Saturday, June 30, 2007

First Embossed Leaves Sock

Embossed Leaves 1

Well, it took me a little longer than I thought to post pictures of the first Embossed Leaves sock. First I had to download all 104 pictures that Mr. Baseball took at Cub Scout camp. Then I had to go to Oldest Boy's double header game today (they lost both games). Finally, even though the light wasn't very good, I sat down on the deck while I was cooking dinner and took a few pictures.

Embossed Leaves and Sad Naked Foot

I'm almost done the leg of the second sock. Doesn't the naked foot look sad? Actually, both feet are sad because these socks are great and they're not for them. The Louet Gems is simply a dream to knit with. It is so soft it's hard to believe it's wool. I can't wait to use it again for socks for me.

Vesper Sock

Here is the beginning of the plain vanilla Vesper sock I started the other day. I was able to knit a little at the games today. The truth is I don't really care for the yarn so I'm not very motivated to knit with it. I'll finish these socks but I won't buy Vesper again. It certainly does not live up to its hype.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

No pictures

I have been knitting this week. Honestly. I finished my first Embossed Leaves sock. I love everything about this sock. The Louet Gems is a dream to work with and the light fingering weight is perfect for a slightly heavier sock. I'm glad I have more in the stash to work with. I even followed the pattern for the star toe and, while I thought I'd probably rip it out, I really like both how it looks and how it fits. This is a terrific pattern.

Sadly, I do not have a picture to share with you because Mr. Baseball took the digital camera with him to Cub Scout camp. Mr. Baseball and the younger two boys are off at camp this week leaving me and Oldest Boy home. Oldest boy has enjoyed being an only child for a few days and I've enjoyed the relative quiet. I really miss Mr. Baseball a lot and can't wait for him to come home. The bed's too big without him.

I cast on for the second Embossed Leaves sock and finished the twisted rib cuff last night. It's almost too hot to knit with temps in the mid 90s and my brain needs a simpler pattern until the temps come down. I cast on for a simple plain vanilla sock using some Vesper yarn I acquired. Vesper yarn is highly sought after and flies out of the shop during updates so I was pretty happy to score some. I have to say, however, that I'm pretty disappointed in the yarn. It seems awfully thin and there are many white spots between color changes. I can't seem to get the yarn to flow along the needle cables when I switch sides and I never, ever have this problem. I'm not enjoying knitting with it at all and I'm not impressed with the yarn base or the colors. This is one yarn I don't need to buy again. Live and learn.

Mr. Baseball will be home late on Thursday evening so I hope to have pictures to share on Friday.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Making it count

My friend, Melanie, says that if you're going to cheat on a diet you should be sure to make it count. Why cheat with a Hershey bar when you could have delicious dark chocolate mousse? Why eat a hamburger when you could have a Porterhouse steak?

Now you know I'm not on a diet because I don't believe in diets. I have however, been on a self imposed spending break. I have more than enough yarn to last me the rest of the year (and boy does it show when you start cataloging it on Ravelry) and I was feeling some guilt about not using the yarn I love so much. But ... well, Patternworks was having a stupendous sale and I found out about it before they ran out of stock and I decided to dive in. I made sure to make it count, too.

New Koigu Stash

That's eight skeins of Koigu KPPM. Right now I don't intend to use it for socks - which is how I partly justified the binge. I also bought the patterns for Diamond Patch mittens and Fanning the Flame mittens from Heartland Knits. Click on the Heartland Knits link to see pictures of the patterns. I probably won't start them until the fall but I'd really like a pair of hand knit mittens for myself before winter starts. Aren't these patterns pretty?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Like a lemming

As the Summer of Socks starts, I'm feeling a bit like a Lemming. Generally, I hate to follow fads and I've never been known as one to follow the crowd. In my knitting, I will often eschew an overly popular pattern (like Monkeys) simply because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes, however, a pattern just calls to you. Popularity, after all, is not a bad thing. Very often a pattern becomes popular because it is so good that people can not resist making it.

Acting like a lemming conveys the notion of following along with disastrous results. Such was the case with my Jaywalkers. When I returned to the knitting world last August it seemed that everyone and their brother was knitting Jaywalkers. I jumped right in even though I had read on many blogs and knitting boards that people had trouble with fit, even though I knew that I hated overly tight socks. I knit the darn things, hated how they fit, wore them about three times, and now, after washing, can't even get them on without a fight. Truly lemming like behavior.

