Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sock it TWO you!

Well, I'm still alive in Sock Wars, but I'm not exactly sure where I stand. Are socks on the way to me? Did my target kill her target before I killed her, or what? The mail has been delivered today, and no sock or sock related items were in the box, so my stint in Sock Wars limbo continues at least until Monday.

This is not all bad news--in the meantime, I've been working on a few different projects to kill time while I wait . . . to be killed dead with killer deadly kill socks. This morning I finished the non-lethal socks I started for the two socks at once class at Renaissance Yarns:

Don't the sock blockers make these look nice and smooth? I love that.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted Merino Superwash, I used one skein and US7 Addi Turbo needles. This yarn is deliciously soft, it would make a great sweater but is a little too pricey to contemplate multiple skeins.

The key to two socks at once is a long circular, 47" in this case. I love Addis in general, but would have liked a pointier tip for these. The pattern is a nice, basic sock with an eye-of-the-partridge heel flap, and was great for learning the two socks technique. The photo to the right shows the flap, which may look short here but really fits fine. Considering that there was no swatching, and that the cuff seemed tiny while knitting, the fit is surprisingly good on these socks. At the same time, they are too thick to wear with shoes, at least not in the mild-wintered Pacific Northwest.

I'm not 100% behind the garter stitch pattern at the edge of the flap--next time, I'll probably modify. But overall, the heel looks pretty nice. The yarn is hand-dyed, so even though it's only one color there is a little variation.

One thing about socks and puppies, is that the two combined usually leads to some fussin' and a feudin'. Generally, the sock and the sock wearer do not win the argument. Although the dogs have learned that they cannot chew on knitting projects (unless we leave them out when not at home), they do like to play with socks, either on the foot or lying around. Not that I've ever left socks lying around, right? Anyway, the fiercest socks battle had ended before I could get to the camera (it's hard to walk with both dogs biting your feet), but Frieda was still interested in a little nibble. Note here that the grafting on the toes looks pretty good--better than my previous efforts, I think, thanks to a tip from Lara900 on the Sockwars Forum, which now that I re-read it, I did wrong, so I won't describe what I did. But it still looks better than the Deadly Kill Socks that I knit last week, and evidently they are very tasty.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Isn't this the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? The bathroom has no floor covering, no toilet, no sink. The vanity that was supposed to be ready for pickup at the beginning of last week won't be here until maybe sometime next week. The shower curtain rod isn't installed yet, and the ceiling is not yet painted. The one week remodel will end up taking closer to three, if we are lucky. But I don't care about any of this--tomorrow I will shower at home instead of in front of strangers at the YMCA. It is a small triumph, but a triumph nonetheless.

Live to Knit Another Day

It's Wednesday, and I'm still alive in Sock Wars. The suspense is killing me, but in the meantime I've worked a little on the Print O' The Wave shawl, and am keeping an eye on the mailbox and catching up on the knitting blogs. Crazy Aunt Purl requested photos of favorite knitting spots, so I sent her this:

This is the chair that I knit in the most, and the knitting clutter is all over the living room--basket next to chair, books and magazines behind the chair and on the fireplace, skein winder on fireplace, too. Here's the view while I'm actually knitting (yes, I wear troll pajamas):
Mariners are leading Oakland 5 to 4 in this photo. Will baseball season ever be over? Once the World Series is done, it's time to start hoping for a better season next year. It could happen, people.

Missing from these photos is Gretel, who chose to sit by herself for once, in the popular dog carseat.

I blame the unseasonably warm weather today--usually they are both right next to each other, even though Frieda hates it when Gretel touches her.

Monday, September 25, 2006

First (Last?) Pair Down and Sent

This afternoon I sent off my finished Sock Wars socks, they are headed towards my target. She dyes yarn, check out her Etsy store, the colors are beautiful and make me wonder if my Puyallup Fair yarn is anywhere near as pretty. I do like this yarn, it held up beautifully to washing and drying, which I did even at the risk of ruining the socks and starting over. Nobody wants their socks to smell like Little Stinky.

Here's how they turned out:

Very, Very, Very bright.

But oh, so artistic in black and white.

Forget that rhyming crap. Here's some detail of the grafted toe. I think this toe turned out better than the other one--I'm not very good at the Kitchener stitch, even though I read the directions over and over and over.

