Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sound of One Hand...

Knittingwise, it wasn't an exciting week. After the lace socks, I couldn't decide on which pattern to knit, so I pulled out another pair of Knit Picks Parade and started vanilla socks again. Boring, but I need a sock project all the time for the commute, long phone calls and a round or two between a bite to eat. That kind of knitting requires mindless projects, and vanilla socks are good for that.

Moll is not progressing well. I feel like I'm avoiding it.

On the other hand, Knit Night Friday was exciting.
Naomi finished weaving in ends of her socks --

And the prize activity was to knit with one hand.
It was Erin's idea, but she regrets it.

Huguette won.

Liz also had exciting news. She signed on the house -- a whirlwind closure that only took nine days!! Amazing.

Harry Potter meets Cinderella. How exciting.

I might be the only one that didn't have any exciting news. Sigh.

Been away for too long!


Yes, it's me. I know, I've been away for too long. Thankfully Tamami has kept up with posting about her knitting progress. For the past 5 weeks, I've been trying to keep up with life as my husband is working out of town for the entire week and only home on weekends. Between the baseball practice, games, basketball practice, games, my school, my homework, my kids' homework, cleaning the house, making dinner, and taking care of other people's kids there has been no time for blogging.

We had a wonderful Knit Night on Friday where Tamami made us knit with only one hand! Everyone received a prize, but Huguette was the true winner. Here's is my latest finished project which now is residing in FlourChylde Bakery in downtown Novato:

Huguette also did a pumpkin but hers has a green stem on it. Both turned out quite nice. I want to knit more for next fall. Also, a friend of mine said that she loved it which means that I might have to make her one too!

Other projects on the needles:
The blue feather and fan shawl is about half way done. It has been put aside in order to work on next project.

Triangular shawl that I'm knitting on a whim for my grandmother. I'm not using a pattern, so we'll have to see how it turns out. Hopefully it will work.

A sock - yes, I've started a sock but the sock knitting thing doesn't have a hold on me so my ADD keeps dragging me away from it. I do want to have a pair of socks that I have knit, but the desire isn't enough to force me to pick it up again.

We had a wonderful weekend of helping at the Bakery during safe trick-or-treating downtown on Saturday. It was great to see the variety of costumes. Today we did some projects around the house, some shopping, and a trip to the ER with my oldest son who injured his finger while playing basketball Thursday. We kept thinking that his finger would show signs of improvement, but after no change we decided to get an x-ray. Yep, it's fractured. No more basketball for 3 to 4 weeks.

Thankfully it will heal without problem or medical intervention, and thankfully it wasn't on the hand of a knitter! (Ok, groan if you want to)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Third Sock?

I finished my lace socks.

I wore them last night, and I love the way they feel on my sole. The last four pairs were done in sport weight, and although I love the warmth and how fast they knit up, I almost feel the stitch definitions on my sole when I walk on the hardwood floor. This one, knitted in fingering weight, I don't.

Punky really likes the socks too.

After producing the pair, I still have a chunk of ball left. It's still retaining the ball shape. That's a first...

According to Charlie's new digital gadget, the knitted socks weigh 61 grams, and the leftover ball weighs 32 grams, without the ball band. I've recently discovered, after Charlie's gadget acquisition, that total weight of the yarn listed on the ball band includes the weight of the ball band. So, 93 grams of yarn in knitted and unknitted, a gram of ball band, the rest is scrap yarn?

Doesn't add up.

But, it at least means that I have enough yarn left to do the third sock. I wonder if that's a good idea, in case I lose a sock? Wouldn't it be a tragedy to be left with just one lace sock? Or shall I do a pair for Mitch? Honestly, I'm not looking forward to do socks with size 1 needles right now. My needles are warped after all that K2togs. They need a rest.

Maybe I pair this up with another fingering weight? A solid color should be good, a bright yellow to tone it up. I don't have any solid color fingerin weight in my stash. That means, a trip to a yarn store. Hmmm....

Huguette finished her pumpkin at Knit Night Friday. Erin's done with hers too. Failing grade on me on the pumpkin project. I'll shoot for the Halloween 2007, unless the alpaca yarn turns into something else.... Poof.

We had a great weather over the weekend. The problem is that the weekend was too short.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Good Stash

When Charlie bought my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel for me for my birthday, the seller Carolina Homespun in San Francisco sent me a huge ball of beautiful Corriedale wool as a gift. I span 4 bobbins already, but the ball still weighs 1 pound and 8 ounces. Soft, clean and long fiber -- I'm sure this is too good for my skills right now, but it sure makes learning fun.

I didn't spin for a week after the two hunks of the cheap felting wool. I took out my wheel and the Corriedale, and I was amazed at how easy it felt. Look how nice and even! I am so pleased. Spinning is so wonderful -- once you get started, it's hard to stop.

