Saturday, February 28, 2009

Clear the Sock Needles Update

I’ve completed three pairs of socks this month. I was aiming for four but I feel like that’s just not going to happen. I have 5” leg and 3.5” leg. For the sake of the challenge I could make them 5” socks and say I’m done. But that would compromise my vision for the socks. Knit on size 2s & 3s they are going to be thick and boot sock-ish. I want to use more of the yarn than I normally do and I want to make them 6.5” with at least 1.5” of 2x2 ribbing. I’m certain that I will finish these socks this weekend but with a busy day ahead of us, I won’t be able to finish them today.

Warning: The rest of this post is for my sake not yours. Not an entertaining entry. There I've placed the disclaimer, now it's your own fault if you read on about my savings and stash reduction plan and find it less than riveting.

I did take a 3 day break from socks this week and knit Na-at-tay two hats. He’s shipping out and I wanted to be sure he has a good washable alternative to the Zissou hat, which is hand wash. I don’t want to be a slave to my monthly challenges. I just want goals to work towards and attempt to achieve. To that end, I’m thinking it may be time to knit a mile in a month. I have some felting projects for Mum that need my attention and a few more non-sock gifts that should be attended to.

For the record I have not purchased yarn from a store since, 2/8/09, ok and from an online vendor since 2/20/09. I know it’s not long but I’m going to make a conscience effort to pare back the yarn purchases until Rhinebeck. I’m not going to give up buying yarn (I don't think that would be possible) but I am going to start squirreling away my yarn allowance so that I have plenty of funds. I’m thinking something like every time I go into a yarn shop and don’t spend the usual $50, I pocket the remaining money towards Rhinebeck. I know, you may not be a knitter and may not understand what I’m saying here. But the Seacoast Knitters in small or big groups frequent 1-3 shops a month. That’s 8-24 trips between now and Rhinebeck…that’s a $200-$600 in savings if I can limit myself to $25 per trip instead of the usual $50. I’ll be keeping track of my progress. 64.8 miles.

But, my yarn spending habits are not the purpose of this post. I’m going to knit a mile out of stash yarns. Knit a mile and not buy a replacement mile. Knit a mile, and make room for more? Knit a mile, that’s 1760 yards. Knit a mile, that’s about 5 pairs of socks for me. Knit a mile, that’s about half of the chunky wool bin.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Have you ever tried to knit while slightly intoxicated?

It’s both entertaining and frustrating.

First you pick up the sticks, and find that the needles you’ve spent hundreds of hours holding, that normally feel perfect in your hands, now feel somewhat awkward, like you’ve never held them before. Like you’re five holding a pencil for the first time trying to hold on and write you’re full name.

Next you attempt to knit a stitch, and then another and in the time it would normally take you to knit 3 stitches you’ve somewhat successfully completed one. That’s odd you think, I’m normally much faster. I must be tired, or something, you think dismissively to yourself.

And it’s at this point, around stitch 6 when you realize that knitting is really really hard. All those times in the past when you thought it was a mindless pastime that soothed your nerves. Well you were way wrong! And you can hardly believe it!

Because at this moment, you’ve come to the electrifyingly obvious conclusion that knitting is really hard! Hard is the best word you can think of. SO much motor coordination and concentration just to get one stitch. Wow, those knitters must be geniuses. And then you realize that you’re daydreaming about how difficult knitting is instead of actually knitting….hahahahahaha

Friday, February 20, 2009

Do you know what this face is saying?

It says, You did what with a bird!?!?!

Let me backup, the Lovebird, Charlie, spends the days at work with us. There’s more activity than at home alone and his singing fits right in with our chatter.

Charlie actually sits across from me all day and we have blinking conversations. Julie says that blinking a bird reassures it that you’re not a preditor since you’re not staring at it. And the birds will actually blink back to show you they are confortable. So Charlie and I have been blinking all week. Today he came out of the cage for a while. He’s been adjusting to his new home and we thought grabby hands might stress him out.

