Friday, November 2, 2007

Long time no post!

Wow, its been a long time. No, I haven't stopped knitting. Nor have I stopped doing all sorts of other fibery activities either. Lets just blame the lack of blogging on Rhinebeck recovery and Ravelry addiction.

Where to start? The most recent, I suppose. Last night, I'm knitting along on my Mystic Waters Shawl (more to say later), and I don't even feel it, but suddenly there is a collection of stitches in my lap, instead of on the cable of my circular needle. Darn it, its Knit Picks Harmony failure. I wasn't shocked, after all I've read about it on Ravelry quite a bit. But how annoying. The wood simply came out of the metal sleeve on one of the size 4 tips, so the needle is no longer connected to the cable.

Thank goodness I'm no lace newbie. I pulled out my binder, found the size 4 Options tip, and put it on the cable. Now, I have to reconstruct the 20 or so stitches that have fallen. Only 3 or 4 of them had run really far down, so after some quiet cursing, I was able to save it and re-knit it correctly. Why is it always a lace project when the needle fails?

My hubby says the only thing that will hold metal and wood is epoxy. The failure is nice and clean, no trace of any glue in there, so perhaps he'll get the opportunity to glue it all back together. In the meantime, customer service was efficient this morning when I called and a new one is being sent.

So, that brings us to Mystic Waters. No, I'm not keeping up on this KAL - I'm trying to stay on track with the Secret of the Stole KAL, and thats plenty. But having finished SotS on Tuesday this week, I had a few days to get going on Mystic Waters. I have the cone of Wool Crepe in a nice medium blue that I bought just a bit back at the Silk City Fibers Outlet. As with most stuff there, its pretty thin, just perfect for a lace project. So, I start knitting. After a day, I just know it isn't working. Its got such a tight twist, it feels so rough when you knit it. And its got a lot of spring from the twist, I don't know if it will hold a block. The sample I knit back in the summer has a definite bias to it. I've got the sample re-blocking, all pinned and stretched, but the yarn was just making me too nervous. Its time to dive into the stash. Not much in laceweight there, but then I find the Mountain Colors Wool Crepe that I picked up for half price at my LYS about 1.5 years ago. Its dark blue, with streaks of copper, green, purple, etc. Bumpy in texture, but a whole lot softer than the coned yarn. So, here are the two yarns taking shape.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One word game

I got an e-mail chain letter thats interesting. You basically send it to your friends and ask them to describe you in one word. Its a tough thing to do. Makes you really think about what you see in your friend, consider why the friendship persists.

My friend clearly gave it a lot of thought, and I've found their words to be quite uplifting. I thought I'd post them here so I could read them anytime I was feeling down and needed a boost of their love.

Strong (x2)

Now, I would have described myself as "Creative". Its really interesting to see yourself through others eyes.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weaving in loose ends

First off, happy birthday to me! I got another year younger this past weekend. DH actually remembered and ordered a cake at the Shoprite bakery (for a grocery store, they make really good cakes) and invited both sides of the family over. Its been hot and humid here in NJ, more like August than October, so we spent the day eating cake and chips & dip - so much for the diets - and swimming in the pool. Now, we haven't been in the pool since very early Sept., so you can only imagine how warm it is around here. Mom & Dad gave me a black and white flowered SportSac bag, which are great for knitting bags. (Like I need another knitting bag :-) .... must start something new, right?) An old friend came over in the evening and we all went for dinner at the local diner, so it was a nice day all round.

I finally buckled down and finished the commission work I've had sitting in my house all summer. I hated the yarn, a very splitty chunky weight cotton, and have been putting it off despite calls from the project's owner. And then I re-wove a whole bunch of the ends that the owner had done poorly. Just an icky kind of job, especially when it isn't your own. But its done now, and ready to get out of here.

I also used yesterday afternoon to finish my Knitting Needle Bag. It came out soooo well. I'm very pleased. I ended up making the knitting needles from dowels, but the natural wood was too bright. A quick dip in some diluted food coloring, and they are so much better. The lining fit in well, and I'm going to use this everyday, I think.

The lining fit in well, and I'm going to use this everyday, I think.

