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February 28, 2011

On Lemons and Lemonade

February 23, 2011

Another Dead Sock Soldier

Every so often when I do the laundry, a handknit husband sock comes out of the washer having given its life for the cause.

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In an odd twist of fate, these socks died on Monday -- the four year anniversary of their birth. Although I can't fault the Koigu sock yarn that I used for the heel since it lasted through four years of hard wear, in the future I plan on making husband-heels with a wool-nylon blend.

Yes, I know that I could darn these socks. But that prospect doesn't appeal to me at all. I'd rather just hurry up and finish the current pair of husband socks and then start in on a replacement Socks-That-Rock pair.

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Kimba spends alot of her time sleeping on the water heater in the basement. When she's not doing that, she is begging for her ghetto-kitty-water-fountain a/k/a the basement sink. Why she likes to have water running off her head, I'll never know. But it makes me laugh every time.

January 19, 2011

What Have We Here?

All is not lost on this putative knitting blog. Apparently I still occasionally pick up the needles.

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It has taken me well over six months to finish just one plain Koigu sock for the husband. And, frankly it took a weekend away in the country staying with friends that don't have internet access to giterdone.

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There was a lovely snowshoe up a small mountain and many nice meals. All in all, quite a good weekend.

My tweaked left foot is now better enough to allow me to run on it, but the weather has been so snowy that the treadmill in the gym is my only recourse. This isn't as fun for me as is running outside, but I'll take what I can get. An easy pace at 3.1 miles in 33 minutes on Saturday. Hoping to get two runs in this week.

Another excellent thing about taking up running is the opportunity to buy cute running clothes. Running shorts and cunning technical pullovers for the win!

August 30, 2010

Socks in the Mail

In a show of absolutely impeccable timing, a package from Cookie showed up in my mailbox last week just as I needed some cheering up.

What was in the package?

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Besides tissue paper which is fun for cats to sit on, there were socks!

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Yes, the socks match my watch. Shut up.

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Cookie says that these socks were knit toe up out of Opal on US size 1s in a Harris Tweed pattern. They fit great (how'd she do that?) and I'd wear them today except that its supposed to be 92 degrees F. out.

So YEAH for new socks, and YEAH for Cookie!

June 16, 2010

Critters with a Side of Socks

I don't know how this blog became a "weird critters that hang around Claudia's house" blog, but there ya go.

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Two nights ago we awoke at 3:30 AM to loud thrashing about on the roof. Honestly, it sounded like two big animals were having a chase-'n-fight right above our heads. Eventually hearing no more, I drifted back to sleep. The next morning, muddy paw prints left by one of the perpetrators as he/she clambered up the siding to the roof was evidence that I hadn't dreamed it. I am thinking raccoon perhaps? These prints are about 3-4 inches long.

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Since finishing my last pair of socks in April, I have had no new sock project to replace it. Until now. A few months ago, Rosemary sent me two skeins of Koigu after I whined to her that I'd been having trouble finding that yarn. They sat on the stairs leading up to the Fiber Room for a number of weeks, just looking expectant. Finally, I gave in and cast on a replacement pair of husband socks for these dead soldiers.

Now you might think that so much pink in these socks would put a guy off them. Not mine. He loves himself some colorful socks.

April 05, 2010

Chocolate Cherries

I do still knit. Not fast. Not for terribly long stretches. And not every day. And not with the passion of years past. But I still feel the urge to pick up the needles.

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Chocolate Cherry sock, posed with the budding cherry blossoms.

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Chocolate cherry socks melting in the spring sunshine. At once, proving there are two of them.

Project Details
Yarn -- Two skeins of Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn in Chocolate Cherry. This yarn came into my hands as a result of winning a prize on Carole's blog. This is important because my yarn buying of late has been sparse.

I enjoyed working with this yarn, but there was barely enough for a reasonable length plain sock to fit a US size 7 foot. If you have bigger feet or wish a fancier yarn-eating pattern, buy three skeins.

Pattern -- My standard stockinette picot-edge, short-row heel and toe sock done on 60 stitches.

Needles -- US size 1 bamboo double points.

I started them in January 2010, so this project isn't even embarrassingly drawn out.

It does feel good to finish something. As I wait for the knit-passion to come back, I think the husband might need another pair of socks......

February 22, 2010

Socks in the Wild

I've mentioned here before that my husband has a quirky habit of wearing his colorful handknit socks a bit...um...inappropriately. What I make for him to wear in his ski boots sometimes shows up when he is exiting the house in more dressed up attire.

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His idea of a casual business outfit.

Those crazy guyz.

January 11, 2010

Knitting is for Mondays

A long car ride, plus time in the bar waiting for the hubby to finish skiing equals knitting.

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Awhile back I won a contest on Carole's blog and ended up with two lovely skeins of Claudia's Handpainted Yarns Chocolate Cherry sock yarn. When the urge to start something new struck (which, as readers of this blog know, hasn't happened in awhile) I plucked this yarn from its perch in the Fiber Room and cast on.

The pattern is familiar: a standard short-row heel and toe picot edge sock. But as far as I can tell, I haven't finished a pair of these socks for myself in almost a year.

Everything old is new again. If one waits long enough.

November 30, 2009

Oh My Gosh! Knitting!

It has been a long, long time since knitting was featured on this, ostensibly a knitting blog. Much less something that is actually finished! Shocking, I know.

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Awhile back (this summer, actually) the husband requested wool bicycling socks. A request, right up my alley! Small, short, easily accomplished.

Right.

Well, here it is almost December. Hey honey! Look! Summer bicycling socks!

Project Details

Yarn: Regia Linien Color (color #5276), 1 ball with lots left over
Needles: Bamboo DPNs, US size 1
Pattern: My standard husband pattern: Cast on 64 stitches on US size 1 DPNs. Knit 2, purl 2 ribbing until the sock is long enough. Knit 12 ankle rows in plain stockinette. Do short row heel. Knit foot. Do short row toe. Done. Fits a man's US size 10 foot if you are a loosey-goosey knitter like I am.

In other news, its my birthday tomorrow and Sil will be arriving soon to help me celebrate. Yay! Birthday! (Ignore the self-centeredness of this next comment) My actual favorite holiday of the year.

September 21, 2009

A Fun Weekend

Oh what a delight not to be working on a weekend! Both Sil and I had the weekend off, and we tried to make the most of it.

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Its motivating to have someone to sit on the couch with you and knit. Just a part of a foot and a toe to go before I can actually finish something knitted. That hasn't happened in eons.

We had a great shopping weekend, finding lots of my favorite clothes in my size for big discounts at the TJ.Maxx. Trust me, having Sil shop for me is just like having Stacey and Clinton right there. Pants, blazer, cute shirt in Blueberry, even cuter black silk short-sleeved shirt. Good times!

And Sil even got most of the way through hemming the new pants before getting screwed by Scheduling and having to leave. (Yes, I finished hemming them and they are now in my closet, ready to go).

I hope your weekend was as lovely as mine.

August 26, 2009

Proof of Knitting

Although it is still the case that my knitting mojo has largely left the building, I do pick up the needles every now and again.

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A completed bicycling sock made out of Regia Linien Color (color #5276). And, more importantly, a cast on for the second sock. Despite my knitting malaise, I still have the presence of mind to attempt to avoid Second Sock Syndrome with expeditious casting-on.

In unofficial Random Wednesday format, hear are some things that I've been thinking about lately.

-- While in Montreal, one of the things that really stood out for me was the appearance of the women just walking down the downtown streets. Pretty summer dress on, makeup just so, and universally they wore beautiful, strappy, high-heeled shoes. And not just the twenty-somethings either: all ages of women. In short, there was alot of care put into the fashionable appearance that I just never (or very rarely) see in Boston. Frankly, it made me feel frumpy and like I needed to raise my game.

-- I wore my one pair of high-heeled wedge sandals alot in Montreal. Peer pressure?

-- Of course, I also saw (late on a Saturday night whilst walking down Rue St. Catherine where a few strip clubs are located along with everything which other thing) many younger chicas wearing skirts so short and heels so high that I had to seriously ask myself if they were "working". I decided, no they weren't -- just out for a fun evening with their friends or boyfriends. But clearly French attitudes about appropriate dress are a bit more laissez faire than the whole New England outlook.

-- About this time of summer, I'm usually quite looking forward to the crisp cool days of fall. This year, I'm just feeling like "where did the summer go?" Ah, the folly of looking forward instead of enjoying the day I am living. Which promises to be sunny and hot and altogether the epitome of summer.

-- Perhaps you can all join me in sending a mental message to a certain judge to the effect of "please give Claudia some more time to finish this project." Thank you for your consideration. Back to it.

August 10, 2009

Knitting for Mondays

Just to prove that I still do knit.

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This is the husband bicycling sock in the midst of being toe-d. I've made him umpty-billion handknit socks, and I still agonize whether I've made the foot too long or too short.

Today is a workworkwork day. Gotta catch up in order to maybe, soon, have a vacation!

July 28, 2009

Let's Pretend....

...it's Monday and this blog entry is on time. I have no freaking idea what actually happened to Monday.

Usually I like to start off the week with a knitting-related post. You know...just to remind us all that this is supposed to be a knitting blog. Alas, that is difficult when the knitting around here is pretty thin on the ground.

The mail, however, has saved me.

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Laura E. decided that I need my very own prize, and she sent me this fiery skein of Wollmeise in the colorway "Orient". I've never even seen this yarn before -- although since I don't live under a rock I've certainly heard about it -- and I'm happy to make its acquaintance. Yarn in the mailbox certainly brightens up an otherwise drab day!

It is no secret that my knitting mojo has deserted me, and its been gone for some time. But apparently despite my knitting coma, I can still hear (faintly, in the distance) the siren call of the pretty yarn. "Hey, Claudia....come play with me! I'm soft....you'll have fun......"

I hear it. I really do.

July 13, 2009

A Different Sort of Sock Post

So lately the husband has been agitating for a specific sort of handknit sock. A sock that might appropriately be worn while bicycling.

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I've come up with a shortie sock with 2x2 ribbing to stay up on the ankle. This is some Regia sock yarn I had lying around in husband-like colors. So far, so good.

I'll admit, the situation I have on my hands with respect to husband socks is a bit...well...interesting. I have knit tons and tons of colorful husband socks which have been gratefully received. My intention was that these crazy-ass socks would be tucked into hiking or ski boots, or perhaps winter cycling shoes snuggled under long tights.

However, once a certain comfort-level with these bright colors was achieved, these socks started turning up sticking out of white sneaks. Then worn with shorts. Finally when the outfit included the crazy-ass socks, the white sneaks, the shorts AND a wifebeater, it was more than past time to put a stop to this fashion travesty.

Now, I know many of you subscribe to the fashion theory that lovingly-produced handknits are appropriate worn anytime, anywhere.

I do not.

Many of you may be thinking, "hey, if I could get my guy to wear any colors at all, man I wouldn't be bitchin'."

A fair point.

Quirky, in moderation, is fine with me. But many guys, including my own, have no natural sense of what looks nice on them. If its comfortable, and they are comfortable with it, its all good. Doing the quirky, without even REALIZING its quirky, is the problem here.

So now, the summer attire is white cotton store-bought socks with the white sneaks.* Blasphemy to some, I know. But its nothing but the truth here at the Blog, all day every day.


*And the wifebeater is for lawn cutting purposes only.

March 09, 2009

Got...Sunglasses?

Well, well, well. The blog wants crazy, springy, easter-eggy socks? That's what the blog gets.

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Wow. That's bright. Especially with the incredible amounts of pooling we've got going on here. The sock pattern is Primavera (Ravelry link) and so far its been highly enjoyable to knit.

But, wow. This is BRIGHT. Blinding, in fact.

Time to put on my shades when I knit on this.

March 04, 2009

Socks, socks, socks

Today, the sun is shining and the blue sky against the white snow makes a beautiful picture.

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Finished Opal Elemente socks.

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Project Details:

Yarn: Opal Elemente Color #1073.

Needles: Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Double Point Needles in US size 1.

Pattern: My standard 64 stitch picot edge, stockinette stitch, short row heel and toe pattern.

By absolute chance, the patterning between the two socks matches up almost perfectly. "Almost" means the patterning is about four rows off. Not enough to look intentional, not quite close enough for total matchy-matchy. Were I to do it over again, I think I would have paid a tad bit more attention to the start.

Still, these socks are the most useful for me in my daily winter life. Flat, stockinette stitch socks work the best in my various winter boots for warm chafe-free feet. They work just as well in XC ski boots or in the hiking boots I wear for snowshoeing. Knit fancier socks...that I will. But these are the workhorses of my winter knitted wardrobe.

Well, it looks like the next socks 'round here will be crazy-ass Easter-eggy, psychedelic acid ones. Although the Chocolate Cherry yarn brought in alot of love, its clear that the spring-deprived, winter-stir-crazy of you out there voted for bright and eye-popping over rich and dark. Thanks to all that took the time to vote.

So it shall be.

However, I totally screwed up with the Charade pattern. This outrageous skein of yarn actually has two sister skeins, one of each with Silvia and Carolyn. The Wonder Triplet pattern of choice was, alas, not Charade but Primavera (Ravelry link). Although the Charade is a pretty sock, several folks whose opinion I value highly suggested that the pattern stitch was annoying to the eye-poking-out point.

I am heeding the warnings, and going with Primavera. I may have already cast on.

March 02, 2009

A Monday Poll

While there is a finished pair of socks, there is also a grey, flat-light, snowstormy morning. The photoshoot will have to wait for better lighting.

The fiber room has disgorged two potential possibilities for my next sock. If you have an opinion on which sock I should make next, I'm seeking some input about what you see here over the coming weeks.

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On the left we have Crazy Easter Eggy sock yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck this past October. My tentative plan for this yarn is the Charade socks, available as a free download on Ravelry. On the right, we have the recently added-to-the-stash Chocolate Cherry Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn. My tentative plan for this yarn is another pair of Monkeys.

Just to make it fun, here are four options for voting upon:

What say you?

February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day Roses

Linda and Tom at Grafton Fibers made sure I had my Rose Darn Pretty Needles just in time for Valentine's Day.

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All is now right with the world. Would it surprise you to know that I did NOT re-arrange the stitches on the surviving four striped Darn Pretty double-pointed needles and continue knitting on the sock, but instead waited without knitting a stitch until the new needles arrived?

I guess I really don't like knitting with only a set of four needles.

February 11, 2009

Carnage

Look closely. Click for bigger. Something is very wrong with this picture.

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Indeed, I finished the first sock and cast on for the second. Leaving the whole she-bang lying on the couch, minding its own business. The next evening, I sit down on the couch and pick up the knitting.

Claudia: "ARGHHH!"

Hubby: "Oh. Right. Yesterday I reached over for the phone, put my hand down and heard a snap. Can you fix it?"

C: "Um....no. No, I can't fix it."

Fallen stitches I can pick up. A shattered double point needle -- my favorite pair of Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Needles -- that is beyond my powers.

Luckily, however, it is Linda and Tom to the rescue! Check out their fabulous sale on 5 inch Rose DPNs, a pair of which is winging its way to me as I type. An inadvertent, but perfect, Valentine's Day rose.

By the way, I am not mad at the husband. It was an accident and he did feel badly. And, really. Perhaps I shouldn't be leaving my favorite wood, toothpick-skinny DPNs lying willy-nilly about.

January 12, 2009

The Verdict is In and Blog Contest

As much as I'd like my sweater-knitting mojo to kick back in, my hands reached for yet another ball of mindless sock yarn.

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Like most of the sock yarn in my stash, I'm not sure where this came from. I suspect it was a gift, or perhaps I bought it sometime in the distant past and I've totally forgotten about it. This is Opal Elemente color #1073. It is knitting up in a way that I wouldn't have expected from looking at the ball.

Which isn't surprising. The computer generated striping of Opal yarns usually doesn't look anything like you'd think. I'm honestly not sure how much I like this particular combination of random gray tweedy bits, and gold and lavender stripes. But it fits my current need for mindlessness, so all is well.

