Sunday, July 31, 2011

Missed it by that much

Turns out I can not knit a pair of socks in four days. Alright who called the knitting police? You can't have my needles, Coppers! I'm going to finish these socks, I tells you! (My pathetic attempt at 30s gangster talk.)

I did get much farther than I thought I would. I have a finished sock and another sock with the gusset decreases done. It just needs the foot finished and a toe. Not bad when you consider that I went on a picnic, worked, did laundry, changed the bedding, had a non-knitting evening out with friends and managed to provide a few meals in that time too.

I finished the first one on Saturday and was thrilled to post a picture on Ravelry. I thought a day and a half is not enough to knit a sock. Well I could have been wrong so I kept on knitting. 

I would have thought about knitting on our evening out Saturday night but it turns out you need your hands to do sign language and play Uno, so I sacrificed a bit of time to simply having fun. 

Did you know that laundry is a great way to take knitting breaks? I set the buzzer on the drier to go off and trotted downstairs every time it went off. The buzzer on my washer is way too annoying to be turned on. The first time I set it I thought I was under attack when it went off for 2-3 minutes, just a very loud sustained buzzer. Then I had to coax the cats out from under the beds. No one likes that buzzer. Usually I am a bit more lack about swapping laundry in the machines, but this time I needed a schedule to keep me up and moving at regular intervals.

I'll proudly show off my new socks when they're finished. It was a fun challenge and I wish I could have made it. But I am so happy to have tried. I may just need to join a knit along on Ravelry sometime in the future. It was nice to see people connecting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A bit of fun on the side

Sock Summit(SS) starts today in Portland Oregon. Alas, I am not there. D said I could go but all I could think of was the time and expense and how I am really not a solo social person. I'd be the one off in a corner looking longingly around. Well not really I would probably be burning up a credit card at the marketplace but still. And I have a couple of really good festivals around here. Just cause I don't go to Sock Summit does not mean I can't work with yarn.

There was a thread started on Ravelry called "Can't foot it." Those of us that could not go to SS are attempting to knit a pair of socks in the four days that SS will be held. We cast on at the time SS's doors opened in Portland, which means that I cast on at noon, East coast time, and should be done by the time the doors close on Sunday.

The patterns we're allowed to pick from were all patterns the Yarn Harlot (Co-founder of SS) knit. There was quite a few to choose from, I'd say 20 to 30. They range from A Good Plain Sock, color work, lace and whatever else you could wish for. So far I've knit five from that list, some a few more times than once.

I figured if I wanted to give myself the best chance I needed to do A Good Plain Sock. Plus I think a plain sock shows off the colors so much better in my hand painted yarn. For yarn I chose one of my new acquisitions that has been calling to me, Blue Ridge Yarns Kaleidoscope in the Crimson Redbud colorway. 

I started on my way to D's company picnic, I did not get very far but I'm sure I will be able to add some stitches in the next few days. Who knows I may even have a new pair to wear into work on Monday. 

When I saw the thread I thought it was a cool idea but I don't really like to place deadlines and stress on my knitting. I finally caved this morning when I thought about the spirit of this endeavor. It is such a neat way to come together as a group of knitters. I don't think the knitting police will show up on my doorstep if I don't finish them in time. I think the worst thing that could happen is that I don't get put into the prize pool, if that is the worst thing that happens to me...I think I can live with it. 

I'll see you on Sunday night to let you know how it turned out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bad Hubby Socks

Don't worry I'm not punishing the Hubby by making him wear bad socks. I have another sock tale for you.

You all know my passion for socks started with my hard to fit foot. People raved about how wonderful hand knit socks are. Once you wear hand knit socks you will not want to go back. I don't know if that is 100% true, but I know I no longer wear "normal people" socks. 

I decided to test the theory and make socks for D. I was still a relatively new sock knitter and honestly still a new knitter. I had been knitting for less than a year and D's first socks were also my 7th pair of socks...ever. Seems like such a long time ago!

I used my most useful sock book at that time, Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I measured D's foot in 4 or 5 key areas and knit a gauge swatch. I do believe that since his foot is so much bigger than my foot his sock needed to be much bigger too. 

I was wrong. I did not understand negative ease and why it is desirable in a sock. D even likes a much closer fitting sock than me. But back to the story. I cast on a whole bunch of stitches and knit for a while. Even I realized it was too big and ripped it back. Then I cast on 102 stitches and figured it must be right, it simply must be!

I knit two socks, almost. I knit one and 3/4 socks and ran out of yarn. Now this was still the days when ripping back and starting over was like ripping out my heart, cooking it up and serving it to you on a nice platter. I had put in so much work...a whole month of my time! 

Then I remembered that I had a bit of yarn left over from the same manufacturer. (Oddly enough I still have a hard time mixing yarns from different makers.) The only difference was the color.

So that is how D got Bad Hubby Socks. He even wore them when he was flying one business the next week. You know you have to take your shoes off to go through security. Everyone was going to see that "design element." He still wore them with pride.

They are his least favorite socks because I was still getting my sock knitting mojo working. They are big and baggy not exactly the makings of a favorite sock. I have tweaked my knitting numbers and can now make him acceptable socks. Oddly enough I use the same number of stitches for his socks as I do mine.

