traffic app I had installed. Quite frustrating. I have a few terrible pictures I took with Mom's camera but nothing else.

The Oregon Convention Center was filthy with knitters. I have heard we had over 6000 attendees which is not too shabby! They have a lot of big round banquet tables set out in the public area for people to sit at and knit and this is the nicest way to strike up a conversation and meet someone new. My first day I met a woman who had flown in from Australia just for the Summit. I met a lot of Canadians. One Toronton told me that the border guard asked her, "What IS it with all the knitters?"

Wednesday night was the teachers' dinner and I'm always so shy at these. I forced myself to sit at a table that was almost full so I would have to talk to people and really enjoyed all the women at the table. They were smart, funny, really nice, and completely the kind of people I'd like to hang out with. I mentioned that I had done informal polling in my classes last year and found math/sciences to be over-represented in knitter professions. I had one class that had two surgeons and two nurses in a single class (one nurse had just come off the night shift). So the teachers around my table did a quick check and everyone at that table was either a mathematician, in high tech, or medical. I would love to see some formal data. I think it is really interesting and wouldn't have made that prediction. I paid attention in the classes I attended this year and from general conversation I learned that I was taking classes with pediatricians, rocket scientists (seriously!), neuroscience research scientists, a Fulbright scholar, and a retired math professor. The theme for me became, "don't let looks fool you" because all these super-smart, super-educated women were in jeans, t-shirts, and Birkenstocks. Not a power-suite or super-hero cape to be seen!

The class I taught went extremely well. It was a relief this year to have fewer classes than I had last year. I had more time for classes myself and time to shop in the marketplace (where the most amazing vendors were set up selling one-of-a-kind knitting loot). My students were wonderful and engaged and I enjoyed them all so much. It is hard to show the cool stuff I learned in class. You will just have to picture me looking at Japanese knitting books now, knitting very well-fitting socks in a pattern I came up with after seeing a beautiful sweater on someone else. I took a spindle spinning class and that has some instant-gratification progress I can show. The thicker, slightly fuzzy part of the yarn on the right is what I spun last year after trying to teach myself spinning. The thin, tight yarn on the left is what I can do now after a brilliant spindle spinning class.

This spinning is done from something called roving which is basically cleaned and combed fleece off a sheep. This is an example of some fleece I bought for the spinning class. It is already dyed so it will spin up into pretty yarn. You can kind of read the label in one of these pictures. It says it is 100% Blue Faced Leicester which is a breed of sheep. Isn't that cool?

The classes I took were awesome! Wonderful instructors and really interesting subjects. Most classes were 3 hours long and absolutely flew by. I had one class that was all day and that seemed to be over too quick also. My instructors were amazing and skilled and just really really interesting. I wanted to visit with each of them but all the students wanted to (completely understandable) so I didn't get to talk to anyone much. I'm hoping that I can connect with them after Summit a little.

I wish I had given myself a day off (Summit was Thursday through Sunday) because it was really hard to come back to real life Monday. It felt like everything had changed and why didn't everyone know? How could I schlep back to my cubicle and act like the last 4 days didn't happen? Not easy. I have both my knitting bags as well as my spindle here like I'll be able to do something with them.

I'm still tired and horribly behind in regular chores. I need to pay bills, do laundry, vacuum, etc. I've announced to everyone that will listen that next weekend is for me and I'm not going anywhere or doing anything. Time to re-enter real life!

July 22, 2011

Frankie's Fanny

I'm in the midst of preparing for Sock Summit. I'm instructing again which is a huge honor and opportunity for me to hob nob with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. The Sock Summit teachers are bright, accomplished, and incredibly interesting. As I listen to each of them I find myself thinking, "I want to be like that when I grow up!" I was so intimidated and overwhelmed by the experience at Sock Summit '09 that I barely talked to anyone and I wrote down even less. This time I want to do better so I am more participant than observer and I want to remember all the cool stuff going on!

I've also been working with an amazing non-profit called The Soluna Institute. Soluna wants to address diversity issues and especially gender diversity. We started out focusing on gender diversity but it just became obvious that it was impossible to extract gender from general diversity conversations. I'm really proud of what we'll be launching next month. We are trying to expand the diversity conversation and really get everyone to talk about it in terms of action and start small strategies that will help evolve a corporate culture. This isn't about "we should do this" but really it is "how can we make this work for us?"

Summer hasn't been terribly enthusiastic in our corner of the world. I'm not complaining. I don't like the heat but I do like sunshine and we seem to be getting sunshine and cool mornings. I think it is about perfect. I did manage to grab a shot of my honeysuckle I was talking about before. If I can keep that thing going and get the clematis at the other end, maybe we can hide that ugly porch.

Don't let the ribby greyhound in front worry you. She is actually a very healthy weight but right when I took that picture she was sniffing something deeply (probably poo). I free-feed the dogs which means I just leave down bowls of food all the time. This works great for the greyhounds but Oscar, my beagle mix, has gotten tubby. Actually tubby is a kind description. He and I really need to start walking!

