Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hauling Out The Reinforcements

I have a thing about reinforcing the toes of my socks—maybe because I hate to repair the toes of socks when they become airy (as in holes). So, I decided to reinforce the toes of every pair I knit, but didn’t know what to use in the effort. I tried several things: heavy crochet cotton in a similar color, lace weight wool, and regular reinforcement yarn when it is available. In the picture, left to right, is red reinforcement yarn on the first two socks, off white lace weight wool on the third sock, white crochet cotton on the fourth sock and toe reinforcement yarn on the orange sock. I don’t know what works best yet, because it is doing such a good job that none of my socks’ toes have worn in the slightest. I’ll report when I have conclusive proof. Aren’t these scientific experiments fun! I wonder how many other sock knitters reinforce their toes. Maybe everyone does it and I’m just catching up.

At the risk of being chatty, I have to say that I have fallen in love with knitting podcasts. It’s so relaxing to listen to a pleasant voice talk about knitting subjects, while working on a project. Yesterday I was listening to one about raising llamas—more specifically, “What it takes to move a llama.” I couldn’t identify with half of the information she gave the listener, but I so enjoyed visualizing those cute little llamas walking around being luxurious fiber on the hoof. Before I knew it, I had finished the foot of a sock and was starting one of those reinforced toes.

This picture is of a new acquisition of Fleece Artist merino sock yarn from Little Knits, one of my favorite yarn shops. I order from them online or course, because they are in Seattle, but I would love to visit their shop one day. They take extra special care of me, and I get my orders very quickly, which is good because this is my next pair of socks! I promised myself that I wouldn’t get too many projects ahead again, but I couldn’t resist the yummy tangerine, peach, and cream colors (suddenly I'm hungry). And, we won't talk about the Regia I have ordered, or the cotton I ordered today for Christmas dishcloths. I don’t have those orders yet, so they don’t count as being stash-obsessive. Right?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Moving Right Along....

I finally put two of my big projects aside and my sock projects are moving much faster now. At some point you have to admit that your desire to knit is bigger than your ability to execute. I’m like a kid in a candy store—I want to knit it all. So I get started on one project, then I see another I would like to knit, then another, and before I know it I’m splitting X amount of time between X-X-X-X-X-X projects, and getting nowhere.

This is the first of the Lady Bird Beetle socks, and just had to show the one finished sock because this yarn is such a joy to knit with. I am an admitted Socks That Rock junkie—even considered joining a twelve-step program to curb my enthusiastic STR shopping. I have enough of the stuff in stash to start my own yarn shop. Then I discovered Wendy’s hand dyed, superwash merino sock yarn (do yourself a favor and go to and browse). This is the softest, most colorful yarn I have ever used—I love it! GD#3 put the first sock on her foot when finished and said, “Grandma, it’s so soft. I could wear just this one until you finish the other one.”

When I finish the second Lady Bird Beetle sock, I’m looking forward to starting another pair in Portrait of a Girl—seen here lounging with Nancy the Nano which contains knitting podcasts for knitting pleasure. Now that things are moving along, life is good.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Never Ending Knitting

This the knitting that never ends. It just goes on and on my friend. Somebody started knitting it—and knitting—and knitting—and….I just don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I have been working on this sweater for months, and the socks have stalled and are mocking me from the knitting basket. “Ha,” I heard one of them say, “You will never finish me.” I fooled him though. I traded the #1 needles for #2s and I’m working on the last row of the toe now. It takes so long to knit a sock with the #1 needles that I will not try it again. It’s the #2s for me all the way! We have enough irritating rubbish in our lives—we don’t need disparaging dpns to add to the emotional clutter.

So, now I’m happy with the progress on the Lady Bird Beetle sock, and the STR Ruby Slippers sock is past the heel of sock number one, but what is the problem with the Something Red sweater? I think it is the ribbing—lots and lots of ribbing. It runs from below the boobs to the hips on the body, and five or six inches on each sleeve. THEN, another couple inches up one side of the front, around the neck, and down the other side. Ribbing, ribbing, ribbing. Love the pattern and the sweater, hate the ribbing. Next I’m doing the Debbie Bliss Classic Jacket—just straight stockinette. Yippee! It’s not that I’m a lazy knitter. I just want to finish something.

BTW, what are you people thinking out there? I can’t believe that last week you sent Chris Daughtry home and this week Elliot Yamin. What’s up? I can't believe that Kat might win. She completely messes up two out of three songs, is too, too cute, and can’t put two intelligent words together without tossing her hair and shrugging her shoulders. I’m being unkind. Forgive me. Actually, she is just not my cup of tea. Having raged over that, I can now go peacefully back to my knitting, and make more progress. Chris and Taylor, you rock!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Guess Who Came To Breakfast

These big guys come for breakfast most mornings. They live in the barn and pasture behind our house, and keep coming back because I keep a big bag of carrots in the fridge, which I feed to them over the fence. Macy, the Jack Russell, thinks we hire them to entertain her. Poor babies, I didn’t have any carrots this morning. I could almost hear them thinking, “Why doesn’t she just break out the apples?” They hung over the fence for almost half an hour, while I took pictures. By the time I finished, they were wandering off to the fence next door where our neighbor was feeding them sugar cubes.