So that is my not quite a fail, but close story. Poor Hubby looks like he dipped one toe in ink.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sock 'n foot

I finally got D to put on his new socks and hold still long enough to take a picture. Well a picture of one of them. I changed up my standard sock formula for the Hubby on this one, slightly. Normally I make a 4 inch 2x2 ribbed cuff and a plain "oh good Lord when will the foot end" foot. This time I added a baby cable to the ribbing, just cause I could. 

I am calling them random cables because I did not want to have to keep track of where I was in the pattern. I tried to do a twist every 7 rows but sometimes I went a bit too far. Now if anyone stops him on the road when he is running or biking and says the cables are not exact, he knows to say it is a design element! Yeah I meant to do that, no really I sort of did, sorta.

And because I think it is cute here is a picture of my cat napping on his cat. Everyone needs someone to snuggle with sometimes.

Don't you just love kitty feet?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Glossing over things?

So here is the deal today, I finished by socks the other day and wore them to work so I could take pictures and post them as my FO (finished object) Friday post. 

The plan went ahead as it should till I got inside and looked at my photos. (I'm still not happy with them.) While I don't think they are 'bad' pictures I don't think they show off the sock very well. So I decided to take different pictures, but it is so very hot outside and we planned on going to a friend's house to watch the Tour of France. I did not have it in me.

Today I decided that it was better to get something done rather than obsess over it and then never do it. So I give you my green gloss socks.

They are made from Knitpicks Gloss fingering weight yarn in the Jade colorway. This yarn is a merino wool and silk blend. I've never worked with it before and I found it quite a pleasure for me to knit. It is a plump springy yarn, that made a slightly thicker sock than I expected. I like plump thick socks so I was very happy with the feel of these. I must admit I was so happy I wore them without washing them first.

A nice plain sock almost a boot sock. I was thinking of using this yarn to make knee highs and wanted time to test it out, see how it would wear. I was a bit worried since the Knitpicks website does not list this as a sock yarn. Why not? It is the same weight as many sock yarns come in? Hmm I wonder? Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Do you see the color change where the wear is? Do you think it has something to do with the silk?

Here's a different view. I can see on the top sock that I wore it on my right foot because that light line is where it rubbed against my big toe nail.

So do you think the color change wear spots will change once these are washed? I mean it is not bad, they're socks, I don't expect them to look like I've never worn them. I really wonder how they are going to hold up for me. Good thing I enjoyed knitting them so much if they wear out too quickly I will have enjoyed the knitting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A fine how do you do!

"Pierre, a scrappy city of 14,000 that sits smack in the rural center of South Dakota."

This quote was taken from an article on Yahoo about small towns losing their Delta Airlines service. I really don't know if I should feel honored or offended by the NY Times description of my state capital. Well my home state capital not my current state capital. 

First, I had no idea Pierre was that big. Second, I will be looking this weekend to see if it truly is smack in the rural center. East to West sounds about right but I quibble over the North to South center. Who knows maybe I don't know my home state as well as I like to think I do. 

Lastly if you're from SD you will know the correct pronunciation of Pierre is not the French one but instead "Pier", rhymes with dear. There is your useless trivia of the day. Who knows it may get you noticed at a concert by your favorite recording artist. It happened to Kisknit because of me.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Friday nights are made for food experimentation right? Well, this last Friday I decided to try something new to us. 

Can you guess from this shot? Well yes I am grilling something, hmm I wonder?

I wonder what grilled pizza tastes like? My coworker's wife makes pizza whenever they take the RV out for a spin. I sometimes think that RV has been to more places than I have. So I asked him how his wife makes the pizza and it sounded simple enough. I bought pizza dough at the store and thought what the heck.

I did look online for a bit more detailed directions. First your grill needs to be quite hot, mine was not hot enough but that was fixed with a longer cooking time. You use olive oil to prep the grill surface. Then you toss on the dough. They said each side should take around 2 minutes but mine took closer to 5 minutes.

When the dough puffs up like this you flip it with a spatula. Oops looks like I was too eager to top it and did not manage to get a picture of the plain cooked side.

I threw on some toppings and closed her back down. I also think I left the lid open a bit too long and lost heat that way too, but no harm, no foul.

When the cheese was melted and the crust looked crusty not doughy, I pulled it off and plated it. One thing to note here is that a crispy pizza will try to slide off the plate when you're not looking. Bad Pizza.

Did you know that the only 2 letter word that begins with Z in Scrabble is Za? It is short for Pizza. Did you also know that I have never in my life heard anyone call it za? Hey even my computer's spell check does not like the uncapitalized word, take that Scrabble. Now it is my life's goal to play Za. This will be quite difficult because I don't play Scrabble. 

Hey look the tomatoes are growing!

Should I pick the one that is deformed, so the plant does not waste its energy on it? 

Look at that huge one hiding under the leaf! I would call it as mine but I think D will soon start coming home from work early just to hit the tomato plant. He does love his tomatoes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Biker Chick?