I'll leave you with some adorabuhlness. Frankie covering his nose but leaving his fanny hanging out. Doesn't it look bare nekkid?

March 18, 2011

Short-Attention-Span-Friday

Just a little randomness today. It has been a LONG week and I'm struggling just to finish any task my brain is so flighty.

Random #1: I was pleased that, for once, my funnest green socks and St. Patrick's day coincided and I sported what I refer to as the "alien socks." I don't know why except something about the bright colors make me think alien. Not that I have any first-hand experience. These have sure been a good pair of socks. The yarn was Lorna's Laces and they have been worn a lot but aren't thinning anywhere and have always been soft and comfortable. I'm not thrilled with my standard long-tail cast on. I may look into a cast on that has some more give. The tops of my socks tend to be tight at a certain point won't go up as far as I would like.

Random #2: I forgot St. Patrick's day was coming up so I was caught unawares and didn't have corned beef and cabbage ready to make for dinner. Fortunately the cafeteria at work is better prepared than I and they did a killer job with their corned beef (some people make it way too salty) and the cabbage was cooked to perfection (you don't cook it to death but it should be just getting limp) so I maintained the tradition for lunch. They were also serving Guinness cake which is something I have always wanted to try. It was killer. I mean so good that if I make one I'll eat it all myself it is so good. The Guinness makes the chocolate not too sweet and there is absolutely the tang of the Guinness which is delicious in a cake even if you aren't crazy about it as a drink. This cake was served with cream cheese frosting which was so perfect in keeping it from being too sweet. Absolutely divine.

Random #3: I saw a television ad for a glass repair company who made a point of advertising their website feature where customers can make appointments online. "Great!" I thought, "I need to get my windshield repaired from a chip that splintered during the cold snap." I went to the website and was given two choices: a cost estimate or make an appointment. I thought I'd get an estimate first so I'd have an idea what I was going to have to cough up. After filling out numerous forms and fields I received no estimate (they said it was because they didn't know what my deductible was which I don't understand how that figures in to overall cost). I wasn't thrilled by this and even a little suspicious but this was the business my insurance company recommended so I tried the other option of making an appointment. The process looked exactly the same and at the end of it, I was TOLD when my appointment was. I wasn't asked what some choices would be or even if I could make the appointment they gave me. I also received a call from this company because they were confused as to why I now had two appointments. Excellent, asking for an estimate results in no estimate but you do get an appointment. I go through experiences like this and I know that the website developers and the organization themselves haven't done any kind of user testing on the site. I mean, clearly they haven't gone through the process themselves or if they have, no one questioned whether or not it was clunky, helpful, realistic, or even providing what it said it would provide. That gave me a little teeth-grinding today. I have a low tolerance of this kind of user experience online.

Random #4: My favorite comedic actors have a new movie that opened in the US today and I can't wait to go see it. I'll put it off one weekend so I can go with a buddy who likes them too. I'm thinking I need to break out the alien socks just for the event...

March 09, 2011

The First Step in My Plan to Rule the World

I am bouncing around a fairly brilliant business idea but it would require start up capital and it involves manufacturing products which is all kinds of crazy complicated. Anyone experienced with this or know someone experienced with this? I'd love to pick someone's brain and start scoping out the start up requirements and costs. This is a retail idea which couldn't be more different than my current business which is easy because I sell my services. This idea should bring me riches galore and seems to be a much more plausible plan than my current plan for wealth...the lottery; which I forget to play every week so the plan has more weaknesses than you can imagine.

Until I'm running my empire and ducking calls from Trump, March socks move along. I'll venture to say, hopefully without angering any knitting gods, I should complete them this month as planned. Regardless of how this picture looks, they are exactly the same size because I knit my socks at the same time on a single circular needle. I could never knit socks separately on dpns; I know my weaknesses. I do not have the fortitude or the attention span to knit the same thing twice like that. Not a sock.

They are no where near identical. I knew that would happen since one of the skeins was wound into a ball while the other was still in a skein (for my non-knitters, this means the "beginning" of the yarn is on the outside of the skein and in the very center of the ball so I'm starting in different places on the yarn). I don't know why that was done and I can't believe I did that so I'm wondering if I bought the skeins that way. It's OK though because it doesn't bother me at all when socks don't match. In fact, I consider it one of the charms of hand-knit socks.

Baby stuff shall go out in the next couple of days. I'm finishing off few pairs of baby socks and then I'll cut myself off and put it all in the mail already. A good friend is pregnant with her second child so I am not going to have to go cold turkey and am thinking another Baby Tulip with the same yarn would still be fun. Well, fun for me but for readers I'll try to do something entertaining to divert you rather than show you an identical sweater and demand you admire it as much as the first one.

Kitty update isn't very definitive. We've narrowed it down to either a treatable condition or cancer in her brain/nervous system. Ugh. Could it sound more grim? We shall just proceed forward with spoiling her rotten, enjoying our time together and if we have to face a tough decision, we'll face it. For now, she is the Queen of the house, as kitties should be. Suki does appreciate knitting. The last time Grandma visited she put her knitting bag down on the ground and unzipped it (actually I should say one of her bags. Grandma is a Knitter). Before she could even get her knitting out Suki installed herself and gave us all a look that said, "Go ahead, I dare you." We left her there for as long as she wished.


