Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Coolest Podcast... Ever!

Check it out: Vickie Howell - esteemed member of the Austin Craft Mafia and host of my fave DIY Network show, "Knitty Gritty" - has a podcast and it debuts tomorrow! I am really looking forward to more crafty stuff - my bookmarks are bursting at the seams, I have more library books out than you can shake a stick at, and my personal knitting library is slowly taking over my bedroom, but there's always room for more. I think Vickie is the shizz, so if you like craft I bet you'll love her, and I heartily recommend adding her podcast to your subscriptions!

"Antsy" Doesn't Even Begin To Cover It

I'm almost on Ravelry! I've been checking, and checking, and checking, and for about a week there I gave up checking because it was making me sad, and then I gave myself a good talking-to about how busy the admins must be over at the site, and how great they are to put together such a hulking endeavour, and got over myself, and then got back to checking and checking. And now there's only 1,337 people in front of me. Which if you'll note, I screencapped for posterity, because, well, 1337*!

I'm giving some consideration to knitting Christmas stockings for the fam. Including one rogue adoptee who may or may not be back Stateside for Christmas, that comes to 10. I figure I'd use worsted weight and make a mid-size sock and probably use Swiss darning to put the names on. But there's only fifty-five knitting days until Christmas! (Including Christmas morning!) And I'm still not sure I can make something for everybody! Argh. We'll see.

Wish me some luck for tomorrow, y'all. I have two, check 'em, two job interviews. I'm somewhere between "stoked" and "fairly throwing up with nerves". Aieee!

* 1337 = "leet" as in "elite" as in scriptkiddy silly hacker speak. I know, I didn't say my sense of humour is necessarily good!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Sock Documentation Begins

I've decided to take pictures of every pair of socks I make, for posterity. I'm pretty sure after pair #5 this decision will go the way of new years' resolutions, but I'm going to try. So to start, I have pairs #1 and #2 (finished my Happy Socks last night while watching "Top Gear" and "Heroes"). My photography skills aren't exactly sharp - I put the socks down on a light-coloured towel in the hopes I could at least demonstrate the general shape of them (unlike my first attempt, in which I photographed dark green socks on a dark blue chair - genius). Anyone with mad photography skillz is welcome to offer tips! Anyway, here we go:

These were both in worsted weight on size 8 DPNs. It's not necessarily easier than using sock-weight on size 2s (because once you get the hang of it, I think yarn weight and needle size are just variables, none necessarily more difficult than another), but for darn near instant gratification you can't beat it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


It's just been socks, socks, and more socks around here lately! I guess I have officially been bitten by the sock bug. It actually looks like it, literally, as I have this slice/puncture on my left forefinger from poking the needle down while I knit because of how pointy my DPNs are. I love the stupid sharp things, I really do, but maybe I have to invest in some kind of leather thimble for that finger.

So far I've finished a pair of bedsocks for Nigel (husband) - I started a pair for myself but I had to rip some of it out, and when I began again I knitted way past the point of a comfortable, non-clown-like fit for myself and decided to just make them for him. He has actually worn them to bed and finds that they fit just right, they are sensibly toasty, and he doesn't really feel a need to kick them off in the middle of the night. Huzzah!

When I started making a pair for myself I decided to be a little ambitious. They have a yellow cuff, heel-flap and toe, and the leg and foot are purple (I call them Happy Socks). They look quite smashing - well, the first one. I would have had the second one started and finished yesterday if only I had remembered to put the fourth needle in my bag - we went out to my in-law's house, and when I got there I only had the needles on the sock. Luckily, I had my other Blue Lagoon sock (the second of a pair made with yummy Kaffe Fassett yarn)... but I got frustrated with it when I ribbed for too long, and I couldn't get past the row where my ribbing was all off so i just unraveled it all and started again. After I cast on and did the first two rows it just wasn't coming together so I unraveled it again and stuck it deep into my knitting bag. Hmph. I'll try again today but I can't make any promises.

