Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

The Boyfriend loves Halloween. I think it’s his favorite holiday. I'm indifferent, except that it can interrupt the knitting and that's a bit irritating. Last night he insisted on carving pumpkins which I thought was a bit odd since they’d really only get put out for one night but it made him happy to carve. So he did and I was impressed. I love the wolf one.

Then tonight, he had to work late. I’m not a fan of answering the phone or the door but I made the sacrifice for him. It was ok since I only had one trick-or-treater…my little sister, from Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was her Big Sister for three years. During that time we laughed and played and I loved her to pieces. She is/was a sweet girl but as she grew our interests drifted apart…computer games and movies instead of board games and crafts. I thought she’d be better off with a big sister for the 12 year old age range. So there she was at my door tonight, a year after I made the painful break. Taller and chubby-er but as smiley as ever. It was so nice to see her I almost forgot to ask her who she was, Sally from Nightmare before Christmas. She was there with a young woman who was not a relative, I’d met them all before including aunts and cousins. It’s good to see she has a new positive role model in her life.

Happy Halloween!

Oh and the Obama Bag is done except the strap.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Second Socktoebar socks done

The crazy bright Rocket Socket RPMs are done!! So happy, and they actually look great slouchy at the end of the day. Spirals around the foot does make them a bit tight in the shoes. Mac was intrigued by the heels and exactly how such a pretty skein made rainbow puke colored socks.

In other knitting news I’m designing a headband for this amazing wool silk blend. It’s for work, and feels a bit like homework knitting it in the evenings but I’m so excited about the yarn that I don’t mind and the socks can fall to the back burner for a bit.

What’s this I heard about snow? In New Hampshire, already? Not possible!! Although it is bitter cold out tonight. Now it's time to watch OB's presentation.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Knitting Talk

October has actually become Sock-Toe-Bar. This is crazy. At this moment there are no less than 8 different sock designs on the needles! (you can double click on the photo to see it larger)
I’m a maniac.
A sock knitter out of control.
A woman with too many size 2 needles.
A knitting machine.
Although I haven’t spoken of them each individually (and may not ever again) I did, want to open the knitting bag and give you a glimpse of what I’ve been up to.

#1. AP’s Slipper Sock is a straight stockinet stitch with Legend yarn by Artful yarns. It’s knit on size 9s. The first time with the Knit Picks Options needles and I must admit those tips are nice.

#2. Freaks and Geeks Sock is my second attempt at the padded footlets from Interweave Favorite Socks book. I absolutely love the color way, Connecticut by J.Knits, but I am unsure of how I feel about the socks. A bit of stripping and the V shapes in the pattern really pop so I’m feeling like it’ll be a success.

#3. My Friends Socks are Diagonal Cross Rib Socks I cast on during the second and my personal favorite Presidential debate. Mr. McCain said My Friends so many times I felt they deserved to be named after him. The yarn is a wool tencel blend from Mind’s Eye Yarn. I love the sheen of the tencel and wish I had more sock yarn with it.

#4. Serenity: Uptown Boot Socks are a great mindless pattern in Arucania Ranco yarn. The Communicator assures me that once they’re washed the yarn will soften up. It is stiff now but the subtle variation is nice.

#5. Pineapple Boot Sock is really a modified RPM. The yarn is an Italian Wool-Mohair blend. It may need a slight bit of felting to make it a bit more fitted.

#6. Dexter: Austrian Sock took some ridiculous amount of time to get an inch and a half done. Something like 8 hours. I can see these being finished in March since they will never be a main project, just something I pick up for a few rows and then put down again when my eyes start to cross from the intricate charts and cables. Also with the Arucania Ranco yarn, it’s an amazing chartreuse color.

#7. A Frogger’s Dream: Up-Down Spiral Sock is on it’s second incarnation. The first attempt was the two color passion socks but the yarn is too thin and that pattern was too nontraditional for this yarn. The yarn is Panda Silk so it doesn’t stick to itself and each stitch has great stitch definition. This new two color pattern is a mid calf sock with pink as the base and the variegated yarn adds the interesting details.

#8. Rocket Sockets RPMs were cast on in Rhinebeck and are moving along. As you can see the spiral effect of the dye got reversed on the first sock but I dislike the way the colors look mashed up together so much that I didn’t care enough to rip back and correct the spiral. On the second sock I caught it in time and it should match the foot and the spiral of the rib pattern. Actually I’m hoping to cast this off tonight. We’ll see how speedy I can be.

