Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Can you guess?

Here is the first work in progress photo of the mystery sock. If you think you know what it is, drop me a line. First person to correctly name the pattern wins a prize.

In other news, I've decided to rip out the Sweet Georgia sock. I don't have enough yarn to finish it and the leg is a smidge too tight and I don't really like socks with patterned legs and plain feet anyway. I really do love the yarn but I need to put some distance between me and it right now. I think it'd make a lovely pair of Breeze socks someday but for right now it needs to go to timeout.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My first contest

Ah, she's a beauty, no?
This is my first skein of Wollmeise. I'm in love. The colors are deep and vibrant. The yarn is sort of squishy and soft. The yardage is generous and made a very large cake. This morning I sat outside and cast on for a new sock. This sock will meet the requirements for the new Loopy Ewe Q3 challenge and will be my first sock in Sock-A-Month 4. I've had at least one pair of socks every single month since SAM2 and I intend to do the same for SAM 4.

I'm coming up on my one year blogiversary on August 20th and I think it's time for my first contest. I will post photos of my sock in progress but will not name the pattern nor will I name the source for the pattern in my posts. The first person to guess the pattern correctly will win a prize. As I don't have all that many regular readers your chance of winning is fairly high but I warn you that the pattern won't be an easy one to guess.

How's that yellow Sweet Georgia sock coming along you ask? Let's not talk about it. I have PMS. I'm crabby and short tempered. There is no way I'll have enough yarn to finish this sock. I really should just rip it now but because of the blog I'll keep working on it just so I can show you how far I fall short. It's not like I can just buy another skein. I even looked on Ravelry to see if anyone had this color in their stash. Nope. Progress photo of the yellow sock when I'm less crabby.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I need a nap

I promised you a photo of my Sweet Georgia sock in progress and so you shall have it. I'm knitting the Cross-Stitch Block pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. I am LOVING this yarn. Wouldn't you know I'd love a yarn that is no longer available? Someone told me that the base yarn is Louet Gems and I do love Louet though I've never tried the true fingering weight. I've learned that I prefer my yarns to be tightly spun, with saturated colors and a good sproing to them. This yarn has all those characteristics.

I'm also enjoying the pattern. It works perfectly with this lightly colored semi-solid yarn. I'm not certain that I like how it fits. It's rather snug - the cross-stitch blocks pull in more than you'd think. I think it will be fine on the leg and I'll just knit the foot plain. If you are astute you will notice that there are no needles in my sock in progress. That's because just after I turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches I noticed that I somehow skipped part of a row on the front of the sock. I completed the crosses on the back part where the heel is but missed that row on these 32 stitches. Alas, there was no way to fix it because not only had I skipped the row with the cable crosses but I had knit the next row that holds them into place. So ... RIP went the heel. I'm too tired and hot right now to get it back on the needles. That can be done after a little nap.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Competing Interests

Yesterday, we dropped the older two boys off for a week of summer camp. We were one of the first families to arrive so both boys had their choice of bunks in their respective cabins. Middle Son looks quite happy to be back at camp (above), while Oldest Son and Mr. Baseball look rather odd as I captured them at the end of a hug goodbye. They both love camp and I don't worry a smidge about them while they're gone. Today it's just me and Youngest Son. He's so easy compared to the other two - especially when he's alone. We're just filling his cup while they're gone and he revels in the one-on-one attention. Tomorrow afternoon, my wonderful, amazing friend, Jenn, will take Youngest Son to her house until Friday evening where he will spend much glorious time with his Best Friend. She must love me.

Mr. Baseball will take the day off from work on Friday and we will have one entire childless day together. Before that, we'll have 3 childless nights together. How ever will we survive? What ever will we do?

My days are filled with competing interests. While the boys are gone, I like to give their rooms a good cleaning. Today I washed all the bedding - including comforters. I just think it's nice to come home from a week away to a clean bed and room. I also, like millions of other minions, am engrossed in The Deathly Hallows. I'm savoring it and allow myself to read a chapter or two after I complete a chore or play a game with Youngest Son. I've also got the Sweet Georgia sock on the needles. I had hoped to be able to share a picture but it came out much too blurry and now it's raining. Perhaps a picture tomorrow. Blogging time is over. I think I've earned another chapter.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vesper Socks finished

Vesper Socks 1

Last night, while watching the Red Sox cream the White Sox, I finished the Vesper Socks. I never counted row or measured the socks but instead matched the colored stripes from sock to sock. They came out virtually identical. I have to say that I feel rather disappointed upon their completion. I'm thrilled to have them done but I don't care anymore for the finished product than I do for the yarn. They fit fine and I even like the way the short row heel fits my foot but I just do not like this yarn and I just know I'll never wear the socks. I'll have to take exact measurements later and send them to some lucky soul who will appreciate them much more than I.