And to keep the FO theme going... I also finished clue 1 of the Secret of the Stole (SOTS) knitalong. You can only imagine how my fingers were itching last night after all this finishing, so I grabbed the 3 pairs of socks that have been lurking in my knitting drawer and wove the ends on them too. After all, when I finished them in June/July/August, there was no urgency. Now, they might actually get worn in the next few weeks. This actually concludes my list of finished objects waiting around for the last 10 minutes of work. But don't worry, there are at least 2 abandoned UFO's sitting by the couch. I'm going to push myself and pick up that Lace Top from Gathering of Lace that I started probably back in 2002. All it needs are the sleeves and the neckline to be finished. Its just sad that I haven't finished it off in all this time. It even held my size 8 Addi needles hostage for years. I'll put it back onto my Options, it should just fly along, although I'll have to magic loop it. Perhaps a picture of it on the blocking board will show up soon. And I even have the right spaghetti strap top to go under it, another reason why I probably never finished it back then.

Okay, I've stated it all publicly, now I'll have to carry through, right?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reporting in...

Okay, its been a while, so I must report in on the knitting happenings around here:

First, DH surprised me yesterday by appearing from the basement with a replacement for the broken arm of my swift. One of the crosspieces snapped back in July or August at the center rivet, and the whole thing has been unusable since. It was so pitiful with the pieces dangling. Luckily we have a fully stocked workshop, so he and I were able to install the replacement piece, put a new holding wire at the top (the manufacturer had left nothing extra, so once we untwisted the original wire it had to be replaced), and put a new rivet in at the join. I reattached the bottom pieces with a piece of the wire instead of the twine that had been there. It should wear a lot better.

Next, I've been playing around with that really cute Knitting Needle bag from Knitting Daily. I started it with one yarn, then switched to some Lamb's Pride Worsted thats been hanging out in the stash. Ever go to the LYS and have a yarn call out to you because of the color? Well, this was one of those. Its in such a wonderful green. Not too bright, not too blue, just this wonder color. I had bought 2 skeins without anything really in mind. (Two was all they had) There was some vague notion of making the Mukluks from an Interweave magazine, but those really called for a lot more yarn. I just finished the first skein, and spit spliced on the second. I'm about 70% done, should finish in the next day or two. Then it will be off to the craft store to buy the knitting needles that will be glued in place as the bag frame. Or maybe I should haunt e-bay?

Finally, I'm waiting on the next pattern from Six_Sox KAL. Its going to be in a heavier DK weight, so I don't know if it will appeal. Depending on what it is, I may adapt it to a sock weight yarn. Tomorrow morning is the release.....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


See what I found? A little quiz to see what color green you are. And green is my absolute favorite color!

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

And yes, I am certainly a unique, wonderful individual!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Warm feet

There is just no substitute for warm feet. Tonight was the "Almost Overnight" for Cub Scouts. Its been cool around here, and its not any warmer up in the mountain where the Scout camp is located. While you can still wear shorts and sandals around the house, clearly that wasn't going to cut it at camp.

Long sleeves and pants were a given - last time the Cub Scouts did this, we were just freezing. I decided that some handknit socks were the way to go; after all, even if it wasn't too cold, at least the wool breathes to adjust. Well, it was the right move. My feet were toasty warm all evening, even after the sun went down. I didn't have to put on a fleecy, although others around me were searching for gloves and hats. I will swear that my warm feet really made all the difference!

My knitting came along - the socks in Terrain Twist. Still working on the foot part in a ribbing pattern, so it doesn't require much attention (p3, k3, p3, k1 - repeat 3 times, then knit plain on the bottom of the foot). Didn't get to do much though - had to go teach the kiddies how to use a pocket knife properly. But tomorrow will be 2 hours of car travel, so I'll get to sit quietly and make progress.

Oh, and my Knit Picks needles came bright and early this morning! Yeah! Already trying them out with the Zephyr for the Secret of the Stole swatch (4's and 5's, but its not clear which one will win yet), and moved the Terrain Twist socks onto the 2.25 needles this evening. They are great - definitely wood and not bamboo (ich!), but I've gotten very used to the slippery surface of the Options, so its going to depend on the yarn. The needle binder is looking pretty full......

Friday, September 7, 2007

New stuff

Well, the kids finally went back to school. I love having them around, but they do prevent me from doing so many things, like cleaning. And I come home from the supermarket with only half of my groceries, since their constant bickering and chatting prevents me from thinking and remembering what I needed to buy.

Anyway, I've been playing around on Ravelry quite a bit. My ID there is "Arlene". And tonight, when I went to check out the forums, there were a whole bunch of threads about new Knit Picks needles. Well, that needed to be checked out immediately!

