Monday, May 4, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pics of Lydia

Some pics of a visiting sock monkey named Lydia.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ok, so then

I was on Ravelry yesterday (no big surprise there) and popped into the Big Issues Debate board where there was a discussion about whether Jon of Jon and Kate Plus Eight (some really lame reality show where you get to watch the carrying ons of a married couple and their eight children only to find out that they are putting on fake "happy personae" for the cameras) is bitching about how he has no personal life now that he is on TV and he can't just be Jon anymore. He has to be Jon the Dad from K&K+8. Whatever. Who cares that his televisionship has afforded his large family the ability to go on vacations, have nicer cars, and be a household name. My response to that was:

I wonder if anyone would be interested in Michelle and her Stash: The story of one woman, her stash and what she knits. Hours and hours of watching a sassy red head knitting row after row of stockinette stitch while trying to finish a sweater she started two years ago. Each episode will feature her progress on her next project and highlight her lovely socks. Think I could get some TV producer to pay my way to Knit Cruise, Stitches South, and Sock Summit?

To which another Raveller, who shall remain nameless since I haven't asked her if I can use her name on my blog, says:

No, but you might get enough subscribers right here on Ravelry to pay your own way. Vicarious knitting!

Think of the possibilities.

We could vote on which project you should do next, what yarn you should use, whether you do or do not have to go back and rip out that row.

We could threaten to pull our subscriptions and force you to do the project from hell. Someone would start a group dedicated to poking fun at how inept you are. People would join in droves. Others would troll by and insert knitncook love threads.

There’d be blow ups and battles between those of us who post amuse bouches about you and your endlessly boring knitting and those who think it’s not so much amusing as bitchy and judgmental. We’d have little acronyms on our avatars to signal where we align…KnCBs!

The more I think about it, the more I think Hell yeah! It would work!

OK, so I'm not trying to get you all to pay my way to Sock Summit, but I love the idea. Seriously, turning over my stash to a bunch of people. Having them tell me what to write. I love the idea that people might actually write about my ineptness (like when I can't figure out how to Pfb, even though I've Pfb before - trust me it was well worth a You Tube video the other day when I couldn't get the needles to work and had to have my 16 year old take them away from me and show me and then I did the old palm face of shame and sent her to her room. I mean isn't that what Jon and Kate would do if their child humiliated them? Not that I've ever seen the show.)

So I'm opening this up to all of you, my dear four readers (Hey, I've doubled in the past six months) to go look at my stash and each month I will make something that you, the readers, pick out. You can comment here or you can send me a PM on Ravelry or, heck, you can start a fan group on Ravelry and have threads telling everyone what you think I should knit. I will, of course, be increasing my stash as I go and I'm going to clear my queue and only put in there what you think I should make with the yarn I have. (Note: The Crystal Palace Panda Wool and the Pagewood Farm Yukon are already dedicated.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Shopping and Knitty: Totally unrelated

First the shopping update. It went well. I found a bunch of shirts just like I wanted at Beall's on their 70% off rack. It was SWEET! I'm still lacking the perfect fuchsia and orange shirts. I found several orange shirts, but they were all not a pure orange. They were pumpkin or melon or harvest or burnt, but not the terrific Crayola crayon orange.

Now for the Knitty Review!

Shipwreck is a gorgeous circle shawl. Although it would probably end up being a shipwreck in my hands. Five needle sizes, 5000 beads, done on fingering weight yarn with 5 different charts? OK, so why do I want to make it so badly? Oh yeah, 'cause it's purty!

Reverie is a really cute lightweight springy beret. It's really cute and only uses one skein of fingering weight yarn. I'm thinking of that gorgeous single skein of Lorna's Laces at my LYS, Yarnside Gathering in the Oddball Bin. $10. Hmmm. It's calling to me and I can always use another hat!

I knew that Aeolian was going to be a hit when there was a KAL on Ravelry less than 24 hours after it was posted. This gorgeous shawl just sings its beauty. I'm not sure if it will get queued as I'm really looking for a shawl that is knit from the top down (in other words cast on a bazillion stitches and cast off 5 rather than the other way around.) But it is lovely!

I wasn't all that thrilled with Santeney for myself. It's pretty and on the right body shape it would be cute, but not on anything that gets into the XL factor. There is an editor's note that sizes for 2X and 3X will be added shortly. Sorry, I'd look like a saucy bar wench with that much trying to support my bazoombas. Let's just leave this one for the smaller ladies, shall we?

Pioneer is a really cute sweater top. I like it paired with the simple t-shirt underneath, but would be really adorable and maybe a tad dressier with a lace cami under it. It is worked with about 2" of negative ease and comes for sizes up to 50". Not bad and quite affordable made with just six skeins of Lorna's Laces sport.