Right now, however, I'm very glad to be following the crowd. There are a few very popular patterns in the Favorite Socks book. One of these is Embossed Leaves. I have chosen to knit Embossed Leaves as my first socks of the summer. I cast on with my salvaged Louet Gems from the failed Whitbys and can not put the sock down. This is addictive knitting. The pattern is wonderful and I love how the leaves appear before your eyes as you work your way down the chart. I'm already at the heel of the first sock. I'll have a picture soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A pair of Juta's

Juta's Stockings complete

Pattern: Juta's Stockings from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Times Remembered Nantucket Heather in Wild Strawberry
Needles: Size 1 (2.5 mm) Knit Picks circulars
Modifications: I used my regular round toe

I finished my Juta's Stockings yesterday and I must say I'm very pleased with them. The pattern was, of course, very well written and super easy to follow. After the first round it was very easy to memorize the pattern. The pattern on the leg is very similar to the Dublin Bay pattern and I like how these lacy panels work with an almost solid colored yarn.

Juta's stocking leg

Unlike Pat, my perfectionist side wasn't bothered in the least by the difference in the k2 togethers and the ssk. I think mine look equally neat. Instead, I was bothered by the difference in the size of the lacy holes on the foot portion. The holes were decidedly different after a k2 together than they were after a ssk. It drove me crazy. I'm sure you can't see it in the photo but trust me the holes are different.

Juta's Stocking foot

Overall, however, I'm happy with the pattern. I think it makes a nice looking and nice fitting sock. The yarn I used is much different than my usual sock yarn. I bought it at NH Sheep and Wool for less than $4.00 a skein. It's 100% wool and is much more "rustic" than the luxury yarn I'm used to. It wasn't rough and it didn't have any debris in it. It was nicely spun and had no knots or slubs. After I got used to the rustic feel I really enjoyed this wooly feeling yarn. It's not the least bit itchy on the skin either. When I handwashed the socks yesterday, there was quite a bit of color in the wash water. I'm hoping this is a one time thing.

Now I'm gearing up for Summer of Socks which starts tomorrow. Although I had been planning to knit Brigit from Socktopia, I found that the yarn I wanted to use didn't match the gauge for the pattern. Rather than switch yarns I've switched patterns. I feel a little like a lemming but I'm going to knit Embossed Leaves from Favorite Socks with the Louet Gems I frogged from my failed Whitby. I'll get to Brigit another time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A bargain

vintage needles
Saturday was the first weekend day I've had free in a long time so I spent it doing one of my favorite activities. I scoured yard sales. What was particularly unusual was that my town was having its annual town-wide yarn sale. Normally, I need to drive into the nearest town 25 minutes away to start looking at the sales. Instead I was able to spend the day ambling around my own small hometown.

I found a few nice things - some brand new Pampered Chef kitchen items for 50 cents each (still in the wrappings), a pair of skis for youngest son, some great shorts for oldest son, and a beanie baby dog for the middle son (just because he was the only one without and it was 50 cents). My favorite buy of the day, however, was my first. I found a nice cotton tote bag filled with three old knitting needle rolls. They are jam packed with vintage knitting needles. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with all these needles and I'm sure I'll never use most of them but they are pretty cool. Any suggestions what I should do with them?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's over

It was a long, long week here in the House of Baseball but now it's Sunday and last week is over.

Our baseball season is officially ended. Oldest son's team was knocked out of the playoffs on Monday. This came as no surprise as his team was very inexperienced and had not played well during the season. It was a great team, however, and he can't wait until next year. The younger boys got knocked out on Friday night in a close game on Friday night. It was a good game and a good end to the season.

Although we were geared up for a summer of All Star Baseball with oldest son, his All Star career is over for this year also. On Thursday evening, while Mr. Baseball and I went on a much deserved date, oldest son fell off his skateboard and broke his wrist. More specifically, for those with medical training or who just like to read about things, he broke his right navicular. Apparently this is a tricky break and can be tough to heal because there is very little vascular activity in that region. He's in a bright green cast from the tip of his thumb to his elbow. No baseball for him this season. He'll still be with his team and help by doing bat boy duty or anything else he's capable of but he won't be able to play. The cast does not come off until July 30 and we have to pray he won't need another one after that.

The school year is over. Although my boys don't go to public school (except for middle son who attends for gym), we're calling it quits for the summer. Each of the boys has some work to complete over the summer but I'm done. The 2006-2007 school year is officially over. I need some time to regroup and think about the fall.

I'm still knitting away on my Juta's stocking. I am very grateful that I had this simple sock on the needles to get me through this week of endless waiting in dentists' offices, emergency rooms, and doctors' offices. I'm half way through the foot of the second sock. It should be done soon. I just need some time to sit and knit. If only I could knit while I drive this sock would have been done ages ago.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I got my invite to Ravelry about a month ago and started my notebook there. I quickly became overwhelmed, however, when I couldn't figure out how to work the system. I'm not very technologically advanced and I quit easily when I can't figure things out. Last night and this morning I spent a bit more time and was able to upload more projects, edit my profile, and put projects in my queue. I'm finally happy.

Someone asked on the Knitty boards if folks would be abandoning their blogs after Ravelry goes public. I was surprised at how many people said they would give up their blogs for Ravelry. I think I really like Ravelry. It's a great place to store project pictures, queue items, and stash yarns all in one place. I love the ability to search for a pattern to see if others have made it (much easier than Googling the pattern as I typically have done). I don't see it replacing my blog though. They're two very different things and they work well together.

