Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Next--Dreamy Socks

Finished the blue variegated Baby Soft socks, and have started Opal Dreamcatcher socks. I’m so taken with this yarn. To begin with, it’s OPAL. Then there is the fact that the color is so deceptive. On the surface it looks gray and gray with a little off-white thrown in. But in a good light you see a subtle lavender emerge. I’m using the Cozy Socks pattern from Knit It! Fall 2005 magazine. The pattern is a four row repeat that creates triangles.
Row 1: K4, P1
Row 2: K3, P2
Row 3: K2, P3
Row 4: K1, P4
You can see that the purl stitches correspond to the row number, so you can knit this without looking at a pattern or even memorizing a stitch sequence. So easy, and so interesting.

I’m excited about Sockapaloooza starting tomorrow! I haven’t joined a KAL before—formally that is. I have knit-along with a couple groups—watched others progress and grabbed the free help to complete the project. Yes, I guess that makes me one of those lurkers everyone talks about. So I decided to “just do it.” I donated myself as a sock savior in Sockapaltwoza, to knit socks for someone whose sock pal dropped out. That was such fun that I wanted to do the full KAL this time.

I am free to join a KAL because I have finished end-of-year reports and W-2's, and have not yet officially entered tax season. I have about, um-m-m, two days to breathe and knit. It's these moments in between trouble and catastrophe that make it all worthwhile. Life is good!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One Sock, Blue Sock

One blue variegated sock finished, and one at the heel. Ten-year old granddaughter Samantha picked it up a few days ago and tried it on. We were amazed to see that it fit her. The conversation went like this:
“Grandma, this sock fits! Are they for me?”
“No, these are mine.”
“But you never knit socks for me. You’ve knit a lot for my mom. When are you going to make me some?”
“Well…I guess I could make you some next. Okay?”
“But these fit really well….”
And on, and on, until we went to my stash and picked out some yarn that she likes, put her name on the wrapper, and I promised to make them next. I talked her into some yellow WoolEase, because I think that will hold up under kid damage better than wool.

I’m a lucky Grandma because all my kiddos love my knitted objects. But it does put pressure on me to knit faster, since we have six grandchildren, and if one gets socks, they all want socks!

After this encounter, I dreamed that night that I own a yarn shop, and in a back room I have several people knitting all those things I can’t find the time to knit. I wasn’t standing over them cracking a whip, but I was demanding, “Hurry! You have to knit faster!” They were complaining and saying, “Yeah, yeah, we hear you.” (Good help is so hard to find). My dreams are obviously telling me that I should quit working and knit all the time. Whenever I bring it up to DH he plays the “how would you pay for yarn” card. Not fair! I guess Sam is going to have to wait for her socks like everyone else…I’m knitting as fast as I can.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sock Duo

It’s not often that I knit two pairs of socks for myself at one time. I feel like royalty. Especially coming on the heels (pun intended) of the Kiwi Waffle socks I feel so pampered--and just a little bit selfish. I knit so much for other people, mostly family members, that I forget how nice it is to say, “These are for me.”

The pink socks are anklets in Knit Picks Dancing. The yarn is a cotton / wool / nylon and elastic blend that manages to be both stretchy and soft. You can’t see it well, but there is one row of lace stitches after the ribbing and before the ankle. They will be perfect for spring and summer…light and airy. The blue, white, mint green socks will have a longer leg—maybe as long as 10 inches. These are plain old acrylic (Baby Soft). I never use acrylic yarn as gifts, except for my daughter, who happens to like acrylic socks as I do. They wash and wear well. (I think so anyway).

I’m also continuing to work on the sweater vest, and making my peace with the fact that I probably won’t be able to wear it this year. The weather people say it will be 80 degrees here again today. (Toto, we're not in Chicago anymore). They promise colder weather for the weekend, along with rain. Ha! If you believe THAT I have some land in Arizona I want to sell to you. I think winter has deserted us, and we are going to roll right into spring and summer without ever having to put on a coat. I guess the weather is Fort Worth’s love-it-or-leave-it thing. Most cities have something you would change if you could, but you can’t so you learn to love it.

So, I L-O-V-E Fort Worth weather! Really, I do—I really do—really. I am not convinced yet, but I’ll keep trying.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Kiwi Waffle Heaven

Who said it's not easy being green? Kermit aside, I love having green feet! The Kiwi Waffle socks are finished and (now) on the feet. BTW, the pink, blue (yes it’s really blue not green) and purple variegated seen on the lower right is for another LeBeret. I started another pair of socks in pink and purple Knit Picks Dancing sent to me by Kris for Christmas. I have never knit with Dancing before, and I think the socks will be a dream to wear. The yarn has some stretch to it.

But, before more socks, or I should say in addition to more socks, I am taking a side trip into cables and twists with an Irish Seaman’s scarf. I started this one twice. On the first try something went wrong, or I just wasn’t understanding the pattern as written. I ripped it out after five or six rows and started over, and this time it seems to be going fine. Don’t know why I wanted to do this, especially since I am knee deep in the variegated sweater vest (the back is almost done), but the pattern was calling out to me. I may be calling out for help before it’s over.

On the work front, I wish I had kept my mouth shut when I mentioned
W-2 printing always being a dramatic event. I have angered the form-printing gods, and they are causing end-of-year form printing to be more than dramatic…they are going to be the end of my career. Oh well, I wanted to retire anyway! I know, I know, I’m whining. According to DH it’s what I do best. But I happen to believe that I knit better than I whine. Maybe....

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I've Bottomed Out

There were some surprises waiting for me on the bottom of my “current project” knitting basket. I have about ten baskets, bags, mesh barrels and plastic containers around the house with yarn and projects in various states of completion. But the one I keep with me all the time, and carry from room to room with me was empty for a brief time yesterday. What an awakening! I realized how much I “live” out of my knitting basket. I shove stuff into it and forget it for, ummmm, years it seems.

Seen in the photo:
1. Scissors that have been missing for at least a year.
2. Yarn bobbins I bought during the summer when I was going to knit mosaic socks, and didn’t because I couldn’t find the bobbins.
3. A large marble. Go figure.
4. A stuffed penguin. Think about that while you are contemplating the marble.
5. A pretty chain with a yarn cutter attached.

6. Lots of Comfort Zone dpn's.
7. A miniature sock. I can only assume that a Barbie somewhere is running around with only one sock on.
8. And the big shocker, a Coach bag with bunches of knitting tools inside: needle checker, Chibi full of needles, tons of stitch markers, two stitch holders, two cable needles, and on and on.

I’m taking a poll. Does anyone else have their knitting accoutrements in a Coach bag, or a Louis Vuitton, or any designer bag or pouch? Is that the height of arrogance? Is that just too, too posh? I considered getting a brown paper bag to put the things in and finding another use for the Coach pouch—like cosmetics, or my mp3 player. But I had to ask myself, “Is anything more important than knitting?”

The stuff is still in the Coach bag, under the knitting project I have now put in the basket. So, I guess the answer is pretty clear! Nothing!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Block Party

Le Beret is blocking and hanging out with Whirly-Curly, which was started in November and put on hold for Christmas knitting. With this (and Kiwi Waffle sock almost finished) I have officially made contact with the bottom of my knitting basket. What a strange feeling--having an empty basket. I dropped the first six inches of the Plymouth Encore, purple/blue/green varigated vest on the US#8 Addi's into the basket, along with the two skeins of Encore I had already wound, and I felt much better. But first I took pictures of the empty basket, which I will post tomorrow, because I am sure there are more knitters like myself who have not seen the bottom of their "current project" basket for years. I had forgotten what it looked like, and there were several things hiding there to surprise me. I won't ruin the surprise for you. Tomorrow!

I like the hat even better now that it is blocked and shaped. It really looks like a beret. I've decided to keep it, but the Whirly-Curly scarf is already gone. DD claimed it last night when she stopped by, saying, "I know just what I'll wear this with tomorrow." I complain a lot because the things I knit disappear as fast as I knit them. But the truth of it is that I love to have family and friends claim them as their own, and love them as much as I do. At Grandparents Day at school recently I overheard a woman say to DD, "I love your bag. Where did you get it?" She replied, "Isn't it great? My Mom made it for me." Wow!! Give me more yarn, and more knitting time. I have to make more stuff. Life is good!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

And, I Don't Even Like Hats!

Here is Le Beret hanging out in the bathroom where it is about to be hand washed, blocked and shaped. It is so cute I want to keep it, but I don't like hats. I don't wear hats except for our one ski trip to New Mexico every year. Then they are on and off ASAP. So, I can keep it and wear it once this year, or I can send it to a cold-country-family-member. It's in the 80's here in Fort Worth today, which gives you some idea of why I don't wear hats or mittens or coats or.... I do wear scarves on occasion--and strictly as a fashion statement. I guess I'll keep the cute little hat and wear it when it's 40 degrees for 10 minutes in February.

Also, the black man-socks are finished and on the feet of DH. He really likes them and wants more. I said okay, because I really love to knit things for him. But I warned him that the next pair WILL NOT be black! Maybe a nice dark wedgewood blue, or even a silvery gray, but NOT black! I almost lost my eyesight over them. I couldn't find a light in the house that was bright enough. I think I need one of those horribly expensive natural lights you see in yarn shops and catalogs. Better start saving my pennies.

I am two inches into the waffle pattern on the Koolaid dyed lime green socks--the kiwi waffle socks as I am calling them. The finished sock is so soft and fits so well that I was tempted to wear just the one until the second is finished. Can't wait. So, you see, the knitting goes on. Here we are on January 8th, and two projects are finished and one almost done. Good progress for a new year. Now if things just go as well when I start printing w-2's for payroll clients tomorrow. But, it has been my experience that w-2 printing is never without drama! Wish me luck....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Yea--Le Beret!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, is a blurry picture worth five-hundred? Just a thought. This is a pic of the first 20 rows of Le Beret from Morehouse Farm. It didn't photo well for some strange reason--maybe the stars are in the wrong position for hat photos. Anyway, the pattern called for a 16 inch circular. I wish I had chosen a little longer circ (like a Denise with one extra section), but now that I have started on the 16" I'll keep it on this needle a little longer, since I only have 20 more rows before I put it on dpn's and start decreases for the top. I like the shape and the color, and I'm making it more softly rounded than floppy. Nice soft wool, nice soft shape--it should be a great hat to wear!

I was reading a blog yesterday which compared toe-up to top-down sock knitting. Wow, it's amazing what we get used to and cling to in knitting. This knitter is a toe-up person, and I am a devoted top-down person. She found it grueling and boring to knit through a heel flap and gusset, although her stated three hours is unbelievable. I tried a toe-up once, however, and it took a long time to get three inches up from the toe, and then it didn't fit properly. So, it may have even seemed like three days to her. Then, there is friend Kris who knits both toe-up and top-down socks, and loves them both. Go figure! I could make a new year's resolution to knit a complete pair of toe-up socks. But n-a-a-a-h, why would I do that when I can knit a top-down pair in two days to a week, depending on the amount of knitting time I put in. I guess it's all in what you get used to, and I say...if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

I tried to tell Macy that it's 79 degrees outside, but I think she has decided to hibernate for the winter--cold or not. This has been such a quiet, slow, do-nothing-but-watch-TV-and-knit weekend that I was tempted to join her a couple of times as I started to nod off. THEN, things became busy as DH found several projects that I didn't really think were critical, but joined with him, in the spirit of the new year. Rah, rah, go me!

And then there's football--which is only good for knitting:
"Did you see that play?"
"Yes dear."
"Are you sure? Do you want me to run it back?"
"No need dear, I saw it, (over the tops of my glasses during a s1, k2tog, psso stitch sequence)."
"It's so much fun watching football together!"
"Yes sweetheart is surely is."
Well at least knitting through the game was more fun than all those projects.

I've made a good start with the beginning-of-the-year knitting projects. I have finished one black man sock for DH, and cast on the second sock. Finished one lime koolaid dyed sock and cast on for the second. And, I started the Le Beret in hot pink wool from Morehouse Farms. The Clapotis has hit the back burner, as have all other projects until these are done. I went to a wonderful shop in North Richland Hills called The Knitting Nook. Beautiful yarn, good prices, and great customer service. I'm definitely going back there! It inspired at least ten ideas. One is a long vest in Plymouth Encore that I bought the yarn for.

Just want to say Happy New Year to all my friends and family. I love you all! Thanks for all your support and patience with my knitting and needle-sales projects last year. We're going to do great things together this year--I can feel it coming.