September 29, 2012

Avoiding The Inevitable

I was knitting happily along on my Kilim sock and at some point I got tired and lost my row count.  Somewhere between knowing that the fate of one of the socks might be in jeopardy and that the second sock is going to require some math - I decided that procrastinating was taking  higher ground.

(If I'd stuck with the sock, this blog would have a decidedly different tone.)

After reading Monika's blog, I ordered some hand cards and they arrived today.  (I love a mailman with boxes!)  I figured today was a good day to learn something new.  She made it seem so easy, I figured it would be a nice break from counting.  

So I dug up the nasty fiber that came from a sheep (I think) that I purchased last year at Rhinebeck.  I rinsed the fiber several times, but it was still greasy and had lots of veggie matter.

This fiber might be merino because the staple is pretty short, about 2 inches:

Since I am exactly and precisely in the dark about carding, I went to YouTube and found a few videos.  Watching them made me a carding genius - NOT!  If you have cards and you'd seen me card this fiber, you would never, ever, ever lend me your cards.  True story.

After about 30 minutes of raking, scraping, jerking and swearing, I got three sticky, tacky rolags:

In the spirit of continuing to procrastinate, I spun them up 'right quick':

I was so surprised to see those three little rolags go so far!  OMG!  I did better than I thought and I still have a whole bag of fiber left.  Maybe now I won't be afraid to spin the pound of raw Shetland I purchased last year from The Woolery.

Now that I'm in a good mood, I think I'll get back to my sock.

September 28, 2012

Lessons To Learn

I enjoy teaching knitting to children for several reasons.  First, when knitting is new to them and probably because they are still in elementary school, they are listening because it's new, they aren't familiar with what is supposed to happen and second because they don't have any problem when their finished product isn't perfect.  There's just sheer joy that they finished at all.

That is the case with my young next door neighbor, Erica.  She started a project a couple of months ago when I asked her to pick three colors from the donated yarn drawer and to knit 10 rows of each color three times, and 20 rows of her favorite color.  She learned how to add colors to her knitting, and that was new for her.

She asked what we were making, and I told her it would be a caterpillar.  She looked at me as if I'd lost my mind.  Fast forward a couple of months, and with a little help from her teacher (that would be me) we ended up with this:

When I handed it to her, her jaw dropped.  She got a huge smile on her face and ran inside her house.  I could hear her squeal with delight from inside my own house.  Too cute!  It's not perfect, but it was made with her own hands, it was finished and it was what I said it would be.  For Erica, today knitting is a good thing.

Speaking of not perfect, do these socks look the same to you?

I think I used a US #2 on the right sock and a US #1 on the left.  I'm not sure, it's kind of hard to tell - maybe I need to get a little further on to really tell the difference.

What I can tell you is that I don't have enough to make a third sock, so .... whichever sock fits best means the death knell for the other sock.

Stay tuned.

September 27, 2012

NY Sheep and Wool

As many of you know, the New York Sheep and Wool Festival is October 20 & 21 at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.  I get all tingly thinking about it, and I'm anxious to go and see what's new that I can bring home to play with.

The bus is reserved and the Soundview Stitchers have their shopping bags provided by the NY Public Library and the plan is in effect.  Here's the plan:

The ladies from the knitting group will be carrying these bags,

And we all made hats to match the bag,

And one of them will be carrying yarn that will be made from Abstract Fibers BFL in the Rock Star colorway,

And when it's made into yarn, it'll have this label on it.

Someone at Rhinebeck will score the yarn by walking up to one of the Soundview Stitchers sporting an eye-busting orange bag or hat and just ask, 'Are you the Soundview Stitcher with the yarn?', and it's yours.

Just in case I really make a mess of the fiber with my spinning, there will be a back up skein.

In other news, today I was reading The Opinionated Knitter by Elizabeth Zimmerman hoping the find the key to the question of how to make the yoke on a sweater.  They mentioned Elizabeth's Percentage System (EPS) and at the sight of the word 'percentage' my brain clicked to off.  Then they mentioned the number of stitches per inch = K and I went into a coma.  I'm going to figure the EPS system out if it takes 2,000 pounds of yarn to do it.

(You know me and math ... we don't get along.  I am from Earth, math is from heck.  Oy!)

