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."