Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Interesting Twist

Today, I was going to post pictures of my nearly-finished Monkey sock. It fits perfectly -- I've made some extra decreases in the foot, so they're snug and the lace is visible and I'm very happy. So why no pictures? They've gone and changed recipients on me, and are now officially a secret project. Here's hoping foot width isn't that different, though. I did 2 extra decreases. I really, really hope that the lace can compensate for this if necessary.

The other thing I could have shown you today is the back of the Dad Sweater. It's coming along, it's no longer portable, and I just got to the interesting part. Right now, it's just a huge piece of burgunday reverse stockinette. Boring.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Slow Progress and a Fortune Cookie Incident

Uh, let's not talk about my knitting today. Let me just share one piece of advice: When making modification to a pattern for something with more than one part, say, socks or sweater parts or some such, take the time to get a pencil and make a note of said modifications on your pattern. In case you get distracted by something else for a month or three, then have to go back and try to re-engineer what you did from looking at the front of your sweater, for example. 'nuff said.

So, if we don't talk about knitting, what else is there? Well, for one thing, there is crochet. I bought this book because I really like the designs, and even though I'm somewhat intimidated, I think I'll give them a try. I want to make just about every single thing in this book, and that's saying something. How will I get from barely able to complete a wash cloth to this fabulousness? Lots of practice, I guess.

What else is there, you ask? Why, cats! I never did show you the pictures of the Snakey toy my MIL crocheted for them. Here is Merlin enjoying his:

Yes, he's got it!

Oh no, it's getting away! Ha, gotcha!
(look at the silly grin on his face! This cat wears his heart on his sleeve)

Snake toy, you shall no longer defy me. I will be the master of you!

Morgana, on the other hand, is more laid back. She likes to snuggle up in a blankie and lie in the "nest" between my legs when I'm sitting in my comfy chair with the foot rest up.

She also likes to tramp and suck on the blanket. One day, she is convinced, this blanket is going to give milk. No luck yet, but she sure keeps trying!

Oh, and if things weren't going badly enough, let's add insult to injury:

My Fortune Cookie told me:
You have been blessed with the egregious qualities of a duffle-bag in His Majesty's Royal Navy.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Package from Home!

I got a package from my parents and my sister! It's not a holiday, it's not my birthday, it's a just-because-we-love-you gift.

The first book contains a story by my friend Linda, who is a gifted writer and a poet and my German goth festival buddy. She has won several awards for her work, and my mother picked up this book when she went to a reading. The other book is a novel my sister enjoyed. The cover alone tells me I'll like it -- books, a one-eyed monster/alien, how can this not be good?

Oh, and yarn. Two skeins of gorgeous sock yarn. My guess is that my sister picked these out. She's not a knitter, but she has excellent taste in sock yarn. And she's one of those rare people who do not knit, yet appreciate the time and love that are poured into hand-knit pieces and appreciate them accordingly.

Both my parents know how I feel about chocolate. There was a package of marzipan hot chocolate in there too, but in my excitement, I forgot to take a picture of it. After I eat all this, I may have to go buy another set of business suits, but oh, it will be worth it!

Last but not least, I would like to thank all the friendly knitters who offered their advice on my Monkey sock problem. If you remember, the issue was that the sock is 8" around the ankle, but my ankle circumference is 7.5", tops.
Because these socks are sort of cursed, I didn't want to start over. The first 62 rows are knit on US 1 needles, then I finished the repeat on US 0's and added an extra repeat to make the wider part of the sock sit at a wider part of my leg. Next time, I'll knit the whole sock on 0's, but this is a great alternative to starting over.

I'm working on the heel now. These socks are a lot of fun to knit, even though they are somewhat cursed!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Trouble in Sock Paradise

Remember the cursed socks?
I finally managed to cast on. Knit them Friday, knit them Saturday, they are a fun knit and in no way to blame for my present trouble. The culprit, unfortunately, is my ankle, pictured below.

