May 31, 2006

So Long for Now

I'm off to the NWRSA conference. I'm bringing my camera but I'm not promising to remember to take any photos.

I've sewn all four strips of the afghan. Now they need to be sewn to each other and have the edging knit. It may finally get finished.

I've also been cranking out mittens to felt for Dulaan. Unfortunately tonight I knit a second right mitten instead of a left mitten. I'm hoping I have enough of the same yarn for two full pairs. They knit up so quickly. I started one when I went to Stitch 'n Bitch tonight and only have half the thumb left to knit.

May 30, 2006

What Do the Neighbors Think?

My new neighbors must think I'm crazy. Every other morning they see me tiptoe barefoot out on to the deck holding socks or yarn or something then arranging it on the only sunny patch and snapping many pictures.



Here are my Dulaan socks made from my Cascade 220 leftovers from the Denmark socks.

Pattern: I made it up but I think I'll post it later in case anyone is interested.
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (60 grams total)
Needle: US3 Addis

I realized yesterday that I needed to finish spinning the merino I started over the weekend. I'm heading to the Northwest Regional Spinners Association conference on Thursday and I need to free up my bobbins.



Here is one bobbin. I have two and three-quarters done. I just need a 30 minutes to spin up the rest and then ply it. I hope it ends up being enough for a pair of socks. The bobbins look awfully small.

I also finished sewing two strips of blocks for the afghan. Two more strips to go.

May 29, 2006

Potluck Skein

I haven't been really happy with the way my dyeing turned out on my first two skeins. I was disappointed because I would have a specific idea and try to realize it. When the yarn didn't come out the way I imagined it I felt let down and disappointed in myself. So for my third skein I decided to go totally random. I put the very wet skein in a large plastic bowl and poured on dye (a few tablespoons of 1% stock solution mixed with a cup of water and a glug of vinegar). I poured and also used a baby syringe to push the dye deep into the skein. I lined my colors up so that they were basically in color wheel order so any mixing would produce a color other than brown. I also used a dark brown I had mixed up (brown, black and a pinch of magenta). I colored the skein and made sure there were no white spots. I stuck it in the microwave and zapped it several times. When I pulled it out and peered in the bowl it was so beautiful. Then I lifted it up and saw that most of the bottom of the skein was still white! I laid out paper and plastic and put the skein down and poured on more color on all the white spots. The hot, wet wool just drank in the dye. I added more water and vinegar, wrapped it up and put in back in the microwave. When I took it out I noticed that the liquid was pink. I rinse the skein. The water was very pink. I rinsed it again. After five or six rinsings the water was still coming off pink. Eventually I spun it out and left it to dry. I like the look of it but I worry that the magenta will just keep washing out. So I still haven't had a dyeing experience that worked out the way I hoped it would.

May 28, 2006

Spin In and Knit In and Knitbuds, Oh My!

Yesterday I went to the Spin In at Weaving Works. It was mainly the regular crowd and we're all getting to know one another a lot better. We also finally wore name tags so we could learn one another's names. One woman who comes very often raises angora rabbits. She's always spinning these gorgeous fluffy batts of fiber. She brings extras to sell. A week ago she brought three new baby bunnies with her too to show off. Yesterday she and I went out to lunch together midway through the spinning. I was peppering her with lots of questions about her bunnies and how she keeps them and where, etc. This was when she very casually mentioned that she also has two alpacas! In the city! I got her number so I could bring Wes and the boys over to meet her animals. I've been telling Wes all about them and how easy they are to care for. I'm not sure if he's buying it yet.

I had a pretty productive day and spun nearly all of my Ashland Bay multi-colored merino. I want to make a sock yarn and am spinning hoping for a 3-ply. I pulled off a little sample and it seemed sturdy but soft and the right size. We'll see.

As soon as spinning wrapped up I headed to TMK's house for Ryan's Dulaan Knit In. When I got there the party was in full swing. There were lots of knitters, loads of food and a mountain of donations for Dulaan. I gave Ryan everything I had been storing up including old shop samples, socks the boys outgrew and lost and found items that had never been claimed. I forgot to make a note of how many hats, socks, etc. I knit before I tossed them in the pile. I stayed and worked on a simple sock from my Denmark leftovers.

