Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wishing for a FO New Year

I do so wish I could post that OpArt is done and an official FO in 2008, but that's not going to happen. What has happened, though, is it became obvious this afternoon (I got off early) that I will not be able to add another black stripe to the end of it. I am on the stripe with 9 garter stitch ribs, which is supposedly the end of the smaller version of the blanket, and I had to start the last skein of black. Since this stripe took up more than one ball, it's pretty obvious an even larger stripe would too. I must have a considerably different gauge than I thought I did.

The good news is twofold, though: 1) I do have enough to make one more white stripe (two more complete skeins and a wee bit of a third) with ten garter stitch ribs in it; and 2) I will be finished sooner than I thought! Honestly, it is plenty big now, so I don't think it will be a problem to lack those last two stripes, and I'd hesitate to order more black KnitPicks Shine, since blacks of different dye lots really can vary. Probably the white would, too.

A bonus: maybe I'll have enough to make a wee baby surprise out of the leftovers. Of course, now that I typed it, it will no longer be a surprise, huh. I have no idea how much yarn a genuine baby surprise jacket would take, but it would be fun to make one. Then the baby will blend in with the blanket, and Katie won't be able to find her unless she makes noise! And the other idea that just popped into my head is one of those "baby soakers" that there is a pattern for in the new Piecework. Even if they aren't going to be cloth diapering, the soaker is cute. So, Mom of the baby, what do you think? (She is actually too busy to answer, I am sure, so I will ask in person.)

Back to knitting and thinking about New Year's parties. I hope 2009 brings you good things, or at least good knitting to console you in challenging times!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another Hat-- Such Fun

Hat from the side
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I made another hat yesterday. I really wanted to try the Crystal Palace Taos yarn, so I got my book of 1000 Great Knitting Motifs (found at Half Price Books) and chose a stranded pattern, then set off. I miscounted the first time I tried the hat, but yesterday I had the right number of stitches and made it. I used a natural merino yarn that I got in Fredericksburg from the yarn shop there, but I can't remember what it was called--I think it's the store's own wool. I think the lighter parts of the Taos were too light, really, but I like the hat. I knitted it on much too small needles--thought they were size 5 and I used size 3. For a pattern that called for size 8 originally, perhaps I went down too far! But, it fits nicely. I used a 2x2 rib, so all in all, I totally modified Patricia's pattern. I'm going to try to do one more using my Wooly Stripes red/orange and a dark brown or black base. Then I will stop.

Still trucking along on OpArt. Here is a photo of it from Christmas Day, on top of Lee's mom's crocheting from years ago. I thought that was a nice thing to have a photo of. I am not sure how much I will get done today, since my kids are home and we did presents (I did get an advance copy of a knitting book, Knitting for Good, which I'll tell you about once I look at it. No other knitting swag, but then, I bought all I needed last week!!). Also people appear to be coming over for dinner, or to visit, or something, so I'll be cooking and cleaning. Tomorrow,back to work.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yarn Crawl! Belated Report

Yarnorama Haul 1
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Ah, what a way to spend Christmas night, catching up on blogging! Lee and I already took his dad Christmas dinner, ate it, found cattle roving on the road, and fed well behaved cattle. Yes, a cow-theme Christmas. Lee's dad was pleased with his socks, and reported one of his pair from last year is still good, but one bit the dust. Not bad for being machine washed and dried! And I spent all day patiently making OpArt bigger. Wow, those are some long rows. So, that was the knitting content of my day.

Tuesday was way more full of knitting content. So much that I doubt I can do it justice. The quick summary is that Deana and I had an incredibly fun time driving through the scenery east of Austin and visiting very small towns with very big and beautiful yarn shops. What follows is more details.

Yarnorama in Paige

This store's been open for a while now, but due to working like a fiend and being in our LYS most Saturdays, I had never managed to get out there. I sure was anxious to go, after all the good reports from everyone else!

The top picture you see is just part of what I bought there, but it's what thrilled me the most. Louet Gems Sport comes in really, really interesting colors (the four on the left). It is also what I am fondling in the photo at left. They all appear slightly muted and all are like the prettiest possible versions of whatever color they represent. I mean, two of my colors are shades of gray, but they are such nice ones. The "charcoal" has a wonderful greenish tint, while the "pewter" color is a lovely mushroomy color. To go with them I got the lilac and teal to go with those subtle colors in one of those mitten patterns that have been coming out lately. What you see on the right is everyone's favorite, Malabrigo Worsted, in Hummingbird and Tortuga. I sure love those colors. I want it to be another Mr. Greenjeans but with contrast trim.

I also got some really nice, heathered colors of Cascade 220 Superwash. That may sound dull, but I haven't seen new colors of nice, smooth worsted in a long time, and I want to make Lee some house socks, or use them with self-striping yarns in scarves. And lest I forget, I got NEW Jojoland yarn, Consonance, half cashmere and half silk in a lovely deep rose. Get some if you can!

What a nice shop, all in all. The staff were so nice, and it was really weird when one of them (Susan the owner) asked if I was the one who got married. Apparently my reputation preceded me (actually, Dawn preceded me). So, if you ever drive through Paige, Texas, be sure to turn left where it says "Post Office" and look for the nicely renovated old building full of yarn, spinning supplies and weaving stuff. And coffee! This place is exactly what Lee and I dreamed of doing, only Susan escaped where I am currently trapped, and did it. Good for her.

Fibers Gallery in Brenham

This is a new shop that's only been open since October, and is just off the main road in a town slightly bigger than Paige (like it has real stores and gas stations and stuff). It was started by a group of women, mostly over 70 years old, plus one former plant grower who is considerably younger, but had to find an indoor job. This place is totally magnificent. Those ladies really organized this place well. Lovely shelves and hanging display drawers for yarn in skeins. Everything labeled. Organized sensibly. Wow. I have no idea if such a wonderful place will last, hiding in a small town, but if it does, I will be a happy camper. The photo is of some Rowan Colourscape by Kafe Fassett bulky yarn I got, to try to make something two-tones out of (I also got a darker colorway).

So, the yarn was really amazing. I mean it, a wonderful selection of great colors and makers. Even Knitivity! There's Mission Falls, Crystal Palace, oh....a nice blend of quality mainstay yarns plus lots of interesting and different stuff (I was on a mission to find different self-striping yarns, and I found GGH Magica, Crystal Palace Taos and Nashua Wooly Stripes. I have these...ideas...and they need something other than Noro Kureyon to come to fruition.

I hope I have gushed enough to make you go check this place out and keep them in business. Heading to Houston? Make a little detour!

Of course, there are a couple of quirks. The owner doesn't like credit cards, so take checks or cash. And be prepared to wait a while, because the check-out is not computerized. It all gets written down and added by hand. But, you get to chat, so it's pleasant. Just don't be in a hurry to get to an online chat with all your friends around the world--you'll end up an hour and a half late!

But, it was OK, because Deana and I had fun, and she got to get her husband some Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar, not corn syrup, so she was a contented woman, too. Sure is fun to have a partner on these long-distance yarn adventures! Next time, we'll bring along anyone else who wants to come!

Merry Christmas!

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a day of rest and relaxation with friends and family. I am heading off with Lee to the empty part of Texas to spend the day with his dad. We are taking a holiday dinner to him, to avoid the holiday cafeteria experience. And because it is nice, and fun.

I will have much more to report tomorrow--there is a yarn crawl to talk about and a lot of new yarn, plus a pair of socks in two days (which made me feel good until I saw a friend did a fancier pair on ONE day, but of course, it's NOT a competition)! And the kids get back tomorrow night, if the weather allows!

And to the non-celebrators--enjoy a day of very little traffic!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Dirty Little Knitting Secret

See this fine sock that I knitted in one day? It's the first of my annual pair of house socks for Lee's dad, which I will have done in time since I have TWO days left to finish the second sock. They are done like last year's--44 stitches around using worsted weight yarn. I'm using a skein of Cascade 220 superwash that was lying around and a little Mission Falls 1924 wool that was supposed to be for a pair for Lee. I will probably be able to do a pair for him if I do similar but opposite color striping on his pair. The stripes at least made it interesting.

