29 March 2008

Psst! Jo!

Jo had some trouble with some merino/silk fingering weight yarn that she dyed.

Jo's yarn before

I offered to untangle it for her. Untangling yarn appeals to my anal retentiveness.

It took about 4 hours to get through it, but I was watching tv so it didn't seem that long. Shane had quite a big laugh at me when he saw what I was doing.

But look how pretty it is!

Jos yarn1 032808

I offered to send it back to her, but she said I could keep it. How cool is that?

Jos yarn2 032808

Thanks Jo! (And thanks again for the chocolate too!)

26 March 2008

Scroll Lace Socks

The Scroll Lace Socks are finished!

SL socks2 032608

I tacked down the picot edge cuff on the second sock last night (took a freakin' hour).

SL socks1 032608

My first time trying on the socks was this evening. I didn't try on the first one when I completed it - not sure why. I think maybe I was worried that they were a bit too big. The fit turned out to be pretty good.

SL socks4 032608

The only slightly loose part is in the area around the ball of my foot.

SL socks toe 032608

I finally found a toe-up heel flap formula that I really like.

SL sock heel 032608

The funny thing is that after doing all this research on Knitty and Ravelry and elsewhere, I stumbled upon this as the first link that popped up when I Googled "toe-up heel flap." Go figure. The math is really simple, which means I don't have to think too hard about it.

I love how the stitch pattern makes the gusset increases look a little rippley.

SL socks gusset 032608

I worked a picot edge cuff on these for the first time.

SL socks cuff 032608

I like the way it looks, but I'm not sure I'll ever use this again. It was a serious pain in the ass to sew down the edge. You knit 8 rounds, do one round of k2tog, yo, and knit 8 more rounds. Then you fold the edge inwards to create the little peaks you see. The stockinette rolls (as stockinette will) and makes the stitches hard to line up. The method I used for sewing didn't really work that well for me. The seam on the first sock looks very different than the one on the second sock, but I didn't do anything different the second time around. Plus, I just hate seaming. But I'm glad I tried it.

Here are some details for ya...

Pattern: Scroll Lace Socks by Bowerbird Knits. Toe-up, Judy's Magic Cast-on, magic loop.
Yarn: Knit Picks Essentials in Burgundy
Needles: started on size 1.5 Knit Picks Harmony 32" circ, eventually switched to Addi size 1 32" circ
Started: 2/28/08
Finished: 3/25/08
Modifications: The original pattern calls for a gauge of 11 sts/inch on size 00 needles, and a cast-on of 80 stitches. Well, there was no way I was going to use needles that small, so I used size 1s, and ended up with a gauge of 9 sts/inch. This gauge required that I reduce the number of instep and leg stitches to 72. In order to get to that count, I altered the stitch pattern like so: I deleted the 8th stitch in rounds 1-9, deleted round 10 completely, and deleted the 10th stitch on rounds 11-18. Essentially, I made the 10 stitch repeat into a 9 stitch repeat.

Also, I worked it toe-up instead of top-down.

So, that's another pair of socks finished for the Sock-A-Month KAL. Rock on!

19 March 2008

A WiP post on Wednesday?!?

Yes, dear reader, I am actually posting my works in progress on a Wednesday. What?!?

After being laid up for 2 days with a bad back (thank you all for the well wishes - I'm feeling MUCH better) I came home from work today with more energy to get some stuff done than I usually have after a day at the office. I cleaned the kitchen, continued the laundry that I had started when the evil pain gremlins attacked my lower back, and took a couple of photos of where I am with a couple of projects. If this energetic streak continues, I may even wind some skeins of sock yarn for a few upcoming projects.

Anyway, here we have the Scroll Lace socks.

Scroll Lace 031908

I finished the first sock the weekend before last. I have about one pattern repeat and the cuff on this, the second sock, and then I'm finished with my March socks (for SAM 5).

The Flower Petal shawl is growing a little bit at a time.

Flower Petal bright 031908
this pic is a little weird, but I discovered that by adjusting the brightness, I could capture the texture of the stitches better - something so hard to do with black yarn... just promise you'll ignore the cat hair

I am on the last section before the border, but since each row is, like, 9 million stitches at this point, I figure I have a few more weeks before this one is finished. And besides, since the black dye makes my fingers a lovely "just finished reading the newspaper" grey, I'm not itching to work on it a lot.

As for Candy... well... I have proven to myself, once again, that I suck at knitting sweaters. I had the yoke nearly finished. Managed to get the sleeves seamed so that trying on the beast would be easier. Then I realized that it really was too small. And the bust darts looked a little funky.

It's off to the frog pond for this. Say a prayer for its little sweater soul.

Not to be defeated, I have decided to start over with this yarn and make a simple, top-down, raglan cardigan. I can handle that, right? Right?!? Guess we'll see.