Hanne is a, well, um scarf-type thingy. Yeah. You just have to see it. But I love the mitered stripes on it and from the description by the designer, it seems as though she didn't know what she was making either. It's eye-appealing and fully of stripey wonderfulness.

Imagine there's no heaven. It isn't hard to do. No hell below us (are you singing it yet?) This would be a great first sweater for someone. Simple stockinette stitching with a purled design and no finishing on the edges. The Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Cotton is recommended so I'm already imagining this being very soft. And I love the sewn bind off (very stretchy, use it for all my toe up socks). Although I'm afraid that I would get bored with all the stockinette, but that's just me. Maybe it would be a good TV project.

I may have just found my summery sweater in Decimal. It's soft and lacy and could even be affordable using the KP Shine Sport. I definitely don't have enough of the Berocco for this sweater. I think I am going to wait a bit to really commit to it. It may just be a "how I like it sized" thing because I love the nice slim fitting on the green (smaller) sweater, but somehow it loses all the definition of "slim fitting" when it is sized up. It's one of the things that annoys me about clothes. Because something is bigger in one area, it is seen as needing to be bigger in all areas (arms, length, etc.) Although, with a 10 stitch repeat I may be able to finagle this sweater to not be so huge-looking when it is made for my hugeness.

Andy is a nice simple guy friendly sweater that isn't going to drive a woman made. I like how the sweater stops right above the pockets of the pants, giving this a nice tailored look without being too tailored and not too baggy "over-sized" as well. It has enough interest in the stitches to keep someone like me (who is easily distracted by the next stitch idea) interested.

I'm sort of disappointed that my friend Stephanie isn't having a girl. I wonder if her husband would be too offended by his new son running around in a dress? I guess I shouldn't make it. But Topaz is really cute and a very simple knit. Although he might not be offended by his son running around in Steggie. It reminds me of the "Little Baby Dragon" costume that each of my kids were for their first Halloweens.

SOCKS!! There are several really nice socks in this issue. I'm loving the Absinthe socks. I'm not crazy over the plain backs, but love love love the fronts. I have got to talk my LYS owner into carrying more solid and semi-solid sock yarns. These are GORGEOUS! And of course they have to be green, otherwise why would they be called Absinthe?

While I really like Cirque I'm not sure I will do them as they are quite similar in construction to the Mystery Lace KAL I'm currently working on. I like the attention to the detailing on the foot, though and the continuation of the pattern down the heel. Although why the designer didn't use a strong heel rather than the traditional heel flap construction is beyond me. Seems as though it would have been much easier.

Cachoeira is just a really sweet sock. i love the running travelling undulating stitches down the sides of the foot. It doesn't surprise me she is friends with Cookie A. When I first saw these socks I immediately thought it was another Cookie A pattern.

I love the patterning on the Flit + Float scarf and being lavender doesn't hurt either. It would also be a very affordable scarf using just one skein of Misty Alpaca. There are six charts to keep up with, but it doesn't seem unmanageable.

Ripple just absolutely intrigued me! I put this scarf in the category of "mathematical knitting." It's fun and not at all "straightforward." I like projects that make me knit. Although, truthfully, I much prefer the shorter one made from handspun/hand dyed yarn better than the longer one made from commercial yarn.

When I first saw Sourwood Mountain all I could think of was what a wonderful sock this would make. Of course I don't think there are nearly enough sock patterns in the world, but I love the cuffs, buttons and leaves on this glove. Who knows I may even make them as gloves (and then adapt them to be made into socks.) If you want some interesting viewing, go check out the designer's website Fiddle Knit Designs She has lovely stitch markers as well as patterns for sale on her etsy shop.

I really love the birds on Flock. I'm not sure I would make an entire flock, but a bird or two flying around my room would be quite fun. And a great stash buster project as well.

I had to save Franklin Habit's contribution for last. He has a semi-regular feature called Stitches in Time and this time it was about a baby's hood. It's a lovely hood and while he is using a super fine alpaca, it still looks itchy and the baby he used for the modelling is just absolutely perfectly miserable-looking. It looks like this baby is itchy or at least very put out at having to wear this eccentric hood. It's wrinkled brown and pouty lips are just all too perfect. No Gerber baby for Franklin. Now all he needs is a pram.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

That Dreaded Time of the Year

Now for some of you this dreaded time of the year (from now on referred to as DTOTY) hasn't arrived quite yet and probably won't for a few more days (weeks or even months). It's called Spring Clothes Shopping. Yep. Spring has sprung where I live and I have the azaleas to prove it. My yard is this wonderful array of pink, coral, white, rose, and fuchsia poking it's head out from bright green. The horrible stick-figure of a "bush" called a Mountain or Oak Hydrangea is budding with fresh soft leaves and in another week or so it will be in its magnificent glory and make up for the pitifulness of it's winter nakedness. Birds are chirping merrily as they build their nests and my yard is slowly starting to turn from its neglected winter brown to an almost springy green.