Really I should be swatching or working the Obama bag but that’s not what my fingers want. Knowing I have 8 socks going, I’d really like to finish what I can and get it down to 7. The Freaks and Geeks sock is calling to me next. I love the pattern and am anxious to wear these cute little anklets.

I took a break from The Wheel of Time (although I did find out that I would be Brown Ajah were I in the book) and returned to my podcasts. It seems I’ve been out of the knitting world for a while now. I’ve been knitting, that’ll never stop, and I’ve been going to knitting group, but I haven’t really been paying much attention to the knitting talk, magazines, patterns, or new books. It was good to hear about knitting and the latest and greatest patterns. It reminded me why I blog and why you read it. Knitting Talk. We all love to talk about our knitting since so many in our daily lives do not understand what exactly our nibble fingers are doing besides looping yarn and occasionally finishing an object. So I shall attempt to give you more knitting talk, more details, and yarn reviews.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Content

I hear the shower running, whistling accompanies the water sounds.
I see the sun reflecting off the couch pillows onto the ceiling.
I taste watery iced coffee with too much sugar.
I feel the texture of the worn carpet beneath my feet.
I smell the scent of decaying leaves and fall afternoons.

The boys are curled up in the sun somewhere. I’m seated on the love seat sharing my space with four different knitting projects, five others are within arms reach. The Boyfriend wanders about upstairs shaving his beard, reading, asking the magic box questions and the floor squeaks under his feet.
This is a typical Sunday afternoon for us.
I am content.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Planting Bulbs

I spent a couple hours planting bulbs for next early, mid and late spring. Why do we do this? I know it’s for the future prettiness but in the moment, all I could think was -this is eating away at my knitting time!!

Right now I’m working away on the Rocket Socket RPMs. I’m definitely going to finish these in time for Sock-toe-bar. Thursday night I watched the first disk of Freeks and Geeks (a late 90s tv show that lasted one season about a brother and sister in high school in 1980). It’s a cute show with Sweets from Bones as a 13 year old. He’s absolutely adorable. Anyway while I was watching that I cast on the Padded Footlets. I only have 200 yards so I’m hoping to have enough for two socks if I leave off the padded part. We’ll see how they go. I love the lace work on the top of the foot and had tried them before with some alpaca yarn which was too flimsy for useful socks.

Tonight we’re off to the best pizza shop in town and then home for the annual viewing of Johnny Depp’s Sleepy Hollow. Strange but we both love that movie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flyer War!

Seriously folks...Linus spent a good ten minutes last night warring with this flyer. I just so happened to catch his final success on tape.
I love my boys!

video

The Socket Rocket RPMs are coming along nicely. I’ve turned one heel. While the yarn is nice to work with although, I’m feeling a bit guilty using it. I feel like I should be working with the local indie stuff instead. You know, learning as much as possible, as quick as possible.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday

Today was a good day. Learned about yarn and spent so much time with colors and textures that I normally would not have chosen. It was mind opening. I enjoyed my company and even saw some Dr. Phil. Not really my thing but the novelty of it was interesting. Now I’m itching to catch back up with my Emond’s Fielders (Wheel of Time characters).

My Socket Rocket RPMs were the first thing to be cast on Saturday night after the festival. We were all so anxious to get something on the needles. Even though I already have 3 pairs going I couldn’t stand it. So I hand wound two balls and was off. As I worked these I was forced to use the largest 2s possible, 3.0mm. The medium weight is very thick and I’m glad I got two lightweights in addition to this and one other medium weight. Really they should be called rainbow socks. They are the most colorful socks I’ve ever seen. Probably the most colorful thing I’ve ever knit. I’m really really super enjoying the RPM pattern. It’s so simple and yet gives something of interest to the pattern.

The Obama bag is going much slower than I’d like. Turns out than 70sts of stockinet for 18” isn’t the most interesting thing to knit. Imagine!! I added the wavy circle thing for interest but now that’s done and I need another 12” before I can felt it. I could fly though it if I watch a good movie and let my fingers do the work without my brain.

