Friday, April 28, 2006

"Make me a Pair of Socks" and Project Spectrum

I apologize in advance for the rant which you are about to read. I take my kids to Tae Kwon Do twice a week. And most sessions there is this woman there. I always take my knitting with me because what else am I going to do? And most of the time, I'm knitting socks. Well, this woman always asks me when I'm making her a pair of socks. Always. And she's serious. She seriously wants me to make her a pair of socks. This woman whom I talk to (but am not great friends with) wants me to make her a pair of socks. Every pair I make, she asks me where is her pair. It's really beginning to annoy me because I know she's never going to get a pair and I've tried politely telling her that she's never going to get a pair. I haven't even made my own mother a pair of socks yet. (Although I hope to change that soon.) I mean, yes, I knit fast, so maybe she doesn't realize the work that goes into them. But to tell someone that they need to make them socks? I have repeatedly offered to teach her to knit and she has repeatedly refused the offer saying she can't do it. Or that she doesn't have the time. Yet, she expects me to do it for her as if my time is worth less than hers because I manage to find some time to enjoy a craft. *Sigh*

Since orange and yellow aren't really my colors, I've pretty much ignored this month for Project Spectrum, but I really wanted to post pictures of this children's toy before the month was out. Not only do we have the child-sized version, but also a miniature one. (I should have put a ruler in the picture. It's only about 6 inches tall.) Doesn't it just fit this month perfectly?

In I'm Fit and I Knit news, I did actually try to work out this morning, but it's really hard to lift weights when you may have mildly sprained your wrist and ankle. Don't ask, just know that I am a horrible klutz and it doesn't hurt when I knit, just when trying to lift something heavy.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nests and socks

Some of you may remember our baby barn swallows from last year. (Check out the June 2005 archives for more pictures.) In previous years we had birds build nests under the eaves of our front porch or behind the light fixture, so we put a box there to make clean-up easier for us. Last year, sparrows built a nest there and either never used it or got kicked out by the barn swallows. Well, the sparrows have built another one. They really filled the box pretty full; you can't even tell if there's a bird in there.

I've seen the swallows hanging around the box for the past couple of weeks. Is it wrong of me to hope that the swallows end up using it again? I know the sparrows need a nest, too, but the swallows are so much more interesting. Not to mention the swallows kept our mosquito population down last year. I know, I'm a horrible person for wanting the elegant swallows over the plain little brown birds. In my defense, my kids and I are mosquito magnets. If there were fifty people outside, we would be the only ones being eaten alive.

Anyway, as promised, a picture of the sock in progress. I'm just doing a sinple, k2, p2 rib and the leg is just about done. I really like this colorway. I've pretty much been working on socks non-stop for the past couple of weeks, so there is absolutely no progress on any lace. Isn't weird how we caught up with one thing to the exclusion of all else? I'm pretty sure that I'll get sick of socks sooner or later and move back to lace.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Knitter Nightmare

I dreamed about moths last night. You know the kind I mean. Actually I should probably say I dreamed about moth larvae. In my precious wool. Needless to say I checked my wool this morning.

I've decided on a rib pattern for the new sock. I'll probably post pictures of the progress tomorrow. I just wanted a little texture for the yarn to break up the pattern a bit. It's really pretty! Since I've had some interest, I will definitely post about how I like the Step yarn once I cast on. It is really soft and hard to resist.

I did just a little spinning yesterday; still working on that lovely roving from The Fiber Denn. Remember, I'm spinning thin so it looks pretty much the same as last time you saw it. Just imagine the bobbin a little fuller.

Only a week and a half to the Maryland Sheep and Wool. I think I'm actually going to make it until then without a yarn purchase! Is anyone else going to be there?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pink and Purple Socks

I finished re-doing the foot of the first sock last night, so here is the finished pair. I absolutely love the self-patterning!

Specs: Cast on 72 stitches with size 0s using Trekking 144. No particular pattern. I did about an inch and a half ribbing and the rest stockinette. The heels and toes are Knitpicks Essential in black. They fit perfectly!

I started with the blues/mauves (the one on the right) last night while watching the Fellowship of the Ring yet again. I'm thinking that I might do a rib pattern with that. I started the cuff to do another plain old sock like I just finished. I really do like how it looks on the cuff, but I'm going to get past the ribbed cuff and see how it looks in plain stockinette. If I like it I might keep going. If not, I'll need to frog and cast on a few more stitches to do the rib.