As things started to wind down I moved on to location #3, Starbucks. I met up with a few knitbuds and we knit until closing. I finished the first sock and started a pair of felted mittens from some crazy handspun I made last fall. I cast on the second sock this morning and knit the ribbing and half the leg on a trip to Costco. Let's hear it for multi-tasking.

Now Some Explanations

1) My second dyed skein was way too watery, pastel looking. I put it in the dye pot with 5 tablespoons of a medium blue. I really like how it turned out and will be sending it to my swap pal. I'm calling it "Poolside."

2) First and second skeins side by side.

3) A third skein, dyed in a more random style and microwaved is having a serious bleeding problem with the magenta. I rinsed it five or six times and it was still running very badly. It's drying now. I may try to add more magenta to some areas and just cook the hell out of it to try to make it stick.

4) All the samples skeins from my fall spinning class are finally done. I'm planning on using them all together to knit a very simple shawl.

May 27, 2006

Photos Now, Explanations Later







May 26, 2006

Off to Estonia


Naturespun Sport in Natural, Beet Red, Storm and Nordic Blue


I'm off to a slooooow start on these socks. After whipping through Denmark, knitting 102 stitches on size 0s while doing two-color knitting off of a teeny weeny chart is painfully slow. I started these on Wednesday night and foolishly thought I would be through the color chart when I got home from Stitch 'n Bitch. Silly me. I'm now halfway through the chart.

I've also started a pain of plain, plain, plain socks for Dulaan with my leftover Denmark yarn. The Estonians aren't walking around knitting material. A few people have asked about the thickness of the Denmark socks. Cascade 220 is listed as a worsted weight yarn but I like it more as a DK yarn. Knit on 3s it made a nice firm fabric--not bullet-proof and not too thick to wear with my shoes.

May 25, 2006

Knitscene Preview

The preview of the new Knitscene is up.

Stitch 'N Pitch

Remember last year when the Mariners had a Stitch 'N Pitch night? Remember how everyone said, "I wish they did that in my city." Well, bitch no more (if you live in one of the nine cities that is adopting the idea this year).

The rest of you can keep on bitching.

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Ah Knit 1 magazine, the point in the universe where knitting and sense diverge.

What could explain a garment called "Zesty Chest?"



Where is the sense in a vest that is knit to a gauge of, oh, 3 sts to the foot?



The model has to lean against the wall to support the weight of it.

And when all sense is gone we end up with knitted bike shorts--with suspenders.



Flattering yet stylish, no? Personally I don't like knitwear that shows off my "package."

May 24, 2006

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

I love Knitty. It's full of great patterns, informative articles and all sorts of wonderful knitterly things for free. I love it. I hate to criticize it because hey! I'm not even paying for it. But today's surprise patterns did indeed hold a surprise--an inverted tulip to wear over your ass. What gives?

Update: The Knitty site is down right now. As Carrie pointed out in the comments, "It must be so bad it broke the website! Maybe they have shut down knitty temporarily while they regain their sense."

New Update: The site's back up but they haven't come to their senses.

Denmark



Pattern: Denmark from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Just slightly more than one skein Cascade 220 Superwash, color #865
Needle: US3 Addi
Notes: This is a super-duper-extra easy pattern and insanely fast to knit.

May 23, 2006

Get Out! And Run.

This is such a cool idea from Apple and Nike. Sadly Nike shoes don't fit me at all.

May 22, 2006

High Points

My knitting high point for the week (or possibly month or year) occurred on Wednesday. Leigh Radford came to lead a workshop at the store. She arrived early to set up and spent some time looking around the shop. She found a pattern she liked and bought it. My pattern! Leigh Radford bought a pattern I wrote. Crazy. And I got to teach her the i-cord cast on. I got to teach her.

I also finished the first Denmark sock today.



I'm very happy with how it turned out. And so. damned. fast.

The eight year old party went by quickly with so much screaming you would not believe. The movie was cute and the sleepover a success. All in all a good birthday celebration.

If You Ever Questioned...

