Monday, December 11, 2006

Stranded Without A Compass

Which came first?

Another Knit-a-long started in December. Perfect timing...
My first Stranded project is finished.

The group has been divided into categories and I'm in the last one.
(Actually, I'm listed Seventh of Nine in the last group! ;)
"Stranded Without A Compass Which way are you going, folks?"
I think I'll push to keep this a category. Not sure what project I'll do next.
Folk Knitting from Estonia is on order, but without a compass, a map or much of a sense of direction. . . I may already be in the right group!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My first fair isle socks attempt

A sock love letter ...

Dear Pink Sock Yarn,

I love you. Now.

Look at what you've become!

I'm sorry I began to wonder what on earth I was thinking. You were 40% off. My understanding of the level of acceptance with which certain family members would greet such a girlie color was clearly out of touch with reality.

Likewise, my purchase of multiple colorations of variegated skeins of yarn was called into question, when inevitably the resulting socks would have the most gawd awful mismatched stripes & pooling.

My only defense up until now for this tote box full of yarn: It Was On Sale!

But now you have a true & clear reason for being. When paired together these questionable colors might just end up a thing of wonder. (Continued knitting of this sock will hinge upon progress made on getting 41 Letter P's done by Friday.)

Considering that I have NEVER attempted to knit a fair isle sock, it's uncertain what possessed me to go in search of Sara's Scientific graph paper. This Harlot's sock seduced me into thinking I could do such a thing as study a picture of a masterpiece and attempt to copy it. It was with greatest admiration and respect I studied this wondrous sock and attempted my own. (Opposite relief?)

  • Without a pattern; just a picture to go by.
  • Without a clue as to what size needles to use.
  • How many stitches to cast on?
  • How many repeats of the pattern - once I figured that out?
  • What colors might work, given the limited choices available in my stash.
I'm so glad we've found each other. Maybe you'll warm the feet of someone on my Christmas list.

I may just keep My First Fair Isle all for myself.
It's been suggested I'm going to look a little silly with my jeans rolled up so people can see these socks. I have one pair of jeans just short enough that hiking the leg up for some Show & Tell won't be too hard to do, though!

*I fully admit to looking at a Yarn Harlot sock and being inspired & compelled (almost beyond all reason) to grab up some graph paper and try figuring out her pattern.
Not sure how to properly credit copying from a picture?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A pile of socks!

9 pair of socks

Knit between Nov. 18-Dec. 2, 2006 for Knit Unto Others to be donated to a local charity.

Not sure why this knit-a-long tickled me. Maybe it's the spiritual bond of a common cause?
Knowing strangers from across the country (and even around the world) were linked by the relaxing effort of knitting for others.

I enjoyed taking part in this project.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Still inflicting 'em with knitting

Simply Soft.


I had it from a reliable Sheep that this stuff might just live up to it's name. I thought I would try it on socks. 3 colorful skeins were among a basket of generous thank-you gifts from last year's Kindergarten Letter People parents. (Letter A should have been finished this week but a sock virus seems to have taken over all reason.)

Economical: Yes.
Washable: Yes.
Very Soft: Yes.
Acrylic: Well, yes. (Acrylic fume warning right there on the label.)

These are Very Soft Socks.

7 pair of socks are now finished in about 13 days of Knit Unto Others.

I increased cast-0n stitches to 36 and followed the basic recipe of the Basket Weave pattern.
I don't really know Little People Feet proportions, being as my little people grew up! So I just knit each section a little bigger that the pattern called for. I knit until the voices in my head said to stop.

Quick consultation with designer suggests I should have told the voices to shut up and kept knitting another repeat or so. Hopefully they'll fit someone.

Simply Soft Slipper Socks. I'm making me some.

Next week, maybe.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Inflicting Knitting Unto Others - week 1

Progress report: 5 pair!

That's 10 socks. In a week.

Admittedly, they're getting smaller. And how does anyone EVER trust the dye lot on a skein of yarn? I bought 2 skeins (same lot) of the Sassy Stripes - Crayons by Moda Dea during a going out of business 40% off sale last summer. (I'm determined to use it all up this week.) I decided to use the 2nd skein for the second sock since the starting color was closer to where it would "match".

Except they didn't.

So I decided to make 2 more just like them.
And now they match nearly perfectly! 3rd pair were basic sock pattern but I like the basket weave better for their stretchiness. There should be enough for one more pair.

The color grows on you. No?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Determined to Inflict Knitting Unto Others

5 socks in 5 days!

Yarn for 5th sock (from pattern found here) is Sassy Stripes by Moda-Dea.

I've started and aborted at least 5 different sock attempts of multiple sizes & patterns using this skein of yarn.