I've made contact with my assasinator, but the villain gave me no clues as to when I will be dead. I think that my target may still be able to take out her target before my socks reach her, it all depends on the US Mail. If I survive the week, I'll be happy that the mail does take some time--I'm going to three baseball games this week (pure torture), and I'm swamped at work and at home with other things. If I was starting another pair of socks today, I would not be happy. It is very nice to have finished an item, though!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Can't Talk, Knitting

Sock Wars has started, the pattern arrived late on Friday due to infrastructure-destroying weather in the organizer's area (Belfast, Ireland). Then little Frieda had to make an unplanned visit to the vet's office, because she was acting strange--scratch/bite on her belly, secretive eating of something unknown, and then totally lethargic. She basically got over whatever was bothering her as soon as we got to the vet's office, because she loooooooves the people who work there and seeing other dogs. Anyway, I got a much later start than planned, and then my first start had two problems:
  • The sock was gi-normous, even though I'd swatched as directed
  • The two balls of yarn I used were completely different colors, even though they had the same dye lot. One is noticably paler than the other--this is probably because they are hand-dyed.

I tried to fool myself into thinking that I could make it work, but I only had a few inches knit so I decided to rip out the socks and start again using one ball of yarn and one size smaller needles. The new needles are size 6 Knit Picks options needles, and I like them a lot--the tips are sharper than Addi Turbos, and the joins are pretty smooth, and the cable is flexible enough for Magic Loop.

Now, mid-day on Sunday, I've finished the heel and gussets and expect smooth sailing the rest of the way. Here's where I am:

Note that I'm knitting both socks at once, so they're both at the same point and (hopefully) pretty much identical. Here's the pair in black and white, which shows the rib pattern better:

I like this rib stitch, and the pattern has been very straightforward and quick, except for the false start. Hopefully, I'll finish up this afternoon and get these in the mail tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Print O' The Wave

ARRRRRRRGH! Mom picked up a stool for me today, I wanted something that I could sit on during the rare moments that my computer is at a desk instead of parked next to the Lazy-Boy. The stool is bar stool height, instead of short. "This stool be high", says I. It's talk like a pirate day. The perfect day to start another Pirate Hat, but not enough time to go to the yarn store.

Instead, I display the beginnings of what could be a very nice shawl-sized scarf. It's the Print O' the Wave shawl . Here's how it looks:

I'm using Blue Sky Alpaca's Royal Alpaca, in the Antique Black. It's really more of a dark brown, and it's incredibly soft. Let's hope I have enough to make this a decent size, and enough patience to go through another night like last night--knit five rows, pick out three, knit three more. It does look very nice so far, doesn't it?

So the Sissyvette house is in a little disarray, due to a bathroom renovation (love that YMCA shower!) and I've got to cut this short. Renovation photos coming soon--prepare yourselves.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Advertising My Brother's Photo Site

Check out my brother's photo site, if you wish. This is the large-headed brother, not the oldest brother or the doctor brother.

In particular, it features some outstanding photos of Frieda and Gretel from a few months ago when Gretel was a mean-faced puppy instead of a total goofball in photos. Also, he's posted some videos of the dogs fighting, including one where Gretel is wearing a cone--she was just back from the doggy hospital after eating slug bait. The videos are outstanding, I may post separate links here later.


The Pirate Hat is completed, blocked, and dry. The fabric has smoothed out a lot, and it looks really nice, but it is still too small for my giant head, and probably for the head of either of the two people I was thinking that this hat might suit. Next time, I'll go up a needle size. For the extra giant head of my brother (not one of the original possible recipients, due to giant head), heavier yarn might also be in order. Giant. Head.

One thing I really like about the design of the hat is the way the four panels come together at the top. I have had trouble with this type of thing in the past, so the results are particularly pleasing. I like the balance of light and dark at the top, too.

The inside looks pretty good--notice the Blood Red Lining. I tried to be diligent about carrying the yarn evenly across the back, but I like that the lining covers up the part that is most likely to be handled and therefore snagged.

Project Recap:

  • Pattern: Hello Yarn (there are other great patterns there)
  • Main Yarn: Dale of Norway Heilo, one skein charcoal and one skein cream
  • Lining Yarn:GGH Merino Soft, fairly small amount of red
  • Needles: Size 1 (lining) and 3 (all else), 16" circulars. Origin of each unknown, but the size 1 is brutally sharp. Do not attempt to take on a plane!!!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bustin' More Mutton

Another trip to the fair, another round of Mutton Bustin'. Videos available here, here, and here. Sorry for the "blue"-ness of two of the clips, I'm still learning to use my camers!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pirate Hat, Prior to Washing

I finished the pirate hat, it is now washed and is drying. Here are some pre-wash photos:
Gretel & Frieda say,"What Up, Dawg?"
Sorry about that, but with Gretel peeking out of the pirate hat, she looks so street.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Clap, Clap, Clap Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap Dog Park!

The highlight of the dogs' weekend was a trip to the off-leash dog park. Frieda loooooves the park, and Gretel is getting used to it but tends to stick kind of close. Here are some photos.

Frieda sniffs and sniffs:

Another ridiculous face:

Frieda makes a new friend (notable because her dog-park arch enemy is a beagle named Chester. He likes to put her whole head in his mouth, he's been doing that since they were both puppies.)
Too long for one frame:
Not the brightest bulb, is Gretel:
Frieda exploring trails :

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pirates, Two Socks, Mr. Stripey

I've been working a lot on the projects that I've started since beginning this blog, here are some status updates.

