Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not Knitting

Well, the title is a little misleading. See, I'm knitting right now (well, until I started typing) and I knit tons over the weekend, but yesterday was the only day in recent memory where I didn't knit at all. And I had fun too! Yesterday was all about the music, but that is a story for another time.

First off, SPA: Saturday morning Cathy picked me up very early - getting up before 6:30am on a Saturday is somewhat wrong. We headed up to Freeport and were able to check into our room early - and may I say that the staff at the Hilton Garden Inn were super nice! We dropped off our coats and commenced with the shopping.

It was a lot more crowded than that, the picture was hastily snapped on Sunday when I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures all weekend. I bought some beautiful sock yarn and fiber, but we'll save that for later when it's been photographed.

The weekend was fabulous but low-key, just a lot of knitting and sitting in hot tubs and Starbucks and even some shopping at LL Bean. I found the cutest Merrell Mary Janes to wear with handknit socks in the outlet.

On the way home we stopped in Ogunquit to get an OGT sticker. See, once I saw one in my neighborhood and was convinced it was about Tool and thus determined to find one. Then someone more knowledgeable about the northeast told me it was for Ogunquit - perhaps that was Cathy too? In any case I am thinking that maybe other people won't know that and will figure out it's for Tool. Or maybe I'm just nuts. But it was a gorgeous day and the beach looked lovely in the snow:

The BFF socks are almost done - I've vowed to finish them before the end of February and I'm going to make it!

Listening to: One ~ Filter, One ~ Gravity Kills


Friday, February 22, 2008

An evening of knitting and LOST

I finished up the last disc of Season 3 of LOST (while knitting, of course!) and was happy to see that all the Season 4 episodes are still up on abc - so I'm working on those now too. It's a partial snow day so it's the perfect time to knit socks and watch LOST.

Java loves to help me by plunking herself down on my desk on top of everything:

She just climbed up on the desk and got all comfy on top of a knitted shawl, two sock bags, three skeins of sock yarn, a pattern, and a skein of handspun. And since she was displaying the BFF sock progress so perfectly I decided to take a picture.

All that LOST watching means another pair of socks:

Pattern: Yankee Knitter #29 (these were knit for my class)
Yarn: Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett in "Landscape Storm"
Started: 1/20/08
Finished: 2/22/08

I just had to look up the color name, and how appropriate!

I'm glad to be adding another pair of plain stockinette socks in a tough yarn to my collection - as much as I love knitting fancy patterns I keep coming back to my 75/25 wool/nylon stockinette socks when it comes time to decide what to wear.

And tomorrow it's off to SPA!

Listening to: Every You Every Me ~ Placebo, Wish ~ Nine Inch Nails


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What a day!

Today is my mom and my friend Christina's birthday *and* a lunar eclipse! (Hi mom! Happy birthday! How are the socks going?) Christina doesn't read the blog, but I called her and said happy birthday earlier.

Now on to the knitting. First off, there's a picture of the January STR club socks at the end of this post so in case there is anyone who has somehow not seen them yet and is still staying away from spoilers... you've been warned!

Tonight I went and knit with the girls. Well, supposedly, really we just ate dinner and I only knit before they got there. Alexis did her best to take some pictures of me wearing Claudia, but since it was dark outside they didn't turn out the greatest and the color is a little off. Since that's probably the best I'm going to get for a while here's one:

The scarf I'm wearing was crocheted by my friend Lindsey while we were studying abroad in Oslo out of genuine Norwegian wooly-wool. "Wooly-wool" being my name for random wool found cheap at a Norwegian yarn shop, I guess that would make it really authentic Lopi. In any case, it's a great scarf and I've had it since 2002 - it's warm and still looks great.

Now for the Serendipity socks:

(Yes I took that picture early this morning when I was too tired to even move the CD case under the socks - why do you ask?)

Pattern: Serendipity from the January '08 Rockin' Sock Club
Yarn: STR lightweight in "Dragon Dance"
Started: 1/26/08
Finished: 2/19/08

I modified the pattern to substitute a heel flap and gusset for the short row heel. Otherwise it's knit just like the pattern including a star toe. I thought I wouldn't like the star toe quite as much, but after knitting one on my (Black)hearted socks I realized that they're actually quite comfortable for me. I'll probably stick with the standard wedge toe most of the time, though, cuz I know it better.

Listening to: Benighted ~ Opeth, Just ~ Radiohead

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've been chummed!

Today I got an email from Alexis to tell me that I had been chummed. Or, rather, (Black)hearted had been chummed. In any case, it was a pleasant surprise and I notice that now one new person has started the socks on Ravelry. Not sure if that was a result of the chumming or not. (I do read the chum, but I was at work. And I generally work at work. Strange but true.)