I've hated this yarn EVERY TIME.

5th sock cast-on at 4 am. Finished by 9 am. Perhaps the colors as they appeared down the foot redeemed it. But now I have to do another one.
Just like it? Sorry kid!

Possible sock 5 captions as they occurred to me this morning.

YISH! (inch or so past at cuff)
Mother of God. (couple of inches later)
Sweet Jesus! (at heel flap)
Mama, don't make me wear those yucky socks (at heel - looks like someone stepped in baby poop?)
ACK! My eyes...they burns.
So ugly it's cute. NOT!

Steph wishes it were bigger as it has all of her favorite colors.
Some colors just don't belong together. Is all I'm saying.

I really enjoyed the pattern and will try it again in plain or confetti colors. I think it deserves better! Did have to convert pattern from circular needles to DPN's so I may not have gotten it exactly as written.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cat on a Pillow

The gift of weaving.

The Queen of Brooklyn sits upon her co-pilot chair.
On a cushion worthy of her presence. :)

Knit Unto Others

Knit Unto Others
Knitting for the next 2 weeks for the charity of our choice.

This will be all about socks, of course. Day 3 and I have just cast on for a third sock!

I confess the second pair will be baby socks, as 2 adult size 8 socks in 2 days may have been over doing it a bit!

I cast-on Saturday morning for Sock 1 while waiting for mom at the veterinarian's. Cast-on and did the first row before realizing the MOTHER OF ALL KNOTS had emerged from the skein of yarn. It would have been easier/quicker to cut the damn thing and start over. But no! On we went to my next location of waiting. Mom decided it would be nice if she could try a walk-in appointment to get her hair cut. An hour later I had the damn thing untangled & about an inch and a half of the cuff done.

Yarn Harlot's recent topics have been all about a SOCK A DAY. She's going to be on TV and needs them for demonstration purposes. Doubt very seriously this pace will last much longer for me. I may throw in a dishcloth or two to break up the routine. Thinking my charity will be a woman's shelter, although I'm sadly lacking knowledge about where anything local might be located.

I knit while waiting... all weekend. Every spare moment when I probably should have been doing something else. It's for charity, though. And if being charitable isn't worthy enough reason to knit all by itself, the hosts of this knit-a-long are dangling a chance at prizes before our eyes.

(And YES, I did win a prize recently. Here! You might not understand the joy of running around the house yelling "I won some Sock Pr0n!! Until it happens to you ;)

Oh. And I lust after these socks.
If I figure out how to do begins at home.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm just askin'!

"Ask me about Turducken"

My grocery store moment for today: Cashier is wearing a button on her shirt just daring her customers to ask. I wonder WTF? Do I want to know. Really?

I sound it out very carefully, "Um, so what is Turd-uck-en?"

Her answer: "Well, it's turkey, duck and chicken all rolled into bones!"

I have to ask: "Have you ever had it?" No? So you don't really know?

I pause before continuing: "Yeah. Not sure I want to eat anything that starts with the word TURD. Seems like it has a marketing issue?"

She may still be rolling on the floor, but promises to mention this moment to management.

Mmm. Smells like Thanksgiving!

Time to build an ark yet?

Weaving, knitting and Letter H.

FINISHED 2 more weaving projects!
(Perhaps I should have been building an ARK?)

"Kitty Pillow" was seamed by machine at the ends, blanket stitched along the sides with matching yarn and stuffed & tufted by Steph...for her cat. (Stuffed with Letter People hair trimmings from 2 years of Letter People haircuts saved... 'cause someday I'm going to "do something with it"!)

Letter H was sent off to Kindergarten on Thursday. Seen here with one pile of hair clippings.

FINISHED socks! Designed using Barbara Walker's Treasury of Stitches book.

4 repeats, plus row 1 of Waterfall Pattern from page 151 on each side of both socks.
(Not sure if I changed row 5 correctly from her back & forth pattern to in the round. Changed P2, P2tog into K2tog, K2. Seems like it worked?!

(Link is current lowest priced book through
Seriously! $10.91 - no affiliation but one of my favorite book searches!)

And a FINISHED scarf! Another project off Dorothy.
Some might say 4 projects in 16 years.

I think prefer 3 projects in 3 weeks.
If I can get away with it?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Let me have a moment...

Third in line for the Presidency.

Forgive my dream bubble. Lost again just for a minute with the thought of it really.
Women, unite.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Weaving: learning process continues

What's up with Dorothy?

My 3rd effort came off the loom this morning.

I don't have immediate access to some of the wonderful fibers that I would like to try weaving with and so this short sample was made from stash wool & nubby acrylic blends already on hand. I wanted to see what happens if you just weave what you own.

