Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Enhancement

Packages have been arriving in the mail the past few days - all for me!

I did some trading via the wonderful Knitty Board for some new goodies:

I offered up that Rebecca mag I got a few weeks back (I wasn't really enamoured with any of the patterns). Some crazy wonderful person offered two balls of Kidsilk Haze in "Trance." Um, OK!

It's so yummy! Now, what to do with it......



Another swapper wanted to swap some Knitpicks Shine in Grass for another color. I had several balls in Sky, and way too much blue yarn, so I swapped!

Just in time to end May, some very green yarn! I'm thinking I'll let it marinate for a while before it tells me what it wants to be.


Some other goodies came home via some LYSs. I picked up five balls of Calmer at one LYS 35% off (!). I really wanted a lighter color, so if anyone wants to trade, let me know! I've got 4 balls in color #473 (royal blueish) and 1 ball in color #464 (pea greenish). I also snagged a ball of Trekking at Yarns Ewenique that I couldn't resist. What can I say? The Trek-along starts tomorrow!

I also got my goodies from my Dye-o-rama Swap!



My swap partner was Julie, and she sent some great goodies. Some yummy chocolate (which were a little melty Julie, but I saved them with the fridge!), some Sugar 'n Creme yarn in "my" colors :), and my handdyed yarn! She used Wilton's icing dyes to make this yummy blue and white yarn. I'm thinking it will be great socks for The Girl - such a pretty blue! Thanks Julie!

Still want more goodies? Go see what Jen got for her birthday - she's a lucky girl! :)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sometimes, it's easy being green

Like when you're green (iced) tea, homemade guacamole, and finished green socks!


Pattern: Cloverleaf Rib socks from an old Six Sox KAL pattern
Yarn: Opal (the German Opal, not the Gems Opal) color 1266 (apple green)
Needles: Size 1 Susan Bates DPNs. My favorites.
Mods: The pattern only called for the cuff, but I chose to continue it down the foot. I really like it this way.
Thoughts: I was unsure about the color first, but it's grown on me. I love the pattern, and look forward to more lacy socks this summer!
KAL: Two feet of the Amazing Lace relay complete!
Screaming from the stash now: Surprisingly, nothing! I really want to get some more things off the needles before June officially hits, so I'm off to work on them!

I'm super excited, 'cause this not only makes two finished pairs of socks this month, this is the first month I've finished my "socks of the month" (for Project Spectrum) in the month they were made for. You may all applaud. Can this bode well for June?

This would be a lovely way to start my summer, if I didn't have to teach summer school starting tomorrow next week (oops!). Ah well. A few more days of knitting freedom remain! What else can I finish up around here.....

Monday, May 29, 2006

Meet the team

For this season's Amazing Lace, Team Knit 'n Lit will be a relay team comprised of several different teammates, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Team members will have various times on the track, but each should see some action every week.

The following team members have made it through try-outs and have completed the preliminary rounds.

From left to right:
Pattern: Leaf Lace Shawl from Fibertrends
Yarn: Knitpicks Shimmer in Happy Dance
Needles: Size 4 Inox Grey's shown, but probably will go with size 4 Susan Bates for length.

Pattern: Baltic Sea Stole from Fibertrends
Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style in Dusk
Needles: Size 5 Clover Bamboos

Bottom row:
Pattern: Cloverleaf Rib socks
Yarn: Opal sock yarn in Apple Green
Needles: Size 1 Susan Bates DPNs

Pattern: Top Secret
Yarn: Cascade Fixation
Needles: Size 6 Susan Bates

All of these team members have survived the first round, swatching, and some have done so well in trial races that they have begun the relay a bit early. In fact, member Cloverleaf Rib is nearly finished with her portion of the relay. Not to worry, some backup lacers are still in preliminary auditions.

Several sock yarns and patterns have risen to the challenge and at least one will be selected to replace Cloverleaf Rib.

Left to right:
Pattern: Waving Lace socks
Yarn: Opal sock yarn
Needles: Either size 1 Susan Bates DPNs or size 1 Inox Grey's DPNs

Pattern: Simply Lovely Lace Socks
Yarn: Fortissima Cotton
Needles: Size 1 or 2 Susan Bates DPNs or Inox Grey's.

Bottom row:
Pattern: Leaf Lace Socks (apologies for lack of picture)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
Needles: Size 2 Susan Bates DPNs.

