Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Magic Music Knitting

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that I've got less than ten rounds to go before I start the heel flap on the second of Sweetie's Black socks. Give me several hours of knitting time and stand back!! I like how the subtle colors in the yarn give the Black socks subtle horizontal stripes that start and stop. Go back to the photo here and click to make big. Look at all the subtle colors in there. WoW! You really can't see it as you're knitting but step back and admire it and there it is.

I'm thinking instead of using this black yarn to make stripes in a pair of crazy quilt socks, there may be enough there to make me an entire pair of socks. Hmmmm.

I've also put some time in on my Nautical Striped sweater today. I'm so close on the Black socks I feel like I can afford to devote a couple of hours now and then to my sweater. As you may (or may not) recall, I'd screwed up the narrow stripes at the armhole. There were a few other issues so I ripped it back to just below where the decreases started. It's all back on the needles and the armhole decreases are done.

Unfortunately, it wasn't that easy. I had gotten about a stripe and a half past the initial armhole decreases when I discovered I'd misinterpreted some of armhole decrease instructions. So I ripped back to where I'd just completed the initial armhole decreases and when on correctly (I hope) from there. Now they're all done on the back/or front (they're the same at this point) and now it's even knitting with the narrower stripes until the armhole measures 5½". And I made notes on the pattern so I won't screw it up on the front/back and if I knit this sweater again.

We missed all the big snow that was supposed to dump maybe 7" on us. Yea! Folks to the south looks like they got hammered though. This may be the last day of January but we've got all of February to get through.

We've had snow on the ground so much of this winter which is not usual for us. It's how I remember my childhood. But with no or little snow left it looks strange to see all the bare, brown yards.

blogging to: Hang Drum on You Tube

reading: Flat Crazy by Ben Rehder

Parting Shot: "Only the mediocre are always at their best." ~ Jean Giraudoux

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sock Tales

It's tough to say final good-byes. Even if they're only a pair hand knit socks. These socks have been worn beyond reasonable repair. They're socks #7 and #8, the fourth pair of socks I ever knit and the first ones with a name. The first couple pair were easy to toss. They were badly knit and were the only socks I knit in entirely in stockinnette.

The third pair of socks I still have but don't wear often. They're light blue short ankle socks in a k2, p2 ribbing in Fortissima cotton. I'll have to get a photo of them before they, too, are worn to nothing.

My Koigu Blueberry Waffle socks were the first pattern socks I ever made. They were finished in November '04. They were the first socks that I carried the leg pattern all the way down the top of the foot. The good thing is I have a yarn that is very similar in color and I may make another pair of these socks. I have all my pattern notes so I can if I want to. I suppose I could reknit the heel, foot and toe, but I'd have to get more yarn and I've already fixed the legs once and not every well either. Sometimes it's better to let go.
I also have two pair of Cascade Fixation cotton socks which are almost too small now to get on — they just need to be about an inch longer. I made these before I realized how much they would shrink even with hand washing and air drying. And since they're cotton I wear them year round. The Mother socks (the darker striped one); one sock has two dropped stitch-like holes on the bottom of the foot the other has a worn place in the heel flap. I'm thinking of cutting both of these socks off near the beginning of the heel flap, frogging back to the leg stitches, picking those up and knitting the heel, foot and toe with new yarn but a little bigger. The tops on both socks are perfectly good. These were finished in October, '05.

On the other pair of Cascade Fixation socks, my Yoga Daughter socks, finished September '06, one of the socks has a hole the heel flap and the other sock is beginning to get a hole in the bottom of the foot. These have the same fit problem as the Mother socks, too short. If all goes well with the re-knit of the Mother socks, I'm going to do the same to these although after I fix the heel flap I'll cut them off somewhere in the middle of the foot and reknit the foot longer.

The heel turn on one of my Jaywalker socks has a huge hole. These were knit with Claudia Hand Painted in the Twilight colorway. I've got to cogitate on this one. I'll fix it, I just have to figure out how I want to do it. It the bottom of the heel flap just where the heel turn starts. I could (I think) pick out the hole until I have good loops all around, pick those up and go from there. When I get ready to do that one I'll post a photo of the problem area.

The last one should be easy-peasy one I decide to sit down and just do it. One of the legs of my Socks That Rock socks in the Seal Rock colorway has a dropped stitch kind of hole near the top of the leg. This is the one I'll fix first as it's the easiest.

At least this way I'll have more socks again and I won't have to knit the whole sock.

So that's my plan. I've had all these socks sitting in a pile on my dresser for MONTHS while I decided what I want to do and what I should do. I'll retire one pair and fix the rest. Not bad. I'll keep you posted.

blogging to: a couple of Libera CD's

reading: Frozen by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Parting shot: "As some to church repair, Not for the doctrine, but the music there" ~ Alexander Pope

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mutatis mutandis *

I got the stripes on my Nautical Sweater sorted. I forgot to take a photo of the wrong stripes but it's too late now. When I did the armhole decreases I wasn't altogether happy with that and when I started a new skein that could have been better so with three strikes I called OUT — even if no one but me would have been the wiser.

I frogged down to the armhole decreases, 35+ rows but this is such a quick, simple and easy knit. So, I fixed what was buggin' me and it'll be a better sweater. I reluctantly put it aside even though I wanted to knit up to where I was.

Back to Sweetie's Black Socks. Between the morning errands and fixing the sweater today I haven't got very far. I'm only on round 16 of 95!!! But the evening stretches ahead once I'm done blogging.