This is the same neighbor who laughed at our car mirror earmuffs, and then asked if I would knit him some to keep the birds away from his car. His car took a beating after we covered our mirrors with the earmuffs. Every bird in the neighborhood decided to make a believer out of him by pecking his mirrors unmercifully, and leaving little bird packages of joy on the side of his car. He now has a new SUV, which sports the bright green earmuffs I knitted for him, and he’s a happy camper!

Knitting—oh yeah. I got off track for a minute there. I started this scarf last night to see if I like the pattern, and in a wool that is not as soft as I want this scarf to be. I grabbed the first thing that the stash thrust on me. I would really like to make it in cashmere or a cashmere blend. I’m looking for good prices now, before I order. I don’t want this to be the six-million-dollar scarf. This will be for my Irish dancer GD (#2). I made the Irish Hiking Scarf for her a couple years ago, and she reported complements on it when she wore it to “hike around Ireland” during her visit there for a dance competition. If she will wear them, I will knit them.

I would love to tell you what I am making for GD#1, but she reads this blog! No way are you getting anything out of me this year Jess! She knew all of her knitted gifts last year before she got them. Then, she told me that she reads the blog. Okay, I’ll give you a hint—one thing is made from Blue Moon Fibers STR, and it’s not socks. Now go back to studying for finals!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I Can't Find The Words...

Have you ever lost a blog post? I mean have it just disappear off the page? I write my posts in Word first, before posting to the blog. Then I save each post to a folder called, “Knitting Thoughts.” So, there I am just finishing my post about giving the STR Fire On The Mountain socks to DD for Mother’s Day, saving it, and zip-p-p-p-o it was gone, never to be seen again. Yes, I did run a search for it. “No files with that name.” Yes, I did look at recent files for similar or different names. No can do! It is just GONE. Obviously, gremlins at work.

Well, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…I made these STR Fire On The Mountain socks for myself. As I was putting them into my dresser drawer, along with the other thirty pairs of socks, I heard DD whispering in my ear, “Mom, I really like those socks. You made them for me—right?” She didn’t really say that, but she would have if she had seen them finished. They became an instant Mother’s Day gift for DD, and I immediately cast on for STR Ruby Slippers in a pretty eyelet pattern for myself.

I am also working on GD#3’s Lady Bird socks. The yummy yarn is from Wendy's Intertwinement. I now remember why I don’t knit with any needles smaller than a size #2—it takes forever. I am using a size #1 on these socks, and they are becoming the never-ending project. This picture was taken yesterday, and I am working on the foot, coming up to the toe, so I must be making progress. S—l—o—o—w progress! I started to make these knee-high, but GD#3 said she wanted anklets. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here are the patterns I am using for the two socks:

Lady Bird Broken Rib:
Row 1: *k3, p3* repeat around
Row 2: *k1, p1* repeat around

Ruby Slippers Eyelet and Rib:
Rows 1, 3, 5, and 6: *p1, k5* repeat around
Row 2: *p1, k1, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, k1* repeat around
Row 4: *p1, k2, yo, ssk, k1* repeat around

Easy to remember and mindless to work when watching TV. Anyway, who cares how long it takes to knit a sock—it’s sock knitting! It’s all good.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

MacArthur’s Park Is Melting….

All the sweet buttercrème icing flowing down. Someone left the knitting out in the rain… Okay, getting carried away here. If I don’t stop playing around in the ivy and get in out of the rain I am going to be struck by lightning.

This is what it looked like last night.

Recalling my post from the 29th about acrylics, I have hauled out the Homespun and started this shawl for DD for Christmas. I call it the Buttercrème Shawl, because it reminds me of that wonderful, sinful icing on cakes. I used to watch my Mother dump large quantities of butter and powdered sugar into a big stainless steel mixing bowl, slosh in a bunch of vanilla, and whip it all together. I wanted to dive right in and slurp my way out. When it comes to cooking, well, I didn’t pick up her skills. To make matters worse, I passed on my philosophy to DD, (i.e. don’t learn to cook because if you do some man will expect you to do it). I thank God for these three things: 1 – Since its just the two of us now, we grab whatever we want, whenever; 2 - DH is a meat and potatoes man, and that’s about all I can cook; and 3 - He cooks better than I do and loves to do it. Me—I’d rather knit!

When our kids were growing up I used to cook, but Mother lived with us the last 25 years of her life, so I had her guidance. Whenever I was about to burn anything from toast to steak she would say, “Why don’t you go knit and let me finish.” She was subtle. As a result I was conditioned to knit when things are not going well, knit when I should be doing something else, and knit at irregular and peculiar moments (at movies, standing in the rain, during parent/teacher conferences, etc.). I don’t knit in Church, but I do knit in meetings. It’s not a problem with clients—at least they keep coming back so I guess they don’t mind. It’s okay for you too. Go ahead and knit, wherever you are. If anyone complains just tell them I said it is okay!