Also completing trial runs are, from left to right:

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl
Yarn: Skacel Merino Style
Needles: Size 4 or 5 Susan Bates (still in trial runs)

Pattern: Perfect Pie Shawl from Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Madli Kid Seta
Needles: Still in swatching runs.

Pattern: Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style
Yarn: Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud
Needles: Size 4 or 5 Susan Bates (also still swatching)

Bottom:
Pattern: Branching Out from Knitty.com
Yarn: Misti Alpaca laceweight
Needles: undecided


Team Knit 'n Lit does have some previous lace experience. Mom's Little Lace Scarf can be seen here, The Girl's shawl here. The team also has prior experience with Branching Out, the Leaf Lace Socks and the Leaf Lace Shawl. All of these ended badly, so the team is hoping that the second (or third or fourth) time is the charm.

Oh, and in case it all goes to hell in a handbasket? 300g of pink laceweight cashmere are waiting in the wings. Yum.

Team members not pictured include iced tea, Diet Dr. Pepper, hazelnut coffee, TiVo, L&O, CSI, and Netflix.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It's not all knitting this weekend

I actually haven't made it to the beer and book yet this weekend - I've been otherwise occupied:

Ahhh - a home pedicure! My tooties are very happy!


Today I discovered my love for the stretchy cord. Seriously. Someone stop me.


If you like to make jewelry (or want to try it out), get some of this. Now. It is the best thing since sliced bread.

Some of these beads have been waiting around for some time now wanting to become bracelets, but I didn't have much success with using wire, so they've been marinating until the arrival of the solution - stretchy cord!

I love how bracelets can add just a little punch to an outfit and I'm looking forward to wearing these a lot next fall.

I also made some cute stitchmarkers for my swap pals, and dyed up a new skein of yarn for my dye-pal. I'll show you when it's dry.

In case you're bored this weekend, check out these links:

The fall Knitscene preview is up. There seem to be a few patterns worth buying the magazine for.

Like baseball? Love knitting? Is your city hosting a Stitch 'n Pitch event? Find out here!

And don't forget - Saturday June 10 is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Find out if your city is hosting an event here. Fort Worth Knitters - I'm working on something for us. Tomorrow is location scouting day!

Enjoy your Monday - especially if you don't have to work! Yippee!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Random Wednesday

1. Thanks for all the comments on the socks. For those of you who asked, the stripey socks (or That 70s Sock as I like to call it) is just a 3x1 rib, and the green sock is the Cloverleaf Rib pattern - an old Six Sox KAL pattern (though I think it is availble on the internets somewhere else).

2. The second green sock is ready to flap some heel. Perhaps that goal of another finished pair by the end of the month is possible - especially since I have a whole other week to finish them up.

3. Only 2 more days of school. 'Nuff said.

4. I've been prepping my Amazing Lace Team - more details soon!

5. I've joined Amanda's Summer Reading Challenge. I'm not sure what my challenge will be yet, but I'd like to get to some of those books people have been telling me to read for years. This may mean I have to stay away from the library though, since many of those books live on my shelves here. This may prove difficult.

6. I am so glad that The Closer is returning this summer - at least I'll have something to watch other than endless repeats of L&O.

7. I got a camera phone! As soon as I figure it out, I'm sure I'll be using it to show y'all random pictures of my day-to-day life. Can you contain your excitement?

8. New purses. One is green (for Project Spectrum). Love them. Thanks mommma!




9. Posting has been spotty for a few weeks, as I've been giving myself an ulcer looking for a job since November. The stress has really been getting to me. After all, I have a master's degree, several years experience and there are about 40 school districts within 30 miles. It should not be this hard to get a freaking job! It's not like I want to be Sydney Bristow (BTW - did anyone else think the series finale of Alias was lame?), I just want to teach!

10. I got a job on Friday. And there was much rejoicing.

11. Could not knit a stitch tonight during Lost. You?

Monday, May 22, 2006

2 1/2 Socks

It's been all sock, all the time here lately. For some crazy reason all I want to do these days is get stuff off the needles. Perhaps it's that school is ending. Perhaps it's the looming beginning of the Amazing Lace and the Summer of Socks. At any rate, all this (relative) project monogamy has been good for my tooties!

Unfortunately, these socks don't match. And normally I wouldn't care (OK, so maybe I'd care a little bit), but one is not for me, and as a result, is too big. Pooey.

