Monday, October 30, 2006
It was a pretty good hockey weekend, too. The Wild won one and lost one, the Gophers swept Colorado College and my DS's first scrimmage ended in a 0-0 tie. My DS was moved from defense to center and managed to win 7 of 11 face offs and every shot he took was on goal. He had a great first game and playing center may work out well on this team. We'll have to see if he can start getting the shots around the goalies and find the back of the net now.
Well, off to dance, boxing and hockey. Round and round we go. More knitting time while I sit and wait. Woohoo - I'm a knittin' fool.
Friday, October 27, 2006
As promised, here are the pictures of my latest stash enhancements. The purple and black Knit Picks yarn is for my DS's Christmas socks. I haven't decided whether to go wild and crazy and make patterned socks or go with 2 pair of solid socks. Fair Isle might be fun to try but I'm still mulling things over.
The ribbon yarn was picked up on clearance at 75% off. The green will make a shell and the pink/purple will make the cardigan. There wasn't quite enough yardage of the pink (one skein short - blast) for the pattern, so I purchased the purple as insurance. Another design option would be to make the sleeves 3/4 length, if necessary. Again, these are things to mull and let simmer before jumping in. This yarn may be used for DD#1 as Christmas gifts, depending on how the time issues work out. So many gifts to knit, so little time.
Sock knitting is progressing slowly, a round here, a round there. Life is hectic and crazy, so I'll take what I can get. We have two different hockey games to choose between tonight - Gophers vs. Colorado College and Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks. We'll probably watch the Gophers but we'll sneak peaks at the Wild during intermissions and commercials. Good knitting time tonight.
The good news is that I returned to my kickboxing class last night. It was the first class in nearly 2 months. It felt great to be back in class again after such a long layoff due to injury and illness. The bad news is that I've lost a lot of my conditioning and I'm really sore today. Whew, it's going to take some time to get back into fighting form again. But I'm just happy to be back again.
Again, no pithy comments but simple satisfaction with acquiring new yarn for the stash, pleasure at returning to good health and kickboxing and the joyful anticipation for some quality knitting time watching great hockey tonight.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Done! They are not the prettiest socks in the world. For instance, I will never show an expert my version of the Kitchener stitch on these socks, but the socks are off my needles and on DD#1's feet.
Please forgive the poor pictures. I woke up with a migraine and although my meds stopped the headache, I ended up with an upset tummy and spent a good portion of the day trying to keep my stomach contents where they belong. Ergo, I missed daylight for photos.
Already on my needles is another pair of socks. This time, toe up and I'm trying a new lace pattern from Socks, Socks, Socks called Vine Lace. Another 4 row pattern that will be easy to memorize and will give a little texture to the Dancing yarn picked up on sale from Knit Picks earlier this summer. I'm also still working on the Fall Dancing Widdershins but they are such a fine knit that they are taking forever and I'm a little bored with them.
I did stop by Knit Wits in Chanhassen this past weekend and scored some 75% off sale yarn. I know I'm on a yarn fast but I was looking for a felted clog pattern and saw the sale bin and couldn't help myself. I am so weak. The sad part is that they didn't have the clog pattern I wanted. I'll hopefully get some pictures of the yarn (and the patterns I got for the yarn) to post tomorrow.
I also ordered the yarn for my DS's Christmas socks from Knit Picks, as well as some size 0 and size 1 36" circular needles. After all, if you're going to pay shipping, you might as well get your money's worth, right? (I am so weak!)
I want to send a big thank you out to livnletlrn. A present arrived in the mail last week, the pattern for this. She was done with it and passed it along to me. I was in love with it and raved on her blog. WOW! Such generosity! I can hardly wait until my birthday next month. I'm hoping to get enough money from my Daddy and DH to maybe get some really extraordinary yarn for it. Thank you so much!!!!
Well, I wish I had some humor or something wise to end this entry with. Unfortunately, the nausea kind of sucked all the fun stuff out of me today. In the meantime, I'm going to go work on the new socks and be thankful the 2 in 1 experiment is OVER! Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and have given it away to Good Will!
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I myself was not drawn to his clothing early on but knew that the show was about design and not about personality. In fact, the popularity of the show was driven by the conflict and personality issues on the show, so the "Sturm and drang" was probably somewhat tailored (pun intended) by the designer selection process. However, given the last minute accusations of cheating, I doubted he'd even be allowed to show.
