27 March 2007

Knittin' stuff

I went to my first knitting group last Wednesday. There were 4 of us, and we met at Border’s. One of the women I work with invited me. Though she just recently learned to knit, her best friend is a Knitter. The 4th person was someone who used to work at AP that I’ve known for several years. She didn’t actually knit, as she didn’t have time, and she had her 2yo daughter with her. I had a pretty good time. It was nice to talk to someone about knitting who knew what I was talking about. I didn’t have to explain myself, or censor myself (as I often do with non-knitters so as not to seem so strange in my obsession). I was working on a sock using Magic Loop, and since O. had never used that technique before, she asked if I could teach her the next time we meet. She was also quite enamored with the yarn I was using, taking it out of the ziplock bag to fondle it (with permission, of course). I think we’re going to try to make this a regular thing, which means that I’m going to have to start taping Bones. I missed it last week. This is one of those times when I wish we had a DVR.

Speaking of knitting, I have a couple of projects that I’ve started over the last couple of weeks. The first is the Monkey socks from Knitty, which I think I’ve mentioned before. I’m using Koigu and they’re turning out lovely. The colorway is much different knitted up than what it looks like in the skein. There’s a wide stripe of dark turquoise running through the socks that I wasn’t expecting. I’m really liking the way they’re turning out. They are worked cuff-down, and I’m past the heel, so I have about 1/3 of the first sock left to finish.

Another thing I’ve started is a sleeveless cardigan of my own design. Almost 3 years ago I bought a shit load of sport weight heather grey alpaca from the alpaca market in Estes Park. I’ve been trying to find a sweater pattern for it, but I haven’t run across anything suitable. I’ve heard that alpaca is super-warm; so warm that making a pullover would mean never wearing it because of danger that I’d overheat, particularly in my poorly-climate-controlled office. I had the idea of making a vest or sleeveless cardigan, but again, I couldn’t find a suitable pattern. I really wanted something simple, as alpaca is supposedly bad for cables. I finally decided that I would design something myself. Then, I found this sweater in an Eddie Bauer catalog that I think will be perfect. Just imagine it without sleeves. The body will be a medium heather grey and the ribbed button band, neck band, and the ribbed section around the waist will be dark heather grey. The hem will be a turned and seamed hem. I am designing it with only about 2-3 inches of ease, as I want it to be close-fitting, but not so tight that I can’t fit a long-sleeve shirt underneath. I also want it to fit even if I lose some weight. I will add waist-shaping too. I’m pretty excited about it, but I have this fear that what I see in my mind’s eye will not be at all what comes off the needles. That’s why I’m doing something so simple. I’m still new to sweater construction. I really like the idea of designing my own patterns, but I still have a lot to learn before I’m really comfortable with the designing process.

The other project I am working on is a secret. It’s a small thing for my SP so I can’t talk about it or post pictures until after this SP round is over at the end of April. It’s really cool, though.

17 March 2007

Spring and socks


It's spring in Kansas. Seems like winter just arrived a few weeks ago, and now it's coming to an end. We had more snow this year than last, but still nothing compared to what it was like when I was in high school. Global warming, I guess.

I finished another pair of socks (that I can't wear now because it's too warm).

diamante socks side

Pattern: Diamante from Knitty

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in Vera (a gift from my Secret Pal)

Modifications: None, except that I worked them with Magic Loop--my first pair done with this method

diamante socks top

I liked working with this yarn. It's much softer than Opal. The stripes came out nicely--not too stripe-y, which is what I prefer. There was a bit of pooling around the heels and gusset, but I'm sure that's because of the change in the number of stitches. In hindsight, this is probably not the best yarn for this pattern, as it's hard to see the stitches. However, it was nice to be able to practice Magic Loop and working socks toe-up, so I don't mind that the pattern isn't really visible. The colors are fab. This picture is blurry, but shows the colors much better.

diamante socks color


I have been working like a dog lately, which is why I haven't posted in a little while. I have an issue makeup due on Wednesday, as well as several other revisions to process before then, so things won't be letting up at all until the end of the week. Next weekend is for resting, that's for sure. I went into work for about 3-1/2 hours today and will probably do some more work from home tomorrow morning.

The weird thing about this increase in my workload is that it doesn't really bother me. There was a time when working this sort of overtime really bothered me because I hated my job. But now that I'm doing something that I love, I really don't mind the overtime. Sure, I'm tired, and the insomnia that the stress has caused means that I have to start taking Ambien again. But it's a good stress.

06 March 2007

More spoils for me!

There was a box waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday! My wonderful SP sent me another package. Look what was inside...