But why are these socks an example of my dirty little secret? It's the toe. I didn't use my usual three-needle bind-off. No. I actually grafted the toe. My dirty little knitting secret is that historically I have totally sucked at grafting. The only successful seam I ever did before was on a bag that I ended up felting, so you couldn't even see it. I always got off at some point and made ugly, twisted stitches. I was so embarrassed. I am supposed to be a good knitter!

Well, this morning on the Knitting Daily blog, Sandi Wiseheart republished a hint from last year that I hadn't had time to follow up on at that point. It told how to do grafting from knitting needles, rather than sewing it. I followed those instructions, and I could do it! I can even REMEMBER how to do it, I think. I find it a lot easier with the darned stitches staying still on the needles. Whew, now I feel like I am not some fraud of a knitting teacher. I can teach someone to finish a sock in the "normal" way now!

The post on the Knitting Daily blog yesterday had five sock patterns in it. Did I mention that yesterday? If I didn't, you might want to check out that free download. I downloaded it. At least four of them were ones I'd make some day.

Tomorrow Deana and I go on an adventure visiting distant yarn shops. I am sure I will have something to report. I am very interested in the shop that takes neither checks nor credit cards.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gloves Say More Triangle!

Gloves Say More Triangle!
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Yes! I finished Beccano's very exciting black acrylic sock-yarn gloves this afternoon with hours to spare before leaving for a holiday party. He made this victory sigh with them. The sign is actually one made at a concert he went to, which encouraged the triangle player to keep going on his "awesome" solo.

So, they are fine gloves and fit quite perfectly. I only had one place that I thought didn't look to great on a finger transition, but he said it was fine. I made the second glove just a smidge bigger than the first--two stitches more is all, but it does fit better. When I make the next pair I will measure my gauge first like a good girl.

So, do you think I get to go back to OpArt and Maelstrom? No, because I really need to make Lee's dear old dad a pair of house socks for Christmas. This means I need to stop blogging NOW and start on them.

But first, do you recognize this yarn? I could not find it under Cherry Tree Hill on Ravelry, and I even looked under Lorna's Laces Shepherd you recognize it by a more independent Indie Dyer? It did not have its label, and I would sorta like to ID it. If YOU donated it to the LYS swap, could ya let me know what it was, if you remember?

PS: Thanks to my fine commenters, and a more focused look on Ravelry, I have declared this to be Yarn Pirate in the color Pretty Pirate. Whew. Now I can stop looking!

Friday, December 19, 2008

LYS Holiday Party and One Glove

Plymouth Sockotta 367
Originally uploaded by sunasak
On Wednesday we had a little holiday party at the LYS. It probably would have been a bigger party had the weather been better--it was really foggy (and continued to be for a couple of days). Still, we had a pretty darned good time, and some quite delicious food--the two shrimp dips were really popular as was the Stilton cheese (at least with me and Deana). The highlight of the event was a sock yarn Yankee Swap. Everyone brought enough sock yarn to make a pair of socks, in a paper bag (though some insisted on bringing NICE bags). We had about 25 bags of yarn. Much hilarity ensued as people kept stealing the coveted "good" yarn (which was one Jitterbug, one green Trekking, and a pink/white/gray unlabeled yarn that was easily recognizable as Cherry Tree Hill).

What was REALLY funny was that it quickly became obvious that most people brought their least favorite ball of sock yarn to trade. The photo depicts my contribution, and is a good representative. There was a lot of Sockotta. There was a lot of yellow/orange/pink Sockotta. And what wasn't Sockotta was yellow/orange/pink or a combination thereof in wool. I'd say over half the yarns were one of these. Hey, at least mine was pink/purple/aqua.

There was one set of Cascade Fixation, which I think the "winner" got happier after I explained you can make really nice socks out of the stuff. And there was an off-white bamboo that I liked. But, heh heh, I drew a high number, so poor Suzanne was doomed to have me snatch the Cherry Tree Hill away from her. Now I just hope I don't already own that color, since I know I liked it when it came out!

It was fun and I hope we do it again. Hey, and it was my idea! I win!

One Glove

Hooray for me, I finished the first glove for Beccano on schedule. He likes it skin-tight, so it looks a bit funny with no hand in it. He has quite a long hand and fingers (good for guitar), and the glove fits him glove. I did a good job on the finger joins and managed to not have any gaping holes due to my clever picking up technique that, alas, I can't describe in any way that would help anyone else. The thing I like least about gloves is that hole gaping between fingers. And I don't like messy gusset increases, but no worries there. I used left-leaning and right-leaning lifted increases and they look spectacular. I wish the darned thing weren't BLACK, so you could see it better.

Tomorrow I miss the yarn shop due to a choir rehearsal (and I sure could use some teaching money, with no "real" work next week). But, I'll get to hang around a bit on whatever days the shop is open next week. Except Tuesday Deana and I are going yarn shop hopping!

Too sleepy to type more, so I'll close and write more later! Keep knitting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Motherly Devotion, That Is Moi...and Kollage Needle Review

I must be the world's most devoted mother. Why? Because even though I vowed to start NO new projects so that I can finish OpArt and then move on to my works in progress and lovely queue, I ended up starting something new last night. Because I am a very good, devoted mother.

You see, my beloved Beccano, shown here wearing his family tartan tie at the wedding, actually asked me to make him something, as we were driving home from his guitar lesson, he with a brand new-to-him instrument in his hands that he bought with mostly his own money.

You may recall that, last time, he asked for a black hat. Prior to that, he wanted a lucha libre mask, in black. What did he ask for this time? Black gloves. And he asked that 5 days before he leaves for Wisconsin to spend the holidays "living like a rich person" (that is what he calls spending time with his step-mother's very nice family). Did he want nice thick mittens? No, gloves in sock yarn. I guess the best thing about this was that I did happen to already own two skeins of workhorse black Bernat Sox sock yarn, given to me by someone a couple of years ago, so I didn't have to go search it out. I tried to get him to accept brown, but, nope. He wanted black. Nothing's funner than knitting black stuff on tiny needles, ya know. Which proves that I am a very devoted mother to agree to do this for him.

I did think of something that would make the project more look-forward-to-able, and that was that I could try out my new square knitting needles on the project, and that I could go up a size, so maybe I wouldn't need as many stitches. Sure enough, I only needed 48 stitches in this yarn and size 1 square needles to go around his wrist. I plugged all his numbers into the wonderful Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, by Ann Budd and got to going on it. By the time I was ready to stop knitting and get some reading done (hands are still a bit sore from the hat-a-thon), I had the cuff and partway up the thumb gusset done. I am guessing I will have at least one glove done by the time he leaves, so maybe he can keep one hand in his pocket, like the time it snowed when I was in college (in Florida), and my roommate and I had only one pair of mittens between us, so we each wore one and kept the other hand in our pockets. At least we got to touch the snowflakes and try to scape together enough snow to throw snowballs, even one-handed! We were 18 years old and it was our first snow (I am laughing right now, because Canadian friends took their kids to central Florida this week and took photos of their first palm tree and first trip to the Atlantic--all things I'd experienced before I coule walk--isn't the earth amazing?).

Kollage Square Needle Review

I’d wanted to do a little review of the Kollage needles as soon as I got a chance to use them, so here are my initial impressions. If you are considering getting some, you may want to read on.

  • The needles feel great in the hand. I love the way they are balanced and enjoy knitting with them. The ends are not too round and not too sharp, and the squareness does not interfere with the actual knitting.
  • The transition between needle and cord is very good. It doesn’t catch on anything, and that’s important to me, since every time one of my KnitPicks cables gets out of whack, it creates a little “catch” in the transition area.
  • The cable is incredibly light and thin, which has good and bad points. It’s really easy to divide for magic loop knitting, for example, but it is really hard to push all the stitches forward to go to the next section in magic loop. The needle pushes through, but the cable doesn’t want to move with it, so it gets all doubled up. And I can’t slide the stitches down the cable like I usually do. There’s nothing to hold on to. And of course, I got pretty long needles, because I find those more flexible, so there is a lot of cable pushing between halves of rows.
  • Still, I have figured out ways to deal with the cable lightness (I wouldn’t say “flimsy” because that has bad connotations—it’s just very thin, light and flexible), so it doesn’t really detract much from the knitting. And the good parts sort of balance this challenge out.

