Knitting and Spinning and Stuff, oh my!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Saturday, In the Park...

Rarely do I have funnish weekend stuff to report, other than laundry and my pitiful attempts to rein in the disaster that is my normal household condition, but funnish Saturday was. Socks Anonymous' Kat traveled to my neck of the woods and visited with my darling Dots and I. Fortunately, she visited us at a nearby park (convenient to Panera's lunch, how happy is that?), so the Dots found a few other distractions and only demanded her undivided attention about half the time. I may have tried to compete with them, but even without a touch of laryngitis, my kids manage decible levels I can only dream of, and they tend to be much cuter, determined, persuasive (or some combination of the three). We did manage some knitting anyway, didn't we Kat?, and being able to sit, soak in the sun (Yes, Sun! Finally!) and just be for a bit was quite wonderful.

Bad blogger, brought the camera but no pictures :*( Slap my wrists and all that, but I tell you, I was blissfully not thinking... And admiring... If you've not been over to Socks Anonymous, go wave hello and ask for some more pictures -- she's an incredible knitter (and has knitting .calluses., can you believe?!!) and manages to make it all look quite easy (lace in the park, distractions and all!). Oh, and Pojke Dot points out that she's also quite talented at "swinging him higherer and fasterer", don't forget that!

So, for today, for me, I've been swatching and swatching for a lace project (two lace projects, actually) that I'm not sure enough about to commit to blogwise yet. I submit, then, pictures of the first set of swatches. More to come after blocking, not to mention more to come after, well, knitting, and charting, and can you say, "Starting at the beginning of the beginning, we are?" These two are slightly different, any preferences? (And yes, they were blocked, but unfortunately not photoed immediately after, and they slept all folded up for a few days in-between...)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

End the Madness!

Well, not actually, but end the competition for me at least... Kristi R. (whose blog, I understand, may or may not work for you; apparently her site has been victim to one of those upgrade related "disabilities") kicked my butt; I thought I was a fast knitter, but I gotta say, Kristi, you were scorching! I'll be watching and cheering for you next round...



I got to decreasing for the second sock's toe on Sunday morning at about 3:00A, and then I discovered that Kristi had already finished. The socks languished a bit afterwards, I admit; as close as they were to being done, I didn't actually touch them again until Monday morning. And then it took until today to photo them for your viewing pleasure.

Now that I no longer have to stress about er... enjoy the fierce competition, I've been free to obsess (doesn't "obsess" look like it's spelled wrong? I looked it up at Dictionary.com and everything!) er... free to obsess about other projects. I've been contemplating a rather involved lacey undertaking (read that swatching stitch patterns -- anyone know of an overall suitable lace stitch pattern that would appear similar to small rings, offhand?), and, in between, replacing my mad socks with themed socks. One of Socktopia's April themes is "April Showers". I first started plotting umbrellas and raindrops, then dropped Socktopia's submission entirely to start thinking about a baby gift for a friend. (Okay, so when I'm not being obsessive, I admit to a bit of flightiness...) Bam, hit me like a ton of rocks. May I present:


April's Shower... April's Shower socklets will be augmented with some other small person paraphernalia -- fortunately for me, April's shower isn't actually occurring in April...

Catch up with you again soon!....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Buttons Galore

Greedy Gus: These are mine, all mine, Mine Mine Mine Mine Mine!



Feel free to grab one for You You You You You...
(You know the drill, please save to your own server and all that.)

Tomorrow we start again; I'm a bit concerned whether I'll be able to add that Round 4 trophy afterwards. I suspect the temperature is rising a bit for the Sweet Sixteen-ers, as we've been dubbed (there are sixteen Sock Madness-ees going into Round 4), and, you know what, it might not be a bad thing not to have to scramble quite so much with each round. Doesn't mean I won't be giving Kristi R. a run for her money, though... Where's that pattern? Lemme at it!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sock Mechanics 101-1/2

...or all the disjointed little nothings Grandma let me figure out on my own (most often some "I'm not admitting to" years later...)...

Warning: Long and rambling post today.

Wanna follow a pattern? e-valu-ate it (isn't that a tacky way to remind oneself?)! I often simply work with my own basic sock mechanics as I go, but you can't say it often enough, and everyone skimps on it anyway (and no, I'm not going to say "swatch" -- my theory is that socks are swatch sized and good for swatching out pattern stitches in and of themselves)... Read the pattern first! Then, unless you're participating in Sock Madness and need to follow the pattern to the letter, merge the pattern with your own basic sock mechanics, and you're set to go.

Note tags, or "We Don't Need No Stinking Pattern!" When I'm working with my "own basic sock mechanics" style socks, I use little note tags pinned to the pattern (or knitted right in, more often than not) to make sure I can duplicate my steps. Then I can tape all the little tags to a sheet of paper and, Voila!, instant pattern! When I'm following a "someone else's" pattern, I pin the next step (i.e., 'knit straight to 4"' or 'gusset to 16 sts') for convenience. This can also double as a guide to where the beginning of a round begins, if needed, and it comes in mighty handy when you're trying to pick up where you left off when you get back to this WIP that became preempted by that really luscious colorway, you know, the one that took backseat to that super soft what was that stuff, btw?; that got dropped for the latest round of Sock Madness...