So, stuck without a project to work on while we watched old British comedies on PBS, I ended up winding my brand new sock yarn - it's a lovely jewel-toned yarn I bought from Wooly Treasures on Etsy. (Pictures to come!) Winding it was a bit of an undertaking - I don't have a swift and ball-winder yet, so I had to pop the hank over the top of a chair and wind it the old-fashioned way. (I'm always worried when I do it like that, that I'm going to pull the yarn too tight and affect the way it knits up later.) That part I could deal with - what I couldn't deal with was the family cats and their absolute determination to destroy my yarn! They had to get booted out onto the breezeway with the kitty door locked so they couldn't get back in to chew on it some more. I had to break off a yard or two when I got to where Fritz - a beautiful cat but dumber than hair - had slobbered all over a nice shade of green and actually almost busted through the yarn with her teeth. Sigh.

Hopefully after I get dinner into the slow cooker I'll have some time to work on Happy Sock 2 of 2, and maybe even cast on the second Blue Lagoon sock, and I'll take some pictures. Have a happy Sunday! ♥

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lagoon Socks!

Too tired to actually blog. Pictures should suffice. I have already cast on for the second sock. I started this one Sunday afternoon and now, Tuesday evening, I have one half of a pair. I wish I could knit socks for a living. That would be fun and meaningful!

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Fit of Afternoon Whimsy

I have sock pictures! As follows, with handy-dandy labels (because, I will admit, it's a beautiful example of wonk in action):

I know the leg part looks weird, but I did ribbing the whole way so it looks skinny and wonky but it fits really nicely. It's not as dainty or pretty as some of the socks you might see around the innertubes, but I used sport weight on size 4 needles. This past weekend I got some very lovely superwash wool sock yarn and size 2 needles at my LYS, so we'll see how I fare with those. (I'm even contemplating a picot edge for the top - inspired by the Yarn Harlot. I found a couple of good tutorials for a picot edge, here and here, and gave it a shot last night in practice mode. Not fantastic, but it was my first try. I'll give it another whirl tomorrow. Oh! Found another one. Lots of detail. A bit scary. I'm sure I can deal with it.)

The whimsy part comes in here: I was housebound this afternoon with nothing to cook (made crockpot chili yesterday, it kind of lasts a while) and nothing new to read (trip to the library was called off due to a front tyre in need of filling with air). I'd already googled all that could be googled and done the rounds of my fave blogs. So I thought to myself, "I want to knit a cupcake", and went a-googling to see what I could find. Lo and behold, I found this nifty pattern. I went stash-diving to see what I could find and came up with some acrylic in dark brown, lavender, and white. I was going to do more of a dab-of-white-frosting rather than a cherry-on-top, and while it didn't work out perfectly, I submit to you that it is my first attempt at knitted foodstuffs, and for that, it's not so bad (and the cats have another toy). It took me a few tries to get the hang of the bottom circle, but I eventually got there. When my husband got home from work I made him play the "what am I making?" game, and he didn't guess until I got to the lavender part and gave him the hint "edible", hee hee. Also, I didn't have a small enough bottle to use as a stand for the bottom of the cupcake so I cut a circle out of craft foam. I'm glad I didn't throw out the toy-stuffing or foam when I started on the Great Uncluttering Of Ought Seven!

Minkey Boodle loves a cupcake!

And thanks to the great LOLcat builder on ICHC, I present to you...


Pattern notes: I think I might swatch and try to match up the bottom part of the cupcake to the size of water bottle I have at home, and go from there; then I'll flare it out a bit more and increase the lavender/frosting bit so it poofs out a bit more, and I want to try adding "sprinkles" in duplicate stitch. I'll keep y'all posted, I'm sure there's tonnes of you absolutely on edge to find out!

Transcendental Needle Magic

That is to say... "turning the heel".

Which is to say... I taught myself how to knit socks...!!!1!!