It's 7.5" around, just above the joint. Is that unusually skinny? It must be, because only socks that are knit at a much tighter than recommended gauge fit. This is my Monkey sock so far, knit on US 1 Addi Turbos. It's not stretching very much. The lace is hiding, it looks a bit baggy, but it really bags out around my ankle.

Does the only way to get socks to fit me involve knitting them on needles 2 sizes smaller than recommended? I started out as a tight knitter, I know I've loosened up some over time, but this is ridiculous. No wonder everybody is cranking out socks left and right and I keep on knitting and knitting and knitting!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cursed or misunderstood?

I was going to show you the progress on my Monkey socks today. Yeah. Well. That didn't work out so well. Maybe these socks are cursed, or maybe I misunderstood the yarn when I thought it said it wanted to be a pair of Monkeys. After all, human-to-yarn communication is by no means infallible, there are thousands and thousands of knitters who can attest to this.

So far, I've cast on three times. The first time, I just really didn't like how messy the caston looked. Rip. The second time, I was quite happy with my caston, my usual knit/purl longtail approach. Everything was fine, I started tugging on the loop to pull the stitches in position... and ended up pulling on the wrong needles. Stitches in my hand, not on the needle. Rip.
This morning, I almost made it. I cast on, things were great. I started knitting, things were still great. Hey, it's amazing how quickly the ribbing grows when you're using US 1, not US 0 needles! Only 3 rows, and look at how big... oh, wait. Crap. It said twisted rib, didn't it?

So later today, during lunch or after work, I'll cast on a fourth time. And if that doesn't work out, I'll conclude that these socks are cursed and move on.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

WIP and Blog Stalking and New Job Yarn!

I've been a good girl. I've been knitting the back of the Dad sweater, though I have to admit that the lack of other WIPs has nothing to do with my inherent goodness and everything with a bad caston day. I tried two different methods I usually use for socks, but when I pulled the wrong needle out of my Magic Loop, I decided it wasn't meant to be for now. So here is my Dad sweater back progress, miles and miles of reverse stockinette. It's burgundy, not bright tomato red. This color doesn't photograph well at all.

Thursday after work, I want yarn shopping with ZantiMissKnit. My New Job Yarn has arrived, and as promised, I'm sharing it with you.

Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande. One skein of burgundy squishy goodness, destined to become something worn close to my face. It's so soft, so squishy, so dreamy. I want to name it and pet it.

Then, I found myself near the sock yarn. This is Happy Feet, and I can already tell that my feet will be very happy in it. The actual colors are not really reds and browns, they are fuchsias and purples and pinks, though muted and nice-looking, not bright and flashy. Not that there's anything wrong with bright and flashy per se. This yarn just isn't.

And then... oooh, happy sock yarn in reds and burgundies, darker than in this picture. Remember, my camera likes to photograph burgundies as tomato reds. I tried it without flash, but all I got was a dark muddle. Mountain Colors, very pretty, going to be a pair of socks for me!

And because I'm part of the knitty blogstalking extravaganza, here is my post on the first topic of the year: bad habits. The first one that comes to mind is that I eat when I'm bored. I'm not overweight, but it's not a healthy habit, and it won't do me any favors in the long run. I also tend to worry too much. Having an active imagination is one thing, but worrying about all sorts of unlikely things is quite another. I've gotten better at stopping the downward spiral, but sometimes, my hormones get the better of me.

And then there's the other bad habit: taking lots of pictures of my cats. Way too many, in fact. But isn't he cute? He's clearly wondering the obvious:

Now who'd throw away a perfectly good kitten???

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Job Yarn and a Forgotten Resolution

Wow. My head is spinning, I'm tired, but I think some aspects of my new responsibilities are beginning to sink in. Others are still as mysterious as they were a couple of days ago, maybe even more so. But this is fun and exciting, and I think taxonomy and I are going to be very good friends soon -- so much broader than cataloging, so much more opportunity to come up with something truly unique and appropriate.

