Monday, July 30, 2012

Sock class-finished!

Check it out. Look what I wore home tonight after the last sock class. A pair of socks-finished!
Here's the pretty shot. Let me say..I love this yarn! Knit one crochet too, crock-o-dye. OOOOOOOOOOOh baby. Merino and silk. Delightful.

Now,....when you take a class, you should learn something. Right? Well...I've learned a bunch. First of all I learned to knit the socks toe up. I've been wanting to learn for awhile. Yep...check that off the knitting bucket list. Second....I don't like magic loop.
Now, before you jump...let me explain. Magic loop has worked for a whole lot of people. I have talked to them, watched them...and I'm just not one of them. And that's ok. If you don't try and learn something new, you'll never know what fits right for you. My problem was that the ladders through the heel drove me bonkers. You can see the holes that it created in the wrap heel for me. And I had even twisted the stitches to help to minimize the holey effect.
The second sock wasn't as bad as the first. but I'm still not satisfied with the results.
Third, I do like the way the bottom of the feet feels when I have the socks on. It's a great length for my goofy feet. The heels feel kinda goofy for me, but that just may be me. Or they're a different shape than I'm used to. They feel short in length and too wide for my preference. Yes, I know that there is room to tweak the daylights out of the heels to make them a better fit. But there are many other ways to try toe up socks. I'm not done learning yet.
However, here's another view of the holes. EWWWWWWWWWW I don't like them. I'm going to take some left over yarn and weave the tar out of these holes shut. But for the pictures tonight I wanted to show them warts and all. That's how you learn. Right?
This is the second sock, not nearly as bad as the first one was. Therefore, third, I liked making socks with 2 circs. Which kinda but shouldn't have surprised me. I make hats and sleeves all the time on 2 circs. The 40" needle I had may have been too stiff, it was brand new, and it had a catch on the join I didn't like. I'm going to get that taken care of fast. When I switched to the two pairs of 24" length after the ankles, these socks just flew off the needles. Watching opening ceremonies I nearly finished the whole leg of one sock. That to me felt fast. And that's coming from a committed double point knitter.
Fourth, I don't like the way the tops flared out. I understand that this is a very loose bind off (k 2, k2tog, *slip stitch back, k2 tog* all the way around. Yes, it's stretchy. And no it doesn't show when you're wearing the sock. I'm picky after all the socks I've knit from the top down using the old Norwegian cast on. When you're taking pictures of socks laying down, they look prettier.
Fifth, I loveeeeeeeeeeee this yarn! Therefore, I bought another skein in the midnight colorway...
 and in the current. Not sure which pattern I'm going to choose, but now that I know how lovely it feels to work with, picking up some more during class days (thank you class day discounts!) and seeing how the colors all look knit up, I am looking forward to making some more. Merino and silk...what a combination!
I have learned a lot. I'm not done knitting toe up socks. I have books. Lots of books and I know there are other ways to cast on, make heels and certainly many more patterns to knit into socks. I look forward to learning lots more. At class tonight someone said that every time you learn something new and can do it, you add 2 more years to your brain health. (or something to that effect.) Well, I plan on living a very long time with all I want to learn yet. HA!

But for now I'm going to wear the snot out of these socks. That yarn feels soooooooooooooooo good on my feet!
But maybe not with stretch leggings on a 92*F day. I'm ok with waiting until the weather isn't summer anymore. Really ok with that.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ok, let the needles fly!

 Ok, better news this morning for the 'what did I do with that bag' mentality. I didn't find the sweater before the opening ceremonies began. Don't you love to see all the pomp and circumstance with the beginning of the games? I do! The music, the story telling...the parade of nations...the lightening of the torch....and SIR PAUL! Bring it on baby! So I plunked my rear end in front of the tv and enjoyed watching the festivities with Mom while I soothed my frazzled brain cells and went to town on the class socks. At the end of Sir Paul's emotional ...HEY JUDE! (flashbacks to my summers at the lake down at the store while the 'teenagers' plugged money into the juke box, singing at the top of their lungs.... ha! Fabulous run on there, 'eh?) this is where the socks ended. I am now a mear 13 rows away from bind off of these socks. And that surprised me a lot!  They just flew!!!!!
 Here's a shot of them side by side today. From ankle to cuff in one simple sit down watching the athletes parade into London. Not too shabby.

 But then the 'what in the world did I do' thoughts took over. It was late, the place was quiet, and I KNEW I had brought the bag to Michigan. Where in tarnation was it???????????????  Going nuts time set in and fast. As quietly as I could...I started going through each of my project bags that I have set up and ready to go. I was NOT going to be defeated!
Taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Found it! 3:08am and I felt that I had bested that hiding beast. Why didn't I find it before? Because it WASN'T in the project bags!!!!!!!! DUH! I had set it aside in a drawer to make certain I could grab it just before the ceremonies began.