Vesper Socks 2

After I had woven in the ends and put the socks aside, I tried to decide what to knit next. I swear I heard some yarn calling from the stash. What I really need right now is a good yarn experience to wipe the bad one away. I found this lovely hank of Sweet Georgia in a colorway called Saffron that made me smile just to touch it. As I was winding it into a cake, my 9 year old son came into the room and said, "Oh, that's a pretty color." Yup. It is. As I cast on (for a cuff I ripped out this morning) I couldn't help but compare the yarns. Where the Vesper felt dead and lifeless the Sweet Georgia is bouncy and exuberant. While the color of the Vesper is ho hum and left me cold, the Sweet Georgia is vibrant and warms my soul. Ah, how I should enjoy knitting with this lovely yarn. Stay tuned to see what it will become.

Sweet Georgia Saffron

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thank you, SP

Lucy loving her new drugs

I always like it when Secret Pals flash the swag I send them. I take a lot of care to choose things I hope my SP will like. I, however, have been remiss in thanking my SP9 partner. I received a wonderful package in the mail last week. I don't have any pictures of all the stuff put together because as soon as I opened the package the various items were spread all over my house. My SP sent me a 4th of July themed package because it is one of my favorite holidays. My gifts were wrapped in red, white and blue tissue.

My SP sent me some delicious homemade brownies which had zuchini as the secret ingredient. They were chocolatey, minty and delicious. We ate them quickly. She also sent little catnip pillows for each of my three kitties. You can see Lucy above enjoying them. In addition, I got four wonderful cooking magazines. Next to yarn, there is nothing I like more than a good cooking magazine. Finally, of course, I got some lovely yarn. It's a very pretty pale blue yarn called Palette from Knit Picks. Thank you SP. I promise next time to take a picture before everything gets strewn around my house. I have no clue who my SP is but she pays careful attention to detail.

Yesterday while the boys were off visiting friends I sat down to complete the short row heel for my second Vesper sock. It was much easier the second time around and did not take me nearly as long. I was even able to close up the holes at the sides. I'm still not thrilled with how this heel looks. One side is very neat and tidy while the other side looks wonky. The perfectionist in me is not happy with this. I had hoped that this was the perfect short row heel for me because it is the first one I've tried that makes sense to me. Hopefully, I will have a finished pair to post soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just a little update


I can't believe it's been almost a week since I last updated. I don't have much knitting news or photos to share. Instead, I'll share a photo of my daylillies that I took this morning. My lillies always bloom later than everyone else's because we don't get much direct sun. I don't even particularly care for them but they bloom every single year without fail and don't need any attention. That's my favorite kind of gardening.

I've been knitting on the second Vesper sock and am almost to the (dreaded) heel. I'll have to set some time aside tomorrow for the heel. I hate that I have to set aside uninterrupted time just to get a heel done but I want to finish the pair and see if my second heel can be better than the first. After this, I'm back to my wonderful heel flaps and gussets which I can almost do in my sleep.

We had a busy, busy weekend just filled with grown up fun. So much of our time is devoted to our children and their pursuits. It is highly unusual for us to have much of a social life ourselves. On Saturday, we went to a Bastille Day party. It was wonderful time filled with good food, grown up conversation and live music while the boys enjoyed themselves in the pool and hung around with their equally surly teenage friends. On Sunday, we joined some old college friends for a rousing game of softball. We had a blast! Grownups and kids combined on teams - everyone having fun - lots of sweating and laughing. My muscles have hurt ever since.

The boys are in their second and final week of swimming lessons. I will be very happy when I no longer need to get out the door every morning to get to the lake. I prefer not to be out of the house so much.

I'm feeling rather down these days. The stressful situation that started back in May has finally come to its conclusion and it is not the ending I was hoping against hope for. It's not worth retelling the whole long sordid tale so I'll just say that I hate mean people. I'll be putting this behind me soon but right now I'm just filled to the brim with anger and hurt and disappointment. I'm very grateful for my husband and good friends who have stood beside me through it all.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

First Vesper done

First Vesper Sock

The first Vesper sock was completed this morning during swimming lessons at the lake. I'm considering it a learning experience. Here are a few of the things I learned by knitting this one sock:

  • Do NOT jump on the bandwagon of every sock craze. Although I have loved most of the yarn that I have bought online, the Vesper was an impulse buy and one that I regret. I don't care for the yarn in the least.
  • I made a good enough short row heel. The Priscilla's Dream Sock short row heel was the easiest of the short rows I have tried to date. I think I need to tweak it a bit but at least I got through it without crying.
  • I think I need to make the leg longer when using a short row heel. Normally I knit a 7 inch leg and then a 2.5 inch heel flap. Without the heel flap the leg is rather short. Live and learn.
  • I like knitting toes with all the instep stitches on one needle and sole stitches on the other. This makes so much more sense than the way I normally do it in profile.
  • Sometimes good enough is good enough.
I will cast on for the second Vesper sock this afternoon so I have it ready to go for swimming lessons tomorrow (and besides, the Red Sox return to regular play tonight). I doubt that these will ever be my favorite socks and I'm not even sure if I should keep them but I can't stand a single sock without a mate. I'll make the pair.

