Friday, April 25, 2008

I solved the mystery!

Those green lace socks don't fit because instead of purling the wrong side of the heel flap, I slipped every other stitch. If I'd read the pattern carefully, I probably would have a sock that came out the right size.

That's one pair out of four that didn't work out, so I guess I'm happy enough. My socky enthusiasm has started to fade, but so far nothing more exciting is screaming for me to knit it.

Maybe because I keep starting so darn many quilts. Now it's a 21st Century Bullseye. I did about six blocks last night and can't really decide if it's what I want to do with my big florals or not. I've got to make 48 blocks and then cut each of those into quarters and sew them back other with pieces from the other blocks, and the raw edge applique won't do its thing until the whole thing is quilted and washed, so I won't know until the end if it works. I'm not sure I can handle that much suspense.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My mother doesn't appreciate my taste in fabric, at least not when it comes to the skulls. But these have to be the most wonderful skull fabric I've ever seen. Now I'm determined to find the perfect red floral and make myself a tote bag.



The church group met this morning and started our new project - a mariner's compass quilt. I love the pattern, but after working hard to match plaid stripes and learn a new technique, I feel like doing something really mindless tonight. Not sure if that'll be knitting or quilting -- or maybe a little of both.

HPIM1565.


The Smores Socks are done and they aren't quite as snug as I feared they'd be. Maybe my feet were swollen when I tried on the first one.

The Ivy Lace socks, though, will not fit. I was sure I had it right, but nope. The one I've finished fits my eleven year old daughter's foot just fine. The foot fits me, but the leg is too narrow. I'm missing some important knitting concept here, but I can't figure out what it is.

And since she wants them and she's the only one in the house I haven't made a pair of socks for, I'm going to finish the pair and give them to her.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Want This Quilt!

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This is the quilt I'm suddenly so motivated to work on -- Scrappy Squares by Carol Clark, pattern in Traditional Quiltworks #70. I've had the magazine turned open to the black and white pattern page for so long I almost forgot what the finished quilt was supposed to look like. I've been focusing on the part where I cut tons and tons of little squares and eventually join them into units. I was picking up yesterday and turned to the picture and it hit me again that I really want to have this quilt.

If I actually follow the pattern as written, it'll be big enough to cover my bed. Which got me worrying. Maybe I should be sticking to some kind of color scheme. Maybe I should be making the shaded nine-patch quilt bigger. Maybe putting on those pieced borders will be too much for me.

Maybe I should stop worrying and go cut more squares.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm loving my personal sock club -- so far I've opened up two little brown bags and cast on two pairs that I probably wouldn't have started without it. Add those to the two pairs I'd started already and that's more sock knitting in a couple of weeks than I've done in the past two years.

I didn't match up patterns with the yarn in advance, but I've got ideas for most if not all of the skeins I bagged up.

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The green pair is Ivy Lace from Socks Socks Socks and whatever the problem was in the beginning, I think I've got it beat now as long as I pay attention. I've already mentioned how excited I am about that heel flap and gusset, even though it's nothing special. I almost always substitute short row heels, so for me these are kind of fancy.

The pink multi-colored pair is a pattern I'm making up myself as I go along. I'd had a particular stitch pattern in mind for this yarn, but once I found the book and looked at the looooong written directions, so I almost chickened out. Turns out that once you get going it's a really easy pattern to follow. Which makes me wonder why more patterns don't just say to knit the knits and purl the purls or "continue as established."

My big passion right now is the new scrap quilt. I cut another 250 little squares yesterday and would have done more except the blade in my rotary cutter is so dull I was killing my wrist. Blades have been on sale at Joann's, which means both stores I checked were totally sold out of them. And I can't remember where the rest of the blades I actually own are. Out of reach of the kids, apparently.

I would have inflicted more pain on myself and cut more squares during nap time this afternoon, but the new Stephen King book is due back at the library tomorrow and no way was I going to take it back without finding out how it ended. It kept picking up speed and getting eerier and now I'm in that weird slightly sad haze that hits when you've been sucked into a book and there's suddenly no more to read.

I've still got a whole stack of core four readers to plow through if I'm going to keep ahead of Alex and most of those are pretty good, but it won't be the same.