Best laid plans, huh?
So, not to be denied my knitting time on the start day, I pulled the sweater out of the bag and started reviewing the directions. I think this may have been the first or one of the first sweaters that I started knitting all three pieces together as a single unit. Just garter stitch the edge stitches to make a mattress stitch seam fast and easy when you're finished and you're off and running. What I hadn't done three years ago was to write out the directions in the segments as I need to knit them yet. Right front, back, left front. With the directions written I was finally off and running! It gave me a good chance to familiarize myself with the pattern once again. However at that point I couldn't just lay it aside and say sweet dreams, nope...
I just HAD to knit up a row to be certain that I'd figured out step by step where I was. It was after 3 am by now and who knows what brain cells are telling me to sleep or to knit by then? And then row three led to row four...hey, this is pretty good, let's try row five, awwwww come on now....onto row six! started with row three, therefore, to be certain you wrote out all directions correctly you HAVE to knit up rows one and two as well. RIGHT? And onto, oh man, these size eights (5.0mm) are sooooo much faster to knit with after all those size one's (2.25mm) and the socks of lately. They nearly feel like telephone poles! What am I going to do once I start Mom's afghan on size 15's? Stop! It's well after midnight. Stop thinking of other projects. That's how you put this one down three years ago and didn't finish it.'re now getting sleepy......sorta....zz.zzz.zzzzzz

Time to get some sleep. 4:29am.  I was ready. Now that the morning duties are finished, and as soon as I get Mom up to the bathroom again....this baby is going to fly around these needles! After all, I'm down to 16 days left, give or take, and it generally takes me a month of solid knitting to finish an adult sweater.

Hands, don't fail me now! Because.....look what came in this morning's mail!

I'm officially a Loopy Groupie! Love a company that understands customer service! And that applies to the LYS here in town, too. More on the newest from them soon. Gotta get to my needles don'tchaknow!


Friday, July 27, 2012

It's count down time to the name that shall not be uttered....

 Now that we are in the final few hours before London puts on it's opening show, I thought I'd spend the day with a few last minute errands and clean up some loose ends. Well, sorta.