...for just one second if Britney Spears was complete and utter trailer trash I believe this photo provides the answer. White halter, black bra and pink thong. 'Nuff said.

Those Go Fug Yourself girls rock.

In Crazy Seattle News

The Seattle police killed a bear about a mile or so from my house yesterday. Having just seen Over the Hedge, I have to ask, "Was he with a racoon and a turtle with a red wagon full of food?"

May 20, 2006

New England



Pattern: New England from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Koigu KPM and KPPPM
Needle: US0 Addi Turbo

I Want It Noooooow

My son was watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory yesterday. I was rather Veruca Salt-ish myself yesterday.

I took my younger son to the zoo (I love that the Seattle zoo has zoo.org as a domain name. How wired is that?) yesterday for the opening of Zoomazium.* I had no idea there would be a whole ceremony involved. I had to keep him at bay while the mayor made a speech. I also had to field questions and funny looks while finishing the New England socks. Once the sock was done, playing was over and lunch was had, I immediately wanted to start my next sock, Denmark. I had been toying with the idea of using Elann Esprit but it just didn't seem right for the sock. Then I thought I would use my Fleece Artist sock yarn. But no, it's too thin. So I put the kid in the car and drove a few blocks north to the Fiber Gallery. My co-worker was a little confused to see me there since I had just worked the entire day before. I headed to the Cashsoft DK but after looking at the colors I turned the corner and went to the Cascade 220 Superwash. I pulled out several heathery shades of green and burgundy. My son wanted me to choose the "red" one. I thanked him for his opinion but went with a deep green with tiny yellowish hints. I'm halfway through the first leg. But last night was also a drop-in spinning night. I worked on a merino roving from Ashland Bay. I have 3.8 oz. I was trying to spin a fine single and make a three ply sock yarn from it. But as I talked and listened and looked around the room I started to spin a bit thicker. Hopefully I can still salvage a somewhat consistently sock-weight yarn from this.

Now we need to clean everything in anticipation of eight 8 year old boys showing up for a birthday party. Two will stay to go see Over the Hedge with us and then sleep over! A first for our boys. Light a candle for me. It's going to be a long night.

*Zoomazium was very cool. There's an enclosed area for toddlers with several large, overstuffed chairs nearby for parents to sit and watch in comfort. Then there's a large rock-like climbing area with a cave underneath and a slide. The highlight is a two story high tree which has a staircase/climbing area up the back and a giant spiral slide inside. There are a few educational stations too but my son was all about the jumping, climbing and sliding. I wish this had opened when my boys were still little. It's the perfect place to hang out on a very rainy or very hot Seattle day.

May 19, 2006

Small Pieces of Progress

I reskeined the darker yarn I dyed on my smaller niddy noddy. It made the colors blend and the overall effect is much nicer than I originally thought.



I also finished sewing the 20th block over the weekend.



I still have hours and hours and hours and hours of seaming left.

I'm just about to start the toe decreases on my second New England sock. An FO. Who knew?

May 18, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?



Word to your mother.

May 17, 2006

Blah-o-Rama

I tried my hand at some dyeing yesterday. I wanted to create something cheerful. I'm a bit color-impaired so I looked for some inspiration and guidance. Here is the Pantone 2006 Spring color forecast.



I was worried about colors blending to make muddy brown. So I picked French Vanilla, Lily Green, Skyway and Viola assuming that if each color could blend with it's neighbor and still make a desirable color. I soaked my wool for a good long time. I then tried to get most of the excess water out. First I put it in the salad spinner. It was still too wet and my arm got tired. So I put it in a lingerie bag and spun it out in the washing machine. Unfortunately by the time I was ready to "paint" it had gotten a bit too dry. My dyes were also a little haphazardly mixed as far as how much water I mixed with the dyes. The yarn drank up the dye and the dye did not wick at all so I ended up with colors that were more intense than I intended and white spaces between colors because there was no spreading.



I decided to overdye the whole skein with a very faint light blue so eliminate the white spaces and tone down the screaming yellow (what happened to French Vanilla?). As Groundskeeper Willie would say, "Back in the Loch with you, Nessie!"



I think it helped a little.