All this color makes me want to put on soft lightweight clothes and don a hat while having a meandering romp on the beach, letting the still cold gulf waters tickle my bare toes. Therein lies the problem. I hate my wardrobe. I went through it yesterday and realized that aside from about three shirts and the same number of pants (none of which goes together) there is nothing in my closet that I truly want to wear. I want to be like Darcie Clover. Now before you go google Darcie Clover, you should know that she doesn't exist, well yet. Darcie is a character in one of my books and she wears soft linen pants, light woven shirts and large floppy straw hats. She's comfortable in her own skin and wears what is appealing to her. I wear what I have available. So I decided it was time for that DTOTY. I am going out and I am going to buy clothes. And not just what I find on the sales rack either. I'm going to buy what I want. Soft linen pants, light woven shirts, some shoes other than Crocs. And I'm going to buy the colors I want, not just those that are available at the stores, even if that means I have to go to the fabric store and actually make some of what I want. I have this wonderful image of lavender, orange, periwinkle, fuchsia and pink (yeah, don't ask how orange fits in there, even I don't know, but I do love orange so it gets thrown in there and I'll figure out how to make it all work).

So I'm off to conquer that DTOTY. There may be screaming. There may be cussing. There will most surely be the gnashing of teeth. I'm making sure I have a hanky in my pocket as I am counting on tears. And then I will come home and decide that I love everything I bought, but I need some spunky cute spring sweaters to go with them. Pray for me. Pray for the sales people I will run into today. And I will try to remember that it isn't the sales person's fault that what I want is not available. And since I'm probably not the first person this season who has tried to conquer that DTOTY, I will try to remain calm. But there better be ice cream when I return.

Oh and I promise a review of the new Spring Knitty when I get back.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Project Bags

So I decided that knitting on one pair of socks at a time wasn't good enough so now I have multiple pair of socks going at the same time. Problem 1. I have run out of knitting bags to hold individual projects. The problem is not that I have too many WIP's but that I have too few bags. (Actually, I will confess here that I really only have six "knitting bags" two of which are really purses that happen to hold knitting and one is the "community charity project bag" that gets taken to our local SnB. The rest of my bags are in various cars being used as reusable cloth shopping bags.) I have one bag that I carry most often, but when I do switch bags (in order to switch projects) I find that I am constantly having to also switch all my "stuff" with it. OK, "stuff" isn't a nice thing to call all those marvelous tools that you collect like small scissors, needle/gauge tools, stitch markers, measuring tapes, bobbins, etc. etc. etc. Now one could ponder the idea that maybe I need multiple notions bags for each purse, but that would totally defeat the purpose of screaming, "Where is my $*)# measuring tape!" really loudly in the bookstore. Now on to Problem 2. You open your knitting bag and it looks something like this:

(I kindly took the projects out of the bag for ease of seeing the mess.) Then Mion said to me, "Why don't you make smaller project bags?" DUH! Now why didn't I think of that? Oh yeah, because I'm 43 not 16 and have used up the majority of my gray matter for such useless things like remembering chocolate chip cookie recipes and how much olives are at three different stores. So Voila! I whip up some quick and easy project bags which look like this:

And like this when projects are in them:

And all organized with two balls of yarn on one long dpn complete with pattern:

Then Mion says, "These are really cool. You should put an applick on them and sell them on Etsy." An applick? What the heck was an applick? Seems as though someone forgot to notice the accent mark over the e in the word appliqué. So I thought about her Etsy idea and maybe putting an applick on them. I mean maybe everyone will want one of my little project bags and I could actually afford to go to Sock Summit.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sock Summit

Sock Summit 2009

I really really really really really really really really really (is that enough really's? Nope) really really really want to go. Really. I mean it. The teacher list is amazing. Anna (OMG I thought she was dead) Zilboorg, Barbara (the queen) Walker, Cookie A, Star Athena, Melissa (2 at a time) Morgan-Oakes, Stephanie Pearl-McPHee, Charlene Schurch, Cat (oh wise one) Bordhi, and the list just goes on and on. A marketplace in the Oregon Convention Center and a sock hop in the Sunken Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum. What could be better? Oh, yeah, that it is being held in Portland (one of my favorite cities), Oregon where my friend Elaine lives and home to Powell's and a billion micro-breweries and sitting right on top of one of the most fertile wine regions in the country.

Right now flights are looking like they are going to run around $351 (and 11 cents to be exact with taxes and fees) which isn't so bad. Then there is the convention costs which haven't been announced yet, but I'm hazarding around $300. Still not too bad. I probably can stay with Elaine, so no housing costs other than taking them out for dinner a few times. I eat fairly cheaply, so no problem there either. (Here comes the problem) The Marketplace. Yep. I am going to be surrounded by smooshy fibers, yarns, spinning implements, needles, work holding thingies, stitch markers, books, and things I probably don't even know I will need until I actually get there and see them in person. And then I have to get these things home! I better go look to see what an extra suitcase is going to cost me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why do we persevere?

