Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Traveling Sock

Mouse has noticed that many of us have travelling socks and has set up a blog for them.

Today, the sock is at work; it's a commuter sock that doesn't get out much. To be honest, it doesn't look much like a sock yet, but it has already done some traveling on it's own. This yarn (Plymouth Sockotta, Color 618, 45% cotton/40% superwash wool, 15% nylon) was originally part of Juno's stash. When she decided to release some sock yarn into the wild, I was lucky enough to catch some of it on the way past.

Since there's only one ball of it, I'm going to use Wendy's Toe-Up sock pattern and try out the Magic Loop technique.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Amazing Lace

What a coincidence! I had been kind of planning a lace project anyway, when Theresa of Knitting Underway and Rachel of Lickety Knit came up with the idea for The Amazing Lace knit-along for this summer.

When I received this fiber, Brown Sugar (from Robin at Nistock Farms) as a Christmas gift, it immediately said lace to me. Thankfully, it cooperated and spun up very nicely. I plan on knitting the Summer in Kansas shawl pattern from Two Old Bags (gotta love that designer!). I've heard that this is a really well-written, easy-to-follow pattern. We'll just see about that. I have this love-hate relationship with knitting lace. I love it, but somehow manage to make every mistake in the book and wind up restarting many times. This time, I'm going to use lots of markers and probably the occasional "life-line".

I may have missed the cut-off to officially enter, but this is the plan for this project anyway.

Memorial Day Weekend

This last weekend was Memorial Day weekend here in the US. In addition to thinking of our loved ones, we also garden, drink, open the pool, drink, eat, and repeat until Tuesday morning rolls around. I am really sore and almost glad to be back at work. It was beastly hot with highs over 90 F, which is unusual here in August, let alone May.

I really like clematis and finally seem to have gotten some that are happy with my sporadic care. Does this suggest a dyeing project to anyone besides me? Some time ago, I bought Yarns to Dye For, a book that shows you how to dye your own self-patterning yarns; this might just be the inspiration for a project from that book. I think I shall keep my eye out for some plain, economical white wool in my travels this summer.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Knitting Review of Skaneateles, NY

On April 6, the Yarn Harlot started her Knitting Rules Yarn Crawl/Book Tour in Skaneateles, NY. If you ever get the chance, go hear Steph speak; she is even funnier and more charming in person than in her books or on her blog. Not only did she bring the sock, but also the sweater she knitted for the Knitting Olympics. It's a really good thing that we're not the same size, otherwise I might have been tempted to grab it and run.

Even though Skaneateles is a bit over an hour's drive, we went, my Mom came with me and it was worth the drive. I, sadly, have no pictures of the event. To be fair, I didn't have a blog at the time.

What I can do, is take pictures of my souvenirs: Sugar-n-Cream cotton (what's left of it), some superwash wool yarn, Lorna's Laces, Babies to Toddlers and Toddlers to Tots, by Melissa. The cotton has become a couple of warshcloths from Mason-Dixon Knitting, the light blue wool is being knit up into a project from one of Melissa's books and Lorna's Laces will be socks.

There are actually two yarn shops in this pretty little town: Elegant Needles and the Yarn Bin. Both are worth visiting.

OK, so have I distracted you enough from no recent finished projects? Hope so.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My neck is too big.

A few months back, along with many of you, I participated in the Knitting Olympics. I just love the sweater that I knitted. It's warm, soft , cozy and, for the most part, fits really well. The only problem that I have with this sweater is that the neck has gotten larger than I want it to. To be honest, I had the feeling when I was finishing it up that the neck might be too large and now it's annoying me. Let this be a lesson to you, if you think that something's not quite right, it probably isn't.

What to do? A few years ago, I picked up this nifty clear elastic tape. This stuff is great; it's soft, very stretchy and hides itself in your knitting very well. To make the neck smaller, I like to use at least 2 rows of elastic. This time, I'm going to use three rows of elastic since this sweater is a bit on the heavy side.

To do this:

  • Cut three pieces of tape (one for each row) and thread them through the backs of the stitches. I put one row just below the cast off, one a half inch from that and the last about an inch from the edge.
  • Knot/secure only one end
  • Lay the sweater out on the table
  • Pull the elastic tape until you get the size you think you want, secure it with a pin. I usually just fasten a safety pin at one end and wrap the elastic around it to temporarily hold it in place.
  • Distribute the fabric evenly and decide for sure if that's what you want.
  • Secure the end of the tape.

