Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pomatomus problems & Olympics

At my work, the week we fondly call “Hell week” is over. I survived. Actually, it was much calmer than usual. It’s the week we set aside to do mass enrolling of preschool applicants, scheduling about a dozen parents each half hour to interview. Chaos usually ensues but this year, it was frighteningly quiet. Which means there is still a lot to do to be fully enrolled within a few months before Sept. It may sound like a long while away for some, but for us, summer is never very quiet. The office staff and management staff are busy throughout the summer preparing for a new year.

At the end of each day, I looked forward to coming home and taking up my needles to relax. I’ve been plugging away at the Pomatomus sock. Yes, I’m still on sock one, but I’m now on the home stretch. The first part seemed to go so smoothly and then I hit the gusset. OMG! I must have ripped it out several times. Changing from the all around lace pattern to Chart B (half pattern, half stockinette) proved to be more of a challenge than I thought. I kept ending up with the wrong number of stitches every few rows. I had to “tink”(aka knitting back) so many times. I finally learned my lesson and started counting the pattern stitches after every row. What a bore! It took me 3-4 days to get through the gusset. Then throughout the foot, I again had counting challenges on the pattern and tinked often. For me, I did 2 ½ repeats of the chart pattern and started the toe, but now I find I have some extra number of stitches on one side. I’m going to have to rip back to the start of the toe and redo it. This is just the first sock! I don’t know if I will have the courage to start the other. I have been fighting the need for finishing something, but have succumbed to seek gratification and started a quick hat with chunky yarn so I could satisfy my need to finish something. I saw that the new Summer issue of Knitty is posted. There are many great articles. I especially enjoyed the one of Fiber reactive dyeing. This summer, I want to do some more dyeing with my Procion MX dyes on Cotton. I have been trying to think of what to do with the cotton I dyed in the Spring and ran into a cool hat pattern called Couvercle. I plan to try this pattern this summer, as knitting with wool does not appeal to me in the increasing heat.

I am still trying to decide whether I want to join the Ravelry Olympic Trials knitalong, knitting a new project during the August Olympics or the UFO Olympics knitalong, which is finishing a UFO. I have in mind either to finish a Cotton Sampler Vest from the Leisure Arts booklet Summer Chic or a Cotton Flag Sweater from a Berroco pattern I started several years ago. I doubt either of these will fit me now, but I have invested so much knitting in both of these projects, I just don’t have the heart to rip them out. Stay tuned to “THE DECISION”.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I’ve been trying to stay focused on making the Pomotomous socks. I love the way they are coming out….looking like lizard scales. I am using Koigu and I really love this yarn. It is spun very tight and has wonderful stitch definition. It almost feels like I’m knitting with mercerized cotton, but it doesn’t split. Right now we are having a 106 degree heat wave, but I really don’t feel like I’m working with wool, because Koigu is so COOL (pun-intended) to work with.

When I want to work on something less complicated, like when watching TV, I get out my Pinwheel blanket. This however, is very warm to knit and if I don’t finish it soon, I fear it will end up in my UFO pile until cooler weather returns. It is now 24 inches in diameter.

On the family front, I survived having my family over for a barbeque on Father’s Day. It was a really nice day. We also celebrated several family birthday’s, mine being one of them. Gift cards was the “In” thing as many of us just don’t have much time to shop because of our jobs.

One exciting thing happened this week. My youngest son was hired and starting working in my school office as a clerk. I was very pleasantly surprised at his super work ethic, his intelligence, confidence and eagerness to learn and do, very efficiently, as much work as we gave him. He is sure to be a wonderful addition to our staff. I couldn’t be a more proud mother and coworker. From day one he seemed to learn in hours what some staff took weeks to learn. He just took my breath away.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Monkey Socks and Summer thoughts

Can you believe it? I finished one sock and am half way to the other! What a miracle! The amazing Monkey socks are a big success. I would never have imagined it. I started the Monkey socks more for the challenge in learning the process rather than the product . I also wanted to try to knit them using the magic loop method with I found nicer than the dpn, but a little slower. I initially started them on dpns, and changed to a 40 in circular. The pattern was actually easier to do since it was a 4-16 st patterns that divided more easily on two needles than 3. Even the heel was easier and since I take my knitting in my purse, kept from dropping stitches off the short dpns. I did however switch to dpns for the gusset in the beginning but I raise up my courage to transfer them back to circulars and this worked well. Then again for the home stretch knitting the foot and toes and grafting and Voila! Done! Here you can see the pattern......