I'm knitting a pair of socks. That should come as no surprise to those who know me. But I'm really not loving this sock. Sure, it's pretty. It's a Nancy Bush Estonian lace pattern so it has to be good. But really, I'm bored with them. And I'm not really crazy about the yarn either. Yes; it has two of my favorite colors (purple and green) and it is a fairly popular yarn on Ravelry (with 846 projects and 985 stashes). Jojoland Melody Superwash. It's a superwash wool, so it should be nice to work with, but I just don't like it. It's splitty and the "ball" falls apart as you knit so you end up with these clumps of yarn that you have to stop and wind back onto your ball (which keeps it in order until you use all that up and then another big clump decides to fall off and needs rewinding). I'm not having an enjoyable experience with it. I've repeated the lace pattern (which consists of four rows, two of which are that ever difficult stitch referred to as K in knitting) twenty-six times already and quite frankly I don't really want to do it anymore. But I have to finish. I have to keep going. I have to get to the end.

So just a little while ago I was sitting knitting on these blasted socks and thought to myself, "Self, why are you doing this?" And really (in the memorable words of GIR from Invader Zim) "I dooooon't know!" Perhaps it is a feeling that if I admit that this project is A) boring me B) not enjoyable and C) not promising the best expectations that perhaps I will appear A) ADD B) picky or C) snobby. But none of those are true (well, ok, I can be picky - if not I wouldn't be complaining, right?) Perhaps it has to do with commitments. I committed to this yarn and pattern so therefore I have to sally forth and finish it. It isn't like I need a pair of socks (the gods know that I have plenty of woolly goodness for my feet). It isn't as though I don't have other sock yarn (and other yarn) to knit (the goddesses have blessed me with lovely skeins of lovely yarnage.) It isn't like I don't have other patterns that are more entertaining (I mean I only own five books totally devoted to socks, have 108 patterns in my pdf's on Ravelry (80% socks), 200 patterns favorited in Ravelry (80% socks), 27 sock patterns in Explorer "favorites" that aren't in pdf format, and another 100 patterns in my documents - I may not live long enough to knit all the patterns I that I have loved and these crafty designers keep creating more and more unique patterns.) There is just some urge that tells me to keep on knitting.

Perhaps in my last life I never finished stuff I started. My next life should get a break.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Knotions Spring '09 Review

If anything in this issue of Knotions, you should take a moment to read the review of the new knitting magazine Nashua Handknits. It is a sister production of Rowan, so if you are fond of Rowan Nashua might be worth a look. After this review I am quite excited to get my local booksellers to carry this magazine. Take a look for yourself at the Nashau Handknits review by Carol J. Sulcoski (keep an eye on that name you will see it often in this month’s Knotions!)

On to the patterns, which is (generally) the primary reason we read knitting magazines.

First I want to say that I like how Knotions has patterns grouped by theme. In Lovely Layers we are presented with:

Textured Argyle and Diamond shell by Margit Sage of Fiber Fiend. While it is nice layered, I really think that this pullover could be worn on its own as the weather warms up. It seems like it would be a quick knit worked with worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles and with sizes going up to an XXXL (which really is in the size range for an XXXL). I like how there are several options given for yarn, one in a nicer wool and one in a quality cotton wool blend. Very affordable at only 5-9 balls of Knit Picks Main Line (and very comfy being a cotton wool blend!)

Colonade Cardi by Jody Pirrello (also the editor for Knotions or maybe she’s just the brain child, either way I like her and her involvement in Knotions) is a soft (and affordable) knit. The featured yarn is Lion Brand’s Cotton Ease, a 50/50 cotton/acrylic blend that is easily found and very affordable, especially with those JoAnn coupons!). It goes up to a 52” bust with a recommendation of a 2” ease. This is a simple ¾ sleeve cardi with a delicate working on the sleeves and around the edge. This may actually go into my queue and a possibility for that spring sweater I am seeking (although I’m not crazy about the collar on me.)

The Rubina t-shirt by Sabine Riefler is very darling. I love this color red and while it is shown layered, it could easily switch over to a nice light summer sweater worn alone or with just a tank underneath. The bobbles up the front give it a cute Asian feel. It also has very little finish work, so those who are afraid that you may never finish a project this might be something to consider. The bad news in this cute sweater is that it is for children. The sizes are ages 4-10. Darn. But it is done in a bamboo/cotton blend that looks just scrumptious. SaRi, if by chance you read this, adults want it too!