I finally find some little plastic bottles to decant some of the Eucalan wool wash for my give-away projects. I saw them everywhere until I needed them. I ended up at Michael's in the kid's section for sand pictures. Ya know, sometime next week or the week after, I'll see better bottles all over, and probably cheaper, too!

More snow or sleet or some kind of frozen wet on the way. The high today was in the mid 60's (18
°C range) and VERY windy 35+ mph/ 56+ kph. Tuesday it's supposed to be a high 33°F. / 0°C.

* Latin for The necessary changes having been made.

blogging to: Dare To Dream by Yanni

reading: Frozen by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Parting Shot: "Nothing is unfortunate if you don't consider it unfortunate." ~ Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

Sweetie and I got new cell phones today. It was relatively painless. I was shocked. Both our old phones were 5+ years old. The guys at the phone store were shocked. Sweetie's wasn't holding a charge very long anymore and new batteries weren't available for it. Coming back from knit group the other night I called Sweetie to make sure our plan to pick up a take and bake pizza was still on. I could hear Sweetie but he couldn't hear me talk. Very frustrating. So I found a phone booth along the way not an easy task and we got all that cleared up.

We didn't change providers and we already knew going in what "plan" we wanted — cheap. No web access, no camera, no text messaging, no e-mail. We wanted to be able to make a call, answer a call, be able to store the two or three numbers in the phone and we wanted voice mail. That's it! We'd researched online what was out there and the folks at the phone store had an even cheaper plan. And they combined our two phones into one bill. Betterer and betterer.

I spent some time this evening setting up both phones
programing in the phone numbers, setting the ring tones (just rings, no songs) and the volume. I set background photos on mine (plain for Sweetie).

The weather was beautiful today. Temps in the mid 60's (around 18°C) and sunny, blue skies. We took a long walk downtown and across the Kansas river. After a late lunch we came home and took naps. All Good.

Not much going on knit-wise. I think I'm still on the first round on Sweetie's second sock. L And yeah, I think that's gonna be the name. I let him try it on last night after knit group and he loves it. I've got to get crackin' on it.

I may get some in Monday morning. I'm taking Mathilda in for service
— just an oil change and free tire rotation, since I bought the tires from them. If Sweetie's got a service call, I'm going to drop her off then walk down to IHOP for breakfast — only about a block away. If they're not done when I return then I'll knit. If Sweetie's home, then it'll be a similar plan but we'll go home after breakfast if Mathilda's not done. Either way I win.

blogging to: The Gift of Time by Jean-Luc Ponty

reading: Frozen by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Parting Shot: "In dog years, I'm dead." ~ unknown

Saturday, January 26, 2008

There's Nothing Like It

The first BLACK sock is done. I even wove in the two ends. And 20 minutes later I took it to knit group. Sometime this evening, I'll cast on for it's mate. Now the idea of 95 leg rounds seems daunting. Why did I do 95 leg rounds (groan!)??? It's always that way. On the first sock it seems like such a good idea. And what the heck, it's only five or ten or twenty more rounds (on top of the fifty or seventy-five you've already knit!). On the second sock, not so much. Well. good thing is that the pair of socks is half done. And the bad thing is I have a whole, entire, LARGE, BLACK sock to knit and there will be no surprises.

And that's a good thing. I know how long the the leg will be — how many rows to knit on the heel flap and how long to make the foot. Hopefully I can do some good TV knitting this week and knock that sucker out. The first sock took 10 days. And
Sweetie loves it.

Knit group was fun. We had around 20 people. Most were knitting but a couple were crocheting and at least one was cross stitching and one was embroidering. Again, an across the board array of terrific projects, socks, sweaters, a dress, a vest, mittens, a baby blanket, afghans and those were just the folks I was sitting near enough to see what they were knitting or knew what they were working on. And I almost forgot. There was a knitter last time that wanted to do socks on dpns but wasn't having much luck with getting started. Today she had a sock goin' on dpns. I am so glad to be a knitter.

I took my mostly white Nautical sweater again. Didn't spill anything on it (YEA!) but Karma has found way to get even. I messed up the stripes. I can make them work the way they are and no one would EVER know. But I LIKE the way they're supposed to be so I'll be ripping back about 15 rows. No biggie. It's a quick knit and that's a whole lot easier than worrying about if I'll be able get out the coffee / chocolate / whatever stain on the white, cotton yarn.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge by Jill Fredston

Parting Shot: "Humpty Dumpty was pushed."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Black, Black, Black is the Color of My True Love's Sock*

More of the same today. Same BLACK sock (with no clever PC name yet) ~ same BLACK yarn that has the nice PC name of Midnight. I finished the foot this evening. Bring on the toe decreases!

This is a large sock. The leg was 95 rounds and the foot was 75 rounds. This yarn is just a wee bit thinner than the Koigu I used for the Burr Oak socks. And in a lot of ways the socks are quite similar. Rounds and rounds of plain-ish knitting. I'll be watching TV or something on YouTube on the computer and next thing I know, I'm back at the beginning of a round and need to mark down another round.

I can see I'm going to have lots of this yarn left. This may be the base color for my Crazy Quilt Striped socks that's going use up a lot of my leftover wool sock yarn ~ some other time. I'm going to work on all the other projects I cast on when these socks are done.

I'm going to mail the Peachy Keen scarf off in the next few days. I finally got the snail mail address of the victim recipient.

