Sunday, June 24, 2012

everybody's workin' for the...

so i got a job.  yup.  and i am thankful and glad.  it is great becoming part of a new community;  it is great doing something i enjoy and i am having fun.  the challenging side is i am scheduled to work 55 hours a week.  yup.  scheduled.  for 55 hours.  a week.  and i do that, if not more.  yup.  i am an hr slave.

sigh.  so it goes.

but i get to knit.  during lunch, in the break room.  or i walk to the nearby taco bell, buy a drink and sit and knit.  while knitting in the break room the other day, i met another knitter. a young man who makes up his own patterns.  we discovered we have knitted the same boy hats.  small knitting world.

the second week into the job, i went to the car to drive to work and noticed things looked a bit odd inside the car, like everything had been rummaged through.   i have this habit of leaving the windows down an inch or so.  well apparently someone worked that inch or so to break into the car.  as a rule i don't leave many things in the car.  but the day before, i had left my trusty yellow tote in the car.  in the trusty yellow tote were a bunch of work files, various little cosmetic type bags filled with items like band aids, neosporin, wipes, extra phone charger, all my cool pens and markers and, most horrifically, my knitting bag.  the thief left the bunch of work files, but took everything else.  including my knitting bag.  and inside the knitting bag was a lovely pair of socks i was knitting for my sister.  i had just turned the second heel, which meant i was on the home stretch. needless to say, i was beyond unhappy.  not only for losing my trusty tote, which i adored, but for losing my knitting.  why would anyone take knitting?  especially since the knitting pattern was left with all the work stuff!  it's not like the thief is going to finish knitting the socks!

this happened almost two months ago and as you can see, i am not quite over losing my knitting.  i have thought of going to the local knitting stores in hopes some non-knitter who may have come across the trusty yellow tote that had a blue and white flowered bag with knitting inside would have taken it to an LYS since they didn't know how to knit.  but it just sounds so...desperate or irrational to do that when i should be letting go and moving on.

i have had my sister pick out a new sock yarn from the ones i had in my stash.  and i will find a suitable pattern for her that will look good in the yarn.  but...

and so in honor of the socks that will never be finished, here is a picture of the one that was finished and the one i was working on.  deets:  sock yarn:  panda cotton;  colorway(s):  misty green and dotty pastel ( i was making one in each colorway; long story);  pattern:  soybean sock by christobel seneque.  lovely pattern, easy to memorize, worked well with the softness of the yarn and it was really cute.   i may make it again using this yarn.  but i will never leave it or any other knitting  in the car again!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

socks, socks, socks, socks...

i now understand why people love to wear hand knit socks. it is like walking on a little slice of heaven that keep feet and toes toasty warm.  there is a strong temptation to wear hand knit socks 24/7, which is good in theory, but.....  how do i know this, because after years of knitting socks for other people, i have finally finished a couple of pairs for me.  yeah. so excited. here are the deets...

the first pair is a short sock, knit from crystal palaces panda cotton print. this yarn is mostly bamboo, some cotton and a touch of elastic.  i came up with the pattern myself, and i am not thrilled with it.  one, the pattern is to big and the yarn is very soft and floppy which makes for a big, soft and  floppy sock.  two, since the sock is big, soft and floppy, it slips and slides on my foot, which is a bit annoying.  i even washed them by machine and threw them into the dryer for a few moments in hopes they would shrink up.  no such luck. they trick me into being semi-fitting, but once i wear them for awhile, turn back into big, soft and floppy.  and, since they are short, my ankles get cold.  but i learned a lot about pattern making, which i will hopefully retain for the next time i decide to punt on a pattern.

i got the yarn during the lys', "last month in existence sale", last summer.  for some irrational and un-explainable reason i thought one 170 yd ball of yarn would be enough yarn for two short socks.  i have no idea what i was thinking because if i had thought about it for more than two seconds, i would have realized this wasn't enough yarn and purchased accordingly.  as it was, i did not realize it wasn't enough yarn until i was rather close to the toe of the first sock.  since i no longer had the lys, i had to find a reasonable facsimile yarn.  to the web i went where jimmy beans had gobs of this yarn for dirt cheap (since it was being discontinued).  so i bought a bunch to make it worth the shipping charges.  unfortunately none of the colors matched what i had previously purchased.  so necessity being the mother of invention, i decided i would make the cuff and toe out of one color with the body of the sock out of the other color.  then i would flip the scheme on the other sock.  i have done this before with very cute results.  except it was better in theory then in reality for this colorway.  not real excited about it.  and though i like the feel of the yarn, it splits...a lot.  which can be a bit of a challenge when k2tog or ssk-ing.  so on the whole, i give these socks a 4 out of 10.

the second pair was on the needles for over two years only because knitting gift projects was more of a priority.  the yarn is a sockpixie merino sock and the colorway is collette.  i have to say, i love this yarn, as i love all of sockpixies yarns.  the colorway was from her french women writers series.  being a huge collette fan, i am thankful i answered the call of the yarn.  the yarn itself is soft and squishy, easy to work with, looks great when washed, durable (read below) and beautifully dyed, even when the colors pool (which i really don't worry about).  i am sorry sockpixie yarns are no longer consistently available, because i am a big fan.

the original plan for this yarn was to knit a pattern from charlene schurchs, sensational knitted socks.  since i had recently completed a 4 stitch pattern, i wanted to expand my horizons to a 6 or more stitch pattern.  so i picked a pattern, cast on, and knitted away.  the 2x2 rib looked GREAT in the colorway, but would lose its spirit once it got to the actual pattern.  so i frogged, picked another pattern and repeated above. i did this about five times, even consciously acknowledging on the fifth try that the 2x2 rib looked great while the pattern fell flat.  after the fifth frog, the light bulb went off...the colorway looks great in a 4 stitch pattern!  duh!!  so i picked a 4 stitch pattern and the socks came to life.

the openwork rib pattern was simple with a touch of yarn-overs for some interest.  plus it was easy to memorize and keep track of so i could take it with me everywhere.

i find that socks knit from this book are a gem.  their construction makes sense, they are easy to knit and the finished product wears well.  if there wasn't an abundance of amazing sock patterns available, i would be quite content to knit every sock pattern out of this book.  i would even consider learning the toe up method...well, not really.

i love these socks and find every excuse to wear them.  and since i am from northern california and can legitimately wear socks with my birkenstock sandals, i show these socks off every chance i get.  yup, being a sock knitter is pretty fun!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

i'm dreaming of a...

since relocation, i have been looking for a job non-stop. seriously non-stop.  so a week or so before christmas, when i was totally stressed about lack of funds for holiday celebrating, i realized i had time to knit.  like, time to knit actual christmas presents without having to stay up all night.  and since the people i was knitting for worked during the day, i could knit all day on their presents and they would never know!  wow! a novel concept.

the goal was to use yarn from my stash.  everyone in the girl house needed items to keep their hands warm.  i knew i had some rowan cocoon in the loveliest shade of gray (#803-scree) that i could use for fingerless mitts for my favorite sister. i looked through ravelry for a pattern and found joelene wiggins' "cabled fingerless mitts" pattern and decided to give it a whirl.  it is a lovely pattern that was a easy, quick knit.  and i mean quick.  as the slowest knitter on the planet, when i can knit a pair of mitts in three days, that is a quick knit.

i did do some mods though. i made the mitt longer as a whole, cuff was a total of 3 inches long;  added an extra cable repeat so the mitt hand would be longer;  added 2-3 rows of ribbing to cover the fingers more; did extra rows on the thumb, and switched cables on the hands so they weren't the same.  they came out wonderfully.  the yarn is warm and soft with just the right amount of bulk to hold the pattern but still comfortable to wear.

my sweet friend saw what i was knitting for her aunt and fell in love with them. in fact she wanted to wear  them all the time.  the original plan was to make her  mittens out of a frog tree sport weight alpaca that i had in my stash, and use sock pixies - pixie warmers pattern.  but it just wasn't calling my name.  i started it and it seemed so airy and light i felt it wouldn't keep the hands as warm as the cocoon would.

and though i am not fond of making the same pattern twice, i knew she loved the pattern and the yarn.  so i scraped some money together and bought another skein of cocoon.  this time in a beautiful teal (#813-seascape).  and they are stunning.  i love the color and so did she.

thankfully both girls love their mitts and wear them all the time.  which brings me to the big guy.  who walked in the door two days before christmas and announced he could really use a black beanie.  seriously!?  you couldn't have let me know sooner?

so i dive into my stash.  first off, i don't have any black yarn so i go for some misti alpaca baby suri alpaca and silk in a dark gray.  i tried it with a couple of simple rib patterns but it wasn't calling my name. so using some christmas money i bought a hank of malabrigo twist, but not in black.  after a bit of thought, i decided to exchange it for a hank of black since black was what he wanted, instead of a colorway i wanted to knit with.

the pattern was elizabeth heath-heckmans, "the boy hat".  a wonderful pattern;   another quick and easy knit.  the only thing was it came out a bit short.  since the big guy isn't living in the girl house, i was unable to measure the hat on his head while it was being knitted.  and though i measured the big guys head numerous ways to ensure i would get the beanie length correct, it was much shorter than i anticipated.  a case of should have trusted the pattern instructions.  he likes and wears it, but it does need to be longer.

after the holiday celebrations, i decided i needed a pair of fingerless mitts.  i had long lusted over the maine morning mitts in claire parks "book of yarn".  my plan was to use some rowan cashsoft aran in a very delicate pink.  got the right gauge and off i went.  for a little while.  after knitting with the bulky yarn and seeing how soft and wonderful it was, i wanted something like it.  so i frogged what i knit, added a cashsoft dk in a very delicate lavender to the mix, got the right gauge and off i went.  i was in love.  i was concerned they would be a little stiff since two strands of yarn were being used and hoped they would soften up with wear/use.  they were and they did.  i love them.  i wear them all the time.  i did not bind off in pattern so i have a ridge at the top.  i sort of like it, though in the future i will probably bind off in pattern.

it was nice to knit things in time for holiday gift giving.  the recipients really appreciated it.  still could use a job though!

(oh, and btw, i only have one sister. just in case you thought i was playing favorites!)