Once he was out, he needed a place to be where he'd feel safe and secure. Since I had on the sweatshirt, guess where he went? Yup! He went in my zip-up sweatshirt over my heart and t-shirt. He snoozed for a bit. I think the bra strap gives him something to clasp onto. Although he kept trying to sidestep into my armpit, because it was warmer I guess.

It was great!!! I was so excited, walking around all stiff backed so I didn’t disturb him. And then do you know what that little S&%T did? He did just that, he pooped on me! Julie warned me that it would happen but you know it still surprised me. Needless to say there was a bird hand off and some cleaning. We all agreed that bird poop is far less offensive than cat or dog poop.

I actually thought Mac or Linus would smell the bird on me but neither seems to have noticed.

But really, this picture was taken to show off my new socks! The Ricky Morneaux Socks are finished. That’s the third pair. I’m right on track to get all four pairs finished before the end of February. Although I must confess, I have cast on two new pairs of socks since I conceived of this challenge. Ok three. But it’s not my fault. I just love sock knitting! And one of those pairs is for a loved one…honestly, I don’t think my sock needles will ever be clear.

Monday, February 16, 2009


The Boyfriend and I did not buy a bird. Julie actually bought a bird with my help. I seem to be a pet pusher, first the Pamtastic and Lulu adventure, and now the Bird Excursion with Julie.

Also, I bought the CTH yarn in that wonderful red and yellow color. Yay!!

And lastly, I'm at about 85% on the Ricky Morneaux socks after I dedicated knit night to nothing but the socks. It was virtually painless. I really like the yarn, Knit Picks, fingering weight with 30% silk, very soft and the socks fit nicely so it hugs my feet.

Oh and one more thing, the Melaine socks, are about 45% done. It's such a nice mindless pattern that looks great. The first sock is a little big and the second is a little wide. Things like this happen with too mindless knitting. I forget to pay any attention and just knit straight ahead.

Ok time to make the bed, so I can get it in, and go to sleep.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Colors wanted!

Today I finished the second pair of socks for February. I’m right on track with finishing a pair a week to complete the four pairs for February and The Clear The Sock Needles Challenge. As previously mentioned this is a color way that is in development for Fall 09 so the actual color is confidential, apologies for black and white photos. This yarn is a dream to work with and zips right along although it’s on size 1 needles. The J.Knits Superwash Me Sock Yarn has come a long way from the first pair of socks I tried to knit with it. These may be the longest/tallest socks I’ve ever knit. They have a 4 stitch cable running up the foot and leg accompanied by a 3x4 rib around the leg of the sock. Sorry VS, I’m sure this is trilling for you to read. I am however, very pleased to have these finished, ribbing is not something I enjoy. Although I sense another potential color way is looming in my future. I like to test knit the new colors but I’ll be wiser next time and do them for smaller feet.

In other news, the Seacoast Knitters are having a St. Patrick’s Day swap. I selected a yarn that my recipient will love and cast on only to find that for my desired project, I really needed to design something myself. Ohhhh I bet you’re all hoping I got you! I’m a little over half done and love the result. I’m sure it’ll be even more special for the recipient that I designed and made it special for them.

I’m feeling a real lack of red and yellow in my life. I really need a bright red or yellow or both to knit with. Miss K, hand-dyed some amazing sock yarn and it’s haunted me for months. I can’t seem to find this vibrant colorway anywhere. The closest I’ve ever seen to it was Cherry Tree Hill’s Sugar Maple color way but that’s much more washed out and pink rather than red. Woe-es-me, I can’t find any yarn in the color I dream of that would be a perfect way to break out of the winter doldrums.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Zissou for a Sailor

By Mychawd

What do you do if you enjoy the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?
If you like it so much you quote it and want to be Ned Kingsley Zissou?
You find a friend who’s a knitter and ask her, or him, to knit you a hat like the ones worn in the movie, that’s what you do.

· US size 6 16” circular needles
· Either a second pair of circs for head decreases or a set of size 6 double points
· 2 skeins Reynolds Revue
· Tapestry Needle to weave in end.

Finished Measurements:
10 to 24” circumference relaxed to stretched
12.5” in length

Gauge: in 2x2 rib 28 sts x 32 rows for 4”

Begin: Using Long Tail Cast on cast on 104 stitches. K1 st, place a marker to mark the beginning of the round.