Anyway, the generosity of Carolina Homespun has made a loyal customer in Novato. I ordered some bobbins, wheel parts, and a pound of.... Alpaca.
This is just about the softest thing I've ever touched.

There's no guard hair. Phew -- I was a bit worried because the price is so good.
And, no, I'm not spinning this yet. I have lots of practice to do before I'd even think about it.

I have more than a pound of Corriedale, 0.5 pound of beautifully dyed wool that I bought at Sebastopol Apple Fair, and a hunk of another dyed wool that came from Carolina Home Spun. I have acquired a nice stash.

I have to start thinking about using the spun yarn...

Here's my progress on Moll. About a skein worth (100g) of Knit Picks Sierra.

I have made an error -- but I am not going to frog this. I won't know if the error would be devastating or not until I construct the sweater. I don't even want to explain what I did (or didn't do) for a while. But, isn't it pretty?

My lace sock is progressing well, thanks to the terrible commute in the morning. I hope the Smart Train measure passes. Can't wait for the day that I get to knit on the train and complain that I only got 4 rounds done!

Naomi says that she really enjoyed the Knit Night, and she finished that sock over the weekend! Now she's on the search for the next project. Liz too has an exciting news, and this one is not related to knitting. Can't wait to hear more about it on the next Knit Night!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beware of Knitters Inside

Halloween is coming.

Our house is full of pumpkins, bats and spiders (organic and inorganic). Some ghosts too.

I cannot believe that I forgot to give out the goodie bags. But otherwise it was a fun Knit Night again. It was a debut night for Naomi, who dug up her UFO (unfinished object) socks from three years ago to join us.

Unfortunately Liz couldn't be with us because of a new development with her venture -- house hunting. Good luck, Liz. Don't get stressed out!

I made an error in yesterday's post. The pattern I started is called Moll, not Molly. It's my very first pattern with cables. The pattern is not easy to read, and I got through the first stumble with the help from Huguette, but I made several errors anyway, which of course I discovered 5 rows later. Huguette and Erin reminded me the "drop a stitch and dig up your crochet hook" fix that Yarn Harlot was describing on her blog. It's a bulky weight, and would be a good one to try the trick on. I'm just very cross that I didn't take the pictures of the before and after! Worked like a charm.

I found a blog by a gentleman who beautifully knitted Moll. He says that this was his first cable project too.

We went pumpkin patching today in Petaluma. Mitch ran into his best friend at the preschool, and they had a great time together, darting all around the patch. Exhausting to try to keep up with a couple of three-year olds.

After leaving the pumpkin patch, we headed to ... Downtown Petaluma for some yarn shopping. I got some nice buttons at Knitterly for my hooded shawl.

I love this store. Today, the place was full of the gorgeous Alchemy yarn. So beautiful, but so $$$. For now I just adore how they feel on my palm, and daydream...

I'm so proud that I didn't buy any yarn today. Just great sets of buttons. I haven't decided which ones to use on my shawl. I'm so lucky that Charlie and Mitch are so yarn-shopping friendly. Thank you, boys.

Tomorrow I'll get serious about the Halloween costume. Worst case we'll just run to Erin's!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Molly, Cow Cat, Yarn Balls and Mitch

I've cast on Molly from Rowan Cork Collection. This is designed by Kim Hargreaves. I don't like doing sleeves, so this may be a good pattern for me. But it's my first real cable pattern.

Cork is a discontinued yarn. I got Knitpicks Sierra for the substitution, but I already know that I've made a mistake -- I didn't get enough! I have a bad habit of just looking at the total weight, not the yardage. Agh. I'll be putting an order together for Knitpicks soon, ladies. Need anything?

The yarn is very soft and cushy -- great to knit. It comes in skein, so I wound it today using my umbrella swift I got this summer on ebay. I don't have a yarn winder, so I just made a non-center pull, traditional ball.

Winding yarn always reminds me of my childhood days, helping my mom wind balls of yarn. Holding the skein on my wrists while my mom made perfectly round balls. We'd switch roles, and wind up a pile of skeins together.

Maybe because of this memory, I love the round yarn balls. They make me feel nostalgic. The center-pull balls the yarn winder makes never look this pretty -- so I never considered buying one, until I read this post on Polly's blog (read "Traditions"). I will try not to knit at a train station or busy roadside, with my non-center-pull-balls.

I think about my mom often lately. Funny thing, somehow Mitch must sense what I'm feeling, and talks about Grandma a lot. This morning, he said something about "Cow Cat." After several questions and answers, we figured out that he was talking about "Moo Cat," the black and white cat his Grandma has. Oh yeah. He does look like a small cow!

The short summer trip to Grandma's house must have left a deep impression on him. The other day he suddenly went to the front door with his hat and shoes in his hands -- I'm going to Grandma's. Wish it was that easy, kid.

