Monday, December 22, 2008

Still not dead

Not a lot bloggable in the fiber sphere though. We are now in our rental house in Houston Texas which is driving my DH up a wall because since it is a rental he can't fix any of the many issues with it. He picked it so you'd think he'd have come to terms with it by the time I got here but apparently not. We'll be here through the summer so I think I better get knitting on some shawls for air conditioned places soon. But first I have to get through the holiday and birthday knitting. My family is all clumped at the end of the year which makes for an expensive and/or time-consuming December and January. Not that I have gotten anything done yet for anyone (except Mum - shhh don't tell). I'm sort of hoping that Santa will give me an extra week (who am I kidding, I'd need an extra month for my list) in my stocking and when I pull it out everyone else in the whole world will go into suspended animation while I get all my Christmas and Birthday knitting done and wrapped and under the tree (or in other rooms in case of birthday stuff) before the magic wears off. Must remember to stock up the larder just in case Santa can manage this one.

I have managed to get the stash mostly unpacked. Public Service Announcement: I don't recommend moving the week before Thanksgiving folks. Especially not if you are a knitter or any other kind of crafter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

testing a theory

I thought I would test a theory. My apologies if you thought there was a real post. There will be later today (I hope!) but not just yet.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Shades of Monty Python and the Holy Grail...

Like the "Dead Body That Claims It Isn't" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I'm not dead yet. Indeed, I am feeling much better although possibly I shouldn't say that in order to avoid getting conked on the head in 7 more lines. I am touched that Lynne worried enough to ask though. Thanks Lynne!

I have however, been awfully busy with not fun stuff. The busy-making-est of which is getting ready to move temporarily. The FoUI (Fount of Useless Information aka DH) has been rented out on a job (he works for a consulting company) that requires that we move to Texas for a while and then to Australia (or so they promised or I'd have never fallen for it) for a while. When they were talking him into it in July it was 4 to 6 months in Texas followed by a year in Australia but once they had him hooked it became a year in Texas first. So I have been trying to get ready for that since that means a bigger more complicated move.

A person living in a normal household would perhaps not find that as daunting a prospect. Unfortunately I do not live in a normal household. Just as well, perhaps, since I'm not exactly normal either.

I have been trying to get the stashes (yarn, fiber, fabric, bead, etc) organized as well as get rid of lots and lots and lots of stuff that we never got around to dealing with in the last decade or so. And all the stuff we kept (for sentimental, or legal, or privacy, or "no one else would take it" reasons) from the clearing out of DH's parent's house when it was sold several years ago. I'm only about 1/3 of the way done but I've used up half my time so I really need to get better at that.

What knitting I was able to squeeze in since last posting is stealth knitting (developing a sock pattern for Sock Madness 3 if they decide they like it anyway) so I don't even have that for today.

I will however, sometime in the next few weeks maybe have knitting and definitely have some destash stuff to do.

And I do have some WIP photos but I'm saving those for another day because I only get the DH on weekends now (he's already in Texas working) and only some of them at that so I want to get back to him and make sure he's still working on the great long honey-do list for this weekend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Doesn't everyone plan vacation around yarn shops?

Or is that just me? We got the oddest look from the Canadian customs officer...

But first, we have to back up a bit to the domestic vacation. AKA a weekend in Oregon. I went to Black Sheep Gathering for the first time this year. I highly recommend it. I had such fun. I took three classes with Judith MacKenzie McCuin. I love taking classes from Judith but I learned something about taking classes this time as well as learning from the classes. I learned that I need assimilation time. When I took classes while at home, I had time in the evenings to practice what I had learned and review it mentally. But when I was in a hotel with family that wanted mommy time I didn't get to play and review. So next time, one class per day max.

I had lots of fun at BSG in the shopping arena too. I bought fiber every second time I went by the Tactile Fiber Arts booth I think (and I went by a lot). I also bought two fleeces. Both second prize winners in their classes.

A lovely slightly variegated grey Romney.

And a gorgeous black Wensleydale.

I needed to buy fleeces about as much as I dunno, a polar bear needs to buy snow? But they are sooooo pretty. Of course, now I have to wash fleece. And not so much in the time to do it department but that is a story for a different post. The Romney is from Fox Hollow Farm and Fiber right there in Eugene Oregon, and the Wensleydale is from Black Pines Sheep in Colorado.

I learned how to make the kind of sock yarn Judith likes (and why she likes it) and that I can indeed spin finer than I think I can. I learned how to spin really really fine too. And then I came home and had barely a week at home before we went off on another vacation and lots of stuff to do before we could go. So I didn't get a chance to spin (or even finish putting my wheel back together properly after its dismantling to get it into the car - GASP!!!) for weeks. I must remember next time to also allow two full weeks of limited obligations at home so I can practice what I have learned.

Our second vacation was a real actual week long one to visit my SIL in New York State. We flew into Rochester and since we were there it only made sense to take the child and hubby to see Niagara Falls.
That blue head on the left might be the FoUI.

And once you're at Niagara Falls, you might as well go to Canada. And once you're in Canada you might as well go to Toronto, and once you're in Toronto there's a yarnaholic's tonne of yarn shops. (I feel like a mouse with a pancake.) Sadly I had to pick only one but I picked a good one. Lettuce Knit is in the coolest neighborhood! Possibly many cities have multiple neighborhoods like that but I'm from the suburban sprawl of California and we don't have anything that vibrant around here. I was probably too effusive in my praise because the offspring felt compelled to announce that we were not moving to Canada.

When we were going into Canada the customs officer got rather an odd expression on his face when my DH answered the "why are you coming to Canada" question with "to buy yarn". I can see why he'd be suspicious of us, we already answered the "how long" question with "a few hours" which has gotta make people wonder. Although as near as we could tell hundreds (maybe thousands) of Canadians were going to America for the day. We found that a bit puzzling particularly since it was Canada Day. Which would have been a great excuse for why we were visiting, if we had known before we got to the customs officer.

The best part of that whole excursion to Canada? I got some yarn I've been just missing getting other places for over a year. 2 skeins of Dream In Color Fatty in Beach Fog.