And because I haven’t said enough about Rhinebeck, here is one of my favorite yarns…Steam Valley Fiber, I’m calling Tuesday: Teal-Navy-Fascia-Silver-Lavender. It’s a piece of art. What’s the right kind of pattern for this type of yarn? What can I do that will keep my interest but won’t get lost in the amazing variety of colors?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rhineback and The Wall of Death

The festival was wonderful. Better than my wildest dreams. But most importantly I am blessed to have such great friends. What would I do without you? I’d be lonely, and The Boyfriend would do a lot more mindless nodding along as I babbled to him about yarn.
Friday afternoon I picked up Meow Meow Head and Bat Girl and we flew down to The Communicator’s work. From there it was another 4 hours to Rhinebeck.

I was a little sketched out by the house we rented. In the house's defense, it was a clean, spacious, quaint, older home. We were surprised to find a delicious restaurant down the street even if it was a bit pretentious, we spent much of the meal giggling.

The next two days were spent drooling on yarn, eating fried artichokes, knitting, and laughing. Who could ask for more?

I got so much yummy yarn and a fun painting. No not the Wall of Death, I got the Cartoony Fiber Animals, except mine is 8x10, not quite this big. The Wall of Death was at the house, and it quickly became the theme song for the weekend. At least the theme song in my head.

I know, you want the yarn run down of what came home with me...Socks That Rock, Oak Grove, Steam Vally Fiber, Aussi Sock, Silver Moon Farm, Noro, and more Socks That Rock. It was exciting to find so many new yarns and indie dyers. I would've loved some Creatively Dyed or Tsarina Tsocks but a girl has to draw the line somewhere. I'm already half way through a pair of RPMs using the STR. It's amazing!
Leaves were in the air, hats were on heads, and smiles were on faces: Rhinebeck 2008.
I'm ready for 2009 tomorrow. I’ll leave you with this digital impressionistic image, I call it
“Fall Knitters in Paradise”.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama

Perhaps I should send this to Joe the Plumber?

Knitters for Obama

With thoughts of tonight’s debate in my head, I cast on for an Obama Bag. I’m using Laura Birek’s charts of Shepard Fairey's famous poster.
I really feel patriotic knitting with red, white, and blue. I wanted to substitute grey for the white, making it more my own but The Boyfriend suggested that I do it exactly as is so that it’s easily recognizable. Although, in my hast last night, while lamenting the Red Socks performance, I did not notice that I’d reversed the image until I had 5” completed. I don’t think anyone will notice if I don’t tell them.
.
.
I’ve been working the Uptown Boot Socks with the Araucania Ranco, and am disappointed to report that the yarn is indeed itchy. I had thought 25% polyamide would be enough to soften it but alas the knitted fabric is course. Perhaps washing will help with that. I have converted to a toe up construction as that’s my bag, baby! .
.
.
I’m also using Araucania Ranco in lime to make the Austrian Socks. Which are the most difficult cable pattern imaginable!!! Seriously 4 hours to knit ¾” I can see that those socks, I’m calling them Dexter socks will take months to complete.

I need to begin packing for Rhinebeck. Four of us are heading out for a long weekend at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. I don’t know much about it except that for many knitters it’s the highlight of the year. I’m hoping for sun and chance to knit with friends.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Librarian's Insight -the turkey

The turkey was the brain child of a librarian who felt that there weren’t enough Thanksgiving turkeys out there.



Make one for the hostess of your holiday party or use them as decorations on a buffet table. Children, carnivores, and vegetarians will delight in this loveable turkey.

This pattern is now available at my Etsy shop.
If you would like me to knit you one, that can also be arranged.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just Keep Going!

My computer has been the bane of my existence (honestly I feel a bit guilty saying that since are much worse things out there, so don’t pitty me too much). It’s been crawling along loaded down with pictures and obsolete programs. I do loves me some photos, as you may have noticed. Dad said to buy a massive external drive, 40 times the size of my computer to put archives on. I spent 4 hours moving things and now the computer is below 50% full and it’s flying along again! Yay!!!

While moving files I was knitting along on my Perrin socks. I finished them at 8:54 tonight. Just over a week after I dyed the yarn. That’s definitely a Sock-Toe-Bar record. I even did the picot crochet edging. I really enjoyed working with the yarn. It’s the Knit Picks Gloss, 70/30 wool silk blend. It definitely knit up well on size 2s. But really I’m ready to cast on for the next pair.
This weekend I visited the University, had girls weekend with Mum, Aunt, & Cousin, and of course hit the local yarn shop. I bought two skeins of Araucania Ranco, a denim blue variegated and a lime green variegated. I’m feeling a bit guilty since I already have two pairs worth of this yarn and bought more without ever knitting with it. I think that should be the next yarn on my needles. The Boyfriend says that the Lime color would look the best for cabled socks...

