Wednesday, February 28, 2007

FO Report

Here they are in all their glory!

BFF Socks

Pattern: BFF Socks, size S

Yarn: Knit Picks Sock Memories in Flower Power, 2 skeins

Needles: Size 2 dpns

HeelModifications: For the heel flap set up the pattern says to complete the pattern repeat 4 times. But that gives you 32 stitches, and you only need 28 for the heel. I think that's a misprint, and I only did the repeat three times. I also looked at how the instep pattern was supposed to be carried down the foot and ended up moving some stitches around so the stitches on the top of the foot would line up right. This part of the pattern isn't very well written, and I can see why. I'm not explaining it very well either. It was a little fiddly, but it turned out great.

Review: I'm so happy to have finally found a pattern for this yarn. I really Toeswanted to knit a cabled sock, but my own attempts at a cable sock design were ill-fitting. I think my brain is too tired for math and thinking and stuff. I still had to frog this pattern once. I originally cast on for medium but in a stunning turn of events medium was too big for my size *ahem* 9 feet. But considering the fact that this yarn has been frogged a total of 9 times I think it held up nicely. Now that I'm looking at the picture I can totally see where I accidentally decreased one too many stitches on one side of the heel gusset, so I quietly increased a stitch right there. Oh well, I'm willing to live with it. There's also some distinct pooling at the heel gusset. Each sock has green/yellow on the right side, red/orange on the left side. I should be proud the colors matched up so well. It's tricky to make socks match with hand painted yarn, and to match pooling? I almost feel clever. These socks feel soft and warm on my feet, and I love my red technicolor toes.

Art Shot

These socks were knit in three days! I knit them so feverishly because I am in training. What am I training for you might ask.

Sock madness

The official website is here. This is a tournament style sock knit-off. I like the way this is set up better than sock wars. This is mano-a-mano knitting. Me against another fierce competitor to see who can knit a sock faster. It's doubtful that I'll make it past the first round since the timing of the start of Sock Madness couldn't be worse for me personally. But hey, I had to try.

Coming tomorrow? The Scheherazade Shawl
And Friday? possibly Starsy!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Today's Post Is Brought To You By The U.S. Government

I've been a busy little bee. But it seems the more I get done, the more I have yet to do. I sat down yesterday to make a list of what needs done, and the list is 32 items long. I need to get cracking.

My shawl is almost complete. I've picked out all the puckery spots. I must be getting old. I thought I might go blind trying to un-weave the woven in yarn ends. I then threaded the sides with old cotton yarn. Threading the sides was much easier than I anticipated, courtesy of the first blocking attempt. The beauty that is my red shawl is now resting in some luke warm water. Later today I shall stretch her like the Spanish Inquisition stretched.....well, didn't they stretch everyone?

I have also finished a pair of socks! That's right. Don't fall over from shock, but I finished something. The Flower Power Socks are done. Complete. The toes are kitchnered. The ends are woven in. These babies are ready to be worn and admired. But not today.

Today I will feature a different topic.

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Why yes, that is four skeins of Socks That Rock yarn.

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Why yes, those are MY four skeins of Socks That Rock yarn.

Once a year I really get to splurge on a little stash enhancement. Last year I got Koigu(which was alright), Lorna's Laces (which I LOVE) and entirely too much discontinued Knitpicks Sock Yarn (always a good time). This year my budget was much smaller, but I'm still equally pleased. Just look at this yarn.

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How can you not be happy when you have this yarn sitting on your desk just waiting to be knit. From the left: Nodding Viotlet, Love-in-idleness, Rhodonite, and Downpour. Arent' they gorgeous? The Love in Idleness will be a pair of Tatiana's Revenge socks. The rest is up for inspiration. I guess that brings the total of mycrafty list from 32 to 36 doesn't it? *sigh* Although I fear I might have to fight some one for the Rhodonite.

True Love

She saw the pink yarn and hugged it as her own. She rocked it and sang it a song. She might have slept with it had I been inclined to let her. But Mean Mommy that I am, I wasn't about to let her sleep with a skein of pink Socks that Rock. What can I say? She knows a good thing when she sees it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

That was attempt number 1

those of you waiting to see a perfectly blocked Scheherazade will have to keep waiting. I'm sorry. Parts of it are gorgeous. It feel perfect like silky satin. Like wearing a red spiderweb. The center motif is stunning, better than I imagined as I picked up the cast-on edge. There are parts I just love.

