Saturday, April 29, 2006

One Done!

Cast off the first sock! Here it is on the model:

Not just a little big, this sock will fit my son when he's learning to drive! He looked at the sock and then at me and said "Mom, that's not my sock". I assured him it was, but he recognized the size issue and thought they were someone else's. Then, to play to the crowd, he offered "But they'd make great sliding socks!" (as in running through the house and sliding across the floor). Thanks buddy!

Here my little imp works on his scarf (which will also be ready about the time he's driving!).

I'm going to go ahead and crank out the second one, so this sock will have a mate. They do seem to fit me, so maybe I can "borrow" them for this fall? If no one's sliding in them, of course.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fear of Needles

I'm ready to start planning my next sock project. Time to try Magic Loop!

Since I have to mail order the small 40" circulars that I'll need, I want to get the right size needle the first time. I attempting the Magic Loop Winter Sock so I can follow the booklet's plan with the least possible variance. It calls for worsted weight (!) yarn and a size 5 (or - everybody join along! - WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE GAUGE!). They're getting 6 st/in. in the rib pattern they use, so I broke out the dpns to make a test swatch in the round. The tricky part is the only worsted weight I have now is Cascade 220. Galway by Plymouth through Patternworks looks like a candidate (anyone use this before?), but I want to get the needles (10% off through the 29th!) at the same time as the yarn - thus the Cascade. Hope it's close in weight or I am going to miss the mark entirely. A 3 was too big, and I'm working on a 2 now. Wish me luck!

I'm going to join Suzanne in a little mini KAL for Magic Loop. Anyone want to join along? By join, I mean drive-the-train-because-I'm-heading-for-a-cliff, but hey, maybe it'll be fun!

Sew I Knit?

I missed joining this group last month, but made a skirt anyway. You should be SO glad that I didn't get any pictures of that little monstrosity!

So this month, the theme is bags. Unfortunately (or not), it's also use what you have month. My idea was to make a little bag for walking and knitting socks. Something light and airy. Well, what else was I going to use, but window screening (a.k.a. the miracle-fabric-of-the-future)?! I have a roll from a Nak-Nak/bug-catching bag for the kids. Great stuff!

The bug caught me after dinner last night, so the pictures are a little dark, but here's what I did:
I got out my scrapbooking supplies (yea for Creative Memories!) to cut a quick, perfect circle. I even used the mat and blade (medium circle with blue blade on the outside for those of you cutting along at home!).

I then measured out a rectangle that was as wide as the circle's circumference and as tall as I wanted to bag to be:

I then sewed the bottom circle to the rectangle's width - overlapping the side seam slightly. I then sewed up the side seam. I used fun rainbow thread on my first attempt, but used just solid red later. I pinned bias trim that I already had around the top to finish the edge and make a pocket for the elastic cording I wanted to use for a drawstring top:

I then realized that I didn't know if I had a safety pin small enough for my casing. Eureka! I still had my safety pins left over from my quilting days (in a Hershey's Cocoa box - safe and delicious smelling!) so I rooted through the stash looking for a tiny one. The only thing more fun than coaxing elastic through a casing is sorting through this barrel of monkeys:

I dodged that bullet! So it was onward to attaching the little-barrel-shaped-thing-that-is-on-the-end-of-strings-you-don't-want-sucked-back-into-your-jacket. Then I realized that it was too big and a little too use-what-you-have-month looking. I reworked my "design" and came up with this:

Maybe a fun friend would like this? (special note to sadly-blogless friends who knit and walk: you can custom order yours!) There's even a pocket to stash extra bamboo dpns to replace broken ones! And a label - because now we've been told how important a label can be!

Now that I got that out of my system - I need to go knit!

You Say Pot-tay-toe, I say Po-tah-toe!

The first peony appeared yesterday!

There seem to be two pronunciations: pee-OH-knee and PEE-ah-knee. The first reminds me of the older gentleman who gifted these to me many years ago. He had tens upon tens of plants lined up in long rows. An extremely competent, utilitarian gardener. Very much the kind, country kind of guy. I'm more of the pretty plant grower variety, and pronounce this favorite flower Pee-ah-knee. I wish I knew people who said it the first way - I miss hearing it.

The pinks are lying in wait to explode soon!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sock Fitting

OK - after my last post, I felt so anxious about the fit, I tried the sock on my son. Not as bad as I thought!

Just because my foot is in a photo shoot, I don't have to stop reading!

I thought that this picutre was a great example of exaggerated perspective. His foot looks gigantic!! Especially with the sock!

Robo Sapien prepares to defend his master against Crazy Mama with Camera.