Anyhow, this is a knitting blog, not a knowledge management blog. So first off, I would like to thank everybody for the many sock suggestions. I love all of those patterns, and I have different stash yarns in mind for every single one of them. This should really help with the stash busting!
I'm going out for New Job Yarn today, but that's my last yarn shopping expedition until Rhinebeck, to which Eileen and I have promised ourselves we're going, come hell or high water. By then, my stash should be nice and small, completely devoid of ambient yarn. What's ambient yarn, you ask? It's the stuff that's floating around my yarn closet because it doesn't fit in any of the 3 storage bins. Or the ugly lime green travel thingy I bought at Jo-Ann's and promptly filled up with yarn. Ahem.

So, pictures of my New Job Yarn are coming up. In the meantime, let me add the Forgotten New Year's Resolution to my list. You guys have reminded me that there's sixteenth one I'd completely forgotten to list:

Learn to knit socks toe up. Because I never have, and because there are so many beautiful patterns for toe-up socks. I want to be able to knit them.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Talking to Yarn

Many knitters talk to yarn. I know I do. From gentle exhortations to threats of violence and curses, we spend a lot of time communicating with an inanimate substance. But it's so hard to believe it's not alive when it can be so recalcitrant! Right now, I'm ripping out the seams on Tangerine Twist, which has been lingering at the bottom of my basket for quite some time now. I hope the arm holes grow and the sleeves don't stretch too much when I wash and block it before trying again - as I should have before seaming for the first time. Shortcuts don't work when it comes to finishing.

This yarn is behaving reasonably well. I have cast on for the back of the Dad Sweater. It's burgundy, not tomato red, and mostly reverse stockinette. Mindless knitting? Check.

This is yarn I bought from Merlin the Cat on Etsy. I was going through my stash looking for some other yarn I bought before New Year's (see, didn't break my yarn diet resolution!), when it told me it wanted to be Monkey socks. Now. So I took it out, balled it up, and I'm about to start knitting socks with it. This is a very persistent yarn.

This is the yarn I was actually looking for: Some Adirondack Yarn Company sock yarn in Raspberries I bought at Little Knits, one of my favorite online yarn stores. They have such a great selection of sock yarn, and I fell in love with this particular skein while browsing around for the new Noro sock yarn.

Needless to say, I found some. This is color 188. It's very pretty, but I'm not sure what to do with it. You see, I don't just want to knit stockinette socks with it.

I'm looking for a pattern that has large sections of plain knitting to show off the pretty shading, but also something else to add interest, say cables or lace -- just not too much. Quite a requirement, huh? If anyone can think of anything that fits the bill, please let me know!

In other news, it's Christmas Eve. According to the calendar used by the Serbian Orthodox Church, January 6 is Christmas Eve and January 7 is Christmas Day. I'm starting my new job on Christmas Day. How's that for auspicious beginnings?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Fair Isle Stocking

For the longest time, I was terrified of stranded colorwork. What if it looked insanely uneven? What if it puckered? What if it looked simply horrible, and all the knitters of my acquaintance saw this and I was never able to show my face in polite knitterly society ever again?

Uh, yeah. Silly. So this holiday season, I decided to bite the bullet and knit a Christmas stocking for my mother-in-law. She's a lovely lady who deserves a hand-knit gift (and not many people do), so I ordered the kit for the Peace stocking by Annie's Woolens.

It was slow going at first, and it took me a while to figure out gauge. In fact, my gauge changed throughout the project. You can't tell by looking at the picture, but this stocking is freaking huge. Here it is from one side,

and here it is from the other.

My mother-in-law has received it and likes it a lot. I'm very happy with it too, and I know that any Fair Isle garment that's supposed to fit has to be knit on smaller needles because... well, I could use this one as a hat. But who cares? I'm extremely proud of my first stranded colorwork FO.