Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Socks Completed!

Yes, you read that right.. I finished sock number 2! We have an official pair folks! Hard to believe. I have to admit this was the most fun project yet. Okay, so the 2nd sock had it's share of trouble, and in the meantime I lost the 1st sock a few times, once at Stitches West (later found in my new stash pile from my Stitches West loot!)

Nicole has a pair of hand knitted sock and she loves them.

Okay, so now I need some help. I could not do a decent Kitchener's stitch to save my life Both socks had issues. In addition, I have a small hole right at the corner where I picked up stitches. What is the trick to reduce the "hole" size?

All I can say is I am hooked on knitting socks AND finishing a project. So, now my dilemma is this? Do I start a new project with my new yarn? OR... do I finish my shrug scarf I started last February? I am leaning towards finishing so I can be done....

I am so happy with my wee little socks!! Thanks Erin for all your help.. and especially the other night at Stitches when I needed a designated knitter to fix my blunder.. after drinking too many margarittas!!!

Knitters Everywhere

So I made it to Stitches! The storm was approaching the Bay Area, and the weather radar Friday evening didn't look pretty. After that New Year's storm and power outage, the word "storm" gets me nervous every time. Decided to go early, early in the morning on Saturday to beat the rain clouds. Then by 8 am I was sitting at the lobby of Hyatt and knitting.

Left a voicemail on Erin's cell phone, but she didn't call back after an hour. An extended weekend away from kids, Liz and Erin are enjoying sleeping in, of course, probably high on the yarn fume. I called again at 9:00, waking the girls up.
"Come on up, we are in room 715." Okie dokie. After several knocks, the door doesn't open. The TV's on, but no one answer the door. I call on the cell phone.
"Let me in!"
"Oh, okay."
Still, no one comes out.
My cell phone rings, and it's Erin.
"Um. You are not at Hyatt, are you? We are at Hilton."
I laughed all the way to Hilton (just across the street), even harder when I found Liz in the lobby of Hilton in her robe, buying coffee! When you are among knitters, anything is possible, and everything is forgiven. Well, almost.

After admiring their yarn acquisitions and hearing hilarious stories at the Stitches Market, I headed out for some shopping. I had limited time on my hands -- I was still worried about getting stranded in the huge storm.

The first booth I stopped was Wild Fibers. Linda Cortright, the editor and publisher of the magazine, was smiling away at me! I wish photographing was allowed. I chatted with her on how much I love the magazine. Linda commented that she wished more knitters cared about where their fibers came from. I agree -- Being a spinner/knitter, I do wonder what kind of sheep, animals once wore the fibers. Who sheared it, and how it came to me. Linda is so fortunate that she gets to travel around the world to see all that. Don't you just wish? Purchased several back numbers that I don't own. The one I already have, with my favorite story about the traveling shearers from New Zealand, will go to Huguette, who didn't make it out to Stitches.

Right across the aisle, there's Carolina Homespun. I bought some Misty Alpaca cotton/silk blend yarn, 35% off! I think I know what I want to knit with this. Citrus Yoke Pullover from IK Winter issue.

I also got some merino spinning fibers -- $10 for 4 oz. What a steal! It's actually soft yellowish.

Some brown corriedale from Carin Egan.

After admiring Betsy's sweater at the lunch table, I visited Just One More Row's booth. Purchased a pattern and a huge hunk of silk noil.

I love the colors. I have not read through the pattern, but it looks like it's going to take some thinking and calculations. I think I like that over the "just follow it exactly as it's written" kind of patterns, but let's just hope that I am good enough to get through it.

The most expensive purchase was signing myself up on the Golden Gate Fiber Institute Summer Intensive. I'm already very excited.

I hurried home, and by the time I got to Oakland, it was pouring. But it wasn't as windy as they had been predicting-- in fact by the time I got home around 5pm, the rain was tapering off to just a shower. I could have stayed longer at Stitches! But then maybe it was for the better. My huge stash containers are all 120% full. It became awfully windy and rained hard late that night, so it was a calm before the storm.

Although it wasn't so good for my stash situations, it was a wonderful break for my mood -- it's so wonderful to be with friends and laugh away. I might just spend a few nights next year, just to get away and get more smile lines on my face!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Last year I missed out on going to Stitches West. For the whole year I kept hearing how heavenly it was, so this year I am going -- Erin and Liz are taking some time off from work and going on a four-day straight shopping spree. I am just going on Saturday for just one day visit. (One day is dangerous enough.) Huguette is still waffling.

Before I lose my senses in that infamous yarn fume, I thought I should get together the plan of attack -- list the projects I wanted to do, yarn required, yardage, color, etc -- I've been working on it for a few days now, but no progress. I really haven't run into patterns that I fell in love with for several months now -- that's a sad state of my knitting mind. And the last two issues of IK don't help either (yes I am pretty persistent).

I might end up just buying a Prius-full of spinning fiber, and it can only mean less time for me to knit!

Monday, February 18, 2008

This and That

It was a four-day weekend for me -- my son's preschool was closed last Friday, so I had to take a day off. Yes, it's hard to twist my arm for that. We had a mini-vacation over the Presidents' Day Weekend two year in the row and really enjoyed it, but it didn't happen this year as Charlie was sick. We will try that sometime next month.

Instead, Mitch and I took a drive to the Tomales Bay. The weather was just gorgeous, and the road was empty. We picked the good day for it, because just a few days later they held the Tour of California on that route.

I swear. The sunny days in February in Northern California are the best. The hills are green, the sky is blue, the sun is warm and gentle. Something about this little trail made me think of my childhood.

I spun the rest of the Corriedale to knit the Ribwarmer. It was the huge ball (my guess is about two pounds) of white roving that came with my Ashford Traditional. It's all gone now -- I've practiced, admired, dyed and experimented a lot of things with it. It was wonderful to spin.