I did have a friend at the yarn shop say she is much happier with the larger needles, which have a thicker cable, so if you have concerns about the cable on the teeny sizes, you might consider ordering size 4 or higher, and see how those work for you. I’ll see if I can come up with a project that would use the larger size I bought, to see how I like those. Or, I might get more in the size of whatever project I get to do next…if I finish OpArt, the orange sweater and the Itchy Shalom, all of whom are patiently waiting for me to return my attention to them. I like how these feel well enough to want more. But then, I always want more needles.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I need to wrap up!

Brr, it's been cold here in central Texas for the past few days, so I am very glad I have a Wrap Me Up wrap to wear today.

Yay, it's finished! Unfortunately, I was so busy insisting on finishing a matching hat last night that I didn't get any nice photos of the finished product. So, instead you get to enjoy photos taken with my phone. The first one shows mostly the hat, and was the best I could do in self-portrait mode. At least it is clear. You can also see that yes, they DO have windows at ALE and one is not all that far from my desk.

Anyhow, the hat is from a pattern my knitting shop friend Patricia, she of the great technical knowledge, designed for a class there. I decided to make it because it uses the same yarns as in Wrap Me Up, and I ended up with enough of each yarn to make something. Plus, it was going to be COLD! It's a fun hat, with striping courtesy of Noro Silk Garden, and a very simple fair isle motif in the center, made by bringing in some Cash Iroha, which I just so happened to have sitting in my bag.

The other photo here was intended to be a better photo of me in the Wrap, but I could not get my colleague to hold the camera/phone still while taking a picture. But, you get the hazy idea of how the wrap um, wraps, and a nice shot of my white board and computer screen, featuring a lovely Suna/Lee wedding photo.

I promise to provide better images ASAP!

But, to sum up this project, it was loads of fun, is very warm, is fun to throw around me artfully, and is the perfect thing to have around in a chilly home or office environment. And luckily I have at least one shirt that goes with it (see my fuchsia turtleneck there? Not much else goes with it!

After frantically making the hat all last night, I will be back on OpArt tonight, after working on a present to mail for a Yule Exchange and a couple of holiday cards for people who don't have email and might want to know I have a new husband and other useful details like that!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blocking Away

Lookee, I finally found some time to start blocking Wrap Me Up. Since I'd already fallen down and twisted my back trying to refill the dogs' water dispenser (hint, don't do that with a sore arm and with high heels on that would slip if you spill water), I figured that any necessary contortions would just add to my issues. And sure enough, I had to do some contorting. So the pictures here show each end of it, but I am sparing you the middles.

As the authors of the pattern hinted, the wrap is a bear to block. Some parts of it really didn't want to be as wide as other parts, especially the really firm section that was my favorite (it's the bottom middle in the top picture, but doesn't show up very well in the little picture). So, I did a lot of tugging and pinning in a very confined space, because the only safe place I could find to do the blocking was beside the guest bed. I can keep the dogs out of there, I hope!
Beccano says it smells like a wet sheep, but I washed it with lavender soap, so I think it smells good. I am hoping it is dry by Saturday so I can work on the border and have it ready to wear next week.

In the meantime, OpArt is moving along briskly. I have it on my longest Knit Picks cable, and I only have two blocks of each color left. Of course, rows are up to around 500 stitches each, so I'll still be working on that one for a while. But. Yay. I see the end in sight, and I see the end of Wrap Me Up, too!

Sigh, next it is more socks for Lee's dad. I know they will make him happy. Then, then I hereby swear or affirm, I will finish my orange alpaca sweater. I think that's all *I* want for Yule: a finished sweater.

And by the way, yes, I can type a blog post after a Margarita from the wonderful Mesa Rosa restaurant, even if some of my Facebook pals have their doubts!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Equipment Malfunctions

OpArt Bigger
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Well, yes, OpArt is progressing nicely. I'm to the part where the rows are long and restful, or they would be if it weren't for equipment malfunctions. I have been through three sets of cables in the past couple of days, because my Knit Picks Options needles and cables are having a variety of issues. One of the size 6 needles came out of the holder, so I got some Super Glue and stuck it back in (I did the same to the size 9 one that had broken on Nancy last month). That is holding fine now. But, after that I have had TWO of the cables come unseated out of their bases. The first one I tried to use Super Glue on, and it glued, but the entire cable didn't get into the base, so it was catching on the stitches. Sigh.

I was really surprised on the way to church today when the next one I tried, which is a pretty long one, also came undone. I am wondering if they have hit some magic age at which the glue goes bad (I am pretty sure these are among the ones I got with my metal set, year before last), or if the OpArt stitches are just too much for them. Or...I don't know what. This second broken cable I just shoved back in, and it is holding up fine, though I am taking care to carefully slide the stitches without pulling on that joint.

I sure hope all of mine don't go bad, because I sure like these needles, especially the wood ones.

Um, anyway, the project is coming along nicely, though as you can see from the picture, the place where the colors change doesn't look real great. No method of joining I have tried has been ideal. Well, I am sure the baby won't mind. However, the baby's MOTHER is a very detail-oriented knitter, so I hope she can handle it.

I also have the plan to neaten all the ends on the inside and use a bit of Fray Check stuff to stick them down. They will look neater and I hope they won't intrigue the baby once she gets older. So she won't pick at them. I would have done that, myself, guaranteed.

The yarn shop was nice yesterday--lots of dads bringing in kids to buy Mom a gift. I did convince one guy that one skein of 92 yards wasn't enough to make anything, so he got three. I know his wife will appreciate it. There was some nice visiting and relaxing chatting. At this point, I am really enjoying my relaxation. It feels GOOD to not have anything pressing!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Can Make One of These!

Here's the OpArt project I am working on, a couple of days ago. I am enjoying it, because yes sirree it's a mindless project. It looks all cool and optical illusion-y, but it's just a square with the increases always in the same spot, which makes the increase gradually move off to the right. And it's garter stitch, so one row knit, one row purl.

The yarn is nice and soft, for inexpensive washable wool (KnitPicks Shine). It will be an excellent baby warmer, and not take too long, I am hoping!

Anyway, if you have a baby to knit for, consider this little fun project. You can do it! Even YOU, new-ish knitter. And it is a nice break for YOU, experienced knitter. You can make it in any color combo you'd want, and I guess you could do it in Vanna's Choice or something (I mention that because I had a weird dream that I had to buy a whole bunch of it for some project and could not find the right colors, so I was stuck in some el big box hobby store wandering the aisles looking for another color).

I think I will go knit now. Yay, I can knit!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back to Knitting Soon

Here I am with some knitting friends and church friends, just before the wedding. Lots more photos are on my Flickr album or Facebook (I am Suna Kendall there).

It was a great wedding and a wonderful time with friends. I sure am grateful to have so many knitting and other friends to share my happiness with.

I have a longer post on my personal blog, so contact me if you'd like access to it (send me your email address in a comment, and I will delete it without posting). I just don't want all my personal stuff on my public blog, ya see.

I still need to block Wrap Me Up before I can finish it. I hope to do that tonight, though I have to finish my thank-you notes. Yes, I am being a Good Bride. And no, I did not change my name.

Last night I got going on OpArt, from Knitty. It is way easier than I thought it would be. If I had known what mindless knitting it was going to turn out to be, I could have worked on it last week when I was all stressed! I am sure this one will get done before its recipient gets born! I have three months. Gosh, hope I didn't jinx it.

I was proud of my wedding shawl. It lived up to its billing and people loved it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Actual pre-nuptial progress

With all the guests, decoration making, flower arranging and such, I still did manage to get the Wrap Me Up wrap done other than the "piping" at the end. I have to do that and then block it before doing the final edging. Knitting sure helps. I am taking my socks around today, in case I get to relax while getting my hair done or in any preparation breaks.

