Friday, July 30, 2010

Wolves of the Calla and Venus Shawl

The past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m on the Wolves of the Calla now. That’s book 5 of the 7 book series. Every fall for at least 4 years I listened to the first book followed by the next book I was up to. First year book one. Second year books one and two. And so on until I lost interest. I’m not really sure what prompted me to pick it up again, but this summer I restarted and quickly listened through books one, two, and three. And again four slowed me down. I think Mr. King wrote villains that were so despicable I didn’t want to spend time with them. But with a little encouragement from MMH I made it through and am onto book five which just so happens to be the thrilling page turner I’ve come to expect. It’s like spending time with old friends. The Dark Tower is by far my favorite book/series. The only books I’ve read more than twice.

And while I’m listening to this excellent story, I’ve been working on this shawl. It’s slow work but I’m enjoying finishing up some skeins and trying out new ones. It uses 7grams per square so I’ve allowed myself use some fresh skeins since the loss of 7grams wont effect my ability to craft a full pair with the remaining skein. It’s been funny to hear me after completing each square proclaim that this is my new favorite yarn and I want to cast on a pair of socks with it right now. If I had, I’d be up to 10 new works in progress right now. Luckily I’ve had a bit of self control and instead the shawl slowly grows. I’m heading toward a total of 66 squares.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 52PPIV Progress Update

This is the progress update after the second month of the 52 Pair Plunge IV. I’m going to evaluate myself according to the 4 goals I’d set for myself at the start.

1. Finish the 3 WIPs and 8 pairs of hibernating socks I currently have on the needles. One of those pairs is from April 2009. Really it’s time to finish it.

This month there were 5 Works In Progress (WIPs) on the needles. I finished two of them, The Opal of My Eye socks, a 4x2 rib using Opal self stripping yarn. And the second pair was torturous. The Angle Socks knit with the most hideous yarn ever. I enjoyed the alternate construction of the pattern and would definitely do them again with another less obnoxious color. I’ll be carrying 3 WIPs into August.

I’ve finished two hibernating sock… The Canute Take 2 Socks and The Lion In Winter Socks. I also frogged The Bernstein socks made with Mountain Colors Barefoot. The pattern was too intricate for the dark variegated yarn. Nothing showed so it wasn’t worth the effort to finish them. And luckily I have not added any additional socks to the Hibernating list, leaving me with a solid 5 pairs of hibernating socks. Oh and I did find the missing yarn behind the TV so one of those pairs that went into hibernation due MIA-Y should be finished sometime soon.

2. I currently have give-or- take 90 skeins worth of sock yarn. Enough to make 90 pairs of socks with lots of remnants. I will not stop buying new sock yarn but what if I can only knit the new after I’ve completed a pair with the stash sock yarn. Imagine if I cut the stash down by 26 skeins? That’d be a good part of a yarn bin free.

I’ve started and finished two pairs of socks from stash yarn, the Opal of My Eye and The Angle Socks. I’ve started a third, forth, and fifth pair from stash yarn, but not yet finished them. I think that’s an excellent push towards utilizing some of my stash yarn. And two of those skeins really did irritate me so I’m glad to see them gone. I did however buy some “new” sock yarn. Try not to be disappointed. I basically replaced the two completed socks with two new skeins. The Opal I showed you earlier this month and a skein of Berroco Sox that is a lavender-fuchsia self stripping delight. I couldn’t resist it. Plus a girl needs to have self stripping yarn for those mindless socks. So no more purchases until I’ve finished these 3 WIPs from stash. Hold me to that!

3. Knit more with DK weight yarn. I’ve never knit a DK weight sock but it couldn’t hurt to make a pair of house socks for The DH, Mum, Dad, & Myself. Those will be quicker than regular socks.

The only DK weight knitting I’ve done lately is shawl knitting. No socks to report on. But I still see some great Christmas Gift Opportunity here.

4. For every full size pair I knit, knit a pair of kids socks. Not baby socks. Those are so small they’re useless. Kids socks that I can give to Sophie or Simon or put away for some future child.

Definitely not keeping up this end of the deal. I can’t help it. I don’t like knitting baby socks. So far this month I’ve knit 3 pairs of socks, added to the 5 from last month and I’m on track to achieve the 52 Pair Plunge. I refuse to stress over not knitting baby socks. I’d much rather stress over where to store the new socks I knit for myself. It’s funny, The Boyfriend and I had to pack up our closets so that the painters can paint the trim white to match the rest of our condo. As I was packing I found that I had more socks (on the shelves not hanging, that’d be crazy if they were hanging.) More socks than all my other under garments combined. That’s a lot of socks! Goodwill did get several pairs of store bought socks that I haven’t worn in years but still, more socks than bras, underwear, slips, undershirts, camisoles, and nylons combined. Soon I’ll have to face the grim reality that those first dozen or so pairs that I knit while I was learning construction and proper fit really need to go. I pass over them time and time again in favor of my newest favorite pair. Poor unloved pink Governess socks, faded Dorchester Farms, and STR rainbow monstrosities. I promise to find you loving homes.

Sorry for that tangent. Back to the point. I’ve done fairly well this month achieving my goals. Ok I’d give myself a 50%, but hey that’s not all bad when you consider the fact that I haven't felt like knitting socks for a good two weeks but I’m still on track to hit the 52 pairs in 52 weeks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Anti-Sock Sentiments in Magical Vermont

I really wasn’t kidding about the anti-sock sentiments. Yesterday when we headed off to Magical Vermont I brought along 3 socks in progress and the Baby Surprise Jacket. I did about an inch on a sock and then worked on the BSJ the rest of the day and today. And I now have a finished BSJ to show. Well almost finished. I still need to sew up the shoulders and add buttons but otherwise it’s good. I used Lorna’s Laces Sheppard Worsted along with some Knit Picks Swish for the navy parts. I love the way it came out.

