December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a happy and healthy year and hope that you find that there is nothing more important than taking care of yourself and spending time with the ones you love.

For the past two weeks I've had my grand daughter here with me.  She's only 17 months old and as cute as can be, and she's quiet.  She sings when Bubble Guppies or Dora the Explorer come on, but other than that, you'd never know she was around.

Except for the time when I left her alone for about 8 seconds and she pulled all of the baby wipes out of the package.  Or when she wrote on the television screen with crayon while I was watching her!  I didn't know she had a crayon in her hand.  I even watched as she took a bite out of my lip balm, she was just too quick.  She also quietly and with forethought left me a (clean) diaper trail that went from one end of the house to the other.  I just couldn't get upset with this face:

After she was gone, I decided to make her some socks with some yarn walnuts I have laying around.  Just some plain vanilla socks, the white is Lion Brand sock yarn and the blue/multi is leftover Koigu.

The second pair are made of, again, white Lion Brand sock yarn and the blue is Panda bamboo superwash:

Sorry about the dark photos, it was raining outside and for some reason, my flash didn't want to work.

And my first project for 2014 will be the Acer Cardigan by Amy Christoffers.  I joined a knit along with the Knits n' Things Podcast group on Ravelry which goes from January 1 to March 1.  Finally something I don't have to finish in a month because I rarely finish anything on deadline.

I gathered my materials: Valley Yarns Northfield in purple haze and now I'm just waiting until midnight to cast on:

This yarn reminds me of Karabella Aurora 8 which I love, but with a little less spring.   And the price is just right.

Which brings me to my New Year's resolve, not resolution, because calling it resolve might make me stick to it in a less rigid kind of way.  This year I am going to curb my impulse to buy yarn - especially single skeins.

I have enough sweater quantities of yarn to make myself at least 3 sweaters, and I plan to do so.  I will shop only twice in 2014: once at Vogue Knitting Live (my birthday gift to myself) and Rhinebeck 2014 (who can resist?).

I also received this book as a gift, 55 Christmas Balls to Knit, and I will make as many as I can during the year to give out as gifts because when all else fails, they can be made with scrap yarn and mini skeins.

Lastly, I plan to make the Sheep Heid hat before this winter is over!  I've been putting it off and procrastinating, but I really want that hat!  I have the yarn for it (ordered it all the way from far away) and it's been in a bag calling my name and I've been ignoring it.  Well, time is up for procrastinating.

So, as I wait for the ball to drop on TV and wait for the horns of my neighbors to blow to ring in the new year, I bid you all a safe night.

December 16, 2013

Instant Gratification

Well, I finally finished the Paraphernalia Socks:

I never had such a hard time making socks - oh wait, I did have an issue when making the Brainless Socks - but at least liked them.  These socks I don't like so much.  Not because the pattern as written almost made me have an aneurysm, but the process was grueling.

Sock number one was fraught with mistakes because, apparently, I can't count to three.  I am no longer in love with the yarn because it hung around so long and had been so many other things.  Realizing I had issues with the pattern and the yarn, I made some modifications to sock number two and it came out perfectly.  Just the right size to fit my mom.  So I ripped back sock number one to the heel, fixed the errors and modified the toe, and now they are two perfectly matching socks - with mistakes in the same place.

Lacking the fortitude to embark on yet another pair of adult socks, I decided to get myself some instant gratification by making some socks for my Princess.  Just a pair of plain vanilla socks with some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock (mediumweight) with some left-over yarn.  I'm not sure of the colorway, but I bought the yarn back in 2011.

They're little, quick to knit and I got the satisfaction of finishing something.  Thank goodness!! I was about to lose confidence in my knitting skills.

With the restoration of my confidence, I cast on another pair of socks for the husband of one of my knitting circle friends.  Cynthia's husband has been hounding her for a pair of socks.  I told her that if she finished the pair she was working on for him, that I would make him a pair too.  She cast on Socks on a Plane and this weekend she was finishing the cuffs of the toe up socks.  That means I've got to knit Peter a pair of socks.