 I thought I'd show you some pictures from the stocking that I showed you a few postings ago. Here are the final shots just before it was picked up. I added a bell on the toe and a braided hanger. I also sent along some extra wool just in case it needs some mending down the road. How many times have you finished something and neglected to keep some mending wool? Ya, I do have a tendency to learn the hard way. (har har)
 My son has had his 30th Birthday. He's spent the past year enjoying the benefits of having a paycheck that affords him the chance to buy some suits. Here's his birthday olive socks to go along with his new olive suit. I can't wait to see him in it!
I also sent him a cake. Did you know that the post office now has boxes that will ship over night for $40? The last time I shipped over night to one of my kids, it was for my youngest daughter's 21st birthday. All she wanted was some salsa from our local Mexican meat market. That box cost me $125!!!!!!!!! Sooooooooooo, while $40 seems high for shipping a box, it's a bargain to me! Soooooooo kiddo....hope you enjoyed your birthday banana cake! 
 Ravelry got their bags in from their recent contest. I snagged one really fast and the vest is coming along well. Makes a great project bag to grab quickly inside my bigger knitting bag. I'm a happy camper with this one.
 I like the t-shirt bags, too. Over the weekend I'd gotten this far on my class socks. Toe up, two at a time, magic loop. I've learned some new tricks. Some I like....some...well, it's good to learn new things so you can decide what preference you're better at, or which works well for you.
 Today, I finally made it to Staples. Why? Well, let me show you. Knitting tools come from some unlikely sources at times.
 I have all kinds of needles. Here are the buckets I'd picked up from Target years ago. I still use them for my old 14" metal straights, plastic US 35's, and other plastic needles. Those old 14" metal straights work quite well for unclogging vacuum cleaners and stopped up sinks.
 The buckets, however, aren't such a great storage spot for wooden needles. Many years ago when I picked up my first sets of Brittany Black Walnut needles for $6.95, I left them there over a summer. Hot, dry Southern California summers tend to make them warp. Badly. So I found this ruler length storage box from Staples years ago. Laying wooden needles flat keeps them at their best.
However, it's been a few years and I've added some needles to my collection. (shocking-huh?) I've been waiting for many months now for Staples to bring in their back to school supplies. I have looked all over many different stores, and Staples has been the only store where I have found the longer pencil boxes.
Now I have a box for my Crystal Palace, my clovers and my Brittany Black Walnuts. All for $3.49 each. I love a great solution for a cheap price. So, when are you running to Staples? There's still time tonight. ;-)
Pencil boxes aren't the only thing I picked up today. Mom's photo albums have 'taken a walk' out the back door awhile back. Yes, I'm angry, but besides that....I'm working on a new solution to help her remember who the kids are and other events in her life. Today at Staples I found a smaller notebook and pages for pictures. I've had my pictures shipped to Michigan and I'm going to go through and copy several to put into these pages for a mini album all her own that I can also label. This way when the kids call or she gets cards and packages I can show her who she's talking to on the phone. Pictures have been her best memory tool! This 3 ring binder notebook will be smaller and lighter for her to hold in her lap. And bonus? s in her favorite color scheme of turquoise. Thanks Martha Stewart for your collection at Staples for using this color. I think she's going to like it! I'm hoping it will help her remember her grandkids for as long as possible.
The other day once I'd gotten the class socks up to the ankles I made an 'executive decision'. I'm switching from magic loop to 2 circulars. For me, magic loop just didn't work well enough for me. I don't know if the needles were too new and stiff, but I just didn't like the ladders I was getting. Switching to 2 circs made the leg go really fast. I finished the first sock while getting my hair done today. All that's left if the bind off. I'm saving that for Monday's class. Since I paid for the class, I'm going to wait and learn something new. (make 'em earn their money? hehehehe) Shouldn't take too much longer for the second sock. I really love this Knit one crochet too crock 'o dye yarn! Who wouldn't? Merino and silk....oh baby! That's a gift for your hands to work with. Yep, I have another 2 hanks to make more socks down the road. But first.....
While I'm writing this, I have less than 1 1/2 hours before opening ceremonies. And it's disaster time. Being so good today at finishing things up and checking off my lists, I thought it would be a good idea to pull out my bag for the WIP team. Yes, this is Florence the same sweater I was going to do the last time Ravelry had our 'little' knit off. Sadly, that was when Dad's one night in the hospital turned into six nights and the recop time didn't go as smoothly has previously planned. I don't think I even opened it once. Soooooooooooooo.....I signed up to knit on it again. I actually think the last time I worked on it was back in 2009. Yep, it's time to get it done....except for one thing.........
At this moment....all I can find are the three bags of balls of wool waiting to be knit up. The sweater that was under way and the directions? Heaven only knows where they ended up! I have no idea where they are!!!!!!!! And I KNOW I had them shipped to Michigan from California. I remember unpacking them thinking..oh cool. Olympics are coming soon. I need to set these aside to work on this year.....shoot. Well, proof that I didn't start them too early.

Forgive me while I post and try and dig through my stuff. That sweater has to be here someplace. Right? Until next time....happy knitting. That is if you don't loose your stuff. Learn from my mistakes. Someone needs to-right?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Knitting 2013 Calendar

Have you ordered your 2013 Calendar yet? I have mine in hand. Why? May I present to you....
 Three patterns in this year's calendar.
 Aloha Kitchen set on Dates July 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.
 Center-Knit Baby Blanket with Ruffles on dates July 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28.
 Full shot of the blanket in my back yard.

 This particular blanket was made to go along with a BSJ sweater in Red Wings style coloring for my cousin's baby daughter. After 4 daughters, the 5th daughter showed her hockey spirit! Well, that's the plan anyway.
  Here's a close up of the ruffle while it's still on circular needles. Here's where my interchangeables really came in handy. The red blanket I used multiple cables all hooked together to get a feel for the blanket nearly flat. The purple one I didn't use as many. I didn't need to keep it on such a large scale. It's really a preference thing for you to choose.
Here's a shot of the purple blanket I made with the same pattern before reaching the stripe section.
This one I started the stripes early and doubled the i-cords.
I also used two colors on the ruffles which I really like the way it looks. While the counts for this variation isn't included with the pattern, you can always change up any pattern just by the way you want to 'color' it with your yarn.
See? You don't have to be limited to sports team colors. This one was picked by the mommy to be in pale pink and white stripes next to the purple colors. The pictures are faint, but up close you can see the colors better.
Christmas Lace Kitchen Set can be found on December 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29th of the calendar.

I knit these samples and patterns over a year ago. Let me just say, it wasn't easy to keep it quiet. However, it's time to share the good news! Enjoy! I hope you like these patterns, too. Ask your LYS for a copy of the pattern if you don't see them at your calendar store, or order it online!