The green sock has seen a lot of action over the past few days - I've gotten addicted to the pattern, and as a result, it has flown off the needles. I only had about 3 pattern repeats done as of last Monday, and yesterday - a finished sock! In good knitterly behavior, the second sock has been cast on. Can I finish it before the end of May?

The Husband and I went to see "The DaVinci Code" on Friday and I took along the plain green sock for company. I had about an inch of stockinette done before we got there, and when we left - just a few rows to go before I was ready to flap that heel.


I'm not sure much else will get done before June 1, but hopefully I'll have at least one finished pair of socks! Perhaps something else will get done.....but what will it be?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

In praise of the washrag

My little sis recently moved into a new house, and what better gift than some dishcloths!


Pattern: Nothing special - one is just a rectangle, and the other has some yo's on the edges.
Yarn: Lily Sugar & Cream - just under 1 ball for both.
Needles: Susan Bates sz 8s.
Mods: um, none.
Thoughts: Love a quick knit! Now, y'all need to tell her that it's OK to use them on the dishes! They're not just for pretty!


To demonstrate, allow me to show you my most often used washrag - my lovely reverse bloom facecloth knit for me by the lovely Theresa. I use it every morning - here it is drying on the shower door. I love it!


Finally, I may have forgotten to mention this, but while I was in Boston/MA/CT/NYC in March, I taught my best friend's momma to knit! She knit on the way home in the car, and recently sent me this picture:

With this note: Hi Jen, I told your mom that they actually look better than the pictures, but I am afraid to get them wet! I'm very creative when I'm not sure what to do and have great fun making up my own stitches...

I'm so excited that she's having a great time, and I love that she's making up her own stitches - way to go!

Say it with me people - use those washrags!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

About that will power...

It seems to be failing me AGAIN. An innocent stop at Tuesday Morning (home of the great Cotton-Ease binge of '05) on Sunday led to this:


Five skeins of dk/sport weight (235 yds each), 100% wool yarn from Italy (I'm so glad I could figure out the 100% wool in Italian!) for $2.99/ball. Yep. Y'all understand about how it HAD to come home with me, right?

In other stash enhancement news, my MIL gave me a card for mother's day that said for my gift she wanted to take me shopping at the new yarn store. Awww! I'm super excited.

And my hubby got me a gift even though I told him not too. Aren't they lovely?


He did say that he was going to "Go by the yarn store and buy you a ball of Trekking, but they were closed." Awwww! He was mad when he found out that he could have gotten the yarn for the same price he paid for the flowers! Too cute. Good thing he doesn't know about that ball that might have come home with me on Thursday.

In Project Spectrum news, I started a new green sock. I've been a *bit* stressed these past few weeks with the job search ulcer taking hold, and after ripping two sweaters I needed mindless non-sweater knitting. Enter stockinette sock for the hubby. Sportweight Wool-ease (why oh why did Lion Brand discontinue this?) in heathered green on size 2 Susan Bates DPNs. Like a lovely bowl of good vanilla ice cream. This is my comfort knitting right now.


The other comforting thing right now? Good coffee in my favorite mug - also green.


While I'm admitting to my inability to resist yarn purchases and cast-ons, I guess I should admit to my KAL disease. It's back. I'm a joiner. I think most of it might be because of that whole "summer vacation" thing (even though I'll likely be working all summer), but who knows. Perhaps all the good ones just come along at the right time.

Besides Project Spectrum, Sew? I Knit, Count Your Socks, 2000 Socks, and Sock a Month, I've also joined the Amazing Lace, the Trek Along, Summer of Socks, and The Summer Reading Challenge. Whew! It's a good thing that some of these overlap! Perhaps I'm overcommitted. Or just need to be committed. Hm.

Finally, for my One-Skein Pal, some answers to questions posed specifically for me!

Hello, Jenn!

I've had some time to check out your blog and it I get this feeling
you enjoy knitting socks. I can't believe how many things you've made.
So with that in mind, I have some questions below for you (feel free
to reply to this email or post on your blog).

- Your One Skein Secret Pal

What's your favorite sock yarn to knit? Hmmm, I really like Trekking and Koigu but that Knitpicks stuff is pretty nice too.

What's your favorite method to knit socks (DPNs from what I can tell,
but I could be wrong)? You're right! I only knit on DPNs, and frankly, I love it and am not so keen on the idea of learning another way. Or maybe I'm just stuck in what's comfortable.