* with apologies to Lesley Nelson-Burns

blogging to: jazz on the radio

reading: Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge

Parting Shot: "I've been hanged, swung over a fire, and nearly shishkababded on razor-sharp spikes. Yeah. How do you mortals get from day to day, ya know?" Ares, God of War from Xena Warrior Princess

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh, Deer. What Can the Matter Be?

When I woke up this morning it was 40-45°F./4-7°C. in the house. Sweetie had left a few hours earlier for a service call. It felt cold but it always feels cold. I figured my electric blanket had gone off but no it was still on. Then I realized it felt really, really cold outside of the covers and I knew what had happened. The furnace hadn't kicked on in hours.

The door on the furnace that you take off to change the filter has to click down just right or the furnace doesn't fire. It tends to click up on it's own. In years past we've overcome this by fastening a pair of vice grips onto it and that keeps it down. But either the vice grips are wearing out or the little catch that keeps the door down is weakening. I reset the vice grips and the furnace kicked right on. This is the second time this winter that's happened. The last time was during the day and we noticed it quicker.

Anyway, I snuggled back under the covers for a while longer and read. That didn't help much because I'm reading a book about rowing in Alaska. So I gave up, got up, fixed a big mug of hot tea and swaddled myself in blankets and a hat to watch TV until it got warm enough to move around.

I had most of the day to myself so I got a lot of knitting and housework done. I knit 2" on the foot of Sweetie's sock. I find that often I want to sit and knit but I also need to do some housework. So I watch TV and knit then do chores during the commercial breaks. This works especially well if Sweetie's off on a service call. At the end of the day, whatever needed doing is done and I get in lots of knitting time.

The deer are coming into our yard to feed seemingly earlier and earlier. Or maybe it's staying light longer now and we can see them easily. We had four come into the yard around 5:30 pm cst today. They were there about 20 minutes until someone drove down the street with a loud, booming radio. They stay around the woodpile; not venturing too far into any yard. You can see the field to the right in the photo. They mosey down through the it like they were strolling through a shopping mall with no plans. There's a place in the barbed wire fence they go under and in other places they almost seem to step over it. A double hop and they're over.

blogging to: Inner Journeys Myths Legends by Cusco

reading: Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge by Jill Fredston

Parting Shot: "Cold! If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd have frozen to death." ~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Now?

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I finally got the two bottles of Eucalan wool wash. I also ordered a couple of other things. I got two of these knitting-themed car magnets. I bought two when we were in Atlanta a year ago. I lost one and gave the other away. So now I have two more. I also got the matching antenna topper. Now Mathilda says KNITTER, along with some other things like SAILING and LINUX.

The other actual knitting tool I got was a crochet hook with a fine point on the other end like a dental pick. It's already been a help. I just wish the crochet hook on it was smaller for sock yarn. I dug out one of my smaller hooks to see if Sweetie could take the Dremel to the blunt end. He got it down to a sharpened pencil point. I'm going to see how that works and will let you know. What I want to be able to do is put the pointed end through the stitch and slip the hook all the way through the stitch to the hook end. Then use the hook end to put the stitch(s) right. This will also be helpful for those times where the stitches switch back and forth between knit and purl on vertical rows and you have to slip the hook from the front to the back of the work (or visa versa).

Since it's cold outside and warm inside the knitting continues apace. I finished the leg on the first as yet not renamed BLACK sock for Sweetie. It's 95 rounds which translates into an 8" leg. Since I have so much of this yarn I decided to do the leg a little longer. I'm doing my regular heel flap and heel turn. I don't want to do anything fancy with this hard to see yarn. Amazing what happens when you simplify a pattern. It just flies off the needles. I cast on for this sock last Thursday, 1/17, seven days ago.

Someday I'll get back to the knitting I'm supposed to be doing — see On The Needles on the side bar. Maybe by the time I get to it the Paws To Remember Shawl will have seen the error of it's ways and fixed itself.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge by Jill Fredston

Parting Shot: Winter Haiku
"In this bitter cold,
everyone walks like turtles
in their parka shells." ~ Charles de Lint

Monday, January 21, 2008

Carry On My Wayward Socks

Round and round the BLACK sock we go. I engaged the way-back machine [aka as laddering down and hooking it back up with my trusty crochet hook] and tweaked the pattern a bit on round 15 of the leg.

Fact: These socks are black with twinges here and there of black-brown and not so black. Subtle, fancy-schmancy patterns are NOT going to show up on BLACK socks.

Nancy Bush's County Socks pattern from her Folk Socks book is a four round pattern, with the first and second rounds being the same and the third and fourth rounds the same. Again, I'm copping out on the pattern. When I did the Tiger Blue socks [pictured], these started out as Country Socks and ended up being inspired by Country Socks. I switched to knitting just rounds one and two for the whole sock.

For these black socks [haven't come up with a clever, catchy name yet since these are no longer County Socks] I'm doing rounds three and four. So when I finish the black socks, will both socks together count as two pair of Country Socks?

Now that I don't have to do that fiddly bit for rounds one and two these socks will progress much faster. As fast a BLACK sock can progress on an overcast winter day in the middle of January. They're about 4½" long now, thanks for asking.