So, no one I know likes the Spring issue of Interweave Knits! The lack of variety is what gets me. I did appreciate some of the articles, but none of the patterns. As Stefaneener puts it, they are all "look at my belly" designs! I will look forward to a nice surprise in the Summer issue, but that feels like a long time to wait... I should be receiving the new Spin-Off soon, and I hope it's a good one!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spring is in the air

I know I've been away for a while, but I'm glad that Liz has been keeping you amuzed!
Happy Valentine's Day! Spring is definitely near with acacia and cherry blossoming here and there. It means lots of sneezing for Mitch and Charlie. Poor boys.

Mitch has a wide range of hobbies.

While he was having fun with my Joy, I was spinning more corriedale because I was running out of the handspun to knit EZ's Ribwarmer.

This was knit with my earlier handspinning product. I love the way it's coming out -- I wasn't happy with the singles when I was plying them, but when it's knit up it's very soft and lofty.

But the batch I just spun came out terrible! It's too tight in both spinning and plying, and the gauge is all wrong now -- and it's tight and not pretty. I thought my spinning skill was getting better, but I guess I was imagining. Sigh.

Luckily I have just some more corriedale left, so I am going to spin it again -- back to basics. I hope I can repeat the soft hand again.

Here's the January delivery of "Fiber of the Month Club" Charlie gave me for Christmas.


I wonder what this is going to turn into?

Did you get the Spring issue of IK? Did you like it? I didn't. Why do they have to put six cardigans in very similar designs knitted in similar yarn in the colors alike? I didn't much care for the Winter issue, and I'm disappointed that I didn't find anything I wanted to knit two issues in a row. Bummer.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Is it too soon to knit him something....

So, is it too soon to want to knit him something? Saturday night I had an official date for the first time in years... I had an amazing time... and now all I can think about is finding something to knit him... too soon huh?

What is the "dating" protocol? How many dates, does it take before it is "okay" to cast on? without seeming too easy?

Just wondering.. so to pass my time while I contemplate .. I found this great beanie cap pattern on Ravelry...

Ribbed Beanie by Woollyworm Head..

But then again, maybe it is too soon.. ;-) I guess there is no harm picking out just the right yarn from my stash? Or maybe finding that perfect yarn at Stitches West?

What's a girl to do.... ;-)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Excuses for not starting the 2nd sock....

Okay, so after yesterday's issue with sock number 1, I was still somewhat hopeful... , I had not given up the notion of casting on sock number 2, really... then this morning I woke up to.... yarn, everywhere, yarn... from one room to the next, there was yarn, pink yarn - everywhere....
What happened in the night? Who took my lovely little ball of pink yarn and 5 or was it 6 size 6 DPN's?
Was it Alex our Golden pup?? He says, no... not him....

Or Beau, our Lab pup? Beau says he didn't see a thing....

Maybe it was Sophina, she looks gentle and innocent, but it is that just an act?

Then again, my money goes to Robby our kitten...

Yes, Robby has been known to get into mischief... so, now what? Is this my excuse to abandon the thought of sock #2? My dog... my cat... ate my homework excuse?

I was able to recover 5 of the 6 DPN's, enough for a sock... and with Nicole's help, we were able to take the rats nest of yarn and - without cutting it - turn it back into a ball of yarn... so I guess, now I am obligated to cast on...... and begin Sock #2. Wish me luck!!

The Sock Saga... it started with such promise....

Well, the sock had such promise... in the beginning.. sure I had trouble with finding the right number to cast on.. but we figured it out... sure, the heal seemed a little scary at first, but we went forward, and by the heal turn I felt triumphant, and after picking up all those stitches and getting past the decreases, I thought I was past the worst of it, and I was home free... after all what was left? A little knit knit knit... and a few decreases, and something that sounded friendly enough.. the kitchener stitch? Right.... I mean, isn't the heart of the home, the kitchen?

But alas, danger was just ahead. I was on my own at this point, Erin was home and I was left with my instructions, I thought I had followed them to the 'T', after all, when Erin was here, I very proficiently SSK, yet, left to my own, something wasn't right, but, I figured, it would still work out somehow. Then, the dreaded Kitchener Stitch.

Erin said it might be a bit tricky, so go to knittinghelp.com and watch the video. I did, I swear I did.. several times. And in theory everything seemed easy enough, I was confident before I picked up my threaded needle that all would go well, I was prepared... however, upon application of my newly learned skill, everything went wrong... and kept going wrong.. it is tooooo hard to even recant each dropped stitch and run.. all I can say, is ... my perfect little sock, is not so perfect! It was all I could do with my needle and yarn to cover the holes and stopping the runs. It was out of control, I was out of control. I needed a DESIGNATED KNITTER!!!!!!

Yes, I should have put the needles and yarn down and picked up the phone, but I didn't. And now, well, the evidence speaks for itself.

The good news is, Nicole LOVES her new pink sock. She doesn't mind that it ends in a point, or that the stitches on the top are big and wrong. She says the only thing I need to do now, is make the 2nd sock! So, I will.. and I am sure I will learn a great deal along the way. A lesson I learned today was, the great thing about knitting for kids, they only see the beauty in the end product. In her eyes the sock is perfect, warm and cozy and I guess that is all that matters. And over time, I am sure I will get the hang of sock knitting, kitcheners stitch (stupid name! - yes, I am a bit resentful and bitter!! I am sure that will pass... with time...)

As for now, I can do this... I am in hot pursuit of the perfect knitted sock! And I will look back on this not so perfect little pink soft, with love and fond memories. Or at least that is what I am telling myself in order to muster up the courage to cast on and do it again!
Wish me luck!