Now if only I could remember why I wanted them...

In New York we did quite a few touristy things. We went to Corning to the Glass Museum and make our own blown glass ornaments. I find that whole thing alarmingly cool. Alarmingly because I need a new hobby (particularly one that requires large expensive things like kilns) like that aforementioned polar bear needs more snow. But it was a lot of fun and look at the pretties:

Mine is the blue and purple stripy one, my DH made the blue and yellow one.

And then on our way to arrange to take an evening boat ride around one of the lakes, we went to the neatest yarn shop. Finger Lakes Fibers is a great shop. Lots of interesting yarns. Lots of local yarns. Seats for the non yarnies. And they carry Brooklyn Handspun (which I had yet to succeed at getting a skein of) and they had one that called my name.
Soft Spun Plus in Hydrangea

I think I will succumb to temptation and use this to make the Hydrangea socks in The Eclectic Sole. Finger Lakes Fibers does a local fiber tour which includes a visit to Schaefer but I missed it by a week. They are also doing one to Ireland which is kinda tempting except I think I am going to be busy even if it weren't already too late.

That's enough for today this is already awful long.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Like a Bad Penny

I just keep coming back. I've been up to a lot since last posting. Most of it not bloggable until now. Besides, vacationing and knitting for others and panicking about possible moves has taken up so much time lately that by the time I remember I need to do a blog post, it's so late I really need to get sleep more than I need to post a blog entry. Particularly since blog entries created when I am that tired tend to be pretty undecipherable.

I shall split the events since my last post up into several entries so as to not have too long of a post here. Now the question is, chronological or not? Eh, linear time is usually a good thing so chronological it is. Catch up time:

My first not-bloggable knitting was shown all wrapped up last post. I participated in the Loopy Ewe Swap 2 on Ravelry. I had never done a swap before and I was interested to try. I was assigned a very sweet lady to knit for, Marissa (HPMomma on Ravelry), and as I always do when starting a project, agonized for ages over yarn and pattern choice. The fact that it was going to someone I didn't know well just made me dither more.

In the end I knit socks for her:
Pattern: WendyKnits' Alana Socks bought at The Loopy Ewe
Yarn: Creatively Dyed's Luxury Sock yarn in Campfire Embers (that might be the Loopy Ewe's name rather than Creatively Dyed's) bought at The Loopy Ewe

It took forever to find the right pattern for this yarn. It's so beautifully dyed that large areas of plain stockinette really show it off best. So I felt bad that I had knit so plain a sock but the yarn really glows in it. The photo I have of the socks does not do this yarn justice. This was my first hemmed cuff sock too so I learned a new trick from this swap as well. That's always fun.

And boy did I get spoiled (and I should have posted about this right away when it arrived but I had a bad month for having time for blogging there for a while) by Beth (Plexippa on Ravelry), my upstream partner!
So much goodness in that box! And see the little Loopys on the box side? So cute! I'm stunned by how perfectly she got everything I love. I mean, gift cards for coffee and ice cream? Perfect! The fan lollypop also perfect (although I ended up having to give it to my daughter - something I did mentally kicking and screaming I might add). And the other goodies were also so exactly what I'd have grabbed gleefully for myself if I had known they existed. Soak labels for hand knits (doh! I just realized I should have used one of those for a later project facepalm), and Green Tea scented Knitter's Hand Repair Soap (which my hands could use repairing and it's the loveliest scent but I've only just convinced myself I'm allowed to use it LOL) and the loveliest leaf bead stitch markers. Not to mention that gorgeous bump of Tempted Roving (Yummy! It's next on the big wheel) in my favorite colors and at 80/20 merino silk so lovely feeling! And the best for last, the most amazing mitts!

Look closer at those gorgeous mitts she knitted for me!

Anne Hanson's (Knitspot) Orchid Lace Mitts! A pattern I have been planning to knit for myself for ages. Knit in The Sanguine Gryphon's Eidos in Euthydemus (purple is like totally my favorite color like evah!) and a fantastic fit besides! I have been a big fan of both Anne's patterns and The Sanguine Gryphon's colors and yarns for a long time so I was overjoyed. Really I go all squee (and I'm really not a squee-er under normal circs) every time I see these mitts. I've had them sitting out so I can see them and pet them ever since they arrived. I finally had to put them away this week since we have a guest so I had to vacate my studio/office. They are so lovely and elegant I am going to have to lose some weight and buy a sexy little black dress to wear with these next fall when the FoUI and I go out on dinner dates.

More soon. There's still Black Sheep Gathering, more stealth knitting that doesn't need to be stealthy anymore, vacation that may yet lead to yet another new hobby, a new spinning wheel and more maybe moving madness to come. I said it was a busy last few weeks...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Whiskey Tango Wednesday redux

So the other day, I'm driving home from dropping the FoUI off where the car was finally done being repaired and I see this young man bicycling with a small pack of, one assumes, his friends. What attracted my notice was that while all of them were buzzing along on the busy busy street sans helmets, he actually owned one. He had it with its straps clipped around the strap of the backpack he was wearing so that it was hanging down just about under the outer half of his right butt cheek. The sight prompted a number of questions. First off, is that really where he keeps his brains? Why only in the right cheek? What are the odds that that particular section of his anatomy would actually be protected by the helmet anyway. I'm pretty sure it would have chosen to save itself and let his hiney take its chances. Does he really think his butt is his best feature? (Uh, dude, no. Trust me on this.) Wouldn't you want to protect your, say, face first?

On the other hand, these folks amused me no end. This is why Californians buy convertibles:
Yes, that is a couch in the back seat. I'm kinda curious how they got it back out again. That sort of thing is always easier to put in than take out. I hope they had friends helping.

Ok, back to the knitting. I finished some of the stealth knitting but no photos here until it arrives there. But I realized I have a FO you haven't seen yet. Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ComfyChair!

And this is the Comfy Chair not quite finished.
All that fabric on the outside of the arm had to be hand sewn in. That turns out to be much harder on my hands than knitting a pair of socks in three and a half days. Two arms and all of the back had to be done that way. Thank goodness that's over! Well, until I decide to do the rocker anyway.....