I just have to share these lovely photos of my mother and cousin. They were being thrilled by the messaging chairs at the mall and later as we giggled our hotel room, my little cousin decided to demonstrate her abilities to hop like a mermaid with a tail in one leg of her pants. On my way to meet the family I called Mum, below is a snip-it of the conversation, verbatim….

Me: Mum I’m Lost
Mum: Just Keep Going!
Me: But Mum you don’t know where I am.
Mum: Go past the intersection.
Me: Mum! I don’t even know the name of the hotel or if I’m on the right road, so how can you tell me to just keep going?!?!
Both: hysterical laughter

“Just keep going!” was our mantra the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"I'm a Rock Star"

P!nk has a new song, well at least it’s new to me. “So What” It’s been out since August and I just heard it the other day on my way to knitting class. It was actually played on two stations during my 10 minute drive. I remember when I worked at the University gym, I knew every pop song and quickly tired of all of them. I’ve always loved music and received an excellent “musical education” from my father. Combined with a musical memory like a photographic memory, there isn’t much on the radio from the past that I can’t recognize in 10 seconds or know the words to. Note to reader: don’t play musical identification games with me, you will lose.

In high school Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead that got me through what would’ve been dark times. In College, surprisingly the depressing Pink Floyd and slightly brighter Dave Matthews Band made me sway to the music. And of course we can not forget the bubble pop blasting at me 20 hours a week at the gym. O-Town anyone?

Now it’s Audio books, podcasts, and only my absolutely favorite songs loaded on the I-pod. Unless I forget it, there is no outside influence on my musical choices any longer. So there I am driving down Main street and within 5 seconds of hearing “So What” for the first time, I’m drumming along on the wheel swaying to the beat. Not just a finger tap, really banging out the beat. I don’t know why I’m surprised but I hadn’t expected the pop-virus to bite me or take hold so quickly anymore. I’m not as immune as I thought. SO yeah, “So What” is a great song. It’s about splitting with her husband, going out, and feeling like a rock star. Typical rebellious P!nk but you know I love it! Because I am a Rock Star…always have been. (smiling and swaying to the beat) Hold on, musical break, I have to go listen to it. Well yeah, it’s on my I-pod now…

Linus is imitating a dragon, his ears are out flat and back, Mac has gone to the kitchen away from the speakers. I don’t think they like the song as much as I do. At least not as loud.

But really you didn’t come here to hear about my musical tastes, lets talk about painting. Yes, the bathroom is done!!! The Boyfriend gives it two big thumbs up. I really like it and am shocked that I lived with that hideous blue for so long. I didn’t realize just how loud it was. Now this mellow mauve color really blends and looks great. I know it's cheesy to take a picture of the toilet paper but I wanted to give you a sense of color since I'm sure you know what color tp is. I need to reassemble the bathroom elements but the walls are done and look great. No major catastrophes.


Although... I had to laugh,
while I’m standing on the step stool in the shower painting about the shower head with the roller, I smeared a 3” strip across my freshly painted ceiling, %&$#!!!!! So I turn to get down and get a drip towel to wipe the ceiling only as I’m getting off the stool I put my hand against the wall to steady myself on the wet paint, $%#&!!! Again!

Painting really cuts into knitting. But I did slip stitch heels for both of the Perrin socks. I’m considering forgoing sleep in favor of knitting the exciting Lace part of these socks. We shall see.
Hope you’re enjoying your thirsty Thursday night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Friends

I wish I had written this. My mother actually sent this to me the morning after the debate... I did add my own little something to it, though.

"My Friends",
Let me tell you how I am going to save money in my household budget. First, "My Friends" I am going to begin by cutting My Husband's (my dad's) spending. If that is not enough "My Friends" I am going to decrease Simon's (the dog's) food allowance since he is overweight anyway. Next "My Friends" Simon's dental health care plan will have to stop since the costs are just too great. Then "My Friends" we as a family need to stop paying taxes. I believe, "My Friends" that taxes are too high so "My Friends" I will not pay anymore. Let me tell you "My Friends" what I am going to do about housing. I am going to get a new mortgage "My Friends". Yes, I am going to talk to Fannie and Freddie, or is it Eddie, one of them, "My Friends" and I am going to stay in my home. Also, I want to add "My Friends" no matter how bad the economy is my patriotism assures me it will get better.