Blog Contest

There hasn't been a blog contest here in awhile, so lets have one. Last week I casually mentioned that I would be headed off on vacation soon, soon being next week. This vacation has something to do with the blog and I'm headed to somewhere warm. If you'd like to guess Where in the World Claudia is Going and What This Has to Do with the Blog, feel free to do so in the comments. I'll pick one winner at random (even wrong answers count!) to receive a souvenier particular to the vacation spot.

The answer here in Wednesday's post, so start your guessing!

January 07, 2009

Tigery Tuesday

Real life is still sort of kicking my butt. This morning's gray, nasty snow-ice mix isn't helping any. But, at least I'm keeping my head up with new tigery socks on my feet.

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Project Details:

Yarn: Opal "Tiger", 1 ball with lots left over gifted to me by the lovely Amber.

Needles: Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Needles in US size 1 DPNs.

Pattern: 64 stitch, picot-edge, short-row heel and toe socks.

This was a great mindless knit for socializing over the holidays. Now I have to decide whether I need a replacement mindless project or something else.

I find that whenever I'm the least bit stressed, my interest in knitting anything more complicated than a sock vanishes. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the opposite reaction: wanting to knit a complex project that takes one's mind off of real life? Alas.

Don't feel too bad for me: this blog is about to go on a fabulous vacation. Just the part between here and there might engender the start of another mindless sock.

December 29, 2008

What I Did on My Blog Vacation

There has been lots of knitting time chez Claudia's Blog this past holiday week. With the chemo cap done, there was no small project to keep my hands busy whilst socializing with the family or watching the telly. Such a sad state of affairs could not continue.

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Behold an almost completed Opal Tiger sock.

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Felines apparently love Tiger socks too.

Lately I've been on a indie hand-dyed sock kick, but I decided to break out of that mold for a bit. As much as I enjoy the colorways dreamt up by the indie dyers, many of their base yarns -- soft and delicious as they are -- don't hold up super well to extended wear and my (apparently) brutal machine washing technique. There is pilling, there is color fade, there is felting, there are even gasp! sometimes holes.

At this point in my sock knitting career, I have some vintage hand-knit socks made out of Opal and Regia that have been in continuous wear rotation for over six years. The color is true, the pilling is minimal and there is not even the suggestion of a hole. Granted, these aren't my softest, cuddliest socks. But my first pair of Opal Tiger socks (seen here) are among my favorites because they do exactly what a handknit sock should do. Keep my feet stylishly and comfortably warm with no drama or heartache.

What more can a knitter ask of a humble sock?

December 08, 2008

Sock Monday

Usually I like to take finished project pictures outside in the good light.

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Not so much this morning.

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Green tea socks and clementines

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Green tea socks on the sock model.

Project Details:

Yarn - Sundara Sock Yarn in Green Tea Over Melon.

Pattern - My standard men's sock, knit on 64 stitches with a short row heel and toe.

Needles - My favorite Darn Pretty Needles in US size 1 DPNs. I had taken this project out and about recently, only to arrive home with four needles instead of five (I thought). After commencing the mourning process, the eagle-eyed hubster spotted the errant needle on the floor of my home office. Bullet dodged.

I always enjoy working with the Sundara sock yarn -- soft yet non-splitty, with subtle color variations. This is the first husband sock I've knit with this yarn, so I'll soon find out whether my opinion on this yarn is shared by He Who Wears Them.

October 29, 2008

Sock and Run

One of my Rhinebeck souvenirs was, sadly, a cold virus. The coughing and nose-blowing haven't been conducive to knitting, but:

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I might be slowed down, but I'm not out. One husband sock. Finished. According to my number one rule of single sock avoidance (must cast on second sock immediately after finishing first), my sick-time knitting is the proto-sock twin to this one.

October 24, 2008

Crazy Sock Eye Candy

Well, I said that I wanted some non-orange sock yarn.

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For those further interested in this sock craziness (of which Sil and I bought three skeins, plan to be revealed later), this is Aussi Sock from Seaport Yarn. There is no tag on this yarn to indicate the name or number of this....assertive colorway. However the yarn is screaming Hello Kitty to me, so I might take to calling it that.

October 08, 2008

Random Wednesday

Some posting mornings I simply sit down at the keyboard and surprise myself as to what comes out.

1. When is the fear of yarn famine rational, and when it is irrational?

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Husband socks in progress using Sundara sock yarn in the "Green Tea over Melon" colorway. I have never knitted husband socks out of Sundara sock yarn, and the thought has crossed my mind that one skein might not be quite enough for socks to cover a US size 10 man's foot. In the past I've knitted Monkeys for myself out of this yarn, with a fair bit left over -- this should inspire confidence.

Of course, in hindsight what I SHOULD have done was use my drug dealer's scale to equally divide this skein of yarn before starting to knit. (And, yes I know this problem can be resolved by knitting socks toe up. I ain't screwing with my sock knitting, The End).

But since the scale is right here, and I'm thinking about it....

Current sock (as pictured, without pumpkin but with needles): 37.3 g.
Weight of one sock needle (.6 g.) x 5 = 3 g.
Total yarn weight of current sock: 34.3 g.
Weight of yarn ball: 72.9 g.

I'm feeling better.

2. The new dishcloth has not yet made it from the picture taking area to the kitchen for the beginning of the Great Dishcloth Experiment. Maybe today.

3. Amazingly, NY Sheep and Wool a/k/a Rhinebeck is coming right up already. I'm looking forward to a weekend with my fine sister, seeing friends from far and near, eating some delicious food and visiting a favorite retail establishment of mine. Of course also sheep and wool, wool and sheep. I am not totally immune from fiber delights.

4. Sil and I are seriously considering wrapping my husband in bubble wrap for Rhinebeck weekend. Seriously.

5. 25 lb (11 kg) dumbbells, 7 reps. I'm feeling pretty proud of that. Show yourselves, knitting gym rats. Keep me company.

September 10, 2008

Random Wednesday (With Knitting)

Starting with the knitting.

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Tandem socks!

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Tandem socks on feet.

Project Details:

Yarn: One skein of Vesper sock yarn in the Tandem colorway that Julia so generously dyed as a prize for my 2007 MS Ride. The yarn was lovely to knit with, not splitty, soft and silky in a woolly sort of way. The striping was dead-on consistent. Although I'm glad I didn't go all matchy-matchy on the striping, I very easily could have.

Pattern: My standard picot edge stockinette, short row heel-and-toe socks. Although usually I cast on 60 stitches on US size 1 DPNs for my own socks, this yarn seemed somewhat fine so I cast on 64 stitches instead and they fit perfectly.

Needles: My favorite, pointy and beautiful Darn Pretty Double-Point Needles in US size 1, which (before I get all the emails asking about them) you can now buy directly from Grafton Fibers here.

I finished these on the plane home from Switzerland, and found myself the main entertainment for two bored little girls in the seats behind mine.

Little girl: "Whatcha doin"?"
C: "What do you think?"
LG: "WEAVING!"

Right. Weaving. Whereupon she and all the surrounding passengers got a lesson in knitting.

Moving on to the random:

1. Be still my heart. There apparently now is an orange iPod Nano. I still remain loyal to my aging iPod mini. But after my prying the mini open for the second time to change its battery, the "lock" switch doesn't work anymore making it hard for me to carry this little monster in my purse without accidentally turning it on and draining the battery. I'm all about the reuse/recycle/not buying new stuff if old will do.

But dude. Its ORANGE.

2. On the theme of acquiring stuff, its still my first reaction when something breaks/stops working to start planning to buy another one. Then I stop myself and figure out whether I can fix it. Lately, most times I've been able to and then I feel virtuous for not contributing garbage to the landfill. I think reading No Impact Man has really caused me to shift my thinking on the issue of resource use.

3. Yesterday for the first time I was able to chest press a twenty-pound (9 kgs) dumbell in each hand for one whole set (12 times). I was so freaking proud of myself!

When I first started with the weights back in July, I had misread my trainer-guy's instructions to chest press ten-pound dumbells 20 times and accidentally picked up the twenty-pound dumbells. Dudes, I could NOT chest press them even once. Of course, making me desperately want to be able to lift them.

4. As a glaring exception to Number 2 in this list, I have fallen down the cute but stupid expensive gym clothing rabbithole and can't get out.

5. I am actually considering doing a meme. That never happens. I'm fighting it.

July 09, 2008

Tandem Sock

Its interesting that just at the time I finally decide to cast on the Tandem colorway of the Vesper Sock Yarn that Julia so kindly dyed up for the 2007 MS Ride, the big orange tandem which inspired the colorway is gathering dust in the garage.

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Life is funny sometimes. But, hey! Look at the orangey, stripey goodness coming along here.

Looking at things positively, which is always better than the alternative, this enforced period of time off the bicycle has caused me to join a local gym in order to get even the bare minimum of exercise to feel fit. It has been many, many years since I set foot in a gym and I've been pleasantly surprised. The exercise bicycles now have massive flat screens mounted to them, showing me virtual 3-D tours of my choice of countryside or cityscape. The handlebars actually steer; there are riders to pass and riders trying to pass me. Hills on these virtual tours create more resistance on the pedals, forcing a downshift and harder pedaling, just like in the real world.

Honestly, its like playing a video game. Who knew? Its not as fun as riding on the open road, but it will do until the real thing is once again given doctor's approval.

Another upside is the ability I now have to use the gym's weight equipment to maybe (just maybe) increase my weakling upper body strength (and banish those pesky flappy bits on the backs of the arms). More importantly, all the bicycling I do doesn't provide me with weight bearing exercise which is super important for long-term bone health. Now I have the opportunity to fill this hole in my fitness level.

Good out of bad? I sure hope so!

July 07, 2008

Sticking to My Knitting

Man, it seems like forever since I've talked about knitting on this blog.

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Project Details

Pattern: My standard picot-edge, stockinette sock with a short-row heel and toe. Instead of starting with 60 stitches as I normally do, I started with 64 stitches and decreased four stitches after about and inch and a half. This worked out well to accommodate my biggish calves so I'll be doing this again.

Yarn: The one that you voted for: Socks That Rock in the Prove It All Night colorway gifted to me by Cara.

Needles: Darn Pretty Needles, in US size 1 DPNs.

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These socks will always carry memories of the hospitals in which I knit them waiting for loved ones to get better -- during hubby's ankle injury and last week's rather unexpected detour into the medical system (don't worry -- everyone's OK now).

Elizabeth Zimmerman famously said, "Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises." How fortunate I felt having something soothing and productive and *familiar* to do when circumstances might otherwise be correctly classified as sucky.

So, although these socks will always remind me of hospitals, I don't mean that in a bad way but in the sense of a triumph of knitting over adversity.

BAT/KAT Update

The Bicycling as Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting Project* went on sort of without me for the past couple weeks as I was well and truly consumed with my MS Ride. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to email me this past week!

My bicycle trips instead of car trips the past two weeks: 3
Total BAT/KAT project bicycle trips by me: 16
BAT/KAT project trips by all participants the past two weeks: 136
Total BAT/KAT project trips by all participants to date: 669

In an interesting convergence of my blog projects, my BAT trip this week was to the post office carrying all twelve of the MS Ride prizes that I sent out from here:

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It seemed wrong, somehow, to use my car for this particular errand when with some judicious packing and squeezing, all those prizes fit in the milk crate.

I've gotten a number of questions from folks who either don't own cars or regularly use public transportation for their commute/errands whether or not they can participate in the BAT/KAT Project. The answer is YES you can! However, you can't get BAT/KAT credit for a public transit commute that you would normally do. For example, if you always ride the bus to work because you don't have a car, that is not a BAT/KAT trip. However, if instead of riding the bus, you decided to walk or ride your bicycle, now THAT is a BAT/KAT.

The essence of the project is your own personal choice to make a change in your form of transport that results in less carbon emissions/gas used. You all are smart cookies. Go forth, apply that principle and come here on Mondays and tell us all how you worked within the project this past week.

*The goal of which is to substitute at least one bicycling/walking/alternatively transporting trip for one car trip/public transportation trip every week. Join us any week you like by making a BAT/KAT Trip and tell us about it here in the comments on Mondays.

May 09, 2008

When Knitting Comes in Handy

Rare is the opportunity for a knitter to come through with a clutch knitted item that simply cannot easily be procured.

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Enter the Toe Warmer.

As you know, the husband is laid up with a broken ankle and is wearing a cast. His toes stick out of it, which is a bit professionally embarrassing as well as kind of cold. This particular husband is worthy of knitted items as demonstrated by the following conversation:

ER NURSE: I think I have to cut you out of that sock.

HUSBAND: You'd better not. My wife knit that.

ER NURSE: OK, I'll take it off carefully.

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HOW TO MAKE A TOE WARMER

Materials: Koigu KPPM (I used leftovers, resulting in a two-color warmer) and a set of US Size 2 double pointed needles.

1. Cast on 64 stitches. I knit pretty loosely, so you may need to cast on more if you knit tightly. However, this is the normal amount I would cast on for a Koigu sock. Even though the cast is wider than the normal leg, I wanted the ribbing to grip tightly.

2. Join, being careful not to twist. I do this by moving 32 stitches to another DPN, then joining and knitting across for 16 stitches with a third needle, then joining a fourth needle and knitting 16 more stitches, then joining the fifth needle and knitting the remaining 16 stitches. Its much easier making the initial join when you are only working with two needles.

3. Continue in Knit 2/Purl 2 ribbing for 3.75 inches (9.5 cm). Don't make shorter ribbing, or else the toe warmer won't stay on the cast.

4. Knit about 5 rows in plain stockinette.

5. Make your normal sock toe. I use the short row method discussed in this book.

6. Weave in ends and present to the happy recipient.

I sincerely hope none of you need ever make one of these, but if so its a quick and easy project.

Thanks to the generous knitters who have jumped right into the MS Fundraiser and gotten this off to a great start! Look for more prizes next week.

Have a safe weekend. Don't break anything, K?

April 30, 2008

Prove it All Spring

Awhile back, you guys advised me that Socks That Rock in Prove it All Night would be a great next project. With one sock done, I'm thinking you were right.

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One sock done, posing with the fiddlehead fern shoots. When I start to see fiddleheads, I know its really spring.

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The same sock posing with the cherry blossoms, which are almost over with.

I really like how there is absolutely no pooling on this sock. Realizing, of course, that after typing that sentence there is CERTAIN to be obnoxious pooling on the second sock. One puzzling thing about this yarn, is that it is knitting up into a very dense, substantial sock. But the sock is no bigger or wider than would result from a thinner, less substantial sock yarn. I would think that a beefier yarn would make me a bigger all-around socks given the same needles and stitch count, but apparently I am mistaken.

BAT/KAT Project

Thanks so much for all your support and interest in the Bicycling As Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting project. We'll get together next Monday to see how everyone did this week. Meeting my own personal goal of using a bicycle instead of a car for one errand this week will be challenging due to rain that has just cleared up and my leaving for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival on Friday. And no, I don't expect sympathy.

April 07, 2008

Fresh Yarn Husband Socks

The husband has some new socks.

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And the bottom view:

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Project Details:

Yarn: Two skeins of Koigu KPPM plus a small portion of a third Koigu skein in black for heels and toes. As with any hand-dyed yarn, there was variation between the skeins. As you might be able to see from the bottom-of-the-foot shot, one skein made a slightly "brighter" hued sock than did the other.

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo double pointed needles in US size 2.

Pattern: I cast on 64 stitches and knit 2x2 ribbing for the leg, knit about 12 rows in stockinette stitch for the ankle, and put on a short row heel and toe. I use the short-row method found in this book. The bottom-of-the-foot shot shows clearly that when I knit socks, there is a discernible "line" where the stitches are uneven when I change DPNs. After a wearing/washing cycle, these lines disappear and I spend zero time worrying about them.