And while I can't show my stealth knitting until after she gets her package, here's the wrapped prezzies for my Loopy Ewe Swap downstream partner. I should have done a better job of styling this shot. All the colors grouped is so wrong. Oops.

Oh and there is one more thing. An archeological find:
That's the scary black shawl I mentioned two posts back. My very oldest non-frogged SWIP. Or was it an ILTLFP? Ah, listed as a SWIP but I don't know, there's a lot of knitting in that edging to have to take out and redo right...

I might actually work on that next fall and get it finished. It's much to hot for that in the summer around here though. Plus I need to psych myself up for that much ripping and reknitting.

Now I'm off to clear out the mess in my studio and get ready for classes at Black Sheep Gathering. I will try really hard to both remember my camera and remember to use it! Unless they won't let me. Oh dear, I wonder how I find out if they will?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Not Enough Chocolate In The World

There's not enough chocolate in the world to restore my equanimity after discovering that gauge has once again lied to me. The fickle rat-b@stard. When I started the Loopy Ewe swap socks, I checked gauge and chose needles that gave me gauge. I rechecked it after I finished the first set of toe increases and still it was good. I just checked it now (starting the second heel gusset) and it's so far off there is no way these socks will fit the recipient.


So, I guess, I will be starting a new pair of socks for the 52 Pair Plunge today after all. In a different yarn and a different pattern. One I've already done (the pattern anyway) and know to be nice and stretchy so hopefully I will be able to be wicked fast, and this pair will turn out to be the right size. Sigh. That rhythmic thumping you hear is me bashing my head against the wall.

Monday, May 26, 2008

SWIPs, WIPs, QUIPs and why there's no such thing as a UFO

I decided earlier in the week that it was past time to sort out some goals for my knitting time in the future. I have projects I want to finish, some I want to start, and some that I want to design. And I spend too much time thrashing about among them all. So, I decided to make myself a list. I do have a Ravelry Queue and a projects page there as well but that doesn't cover everything. Unfortunately.

One of the things it does kind of cover better for me is the sort of thing that other people call a UFO. I don't have UFOs. I only have WIPs that have been waiting years to see the light of day again. They might be hibernating. Which is just one of the many things I like about the project choices on Ravelry - somehow Hibernating doesn't sound as abandoned as UFO does it? But I don't have UFOs. I was going to say that I am incapable of giving up on a project but then I realized that socks may have actually taught me to do that. At least for socks. I have a pair I started that must be ripped back because as designed (by me which is why they don't work I am sure) they don't go on my foot at all. Tons of little cables without the necessary extra stitch count. Dumb huh? Of course, they haven't actually been ripped back yet. They will be once I figure out the gauge and can add the necessary stitches because I'm not giving up on the concept. So maybe I was right the first time and I really am incapable of giving up for good. That would explain a lot about my younger days.

I hope I am finally learning to cut my losses one tiny step at a time. I think knitting is trying to teach me that. I think I might be learning because a few months ago, I threw out the first pair of socks I had finished for myself. They weren't as comfortable as others I made later (duh - first pair of socks) and the color wasn't really all that me. I felt inordinately proud of myself for actually throwing them away instead of trying to keep them for sentimental or frugal reasons. Trust me, it was a big step for me.

And yet, I have yet to completely frog anything that I started with intention. Most of the things I started to play around with are also, as yet, unfrogged, but might be something I can bring myself to frog completely without necessarily starting right over again the same way only with fewer mistakes. If that makes sense.

So here, listed for the first time in all their glory (for length of list at least) to my embarrassment, are all my SWIPs (Sleeping Works In Progress), WIPs, QUIPs (Queued Up Impatiently Projects), and WWIPs (Wishful Works In Progress: The items that I know I want but I haven't actually got both yarn and pattern together for yet. Let alone time to knit.)


Meg Swanson's Spiral Shawl This one is waiting for me to find the strength to rip back the rest of the edging that was begun wrong and start over on the edging of a circular shawl with eighty bazillion stitches around. Moreover, one knit in black, somewhat scratchy, Icelandic singles. Now do you see what I mean about incapable of giving up?

Non-Cobblestone for the FoUI This project stalled when I decided I didn't actually like the way Cobblestone - the original intended knit would look on him. The FoUI is the wrong shape for all that garter. It would look weird. Moss might be alright there though. But now it's not a Cobblestone anymore and besides, I'm using different yarn and have to recalculate with the new gauge so it'll be a Sweater in 4 Parts (Meg Swanson's updated EZPS from Knitters in 1999/2000 which I've knit for him once already and fits him well) instead. Once I find all four issues of the magazine.

Patchouli Twists Socks These need to be measured and new stitch counts worked out and then frogged and reknit.

Chevron Scarf This needs to be recalculated for the different gauge of the yarns I want to use now that the fingering set is confirmed as not working.

Summer of Love lace anklets I had to stop working these in order to work on holiday gifts and haven't yet gotten back to them.

Mystery Stole 3 I was way behind and had started the first clue when I found out what the theme was and then I went off the yarn I had been using and while I think I have found the yarn and decided what to do about the very very asymmetrical pattern it has fallen far enough down the "I want it now" meter that it will be a while before I pick it up again I think.

Nona's Sidewinders Socks I really want to finish these but the dog chewed up the needles with the sock partly worked on it so I have a nasty job ahead of me cleaning up wise. Plus I tried to get too smart and tried to resize for a perfect fit so I really need to start over anyway. Without trying to be that clever. Probably I should just cut off the chewed up start and start over with fresh yarn. Maybe for Summer of Socks I will go back to this one.


Seely Socks for Seely But actually, while these are mentally on my needles, I haven't got squat done because I have to rip back the cuff I started and start over with the right number of stitches. Doh!

Loopy Swap Gift Part way done but I can't say anything about it just in case. But since otherwise this is going to be a picture empty post, here is a little peek that Superman got using his X-Ray vision (I think I am having way too much fun with photo booth):

Cuaranach I haven't worked on this in a while, but it is resting, not sleeping - yes, the distinction is a tad arbitrary. Basically it amounts to if I am crabby that I am not spending time knitting on it (resting) or not (sleeping).

