Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hip To Be Square!

I know...I'm dating myself with the Huey Lewis and the News song title for this post. Weren't the 80's fab though? I love the music, and I guess it's a sign of my advancing age that I don't routinely listen to much "popular" music on the radio these days. I went to a retirement bash for my band director in high school, and he was a great Beatles fan. I found myself singing "Paperback Writer," "When I'm 64," and many other greats from his time for the following week! I've got to find myself a great Beatles collection to put on my iPod.

Back to the knitting at hand. I'm loving every minute of this Noro Log Cabin blanket. I figured out that I would just eliminate the last column that the original block pattern called for, and then center the three middle columns, and work a border around them. I think it's still appealing. Even my hubby has commented on how he likes the project. I think he's just impressed that I am sticking to it. Especially in this heat! I really should be working on his socks and starting some new socks. It's a strange time where there's only one pair of socks on the needles!
Oh, and did I mention that I joined a lace KAL - what was I thinking? I received the pattern in the mail today. The charts are on 5 pages. I must be nuts. I've never knit lace in my life! The only good thing that I see so far about the whole thing, (besides maybe someday wearing the finished project) is the fact that the even rows are knitted instead of purled! YEAH! And two other chicks with sticks are knitting the exact pattern with me on Ravelry, so new friends!

Oh, and I may have done a little shoe shopping....and picked up this incredibly comfy pair of Privo's. Do you own any? May I recommend them to you? They are great!
And so I leave you with some song lyrics to close.......
Don't tell me that I'm crazy.
Don't tell me I'm nowhere.
Take it from me.
It's hip to be square!
Knit on Huey! It is SO hip to be square in this case!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Plain Vanilla, My Foot!

Here's a picture of the Sunfish Socks (colorway of the yarn) that I finished before we left for vacation two weeks ago. This is their photography debut, and a pitiful one at that.
Autumn House Yarn in the Sunfish colorway
Started - ? I can't remember, so that's not a good sign.
Finished - June 2008.
Needles - Addi Size 2
Method - Magic Loop.
Pattern - Stockinette Stitch with traditional heel flap.

I have a couple of musings on these socks. I sorta have a pet peeve about calling stockinette socks, "Plain Vanilla" socks. Lots of people use that "nickname" for the knitted sock done in stockinette stitch. I think I may have used this term myself in the past. But I am trying to correct myself each time I do use it, because here's the thing.....owning a pair of knitted socks is a luxury, IMHO. Even if they are done in stockinette stitch. When I slide my foot into a pair of hand-knitted socks, the warmth comes through, the squishy feel of the yarn feels nice on the soles of my feet, and I just get an all-over good feeling about life in general. A pair of hand-knitted socks are never plain, and somehow, they never smell like vanilla either! :)
Please don't misunderstand me. I would not want a wardrobe of stockinette stitch socks. In fact, sometimes I find them harder to finish than socks with a pattern....anyone else have this problem? I think they tend to lose my attention somewhat in the thick of things, but they are nice socks to knit on-the-go, where you don't have to concentrate on a pattern. For example, the second sock was knit primarily at tee-ball games this year.

Also, please notice that the stripes in these socks don't really match, and I'm really okay with that. The sock on the right looks a bit smaller too, but I assure you that it's not. The sock on the right was knit second, and I wonder if I didn't tighten up my stitches just a bit. I also put the sock on the left on my foot quite a bit, so it may be more stretched. But they fit my feet to perfection, and should the temperature not be in the 90's, I would be wearing them today.

And lastly, I can't end this post without mentioning how horrid that green carpet (behind the socks) is that we still tolerate in our living room. It's got to be from the 70's. UGH! Oh well, hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Little Bit Short......

I have a BIG love for this blanket! Now, we can sit here and philosophize about how I'm not a stealth knitter, and we can ruminate on how even sweaters intimidate me. And then we can talk about the time that I found this blanket on Ravelry. I'm not even sure how I came upon it. But I saw it. I saw two of them. They made me weep. They were so beautiful. And then my LYS had a sale on Noro - I bought all her orphan skeins - it was only a total of 6 or something like that. They were $6 and then if you bought one skein, you got the second for $4. It was meant to be.
But alas, I'd been postponing this project, because seriously....who wants to knit Kureyon in the middle of the summer. Apparently I do.
I cannot go any further without discussing Kureyon. I normally don't care for the texture of the actual yarn. IMHO, it feels like what the whole muggle world thinks wool should feel like. It's a bit scratchy at first, but does soften with washing. But the whole selling factor with Noro is this, hands-down, they are masters of color. I can hardly wait to see how the colors blend with the next color change. And that my friends is my opinion of Noro in a nutshell. Oh, an afterthought.....sometimes it breaks, you know, the yarn. Just saying, you know, if you happened to be a tight knitter, and something stressful happened, like you were trying to create a thumb gusset or something like that, and the yarn broke, and some expletives escaped your lips that haven't been uttered for literally years...... NOT that I would know from personal experience or anything. Nope, not at all.
So, last night I started the first block in colorway 154. It's beautiful. BUT, and this is a BIG "but" - I ran out of yarn for the last 5 rows. UGH! So in looking at the patterns on Ravelry, I'm thinking I need to revise my version a bit. Will I frog the whole block....not sure yet. I do have another skein of 154, I'm not sure why....but for some reason I just do. I think I'll keep this one, and see what happens with the next one. Thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, and you want to see a picture of this, do you? Here it is! Notice the left edge - that's where I'm just a bit short.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Been a Long Time....