About a week ago I finished my Branching out scarf. I still have yet to block it but here is a picture of it. It is made with Handspun Wool/Mohair. A very lovely scarf.

Summer project thoughts.

We are about to enter into Summer. With warmer weather, I am trying to think about my knitting projects. Should I join the UFO Olympics? This is making a goal of finishing your designated unfinished objects during the time of the Olympics. Or should I participate in the Ravelry Olympic trials?

Since the Official Knitting Olympics is actually in the Winter, someone thought renaming this similar event to be a practice run or trials for the “Real” Knitting Olympics which Stephanie Pearl McFee promotes in winter. I prefer participating in the Summer Olympics because I have a short break from work then and I can concentrate on knitting among other things that get neglected when I am working.

Other summer projects I’ve been thinking about is inventorying my stash and fiber, …….again. This is a never ending job. I think my stash is growing. Can I help it?….NO!
I really need to knit it up. My family is starting to look at me funny. In the words of Stephanie Pearl-McFee….”Yarn?…..What yarn?……………..These are my kittens!!!!!” I just can’t seem to knit charity hats fast enough. I’m thinking that perhaps I should double strand the yarn so I can use it up faster. I’m also wishing to experiment with making small sweaters from the top, inspired by Barbara Walker’s “Knitting from the Top”. I thought I might knit several small teddy bear sweaters to practice the techniques and then perhaps for the fall, commit to knit a human-sized sweater. Now….where do I get a bear?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Computer Crashes, Birthday presents and Socks

Shortly after my last blog entry, I turned on my computer. I soon got an ominous screen saying “Operating System not found”. My frustration and anger started a slow boil. “Oh no, what happened?” I tried re-booting…..Same error. Now panic was starting to set in. “Did I back up enough, if I can’t recover this?” I had backed up all my pictures and purchased knitting patterns but had not finished copying other important things. I turned it off.

The next morning I tried again to no avail. It was Tuesday. I asked my husband to help me but I thought that perhaps we should wait for the weekend when our minds were rested and thinking clearly. I just could not afford a wipe out of my harddrive at this point, even by mistake. I grieved and prayed the remainder of the week,
hoping to recover at the very least the data on my hard drive.

Saturday was a busy day, so we could not get to the task of fixing my computer until the next day. So on Sunday, my husband sat down and turns my computer on and…….it boots up Windows like nothing happened! I tell my husband, “You’re a genius!!! You have the magic touch!”. I don’t know what it was, perhaps the prayer helped too. Thank you, Lord, for the miracle!.

During the week, I comforted myself doing….what else,….knitting! I worked on the Monkey socks and was finished with the heel flap, ready to work on the gusset, when I discovered the wrong count of stitches. I discovered my mistake and had to rip back to the start of the heel. Today I’ve finished the gusset and am starting on the rest of the foot. The sock is not just a sock, but a “work of art”! Cookie A. made a very inspiring and simple pattern. I’m not sure I like the thickness of the sock, but it is very interesting to make. I prefer to wear thin socks but they are so boring to make and do not wear well through washings.

I also started the Bears and Babies Sweater. It’s June and I thought I might as well start that sweater before my grandson is born in August. The first sleeve portion is done.

June is a very busy month in my family for birthdays. My birthday is this month. I thought I would give myself a birthday present by ordering some books and other knitting things. My husband got home and I said “ I picked out and ordered my birthday present from you this year! He said, “ Well, wasn’t that ingenious of me?!” When the order arrived by mail this week, I gave him a Big Hug and shouted “You are so good. It’s just what I wanted!!!” This is what I got: Books: “No Idle Hands: the Social History of American Knitting by Anne Macdonald, Knitting from the Top, by Barbara G. Walker, Knitting in the Old Way, by Pricilla Gibson Roberts. Enjoying making the Monkey Socks has inspired me to make more socks so I ordered 3 colors of Felici Sock yarn from Knit Picks, the set of metal double points needles, Size 1 and Size 2 wooden double point needles and some Harmony Cable needles.

Another reason I chose the above because of “Sock Wars”. Have you heard about it? What an intriguing idea? To fake assassinate people by knitting and sending them a pair of handknit socks. This week, the video podcast, Let’s Knit Together, shows the process Cat went to make and send her socks in the War. I can’t wait for Part II. It amazes me that people actually are loosing sleep to dedicate themselves to make socks as fast as they can in order to assassinate before they get assassinated!