Is anyone else on Ravelry yet? Drop me a line so I can add you as a friend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A few of my favorite things

In between freaky thunderstorms, tornado warnings and just plain rain, we had some wonderful breaks of sunny, warmish weather. I took advantage of one afternoon to sit on the back deck and enjoy a few of my favorite things.

boys playing

My two younger boys outside playing. One wanted to play baseball (as always) and one wanted to play a pretend dragon game (that's his dragon book). I'm not sure how they worked it out but I didn't hear any fighting.

the garden

The beginnings of the vegetable garden. I am so grateful that the freaky weather didn't destroy the garden. I can't wait for juicy tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozarela salad.

summer reading

Summer reading - just perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon on the deck. Oh, how I love a good cooking magazine!


Isn't it wonderful when a hard cover book stays open for you so you can knit and read? I'm just about done re-reading the HP books in preparation for the new release. I'm so glad I re-read them because I hadn't remembered very much. The first Juta's stocking is now finished. I'll cast on for the second today at All Star practice.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

First Juta's

Juta's stocking beginning

If I never showed works in progress photos you'd see very little knitting on this blog. Here, then, is the beginning of my first Juta's Stocking from Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia. One of my knitting goals for this year is to knit at least one Nancy Bush pattern from every one of her books that I own. This sock was in my queue and I was pretty excited when I saw that Pat was knitting the same socks. The pattern is very simple - much like the Dublin Bay pattern - and easy enough to memorize after the first pattern repeat. Right now, however, I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with how the lace is coming along on the foot. The leg turned out quite nice but for some reason on the foot the right side yarn over holes are much, much smaller than the left side yarn over holes. They're made the same way on both the leg and the foot so I don't know what's changed but it's not making me happy.

I bought this yarn at NH Sheep and Wool from a company called Times Remembered. It's from their Nantucket Heather line in a color called Wild Strawberry. The yarn is 100% untreated wool and is a but more "rustic" than what I usually use. It's not rough and it doesn't have any "stuff" in it but it definitely has a sturdy, rustic feel. I'm enjoying it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cheerful things

Thank you all for your nice thoughts during my stressful week. Although the situation is not yet resolved, it is well on its way and is out of my hands.

The highlight of my week, by far, was receiving a package from my partner in the Knitter's Tea Swap. My pal, Laura, sent me an amazing package all the way from Oklahoma. The box weighed a ton and was chock full of goodies.

First up, the treats:

Tea Swap Goodies

All kinds of delicious cookies, lots of chocolate, some pretty stitch markers made by Laura herself, and a cute little B sticky pad. Not pictured is a jar of Peach Salsa (it was hiding). The coconut cookies are yummy! I shared some with Mr. Baseball Knitter last night and they made the Red Sox loss to the Yankees a little more bearable.

Next up are the teas (sorry for the blurry photo):

Loose tea, bagged tea, some loose tea bags. Lots of delicious tea for me to try. This came just in time as the temps here today are only in the 50s. Brrr. It's a great day to knit, drink some hot tea and eat more cookies.

Finally, the yarn:
Tea Swap yarn

Two yarns that I've never tried before - Cascade Sassy Stripes and Ruby Sapphire in a color called Goblin. Aren't they beautiful? Purple is one of my favorite colors and I've always wanted to try Ruby Sapphire's yarns.

Thank you, Laura, from the bottom of my heart. You were a great swap partner.

Now, I've got the kettle on and I'm going to make a nice cuppa, eat a few cookies and finish Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (I'm rereading all the HP books in preparation for the new release). I got what I wished for with cooler weather (though I didn't mean NOW and not this wet), and I'm wearing my cheery and warm Apple Pie socks.

Tomorrow I'll be able to show you the beginning of my new sock. Care to guess what pattern I'm using? Remember I'm a big copy cat.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Apple Pie a la mode

Apple Pie a la mode Socks

Yarn: Apple Laine Apple Pie Red Delicious
Pattern: Just my simple plain vanilla socks
Needles: Size 1 US Knit Picks socks

This yarn is SO yummy. It is 50% wool, 20% mohair, 20% silk, and 10% nylon. The socks are super soft and cushy but I know they'll wear like iron. I loved how the colors just randomly appeared. No striping, pooling or flashing. This could be my new favorite yarn (I say that a lot but I really mean it this time). Of course, I bought it from my favorite source - The Loopy Ewe.

This picture shows the color better:Close up Apple Laine Red Delicious

I was hoping to finish these socks for my second May pair but just couldn't manage to finish until last night. It has been a very, very stressful week here and I am so glad to have had my knitting to see me through. It's hot and sticky here today but I can't wait for the next cool day so I can wear these socks.