Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dodged a bullet

The weather guessers were predicting 4-6 inches of snow last night and enough cold to keep it around for a while, which I was not looking forward to! Therefore, I was pleased to wake up this a.m. to no more than 2 inches of the white stuff, and temps high enough that it has mostly melted off sidewalks and driveways. Such a relief, especially since I would have been shoveling solo. The b/f recently had surgery on his ankle, and he wouldn't have been able to wield a snow shovel. Global warming is, once again, my friend.

I finished my wool/alpaca socks; this yarn is so soft! I managed to acquire some for my eBay store; will be listing it soon. The pattern is my own, using a simple garter stitch rib. I like lots of ribbing in my socks, since it makes them stay up so well. But, I hate knitting it; that constant switching back and forth from knit to purl makes me want to scream. The nice thing about garter rib is that every other round is knit plain. So, my knitting goes something like this:

Round 1: Knit 2, purl 2 - "This won't be bad; just one round. One needle done; see, it won't take long. Halfway done! Not bad at all...almost done..."
Round 2: Knit around - "Woohoo! All knit - yippee!"
Repeat as necessary

As you can see, it doesn't take much to keep me happy; just a plain knit round now and again.

I finished the first sock in my current CIC pair. I'm not enjoying this pattern as much as the garter rib. On alternate rounds, every third stitch is twisted. This creates subtle lines the length of the sock, and I like the look of it just fine. But knitting those twisted stitches demands just a little more muscle power than plain stockinette, and after a while my right arm starts to ache. I don't have a problem with it at the looser gauge used in sweaters, but at sock gauge, twisted stitches wasn't such a hot idea. I'll be glad when this pair is done. I think the next pair will be good ol' stockinette. I'll think of it as classic, rather than boring.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More ice

We had another ice storm last night; fortunately, no power outages this time! Actually, it wasn't much of a storm. Coated trees and cars pretty well, but roads and sidewalks were clear by the time I got up this a.m. Temps are supposed to stay right around freezing for the next couple of days, with the possibility of more ice. I plan to stay holed up at home. Maybe do a little baking, break out some DVDs. I'm such a wimp; I hate to go out in ugly weather.

I did manage to overcome one of my earlier decision problems. I went rummaging through my stash boxes, and found a sufficient quantity of yarn that I liked for some CIC socks:

This is some Lion Fisherman's Wool that I dyed a while back; looks like we're going to get a spiral effect, doesn't it? Fisherman's Wool has become my go-to yarn for most of my CIC knitting; it's affordable, it's fun to dye, it's enjoyable to knit, and it makes wonderfully thick, warm socks. I'm really enjoying my purple socks that I made last month.

I'm kind of half way to a decision on what yarns to use next for the blankie. Sounds like I'm waffling, doesn't it? But I've set several aside that I think I'd like to use; next, I'll spread the blankie out and try placing the skeins where the next squares need to be, and see if I like the look. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Curiously indecisive

I have so many plans swirling around in my head for what to knit next. Some plans are quite clear, but with others I seem to be stuck, unable to come to a decision.

I've been feeling the need for a larger project than my usual socks & washcloths. I decided sometime back on this vest (w/o the felt embellishments), and I finally decided on the yarn--Sierra Aran from in a nice, deep red. It was a struggle for me to buy something other than my usual blue or purple, but I finally convinced myself that I already had a lot of blue & purple in my wardrobe, and the red would be a nice change. I also picked up a little sock yarn while I was shopping (wonder of wonders, not blue or purple). It's varying shades of gray; the idea was to have something to wear with my work clothes, but I don't remember now what I thought this would go with. I would just buy some gray pants, but I really hate to shop for clothes; it's just torture. Besides, I'd much rather spend the money on more yarn.

On a recent work-related trip, I found time to visit a yarn shop, and encountered Trekking XXL for the first time. Over and over, I've read about this stuff; knitters claiming, "This is my new favorite sock yarn!" This is where buying yarn online falls short; it really doesn't look any different from a dozen other sock yarns available. But as soon as I reached out to touch it, I understood. I couldn't stop squooshing that skein of yarn; it's amazingly soft and springy. Somehow, I managed to guide my hand past the blues and purples, and picked up the skein you see. Finally, something to go with my khakis! Finally, a beige yarn I can knit without going mad with boredom! The self-striping action, combined with the intoxicating feel of this yarn, is guaranteed to prevent getting stalled in the doldrums. As soon as I finish up my alpaca/wool socks (look! blue! what a surprise!), the Trekking is going on the needles.

So, where's the indecision, you ask? I just can't seem to make up my mind on two projects. One is the Princess Blankie; I haven't touched it for weeks. I can't decide what sock yarn to use next! It's so silly; I have boatloads of yarn to choose from (thank you, Shelly!), but whenever I spread out all the little balls of yarn and try to pick one, or even pick four or five, my brain just gets vapor locked or something. I pick up yarn and put it back down for an unknown amount of time, until I decide I can't decide right now, bundle everything up and set it aside to think about later.

The other place where I'm stuck is deciding on my next project for CIC. The current challenge is to knit socks for the bigger kids, and I'm eager to get going. I have a stitch pattern in mind that I want to try, but again, I'm getting stuck on yarn selection. I reach for this, and realize I probably don't have enough; I reach for that, and realize it's probably not heavy enough. Maybe I should go with my first choice, and add contrasting heels and toes, to make it go further? Shoot, nothing seems to go together! AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!

Then I get disgusted with my inability to pick out some freakin' yarn, so I go knit on my alpaca socks for a while to make myself feel better. They're soft, and I enjoy knitting in garter rib. And they're blue. I like blue.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stick a fork in it

My cuffed socks are finally done! How do you like the swirly effect on the right one? Please excuse the super-pale legs; I'm a redhead living in the Midwest. I've totally given up on the concept of getting a tan. Here, maybe this will be easier on the eyes:

Thank goodness for mannequins, eh? Anyway, I can hardly wait for the weather to warm up enough to wear them. Knit with Sockotta, my own pattern, which is available here.

I've put the potluck potholder through several washes; I like the way it is turning out. It will definitely be thick enough. It is currently down to 9 inches square, which is a little larger than I want. Otherwise, I'd stop felting now, even though there is still a little stitch definition. It is nice and thick and soft; I'm looking forward to using it. I'm going to toss it in the washer one more time, but I think I'll start out a little smaller next time. Maybe cast on just 81 stitches instead of 91.

Some more FOs to show off:

These are all the socks made for CIC from the tapestry wool generously donated by Carla. The pair on the far right I just finished up last week. Thank you Carla!

So, that finished up the old year for me. I'll tell you about my projects for the new year in another post, along with some yarn pron.

Speaking of the New Year, the b/f & I celebrated quietly at home. Well, at home, anyway. The b/f just had some minor surgery on his heel, so he wasn't up to dancing. We stayed in and watched some TV, then at midnight we set off some fireworks saved from the 4th. The b/f's father did the same (somehow we didn't see his fireworks; we usually can). He had the added pleasure of discovering he has a beer-drinking cat. He poured a little beer in a saucer and offered it to Peter, who consumed precisely four laps. So, now he has a drinking buddy!

Can I see some ID?