The verdict: It is a little long, but I hopefully that will come in handy when the model foot keeps growing this summer. I even tried them on - rather snug around my foot, so the circumference is perfect for him. So onward I knit - so the boy won't have to wear anklets.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday Fun

After yesterday's gloomy, rain soaked day, I was still in hunker down mode this morning. I really wanted to get a cup of coffee and knit. But not on the sock - more later. So I dragged out my ArtYarns tutorials to try some directional knitting. Fun! Here's Tutorial One Part One, a right triangle:

And here is the rest of the square, Tutorial Two:

I wanted to give these a try so I could tell if I could do a multi-directional scarf for my daughter with her fun Kool Aid yarn. I think I can do it now.

The sock is a different story. I am dreading knitting on it. I am positive it is too big for anyone, maybe even me. So sure am I, that I don't even want to try it on. But I know I must. So here it is in it's largeness, before my son's foot gives a good stretch. Although, on this sock, that would not be a good thing.

I'm still loving the yarn, so it wouldn't be horrible to redo this. Just not my idea of fun, you know?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Heel Today, Gone Tomorrow

This poor sock! I feel so sorry that I cannot make it the sock it needs to be, but I'm still trying!

I started the short row heel yesterday, amidst a jellybean sugar drop. I think that I made the decreasing rows correctly - sort of. Here is the sock with all of its little purple stitch makers:

I do like the stripe in the heel - great colors. And do you see the darkers "spots" on the sole? I thought I had dripped my water on my knitting, but realized it was little mini-pooling. Mini-pooling=drips, right?

But then I started the increasing rows. Ack! When they were done - I realized that I was so intent on the first two lines of instructions, I never made it to the next two rows that were the ones to repeat. I wound up with holes along the wrapped stitches that I could have lived with, but they were just so big and ugly. So I popped off all the heel stitches and redid the decreasing rows last night. I'm ready to try the increasing again - this time I'll read all of the instructions.

Purple Parade

Our first iris of the year burst into bloom this morning and joins the newly blossoming lilacs in the purple parade in our backyard.

If April showers bring May flowers, I can't wait to see next month!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Foliage Update

The Foliage Sock is off and running. The directions tell me to continue the pattern until I hit the ankle bone, and I was just about there in this photo. Now it's time to start the short row heel!

"Simple" Stripes

One good thing about not buying new stuff, it keeps you focused on finishing works already underway. I started this sweater (Last Minute Stripes Pullover with Knit Picks' Simple Stripes "Sweet Tart") eons ago and got to the front shoulder and thought there was a pattern problem. Luckily, Lou at knit night was making the same one and solved my dilemma. She also gave me some of the best advice: "Trust your knitting!". So I did and cranked out the back and the two sleeves. Here it is in its pre-blocked form:

And here it is all blocked and assembled. Boy howdy, I will NEVER knit this one again. #1 needles, scratchy yarn, something freaky I did that made the sleeves too big for the arm holes, ripply edging (I trusted the pattern when it did not call to change needles sizes), gorilla arms, and just general fussiness made this one a non-fun knit. Was it me, the pattern, the yarn, or all of the above?! Glad it's over! Despite all the grumbling, I do like the little sweater and the stripes.

The three-needle bind off shoulder is really cute and fun to do. I purposely mismatched the little buttons so the mom of the recipient could easily pop on another one if it falls off (while the baby's not wearing it, of course!).

I even added another little one beside the label, too.

It's supposed to be a 9 mo. size, so I put a 6 and 12 mo. size label in it to remind the mama to check for fit early and often!

Now, we just need a baby! Hopefully she'll be here next month and off the little sweater will go.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Strike Two

I started a new sock for my son using Sensational Knitted Socks. Still using the Knit Picks Sock Landscape in New England Foliage (by the way - has anyone else noticed - is Knit Picks getting ready to revamp their sock yarn - colors and lines are disappearing - or maybe I misspelled my search words!). A #1 dpn seems to give me a good fabric (and I can't face the thought of #0 dpns for this project!!). My goal was to learn a toe-up method that looked good (sorry, but the Wendy tutorial looked a little Frankenstein to me) . I had tough time picking a size - he's about a kid's size 2. As thorough as this book is, it has a big gap of missing sizes - it takes you up to a 13 child and then nothing until a size 5 women's (which is a size 3 boys). Since his socks look a lot like mine in the laundry, I' m making him the smallest women's pair and planning to make it a bit shorter.

I started with the Five Stitch Pattern (the easiest toe-up pattern) with a Laburnum pattern on the instep. I measured my gauge at 6 1/2 sts per inch with a 7 1/2" foot circ and cast on 50 stitches. Here is the first little rectangle you make to start the Easy Toe (the yellow yarn is the provisional cast-on edge).