Work in the round, repeating the pattern K2, P2 ribbing until the piece measures 8.5”.

Work in pattern until 52 sts have been worked, place a second marker(between 2 knit sts), this will be opposite the first (which should also be between 2 knit sts). These mark the side seams and will be used for decreasing purposes.

Decrease Round: K1, SSK, work in pattern to 3 sts before the marker, K2tog, K1, slide marker, K1, SSK, work in pattern to 3 sts befo re second marker, K2tog, K1, slide marker.
Repeat this for every round until 44 sts remain (22 on each side). You may need to split the stitches between the two circs or move them onto the double points around 50 sts, continue working in the round.

At 44sts, work 4 rounds in pattern, no decreases.

Return to decrease rounds until there are 20sts remaining.

Turn work inside out and work 3 needle bind-off. Or graft the stitches together.

Lightly block and enjoy many sea voyages with your new hat!
© 2009, Mychawd

Friday, February 13, 2009

Today Someone bought a bird!

You never know what a day will hold. At 11 this morning J & I headed to the massive pet shop. Typically I’m not for these types of places, puppy mill potential and they remind me of the summer I killed a lot of fish. I didn’t mean to, I just wanted a pretty fish tank…but I digress.

So we spent an hour and a half learning all about different types of birds and their personalities and talking abilities. It was very interesting and the staff was amazingly helpful and informed in their specialties. Turns out they also board birds at the shop and the manager needs to be there to be certain we don’t take home someone else’s bird. So we head back to the shop and wait until 3. Actually J started calling and looking for the manager at 2. Once there we held these 8 week old Lovebirds. I was so afraid to crush him. Actually you can put them in your pocket. They love it and feel secure. At least the person they bond with can do it.

So several hundreds later, J had a cage, several types of food, a mountain of toys, and a very quiet Lovebird. This isn’t him but it looks very similar. Oh and the best part, he’s a Valentine’s day present for her boy. It’s so exciting!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Get to Know your Samurai

The new 2009 edition of getting to know your family andfriends.

1. What is your occupation right now? Yarn Duchess
2. What color are your socks right now? Teal/Navy/Grey strippes, yes I knit them!
3. What are you listening to right now? Dyeing 2 Knit Podcast
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Tomato, Cheese, Orange Pepper Pizza...yum!
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Unfortunately no
6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? The Boyfriend
7. How old are you today? 28...and some days
8. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Baseball I guess, at least I'll sit through half of a game and I know what's going on.
9. What is your favorite drink? Diet Coke & O
10. Have you died your hair? Once when I was in high school..oh and random highlights a few years back.
11. Favorite food? Pizza
12. What is the last movie you watched? Appalousa, which was meh
13. Favorite day of the year? Any day spent knitting with sunshine or snow
14. How do you vent anger?throw a tantrum...cry...and wear myself out
15. What was your favorite toy as a child? Barbie Doll
16. What is your favorite season? Fall, the leaves are beautiful and the temperature if perfect for sweaters
17. Cherries or Blueberries? Neither, I'll take Strawberries
18. Living arrangements? Husband, and two cats
19. When was the last time you cried? This weekend...when I got angry
20. What is on the floor of your closet? Plastic bins with holiday decorations and dirty clothes
21. What did you do last night? Watched CSI for hours while I knit
22. What are you most afraid of? The Dark
23. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? No hamburgers for this vegetarian
24. Favorite dog breed? Devon Rex... :-)
25. Favorite day of the week? Thursday, day before the best day of the week. So much potiential ahead.
26. Favorite flower? Iris

Sunday, February 8, 2009

One needle Cleared

There are four weeks in February, so as long as I finish one of the four pairs a week I’ll complete my challenge.

Today I finished the second Aviendha sock. Ok I still need to sew in the bind off yarn, but you know, it’s 99.99% complete. I’m happy with the alterations I made to the pattern. The Regia Stretch is a bit itchy but machine washable.