Thanks for the wedding good wishes. I'll be back to more in-depth knitting posting next week! And of course I will post photos of the wedding shawl serving its wedding duties, at last!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pre-Wedding Means Little Knitting

Yvonne asked when the big day is, and it's next Saturday. November 29! Most of the weekend was spent doing pre-wedding stuff, like getting my dress, getting my hair done and such. Lee drove me to New Braunfels, where the dress store is, so I could knit. Only I discovered that, darn it. I needed more beads on the section of Wrap Me Up where I was diligently plodding away. He kindly took me to the Hobby Lobby there (which is really a lot cleaner, nicer, and well stocked than the one near me). I didn't find the same beads, but I found some round ones that were blue with dark pink swirlies on them. They look fine. And I got to knit a bit on the way home. Still, all my dithering about wedding plans means I am having a hard time reading and following instructions, so I am doing a lot of tinking. Good practice, I guess.

So, there isn't much to report other than a bit more on some socks and some interesting segments on Wrap Me Up.

However, yay for me, I ordered stuff. First is some yarn from Knitivity, and it arrived this weekend. That's it in the photo. The left and right ones are "mistakes" so they were discounted. I particularly LOVE the green and black one. Ray did, too, but I took it. The middle one is his surprise yarn of the month from October. Not all that autumnal, but I like green!

The most exciting thing I got, though, are three sizes of those new Kollage square needles. Someone had some at Chicks with Sticks last week and I could not believe how wonderful they felt. I just had to have some, to experience that marvelous cable in my own knitting. Darn the luck, I can't switch to them in the middle of my socks, so I will have to wait. But wowee, they feel wonderful.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wrap Me Up and pre-Nuptial Highlights

Wrap Me Up in Progress
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I finally got some photos of the Wrap Me Up wrap that I can share. Wow, this is one hard-to-photography item. It is so long, and parts of it curl up where stitches are hanging out, waiting to be attached. You just can't get a good view of the whole thing!

The first image here is of the last part I worked on. If you look at it up close you can see that the top part is a really nice twisted stitch pattern that would sure look good on a scarf or vest. Under it is a part with half linen stitch in the middle. And on the side are my nemesis, the bobble. I avoid them usually, because I hate how ratty they get after a while, but it was fun knitting them with the Cash Irhoa. I am now on a section that consists of a lot of triangles, which would make a really nice scarf (and probably IS some scarf pattern). It will get attached using three needle bind off. That technique is used in a couple of places in this pattern, with the bound-off edge on the right side, as a decorative element. I think it's a great idea.

If I finish decluttering my family room tonight, I may get to start attaching that part this evening. But, right now wedding prep takes precedence. I mean, I have to get moving! I have a wedding license now! (And our county apparently wins awards for its decorative licenses--I knew there was something noteworthy about this county other than having a round rock in it.)

The other photo shows the whole wrap laid out on my couch. It doesn't really tell much, does it?

And in knitting shop news, they gave me a little mini-wedding shower, or more like a "bachelorette party." They'd gotten me a really nice cake, of which I am sharing a photo, with red roses and a happy bride and groom on top (Pat had considered painting the bride dress red, but well, you know, ran out of time). I would have loved to try the cake but was so full from an incredibly delicious pre-Thanksgiving potluck at work that I couldn't cram any in. I will have some tonight! We had happy plates and napkins to go with the cake, and they put a red feather boa on me, so I felt quite festive.

I got some nice gifts--nice smelling bath things, some organic treats (plus a cute felt sewing bag), and the ever-so-appreciated Home Depot card (in a cute case!). Then there were the funny gifts. Pat had knitted me a fuzzy pink thong. Darn the luck, I think the hip measurement is TOO SMALL, so I will not be wearing it. There may be some photographs of it surfacing later--my phone ran out of space so I don't have one now. And then Pilar and Michelle brought in a most hilarious honeymoon kit with cute stamped message in two languages (makes me feel so bilingual). It contained water to hydrate us (I am sure we will need that), BOTH whipped cream and Magic Shell chocolate (gee, what is that for?) and a 6-pack of scented "massage oils" from our friends at K-Y. I did not open them all and smell them. Well, much hilarity ensued with THAT. It sure was nice to laugh and have some fun--see, I really AM enjoying my pre-wedding time like I said I would! Lee and the kids also got a kick out of the gifts.

I'll have to hide some of it from Tuba Boy, though, since he is dating now and informed me yesterday that it is entirely possible to be TOO sexy. I am so happy to have raised a boy with a healthy ego!

Now I just have to try to not break any more nails before the Big Day. I will knit carefully.

PS: at Chicks with Sticks yesterday, I saw some square needles. They felt really good, and the cable was silky smooth. Now I want some. I guess I better check it out on the Internets.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comfort Socks Done and Gone!

Comfort Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Yay for me, I did indeed finish the Comfort Socks on Tuesday night, got lots of photos taken, and then gave them to Suzanne so she can send them off to the recipient. it was nice to hear people compliment the finished product. Katy points out that my items look a lot better in person than on the blog. I think most of them look better full sized, too--you are always welcome to click on them to see details.

And for your convenience, I will put in a couple more photos of the socks that are more close up. Lee is the foot model, and he has larger feet than the recipient, so the heel looks wrong. But, in the end, these are very nice, serviceable socks. Shepherd Sock is strong, smooth yarn, but nothing to get all excited about. Luckily the colors can be quite exciting (these are subtly nice).

But since I was so good and knit these subtle socks, it was a real treat to start the cashmere blend stuff from Creatively Dyed. I did an entire ribbing section, but think 72 stitches is too wide. I think I will start the sock again at 64. The author of the Spring Cable socks said it could be easily adjusted, and sure enough, there's just a cable on the side, with the rest stockinet I can handle that. I don't want much to detract from the subtle flow of the colors in the Winds of Change colorway I chose (shown in last post, which, for some reason, got posted on the wrong day, but I have fixed it). MMM. it is pretty.

I got to do a bit on Wrap Me Up yesterday, and that was oh-so-excellent. Unfortunately, I saw that I had done a section in the main color that should have been the contrasting color. Then I looked and, lo and behold, that section was mostly the navy blue part of the main yarn. So, it contrasted anyway. I did not rip that. I did rip a few rows when I realized I had mis-read the pattern in the windowpane check block. So, I am still not out of my "knitting mistake" period. It's OK. I like knitting on that pattern.

I will have to sit down and do some Maelstrom, though. I am hopeful that a few repeats, at least, will get done over the weekend. With the wedding coming up, I have to do a lot of house straightening, so there may be less knitting in the next few weeks. I hope you can understand! I am SURE you can understand!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

4 Things Meme, New Socks

First: I finished one of the Mineshaft Comfort Socks last night! I had to separate the socks when I got to the toe, because I needed to readjust the stitches. I am so relieved that the end is in sight. I will be able to hand them over to Suzanne on Sunday, so they can be sent to her father-in-law!

It took a LOT of effort to decide what yarn to use next, but I didn't break out the random number generator this time. I wanted something cheerful with blue in it, but was not wanting to rush out and make socks from any of the new yarns. I then spotted a beautifully mottled cashmere blend skein from Creatively Dyed, as pictured. I want something soft and fun, and not stripey, so that will do. I think I'll use the slip-stitch pattern I was trying to emulate the first time I started the Mineshaft socks, only I will look at the instructions this time.

Speaking of the new yarn, I got a nice note on Ravelry from the dyer of the Accidental Knitter yarn. She'd read my review and commented that I seemed like the right person for the extra colorful yarn. What good sales strategy to write a personal thank-you note when she couldn't be at the show herself!

Meme, as Promised

I was tagged for this meme a week or two ago and hadn't had time to get to it yet. Since I am such a bad responder and an even worse tagger, I'm not tagging anyone in particular--if you feel like doing this, though, that would be cool--let me know so I can read yours! There is at least a wee bit of knitting content in this.