March 02, 2011

Me Me Me

I did not cast on the March socks on March 1 because I was wrapping up the shrug. I was so close to being done I just wanted to finish it. However, I have cast on today and I'm very excited about this pair. This pair is for me. I haven't knit a pair of socks for me in 4 years I think. Over 4 years. My sock knitting has been exclusively gifts as my hand knit socks got holes and have been stuffed in a "darn" drawer. Me, the sock knitter, only has one pair of hand knit socks that were a birthday gift from a dear friend. She looked kind of shocked when I gushed over them and confessed that I had not made any for me in forever. So this month feels very decadant and I'm thrilled. This was one of the reasons I started my knitting schedule.

The yarn is Opal I believe but the yarn bands are long gone. I've cast on and off more than a few times as my socks took a backseat to sock gifting. These are my colors and this was never going to be for anyone but me. The pattern is a basic Mistaken Rib. I'm using the Sock of Doom pattern which makes very nice socks. I've taken a covert picture of the cast on rows since I'm in a place where it is entirely inappropriate to take pictures of knitting.

February 16, 2011

Procedures Men Would Rather We Not Discuss

February Socks are finished with two days to spare. They are wonky...there is no denying that. However, I shall wrap them and present them to the birthday girl and have her try them on before I judge them harshly. I kept trying them on and except for the heel poof, they were fitting just fine. The colors are nice. Brown, cream, minty green and cerulean blue. It is an unusual colorway for me and it is a testament to how wool fumes can overpower a normally sensible knitter when surrounded by beautiful wool. I can't believe I even bought it but Grandma wears a lot of brown, blue, and green, and really, they are kind of neutral with a pop of a little color here and there without taking over the colorway.

I do think this will make adorable baby socks though and I have a couple of babies that require wooly love.

I've been requested to provide an update on Frankie's progress with the prozac. I was not seeing any change in his personality at all and, unfortunately, no change in his behaviors either. Then I happened to read the medication label and realized I should have doubled his dosage after the first week. Oops. So we shall see if there is any progress after this week. I have threatened him with a penis-ectomy and then I found out that is a real procedure.

I'm sure he is quaking in his furry boots.

February 14, 2011

The Black Hole Sock

I'm making progress on the February sock but I'm not thrilled with the result. This has a shorter deadline because it is for a birthday this week. If I had to the end of the month I'd rip it out and go again. The leg pattern is kind of cool but I think it is going to be way too big for Grandma's leg and the line from the pattern to the heel has created a poof that makes the sock look slouchy. Just want Grandma wants. The really depressing part is I tried this on two days ago and was in the exact same spot as you see here. Two days of knitting that has gone into the ether.

I'm also decreasing like crazy because that big leg will just not be faked on the foot. It must be smaller for Grandma. See? Disaster after disaster. This is why I should rip it out.

Ah well...

February 05, 2011

February Socks and Prozac

The February socks are on the needle and with a bit of a false start, they are on their way. Originally I was going to do a New Pathways pattern by Cat Bordhi who I have a knitting crush on and am in awe of but the sock was getting too big for Grandma (who is the recipient of these socks) and it wasn't going to quite work. So I fell back to a handy book I have where you can just flip through and pick the cuff, leg, and foot of the sock you would like to do. Socks a la Carte. The sock has been ripped out and redone and I'm just about to start on the leg. The colorway is OK. I think Grandma will find them very wearable because she wears a lot of green and brown. I did notice that the yarn matches my knitting bag perfectly. How coordinated do I feel?


I've squeezed in a few other projects. I'm not completely stressed out from work anymore so I'm really feeling a creative rush. I guess I need to get some of it out of my system. A friend just had a daughter which means lovely little baby things beginning with this adorable hat. I love it and will make booties and a sweater to send a long to the new baby.


I also knit a beret. This was supposed to be a birthday present for my Aunt and half way through I realized that we don't really exchange birthday gifts anymore and I probably should just make this for me. I need a new winter hat since I felted one accidentally and have lost my other one. So at the last minute I made it a little bigger and I love it. I tried to take a picture of me wearing it but they all look pretty silly. I think it would be best if I could get a picture of the back. Maybe next time I'm wearing it I'll try. In the meantime I already am using this everyday so I guess I really needed it!


In other news around here, the vet put Frankie on Prozac! I'm just not entirely surprised. He is my wacky boy that operates differently than the rest of the world. I'm not sure I like the idea of medicating him. If it changes his personality too much I'm taking him off it. This is just supposed to curb some of his less desirable behaviors (lifting his leg in the house) but I don't want to drug him. We'll see. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl which means we'll be watching the Puppy Bowl! Have fun all!


January 30, 2011

January Conquored

I know I have non-knitting readers and I'm sorry this has been only knitting for the past few posts. December through February are heavy knitting months because so many birthdays fall in there. I'll simmer down in a few weeks and have non-knitting nonsense to share.