My Husband's going to get some on the job training "My Friends" that will create a surge in our economy. So "My Friends" if you think I am laughing at "that guy" - NOT - then you are right "My Friends" because the truth is "that guy" is way ahead. Therefore in closing "My Friends" I need to close quickly and leave this email quickly even if "My Friends" are all shaking hands with "that guy". OK, "My Friends" that is all I have to say.
Good Night "My Friends",

The Samurai's Mom (Bet you are surprised it's me - I bet you all thought it was John McCain writing to you)!
p.s. if you do not "get" this email then you "My Friends" need to go and watch the debate again!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oww My Neck!

Owww my neck, owww my back, oww my neck, oww my shoulders! I spent 8 hours scraping, sanding, priming and painting the ceiling around the skylight in my bathroom yesterday. Turns out that when you slap some old white paint, lying around in the garage from who knows when, on top of chipping green paint, in a moist environment you get even more cracking, and flaking.

While I worked I listened to Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt, which is a decent book. He doesn’t write as well as Steven King, but he has created a wonderful world that I can’t wait to get back to.

In fact the socks I cast on during the game the Monday night, are named Perrin after one of the main characters, but I digress.

I spent most of the day up on this ladder contorting myself and stretching to my fullest height to be able to reach the top. I was completely exhausted by the end of the day. But, of course I’m never too tired to knit.

I’ve cast on the other sock Perrin Sock for the Lace Cuff Anklets. They are flying by going toe up as I’m anxious to get past the heel into the detailed lace work and changing needle sizes.
I cast on 60 sts instead of the 56 in the pattern, that just seemed too small. I’m also going for 7” before starting the heel. The last pair of socks I did had an 8” foot before starting the toe (thanks Heather for pointing out that heels and toes should both be about 2” and are therefore interchangeable when measuring for toe up or cuff down). The 8” foot is a bit long. Maybe I’ll go for 7.5” since it’s not that long.

Do I have to paint again tomorrow???? The walls are all taped and it should be easier than the skylight and ceiling but I’m just too sore!



Monday, October 6, 2008

Couldn't resist!

Alright alright, I couldn’t resist. The Activist was right! I thought I’d be happy just gazing at the newly dyed yarn while I knit my current projects. That lasted through dinner, and then I was over come. I cast on for the Lace Cuff Anklets but toe up. Since it’s a straight stockinet foot I’m feeling guilty. I’ve added *S1, K1* rounds to the ball of the foot for some extra padding. I’m considering decreasing around the arch as well, but perhaps I’ll just continue on with this mindless knitting as I drool on my yarn. Even The Boyfriend likes it!
Also Go Socks!

Apple Picking

Yesterday was the third annual apple picking day. The weekend before we were married, our friends K&K took us. We’ve gone every year since. The four of us do not change but the difference in their daughter is amazing. The first year she was strapped to her mother’s chest and spit up all over her. Last year she road in a stroller biting an apple with just two teeth.

This year she walked along eating an apple and holding her father’s hand. At one point she informed him, “Daddy your hands are cold!” We had a laugh at how well she constructed a sentence at such a young age. And of course political jokes followed, as they always do when The Boyfriend is with K&K.

That afternoon as we made apple bread and apple crisp, MacOban proved that he is in fact my son. After the baking it was time to watch sports…7 hours of football and baseball = sleepy Samurai. I called it a night early and dreamt about what I could knit with my newly dyed sock yarn. I skienned it up this morning but am feeling compelled to finish the light blue sweater that I ripped off the bottom 4” so that I could lengthen it.

I’m about ready to turn the heel on the first of the Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks. One sock cables left while the other right. I’m a bite concerned about knitting both at once and ending up with two socks that do neither.

Now I’m off to attempt, Nakid-Knits “Tofu Jerky”. I’m skeptical yet curious…

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Will the blue ever come out?


.
Although I used gloves during the dying process and I was very careful not to touch anything without them, I still miraculously ended up with blue dye under several of my finger nails. .
.
.

.
.
.
.
I dyed two skeins of merino-silk sock yarn. I was definitely going for the cool colors as you can see. I was surprised by how long it took to dye, but then again we did at least 20 skeins.
.

If I were to do it again, I would mix 4 or 5 dyes all in the same color family rather than having so many options. What do I mean if, when I do it again is more like it. The dye was absorbed really well and some of the girls got some vibrant yellows and chartrus colors. I’m not sure how you’d get a lighter shade of purple? Less dye I guess.