Zazzlejeans I don't think I am going to make the KAL deadline of June 1 with this. Bummer.

Seely Socks Mark II for the FoUI Plain stockinette and not all that far along yet.

Puck's Mischief sportweight socks for me Same as above only not worked on in much longer.

Lucky Leaflings This is the March RSC sock kit and so far I have part of one leg done and that is all that I will get done until the deadline knitting gets finished up. Unfortunately I think the next kit will be here this week sometime.

QUIPs (not necessarily in priority order - partly because it is too hard to pin that down)

Fairy Tale Sock Club Sock Kit 1
Oriental Flower cardigan for the Remembrall
Irtfa'a Shawl
Reversai leftovers socks for the Remembrall
Sock Madness 2 round 4 socks
Sock Madness 2 round 5 socks
Sock Madness 2 round 5.5 socks
Sock Madness 2 round 6 socks
Sock Madness 2 round 7 socks (pattern not released yet)
Lenore (RSC Oct 2007 socks)
Sock Hop Aurora Borealis
Sock Hop High Bush Cranberry
Bramble scarf
Gust scarf
Gale stole
Arabian Nights stole
Star of Evening shawl

I think I am leaving lots of things out here. But I'm running out of juice

Monkey Socks
every other one of Cookie A's socks
Honeybee Stole
almost every other Knitspot pattern
the rest of my sock kits
several pink lemon twist patterns
several sivia harding patterns
icarus shawl
seraphim shawl
pretty as a peacock shawl
L's Christmas Present (my own design - interchangeable with Birthday whichever is done first)
L's Birthday Present (someone else's design - interchangeable with Christmas whichever is done first)
my shawl design for the other ceyeber fiber laceweight
my Firefly sock designs (one for each character)
Vintage socks in Pinot (once I get my courage up)

There's actually another set of projects. The "I've Lost That Loving Feeling" Projects only ILTLFPs looks too much like a rude noise. Appropriate in a way but also too long to type. So use the comments to suggest some better (shorter) names for those kits one buys or creates for oneself and then finds that the kitting it up seems to have drained the urge to actually make. The name I like best out of any suggestions ya'll might make will win the commenter a skein of yarny goodness.

Currently in the ILTLFPs bin (they don't always stay long, since when I see them again, or think about them again, I tend to remember why I liked something in the first place too often to actually destash them) are:

a color change capelet It'll be pretty but I started doubting if I was really a capelet sort of person.

the March Seasons of Change club kit The yarn color didn't look springy to me so I've not been as driven as I might have been otherwise.

the March Year of Lace club kit The yarn color was not me and there were issues with the yarn having an awful lot of knots. I do like the pattern so will get there eventually but maybe with a different yarn.

The spiral shawl may more properly belong here except that it is actually on the needles and this is a catchall for those that are not.

Whew, that is just pathetic. Too many lists and all of them too long. It's enough to give a gal a bad case of startitis in an effort to forget. If only I could finish or give up on stuff. Finishing is easier to fix, I just need to spend more time knitting. I have no idea how to correct my abysmal give-up record though. This complete inability to frog and move on means I have way too long of mental lists.

Although, now that I think about it, I have indeed frogged more than one thing for good sometime in the last couple of years. I frogged the socks I had started 7 or 8 years ago for a relative. I kept the yarn though and suspect I might try them again now that I am a bit more clever in the ways of sock knitting despite the fact they call for both corrugated ribbing and duplicate stitch or intarsia. I also frogged (and gave away the yarn for - woo hoo go me!) the socks I started as a sophmore in college for my then boyfriend. That was a large enough number of years ago that I am pretty embarrassed that I hadn't frogged them before then. My stubborn streak really is the width of the Mississippi isn't it?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's Too Darn Hot!

I'd like to knit on my cardi tonight
and turn the heel on my Leaflings tonight
I'd like to knit on my cardi tonight
and turn the heel on my Leaflings tonight
but I ain't up to my knittin' tonight
cause it's too darn hot
It's too darn hot
It's too darn hot

With profound apologies to Cole Porter who I adore, that pretty much sums up the last week in terms of knitting. Our daytime highs have been in the unseasonable 97-99 range and once or twice possibly even in the low 100's since indoors in my properly insulated studio it was 98 FPS. Sheri is rubbing off on me, FPS= For Pete's Sake for the confused.

So what have I done in the time span since my last post? Have I accomplished anything at all? Well, kinda. The Zazzlejeans got a bit further on. Just to the point where the next row is the one that splits the sleeves off. At which point it promptly stalled while I tried to work out the right thing to do for a couple of stealth-ish projects. No pictures since they won't look much different.

I got a little ways on my March RSC Leafling Socks while waiting for yarns to arrive.
I like this pattern. It looks cool and I learned a new increase off of it so I'm happy but these socks aren't going to get much further than this for a bit since I have to get the secret deadline knitting out of the way. And now that the yarns have arrived at last, I can get to the secret knitting. But, I can't talk about it. I have to be stealthy here. (And because I have a small child, I heard that last sentence in Thomas Hayden Church's voice.)

My three other major accomplishments of the last week are that I managed to clear my floor again in my studio, I have also - thus far - managed to avoid melting into a puddle of goo despite the unusually warm weather, and I have worked out what the two stealth projects need to be. Despite the hot weather which makes knitting even socks (or other small things) somewhat problematical. But, socks (or something) I must knit. I think it might be safe to show you the yarns.

One project is going to be using this yarn combo and I think it is safe to say the recipient isn't reading this blog so it's safe enough to show the yarns in full color and tell you they will be socks with stripes eventually.

The other will be (or maybe is - gotta keep 'em guessing just in case) using this yarn here which just in case that recipient is reading along, is grey-scaled so therefore tells you nothin' right?