Then there's this part

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This is all my own fault. I should have blocked it by threading cotton along the edges a la The Yarn Harlot. I've used this method in the past for rectangle shawls with brilliant success. But I was feeling impatient. I just wanted to finish the shawl. I wanted to have it blocked so I could wear it, NOW. I feel like I've spent so much time knitting lately with nothing to show. I wanted to finally finish something. I didn't want to dig through my closet to find my thin cotton. I didn't want to spend an hour or so threading the cotton through the shawl. I just wanted the blocking part of the knit to be over with. So I choose the bazillion pin method. The wavy edge, which I knew in my heart of hearts would be there, is the result. I deserve this. And I probably would have lived with the wavy edge and called the shawl done if not for this.

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This is not really my fault, partially but not completely. The pattern said to weave the ends in then block. So I did. I was very careful not to weave them in too tight, but they still didn't stretch like the rest of the shawl. All eight ends look like that. They're extra dark red, and they all pull in. They don't show so much on camera, but up close and in the knit, they are eight huge angry red puckered blotches of mistake. I can not live with this.

So as painful as it is going to be, I'm going to carefully pick the ends out, string the shawl with cotton yarn, block it properly this time, weave the ends in, and THEN I'll get to call it done.

Why aren't there shortcuts in knitting?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Solve the mystery

Could this bowl of pink water....

Mysterious pink water

Have anything to do with this wad of wet alpaca

Mysterious wet alpacating

And could the two possibly be connected to these garbage bags and straight pins?

Instruments of Torture?

The world may never know!

The world has gone mad

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Really, is anyone surprised?

I've been having such fun with my camera! Just look at this bee.

Busy Bee

He was happily buzzing in the flowers, doing his bee thing. Isn't he cute?

Speaking of cute, check out my son.

Hi Stinky Keeb

The cat is being unusually subdued. Ordinarily when faced with unwanted sticky child fingers she will bite the offender. This is effective in two ways. It halts the immediate attack, and helps to prevent future attempts at cuddling. But she must have been feeling charitable yesterday. Two frames later she merely gets up and walks away instead of resorting to pointy teeth.

What? My gorgeous Red Shawl? That pretty lacy bright cobweb of a shawl? You want to know about the shawl? Oh, I'd almost forgotten about that old thing. I finished that on Saturday. Wanna see?

Lumpy Lace

*sigh* I just need to block it. I really want to block it, but everytime I think of blocking it the thought of all those little straight pins makes me feel rather faint. I have to go lie down, then the kids come in and bother me with their neverending "needs". I get distracted doing things like feeding them or reading to them and I forget all about my poor shawl. Then when I do remember the thought of all those little straight pins makes me feel rather faint...I need to buy some blocking wires.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What is going on around here?

Big Surprise #1

I finished all six charts of the Scheherazade Shawl, plus the border edge.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Isn't it pretty? I love the center pattern. I love the yarn. I love everything about this. Except...doesn't it look a bit short? Too wide for a scarf, too short for a shawl. I was a little worried.

Upon further reading of the pattern I realized that the provisional cast-on isn't so you can add the second border. It is so you can pick up 99 stitches and knit all six charts in the opposite direction. All 283 rows, knit in the opposite direction. That's 28,017 stitches. Plus the second border. Oy, I need a nap just thinking about it. All that counting. All over again. If I didn't love the yarn so much this might end up on the shelf of unfinished knits.

Maybe I'll cut up Starsky tonight instead.

Big Surprise #2

Poor Pork Chop is sick. She had a cough Sunday night. Monday morning she told me her stomach hurt. I thought it was simply sore from coughing all night, and I let her stay home from school. By mid-afternoon she had a raging fever and cried because she wanted to golie in bed. I tucked her in and she slept right through dinner. Around nine she woke up hungry and I made her toast. As she was eating it I realized something.

How did you get in here?

Who on earth is this beautiful girl sitting at my table eating toast? None of my children are this big. They're all toddlers. Who is this girl living in my house?

Don't get me wrong. I like her, I like her a lot. And I'd be happy to keep her if no one comes to claim her...I'd just like to know where she came from.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Don't say I didn't warn you

I've knit more of my red shawl, but really the pictures look like the ones I've already shown, but longer. I've cast on for socks with my Flower Power yarn, but I'm not far enough along to make it worth uploading a photo. Instead I'll show you some pictures I have taken with my new camera. Today will feature fun on the trampoline!

Meaty bounces Bird, notice her shirt.

Just don't land on her

Bird bounces.

Mamma, watch me jump

They take a break to inspect the camera.

I see you

Repeat the process until exhaustion sets in.

They even wear themselves out

The light at twilight really is lovely.

