Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Little by little

The box for Cheyenne River Reservation is filling up little by little. The 11th-hour hat is all dry and ready to go:

And today I picked up a fleece throw on sale, that I thought would make a nice lap robe for the elders. The box isn't looking quite so yawningly empty any more:

But there is still a lot of room for more warm stuff! I might sneak a toy in there, as well; I don't think they'll mind. ;)

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Changing Colors

The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors. Since we had such a dry summer, the weather guessers say the colors won't be spectactular this year, but they're still beautiful to my eyes. I love the fact that this is the view from my back door.

Today, much of my time was spent on the couch (cat on lap), watching TV and knitting (with occasional breaks to sit on the back porch and enjoy the view). The toe-up socks are done and bathed, and I must say I am quite happy with them.

I used Grumperina's bindoff, and it is quite stretchy. I tested it by pulling these socks on over my feet, and while the socks are nowhere large enough for me, the cuff stretched enough to go over my heel.

Speaking of heels, here's a closeup of the Sherman heel. I cranked up the brightness and contrast, so you'd have a chance of seeing it:

Very nice, and no holes this time!

These socks are #3 of the Magic 28. They will be going to Afghans for Afghans, so my box still has just one lonely hat in it. However, I finished the 11th hour hat today, and gave it a bath. Once it's dry, I'll snap a pic and then the box will have two hats! I'm feeling just a wee bit worried about my ability to fill that big box in time.

I started a pair of child's slippers today, using this pattern. Boy, it's a fast knit! I'm almost done with slipper #1. I'm thinking about making a pair in my size, so I can test some ideas for slight modifications. I would really like to not have any seams to sew when I'm done. We'll see what I can come up with.

Hilfy, back when she was a cute little kitten.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day; sunny and clear, albeit chilly. Wouldja look at that sky? Even better, I have today off. I've been knitting and reading and petting cats, but pretty soon I have to change out of my comfy clothes into something I can be seen in public in and go run some errands. I'm going to go for a bit of a walk first, though, to enjoy the sunshine.

Speaking of knitting, it's Wednesday; let's look at some WIPs, shall we?

I'm almost done with the toe-up socks; ready to switch yarns and start the ribbing on Sock #2. I'm very glad I weighed the yarn along the way; look at that little scrap of yarn I have left. I didn't get the little holes at the corners of the heels this time; either because I took care not to wrap the heel stitches too tightly, or because I better understood what I was doing this time. This will definitely be my short-row heel of choice. I plan to use it in the next pair of socks I make for myself so I can wear-test it.

Wildfoote Sock #1 is ready to have the toe kitchenered. What a surprise to be half-done on a pair of socks I hardly remember working on!

Haven't touched ILG Sock #2 since I discovered my error in the cable. Looking closely at it today, it took me a while to find the mistake; it's just a case of a cable crossing over when it should be under (or vice versa; now I don't remember). Now I'm trying to talk myself into letting it go, but I doubt I'll be successful.

The Weekend Sweater continues to grow. It's 11.5 inches long; soon I'll have to start the sleeves!

The 11th-hour hat looks exactly the same as it did last week. I just have a couple more rows to go before I seam up the brim and pick up stitches for the crown. Haven't touched it since I'll need my size 6 DPNs for the crown, and my only pair is in those toe-up socks.

Now for my efforts to sabotage my efforts to tidy up the knitting corner by reducing my WIPs:

First, I started a Sushi Wallet to keep my mp3 player in, so it won't get tangled up in the bottom of my knitting bag. I was paying more attention to the striping sequence than to the instructions, and failed to increase where directed. That's why you see so much unraveled yarn.

Then I saw this and thought it was an excellent way to use up those bits of yarn that I couldn't bear to throw out, but what can you do with just a few yards? So I started this:

So far I have gathered up this much:

I expect this to be a seriously long-term project. But what fun when I need some television knitting!