The Spring Kimono by Janine Le Cras reads beautifully. I think that I was initially put off by this short sleeve pullover because of the color. I am not a minty-seafoam kind of person. I also don’t like the fullness of the sleeves. It looks like this sweater is too big for the model. But I love that it is worked in the round and has a simple to remember lace pattern throughout. My only gripe is that the larges size is a 48” bust, so not quite as large as some of the other sweaters in this issue. It also has no ease recommendation, although it does say it has “a lot of give.” I’d be curious how large this would accommodate. Again, this issue is really thinking that transitional month of spring with a 50/50 cotton/bamboo blend. The bamboo would make this a very drapy and soft wear. If you aren't too busty or you shorten the V neck a bit on this you could easily wear this alone. I also think this would be darling worn with a lacy camisole underneath.

Keeping the chill off gave us a wrap, a cowl and two pair of socks. You know where I am heading with this I’m sure.

Seaside Serenade by Janine Le Cras is a gorgeous stole I love the lace patterns chosen and especially like the little cottage lace on the ends. While it is supposed to be parasols they remind me more of the rows of houses along the beach. I really don’t think this would be that difficult of a lace project and the pattern seems memorizable enough that one wouldn’t need to continuously be checking the pattern after a few repeats.

The Printemps Cowl by Cassie Miller is really cute and while requiring less than 150 yards of sport weight yarn it could easily be done with a single skein of Lorna’s Laces Sport or even a more luxurious yarn. The sample is done in Berger du Nord Belle which is 100% silk, but this would be darling in cashmere as well and at 150 yards! Very affordable. Oh and it is also done with a moebius cast on. What? Another cast on to learn? Hardly. Remember when you cast on socks (or anything else in the round) and it says, “be sure not to twist when joining”? Well, when knitting a moebius project you intentionally put a single twist into your yarn. The challenge is not untwisting it and forcing an “untwist” like you do when knitting that first round of socks and you accidentally find a twist and “force” it untwisted.

Time for some SOCKS! The Andromeda by Polly Outhwaite is a really darling sock. I like the chain lace and the picot cuff and beads. It is simply darling and I like how Polly has created a pattern that is flexible depending on your knitting style. Whether you use DPN’s, magic loop or do 2aat (two at a time) like I do this pattern is easily adaptable. This isn’t so with some socks (like my current project that I had to take to DPN’s to do the heels and then put back onto my 2aat circ!) I also love this semi-solid handpainted yarn. Very nice choide of this pattern!

The Bifrost socks by Kristel Nyberg are absolutely wonderful. When I saw them in the preview I thought they were too “Jaywalkery” looking, but after seeing the actual pictures and the pattern I realize how un-Jaywalkery they really are. (Yes; Jaywalkery is a word despite the fact that spell check says it isn’t. I used it, therefore it is a word.) These are done in Noro Kureyon (did you know that Kureyon is crayon in Japanese and my daughter reprimands me everytime I call it “KYURE-ee-on” as it is supposed to be pronounce “cu-RAY-on” I’m trying to be more attentive to that.) While Noro isn’t my favorite yarn (although it does bloom nicely after washing), I might consider these using one of the wonderful Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy Sock yarns. It has the same bold stripes like the Noro and is a delight to work with (unlike Noro). Oh and I have to say I just love the elven zig-zaggy tops!

Color Play was also quite delightful. Bome by Maria Leigh is beautiful, but I wouldn’t recommend for the busty. With the low cut square yolk it would just be too much of a shelf than anything else. It is colorful and delightful, though and I love how the word Bome is written throughout in Korean. Unless you read Korean (which I don’t) you would only think it a beautiful pattern. Or at least I hope it says Bome. I’d hate to go around with something that should says Spring on my shirt only to find out that it really reads something sadly profane. I like the little flare at the waist and on a skinnier person this would be truly darling. On me it would only accent the fact that I have too small a waist for my big ole hips.

Rainbow Chain by Erika Flory is really pretty. It would be a lovely lap blanket or baby blanket at 28” square. Done in Peaches & Crème in a multitude of colors. It could also be a stash buster for all those remnants of dishcloth cottons you have amassed. You know. The ones where you don’t have enough for another dishcloth, but too much to throw away (I mean what would your mother say?)

Carol J. Sulcoski (I told you to watch for this name) gave us two gorgeous pair of socks to round up this issue. The first Sunrise Chevron is very pretty and is a great sock for broad stripes. She uses her own sock flats that you can get from her website. The pattern appears to be very adaptable for DPN’s, magic loop or 2aat. It is also a simply remembered lace pattern and using 2.75 or 3 mm needles would be a quick knit as well.