The crazy yellow is really toned down. But still it was kind of blah. So I tried again. This time my skein was nice and damp but not drippy. My dyes were weaker. The results here are way too pastel. It just looks watery to me.



The light keeps shifting so here are the two skeins side by side.



Blah.

Now I don't know what to do. Should I keep tweaking these skeins by adding more colors? Should I completely overdye a dark shade? Should I start again?

May 16, 2006

Spinning on the Radio

Wes just sent me a story on KUOW about spinning that starts with the usual reviving an old craft angle and ends with a these people are nuts feeling.

Great.

Priorities

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I worked, went to Purlygirls, came home and watched Grey's Anatomy. I was up until 2. Eesh. Wes is very confused about the show. He can't decide if he likes it because it's good or if he just got sucked in because I watch it. Nothing like a little medical soap opera to get a guy questioning his masculinity.

I did make a ton of progress on my second New England sock.



I haven't looked at it this morning but I'm pretty sure I am ready to knit the heel flap. Then it's zoom, zoom, zoom to the toe. The next sock in the Knitting on the Road Knitalong is Denmark which I'm looking forward to because it's a bigger gauge. Big gauge = fast sock. I thought I'd use some of my Elann Sierra but it's an aran weight yarn. The pattern calls for sport weight. I could probably force it down but then it would be torture to knit. I looked through my stash this morning and now I think I'll try it out using some sage Elann Esprit. It's kind of an odd choice but I really want to knit from the stash.

Sunday night started making my dye stock solutions. I didn't have time for all nine (!) dyes so I hit the most important ones first.




I've got Black, Prime Yellow, Cyan and Magenta all bottled up. And I didn't dye myself or my kitchen any strange colors.

I have to go make lunch for my older son. He's 8 today! I can't believe it. He woke us up at 6:55 to see if he could open his presents. Eesh.

May 14, 2006

Let the Faceless Soul-Sucking Ghoul-along Commence!

Many people have asked where the book I posted on Thursday came from. I found it here. The designer, Jean Greenhowe, seems to be pretty prolific on the knitted stuffed toy front. There's hedgehogs dressed as town criers, bellhops, and clowns, clowns, clowns and more clowns! Have at it!

Mother's Day

Wes and the kids decided to "let me sleep in" this morning. Which means they woke me up several times and just as I was starting to get really pissed off they all cleared out. At one point this morning I woke up with my 6 year old lying next to me, the dog lying on me and my almost-8 year old sitting at the foot of the bed reading (the cat was in there somewhere too I think). I believe I had about 7 square inches of space to sleep on.

Anyway, they all took off and I slept alone(!) for a while then got up and did what any mother does when she finally has the place to herself--cleaned. I also got ready to make dye stock solutions but realized that each color needs to simmer for 30 minutes then cool in the pot and I have nine colors. I don't think that's how I want to spend my entire afternoon. I've set it all aside and will tackle at least part of it tonight.

Molly and Jeanne came over last night to knit. I finished sewing up Block #19 and knit and extra square. I am now ready to sew up the final block! Then I have to figure out how to arrange the blocks and continue sewing until I become demented.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 12, 2006

And Now the Photos


New England


Toe Close-Up


Traveler's Sock Yarn


Estonian Sock Yarn

Nancy Bush Knows a Thing or Two About Socks

Nancy Bush is a sock expert. She has written four fabulous books. I own them all. I had her sign them all. I've taken three classes from her. So, why, when she said the New England socks in Knitting on the Road take three skeins of Koigu, didn't I believe her? Well, I did believe her but I thought I would just make mine shorter, as I usually do, and only need two skeins.

Yeah, so Nancy was right.

Fortunately I made it to the end of the lace and the beginning of the toe shaping before I ran out. Then I was able to reach into the giant bag 'o Koigu, or Goo, as I affectionately call it and find a skein that went rather nicely with my sock color.

I cast on for the second sock last night while watching ER. (Anyone watch that? Holy crap!)

Yesterday was also the first day of the Weaving Works sale. Molly and I arranged to meet up early and get in line. When I showed up Molly was already there waiting, by herself. Yup, we were first in line. Molly got a prize for it. That didn't stop a few people from trying to just march right up to the door in front of us. I actually had to tell one woman that all the people lined up behind us were also waiting to get inside and perhaps she should go stand in line like the rest of them. Everyone else in line was too nice to say anything to her. I don't have that problem. I have a grade schooler and am experienced in calling "No cuts!"