I also got this yesterday. It's one of the skeins I ordered on my free day. It's the new Austermann Step with Aloe and Jojoba Oil. I thought Trekking was soft, but this stuff is even softer! I can't wait to see what it's like. I'm actually torn between making socks with it and gloves. My hands stay so dry in the winter that either gloves will win out, or I'll have to get some more later.

And lastly, check out Kimberly's

Basically, having just taken jogging back up, she's encouraging the rest of us to try and be more fit. This month marks two years since I started strength training. It really has made a difference in my everyday life; I can lift more things (kids and groceries) with ease. I use a couple of fun video games for my cardio - Dance, Dance Revolution and Yourself Fitness. And I'm trying to take a little yoga back up. I feel much better about myself when I am on a regular workout schedule, less aches and pains and more balanced emotions. I also feel better about how I look. (Plus, I know I'll have less health issues later which, seeing as how genetics are not on my side, is really important.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another Almost Finished Pair

Here is one sock:

The really sad thing is that I'd have a finished pair, but idiot that I am I messed up the gusset on the first sock. See how in the first picture below the gusset is much shorter than the second? (You can click on each photo to make it bigger.)

Somehow, I did only decrease gusset rows without the knit round between. So the gusset is much shorter than it should be and much tighter. So, I have to take the foot of the first sock back out to the gusset. *Sigh* I'd get so much more done if I did it right the first time. Oh, well.

Since I've decided that I really like heel flaps better than the after/forethought heels and short row heels, I wanted to do that on these socks, but not break up the pattern, so I used some black for the heels and toes. I wish it had been more of a charcoal like in the striping yarn, but it was true black. I think it looks okay though. The foot shouldn't take too long to re-do.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New Interweave Knits Preview

I've been disappointed with my last couple of issues of Interweave Knits. Not that they were horrible, just nothing spoke to me. The Summer Preview is up and I think I'm going to like this issue. There are several cute summer tops - the Looking Glass Top, Thorn & Thistle Twinset, Evening Star Top, Bias Corset, Fairy Net Blouse, Brioche Bodice, and the Bonita Shirt.

And there are the Bazaar Socks and the Icarus Shawl. (Yes, I know, Jody, I still have the Madli Shawl on the needles, or off the needles since I needed that needle for something else:) I will not start another shawl until the three I currently have on the needles are done. I say nothing about more socks or summer tops though.

My Yarn Focus Challenge is in serious danger. What with all the cute tops I need for summer and self-striping sock yarns I need to try. Tell me I can make it until the Maryland Sheep & Wool. It's only just over two weeks away. Please tell me I can make it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why didn't anyone tell me?

Okay, why didn't anyone tell me how seriously cool self-patterning yarn was? Sure I've seen the stuff and I've thought, well, that's sort of neat but I think I'll make this hideously complicated Fair-Isle pattern instead. This is my first foray into the world of self-striping/self-patterning sock yarn and I am seriously hooked. Look how cool this is.

And how fast it works up. I just cast on yesterday and I'm just doing plain old stockinette on size 0s! It doesn't get any easier! Wow! I am now a believer. I confess to being completely in love with self-striping yarn. I knew there had to be a reason it was so popular! Good thing I have the blue/mauve stripes and more coming that I bought on my free day. Else, I'd be in serious danger of having to order more.

By the way, be very careful with metal DPNS. I just stabbed myself with mine. I was reaching down for my sock and one was sticking up and I scraped my palm pretty good. Drew blood and everything. (For those of you concerned for the sock, no, no blood got on the sock and those concerned for me, why yes, I had my regular tetanus booster last year. In no way was it related to knitting.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Almost Finished Socks

Here are the almost finished socks:

They do look finished, don't they? But check out the heels.

Notice how the one on the right is a little more bulky than the other one? The instructions for the forethought/afterthought heel said to decrease every other row until you have a certain number of stitches, but that didn't work out for my heel. Way too much bulkiness, so on the second heel, I decreased every other row for a bit, then I decreased every row. It made for a less bulky heel. I'll be doing that to the other heel, but it shouldn't take long at all. I think I'm still more of a heel-flap person, but I can now say I've tried a couple of different heels. That's the only change I made in the pattern. The pattern (which you can see in close-up here) is the Chevron pattern on page 73 of Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Trekking and I used size 0 needles. I only wish I had made the leg just a little longer, but I do love the socks. Trekking yarn is wonderful!