Lastly, the second Classic Kilim sock is on the needles and the socks will be ready in time for Rhinebeck.  As if the loud orange isn't eye-catching enough, when you see these socks you're going to wonder what the heck I drank before heading out to to the fair.  Sheesh!

September 25, 2012

Socking It To Me

The Classic Kilim is coming along just fine.  The only hold up is using five needles instead of four which is making the project a little clumsy and slowing me down considerably.  That, and there's five charts to follow.

At the moment I'm up to the after-thought heel.  Here's were my inability to use math to solve a problem is hindering me.

To begin with, I had 39 stitches on waste yarn:

Then I had to do a provisional cast on for the other 39 stitches:

I had no problem transferring the stitches from the waste yarn, all 39 stitches were there and easy to pick up.  But when I went to transfer the stitches from the provisional cast on I lost a couple of them.  For me, this is not unusual so I 'fashioned' stitches as I needed them.  The trick is to get the patterns to line up.

The instructions say to M1 at the beginning of needle 4 and the chart says to M1 at the beginning and end of needle 4 and needle 1, and if the written instructions hadn't given me a stitch count I would have had to start over.  Yikes!  Mercifully, I read better than I count.

So here I am now:

I'm going to love these socks when they're done, I can tell.  I think I have time to make these in time for Rhinebeck.  Can't you just see me wearing these fancy pants socks?  The colors might be eye busting, but the socks will certainly be eye catching.

There's a lot of weaving in to do, so if you make these socks yourself, leave lots of long tails!  You wouldn't want to find yourself short of tails and unable to weave in effectively.

If I finish the heel by tomorrow then sock #2 will go quick as a wink.

Just one thing, this sock is pretty big.  It fits me, but I noticed on some of the project pages that others have a lot of room around the leg.  You might want to take that into consideration when you choose your needle size.

September 19, 2012


I am always tickled pink when I get my 'string' to make designs that look just like the pattern.  It amazes me when I can follow a well written pattern without frustration and all the stars and stripes line up.

That's the case with the Classic Kilim sock.  I am so enjoying this pattern and the resulting sock - so far just the one.  This is not a pattern I can knit on the train, and I never have enough time to knit during lunch break, but it's coming along.

Here's my progress so far:

The tricky bit will come when I have to make the second sock look just like the first.  Hence the need for two skeins of Regia's Landscape Fire.

I'm at the toe now, and after that the after-thought heel and done.  The excitement for this sock hasn't died down yet, so I'll hopefully hold on to the fire in my belly for these socks I've wanted to make since forever.

Just one more pic:

Love these socks!

September 14, 2012

All Things Are Possible

Well, I took a day off from housework and today I had to pay it back in spades.  I don't mind because I haven't been myself lately so being busy was a good diversion.

After a trip to Home Depot, the post office, the grocery store and the bank I came home and cut the thigh high grass with a weed whacker (can you see my upper arm strength?) short enough for me to use the push mower and to feed the mosquitoes.  Sheesh!

That was my outside time.  I won't bore you with what I did with my inside time.  Needless to say, I didn't have time to take pictures, so I enlisted the help of my son who protested, but did it anyway.

He took pictures of the Hogwarts Express which was done some time ago:

In the twilight the eyes practically glowed.  I must say thank you to Tracey (aka Anonymous T) for the beads she donated to the cause after making her own Hogwarts shawl.  Thanks Tracey!

I asked my son to  please take a picture of the entire shawl and well, I guess he did the best he could.  I'd complain, but then he won't help me going forward.  I figure the fast fading azalea bush at twilight was more to his liking.

Then there's Leftie which was a simple knit and an effective use of my leftover yarn, unfortunately there's still some leftover yarn left over.  This scarf will be donated and auctioned off for breast cancer research.  My Aunt Joan promised not to keep this one.

Let me protest just a little.  "Can you lay it flat?" I ask.  "Mom! C'mon, let me do this."  Oy!  He took ten pictures and that's all I can use.

Moving on.  I've been wanting to make these socks forever.  I started, then stopped and moved on to other things because it was taking up too much brain.

They're called Classic Kilim (Turkey) from Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stephanie Van Der Linden.  My book is not in English so my friend and fellow blogger Monika  (Smoking Hot Needles) translated the pattern for me.  If not for her, these socks never would have been made.  Thank you, Monika!

