Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Juju socks

One of the cool things about Ravelry is that you have the opportunity to form small groups of like minded folks. I did not create the Red Sox group but I was happy to join it when someone else did. At one point, when the Red Sox seemed intent on playing badly she suggested that we start some good luck projects.

I knew immediately what yarn to use. I had some Cherry Tree Hill yarn in Cherry just sitting in the stash. I got the hank on the swift and started winding away. The freakin' yarn wouldn't wind properly and kept falling off the ball. Then it started kinking and finally it all fell apart. I spent more time than I care to remember trying to get the yarn to behave. Finally, I had to cut it and ended up with one larger ball and one smallish ball. I then cast on for the Nine to Five socks because I figured the boys needed to get to work. About 4 inches into the sock I realized that the pattern and yarn did not work well together. The pattern was just too much work to not show up well and when I tried the sock on it was huge. Rippppp! I couldn't bear to use the yarn again so I cast it aside. I figured it had bad juju and I didn't want to touch it. I should have known when it refused to be wound properly that this yarn did not have good juju.

I went back to the stash and came out with one of my all time favorite yarns - Apple Laine in Macintosh. The color may not be as red as the Cherry Tree Hill but it is definitely red. Plus, we pick Macintosh in late September which is when you need your team to be in first place. This yarn definitely has good juju. The rules of the Juju Socks are simple. They can only be knit during Red Sox games - no other time. In addition, nothing else can be knit during Red Sox games. There's no timetable for them to be finished. In fact, if I finish them before October I'll just need to start another pair.

Call me superstitious if you will but the Red Sox are now 8 games ahead of the Yankees and I believe the good juju socks are helping.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cabled Sweat Socks

Cabled Sweat Socks in Action

Pattern: Cabled Sweat Socks
Source: Socks A Spin Off special publication
Needles: Knit Picks size 2.5 mm circulars
Yarn: Wollmeise
Modifications: Substituted fingering for sport weight yarn but kept everything the same

Summer is drawing to a close around here. The high school kids went back to school on Monday and the elementary kids return this coming Monday. Soon, our neighborhood will be quiet as a mouse during the day. We've had a busy, busy summer which flew by at lightning speed.

Yesterday we spent the day at Water Country - a local water park. With a high of only 73 degrees it wasn't exactly warm. It was fine if you stayed in the sun but when you got out of the water it was COLD! None of the kids seemed to mind and we stayed for 8 hours. I went down a number of slides but also found time to sit back, soak up some sun, read a little and knit some. I had one woman stop by to admire my Pheasant Run sock and saw at least two other women knitting.

On Monday evening I finished the lovely Cabled Sweat Socks. Oh but I love these socks! They fit like a dream. The pattern is wonderful with beautiful cables running all the way down and special details like the purl ridge heel. It's too bad more people don't know about this wonderful pattern.

Cabled Sweat Socks


I loved knitting with the Wollmeise. It's true that it's not the softest yarn coming off the skein and it tends to feel a little stringy but it's soft once it knits up (and I haven't washed it yet) and has great stitch definition. Of course, the yardage can not be beat. It was so nice to be knitting cabled socks and to know that I could knit them as long as I liked and there was no way I'd run out of yarn. I'm glad to have more in the stash. I'll report back once I've washed and worn them.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My SP rocks!

My Secret Pal rocks! Seriously.
I don't know who she is yet but I do know she's from Washington. She went on vacation recently and took thoughts of me with her. She did some fabulous shopping for me while she was gone and then sent me this beach vacation in a box.

Secret Pal swag

I got great books to read (none of which I've read before), very cute postcards, a delicious sounding cookie mix, and cd of beach pictures. Enough to keep me busy for awhile.

Then, of course, she had to send me some yarn. I got some scrumptious Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in some ocean shades of blues, greens and purples. Mmmmm! I've never tried or even seen this yarn before. I love to try new yarns.

Artyarns Ultramerino 4

Thank you, SP!! You really do rock. I can't wait to find out who you are all the way across the country from me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fred and Mason

Meet Fred.
Fred came to live with us yesterday after Oldest Boy found him under our deck. Fred is cute enough and certainly it wouldn't harm anything for him to live in a fish tank in our family room for awhile. He's small. He's harmless.