I experimented with threading the warp through every other space in the reed.
I experimented with the draft; threading through heddles in combinations of zig zags & pyramids: 1-2-3-4-3-2-1; 1-2-1; 3-4-3; 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4. And so on...

(Winging it would be a good description, as you might already suspect?)

Making the design up as I went along didn't work out quite as well as I hoped. I couldn't use a 1/2 tie up without making a long weft row stretch unsecured by 7 or 8 warps in one spot.
In hand quilting terms it would be called a "toe catcher"- stitches way too long; long enough to stick your toe through if it was a quilt on the bed.
I'm thinking long stitches are not desirable traits in weaving, either?

I realized possible thread drafting problems as I was tying the ends onto the loom. I'd left open heddle wires scattered across the harness, thinking I could run a single strand of warp randomly - maybe something contrasting in color or glitzy - that might add just a touch of sparkle.
And close the toe catchers.

In the end I just started weaving to see what happens.

It's more open weave made it softer than my last effort. (The grey sample had wool so I thought it would be softer than it actually was. "Beating it" with all my might may have added to the not so soft texture, I guess.

I'm not sorry for trying this latest effort using just knitting yarn, as imperfect as it is. 3 strands of warp broke at different intervals near the end so I go to practice a warp fix as described in the Learning to Weave book. Not sure what to do with the hanging ends on back where each new spool was joined. Seems like they could be clipped since they were overlapped as they were woven in.

The learning process will continue before more dust settles on Dorothy, so I guess that's half of the battle! The gray sample may be cut down and sewed into a clutch style purse or small totebag. This project may become a kitty pillow for Steph's cat, still living back in New York with Her Boy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Letter N and other things

"N" is for NO MORE Knitting or Weaving until Letter Friend N is finished!

This scarf was started Sunday morning.

I thought I was done with all of the N's but discovered Monday morning I was short one.

My counting issues continue even when I'm NOT knitting.

I did take time out last week to write an editorial that ran last Thursday on the OP-ED side of the Bangor Daily News.
Letter to the editor
BDN tells us to return Senator Snowe to Washington. (10/23/06) If Snowe votes with Republicans 82% of the time, how can Democrats, Independents and Others be content with 18% representation? We‚’ll have no right to complain if one-party control continues two more years with the help of Maine voters. I FINALLY get it! "Party" does matter. It’s all about the power of control; one-party control works no better in DC than it does in Augusta.
Take a chance and vote for Jean Hay Bright. If she fails to prove herself she‚’ll be easy enough to vote out. Consider it a term-limit statement until more well-known candidates find courage to run against tough odds.
Otherwise, perhaps you’re hoping voters in the other 49 states will vote for change and fix this mess?
Laurie Walton
Consider it my protest sign held proudly (if somewhat lonely) aloft. For all the good it will do. Come election day I have no doubt the same republican senator we've had for the last 16 years will return to D.C. and continue rubber stamping (nearly) every guilt ridden dumb assed idea the idiots running this country come up with.

Turns out writing editorials that actually get printed is not all that hard to do. I quite enjoy it and have had a dozen or more printed over the years. I did a search through the Bangor Public Library Marvel search engine a couple of years ago. It presented me with a every letter to the editor I had ever written.

Reading them all in consecutive order I was forced to conclude the following:
I am a cranky, sarcastic bitch.

I'm good with that.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Time for a new obsession?

Yes, Dorothy. Let's be friends again!

This weaving thing turns out to be quite addictive. Certain family members have already wondered aloud if they've seen the last of the Mom Socks. I should think not! A loom is not exactly a project for on the go.

Monday I prepared the warp threads, setting the loom up: step-by-step. I would like to say I followed all of the steps from the Learning to Weave book exactly. Seriously. That would be expecting a little too much! Mistakes were made that hopefully won't be made the next time.

Yes. There will be a next time. Less than 16 years from now, even! It was NOT picture perfect like in the book. But how relaxing is this?

Tuesday was for actual weaving. This first project may actually get some use as a scarf...Steph wanted to know if it would be done by today. It almost was except I took time out to make an apple pie and then had to register the Jeep and go to town to pay the insurance.

I finished 5 pair of socks for Socktoberfest:
3 pair in a basic pattern, 1 with the Dublin Bay lace sides and one using the Picot tutorial. Ran out of purple Jelly Beenz so the toes are watermelon. Tried the Socktoberfest tutorial for weaving in ends while joining.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Truth. And owning it.

Meet Dorothy.
Right up front: NO WAY am I likely to come out looking good, once this tale is written down for all to read. For the record, I fully recognize this and am willing to admit once more, my character flaws. Compulsive. Obsessive. Flighty?
(Moves on to new obsessions with wild abandon.)