And I've progress on another front . . . er . . . sock. I finished the heel flap on my Lorna's Laces Simple Sock. They're my knit on the go sock. My stoplight knitting socks. My knitting in the car socks when Sweetie's driving. I'm going to turn the heel at home in peace and quiet. Turning the heel is pretty simple but you have to keep track of what's going on. For me, it's not a knit (or purl) two stitches, put it down and pick it up 3 minutes later kind of thing. Once I get the heel turned, the gussets stitches picked up and round or so done on the foot, back into the knitting bag it goes.

blogging to: The Exciting Sounds of Martin Denny: Exotica &
Exotica Volume II by Martin Denny

reading: Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic's Edge by Jill Fredston

Parting Shot: "There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead." ~ James Dewar

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ménage à Trois

The photos in my last post taught me a lesson I seem to keep needing. There are great photos everywhere, in everyday things. I just have to take the time to see them and then take a little more time to get up off my arse, get the camera so you can see them, too.

That's 2½" of Sweetie's Country Sock in the snow. 20 cuff rounds and 9 leg rounds. You can see subtle color variations in the yarn. It was 23°F./-5°C. and I was losing the light so no artfully staged photos. Other than the yarn is BLACK, I'm using 2.5 mm dpns and I have to knit right under the Ott light or next to a window the knitting's going OK. The yarn's far from scratchy wool but it's not as soft as some I've knit with. I hope it'll be like Trekking and soften up with use.

This is one of the deer that visit our backyard almost nightly now. I took this Friday around 6 pm cst. Dumb suburban dwellers that we are we're feeding them corn still on the cobs that we're getting from the farm store at the edge of town. The other night we had six. We've learned to take in our bird feeders otherwise they're empty by morning. The deer seem to knock their heads against the swinging feeders then eat the feed that spills out onto the ground. They could also be sticking their tongues into the openings at the feeding stations on the feeder and doing it that way Another reason we've begun to take the feeders in is we've run out of extra perches to replace the ones the deer break.

And finally, the Peachy Keen scarf. This top photo is the "right" side and the next one down is the "wrong" side according to the pattern.The "right" side is smoother and has a more finished look. I like 'em both and wouldn't care which side was up.

The finished scarf is 7½ feet long and 6 inches wide. The scarf is 37 rows wide. I held the yarn doubled and it's still thin. The texture of the stitches makes the scarf look like it has depth or layers, an outside, middle and other side. But it's one layer. The scarf feels very airy but with all that trapped air, it's bound to be warm.

From four 25 gram skeins, I have 5 grams left, about 45 yards. Timed that pretty well, I'm a thinkin'.

I've e-mail my SIL that I have the scarf done and she's going to send me the recipient's snail mail address. I'm writing a letter, telling about the scarf, including all the particulars that a knitter would want to know. I'd rather send more info than not enough. In the package I'm also including a small bottle of wool wash. Yes, it finally came. More about that in my next post.

This final photo is the scarf against the light, draped over the glass front door. That's something I'll never tire of. Holding my knitting to the light so I can see the pattern of light and dark in the stitches. Kinda hard with socks in the round but easy-peasy with flat knitting.

I've still got most of the three skeins of lilac Punch by Alpaca with a Twist yarn I got for the other guilt scarf two years ago. Wonder what I'll make with that and who'll get it? Well, I guess that's what stash is for.

blogging to: Café de Luna

reading: Tug of War by Barbara Cleverly

Parting Shot: "If you cannot be a poet, be the poem." ~ David Carradine

Friday, January 18, 2008

Douceur et Soie ~ cantaloupe colorway

I was rewinding the yarn from the Peachy Keen scarf and . . .

Click to make big some of the final photos.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Excuuuussssseeeee ME!

The Peachy Keen scarf is done. Here's what I know:
  • I can't/won't take a photo NOW because it's dark outside and I take crappy indoor FO/yarn photos
  • When I DO take the photo the scarf will be unblocked
  • I can't/won't block it because I have no Eucalan and my Patternworks order isn't here yet
  • And I WILL take a photo of it after it's blocked
  • All the info when I post the photo
It seems like it took a long time to knit but it was only 12 days. About half the time I was also knitting on the Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca silk Leftovers watch cap. It always feels so nice to have a project done. I feel so accomplished.

I've cast on for Sweetie's Country Socks from Nancy Bush's book Folk Socks in BLACK. And let me tell you. It feels very strange knitting with these little tiny 2.5 mm needles after so long with all the hats knit on 4 mm and the scarf on and sweater on 6 mm needles. It feels like they'll snap just breathing on them.

I got the yarn on e-bay. It wasn't an auction but an outright purchase. It's Ewe-Phoria-Yarns. I may have posted that earlier but in any case here it is again. Click on
EY Handpaints Original Yarn. It's her Sock It to Me Superwash yarn. The colorway I have is Midnight. It's a 100 gr hank of 500 yards.

I've got the cast on round and two cuff rounds down. I can see (or not) right now that this will be an bright daylight or under a bright light knit.

It sometimes seems like such an undertaking to finish one thing and start another. I track my projects, in Raverly and on a spreadsheet. Here's a list of what I track on the spreadsheet.
  • type of project: socks, sweater, scarf, etc. I also keep a count. The Country Socks for Sweetie will be sock #53 & 54. The object is officially numbered when it's done.
  • recipient: who its for
  • pattern source: name of pattern, book or if it's my own, what the pattern is
  • yarn: manufacturer and yarn name
  • weight: weight of the FO
  • gauge: if there was one that I was trying to get or think I got
  • needles: what size and type of needles
  • cost per oz/gr: cost of the yarn
  • cost of the FO: based on the cost of the yarn and the weight of the FO
  • start date: cast on date (there will be two for socks)
  • finish date: the date it's done (This is kinda subjective. If the FO is a sock but I don't weave in the ends for a couple of days or until the mate is done then the date I finished knitting it is the finish date. The date it's wearable would be the finish date if it's a sweater. The knitting may be done, but I can't wear it until it's at least seamed.)
  • actual days spent knitting: I added this when I was trying to see how long it took me to knit a pair of socks or a sock. This usually doesn't get filled in.
  • swatch: did I do an actual swatch
  • amount of yarn used: usually measured in hanks or skeins (1½ hanks or almost 3¼ skeins)
  • comments:
I know, I'm weird. I also keep a text document where I note things like how many stitches I cast on, how many rounds for the parts of the sock like the cuff, leg, heel flap, etc. And I do refer back to it. When I cast on for Sweetie's Burr Oak Socks I hadn't made him a pair of socks in almost two years. I went back and looked to see how many I'd cast on. It gave me a place to start.