In all fairness, his clothing line was the best overall collection. I loved Laura's evening wear but it did lack the scope a full collection needs. Michael was a complete disappointment because he went trashy and too skimpy. Uli ran a close second but her line just didn't have the same WOW factor that Jeffrey's did. So, hats off to Jeffrey. Well done. But stop swearing so much - it's annoying. And apologize to Angela's mom.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The heels are finally turned. They are not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination but after three tries, I'm done trying for perfection. These socks are learning socks and it's okay that they're not perfect.
Problem one, I don't think the wraps on the purl stitches were consistently wrapped the right direction. On one side of the heel, I have a strong horizontal loop but not on the other. On the next pair of toe up socks, I'll try the short row heel and experiment with the wraps to see if I can get the two sides to be identical. With one sock inside the other and backwards, too, it was just too hard to compare sides and I gave up trying to wrap my brain around it.
Problem two, I somehow picked up an extra stitch at some point, so I have a weird YO in the heel of one sock. I don't have an extra stitch now but it is in the inside sock, so I have to turn everything inside out to get a good look at it, so I'll wait to analyze it later. I'll probably just sew up the gap with a little sewing thread. Since it's on the bottom of the foot, who cares anyway, right?
As for the technique, it's an interesting novelty but I'm not sure I'll make it a regular in my arsenal. I'd have to get much better at short row heels and I need to do that one sock at a time, first. I also am not a cuff down girl, never having gotten terribly comfortable with the Kitchener stitch. I love my toe up and if I could figure out how to do 2 in 1 toe up, I might give it a try. I'm also a lace sock lover, which I don't think could be done in this technique.
On the homefront, DS recovered from the flu. Unfortunately, his poor performance at the hockey try outs resulted in placement on the C team but I'm actually pleased with it. He does have a very tough school schedule this year and I think having a little less hockey pressure is a good thing. He can relax and have a little more fun on the C team, instead of having to push all the time to keep up with the higher level of players and competition on the B level team. He's one of the best skaters on the team, so he has the potential of being a leader on the ice, too, which could be a great learning experience in itself. He's a little bummed but he loves the game enough to keep playing, regardless. So onward and upward.
And on a fibery note, he was a little jealous that I gave the L&V socks to DD#1. He wants a pair of hand knit socks and liked the purple yarn. Not having any purple yarn in my stash, I guess I'll just have to go shopping for some purple yarn to make him some socks for Christmas. To quote a favorite pod caster - "Sqeeeee"!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
It has been a bad day, a very, very bad day. DS#1 had been up most of the night with his version of the flu. No vomiting but lots of throat pain and congestion, with much wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth because we are in the midst of hockey try outs and it is the WORST time to get sick if you are nearly 14 and trying to get to a higher level Bantam hockey team. So, after getting up, dosing DS with cold meds and watching him try to suffer through the last day of try-outs, DS takes a check and gets a head injury. Not a serious one, just enough to ring his bell and end his try out hopes this weekend. He wasn't doing well to begin with but to leave in the middle doesn't bode well for his team placement. So, we came home early, and crashed in front of the t.v. and tried to relax and just forget about our troubles.
So, out came the 2 in 1 socks. Things seemed to be going well but I stopped to do a quick check, as I frequently do, and - OH NO - I've crossed my threads! Not recently but several rows back. Now, when I'm normal and sane, I think nothing of tinking back a few rows. It's much easier than frogging. But I was frustrated. So, without thinking, analyzing or even taking a breath, I popped all the stitches off the needles and start frogging. ARRRRGGH! When I looked down at what I'd done, I realized I'd never get those stitches back onto the needles in the right order without dropping stitches and getting runs. This is a 1x1 ribbing, with the stitches flipping back and forth on two socks at the same time. It looked impossible to get back onto the needles as it was.
What's a girl to do? Well, I carefully set the socks aside, checked my son's pupils and fever, asked him if he wanted anything while I was in the kitchen, then dished myself up a monstrous dish of chocolate ice cream. I calmly, while slowly savoring every bite of that delicious ice cream, meditated on the sock dilemma. By the bottom of the bowl, I'd devised a plan.
First, I separated the socks. Then I pulled out smaller dpns and started picking up stitches. Using 2 needles, I carefully counted stitches, making sure each stitch was oriented the right way and that I had an equal number on each needle. I picked up and knitted or purled any dropped stitches and made sure everything was perfect on each sock before setting up for the recreation of the 2 in 1 set up.
Then I carefully started picking up stitches from each dpn onto my Addi turbos, being extra careful when I started the second needle of the Addi to make sure that the other side began with the correct stitch.