Stephani asked me about Dorothy's history the other day. Making me put into words for the first time how Dorothy came to be with me. It's kind of sad that she's just been here for nearly all of my daughters' lives. That they were probably too young to remember her arrival; too young and for so long ago that she's just THAT THING IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM NOBODY USES.

Long ago. (Whispering.) December 1990 and my name are written in the front of a book that came with Dorothy.

My husband gave her to me as a secret Christmas present. He enlisted his mom's help ordering her. Audrey lived on Cape Cod with her friend Jean. Purchased in Massachusetts, they had it shipped to his dad's house in Dixmont, Maine. For hiding purposes. It was such a shock to get it. I had been saying how much I would like a loom for a while; but one those wistful dreams of someday. Maybe. Maybe someday.

And then there she was. My most expensive present ever. Tom and I had always given each other gifts we picked out together in those early days. Like cross-country ski packages for each other. A waterbed one year. Bathrobes the year things were tight. Down payment on our house.
You know - useful things to be shared because we are happy to be married; happily together since December 1980. So how did my special gift end up in storage? Hardly used.

I went to the library and read up all I could about weaving on a tabletop loom and the first project didn't go so bad. Except it went on FOREVER. It's still in a " just removed from the loom" state, as I had no idea what to do with a really, really long table runner. With fringe. Placemats. Or one half of a door curtain if I did the whole thing again. NO!

The second attempt went terrible. Threads were cut from the loom and thrown away as a bad idea. Come to think of it, kind of like knitting now: I have no idea about choosing proper fibers. Clueless even. Ha! (Actual name of the quilting group I belong to ;)

Over time I seemed to have just moved on to other things. Things that came easier to me. Things I could teach myself; things that didn't go so dreadfully wrong.

Embroidery, handquilting, machine quilting, applique, cross-stitch, hardanger, plastic canvas, stamp collecting, knitting, getting african violets to live, a little painting & drawing; some photography & scrapbooking. Fabric Postcards!

All things I could read up on. Teach myself. LOVE. Do pretty darn well even as a bit of a perfectionist.

And then move on. Again.
Something new. Challenging. Different.

I had a teacher in high school who taught us by example never to be afraid to try something new. He said he had needed a painting for behind his couch as a young married man. So he taught himself to oil paint. I can still remember the beauty of the paintings he brought to class to show us. He said he painted for as long as he wanted. Until his house was filled with paintings. And then he moved on to other interests. New interests he was willing to try. (He also bragged about drinking champaign from a lady's slipper.)

He was about 80 if he was a day and goofy as hell! Taught "modern history" but we started with ancient wars with AC/ BC dates and never got past the beginning of Vietnam. I'm not sure what we thought modern was in 1977? I remember thinking it was not this.

Fast Forward:
I joined a Yahoo group for weavers a few weeks ago. Finally made first contact last week. A lady a few miles up the road has offered to help me give Dorothy another try. And the name of her local Guild.

As soon as I dust Dorothy off and read up a bit more, I'll get started once again. I've been thinking about it for a while now. Ever since I read a blog written by a crazy chick with a god damn hammer. Brave enough to try building something to weave on.

One more character flaw perhaps: Optimistic. Here's hoping the socks in my knitting bucket don't become UFO's. Maybe I'll end up weaving some very colorful Kool-Aid dyed wool one day?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Unintended Consequences

Kool-Aid + Yarn = Moments of Chaos
(How I spent Sunday morning!)

An old skein of white wool has lingered a while now in my stash basket - a freebie that I wasn't sure what to do with. I've had it in my head I wanted to try the Kool-Aid/Dyeing thing with the 3 probably very old packets of Kool-aid found in a kitchen drawer.

Online instructions for dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid were consulted. Probably should have read up on the process a little longer before deciding today was the day I would give it a try.

It was not without its moments. The line from Armageddon about a "god dam Greek tragedy" leapt to mind when the hank of soggy vinegar & warm water soaked yarn fell from its bonds. Into a tangled mess of knots that could easily have prompted the decision to deposit the entire slightly stinky (vinegar) mess into the trash bin. But not I. Onward.

Um. GLOVES next time for sure! Thank goodness for Comet, a nail scrubber & yesterday's sink full of dirty dishes or my hands would still be this Strawberry/Orange/Tropical Punch combo.

Also: Finished Socktoberfest Socks - pair 3.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Selfish. Compulsive Obsessive.

Jelli Beenz 40% OFF
Shut up. I couldn't resist!

It's so purty. I cast-on for these after lunch yesterday and I've already finished one sock and the second one is at the start of the heel flap. Funny how it's just MY size.