So many folks who knit wish they'd kept track back when they began to knit. I decided not to be one of them. Even though I've got all this stuff also on Raverly, there may be a time when I don't have access to Raverly.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Parting Shot:
"In January
it's so nice
while slipping
on the sliding ice
to sip hot chicken soup with rice.
Sipping once
Sipping twice
~ Maurice Sendak, In January

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Slow as Molasses in January

Not much going on here other than knitting on the Peachy Keen scarf. Knitting the scarf sideways and switching to the 6 mm wood circs was the best thing that happened to this scarf. For some reason knitting it sideways has made it a more fun knit. It's the same pattern and the rows are really, really long but it's a more fun knit. Go figure.

It's about 5½" wide now. I've just finished the third eight row pattern repeat. I could bind off at this point but what am I going to do with all the peach lace weight yarn I'll have left. I'm just going to keep on a going. I've got about 12 gr each left on the two skeins I'm knitting from.

The cast on edge is far enough away from the needles now that I can get an idea of how long it's going it be. It seems to be 7-8' long. Whoops! Good thing the recipient is tall. The scarf is lacy looking and fluffy and nicely squishable. The nups give it depth, like it's got two sides. And there are definitely sides. According to the pattern, the side with the nups is technically the wrong side but both sides look good. The right side looks a little more finished.

I got my second book yesterday. It's Clara Parkes The Knitter's Book of Yarn. I've just barely paged through it. There's a lot of info in there.

As it's snowing again [we're supposed to get either 1-3" or 3-5"] we'll be able to see the deer at night in our backyard.

blogging to: jazz on the radio

reading: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Parting Shot:
"When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters." ~ B. Cybrill

Monday, January 14, 2008

Circling the Wagons

The Peachy Keen scarf is going very well. That's about 3½" wide there which is 2½ pattern repeats.

I'm almost done with two skeins, which have been wound together so it's functions as one 25 gr skein. A full skein is about 225 yards but as forgot to weigh this frogged skein before I started I have no idea how much I had to begin with. The third and fourth skeins haven't been wound together and I don't intend to wind them together. I'll use 'em as I got 'em. I'm AM a Warrior Knitter so I think I can handle it. I figure I knit on this until I run outta yarn as I only have four skeins.
The nups in this pattern are offset longways but line up width-wise which you can't really see in the photos. It gives it an interesting look. Seeing it off the needles, it may not look like it was knit sideways.

I got a new book in the mail today. Vogue Knitting's Stitchionary 3. It's the color one. I love stitch dictionaries. This one was on sale at Barnes and Noble for $14.97. I have another book coming and hopefully I'll get that one in the next day or so.

Here's a photo of the finished Leftovers watch cap and a photo of all three Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca silk watch caps. The Leftovers hat yarn was not held double like the other two. That's why it looks puny. We're going to try to get over to visit the two brothers this coming weekend and give them their hats. I don't have a preference as to whom gets which hat. If they can't make a decision, I'm bringing two paper sacks and they can choose the hats in the bag. Maybe I can get an action shot!

I hope the Eucalan I ordered from Patternworks gets here by the end of the week. I'm going to split one of the bottles between the two so they can properly wash their hats. If something happens then one of us has a Christmas Ornament.

Sweetie's Country sock and yarn are patiently waiting until I finish the Peachy Keen scarf. Maybe this week????

blogging to: Glen Miller and the Andrew Sisters: The Chesterfield Broadcasts

reading: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Parting Shot: "An existential map has 'you are here' written all over it." ~ unknown

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cake with Icing and a side of Karma

I always have such a great time at my knit group, Knit Lawrence. I haven't been for several weeks, which actually was only two get-togethers but I've not been since just after Thanksgiving. I'm glad I went because I spent the whole time knitting on my Nautical Sweater. It's supposed to be at the top of my heap knitting but I haven't touched it since sometime before Christmas. First it was finishing Sweetie's Burr Oak socks, then the three Blue Sky Alpaca hats. Now it's the Peachy Keen scarf and it's going to be another pair of socks for Sweetie.

I know we just sit, knit, sip our hot or cold beverage of choice, share what we're knitting, talk and listen but it's doing all that with other knitters that makes it special. You get to pet the yarn, see what needles everyone's using and look at all the amazing WIP's.

I met a newish knitter at today's meet-up. She's only been knitting a few months, she says. And already she's doing fair isle. It looks terrific. Another knitter's doing a fair isle vest. They make it look soo easy. It's fun, too, to recognize the sock yarn (Trekking) another's knitter's using for her socks. And then there's the knitter sitting quietly knitting a mitten with no pattern in sight. I guess if a non-socknitting knitter saw me knitting a pair of socks with no pattern they might have a similar reaction. And yet another knitter with two different colors in one project and no pattern in sight. So many smart, creative knitters.