Voila, the neck is the size you want and the elastic also adds some stability to the neckline. Sorry about the blurriness; as you can see, Bubba helped me take this picture. I wore it this morning and felt so clever now that the sweater is hanging better.

This sneaky little trick also works wonders with cuffs (on sweaters, mittens, gloves, etc.), hems and whereever else you think you need a bit of snugging up and/or extra stretchiness.

Friday, May 19, 2006

One whole month of blogging

I'm not sure if it's worth mentioning, but I've managed to keep up with this blogging thing for a whole month. Besides the obvious, one of the good things about this blog is that I look for stuff to take pictures of. Previously, I didn't take pictures of FO's at all. Now I do, so I think I'll just print them out (even if just on plain paper) and put them in my also sporadically updated "Fuzz Diary". My DD named my little notebook as a joke a few years back. What's in my notebook, you ask? Well, I try to get new fiber and yarns written down. When I spin and/or knit with it, I also put in what I liked or disliked about the fiber, yarn or pattern. I also have pages for when/where I entered an item into a competion and how it did. There are also gift pages, so that I don't have to remember what I've made someone in the past. That way I can either add to a set or make something else. I figure there's only so much available room in my brain, so if I write this stuff down, I don't have to remember the details!

As part of the continuing habit (well, possibly addiction) of knitting Mason-Dixon warshcloths, I've done up two more, as well as milling more soap. I'd say who they're for, but let's just try to surprise (not warn) her!

You know how anything cheesy pretty much defeats many dishwashers (or at least mine)? Well, if you have one of these dandy pre-wash systems, your problem is solved. This may not be a good method for everyone, but it works for us. Gypsy takes her duties very seriously; this is one of the few times she will ignore a camera. Besides, if you can't trust the really hot water and strong detergent in a dishwasher, what can you trust?

Since it's been pretty gloomy (although not as much rain as other places) here, I thought it was a good time to show a few pics from a couple of weeks ago. I don't know about the flowering trees/shrubs that other people have, but you can be pretty sure that within minutes of ours being in full bloom, it will get very, very windy, followed by torrential rain or even snow.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New York State Angora Club

For many years, I've been a member of the NYS Angora Club. The members are just a great bunch of people that are knowledgeable and supportive. So what is this shameless plug in aid of? Well, they are hosting this year's national angora show on May 27th in Frankfort, NY. If there is anything that you ever wanted to know about angora bunnies, this is the place to go. You'll see all the breeds: English, French, Satin and Giant in almost every color that they come in and looking their very best.

Other fun includes a Skein, Garment & Wool contest, as well as a raffle to raise funds for the NYS Angora Club. Gypsy, my somewhat willing model, is seen here wearing one of the raffle items. It's a handspun angora/wool moebius scarf from Cat Bordhi's Treasury of Magical Knitting. These have got to be one of the easiest, most gratifying scarves that I've ever done. Once you get the hang of casting on, they knit up very quickly.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Random Wednesday

Here's a joke that a friend sent me:

Pest Control:
A woman was having a passionate affair with an inspector from a pest-control company. One afternoon they were carrying on in the bedroom together when her husband arrived home unexpectedly. "Quick," said the woman to her lover,"into the closet!" and she pushed him in the closet, stark naked. The husband, however, became suspicious and after a search of the bedroom discovered the man in the closet. "Who are you?" he asked him. "I'm an inspector from Bugs-B-Gone," said the exterminator. "What are you doing in there?" the husband asked. "I'm investigating a complaint about an infestation of moths," the man replied. "And where are your clothes?" asked the husband. The man looked down at himself and said,.. "Those little bastards!"

I may be a bit late with the healing mojo for Mr. Etherknitter, but he'll be needing a steady supply for awhile. Check out the crocheted bone on the Etherknitter's blog.

Sometimes we go walkabout at lunch for a change of scene. You wouldn't have a clue that the High Falls/Brown's Race area in downtown Rochester, NY even existed from any of the main roads. There's a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river, a small museum, restaurants, part of a waterwheel and great views. We even saw 5 wild turkeys at the river's edge one day.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Slipper Kit

A friend gave me some roving a few months ago. It's Tunis wool (which is one of my favorites for long-wearing items) and was dyed in this outrageous blend of pink, yellow, orange, purple, turquoise and looked quite a bit like clown hair. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture before I spun it all. I had had about enough of spinning some natural colors, so I pulled it out of the stash. This is definitely one of those cases where spun yarn (even as a singles) looks completely different than the roving.