What's your favorite type of sock yarn: solids or variegated? I really like both - a great solid is so nice for a textured pattern, but there are such beautiful variegateds out there too! Really, anything can find a home in my sock stash!

Favorite sock book? Hmmm, this one is tricky. I haven't actually knit a pair of socks from any book pattern (unless you count the knitter's handy book of patterns), but I have several. I've got the Nancy Bush ones. And I've got Sensational Knitted Socks, but I haven't knit anything from it yet.

Favorite sock pattern? I do love the Jaywalker pattern, and intend to knit it up again.

Size shoe/sock you wear? I wear a size 8/8 1/2 shoe.

Who do you knit socks the most for? I'd love to say me, but of the 10 pairs I've knit, only four have been for me! Three were sockpal socks, and two pairs were for my hubby. And one for a gift. I have big plans to knit more for myself, but of the three socks currently on the needles, only one pair is for me.

Worst sock yarn... ever? I haven't knit with anything horrible.....yet.

What fun! Methinks some sock yarn *might* be in the works! I'm gathering ideas for my swap pals and working on packages right now too! Love this.

Keep voting for your favorite dyed yarn - I'm still undecided!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

She's crafty

Which is good when she misplaces her knitting mojo.

On Sunday I set out to work some crafty mojo by hitting the thrift store for sweaters to felt. Sadly, our large thrift store apparently only stocks things seasonally - there was not a stitch of wool to be found. On to the next!

I came home and got ready to dye up some yarn - some for my swap pal and some for me! Here's what I came up with - which one do y'all think I should send my swap pal?



Very Berry



Seaside



Sunset


I dyed up the Very Berry using an old pyrex bowl and the microwave! Three packets of strawberry kool aid and three of grape (next time I'd use more grape). I was amazed that I could keep the color mostly to one side without any fanciness! I just poured it onto 1/4 of the skein, did the other color on another 1/4, twisted the skein and laid the second half on top and did the 1/4 colors again. It's a very "varigated" skein - the colors really fade in and out of each other. I would love to see it knit up!

Seaside was done using three packets of Artic Green Apple (this color kind of sucks - not very green) and one of Lemon-Lime for the Green and 3 packs of Ice Blue Raspberry. I *heart* these colors. I'll be recreating one of these for me if I send off this one!

Sunset was done using three colors - three packs of orange in one pot, five of lemonade in a mason jar sitting in my big pot, and three packs of cherry in the big pot. Because of the way the yarn laid across the big pot there is a spot of darker color that fades into a lighter pink on either side. I really like the way this looks - the effect of four colors for the price of three! I also love this one and will be making another for myself if I give this one away.

So, what do you think? Leave me a note in the comments! Edited to add: My pal said anything goes color-wise!

Last night I couldn't sit still to knit, and I've been really wanting to sew up some fabric that's been in my stash since last summer. I wanted to do something different from my usual tall and narrow-ish tote bags, so I made one long and not as tall. It also has two interior pockets (and the fabric on the pockets matches up to the interior fabric - when I tried to show the husband the pockets, he said "where?" I guess it worked!). I love this bag - it's a great size for a purse or knitting bag and has perfect length and width handles. I've really got to start writing down what I do when I make these so I can recreate them!


The knitting mojo may have returned this evening. Try to contain your excitement.

Go give Jen some love at her new blog!

Monday, May 15, 2006

J is for

Well, apart from the obvious (Jenn!) it is for good friends - Jen, Jess & Jules; brothers - James, and brothers-in-law-to-be - Jon. But for photographic reasons, J is for Jet.

We live very close (on the flight path actually) to the Joint Reserve Base here in Fort Worth. Every day we hear them on their training flights, and my family can attest to the many times when I'm on the phone and I have to tell them "hang on, there's a jet" 'cause I can't hear over them!

This weekend provided the perfect photo op for us - the Air Show!






It was super cool (hey, we're dorks!), though we might have small sunburns to show for it!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Not the momma!

One of my favorite lines from that short-lived TV show "Dinosaurs" was when the baby said "Not the momma!" No one could make baby dinosaur happy but mommy. For many of us, grown men and women, this still holds true. As much as I love my husband, and he is my best friend, he'll never replace my momma!

For my momma, she gets only the best. A knitted gift, of course!


Pre-felting



Finito!