Finished the January socks after midnight on the 29th so I met my first deadline! I did end up shaping these a little. The foot was just too baggy as the pattern was written for me, my yarn, my needles, etc. I reduced the size of the foot but as soon as I hit the ankle I increased the pattern repeats to what the pattern calls for. When I wear a sock I like the foot to hug a little but I don't like the leg to hug too much. My legs get itchy when socks are too tight so I made these legs a little looser and gave them a nice ribbed top to help hold them up.

I think the recipient of these socks will love them and I can't wait to get them off this week. If I get them off Monday or Tuesday, the package will even get there in time for her birthday. That is some kind of miracle. I'm always late with birthdays.

I saw The King's Speech last weekend with Grandma and I loved it. Just like everyone else. But it is a really good movie so I'm not surprised to see so many people enjoying it. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. If you have seen it, you will appreciate this footage of the real King George speaking. Your heart just dies for him when you see him hesitate and close his eyes. But if you weren't too close to him and didn't know he stammered I think I would just think he was pausing to be solemn.

January 26, 2011

January Socks Progress

The January Sock is moving along nicely. I've had some challenges with figuring out proportion but I assure you, that is entirely my fault and not the fault of the pattern. I've had to rip out great chunks of the sock five times. Five. That is a depressing number when most of those are due to my inability to learn.

The first rip was about mid-way through the sock foot. I realized these were going to be huge. This is a lace pattern which has a lot of stretch. There is nothing more annoying than a baggy, saggy sock so I couldn't keep going. I ripped it out, removed a pattern repeat on each side and started again. This made the foot the exact right width.

Foot length seems to be a greater challenge for me. This is a toe up pattern. I've knit toe up patterns before and never had a problem so why this one would be defeating me is a mystery. (This is an elegant toe up pattern by the way, if you don't like picking up stitches for the heel, you'll love this one.) For some reason I couldn't place where things were falling on the foot and the pattern directions weren't getting through my thick skull so I kept knitting clown feet. Over and over I knit a foot 11 or so inches long. It looked ridiculous and I should have seen it much sooner than I was. I did this FOUR times. Good grief.

I finally staggered through the heel stage of the sock and am working my way up the leg. I'm worried the leg will be too tight but I think I just need to hold on and have a little faith. I'd like to be a lot further on for these socks. The recipient likes a long leg so I really can't afford any more rips or I'll miss my first deadline. That will just be depressing.

Other than all that drama, I love the socks. This is one of those perfect marriages of the yarn and the pattern. I love, love, love it and it pleases me endlessly while I work on it. Thank goodness or I would have quit by now! As I work on these I keep thinking how much I love them and how cute they will be with jeans.

(It says a lot about the focus this sock is getting that I took the picture with a passed out puppy on his muddy blanket in the background. The puppy is cute but the blanket looks bad. Hey, I live in the very wet Pacific NorthWest and this time of year, most everything has a little mud on it. The washing machine always has a dog-oriented load in it. It is a challenge fitting my own laundry in between loads of blankets, rugs, towels, etc. Seriously, it is ALWAYS going!)

December 20, 2009

Telegram from Christmas Madness

Plan C has worked out well. It got me through at least three gifts.

Behold:

The French Press slippers. A quick easy knit that results in terribly cute slippers. I had fun playing with the texture and the buttons. This pair I knit in Cascade Pastaza. A hairy yarn that I thought would be really cute in slippers. I also got this pretty, arty-looking button. I also actually sewed the strap on at an angle which looked really cute. It is hard to see in this picture but the straps don't go straight across the top of the foot. The are diagonal. It really works for changing the style of the slipper.

Example #2:

The red just does not photograph well. but it is winter in Oregon. We have little natural light for me to use. The red is cooler than in this picture. I combined a red Peace Fleece with Cascade 220 leftovers. The best part are the beautiful little green and red buttons.

I tried something different with the final pair. The color worked great (again, how cute are these buttons?) but the felted material made it really hard to keep any sort of uniformity.

So I have actually pulled out the green trim and just did a few embellishments with the lime green yarn. The slippers' grips are drying right now (made with puffy paint) but I'll try to get a pic before I'm loaded up in the car and driving for the holidays.

 

February 06, 2009

In which I knit with pond scum

I've been really bad about remembering to share finished projects. Which means I start losing track of what I've made, how I made it and who I sent it to. Oops.


As soon as I finished Mom's Christmas present I started on her birthday socks. Her birthday is this Sunday and she likes looong socks so I knit my little fingers off. In fact, I had to stop for a couple of days because two of my fingers started swelling. Poor fingers. I knew I really wanted to do the embossed leaves again and I had this lovely bronze/amber/green yarn Mom bought (don't let the name of the colorway throw you, it is beautiful) and handed to me to knit for her. "Will you make me socks out of this?"


Who can say no?



Despite the terrible staging of the photograph (Winter in the Pacific Northwest is grey and if someone has a trick for photographing lace tubes without wearing them, I can give up the stuffed-with-soup-cans method) you can see how pretty the colors worked with the leaf lace. There was a notable moment when I was done with the leg and about to embark on the heel when I realized I had the wrong number of stitches on one of the socks. I began to tink back figuring I couldn't have made the mistake too long ago or I would have noticed. Number of stitches is pretty important with lace. Most of the time.