You know, sometimes I feel bad for you guys, reading this here blog, being subjected to countless variations on the simple sock. I get over it quickly though. Because, as lovely as it is to make a fancy-schmancy sweater or an intricate bit of lace, there is also beauty and value in creating the humble garment which is so perfectly suited for its particular purpose. In this case, these particular pattern socks keep the husband's feets warm in ski boots, hiking boots, while snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skilling and in his bicycle cleats on a cold winter/spring ride. They will be used, and used and used.

Not to sound smug or anything (HA!), but the four skeins of sock yarn that I purchased in NYC this past January are already all knitted up in these husband socks and my Chocolate Monkeys.

Sock yarn in. Socks out. Net stash-enhancement (such stash as it is) = zero. This makes me unreasonably happy.

April 02, 2008

Indecisive

The hubby's socks are almost done and my thoughts have turned to the next sock, which is for me and will likely be the usual mindless but restful recipe of stockinette stitch and picot hem. Which yarn?

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[Bloglines readers there is a poll here.]

March 26, 2008

Basketball and Socks

Knitted socks and basketball and cameras generally have nothing to do with one another. Today, however, I bring you a hybrid entry, most of which will only interest a tiny portion of you.

First, let's start with the knitted sock part so that if you aren't interested in basketball or photography you can get right back to work or on to the next blog.

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My current sock project came along to the Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers game on Monday night. A game, sadly, that the home team lost. No matter, though, as I had a great time cheering with the masses for the good shots, and groaning through the missed ones, eating hot dogs (I rarely eat those) and people watching. There was no knitting until in the car, in the parking garage, waiting for the eternity that is 18,624 people exiting an NBA game to clear out.

WARNING: END KNITTING CONTENT.

Somehow I'd gotten to the age I am without ever seeing a real live big-league basketball game. And, although I know intellectually that real people are out there playing, they don't seem quite as real on the television screen. So I spent quite a few minutes in the first quarter thinking to myself, "wow, there are REAL PLAYERS out there."

Yes, I am a very simple person at heart.

I also had a ball playing with my new camera. Now, a point and shoot camera is hardly the best choice for an indoor sports event. A small sensored camera will not give you as clean pictures in low light as a bigger-sensored DSLR, and a big-ass fast, long zoom lens is really what you need to get the good action shots. But detachable lens cameras are specifically banned from this arena without a press pass, so the options were a point and shoot or nothing.

Thus I wasn't expecting much out of my new little camera but I was really quite pleasantly surprised.

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Here is where I was sitting without using any zoom (taken before the game started -- every one of those seats was filled by gametime). Pretty high up in the balcony, but smack at midcourt with a good view of the action.

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This picture was taken at full optical zoom and isn't cropped. Eddie House is in midair taking a practice shot before the game. Frankly I'm amazed that I got a fast enough shutter speed to negate most of the motion blur.

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The banners hanging from the rafters of the Boston Garden at full zoom. Non-North American readers, please overlook the fact that the "World Champions" don't actually play teams outside of the U.S. and Canada.

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Full zoom, cropped action shot of two of my favorite players, Paul Pierce catching the in-bounds pass and Kevin Garnett heading down the court.

What I did to take these shots:

1. Turned off the flash: there was no way the tiny, wimpy flash could possibly illuminate the subjects (other than the poor defenseless sock). Leaving the flash on would totally mess up the exposure.

2. Cranked up the ISO to 400 and 800. This makes the sensor more sensitive to light, allowing for faster shutter speeds to stop the action but results in more digital noise. Then I used a bit of Noise Ninja in Photoshop to take some of the noise out.

3. Only took pictures when the action was slowed down or stopped. There is no way to avoid a blurry basketball player picture with this camera setup when he is motoring down the court at full speed.

Bottom line: I enjoyed actually going to a game that I usually only see on TV and taking pictures with a tiny, cheap camera that are worth looking at. A good evening.

ETA: The last couple of days my comments have been wonky, giving people error messages when the comments actually come through fine. Boy, I wish I knew how to fix it. If you get an error message, don't worry: I'm getting and appreciating your comment.

March 05, 2008

Foggy Sock

We are in the in-between season, not fully winter and not fully spring. More cold rain than cold snow (although snow is likely to fall anytime in March or April).

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The first Koigu hubby sock is done.

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The heels and toes of this sock are also Koigu, which indeed does come in solid colors too. However, there is a striking difference in the "feel" of the variegated main color as compared to the black yarn. The black Koigu is rougher to the touch and the yarn feels ever so slightly fatter, filling in the spaces between the stitches differently than does the main color. The main color is slippery and silky to the touch. The individual stitches form to make a more loose mesh than the black yarn.

Now, different dyes and processing can indeed affect the hand of a yarn, and perhaps that is what happened here. But going just by feel, these two Koigu yarns appear to be only distant cousins to one another. This is no particular problem for the instant project, as I've used completely different yarns for the main and contrast color with success. I am scratching my head over it, though.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions aimed at drying out and reviving my poor, elderly and water-abused Canon A75. Sadly, despite all resuscitation attempts, the poor mite is still dead. Having not shopped for a point-and-shoot for several years, I find the choices sort of overwhelming. In large measure, I use my DSLR (a Pentax K100D) for most of my photography. But that amount of camera is just not a practical size for back-of-bike cam, where small and pocketable is the goal. Perhaps I should just buy the first cute orange camera I see!

February 27, 2008

Koigu Hubby Socks

Back in January, my mission was to go to NYC and buy Koigu for husband socks. Due to circumstances beyond my control (chocolate monkeys) the poor husband had to wait around until this week to see any progress.

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And, another view:

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These are my standard husband socks to fit a US size 10 male foot. I cast on 64 stitches using US size 2 double point needles, and knit 2x2 ribbing for the leg, knit about 12 rows in stockinette stitch for the ankle, and put on a short row heel and toe. Granted, I knit very loosely so tighter knitters would have to cast on significantly more stitches. Also, my particular sock wearer does not like loose socks, so keep that mind when evaluating my numbers.

I've long-ago taken to knitting the heels and toes in contrasting color yarn, because I'm always concerned that there isn't enough yardage in a Koigu skein to make an entire men's sock. I could very well be wrong about this, since I haven't tried a mono-color Koigu sock in a long time. Actually, I like the look of the contrasting heels/toes regardless.

February 13, 2008

Chocolate Monkeys on My Feet

I'm going to miss being able to type "Chocolate Monkeys" on this here blog. There is no better name for a project.

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Despite the dark, cold, sleetyrainysnowy day, I broke out the tripod for a modeled shot, since we all would rather see the socks on some feet.

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And lastly, a closeup.

Project Details:

Pattern: The popular Monkey.

Yarn: Two skeins of Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn in the color "Chocolate" purchased at The Point. This yarn was enjoyable to knit with, and reminded me alot of Koigu in the knitting, although I know for a fact that the base yarn is not the same. Be forewarned that I have US size 7 feet, these socks are rather short and I had only a small amount of yarn left in each skein after knitting this sock. Bigger feet or taller socks will definitely need three skeins.

Needles: Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Needles in US size 1 DPNs. I love these needles for their sharpness and their finish. Plus, they are darn pretty.

Mods: Except for knitting a picot edge and a short-row heel and toe, none. I knit six repeats of the pattern for the leg and six repeats of the pattern for the foot.

I wear my first Monkeys all the time and really like them for their style and surprising warmth (despite the lacy bits). I'm looking forward to testing out my first pair of Claudia's Handpainted socks. It is, after all, a great name for a yarn company.

February 11, 2008

Chocolate Monkey Monday

Listen, Monday morning is hard. There is the getting up early...well, earlier than perhaps one got up on Sunday morning. There is the re-introduction of work -- for those of you lucky enough to have escaped it for two whole lovely days, not that I would know anything about that.

The ringing phone, the unpleasant co-worker, the huge hassle of the morning commute. The freezing cold wind hitting your face entirely too early.

All I can offer you to make up for this hellish onslaught is chocolate.

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Chocolate Monkeys, sporting an embellishment of dark-chocolate covered cranberries. If you were here I'd give you some, and we'd munch on them together while bitching wittily at life before turning back to our respective desks for further toil.

Monday morning is hard.

January 21, 2008

Picots Everywhere

Last night I was knitting closed yet another picot edge when I had a sense of deja vu. A brown picot edge...where had I done that before?

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Oh right. All of a sudden I am knitting NOTHING but brown picot edgings.**

Not, of course, that there is anything wrong with brown or picot. Its just interesting that all of a sudden I find brown yarn intensely appealing and then at the same time go off and find lots of picot edged projects. Random? Does this choice reflect some deep-seated psychological need?

Is it just laziness? Or the predilection that leads many that I've shopped with to leave a yarn store having bought yarn the exact color of the outfit she is wearing? The syndrome of having one great idea and then beating on it over and over until I'll be so sick of brown that even blue looks appealing? I'll admit, I've been off of the color orange lately for just that reason. My eyes want to see something new.

I'm not weary of chocolate brown or picots and look forward to working on these projects. But, seriously. I have to laugh at myself. Out of all the yarn and projects in the entire universe.

Its brown picot.


**If anyone has questions about how I knit these edgings, I explain that here

December 26, 2007

Zen Socks Finished

And another pair of socks for me exits the needles.

zensockfinished.jpg

Project Details:

Yarn: One skein of superwash merino yarn from Zen Yarn Garden in the colorway "Claudia's Fire". I really enjoyed working with this yarn. It is soft, not splitty and makes a "sproingy" sock with some elasticity to it. This is a highly desirable trait in a stockinette sock, as there is no ribbing to provide the necessary "give".

Needles: Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Needles in color Bubblegum and size US 1 DPNs. I LOVED these needles. The point is way, way pointier than the bamboo DPNs that I'm used to. And the needles are rigid, so the soft bending that I so dislike in my bamboo needles isn't present at all.

Pattern: My standard picot edge stockinette sock recipe based upon Simple Socks. Although I usually cast on 60 stitches to make this stockinette sock, I decided recently to up the stitch count to 64 stitches to take the eventual and inevitable slight shrinkage of the wool over time into account. I also made a conscious effort to knit the foot just a row or two longer to account for that eventual shrinkage. For my directions on how to knit a picot edge, click here.

At the moment, I have only one sock on the needles: this long-neglected project. I've picked it up again and now I wonder why I set it aside. However, after using the Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty Needles, the bamboo DPN's that are on this project bug the hell out of me. The dull points and bendy needles are kind of a bitch when executing/woman-handling the twisted stitches. Sadly, I know the gauge will be markedly different if I change needles now. Although if I get sufficiently peeved, I might do it anyway.

I've gotten a husband-request for socks knit using Koigu-weight yarn. I don't happen to have any Koigu in the stash in boy-friendly colors, so this means Yarn Buying. Now, I like Koigu just fine but I'm wondering if I can try a new sock yarn from another dyer that uses the same blank sock yarn as Koigu. I read on the internet somewhere that Cherry Tree Hill Supersock was the same base yarn as Koigu, but I have a skein of that in stash and it is smaller in grist than Koigu. If anyone has suggestions for me, bring it on.

November 05, 2007

Autumn Socks Too

The same pile of leaves that I used to photograph Autumn Rose last week seemed like a good choice for this finished sock:

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This is my standard stockinette, picot edge sock knitted in Zen Yarn Garden superwash merino sock yarn. I have made one modification to this sock that makes it different from its many predecessors.

Usually I cast on 60 stitches for a sock for me (US size 7 foot). This yields a very snug-fitting sock, which (1) is how I like them and (2) makes up for there being no ribbing anywhere in this pattern. A snug sock will stay up, won't stretch out or bag, and generally fits better in my winter boots or clogs.

But, I keep my socks in the rotation for a very long time. For example, this five year old sock, memoralized on the first day I bought a digital camera, was on my foot (with its subsequently-finished mate) just the other day. All of my many, many handknit socks are superwash wool, and as advertised, they don't felt when I wash them in the washing machine, on regular cycle with all the other clothes. No special treatment for handknit socks chez Claudia.

However, after a few years of this rough treatment I have noticed that, where the foot once fit perfectly and the leg was just snug enough, at some point the foot becomes just a hair too short, and the leg is just a smidge tighter than I'd like it to be. So, in my personal experience, superwash wool sock yarn if given enough time, wear and no special washing treatment, does shrink a bit.

So, with this Zen sock I've experimented with casting on 64 stitches for both the leg and foot and making the foot just a little longer. Or more precisely, since I use Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' short-row toe (and heel too, of course), the fact that there are more stitches to decrease makes a longer toe even if I start the toe at the same spot -- sort of half-way up my pinky toe -- that I always use to measure this.

The sock indeed feels a bit looser on me, but not as much as I would have thought. The true test, however, will be in the wash.

September 19, 2007

Darn Pretty Zen

I'm not one to be without a new sock project for very long.

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Here we have a lovely skein of superwash merino handpainted yarn from Zen Yarn Garden in the colorway "Claudia's Fire". Seriously, what's not to love about that name? So far, this is deliciously soft non-splitty yarn and I'm enjoying knitting with it and watching the plum stripe in a spiral fashion around the sock leg.

Accompanying this burst of color is a new set of Darn Pretty Needles in US size 1 from the talented folks at Grafton Fibers. These are in the color "Bubblegum". My photography skillz weren't up to showing their extreme prettyness -- please click on the link to see them in all their glory. I am LOVING THEM. So pointy, so smooth. So entertaining to see the different colors on the needles as they turn in my hands.

All this beauty is keeping my mind off the new temporary crown on my back molar. Root canal avoided. Life is good.

September 17, 2007

Monkey, Monkey, Who's Got the Monkey?

I've got a pair of Monkeys running around the house.

monkeysfinished.jpg

For a closeup of the stitch pattern and short-row toe, click here.

Project Details

Yarn: One skein of Sundara Sock Yarn in "French Navy over Topaz". After making the socks with the pattern repeats as specified in the pattern to fit a US size 7 foot, I had quite a bit of the skein left over. This was perfect sock yarn with which to knit: soft, sproingy and non-splitty.
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo double point needles in US size 1.
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
Mods: Instead of ribbing at the edge I used my standard picot edge. Also, instead of the heel and toe construction specified in the pattern, I used my default short-row heel and toe.

I really enjoyed knitting these, much more than I expected. Although not quite as mindless as the simple stockinette socks I usually make, this pattern was easy for me to commit to memory and the stitch pattern is intuitive enough so that there was no need to haul the pattern around with me.

Plus, there was that certain intangible wonder and delight for me in watching how the stitch pattern interacted with and enhanced the color variegatiion in this yarn. Clearly the designer achieved her goal of structuring a sock pattern that would enhance, rather than detract from, a hand-dyed sock yarn.

Overall, this was a highly satisfying knit. I'd make these socks again when I see the right yarn. What's the "right yarn"? Well, my opinion is that this sock pattern looks best in subtly variegated yarns, where the color contrast isn't too big and where the yarn is dyed so that its not overtly self-striping. In the meantime, perhaps a plain stockinette sock is in order so that I can turn my attention to my poor, neglected Twisted Flower sock.

August 22, 2007

Blue Monkey

Who has been having big Monkey fun?

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I have! I have! So far, I love everything about these socks. I did mess with the pattern a bit: a picot edge instead of ribbing, and a short-row heel and toe because that's what I like to knit and wear. The Sundara Sock Yarn has been a real pleasure - soft and non-splitty.

Because I'm not wild about the random pooling inherent in alot of hand-dyed sock yarn when knit up in stockinette, I'd been staying away from it. However, this sock pattern really takes advantage of the color randomness of such yarn. I think it looks lovely.

And, a bit of blue knitting is a pleasant change from all the orange I've been working with lately. Gotta shake things up once in awhile.

The second Monkey sock is already cast-on. You just can't have one monkey.

August 01, 2007

Empty Nest, Socks and Vacation!

Robin TV is over today due to empty nest-age.

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Our young robinettes are off exploring the world and having robin adventures. Like all teenagers, however, they come back to the nest occasionally to hang out, watch TV and eat their parents' food.