Pattern: Elizabeth bag from Black Sheep Bags - Julie Anderson.
Yarn: 5 1/2 Skeins of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Winter Night.
Needles: Sz US 10 1/2 Circ and DPNs - Clover bamboo - my favorite!
Dates: Late April-Tuesday May 9.
Mods: None!
Thoughts: This was the first time I felted something more than once. It was huge pre-felting, and took three times to get it to a reasonable size. It still seems big to me but mom says she loves it! I love the way this yarn felts!

For my mother's day The Girl made me two cards - one says "One of the many people inside you is a mother" and the other says "We may look different on the outside, but we're the same on the inside." Isn't it great how profound kids can be without intending too?!

Happy Mother's Day! Go kiss your mom!

(The newspaper thing can be found here.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Friday, May 12, 2006

Send willpower please

I am weak. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem. Pretty pattern? Must have it. Yummy yarn? All mine. Bad day? Buy yarn.

Luckily, I know I'm not alone in this (although that doesn't make my bank account feel any better).

My latest moment of weakness began on Friday when I got my Summer IK. I lurve the Marseilles Pullover, and have since I saw it on the preview. So when I got the mag, and that was the only pattern that screamed out to be knit, AND I've been craving some cables (please ignore the fact that I have yarn and pattern in the stash for several other cabled sweaters), AND I found a great deal on a yarn I've been coveting in a color I love. Well. You know where this is going.

Yum. Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a lovely pink. When will I cast on?


Posing so innocently next to the pinkness is my new knitting book - One Skein. You know things are bad when your hubby calls you from work and says "Have you seen this new book - One Skein? I think you'd really like it." Yep. He's learning! As it turns out, I got this baby for free - I exchanged a book (one he'd actually gotten me - Knit Scarves) that I found blah, AND I had a little bit of leftovers on a gift card, so I paid nothing! I love those kinds of purchases!

I thought I was doing so well until I got to knitting last night. And they said "We've gotten in a ton of new stuff since y'all were in here!" Yikes. A good yarn store has been made even better - they got in all their Rowan (drool), more sock yarn, and tons of other stuff. Then we discussed what else they "needed" to order - and they told us they've got the Louisa Harding yarns on order and the Elizabeth Lasvold. AND they said they were debating carrying Lorna's Laces (and I think we gave them the nudge they needed off of that cliff!). Yippee!

I might have had to check out the sock yarn. And they might have had one lonely skein of Trekking XXL in color 100. And I might have had to have it (especially with Margene & Norma's Trekalong coming up!). But there is no photographic evidence. It might be driving me nuts not to cast on until June 1 too. Might.

I'm also interviewing possible teammates for the Amazing Lace. No final selections have been made, though it seems a relay team might be in the work. We'll keep you posted as things develop.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Summer socks

I finished my April socks yesterday (just 10 days past due!) and I love them!

Pattern: Generic sock pattern with heel flap - 60 stitches.
Needles: Sz 1 1/2 (US) Brittany 5" DPNs.
Yarn: Sockotta - color #6670
Dates: April 1-May 10.
Mods: N/A
Thoughts: This stretchy yarn is very tricky at first - I had to go down both in needle size and stitch count to get them to fit, but they fit great now! They are very snug, but in a good way. They are also surprisingly warm - I guess that's the wool content! They were lovely on my tootsies last night 'cause it was a bit chilly here. I have another skein (from Boston) that I am looking forward to knitting up.

In other excitement, Jen & I went to knitting night at Yarns Ewenique (our new yarn store) tonight, and they both remembered us and knew our names! For having only been in the store once, I'm impressed by that! I'm also excited 'cause I'll be teaching a class for them this summer! Woo hoo! It'll be a kids knitting class and I'm thinking about making up my own pattern for them. We'll see. I'll keep y'all posted!

And yeah, I took down the ticker. I figured 3 knitting purchases in a week wasn't a good record for me. More on them soon!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Swap-o-rama!

I'm so excited! In addition to the great Dye-o-rama swap, I got my One Skein swap pal info today too! Woo Hoo! And I joined the August Birthday Swap yesterday! If you've got an August birthday go join up too!

Both current swaps have "mini-memes" for us to fill out, so I thought I'd take this chance to fill the empty spots in my blog tell you all about me. Aren't you excited?

Dye-o-Rama

Your favorite colors? I really like pink, orange and red, but I've got lots of yarn in those colors. I'd kinda like blue/green/brown, but really anything is great! (Well, except for maybe mud/barf colors and clown colors!)
Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? Any would be fine, but I do love those socks!
Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Either!
If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or
self-patterning yarn? Any!
Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic,
alpaca, etc.)? Sure!
Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Ocean Waves
What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? To try out more dyeing!