While I was typing this, I thought of another out of reach place I might've put those blades and went to check. No luck there, either, but I did run up to the sewing room to get the rotary blade sharpener Mom bought me for Christmas.

I'd put off trying it because I'm afraid of cutting off my own fingers, and I didn't want to mess up the only blade in the house. But my desire to cut more squares overrode my instinct for self preservation and I was really careful and it looks like now I've got a blade that will actually cut fabric!

What I don't have is the time to set up the iron and cutting mat for more than enough minutes. I'm about out of afternoon and need to cook some veggies to go with the roast that's been doing its thing in the crock pot.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I cast on for another lace shawl last week and it was a nightmare. The chart was great, but the yarn and needles weren't working and I couldn't understand why things were going so completely wrong. I was using lace weight and size 3's and everything was impossibly loose, even though the pattern actually called for size 8 needles. I knit Frozen Lake with lace weight on 6s and (not counting my inability to increase lace in pattern) it worked .... It wasn't making sense and I really want to try that pattern, so I decided to cast on again with Palette but if I gave up on lace weight, what would happen to my Bayou Shimmer and the rest of my lace weight stash?

That's the kind of thing that makes me lie awake at night and worry.

By the light of day, I figured it out. The yarn I was fighting with had 1300 yards in a 100 gram skein, which makes it a lot finer than anything else I've ever tackled. I hate it. And guess what -- it's LYS yarn. Because if I'm going to hate a yarn this much, it's going to be something I bought at a "real" yarn store and spent more than usual on.

So I'm going to bury that yarn in the darkest recesses of my stash and pull out one of my single skeins of Gloss lace weight and see if I can't make it work. Turns out that the pattern I'd planned to use doesn't have charts and I'm not in the mood for miles of written instructions, so I searched Ravelry and found some possibilities.

I'm pretty sure I want these --

Anya
Laminaria
Shetland Shimmer Scarf
Bear Claw Scarfette

And I also like these --

Enchanting
A Scarf for Ally
Traveling Roses Lace Scarf
Lucy's Diamonds

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sorta Swirly O Socks

Edited on 2/21/13 so I can link up to Show Us Your Socks at Patchwork Times.

I really liked the texture of the yarn I used for these, Knitpicks Dancing. That one's long discontinued, but according to my Ravelry stash, I should have a few different colorways of it up in the sewing room. If I can't lay my hands on that, I have some Paton's Stretch, which is similar.

I need to cast on some new socks!



The Sorta Swirly O Socks are done and on my feet. The stitch pattern isn't obvious unless you're looking at them up close, but it served its purpose and kept the knitting more entertaining than plain stockinette would have been.

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Pattern -- kind of loosely based on the Swirly O Socks from the Knitters Book of Yarn. Mine are in a different gauge, toe up instead of cuff down, and minus the picot border.

Yarn -- Knitpicks Dancing

This is the second pair of socks I've made with Dancing. The colors do some funky things, like perfect striping within the pools, but I love the texture and was sad to see it discontinued. Risata seems to have a similar texture and I've got a couple of skeins stashed, so I'll have to experiment with it soon.

The new socks aren't going as well. I got the ribbing and first eight rounds of lace done in one sitting, then picked them up a day later and couldn't get the next round to come out right. I always had two stitches left over. Convinced I'd lost track of where the round started, I frogged and started over. And had two extra stitches at the end of the 9th round.

I counted stitches. I went over the whole round, comparing it to the chart. I'm sure I said some unladylike things as I tinked back to the knit row and counted those stitches. And when I reknit it, that round came out just fine.

I have no clue what I did wrong -- twice.

This should be an easy lace pattern, but now it's got me a little spooked.

Monday, April 07, 2008

It's been quite a while since any of the free patterns at Elann really made my heart go pitty-pat. Then today I saw the Voyager Lace Stole in their organic cotton. I love its first incarnation, but the stitch pattern looks so intricate and snuggly (can you have both at the same time?) and wonderful in the heavier yarn I can't stand it.

And there's the Luna Peacock Plumes Bolero. But there's no Luna on the web site -- not until next month. Personally, I think it's cruel to make me decide to knit a project and then refuse to even let me know what the suggested yarn is going to cost. I'm thinking I could use Calista, but I'll wait until the Luna is up to see if those colors are more tempting.