The New York Sheep and Wool Festival is next up on my list of things to do.  I can't wait!  I feel I've made enough room in my stash to warrant the purchase of new yarn/fiber.  Will you be there?  The Soundview Stitchers (my knitting group) will be there wearing orange hats and carrying an orange bag featuring The Lorax.  You won't be able to miss us, though you may want to avert your eyes from all the orange.

One of the Soundview Stitchers will be holding onto a skein of handspun yarn which she will hand over to someone who asks, "Are you a Soundview Stitcher?"  Details about the handspun are pending since I haven't picked the fiber yet, but it's a freebie.

Enough gabbing.  Back to knitting.

September 11, 2012

No Housework

Housework takes up almost all of my most productive hours.  If I'm not running from the basement to the second floor to put away laundry, then I'm chained to the kitchen sink and stove.  It's a magnificent time suck and that sucks.

Today housework lost and knitting won.  Even though I only left my bedroom today to pin some newly knitted goods, it felt good not to get my hands wet with dish washing liquid.

On the left is the Leftie scarf knit with Lion Brand merino (white) and Fleece Artist merino sock in a green multi and US #3 needles.  On the right is the finished Hogwarts Express which I don't remember much about other than that it was knit with Madelinetosh merino light in Toast (both patterns are on Ravelry).  Pinning and unpinning on my knees on the hard floor is better than washing dishes, hands down.

The Leftie is a little short. Guess why?  Because I ran out of white yarn.  Can you believe it?!  I had a little left over, but not enough to knit 10 rows with, so the scarf came to an end.  I also noticed that the edge wasn't very smooth, so I crocheted a border on it.  That smoothed things out pretty well.

Pinning scarves just made my knees and back hurt, so I headed back up to command central (aka my bedroom) and started knitting.

First up: the Braided Vine Cowl (Ravelry).  I started it this morning and finished it this morning.  It only required half a skein of Cascade 220 and US #7 circular needles, shown below in cadet blue.  Not too shabby, eh?

When that was done, I pulled out some Rowan big wool fusion (I love this stuff!) in color #04 and my size US #35 needles.  I doubled up the yarn (pulled from both ends) and knit up a pattern called Kimbo.

Now I'm at a loss for what to make next.  The fact that I can even consider something must mean I'm getting back on my feet - if you don't count that I never left my bedroom today except to pin the scarves, that's progress.

Maybe socks next.  I've been wanting to make a certain pair forever.

September 08, 2012

Knitting Resumes

My knitting ritual was knocked off a little, but I'm trying to get back to it.  A little at the time and I realize how calming it is and the effects on me were immediate.

I did finish the Hogwarts Express (found on Ravelry) shawl for my niece.  I had 21 owls with a whole lot of my 400 yards left over.  I could easily have gone to 30 owls.  I think that many would have been for an adult more than a child, so I don't regret making it smaller.

I used Madelinetosh Merino Light in the toast colorway.  It's a single ply, soft as butter yarn.  Lovely to work with.  I would like to thank Anonymous T (also known at Tracey) for her contribution of beads - I used a crochet hook to apply them which was faster and safer than applying beads with a beading needle.

Garter stitch is my go to when times are rough because it's mindless knitting and the patterns I choose usually have a pretty easy repeat to memorize, so when the Hogwarts shawl was done, I went right to my next garter stitch project.

Still in the beginning stage, I am working on Leftie (also found on Ravelry).

This is another of those patterns that is simple, yet impressive.  I'm using left over Lion Brand merino in white, Fleece Artist Hand Maiden sock yarn in green/multi and US #3 needles.  It's a fast knit, not particularly mindless, but it's interesting with easy repeats.  I need that.

I'm not sure how big I'll make it, but with 13 leaves (so far), I don't think I'm even half way.  I guess I'll go until I run out of something.  However, with my track record for running out of yarn is a feat I can't seem to accomplish.  This time I'm going to try real hard.

This will keep my mind occupied while I get over the hump.  It's cheerful and pretty. Just what I need.

September 04, 2012

Robert Harper III

With a heart so heavy I can barely breathe, I am so sad to announce that my brother Rob passed away today at the tender age of 47, which is far too young.

His heart was as big as planet Earth and his generosity as big as the universe.  He was such an extraordinary person - a good soul - a good man - a good father, and my heart and soul ache beyond belief that he is gone.  He was my rock.

Rest in peace, Rob.  We will always love and remember you.