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A grown-up robinette perching at the edge of the nest for a little rest before flying off again.

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Mom is still busting her hump providing snack food for the teenagers.

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Naptime at the nest after a long night of party-hearty.

And so, we bid farewell to Robin TV. I'd love to take more pictures of them....but I can't! Not to whine or anything (OK, whine ahead...) but I worked every effing day of July. Every single day. I'm tired, a little cranky, but my projects are done. This can only mean.....vacation time! Wireless permitting, look for Where In the World is Claudia during the next 12 glorious days.

So, to send me off good and proper, I give you a finished pair of husband socks.

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Project Details:

Yarn: Opal in color number 123
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo DPNs in US size 1
Pattern: My standard cast on 64 stitches, 2x2 ribbing for awhile, knit 12 rows plain, short row heel, knit to toe, short row toe. I use the short-row heel and toe from the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts book "Simple Socks".

Later, dudes. I must pack now.

July 30, 2007

Of Feathers and Monkeys

I freed up some sock needles and look what went on 'em.

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I've jumped on the Monkey wagon. So far, this has been an easy and enjoyable pattern to knit. I wanted something that would highlight the variegated colorway of the Sundara sock yarn, and I think Cookie A. did a great job with the difficult task of patterning this type of yarn.

This, of course, means that socks were finished to make room on the needles. But today it is raining buckets and I'm lucky I squeezed out one decent blog-worthy picture.

Those of you following Robin TV will be delighted to see that our young robinettes have sprouted feathers and are looking decidedly more bird-like.

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Mom is gone from the nest almost all the time searching for food to feed big, hungry mouths. I always know when she's come back because of all the excited cheeping when the robinettes realize that lunch is being delivered.

Just as a warning: Robin TV will be serving up its last episode on Wednesday. Come back then to find out why.

July 25, 2007

Trying to Beat the Short

I've written before on the universal truth that when knitting two items that need to be exactly the same length (socks), I will invariably knit the second one shorter than the first. Never longer. Always shorter.

This time, I've thought ahead.

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When I knit the first of the husband socks, I slipped in a contrasting yarn right where I began the short row toe. So as I knit up the foot, I'll have a visual marker to show me where the second short row toe should start. Will this beat the short? Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool.

July 11, 2007

Heel Thinking

Awhile back I showed you my progress on my Twisted Flower sock, but I was undecided whether to do the pretty heel in the pattern or do a plain heel that I know I will wear. I finally decided.

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Am I happy with how the cabling just abruptly ends as it slams into the stockinette short-row heel? No. I'm sure I could have come up with a more clever solution had I the time and mental space to think about it. But the sock fits me and the rest of it is very pretty in spite of my hatchet job on the pattern.

I'm still on Egg Watch. As I came out of the house to take this picture, I saw a bird hop out of the bush and fly away. So I know mom/dad is around. How long will this egg hatching thing take? Clearly my knowledge of the natural world is laughably small.

July 06, 2007

Ah, the Comfort of Sock Knitting

In my humble opinion, there is nothing more soothing, more comforting than knitting a plain sock. Round and round. Watching with child-like delight as the pre-determined color sequence of a self-striping yarn shows itself.

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For a full frontal view of the orange Opal husband sock, click here.

I honestly think I'm extremely lucky to be so easily entertained.

Due to missing a post on Wednesday (the fourth of july is not one of my favorite holidays and I just didn't have anything to say about it) I have a severe back-up of randomness straining to get out. So here goes Random Friday:

1. Despite having been in a book group for the better part of twelve years, I rarely read for pleasure. You see, my work involves so much reading that I can't get up for any more. Well, that's not entirely the whole story. I'm very impatient with a fiction book, and very rejecting about plodding through "difficult" or sad scenes in a novel. If I want sad or unpleasant...well, I can just recommence my work reading. So, I skip the sad, the unpleasant, the suspenseful parts. I skim. I read the end first. The result is that I don't experience the book in any meaningful way. Even if I TRY, I'm just incapable of it.

Enter audiobooks. Free from the library. Dudes! This is the greatest thing ever. I can knit and listen. Or drive and listen. Or just listen. There is no realistic way of skipping parts, and I appear to be able to listen to the parts of the book that there is no way in hell I'd actually read. Its almost like re-discovering the joy of immersing myself in a book-world all over again.

So far, I've listened to two books. The first one, "Broken for You" by Stephanie Kallos was wonderful and I'd recommend it for a great summer read/listen. I'm currently listening to "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen which is also great. I don't think every book would lend itself to being a good listen, but these two surely do.

2. One of the side benefits of distributing an ass-load of MS Ride prizes was being to fondle, pet and eyeball lots and lots of skeins of sock yarn from boutique dyers that I'd never actually seen. Believe it or not, but I'd never held a skein of Vesper sock yarn or even Sundara sock yarn (although I've seen other of her yarns). I'd never even heard of Yarn Pirate or Brooklyn Handspun. Apparently I've been living under a rock. Granted, I'm not much of a yarn shopper, but it seems that I've been missing an explosion of sock-yarn-dyeing talent. Might have to re-think the shopping strategy.

3. Thank you for all your kind emails and comments wishing my delicate flower (Igor-kitty) well. His weight loss is either something very bad, or more likely Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Before moving on to big-time meds, we are trying a few weeks of B12 shots to see if that, plus a delicious diet of duck and pea wet food and chicken (mmmm....chicken) will fatten up Mr. Skinny. He, of course, considers this a net lifestyle improvement.

Have a great weekend!

June 11, 2007

This is For the Sock Knitters

This weekend I worked on my Twisted Flower sock by Cookie A.

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This has been a really fun pattern to knit, and this picture shows the entire leg. Now, however, I am at a crossroads. As you can see from the picture of the original sock (click on the Twisted Flower link above, and then supersize Cookie's picture), the heel as written is a fancy one. There is a lovely lace and flower stitch on a flap and gusset heel.

I have made no secret of my loathing of a flap and gusset heel. I hate making them (picking up those stitches...ARGH!) and the few socks I have with that heel constructiion don't get worn. Maybe the short-row heel fits me better, maybe my prejudice against flap/gusset colors my judgment.

Of course, the pattern as designed is beautiful. I balance that against the above-described loathing, and against the reality that a smooth heel is likely to be more comfortable when worn in shoes and boots. Although I do own clogs, generally if its cold enough for wool socks, its also cold enough for real shoes so the fashion statement of a decorated heel for all to see isn't really a factor here.

So the as-yet unresolved issue is: do I make the heel as written, enjoy its beauty but perhaps never wear the finished socks? Do I make my standard, plain short-row heel in a concession to my pre-conceived notions of wearability? Do I compromise and try to incorporate the heel stitch into a short-row construction?

I'm not asking for advice. Rather, just weighing the options out loud. We will see what happens, next I pick this project up.

There are less than two weeks left (this week and next) before my MS Ride, which starts on Saturday, June 23rd and ends on Sunday, June 24th. The time draws near for the raffle which will send an enormous amount of amazing prizes into the world. The sidebar total clearly shows that we are within striking distance of the new, improved goal. Never underestimate the collective powers of the Knitters.

Looking into the Prize Basket, today I'm feeling mostly socky (with a little lace thrown in for variety).

I have long admired the sophisicated color sense of dyer extraordinaire Sundara. Indeed, I had a great experience working with her Silk Lace in my Icarus shawl project. Recently, I got a yarn package from her with just an amazing donation to the Prize Basket.

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Two skeins of Silk Lace (1000 yds per skeins) in "Steel Blue over Thistle" and "Cinnamon over Bronze". Each skein is enough for an enormous shawl and is a separate prize. Love, love, love this yarn and I'd flich it if my conscience could stand it (it can't...sigh).

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Sundara's Sock Yarn (100 g. per skein) of hand-dyed superwash merino yarn. From L to R, "Russet Over Yellow-Green", "Grey Green over Mint" and "Steel over Blue-Violet".

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Sundara's Sock Yarn (100 g. per skein) of hand-dyed superwash merino yarn. From L to R, "Denim over Prussian", "Charcoal over Rose" and "Cranberry over Punch".

Each of these gorgeous skeins is a separate prize and will make a pair of stunning socks. Check out more Sundara sock yarn here.

But wait, there is more.

The talented designer Cookie A. will donate a full set of sock patterns (all 8 from her website) to a lucky MS Ride Raffle winner. Awesome! Her patterns are well-written and her designs are just beautiful. What a great prize.

And, one more thing for the sock knitters today. The crafty Caro who has a delightful Etsy shop generously donated a hardcover sock DPN needlecase to the Prize Basket:

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Closed, and:

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Open. Seriously, how cute is that?

As always, you can find the rules of the MS Ride Raffle and a list of all the kick-ass prizes to date here.

June 08, 2007

Mindless Socks Need Love Too

I am fortunate in that I don't usually have a commute to work. But last week I was obliged to go to a seminar in Boston which required a stint on public transportation. Of course, I needed a mindless sock to knit on this special occasion.

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This is Opal sock yarn in color 123. Opal is one of my favorite sock yarns for the interesting dye jobs and the fact that this sock yarn is bulletproof. Other than occasional slight pilling, my Opal socks have stood up to countless machine washings over five or so years without losing a bit of their brightness of color or shape. And there is no sign of wear on the heels or soles. What more could anyone ask of a sock yarn?

I am making a standard husband-sock using 64 stitches on a US size 1 needle. The leg is 2x2 ribbing with a short row heel and toe. Now before anyone starts with me about the orangeness, he picked this skein out himself.

The peony is the only one that I've gotten so far. There are a few small-ish bud balls, for which I have hopes, but this has been a very poor peony year for me. Unlike some people I don't know jack about gardening, so perhaps benign neglect (and, I mean NEGLECT) doesn't work long-term.

Onwards to the MS Ride Prize Basket for today. Taking a glance at the sidebar, I see it was a good decision to raise the goal on Wednesday. You guys are certainly letting me know that you aren't yet done with this fundraiser either!

Today, the prize focus is on great knitting books, with an extra special twist at the end.

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Cher generously donated a copy of Erica Knight's new book "Glamour Knits" to the prize basket.

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Terri is donating an autographed copy of her amazing new book Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition.

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Two of the prizes Sandra D. donated are these brand new copies of Nicky Epstein's Never Felt Better, along with Vogue Knitting Bags II on the Go.

Maryse donated just an amazing number of great books:

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No Pattern Knits

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Four great Vogue Knitting Books: Bags Two, Socks Two, Felting and Shawls

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Modular Knits

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Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge

And for something different and an extra special treat, Aubrey of Goodies Unlimited is donating a $50 gift certificate (shipping worldwide included). She makes lovely soaps and balms, my special favorite being the solid hand lotion in a twist-up container -- perfect for airplane travel.

I am not kidding around when I tell you that the prize basket continues to overflow due to the generosity of our fellow knitters. If your faith in Good needs to be refreshed, hang around here for awhile.

June 06, 2007

On Socks and Goals

Today's post is brought to you by the concept of meeting goals and setting new ones.

The goal of my sock knitting is pretty simple: I have very cold feets (and hands for that matter, but I digress) and I live in a place where winter is long and cold. I spend most of every day from roughly November to the beginning of May wearing a pair of wool socks.

My strong preference is for smooth, plain, close-fitting socks. Socks that are slouchy and droopy have no allure for me. Although fancy socks please my eye, the actual socks I reach for in the frigid mornings when a choice between the thirty-one pairs in my sock drawer needs to be made is most often a pair like these:

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Yarn: Trekking XXL in Color 110

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo DPNs in US size 1

Pattern: Cast on 64 stitches, do a picot edge, then knit in simple stockinette until just above the ankle. Decrease 4 stitches to 60 stitches and knit until the top of the sock is long enough. Execute a short row heel as described in Priscilla Gibson-Robert's book "Simple Socks". Knit the foot in stockinette until it is long enough. Execute a short row toe (exactly the same as a short-row heel) and graft the stitches together along the bottom of the foot.

Now there are thirty-two pairs of wool socks in the drawer. Some might think that's enough, but I don't think I'm done yet.

As you know if you've been reading here for the last month, there has been rabid fundraising in order to reach a goal of $20,000 for my MS Ride. This ride takes place on June 23-24, 2007 and the prize drawing will take place on Monday, June 25th. We are 17 days away from the ride, 19 days away from the absolute donation cut-off date, and are just a whisker shy of the $20,000 goal.

Now, when I first set this goal, some you (you know who you are) scoffed "that is a wimp-ass goal and knitters will come through with a hell of alot more". Some of you even suggested a number -- $30,000 -- as being a much more appropriate goal. Yet, if you are ME and starting out with US $0 donated, $20,000 looks like a whole lotta dough. So I went with that.

I now see the error of my ways. I have a boat-load of fabulous prizes yet to tell you about, 19 more days, and I really don't think we are done yet.

Last year, the compassionate blog-based knitting community sent $17,800.09 to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. One of the ways that the MS folks recognize their top fundraisers is by giving them special numbers to wear on the following years ride which correspond to how much money they raised the previous year. Every rider must wear a number while riding. What will be my number during this year's ride?

3.

World-wide knitters were the third largest donor to last year's ride. I'm pretty chuffed about that.

Although I don't quite remember exactly what the first place dude raised, I don't think it was $30,000. So the possibility exists of another number next year.

1.

As you might imagine, I've had a tough time explaining to the MS Society folks where all of this money comes from ("well, I have a knitting blog, and I give away yarn....."). Should knitters come up number one, their heads might explode.

I do feel a little like I'm moving the catnip further away from the marauding feline just as said feline is about to pounce on it, but I think you guys can deal.

So, the new goal is $30,000 by June 25th at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. I'm confident.

The Prize Basket continues to runneth over:

My lovely sister Silvia has exquisite taste in choosing gifts. I've been the beneficiary of this skill for many years, and now you are too.

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This amazing necklace was made by Ling Glass who says "Copper Wire is painstakingly bent to form the design of the frame, it is then arranged with the glass, soldered with lead-free solder and coated with patina to give it a vintage look". Frankly, I want this for myself, but Silvia knows my evil ways and plans to send it directly to the winner.

Another lovely gift from Silvia is a set of five adorable notepads from BoyGirlParty.

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Again. Want 'em.

Yarn Harlot is at it again, providing yet another kick-ass prize for this fundraiser. Do you want an advance copy of Crazy Aunt Purl's book?. Of course!

A Prize Basket daily offering would be incomplete without something yarn-y.

Cathy C. from Australia is donating two sweater's worths of delicious yarn (each is a separate prize):

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10 balls of Jaeger Shetland Aran (100 g. per ball) in Green.

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10 balls of Jaeger Lux Tweed (50 g. per ball) in Orange

Last for today, Tiger Lillith is offering to knit one lucky winner a pair of Monkey Socks if you donate here or via my Paypal link, and you leave her a comment.

Yarn, jewelry, books, custom knit socks....its getting pretty hard to resist donating.


June 04, 2007

New Socks and Awesome Prizes

Indeed, I started a new sock knitting project that is not at all the usual stockinette, picot-edge sort of thing.

When I came back from Maryland Sheep and Wool with two skeins of Louet Gems "Super Fine/Fingering Weight" in "Citrus Orange" I said I was going to knit this kick-ass Cookie A. pattern. Subscribing as i do to the LIFO method of stash inventory accounting (last in, first out), there is no time like the present.

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This sock might look intimidating to knit when looking at the picture, but honestly it is not. If you can do a two stitch cable without a cable needle, you can knit these socks. Grumperina gives great instructions for that here. Which of course I consulted last night because I'm so lame that I FORGET how to do this between projects that need it.

It is a dreary and rainy Monday chez Claudia's Blog. Considering the general malaise that the Monday morning mind-set often brings, even it is sunny and not morning where you are, a little pick-me-up would not go amiss. So, I present a special prize package brought to you by Julia of Vesper Sock Yarn fame.