After that was finished I still wasn’t in a sock mood so I cast on the Conifer Shawl from Knitscene Spring 2010. I’m using some soft brown ultra alpaca that makes me think of baby dears…fawns if you will…

Being that the shawl isn’t really lunchtime knitting I’m sure a pair of socks will find my way into my purse in the morning as I’m heading off to work. I’m certain this hiatus won’t last for long as my fingers tend to miss the tiny stitches.

Oh and yes, Vermont continues to be magical. We hit Kaleidoscope Yarns where I picked up a skein of Opal yarn that I’ve been eyeing for 9 months or so. None of the local yarn shops carry it but I keep running into it when I’m visiting distant yarn shops. We had a great bistro boxed lunch and then hit the Harpoon Brewery tour where I found two more Hefeweizen to love besides the Raspberry UFO. Live music in the pub afterwards followed by a very loud and rowdy car ride home as I played DJ mixing late 90s rap and classic 80s hair band rock. The Boyfriend thought he’d died and gone to musical heaven where “Juke Box Hero”, “The Next Episode” , and “Discotheque” are playing non-stop.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Is it possible? I think it is. I’m actually getting tired of knitting socks. I’m head of schedule right now. And really I want to knit something else. What, I don’t know but something. I cast on a Baby Surprise Jacket last night. I’m through the decreases about to start increases but straight garter isn’t really speaking to me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From Isitt

. . . . . . I wish humans would accept my station as Princess of the Pillows and accord me the rights and honors that accompany that status . . . like letting leaving my pillows flat so that I may be comfortable resting on them.

Make Mine Gray

I designed this hat with my brother in law in mind. He is a big man with a large head and neck. He wanted a hat that went beyond the standard beanie length. Something to keep him warm during our New England Winters.

* Set of US size 6 (4mm) 16” circular needle
* Set of US size 6(4mm) double pointed needles, or size required to get gauge
* Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK (100% superwash extrafine merino, 137 yds {125m} per 50g) shown in colors 02, 03, & 18.
* Tapestry needle
* Stitch Marker


Adults Large 24” head circumference, stretched 28”. 9” in Length


6 sts & 7 rows in St st equals 1 inches

Pattern Notes:

With main color (02 gray) and circular needle, cast on 114 sts. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist and marking the beginning of the round with a stitch marker.

Rnds 1-3: (K1, P1) around.

Rnd 4: continue working 1x1 rib pattern increasing 1 sts every 19sts (120sts).

Rnd 5: (K4, P4) around. Continue working 4x4 pattern until piece measures 2”.

Change to contrast color (03 Black).

Rnd 1: Knit

Rnd 2: Purl

Rep these two rounds until piece measures 4”. Each color should measure 2”. Change to contrast color (18 Navy).

Rnd 1: (K2, P2) around.

Rep this round until piece measures 6”. Change to main color (02 gray) Begin crown decreases.

Rnd 1: (K10, K2tog) around

Rnd 2 and all even rounds: Knit

Rnd 3: (K9, K2tog) around

Rnd 5: (K8, K2tog) around

Rnd 7: (K7, K2togh) around

Continue in this manner until 20 sts remain.

K2tog around (10sts). K2tog around (5sts).

Thread tail through remaining stitches and fasten off. Weave in ends and block to prevent the navy ribbing from synching in.

You’ll definitely have enough leftover to make a 2 other hats. Try mixing up the color sequence or mix in different stitch patterns.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Boyfriend Birthday

Yesterday was The Boyfriend’s birthday. He’s so low key about it. I think it might be the result of sharing his birthday with his Dad. Although, he never goes crazy at Christmas either. I think he’s just not much for material gifts or being the center of attention. I on the other hand…well you know I’m just a big kid.

It was another swelteringly hot day, temps in the 90s with a healthy doss of humidity. We went to the park by the water for a reprieve. He did some reading while I knit and listened to The Knitting Show podcast. It must have been 20 degrees cooler by the water and in the shade. By the time we left I had cooled down nicely and had goose bumps.

And The Knitting Show is a great podcast by a brother and sister. I think there are a dozen kids in the family and she’s the oldest while he’s somewhere in the middle. They have a great banter between them and it’s just fun to listen to them wax about what they want to knit. Oh and he’s a color blind knitter which makes for some funny stories.

While we were there I finished another pair of socks for the 52 pair plunge. I do have to tell you that I’m getting a bit tired of sock knitting. I may need to cast on the Tapen Zee Sweater from Knitty. It’s a sleeveless single button cardigan. Just my style! We’ll see. I don’t want to loose my sock knitting motivation by being distracted by a sweater but I also don’t want to knit socks exclusively which is what I’ve been doing because I’m so worried to fall behind in the plunge.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Canute Take Two

I’ve discovered the secret to knitting a pair of socks super fast. Really, I’ve discovered the greatest secret known to knitter. I bet you’re dying to know. I would be. Ready?
Pull a sock and a half-a-sock out of hibernation and quickly whip out the leg that’s been lingering. Viola! A finished pair of socks. Amazing!

These are my Canute socks Take 2. I designed this pattern during the spring of 2009 and knit them super fast for The Boyfriend. I used a stripy gold-brown color which detracted from the X Cable patterns. I wasn’t thrilled with the result of my first attempt so last June I cast on another pair in this great semi-solid rust color. I got as far as the second heel and lost interest. So this week when I didn’t feel like knitting any of my current socks, I dug around a bit in the UFO pile and found these. I have been in love with this color since the moment I first saw it.

I absolutely cannot wait to wear these. Maybe I’ll even wear them by the campfire tonight. Although that could be dangerous given my penchant to poke the fire and be as near as possible.