So the sale. The sale was underwhelming. The clearance was very disappointing--almost entirely novelty yarn. I went straight to the coned yarns and got two full cones of Kona Superwash for some sock yarn dyeing. I also got some merino superwash top to spin (after I put back a big bag of cinnamon alpaca--when will I ever spin all of this?). While I was waiting in line some Koigu caught my eye. It was a lightly variegated burgundy. My color. But only two skeins and I have seen the light and know that Nancy Bush knows a thing or two about socks and she says I will need three skeins to knit the Traveler's Socks and who am I to argue? I left them there. Then complained to Molly. Molly, in her yarny wisdom, pointed out that the color would also work very nicely with the barely touched skein I used to knit the toes on my New England socks. I could do the same on the Traveler's Socks, right? Sold!

Then, since I was on a binge at this point, I got some Naturespun Sport at work. We just got it in. As I unpacked I picked out my colors for my Estonian Socks from Folk Socks.

I should have photos of all of this. I took terrible, fuzzy, underlit photos that I refuse to share with you. I need to pull out my lights and take some decent photos. But my office has gotten a bit...disorganized. Remember when you were all so impressed when I got it all straightened up? There's been a bit of backsliding.






Block Count: 15

May 11, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I recently found a book of toys knit from garter stitch strips. Sounds simple. There's some cute things in there.



Let's see. There's Santa, various little sea creatures and baked beans? A penguin, a snowman with the obligatory "we love garter stitch" banner, vegetables, a baby chick, a witch with a black cat and cauldron, a legless caveman? A robot, a snake, Frankenstein's monster, the mummy and a faceless soul-sucking ghoul? Yup, just your standard toy selection.

What the hell?

May 10, 2006

Now She Tells Me!

Kay has finally divulged her no-sew psychedelic square secrets. It's too late for me. Save yourself!

Can't Sleep, Squares Will Eat Me

In order to prevent a Psychedelic Square sewing induced psychotic break I gave myself a little rest yesterday. I worked on my long neglected New England sock for the Knitting on the Road Along. It's so long neglected that it's not even the current sock for the knitalong.




I worked on it yesterday while watching the beginning of season two of Rescue Me. I nearly shed a tear when Tommy pulled out of a gas station in Ohio and the price for regular gas was $2.11. Good times...

May 9, 2006

In Case You're Slow, Like Me

Have you updated your information in the Sockapaloooza database? I must have been skimming posts until this morning when I realized that I needed to log in and update that I finished, sent and received socks.

Block count: 12 done, 8 to go.

May 8, 2006

I Thought I Could Count to Six

Apparently, I can't.
I have found two square so far that start with the wrong number of rows and are, therefore, too big or too small. But I've continued sewing.

May 6, 2006

7 Blocks

No, it's not the prequel to a Bruce Willis film.
It's how many blocks I have sewn up so far on my blanket.



I took my bag of squares to Starbucks to meet up with Molly and Marti tonight.



I sewed and sewed for two hours.



I got two blocks done tonight.



Seven done altogether. Only 13 more blocks to go. Then more sewing, then edging, then backing...

79 Squares Done

One to go.

May 5, 2006

Socka-Wahoo-Za!

Say, what's in this cute little bag?



Three socks for me!



A pair of Rainy Day Socks made by Heather in Maine Bear Sox Aegean colorway plus a funny little sock coin purse with flipflops all over it! The socks fit beautifully. Thank you, Heather.

May 4, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Eagle-eyed reader, Kristine, sent me a photo that deserves an entry of its own. Freeform crochet is very popular right now. I can appreciate it in a looking-at-a-bizarre-sea-creature kind of way. I don't think it makes great garments.

Case in point.



Would you look at this poor guy? Too ashamed to face the camera, ears back. He's a portrait of doggy sorrow.

May 3, 2006

Hopefully No Handknit Socks Were Harmed

May 2, 2006

72 Squares

The end is near.