So I'm still not a runner yet. I started off walking before I started the Couch to 5k program and I've yet to be able to start the running. Since the beginning I've had painful cramping in my leg. It used to be that I could walk out the cramp fairly quickly and continue on, not anymore. I would tough it out and hobble my way home.

Then we went away on out trip and I took a week off. When I restarted my other leg, that I had considered my "good" leg started cramping and going numb after the cramp would finally release. I tried walking through that and still a couple of weeks later it is not better. I took more time off and searched the internet, hoping to find a stretching routine that would help. I swear the internet is only there to scare you when you're looking up health related things. One list had 260 item where leg cramps and pain were a symptom. I'm pretty sure that I don't have all 260 of them. I know what I really need to do is call my doctor and get myself checked out.

But in the mean time I have discovered that I really enjoy riding my bike and my legs will not scream at me when I do. Maybe I should give up the idea of running and take up biking instead? One of the truly cool sounds on this Earth is the sound of a bike tire whooshing against the road.

Oh and all four of our tomato plants are "in the family way" as my father would say.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Yarn Bowl

Gasp I forgot to show you my yarn bowl that I received for Christmas. My coworkers and I exchange gifts in the office. I received this last year.

My very own bowl for yarn! The other two ladies that I work with laughed when I had it partially opened and asked if it was a yarn bowl. Ha ha ha what do you do with a yarn bowl? Do you put your yarn in it? Ha ha? They thought they had misheard what I said. Apparently everything I say sounds like yarn this, yarn that. Well actually I do sound like it a lot of the time.

They had no idea why anyone would want a yarn bowl. Dude, you put your yarn in there! Then you string your yarn through the hole and you knit away without your yarn getting all tangly. It is beautiful and great because I could never buy one. That would cut into my actual yarn budget. You know that is how my husband refers to savings and bonuses in our house now, $20, that is a skein of yarn for you, $100, you could buy a lot of yarn with that....Is it enough for a sweater?

He is planning a business trip this summer and asked me if I could find out if there are any yarn shops in the area he will be staying. The answer was yes (insert excited giggle here.) I asked what yarn would he ask for? Uhm, point me to the $20 skeins? That should get me to your area of the store right? I was going to advise him to ask for sock yarn as you can rarely go wrong with sock yarn for me but then I thought maybe I would get lucky and get a bit of cashmere instead? Or ooh cashmere sock yarn? Nah that runs closer to the $30/skein mark.

Next week's yarn buying prep question....What are my preferred colors? Anyone want to guess on that one?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sock knitting

My stash is now attacking me and casting itself on in color coordinated ways. I cast on two new socks this week. 

Should I be eating more veggies? Do you think my body has found a round about way of asking for salads? I don't think it is that because I've been eating salads like they are in season. Oh they are in season? Good to know. 

I've got four (first) socks on the needles and two of them are green and cast on within days of each other. The first one was spurred on by my need to know what Knit Picks gloss yarn feels like in sock form. I had some in my stash but I had not knit with it yet. I am looking forward to knitting some knee highs and am interested in using this yarn. I decided I better get busy and get a pair knit so I can start test driving them. See how they wear and if they pill. I was told they do, but I like to see how I affect things. A friend and I knit socks from the same type of yarn and her's felted quite a bit and mine did not. On the other hand I know I can not use alpaca sock yarn the way I use regular wool sock yarn. Alpaca socks felt on my feet and I need to take that into account before and knit bigger socks. It has happened twice now, I am unwilling to lose another pair of socks to it.

The second green sock was actually cast on first. I tried it with a pattern and had to rip back because the pattern was lost in the deepness of the green. Well that and the cable pattern I chose had all the stretch of chain mail. I decided these could be plain stockinette socks too. It would be OK with me. Sometimes I feel bad for making plain simple socks, but I love having a project like that in my purse. It is amazing how much faster I churn out simple socks. Unless it is a sock for D, who knew 2 more inches could take so much longer?

My spring fling socks are moving along as well. I get to start a heel any day now. The pattern does not have any complicated stitches but it still requires my attention for each round. I think I know how to read my knitting but I think it takes as long to read it and figure out where I am in the pattern as it takes me to just keep track of where I am in the pattern while I knit it. I do like the way it looks so far, like little garden paths meandering back and forth. 

I went to the farmer's market today too. Unfortunately I found out where sheep retire.

I only like my sheep on the hoof producing fiber, I don't eat them. I did when we lived on the farm, but now I make the decisions and no sheep eating for me.

If you want to know a bit about how sheep are raised watch the movie Sweet Grass it was filmed in Montana. It brought back memories for me. I found it interesting but odd without narration. I knew what was going on most of the time but your random viewer would most likely not.

I can not say I enjoyed the film, interesting, but not enjoyable. I found the end quite off-putting and sad. One man has quite a tirade in which you learn quite a few swear words and insults. So if that kind of thing bothers you I recommend turning off the movie when he starts shouting at the sheep in the mountains. He is in pain, depressed and alone, not a good combination. He does not commit suicide but it is not fun to watch a guy fall apart at the seams.

The first part is the most interesting and full of sheep and wool. So take my recommendation with a grain of salt and check it out.