17 March 2008

Warning: Doing laundry is dangerous work

I bent over to get clothes out of the dryer. That's when I felt something pull in my lower back. I was in immediate excruciating pain. I managed to straighten up, but I stood there unable to move for probably 10 minutes. I eventually made my way out to the living room to whine at Shane that I did something to my back.

This has happened before, but it's probably been 2 years since the last time. The only way I know to treat it is to alternate ice and heat several times a day until the pain subsides. I was quite a mess last night. The pain radiating through my pelvic region finally lightened up this morning and I was able to sleep. I called my boss last night and told her I wouldn't be at work today.

Aside from being in pain and missing a day of work, the big bummer about this little "accident" is that I had to cancel my business trip to Baltimore. My boss and I were supposed to leave tomorrow to go there for a Managing Editor's conference. Now she has to go by herself. I feel pretty bad about it, but there's not much I can do. I even had a yarn shop scouted out that I was going to try to visit before we had to be at the airport to come home Thursday morning.

I am going to try to go to work tomorrow, but I'm not sure how long I will last. Sitting for long periods of time makes my lower back feel compressed and stiff.

Maybe some time this week I will be able to get back to normal and do a post with knitting content.

13 March 2008

I tired

whine, whine, whine...

Is it just me or has the time change hit anyone else as hard as it has hit me? I have a hard enough time getting my ass out of bed on a normal day. Now that I have to get up essentially an hour earlier, while it's still a little dark outside, it's killing me. I had all these wonderful notions of topics I would post on this week, but I'm just too tired. Sorry. Maybe this weekend I'll be a little more adjusted.

whine, whine, whine...

09 March 2008

Kiddie concert

Thursday night was my first experience with a grammar school music program. The 2nd and 3rd graders in BB’s school put on a music program of Disney songs. For various reasons, I have not attended one of these events with Shane before, but BB specifically asked if I would be at this one.

Because BB lives in the next town over, Shane and I left work a little early in order to get to Topeka in enough time to take BB to dinner before the show. I armed myself with yarn and needles and we were off (Shane, with much sarcasm, “Do you want to take the laptop?” [guess I spend too much time on the laptop and this was his way of saying so]. Me, “Uh, no, have yarn, will travel.”).

Several days ago, BB had asked if we could eat at a local pizzeria for dinner because his older sister Button (I’m calling her that ‘cuz she is just cute as a…) had recently gotten a hostessing job there and he wanted to visit her. She greeted us when we walked in the door and showed us to our seats.

Our waitress mistook me for BB’s mom, whom she had talked to on the phone but had not met in person yet. After we ordered and she walked away, BB laughed at her thinking I was his mom. “You’re stepmom, but not mom. But you’re a good mom.” That made me smile. I told him that he was giving me good practice because Dad and I want to have a baby. He was okay with that. He has so many siblings, both step and half, that he doesn’t mind having more.

Boy was he antsy! He talked a mile a minute during dinner, then wouldn’t sit still and wait for Shane and me to finish our meals.

Brady 030608

Then, when we parked the car at the school, we were a few minutes early, so we sat with the car running, listening to the radio. I was knitting, Shane was chilling. BB was bouncing off the walls.

BB: “Why are we just sitting here?”
Us (with much laughter): “Because it’s making you crazy.”
BB: “But why are we sitting here?”
Us: “Because you don’t want to.”
BB two minutes later: “So why are we just sitting here?”
Us: “Because you can’t sit still.”

That back-and-forth continued for a few minutes before we finally allowed him to get out of the car and meet his friends in the music room.

The program itself was funny. Not because the intention was to be funny, but because I had to just laugh at these poor kids made to sing these stupid songs with hand gestures. Geez, why do adults do this to kids? None of them looked like they were having too much fun. They were all pretty nervous.

concert 030608
BB is near the middle of the photo, wearing a gree shirt with black a white stripes across the chest

Well, everyone except BB. What a ham! As the other kids were making hand gestures in time to the music, BB is up there jammin’ out to his own groove. Shane and I were just about crying from laughing so hard at him. He was really enjoying himself. He even got to play the xylophone during one song.

xylophone 030608

Thankfully these performances don't last very long - only about 30 minutes. There were a lot of kids of all ages and babies in the audience, and after 30 minutes of having to sit still, the whole crowd was ready to burst. I guess this is the first of many of these things I'm going to have to attend if Shane and I are going to have kids. Oh joy.

05 March 2008

I broked it

A couple of months ago, I bought one 32" size 1.5 Knit Picks Harmony needle because I needed a few more dollars in my last order to get free shipping. I don't like knitting with wood, but everyone who used them said they were so slick, I thought I'd try them. The scroll lace socks is the first project I've tried with them. I kinda like them. Not better than my Addis, but okay.

I managed to get through the heel on the first scroll lace sock, and then, uh oh...

broken needle2

I stepped on one end. Oops. So I went back to using my trusty Addis.

The scroll lace socks are coming along. I think they're going to be a smidge too big, but I'm not too bothered by that. Maybe they'll shrink a little after washing.

scroll lace 030508

I otherwise like the way it's turning out. The stitch pattern is really easy to memorize. Not liking the yarn so much though. It's Knit Picks Essentials, and though it's pretty soft, it's already fuzzing up a bit. I'm really hoping that pilling isn't too much of a problem. I hate having to shave my socks. Hell, I hate shaving my legs, why would I want to shave my socks too?

The other thing I'm working on regularly is the the Flower Petal Shawl.

flower petal shawl 030508

Sorry for the crapass picture. Photographing black is impossible. The yarn is Knit Picks (is there a theme here?) Andean Silk. I bought the yarn for a scarf but changed my mind. Digging around on Ravelry I discovered this shawl. I think the black will work well because the shawl has very little lace, an attribute that would be lost in black yarn.

Candy is still in the time-out chair. I may try to finish it up by the end of the month. Or maybe not.

04 March 2008

In the wild

I just remembered something from my business trip in Denver...

I wore my Charlotte's Web shawl the day we had meetings and it was a nice splash of color in my otherwise drab outfit. I was worried it would be a little too small, but it turned out to be the perfect size. Not so big that it got in my way, and not so small that it kept falling off.

But that's not what I meant to tell you.

In the middle of the editorial board meeting, I looked to my left, and there was a woman sitting a few seats down from me, KNITTING. I did a double-take, not believing my eyes at first. I didn't want to look like I was staring, so I stole envious looks at her every so often. She was wearing a vest that looked like it was made from Noro. The project she was working on was a blue thing worked in the round. She had an interesting way of holding her needles that I can't really explain. I was quite jealous that she was able to knit during the meeting. I sooooooo wanted to dig out my sock and work a few rounds.

When the meeting ended, I intended to approach her and ask what she was working on, but she slipped out of the room before I had a chance. But I lucked out. I went for a potty break before the next meeting started and when I walked up to the sink to wash my hands, there she was, washing her hands! I walked over to her and told her how envious I was that she was able to knit during the meeting. She said that she had noticed my shawl and wondered if I had knit it. Heehee!! We chatted for a minute before she had to leave to go to a yarn shop with a friend. They had gone to a couple of shops the previous day too. I told her about Posh and bid her good day.

I had the biggest smile on my face after that. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen knitting in the wild. It just doesn't happen that often around here. So cool to run into one of my own kind.

02 March 2008

I lied

I said in my last post that I would tell you about my next sock project tomorrow. Well, tomorrow was Wednesday. It's now Sunday. Oops.

I have a good excuse though! I swear! I left Thursday morning for a business trip in Denver. Just returned yesterday afternoon.

So what is my next sock project? The Scroll Lace socks by Rebekkah of Bowerbird Knits. I've seen a couple of different sock patterns recently that use a similar stitch pattern, but since Rebekkah's was the first one I saw, and immediately knew I had to make a pair, I am using her pattern. I'll have photos on Wednesday. I am already on the gusset of the first sock. They're going really fast. I love this pattern.


So, Denver was really nice. The weather was amazing - 60 degrees and sunny all three days we were there. M and I went there to go to the editorial board meeting and publications meeting for one of our clients. M has been the publisher for a few months and I have been the managing editor since October last year. This was our first time meeting the client. The visit went really well. It was a really good thing that we decided to go to the meetings.

We ended up with a lot more free time than I usually have on business trips. We walked around the 16th Street Mall on Thursday, and a little on Friday afternoon. They have a free shuttle that runs the length of 16th Street, so you can just hop on and off whenever you want.

The best part of the trip was the yarn shop we visited, Posh. We had to take a cab, and I got the address wrong so we ended up going a little out of our way, but we eventually made it there. The shop is very small, but the woman who owns it is really nice. There was another woman working there as well who was really nice, but a little too eager to help. I'm the type of person who likes to shop on my own, and the employee was kinda annoying following me around. I couldn't be mad though; she was just trying to help.

They had a lot of yarns that my LYS doesn't carry: Noro, Elsbeth Lavold, Aurucania, Mountain Colors, Handmaiden. I wasn't sure what to buy until the owner pointed out some locally dyed sock yarn. That decided it - I love to buy local stuff when I'm buying souvenir yarn. I think the dyer's company name is Red Rocks, but I'll have to dig the skein out of my luggage to be sure. I'll post pictures of it later. I also found some Mountain Colors Barefoot and Alpaca Sox that I had to have. Three skeins of sock yarn - not bad.

And M? What a saint for indulging my obsession and going shopping with me, especially since she's not a knitter. She bought some Alpaca Sox for her sister who is a knitter, so I guess it wasn't a total waste of time for her. And besides, there was an Irish Pub across the street where we had a beer before going back to the hotel. Beer makes every adventure much better!