I also have a hat to show you! The amazing handspun Claudia is done.

Pattern: Claudia by my fab friend MJ
Yarn: handspun from my Rhinebeck fleece
Started: 1/23/08
Finished: 2/17/08

I haven't been able to get a modeled pic yet because I haven't had any fellow knitters to con into taking pictures of me wearing Claudia. And I'm just not that good with a camera timer. Maybe soon.

In other exciting news, I don't think it ever made it to the blog but I'm going to SPA this weekend. It was sort of an impromptu trip but I think it will be lots of fun. And I'm even bringing my wheel!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

You make my day!

I've been knitting quite a bit this weekend trying to finish *something* and make myself feel a bit accomplished. And I kind of did. I finished my Claudia, but it was too big to fit my little head. I ripped back to a little before the decreases and am decreasing again now. Hopefully I can get pictures of it out in real sun sometime soon - the yarn is a fairly light natural sheep color and I think I need good light so the trellis pattern shows up.

I also worked on my Serendipity socks, BFF socks, and the class socks. And they're all in various states of not-quite-completion. Look for a few FOs this week if all goes well.

And on the meme front:

I've been double-tagged for the "You Make My Day" award. Thank you to both Omly and Rae who said that I make their day.

First off I'd like to say that I read a LOT of blogs. 287 feeds in bloglines, to be exact. And I read *all* of these blogs because I like something about them, so it is very hard narrowing it down to 10. I'm just going to list the first 10 that come to my head in no particular order and hopefully not offend anyone. ;) I left out my IRL friends I see all the time - not because their blogs aren't good or they don't make my day but because I link to them all the time and it was more of a challenge without them.

1. MJ makes my day in many ways, both via her blog and via IM. She's one of the sweetest people I've ever 'met' online, and she designs a mean hat too. ;) In fact I was teasing her the other night because she's an overnight sensation with Claudia which has been/is being made by 23 people on Ravelry while only one person has started either of my sock patterns.

2. Aija always has something beautiful and tempting to post.

3. Jenneke knits really pretty stuff and was an amazing sock pal to me in the KBSX2 swap.

4. Ysolda has pretty pictures and great designs. And I kind of want to be her when I grow up. ;)

5. Stephen was a great fellow sock-camper and I really enjoy reading his blog even though it's not always knitting related.

6. Mintyfresh has knitted dodecahedrons. Need I say more?

7. Sarah is awesome and even helped me pick out my fleece at Rhinebeck. Plus she has sheep and knits truly beautiful things.

8. Kris is someone I'm lucky enough to know in real life, but I keep up with her knitting on her blog. She's very prolific and makes tons of pretty sweaters.

9. Zanti has cute cat pictures and knits pretty stuff too!

10. This 'boring' blog is not, in my opinion, very boring. And she posts a lot. And cute cats.

No need to feel tagged if you don't want to be, folks. I'm not really the tagging type.

Listening to: End of the Beginning ~ 30 Seconds To Mars, Enjoy the Silence ~ Depeche Mode

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Feeling a little down this Valentine's Day?

Well cheer yourself up with the long-awaited (Black)hearted pattern!

Pattern: (Black)hearted - the PDF is available on Ravelry download now
Yarn: Cider Moon Flurry in Midnight Special
Started: 2/2/08
Finished: 2/13/08

Sometimes I like to take a bit of a goth approach to Valentine's Day. I pretend that I'm bitter and single, but really I'm not. (Bitter, that is, other than CTHGSY I'm single.)

These socks have been stuck in my head for quite a while, as I mentioned before. The initial idea came with these ones which I knit for Marymac since her birthday is on Valentine's Day. (Happy Birthday!) The whole Sockapaloooza thing is a lie and was crafted to throw off my real pal who even commented on that post. ;)

Look at that goth-ruffly goodness!

I revamped the pattern a bit by rewriting the heart chart with decreases I like better. However my idea included a "choose your own adventure" aspect that I also incorporated into the pattern. There are a few choices for different tops, heels, and toes. MJ went for a slightly more traditional Valentine's approach:

Knit by MJ in ShibuiKnits Sock in Blossom, and on a very tight deadline might I mention. She also did the fabulous PDF design. It's so nice to have friends who cater to your knitting whims...

Tomorrow I'll be wearing my socks and indulging in my Anti-Valentine playlist. But however you spend your Valentine's Day I hope it's a good one!

Listening to: A Fine Day To Exit ~ Anathema, Ask For Answers ~ Placebo

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Some progress

Last time I reported on all of the half done socks hanging around my house. What I didn't tell you was that at the time that entry was written all except the Class Socks were on my desk. I like to keep half socks on my desk, that way when I get bored I can grab a different pair.