Along the lines of knitting markers in, I most often simply take a scrap of contrasting yarn and knit it along with the stitch I'm trying to mark or slip a loop of contrasting yarn over the stitch. When I'm done, it can be cut or just pulls right out. When I want to add a note, I can tie it on and not worry about losing it. And not that I ever need to frog my work, because I'd never make a mistake you know (@grimace), but if I .were. to frog, the markers would still be where they need to be. And all this has the added bonus of totally perplexing even other sock knitters when they try to figure out why your socks are growing all those circus colored fringes all over the place.


(I am aware that neither of the sample pictures are of socks, but I have surprisingly few in-progress sock pictures. For some reason, I seem to finish them and snip/pluck the fringes before photo-ing... Note to self...)

Most top down socks have about the same number of rows in the heel flap as there are stitches across. Set a marker (here I like to use a more traditional marker, often an animal shaped one, because it pleases the three year old in me, often, particularly, a little silver dolphin that used to be a lone dangly earring once upon a... [is this a run-on parenthetical yet?])... Umm-where-was-I?... Set a marker at the beginning and move it over by two stitches: when the "dolphin swims" all the way across, you're done, no counting.

Wedge toes generally start decreasing for toes at the beginning of the little toe -- which on me happens to be same as from heel of my hand to tip of the middle finger. Speaking of which, measure your body parts! I can measure from 1 inch to 8 inches with one hand and its digits alone (thumb to first joint, 1"; tip of thumb to second joint, 2"; width across hand at knuckles, 3", base of thumb to tip of index finger, 4"; and so on...). Good because, despite having eleventy-million cutesy tape measures, I never have one when I need it...

Do we go on three or count to three and then go? -- Keep track of all the minor decisions you make along the way. Toe decreases: do you decrease every other row to half the number of stitches, then knit one more plain, or do you decrease every other row to half and then begin every row decreases right away? You bind of at half of that number of stitches, but what if half is an odd number? Do you close the toe at half plus one, half minus one (which would have you knit an additional row than half plus one), or do you fudge and decrease in the middle of the last row to end with that odd number? In the grand scheme of things, these are probably insignificant details, but in the toe scheme of things, you might tell the difference, especially if you do it differently between the two socks. Don't assume you'll remember... (These are also, you'll already have guessed, great places for those little scraps of confetti papers you've been knitting in since the first paragraph, yes?)

I'm sure there's more I've forgotten to stutter about -- they'll just have to go into another blogday. But in the meantime, feel free to stucker-sticker me with a large "Kick Me" Post It (aren't Post Its the most wonderful knitting tool?) on my back if you catch me forgetting to not forget any of the above -- this was supposed to be my forever reminder...........

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Keep Your Socks On (The Needles, I Mean)!

I'm having issues with blog-writing today, apologies... No whining, but I've been a bit under the weather this weekend, and so I'm a bit behind and everything I write feels bleh.

However, I've been asked for photos (hi, Sean and Kat -- totally blew me away to get comments on a post I hadn't yet written! :*) of Sock Madness round three (is it a very bad sign when you can't type "three" properly, and then again when you can't manage to spell "spell"? Speel, spele, splee? Fingers just not working right...). So, without further ado...

I did finish in time to continue on to the next round, Weeheeee!

Yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Colorway Yellowstone
Needles: Circular, US0, both socks knit at once
Pattern: Painted Madness by Tricia Weatherston

Also in sock news, I'm planning out a pair of socks for Socktopia's April Showers theme... More on that later, after I see if they work out the way I've pictured them in my wee tiny brain... I'm still at the babblingly excited stage -- I love it when it still seems you can create anything you want and squish it into a pair of shaped tubes and have it all work out! 'Course that usually simply means reality hasn't yet set in, but still, often after you squish you get something that's not quite "anything you want" but still something quite cool... (Or, other times, there's a bomb or two along the way, but that's what frogging's for, hmm?)

And, with that, without further, adieu!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Swatch Your Step

One fini, two beginni today...

Finished socks for the Pojke-Dot:

There's a wee baby cable hidden in that there ribbing, but otherwise, they're pretty ordinary.

Swatched the Madness Round Three... Requirements were a yarn ("designed with a varigated yarn in mind but a solid would probably work" -- I elected something a bit more sedately variegated than last go-round) that would knit to 7 SPI, 2.5mm needles recommended, yardage a whopping 520 meters recommended (with "plenty left over"). I'm afeared of that "plenty left over" phrase, so I decided to work with a yarn that I had plenty of. Can't you just see me knitting, needles on fire, speeding my way through, rushing toward the finish line, and then... and then... Well, I daren't even say it. If I've enough left over, well, there'll just maybe be another pair of sock in my someday future *grin*.

Specifics:
Mountain Colors Bearfoot, colorway Gold Rush
Needles: Skacel? US0 -- needed to get guage of 7 SPI.
Swatch: Nice hand to the fabric, got guage, has since become a handy-dandy stitch marker container.
Colors are much brighter than they appear in the photo taken on this less than brightish day.

And lastly:


Project, as yet undesigned, dog knows (hopefully, a'cause I don't) if it ever will actually be designed. Said project does have an ultimate goal (obviously lace, obviously shawl-ish) in mind, and said swatches are slightly different in hopes to figure which will work best with said project and said ultimate goal. Which do you prefer visually? There would probably be a fairly large vista of the swatched sections across said-said-said...
Oh, and just so you know, I did block these before I photo-ed them, but there was a bit of a time-lapse in between, I admit...