Wednesday, May 24, 2006

No, of course they're not done.

Still no socks. As I'm getting ready to start the 2x2 ribbing, the needle PULLED OUT of the cable! GAH! Dropped stitches everywhere. Manged to get 'em all, though. I glued the needle back in and used a teensy bit of teflon tape to deal with the gap and they're fine now, but damned if I'm using these needles again. Socks = Addis. Crystal Palace bamboo = delicate little lacy nothings. Anyway, I was busy letting the superglue cure last night, so not knitting. Started a clapotis, sort of, we'll see if that goes anywhere or gets frogged.

I was annoyed with those needles anyway. The joins caught every single stitch. Yuck.

And today I was busy. Plus there's something strange going on with my eye, so I'm probably just going to bed tonight instead of trying to get anything done. Socks washed, blocked, and dried by Friday, I hope.

Monday, May 22, 2006


The socks are almost done. At least, I'm almost out of yarn, which kind of means "hurry up and start the top ribbing, already!" I haven't decided if I'm switching to 2x2 or 1x1. Probably the former. Anyway, I'm going to try to squeeze out another inch of regular leg and then hopefully get an inch of top ribbing, although those numbers may be adjusted depending on how long the yarn holds out.

I'd take a picture, but I'm redoing the computer. So... well, I'll probably take a picture anyway, but it won't get posted until later.

I'm also trying to find a babysitter who takes handknitted socks as payment. WTF happened? It's not like I sat that long ago, and back then it was a less-than-minimum-wage job. Now they want $15 an hour, which, just... no. Somehow this CPR certification thing lets you demand college-graduate wages? It's just babysitting, not rocket science. I don't need Super Nanny, just someone to make sure the kid doesn't jump off the roof or set herself on fire. I guess it doesn't help that I live somewhere that gentrified. (You know it's a bad sign when all the useful shops get replaced by antique malls and the corner grocery becomes a real estate agent.) Probably people around here think that $15 an hour is a perfectly reasonable wage for eating snacks and watching Dora videos. Anyway, I can't go to this wedding if it's going to cost over $100 in sitter fees, but it's not too late to un-RSVP if I can't find someone who works on a barter economy.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I forgot to get a sweater shaver. I tried a disposable razor, didn't help. Next?

I did, however, get yarn for the co-worker's baby blanket. Because, of course, as we all know, I need more yarn. (But it's for a project... Yeah, whatever.) I'm going to make the third variation of the Hoover blanket from Knitty, in Bernat's baby coordinates - one side orange-and-white-striped, the other side and border in plain white. And she's due in December, so if I start now and keep it around as my mindless knitting project, I should get it finished by then no problem.

And I'm almost done turning the heels of the socks. (Does it still count as "turning" if you use short-row heels? Well, whatever.) I could, if I pushed, finish them this weekend, but I wouldn't be able to wash/dry/gift them by Sunday night, so I might as well relax about it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Baby Blanket Blues

The thing about life is that you're supposed to take experience and base your future actions on it. Ha! I have a co-worker who's expecting, and I want to make her... yes, a baby blanket. You'd think I'd learn, but you'd be wrong.

Who knew Berrocco had such nice patterns? I'm in love with Meenie. Or I was until I figured the yarn'd cost $100. Um. I like my co-worker, but... no. Also Endora, but again, price, man. Although I think that one will be easier to find good yarn substitution for. Maybe. Haven't found anything for Plush so far, but haven't been looking that hard, either. Time for a trip to AC Moore!

I have to get fray-check anyway. All the ends are behaving themselves very nicely after washing/drying except one - the one in the very center worked totally free. And of course I've already snipped it too short to do anything useful with it. I am totally never using this yarn again or recommending it for anything else, though. (Lion Microfiber sport) Even though I'd read about how well it wears, my shawl looks like it's 10 years old. The middle is badly fuzzed and completely ratty looking. I'm going to pick up a sweater-shaver-thingie too, and hopefully that will help, but still. Disappointed. I mean, otherwise it's fine - but that's a pretty big problem.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sock Progress

Well, the socks proceed apace. It's weird - sometimes I'll knit and knit and knit and make no measurable progress, other times it seems like an inch pops up without my even noticing. It's still slow, of course. I should be able to start turning the heel tomorrow, I hope. Heels. That's one thing, for all the slow it is, at least I'll have two socks when I'm done. Neat!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The shawl, she is finished! I can't figure out how to get a good picture of it, though. I need a shrubbery. Anyway, here's the best I could do:

I figured out what happened to that other ball of yarn - I knit it into the shawl. Dur. So the total was fifteen balls. I like to calculate how much I'd charge for things if I were making a fair wage - I hope my friend enjoys her $800 shawl.