Here's the state of my 5th pair. Love this one. I carry this around so I can knit when I'm in line waiting, or being on hold on the phone. I now rarely feel like I'm wasting time.

Knit Night Friday is coming!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bonus Knit Night and Angels

Erin was off to Reno last Friday night, and the rest of the Designated Knitters had a bonus knit night at Erin's. We all felt like teenagers having a party while parents were away! Fun, busy night was had by all, working on projects (Huguette - Jay Walker Socks, Liz -- blanket and hat) and contemplating on the next ones. So many nice things to knit, so little time. And I of course showed off my newly-spun yarn.

The kids did a dress rehersal for Halloween. I actually have a great movie of the umpire running, but it doesn't look like I can post a movie file here. Too bad -- it's hilarious. Oh yeah, Halloween is coming -- I should make something for Mitch... and the time is ticking.

On Sunday, we went to the City to watch Blue Angels. It was a perfect day for the Angels to fly. I think Mitch enjoyed it, but I don't think he quite understands how marvelous their flying skill is. Getting out of the City was a crawl. I knitted happily while Charlie drove and Mitch napped. Knitting makes everything better.

Back to knitting stuff -- I am about to start the toe decrease on the lace sock. I haven't broken any needles. I'm done adding the trims on the shawl. All I need are the buttons and the button holes.

We have a regularly scheduled Knit Night this Friday -- Knit Night every week is wonderful.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Whackeded It'ed"

Very very early this morning, before three o'clock, I walked back into the bedroom in the dark and ran into the corner of the bed with my knee. Hard. I felt my knee buckled. It doesn't look swollen now or even badly bruised, but I'm limping around. According to Mitch's newly discovered English, I've "whackeded it'ed."

I've starteded a new sock. And it's not vanilla.
Don't zoom in on the photo -- or you'll see the numerous errors. The yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit, one of the skeins I got as my birthday present from the Designated Knitters. I really like the way the stripes zig zag in this pattern. I didn't realize that until I went several stripes with this yarn, as the pattern in the book was done in a solid color.

This is a fingering weight, and this is the first time I knitteded socks with this weight. The last four pairs were in sport weight. I do feel the difference in speed... and the effect of the thinner needles. Doing K2tog with size 1 hurts. I hope I won't break any needles before I finish this pair.

Oh my knee hurts. (Today is Charlie's birthday -- Mitch sang the happy birthday song perfectly by himself. Good job baby!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wheel is Turning

The Knit Night Friday was a blast again. The highlight was the Door Prize activity -- Knit a story. Whenever the story being read says "knit," you knit one stitch, "purl," you purl. "Back" and "Frog," you undo the last stitch. At the end of the story you will "read" your story and see if you got it right. Hats off to Erin's creativity (Erin, please post the whole story here) -- it made us laugh so hard! How often you knit while you cry (because you are laughing hysterically)? And great door prize -- orange and green skeins of beautiful wool/alpaca blend yarn, for knitting pumpkins on Thank you Liz! But, felting alpaca? Hmmm... I'm not sure if I'm brave enough.

I am done with the hooded shawl, but I've since decided that I need to put some trimming around the edge. Although the pattern doesn't call for the trims, without them the edges roll. So, a few more hours on it, then it'll be ready for the blog appearance.

Huguette shows off her "a pair of socks in one go" magic. How cool. The socks have some intricate cable patterns too. I'm just very impressed with her meticulous and detailed work. She'd never allow herself to leave the mistakes I'd just choose to ignore.

I have some great pictures of the kids at Knit Night, but since the big boy has objected his photo being on the blog, so I'll keep them on my camera -- I will use them someday to blackmail!

I finished up spinning the cheap felting wool, and I plied them over the weekend. It was short fiber and not carded, so it was nobby/slubby/easy to break. But I love the way it turned out.

I used pinkish and blue wool, and randomly joined them while drafting. While plying them, I confirmed what I suspected the last time I plied -- plying yarn is an ultimate display of "Murphy's Law." While spinning, I unwillingly slip a large slub (okay, a lump) on my yarn. I hope that when I ply, the other yarn that meets the lumpy part is relatively thin so it'll even out. NOPE. The lumpy part is destined to meet up and plied with a lumpy counter part. At the exact place. So the result is double-lumpy. The scary-thin parts are the same way. It will meet up and plied with another two-fiber thin yarn. I am convinced. Murphy's Law in action.

This is not a high-quality wool, so I can't knit anything that comes next to my skin. Maybe a purse? A pillow? I think I have about 100 grams.

Mitch has met R2D2 at Sharper Image. Now he's a big fan of Star Wars. We should've known....

The fall is here -- it's been cool. Better hurry up and knit up some warm stuff! Meaning, we need more Knit Night Fridays!