Cynthia provided me with a tracing of his foot, and I chose the Cable Rib Socks pattern, Dream in Color Smooshy in Cloud Jungle:

Today is day one of knitting and it's going quicker than greased lightning!  I stuck that yarn pancake on my Yarn Susan purchased from The Elegant Ewe booth at Stitches East this year:

They have an online website, but the only way to get their merchandise is at a show or in the shop.  The Yarn Susan I have is metal and spins around with ball bearings and cost much less than the wood ones and you can order one from here.

Anyway, after knitting for little over an hour, I got this far:

If the rest of this sock goes as quickly I just might have to reinstate my 'sock knitting wizard' title.  If you don't hear a howling noise coming from the Bronx then that means everything is going well.  Finally.

December 09, 2013

A Year in the Life of a Skein

Way back in 2012, I signed up for a 3 month yarn club with Springtree Road yarns in the Julep base which is merino/silk, but I don't know the percentages.  The yarn is lovely, however, one skein has been a problem since I received it.

It was going to be a baby sweater, so I knit up a bit of the sweater and the mother nixed it because it wasn't red enough.  OK.

It ended up being a hat called Torsion.  It looked so terrible on me that I ripped it out and decided to use the yarn to make the Artichoke Socks.

I had such a problem with that sock pattern that I ripped out those socks (it was a math issue) and started making the Paraphernalia Socks.

This sock pattern is also giving me fits, but I'm this far along:

Being 'almost finished' several times has been very disheartening.  I've ripped the socks back several times because my brain does not receive numbers the same way the designer's described them.  Of course, she knows what she's talking about, I'm just a little confused.

This yarn has been through the ringer, and when the second sock is done, I'll need to do surgery on the toe of the first, making this the longest time I've ever taken to make a pair of socks.  Not only that, I'm also not in love with them.  Oy!

So, when these socks are done, I'm going to go back to doing what I am doing best - stealth holiday knitting - making what I want with patterns that make sense to me and with yarn that hasn't already been four things.

I hope your knitting is happier than mine.

December 07, 2013

Why Not?

Last week I spent five long and tiring days with my mother's dog Benjy.

Because my mother is retired, she can devote all her time to Benjy - at least until he gets tired of her.  He does not like to be alone.  He does not like to sleep, eat or play alone.  He can bark for hours, until you cave in out of sheer exhaustion.   I spent that week trying to decide what would happen to me if the dog came to an untimely, sad and completely accidental end.  After five days I came to three conclusions: I would never own a dog such as him, I would never babysit with him again, and if my mother ever leaves town and leaves him behind, I'm leaving town too.

After Benjy went home, I picked up my grand daughter and she stayed with me for four days.  What a pleasant difference!  I mean, is there really any comparison?  Absolutely not! Look at this face:

She was such an angel, and fun, and funny and cute and ... I'm too biased too go on.

My little princess came with her overnight bag which lacked suitable socks, so I figured why not make her a pair, or two?  So, on Tuesday I made her these:

Since I couldn't measure her foot (she wasn't having it!), they came out a little small.   Plain vanilla socks, US #2 needles and Artyarns Ultra Merino 4 in purple that I bought at Vogue Knitting Live in 2012.  I'm going again this year - yay!

So that she would have socks that actually fit, on Wednesday, I made her these:

Plain vanilla socks, US #2 needles and ShiBui Fluids Pebble yarn that I bought at Knitty City.  These socks are longer in the foot and fit better.  Now that I have my 'magic' numbers, I decided that one pair wouldn't do, so holiday knitting is on hold and on Thursday, I started these:

Another pair of plain vanilla socks, same needles, more stitches and made with Lollipop Yarn in the Life is Beautiful colorway.

Then I went through my stash and found all of my yarn walnuts and now I'm on a mission.

So holiday knitting is on hold while I make socks for my angel baby.