After these are through I'm rewarding myself by casting on with some Apple Laine. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Good Enough Short Row Heel

I can't let something as small as a short row heel stymie me. This self striping Vesper yarn is just calling for a short row heel so I took the advice of Kathy and tried the short row heel from "Priscilla's Dream Socks".

Yesterday, while a storm brewed overhead, I warned the boys to stay well out of my way, sat down with the sock and the Favorite Socks book and was determined to master the short row heel. I even put on my glasses which I can never seem to find. It took me 2 hours but I never needed to rip it out and I never swore. In the end I had a short row heel. It's not perfect - far from it - but I'm putting perfectionism aside and calling it Good Enough. Yup, I'm accepting that Good Enough will do.

FIrst Vesper short row heel

Here are the pros and cons of this Good Enough Short Row Heel.

  1. The directions are very clear.
  2. I was able to tell where I needed to turn without any problems.
  3. There is no wrapping or picking up of wraps.
  4. The purl side of the heel came out quite nicely. Well, mostly.
  5. There are no gaps on the knit side of the heel.
  1. The k3 together does not make nearly as neat a row as the p3 together (what would happen if I did the k3 together through the back loop?)
  2. I had holes on one side of the heel where it meets the leg.
  3. It took me about two hours to complete the heel and I never felt I could really put it down during that time. This isn't really practical for me most of the time.
Here is the purl side which looks very neat except for those holes where the heel meets the foot.
Short row heel purl side

Here is the knit side which looks wonky but has no holes where the heel meets the foot.
Short row heel knit side

It needs some work but I'm not ripping. They're good enough and I'm sure I can improve with practice.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Embossed Leaves Finished

Embossed Leaves

Pattern: Embossed Leaves
Yarn: Louet Gems fine/sport weight
Color: Robin
Needles: Knit Picks circulars 2.75 mm

I finished my Embossed Leaves this morning. I tried to finish them last night after we returned home from a birthday party for a friend. I noticed a mistake a few rows back and decided that five margaritas and putting stitches back on the needles did not mix. I think it was best that I decided to wait until this morning. Perhaps it would have been even better if I had just stopped at two margaritas. I'm feeling a little green around the gills this morning.

The only modifications I made to the pattern was to skip the fiddly cast on and first two rows. I used my usual cable cast on and just started the twisted rib. I think it worked out quite fine. The author of the pattern doesn't even recommend the silly cast on in the book.

Embossed Leaves 2

I knit these socks as a going away present for Oldest Son's Latin Tutor who is moving away. I thought the color and pattern would remind her of fall in NH. I liked this pattern so much that it may be the first pattern I ever repeat. I really want a pair for myself. Now I just need to decide if I should knit the pair for me right away while the pattern is still fresh in my memory or take a break to knit something different. I am very happy that I have more Louet Gems in the stash. This is a lovely, wonderful yarn to knit with. I look forward to spending more time with it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mimi and Papa

Happy 4th of July!
I love the 4th of July. It's a perfect holiday. This year was made even more special because my mother and step-father were here from Florida. My boys have loved every minute with their grandparents and especially enjoyed seeing the fireworks with their Mimi. We also had a little party with some friends and had a great time with lots of kids running around, plenty of food to eat, and pyrotechnics supplied by Mr. Baseball and Mr. Handyman (our friend who is remodeling our kitchen). Even the rain didn't spoil the festivities.

There hasn't been much time for knitting because I've been entertaining my parents. Mom loves to play Rummikub with me when she's here even though I beat the pants of her regularly. We have a good time.

Mom admired the Embossed Leaves sock but expressed her surprise once again that I would choose to knit socks which cost so much more to knit than to buy. The second sock is almost through the gusset now and should be finished soon. This is a wonderful pattern.

Mimi and Papa leave tonight after dinner. Hopefully we'll see Mimi again this fall if she can swing another trip north. Papa hasn't been back this way for 4 years so I don't expect we'll see him again anytime soon. I'll be sorry to see them go. I really wish my mom lived closer.