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Julia has dyed a special limited edition colorway named "Tandem" which will only be available through the MS Ride Raffle. Twelve lucky sock knitters will win a much sought-after skein of this special Vesper sock yarn. Honestly, I can't believe she did a special colorway for this, but I'm unbelievably happy she did.

But there is more! Julia is donating two copies of my absolute favorite sock book ever containing the method by which I do all my short row heels and toes, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts "Simple Socks".

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And to round out Julia's prize package, she is donating three cones of Henry's Attic "Monty's 3/9ths", one pound each, 1680 yards per pound, of fingering weight 100% merino wool yarn.

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This would be great for dyeing your own sock yarn or lacy-shawl yarn. Each of these items is a separate prize, thus increasing the chance that if you enter the raffle by donating, that you will win a fabulous thank-you gift. All the raffle rules, a prize list and links for donating are here.

And, if that is not enough prizes for you, Knitspot Anne is offering up amazingly delectable prizes and the offer of a matching gift for any monies donated to my MS Ride from now through June 24th. Prizes, on top of prizes. Nothing but goodness here, people.

Thusly fortified with visions of delightful yarn, go forth and pound this Monday into proper submission.

May 30, 2007

Always Too Short...

I'd like to throw one of life's great knitting mysteries out for the Universe to respond. Hey Universe! Why is it that when I am trying to knit the second sock to match my first sock, I always knit it TOO SHORT? I mean, why never too long? Not even once?

And its not like I'm slacking off and not really trying to match lengths. I really do try. And since I knit socks mostly for myself, its not like the foot at issue isn't right there, ready for a try on at all times.

If I had to answer my own question, I'd say that by the time a knitter (even a cynical and suspicious one like myself) gets to the toe of the second sock, he or she is ready to be done with that project. So she looks at the sock with an optimistic heart, and sees what she wants to see: done-ness.

As you might expect, these ruminations aren't here today just because. Here is my second attempt at a foot that is the right length.

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I will admit that I violated Number 10, so disaster was predictable. Apparently, I should take my own advice more often. The second sock is now all ready for its grafting and then this pair of Trekking 110s will be history.

Since we're talking about socks today, I think pictures of lovely sock yarn that you could win as a prize in the MS Ride raffle would be just the thing. From the generous girls at We Heart Yarn come all these fabulous skeins (each is a separate prize).

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Vesper Sock Yarn in Meteor, Spunky Eclectic Maine Sock Yarn in Changes, Piece of Beauty sock yarn in Dark Matter.

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Two skeins (115 g. each) of Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Rose Garden, one skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool in the Cute Kitty colorway (not really, but there's no color name and there's a cute kitty sticker on the tag)

If you'd like a new knitting pattern for socks or other garments, Joan Hamer is donating five of her original patterns which you can see here here. Need to know more about the Enormous Prize Raffle? Click here.

April 25, 2007

Spring Has Sprung

How happy am I that there are finally blossoms on the cherry tree!

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I haven't shown you these Trekking socks in awhile, and I figured this would make a nice picture. This is Trekking XXL in the color 110.

I've got some random thoughts about sock yarn and sock knitting today, so lets get started.

1. I knit socks only for myself and my husband. In this small sampling of the handknit-sock consumer market, there are marked differences in our sock preferences.

2. My favorite sock of all the forty-odd pair that I've knit is this one. The Scheepjes Invicta Coloris yarn is so soft and comfortable to wear, plus it holds up great to my less-than-gentle washing regimen.

3. Basically, I throw all the socks into the washing machine, with other clothes, on a regular wash cycle (cold) and let 'er rip. Then I take them out of the washer and lay them flat to dry. No hand washing, special lingerie bags or any special treatment whatsoever.

4. Hubby's favorite sock, in contrast, is a Koigu sock that is so old that it predates this blog. Since this blog is about to turn five years old in June, I can tell you that this is OLD for a handknit sock. The full story is here. As for me, I have a couple of Koigu socks that I don't wear anymore because I've put holes in them. I won't knit anymore for me, as I can't be bothered with socks that don't hold up for me long term.

5. His other favorite sock is this recent addition. Now, I'll be honest. I did not enjoy knitting up the Socks that Rock (lightweight). The yarn felt really hard and overspun to my delicate fingers. But after the socks got washed, the yarn softened up and bloomed noticeably. Now they feel great on the foot, and hubby really likes them.

6. Opal and Regia sock yarns really stand the test of wearing. No holes, a bit of pilling on the Regia and the colors are still vibrant all these years later.

7. I find that I get little wear out of the few cotton/wool blend socks or all-cotton socks that I've made. It goes from cold-enough-for-wool-socks to summer here so quickly, the "in-between-ness" of a sock blend just doesn't work for me.

I'd be very interested in hearing your sock yarny tales. Feel free to share in the comments.

February 28, 2007

Re-Entry is a Bitch

As much as I love vacations, sometimes I've got to wonder whether its worth it. The frantic finishing of the work before taking leave, and the disaster upon return. Thus, it was a lovely distraction to read the captions you guys wrote in for the Mickey-Pluto-Claudia picture on Monday. And the winner of the silver sequinned Minnie Mouse ears is....Sonja! But seriously, thanks to everyone who gave me a smile.

Prior to this past weekend, I'd never been to Orlando. And despite my love of extreme, upside-down, twisty-turny rollercoasters, I haven't been to an amusement park in...oh...eight years or so. Clearly the best parts of the trip were hanging out with my beautiful sister and enjoying the 78 degree F and sunny weather. I wore flip-flops at every opportunity, just because I knew it will be months before that will be possible again.

On the rollercoaster front, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure was the clear winner. As it had been awhile since my last rollercoaster ride, I was seriously doubting the wisdom of standing in line for over half an hour for the privilege of a two minute ride at most. But after the first ride, I was all about the coasters with a big-assed smile on my face. Yes, the other people in line were seventeen years old, max. Yes, we waited with all the teenage boys in an extra long line for the front car. Your point is? For fellow extreme coaster fans, Sil and I recommend Dueling Dragons and especially Incredible Hulk.

Epcot, on the other hand, did not have any rides of note. Keeping in mind, that our definition of a good ride involves being upside down more than once. Disneyworld, however, was charming. Everyone is happy (except for the crying children, and I'm sure deep down they were really happy too). Everything is clean. All is manufactured to be pleasant. I completely understand why "I'm going to Disneyworld" is so popular.

One day of that was about all I could take. Not that I dislike "pleasant". Its the "manufactured" for which I have limited tolerance. We went to fake Germany and had a tasty bratwurst-and-beer, but I much prefer real Germany. Even if real Germany isn't quite as clean and cheerful. Give me the unexpected, the gritty, the real, and I will prefer it over a manufactured experience any time. Would I go back? Certainly if it was free (or mostly free) as it was this time. But I think my future vacation destinations will probably be magic-kingdom-free.

Vacations with long amusement park lines are good, however, for sock knitting. Sitting at the gate waiting for my plane to Orlando on Thursday, the Sock-Eventually-Held-by-Mickey was embryonic. Today, it looks like this:

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This is Trekking XXL in Color 110 that was a gift from a fellow orange-loving friend. It is the perfect sock yarn in every way. Amazingly, I actually changed up my standard picot-edge sock pattern a bit. Instead of casting on 60 stitches on US size 1 needles and knitting straight to the end, I cast on 64 stitches and decreased down to 60 stitches a bit above the ankle. I also knit a couple of extra rows before starting the toe than I normally would.

I do knit my socks on the tight side because I don't use ribbing and they won't stay up if knit for a loose fit. However, I've been noticing that as my wool socks "age", they tend to get a bit smaller in length and width. Granted, I wash these puppies in the washer (on cold) so they get no special treatment other than being set out on the drying chair to air dry. AND, my oldest handknit wool sock is seven years old, with a substantial number of the collection older than five years. Still going strong (except for a couple of Koigu socks which sadly bit the dust with heel holes) other than a wee bit of shrinkage.

So, I'm experiementing with knitting the socks slightly wider and longer to start with to account for future small-age.

Finally, if you'd like to see what I've been taking pictures of this week, head on over to the Picture-A-Day Project.


February 21, 2007

Mica Socks Done, Caution Mickey Mouse!

Yet another pair of husband socks has been added to his sock drawer.

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He wanted to make sure you guys saw all parts of the sock, even under the foot.

Project Details:

Yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight in the Mica colorway (1 hank) plus heels and toes done in black Koigu
Pattern: My standard man-sock based upon the formulas in Simple Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo double points in US size 1

Although I did have some STR left over, in my judgment there would not have been enough yarn in one hank to make these socks for a men's US size 10 foot with an 8.25 inch leg without resorting to a contrasting heel/toe.

Wait. My judgment isn't the best I can do here. Let's pull out the drug dealer's scale.

Advertised weight of a skein of STR Light Weight = 4.5 oz.
Weight of completed socks with a Koigu heel and toe = 4 oz.
Weight of leftover STR = .88 oz

There are some variables that are unknown. The Koigu seemed much lighter in weight than the densely plyed STR, and I don't know what the STR skein actually weighed.

However, even taking those variables into account, it seems that I am wrong. Were I to have toughed it out and knit the socks without the Koigu heel and toe, I probably would have just squeaked by. But I'm not sorry about the contrasting heels and toes. They make the very understated STR colorway look much more interesting. And, as I knit my socks from the top down, I'm really uninterested in worrying all the way to end of the second sock about whether I will run out of damn yarn.

The finishing of these socks is perfect timing. Starting tomorrow I will be in need of some travel knitting, and my very favorite travel knitting is a new sock project.

Travel? you ask.

It seems that due to the enormous amount of money that Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis raised in 2006 ($17,800.09), the MS Society is comping me a freebie trip to an event they are having in Orlando, Florida. The other rollercoaster maven in the family -- my lovely sister Silvia is going with me.

Essentially then, the knitters who read here are responsible for sending two knitters for a Disneyworld vacation. SWEET! Thanks guys.

Stay tuned to this blog for the story on "Knitters Take Orlando!"

January 24, 2007

Enough Yarn

Despite my yarn famine worries, it seems that a contrasting heel n' toe plus taking an inch of length from the cuff will result in there being enough Socks That Rock to finish a pair of Husband socks.

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Although I haven't dragged the drug dealer's scale back out to weigh the leftover part of the skein, my eyeball tells me that I'm safe. The Koigu is definitely a different texture than the STR -- less smooth, more "crepey". I was a bit reluctant to press the Koigu into heel and toe service, given my recent HOLEY experiences with Koigu socks, but after facing up to the fact that socks simply won't last forever under any circumstances, I just used what I had on hand.

Lately, I just haven't had the mental energy to expend on my knitting as the work part of my life sucks up my attention. So knitting on the mate to this easy-peasy sock is looking damn attractive.

Times like this are also good for spinning....cold outside, warm wool and empty bobbins inside. The holidays pushed me off the spinning track, but perhaps if I verbalize my intention to spin it will actually happen.

January 18, 2007

The Age-Old Answer

The horror of running out of yarn must be the third-rail of knitting. The nerve in your tooth that must be novocained before the drilling starts. The monster in the closet at night whilst you are in bed. The universal fear.

Running out of sock yarn, though galling, isn't the worst crisis. Socks are small and easily ripped out. Which is exactly what happened to the sock in question.

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Although some of you were hopeful (most weren't; I appreciate the realism) and although disaster wasn't assured I had no wish to knit socks with only the toes a different color. Honestly, I'm not much interested in knitting a less-than-perfect item just because I don't feel like ripping out. There is no prize for speedy finishing, now is there.

So, I ripped the original heel back as well as an inch of the cuff. In the stash of leftover sock yarn, I located some dark brown/black Koigu and used that for the heel. What you see is the same amount of yarn knitted into the sock as was knitted in Tuesday's picture. I am almost to the toe area (which will match the heel), so disaster will surely be averted.

I predict some Mica STR will enter the big bag of sock yarn leftovers someday. All is well in the sockiverse.

January 16, 2007

The Age-Old Question

What is the one question guaranteed to strike fear in the heart of every knitter?

A Story in Pictures

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compared with

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First sock, most of the first foot/toe to go.

This is my first time knitting a pair of husband socks with Socks That Rock. This is the lightweight STR in the Mica colorway bought at the delightful Purlescence this past fall.

I am concerned about the obvious..ahem...issue. If anyone has made a pair of socks to fit a US size 10 male foot out of one skein of this stuff, speak up and allay my fears.

January 10, 2007

An Old Sock Story

Usually what you see on these here knitting blogs is brand-spankin' new socks. Newly born, never worn, or modelled on their first day of life. Today, however, I will tell you the story of Old Socks.

Recently I pulled a pair of my husband's hand-knit Koigu socks out of the washing machine, to discover to my horror that an ENORMOUS hole had developed right under the ball of the foot, right before the toe decreases. Checking the other sock, it appeared that this same spot was also fixin' to give way. The showing of this debacle to the husband resulted in anguish. "But those are MY FAVORITE SOCKS!", moaned he.

My first thought was to wonder how old these particular socks were. Blog archives are usually useful for this sort of knitting-carbon-dating. But amazingly, this particular pair pre-dated this blog. This means that these socks were at least five years old. Maybe six. Not too shabby for Koigu, which as you all know is 100% wool with no nylon content.

Now, what to do. I myself have had two Koigu sock-pairs develop holes, but I wear them out much further down the foot. They are still in a drawer somewhere waiting for possible repair. But honestly, I just figured I'd knit more for myself; those poor socks are probably done for.

The husband socks were another matter, as he was quite attached to them. Lucky for me, this sock emergency happened while my mom was here. She, unlike me, actually knows how to fix socks. Her suggestion was to reknit the toe portion of the hole-y sock because the hole was way too big to darn. As for the other sock, darning the thin spot would extend that sock's useful life.

So that is what we did.

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The little bobbin of yarn you see in the picture is yarn harvested from unravelling the top of the hole-y socks. My mom used this to darn the weak spot in the other sock. At the same time, I ripped (well, my mom did this part) the toe off of the hole-y sock, and I used some left-over Koigu in another colorway to knit on a new inch or so. The original toe yarn was still kicking around in my giant bag of sock yarn leftovers, so then I knit on a new toe.

Sock saved! Husband happy.

The End

December 18, 2006

Dragon Monday

Mondays can often be dragon-y in a bad way. But this Monday we've got good dragon-ness to show.

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Project Details
Pattern: Keyboard Biologist's Here There Be Dragon Socks.

Yarn: Two skeins (50 g. - 191 yds) of Artyarns Ultramerino4 in Color #202, a gift from Black Olive Paula.

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo double point needles in US size 1.

Mods: I made the "UpScaled Dragon" socks which are perfectly sized for a women's US size 7 foot (i.e., my size), so the mods were few. I knit the socks as written to the toe, whereupon I substituted my standard short-row toe for the toe specified in the pattern. Were I to knit these socks again, I might put a couple of rows of garter stitch around the sock tops to stop the tiny bit of rolling. On the other hand, its cute the way it is, so maybe I wouldn't.

Here is another view of the orangey, scaley goodness.

I really enjoyed making these socks, and thought that the pattern and yarn were perfect for one another. Yarn with only a slight variegation in color makes the scale pattern look really good, so I'd suggest that if you are thinking about making a pair. The pattern was well-written, and talks you through a short-row heel if you've never done one. The Ultramerino4 is absolutely luscious yarn -- soft and sproingy and really a delight to knit with. However, the real test of sock yarn is after a few washings and wearings. So I'm reserving final judgment until I see how the yarn responds to the beating I give my socks.

Now, the question is -- start up another fancy sock or revert to my natural picot-edge, stockinette tendencies?

November 06, 2006

Seven Rows

Before I discuss my seven row situation, here is an arty shot of the new socks in town:

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These are simple knit 2/purl 2 ribbing husband socks using lightweight Socks That Rock in the Mica colorway that I purchased during my trip to Purlescence. These socks are excellent waiting-around knitting. Plus, there are some days when my poor brain can't handle something more complex than this. I trust that I'm not the only one.