Tired Baby

Friday, February 09, 2007

A whole new distraction

Red Shawl of SeductionAs you can see Scheherazade Shawl is moving along just fine. Despite the long patches of Stockinette Stitch this is a more complex knit than I anticipated, or should I say because of the Stockinette Stitch. There is much counting. Instead of chanting a little pattern repeat as I knit along a row, there is stitch counting. Every stitch gets counted on every row. I don't hate it, but this isn't a knit at the park kind of knit (which is where I knit the Rona Shawl). It is highly addictive in it's own challenging way and I must not pick it up around dinner time lest I forget to make dinner.

As I knit my bright red shawl of seduction my shelf of unfinished knits taunts me. "Forget my sleeves and knit me a belt" Starsky demands. "I can't believe you've abandoned me again" the blue swatch cries. "You don't want to disappoint your Father" Dad's sweater says softly in a voice that hurts the most. "For the love of all that's good, take my picture and call me done" The Rona Shawl and Bathing Beauties sigh.

I'm just glad Evil isn't on that noisy shelf.

To make matters worse, I've been given a new distraction.

My new Camera

You might not be able to tell, but that's my Used-but-brand-spankin'-new-to-me Digital Canon Rebel, a gift from The Greatest. Yes, at times he really does earn his name. I spend most of last evening snapping pictures until the battery died. The battery is supposed to have a nine hour life, I killed it in four. I admit I was a little out of control. At it's lowest point:

The Cat would have no more to do with me.

Angry Cat

My resident camera hog Pork Chop got tired and begged to go to bed.

tired baby

Finally The Greatest threatened me with his Side Handle Baton.

Are you threatening me?

Just to warn you: My next month or so of posts might be very photo heavy until the newness wears off. But I think I might be able to do something to make the Rona Shawl shut up.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Knitting

Here you go, two days of knitting and I've got....

Four Freakin Inches

Four Inches. That's it. I've completed Chart 1 of 7. It doesn't help that I must have ripped this puppy out atleast six times. I almost gave up, then I got smart. No not life lines (but I should put on in now shouldn't I). This shawl features Got Brains?large sections of Stockingnette Stitch. I finally counted all the stitches and wrote them on the chart. So much easier to keep track of. I've also got my ghetto chart holder: A cookie sheet with some free magnets that came with a credit card offer. To mark which line I'm on? I use another chart turned upside down so the side up is blank. I'm nothing if not resourceful. So that's how I've spent my time.

I also test drove a new playgroup. They aren't my old playgroup. I'm not sure if it's a good fit, but I remember being unsure about my old playgroup at first, so I'll give it a few more tries before the final verdit. They weren't my beloved friends, but they did have puppies.

No we can't keep one
Yes, I'm sure we can't keep one

I'm not sure if the puppies go in the pro or con column. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Old Knitting

I did not get to knit yesterday.

I'll give you all a moment to get over the shock and horror of it all.

I know how scandalous it must seem. I knit compulsively, every day. How could I go an entire 24 hours without knitting? I was just busy during the day. Then when Pork Chop came home from school I packed all three kids up with a meatloaf and a bag of frozen veggies and took them to a babysitter.

I'll give you a moment to let the shock and awe of that sink in.

I took them to a babysitter on a Monday night.

What wonderful wild plans did I have on a Monday night that required a babysitter? A mandatory stress management class with The Greatest.

I'll give you a moment to let the shock and dismay of that sink in.

It isn't enough for The Greatest to be a hero in my life. Or for The Greatest to be THE HERO in the eyes of his children. He had to go and get himself this very dangerous law enforcement job so he can be a Hero to the world. And I had to go to a class to learn how to handle living with a Hero. And I had to miss Heroes on NBC to attend the class.

When he told me I would have to spend four hours of my life listening to a stress management lecture my first question was "Can I knit during it?" The answer was no. The thought of listening to some guy prattle on for four hours and not be able to knit caused me stress. Would being stressed out in the middle of a stress management class be ironic in the real definition of the word, or ironic in the Alannis Moresette definition of the word?

Anyways, so between getting ready for my hot date, and going on my hot date, I didn't knit.

But don't worry, I've got yarn goodness, and cute kidness. Instead of new knitting I'll present you with something I knit last year, but never got around to putting on the blog.

Miss Dashwood

Pattern: Miss Dashwood

Yarn: NoBo yarn from Wal-Mart 100% Acrylic

Needles: It's been a while, but I'd guess size 6, circs, and dpns.

Modification: My gauge was really off, so I know I did a bunch of fancy math. And I think I kinda winged the top decreases, but honestly it's been too long to remember. I did leave off the ear flaps. They just looked stupid, and Bird hated them.