I'm experimenting with needle size - went up to size 3 needles with 20 less stitches, using the lacey stitch idea from the Dublin Bay pattern. 72 stitches are just way too many, even on size 1's with any of the yarn I have on hand.

I'm starting to realize needle size as it relates to gauge is important when it comes to the feel of the knitting. Couldn't see why a skein of yarn that feels perfectly soft, comes out stiff as a board when I knit it.
Okay, so it's too tight because of the way I knit and/or on too small a needle.
It's that gauge thing, isn't?

Finished the socks from yesterday by snipping the tip of the short sock off with scissors and unraveling back before the decrease and adding 10 rows to the length. Done!

Decided to reward myself with a visit to our OYS (Only Yarn Shop) and buy a little real sock yarn. Except their inventory was low and (non-striping) sock yarn was out of stock.
5 skeins of Plymouth brand Jelli Beenz followed me home to celebrate Socktoberfest.

I'm experimenting with sock size (TOOK A WILD GUESS) since no colors had more than 2 skeins left. I might have had enough yarn to do another repeat or 2 in the lace pattern of the leg but I came pretty close to using all of a skein for sock 1.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Socktoberfest - Week 3

F is for FRAK?

WHY is SECOND SOCK 10 rows longer than FIRST SOCK before the decrease?

Either: I'm an idiot, can't count or can't remember what I just counted for the first sock length.

Or all of the above. I'm blaming this on the fact that I knit all of the first sock, before casting on for the second. It's only the 2nd time EVER that I didn't knit both along at the same time. I thought I wrote down the number of rows to knit before the decrease, but when I discovered I didn't: I thought I remembered. NOT.

My UNfinished mismatched lace socks from Barbara Walker's stitch book 2 are each 9 repeats long. UGH! Undecided whether or not to keep going so I took a break and cast on this basic sock pattern. Decided to try out this MARBLE James C. Brett acrylic from stash - acquired before I realized . . . well . . . acrylic kind of sucks.

It's a twisted ply (almost looks braided) and I wanted to see how it knit up. Used size 2 needles with 52 stitches. Ankles seem a little baggy but I may be knitting the heel flap too long. Not sure if my sense of proportion is there yet when it comes to fit. These feel thick & stiff; might work okay as slipper socks or winter Croc socks but will never fit into regular shoes.

Now I need to decide whether or not to rip the (finished) short one since it feels too short or knit 2 more just like these. Will probably go with RIP: Rip In Peace.

F's are finished for the Kindergarten Letter Friends project, by the way.
41 X 26 = 1086.
23 letters of the alphabet left.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Socktoberfest progress

Pair 2 underway

It doesn't appear as if they'll match at all. The second one is taking on a variegated/stripe look.


I think it's called pooling when the colors swish around the sock in waves? I actually like that and was hoping for the second one to do it as well.

I grabbed up the unread weekend funnies to use as background to cut down on glare from the kitchen table. The Doonesbury cartoon tells of a new feature on their website - space offered to the Troops to voice what they think. Click on the Sandbox. Checked it out to see if it was real.

Libby's on the label, label, label?

Look under the lid, lid, lid!

Remember when the Libby's jingle went, "If [When] it says Libby's, Libby's, Libby's on the label, label, label - you will like it, like it, like it on the table, table, table."?

This critter, found attached to the inside of the lid was worth 2 free cans - so I'll keep looking for their Caterpillars in a Can, I guess?

Perhaps the level of sarcasm in my note, filled out on their "Contact us" form of the Seneca Foods website failed to convey a high enough level of customer concern.

The letter they sent along with 2 free can coupons called this their "goodwill" gesture.

Wasn't going to blog about it because now Steph will never eat peas again. But I couldn't help myself.

My "goodwill" gesture to them in this age of the blog: Sharing the news of their Goodwill with anyone who stops by. Free Advertising is priceless, no?

RE/ Possible FAQ's not listed:

"Is the 2 inch caterpillar like worm
stuck to the top of Chicharos Sweet
Peas considered a source of fiber?"

"Does the 2 inch caterpillar like worm
stuck to the lid of Chicharos Sweet Peas
count towards the daily calorie intake?"

"Besides the gross out factor,
is my child's health in any danger since
her mom didn't see the 2 inch caterpillar
like worm stuck to the top of
Chicharos Sweet Peas until after the fact?"

You know. Because I checked with
your FAQ's first before trying
to make contact.

0 37100 04213 5
G5MJ172K 2054 4240 PEAS
As the only PEA EATER of our household, Stephani will be happy to know the following:
Thank you for your e-mail concerning the
problem you encountered with Libby Peas.
We sincerely apologize. I will notify the
packing plant of this problem and a follow
up letter will be sent in approximately
10 days. Once sealed, the can goes through
a thermal process of over 250 degrees for
at least 20 minutes which kills any bacteria.