This is a very forgiving lace pattern because after tinking down an entire pattern repeat I had the presence of mind to take a good look at the sock to see where the mistake was. It is a good thing I didn't keep ripping down because I found the error waaaay down in the first repeat at the very beginning of the sock.



D'oh! This is where my comfort level with errors come in handy. I'm OK with that little oops. Leaves in nature aren't perfect and I got the socks off to Mom in time for her birthday. She was surprised and loves them. That is way more important than a perfect leaf.


I didn't want to give up the yarn just yet though so I broke out my Cat Bordhi book and started working my way through her learning socks patterns. I pre-ordered this book and have been carrying it around like I carried around Absolute Beginners in high school. I was torn between being excited about starting the socks and enjoying the anticipation. I finally decided I couldn't wait any longer.


I didn't have quite enough yarn to finish the socks (I knit it down to the last two inches) so I made it a design feature with some left over Midsummer Night. I love how it ended up looking. This is the Little Sky sock.



Pictures aren't great because I took them inside this morning while it was still dark. I wanted to take the socks into work to a work buddy who has a baby.


I like how the increases are featured in the design. I think it would be fun to play with color in this panel. Like little baby spats.



The stunning thing about Cat is that she is this wildly artistic, engineering genius but I like her too. She is cool and funny and genuine. I get a little fan-girl around her.


This is going to be a conflicting weekend. I have my Cat Bordhi socks I can't tear myself away from and I'm in the middle of a great book (Lonely Werewolf Girl) but the hovel house needs to be shoveled out in preparation for a Grandparent weekend next week.


Anyone taking any odds on the housework getting done? Trust me, I'm not getting any help from anyone else who lives in the house. Especially anyone that may have a fetish for kleenex boxes.



No help at all.

January 17, 2009

Gifts gifts gifts

Ah, a three day weekend ahead of me. Why am I so excited that I'm going to have time to do chores? Yeah, this is one exciting life!

I have one important accomplishment to share however...I finally finished all my Christmas presents! Yay! I'm just happy I did it by the end of summer.

These are Mom's socks. Before Christmas, I spent an entire, unfortunate weekend trying to sew some gifts. We aren't speaking of it. The disappointment is still too great. But that did mean I wasted 48 hours (because of course, I figured I would have all those hours to work on something) going in the wrong direction. These socks are plan B.

So Merry Christmas Mom! You should be getting these in the next couple of days.

They are the Diagonal Rib socks from Interweave's Knitting Daily. The pattern is free if you sign up for the site. Completely worth it.

I love how the socks look and the diagonal rib is very clever and very easy. A lot of bang for the buck. However, this particular pair ended up making a heavy fabric. I used Blue Moon Socks that Rock heavyweight (it is possible it is medium weight, the label is long gone) in Midsummer's Night. And Mom always wants the socks as long as possible. They were so heavy and dense towards the end that they were getting hard to hold up and work on. I think it is what she will like but I think I would have preferred them in a lighter weight yarn. I'll probably make these socks again.

I also finished my brother's birthday gift just in time. His home office is in his basement and freezing in the winter. So I whipped up these fingerless gloves for him. They are in Patons SWS in the Natural Navy colorway. Which is funny they are called Navy because I don't think there is a lick of blue in my skeins. They are all black, tan, grey and a strip of purple. They look very nice and I think they will fit well. I went through several patterns, and three gloves before I decided I liked these.

The pattern is from Knit Picks. I enjoyed it and they knit up quickly. The yarn is probably too jazzy for my brother if he was going to wear them out of the house. But just in his office is probably OK. He'll think of me.

So now I have to get on the ball and whip up another pair of socks for Mom whose birthday is the first week of Feb.

Work work work.

July 17, 2007

Red

It seems to be all about red around Casa de Drew these days. Well, not entirely but for the two project updates I'm bringing you today...it is all about red.

First, I've been fitting in a little sock knitting between projects because I always fit in a little sock knitting and also because that is my Christmas knitting. Hand knit socks are all Grandma ever wants from me so I'm trying to shape up and give her hand knit socks.

This is a pair of Broadripples in Socks that Rock, Mustang Sally. This is one of those examples of the right pattern with the right yarn at the right time so they have flown along and been a lot of fun. I was able to take this in natural light so the color is true. The heel is turned, I just don't have a heel on my hand to demonstrate.

Grandma's Broadripples

For the non-knitters visiting this blog, I know it sounds like we complain, agonize, and sob over our projects a lot more than we enjoy them. And, at least for me, that is very true. So why would I continue knitting? Because when you hit that sweet spot, when it all falls together, it is the most relaxing, enjoyable, and productive hobby a person could take up. And it is worth it!

It is like that one great hit in a game of golf or when the bat meets the ball just right and it feels perfect and goes forever. Those moments when all the stars align and it carries you through all the future frustrating attempts.

But enough waxing philosophical over my Broadripples.

The Mystery Stole 3 has kicked my butt. Repeatedly. However, I have not given up. I was having to tink and reknit every 2 out of 3 rows 2 and 3 times! I kept plugging along telling myself that this wasn't hard and I could do it. Finally, I had to just had to admit to myself that while the pattern isn't hard (and it truly isn't) the yarn I was trying to use was making the project darn near impossible.

Laceweight yarn is little more than thread. Which isn't the problem. What became the problem was how much my yarn was splitting. It created more problems for me and more dropped stitches (and I've probably dropped three stitches in my lifetime) then I could handle. So as much as I liked the color and texture of the yarn, I had to consider not using it for this project.

Then I finally admitted to myself that as fun as it was to knit this fine fabric that magically came to life when blocked...it wasn't something I would wear. The scale and beading just is not something that matches anything I have in the closet and I would be afraid of tearing it up.

So I looked around the stash and thought I would try (just try) in a fingering weight yarn. I won't wear a black or white stole so I was left with the forest green or burgandy. I wanted a burgandy one to begin with so (since I was just experimenting) I figured I would experiment in a beautiful cashmere/silk/merino fingerweight I got from Elann a couple years ago. I have been saving this for a sweater for me and wasn't sure I wanted to use any of it up. But I would just try it out...right?

Mystery Stole 3 take 313

The yarn is a much richer burgandy in real life and I haphazardly pinned out the piece on the nearest light background around me to photograph (I'm not sure I was even looking as I pinned it out judging from the lopsidedness). And red rarely photographs well.

Now I can truly say it isn't a difficult pattern as I flew through Clue #1 and am happily moving along Clue #2 also. It is amazing how much better it looks and how much more I'm enjoying it now that I am using the right materials for this project for me. This is something I will wear.

May 14, 2007

Mr. DeMille, he is ready for his closeup

Something tells me these are supposed to look different and be in someone else's possession.


turned heels


Well, I didn't finish. Shocker. There was just a point where I could have hidden away all weekend and finished them or enjoyed my visit with Mom and give these to her next weekend.


I opted for the late gift. But, as you can see, I still made progress. Heels have been turned and I begin the journey down the foot.


To distract you from my mission failure, I present the next singing sensation...Korde Spotbottom!



Korde is Mom's greyhound. He dearly loves singing and frequently breaks out in spontaneous song. We have been trying to record him doing this for years and I was thrilled when there was just one of those moments where I happened to have the camera next to me when he started. His backup singer is Garbo, who you may remember from cute couch pic a few days ago.

May 10, 2007

tick tick tick

The goal was 9 repeats a day but I have to stop at 5 tonight so I get a little sleep for work tomorrow.

day two of socks

These are going to be late Mother's Day socks.

Sapphire has been watching me closely with disapproval. No really, she is laying there watching me. I just waited until she blinked so I wouldn't get those laser eye in the photo.

sapphire

She clearly thinks I'm a slacker.

Zig zag

Uh oh, someone let a TIE fighter get them. My TIE fighter pointed out to me that the Monkey socks were going to be too big for Mom. They were looking gorgeous but, while I love Mom, she will point out when something doesn't fit well so I had to cut my losses early and hope I can recover.


gull wing socks


This is probably not the best pattern to choose with this yarn because the colors completely hide the pattern.


gull wing socks closeup


Probably the best would just be a twisted rib or classic rib (or even a spiral rib) but Mom lives in Arizona most of the year so I wanted an open lace. Something that isn't quite so "wintery" looking. (Is anyone taking bets on me changing my mind again?)


I'm not even back to where I was in the previous pair but it is a good start on a pair of Gull Wings from Socks Socks Socks. There are 30 repeats to do (I'm counting the cuff, heel and toe as a repeat each) so I've done 4 repeats. That means I need to do at least 9 a day to finish these by Sunday. If I had nothing else to do but knit I could totally pull this off.


But the odds are against me on this project...

May 08, 2007

Is last-minute knitting an extreme sport?

This is why I can never have a made bed:

Sapphire takes bed

Monkey Socks progress. They have to be finished by Sunday. The leg is the pattern repeat 6 times and the foot will probably be about 6 repeats also, so with the heel work, I need to complete about 3 repeats a day. I only did one yesterday so I'm already behind!

progress on Monkey socks

Must keep going (even if I'm worried about them being too big), must keep focus.

Stay on target...stay on target...

May 03, 2007

Knitting myself back into the good graces of Grandma

I'm snowed in at work. Or should I say, I'm snowed in with work. Either way, it is why I've been quiet. However, I have still managed to be knitterly productive. I started my Mothers' Day presents because all my Mom and Grandma really want from me are socks and since I'm in the midst of buying a house (actually, securing the financing to buy the house which is the icky part) I'm feeling especially thrifty so I don't want to spend money on ANYTHING! (you know that panic mode when you realize you are poor and start looking at crusty old men in luxury cars with a new eye)

The good news is that I had the mostest gorgeousest yarns to chose from after sock camp. So I pulled out the colorway especially chosen for Grandma (Socks that Rock heavyweight in Falcon's Eye, I can't find an online source for it but it is spectacular) because Grandma's signature color is celadon and thought I would try Quill Lace from the latest Knitty.

quill lace socks

Wow, the stars aligned and it ended up being the perfect yarn in the perfect pattern for the perfect person and they were done in a couple of days. I loved knitting that pattern so much I'll probably do another pair again right away. Very, very fun!

I snuck a picture here at work right on my desk (trying to hide the complete geekiness that is me and knit blog for as long as possible). I am disappointed in one feature of the yarn, there are tiny plum drops on one of the socks in a couple of places. I am a little disappointed that it snuck into this colorway because it just makes the sock look dirty. I knit from both ends of the ball on the same skein and one sock got the plum drops and the other did not.

plum dot

Something to keep in mind with this pattern, I thought they would be very stretchy because it is lace but the stitch pass overs tighten them up so don't try to overcompensate for lace-stretch when you make these.

stitch detail

I think these socks are in my top three favorites.

Now I just have to make Mom's!

October 07, 2006

Sock Wars update

You know when your hands ache, your finger tips are going numb and your knitting callous hurts that you have been knitting too fast and furious!


I received my target's sock to finish for her target and I know my socks have been sent out so my doom is impending. Well, I wanted to finish my target's socks first (over achiever) so I went to work. That is where it all went bad.


My target had sent a really cute bright red sock but she knits her socks like so many other people; one at a time. I do mine both at the same time so I kept thinking that I was going to hate doing just one. It seems like such a waste of energy to only get one done when with very little extra energy I could get two done.


Then I realized that I did not understand my target's notes. Probably to other dpn sock knitters it would make perfect sense. But I don't have to take notes because I make the same mistakes changes to the socks simultaneously.


I started stressing that my new target was going to get a wonky pair of socks because they didn't match.


So I just knit a new pair of socks. It really isn't a lot more work for me and it alleviated my stress. I'll send her the red sock too so she can finish that pair.


I did happen to have the right gauge yarn laying around. Some delicious toasty toes that I had originally planned on turning into a kid's sweater. It would be an understatement to say there is a lot of color in these socks.


socks of doom


These socks would make many sock knitters twitch. They are barely fraternal and these are knit off the same skein of yarn. The Rib of Doom looks a lot better with this yarn than with my previous pair and I love love love the tweedy effect in the sock on the right. The other sock didn't get that effect at all. And I hope my target likes pooling! The upside is they are very soft and cushy and they do celebrate the hand-painted yarn!


To make up for the potentially garish socks, I am including this knitting bag of doom.


skull knitting bag


I made one like this in black with a red skull for a friend and while I super-suck at intarsia, I really enjoy making these. Highly satisfying with not a lot of work.


So after knitting one pair of socks and a knitting bag of doom in three days this is what my callous looks like:


knitting callous


Actually, yesterday it was bright red. That little sucker is on the little finger of my right hand where my finger curls around and grips the needle and yarn.


Kind of gross, huh? The tip of my right thumb is calloused too but it manages to not be deformed.


No time to let it rest though. I have two pumpkin hats I need to finish for babies. Gawd forbid there are two children in my circle I'm not humiliating. he he

September 26, 2006

Knitting Content

A little flurry of activity for work as the semester begins. I'm doing contract work for a local university for their online program and all of the instructors waited until the last minute to give us their information to get online. I had to laugh as one particularly late instructor had handouts for her students about time management and planning ahead. Typical. Even as a student I saw the clear double standard when instructors would be rigid about deadlines but hand back your graded work weeks after their deadline.


Ah, venting done.


I have been doing quite a bit of knitting. My hand work always picks up when I do more technical computer work. So, I'm stuck online all day building web pages hence I need a significant amount of time in the evening to do non-technical work. Shall we take a peek at what has come off the needles?


I forgot to share this little pretty. A lace hairband/headband. After the crushing disappointment of Sonnet I could only tackle little projects. So when I saw this pattern on the Interweave Knits website (subscriber area) I thought it would be great to try it in my left over Elann Esprit which is really elastic.


headband


I omitted one pattern repeat because I thought it would be too long and I wanted the headband to stretch a little. I think it is still a little long and it probably would be better with another repeat eliminated. It also is quite wide so it just bunches up in may hair and you can't see the pretty lace. But it does hold the hair back! And it was kind of fun to make.


I also finished this little project which was really fun to do!


navy cardigan


Knitting purists, brace yourself. The pattern is off the Lion Brand site and the yarn is a Lion Brand yarn. It is called Cashmere Blend and it is comparable to Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino.


Now I love Cashmerino with a white hot passion but this cashmere blend comes pretty darn close. It is almost as soft and is really lovely to knit with. However, I am very disappointed in the limited colors.


I am hearing from other people around the country that the Cashmere Blend actually costs a little more than Cashmerino but in my neck of the woods it is about $1 less (note that in the two links I provide above the Cashmerino is a wee bit less.). I have to give props to Lion Brand for contending with such a fine fiber!