4 Things I Did Today:
-Uploaded a new biography to Eddie Collins' website.
-Ate some delicious oatmeal from the cafeteria.
-Gazed at the piddly amount of rain falling from the sky and wished it were more.
-Put a poppy as my Facebook icon to honor veterans.

4 Things on My To-Do List:
-Get nametags for the wedding
-Reschedule my hair appointment so that it does not conflict with a wedding dress fitting.
-Finish my Maelstrom and Wrap Me Up projects.
-Put my dining room furniture back together.

4 of My Guiltiest Pleasures:
-Bejeweled. It's the only computer game I like. It is on the computers, the phone and the Palm Pilot.
-Lattes and mistos. I just love coffee and steamed milk.
-Expensive sock yarn (duh).
-I love fast and beautifully made cars, even though I guess I will never again have one thanks to the economy and my guilt about wasting energy. Also I love trains. I got all excited at a train photo one of Beccano's friends took, just yesterday (this kid is an amazing train expert).

4 Random Facts About Me:
-I used to be an "award winning" Web designer. Before it became a programming job. I like writing a lot more.
-My favorite foods are butternut squash and salmon sashimi.
-I dated three guys named "Bill" in a row in my twenties.
-I am a very tactile learner, and I mainly knit because I like to touch the yarn. Also, keeping my hands busy calms me. I know, I am not the only one with that feature!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Let the Drooling Begin!

...Or, Suna Goes to a Fiber Festival

After a little frustration at my wedding dress fitting (I got lost) and our lunch (kid at DQ in New Braunfels was not all there), Deana and I ended up having a darn good time once we got to Kid 'n Ewe in Boerne (the drive over was really pretty, too). We didn't see as many people we know as I did last year, but we saw plenty. Mostly I was intently focused on getting exactly the yarns I intended to get.

The only real disappointment was that the JoJoLand lady wasn't there. I didn't get any of that yarn, figuring I can get it if I ever head out to Yarnorama in Paige (or however you spell that town).

We found all sorts of stuff, ranging from normal mass produced yarn from a new store in Comfort to yarn from a specific alpaca. I took lots of pictures, so I will share all the stuff I got.

Here we have some yarn I got from the booth of a new LYS in Comfort. I figure I really should support any new local place to get yarn, and this stuff is some sock yarn I have never seen before. It's Pagewood Farms Yukon, which is a bamboo blend sock yarn dyed with lots of colors, though primarily purple. It is incredibly soft and bamboo-y. I think it will knit up nice and mottled, and until I knit it, will be a lovely decor item. I also got a tiny light that will enable me to knit in the dark in the car or band bus, I hope. I really needed that light last night!

Next we have another sock yarn I got from a booth with a very nice mom and daughter staffing it. I also got one of those neckaces that look like a chambered nautilus but are really needle gauges there, in black. This yarn is pretty intense, and is from the Accidental Knitter, who wins the prize for brightest clown-like colorway, best color name ("How Cool Is That!") and funniest yarn label (it goes into great detail about the fact that there are cats in the home where the yarn is dyed). I know this is a garish colorway, but it will make darned fun socks.

Now we have our final sock yarn, or at least sock-weight yarn, since this is almost too lovely to make a sock out of. It's Brooks Farm Acero, that wonderful stuff that is wool, silk and viscose. The shades or red with a little golden color remind me of my wedding dress and are my favorite colors to wear. Who knows if this will be socks or a scarf--the yarn is just luscious. Very soft, silky and with a great sheen. I also really love the way they spin their yarns. Each one is very different from the standard stuff. This one is a very loosely spun two-ply.

Now, what I really wanted was some DK weight yarn to make a shrug and some cardigans out of. I found that stuff I didn't get any of last year, from Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co. I am glad they returned. I love their sport/DK weight yarn, both the colors and how it is spun. This stuff is single-ply and has some thick and thin texture to it. I ended up getting two colorways. One is called "dip dyed" and is shades of gray and brown. They call it "black/brown." The colors look to me like they will go with pretty much everything I own, and remind me of the Mineshaft color I am making my current socks from (no, no knitting on them so far today--I drove for 5 hours).

The other Plain & Fancy colorway I got is one of their many lovely variegated ones. It's called Autumn Leaves. I think what they do is dye the yarn a base color, then splash other colors on it. I think it will knit up without striping, and I hope it will really liven up a more plain item. I got three skeins of both of these yarns, which should be plenty for a reasonable shrug, shawl, or light cardigan. No way am I going to be irritated at not getting enough of anything this time! Another great thing about this stuff is that it is from Texas. I like buying local!

The other yarn I got a lot of is really special. It is Brooks Farm Duet, one of the loveliest yarns in the land. And Brooks Farm is in Texas, too, which I forgot to mention earlier. This is 50/50 mohair and wool, where the mohair strand wraps in a very interesting way around the wool strand. I got this blue and purple color, thinking it will go well with jeans. And I got a LOT of this yarn: three skeins, which comes to at least 1500 yards. I really want a warm cardigan with some length to it. I have seen a number of nice ones in magazines and books lately, and I think this special yarn would really shine in a simple design.

Now, of course I had to get me a yarn from a specific alpaca, like I did last year. This was, after all, a festival of the alpaca and mohair! I found the owner of last year's alpaca, Miss Maisie, and found out that she is fine, but getting up there in years. She had her fiber spun into some pink and purple yarn this year. But, I ended up getting yarn from another ranch, Hill Country Alpacas. Deana and I talked to the owner a bit, and she showed us this precious new baby that had just been born this week. A real cutie that is medium brown with amazing white legs. I chose some yarn made from the mother of this newborn, whose name is Escondido Shadow. It is a lovely natural shade, and spun into worsted weight yarn. I got two skeins, which should be enough for a really nice scarf or some very warm mittens, which I need for football watching. I'll remember talking to the owner and seeing the pictures whenever I see the yarn label and when I get to knit with this stuff. I really like getting yarn with a connection to its donor! What fun.

One more item I got was a skein of Brooks Farm Primero in the same periwinkle blue shades I got last year (so I am skipping a photo). My goddess, this yarn feels practically sinful to touch. It is soft and has a lovely heft, and practically glows. This purplish-blue color is also really, really full of depth. Now I will be able to actually make something out of it. The dye lots are slightly different, but I know I can just alternate rows with each skein and it will be beautiful. It really is some of the loveliest mohair yarn I have ever touched. I can now make the CeCe shrug from it. If I ever get to it...

Deana also got some fun sock yarn, including a really nice Brooks Farm Acero colorway. I am glad she went with me--we had lots and lots of yarn-touching fun, and I enjoyed talking to her while I drove and drove through the fall landscape. It's really dry here, so the trees are browner than usual, too.

Well, we are off to a concert, and I will try out my little knitting light on the way. I hope you enjoyed my photos of stash! If you drool, don't mess up your keyboard.

Before I go...

Hey, before I leave for my day o' fun (send vibes that my stiff neck unstiffens), I wanted to share this funny knitting cartoon that my friend Jennifer as well as the ever-vigilant Tuba Boy both shared with me. Maybe I could get a PhD in theoretical knitting!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anticipating Owning More Yarn

Tomorrow is Kid 'n Ewe! I hope to get some lovely new yarn there, unless all the Chicks with Sticks who went up today have bought it all already (oh sure, yeah). And this time, enough of any one thing to actually make something. I even made sure to know what I need for one project I'd like to do. Another thing I would like to make is a heavy cardigan. I guess I will look for one today and get the yardage/type down before I go to the festival.

Deana's going with me, and she will also patiently support me as I do my first wedding dress fitting. I hope I haven't gained a lot of weight! I don't think I have--all my pants fit the same.

I am still plugging along on the foot of the Comfort socks, though spending all last night working on our wedding ceremony meant very little knitting time. Of course, people would probably rather see a nice ceremony than have me stand there and mutely wave a sock around. It will definitely be a lovely event. We even have "what happens if it rains" covered--the officiant has an indoor labyrinth! I do have to get those socks done by next week, and I am a bit concerned, because I will spend most of tomorrow driving or looking at yarn, so that knocks out a big day.

The next few weeks I have to help Tuba Boy get his college applications in, do little wedding tidbit shopping, and clean the house a lot. Don't expect a lot of finished object posts from me!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Try, Try Again

Mine Shaft Comfort Socks #2
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here we go, the second pair of socks from the Lorna's Laces Mine Shaft yarn. I am ready to start the heel, which I have to look up instructions for, because there is an interesting one in More Sensational Knitted Socks that Charlene Schurch used with this Sailor Rib pattern. I think the sailor rib is very nice. I slightly modified her pattern by twisting the stitch on every row rather than every other row in the part that looks like a rope. Check it out up close to see the pattern.

I assure you it is very stretchy and WILL go on a normal human foot. So, I guess I am feeling a tad better about my prospects of actually finishing this and getting to work on other things some day.

It was a busy day at the yarn shop yesterday, with four students, each doing different things or at different paces. I think I did OK with it. In any case, it was fun meeting all the new people, two of whom turned out to have been neighbors in middle school. What is amazing is that one woman recognized the other's voice. That is just cool.

Nancy was on the center of her Silky Kerchief shawl, and I decided to have her do a different short-row technique to turn the corner than I did on mine (partly because I thought the other technique might work better and partly because I can't remember what I did on mine--that is what happens when you wing it). The shawl looks small, but as I recall, mine did, too until I blocked it, so we are all hoping blocking will make it big enough to wear. Mine is still a wee bit small, but I used it Saturday morning and it did keep chill off! It sure is fun seeing someone try to duplicate your work!

Nancy also let me have her copy of a book I will have to make some stuff out of--it's all home decor items. YarnPlay at Home, by Lisa Shobhana Mason, who is apparently local. She's quite talented at using simple techniques to create lovely items. There are a couple of rugs I like a LOT.

The other thing we did at the shop was look at sock patterns. I brought my entire notebook and everyone enjoyed looking at them. I am glad I could share them--seems like lots of people got new ideas from my endless supply of patterns, which is what I tend to do, as well--even if I don't knit a particular thing, it can give me an idea. Pat was so inspired that she disappeared into her office and emerged having printed us out MORE sock patterns. This cracked me up--just what I needed! However, one was a nice pattern with lace going down the heel, which I might make soon, so her efforts were all worth it!

Next weekend is Kid 'n Ewe, so I am glad I had lots of students. I do hope to get some yummy yarn!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Types of Relief

Photos WILL come I promise. But in the meantime:

1. Whatever Flickr was doing to its servers has stopped, which means I can see images on my own and others' blogs, and I can look at new projects on Ravelry. I am so incredibly relieved. I totally forgive my workplace, which did NOT block Flickr after all. I am sorry, ALE. You are not so bad after all.

2. My second try on Mine Shaft socks is working FINE. I am using Sailor Rib from More Sensational Knitted Socks, and it is entertaining and stretchy and OK. at 70 stitches in diameter, it WILL fit on any thin elderly man's leg, too. I started the pattern in choir last night while what seemed like hours were spend on the tenors and basses. Besides, it seems to have made so many other knitters not-so-secretly pleased that something didn't work out for me, I guess it was worth it.

Folks, I mess up lots. It is the best way to learn. I heartily recommend it, though it's easier if you have someone who can help you out nearby! I tend to have to figure stuff out for myself--it's one reason I started the blog, so I could get help when needed. Thanks, readers!

Speaking of making mistakes, I am helping Nancy learn to figure out her own mistakes and yesterday it worked great. I showed her how to figure out what row in the Silky Kerchief border pattern she was on and I saw her doing it herself by the time she left. She will be a very independent knitter very soon at this rate--I am giving away all my secrets (I hope--they are free!). I sure like helping others out, and even more it warms my heart to see other knitters helping each other. I see wisdom being passed on from person to person, and that's neat. Oral tradition in action.

If I get time, I will need to write a review of the new Yarn Harlot book, since we have a "review copy." I guess I will stop with the coffee table books and home magazines for my bedtime reading and get moving on that. And work on those socks!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cute Wedding Gift Idea and Book Reviews

I saw this on Lime and Violet's Daily chum, so go there to read more about it. I wish I were invited to a wedding in the near future so I could do this for someone else. It's the idea of the prayer shawl: you start the bag the morning of the wedding, and work on it through the day, presenting it to the bride at the reception. So, you have been thinking of her all day and putting good thoughts inside the bag. Nice!

Well, like I said last night, in my despair over the useless socks (I will start the new ones today), I got new books. I took time of from knitting to look at two of them. I now present you with reviews of books without the actual book in hand, so I can't give page numbers or precise pattern names! Won't that be helpful? Sure!

101 Luxury One-Skein Wonders, by Judith Durant

I enjoyed the first books on this theme that I got, a lot. Pat at the LYS got this one on Friday and showed it to me Saturday. What makes me happy is that many luxury yarns come in very large skeins, which means this book has some very nice projects that are bigger than a hat or coaster. There is a horseshoe lace scarf/wrap in a soy yarn that would be nice to make in a variegated yarn, plus a lovely violet-themed shaw in a silk blend that I like enough to put on my sort list of things to do. The little lace motif that is violet-like is just precious. Another project I liked very much was a crocheted cashmere baby cap. Yes, don't all babies need cashmere? That's why they cry: not enough cashmere on their heads. I may make this out of alpaca or something not so hairy, but I do want to make it for that baby I plan to dote on come March. It is so feminine! And has holes, so might not smother a Texas baby.

All in all, this one's worth getting, if just for the shawl and scarf patterns. There's a wide variety ranging from each to hard, too. And of course, lots of mitts, hats, neck warmers and such. And I still like the graphic design of these books. Very feminine, yet readable. It's a nice change from most pattern books. I especially appreciate that they tell you on the picture page where to find the pattern, and on the pattern page where to find the picture. For folks who just want to see what's in there, grouping the photos together is really helpful.

Knitting on Top of the World, by Nicky Epstein

Well, I have to give Ms. E. credit, she's creative, all right. And this book has beautiful pictures and some very interesting commentary on knitting traditions around the world. I enjoyed reading those parts, though I realized I had read most of the original sources, so there wasn't much new to me (I have been knitting too long I guess).

But, GEEZ. Some of the patterns are totally weird. They take perfectly good traditions and mess them up. For example, there's a coat with Fair Isle patterning in it but she put the stripes right across one's hips, making the ultra-thin model look chunky.And there is a perfectly fine brown Aran-style cardigan with a funky uneven hemline (see, I am OK with some twisting of traditions) she also put dozens of knitted roses all over the collar, which completely detracts from the cables, and makes the thing look...well...too busy, I guess I'd say. There is a pretty coat (see photo--that's the book cover) using genuine Shetland stitches. Only, its back is slit all the way up to the neck. Lee says it looks like a very fancy hospital gown. And would it be at all warm? Well, NO. Same with the shrug with no back. Shrugs are supposed to keep your back and shoulders warm.

I will just mention one more. Now, Ms. E., she is good with tams. Wrote a whole book on them, even. So, she didn't feel like doing a tam for the book. No, instead she made something like a cape from multiple extra-large tam shapes. That makes the front of the thing look like two giant mutated breastplates. Really not a look I'd want to sport in public. I'd have liked a tam.

The other thing that bugged me was that, like so many knitting books, the photographer was trying to be artsy, so you don't get full views of many of the items. And the main model has such distracting looks that she, indeed, distracted me. That poor woman's hair is a pitiful mess. I kept looking at it wondering if it was about to crack and fall off. I see now that it's a Vogue Knitting publication. That makes sense. They have to be artsy 'cause they are Vogue.

I do like the book, and there are a few things in there that I might even make, though all with modifications (like removing embellishments like ugly lame crowns or lumpy collections of colored bobble doo-dads on nice mittens and fingerless mitts). So, you might want to try a discount place to get it, but since it is a great coffee-table size, it might be a fine conversation starter at your home or knitting gathering. I know we had LOTS of fun with that cape that looked like a giant bra.

