Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sending yarn away

Do you remember this yarn? It barely had time to meet my stash before it was sent away. 

No it did not do anything wrong. Let me tell you the story. This yarn is totally out of character for me. I profess to hate yellow and orange, yet I bought a yellowy-orange skein. I wish I had taken pictures while it was on the stash basket, you would have seen how odd it looked.

Now don't get me wrong for all my professed hatred of the color combination I really like the yarn. No really I did. I bought it on a blustery winter day and all I could think was how cheerful it was and how awesome the socks would be. I would smile to myself when looking at it sitting like a giant oddball on my stash and think I may need to knit that sooner rather than later.

But then we had knitting group at my house and the lady that has come through so many times for my boys said "Oooo look at that one, where did you get that one?"

I am a bit dense because it took me a while to think there was a reason I bought something I would not usually buy. I bought it for my boys Auntie, I just did not know it when I did it.

Happy trails Yellowy-orange yarn, you'll even match the cat in that house. Sort of.

Gus says, Auntie tell Mom to give me some treats!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More proof

Here is more proof that I truly love my husband. He has more socks on the needles than I do. Well no really they're still mine while they're on the needles but the finished objects will be his. 

First we have a bit more than a cuff on the first of these navy blue ones. You know the weird thing that I have figured out about my knitting? I can only handle ribbing for around 2 inches at a time. Most of D's previous socks had 3-4 inches of ribbing then right into the heel flap. Now I just make a longer foot on my style sock, two inches of ribbing with 3-4 inches of plain stockinette before the heel. I love stockinette going round and round like nobody's business. I have to be careful that I have enough yarn though, or else we're going to have to start dipping into the leftover balls of yarn, and coming up with some interesting toes. Aww heck that will just make him laugh.

What is that you say this one is still in the same condition it was weeks ago? Yep a saucy pair of mittens lured me away for my get-them-done projects. Well that and finishing two of three. Nothing like a sense of accomplishment and cold hands to woo a knitter. They'll get done I promise. What's that? A nice warm sweater does sound tempting now. No I must finish the mittens first, no I meant the green socks first...

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Let's talk about contrast in yarns shall we? As you know I usually have several projects on the needles at the same times. (It is also how I read so I guess it is normal for me.) I like socks so it tends to be a lot of socks in various stages. Turning a heel on this one, cuff ribbing on that one, and somewhere on the foot of that one. I know where I am on the sock I don't get confused, trust me I've made a few!

The yarns may be different colors but they tend to be similar weight and texture. I mean wool feels like wool, right? Not always. 

I have learned to appreciate crunchy, bold wool. A lifetime spent running around outside barefoot allows you to tolerate what your pampered chin and neck will not. I am all for keeping my little ice blocks (feet) toasty. That yarn sometimes comes from the sheep that know cold, Icelandic and Scottish (Cheviot) sheep. 

This sock is from Cheviot sheep. It is crunchy, rustic and I expect great things from these socks. Toasty toes with a implied durability. Softer yarn can be more delicate. 

These have been fun because you know you're knitting with Wool, insert manly grunt here. This is wool I can trust on a hike or camping trip. This is farm girl wool! (I did buy it from a farm girl too!)

In contrast I am knitting myself some mittens. An arctic blast of cold sweeping the country will do that to you. While these will see quite a bit of use, I will not trudge through the woods directly on them. These babies will protect my hands from the ohh so cold steering wheel. Arctic blast remember? And for that task I chose a wool, cashmere nylon blend. It is not much cashmere but it is enough to make me know what heaven will feel like. 

So what I am saying is, what a difference between these two wools, yet I find utter contentment in both of them. I can appreciate them both for different reasons. It has been especially interesting switching between the two also. My own texture game.

Now I'm thinking a new sweater would be nice too. I have some nice rustic crunchy wool in need of some knitting.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finished Number Two

I finally have evidence that two of three (sounds like a Borg name, right?) is done, done, done. I was so happy that I saved them for their inaugural wearing for my knitting group last Saturday. Silly me I did not point out that they were new. I make so many socks even I don't know how new some are, you can not blame a room full of knitters for not noticing.

I thought I had started these on our camping trip back in May, but I started them just after that, in June. See what I mean about old project cleanup? I know they went back to South Dakota with us in July because I have never been so happy to have Ravelry then. My knitting journal was home, I don't travel with it amazingly, and I wanted to know something about how I made the heel, which it turned out I had noted on Ravelry. There was much rejoicing (but only by me).

Now on to the details. The pattern is Stepping Stones by Clara Parkes. I will admit to changing up many things. The pattern is written for DK weight yarn, which is quite a bit thicker than the sock yarn I used. The pattern was written to get people into sock making and it is quite a leap to go down in yarn and needle size to what is normal for me, hence it being written for bigger yarn and needles. I know for most fingering weight yarns my stitch count should be around 80. The pattern was a 6 stitch repeat so I ended up using 78 stitches for my thinner version.

Part of the reason these were in time out was the heel, I don't remember why but I know a normal heel for me is 40 stitches and I used 36 in this case. The original pattern also has two bands of the leg pattern continue down the foot but I knit it plain, as my mind would not refigure where they should go. Sometimes simple is better.

The yarn is a local dyer Periwinkle Sheep, I think the color name is Pond Scum but the label went missing so I may be wrong. It is a nice grey green mix of colors. In keeping with our psychic link, I do believe that Kisknit also bought the colorway. But she bought it as a manly color for her husband, and I kept it all to myself. See what selfish knitting gets you? Socks!

Speaking of socks D does have two more socks on the needles now. Lucky guy I guess it is true bragging about your socks will get the knitter to make more for you.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I am so happy to declare two of my three I-need-to-get-this-done, works in progress, are in fact finished. For those of you keeping score I have a new shawl and pair of socks. They both turned out lovely. Bonus as they were the older two projects too! I am almost giddy with accomplishment.

The third one, toe up socks for D is moving along again too. I paused it so I could devote some time to remembering how to do this particular gusset. Next the heel turn and heel flap then it is smooth sailing. Since D likes new socks almost as much as me, he is waiting anxiously. It has been since Christmas with no new socks. How is he supposed to brag up new socks, lovingly made by his wife, when he has no new socks?

But I am still multi project me as I pulled out some even older things to look at and figure out. I dug up my thrummed mittens, you remember that ongoing fiasco? I've now tried going up a needle size, but my thrums are just too big. I can fit my hand in but it looks like it is in a fully loaded diaper. (No I did not take a picture, you'll just have to imagine that one on your own.)

My knitting group was here this weekend and one of the ladies had taken a thrumming class. She gave me some pointers, so I will need to frog and rethrumm again. Why do all my mittens mock me?

I also dug up my German stockings and knit a bit on them too. There were some sizing issues and a complex cabling chart. Now I am not as infatuated and really want to make them right. If I need to see how things work for a bit and rip back I am OK with that. 

So these two were timed out for so long, that it is time to see how plan B, C, D and E will work with them. Who am I kidding I only have through plan C worked out. Here's hoping it works.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Truth in Advertising

Hot Chocolate with whipped cream on top, in one of my favorite mugs. It is a total chick magnet in this house. You know the days when you want something warm and sweet? Yeah Hubby suggested this last Friday night and wow that is quite a little pick me up, or a welcome to the weekend. Whichever works better.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


One down with two more to go! I give you a finished shawl that I started in May. Seven months of knitting and ripping back and reknitting. Three of those months had to have been spent in time out though. 

I learned it is far better to have good tools to help you, than it is to have a "I can do this" attitude. I knew I could do it, so I ended up doing it in small pieces over and over again. Work smarter not harder!

My old and new tools that I discovered? First, stitch markers help so much when your brain keeps messing with you. Now I am not a big proponent of stitch markers but in this case they proved to be essential to me getting it right and keeping it right. I used every color I own, and was thankful for them all. 

My new tool is magnetic place keepers from Slipped Stitch Studios. Have you seen these things in action yet? They're ribbon covered and joined magnets that slip over a pattern and keep your place. No sticky tape to move, no noting which line you're on after you finish a row. Freedom in the form of magnets, ever so brilliant!

My second new tool is a new bind off from the book Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. Who knew a book of beginnings and endings only could be so useful? I'd already used it on D's toe up socks and found it very clear and precise in the directions and photos. I am thinking I will be learning many more ways to start and finish my knitting in the coming year. 

So finally here she is. My Eggplant Holden. Don't the ridges look like waves crashing in on the shores?

I don't know if I'm keeping her myself or continuing the Christmas love since this was yarn I bought with a Christmas gift certificate in 2010. I went stash diving for this one.

Pattern: Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Eggplant

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Oh the startitis

I think the knitting monogamy has started to get to me. Don't get me wrong, I am making good progress on the three nagging projects I've felt hanging over my head for some time. But now I want to knit new things. Arrrgh, the monogamy. Now I understand why polygamists are always getting new wives. (No I really don't!)

So let's plan my year a bit shall we. As you all know my "plans" are always subject to my whims so don't expect to see too much to fruition.

I have several very nice sock books that I would like to make some things from, this year I am going to make six pairs from the books I already have. Oooo maybe I can make myself some bi-monthly sock clubs. You know make a working copy of the pattern, match up some lovely stash yarn, and instant sock kit. Of course that just means I lose that part of the planning when I get to it. I think I'll risk it.

Oh, I need to look at some sweater patterns too. I have about three sweaters sitting in my stash unknit, well one of them is partially knit but I've mentally frogged that one, so it is back to its yarny state, in my mind at least. And I just received that new sweater book for Christmas. Set in sleeves I want to make one with set in sleeves! I can already feel myself growing as a knitter.

I bought some nifty shawl patterns a while back. I started one, but I think I should use a bigger needle, but then the monogamy projects took over, I could always go back to a nice shawl soon. Since I have the shawl that-didn't-want-to-go-to-a-wedding finally is coming down the home stretch. 

I have a bag of lovely worsted weight Malabrigo that is never going to be a sweater, that I'm slowly knitting into accessories. I could make a few more hats or cowls or mitts. I think my Mom and sister could use some winter wear, while we're still experiencing winter, don't you?

Well this dreaming/planning should last me for a little longer, I may need to bind something off soon though. The second sock syndrome, doubled may be hitting me a wee bit hard. No really I'm fine, just hand me my needles, and a good book.


Sunday, January 6, 2013


You know how D is on a culinary self study course? It started by him making me one meal while I was at class, and that went over so well that he decided to continue learning.

He started with Mexican Lasagna, moved to an intriguing Fettuccine (faux) Alfredo, lentil burgers, and last night it was a new rendition of twice baked potatoes. Well tonight will be twice baked potatoes too since we had leftovers. 

He has learned the zen of chopping vegetables. Now, his zen is different from my former prep cook style of zen but he has found something he enjoys. His is probably more noble, since I did it to receive a paycheck, but hey we're not keeping score here.

We enjoyed our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares, last summer but I think we're really going to enjoy it this year. We received our very own garlic roaster for Christmas. 

D took it for a spin last weekend, and suggested that I take pictures. I give you his first batch of roasted garlic.

It tastes every bit as good as it looks. It is a treat right out of the oven and spread on a cracker. It's all soft and mellow. I have a feeling that the only garlic problems we will have in the future is the one we have right now. There is no garlic to roast in the house. I think someone needs to go to the store.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I may have found someone that "needed" a new shawl. You know because it looks so ridiculous on mom. 

You know Mom it keeps my combover, slow to grow back from the shaving in July for an ultrasound, pink belly warmer.

I guess I will take a wool shawl if you need me to. I don't want to hear any cat in sheep's clothes jokes though!