Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not Quite

My goal for Socktoberfest was to finish this pair of socks. I'm beginning to think I might not make it. What do you think: I do have one FO to show off, however; the Flower Garden socks for CIC:
And I've started a couple more projects:
On the right is a hat that doesn't really have a destination yet; I saw this pattern, and a ball of leftover yarn began clamoring to be a hat. Only thing is, I'm beginning to think the yarn was just a wee bit over-ambitious, and maybe there really isn't enough for a hat. I didn't weigh or measure the yarn before starting, and now that I have two sections done, I keep squeezing the remaining yarn and trying to estimate if I have enough to finish. Which is somewhat difficult, since I don't know how much I started with, and the pattern doesn't say how much I need. So, now I'm wondering if I should do a couple of sections in another color, to make sure I have enough. Of course, if I did that and had gobs and gobs of yarn leftover, I'd feel pretty stupid. And I think the hat would look prettier made entirely of this yarn (which keeps telling me it doesn't need help, it can be a hat all on it's own--but what does it know?). What to do, what to do--I know, start another project to distract myself!

The ribbing on the left is the beginnings of a CIC vest in Lamb's Pride. This is my first chance to try this yarn; I'm loving it! It's so soft and springy; really fun to knit with. This vest was going to be the final test for my CIC vest pattern, which I have looked all over creation for. I know I wrote it up, printed it out, and made some corrections when I made the last vest. I know for a fact that it was on some computer somewhere at some time, otherwise, how could I have had a printout? But I've checked my home PC, my work PC, the compact flash cards I use in my camera (which also occasionally serve as portable storage); no luck. I have a sinking feeling that maybe it was stored on that USB key that I lost a couple of weeks ago. So now I'm faced with searching through all my pattern printouts with scribbled notes, to see if it's the one I need (a daunting prospect), or rewrite the whole thing by looking at the last vest I made. I'm leaning towards the latter; I really don't want to sort through piles of scribbles. Of course, I could take this opportunity to tidy up my notes, maybe sort and file them.

Yeah, right.

Monday, October 30, 2006

St. Louis beats Detroit in crime & baseball

OK, this cracks me up. Just after St. Louis beats Detroit in the World Series, this study is released:

St. Louis named most dangerous city

Notice that #2 is Detroit.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Toe time!

I've finally reached the point where I start decreasing for the toes on my summer socks; only 4 months or so after starting! My goal is to finish the pair by the end of Socktoberfest; since this is Sock #1, that will be a bit of a challenge for me. However, I am very encouraged by the progress I have made in the last couple of weeks, and I am enjoying using the bamboo needles much more than the slippery metal ones I started with. The irony of it all is, now that one sock is nearly complete, I checked my gauge again. It is 8 stitches/per inch, instead of the intended 7 (and I swatched! I swear I swatched big time!). So, I could have been using my usual #2s all this time. Fortunately, this pattern is very stretchy, so the socks still fit. I guess they'll wear well, too.

When I need a break from fine gauge socks, I have been working on these:

CIC socks in Lion Wool; colorway is Flower Garden. I love the colors; it looks like an abstract painting of a flower garden to me. Since my CIC sock pattern only takes about 110 yards, and this skein has 143 yards, I expect to have a nice bit left over. My plan is save the bits from this pair and the two more I have lined up in other colorways, combine them with some of my hand dyed Fisherman's Wool (since the gauge is the same), and make a log cabin sweater for CIC. I think I have some leftover bits of hand dyed Fisherman's Wool from other socks, too, so I should be able to produce a really colorful patchwork. (Note to self: look for those leftover bits; hope the vermin haven't abscounded with them).

Speaking of vermin, here are the pics of the b/f's father's new cat, Peter, that I tried to post a couple of weeks ago. He is settling in nicely, and really starting to catch on to this concept of playing with toys.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Machine Guns & Knitting Needles

This weekend I attended the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot - if you'll pardon the pun, it was a blast! We drove down in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, so we would have time for the gun show as well. We had to park a ways away, since the main parking lot was full already. When we got out of the car, it sounded like a battle was in progress. Once we got to the range (hearing protection in place), we saw an amazing collection of automatic weapons methodically destroying old cars, boats, washing machines, and assorted junk. Here's what it looked like during one of the cease-fires:

We watched the shoots and toured the vendors' tables until we were exhausted. I rested on a bench and bemoaned the fact that I had left my knitting in the car, thinking I would have no opportunity to knit. What a mistake! Although there was a fine film of dirt over everything, it would have been worth the risk of getting my sock dirty to knit in the middle of a crowd watching a machine gun shoot.

On Saturday, we headed here:

And I did this:

Fired 50 rounds through an M1919 machine gun. What an experience! Even though I fired short bursts, those 50 rounds were gone all too soon. Being a newbie, the muzzle of the gun tended to rise as I fired; I would love to have the opportunity to practice enough so I could overcome that. *sigh* At a cost of over a buck a round, I'm afraid that is very unlikely.

After shooting and some more shopping, we sat down to rest and watch some more. I reached into my backpack, and &^%$#@! I left my knitting in the car! Much too far to hike back. Another missed opportunity. Arrrrggggghhhhh!