Meet Mason.
Mason is our oldest cat. We're hoping he finds Fred now that Fred has escaped the fish tank.

Artificial Deadlines

I love the blogging community and credit it for helping me to get my knitting mojo back after it left me for years. I do not have a local knitting group or even any local friends who knit. My knitting community IS the online knitting community. I have gained so much through my blog that it's hard to imagine knitting without all of you out there.

Over the past year I have received advice, gifts, encouragement, prayers, jokes, praise, and assistance from people scattered all over the world but connected through our computers. For all of that I am extremely grateful.

One downside to my online knitting participation is artificial deadlines. I'm just now starting to get over this. I know you all know what I mean. You get excited to find like minded individuals (like Nancy Bush knitters) and you join their group. You become excited to join your first KAL and you are thrilled to finish your product and share with everyone else. At some point, however, all those KALs can start to feel like something you have to do rather than something you want to do. I have found myself (and others) hurrying to finish a product to meet an artificial deadline set by an online group. This can make knitting much less enjoyable. I have to remind myself that unless I'm being paid commission to knit something or plan to give something as a gift there is no deadline.

Yesterday, I took a break from knitting (though I still managed to knit some rows) to read Water for Elephants. I didn't intend to read the entire book yesterday but the weather was perfect for sitting outside so I sat on my deck and read. I could not put the book down. If you haven't read it yet I highly recommend it. It's the best book I've read in a long time.

Today, I'll return to my socks which are "supposed" to be done by the end of the month. Perhaps they will be and perhaps they won't but I'm going to remind myself that I'm supposed to enjoy knitting them and that no knitting police will show up to take me away if I don't meet the "deadline".

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just being quiet

Pheasant Run
Pattern: Lisa Parker's Pheasant Run
Yarn: Claudia's Handpainted in an exclusive Loopy Ewe Fall sock club colorway
Needles: Size 2.5 mm Knit Picks circs

I've been busy and just haven't had much to say.

It was a difficult reentry. It's not that I don't love my boys. I do. I even enjoy spending time with them. I also enjoyed my time alone tremendously and know that it won't happen again for a long time. Having the house filled with the boys and all their stuff and noise has been tough on the nerves. Having to cook and clean and look after the boys again has been draining. I'm only now starting to adjust.

I know I said I was only going to do one repeat of the Loopy Fall Sock club sock but I changed my mind. It became a contest to see if I'd have enough yarn to finish the sock for my largish feet. At first it seemed as though the yarn would win until I noticed that I had dropped a stitch quite a few rows back and didn't like how it looked when I pulled the stitch back up. After ripping and reknitting and rethinking the toe I ended up with more than enough yarn. See those little balls at the top of the sock blocker - that's what I had left. Two teeny, tiny little balls of yarn (I found one knot in the skein toward the end).

The pattern is very nice. It works well with the variegated yarn and shows it off well. The Claudia Handpainted is a dream. I'd definitely work with it more if the skeins weren't so skimpy. I prefer 7 inch long legs on my socks and I was only able to knit 6 inch legs to have enough yarn.

Here's a closeup of the very nice garter edged Eye of Partridge heel. This photo also shows how fallish the colors are. One woman on Ravelry described it as Fall Cornucopia which I think would be a great name for this unnamed colorway.

Pheasant Run heel close up

I've picked up the Cabled (Sweat) Sock again and I'm 4 rows away from the heel. I want to finish the second Loopy sock before the end of the month for a kal on Ravelry so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I think I'm going to work on the Cabled Sock for a bit until I get to or through the gussets and then pick up the Loopy sock. It's hard to go back and forth between the socks because the Claudia yarn is SO soft - it's like butter and slips through your fingers - while the Wollmeise has a stringy sort of feel to it. I love the Wollmeise but it doesn't feel great after using the Claudia and it's difficult to maintain tension with such different yarns.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I was so good

The truth is, that while Mr. Baseball and the boys were away last week, I really, really enjoyed the solitude and quiet. I also missed them all - especially Mr. Baseball. I have the greatest husband and I really hate to be away from him. I tried to soothe myself with a little retail therapy but I couldn't find anything I HAD to have and I didn't want to settle. There were no Loopy updates and Woolgirl didn't get in anything new to tempt me. I even called a not-so-local yarn store who is supposed to be getting in a shipment of Dream in Color but the yarn hadn't been delivered yet.