So. Seven rows. Despite diligent effort, that was the sum total of my weekend knitting on Icarus. Those are some long-ass rows, people. And, I find that using the size 1 needles and the tiny yarn sort of cramps my hand up if I work on this project too long.

Seeing as there are less than thirty total rows left on the Icarus charts, I've got a plan to get to the finish line.

Two rows a day. Which one do I feel like?

October 30, 2006

So Socky, So Finished

It feels like an absolute age since I finshed knitting anything.

bluesocksdone.jpg

Project Details:

Yarn: Trekking XXL -- lost the ball band so no color number.
Pattern: Cast on 64 stitches on US size 1 DPNs. Knit 2, purl 2 ribbing until the sock is long enough. Knit 12 ankle rows in plain stockinette. Do short row heel. Knit foot. Do short row toe. Done. Fits a man's US size 10 foot if you are a loosey-goosey knitter like I am.

These are husband socks, they are blue and he likes them. Enough said.

September 25, 2006

Sock Mojo

My sock mojo is slowly coming back.

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As a bonus for Igor-lovers, here is the small evil one supervising the sock construction.

Lately my need for a mindless knitting project has been more than fulfilled by Icarus. However, with a little more knitting effort, I'll make it to the lacy border where attention I will have to pay.

The socks, they will be back.

August 23, 2006

Sock on a Rock, and Other Stories Involving Laziness

I put the finished or in progress socks on the Sock Rock for photos. I'm not sure why. Its a convenient rock, with nice greenery to make these repetitive sock pictures a bit more visually appealing.

bluetrekaug232006.jpg

The sum and substance of my vacation knitting was one finished Husband sock done in Trekking XXL, his favorite sock yarn. Well, finished in the sense that the knitting is finished. Were I to turn this sock over, you would see the yarn ends still flapping about. Lazy knitters unite!

What I really wanted to talk about today concerns the questions I got in the comments to the last entry about my assessment of the Knitscape design software that I used to tweak Crinkle. The short answer is that I haven't used this software enough to feel comfortable giving it a public rating. In addition, I did not test out any other design software before purchasing this one.

And, it is very likely that I'll never really put this design software through its paces. Why? Because...very simply...I am not a designer of sweaters. I am a "tweaker". I see designs that I like, that inspire me. And I mess with them. Sometimes a little. Sometimes alot. But I don't have the vision thing. I can't sit down and visualize a nice-looking, novel, creative design. That's what designers are for.

Don't misinterpret me as having a lack of confidence or minimizing my abilities. I am a fantastic tweaker. Really, really good. I think I pick cute designs and tailor them to my own style and body quite successfully. But say to me, "Claudia, design a cute, non-boring, hasn't-been-done-before sweater" and I come up empty. Honestly, this is why you won't find critiques of magazines or patterns here -- its damn hard to come up with cutting-edge, but wearable knitwear designs. I give kudos to all the designers that put themselves out there with new ideas for us knitters to chew on.

So, I didn't buy this design software to actually DESIGN. I bought it because I'm a lazy-ass who doesn't want to sit down with a pencil, paper and calculator and re-do gauge or shaping to modify an existing pattern to my yarn and gauge. That's all. And that is unfair to the software, which can do so much more than this, to rate it based upon my limited use of it.

Does this software aid in tweaking? You bet. It recalculated stitch and row gauge and re-did the shaping on Crinkle to match. But no software, this one included, will operate independently of the knitter's own skill. If your gauge measurement is off, as mine was, you will have to make adjustments to the pattern as you go. Same with the shaping instructions. This software generated an acceptable set-in sleeve and neckline shaping, but I decided to tweak the tweaked instructions even more as I was knitting.

Are you a designer? Or a tweaker? Or neither? You probably should answer this question for yourself before shelling out the dough for design software. For me, the price of the software was worth my limited use of it. I count that as a successful purchase.

August 02, 2006

99 Degrees of Wool Sock

The thermometer says 99 degrees F (37 degrees Celsius for my non-US friends). No matter. A proto sock needs its picture taken.

bluetrekaug22006.jpg

Perhaps it doesn't make alot of sense to non-knitters. You know, this knitting of wool socks during the dog days of summer thing.

But it makes perfect sense to me. Waiting of all types still needs to be done in the summer. Waiting time equals knitting time. Soothing of the rattled mind and weary soul still needs to be done in the summer. Mindless sock knitting is a good cure for that. And it won't hurt you in the way that other common cures may.**

After all, winter will be here soon enough. Winter equals bitching about the cold. Better to bitch with warm feet.


** I was going to write that sock knitting is cheaper than liquor, but I thought better of that. I know there is a cheap beer/expensive sock yarn crowd reading here, as well as an expensive liquor but EVEN MORE expensive sock yarn crew. You know who you are.

July 12, 2006

Mindless Knitting Can Be Your Friend

Mindless knitting can be your friend.

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Mindless knitting is your friend when:

-- You are a little tired.

-- Your husband doesn't like fancy socks anyway.

-- Its tough to mark off rows on a chart in the salon, with one's head full of foils, under a dryer. Now there's an attractive image.

This is a skein of Trekking XXL becoming a Husband Sock. Husband Socks are 64 stitches on US size 1 needles done in 2x2 ribbing, with short row heels and toes.

I've gotten many questions lately about how I knit my heels and toes. I am a great fan of Simple Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. If you happen to have the Fall 2000 issue of Interweave Knits, she wrote an article detailing her short row method, and exactly the same instructions are used for both heels and toes.

Not coincidentally, my long streak of obsessive sock knitting began in the Fall of 2000. Prior to that I'd made only two pairs of socks and really didn't enjoy knitting them at all. The culprit?

The flap heel and gusset.

I just hate Hate HATE knitting the fiddly flap. I hate EVEN MORE picking up the stitches around the fiddly flap. We won't even discuss the atrocity that is the gusset. Irrational? Indeed. But on this point I am immovable. If a sock pattern calls for such a heel, those instructions are summarily excised and the PGR Simple Sock method inserted.

Some of you might well point out the plethora of other clever heel and toe constructions that I've overlooked. In advance I say, fair point. But if the short toe heel fits my foot (it does) and the short row toe fits my square-ish piggies (it does), I say game over.

July 10, 2006

Dragon Socks at 6288 Feet

My Dragon socks better not be complaining that I never take them anywhere.

dragononmtw.jpg

The riders are alive and the mountain is conquered. For more on the bicycle portion of the weekend, go to my ride page.

The combination of delectable yarn and a strangely compelling scaly stitch pattern have resulted in first sock completion in record time:

dragonsock1.jpg

I really like this picture because it shows off the neat toe detail. Now, I NEVER detail my short-row toes.* And, I am easily amused. Suffice to say, this sock already has provided me with hours of entertainment.

As is the rule, I cast on for the second sock last night just before falling, exhausted, into bed. Crinkle front v. Dragon sock...what to choose?


*This pattern happens not to have a short-row toe, but that is my toe of choice and I sub it in on all my socks.

July 07, 2006

Socks and a Big Challenge

After I finished up the Conwy socks, there were no socks at all on my needles. Such a disgraceful situation could not be allowed to continue for very long.

dragon772006.jpg

Here is a good beginning on Keyboard Biologist's Here There Be Dragon Socks. Have a look at the neat-o heel detail that Theresa dreamed up. This is a fun pattern to knit, proven by the fact that I've been unable to put them down since I started them. How scaly! How orangey! How ORANGEY AND SCALY! Irresistible.

Part of my dragon-sock-lust has to do with the delectable yarn: this is Artyarns Ultramerino4. Where has this sock yarn been all my life? Its so silky and soft, yet sproing-y and cushy. A real pleasure to knit. Now, I didn't pick this yarn out (despite it being perfect for me in all respects). It was a hostess gift that I received during the chaos of party prep, and I'm very embarassed to admit that I can't remember which lovely friend gave this to me. It if was you, please tell me so that I can thank you properly.

The "big challenge" referenced in the title to this post is not knitting. Tomorrow morning, bright and early (you all know how much I *love* early -- not) the husband and I will attempt to ride the tandem up this. Whereas I am usually fully confident we can pull off any ride, I am a bit worried about surviving the Mount Washington Auto Road. If we make it, I'll be sure to take triumphant summit pictures. If not, well.....it will be ugly but still blog-worthy. What I won't do for you guys.

July 03, 2006

The Year of the Fancy Sock (cont.)

At the beginnng of this year, I committed to sock diversity. The principle that not *every* sock that I make has to be a picot-edge stockinette sock with short-row heels and toes. Behold the latest installment of All Socks are Beautiful:

conwydone.jpg

Project Specs:

Pattern: Conwy sock from "Knitting on the Road".

Yarn: Dye-it-yourself Opal sock yarn, an excellent present from Emma, dyed by moi.

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo double points in US size 1.

Mods: I did my usual short-row heel and toe shaping instead of what the pattern called for. This could be simple laziness and a general unwillingness to try new things. Or, this style of heel and toe may just happen to fit my feet and I see no good reason to fix what ain't broke. Take your pick.

For a flat-sock shot, click here.
Despite taking an age to finish these socks (they first showed up on this blog back in March) I really did enjoy knitting them. The pattern is well done, and my favorite part was the calf shaping as I have..well, substantial calves.

The little white bits you see in the photos (especially noticeable in the flat shot) are the places in the skein where I tied the skein ties too tightly and the red dye couldn't reach. I prefer to think of this as a fancy resist-dyeing method resulting in a funky flammegarn type effect. You know. Instead of a mistake.

I am very interested to see how my home-made dye job (with my usual Sabracron F dyes) stands up to the hard wear and frequent washings that my socks must endure. I find that my factory-dyed Opal socks keep their color remarkably well. So any difference in color loss will be attributable to the dye job and not the yarn.

June 04, 2006

A Fabulous Prize and Socks Too

A new pair of wool socks, finished just in time for.....SUMMER!

sheepjesdonefeet.jpg

Here is the flat view.

Project Specs:

Yarn: Scheepjes Invicta Coloris in Color 1701

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo DPN's in U.S. size 1

Pattern: My own standard picot-edge 60-stitch, short row heel-and-toe socks. Don't all fall over in shock, now.

Alright, so the timing is a bit off, but I'm sure I'll appreciate these come fall....or later this week if the rain and cold don't let up. Just so's you guys know, I had to rearrange my entire sock drawer to fit these in without exploding the whole she-bang. Literally. Exploding. I'm thinking its time to knit a few more husband socks since clearly I have my share.

Speaking of sock yarns, check out this absolutely kick-ass prize generously donated to my MS Ride Prizes by the beautiful Kerrie of HipKnits. She is donating 100 g. of CASHMERE SOCK YARN custom dyed in whatever colors the winner picks. Here is a sample of what the yarn could look like:

cashmeresockyarn.jpg

Did I mention this was CASHMERE?? Just making sure you guys are paying attention. Thanks Kerrie, and feel better soon!

April 14, 2006

How About Some Sock with Your Spring?

I know that for folks in warmer climes the exclamations over the first stirrings of spring were SO last month. But WOO HOO there are cherry blossoms! I am so easily made happy.

Despite the weather turning perhaps a bit too warm for wool sock wearing (today, but it could snow yet this month), I'm still pretty darn excited about this one:

conwyapr142006.jpg

One cheerfully red Conwy sock lounging around on the pavement. One to go. The textured stitch pattern is a pretty fast knit, and relatively little effort for a faux cabley payoff. Best of all, for those of us with bicycle-training enhanced calves, this sock pattern features calf shaping. I was dubious about the large number of stitches the pattern calls for casting on, but the decreasing starts almost immediately and results in a leg-hugging shape.

So far, five pointy sticks up for the Conwy pattern!


April 07, 2006

Progress, Or The Perception Thereof

Sometimes I feel that projects, once begun, drag slowly on. I mean, its not unpleasant to work on these projects -- this fibery hobby is supposed to be FUN, remember? Just that progress is snail-like.

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Here I have two bobbins of laceweight singles spun from a never-ending bag of Icelandic roving. Seriously, people. It feels like I've been spinning on these two measly bobbins FOREVER. I don't usually spin this fine, because I don't usually have much use for laceweight. But I've set out to spin the yarn for Hyrna, so laceweight it is.

Plying these little beasties will doubtless take another eternity, but if I am very lucky perhaps these two bobbins will suffice for this project. The upside of spinning fine singles is that the yardage on one bobbin is killer, and the suggested yardage for this patttern is only about 500 yards.

In contrast, I think I'm FLYING on progress with the Conwy sock.

conwyapr72006.jpg

I mean, I'm getting close to the heel. But objectively this isn't fast progress. Perception, however, is all. See, I had expected this patterned sock to be a slow and frustrating knit compared to my regular stockinette socks. Not so! The limited time that I've had to spend on this project has resulted in way more progress than I was expecting.

Exceeded expectations = happiness.

April 05, 2006

Man Down

While at the Parrothead Festival this weekend (as explained more fully in the last entry) in the middle of the festivities the heavens opened up and sheets of rain began to pour down. In the massive crush of revelers escaping into the ski lodge, I noticed a woman carefully protecting a tray of miniature margaritas in little plastic cups that she held in both hands. (See, there was a margarita making contest and each contestant was offering samples.) One of the tiny cups had spilled, and she said woefully to her friend, "I have a man down."

Well, I say woefully to you. I have a man down.

This particular combination of pattern and yarn was simply not meant to be in my sock drawer. I had no idea what the Sheepjes yarn was going to look like when I started this, but apparently it is a ball of self-patterning yarn. The big stripes of color and pattern were, in my opinion, not enhanced by the feather and fan texturing.

So, I returned to my knitting binkie:

sheepjes452006.jpg

I feel so much better now.

The Feather & Fan pattern done in the right yarn -- maybe in a solid color or a more subtle hand-dyed colorway -- could be nice for a sock, and it is certainly easy enough. The undulating nature of the pattern, though, does sort of remind me of an afghan that my aunt made for me in the 70's. Let's just say this is a bit of a mental hurdle uniquely mine to overcome....

April 03, 2006

Of Socks and Contests

So, let's cut to the chase. There is a winner of the Name that Sock contest, and it is --- Ali!

Ali guessed correctly that Sock No. 1 in the red Opal was Conwy from Knitting on the Road, but not knitted exactly to the pattern. I would never knit a heel flap and gusset (bleh), so my version of Conwy will have a short row heel and toe. Ali also guessed correctly that Sock No. 2 is a Feather & Fan sock -- in this case the one from Socks Socks Socks. Now, lots of people correctly guessed the sock pattern, but only Ali guessed that the yarn was Sheepjes as pictured in this old blog entry. To all the Sock Obsessed who took a guess, thanks for playing!

However, no-one guessed where I was going this weekend. Here are the clues again: I've been there before. It involves flowers and birds, but not the kind you think.

So, where did I go? Why, Parrothead Weekend** at Sunday River in Maine. A little spring skiing, some hanging out with friends, learning that a margarita blender can be driven by an outboard motor: priceless.

A long drive to and from the wilds of Maine can mean only one thing.

orangesockdone.jpg

The Husband Socks are done. There are two of them -- no cheating here. So far, the Husband is pleased with them, and there yet might be opportunity for wool sock wearing if the forecasts of cold and wet come to pass.

I will say, that this orange Koigu knitted up very differently from any other I've ever worked with. It seems more tightly spun and "harder" somehow than the squishy yarn I'm used to. When I mentioned this the last time on this blog, lots of you wrote in to share similar experiences. I still like working with Koigu, and will use it again. But I will keep in mind that this yarn is not as standardized as I might expect.


**Fans of the music of Jimmy Buffet are known as "Parrotheads". Parrothead Weekend is a gimmick used by a ski resort in the middle-of-nowhere Maine to get folks to drive up for a sping skiing weekend. Effective, that.

March 31, 2006

Its Time For....Name That Sock!