So, I finished one WIP and started two more. Knitting corner has not improved a bit, but it's a sunny day and I don't care! Now I'm off to soak up some sunshine to keep me going as the days get shorter and shorter.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tidying Up

I'm trying to clean up my knitting corner a little; the best way I know to do that is to finish projects so I can put them somewhere else! So, I sewed up the SWS hat (it's been waiting around for the sewing part for days).

I used my favorite hat pattern and made seven sections. Used a little more than one skein, and it fits me nicely. After snapping this pic, I gave it a nice bath; it is now drying in the spare bedroom. One less thing in the knitting corner!

While SWS is deliciously soft, and I love the colors, it is also about as slippery as Teflon. I'm glad I didn't try to make a sweater with it! I think it will be a while before I'm ready to tackle this yarn again.

This hat will be going to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The Native American Support group on Yahoo is having a "Warm Up Box" challenge: fill a box with warm items, and ship by Dec. 1 (can be handmade, or purchased). I've picked this box:

It measures 16x12x8.

Doesn't that hat look lonely? I have my work cut out for me.

Princess Daisy likes to survey her realm from the hutch over the b/f's desk

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Too close for comfort

So, before starting these socks, I weighed my ball of yarn - 68g. Just before starting the heel (which would be 1/4 done for the pair), I weighed the ball of yarn again - 51g. I had used 17g, precisely one-fourth of the total. Since neither my scale nor my knitting is extremely precise, I've decided to do the ribbing in a contrast color. I have a boatload of donated tapestry yarn that, doubled, should be about the same thickness as this yarn. Should add a nice touch of color, too. Whew--this weighing and planning sure beats worrying.

These socks will eventually go to Afghans for Afghans; I plan to hold on to them until they call for socks again. BTW, I checked the delivery confirmation number on the socks I sent to them last week; they arrived on Monday, in time to be included in the big delivery to Kabul and Bamiyan. Hooray! I'm anxiously awaiting their report on this campaign; I hope they managed to collect what they needed.

I'm almost done with the turn-up brim portion of my 11th-hour hat. I'm deriving a ridiculous amount of enjoyment from using my very own handspun yarn, unevenness and all. Makes me want to spin more! I wish, though, that I could get a little "in person" spinning instruction, or even an opportunity to watch someone more skillful using a spindle. I suspect that I am terribly awkward and inefficient, and could probably benefit greatly from just a little instruction. Just not sure how to find a skilled spindler in my area! Maybe someday I'll get a chance to attend a festival and score a class--or maybe just spy on some likely-looking spinners.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

First time

After several tries, I finally did the toe on my first toe-up sock. I'm using this pattern except with just 32 stitches. The first time went quite well, really, except once I unzipped the provisional cast on and got all my stitches on needles, I realized I had cast on for a 36-stitch sock. Rip, rip, rip. Do over. Second time was the right number of stitches, but somehow I managed to drop a stitch and didn't notice it for a few rows. It didn't unravel, but I had closed up the gap by knitting past it, so I couldn't just pick it up. Rip, rip, rip. Third time was the proverbial charm; it's going swimmingly now.

By the way, I don't think the recipient will have trouble keeping his socks up; as you can see, this yarn stands up on its own. I don't know what kind of yarn this is, since it was donated by another knitter, but it would best be described as "sturdy". Actually, it is quite reminiscent of Briggs & Little yarn (maybe that's what it is), which softens up quite a bit when washed. Oh, and to prevent my usual "do I have enough yarn" panic, I weighed the yarn before starting: 68 g. Before starting the heel, I'll weigh the remaining yarn again. I figure at that point, I'll be approximately one-quarter done with the pair. As long as I haven't used more than one-quarter of 68 g, I should have enough to finish. Should. (Knocking on wood, throwing salt over shoulder; know of anything else that will help appease the knitting goddesses?)

Speaking of ripping socks, ILG Sock #2 is having a time out. After noting my modifications to Sock #1 so conscientously here on my blog, I neglected to note those mods on my printed instructions. Oops. Now I'm working up the courage to rip back several rows. Really not that big a deal, its less than a dozen rows, but I'm not quite ready yet. I'll think about it tomorrow; tomorrow's another day.