By the time I'd finished, it took me 2 hours to fix what should have taken me 1/2 hour to tink back. Moral of the story: "Think before you frog." Actually, that might sound better as "Think before you tink" but I didn't tink, so, oh well. Or maybe I should say, "Think, then tink." Or perhaps, "Frogging is only for singles." Or better yet, "Don't take your hockey mom frustrations out on innocent socks, especially when it's not their fault that you got your yarns crossed, you silly goose."
Friday, October 13, 2006
It's hard to capture snow flurries in a photo, especially when you're also trying to show a pretty maple at the same time but I had to attempt it. Yes, it's October in Minnesota and the schizophrenic nature of our weather is typical. It was in the 80's only a few days earlier and now we have snow showers. I'm just thankful we didn't get hit as hard as some areas farther north and east. I'm not ready to break out the shovel or snow blower quite yet.
The 2 in 1 socks are progressing apace. I have 4 inches done on the cuffs and am researching sock patterns for the short row heels now. Because the article at www.knitty.com is more a how-to than an actual pattern, it requires that you have a pattern in mind. However, I didn't read ahead enough to realize that she recommended a short row heel and not a heel-flap sock pattern. Being a heel flap kinda gal, this came as a bit of a shock. Moral of the story: read the full story before beginning the project. Not that I mind so much. This was a learning project, anyway.
What prevented me from reading the pattern in it's entirety was really something pretty silly. You see, in my efforts to save a few pennies (after all, I'm on a yarn fast because of severe budgetary restraints caused by the onset of annual autumn school expenses and putting DD#1 in braces this summer - big words make me feel better than saying "I'm broke") I printed half of the pattern on one side of the paper, then turned the sheets over and printed the rest on the back of the papers, not realizing that the order would be completely wonky and out of whack and hard to follow. Add a paper jam and reprinting a page or two out of order, and I had a real confusing mass of papers. So, being the less than persistent person that I am (a'la Scarlett O'Hara, "I'll think about it tomorrow!"), but too cheap to just reprint everything, I didn't finish reading the article, just the part about casting on and beginning to knit. Now that I've looked ahead, I find that my current pattern will not do and I have to regroup.
So, time to dig in my library. I'm sure I have some basic sock patterns somewhere with a short row heel that can be adapted to the number of stitches I've cast on. I just should have read first, then started the project. Wise words about hindsight being 20/20 sound about right here. I just hope none of my knitting students see this post since I'm always telling them to read the entire pattern at least one time and to make notes of any new skills or stitches that they might have to learn before they tackle the pattern. Oooohhh, bad teacher! You should practice what you preach!!!!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Eureka! By George, I think she's got it! Instead of having my hunky husband run interference, my knitting companion opted to assist me by waking me at 4 am today by persistently licking my face and purring loudly and kneading my upper arms until bruises formed. Once slumber had been effectively and brutally ended for me, I decided to take advantage of the very quiet house and attempt the 2 in 1 socks again.
So, fortified by strong coffee instead of the fruit of the vine, I cast on again. This time, I returned to my trusty magic loop method and experimented with holding both threads around the left hand. By looping one thread an extra time around my finger, I can spread the two yarns out and pick the appropriate thread as needed, while keeping the front yarn in front of the working needle and the back yarn behind. Using a variegated yarn has aided the learning curve by keeping the two yarns distinctly different looking on the needles, so I don't get as confused about which yarn should come next.
The close up picture is not the greatest but it actually is supposed to show the two layers pulled apart. The other picture, in spite of looking like some bug-eyed alien creature, is the progress so far. It is a 1x1 ribbing about 3/4" long. Now I need to decide if I'm going to carry the ribbing all the way down the cuff or switch to stockinette or get fancy on this sock. Hmmmm?!?
By the way, who is George and why do we have the phrase, "By George, I think she's got it!"? DD#1 is in a Shakespeare class and she's learning a lot about the fact that hundreds of phrases and idioms have come from good old Billy Shakespeare, which as made me curious about lots of other phrases we use every day. Now I'm going to have to google "By George". But tomorrow will have to suffice. After all, I have been up since 4 am, thanks to my . . . well, you can supply your own idiom for my little knitting companion. Bless her hungry little heart.
Monday, October 09, 2006
I need a glass of wine, some quiet music and some strong, handsome man to keep all young people under the age of 14 at bay while I try again. Unfortunately, my DH is at hockey tryouts with my son. Doh! Guess it's back to my Autumn Widdershins for now. Where is that wine bottle?