Speaking of Trekking, the pink and purple (the middle skein) got the most "votes", which being the pink and purple person I am I was leaning toward anyway, so I'll cast on for a simple stockinette pattern with that today. (I'd better cast on before I get my other yarn to confuse things more!)

I'm making a little progress on the Moon Dance Stole, but it's so slow that there's no point in pictures until I get just a little more done. Thanks for all the votes.

Monday, April 17, 2006

New Sock Yarn

My new sock yarn came and not a moment too soon. I'm past the heel on the second Chevron sock so I'm in the finishing stretch. This is a decent picture considering that there is absolutely no sun today. We do need the rain so it's not all bad, just dreary.

I'm not sure if the pastel yarn on the left is for me or my girls, so I know I'm not going to use that one next. My question to you: Which one should I use next? The pink, purple, brown, black jacquard or the blue, mauve, white stripes? Let me know what you think. (I need to decide quick before my next package comes in and I have even more choices! This is the order from before the Yarn Focus Challenge began.)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Nothing to Show

I really don't have much progress to show for the week. My hands started bothering me on Tuesday, so I thought I'd just put the needles and wheel away for a couple of days. I love knitting socks, but if I do it too much, it bothers my hands more than other knitting. It's a shame because I really love DPNs so much and I seriously doubt I'll ever try circulars for socks. Anyway, I read two novels, worked a jigsaw puzzle, and my hands are feeling better.

I was hoping to have my new sock yarn to show, but neither package has arrived yet. I've emailed the store about them because one of them was ordered two weeks ago and I haven't heard anything further about it.

We've already had our share of wildlife for the summer in our yard. We came across a nest of baby bunnies the other day. We did have to check out the nest because it got mowed over, but all bunnies seemed fine and they had fur already. We have small bunnies in this area and they seemed nearly adult size already. We didn't touch them, just made sure they looked okay, then we left them alone and I'm pretty sure they went off on their own now because the nest is empty without any signs of struggles. Do you remember our barn swallows? Check out the June 2005 archives to see a nest full of baby birds. Well, they're back. At least I saw one of the swallows swooping around yesterday and then this morning, one was sitting on top of the nest box. So we may just have another brood this year to watch. How exciting!

Monday, April 10, 2006

One Down and Free Day

One down, one to go.

I do wish I had made the leg just a little longer, but they are okay, I guess. Maybe I can stretch the top just a little the first time I wash them. (I don't block socks before the first wearing. Just too impatient, I guess.)

Though I occasionally make a sweater or a tank, my main obsessions are spinning, socks, and lace. All are fairly economical for the enjoyment you can get out of them. Spinning can take forever, then you can knit what spin. Laceweight yarn is sold in huge yardage hanks, so you can try out a much nicer yarn than you might use for an entire sweater. And you can get hours and hours of mind-numbing frustration enjoyment from just one hank. And socks. Well, socks are small and one or two skeins of a really nice yarn will make you a really nice pair of socks. Maybe they'll cost you $20 for one pair of socks, not to mention the time actually put into making them. But you'll never find better or more unique socks anywhere.

Though I am spinning a good bit, right now I'm definitely in sock mode. I have chronically cold feet so I wear socks inside even in summer and I just don't have enough handmade ones. That brings me to my free day. Apparently, yesterday was my free day for April for Rebekah's yarn focus challenge. I was hoping to carry the day over to May just in case I make it to both days of MD S&W, but it's not to be. I mean, how much self control am I expected to have when my husband (who KNOWS how much stash I already have) tells me that I should buy some yarn as a reward to myself for doing such a good job on the house this weekend. (I am a horrible housekeeper, so this was a really great compliment.) He told me to buy yarn. What can I say? I'm weak. (But still in the running.) I bought more sock yarn. (Remember I already have three balls of Trekking coming, so when I get that and what I just ordered I'll have enough for at least six pairs. We won't mention how many I could make from stash yarn.)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Four Weeks!

Scroll down and see the new friend I "adopted". Since I probably shouldn't come back from the Sheep and Wool with an angora bunny, I adopted Daisy (so named by my daughters).