Our weather is supposed to return to normal in a couple of days so I hope to have something done on all three of my current high priority deadline projects to show off mid-week next week. Maybe. If it ever cools down.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Binge Weekend

Ha bet that got ya wondering. It sure has taken me a long time to recover from this last weekend. Much fun was had.

Sat May 3rd I went to the Maker Faire in San Mateo and finally got to hear Stephanie Pearl-McPhee speak. Proof:
I think my favorite bit (after the knitters aren't patient people, knitting creates an artificial patience zone around them bit) was when she enacted the "what do they expect" reaction of a sock knitter to being told one can buy them for a dollar a pair. If I thought I was a tenth the actress I would so totally do that if someone ever said that to me. Oddly, they don't. Possibly I look armed and dangerous?

Somehow I managed to completely miss that there was yarn to buy at the Maker Faire. Can you even imagine how dumb I feel about that?

Sunday May 4th I drove up to Sacramento to spend the day at the CNCH market. I didn't make it to the galleries because as usual I was having too much fun at the market. Next year I really do have to have my act together enough to attend the full conference. Since I didn't know there was yarn to buy at the Maker Faire I let myself go a bit wilder at CNCH than I otherwise might have.

Some of my goodies from shopping the CNCH market this year. Clockwise from upper left.

Tactile Fiber Arts bag.
Polworth roving from Rovings in Canada a lovely silver grey. Unfortunately I don't get to keep the whole bag. I have to split it with my friend.
Polworth/silk 80/20 fingering yarn (800+ yards of it!) also from Rovings with which I am going to make myself a lovely lovely shawl someday (soon I hope).
A book full of cool charted motifs. I haven't done color-work but I was incapable of resisting the title.
A Kumihimo plate which I will share with my daughter if we are both good.
Tactile Fiber Arts Carbonized Bamboo roving - who could resist?
Tactile Fiber Arts Merino/Bamboo/Nylon blend Sock yarn

I may have gotten a little more spinning fiber and another book or two and maybe another skein or so of yarn, but I'm taking the fifth on that for now. Brooke of Tactile Fiber Arts also let me try out the little Victoria wheel they had in the booth and I'm sorely tempted. It looks like it might almost fold up small enough to be carry on luggage. One could spin on the plane. (swoons with delight - imagine the reactions) I wouldn't really care if they told me I had to put my knitting away so that my needles didn't accidentally fly out of my hands and impale someone if I could pull out the wheel instead. (Trust me, if someone is impaled with one of my needles it's unlikely to be an accident. But just try to take my artificial patience generator (or my chocolate) away and see what happens.)

And in addition to all the loveliness (admitted and stealth) I also ended up with this:
Tactile Fiber Arts naturally dyed Merino/Tencel roving

I gave Yarnivorous (a fellow Ravelry member with a great blog title/rav-name) a ride up to CNCH and was rewarded all out of proportion. After all, the car was going whether she was in it or not. But as I dropped her off at the end of the day she gave me this lovely Tactile Fiber Arts merino/tencel roving and since I hate that thing where you stand there for 20 minutes, one of you pressing something on the other one, and the other demurring, I gave in after a couple of attempts at dissuading her from rewarding me so out of proportion to what I had done. I still feel guilty about it though. So I haven't given up hope yet of evening the scales eventually. She got a gorgeous gorgeous fleece there which I hope she'll blog about soon. She gave me quite a nice sample of it too and really that would have been more than ample reward for driving. It might just be the closest I've seen to my ideal for my fantasy sweater project. Which I'm not ready to buy yet but having a sample that is close will help immensely when I am ready to buy.

Oh, and lest ye think it is all buy and no use here (and you could be forgiven for thinking so) here's the latest bit of the Zazzlejeans cardigan.
Uh, I started playing with the toys in my new iPhoto. I'm so easy to amuse...

No, it's not a puff sleeve, I was just too lazy to figure out how to smooth it to look nice all by my lonesome since my first try knocked three stitches off the needle.

Oh yeah, and I finally finished the Slippin' Slidin' socks from round three of Sock Madness 2.
Those are my feet but they also fit the Remembrall so she's already wheedled them out of me. On the plus side she should be able to wear them for a while since our feet are not much more than an inch apart in length. (She's 9 should I worry that I'll be knitting socks for skis by the time she's a teenager or is that normal?) They are very stretchy socks and very nice in that yarn so I am going to have to make myself another pair.

I signed up for the 52 pair plunge (also the summer of socks and who knows what) after looking, really looking at the size of my sock yarn stash. Plus, you know, I want the socks durn it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Whiskey Tango Wednesday*

The other day the FoUI and I had to run out to the grocery at the last minute because we were out of milk (this is a tragedy of epic proportions around here) we arrived less than a half hour before closing and the parking lot was pretty near empty so we parked in the spot closest to the doors and headed in. When we came out again (with our milk, and naturally some chocolate) there was a car stopped in the middle of the parking lot aisle. We crossed as fast as we could but the car just sat there. The FoUI said, "he's vultching** our spot." And idea which I pooh poohed. But chalk one up to my DH because once we had pulled out of the spot and gotten out of the way the other car did indeed park in the spot we had come out of. The lot was nearly empty, people, not a single other car in the whole aisle, left or right. Nor one in the next aisle either.

That little "whiskey tango" moment, courtesy of the driver that had to have the exactly perfect spot and only the exactly perfect spot, got me thinking about my own whiskey tango behaviour vis-a-vis perfection. To avoid going on too long here I'll limit it to my behaviour as regards knitting. I have a lot of yarns I haven't knit up because I feel a need to use the "exact perfect" pattern for them. Likewise I have a lot of patterns for garments I'd like to have but I'm either still hunting for the "exact perfect" yarn or I am waiting for my physique to become the "exact perfect" one for the pattern. That last is hopeless so you'd think I'd stop thinking like that but I still catch myself thinking "when I've lost weight" or "when I'm in better shape".

Whiskey tango? It's knitting! If I don't like the way a pattern is fitting/knitting up/looking in that yarn, I can just rip it back out. It's not paint or ink where I've used it and I can't pull it back off the paper/canvas. It's not even like fabric where once I've cut the pieces I can only make something I can get out of the smaller sizes of fabric I now have. Unless I've steeked (or am using frog-resistant yarn) I have great long swaths of raw material easily reclaimed for another go.