This actually happened last week. I found a very good sock tutorial* on the internet and decided for once and for all I was going to just do it already. I dug up the sport-weight yarn and size 4 needles I bought months back (along with a sock-knitting booklet which ended up roundly ignored, filed away with all the rest of the knitting books but rarely touched), and well-near velcroed myself to the couch in order to focus and just do it. I started very early last Tuesday morning, continued through Tuesday afternoon and evening. On Tuesday night/very early Wednesday morning, I followed the instructions to the letter and turned my first heel. And on Wednesday, during the latest trip to LR, I knit the main part of the foot, decreased for the toe, and finished my grafting right as we were pulling into the parking garage at the hospital. Fantastic! I weaved my ends in while I was waiting to see the specialist and borrowed scissors from the receptionist to trim the yarn ends off. I was so excited, I carried that sock around for the next few days just to show everyone my work! I still haven't made a mate for it, yet, but I'm working on a pair of bed socks in worsted weight right now. (I made the foot length too long so they're going to be for my husband. I have plans for a fuzzy pair for myself later.)

You know, I kept hearing about how turning the heel is this magical, mythical thing. I shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself that it couldn't possibly be "all that". Well, a funny thing happened while I was stringently following the step-by-step instructions for a short-row heel: when I saw the shaping happening right there, I had to stop focusing on it and instead turn my attention back to the instructions, otherwise I was going to be fully mesmerised by the power of the shaping. I finished the heel and then allowed myself to look upon what I had just created. Those wacky short rows turned into a heel! I put the knitting down onto my lap, brought my hands up to my mouth and muffled a squeal of excitement. I was amazed! I know it's not unique, it's something everyone can do, and that there are thousands of sock-knitters out there turning heels every day, but y'all. I felt so clever. It's such a simple trick but it works out so well that I think it was the heel that truly converted me to sock knitting.

Photos will come later - as long as you promise not to laugh at my clunky, ugly, first sock!

*And this is the sock tutorial to which I refer:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Surprisingly Calm Moment of Knitting Philosophy

This weekend I learned that ripping back knitting is not actually an unfixable and life-altering event, but an opportunity to learn. I made a mistake - probably an accidental yarn-over - while knitting an opera-length arm warmer. It was on double-points, in ribbing, so I was quite hesitant to remove the needles and pull the yarn out. I knitted for two inches and even tried dropping a stitch to see if fixing it that way would work. Nope. It absolutely required ripping-back. Momentarily I kicked myself for being stubborn, but I sighed, pulled the needles out, and liberated the yarn from my mistake. I managed to get all of the stitches back on the needles, without dropping one or adding any, and continued on. It didn't hurt, it wasn't hard, and I learned a little something about knitting construction.

It's not exactly amazing, new, and improved, but I thought it was
worth noting in case I find myself in that position again and need
a pep talk.

Today I continued along in the attempt to get our townhouse organised/things put away (For Once and For All). We moved in, in January. It is now October. There are still things in boxes. Not essential things, mind you - dishes, cutlery, knitting needles, etc. - but things we simply don't have a place for yet, like books, books, more books, and crafting supplies that don't relate to knitting. This weekend my husband hung out with his dad while I was at work, and managed to score a bookcase. Well, we don't actually have the bookcase yet, but the promise of it lit a tiny fire under my butt so I spent some of today moving boxes of books upstairs into the office. I also found a place for my handbags, threw out a mass of magazines (a huge move - I am a magazine hoarder), repurposed some containers as places to keep yarn (even one for swatches and samples, which I put a label on so I won't forget what it is!), sorted through about a million pens (and managed to throw some out!) and much more. To the naked eye it might not appear that much has changed in the general unpacked-box holding area, but I can tell, and our livingroom feels much lighter already. As a treat I bought myself a couple of magazines - 'Bust' and 'Creative Knitting'.

Tomorrow's agenda involves putting loose knitting patterns into folders, more sorting/throwing-out, knitting a coffee-cup sleeve, popping into Starbucks for a pumpkin-spice latte, making my resume look much fancier and impressive than my paltry job experience reflects, and visiting a temp agency with said resume in the hopes of acquiring some kind of normal daytime-hours Monday-to-Friday job, hopefully in an office. Wish me luck!

P.S.: I think something is up with the formatting right now, so some of my text
might appear to, er, disappear. Don't know what's up with that yet.