Review: I love this hat. I made this at the same time I made Pork Chop's Hat and Meaty's Hat I just never got around to blogging it. It turned out really cute. But it is more of a summer at the park or day at the beach hat than the keep your ears warm hat I needed (guess I should have left the ear flaps on). The yarn was interesting. And that's all I have to say on the matter. It was Wal-Mart's brand of acrylic yarn, you know you're scraping the bottom of the barrel when you buy the knock-off acrylic. It is super cute on her and overall I like the finished result. After all who could resist this face?

Silly Face

Monday, February 05, 2007

I just breeze in and out with no explaination

First for the various Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and other people who only visit this blog for the children.

Is something missing

MeatyPork Chop

I am aware that I do in fact have three children. But one of them is currently in school gettin' all edjumacated and stuff. I was only able to photograph the younger less learned ones. Did I mention they only sat so nicely for the first photo because I bribed them with cartoons? Look at their bright shiny faces all happy at the thought of vegging in front of the TV. I am a FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC mom. (The second set was taken while they were in fact vegging in front of the TV)

If only I was a good a knitter. The rest of this post is knitting carnage.

The blue yoke sweater is scrapped, no more, not even going to try to salvage it. And there will be no pictures of the carnage. This design was my own, and it just didn't work the way I hoped. I've had this yarn for well over a year, it has been swatched for no less than three projects, I may never actually knit anything with it. I'll just keep making swatches until one day there is nothing left to swatch.

Where do I begin to describe the badness of it allI knit my Noro hat. The design is my own as well. But it's still not what I was going for. And, it covers my ears but sits so low on my forehead I look silly, where did my eyebrows go? (Dumb Fact, I'm very vain about my eyebrows. They're quite nice and don't deserve exile under a poorly designed hat) So to the frog pond that goes. *sigh* And I've decided the colorway just isn't for me. *double sigh*

The Flower Power socks have been knit and ripped at least five times to date, with no sign of an actual sock in sight. Which is sad. I really love this poor forlorn sock yarn.

Don't be fooled, they don't fit I did in fact knit an entire pair of socks, top down, two at a time, on two circular needles. The design is my own. See how pretty the symmetrical cable twists are. The fit like they were made just for me. The only catch? They're cotton. Not a millimeter of give to the Symmetrical goodnessyarn. They are so difficult to pull on. It takes ten minutes, a fair amount of cursing, some lotions, and two broken finger nails to get them on. Once they're on they fit perfectly, but oy, it's getting the top of the sock over the heel that just kills. I'll never wear them. I'm going to rip them and probably make socks for the girls. *sigh* and I did so love the colors. Maybe I should stop trying my own designs for a while.

Let me think what other damage did I do? Oh yes. Let me set the stage for this one.

I've been feeling sad and melancholy lately. So my Bestest Knitterly Friend from Back East, Big Booty Knits sent me a package to cheer me up.

Happiness in an envelope

See how fun! Cute patterns, cheery red alpaca lace-weight, and a hard to find Black Sheep tape measure. Her LYS had some, so she bought one for her, and one for me. True Story, my LYS had a bowl of them last week so I bought one for me and one for her. Great minds really do think alike!

So I have all this gorgeous red yarn. All of my yarn is cream and brown and pastels. My stack of finished lace is all brown Zephyr and one pastel blue shawl. I LOVE this red. It beckons me. I can not resist the call of the Misti Alpaca. It's perfect for the Scheherazade Shawl by Pink Lemon Twist. I don't even swatch. I just cast on and knitting I went. I get about twenty rows No, they're not exactly the sameinto it and I set it down to look. I know lace is indeed supposed to look open, but this looks a bit too open. Even thought it's on size 3 needles, the solid parts don't look solid enough. Then I remembered that the last time I knit one of her shawls I had to go down a needle size. In defeat I knit two gauge swatches, and I block them. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I really like the one on the right knit on size twos better. Damnit. So I rip my twenty rows out. Only they aren't happy about being ripped and I end up with this.....

Yarn Barf

Yarn Barf of my very own.

So altogether I have frogged the blue yoke four times, the flower powers socks five, the cotton socks once with a frogging to come, the Noro hat three times with a frogging to come, and the Scheherazade Shawl once. The only thing I have actually created is Yarn Barf. (I so wish I could take credit for that phrase, but I saw it on She Knits Shizknits)

Can you understand why my Starsky and my Dad's Sweater are trembling high up on a bookshelf, observant of the carnage, and fearful of their fates.

can you smell the fear