So we spent lots of couch time watching movies and listening to my favorite history tapes. I love Diana Waring's What in the World is Going On Here, so we spent hours Sunday just hanging out and listening together. I worked on the Leftover L&V Socks and DD#1 just drowsed or worked on a tabletop loom from Harrisville when the meds were in full force.
In one sense, it was hard because I watched my darling suffer through so much. In another, it was a blessing because I spent a lot of time just sitting with her and working on fiber arts.
We so seldom slow down around here. Because of the activities that our children are engaged in, we're always on the run. Next weekend, she'll be gone with her dance performance company on a weekend trip. I won't see her for 3 days. I'm sending her with a homeschooling mom that I love and trust, so I know she'll be safe. But, in a way, this illness coming the weekend before the trip may have been God's way of giving her and me some 1-on-1 time that gets neglected in our hectic, rushed lives. Just sitting and watching Sense and Sensibility together and listening to history tapes together may not seem exciting but I'm a little tired of all the excitement in our lives. Peace and quiet companionship are just fine with me. Now, if I could just remember to seek it out without one of us getting sick first.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Remember a few days ago when I said the wild weather made me go a little kooky and I cast on with some leftover purple yarn without having a pattern in mind? Well, here are the final results. When it became abundantly clear that the purple yarn was going to run out well before the gusset shaping, I dug in my stash and came up with a variegated lime yarn. Since I've given a little blog space to the Lime and Violet podcast lately, it stands to reason that they would influence my knitting, especially since their recent podcast seemed to include some subliminal messages. Now, since my knitting students are all in the 10 to 12 year old range and they might check in on my blog from time to time, I don't link directly to the Lime and Violet website from my blog (sorry, L & V) but I do listen and here are my kooky, L&V socks that prove it. Not the prettiest socks I've ever made but a great learning experience.
What I learned:
1) Stripes kind of get wonky when you hit the heel flap, especially if you haven't planned your stripes in advance. I had just started the stripes mid-foot, doing a graduated pattern to work the green yarn in gradually, so it wasn't a very abrupt changeover. I was flying by the seat of my pants, so I was designing as I went and paid the price.
There is no way to carry the purple stripes across the heel flap while working two socks with the magic loop method unless you break the yarn and tie it on where you want it. It would have messed with the graduated stripe pattern I had going on in the instep, so I just let the variegated yarn carry up the heel flap. It's not a beautiful solution but the socks will be worn inside boots for hockey, so no one will probably see the heel flap anyway.
2) I should use two row counters when doing stripe patterns and gusset increases. I missed an increase on one side of my gusset and didn't find it until about 6 rows later. Fortunately, I could drop a stitch and work the increase and stitch back up with a crochet hook but what a pain that was. I was trying to keep track of my rows of each color and the alternating increase rows of the gusset and the fact that I had one sock on the magic loop "backwards" so that the jog in the side where the stripes don't line up would be on the inside of both socks. It was too much for me to keep track of, especially late at night, when I was trying to finish up with the gusset increases before bedtime. I need to be better about notes or setting up row counters, instead of trusting that I'll remember where I am.
3) I learned how to do a picot hemmed top. It's not perfect. It's too big and rolls, so I may run some elastic in it to tighten it up a little but I was pleased to learn a new technique and it ended up looking very pretty. The angle of the photo doesn't do it justice. On my next socks, it will be better.
I'm being kicked off the computer. DH needs to study for his big exam this week. More later!
Friday, October 06, 2006
It's official. The hockey season has started and it was time to break out the official Wild Socks. These socks were the first socks I ever made. I actually completed them during a Wild playoff game during the 2002/2003 season. The team was behind and when I put the completed socks on to admire them, the Wild managed to pull out an upset win and advance to the next level of the playoffs.
My son promptly dubbed these socks the Wild Socks and proclaimed them lucky and made me wear them for every subsequent Wild Game for the rest of the season. He even tried to keep me from washing them between games - eeeuuww! These socks have seen us through several season since and are ragged and have been darned repeatedly. I'm out of the leftover yarn and as we speak, there is a large hole in the heel of one of them.
Last night, the Wild played (and won) and tonight, when the Minnesota Gophers fell behind in the first period, 0 to 2, my DS asked if I was wearing the Wild Socks or not. So, I dug them out, holes and all and put them on. By the end of the first period, the Gophers had scored a goal and were closing the gap.