So all that time I've spent looking for the exact right yarn for a project (cough Mystic Light cough) or the exact right pattern for a yarn (cough pretty near all my sock yarns cough) is time I could have been knitting, and yeah maybe sometimes ripping the project. But since it's fairly likely that through the law of averages, if nothing else, I'd have eventually managed to knit something that was a keeper on the first go, that means I'd have more knitted items to wear if I just jumped into the deep end instead of doing this toe-tip-dip dance I've been doing.

What's funny is that I often do jump into the deep end. Even in crafts. But in more theoretical ways perhaps. I'll decide I'm going to try something and off I'll go diving into the middle of whatever it is.

I need to embrace the experiential. So, May will be about doing a possible option without worrying about finding the perfect option. Maybe I'll get more knitting done.

I'm between computers at the moment (minor drama involving the laptop acting like it was gonna croak has at last gotten me going on moving everything over to the new iMac but it's slow going) so no photos today but I do have a FO or two to show you next time. Which I hope will be sooner rather than later.

*I don't suppose it will be every Wednesday but on a semi-regular basis I think Wednesdays will be for "what was I/she/he/it thinking?" posts.

** I don't really have to explain "vultching" do I?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And I'm out...

Well, I came close but I'm out of the competition now for Sock Madness2. As of the time the 12th place finisher in my division posted their photo I was not quite to here:
Missed it by that much!

(Please excuse the ugly toes - I usually wear socks well into May so don't need to worry about pedicures. Maybe I should get one... For sure before I do any more partial sock photos.)

The FoUI* and I have already had our post-mortem and have a better plan of attack for next year. In the mean time I now get to knit the rest of these socks, and the future patterns in a much more leisurely way. I've had a lot of fun competing but I think really, I'm at least as much relieved as disappointed if not more so. I know the FoUI is more disappointed than I am which is super sweet of him.

I'm off to chill out for a bit now. I'll be back with other knitting in a couple of days.

*The Fount of Useless Information aka my DH. Also known by the longer name "The FoUIaaP" (The Fount of Useless Information and also Puns) at times. He really does know all sort of random, generally useless, info. It comes in handy every now and again though. The puns, not so much...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blogging Dragnet Style

Quick, "just the facts, Ma'am" update:

I'm still, still knitting socks. I got the flu from the kid who got it from her piano teacher. I got over the flu just in time.

I finished the Reversai in time to make it into Round 3 of Sock Madness.
Gave them to my Mom (that's her in the photo - well her feet).

Round three is a fantastic sock knit in two strands of laceweight and if/when the pattern becomes available I highly recommend it. These are gonna be seriously comfy socks.
I've done the heel turn on both socks but I don't have time to take another photo. I don't have time to do this post even but I'm way over due for one.

Ok, Gotta get back to knitting now. Catch ya later!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Still Madly Knitting Socks

Round 2's pattern came out yesterday so I've been madly knitting socks while trying not to succumb to the stomach flu that my daughter had last week (over spring break - how unfair is that? poor little Remembrall).

It's a clever completely reversible sock so I suspect strongly I'll be making it again in a size that will fit me rather than my mum.

Progress only at this point. But my competitive streak means I won't be blogging or blog reading for that matter until they are done or I'm out.

This is a very stretchy sock.

the sock on me (size 7.5 wide at the front narrow at the heel try finding that in a shoe)

the sock on the FoUI (6'2" nearly 200lbs size 11 1/2 feet although admittedly, narrow)

Other activity in the interim is either stealth knitting or boring so I'll not subject you to it. Besides, I've got to get back to knitting. There were people who finished in just over 15 hours clock time!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Sign of the Coming Apocalypse?

I finished my socks for the first round of Sock Madness 2 Sunday night at just before 10pm. And in sign either of the coming destruction or that I really should just concentrate better, I finished in time to move on to the next round in Sock Madness 2 and in the first half of the pack to boot. This puzzles me no end when I think how long it has taken me to knit other socks. But on the other hand if I can keep it up, maybe it really is possible to knit through my existing fingering weight sock stash before I die.

Here's my socks:
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in Smoky Blue overdyed with red
Pattern: Zombie Socks by Sheryl Giles
Clock time to finish: approx 84 hours
Actual knitting time rough estimate: not more than 40 hours - not sure though, I forgot to time it. Doh!

I started with some Socks That Rock lightweight in Smoky Blue earmarked as a possible for the "moody" sock.
But then a couple of days before the pattern was released we got some more clues. "Scary", "Michael Jackson's Thriller", and something about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, something like that Faith might wear them but Buffy - not so much.

So I decided to try overdying the yarn with red to get the deep dark purple of the scary night from the red on the blues and the various reds of drying blood from the red on the cream to browns. I suspect I just didn't use enough dye because while it looked good in the skein...
And the cake...

In the socks it's a bit pink in places - especially where it pools. But looks very very nice in others.

I may overdye it again to see if I can get closer to my original vision. But for now I have some super comfy socks. I highly recommend this pattern if/when it becomes available to the general public. It's pretty easy to knit but with the dropped stitches it is fun and interesting.

I'd still be knitting and unlikely to be far enough along to move on to round two if it hadn't been for the FoUI's enthusiastic support. He helped out with all the round the house stuff and the child wrangling so I had more time to knit.

One needs to be careful what one jokes about around here, though. A couple of days before the competition started I made a joke at dinner that the only way I'd manage to move up from the first round to the second would be if I didn't even waste time on eating or drinking. But that I'd die without water so I'd need one of those beer hats to hold cups of water. The FoUI pointed out that I'd knit faster on coffee and joked that he'd even sacrifice by refilling coffee mugs (he's very anti-coffee) but I was still surprised (and amused & touched) by how far he took the joke. A box arrived at the house just in time for the leg of the first sock...
I have the best husband in this world and any other with intelligent life.