And I didn't spill or drip ANYTHING on the white yarn of the Nautical Sweater. I hope that was Karma I was owed instead of Karma I now owe.

The Peachy Keen scarf is just flying along now that I have it on the proper needles, 6 mm Rosewood circs. I'm on row 14. One 8 row pattern is only about 2" wide so I think I'm going to need more than three pattern repeats — maybe more like 4 or 5. When it's wide enough I'll stop. I'm really liking how it looks. And keeping track of things is somehow easier on this long sideways knit than it was on the shorter rows.

I haven't started Sweetie's Country Socks. I'm going to concentrate on this scarf since it's finally going along well. Even though the victim recipient has no idea she's getting it I want her to get it while there's still lots of time to wear it.

blogging to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Spare Change by Robert B Parker

Parting Shot: "I have seen the future and it is just like the present, only longer." ~ unknown

Friday, January 11, 2008

Start As You Mean To Go On

Sometimes you hear or read something and it resonates. It feels right for you at that moment. I was walking on the treadmill today, knitting and listening to episode 59 of Brenda Dayne's Cast On podcast. That phrase stuck in my head — in a good way. Start as you mean to go on. I like that.

That top photo is the sock yarn that I'm going to use for Sweetie's next sock. It's my first e-bay yarn. I didn't bid for it but bought it outright. I found the seller, Ewe-Phoria Yarns on one of the Lime & Violet podcasts. It's 500 yards of fingering weight merino wool. It's very soft. And the pattern I'm going to use is a . . . . Nancy Bush design. I know. You're all { { { SHOCKED!! } } } I keep trying to knit her Country Socks from her book Folk Socks but somehow the yarn's never right.

I've finished the Leftovers watch cap. I had to frog back the crown decreases once more because I was running out of yarn (feast or famine knitting) but the third time was charmed. After I wove in the two ends, I have 2" each of garnet and oyster. Sweetie loves it. It lightweight, loose and warm. Photos next post.

I think I've finally found the right mix of pattern, yarn and needles in the Peachy Keen scarf. The sideways knit is going slowly but well. I'm on the p3tog part and that goes slowly no matter what needles you've got. But at least with the rosewood circs the stitches aren't in danger of falling off the ends of the needles every second. I can set it down and pick it up without having to push the stitches all the way off the needles onto the cable portion each and every time. Not a biggie but when you're not used to doing that, it's a hassle.

In other news, while I was at my LYS trying to buy Eucalan I had to console myself with yarn. They still had sale tables set up from their pre-inventory sale which was the week after Christmas. I found some cotton "sock" yarn. It's Reynolds Kids, Sunday Best. I got three 50 gr skeins of each colorway; fuchsia and a pearly light gray. Not necessarily to use together but what a smashing stripe combination that would be. And so it's in the sock yarn stash.

I've got knit group tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. I haven't been for so long and I plan to go. I've got the hats to show off, Sweetie's Burr Oak socks and I plan to take my Nautical Sweater which has been sorely neglected. One of the knitters way before Christmas wanted to see my crimson and blue Jayhawk yarn so I'll bring that.

blogging to: Odyssey by Hayley Westerna

reading: Death of a Hired Man by Eric Wright

Parting Shot: "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." ~ G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Regrets, I Have a Few

(sigh) [You know it's bad when the post starts OUT with a sigh.]

My knitting and yarn fun today could be subtitled "Do Overs". As far as projects it's been all about the Leftovers watch cap. There I was on the home stretch, the crown decreases, and I was doing them like I do a star toe. I was down to nine or eight or maybe even seven stitches per needle, down to the k2, k2tog part which isn't far from being over. I'd been skipping the knit even round because I was afraid I was going to run outta yarn. I want to use up all the yarn but I want that to coincide with the end of the hat. I determined I had enough yarn NOT to skip those even rows, so I decided to frog back down to where I started doing that.

Somewhere in there my most recent spit splice (from the Brita water pitcher) had a major parting of the ways. I knew when I did it it wasn't very good but I knit on my merry way. I'd no more than put all the stitches back on the needles when I notice this large hole. There was no laddering down and fixing this baby. So I frogged back down to it, rewound it and put all the stitches back on the needles, again. Now I've got about 12" to knit until I do the splice again. Better now than once it was done.

Earlier today I took myself off to my LYS to get some Euculan wool wash. I discovered they've been out since before Christmas and none expected in for two or three weeks. I knew I should have picked some up some when I was there before Christmas. Well, shoot. So I popped on-line and got a couple of bottles comin' my way along with a few other things. But no yarn and we'll talk about those when they get here. Ahem.

Oh, and I had a battle with the sock yarn I'm going to use to knit Sweetie's very dark gray [aka black] socks. I got the hank wound onto the ball winder with no problem. The problem occurred when I tired to get the yarn off the post that fits onto the ball winder and creates the void in the middle where all the yarn collapses when you take it out. That was a struggle. When I went to re-wind it into a more loose cake, it got tangled. I started from the center and had a major case of yarn vomit. Over an hour later I have a LARGE cake and a cake less than half the size of the large one. Oh, well. I only lost about a yard.

I did get all of the stitches on the Peachy Keen scarf knit off the very slippery plastic Denise needles onto my wood circs with no problems. I haven't knit with them but I'm hopping that'll go well. Although with the way the yarn and knitting have been going today [NM] maybe I better just cruise my sock books in search of a pattern for Sweetie's socks.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Death of a Hired Man by Eric Wright

Parting Shot: "There is a time and a place for everything unless you're trying to park a car." ~ unknown

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Second Verse Same as the First

This whole post could just about be summed up by asking you to read yesterday's post and then look at the photos on today's post.

I'm done with the slate yarn on the Leftovers hat. That took me to round 44. I did 29 rounds with the slate and 17 rounds with the garnet including the cast on round. I've now got the oyster in there but that was after this picture was taken. There's a little more of the oyster than there was of the garnet. I had 11 gr of the garnet, 18 gr of the slate and 14 gr of the oyster. The tricky bit is going to be where to start with the crown decreases so as to have the least amount left at the end.

When I'm done with the hat, which may be this evening but probably more like some time tomorrow, I'll wind the yarn and cast on for another sock for Sweetie. More about that in my next post as I don't even know what pattern I'm going to knit. It'll be my new exercise knitting project. So having a simple rib will serve two purposes.

The Peachy Keen scarf is going very slowly. I didn't knit much on it after I posted yesterday. I think it'll go quicker once I switch to the wood circs. That's 5½ rounds. Not very wide but very lo-o-o-o-o-o-ng.

blogging to: classical music on the radio

reading: Death of a Hired Man by Eric Wright

g Shot: "Mathematics: Some of it plus the rest of it is all of it." ~ unknown
I want to title this one Knitting Math

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Black Hole of Knitting

I'm at that wonderful point in two recent projects where no matter how much I knit no progress seems to be made. For a process knitting I guess that's not too bad a place to be. Because it's all about the knitting, right? For a product knitter it's like being in Tartarus. Luckily, I'm more of a process knitter but with relatively short projects like a hat and a scarf the product knitter is closer to the surface.

The 301 cast on stitches for the Peachy Keen scarf (currently undergoing the transformation to 601 stitches, aka as pattern row 6) is moving along. The Denise needles are plastic and VERY slippery. I whined about these in my last post so I won't dwell on that now. But that also means that I have to be cautious so that I don't lose several stitches from either needle.
At least I know this pattern well enough to recover and the mohair in the yarn keeps the stitches from laddering down to the ground. So I'm knitting very slowly and carefully. At the end of this row, I going to move the project to my 6 mm Suzanne's rosewood circs and see how that goes. (sigh)

The Leftovers hat is also in the same stage. I've used up all the garnet and am through about half of the slate colorway. The garnet lasted through 16 rounds.

I've got the scarf parked at the computer and the hat is my TV knitting. The hat is also my treadmill knitting. And that's still working out well. My new Toshiba MP3 player ( have the black one) has a feature that lets me fast forward through a podcast. The last one may have had that but I broke it before I could get that far. If I have to stop listening in the middle of one and for some reason it starts over I can FF it 10 seconds at a time. If do it right (however that is) I can turn it off in the middle it starts right up where I left off. I've been listening to Lime & Violet. Those two just make me laugh out loud. And the treadmill time is still going quickly.

I did discover today that 2+ mph is too fast to knit to, at least for now. My hands get sweaty and that makes the wool damp and so the knitting part doesn't progress as well or as easily. I can still knit but then it turns more into E X E R C I S E which is what we're trying to do. But tricking the mind into thinking we're just knitting standing up and moving the lower part of our body for some reason is more difficult when you're sweating. And that's the whole idea. The not exercising
exercising. Shhh! My mind thinks I'm knitting and listening to a podcast. Each stint has been 65-70 minutes long. Yea! Me!

blogging to: jazz on the radio

reading: Death of a Hired Man by Eric Wright

Parting Shot: "Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out." ~ Anton Chekhov

Monday, January 7, 2008

Getting a Handle on Your Knitting

These Denise Interchangable needles that I got for Christmas from my wonderful SIL are great for wide projects like my Peachy Keen scarf with the 301 stitches. Especially when during a couple rows the stitches expand to 601 or so (but whose counting!!) thanks to a k1, p1, k1 into the same stitch every other stitch — which is kinda fun. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 . . . the 4 being the k1 all onto itself. That's how I count so I don't forget the k1. Then a row or so later you have to p3tog all those stitches you had so much fun making.

I'd been knitting all this Kidsilk haze type yarn with my oh-so-wonderful Suzanne's 6mm ebony straight needles. The stitches would get a bit squished. When I did the expansion row, it still wasn't too bad on the straights because the three stitches from one didn't each have their own legs on the needles, as it were. But when I did the next row which involved making each of those three stitches a discrete stitch unto itself, that's when the needle and I hit our limits.

It was a battle to get all 600+ stitches on this poor 13" straight needle. That's when I switched to my pink Denise Interchangeables. I struggled to keep the end stitches on the straight needle while I purled those poor smooshed ones off three at a time with a very slippery plastic needle. Insert strong, colorful but not very inventive language at will throughout the proceedings.

I figured I'd have a problem with the slipperiness of the plastic. My wood needles, if anything, are a tad sticky. I like that the wool just doesn't slide off or threaten to slide off every time I pick them up. And the tips on these needles are more blunt which makes the p3tog even trickier. I've found that if I slide each of the three stitches off individually onto the plastic needle, put them back on and then purl them it's OK. Mostly.

And another thing. When I need a third hand, as you often do it knitting, I usually balance the base of one of the needles on my thigh or stomach or other handy body part while I use the free hand to do whatever it needs to do. With these interchangeable ones, the needle is so short that I have to also maneuver the tip of the straight needle down to where ever so I can finish the stitch. And the cable
of the interchangeable needles, which is the base when I'm balancing the needle against a body part is also slippery. Strong, colorful, but not very inventive language sometimes ensues during this process, too. (sigh)

Hopefully, this row which occurs twice in each eight row pattern won't be as bad the next time as I'm going to keep this project on the Denise Interchangeables. In any event, once this row is done I will only have to suffer through it five more times. I'm just taking my time, going slow and taking lots of breaks to read and surf blogs.

In other news, I cast on this afternoon for the Leftovers watch cap. This is going to use up every bit (I hope) of the Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca silk yarn. It's too good a yarn to sit around as a stash leftover. I'm not holding it double for this hat. I cast on with the garnet. When that's gone I'll change to one of the other two colors, knit until it's gone then I'll knit with the final color until the hat's done and it's gone. I have a total of 43 grams. We'll see how far I get.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Stolen Honey by Nancy Means Wright

Parting Shot: "First things first, but not necessarily in that order." ~ unknown

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hats Off to Libby's*

I finished the second Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca silk hat today. Now I have two non-matching matching hats. Not only did I vary the colorways on the stripe and the stripe itself but I did the decreases at the top differently. Such a risk-taker! I guess the only things they DO have in common are the fiber and the pattern! It's a shorter list.

I feel I have at least one more hat in me as I mentioned in my last post. However, instead of using the cashmere I think I'm going to use these Blue Sky Alapca alpaca silk leftovers. I have about ¾ of a hank left. I'll cast on here in the next day or so and I'll see where that takes me. I won't be holding the yarn double on this hat. At least all three colors will work together.

Today I had a Eureka! moment with the Peachy Keen scarf. I keep coming back to the same yarn and the same pattern because I feel they're a good fit. The yarn wants to be this pattern and this pattern has agreed to be knit in this yarn. The problem, as usual, has been the interface. Ah . . . that would be me.

But today I was shelving a book, Sanna and the Dragons by Roxanna Matthews a great book by the way and I reflected on some of the things in the book and Eureka! Sideways! I'll knit the scarf sideways! Those who've read the book will know EXACTLY where I'm coming from there.

Back when I first started keeping track of my knitting prowess and production, I kept track of almost everything. I even noted how many rows it took to knit a couple of my early scarves. One was 230 rows and another was 245 rows. I cast on 301 stitches. To you lace shawl and afghan makers out there that's nothin'. To me, it was 301 stitches! I've got place makers every 25 stitches to help me stay on track. The good thing is I'm only going to knit 24 rows, three pattern repeats. I'm about halfway through the second pattern row. I'll keep you posted.

*That's Billy the Kid spelled sideways. How many remember this ancient commercial?

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Stolen Honey by Nancy Means Wright

Parting Shot: “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~ Jim Rohn

Saturday, January 5, 2008

If Wishes Were Horses

So. I've been knitting a lot . . .

The oyster and slate (not MY color names) watch cap is almost done. I've changed the striping up a bit so to the untrained eye they look like two completely different hats. And yes the "oyster" is kind of a greenish-cream- ecru-beige-taupe tone. The slate (gray) on both hats is the same. But anyway, you can see what I mean by the different stripe pattern on each hat. The garnet one has the same block of slate on the bottom for the brim as the oyster hat.

I've got less than ten rounds until I begin the 15 or so decrease rounds for the top. It'll be done by the time the weekend's over. I'll take an outside photo like the garnet hat so we can contrast and compare.

Remember the last post where I was waxing practically poetic about the magic of MP3, knitting and exercise. Well, pride may not have goneth before a fall but my lovely piece of MP3 techmology* went with the wind . . . or something. I got all ready to walk on Friday morning and the &^%*@#!! piece of
techmology* would only function in the record voice mode. The little menu button — and I DO mean little was stuck down. So, I . . . uh . . . . fixed put it out of my misery. Crap! I sat down in front of the TV to knit and wallow in technology that was working.

Sweetie took it apart to see what was in it so now it's really broke! [
Now I have a new one, a different brand. The menu button while still tiny is not as tiny. It's a slider instead of a push. We'll see how that works. We were sharing one but now we each have one.

I've been down loading podcasts off and on all day. Several Lime & Violet, a couple Cast On and Knit Cast. I also found The Mosh Knit. I have no idea what that one's like so I only down loaded one.

Since this final hat's about done, what's next? I'm going to finish or at least make a damned good attempt at finishing some version of the Peach Keen scarf. After that, another hat, I think, out of the same charcoal cashmere I made Sweetie's Broken Rib watch cap last April. We keep our abode rather on the cool side during the winter. The second watch cap I knit came out rather loose and so that's what we use as a napping hat. It's so loose now that it won't stay on if you move much. A hat that's loose enough so you don't feel like your head is being strangled yet tight enough to stay on would be great.

And THEN another pair of simple (read:
6boring6 to knit) socks for Sweetie. His Burr Oak socks travel with him in the car along with the rest of the winter gear he needs in case he gets stuck, breaks down or has an accident. I've got some great (6boring6) black yarn that will be just great. Just great. Knitting Black Yarn in Winter. Could be worse. It could be BROWN.

* techmology: what Crazy Aunt Purl calls technology gone wrong

listening to: The Retro Cocktail Hour

reading: Stolen Honey by Nancy Means Wright

Parting Shot: "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." ~ unknown