Seneca Foods
Consumer Affairs
So the caterpillar was heated to 250 degrees after he swam to the top of the can, trying to get out?


They can't figure out how the automatic color sorters, designed to remove anything not similar in color to the product, missed it. Not sure if they thought I was making it up. I can assure them this caterpillar was plump and just as green as the peas within when he was discovered.
It has since withered & dried.

Libby's collectible?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Socktoberfest - Week 1

First pair complete!

Birthday socks for my 6 year old nephew.

Called my brother long distance Monday to request he measure the boy's foot.

These socks would almost fit my 23 year old at 7 1/2" long.

(His army/guard socks - his mom is in the National Guard and 2 months pregnant. :)

Below is a Sock History Questionaire being answered by many of the 1500+ sockfest lovers:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? Class?
December 23, 2005 - grabbed up Mom's spare DPN's & dark blue skein of Red Heart yarn (too dark for her to see well enough to knit with anymore) as something to do while waiting for her at her eye doctor's appointment. Her vision is failing and I decided it was time I tried to learn how to make "Grammie Socks" as my kids call them. Mom's tried & true basic sock pattern.

She taught me mittens twenty years ago and I HATED doing the thumbs. Explaining my Blog's name when I took up with socks! Thanks to the internet, I have stretched my knitting needles to more complex sock patterns.
Designing my own now thanks to Barbara Walker books.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
I actually started 3 pair in between the 3 lessons it took for me to "get" socks. I kept working on the parts I could figure out until my next visit with Mom. By the end of January 2006 I had 3 pair finished. First pair already has a hole in them, that's been darned - but not very well - because I discovered a nailhead sticking up in the old wooden floor of the kitchen.

What would you have done differently?
Nothing really... it's all a learning process. Even discovering Red Heart yarn will not be my first choice in sock yarn has been part of the learning curve. Still struggling to find a balance between quality sock yarn & just too darned expensive. There has to be a happy medium considering how fast I can put a hole in socks!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
Still trying out yarn brands. Will not buy Red Heart yarn again for socks, having proved for myself the stuff is like teflon. So far I've knit socks form Bernat, Patons & a skein of Opal (too expensive!) although I did manage 2 pair from one skein. Once washed I can't tell much difference in the Opal & Bernat or Patons - except the cost. I do want to try Real Sock Yarn others talk about. But first I have to use up some of the stuff I stocked up on when a local LYS went out of business.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I hate crocheting; it makes my pinky hurt! DPN's - cuff down; BOTH socks on a set of needles and knit at the same time. I know me too well and second sock syndrome will not be a problem so long as both are zipping along together.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
Flap is all I know; but I still dread picking up the gusset stitches and never breathe a sigh of relief until it's done.

How many pairs have you made?
About 30, although I've lost count.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Socktoberfest - Day 1

Barbara Walker book 1 socks complete

My first Socktoberfest goal was to complete the socks I've been working on (little-by-little) since the end of July.

Before starting anything else!

Finished socks on September 25th.
(modeled by new owner Stephani)

Patterns from book 1 used:

Lace Diamond Chain (pg. 222), center stitch pattern.
Cloverleaf Eyelet Rib (pg. 170), on either side.

And now let Socktoberfest begin!

3 sock patterns were cast-on and then ripped out before settling on my new design attempt. Either the number of stitches cast-on made the sock too big or the color of yarn was too striped.

(If a yarn label calls it's color "STRIPES" or "SASSY STRIPES" there's a pretty good chance the sock will look stripy. That I hate stripes tends to make me wonder WHAT WAS I THINKING? when I bought it. Half price at a Going-Out-Of-Business-Sale made it seem like a good idea at the time?)

I've chosen the Pierced Diamond Pattern (pg. 269) from Barbara Walker's book 2.

There's a design flaw at the back, where the rounds join.
The pattern is a "Multiple of 6 stitches plus 3" and I'm thinking now the "PLUS 3" should have been left off? It's not a continuous design all the way around the sock.
It sort of looks like, I don't know: Maybe there are 3 knit stitches too many down the back!

I've decided to leave it and call it a design element instead of a mistake.

Also cast-on yesterday are a pair of Army Socks for my nephew, who turns six October 15th.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Yes, another Knit-a-long!

Socktoberfest has begun and I plan to knit socks all month.
Admittedly, I feel something of a fraud, as socks are about the only thing I do knit. This month will not appear to be very much different from the last 10 before it. This blog entry reminds me the exact date of my first sock attempt was December 23, 2005... waiting for mom at her eye doctor's appointment.