Pretty, pretty, pretty! Must Have! And since DH is a woodworker, this he was willing for me to splurge on. He thought I should just order the entire set immediately, but I showed some self-control. I had no use for the clear plastic case or more cables (sheesh, I already own the cables in every size but 40", and I have every size of the metal tips, with duplicates on sizes 8 & 9). So, I ONLY ordered the tips for sizes 4, 5, 6, and 8. The ones I use a lot. And I also ordered the full set of the wooden dp's for sock knitting. They were just too beautiful to not own. And I love wood needles for my straights. (Note I said wood, NOT bamboo).

Of course, I'll probably fill in all the other sizes as I make more Knit Picks orders. Its always good to want something else there, so you can make the $45 free shipping limit.

I've signed up for the Secret of the Stole knitalong (SOTS) which is going to start at the beginning of October. I swatched up some of the Silk City yarn I bought, but they just didn't work. So, I'm trading some of the black Zephyr I have left with a local friend, who used a very pretty Marine blue Zephyr for her MS3. Yes, I was the enabler there. Oh, and on the SOTS too. Bad me. I don't think I could face that black again. Too boring. My friend also gave me the two extra tubes of beads from the MS3, so I'm all set.

The I Love Gansey socks have become a whole lot easier. I turned both heels using short-rows instead of the gusset flap in the pattern - it just fits so much better. It goes faster without having to work Cable C, I no longer need the pattern in front of me all the time. And with the plain bottom of the foot, the amount of work is really much less. I should be at the toes soon.

With the kids back in school, I was back to exercising today. The Michelle's shawl is going to live next to the stationary bicycle, so it will get some attention again. Takes about 30 minutes to do a row on it, so the visible progress is really reduced. Must use up that mystery yarn, though. Get it out of the stash.

I have these incredible urges to cast-on more and more projects. So far, I am resisting, but its all so tempting......

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ravelry invite!

Just a fast entry....

My invite for Ravelry FINALLY came today!!!! I'm so excited!!!!!

I signed up back on June 18 (DH was on a work trip, and I stayed up half the night poking around on the computer), and was number 9847 [or something like that].

I've already put in the 3 current WIP's, and I'll need to do pictures and stuff. Maybe next week - DH is off on another business trip again. But I need to find some "friends" - anyone out there? I'm plain old "Arlene" in Ravelry.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

MS3 Finished!!!!

Done! Done! Done!

All knitted, washed, and now blocked! The MS3 just needs to dry, and then its ready to be worn. (And if NJ stays as cold as it did today, I'm going to wear it very soon....)

I didn't get to start it on Friday when the last clue was released, since we were away. I printed the clue Friday evening, but was just too exhausted. But I've been working steadily all day today (Sunday), and finished the knitting this afternoon. After snapping this quick picture

the stole was off for a nice wool wash bath and then up to the blocking board. It took a while to string the blocking wires - here it is when I paused for dinner.

And now its all done. Pinned, stretched to 22" x 80", and clearly exceeding the 48" of my blocking board.

A bit of the detail at the ends of the "feathers"

If I'm going to continue making these large lace projects, I'm either going to have to get some sort of extension for the blocking board, or at least find a solid colored sheet so the photos look better.

Its a bit strange looking - seems more like a lace "knife" than a stole. I'll have to get used to it, I guess. I did get up this morning and made this shawl pin to go with the "Swan Lake" theme of the MS3.

Its the copper wire I use in my stained glass work. I twisted 2 strands, shaped them to my pencil drawing (I did my research with Audubon pictures), and then lightly hammered the wire. I also added an eye using my stained glass solder - not only does it make an eye and add a contrasting color, it also covers the rough edges of the wire ends. I also made a "feather" stick to complete it. The stick may be a bit long - I'll have to try it out once the shawl dries.

So, where does that leave me? I now have no big project going. I'll probably finish my bright-striped Regia socks now, all they need is a picot bind-off on the second sock, and then to weave the ends. I've already started my I Love Gansey socks. Some more sock yarn came this past week - I'm going to make some socks to gift to someone who always has cold feet. And my Michelle's shawl is at least half done, and perfect for working on when I exercise on the bicycle. No major projects........ I hope some sort of inspiration comes along soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Scout summer camp & STASH ENHANCEMENT

Well, a trip to Boy Scout summer camp both hinders and helps knitting. Last weekend's 2 night/3 day extravaganza of living in the woods, using a latrine, and being surrounded by lots of barely-in-control teenage boys had its ups and downs. I was pretty excited to go with the troop to the archery and rifle ranges, where I got to try new things. Yep, I've never done either before, and, I'm very proud to say, I hit the targets almost all of the time!! But there was a lot of down time, as I sat in the site playing responsible adult while the boys came and went to their various Merit Badge activities.