On Monday, just hours before all my boys returned home, the mail carrier delivered these packages to me. I almost couldn't contain my excitment. I felt like I had been rewarded for being such a good girl. One package, I knew contained my Loopy sock club stuff. The other had come all the way from Germany!

Blogless Dana, who I met on Ravelry, sent me a gift from Germany to thank me for organizing the Summer Camp Swap that's currently going on (oy, I had no idea how much work organizing a swap for 100 people would be). Dana sent me Wollmeise in the Hot Chili Pepper colorway! She also sent me a cool postcard and a recipe for a delicious sounding chocolate cake. What a generous soul.

Finally, I opened my Loopy Ewe Fall Sock Club package. It's lovely. All of it. I have mixed feelings about the Claudia because the yardage is so skimpy but I'm going to give it a go. The yarn itself and the colors are gorgeous and very, very fallish. I love the pattern. In fact, I had to wind up a cake and cast on for a sock to see how it would look (pictures later) and it's pretty cool. My plan is to complete one round of the pattern (26 rows) and then get back to my Cabled (Sweat) Sock. I'm almost to the heel on the second sock.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wild thing

It is 90 degrees outside. 90 degrees for the third day in a row. It is HOT! While Mr. Baseball and the boys are away I've been acting like a hermit trying to keep myself cool. We don't have central A/C; we only have A/C in the bedrooms. I didn't really want to hole up in my bedroom for hours on end so my strategy has been to move as little as possible in an attempt to stay cool. While staying still I have managed to watch three movies, read 1/2 of a book, watch two baseball games, and knit one sock.

And the sock is a beauty! Seriously. Are you ever just so in love with something you knit? I want to walk over to my neighbors (since no one is home right now to appreciate my knitting) and say, "Aren't these beautiful? I made them." I could probably do that with my Walking Friend neighbor but the others would think I'm just crazy. So instead, neighbors, I'm knocking on your door to show you my finished sock.

And just to show how big my feet are and, consequently, how much sock I must knit every time I make a pair of socks. And the beauty is, because of the yardage of the Wollmeise (over 500 yards people!) I never had to worry if I'd run out of yarn. I could make knee socks (not that I would because I can't stand knee socks) if I wanted to and I wouldn't run out of yarn.

And just to prove to you what a wild and crazy woman I am without the boys here I'll tell you what I did to celebrate. I made a BLT sandwich. Yup. And I ate the whole thing. Mmmmm! Wild, huh?

Friday, August 03, 2007

We have a winner!

Well, folks, the mystery has been solved. Nova and LaLa both correctly guessed that the Mystery sock is the Cabled Sweat Sock from the Spin-Off book Socks. This is an unfortunate name for such a lovely sock. Sweat Sock. Indeed.

Both Nova and LaLa employed cunning investigative skills to solve the mystery and both have won fibery prizes.

The Socks book is one of the oldest books in my knitting library. I made some of my first socks from it. When I was searching for the perfect pattern to use with my Wollmeise I remembered this pattern and was only too happy to pull out the book again. One of my goals for this year was to knit a pattern from every sock book I own. I have a terrible tendency to buy pattern books and then never use them. I'm doing well toward meeting my goal though I still haven't used either of the Sensational Knitted Socks books (though I did recently try, remember?). I'll have to tally up the patterns and books I've used before my blogiversary.

Congratulations Nova and Lala! Good detective work.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mystery Sock in progress

The Mystery Sock is moving right along. It's hard to put down. I've got the leg and heel done on the first sock and I'm moving down the gusset.

The heel is a lovely Eye of Partridge heel with a garter stitch edge. There is also this very nice rolled edge along the gusset which is caused by purling the last stitch on every row and then slipping that same stitch once you turn. I think it looks very nice. It's one of those things that only fellow knitters can appreciate. I can't imagine pointing out that nice little row to anyone who doesn't knit. Can you see it?

So I've given you a few more clues as well as a close up picture. No one has come close to guessing yet.