Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Firebird Has Landed!

The June Rockin' Sock Club arrived late last week, and the yarn is beautiful! Click the spoiler screen above to see the beautiful colors. The spoiler screen may not be necessary at this stage (my package was one of the last to go out, and I've had it for almost a week), but I'd rather be safe than sorry. The pattern looks good, and although it's more up my alley than the last pattern, I'm not 100% sure that use it with this yarn. There are so many patterns that I'd like to try out that I don't know if I really need more to add to my list at this point!

I've Finally Got the Heel!

Wow, do I feel pretty behind on things, in addition to cranky and tired. I've spent too much time at baseball games and quilt stores in the last week to make a lot of progress on anything but Mr. Stripey the 2nd, which is coming along nicely:


In other sock news, I have made some progress on the Bavarian Rockstars. To recap the dilemma that I had, the short row heel knit on size 0 needles seemed a little shallow and tight. My sockpal has slightly larger feet that I do, so I was a little worried about the fit. I separated the socks, and on the second sock I tried out the same heel on size 1 Addi Turbo lace needles. I like the fit much better, here's where I'm at now:


I've knit three pattern repeats past the heel, and once the first sock heel is at the same point I may put them back on size 0 needles, and add a wide rib to the back of the sock. I think the ribbing will be K1, P1, K3, P1, K1, to mirror the side cables on the front. Or maybe not, we'll see when I get there. I've got team pub trivia tomorrow, and another baseball game on Friday, but I'd like to have the two socks even by the end of the weekend. I'd really like to finish these up by the 4th!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times


It was amazing to see Ken Griffey Jr's return to Safeco Field. It was equally amazing, in the exact opposite way, to see the worst beating the Mariners have ever received at Safeco Field.

I feel very behind on knitting, blogging, and sleep. I've been to three baseball games in the last four days, and went to seven quilt shops yesterday. I had no time to map out yarn stores that are near the shop hop, and we're leaving in a few minutes to hit more stores today. Our modest goal is to visit enough stores to enter the drawing, which will put us at about half the number of stores we visited last year. I'm fine with it, but next year maybe I'll take a weekday off so we can cover more ground.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I am an Admiral of the Sea

I'm way behind on blogging, and I blame Ravelry. I'm starting to get concerned that I'm never going to finish any knitting, because I'm obsessively surfing and documenting my stash and projects. And hoping that I'll have more friend invitations, and wondering whether I should just start sending a lot of them. My handle is clwork, if you want to be my friend! It's like junior high all over again, but without a permanent wave or leg-o-mutton sleeves. I've signed up to help with some data clean-up, which is one of my hidden talents.

Sailor Girl Socks
In the meantime, I have made progress on the Sailor Girl garter rib socks. These go pretty quickly because the yarn is DK weight, and the pattern takes no effort to memorize--no chart or book to carry around. I'm just one gusset decrease before I get to the tube part of the foot and these go back into rotation as car socks. I love the colors, I like the rib pattern, but now that I see how pretty the stripes are on the bottom of the foot I kind of wish that I had knit pSailor Girl Heellain stockinette socks. I don't wish it enough to rip out two perfectly good looking socks, however. To the right is a slightly-washed-out close up of the heel, the heel flap is eye of the partridge with garter edges. I cobbled the pieces of this pattern together from Sensational Knitted Socks, and although the first heel was easy to turn, the second heel took at least three tries--even though I'd written down the number of stitches to use. Obviously, I have trouble counting--the center of the heel was waaaay off center.

I have an unusually busy social schedule for the rest of the week, with two baseball games, trivia night, and the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop. Hopefully, I will get some knitting in tonight, I need to make a decision about which heel to keep and which to rip out on the Sockapalooza socks. I didn't quite have the necessary focus over the weekend to make any headway, but the socks are about even so I need to decide how much further to knit before I really decide. I'd like to finish the pair by the end of June or early in July, so I don't get too stressed out about them.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rainier Cherries are back


Washington's favorite cherries are back! I picked these up at a local u-pick strawberry farm, along with pre-picked berries. Now I just need to bake, can, or freeze things--although we'll probably just eat the cherries.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

But if You Have a Change of Heart

I may be over-thinking this, but the fit of the Sockapalooza socks is still worrying me a little. The heel on sock #1 feels a little tight, even after two more pattern repeats, so I've started the heel on sock #2 with a size #1 needle and will knit up to the same point and compare. Right now, I like the fit of sock #2, but sock #1 still could work if sock #2 feels too baggy in the ankle area. I'm not sure which one to pick yet--all I know for sure at this point is that one of those heels will be ripped out, but it's not a lot of extra time to spend to improve the fit.