So since that post I've done a few rounds on the BFF socks. I also finished the heel flaps, turns, and picked up the gusset on the STR club socks, and the Secret Valentine Design socks are looking like this:

Yes, that is the bottom of the foot of a sock. But it's the bottom of the foot of an almost done sock (which is connected to a second almost done sock)! I know you're excited. ;)

Also the variation in the yarn is only that visible under very bright light like, say, a camera flash. In normal light it looks like subtly variegated blue-black.

And here's the handspun I was talking about:

I'm not totally sure what the fiber was since Rachel gave it to me without any sort of label, but I think it was an angora blend. It was pretty difficult to spin because the fibers were sticking together like crazy so I first had to split the batt into very thin strands so I could draft it at all. Consequently the finished yarn is a bit more thick-and-thin than my usual, but I think it turned out well.

Listening to: Head Like A Hole ~ A.F.I., In My Waking Life ~ Saves the Day

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

When everything is half done...

On the designing front, writing charts at 12:30am is not the wisest thing to do - when you go to knit them you just may realize that while you have made a bunch of YOs in the correct formation you have neglected to add any decreases to compensate.

That is, however, one of the best things about writing up a pattern before knitting it - I can be my own test knitter and follow the instructions so I know they're at least *mostly* working before I send them to my real test knitter. In this case it's pretty much simultaneous, except MJ was waiting on her yarn so I got a bit of a head start and sent her corrected charts before she started trying to knit my sleep-deprived pattern.


In knitting news, I am plagued with a bunch of half-finished projects. Last weekend I knit entrelac with some knitting buddies and thus was forced to start Quant in some beautiful blue Teseo. I'm modifying the pattern to be a round headband because I really don't like I-cord so I'm just making a little narrow stockinette section for the back and grafting it instead of tying. I think it will work.

The sock world is just swarming with socks right around the halfway point. I have the Class Socks just past the gusset decreases, the BFF socks about an inch before the heel flap, the new STR club socks in the heel flaps, the California socks also about an inch before the heel flaps and the Valentine's socks are also about ready for the heel flaps. Hence no finished objects and (sadly) no pictures.

I've also been spinning a bit - I've decided that Lime & Violet listening time is the time for spinning so the more episodes they record the more productive my spinning will be. I know they care. ;) Tonight I listened to the latest and spun up some roving that Rachel gave me a while back - she bought it at one of the sheep & wool festivals and never got into spinning so I obliged and spun it up for her. I'm letting the singles rest and I'll probably ply it tomorrow and give it to her next time I see her.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

A bit about designing

I'm designing another sock pattern and I decided that instead of leaving it a total mystery/surprise I'd blog about the designing process.

Here's how it goes, at least for me:

I get an idea for a pattern and kick it around in my head for a period of time. Weeks, months, whatever. Occasionally I'll knit something relatively on the fly, but most of the time there's a lot of planning even if it's only in my head. The problem is that it's easy to get stuck in the thought stage. That's where MJ comes in.

In chemistry there is something called activation energy (yes, I'm always a dorky scientist). Basically it's the energetic "push" that a reaction needs to start... reacting. For me that's MJ. I can have a great idea but reality always interferes. Like this idea I had for a pattern for Valentine's Day - but that's so soon, and do I really have time to get it done? I was deciding not to do it but then last night MJ IMed me and the combination of the late hour and the MJ-effect caused me to decide that yes, this would work. So I started writing and approximately an hour later I had the first draft of the pattern that had been invading my brain.

(I should also note that she was the catalyst that led to me posting the PDF of Diamondy and she also was IMing with me while I wrote up another pattern late one night. But more about that later.)

The pattern was also inspired by a yarn idea that I had in my head. I tried a few times to find this yarn and had a couple ones that came close. When deciding which one to use I decided I'd multi task by picking a type of yarn I hadn't tried yet. That way it will also count towards my goal of using more of the new yarns from my stash.

There's the Cider Moon Flurry in Midnight Special all wound up. It looks a little more blue in the picture than it actually is.

Now off to cast on...


Friday, February 01, 2008

January Goals

I've done pretty well on my goals for January. After going through my goals posts from the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008 I've figured my goals are the following:

1. Reduce the stash
2. Try new yarns (from the stash)
3. Knit more Rockin' Sock Club socks
4. Knit a sweater
5. Finish old WIPs

So in January I did the following:

1. I bought 500g of yarn - all sock yarn - during the month of January. This includes sock clubs which I purchased last year but which arrived this year. I knit 200g from the stash. Not too shabby, almost all of it was sock clubs and "holiday" yarn purchases. Since I returned home to reside with my stash, I'm doing very well. ;)

2. I succeeded in this by trying the Panda Cotton (which I bought on my holiday trip) and Inspinknity. The Panda Cotton socks were started in December, so Inspinknity is my official January New Yarn.