Yitzhak seems to have developed a penchant for sitting on my knitting instructions. So helpful.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

My first lunch with Mr. Bento

When it's time to eat lunch during the week, I usually pick someplace within walking distance, not too expensive, with quick service, so I can silence the hunger pangs with as little bother as possible. But lately, I've been getting really tired of the lunch offerings near where I work. However, I still want to get out of the office for a while, and I don't want to eat sandwiches day after day. A few days ago, while browsing, I happened across Mr. Bento, which led me to Mr. Bento p0rn. Wow, what a wealth of lunch ideas! I ordered me up my very own Mr. Bento, which arrived yesterday. And today, I am taking my very first Mr. Bento lunch.

Hummus and crackers, raw carrots, plain yogurt topped with canned peaches & a little of their syrup, chocolate and candy pumpkins (oh, and a little salt in case the hummus needs it). My plan is to take my little lunch jar to some picnic tables about 5 blocks from the office and enjoy my lunch that didn't come from a deep fryer or a grill.

I'm ridiculously excited about this; usually I find food planning and preparation terribly boring. It's a good thing the b/f likes to cook; if it was left to me, we'd probably both be suffering from malnutrition. But I've been giving a lot of thought to what I can take in Mr. Bento (I have a whopping two menus so far; I'm am seriously not used to this). I'm even thinking about making some lentil soup this weekend to take in my lunch during the week (don't tell anyone, it'll ruin my rep since I DON'T COOK).

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Didn't go out

All weekend, I was seeing ads for Columbus Day sales, thinking "Does anybody actually get this holiday off anymore? Or is it just an excuse for a sale?"

Sunday afternoon, as planned, I finished the socks I'm sending to Afghans for Afghans, gave them a nice bath, and hung them up to dry. Monday morning, I packed them up and started to print out postage to mail them, when I learned of at least one group that gets Columbus Day off--the post office.

So, these socks didn't go out Monday like I planned, but they are going out today, and should still get there in time to go in the shipment to Kabul and Bamiyan.

Oh, and these count as Pair #2 for the Magic 28 challenge; I have challenged myself to knit 28 pairs of socks for charity. Good thing I didn't put a time limit on it, since Pair #1 was finished back in May. Oh well, I figure I have a lot of knitting years ahead of me; I'll get there eventually.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Radioactive Cat

Another hard day at work. I'm trying to finish a pair of socks for Afghans for Afghans in time for their shipment to children's rehabilitation and health centers in Kabul and Bamiyan. They have to receive the items by Oct 12, which means I need to get these in the mail soon. I'm using yarn sent to me by another knitter, and once I got the leg of the first sock done, I started worrying (natch) that I wouldn't have enough. So, I whipped out another set of size 5 DPNs, and started the second sock from the other end of the ball, which is why you see a forest of needles. I weighed the ball of yarn before starting and after completing the second leg, and I should be OK, especially since I'm using other yarn for heels and toes.

Speaking of heels, I decided to try the Sherman heel for this sock. I referred to instructions here, here, and here. I must say that this is my favorite short-row heel technique that I've tried. I do have a problem with the corners of the heel pulling at the adjacent stitch, though. I think you can see it in this pic.

If anyone else has experienced this and found a resolution, a post in the comments would be most appreciated.

I have another ball of yarn that is probably enough for a pair of socks, but I'm thinking that I'll do the next pair toe up, with Sherman heels & toes. Seems like a perfect time to learn a new technique, and maybe alleviate some anxiety I always seem to experience when using yarn of unknown yardage.

In other news, the b/f recently bought a Geiger counter. (Why? Who knows? But it seems to make him happy.) While roaming about the house with his new toy precision scientific instrument, he discovered that Hilfy is slightly radioactive. Theories include that she is actually a space alien, or perhaps an early Terminator prototype with poor shielding on the power supply.
Personally, I think if she was a Terminator, we'd be mincemeat by now, so I'm leaning towards radioactive space cat.

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