The next step is to put the cast on stitches on another needle and start knitting in the round, picking up four stitches on each end. After increases, you get this very cute little nose:

It really looked nice, so I started the Laburnum pattern. Really like the look and the repetition of this pattern. After a couple of repeats, I tried it on the target foot:

Strike two! As in "too" small - again! It did fit little sister, but this is Little Man's sock yarn choice. So I went back to the drawing boards. Before ripping, I checked my gauge again to see how close I was knitting to my swatch. Wow! THAT's the problem! I had 7 1/2 to 8 sts per inch - not 6 1/2 (or even close!). According to the chart, this means that I needed a 60 c.o. so I pulled out the cute little toe and started again. Confesssion: I was not at all unhappy because I wanted to try that cool Easy Toe again. I'm happy to report: just as much fun the second time around!

So Laburnum is back cranking along. It's present configuration even made a field trip to the Palm Sunday service petting area event:

Here, the sock recipient is posing with a relative of the maker of the yarn. My son's such a good sport! The sheep was a little cranky after being pawed by small fry all morning, and I couldn't get too crazy with the sock shot as this was in front of my church and who would believe I was trying to take a cool sock picture on a sheep (?) for the Internet (??) so people could see (???), so my little man stepped up and posed beside Cranky the Sheep with Hopeless the Sock.

The latest fitting seemed a little roomy, so I might make the socks a little long in hopes that they'll fit perfectly this winter. They also seem to fit my foot, too, so I know what my magic cast on number will be. And as "clear" as this is now, when I start mine far in the future, I'll be happy to remember which book I used. Glad blogging is keeping me straight!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Piece Work

This week has been a whirlwind of home improvement work (prepping, supervising, cleaning up), so I have left knitting alone. I think there might have been two 24-hour periods this week where no yarn was worked. Ack!

I did manage to work up my block for Second Saturday at Quilter's Corner's (in Sycamore Square in Midlothian, Virginia). They are having a block-a-month activity where you get the next month's block fabric and pattern for free on the second Saturday of each month - but only if you completed the previous month's block. There was a slight sign up cost, but all the fabric, patterns, and Thangles are included. I wanted to do a little quilting on a regular basis, but without increasing the stuff in my house and this looked like fun. This block took about an hour to complete. I signed up for the "Bright" color group and I get a chuckle every month when I get my packet with my name and the word "Bright" underneath it.

My mom would be proud. Good thing that I didn't sign up for the "Dull" color group!

The block is photographed on the new bathroom floor. That's my other piece work project. Floor: check. Vanity: check. Sink: No go! I was hoping for a finished shot soon, but the plumber had issues today, including releasing a geyser of hot water all over the bathroom. Now there is a fun leak downstairs over my head as I type. I don't know if our bathroom will ever get pieced back together.

I think I'm going to go find my knitting!

Monday, April 03, 2006

MagKnits is Up

Just to let you know - MagKnits has their new edition on line. Very hit or miss, I think. Thought the girl version of Zombies Need Not Apply is hilarious (since we have a bow-head at our house). And the photography of Drift is just dreamy, but you'd need to be snowed in to think that many cables would be much fun. One of those projects that is beautiful - only when you're finished! What so you think? Are you planning to make anything from this edition?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Use What You Have

On the heels of my stunning lack-of-stash flash, I discovered that simple sparrow is leading the charge for Use What You Have Month. Yea for her! Suzanne's comment hit the nail on the head "I feel stifled by anything bought and failed, or unfinished" Amen, sister. But can I go a whole month without buying ANY craftiness, even if I finish current projects? Can't wait to see!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

It's Flash Your Stash Day!

And me, without a thing to wear!

When I started knitting, I devoted a very large drawer in a bureau in my living room for knitting supplies and yarn. I promised not to exceed it. We have a small house and I have been working hard to make it feel bigger by having less stuff. I didn't want to undo all my hard work with a few yarn crawls. Also, when I started, I was very frustrated by finding yarn I loved with no pattern or vice versa, so I try to buy specific yarn for specific projects. The only exceptions are saving good leftovers and hardback books that were taking a beating in the drawer.

So here's my drawer:

I do have a few works in progress (in their totes):

New or special skeins, I like to display in the iron bird bath beside the bureau (now starring the recent Kool Aid fever results):

And that's it. Really.

I am really shocked by the sheer amounts of yarn that others have accumulated. It makes me a little nauseous to think of how much money and space all the excess consumes (not to mention the burden of work left undone calling to you from the depths of your stash). I can't live like that, so this is what works for me.

Down with the stash!