/cue theme music/

/Announcer/ "Hello everybody and welcome to the fun, the fast-paced new game show..."NAME THAT SOCK!"

/wild audience applause/

/Announcer/ "And here's our host....CLAUDIA!"

/wild audience applause/

Hey, people! Its Friday, and what a lovely, sunny 70 degree morning it is here in the beautiful, spring-like Northeast. It must be the weather that has put me in the contest frame of mind, cause we don't usually do that 'round these parts.

But, if you are sock-obsessed and have a moment or two to spare, Johnny tell them what the prize is:

/Announcer/ "Well, Claudia. The lucky winner gets....two skeins of variegated purple Koigu!"

/wild audience applause/

So, here is the challenge. There are three questions to answer. First one that gets all three right, by leaving the answer in my comments (email guesses don't count!), gets the FREE YARN. And I know how you folks love yourselves the free yarn. If no one gets all three, then the first person to get the first two wins. Answers and winner selection on Monday morning.

OK. Ready?

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Question 1: What sock pattern am I using for the newly-dyed red Opal?

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Question 2 is a two part question: What sock pattern am I using for this sock AND what yarn am I using for this sock?

Question 3: Where I am going this weekend? Hints: I've been there before, and it involves beads and flowers and birds but not the kind you think.

Let's play.....Name. That. SOCK!!!

March 29, 2006

Socks: The Color Episode

Awhile back, Emma sent me the most delightful gift: A stunningly handpainted vision of loveliness, you ask? No. It was the plain, cream yarn you see laying here. An undyed skein of Opal sock yarn. Which is probably my all-around favorite sock yarn for knitting fun, wearability and ultimate durability.

For a long while, I contemplated this skein and wondered what color it should be. With the advent of the Fancy Sock Era on this here blog, I've discovered that solid sock yarns -- which in many cases display the fanciness the best -- were in woefully short supply in my sock stash. So, a solid color it was. But which one?

Well, instead of telling you, I'll show you.

I am fortunate enough to have a dye kitchen -- a place to store my dyeing supplies and to crockpot dye -- that is NOT where we keep the family food.** Underneath the sink of the dye kitchen is my dye collection. I will stop right here and say that the dye method I'm about to talk about was taught to me by the beautiful and talented Sara Lamb, who blogs here. If you ever have a chance to take a class from Sara, jump right on that people. Failing that, get yourselves a copy of the Spring 2002 Spin-Off magazine for Sara's article on crock-pot dyeing that contains the detailed formulas that I use.

Dyes come in powders (the small jars to the right), but powders are messy and difficult to measure accurately in that form. I happen to use Sabracron dyes, but there are many other excellent products out there. The liquid that you see in the tubs is simply a 1% solution (take 10 g. of dye and mix it with 990 ml. of water). Now that the dye is in liquid form, it is ready and convenient for me to use anytime without getting dye powder all over the place.

The first thing I did was to soak the skein in warm water with a little dish detergent and little vinegar added (the detergent to get the skein nice and wet and the vinegar to start acidifying the skein a bit). After a 30 minute soak, it was time to choose some dyes.

Having just recently knit a pair of orange socks, that color was out. I also love red, so I defaulted to one of my favorite blends: 50% scarlet and 50% fuschia. This gives a nice balanced red: not too orange and not too blue. I measured out the dyes using a veterinary syringe, sucking up 50 ml each of the fuschia and scarlet dyes. The skein weighed about 100 grams and I used 100 ml of dye to get a....wait for it...1% Depth of Shade (a medium color, not too pastel, not too deep). Then I squirted the dyes in the crockpot filled up partway with water.

You know what comes next:

redopalskeinin.jpg

Boring white skein, begone! Once the skein is in the pot, turn it on low and walk away for three hours. No peeking! Then turn off the crockpot and let the whole she-bang cool down overnight or until its pretty darn cold. As Sara is fond of saying, the dye will continue to take-up during the cool-down, so don't be all in a rush.

The goal of dyeing is for the dye bath (the water) to exhaust (get completely clear). That means all the dye you put in has bonded with the yarn. This is a function of (1) not putting in too much dye, (2) putting in enough vinegar, and (3) cooking the darn thing long enough. When I opened up the lid hours later, I was DELIGHTED to see that my dye bath was clear. YEAH!

After a rinse or two to get the vinegar smell off, the skein dried overnight and I now have this:

redopal.jpg

A lovely, subtly variegated skein of bright red HAND-DYED sock yarn. Seriously, what is more cheerful on an almost-spring day than a freshly red skein. The skein has a charming imperfection: guess what happens when one of the ties is too tight. Character, I say. The yarn has character.

I guess it's time to choose a sock pattern, hmmm?


**Those of you with first-hand knowledge of how often my real kitchen actually contains groceries, stop laughing. I can hear you.


March 27, 2006

And Thus a New Era Begins

I never thought I would knit lace socks. Really. Never ever. But it turns out, that mom was right. One should never say never.

whisperribdone.jpg

Project Details:

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in Poppy (2 skeins with lots left over to fit U.S. size 7 feet)

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo double points in US size 1

Pattern: Whisper Rib and Shepherd's Lace Socks by Anne Carroll

Mods: I knit the socks as written except that I used my standard short row heel and toe, as described here.

Thanks Margene for the gift of the yarn and pattern. Secretly, I think you were just tired of seeing plain picot edge socks and took matters into your own hands.

I think these socks are pretty and they were surely fun to knit. The pattern was excellent and I would knit it again. And I expect to like the socks in the wearing, perhaps because they are not too aggressively lacy. Which, honestly, for a wool sock I still question the practicality of an all-over lace pattern.

Yet, who knows. Maybe my next sock will have...an all-over lace pattern!

Never say never.

March 16, 2006

Thoughts on Lacy Socks

I think one of the very best things about having a blog, reading the blogs of others and commenting on/emailing with/befriending knitters who blog is the opportunity to learn new things. I'll admit that knitting is my relaxation, and seeing as how my work involves the constant learning of new things and the solving of new problems my tendency is not to want to push the envelopes of my fibery hobbies.

Thus, it is remarkably easy for me to have decided years ago that I Don't Like something and spend the rest of my days never trying it. But when I see lovely pictures and read excited descriptions of someone else's projects, this input makes much more of an impression on me than say, flipping through a knitting mag and giving each design five seconds of look-see before passing it by.

Yet, with lace socks it took even more than viewing countless lovely pictures of the lacy socks of others to get me to try something that I'd long ago decided wasn't for me. No sirree Bob. Margene had to actually send me the yarn and the pattern in order to blast me off my stubborn rear.

First, the sock progress:

whisperribmar162006.jpg

What I've learned since starting these Whisper Rib socks:

1. A simple lace pattern provides almost as mindless and relaxing sock knitting as a simple picot-edge stockinette sock.

2. The thrill of creating a "fancy" sock is exponentially greater than making a plain one, making up for the slight bit of extra attention required.

Seriously, who knew?

I decided to immerse myself in the full lace sock experience and continue the lacy bit down onto the foot. Perhaps this will affect the comfort level in the wearing, but I don't mind making these socks a "test" pair in that regard. One thing I have noticed in the wearing of "fancy" socks is that depending upon the patterning and the yarn used in the "foot" part, the socks fit into shoes/boots differently than my plain ones. For example, I am more likely to reach for my pair of STR Jaywalkers if I'm lounging around the house and want a cushy slipper-substitute. But I don't seem to wear them out because the raised patterning on the foot and ankle makes them feel thicker and less comfortable in my clogs and boots: the normal habitat of my plain handknit socks.

This is far from a problem. The current state of my big-assed sock drawer means that each handknit sock can have its own special purpose without depriving me of the chance for daily wearing of the perfect handknit sock for the circumstances. I think this abundance of workhorse plain socks now gives me the luxury of playing around with fancy ones.

2006: the Year of the Fancy Sock. Knit on.

March 08, 2006

Cats and Socks, What's Not to Like?

Its a cat. With a Koigu sock. Seriously, this is the best I can do while checking my mailbox every five minutes hoping that my zipper comes for Mariah.

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Its Wednesday again, so time for randomness.

1. I am seriously excited that I'm not the only pathetic knitter in the universe.

2. The above orangey saffron/black Koigu sock has come out slightly bigger and more stretchy than the bazillion other identical pairs that I've made for the husband. Handmade is simply not 100% reproducible. Luckily he was looking for socks to wear with sock liners, so I'm good.

3. During the cat-sock photo shoot, I happened to get a picture of Kimba in a way less than flattering pose. Those of you with cats probably know which one I'm talking about. But I didn't post it because I didn't want to embarrass her. Yes, I know she's a cat and doesn't surf the internet. Still.

4. Just so you all know, I never wore the Perry Ellis Bubble Sweater. I came to my senses shortly after knitting it and promptly gave it away.

5. I do wonder which "sweaters of the moment" will cause you and me much embarrassment in ten or fifteen years. However, I'm betting that Rogue and Ribby Cardi will still be looking fine. I'm betting against anything knit with fun fur.

February 22, 2006

Random Wednesday

If mamacate gets to be random on Wednesdays, I do believe I get to be too.

1. Despite having been married to him for a long time, I really did not know that the Husband also likes the color orange. I mean, REALLY KNOW. How it is that I know now, one might ask.

orangesockfeb222006.jpg

Behold the yarn chosen by the Husband for his next pair of socks out of the myriad possibilities of the sock cubby. A spritely shade of yellow-orange with a black heel and toe. Eye-catching, no? The bright stuff was a lovely Koigu gift from Norma, and the black Koigu is left over from the last pair of Husband socks needing black heels and toes.

2. The orangey Koigu and the black Koigu feel completely different. The orange seems thinner, silkier and less spoingy, while the black knits up thicker and denser. If anyone else has noticed this sort of variation in Koigu, speak up.

3. I used to read for pleasure alot. Nowadays this happens rarely. I used to read my knitting mags cover to cover on the day they arrived. Now I don't even subscribe.** My eyes are tired of the written page -- but yet, not tired of the blogs which arrive every day on my big-assed computer monitor. I can blame the general weariness of reading on my work -- intense reading mandatory. But why blogs are OK, but books and magazines aren't, I've got no explanation.

4. I did stop by the Wild & Woolly to buy the new Spring Interweave Knits. For the sole purpose of reading Julia's essay on the back page. I enjoyed the essay quite alot, but there was nothing else about the magazine that otherwise would have led me to plunk down my money. No mag-bashing here -- its a tough business to please us knitters. But for my part, I'd rather lurch around the wide, wild Internets searching for design ideas. Sometimes that search leads back to the mags to reconsider a nice design previously overlooked (Flower Basket Shawl comes to mind). Mostly it doesn't.

5. I really would like a good nights sleep. Two cats for sale or rent. Cheap.

**To be accurate, I did let all my knitting and spinning mag subscriptions lapse, but after missing the last Vogue Knitting issue altogether, I re-upped. Something about having every VK issue since Spring 1983 keeps me wanting a complete collection. If anyone wants to trade me the Spring IK for the last VK, let me know.

February 20, 2006

Lace Socks, or My Abduction By Aliens

The latest in the ongoing drama of As Claudia's Sock Universe Expands.

Chapter 2 -- Lace Socks.

I do believe that the furthest possible sock patterns from simple stockinette socks are lace socks. In the vein of famous last words, I've been known to say stuff like "what's the point of putting holes in wool socks when you wear them to keep the cold OUT?" Lace sock knitters pooh-pooh this concern, assuring me that the socks are still warm despite the obvious hole-age.

Yeah. Right.

So what, you may ask, are THESE doing here?

whisperribfeb202006.jpg

If you want to know who is driving the flying saucer that just picked me up, click here. Not only did Margene gift me the lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in color Kolob (official non-alien name "Poppy"), but she sent along the pattern too.

EDITED TO ADD: Yep, its the Whisper Rib pattern. Its a good pattern and I don't hesitate to recommend it.

Resistance is futile. All your base are belong to us.

There is a picot hem to suck me in, although it is a three row stockinette one unlike my usual seven row. The rib pattern is easy and produces quite a nice fabric for shockingly little effort. And the lace panel is quite pretty and memorizable in one repeat. So far this is actually...dare I say it?....fun.

Needless to say, there will be no heel flap (bleh!) in favor of a short-row heel and I'm still debating whether to continue the patterning onto the foot. I usually wear my socks in quite close-fitting boots, so I wonder whether the patterning might press uncomfortably into the top of my foot.

Lace socks?!?! What on earth could be next?

February 15, 2006

My Feet Are Safe in the Woods

Clearly when I am wearing these socks, hunters are unlikely to shoot me in the feet.

osocksdone.jpg

This delightful and unapologetically ORANGE sock yarn was a lovely gift from Emma. I knew when I got the yarn gift way back when that I needed to use it in a textured sock. Granted, it took me some time to warm up to this idea and progress has been slow.

The pattern is one I made up myself. Well, that sounds all "designer" and everything, and that's not how it was. The original plan was to continue the twisted stitches all the way down the leg, but I couldn't make myself do it. So now I've got socks with a fancy cuff and I'm quite pleased with them. The moral of this story is that one can EASE into the whirlwind of patterned socks from the soothing, pleasant path of picot-edge-stockinette-short-row-heel-and-toe socks.

Details:

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, one ball with lots left over
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo US size 1's
Pattern: Inspired vaguely by the Conwy socks in Knitting on the Road, but I didn't buy the book until well after I started the socks so the twisted stitches are nothing like the sock inspiration. No publisher need worry that I can reproduce a design after fipping through the pages of a book in the knitting shop.

I'm back to knitting on Mariah, under the close supervision of Igor.

iginlap.jpg

Note how apparently I am way more interesting than the Olympics in one feline's opinion.

January 30, 2006

Jaywalker Runs Free -- Film at 11

As predicted by the infallible digital scale, I *so* did not run out of Socks That Rock yarn for my Jaywalkers. Here they are, on the pavement as their creator intended.

jaywalkerdone.jpg

Specifics:

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina (links above)

Yarn: Socks that Rock in the Fred Flintstone colorway, a giftee from the lovely Cara

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo DPN's in US size 1

Mods: Well, this is confession time. In conversating with Grumperina recently, it became glaringly obvious that...um....I hadn't exactly read the pattern all the way through. I kind of stopped after figuring out the leg pattern, since I knew I was going to do a short row heel and toe instead of those specified in the pattern. Turns out, if I HAD read the pattern all the way through (I hereby promise to read all Grumperina patterns all the way through. Amen.) I would have seen that our detail-oriented Jaywalker goddess had figured out how to keep the lines of the leg pattern going down the edges of the foot part using a clever slip stitch. Mine lack the cleverness, but still look great, and I certainly am not ripping out due to this issue.

I did decrease down to 15 stitches per needle (30 stitches total) for the short row heel and toe, because I know that this number fits my foot. Otherwise, even though I usually only cast on 60 stitches for a sock, the small size of this pattern (calling for 76 cast on stitches) fit me fine due to the pulling in of the fabric in the bias stitch pattern.

I'm calling my first foray of 2006 into fancier socks a resounding success. What, I wonder, will be my next sock adventure?

January 18, 2006

Battling the Demons Within

The backstory: as my sister has recently remarked, we've got feets of the smaller kind and we make smallish socks. Therefore, there is always LOTS of sock yarn leftover in a typical Opal/Regia/Lorna's Lace's sock project. Not so much with the Jaywalker pattern and the Socks That Rock.

Now that the stage is set:

Claudia: La, la, la...look how nice this Jaywalker is...boy this is fun...la, la, la.....

Inner Demon: Um, excuse me. But you are running out of sock yarn.

Claudia: La, la, la....fun, fun..fun.....

Inner Demon: Hey BITCH! Listen up! What's the matter with you? There. Isn't. Enough. Yarn.

Claudia: La, la....uh, what? What, pray tell, strange voice is this? Run out of yarn? I NEVER run out of yarn on socks. See, I have the small feets and...oh....Yeah. This sock pattern eats up the yarn, doesn't it?