So I enjoyed the fiber (in a blue black that really is beautiful and kind of hard to see while knitting!) and the pattern was really cool. All in one piece and you start with the collar! I love not having to pick up stitches for the band and collar. I'll do this pattern again because it was a lot of fun. It isn't one of Lion Brand's free patterns though.


We need to take a moment to bask in my fabulous seams. I am always sharing my failures but I actually do things right sometimes.


fab seams


You can barely see them! Once in a while I rock.


Another small victory to share is my completion and mailing of my Sock War socks. Fueled by a bizarre diet of sushi and hot fudge sundaes, I knit my fingers to little nubs Sunday and Monday so that I could put off my demise as long as possible.


first sock war socks


I was being a bit lax about it this weekend and then I checked the blog of my assassin. To my horror (and delight because she is making me a pair of socks) I found her to be an accomplished and talented knitter. One of those who crank out the pieces that make the rest of us say, "oooo, I want to do that" and ends with us weeping on the floor clutching the knitting to our chests in despair. And then resorting to knitting headbands.


She is in an entirely different league than me.


My socks were a bit of a challenge for me because I have never knit socks with size 5 needles nor with sock yarn as big as this. But I felt like I scored when I found this Cleckheaton at the beach this weekend. I thought the colors were lovely and neutral enough that they should appeal to most everyone (in case my target was a fella). See, I'm a considerate assassin.


I was so paranoid about sticking to the rules. My sock yarn called for a size 6 needle but I knit it with a 5 and I even though I got gauge I felt like I was cheating the whole time. And I worried that the socks were going to be ugly, etc. Obviously, I can't take this kind of pressure.


Plus, do you see those two wee balls of yarn next to the socks? Those were the end of the skeins when I finished. If my target had my size 10s then I would have been scrambling!


So I'm very sorry to have eliminated my target, but I hope she enjoys the socks!

June 04, 2006

Newsflash

Quiet but not gone. So here is what I've been up to in a newsflash:


cascading leaves socks


Grandma's socks are done and have been gifted. I don't think she has taken them off her feet since. I did get them done in time for Mother's Day. I wish you could see the leaf pattern better but they are really pretty and understated. This is the perfect colorway for this particular pair of socks.


broadripple socks


Mom's socks are done and have been gifted. She did finally take them off but I don't think it will be for long. These are broadripple socks that I started as a Mother's Day present about two years ago and after having a major rip out I needed to set them aside to recover. I did them in Elann's Fixation copy. I don't think I really enjoyed knitting with this cotton/nylon mix. Hurt my hands. But Mom lives in AZ so cotton is better and she loves the super stretchy. I have to say this pattern is so lovely in this simple cream that this part was never boring.


fuscia colorway


I'm frantically trying to finish my last Dulaan sweater. It is pink and this other colorway that I got just because I liked it so much that I couldn't leave it behind at the store. I was knitting it and kept thinking the colors looked familiar. Then I realized why it looked familiar.


fuscia plant


The beautiful new fuscia I got for my patio.


Fun coincidence, no?


I have two pet peeves to share today.


Don't you hate those commercials that are selling handy dandy new products (a fancy new screwdriver or a contraption that dices food in one fell swoop) and when they demonstrate the "old" way a person has to use a screwdriver or a knife the person has no coordination? They slip using the screwdriver or act like they are cutting with a 50lb. knife. Those really irritate me.


Sticking with irritating commercials...those radio commercials that use a fake DJs discussing television shows make me want to run my car into the nearest wall. Does this really work? Do people think they are listening to real radio personalities actually having a conversation about a bunch of TV shows that all happen to be on the same network? These rank right up there with the "dramas" on wrestling networks. They make me irrationally insane.


And that's a wrap

April 28, 2006

Embossing leaves for Grandma

Well, we can all breath a little easier now. I have finally finished a pair of socks for Grandma. She has been begging me and begging me for another pair. She is 88 and a knitter herself. I'm a horrible grand-daughter for not making 15 pairs for her.


Self recrimination out of the way, here is a picture of the socks almost finished. I have finished them since I took this picture and I'll get a pic of Grandma modeling them when I give them to her for Mother's Day.


embossed leaves socks


The lace pattern is hard to photograph but I put a tube of hair product down one and a tin of bath salts down the other. The one on top is probably how it will look on a leg but the one on bottom at least provided some contrast with the yarn so you can see the pattern a little.


The yarn is Lorna's Laces in Aslan. Which is even more appropriate for Grandma since she has always been a huge fan of C.S. Lewis and asked me to take her to the "Chronicles of Narnia." I actually got the yarn about two or three years ago and have tried it out on several different projects before I finally settled on this one.


The pattern is from the winter InterWeave Knits. Embossed Leaves Socks. It was a lot of fun to do and quite easy even if I did have to do some adjusting for two circular needles and I had to do some creative adjustments to bring down the size. The pattern is for a woman's medium but Grandma has wee feet so I left the leg as a medium to prevent binding on her older legs and I did some decreases after the gusset and then buried some more in the lace pattern. I think it worked but we still have to do the Cinderella test.