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is a mere 4 weeks away! Wanna see what I'm NOT getting? Gorgeous aren't they? I saw them last year and was so impressed. I didn't know how to use a wheel then though, so I may actually get to sit at one this year. I'll settle for another of his gorgeous spindles. I'm definitely getting a Sweetheart and I'm thinking about a Butterfly as well. I have the smaller Celtic Knot (scroll down on the butterfly link) and it spins so wonderfully. Worth every penny.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Not So Bright People

I try not to talk too much about people on my blog. If you can't say anything nice, you know. But there just have to be exceptions to the norm. Today's exception - a couple of motorcyclists. Not all of them, mind you, so don't go sending angry emails if you ride a motorcycle. I'm not talking about you. I think motorcyclists might be a bit crazy, but not stupid. I'm talking about just two of them that I've seen recently doing extremely stupid things. If you are going to get out in traffic with a vehicle that weighs a great deal less than everything else on the road, in theory it should make you a bit more careful. You know, take a few precautions. Like not talking on a cell phone. While your bike is in motion. Yes, I did see a guy on a cell phone while his motorcycle was in motion. And today's stupid motorcyclist? He wasn't talking on his phone; he was even wearing a helmet.

A bicycle helmet.

I kid you not, a bicycle helmet. There are days I worry about humanity's survival.

All right, I'm done with my rant. Now on to the obligatory knitting content:

The colors are little more accurate in the last post. It's a dreary day here, so the lighting wasn't great for pictures. As you can tell, I've now made it past to the heel. Charlene Schurch calls it a "forethought heel". It's basically worked like an afterthought heel except it involves a provisional cast on and it's worked before the foot. She explains it pretty well. I think I like it a little better than the short row heel, but my preference is still the heel flap. (I still haven't tried Debi's version of the short row heel, though I do plan to at some point.) I have a rather narrow heel in proportion to the rest of my wide, big feet, so that's probably why I prefer the flap. It cups the back of my foot better. Anyway, I do like how the colors go in circles around the heel for this particular sock.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New Projects

Since I finished three things in just one week, my poor two UFOs were looking sort of lonely, so I had to start a couple of new projects. Check out the socks I'm making from that cool Trekking:

I love the way it's turning out, mostly purple, but with generous specks of other jewel tones - blues, pinks and greens. It's color 78 if you're interested. (Me, enable? Never!) (Edit: The pattern is Chevron from Sensational Knitted Socks, p. 73. I meant to put it in the original post. Knew I forgot something:)

And this:

Doesn't really look like much right now, but that's my own handspun! It's the merino/angora from The Woolen Rabbit. The pattern is the Moon Dance Stole. I'm so exited because this is the first time I've actually used my handspun for a project. The stuff is so delightful to work with, so soft, like a cloud. Absolutely wonderful!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mystery Project Revealed

I can finally show you the Mystery Project. Here it is:

The Trellis Scarf from the latest issue of Interweave Knits done in Tide Pool Alpaca Cloud using size five needles. And the recipient? Delia. She's always surprising others with goodies and she's surprised when someone does the same for her:) I enjoyed the pattern very much (it is an Evelyn Clark, after all) and I hope she enjoys it.

I've already told how my love of spinning came about, now for lace. When I picked knitting back up a couple of years ago, I made scarves and socks. I was doing the Latvian Socks from Folk Socks and really loved the lace. Around the same time, I picked up a copy of Scarf Style and decided I had to do Ene's Scarf. I was hooked on lace.

I've always had artistic leanings. I can draw and paint if I put my mind to it. I like to write creatively. I do countless arts and crafts off and on. Something about lace has always fascinated me. I can tat and crochet lace and I want to learn bobbin lace someday. It's an artistic expression for me. Someday, I hope to create my own designs, but right now I'm just knitting other lace designers' patterns, hoping to learn enough to create my own masterpiece someday.

Oh, and thank you all for the wonderful comments on Bella!

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Here is the finished Bella.

It really is a much brighter purple in real life, not quite as blue as the picture. It is made with Knitpicks Shine in Violet from the Bella pattern from White Lies Designs. I used size 7 needles. I think the sleeves are actually supposed to be a little shorter, but I like longer sleeves. The pattern was well-written; the only problem I had was that it was written for someone a little shorter than I am, so I lengthened it a little. I love the sweater, very comfortable and the stitch pattern is actually much better in person than a picture. And again the purple is much less blue. I really love this pattern.