I've been looking through my Barbara Walker books 1 & 2, planning to design another pair. ANOTHER PAIR, because YES I finished my almost knee-hi's using book 1! I want to get a picture of Stephani wearing them so the lacey-ness shows. Was afraid they would be too tight and resemble support hose, but she says they feel perfect.

And the 3rd Annual Letter People Project has begun. This year's two Kindergarten classes at the 14th Street School combine for a total of 41 - highest enrollment in years - plus a new teacher to get one as well. Letter M & T have been sent to school; F's are underway. Further proof I may need my head examined.

Tuned in to last week's Sunday Talk shows for just a few minutes. Long enough for "OH.MY.GOD!" to be heard through the closed door 3 times. Shouted loud enough for family members on the other side to question what the problem was. Republican Senator Frist was explaining why our country's idiot president needs to keep us safe by torture. Screw the Geneva Conventions. Screw the right to a trial, a lawyer, that whole innocent until proven otherwise thing.

And now it seems Republican's have been covering for Florida's Representative pervert, who decided he could terrorize our nation's 16 year old Pages sent to Washington to learn up close how the government works. Not well, it seems.

I can't knit nearly fast enough to make this administration go away.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tuesday Sky under lockdown

Teenage Trouble

What our Tuesday sky looked like.

Sunday afternoon was the first indication something was up in our neighborhood. I looked out our living room window just in time to see a State Trooper drive into the yard.

As he searched our property with automatic rifle drawn, we learned there was an intensive search going on for a local 16 year old boy who grew up in the subdivision across the street.
It became a little like whispering a secret into 2 cans connected with some string - the story grew with each telling. The kid was either Superman, flying from one County to the next - alluding police at every turn or common sense was in short supply. He's lucky to be alive and damn stupid.

It would seem my cousin Leland is lucky as well. I felt bad for the kid right up until he was said to have [taken the back on an axe to my cousin's head.] Jeesh.

Yeah. He'll be living at the Mountain View Youth Center for a while.
They used to call it jail.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Speak FRIEND and enter.

In explanation of that last blog entry:
I'm trying to win a prize (again!) here.

Yes. It has some very explicit instructions, including no explaining the big ass words I tried to use correctly and in knitting related sentences. At least, explanations could not be in the same blog entry. Full details can be found there!

Also, since my entry was supposed to be knitting related, most of the other links hidden within go to knitting patterns I like. Most of which will be impossible for me to knit unless I re-learn socks from the toe-up. Which I DON'T see me trying anytime soon!

Next up will probably be the RPM socks, although I've been ProcrastiKnitting a pair of basic quicky footies from a free skein of yarn I found at the bottom of a box of yarn I was given. It's the softest stuff I've knit with in a while. The Paton's Kroy pair I just finished was the scratchiest stuff ever, but it did wash up soft - in a regular wash load!

Yeah, because I will not be hand-washing socks anytime soon, either.

And as to my quick research on this Yarn Snobbery thing.
(Meant only as tongue-in-cheek commentary, I swear! Only bloggers who claimed not to be a yarn snob were linked for the purposes of my attempt to win a prize!)

A quick search through Google found about 8,000 hits where people said YES YARN SNOB. (Or used those words together on their blog...only visited a few dozen sites!) Google found about 300 who declared NOT YARN SNOB. (Or again, used those words together on their blog.)

For myself: too poor to be much of a yarn snob! But soft, quality yarn makes a world of difference, doesn't it? Years ago I made a sweater for myself from acrylic yarn, I would suppose. It melted to itself like velcro from the inside and was never wearable. My only other attempt at knitting a sweater was twenty years ago for my oldest daughter. The neck band was so tight it about tore her head off getting it on or off. It's actually amazing she wasn't scarred for life by the thought of anything knitted by her mom.

She's okay with my socks, though!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Knitting Ent's Dilemma

Sock Knitters Lament

Not idly do LEAVES FALL. Shall this noviciate knitter of socks wish perhaps this paradigm had never come to her? Wish none of this had happened? So would all who live to see such instruction begin knitting a sock from the TOE-UP. But that is not for her to decide. All that is left to decide is what to do with the prototype given to her.

She always liked knitting socks CUFF-DOWN. Somehow it feels like going downhill. Shall she be forced to CAST this magnum opus aside for one more suited to her proficiency stratum? What is this PIQUANT they speak of? We have heard of it before. This exemplar written in secret code: A CHART! Never have we seen such days turn to weeks; weeks to month before the culmination of one doublet of socks. Baffled and befuddled by a chart, never before having knit from one. Shall she so soon attempt another?