Added later: I just HAVE to mention one more point. The book features three cute little baby/toddler sweaters in Aran, Fair Isle and some other style. They are perfectly fine and darling little things, though a bunch of extra flowers would guarantee that the Fair Isle one would bug a kid who spends a lot of time lying down. BUT, was it necessary to pose the Fair Isle one as a tea cozy with a too-long spout cover? Or the Aran as a really weird hat (advantage: it covers up the model's fried hair)? I forget what they did with the third one. Well, someone with the title "stylist" obviously had a darned good time with this book.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crappy Dappy Doo

My socks won't go on my feet. That means they certainly will not go on the feet of an elderly gentleman. My cute pattern makes the knitting not give very much.

Back to the starting line. I sure have been having some knitting issues, haven't I?

The yarn will now be socks in a fisherman's rib pattern that I found in More Sensational Socks. Oh well, I did something creative, even if it didn't work out.

I got a couple of new books, so I think I will go read them. They are:

  • Knitting on Top of the World, by Nicky Epstein, a coffee table book but very lovely
  • Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders, by Judith Durant, another in that series I like so much, featuring many lace scarves made from yarns with a lot of yardage per skein
  • Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, by no one and originally in Italian, on deep discount at Barnes & Noble, but hey I got almost 300 pages of patterns for less than $6.
But I don't know. Do I trust myself to knit anything at this point? YOW I keep messing up.

Comfort Socks on the Way

Comfort Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Since it is the weekend, I can see Flickr and post images. Or get to my ones on disk to upload them. Here are the Comfort Socks I am knitting for Suzanne's father-in-law. I got tired of the ribbing I had started out with, so am using a textured pattern that sort of looks like one I used before but isn't quite it. It looks pretty good, so I think I'll write it up when I am done. I am getting close to the heels on these, so that means it won't be too long until I can do that. These are pretty socks, and I love the Mine Shaft colorway on Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock.

I got an offer to teach some additional knitting classes, which I'd like, other than it being sort of far away. I'd like to do an intro class that lasts more than two hours (the ones I do always end up longer than that anyway), and using my own patterns. I wish I had a bunch of places to teach knitting and could ditch the other job--ha ha, wishful thinking there!

I got my friend Nancy going on the border to her shawl that looks just like my Silky Kerchief. She is rolling along on the edging now, but doing an applied edging is not an easy concept to grasp. I could see her thought process (HUH? What am I doing?) and remembered having the same disbelief and having trouble wrapping my mind around how it would work. That was in 1989 when I was making my first Pi shawl! That edging ended up fine, but I sure started it a lot of times. I wish I'd had a live knitting teacher and not just EZ in a book (as good as she is!).

I am looking forward to Kid 'N Ewe in two weeks. I will be sure to write down how much yarn certain projects I want to do will take, so I don't waste purchases.

Well, off to look at all the photos on people's blogs that I couldn't see during the week, and to keep moving down those socks. I just can't decide whether I love or hate doing two socks at the same time. I do love them being the same and being finished when they are finished, but keeping all the yarn straight and tugging the needle so much gets old. I will keep thinking on that. What do you readers think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stripey Socky Done-y

Yay, I finished that second striped sock. That was made complicated by the fact that Some Dog at My House got the skein of reinforcing yarn out of my bag somehow, took it outside and gnawed on it quite thoroughly. I barely found enough contiguous yarn to finish the toe. On the bright side, rewinding it made the stripes go the right way, so the toe of sock #2 looks better than the heels or the toe of #1. Photo to come. Though I'll never see it at work.

This afternoon I will start the socks for Suzanne's FIL. I will be all sock, all the time, until that is done.

I will work on more interesting thoughts in the meantime.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not Happy with Flickr--Edited to Not Happy with ALE

Happy Talk Like Sarah Palin Day, you Good Americans, Un-American Americans, and Commie foreigners alike! Gosh darn it, I must say that I am not pleased at how Flickr seems to have disappeared from the earth today. I am sure my photos will be back later.

Added Later

Ha ha, how cute. It appears that Flickr is still here. You just can't see anything hosted on Flickr from ALE. I don't get that "This is a bad website and we won't let you look at it" message. It just doesn't load. So, maybe there is some issue going on that is not particular to my personal viewing needs (like let me tell you, Ravelry looks BAD with no Flickr images). Well, that makes a LOT of websites look dorky. Guess I will have to go to the local Starbucks to blog at lunchtime now, if it's not just a temporary thing. The fact that I also can't get some of my applications to work from home today is hinting that there are some network issues, so I will think positive.

SEE, I can do that!

Second sock is at least halfway through the foot. Go me. And that's even with spending some of my knitting time last night talking to Suzanne and not knitting for her.

Oh, and since I can see my pictures now, here's one of the happy recipient enjoying her Nana's Afghan last Saturday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blogging Can Be Challenging

Simple Sock
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Gosh, I had no idea I would not have done this blog entry until now. I had been planning on doing it early yesterday afternoon! That darned life, getting in my way like that!

I just wanted to show you all my first sock from my fun Lang Jawoll yarn, even though I took it on a rather shiny table. It has the sturdiest heel and toe ever. I am now trying to ZOOM through the second sock. Now, what happens when Suna tries to zoom through a project? She messes up. Repeatedly. There are many ways to mess up a heel, and I found them all. It is hard knitting with two strands on tiny, very pointy needles. Then, I turned an entire heel only to realize that it was off. Crud, turns out I made the first sock with 68 stitches around and the second with 64, so the heel of a 68-stitch sock did not work on a 64-stitch one. True enough, it was very distracting casting on a sock at a high school football game. So, these socks will be a bit more fraternal than I had intended for them to be. It will still be pretty close.

Are you wondering why I am abandoning my Maelstrom and Wrap Me Up for socks? I have good reason. Suzanne TCL has asked some of us to knit cozy socks for her father-in-law, who is very ill. So, of course I will do that. I chose some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Mine Shaft to make mine. I hope I don't mess up THOSE socks. I mean, gee, if I can't get basic top-down socks right, I need to take a break!

I do love the Mine Shaft colorway, so I know I will enjoy making those socks, and can consider them Prayer Socks, because I will be filling them with love for an old gentleman in Rochester, NY. At least I will, when I stop blogging and go knit on my gusset for the second striped sock.

I enjoyed my day at the yarn shop on Saturday--I had lots of time because Lee was off doing carpentry for charity and I didn't have to be at the school until late afternoon. I was surprised at how much people liked my Shalom sweater, which I wore that day. Makes you feel good to get compliments. And lots of folks enjoyed Wrap Me Up, too. I got to a good stopping place on it so that I can concentrate on the socks. Poor Maelstrom is waiting and waiting. I will finish it!

I will try to post when I can, but I think this will be a busy work week. Of course, that is good. I want to be indispensable, so they will want to keep me!

Knit on, and hi to Vicki from high school.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wrap Me Up with Beads

Wrap Me Up with Beads
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I am so proud of these beads that I am giving them their own post. I was very unhappy with the first bunch of beads I had put in this section of the Wrap Me Up shawl. I used whatever random beads I owned that had holes big enough to get through two strands of Cash Iroha, plus a couple from a cute set of knitting themed beads my boss had gotten me. It was not pretty. Lumpy and ugly is more like it. Yet another unsuccessful Suna Beading Experience.

So, on Tuesday I went to Michael's hobby store at lunch to try to find something with big holes that was not ugly. I quickly determined that even cheapo beads all come with small to medium holes, at best. I found some round wooden beads that would do, for just $2. Then, on a shelf separated from the rest of the seed and glass beads, I found some shiny beads in little bags. Some were lampwork and the like, but others were large round beads, but faceted. They were all sort of garish colors, and I tried in vain to find purple or blue. Then I saw these sort of aqua beads with a pink liner (that conveniently looks lilac through the blue). I figured that if they didn't work, it would be no harm, as it was less than $3 for the package (only about 20 beads).