Part way along I must have pinched a nerve somewhere because my right hand went numb sometime Saturday and it's still doing more tingling than feeling normal. I'll have to do something about that if it doesn't stop soon. Next year I must remember to get into training sooner.

In the middle of the Madness I got the most awesome package from sweet sweet April at The Weaving Inn. I'd won a contest on her blog and just look at all the lovelies she sent me.

Thank you so very very much April and I'm so sorry that I didn't blog this right away. I was certain that if I did anything but knit straight through I'd never make it into the next round so I didn't even let myself do blog reading or writing for fear of "missing by that much". I adore the little stitch marker holder and the only way I'm gonna get to hold onto it and the cute Ladybugs tape measure (which matches very nicely with the Knitter's bag I got at Stitches West this year) is by letting my daughter have the adorable little Bella doll. She ain't gettin' that yarn though. Grrrr. Mine. Grrrr. If you're reading this and you haven't seen April's blog run right over. She's great fun to read. And a super nice person as well.

Now that I'm waiting for round two I have started the FoUI's well deserved next pair of socks. Plain stockinette in Yarn Nerd 1200MHz BFL in Tour de France.
If that's not loud enough for him I may have to start searching for indie dyers who dye yarn you can see from space.

I'm also starting a third swatch for the Zazzlejeans cardi. If the size 8 Harmony Options don't get me gauge I'll break down and do the math for which ever needle I like the fabric best off of.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It is official - I am insane

I can't keep up with my knitting queue already. So why I would do this is clearly something I ought to be working through with a trained professional. But do it I did. I signed up for...
Yup, I'm going to be competitively knitting socks. Go ahead and laugh. I'll wait. I know it'll take a while. It does when I think about it too.

Got your breath back? Good. So anyway, I'm not quite halfway to ready for the starting gun and the first pattern comes out on the 13th. I may already be in trouble. I picked yarns. Lots of yarns. And I wound them into cakes. So now I've got single cakes (for the most part - except for the Claudia's and the laceweights - yup laceweight for socks - I told you I was insane, although in fairness to me I didn't learn about the laceweight until after I'd signed up but not one to back away from a challenge I got some).
Lots of cakes. But I need to split the cakes into even halves so I can knit both socks at once if I so choose. But I want to keep them joined so that in case I end up not using a yarn for Sock Madness and decide it wants to be a scarf I don't have to rejoin the yarn. So I have this clever plan to rewind the cakes into a pair of cakes. Wind half from the inside and then the other half from the outside. The drawback of course, is that for at least some yarns, if not all, I will end up with fraternal twins because the color changes of the variegates will be reversed. But realistically speaking, this is unlikely to be a serious issue since I'm unlikely to make it much past the first cut if that far. And at that point, though I'll keep knitting along for the fun I won't be racing so much that I can't cut and rewind the second half in the same direction as the first once I see that I like the yarn in the pattern.

Somewhere in here I need to swatch too so I know what needles with what yarns produce which of the desireable gauges. This morning the FoUI (my DH for those confused by the acronym - known around here as the Font of Useless Information because, well he is) even asked me if I had started swatching yet. In the same tone of voice he uses to ask the child if she's done her homework yet.

In preparation, in addition to getting yarns ready, I thought I should also work on getting some stuff done. After all I'm gonna need the needles for one thing. So I finished the Rockin' Sock Club January Socks.
Pattern: Serendipity by Adrienne Fong
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight in Dragon Dance
Mods: I swapped the lace pattern (started on row 15 of the chart instead of row 1) and the direction of the decreases for the toe so that the socks would mirror each other. Otherwise I knit to the pattern.
Notes: The heel and toe as written do not fit my particular, somewhat duck-shaped, foot well. When I reknit this pattern, and I will because it was fairly easy and seems to play nice with colorful STR yarn, I will do the heel over fewer stitches and also leave fewer stitches unknit in the center. I will also switch to a wedge toe since that seems to fit my feet better.

I am pleased by the way the socks turned out (other than the fit issues which are easily solved) since I seem to have even managed to match the striping in some spots anyway.

This nice bright red/red-orange is a great color for Project Spectrum 3's current focus on the element of Fire. But it's not really my color. I didn't really warm to the color in the skein. (Pun not intended.) Once I wound it into the cake I liked it a lot better but now that they are knit up I find I like it less than I did in the cake, although more than I did in the skein. This has made me think a bit about how to use this knowledge to pick yarns in the future.

I'm not a big fan of reds in general unless they are blue-ish ones so while I can see the colors as beautiful in the objective sense, these socks are going to be a gift. I believe I even have a friend for whom they would be a good fit in the places they don't fit me too well. So I think I shall have to come up with a reason to gift them to her. How about because it's Friday? Or Wednesday or whatever day I can manage to get together with her.

I've got another red sock yarn that I want to knit up that will be a Project Spectrum 3 Fire project that I'll keep. This red is bluer - more my thing. Plus the pattern has beads which my magpie soul is all over. The only trick will be finding the time to get it knit up within the period of time PS3 is focussing on Fire. I've only got until the end of March and between Sock Madness and all my other projects I'm not sure I can fit it in.

Because, not only did I sign up for Sock Madness after signing up for the Rockin' Sock Club, I also joined the Dream In Color Sweater KAL that Sheri (of Loopy Ewe fame) started up. I've done my swatch. Tomorrow I will wash it and make sure that I have the right needle size. Then I have to knit up my Mr. Greenjeans sweater before the end of May. Preferably sooner since, living as I do in sunny California, by May I shouldn't need a sweater too often.

I also appear to have managed to sign up for two different lace subscriptions. Wildly spending the holiday/birthday gift money while thinking they were the same subscription and that I hadn't actually signed up is probably how I managed to sign up for two. I find it hard to believe that even I could have been so deluded about my knitting speed that I'd have thought two was a wise idea.

However it happened, one of them arrived today. I was briefly confused until I worked out that I had in fact doubled down on lace this year. It's lovely, a pattern by Miriam Felton and a gorgeous green laceweight from Wooly Wonka, but I think maybe I should try to finish Cluaranach before starting any more lace projects. Then there's the next pair of Seely Socks for the FoUI. Who totally deserves them considering how supportive he's being over the whole Sock Madness thing. Not to mention the whole more yarn coming in than knitted things being produced thing.