3. I started my newest RSC package as soon as it arrived and I've made good progress so far. The yarn is wound and ready for Marble Arches as my February RSC sock.

4. No progress on the sweater yet.

5. I finished the Olympia socks this month, which were technically a 2007 WIP. I did frog Canal du Midi and make good progress on the California socks. I also found and made minimal progress on Mystic Sea - I intend to work more on those this month and finish them before sock camp in April for sure.

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Sock Yarn

    A quest to use sock yarns:

    Yarns I've had:
    * means I really liked it

    4-ply Soft
    A Piece of Vermont*
    Artyarns Supermerino*
    Austermann Step
    BMFA Sock Candy*
    Black Bunny Fibers*
    Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport
    Chinese Mystery sock yarn
    Claudia's Handpaints
    Conjoined Creations Flat Feet
    Crystal Palace Maizy
    CTH Supersock
    Dicentra Designs
    Dorchester Farms
    Fearless Fibers
    Gloss (KP)
    Interlacements Beibi Seda
    Interlacements Tiny Toes
    Interlacements Toasty Toes
    Jarbo Raggi
    Jojoland Melody
    Kona Superwash
    KP Essential
    KP Merino
    KP Palette
    Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock*
    Macek Designs
    Magic Stripes
    Mega Boots Stretch
    Nature's Palette
    Noro Kureyon Sock
    Panda Cotton
    Paton's Kroy*
    Peru DK
    Peruvian Quechua
    Regia Bamboo*
    Regia Cotton
    Regia Strato*
    Ruby Sapphire
    Socks That Rock*
    Star (Classic Elite)
    Stitch Jones
    Sunshine Yarns*
    Three Fates Cauldron Sock*
    Wool Ease
    Yarn Pirate*

    In Progress:

    Perchance to Knit
    Yarns in the stash:

    All Things Heather
    Ancient Threads
    Apple Laine
    Araucania Ranco
    Artyarns Ultramerino
    Autumn House Farm
    Baby Ull
    Ball and Skein
    Baywood Yarns
    Bearfoot (Mountain Colors)
    Briar Rose Fibers
    Brooklyn Handspun
    Cavyshops Handpaint
    C*eye*ber Fiber
    Cervinia Calzetteria
    CTH Superglitz
    Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks
    Chewy Spaghetti
    Classic Elite Alpaca Sox
    Colinette Cadenza
    Colinette Jitterbug
    Country Classic Yarn for Sox
    Crash Into Ewe
    Crown Mountain Farms Sock Hop
    Curious Yarns
    Done Roving
    Dream in Color
    Duet (A Swell Yarn Shop)
    Dye Dreams
    Ellen's Half Pint Farm
    End of the World Farm
    Fashion Trend Sportivo
    The Fiber Denn
    Fleece Artist
    The Flock Bransonas
    French Hill Farm
    Froehlich Blauband
    Gjestal Silja
    Great Adirondack Soxie
    Greenwood Fiberworks
    Jaeger Matchmaker
    Jarbo Mini Raggi
    Jawoll Cotton
    Just Our Yarn
    Knit Purl Natural Collection
    Kona Superwash
    KP Dancing
    KP Essential Tweed
    Lime & Violet
    Lisa Souza
    Louet Gems Pearl
    Mama Llama
    Merlin the Cat
    Meilenweit Cotton
    Meilenweit Trend
    Mind's Eye Merino/Tencel
    Mirasol Hacho
    Misty Mountain Farm
    The Natural Dye Studio
    Neighborhood Fiber Company
    Over the Rainbow Twinkletoes
    Pigeon Roof Studios
    Pine Woods
    Posh Yarn Lucia
    Prism Saki
    Pucker Brush Farm
    Regia Surf
    Reynolds Swizzle
    Reynolds Soft Sea Wool
    Rio De La Plata
    Royale Hare
    Roz Houseknecht
    Schaefer Anne
    Scout's Swag
    Sheep Shop Wensleydale
    Shelridge Farm
    Sockenwolle Unipo
    Spirit Trail Fiberworks
    Spunky Eclectic
    Steinbach Wolle Sockenwolle
    Sundara Yarn
    Tess Designer Yarns
    The Unique Sheep
    Universal Ditto
    Valley Yarns Franklin
    vanCalcar Acres
    White Oak Studio tvyarn
    Wisdom Yarns Marathon
    Wool in the Woods
    The Woolen Rabbit
    Yarn Botanika Radiance
    Ysolda Yarn
    Zen Yarn Garden

    To check out:

    Sophie's Toes
    The Spinning Bunny Yarns BFL

WIPs and FOs