When I got home and started putting them on the dark blue background, I was thrilled. They pop, but just enough, and really bring the colors of the surrounding yarn into the accent color band. Isn't it pretty?

I have to say I just love the knitting on this wrap. I am now in a section of seed stitch where you alternate balls of yarn every two rows, so you are in two different parts of the striping sequence. The colors merge so nicely. The designer just did a great job on this pattern.

Yeah, I am still putting borders on Maelstrom. Slowly.

I'll finish a sock today on the band bus. Honest, I will photograph my current socks. I just keep forgetting.

So, onward and upward. Since I need to make fingerless gloves for my wedding ensemble, I am guessing I won't get much "gift knitting" done this year. But I will try. I know Lee wants a particular item or two, and I have an idea for a kid or two, but the time...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nana's Afghan, At Last

Nana's Afghan
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Quite some time ago a mom I met at lacrosse games came to me with a sad spectacle--the afghan her mother-in-law had knitted for her as a wedding gift had accidentally gotten in the way of the vacuum cleaner, leaving a gaping hole with horrible black edges where it went into the vacuum. I thought and thought about fixing it, and worked on it a bit back when I was working at the university as detailed here and here (so long-time readers will remember this story).

I had been thinking that I really should pick it back up, which I hadn't since my traumatic bad job experience happened, when the lady who owned it called and said she needed it--they are moving! So, I did it. I knit up all the good parts of the yarn and had to use a couple of the short strands from the damaged part in order to end it at the right spot. But yay, I did it. And it is lovely. They won't even know where the problem was. And I honestly don't think it will be discernibly shorter, either. This is a BIG afghan, and I am happy that I will be able to return it to its home, with all its original yarn intact.

I've been feeling sort of bad that I haven't been doing a good job on knitting for others (for example, I have red yarn for Suzanne that I have not worked on yet, and I did not start Katy's baby afghan yet). At least this one is done. I am making progress on getting unfinished issues addressed, not only in knitting, but at home too--today I got new tires and the 30,000 mile service done on my car, and next week the trim on the house is getting repaired and repainted. That is VERY exciting to me. Now, to just get all those wedding things done.

I'm saving some photos of the beads on the Wrap Me Up shawl for tomorrow. Stay tuned!


I forgot, I was going to share the pattern again:

Cast on a multiple of 12. This afghan had 84 stitches.

Row 1: K
Row 2: P
Row 3: [k2tog] 3 times, *[Yo, k1] 6 times, [K2tog] 6 times* until last 6 stitches, [K2tog] 3 times.
Row 4: P

Repeat these 4 rows for pattern. ending at row 4, then bind off.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Things I Wonder about on Ravelry

So, when I am not knitting, I often browse Ravelry for ideas and inspiration. I don’t spend a lot of time on the discussion boards—I usually don’t have enough time for it, and I’d rather spend spare time knitting, anyway. But I do try to keep up with all the new patterns that are posted. Sometimes, I get to wondering about those, however.

My main wonder is how in the world so many people got fascinated by making dishcloths. Every few days someone posts 20 or 30 new dishcloth patterns. I am sure that, if it is an interest, an animal, a place or a good cause, you can make multiple dishcloths in their likeness. Or in some cases, sort of in their likeness. I was glad about this when I needed to make a dishcloth with cherries on it, because, sure enough, there was one that fit the bill. I just now thought, hmm, wonder if there’s one with my favorite on it, the pansy? Why, yes there is (this is the link to where you can pay your hard-earned money for the pattern, since I know some of you still aren’t on Ravelry. But why? It’s fun and free!). That's it in the illustration--not a bad pattern at all! I must say I am sorely disappointed, however, to find no dishcloth with a tuba on it! I mean, what’s a band parent to do? I was thinking of making tuba boy a cloth to clean his instrument with a tuba on it, geez! OK, so really I wasn’t, but this was actually the first dishcloth search on Ravelry to come up empty. So, if you are one of those incredibly prolific dishcloth designers, please get to work on a tuba cloth. Band parents and grandparents worldwide are just itching to get started.

My other wonder was the recent spate of hilarious 80s sweaters that one company recently uploaded. Actually, I think it’s cool to have all their patterns from the past available, because some of them have interesting colorwork on them, if you can look past the shoulder pads and gigantic hair (and bangs). Someone took a LOT of time to put together all those patterns! I wonder if they hired an intern to do them, or what? It makes me feel good that a few pattern companies have taken it upon themselves to upload all their library of past items—this will be great for anyone interested in making things from out-of-print pattern books. I’m just amazed that they have the time to do them.

My final wonder is how some of these people have the time to write so many comments on so many forums. I guess I used to wonder this about attachment parenting types and breastfeeding advocates. But it’s the same thing: how to you find time to do your hobby, parent your children, or whatever, when you spend 8-10 hours a day on bulletin boards? (Yes, I wonder this about some of my email friends and some incredibly prolific bloggers, too.) Maybe they all just type fast. Yeah, that is the answer. Sure.

I am not being grumpy about any of this, just wondering.

And back to the ever-fascinating topic of my knitting. Yes, I have been doing it. I went out at lunch yesterday and got two types of beads, the only ones I could find with holes that seemed large enough to handle two strands of Cash Irhoa. One set was wood and the other very interesting faceted glass beads that were blue with purplish-pink lining. The latter looked rather garish in the bag, but when placed on a background of navy blue Cash Iroha, they were absolutely perfect. They are not too big, nor too small, and not too dull nor too sparkly. I will be sure to get a photo of them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Going Forward at Last!

Maelstrom Beaded Border
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Ahh, I am finally moving forward on the Maelstrom border. This weekend I got rid of the overly beaded border and got going on the simpler one that you see in the picture. Right now the green beads that border the main part look awfully close together, but when I stretch them out like they will be once blocked, I think they will look really good. And still the little beads in the center look great. There are now just three top beads per repeat, which will add just enough weight I hope.

I am liking doing the Super Floss method of bead application much better than the crochet hook method, but it is still rather slow and tedious. I have told myself that this is not a race, so as long as I keep going on it, I will be fine, so I am trying to do at least three repeats per day. That makes pretty slow going, though, because it takes 12 repeats to get through one section. I am thinking some days I will be up to more, so I will finish, eventually.

I am having a lot, and I mean a LOT of fun doing the Wrap Me Up shawl, though. It's one of those projects that really sucks you in. It has all the things I like: interesting patterns, lots of changes, and the intrigue of not knowing how the colors will come out. Heck, in the next section I even get to add some beads. Of course, these will not be very spectacular beads, since I don't have many larger ones. I found OK ones, though. See how cute it is? I love the ruffle right there in the middle, just ruffling. I am glad I have such a fun project.

I forgot to take a picture of my sock in progress, the Jawoll Aktion one. I am on the foot of the first sock already, so its first photo may be a nearly complete sock--I got a lot done on a long bus ride Saturday!

Speaking of socks, I put on the second pair I ever made today. I can tell I learned a lesson with it. I obviously cast on the first sock using the thumb loop method, because whoa, it is pretty tight at the calf. The second sock does not have that problem. I seem to have attempted a sewn bind-off on it. It isn't very pretty, but it certainly feels better. None of my other socks feel weird at the top, so I must have switched to one of the other MUCH preferable cast ons after this one. I am positive I knew the long-tail cast on when I made this pair of socks. I must have been feeling lazy or thinking that if I did it loosely enough it wouldn't matter. Well, it mattered. So, if you are a new sock knitter, please do yourself a favor and learn to use the long tail, knitted or other stretchy cast on. I tend to use the long tail, but the knitted cast on works fine for me, too, since I do it pretty loosely. And if you're doing toe-up--remember that I highly recommend the bind off used in Wendy Johnson's toe-up socks. It's perfect.

I am sure I forgot to write how I met some of the ladies on the LoneStarState Knitters group who were yarn crawling while I was working at the LYS on Saturday. Or that I was happy to learn that my birthday twin and dear friend from so long ago has the same comfort knitting as me...we are still something alike. Or...can't remember. Tired. After writing and editing all day, I have lost my words...