The skull and crossbones part of the Pirate Hat is complete, and I've started the Blood Red Lining. The Blood Red Lining is only a few inches long, so hopefully I will finish this up soon. The size 1 needles that I'm using for the Blood Red Lining are pointier than usual, and I'm a little worried that they will end up poking holes into my fingers, making them also Blood Red. The hat looks pretty good, but it is a little smaller than expected--next time (and I'm sure there will be a next time), I will use larger needles. Hopefully, I can stretch it out a little when I block it, and smooth out the fabric.

A new project this week is a pair of worsted weight socks that I started in the Knitting Two Socks at Once class at Renaissance Yarns. The setup and first few rows are tricky, but after that it's pretty straightforward. So far, anyway. I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, and size 5 Addi Turbos.

The Two Mr. Stripeys
Neither Mr. Stripey the tomato nor Mr. Stripey the sock have had much of my attention this week, but there has been some progress. The tomato is finally turning not-green, and the sock is almost ready for a heel.

Overall, it feels like I'm doing a lot of knitting lately, and when I'm not knitting I'm thinking about knitting. I'm pretty sure that this isn't totally healthy, given that I haven't been getting any exercise (other than walking around for five hours a day at Bumbershoot). But I don't really want to document any exercise that I do, especially not with photos. Can I blame the blog for the preoccupation with knitting? I think I can!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

You Can Do it a Trot, You Can Do it at a Gallop

The Puyallup Fair started yesterday, and mom and I went today. The Fair has spruced up lately, there's a nice new building for the mop and gadget hawkers, and there are hand washing stations all over the grounds. Seriously--hand washing at a fair? Here's the quick summary:

What I saw:

  • Quilting and knitting exhibits
  • Vendors, vendors, vendors--selling Vita-Mixers, bbq sauce, mops, wickless candles, toys, tools, etc.
  • Mutton Bustin' (more info below)
  • Spinners spinning
  • A seriously awesome antique sock knitting machine
  • Boy Scout parade
  • 4-H cats (an aside--we were looking for dogs, but there were only cats. As we were about to enter the cat barn, a tough-looking guy in his late 20s/early 30s looked over at the barn and said "I could really do without the cats".)
  • Pygmy Goats
  • Probably six kinds of ducks and chickens, including tiny baby chicks
  • Giant pumpkins

What I ate:

  • Fisher Scone (world famous--we brought home a dozen as well)
  • Beef Empanada from "Ya Gotta Empanada," my all-time favorite food booth name
  • Lemonade

What I bought:

  • 125 grams of Lace Wing sock yarn, hand-dyed in WA by Pat Fly. The color is "Shades of Teal", although it is pretty muted for teal--it isn't that "color of the 1990's" teal.
  • Two hanks of orangey-pinky-peachey DK weight merino Fancy Image Hand-dyed yarn. Depending on how it swatches, this might be my Sock Wars yarn--I like the idea of using a uniquely local yarn, especially if my target is far away. If my target is local, then I might use something else.

About Mutton Bustin'

This is a new thing at the fair this year. The basic premise is that you put a helmet and a protective vest on a 2 to 6 year old child (weighing less than 60 pounds), put him or her on the back of a sheep, and let them ride the sheep until they fall off. Although it is probably cruel to both the sheep AND the child, it was hilarious to watch. Here's the sign that was posted on the fence in front of the bleachers.

DO NOT TOUCH THE ANIMALS. Ride them, yes. Touch them, no.

Here's one rider, who is using a technique that seems a little dangerous. No children were trampled, but there were a couple of close calls.

I took an extremely short video, you can view it here. I would like to point out that the youngest child was only 2 years old. Yikes!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Even an Adorable Dachshund Puppy. . .

. . . can take a bad photograph.

Bumbershoot - Day Three

I was only at Bumbershoot for about four hours today, and I opted out of staying an extra four or five hours to see Nouvelle Vague. I'm a little sad about not seeing them, but I thought that staying out late after three full days of sun might be a mistake. Here's the wrap-up:

What I Heard
All of the music that I saw today was pleasant enough, but ultimately forgettable. I decline to name names.

What I Ate
Pork Teriyaki Skewer
Strawberry Lemonade
Beef Bratwurst

What I Bought
Two skeins of luscious Blue Sky Alpacas' Royal Alpaca in antique black from the Hilltop Yarn booth. It should be enough to make a good sized lacy scarf of some sort. Of course, if I start saving up now, I could buy another couple of skeins before Christmas, assuming that any is left (and there probably won't be).