Then again, that's one of the reasons I knit - to have unique, valuable things that I otherwise couldn't have. Or gift.

Oh, and that, "I'm about a quarter ball short?" Yeah. Here (on the left) is what was left of the last ball. On the right is the snipped-off ends after I wove them in.

And here's one of the socks. Or its toe, anyway.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Well, ok. I'm not done the shawl yet. I've got a really good excuse, though! Well, good in my book. And it is, after all, my book. Er, blog. Whatever.

I'm down to about an hour of knitting left on the shawl. And I had about three hours of knitting time today. If I'd finished the shawl, I wouldn't have had anything to knit today. So I figured I'd start on the socks, but to do that, I had to wind the yarn into balls. Of course, I managed to drop one of the skeins, leaving it looking like a visitation from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It took more than an hour to untangle/wind. And then I had to do the other skein, but I figured out the trick of winding from your own arms without tangles. (Use both arms, keep the skeinned part taut.) So then I was so excited with my new technique, I had to wind up the skein of Aaron's sock yarn, which is the next project in line after my Master Knitter swatches. I'm a little bit in love with the yarn I got for him. So smooth! So shiny! So pretty! I understand why people describe yarn as "yummy" - I really just wanted to take a big bite of it. But, y'know, didn't. I'm not that crazy. Anyway, I finished winding yarns and went to bed. The shawl'll get finished tonight. For real, this time.

(My favorite part is how friggin' huge it is. Baby blanket? This thing covers me from head to toe. With my toes stretched out. Apparently the "thought process" (for lack of a better term) that went into this was, "swatch? It's a blanket, who cares if it's to gauge?" which, ok, fair enough. The part that I really can't understand is the bit where I thought I'd use bigger yarn on bigger needles and somehow get a product that was... smaller. Um, what? Anyway, I hope she likes it. One hundred and forty hours of work, to my best estimation. Whew! The next kid gets booties.)

So I did start the socks this morning (2-on-2-needles, toe-up, short-row toes and heels). I'm also really digging this sockyarn. It's from Shelridge Farms - their Soft Touch Ultra wool/nylon fingering weight in "opal". (I don't think the direct link works, but you can find it on the site, although the picture doesn't do it justice.) It's really soft. Which is funny, because at the festival I was really torn between it and the all-wool, which is much softer and I was bummed at how rough the "with nylon" was, because I really wanted nylon. So, yeah, that 100% wool yarn must be really soft, because this stuff? Very soft. And in the picture and when you first meet it, it looks like a sort of greeny-turquoise color, but when you knit it up, it gets these spots of purplish haze... kind of a peacock, I think. And re-reading my description, it sounds kind of gross, but it's beautiful. Which in a way bums me out, because why aren't there more manly sock yarns? Why are they all so feminine? I mean, yeah, more women than men knit, but some of us knit for men, and we like options, y'know? (I did find someone on Etsy who sells manly variegated sockyarns, but now I can't find the link and I've blown the sock yarn budget for the near future anyway.)

Anyway, I think it's manly enough, as long as I don't do it in lace. I still haven't decided if I'm going to do little cables or anything on the leg, but I've definitely decided to keep the in-the-shoe part smooth. (I really want to do a picot edging, but I'll wait until I do my own socks. I mean, really, I complain about manly colorways and then try to give the poor guy doilies for his feet? No.)

So I'm liking these short-row toes. Never done them that way before. Not that I've made that many socks. For the record, I used the Sockulator III to calculate the pattern, although obviously I adjusted it to be 2-on-2. Not that that's not falling-off-a-log easy, I'm just mentioning it. I will never again make socks one at a time. Too easy for me to make the second one a half-inch smaller, and once I finish one I REALLY REALLY don't want to do another. I was happy that this quarter's Cast On talked about that method, although a little disappointed that they didn't do toe-up, which I also think is vastly superior to top-down.

My only complaint is that I wish I'd bought another Addi instead of another Crystal Palace. Need slickness, and these bamboo needles bend alarmingly when dealing with all those wraps... (Then again, would I even be able to pick up those wraps with Stubby McBluntnose Addis?)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Paging Mr. Zeno...

Well, I'm halfway done from where I was this morning. Actually more than halfway. But it's getting to that point where every 8-row repeat I refigure what the "halfway" point is from there... Unfortunately I already figured out all the mathematical shortcuts in this pattern, and it's almost done, so I'm running out of things to calculate.