Second is Scottsdale which is a fair isle using hand painted yarns. Ooooo scrumptious. I love color and also orange. And blue. And orange and blue together. These are fun and will definitely find their way into my faves and queue on Ravelry. Carol must knit tighter than I do as she is again recommending a size 2.75mm needle and most of her yarn I have needed to use a 2.25 needle with. I didn’t know that knitting tighter than me was possible, but maybe so. Or maybe I just really prefer a denser fabric. I don’t know.

I love the section of Fabric Row. And while there wasn’t anything that made me scream in glee that I needed (although the Tricornu pincushion is really darling and may find its way into my Pincushion swap for spring). The two bags, the Tag Along and Cape May are both very lovely and are great stash busters! Actually the more I look at the Cape May the more I like it and it would be a good way to get rid of some quilting remnants as well. All three patterns are by Jody Pirrello.

All in all it was a well put together issue. My eyes are delighted with all the color and texture and also the versatility. I don’t think that there is a pattern that would be too daunting by someone with the basic skills well under her belt, but not too boring for the seasoned knitter to tire of too quickly. Also, if you've never taken the time, be sure to look at the extra pictures for the patterns. They really help you see the stitches and special touches to this great collection of knit patterns!

Monday, February 23, 2009

When the F word is appropriate

Today is one of those days when I really want to say the F word really really loud. OK, I did, but I'm not going to write it. You see, I had this beautifully constructed post that included a goal, two book reviews and a challenge. It was wonderful and witty and well-written. (At least I like to think it was.) And then through a very fast quick mistake with my fingers (something involving a mistaken CTRL A instead of a Shift A) it all disappeared. And apparently there is no recovering it despite all the things I tried. Blogger is not Word. You can't go back to the last saved option. (sigh) So I will try (poorly) to reconstruct my thoughts.

Thought the first: My Goal: I had a conversation with a friend about our goals. Or "what I wish I could do if I wasn't afraid to fail." I said I would like to be a published writer, writing fiction and about knitting and design sock patterns. So she asked why I didn't and I said because I wasn't Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and she said I couldn't possibly be SP-M because A) I'm not Canadian B) I don't live where it is cold and C) I don't use a hyphen in my name. So my goal (and let's see if I actually do it) is to blog more often, design and submit patterns to start with at places like Knitty and Knotions and actually send some of my novels to agents and editors.

Thought the second: My current project: is the Nancy Bush Copper Penny Socks from book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol Sulcoski. I am not crazy for the yarn I chose for these socks, but I am persevering. Partly because I refuse to give up and partly because my LYS owner is interested in my opinion of this yarn. The stitch definition of this yarn is very poor. It is also quite splitty and if you have to take anything out the yarn unplies very easily. Oh and I'm using Jojoland Melody Superwash. I love the colors, but the yarn is just lacking something. I will be interested in how this yarn washes up and how much it blooms. (This is where the first book review starts.) I love the pattern though. But then I love Nancy Bush. I already own two books by her (Vintage Socks and Folk Socks) and since she is admired by other designers that I admire (like Stephanie van der Linden) that makes me like her even more. This book is absolutely amazing and some of the most talented minds are here. I am especially enamoured with Kristi Schueler's two socks in this book: Longbourn Socks and Spread Spectrum. There are some really unique and creative approaches to socks in this book.

Thought the third: The real book review: I was so anxious for the book Socks a la Carte by the SWTC (South West Trading Company) Design Team. Then I got a copy of it. I wanted to cry. I loved the theory of this book. Take Cuff A put it on Leg/Foot B and add in a Heel C to create a truly unique pair of socks. Unfortunately, the execution of this book did not live up to the promise of the theory. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the book used the exact same yarn in the exact same color throughout the book and either the yarn chosen really didn't define the stitches well or the photography or printing of the book didn't show the socks very well. It looked like the same sock over and over and only if you took your glasses of (OK, maybe I just take my glasses off) and really look could you see that one sock was different from the next. I was also perplexed why there were commonly known heels that were given different names from the "industry standard" names that I have come to know them by. Now according to my LYS owner, who talked to someone on the design team, the publisher was the one who was insisting that the yarn be all the same. I'm curious as to what will come out of this book. Perhaps if I see some Ravelers who have made socks using this book I might reconsider it or if I get bored I might take another gander at getting this book. I was just saddened to see such a great idea so poorly executed.

Thought the Third: A Challenge: This thought came to me when I was in the shower. I knit socks. I love knitting socks. I have the skills and ability to knit other things in my life, but I tend to fall too easily for socks. This past weekend the girls and I went out thrift store hunting. I came home with a striped skirt in lots of nuetral colors. They matched the outrageousely fun high top tennis shoes I found that are also in neutral colors and have embroidery all over them in copper threads and in greens, oranges and browns. The edges of the shoes and the tongue are ravelly. The skirt and shoes match nicely. I then got this Great Idea that I would knit a tank to go with it. But I will say nicely to myself that tanks just aren't the best garment for me. (sigh). So I have this very lovely Berroco Cotton Twist in Mum (an orange color) Ravelry Link I have 8 skeins, but I know that the other LYS in town has this same yarn and dyelot so I can get at least 4 more if I need to. My thought was that I want to make a pretty short or 3/4 sleeve cardigan to wear over an olive shell that I already have (and will go with this whole ensemble quite nicely). It doesn't need buttons and it can be a little flowy if it wants to be. Coldwater Creek had the exact spring sweater I was wanting last year, but since the majority of Coldwater Creek clothing comes from Chinese sweatshops, I don't purchase from there. So if anyone has an idea for a nice light spring sweater that can (or cannot) have some lace that would go well with a skirt and high top tennis shoes please comment and let me know. Or send me a PM on Ravelry (Rav name: knitncook)

OK, so that is the post sort of put back together. In short I want to do more writing and believe more in my ability to do so, I reviewed two books and I need a cute springy sweater for my Berroco Cotton Twist orange yarn. Oh and hopefully tomorrow I will be able to review the new Knotions magazine which is scheduled to be released sometime today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Short Row Heels

I, like many other knitters, love the look and idea of a short row heel, but have been frustrated with the holes that form. I've tried several different forms and always am disappointed by the holes or weak seam. So I saw a post on Ravelry about short row heels and went on a search and found this blog which has a wonderful tutorial with pictures. I've done one of the heels on my Severus socks and am pleased as punch with the way the heel has turned out. WOOT! So I thought it only fair to pass this information on to other knitters who may be struggling with holey short rows.

Monday, January 12, 2009

12 pairs in 12 months

I decided that my initial goal for this year was to make 12 pair of socks in 12 months. I made 9 pair of socks last year, so I think this is doable. My family, on the other hand, believes that I have taken the 52 pair plunge. Realistically it looks more like the 26 pair plunge. And if I make socks for The Man again that will definitely put an impact in the number of socks I have knit. So far I have managed to knit two pair.

My first pair are my socks made from Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in the Franklin's Panopticon colorway. I coveted this yarn this past fall and was all set to buy it, but someone at my LYS decided that buying one skein of sock yarn for a non-sock project was a good idea. Fortunately, my LYS owner managed another two skeins of this yarn and I swooped it up. If you aren't reading Franklin's Blog you are missing a real treat. The pattern I chose is by Star Athena and is called TRON. Star also has a wonderful blog which is sometimes quite humorous to read. I think she has some wonderful ideas and I have several of her patterns in my favorites on Ravelry (you have joined Ravelry, right?) Here are some pics:

I also have managed to make The Boy a pair of socks. He's been wanting a pair for a while, but what do you make for a boy with adult sized feet (ladies 7) that are still growing and who doesn't understand the concept of keeping his toenails clipped like a modern human but insists on growing them as though he were a neanderthal and whose room is starting to smell like he lives in a cave? The answer was thick worsted weight washable wool. I made him a pair of Fargyles by Jacki Kelly. This pattern can be found at Knitty and I made them with Moda Dea Washable Wool (found at most JoAnn stores). The rule was he couldn't wear the socks unless he clipped his toenails. Hopefully he won't think that he gets a new pair of socks everytime he clips his tonails. Although, that might be an incentive and I might just knit 52 pair of thick worsted weight socks this year. May have to ponder this idea some.

Here is a picture of his feet. Although I must say that his feet look like chubby baby feet in these pictures. He did have the cutest little baby toes. Sadly, though these feet are going to be monsters. He's only 10 and has feet bigger than mine.

I'm now on to my third pair of socks (yes third pair and it is only the twelfth of January) and am making the Severus Socks by Angela Tennant who also has a blog (doesn't everyone, even those who don't seem to be able to keep their's updated as well as others?) Severus is named after, of course, Severus Snape. I really love these socks. She has several Harry Potter themed patterns that she sells through Ravelry (yet one more reason to join ravelry - patterns you can purchase individually or even get for FREE!) OK, off to knit after I find my notes on doing short row heels.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I don't want to hear it!

Yes; I know. It's been six months since I've posted anything and NO reviews. (Yes; I got your e-mail, Lizzie - my one and only fan.) So to bring you all (or maybe just Lizzie) up to date, I've been pretty busy the past few months. I made several pair of socks, including a pair for my mom and a pair for The Man. Wow, yeppers, I actually knit socks for someone other than myself. Shocking I know, especially since I vowed I would never do that. Aside from knitting I was also extremely involved in Obama's election campaign and so lost an entire two months by being a(n over) full time volunteer. But what a rush!

OK, here are some pics of the socks I've knit and actually taken pictures of the finished products:

These are the Cairi's Sweetheart Socks. It's a free pattern. Search for it at Ravelry. If you aren't part of Ravelry and you knit then you should be. Get an invitation.

I like this picture better though (but only because it shows off the ultra cool shoes that I got for $3 at a thrift store):

These are my celebration socks from the campaign. The yarn is by Blackbunny Fibers (also found through Ravelry although she has her own website that is linked through Ravelry) and is called Audacity (as in Audacity of Hope). I won this (and several other) sock yarn(s) through a Knitters for Obama fundraising raffle. The pattern is called Eleanor and is also a free pattern found through a Ravelry search:

You can catch up on my other knitting projects through Ravelry (I'm not joking about this Ravelry thing. Be there or be square. It is the happening place and if you can't find where you belong there, you haven't looked hard enough!)

OK on with the reviews. I'm going to totally skip the entire Fall/Autumn issues because it would just be way too long of a post.

Beginning with Knitty's Winter Edition:

Bijouterie: These are very pretty and I wish the best to those that are wanting to knit with wire. I'm just not there. But they are lovely and I dont' think too difficult.

A Little Bird Told Me: This is a great little felted "brown bag" purse. I love the construction and the color, but then I have a thing for pink felted purses. I'd probably do needle felting on it rather than embroider or I would do an embroidery design that was more bold and use wool rather than cotton floss.

Tushy Cushy
OK, when I first saw this I thought it was a really cute nursing pillow and it may still be able to be used as such. However, after reading the description it, well, wasn't intended to be one. There are several warnings that it is not a support for babies. OK, whell, it's a pillow shaped like a pair of old fashioned drawers or maybe men's boxers. The baby is cute, though.

Fern Glade This is really a darling little hat. I like the slouchier green one better than the shorter purple one. I also think the stitch definition is better seen in the green color.

Topopgraphie: I much prefer the neckwarmer to the hat. The hat really doesn't do anything for me and looks like it is trying too hard to be shabby chic, but missing the chic part.

Fish Hat (Dead or Alive): This cracks me up. I love the big fish hats with the X's over the eyes. The kids wearing them over their heads is especially cute. I'm betting The Boy would love one of these. (I'll put it on my list!)

Therapi: I like this sweather purely for the textural qualities. I detest knitting in stockinet. Thank you, Stefanie Japel for creating an interesting sweater that is sized large enough for us bustier women!

Amelia: I love this feminine cardie! The long ribbing lines help give it a more curvy look, but wouldn't be too huggy. I especially love the ribbing at the waist helping it to hug and accentuate the waist. Very flattering sweater! (And it is plus sized too!)

Mirror: OK, you may notice now that I'm skipping some things. Some of the patterns just didn't speak to me, but I had to mention these because they are delightful and the designer is a teen! I love the yarn she chose and Olivia (who is on ravelry) designed the thumbs more to the palm for comfort. What a smart girl! I look forward to seeing other designs from her in the future!

Plainted Points: These are a definite must do. May even make these after I finish up the Franklin PanoptiTRON's that I am making from Lorna's Laces. (Like I said if you want info you gotta be on Ravelry!) These socks will fit in nicely with my goal of 12 pair of socks for the year.

Fargyles: are already in my queue at Ravelry. That means I intend to make them soon. Nice chunky and fun. These should be a quick work up on one of those long movie marathon weekends or maybe while driving to Disney in February.

Maja: this was the last thing I saw that I loved. Unfortunately, I don't have enough Peace Yarn to make this, but I'm thinking I might have enough Cotton Twist and that would be lovely. The yarn called for is the Manos del Uruguay, but my LYS doesn't carry this yarn. It calls for a worsted weight. I've decided I am going to really try this year to only purchase yarns from my LYS, Knitpicks, or Etsy shops. I'm trying to wean myself away from random internet shopping and big box stores. We will see how well this goes.

OK, off to Notions. Notions is a fairly new online magazine. Many of the designers who wrote for the now defunct MagKnits are here at Notions now. I'm only going to do the patterns that just wowed me, but please go look at the other patterns!

Take a Bow: This is just the perfect Hello Kitty Hat. I love it! Very vintage looking.

Vortical: Lovely easily memorized sock pattern with a fun twist. It definitely needs fun handpainted yarns. Although the Panda Cotton it recommends is nice too. Maybe these need to be in my queue.

Hanging Vines: Very nice pattern I like the complexity to these socks, but not sure I can knit another pair of green socks for a while. They are a bit challenging for the beginner knitter, but would be a fun mental engagement.

Like I said there are other patterns so check them out. OK, going to try to be better about updating the blog, but really, I mostly write about my knitting adventures these days at Ravelry (yes; I said it again. Ravelry. Ravelry. Ravel-rEEEEEeeee. Go there) Ravelry.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pics from Yule chat

Here they are:

the whole kit and kaboodle:

The necklace and earrings:

The box from Australia:
Me in the Sarah Palin Apron (I'm winking but it's hard to see in my glasses)