Last week, J developed a new colorway. We looked at it all day. It’s definitely not part of my regular blue pallet but it is a pretty color none the less. At the end of the day she slyly asked if I’d be interested in test knitting some socks. Hello, this is the Samurai, the girl who is totally into socks…that’s a no-brainer. She played me like a fiddle. I ran home and had knit 2 inches for the next day at work. I decided that the color really doesn’t go with my wardrobe so these will be my gift socks. Of course I’m going with the Riverbed construction. I added a cable to the outside of the foot and will do three cables up the leg alternating with wide ribs. Black and white photo due to color confidentiality…

The Ricky Morneaux socks are crawling along. As I said before, they need to be tall to accommodate the shrinkage of the silk so probably going for a 7” cuff. 3.25” on one and 0.5” on the other. I’d say 70% complete.

As for the Melaine socks, holding steady at about 30% complete. I didn’t really have time to knit them this week, being busy with the test knitting.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Value your knitting because you value it

Folk Wisdom: Too much praise is really mockery. -Pilipino

Generally when a fellow knitter lavishes praise on one’s work it is in recognition of the labor and skill that has gone into the piece. False praise is not something commonly found in knitting circles. Even the novice knitter will find sincere compliments for things as simple as color selection, or even tension. I believe it is far more likely that a non-knitter will exhibit excess praise and thus mockery.

I have been lucky enough not to receive such attentions from any of my gift recipients. But is it luck or is it fear? I fear that a Handmade Mockery Monster may be lurking around the next corner (he’d be big and blue Fun Fur with red spots and snaggle teeth). This makes me extremely hesitant to give knitted items beyond my immediate family. I can see myself giving a cherished friend a pair of fingerless mitts, only to find the dreaded Handmade Mockery Monster has been hiding in that person….screams in horror!

On the other hand, no reaction or minimal reaction is equally as disappointing. That’s the knee high brown beetle creature with two bug eyes on antennas, known as Embarrassed Homemade Lurker. She’s just as likely to scuttle out from behind a loved one who quickly shoves the piece of knitting back into it’s gift box….causing your mind to buzz with a flurry of doubt.

Living in fear of the Handmade Mockery Monster and the Embarrassed Homemade Lurker is no way to live. I think the lesson to learn is not to depend on the reactions of others for your happiness. Enjoy the knitting and let the rest wash over you. Value your knitting because you value it. Rather than living in fear of rejection, or fear of arriving at the wrong destination, just enjoy the ride. And if you’re lucky someone else will drive so you can knit.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sock Needles Are Flying

The Complete Christmas Challenge was a success. Saturday I had a marathon knitting day and finished off the last gift. They are completely sewn, just need to be felted. The intended recipient is a size 7, so I’m putting The Seacoast Knitters on notice, I need a fit model for these things. I’m afraid to felt them down too much. Heather would’ve been my fit model, wrist warmers and gloves for the petite women in my life were all tested out on Heather. But with her gone, I’ll have to turn to Joan or Anne as I suspect they also have small feet.

It’s already the second day of February and I’m without a challenge. A Samurai without a challenge is like a dog without a bone. I’m lost, what’s my purpose in life? VS informed me that this is a very sock heavy blog. I couldn’t argue. I only seem to want to knit socks, and buy sock yarn, and drool on sock yarn. So perhaps I should go with it and challenge myself to clear the needles of socks. Right now I have 3 pairs on the needles and the sock blanket. No way I’m finishing that blanket, but I do need to get back to it. I’ve been a total slacker and haven’t worked on it since the end of December. I’m at least 30 squares behind at this point. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.
For the Melaine socks, I just turned the first heel and have the toe done on the second sock. About 30% done.

For the Aviendha socks, I’m finished with the first sock and at the arch expansion on the second foot. About 65% complete.

For the Ricky Morneaux socks, I’m just past the second heel, the photos a little old. These are going to be as tall as I can make them since I know they’ll shrink (30% silk). About 65% done.

But in all honesty I could easily finish these off in a month. So lets add a fourth pair to make it interesting. And since I’ve been trying to do gift knitting, lets say I have to finish these 3 pairs and knit a 4th pair for someone else by February 28th to be successful! I’m feeling motivated. I have a goal. Now watch those needles fly!