ID: You best be starting to worry. Obsess, even. Starting now is good.

C: But wait! Foil you, I will, you Voice in My Head. I will fight you verily with the Drug Dealer's Scale!

ID: NO! NO! Not the DRUG DEALER'S SCALE!

C: Not so big talkin' now, are you? First I will put the finished sock on the scale thusly:

jay1weigh.jpg

Then, I will put the in-progress sock and remaining yarn on the scale:

jay2weigh.jpg

See there, you Voice. There is PLENTY OF YARN LEFT.

ID: (in a small voice) But wait! The weight of three needles is boosting up the left-over yarn weight. (adding bravado) I'll bet you are still screwed.

C: Do that math and weep, baby.

THE END

January 16, 2006

Why Knitting is Better Than Home Improvement

Knitting is better than home improvement. Knitting does not require long sessions sitting in the shower, problem solving the best way to chip out old caulking with a mallet and a screwdriver. No! Knitting is peaceful, friendly and results in warm, fuzzy items. Nothing at all like home improvement.

The above is stated for no particular reason. None at all.

There is one sock.

osockjan162006.jpg

Note the change of seasons between the last rock photo and today's. At this here blog, we CHEER the return of winter. Cheer it, we say.

Now, I originally intended this sock to have the twisted stitches down the whole way to the foot. But I got tired of them and stopped after a good, long, deep ribbed top. I rather like it, so we'll call it a SOCK PATTERN. Yeah, that's the ticket. A pattern. Problem is, there wasn't really a pattern for these socks to begin with, and I started them a long time ago. Time to "read" the knitting and figure out how the second sock is to go.

I've cast on already, because there is no better way to beat back One Sock Syndrome than with the enormous stick of Immediate Casting On. Just enough time to snip the last end, dash outside for the photo, then onto the needles the second sock springs. Especiallly true when the thought of more twisted stitches might otherwise result in knitter's mutiny.

The eagle eyed of you might notice a yarn marker knitted into the heel of these socks. Although I've made lots and lots of short row heels and toes, I'm still prone to making the second sock somehow shorter than the first one. Necessitating the ripping. This way, I figure, I know exactly on what row I started the heel shaping so I won't be tempted to stop sooner than I should. This is an experiment, done as unscientifically as I know how. For knitting science, you know where to go.

In my new and reorganized Fiber Room, I've now got a way to keep my laptop plugged into my desk outlet and still take it over to the comfortable chair (that got stolen from the husband) now installed in a window nook. The relevance of this, is that I am no longer limited to my battery life. I can sit there all of a weekend day surfing and knitting if I want to.** There is no television in the Fiber Room, and there never be will be. So, the entertainment while knitting or spinning comes solely through the laptop. Although the wonderful Knitcast has been on the Fiber Room playlist for quite some time, I've recently added Cast On a podcast by Brenda Dayne to the listening roster. The format of Brenda's show which alternates music, essays and just Brenda chatting you up is a great deal of fun. And it goes for almost a hour -- which is a nice knittable chunk of time in which to be entertained. So check it out if you haven't already.


**Those of you acquainted with the Husband are laughing your heads off at this unlikely scenario. Let me have my fantasies, OK?

January 13, 2006

Predictable? Perhaps So.

Where, I wonder, is the line between having strong color-based likes and dislikes and being predictable, and dare I say it, boringly so? This photograph brings that question into focus:
osockjan132006.jpg

Look at the stunning variety of orangeness. So pleasing. So delicious. So very predictable that I would think so. The orange Opal, started as a sock lo these many moons ago is finally moving forward again. I tired of the twisted stitch cables and it took making the originally planned leg pattern into a ribbed sock top to convince me to pick this up again. Here is a closer look. This yarn was a gift from Emma, who knew that I would like it. And indeed, she was right.

The other sock yarn just came in the mail recently. Another lover of the orange alerted me to an auction going down on ebay that couldn't be missed. And she was right -- it couldn't. How funny-ha-ha, how funny-strange that she would know that.

Indeed, I am not the biggest fan of predictability. But I like what I like, and I'm unlikely to knit something in a color I don't appreciate just to shake things up.

Or maybe I would do that. We'll just have to see.

January 09, 2006

Jaywalking

Some of you have guessed. I've hopped on the Jaywalker bandwagon.

jay192006.jpg

This Socks That Rock yarn (in the Fred Flintstone colorway) was a generous gift from Cara**, and naturally it came with a suggested use. Since I am trying to broaden my sockly horizons here, I figured what the hell.

The pattern is actually very easy, as well as a snap to remember. And it is quite interesting (remember, I am easily entertained) for me to watch a sock develop that isn't just stockinette. I am making the smaller size, and the leg part fits me just fine. I knew that the foot part as written would be too wide, so before my improvised short row heel (nope, not making a heel flap and gusset ever again, thanks) I decreased eight stitches over two needles to get down to the normal amount of stitches (30) I use for a short row heel in yarn of this type. The rest of the foot is being knit with this lesser amount of stitches on the two needles which are making the stockinette underside of the foot, and the original amount of stitches on the two needles that are making the patterned top of the foot. I plan to decrease the eight stitches on the two patterned needles just before the short row toe, so that I can make my normal-sized toe that I already know fits my foot.

All of this fancy decreasing that gave me my desired foot-fit did have a downside. Whereas the leg part of this sock had no color pooling at all, the foot part has been sucked into the enormous Charybdian pool that is the bane of variegated yarns. See it here. I don't actually mind pooling that much on sock yarns. But this uncertainty and lack of color control is the reason that I shy away from variegated yarns for larger garments like sweaters.


**In a strange twist of alternate universe reality, apparently Cara is making -- wait for it -- a picot edged sock or two.

January 05, 2006

New Year, New Socks, and New Movable Type Stuff

First some knitting, then some nattering on about Technology:

pinkbrowndown.jpg

Although not initially very keen on this color, it has grown on me. Especially now since I see the resemblance between these socks and those delicious Neapolitan candies and Neapolitan ice cream.

There are, however, new socks on the needles. Socks that break the mold. What could they be?

Thanks to all of you who have written to point out minor little snags attendant to the switchover to Movable Type. So far I'm very happy with this blogging software. It has already allowed to me correct one of the major headaches with the archives that has been plaguing me ever since moving to the claudiasblog.net domain. Yes indeed, all (or almost all) the pictures in my old entries are back up and ready for viewing due to a kick-ass MT "search and replace" capability which allowed me to fix a bunch of errors really painlessly. Now all I need is a little more practice with CSS based posting, and I'll be golden.

December 05, 2005

Winter? Socks!

This is the view out my back deck today:


A simple sock and powdery snow on a crisp morning.


When I am in the midst of work projects that demand my full attention, there is no room for challenging knitting. During times like these, who really needs more challenge? Not I, my friends, not I.

This is the perfect time for socks. You know, my standard knit-it-in-my-sleep picot edge socks. I did actually (almost) finish a pair of socks this weekend, but they are a gift and I'd rather not show them. Instead, let us contemplate the wonders, and not-so-wonders, of self-striping sock yarn.

I bought this ball of Trekking while yarn shopping with Marie in San Francisco. I started knitting it up during a day of jury duty (I wanted desperately to be picked, but alas -- no trials) and at first I was pretty happy with the first inch or two. But then, lots of white started showing up, and it became clear that this yarn was going to be quite contrasty and stripey.

Seriously, would you guess from the ball that the sock would knit up like this?

I really would have preferred a more subtle blending of color. This here is practically on the verge of ugly. But I'm still partial to the pink/brown color combo, and I don't hate it enough to stop knitting it.

And whether I love the color changes or whether I am only tolerant of them, this self-striping sock yarn entertains me (look! a color change!) at least as much as watching any television program that I could think of. This last may say more about me than about television, but I digress.

October 21, 2005

The Beauty of Airplane Rides

The beauty of a long, long airplane ride does not lie in the being-squished-in-the-window-seat-by-giant-male-middle-seat-occupier part. Nor in the snippy flight attendant who repeatedly informs us over the PA that we will stay in our seats, never get up, and that we will like it.

Nay, the beauty of a long airplane ride is the KNITTING TIME.


Completed birthday socks travel far and wide.


Here, basking in the beauty of sunny Sonoma County, California are the birthday socks for the hubster. Want a close-up? But of course. These are the luminous Trekking Color 100 that Silvia sent me to knit up for the husband-birthday back in July. Everyone who has seen the socks in person invariably says, "wow, this is much nicer than the pictures." So trust me when I say, this is a fabulous colorway and lovely soft sock yarn.

Gotta go. The sisters need to respond to the siren song of Artfibers. There may also be eating and worshipping at the shoe shrine known as Nordstroms.

October 07, 2005

I Can Play

Jane has a contest -- one at which I can play. Show her my socks, she says. All of them.

Okey-dokey.


My sock drawer just exploded all over the floor. Ooops.


This is thirty-two pair of adult sized socks knitted by moi. Claudia's on the top, hubby's on the bottom. Missing are one pair which hubby wore out and got tossed, one pair sent to carolyn and one pair gifted to a very special Tandem Buddy.

That is thirty-five pairs of socks knitted in my lifetime. I'm good with that. But for true sockly brilliance, you must visit Sockbug.

Socks, people. Let's see 'em.

P.S. How completely cool is this?

September 28, 2005

Debut of the Friendship Socks

Awhile ago, just because, a certain Canadian Harlot went and sent me sock yarn. Note the blue in this yarn, combined with the orange to make the medicine go down.

These socks have had some fine adventures. One went with me on the bike for 150 miles to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. The other sock came with to New York City and posed for pictures in Brooklyn. Socky even took a subway ride.

Should these socks complain of a boring birth, everyone should ignore them. Now, for their moment in the sun before imprisonment in the sock drawer:

Note the matching matching.


Random thoughts on these socks:

1. Halloween appropriate.
2. It is actually cool enough this morning to warrant wool socks.
3. Blue isn't so bad.
4. Tired of picot edge, short-row heel and toe socks yet? Nope. Just call me easily entertained.

July 20, 2005

On Repetition

There is much creativity in the knitting blog world. By this I mean not only in people's knitting and designing activities, but in their written and pictoral presentations of their own little worlds to the blog-hungry masses.

Unless one is extraordinarily fast at making stuff (Wendy and Lauren pop to mind) every entry cannot show amazing progress or a finished garment. Knitting as an activity is inherently repetitious. At least in the sense that one stitch follows the next, one row follows the next, one project follows the next.

Repetition, however, is difficult to blog about. Well, difficult to blog INTERESTINGLY about. When I have projects that aren't at particularly interesting stages, I try to avoid apologetic discussion (and pictures) of two more rows worked. Instead, I conjure up for this here blog pictures of bike trips and cats, or socks on parade. And confessional narratives of the latest boneheaded knitting mistake are always blog-worthy. Many of you do the same, creatively cooking up a chicken salad blog entry with chicken feathers as ingredients.

But today, I set for myself the task of blogging about the repetition of knitting. Head on. Straight, so to speak. What got me thinking about this were these husband socks:



Just a bit further along the Trekking Color 100 sock.

Husband socks are knit for a particular purpose: to fit inside his hiking boots and ski boots. He is an exacting person with regard to fit and finish. If a sock is a bit too tight or too loose or made of too heavy materials, or not heavy enough, as much as he may appreciate the "love" and "effort" put into the knitting, the sock is unsuitable for the purpose.

I know that Trekking XXL sock yarn makes a useful-weight sock because I've made two previous pairs for him out of this yarn that have received the seal of approval. I also know that this yarn, when knitted in 2x2 ribbing on 64 stitches on my Crystal Palace bamboo size 1 needles will make a sock that is neither too loose nor too tight. As between experimentation and repetition of the last successful sock, there is no contest.

Although there is joy of discovery and creative happiness in seeking out new sock patterns and new sock yarns, there is also satisfaction in being able to knit an item to specifications. To match its other useful sockly brothers and sisters, as it were. Its a privilege, really, to be able to make something for someone else that adds to their comfort and happiness. Something that will really be USED, not just because you made it, but because the item has intrinsic worth to the recipient.

I have one last thought to squeeze in here on the repetition inherent in knitting. Many of you have engaged in the following conversation:

Friend/Relative/Amazed On-Looker: "Oh, wow. You're knitting!"
The Knitter: "Oh yes, I love to knit. I can teach you!"
F/R/A: "Oh no, I could never knit. I don't have the patience."

I have always interpreted this remark to mean that the speaker can't imagine working all those stitches, row after row endlessly, before reaching the finale. Well, I guess that I am easily entertained, because the endless repetition of knit, purl, YO or cable is really the attraction for me. Seriously, there is no prize, no finish line in the knitting game. Today's fashionable newly-finished knitted garment will be going out to Goodwill ten years from now. Ask me how I know this.

By the way, my response to the above repartee is "I don't have the patience NOT to knit." And if I like the person, I'll leave it at that.

July 15, 2005

Lovely Things, but Dastardly Housekeeping

On this bright, sunny Friday morning I choose to start out with the Lovely Things part of this post:

Mini Me!

I've run this here blog since June of 2002 completely buttonless, which corresponds to being somewhat naked in the blogiverse. But now Liz has gifted me a button that is genius: this blog in a tiny package. I'm tickled orange. Steal away, those of you who are button-lovers (but save it to your own server, SVP).

Still more lovely things, look how nicely the Trekking Color 100 is starting out:


Thus far, the hubby approves.

In order to start these socks, I had to take the needles out of these. Well, that is only half true. I had previously pulled out two of the needles in a knitting bag accident, so the choice of sacrificing the other two needles was pretty darn easy. But, there is something about these orange socks that I just don't like, so we will have to re-think. In the meantime, mmmmmmm Trekking!

Housekeeping. Grrrr.

Technically speaking, this blog has a few problems. I bore you with them in the event that those of you out there with actual SKILLS can weigh in if you choose to. The rest of you, please put your hands over your ears and chant LA LA LA LA really loudly.

The Bloglines updating of this blog has been problematic since I moved to the claudiasblog.net domain. After numerous, numerous emails to them over the past few months (all which got relatively prompt attention, so I'm not unhappy with the Bloglines folks) they have informed me that my RSS feed doesn't validate. Those of you with time to kill and actual SKILLS can go here and see what they mean.*

Blogger at this moment remains unresponsive to my entreaties for assistance. The other problem with Blogger is the commenting. Half the time, I can't figure out who is leaving the comment, and responding individually to questions in the comments is a labyrinthine process, which time does not often permit me to navigate.**

So, I'm pondering whether to move to Movable Type or Wordpress. With this massive collection of archived Blogger posts. Yikes! Just the thought of this makes me tired.

Dastardly housekeeping. All thoughts welcome.

*UPDATED TO ADD: Well, I just changed the feed from RSS to Atom, and now it validates. Could I have fixed this problem myself? The proof is in the Bloglines updating....

**Seriously, if you have a question to which you'd like me to respond please email me at the address in my sidebar.

July 05, 2005

Rationing the Knitting News

After a long weekend of travelling hither and yon across New England in pursuit of fun, there is little knitting news here. This is what I've got:

One sock. Yeah, just one.

However, there is a giant bird. Really, how many knitting blogs can boast a giant bird?



Guess you never know what you'll see on the back of a tandem bike in Maine, hmmm?

After a race down to Rhode Island for a wedding Friday night, we headed up to Maine for some more fine tandem bicycle riding. Besides giant birds, this trip had small-town fireworks (the best kind) and scenic views.

But when there is a long car ride, and available knitting but yet one is too tired to pick up those needles. Well that's TIRED, people.

But not too tired to start up a new project. Hint: lacey. Since we are rationing the knitting news around here, more on the new lace project will have to wait for another slow news day.

EDITED TO ADD: Ooooo! Ooooo! There was also a bear. It ran across the road in front of our bikes, but I wasn't quick enough to get the picture. I'm stealing this one from one of my tandem crew. Giant birds and bears. I'm trying for ya here.....