(I know I'm not the only one who does this. I do it on road trips too - I'm at mile X, and I'm going Y MPH, so I should get to my destination at Z o'clock... And the less thinking I have to do, the more I recalculate. Now that I've got this edging pattern down, and I have to do it howevermanyhundred times, there's a lot of pointless math going on in my head... Oh, and all that miscalculation? I never said I was good at it. But I really and truly have about an hour and a half left to go. On the edging. And what, an hour to weave in ends? Give it two, I'm slow and don't know how I'm going to do it yet. But I will finish this. TONIGHT!)

Also: HULK SMASH!. I had to go buy ANOTHER ball of yarn. But not because I miscalculated - because I lost one. I just know as soon as I get this finished, it's going to turn up. What am I going to do with a ball of Cherry Red Lion Microfiber Sport? NOTHING. I'm tired of knitting with it. So there. PBLBLBLT. At least I got the same dyelot as at least one of the other dyelots in this thing, not that it's seemed to matter at all. I can't tell a difference, anyway.

And I ordered yet more sockyarn, because WEBS is having a closeout on Regia Strato Color and I can't pass up $6/pair of socks in wee little stripes. I bought five balls. And that's it. No more! Hopefully once I've used it all up the STR craze will be over and I can pick some up on the cheap. (Ha ha, I made a funny!)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sheep and Wool Addendum

All righty then. I'm catching up on my various knitting lists, and every other post is about either buying twelve bags of sock yarn or how vendors were selling out 800 skeins in an hour. And these are all people who were waiting at the gates at 9. So the answer seems to be, no, you can't get there at 10:30 and expect to get any sock yarn. Which is in some ways reassuring - I was a little worried that I'd gotten picky beyond all reason, but now I know that no, it really was the case that only the ugly yarn that nobody wanted was left by noon. Whew!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

MD Sheep and Wool (W00L?)

Well, I didn't mean to be up this late, but since I already uploaded the photos (yes! Camera is finally fixed!)...

Of course I forgot to take the camera to the actual festival. Dur. I wish I had - there were so many things I would have liked to record. (Deep-fried Twinkie included.) Alas, I'll have to follow Kira's lead and use my imaginary camera.

I did have a really good time, even though I was disappointed. I brought $100 with me, thinking I'd have to make hard decisions, and only managed to force myself to spend $60. Here's the grand total of my purchases (not including the book, the finger puppet, or the twinkie):

(Go, on - guess which sock yarn's for whom - my husband, myself, my friend. If you said the one on the right is for Aaron, you win! The one in the middle's for me. And the one(s) on the left are for my friend. Yay, socks!)

I don't know if I'm picky or jaded or it really just wasn't my year. First off, I was looking for sock yarn particularly. Possibly I just failed my "spot sock yarn" check. (DC+10 for having a 3-year-old with me. And, this being the Internet, I promise that this is not the only blog to mix D&D metaphors with knitting.) I'd find these beautiful, luxurious yarns - in heavy worsted boucle. Or thick-and-thin plied with a glitter strand. All very lovely, but not anything I'd ever use. Georgous hand-painted colorways - in bulky mohair. And then I'd finally find some sock yarn, and it'd all be some weird olive/fuschia/mustard/turquoise combination, and just - yuck. And then I'd find stuff that was ok, but that was it - if I'm just getting "ok" yarn, I'm not driving an hour and a half for it and paying five times as much as Knitpicks. (Not that I'm against paying for quality - but that's just it, I wasn't impressed by the quality of most of what I managed to find.) Possibly I needed to get there earlier - maybe someone with a sockyarn fetish and the same taste as mine got there at 9 and bought it all up. No idea.

But although it sounds like I'm awfully whiny, I'm really glad I went. I had a great time. The kid had fun. Everyone was very nice, and we saw lots of neat stuff (like alpacas and llamas and goats, oh my!) I'm happy with the yarn I did get. And I picked up a few cards from shops whose yarn I liked but wasn't what I wanted right then, which I think was a good idea. I'm definitely going again next year, but I think with different expectations. And possibly another kid-wrangler along. (Really, she was great, but it would have been nice to do some shopping without having to navigate a stroller through the barns.)

In other news, I completely missed my self-imposed deadline to finish the blanket before the baby gets here. He's coming tomorrow. The blanket will be done... Wednesday, maybe? We'll see... Also I have to figure out what to do with the ends. But here you go, pictures of it "nearly" done. (I ought to call it the "Pi=2" shawl for the number of times I've miscalculated something about it. Also, I can't find that last ball of yarn and I'm going to Hulk out if I have to get yet ANOTHER one...)