So since I'm going to wait for the Luna, I bought three skeins of Simply Soft Heathers that I could use for a Voyager Stole. Or a baby sweater if the stole doesn't work out. Either way works for me.

I finished the first Smore sock and it's decent. The yarn changed color every round, forming very narrow, very distinct stripes of brown and grey and white so I used a subtle all-over cable pattern. I think I like it. The sock is a bit snug, but not bad enough that I want to reknit it.



Now that I'm halfway done with the Smores socks and almost completely done with the Sorta Swirly O Socks, it seemed like a good time to open my first personal sock club bag. It's solid green Elann Sock it to Me and after looking through Sentational Knitted Socks and Socks Socks Socks (because those were the two books on the coffee table at the time.)

I settled on the Vine Lace Socks from Socks Socks Socks and cast on for them this morning. I'm following the pattern as written and doing them top down because suddenly heel flaps and gussets seem awuflly intricate looking.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Yesterday when I said I was up to my ears in schoolbooks, I didn't realize I'd be up past midnight just trying to get a little bit ahead of what the kids will be reading. And two of 'em aren't anywhere near reading yet! What's this going to be like in another three years or so?

Actually, if we stay with Sonlight, I'll have read their books for Heath and Alex already and Heath will be reading the ones Alex is reading now and I'll just have one core to keep up with. I don't even have to read her books -- I could just use the questions in the Instructor Guide, but this time I'm determined to read all of it and see what's getting into their brains.

So I read two 2nd grade readers last night, and a biography of Simon Bolivar, and started the three other books Alex is reading this week. Except for the biography, which was a miserably boring list of dates and places, they're fantastic.

I got to sleep in this morning, so once I get my sick baby boys in bed I've got a brown paper bag to open up and a sock to cast on.

I'd read about personal sock clubs several times, but it was a post on Ravelry that described putting the yarn into paper lunch bags that finally convinced me. Yarn in ziplocs, or little numbered slips of paper didn't seem special enough. But sealed brown paper bags? I wanna do that!

I bought a package of bags at Walmart, and staples, then came home and picked out enough sock yarn for seven different pairs, then sealed the bags and put them in a big basket in the sewing room. It's been a few days, so I can't even remember for sure what's in there.

I just went up and pulled out a bag and it's on the kitchen counter, waiting to be opened. Or I might cut some more two inch squares from the scraps Mom sent over, or cast on another toddler sock to try out the short row garter stitch heel I just saw in a pattern...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I have the books. I did have to drive fifty miles out of my way to pick them up, and was told that it wasn't the driver's fault they weren't delivered, but they're in my living room now.

So is this --



Online tracking said it would be delivered on the 5th, and yesterday was the 2nd. I don't know how that works, but I'm not going to complain that I got my goodies from Knitpicks a lot earlier than I expected.

I think I'm in love. Everything is even prettier than I hoped it would be, and I don't know what I'm going to cast on, but whatever it is is going to be gorgeous. Can't start anything new today -- I'm up to my ears in schoolbooks!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I am ready to scream.

I got up early this morning and spent the whole day within sight of the front windows. I kept the kids quiet-ish, the volume on the television low and jumped every time I heard the crunch of tires on gravel. I went out a couple of times and checked the porch just to make sure I hadn't somehow missed hearing the FedEx guy.

I finally started running out of day and called to check our tracking number and see if they had any clue what time he'd actually show up. (Friday, they told me between 8am and 8pm, but that I could call today and probably get an actual time.) My box isn't even on the truck. They don't know why my box is being held for pick up and isn't on the truck, because there's a record of my call on Friday asking to have it delivered today.

Mad doesn't begin to describe it. I might try to be more understanding if the truck had broken down, or if there was some actual reason why my books aren't here in my hands. But there's not. They show that it should have been delivered today. At least "not on the truck where it's supposed to be" isn't as bad as "lost."

I'm going to try to pick the package up in Salem tomorrow, but I'm not feeling very optimistic.

Compared to this, I can be completely patient waiting for that Bayou Shimmer and my other new laceweight to arrive!



I do have some happy stuff to share -- after the kiddos were in bed last night, I cut 200 squares for the new scrap quilt, turned the heel on my second Sorta Swirly O sock, and knit about two inches on the foot of my first Smores socks.

Since I won't be organizing our new schoolbooks tonight, maybe I can get some more done.
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