Even though I missed two good knitting opportunities, I did make significant progress on my sock during the drive. Here it is, somewhat shorter and no doubt cleaner than it could have been:

Since switching to the bamboo needles, I am enjoying the knitting much more than with the slippery metal ones. Even so, knitting for CIC has spoiled me considerably; little socks with thick wool go so fast! So, as a little treat for myself, on Sunday night I started this while I watched one episode each of Battlestar Galactica and Stargate SG-1:

Two shows = 1/2 sock. That's pretty close to instant gratification in the knitting world.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Officially Socktoberfest

Now that I've offically joined Socktoberfest 2006, I thought I'd answer Lolly's questionnaire:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
Near as I can figure it, it's been two years since I finally picked up the DPN's and learned to knit socks. I referred to a number of books and a few web sites, then practiced on 4 or 5 miniature socks, before I felt ready to take the plunge & make some "real" socks intended for wear.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
I used some vintage Germantown worsted wool that I scored on eBay. They are wearing great!

What would you have done differently?
The toes have a funny stovepipe look; the instructions said to do a decrease round, then a plain round, until I had X number of stitches left. When I got to that number, I wasn't sure if I should do a plain round again or not, so I did just to be safe. You're not supposed to do that.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
The ones I've hand-dyed.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
Knit on DPN's. Although I want to try 2 circs; I just haven't gotten a "round tuit" yet.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
Flap - definitely.

How many pairs have you made?
Hard to say. I've made 10 pair for myself, 1 pair for the b/f, and uncounted pairs for CIC.

I wanted to share some pics of the b/f's father's new cat, Peter, but Blogger is being uncooperative. We'll just have to wait for another day. I'll just tell you that Peter is a 5-year-old sweetie; very affectionate, but not terribly conversant with the concept of "play". We're working on teaching him. I guess it's because it's October, but the rhyme keeps going through my head, "Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater!" I doubt that he eats pumpkin, but from the looks of him, he has a hearty appetite. :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Now's the perfect time to show off my Halloween socks with the Jack O' Lantern heels. These are my own design; I didn't write up a pattern, but I can share the graph for the heel. They're made of Kroy sock yarn; I remember the orange color is called Orangina; don't remember what color I used for the rest.

If you want to create a pair for yourself, you'll need a basic 56-stitch sock pattern; here's a good one. I did a couple of rounds of orange in the middle of the cuff, which is 12 rounds altogether. I would make the cuff longer if I was to do it over again, tho'. Then plain stockinette for the leg, until you get to the fun part - the heel!

The heel is done in plain stockinette, not heel stitch. The graph is worked from the top down, since that's the direction you're working the heel. Notice that the graph shows 27 rows, beginning with a RS row. I always start my heels with a WS row, which I did in blue, then began the heel graph, for a total of 28 rows. The sock pattern linked above only has 26 rows in the heel, but it won't hurt a thing if you knit 28. Of course, you won't be doing the k1, sl1 on the RS rows, or knitting the last stitch on WS rows, but I do recommend slipping the first stitch of each row.

On the first sock, I just knitted the "body" of the jack o' lantern, using the intarsia method. I had three skeins going: orange for the pumpkin, and two blue, one for each side of the heel. Do yourself a favor--wind a small ball of the orange and the blue, to make this part easier to manage. Once the heel was done, but before I continued with the foot, I embroidered the face of the jack o'lantern using duplicate stitch. Once that was done, I continued the sock like usual, and finished up with an orange toe.

I found I didn't much like doing duplicate stitch, so for the second sock, I made the pumpkin as before, except I made the face using stranded (fair isle) knitting. This isn't as hard as it sounds; I just carried the main color along the back of the knitting on the rows that had the features, knitting in the eyes, etc. rather than doing them later. I enjoyed that more than duplicate stitch, but it did require concentration.

Except for the heels, these socks are easy TV knitting, but a little bit of extra work at the heel makes for some very fun socks! I typically wear these with slip-on shoes, so I can easily show them off. Of course, they'd be perfect for clogs!

If anyone has any questions, put them in the comments. I'll do my best to answer.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Magic Number is 6

I've completed my second ballband washcloth, using size 6 needles this time. Much easier on the hands! Once the blocking is done, I'll put it to the test. It definitely feels looser than the first one; however, Ballband #1 is so tightly knit, it takes nearly 24 hours to dry out after use.

Here is Ballband #1 on top of #2; as you can see, there's not much difference in size. I'm feeling ridiculously anxious to test the new one, to make sure it's not too loose. But I'm still going to let it finish blocking so I can admire its beauty first. I'm beginning to think I need to get out more, I'm so excited over a washcloth.

I've also been working on the Princess Blankie. Here it is in its intended spot on the dresser:

I figure that's about two-thirds done, not counting the ends-weaving I still have to do. I did a bunch today, but boy-o-boy, I still have a lot of ends waiting for me.

After checking the Blankie's size, I spent some time choosing yarn for the next several squares:

This part is lots of fun, since Shelly sent me so many yarn bits to play with.

The number of projects are starting to creep up again. There's the Blankie, of course, and a pair of socks for CIC, and I haven't done anything on the two pairs of socks in progress for myself. I'm itching to start another washcloth, and there's some yarn that's just crying out to become a CIC vest. I may start carrying the socks for me in my project bag that I take to work. Tuesday I'll be working on a project that will likely include some thumb-twiddling time; with luck, I can knock out a bunch of rounds while I'm waiting. If I don't finish those socks soon, I'm afraid they'll become orphans.

Tonight, though, I'll be watching Stargate & working on the CIC socks--they make good television knitting!