Now, I don't believe in luck and I don't really support my son's belief in lucky socks or anything else. I'm a firm believer that hard work and team work are what drive wins and losses. Sometimes immorality plays a part, if there are bad refs or bad coaches or bad players, and I think God plays a part when there are honest, good players and He chooses to reward those who go above and beyond in being upright and honorable in their play. But I don't believe in luck.
That being said, I do love my Wild Socks and they do bring back great memories of a fantastic Wild hockey season and the wonderful time my son and husband and I had watching that magical season unfold. So when I put on my Wild Socks tonight, it wasn't to bring the Gophers luck but to celebrate great family memories and to remind my DS and DH that I'm just as passionate about hockey as they are. After all, I'm the one wearing the old, holey, smelly, "lucky" socks. Go Golden Gophers!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
But there is another blog out there that just eclipses anything I could ever hope to achieve here. Granted, I have no high aspirations but WOW. This blog is the Sun to my space dust. The comments to her recent post stand at 1087 so far today. Of course, she had some really great news - an "I do coup", so to speak. So she deserves every comment and all the best wishes in the world. How she managed to pull off the surprise is beyond me but kudos to her for the outstanding blog post. It was the ideal mix of photos with titles, comments and play on words. Wow, all I can do is bow to the master and cry, "I'm not worthy!"
Now for the knitting news, because I was so disgusted with the slow progress on the Fall Widdershin Socks, I did cast on another pair of socks with size 2 Addi's and the leftover purple yarn from the Flying Purple Widdershins. I figured I'd use the purple on the feet and then maybe use some other leftovers for the cuffs, if I didn't have quite enough to make anklets or something. I was just bored enough to get wild and crazy and trust to my ingenuity if I ran out of yarn. I'm nearly done with the toes and figured if I change my mind, I could even start striping the socks with leftovers. Who knows, I'm just in a kooky mood. It was a wild weather evening (lots of lightening and wind but no rain - spooky) last night and I got all wonky and weird.
I also dug in my stash and found some Lana Grossa sock yarn in a pretty blue/green/yellow color combo and wound it into two equal balls yesterday. I printed out the 2-socks-in-1 instruction from www.knitty.com and I'll be ready for my Socktoberfest challenge socks. The bad news is that the instructions are for
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Slow, slow, slow, slow. That's how the sock progress is around here. Using my size 1 needles and knitting two socks at once makes for very little visible progress on the socks. It's a shame that I like fine gauge socks (5.5 rounds/cm or 14 rounds/inch) because these are just taking FOREVER, so I won't bore you with pictures until I've got some real progress to show you. I may have to just start another pair with thicker yarn and bigger needles, just for some immediate gratification around here.
Instead, I decided to share a picture of the tree that's visible from my back windows. It is truly glorious right now, especially when the morning sun strikes it or the setting sun illuminates it. I wish my photography could do it justice. It is just radiant in the right light. I know that the next rain/wind storm will put the leaves in the backyard (which has it's own rewards for the kids), so it is a very transient glory we enjoy every fall. But it just takes my breath away every time I walk through my kitchen or family room. I can't help but stop and give praise to God for His marvelous creation each and every time I see this special view and be thankful that I live in a house with such a wonderful back yard and a view like this. WOW!
Of course, when I pointed this wonder of creation out to my kids, my 13 yo DS, who is studying Botany right now as part of his HS Biology course, promptly informed me that the degradation of the chlorophyll is allowing the existing xanthophyll and carotene to appear. Not exactly the response I was looking for but, then again, isn't education a wonderful thing!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
The truth is, we are frantically working to get through one activity to another most days, so we can hustle out the door to dance or hockey or boxing or Awana or church or some other outside activity. It is more that I can do most days to keep the dishwasher cycling so that we have clean dishes and laundry caught up, much less keep clutter picked up and dust to a minimum. So there has been mostly housework and laundry work going on for the past few days.
I did manage to get a few rounds done on my current sock project, while watching Gigi (I love old movies!!!!) this afternoon, between folding loads of laundry.
Welcome, Maranatha95 and thanks for the comment. I love Awana, too. I've been working with the T&T for a number of years. I'm up to 6 years and we have nearly 50 kids, I think. Nice to see you here, Shirley. I love your blog and visit it often and hope you're enjoying spring. Thanks for popping in, livnletlrn. Since Kodi and Koda seem to be soul sisters, thought I share my picture.
Well, my feet are soggy. Our carpet cleaner is not working properly and I don't think it sucked up quite enough of the water. I need to set up a fan in here and go dry my feet. And go knit something. I'm burned out with cleaning!