And that's only the tippy tip of the iceberg. Next time I may post the huge long list of WIPs and queued things that I wish were WIPs - or even better FOs - and the designs my brain seems bent on designing itself, and so on that are why I'm feeling such ravening desire to knit and to have finished knits. At least if I post it I won't have to devote precious brain resources to remembering it since I can look it up here. Maybe then I'll be able to remember that I've got lots of projects to do, not to mention that I'm already in enough yarn clubs and KALs for the moment, and not be tempted by yet another.

Yeah, right, this is me. Like Lord Darlington, "I can resist everything except temptation."

Monday, February 25, 2008

I went to Stitches and all I got was...

... a huge yarn and fiber haul and several new knitting techniques. This is a pretty pathetic post considering the time since my last one. But I haven't much energy still.

I finally got a chance to see in person the Handmaiden/Fleece Artist sweater kits and got an Imogen in pretty colors from the Beehive Wool Shop's booth.
And a unique and beautiful shawl pin to close it with (in 2019 when I finally get it finished).

I also got the new Cookie A sock patterns from the Full Thread Ahead booth. Some Stitch Diva sweater top patterns from their booth and some Fiber Fiend sock patterns from their booth. And the pattern for a cardigan I'm considering making from Purlescence. I'd need to clone myself several times over (losing weight each time) to be able to make and look good in all the sweaters/tops but I don't care. Hope springs eternal. Especially with Denial holding the watering can.

And a lot of fun fibers and yarns from the booth that Tactile Fiber Arts and A Verb For Keeping Warm shared.
Which was one of the coziest most inviting booths despite how small it was. And I wish I had a photo for you but I remembered a sign about no photography from last year so didn't even take my camera. Dumb in the long run since I could have used it outside and in the classes. Doh!

Oh and, naturally, a little Ravelry swag...

I took Debbie New's class on Cellular Automaton knitting and once I get my brain to wrap around that properly I intend to play with that big time. I really enjoyed that class. It was well taught and her examples were amazing. Here's a photo of my sampler. I'm pretty a pretty slow knitter, especially when I am trying to learn something so it's pretty small. I'll play around with it a bit and post more someday.

I also took Ruth Lantz's Cast-Ons class (Fancier Beginnings iirc) and I really recommend it. That's the second class I've taken from her and I really recommend her in general. She's a great teacher for techniques. If they do her Cast-Offs class next time I'm totally signing up. These are even less easy to see from the photo but I really did learn a lot.

And as if it weren't enough that I did Stitches, I decided to join in on the Loopy Ewe's Dream In Color Cardigan Knit-A-Long so I ordered 6 skeins of Lunar Zazzle Classy to make Mr. Greenjeans out of. I'm going to start swatching tomorrow for Zazzlejeans. My lungs are still too wimpy for me to stay up late enough to start tonight.
This photo is really just here for a fellow KAL participant who is curious about the color.

Oh, and if you're local to the SF/SJ Bay Area and a spinner, my guild is hosting a two day Comprehensive Spinning workshop with Stephanie Gaustad mid-April. If you are interested, shoot me an email or comment with your address and I'll get you the info.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

So far behind I've been lapped three or four times

I've got to apologize for being so far behind on my comment replies. I will be working on them this week after a short trip Monday/Tuesday. I've had off and on cold/sinus/lung stuff going on the last month and I've been self-indulgent and choosing working on knitting over replying to everyone's lovely thoughtful comments. I do appreciate them and I will be replying next week.

In the mean time, there's a couple of things before we get to knitting content. I still haven't heard from fuzzbutt so I have decided that it is time to give Turtle the first choice of the two prizes and choose a new second winner. If fuzzbutt turns up later on I am sure I can find something around here (pauses to take in the complete disaster her knitting area has become) somewhere to make up to him/her not waiting any longer.

So, I've already asked Turtle to choose which she'd like. And gotten a third random number from the online integer generator. The new winner for the other prize is edina. I have already e-mailed her to let her know. Thanks again to all of you for giving me so many great ideas to try for finding more knitting time.

I've had a lot more knitting time since I've been lazing about in an attempt to stop feeling like I am suffocating. Of course the periodic naps have cut into it a bit so there's not as much to show for it as I'd like.

I did manage to get my Cluaranach knit back to where I had it before I had to rip back and I think a couple of rows further on.

I also managed to finish the Barbie Dress at last.
While working on it I had a little epiphany about casting off circular knitting. I realized that by using a darning needle to draw the yarn on the path I could make the end just about invisible. When I do them normally, no matter what I do I end up having to futz it a bit to "hide" the end but it doesn't usually work to well. I started with one stitch left to knit on the cast off line. I've got some photos of how I first did it but it didn't come out quite right because I went the wrong way through one of the stitches at the end. I redid it and it looks pretty good now.

I'll try to get some how-to photos up soon in easier to see yarn so I can remember how I did it next time I'm doing a circular cast off that I want to have look as pretty as possible.

Lastly, I finished the first of my January Rockin' Sock Club socks in the Serendipity pattern in the Dragon Dance yarn.
It wasn't really easy to see until I was finished but the heel is about 2 rows too deep for my foot as well as too wide at the bottom.
The too wide is what makes the little pokey ears. I'm not sure if it would do that over fewer stitches but the same row count, but even with my high instep there is enough extra material there that I can take out a couple of rows just fine. So when I knit this pattern again I will do the heel with only 7 unwrapped stitches in the middle and also over 2 fewer wrapped stitches. I also won't use the star toe because it doesn't fit my toes too well. There's a ton of extra sock over my small toes and my big toe feels crowded.

Fortunately I think it will fit the person I decided to gift these socks to pretty well. So I started the second sock. When I get to the lace pattern section I'm going to start half way up so that the socks mirror each other. Same with the toe, I'll do it with ssk instead of k2tog when I get to it. We'll see if these "clever ideas" look like they'll work out once I start working the lace pattern.