Scarf Style is a book that I have wanted ever since I saw pictures of the Lady Eleanor wrap that others had knitted. I have in mind two people I want to make these for, possible as Christmas gifts this year, so I was quite excited to finally have a copy of the book. There are a bunch of other great patterns in it as well. It definitely makes me think of scarves on a different level than the boring one-color snoozers that I've made.

Also in the box was a package of Reese's peanut butter cups. Yummers. One of my favorites, to be sure. And, 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon in a fabulous colorway. It has blues and purples, and orange, and dark red. Blue and orange, being complementary colors, are one of my favorite combinations. Somewhere in my mind is a design for an argyle sweater using these colors. Anyway, I've never seen or felt any Noro in person, so I was so excited to receive these 2 skeins. Yarn Barn is awesome, and carries a shitload of manufacturers, but Noro is not one of them.

The very best part of the package is that thing on the left. Here's another (slightly blurry) picture of it...


My amazingly talented SP made this great bag for me! Yes, she MADE it! I suck at sewing, so I'm always amazed when I see things that people have sewn themselves. The bag is probably 12"x7"x7" (I'm at work so I can't measure exactly), has a zipper closure, and a nifty handle at one end. The construction reminds me of a shaving kit that my dad used to take on trips when I was a kid. The colors are blue and orange, and she even lined it with a matching blue fabric. It is just the perfect size to carry small projects, like socks. I've been using this hideous gingham bag to carry my projects around, which is also the bag I use to carry lunch to work everyday. I am so glad to have something so pretty and functional to carry around now. I feel so spoiled!

As for my downstream SP, I am working on something for her right now. I hope to get a package in the mail next week. I think I will use UPS this time, as the USPS failed me miserably last time.

01 March 2007

Addi Turbos + my sweaty hands = ARGH!

Finally managed to dig out at work. I’ve been working on putting together my first issue of a journal that I just took over as Managing Editor. I have lived and breathed that issue for the last week, and now that’s it’s turned in, I can get caught up on other stuff, work- and nonwork-related.

I am still working away on the Diamante socks. One is finished, and I am almost finished with the heel flap on the other. Looking at the first one, I think I’m going to have to rip out the ribbing in the cuff and rework it on size 0 needles. It’s really loose right now. I tend to slouch my socks anyway when I wear them, so the looseness doesn’t bother me in that respect. It’s just that the ribbing doesn’t look very good. I figure it won’t take too long to frog it and redo the 8 rows on smaller needles. It’ll give me a chance to practice Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off, which is the stretchy bind-off I chose, and which I rather enjoyed the first time. I’ll post pictures of the before and after once I finish the second sock.

In knitting these toe-up socks, a pattern which I am really enjoying, mostly because I am new to the toe-up technique and find it really intriguing, I have had a rather annoying problem. Near the end of the first sock, I noticed that the finish on the Addi Turbo needles I was using was rubbed off in some small spots on each needle. By the time I was finished with the sock, the finish had rubbed off about 1/3 of each needle, including the tips. Knitting the last couple of rows was really tedious because the stitches were not sliding over the needles as they should, but rather were getting stuck on the “bare” spots on the metal. There was no way that I could knit the second sock on these needles. Thankfully, I remembered that I had a set of 32” Addis in size 1 in my needle inventory, so I took them out to start the second sock. Not knowing what was wrong with the other needles, I asked one of the women at Yarn Barn when I went in there to get yarn for my SP. She suggested that my sweat was probably reacting with the nickel plating and rubbing it off. Not wanting to believe this is true because of what it would mean for my future with any Addi Turbo needles, I shrugged my shoulders and went home. Halfway into the second sock, I noticed the finish starting to rub off the alternate set of needles. Dammit! Looks like I’m not ever going to be able to use Addis without this happening. I went digging through my needles and found a set of 29” Inox size 1s. In theory, they should work okay for Magic Loop on future sock projects, but I’m worried that the cord won’t be flexible enough. The finish on them is Teflon, and I know that it won’t rub off because I have several other pairs in larger sizes that I use all the time. We’ll see how it all works out.

The chemistry problem that my hands seem to have with nickel plating was reinforced this morning when I put on my jewelry before going to work. Last year I bought a ring in Estes Park that I thought was sterling. It is a simple thin band with turquoise inlay. I haven’t worn it in a long time, so I decided to wear it today. Looking down at the finish rubbing off of it, I was reminded why I haven’t worn it in so long. I discovered after purchasing it that it was not sterling, but rather, nickel plated. Same problem as with the Addis. Dammit again!