I think that I'll probably make a pair of felted slippers for myself and may even put leather on the soles. I do have 1/2 pound of this fiber (but no more in stash), so I think I'll ply it with this dark brown. That way, I'm sure I'll have more than enough yarn for the project. It's a bit surprising how much yarn a to-be-felted project can eat up. Another plus is that they will felt evenly, rather than wondering how each fiber would felt separately. I have some interesting projects that prove that nicely!

Lunch, anyone?

Quite some time ago, I knit and felted the lunchbag from Knit One, Felt Two. The yarn was a lovely, bulky one from Cloverleaf Farms. I kept knitting until I ran out of yarn, so this bag is a bit shorter than in the book. This is OK, as I don't bring a large lunch to work anyway.

What was the hold up, you ask? Well, I needed to make a handle and figure out a neat way to close the top to keep my lunch cold. While at an antique show last month, there was a lady selling vintage buttons. I have a thing for buttons, so I started looking and found 4 buttons that might just work. The handle is cording made on a lucet from cotton yarn. The button loop is made from the same lucet cording, but I ran a length of elastic cord through it for a bit of stretch.

I used it for the first time today and found that it keeps my lunch colder than the insulated one that I had been using and it's way more attractive!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Finished Objects!

Thank goodness, I'm finally finished with the Jaywalker socks. It just boggles my mind that sometimes a project (with a really good, easy-to-follow pattern) can just beat you up from day one. Yes, I did run out of the patterned yarn (so very little left) and just finished up the toes in navy blue. They're both the same, so it even looks somewhat planned.

I did discover that, even though I struggled constantly with these socks, that they contained powerful mojo. I had to run some errands on the way home from work yesterday that included navigating myself down a mostly 4-lane road with much construction and what seems like a million traffic lights. I put the sock in my lap with the intention of knitting at each of the lights that I got stuck waiting for (they're all long ones, too). I don't think that I got even half a round knitted all the way home. I could almost think about being sorry that I've finished them!

Another FO: Mason-Dixon washcloths and soap for my Mom for Mother's Day. I milled some soap to match. Probably could have done better on the molding, but I didn't think that there would be enough time for the soap to dry before Sunday.

Spring around here is always a bit of a wonder. Years ago, we planted some wisteria vines to help windbreak/shade our patio. They grew rampantly (like get out the machete at least once a month), but didn't get flowers for years. Garden stores and other experts would say that wisteria just doesn't bloom around here; it's too far north. The first time I saw some of these kind of fuzzy, purplish-brown things on it, I thought there was something terribly wrong with the vines. What a lovely surprise to find out they they turn into really long, really big flower clusters. I'm also glad to report that our wisteria seems to be over it's pouting. It hadn't bloomed at all since a late frost froze the flower buds a few years ago.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Have any of you ever had one of those patterns just kind of beat you up for no good reason? The Jaywalkers sock pattern does that to me. It's a great pattern, it's easy to follow (especially if you read it...false start #1), it looks nice (when you are able to count...huge number of tinks/ribbits) and fits nicely (once you decide on how many stitches you really need to cast on (false start #2, which got all the way to the instep).

I'm happy to say that I am heading towards the home-stretch on these socks; however, I got all the way to here:

Note that I seem to have about a foot of yarn left with about 1/2" of toe left to knit. Drat! My plan is to work along on the second sock (with the second ball of yarn) until I get to the same point. Either I'll have enough to finish both socks or I'll just have to knit the tip of the toe in a coordinating color.

Some projects are just like that.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Busy, busy week

It's been a very busy week, but I did manage to get outside and take some spring pictures. You know it's really spring when you find asparagus coming up. There's only a few stalks coming up, but there'll be enough for a meal soon.

Even dandelions are a welcome, cheerful sight after winter. At least I think that until I've gotten sick of pulling them out the flower beds!

We have some late daffodils and even some tulips this year. Every wild critter around here will eat the tulips, so there are many years when all I get are little green stubbs at ground level.

On an actual fiber related note, I've always thought those fabric lined baskets were a really neat idea that would work nicely to keep current fiber projects organized. However, I also think that they're often quite overpriced. One day, the lightbulb went on (however dimly) and I allowed as how I have fabric, I have a basket, I have a glue gun. The basket is a good size that easily fits a 1/2 pound ball of roving or a cat named Trouble. She thinks it's hers and will often look at me piteously until I remove the wool for her.