In other knitting news, I have been working a little on the new Chevron Scarf. I took it with me to WWKIP day on Saturday, and it's been in my giant messenger bag ever since.

Here's where I was on June 3:

chevron #2

Here's where I am as of today:

Chevron June 13

The beginning of the Chevron is great, because you can see the growth quickly. At some point, though, the growth isn't noticeable at all--I like to use the locking stitch markers as a reference point, so that I have some proof that the scarf is getting longer.

I really like these colors together , they are Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Red Rover and Argyle (I think--I need to find the labels to be sure.). So far, so good!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Whew! A sigh of relief . . . for now

Sockapalooza heel

The Bavarian Rockstars are out of their strictly enforced time-out, and after splitting them up and working a pattern repeat on one sock, I think that they are going to be fine. I can get the sock over my heel without a struggle, and it feels fine on my heel. It's a little snug, but my feet are a tad longer than my sock pal's, so I think they will be o.k.

In the interest of minimize potential ripping out, I'm going to continue on one sock for awhile until I'm sure that the heel / size are o.k. As much as I love knitting two socks at once, it's a drag to rip out two socks at once. Also, since I have to keep track of the rows on this pattern anyway, there isn't a lot of danger that I'll knit a different # of repeats on each sock (I hope). My plan is to keep the back of the heel in stockinette for a couple of inches, and then switch over to a wide rib rather than the twisted cables. I think that cables on the back could be less comfortable to wear with boots, and I like the way this looks on the Canal du Midi socks.

Yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public Day, and while much of the day was spent celebrating the 2nd birthday of my best friend's first born, my mom and I did pop in on the Seattle event at the Olympic Sculpture Park. The organizers reserved space at the indoor pavilion / cafe, a wise idea in this area--it was raining like crazy on and off all day. After the hue and cry of the birthday party, it was very relaxing to sit in an open space with a view of the very grey waterfront and knit, even if it was only for about 45 minutes.

In other knitting news, I did start Mr. Stripey the Younger yesterday, and I have about an inch of the cuff finished. Since all of my other car socks are at the heel flap and/or gusset, I think that Mr. Stripey is back in the rotation for awhile. I've spent quite a bit of time with Ravelry this weekend, I've loaded most of my recent projects and a lot more yarn than I thought I had. Yikes--maybe I should spend more time knitting, and less time buying yarn!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Big Reveal


Now that last weekend's sewing project has been gifted to J___ C____ at her 2nd birthday party, I can reveal that it is a very girly jumper. My mom made a matching hat and handbag, to complete the summer ensemble. Despite the pain that it is clearly giving J____ to fake smile for the photo above, she seemed to like it. I'm not sure yet how it fits, because someone refused to try it on when we arrived for her party, but I think it should be fine--a little more full-length than expected, but not drag-on-the-ground long. The pattern for the jumper and hat is the Little Vintage Jumper from Favorite Things. It's a good pattern--very clear, right amount of detail, not a lot of pattern pieces. I love that the facings under the buttons on the front and the back are part of the main pieces, rather than separate pieces that have to be cut and sewn.

One thing that I think I should start doing is reading through patterns and finishing all of the raw edges that need to be finished first--it annoys me a little to keep switching back and forth between zig-zag and straight stitching, I inevitably end up doing one or the other in the wrong place.