It's been a long time...we were away for a week of camping. No computer (cell phone service, but no TV, no computer). My plans, oh my plans....they were to knit up a storm. It's USUALLY perfect weather here this time of year. Nice and cool at night (perfect for sleeping), and warm enough during the daytime (80's) with low humidity. Just perfect for a little summertime knitting.
We were camping in a little cabin, not made of wood, but of concrete block with linoleum floors. My whole family comes to this event - there are several cabins in a row, along a local river, where we all stay, and there is a HUGE yard, and fun for everyone....there is running water, showers, microwaves, ovens, campfires with wood provided, fishing, boating, just peaceful times. It's all nestled in between Amish farms in a neighboring county about 35 minutes away from my home. This year....we had horrendous heat and humidity. The floors of the cabin were wet when we arrived. I mistakenly thought - "Oh, how nice, they've freshly mopped our floors for us." I promptly mopped them again, left them to dry, unpacked most of our things, and headed to the local grocery store. I came back to bigger puddles. I have thus learned that concrete and humidity make MOISTURE, and the condensation on the floors was just unbearable to me. So, the cabin was shut during the daytime, and fans were circulating 24/7. No air-conditioning there, and no place to even put in a window unit, due to the small and obscure windows. Luckily, the humidity broke by Tuesday night, and things improved, but my energy was zapped!

I can bet that you are guessing what happened to the knitting - this was no time for wool. No sirree. No time at all. The first couple of mornings, I awoke early, but by 10:00 am, knitting was impossible. Here's my pathetic knitting for the whole week - the start of a Jaywalker sock in Yarn Pirate's Killer Bee sock club colorway. I'll be perfectly honest. I missed the inception of this sock club, and joined for the second 3-month offering. This was the first skein of yarn I received. I had owned some other Yarn Pirate yarn, but have never knit with it.
I really did not care for this colorway, and for awhile, I dreamed of trading it. But when my DH saw it, I think he was so amused by the colorway, he said...."If you make me socks from that yarn, I'll wear them." Considering that he has never asked for anything knit by me (I'm feeling quite hurt - he has refused wool socks several times), I jumped at the chance. I am using the Jaywalker pattern with it, and it's working well, striping nicely. The pattern is easy enough to memorize, and I hope it will be a nice, take along sock. Oh, and I'm using KP's fixed circular needles. I have become such an Addi Turbo snob, and have neglected these beauties! Try them if you are at all interested in 2 circs or Magic Loop. They are wonderful. And sadly enough, Addi Turbo's don't come in the 2.25 mm size. But KP has them, and they are at least 1/3 the price! The join on these babies is really nice. I'm quite fussy about that, and the wire is nice too. They are also nice and pointy to do some lace knitting if you so desire.
And as for the rest of the week.....thank heavens for Sara Gruen and "Riding Lessons" and "Flying Changes." They were a God-send. That and the pool/water slide at a local state park! Now if someone would just be kind enough to put some aloe on my back! :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Finishing the Task at Hand

Startitis. An age-old problem with knitters, I'm sure. Then again, maybe not. I'm fortunate that I don't HAVE to knit my socks to keep my feet warm and dry. I don't NEED to knit that wool sweater to stay warm (yet - with rising oil prices and an older home, it's looking like we'll be spending over $1,000 with each oil tank fill next winter - YIKES! Wool sweaters for family warmth may not be a just a fact from history).
I'm trying really hard to get through the projects that are already started before I cast-on for a new project using the stash from Maryland Sheep and Wool. It's been very hard, I'm not going to lie. The task was made even harder yesterday when I went through my whole stash, and organized it again. Seeing all the yarn brings out the pattern books, and the mind reels with all the possibilities. I think someone should study the brain at this point, and make some sort guess at all the synapses happening at the same time. It must be overloaded! I love creativity at work!
So, I finally have a somewhat FO. Here's another BSJ - knit with really old stash yarn. I need to do the shoulder seems, weave in the ends, and sew on the buttons. You see, not only did I clear out the "nice" stash (nice stash is wool, sock yarns, etc. Basically, my snob yarn), but I cleaned out the old yarn in the attic. Yes, it's mostly from Walmart, and the late 80's and early 90's. The dishcloth phase. I'm certainly not against knitting with yarn from Walmart, or really any type of fiber. To each, his/her own. I just prefer the wool. There are some tasks though, that call for other fibers than wool. Dish clothes are usually done in cotton, and I stumbled across this cone of Sugar and Creme yarn. I had already knit a dishcloth from it, and I thought, well why not try a BSJ with it? It will certainly be washable, and it was nice to knit with a worsted weight yarn again.
So behold....the cotton BSJ. I have no idea what the color is called. It's not listed on the inside of the cone. But the yardage is very ample indeed. This yarn sells for around $7.00 a cone, and makes a nice, inexpensive sweater that took a little less than 2 weeks to knit (and I frogged 30 rows at the beginning, and worked a holiday weekend)! The size of this sweater is pretty ample too - maybe a 2T - 3T? I plan on giving it to one of my nieces, but I'm not sure which one. I'll try it on them next week!

Now I'm off to finish a second sock, and then I'm allowing myself to cast on with some new STR and possibly a sweater/vest from the Maryland stash! :) Oh, the happiness of startitis!