And in her endless quest for the perfect sock template she stumbles into a new kind of war. What fiber content do you choose? Are you a flaxen thread braggart? Not a yarn snob? Would you look poorly upon those knitting from that which you deem tawdry & wretched? Perhaps like me, you choose to circumnavigate this disputation. It is not our hostility. But how can that be your decision...You're a part of this knitting world aren't you?

Whatever the determination, a new configuration must be chosen expeditiously for my first ever pair of socks...

wait for it...


Every yarn must have it's moral?
Bequeath as proportionate as you anticipate to acquire. ;)
And probably time to knit along with a different DVD.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stop the MADNESS!

"These would make great knee-hi's!"

Yes. That is the madness that came out of Stephani's mouth upon trying on her new Pomatomus.

Sara's first impression of my working Pomatomus was "They might make a good conversation piece" - causing me to keep knitting past her size 5 feet (meaning I could have been done sooner if she had showed just a bit more enthusiasm!) to the bigger size 8's of the rest of us.
Steph pulled them on her first morning home, declared them a gorgeous color and a perfect fit.
That would be when the madness fell from her mouth.

The actual madness is probably that my mind wandered off for a moment several times this week to wonder where one might add stitches to the pattern, keeping the design and yet allowing for some widening up the leg? Hmmmm........

I've slapped myself upside the head, so the wondering has stopped.
For the moment.

My 3rd felted bag is finished! I made it up as I knit along, but I'm not sure that the strap is sturdy enough. If much weight is put in I fear it will stretch long enough to drag to the ground. I knit it extra long to make up for the shrinking factor and it had the nerve to not shrink much?

I believe Steph has claimed this one for herself, as well? Although the strap design followed her suggestion of perhaps being a bit longer than the last one. So technically it was meant for her all along.

I'm finishing up my works in progress, sure but steady. By my next entry Sara's special requested Old Shale one color socks should be done. I'm just now turning the heel of the second sock, so it will catch up with the first. First sock is an inch or so down into the nothing but straight and (nearly) mindless knitting! A relief I can tell you after the K1, P1 pattern for the entire length of the pair of Pomatomus'!

I actually wound off the second skein of yarn for Sara's socks into 2 half balls so I could work on both socks at the same time. And then rewound the first ball so the color design was heading in the same direction. I may have the Knitting Sickness, but good? I'm almost ashamed to admit the number of sets of size 1 DPN's I now own. But if you have 3 pair of socks on the needles all at the same time and you continue to insist both socks of each set be started, so they might inch along together. Well you need a lot of needles. So it's a perfectly justified equipment stash enhancement?

I came across Eye Candy Friday photos recently here. Was so inspired by her Star Crust pie I went in search of star shape cookie cutters I could use for my own pie crust. Mine didn't come out quite as pretty as hers - but it was apple & it tasted good!

Thanks to everyone who voted for me. :)

For the hell of it I may upload a recent rainbow photo - a couple of weeks old now!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Um. Ta-dah?*

Summer of Amazing Lace Socks!
(Plus Saturday Skies on the coast of Maine.)

There's a month of my life I'm never getting back.
So why am I having Pomatomus withdrawal?

OMG! I should have 3 pair of these socks done for as many times as they were ripped out, started again; ripped back. Where do I begin again?

(Helpful note: when ripping out all 3 needles to tear back stitches, it would be HELPFUL if one takes NOTE of how many rows are being ripped out. Because one who can barely count rows, let alone recognize where they belong in the pattern - really needs to keep just as careful track of her UNKNITTING.)

Pattern is clearly marked

A little something for the seasoned knitter.
Daring but not exhausting.

Clearly, there were other words of warning, written right at the start of the pattern:
"somewhat vicious ... Stay alert..."

What pattern does NOT say:

Haven't knit in 15 years? THAT'S OKAY. A beginner could do this pattern!
Never read a chart before? No problem! Learn right here and now.
Had to google YARNOVER in May because you suspected you were doing it wrong? Well, you do it right now...most of the time. Right?

(Updated with less hideous picture of Pomatomus...along with my summer collection of "lace" socks. Plus ran spell checker just for the heck of it!)

Note * in subject title: Um. Ta-dah? was a subject title (still cracks me up!) of a blog I found recently - Dog Lovin' Knitter. Um. Ta-dah? deserves to be the new "Finished" standard for completed projects. Especially if outcome was uncertain right up until the end, previous skill level is admittedly lacking and you "like nothing more than a challenge (which may render me a bit unstable) to keep me off the streets." To quote a crazy chick with a goddamn hammer!!

Amazing Lace Challenge 6 entry posted here; didn't link it right on their sign-in page and now it has scrolled down several entries.