The real highlight of the birthday party was the cake that J___'s mom made. The Teddy Grahams in bikinis totally crack me up:


That bear in the mask on the front creeps me out a little--what is he staring at, anyway?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Work on WIP Week: Mr. Stripey is now Half a Pair

Thanks for all of the nice comments about Mr. Stripey--seeing them on the blog was definitely the highlight of my day! I arrived home later than expected this evening, but I did finish Stripey #1:


This is definitely a sock that will benefit from a soak and a block, but I'll likely wait until Mr. Stripey the Younger is complete. Here's another view:


Oh, how I love the striping on the heel flap! I haven't cast on sock #2 yet, but I'll try to do that this weekend. I'm really looking forward to seeing how much my gauge has changed in the last 10 months--these socks are definitely not "perfect" enough to be a gift, but even I won't wear socks of two noticeably different sizes.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Work on WIP Week: Mr. Stripey

Yesterday, I planned to either keep working on Wicked or the Print O' the Wave Shawl. Instead, I spent hours adding tons of yarn and a few projects to Ravelry. I'm already feeling more organized, and also a little guilty about all of the yarn in the stash that I don't even remember buying. I mean a t a l l. Here are some of the yarns I added over the past couple of days:


Hmm, I guess I have a lot of brown in the stash--or at least in this layer of it. It's fun to photography & catalog yarn. How

P1020230This evening, after a very mediocre performance by my pop culture trivia team, I managed to resist ravelry in favor of Mr. Stripey. Mr. Stripey is a sock that I started late last summer, and I've worked on it very sporadically since then. He may, in fact, be the first sock I ever started, although I've finished many socks since then. The socks are on the stretchy side, and I probably should have knit them on US#1 needles instead of US#2, but they are still acceptable.

Named after a tomato plant that also features stripes, I may be lucky to finish this pair before the new Mr. Stripey plant bears fruit. Still, this evening I started the toe, and I'm pretty sure I can finish this tomorrow and cast on sock #2. This photo is pretty terrible, so I'm keeping it small--it's past my bedtime now and I took the easy way out and used the flash. Once this sock is done, I'll take some better photos & provide a full recap.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Work on WIP Week: Wicked!

I should have waited until Wednesday to use that title . . . it could have been WIP Work Week Wednesday: Wicked!

I received an invitation to Ravelry this morning, so I haven't spent much time on Wicked, today's long-ignored WIP. I submitted my name awhile ago for Ravelry, and had just about convinced myself that I wasn't really interested in it, but it is really, really cool. I can totally understand why they haven't opened it up yet to all comers, and I regret my impatience. All users can enter info about the yarns and patterns they are using if they can't already find them in the system, and I think that the data would be a total mess if thousands of people started using it right out of the gate. If anyone reading this is still waiting for an invite, you can start getting ready by uploading yarn and project photos to Flickr--that's been the most time consuming part for me, along with finding the stupid ball bands that litter my house. I've uploaded some current / recent projects, and some yarn as well. My Ravelry handle is clwork if you want to check any of it out.

Back to the WIP: I'm knitting a little on Wicked, which I shouldn't have ignored for so long. I'm at the mindless stockinette stage, and I've been using socks for the zoned-out knitting that I could have spent on this. Tonight I've knit about three rows of black stockinette--I don't see any point in posting a new photo of that.

Instead, here's a look at the three fabrics I used in my sewing project over the weekend:


Although I prefer to pick out my own fabric color combos, I do appreciate the ease of using three fabrics from the same collection. Whatever I'm making (I'll post photos later in the week or over the weekend), it won't go with charcoal Wicked when it's finally done.

Must resist temptation to start up on Ravelry again before bedtime!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Work on WIP Week: Print O' The Wave

Stretched Print O the Wave

Stretched out Print O' the Wave

While I think about / work out what to do on my Sockapalooza heel, I've decided that this would be a good week to work on some projects that haven't gotten a lot of face time. Lord knows I have enough of them (don't we all?). First on deck: the Print O' the Wave Shawl.