General yarn/fiber questions:
Have you dyed yarn/fiber before? Yup.
If so, what’s your favorite dye and method? I've only done Kool-aid, but I really enjoyed it!
Do you spin? Nope.
Have you knit socks before? Let me check.....yep.
Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? Socks.
What are some of your favorite yarns? Knitpicks Sock Garden/Landscape/Memories, Patons Classic Merino
What yarn do you totally covet? Most Debbie Bliss yarns, Socks that Rock.
Favorite patterns? I really enjoyed Clapotis, and see myself making that one again sometime.
Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? The Mermaid jacket/sweater.
Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? I love my Chiagoo bamboo DPNs and my Clover circs.
If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? Knitpicks - I'm cheap and easy!
Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:
Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? Um, chocolate?!
What’s your favorite animal? Elephants
Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? Yep - Rocky/mutt/about 13, Cassidy/Border Collie/7, Miles/Lab/1 1/2, Cocoa/kitty/3.
If you were a color what color would you be? Pink
Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s).. Vintage floral pearl snap.
What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Waves crashing on the beach.
Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read. You have to laugh at yourself because you'll cry your eyes out if you don't.
Do you have a wishlist? Yep - on Amazon.


One Skein

1. Which yarn is most like your personality (you can be specific or general with your answer- brand, type, color, fiber, whatever)? Knitpicks - cheap, easy, colorful.
2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with? Pink/orange/red.
3. Have you ever used variegated, or magic, yarns? Yep.
4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns? Yep - wool and wool blends.
5. Do you prefer to work with center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn? Either.
6. Have you ever worked with organic yarns or are you interested in trying them? Sure!
7. How many and what projects have you made in the last year? Over 50 I think - all sorts from hats, scarves, socks, sweaters, etc.
8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year? Tons.
9. What is your favorite one skein project? Socks.
10. How much yarn do you have in your stash and how do you store it? A fair amount - I've got three rubbermaid tubs and two wicker hampers.
11. Do you have a yarn in your stash that you love so much you can never use it or part with it? Not yet!
12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer? A little less - it's real hot here! I usually do smaller, lighterweight projects.
13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or offline)? Yep - my local stitch & bitch.

Whew!

And because no post is complete without pictures - here's Cocoa and her mousie. He's no SRM, but they are cute together!







Oh, the green sock pattern is the Cloverleaf Rib from the Six Sox KAL.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

And..........we're back!

I wanted to give y'all time to visit those with weekend stash enhancement, blogger meetup stories and pictures of cute fibery animals. Are you done? Am I bitter? :) Nah.

I also have little in the means of blog excitement lately. Lots of gift knitting makes for little to talk about on the blog. However, I do hope (fingers and toes crossed) to have some FO's by the end of the week. I hope I didn't jinx myself!

For now, a green sock.




It's been in this state for about a week now. It's being neglected in favor of the gift knitting.

Any questions?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Sock Question

Socks. We all (ok, most) seem to have a fetishobsessionthing for making socks. But what makes a sock?

We all know aobut the importance of gauge, and it seems extra important here. Too tight? Can't get your sock over your heel. Too loose? Falls off your foot. So far, I've been lucky. All of my socks have fit. Some have had to be ripped out early on for being too small/big, but I've worked it out in the end.

However, I've been a bit frustrated of late trying to work out my gauge issues with many written patterns. Here - I spelled it out for Theresa

I have a question for you, as you seem to be my "resident" sock-swami. I seem to knit "tight" - my gauge always seems to be tighter than the patterns says (ex: pattern calls for sz one needles with a gauge of 8 spi, I get 9 spi with sz 1.) (oh, and I realize that not all sock yarns are created equal - I try to "eyeball" the yarn - thinner yarns get smaller needles) I sometimes hate to go up a needle size, as I don't always like the resulting fabric (I feel that socks should be knit fairly tightly to make them last longer - am I nuts?). However, a gauge of 9 spi leaves me with few patterns that fit my gauge. Sometimes I go ahead and use the recommended needle size (even if I get a smaller gauge) and still get a sock that fits. However, I have had to rip out several socks that ended up too big/small because of this, so I don't want to just "do it" all the time. How does negative ease work in socks? Is this why my 9 spi socks fit when the gauge calls for 8?


Here's what she had to say (and Theresa - I hope you don't mind that I posted this, please let me know if you do!):


Anyway, socks. I love being a sock-swami, but I digress. First of all, you are absolutely correct that socks will last longer if knit at a tighter gauge. I usually use US 1s with standard sockweight and get . . . um, 8-9 sts/in. I rarely measure sock gauge. I really love the socks I've made on US 0s - nice and tight at around 10 sts/in, but they take so long . . .

OK, so gauge. Usually I start knitting and rip after about 2-3" if it seems to be coming out the wrong size. Most st st or rib-based patterns are elastic enough to handle a wide range of gauge/stitch counts, so I only really worry about fitting if it's a cabled or twisted stitch or lace pattern that isn't very stretchy. Rather than going up a needle size, I try to add a repeat to get the circumference I need. Usually adding about 6-8 sts works well. If the sock doesn't lend itself to that in pattern, sometimes I can put in a couple of 1x1 rib panels on the sides, or some extra st st or rib on the back. Depends on the pattern. Something else that I've done successfully is knit with a larger size for the cuff/top and then switch to the smaller needles by the ankle and for the foot so that you're walking on the stronger part. (If ankle is larger than foot.)

Negative ease is a necessity in socks - about 10% is standard, but if it's a stretchy pattern, you can go with more. If there's no negative ease, they won't stay up. Because knitting stretches along two planes, you can also - to an extent - knit the foot longer or shorter to change the effective circumference. For example, knit a little longer foot for a sock that's coming out a little tight.

OK, I think this is a garbled discussion of this idea. To say that I play it by ear and experience is something of a cop-out, but that's mostly what I do. I can't remember the last time I measured gauge in a sock (although I do measure the sock itself). After a while, you get a sense that, at least when knitting for you, you need x sts on x needles to fit well, and you can make adjustments based on that.


This makes so much sense to me! I feel much more confident now, though I'm sure I still have tons to learn about the sock world.

How about y'all? Please leave any tips/tricks in the comments - I'd love to have your input!

While we're on the subject, my sockpal socks came today! Woo Hoo!


My pal was Bethieee and she did a great job! My socks fit great and I love the color and pattern. She also included a few other goodies for me - I can't wait to use the hemp yarn!


Thanks so much Bethieee! I've been wearing them all day (it's been nice and cool here) and I love them!

Friday, May 05, 2006

I heart my postal person

It's been a good mail week here at casa de knitnlit.

On Wednesday I got my long-awaited copy of Rebecca in the mail - cute, but nothing I have to knit right now.


I also got this cute bag for subscribing to Self magazine. Hey! It's green!


Today I came home to three goodies in the mail - my summer IK!! (more on this later) and

Two two two postcards for the price of one from Erica, my Project Spectrum postcard swap partner. She sent two postcards cause she was "late" - one for April and one for May.


They're lovely! Even the hubby was impressed and told me I could "learn something" from them (he meant it in a nice way, I promise!). I love them!


I also got a goodie from Gwen's Great Monday Give-away. How lucky am I!?


I love it - even The Girl likes it (she really likes that it "tells you what to put in each pocket."). And Gwen included two sweet treats - a ball of yarn (love the color and soooo soft!) and a cute Japanese checkbook register (at least I think that's what it is!). I've got to get cracking on my thank you postcards - my printer was out of ink, so I've been bad, but we bought a new cartridge, so I'll whip those up this weekend!

Speaking of Whip Up - I found out Tuesday night at knitting that one of our "members"'s sister got a mention on Whip Up! She runs Textile Fetish and Kristy has some of her things and they are SO CUTE!

Maybe my mail good luck will continue tomorrow or next week with a package from my sockpal! Mine got hers on Thursday and she loves hers! Yippee!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I is for Iguana

Let me preface this entry by telling you about how I spend my summer. I teach at a science school for preschool kiddos for four weeks of my summer. One of the sessions is about reptiles. We learn about snakes, turtles, geckos and green iguanas. The center is lucky enough to have a green iguana of their own, named Goliath. he gets to visit our classroom for two days each summer.




He is a fascinating animal, though he can be dangerous with his large claws and spikey tail. Learn more about him here.

I apologize for not having better pictures - these were taken for my teaching portfolio, and I haven't been up to the center yet this year to take new ones.

And he's "green" so he totally counts for project spectrum too!