Other Things I Saw
The best event that I attended was a panel featuring Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a/k/a the Yarn Harlot), Shoshana Berger from ReadyMade magazine, and Jenny Hart from Sublime Stitching. The discussion centered around the resurgence of crafts over the last five or six years, very cool. It's hard to write anything about it that isn't too sum-up-ish, so I'll just say that I really enjoyed it and was glad that I'd brought Stephanie's book along for signing. If only I'd also had the unicorn patterns with me! Darn!

I didn't take any photos at Bumbershoot, but here's the progress on the hat I started on Friday and worked on at the festival (and at home, too). I think that the pattern is becoming much more evident:

The pattern is "We Call Them Pirates" from Hello Yarn. It appears that it might be a little smaller than expected (I didn't swatch), although it might be my gigantic head that is the problem.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bumbershoot - Day Two

The temperature was a little more temperate today, the crowds just as heavy. Here's the summary:

What I Heard

West Valley Highway

The New Pornographers

Also . .

New Fangs
Crystal Skulls

West Valley Highway was today's favorite, although the New Pornographers also rocked. Between the New Fangs and the Crystal Skulls, which would you guess was a tougher band? Would you guess that they were a similar level of toughness? You are wrong. The New Fangs were very fast loud punk rock of the most convincing sort. They played indoors at the EMP, possibly to keep their angry punk energy from tainting the Fun Forest (aka the carnival rides) just outside. The Crystal Skulls rocked a lot less hard, more melodic. Their website notes the following review:

The Washington Post Clean, tight and tuneful.

I would agree with that, and wish that I'd seen more of their set.

What I Ate
Teriyaki Chicken Skewer
Strawberry Shortcake
Hawaiian Burger

What I Bought
Nothing at all . . . but I saw some things that I'll take another look at tomorrow. I thought about a henna tattoo, but there weren't any Unicorn patterns, none of the others were sufficiently ironic.

Other Things I Saw

This guy swirled those chiffon pieces around during the West Valley Highway set. You can't see it clearly here, but he was wearing a skirt--and not a manly Utilikilt. I can't believe that[insert your name here] let her boyfriend come to the festival without her!

In literary news, Gary Shteyngart read from his novel Absurdistan (and was hilarious), and Laila Lalami read from Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. The works, and authors, seemed very dissimilar, but both were very good readers. Absurdistan is one of the best books I've read this year, and I also really liked The Russian Debutante's Handbook and feel like I should go back and reread it soon.

Bumbershoot is not all fun and games, however--it's also about product testing! The green square has been holding up well. Although I could have taken the photo below in my backyard, I did not. And I am wearing the skirt that matches the corner straps, as further proof that I did actually make both items.

There was also some progress on the Norwegian hat, but I'll photograph it for another post.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bumbershoot - Day One

Whew, am I tired—it was a long, hot day at Bumbershoot. I didn’t take any photos while I was there, but here’s a summary of Day One:

What I Heard

I jumped around a lot, so I didn’t see any full sets. Too tired to add links tonight . .

Korby Lenker
The Swains
Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands
Jamie Lidell
Alejandro Escovedo

I also saw Erik Larson (author of The Devil in White City) and Sara Gruen (author of Water for Elephants) read from their works and talk about the writing process. Very entertaining, with the added bonus of taking place in an air-conditioned room. I loved The Devil in White City, and I’m adding Water for Elephants to my to-read list.

What I Bought

A t-shirt from a booth at Flatstock, the rock-poster exhibit. The artist is Diana Sudyka, it has lovely silver seahorses on it.

Seven skeins of Misti Alpaca Silk, for the previously ripped out shawl, from the Hilltop Yarn booth. Also a skein of Hemp yarn & pattern to make the spa cloth featured on the Hilltop Blog.

Three pattern sets from Sublime Stitching: Unicorns, rock, and pirates. Unfortunately no dachshund patterns. Frieda is angry!!! But she'll get over it when I make her a little unicorn jacket, I think.

What I Ate

Fruit Smoothie (good, and possibly healthy)
Potstickers (good)
Burrito (bland and dripped on my shirt, good thing I bought a new shirt)
Ginger Limeade (not as good as it sounds)
One slice of pizza (good)

I took along a knitting project to work on while sitting around, but I ended up walking around between events, so I didn't get very much done. It's a Norwegian-style hat in Dale of Norway Heilo yarn. The main color is charcoal, and the contrast is off-white. Can you see the pattern?

I used a little Disco in the provisional cast-on--once the outside of the hat is done, I'll cut away the Disco, pick up the stitches, and knit the lining. Or that's the theory, anyway--I haven't done this before.

Possibly I'll write more (or provide photographic evidence), but based on what the kids are wearing, the 1980's are back in full force. Pat Benetar inspired tight striped shirts were everywhere, that's the main thing I noticed. Maybe it's the Republican white house to blame (remember Mr. Reagan?), I can't say for sure.