I started the shawl last September, after seeing lovely versions in progress here and (of course) there. I last blogged about the Print O' The Wave shawl about five months ago, and I should note that that was just a mention that I should work on it again--it's been a few months longer since I picked it up. I've been carrying it with me when travelling, but didn't crack into it until I was dogsitting in May. I switched from Addi Turbos to Addi Lace needles, and it's made the pattern a lot more manageable. Plus, having uninterrupted time to work the pattern meant many fewer mistakes, and I'm hoping that if I do a little at a time I'll have to pick out fewer bad rows. I knit another repeat this evening, only five more repeats until the first half is done. Unstretched (as below), it measures about 16", but it should block out a fair amount larger (I hope).

Slack Print O the Wave

One nice thing about keeping live stitches on the ends is that I can add more repeats if I have enough yarn. That assumes I can estimate how much yarn I need for the border, of course!

The yarn I'm using is Blue Sky Alpaca's Royal Alpaca in Antique Black, which is more like an espresso brown. It's very nice to work with--extremely soft, not splitty, beautiful rich color. I bought three skeins from the Hilltop Yarns booth at Bumbershoot last summer, after visiting it all weekend. Or rather, I bought two there, and another one at the Eastside store once I picked out a pattern. It's pricey yarn (which gives me more motivation to use every last inch of it), but I bought it on sale so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. What's done is done, it's better that I spent that $$ on yarn and not on overpriced festival beer. Plus, I might have removed the price tags from the skeins when I brought them home, and thrown away the receipt, so who really knows what I spent on them? Not me!

Close up

The Blue Sky Alpaca website shows some other really gorgeous colors in this yarn, and I want more of it. More!!! I love that the colors that the yarn comes in so perfectly match the feel of the yarn--classic, elegant, understated. I know, I sound like a bad old-lady car ad, but if you look at the colors you'll understand what I mean. Until I finish this shawl, however, I'm off the market for this yarn.

StoredI haven't quite decided if I'll work on a different old WIP ever day this week, or repeat some of the same items. There are a few (o.k., quite a few) projects sitting right next to me as I type this that I've ignored for weeks and/or months, and even if they won't be back in the everyday rotation it would be nice to make a little progress. In the meantime, I've packed the shawl back into the case I've been carrying it around in, so that it's protected from the elements (the dachshund elements) and the charts are together with the row counter, yarn, and notes. You can't be too careful--it could be another five months before I work on it again, and losing track of the rows would be very, very bad!

Bus Wheels Spinning, Song Birds Singing, Break My Heart

Those song birds that have been waking Frieda up at 5am are killing me, but hopefully it will be cool enough tonight too keep the window closed.

The School Bus Socks are coming along very nicely, I've finished the legs, heel flap & heel, and I'm working on the gussets. Here they are from the tops:


Here they are on the heel side:

SB Heels

The heel flaps stripe up a little weirdly, but I love the black triangle on the bottom of the heel. Right now I have three pair of socks that are at the "pay attention" stage (the Sockapalooza pair is an always pay attention pair), so I'd like to get these past the gusset in the next day or so.

Here are the Sailor Girl socks, which are just about at the heel flap point:


I'm not sure what happened with those wider stripes--I think I must have relaxed a little while I was knitting these on the way to Sasquatch.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A New Project


I worked on a new project this weekend--it was a little hot to spend too much time knitting, so I started a sewing project. It's not ready for prime-time viewing yet, but I love this little edge. Hopefully I'll finish it up this week, and post photos next weekend! The fabrics are from Heather Baily's Fresh Cut fabric collection. I had hoped to crank out a few quick skirts this weekend (and last Monday, and the weekend before Memorial Day . . .), and I have some Fresh Cut fabric for one of these as well. I need to come up with a better time-management system!!!

Short Row Heel--Too Short?

I've turned the first heel on my Sockapalooza socks, and I'm not sure that the heel is deep enough. This is only the 2nd time I've used a short row heel, so I'm not totally sure how high up it should hit--any thoughts on this? Here's how it looks:


The wraps look fine, and I did add an extra row of wraps, but it seems like it should hit higher. If I start knitting in the round now, I'm worried that it will end up too tight. Any suggestions? If a short row heel won't work, does anyone have a reverse heelflap tutorial to recommend? Please do not say "rip out both feet and try a different pattern"--I don't think I can take it!

I like the way the cables look on the top--here's a better view: