November 26, 2012

One Down

Well, it took a lot of my brain to make the socks called "Brainless" (Ravelry), but it was worth the effort.  I had to rip it back a couple of times, and the instructions and the notes I managed to jumble into one big set of directions - which was wrong.  But I finally got it right.  Yay!

I love these socks:

I especially love the purl gussets.  The picture above is before the one sock was done, but it's done.  Honest!

My biggest concern about making toe up socks is that the sock won't go up my leg without cutting off the circulation.  Lucky me, the instructions suggested using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off (JSSBO) which is miraculously stretchy.

When the second sock is done, I'll fill you in on all the particulars of these socks.  Until then, I'm going to enjoy wearing the first sock so I can stare at it occasionally while I knit the second sock.

Woo hoo!

November 22, 2012

Turkey For Brains

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone in the US who celebrates.  I hope you had a wonderful day.

Of course I'm sleepy as all get out from too much food, too much dish washing and too many left overs  which only leads to Dinner, Part II also know as "I'm just picking".  My thoughts are that I have to eat as much as I can today while it's hot and good, because two days from now, when I'm eating the same stuff, it won't be nearly as good.

Just when I thought it was time to go quietly off and knit after dinner, it turns out to be not such a smart idea.  I'm working on a sock and there's plenty that I didn't take pictures of, but let's start with this.

I have two balls of Italian cashmere generously donated by my friend Sojourn Knitter.  I picked a sock pattern that I thought was going to be easy and that would show off all the colors.

Here's the yarn looking adorable and harmless:

So I'm knitting away and the sock is looking pretty cute:

And I get all the way to the heel turn and I made a fatal mistake which I could not recover from no matter how far back I ripped, so I ended up with this:

Not to be outdone, I started again and ended up not reading the instructions because I'm so good at making socks I don't need to read instructions:

So I'm back at square one.  It's fair to say that just because you're full and happy and thankful, doesn't mean you're not also tired and probably not ready for prime time knitting.

Still, I'm a die hard, so I'll probably cast on again only this time I'm going to read the instructions and limit myself to the first 18 rows of the toe.

Knit happy, everyone!

November 19, 2012

Since I Couldn't Knit

I heard what the doctor said when I saw him last week.  He said specifically, "No knitting."  My response was to say, "OK, doctor, no knitting." And then I winked at him.  He smiled and said, "I mean it", to which I said, "I know." And I winked at him again.

End result, I massaged my hand, used a heat pack, cold pack, I soaked my hand in Epsom salt, I taped it up the way he showed me - and I knit.  So my hand is still swollen, it only hurts a little and I have no regrets.  At least not at this moment.  When I see him tomorrow and he comes at me with a needle I may be of a different opinion.

That said, I knit the Georgia On My Mind Socks in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and using US #2 needles:

And then I didn't knit, but I had Maria knit up six strips for me so I could make a Braided Ball.

It wasn't hard, just time consuming.  First I had the six strips which I sewed up the middle:

Then I wove them together and sewed up the ends:

And ended up with this:

I stuffed it with fiberfill and now I have to wash it and figure out what to do with it.  It was made mainly to see how it would turn out.  Thanks Maria!

Now I'm stuck because I have to see the doctor tomorrow.  Do I knit or not?  The night is young and I happen to have a skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina, and a cowl pattern ...

November 16, 2012

Keep It Moving

Unpredictable, that's how this week has been.

On Wednesday I went to use my debit card to get some cash.  The ATM machine flashed, in huge letters on a white background,  TRANSACTION ERROR 05.  The folks behind me waiting to use the machine can see this and it felt like a Harry Potter moment when Ron Weasley gets a howler letter.

I called the bank and they said Visa had a breach and they cancelled everyone's card.  No advance warning.  When I called the bank they told me my notification letter will come in a day or two and my replacement card will arrive in 3-5 days.  What?!  Lucky for me it only means I can't do any on-the-fly shopping.

Now I've got (almost) no access to money and I can't knit.  What's a knitter to do?  Two words: collateral damage.

WEBS is the second best thing to ever happen to me, especially since I have a gift card.  Woot! Woot!  (Thanks A.J.!)

I signed up for a class at Vogue Knitting Live in New York with Ragga Eriksdottir called speed steeking which requires Lopi Yarn which WEBS had:

This yarn is rough!  Dermabrasion comes to mind and I couldn't imagine making anything big with it unless it truly softens up over time.

I also got two balls of fiber which I feel 'iffy' about.  The first is Ashland Bay mixed BFL.

I think BFL is my favorite fiber to spin, but I should have paid more attention to the 'mixed' descriptive.  I find that Ashland Bay's fiber is over processed and too smooth, if that makes sense.  It looks like the natural crimp of the fiber has been removed.  In this case, they left a little in:

I'm going to spin a little today and if it works out, I'm going to ply it with some fiber I bought last year at Rhinebeck.

I also bought some Jacob fiber because I hear that if we don't support the breeders that the sheep will go extinct.  I made this purchase to support the breed.

It's not nearly as soft as the Jacob I purchased this year at Rhinebeck.  I remember the vendor at Rhinebeck (I wish I had gotten her name), that if the Jacob is rough it's because is mixed.  I don't know if that's a fact, but there's a clear difference is softness between this and the other.

Lastly, I got my book, Mosaic Knitting by Barbara G. Walker:

So, that's it.  All of the collateral damage while I did while 'not knitting':

All I can say is that knitting slowly is almost the same thing as not knitting.  Can I get an 'amen'?  Quote me on this: if you deliberately don't follow the rules (of the doctor), then you will deliberately suffer the consequence.  I'm prepared.

November 14, 2012

No Knitting!

About a month ago I took my son to a doctor's appointment where we ended up sitting in the waiting room for about an hour.  While there, I saw a little spider crawling on the back of my son's chair and I went to flick it off.  I flicked my finger, missed the spider and felt a sharp pain in my hand.  I looked at it as it swelled up, turned black and blue and it was so painful I almost yelled out.

You would think that since I was already in the doctor's office I would have said something.  You would be wrong.  I figured I pulled a muscle, broke a blood vessel or something simple, and that it would go away in short order.  It didn't.  Over the past month the knuckle would swell, turn pink, then red, then blue, etc.  But I was still knitting.

Long story short, I went to the doctor on Monday and he said I probably dislocated my finger, but since I have full range of motion it probably reasserted itself, however, the injury caused fluid to accumulate in my hand.  He taped up two of my fingers (really? tape?) and told me to rest the hand for one week.  Don't lift anything heavy, no repetitive motions and no knitting.  Really?

So I stopped knitting.  But not before I finished this hat:

Torsion by Julie Knits using Springtree Road Yarns in a cranberry color (lost the tag, sorry).  I used US #2.75 Addi Turbo needles.  I love the top of the hat, but as for the rest of the hat ...

Hate it.

The hat sits so high on my head I look like one of the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live.

So now I have to redeem myself by making something nice.  But no knitting.  Right.

Uh ... well, I just knit a little bit.

Tonight I cast on Georgia On My Mind by Leslie Thompson one of The Knit Girllls.  It's a basic sock with a little seed stitch to break it up.  These socks will end up under the Christmas tree for my son:

That picture was taken with my new camera since my old one kind of bit the dust.  The battery cover doesn't close.

And while I wasn't knitting, I went through the books that arrived in the mail:

There are so many patterns in this issue of Interweave Knits that I'm wanting to make sooner than later.

And I'm determined to make my sewing machine work for me.  Maybe I will learn how to make my own sock bags instead of spending $30 on them.  Not that they're not worth their price, they are.

So, I'm off to continue not knitting ;).

Have a wonderful day.

November 08, 2012

Button Love

Well, you all know what kind of time I had trying to find the perfect button for the Shawl Collared Cowl.  I had a picture of the perfect button in my head, which I know does not exist when I am searching for it.  Buttons can only be the perfect one when you don't need them.

Earlier in the week I found perfectly good buttons that weren't suitable, so I went to M&J Trimming (you must remind me to take a picture of the store one of these days.) figuring they would have the perfect buttons.  They had perfectly good buttons that I'm willing to live for with the rest of my life.

And those buttons will serve my pattern well:
Pattern: Shawl Collared Cowl, by Alana Dakos, US #8 and US #9 straight needles, and I used 1 1/2 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Ampato in color #900 (green).  Buttons from M&J Trimming.

Wood buttons with stripes and a iridescent pale green pearl in the center:

I really like these buttons.  I sewed them on as soon as I got home from work:

And now my cowl is a vision!

I got home too late to take pictures in daylight - not that it was sunny out today anyway, but here goes:

Just wait until the sun comes out and I can get a true color picture.

Another project done, potentially a holiday gift.  I'm going to have to make this pattern in different colors because it's easy, fast and functional.  The cowl took only two days to make.

OK, so what's next?  It started with a skein of Springtree Road yarn ...

November 06, 2012

If You Don't Vote ...

Then you can't complain!  I hope all of you who have an opinion got out and voted, and even if you don't have a feeling about the vote, you should do it anyway.

That said, today I went to my polling station only to find a sign on the door that says the polling place has been moved six blocks away.  After a hard day at work, a stop at the button store (again) and a chill wind outside, I hesitated about going to vote.  It was inconvenient to have gotten off the bus six blocks away, but at least my voting location was closer to my home.

The line of voters was backed all the way to the entrance, it was an hour long wait and it was hot as heck!  I saw some of my neighbors there so I got to chat a bit, and everything was fine until I finished one line to get on another.  Sheesh!  Anyway, it's done and my vote counts and that's what matters.

Moving right along.  The button store.  I picked up my first choice of buttons and now I'm waffling again.  Yes? No?  What do you think?

I'm not so sure.

Too green?  Wrong green?  Too much color?

Should I go get wood buttons?  I think since I'm questioning my choice, I think I'm headed to M&J Trimming.

November 05, 2012


The subway system isn't quite at 100% since Hurricane Sandy came blowing through, so my commute was a little longer than the usual one hour in an air conditioning - and that just wracked my nerves today.   On top of that, while the electricity has been restored to the office, the heat has not so the office was freezing today.  To round out the bad vibe trifecta, it is Monday and all Mondays are horrible.

To break up the monotony of the hour long train ride home, today a lady got on the train with her daughter (about age 7) and her son (about age 10).  The little girl turned to her brother and asked him who he was going to vote for (as if he could!), and he said Mitt Romney.  To which the little girl said (rather loudly) "You suck!  I'm voting for Ogama!"

LOL!  While I am impressed that such young children are so politically aware, the part they didn't learn is that you don't talk in public about politics or religion.  Still, it was comic relief for a miserable train ride.

I went to a store called Ink That & More in the Bronx, which sells computer ink, acrylic yarn, buttons, perfume and anything else you can think of, for buttons to finish my Shawl Collared Cowl.  There I found two sets of buttons, and I should have gone with my first choice, but I bought these:

And then I put it against the yarn I used and they're too green.  Dang!

I should have taken the yarn with me, now I'm mad about green altogether and I'm thinking that wood buttons are probably going to be my best choice.  My second best choice is to get off the freezing train into the cold and walk to M&J Trimming which has much better choices.

Hopefully I can exchange the buttons at Ink, but this time I'm taking the cowl with me.  And I'm keeping these buttons anyway because I'm sure I'll need them one day.

November 03, 2012


As soon as the weather changes from cool to cold, it's my signal to start knitting gifts.  It doesn't mean I'll get to it, but it automatically goes on the list of things to do.  This year everyone is getting one knitted gift each and if there's any time left over (there never is), then someone new gets added to the list.

When I wake up tomorrow morning, I get to turn my clock back one hour which should equate to an extra hour of knitting, but it actually means an extra hour for laundry, dishes or whatever.  Enough about housework, especially since I'm still recovering from the back yard clean up.  Ten bags of leaves and a mountain of tree branches!

This is what the sky looked like when I started cleaning up:

I was begging the clouds to hold their water until I at least got through the top layer of of leaves, and they complied - mercifully.  As I worked, it got colder and darker and I went in because the clouds just looked so much darker and more angry:

Fearing a snowstorm was approaching, I went inside to start dinner and knit.

Miss Mary's socks are done.  I had to make a couple of modifications though.  Since Mary is short,  I made the leg of her socks with 2 repeats instead of three, and instead of the round toe bind off, I made a regular toe bind off.

They came out really cute, and since this is my third time making these socks I think I have it down to a science now.  I used Karabella Aurora 4 in lilac and US #2 needles.  These socks look all right.

Since I was feeling so ambitious, as soon as the socks were done I cast on again.  I found this yarn that I bought from Seaport Yarn.  It's Plymouth Yarns, Baby Alpaca Ampato and I bought two skeins of it because it's only 128 yards.  I had no idea what I was going to make with it.  This yarn has been in my stash for about a year.

There are very few yarns I like in worsted weight, but this yarn is so soft I couldn't resist.  So now I'm making the Shawl Collared Cowl from Never Not Knitting.  Tracey made this cowl a while back, and she asked me to block it for her - that's when I fell in love.  I finally broke down and bought the pattern while at Rhinebeck this year.

I cast on this project this evening and I'm halfway done.  It's very well written, a fast knit and it's pretty too.  Looks like someone is going to have a warm neck this winter, and then I  might make one for myself.

OK, so I'm going to finish this cowl and move on to the next thing.  You know, strike while the knitting needles are hot.

Oh!  And one more thing.  Look who's holding her own!

So cute!

November 01, 2012

The Days After

It's been a couple of days since Hurricane Sandy blew through and the clean up continues.  Garbage got picked up for the first time yesterday and the subway system is partially restored.  Unfortunately, the part of Manhattan that houses my office is still in the dark, so this is kind of  a forced vacation.  I am on vacation against my will, just like it's against my will to do laundry.

It's pretty cold outside and the clouds are still heavy and dark overhead:

But anything is better than a hurricane, so I'll take cold, dark and cloudy.  Clearly Winter is about to rear it's head so I'd better get started on a hat and the cowl I've been wanting to make.

As promised, this is a knitting blog once again.  The Embossed Leaves socks are almost done:

I hope they fit Miss Mary because they're too small for me, but they sure are pretty.

I've got two other projects lined up, so I have to finish these socks today.  No guarantees, of course because who knew that staying at home was this much work?!

Housework never, ever ends!  I start at the back, clean to the front only to turn around and the back is dirty again.  Sheesh!  I'd honestly like to know who keeps putting dishes in the sink and why the laundry is never, ever done.

One more thing, I hope my Zone A neighbors are recovering well from the devastation of the storm and I hope we don't see another storm like it in our lifetime.