The MS3 just wasn't the right project to take on that kind of adventure. Between the light colored fine yarn, the crucial, but easily lost, crochet hook, and the 100's of little beads, it just wasn't going to happen. The second half of clue 5 had to stay home and wait for me. But my socks came along, as did some size 8 perle cotton destined to be a swirl yarmulke. In the 3 days there, I managed to knit the entire leg portion of a sock, and make good progress on that yarmulke. I even incorporated one of the boy's idea to add a gold ring every 10 rows.

The rest of the week has just been BUSY. DS #2 has finished his summer activities, and just wanted me to DO things with him. So, we played games, I read him stories, we went out on "adventures" (which are also known to the world as errands and lunch with Daddy). I am just about done with the leg of the other sock, but I couldn't keep my eyes open last night. Maybe later. And clue 6 hasn't been touched, even though I've had it in my hands for more than a day.

I'm not sure what to make of the MS3. I have taken the plunge and will "wing" it, but I'm still unsure of that symmetry thing. And -- although this might be blasphemous -- its BORING to knit. Its gotten all repetitive with the feather design. Even the short rows don't save it. I'm sure I'll finish it and wear it, after all, there are only clues 6 and 7 left, but its sure has lost its glamour. I do think I'll make a shawl pin for it out of copper, similar to the one that someone is selling. I was ready to plunk down my money, but DH looked at it and said "You can make that..." I think I'll twist 2 finer threads of copper together, solder the end points with a ball of my stained glass silver solder to keep it smooth, and then use the silver dot as the swan's eye. I found some nice drawings by Audubon that I can use as a design basis (don't want to copy someone else's work). I'll also give it a light hammering on the anvil. Hopefully the copper will match the beads on the stole.

And finally, to cheer myself up, and because I won't be able to get there when the kids have to be at shul on Saturday morning's, DS #2 and I ran over to Paterson this morning, home of the Silk City Outlet. Great stash enhancement place! For not too much money, I got all this:

Well, the 4 cones on the lower right were actually free, but still, where else am I going to get 6 weeks of lace knitting enjoyment per project for less than $15 per cone? The 3 cones on the lower left are wool crepe, the blue & maroon still in wrappers are 5/2 cotton, the copper colored cone is some sort of rayon/viscose and I have no clue what the beige colored yarn in the middle is, but it has a gold thread overwrap and twinkles so pretty. I just couldn't walk away from it, although I did sort through the box to find the smallest cone -- and its still enough yardage to make at least 3 large shawls. And each of the other cones is enough for multiple projects too. Overall, its probably enough for a year or more, if I every truly use all of it.

DH is starting to feel overwhelmed in the house, so I'm toying with selling off some of the Silk City stuff that I've already used for a project. I know myself, I'll never use it again. Might as well send it to new homes. I've never done that before. I'll probably try over at Knitswap on Yahoo! first before I pay Ebay for the privilege of listing it. Keep an eye out.....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Knitting interruption

I have to confess -- I didn't do much knitting this weekend. But I did read all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Fantastic book, such a talented writer. It was hard for me to keep all the details straight, I have no idea how she managed it, and then to bring it all to a coherent ending that didn't leave any major story lines hanging.... WOW!

So, last night it was back to the Mystery Stole 3, but it was quite late. I managed to do about 35 rows since the clue was released Friday morning. And I did do a few rows of the Michelle's Shawl while I played lifeguard and talked with my MIL. That pattern is finally starting to make sense to me, I don't need to refer to the paper all the time. Its about half of its final length. I'm kind of surprised at how long it seems to be taking, I thought it would just fly along. After all, its a much heavier yarn and a bigger needle than all the lace projects I've been doing lately. I will persist! Even though Alison graciously suggested that I could modify the pattern to do what seemed more intuitive. But as a challenge knitter, I just can't let go and do something else. I must master this pattern!

Friday afternoon, I took the kids to the local Build-a-Bear store in the mall. They took one look, and then each had to have an outfit for their bears. The bears came with us to the Harry Potter release party at the library. Notice their wands? I turned them with the boys on Friday afternoon, even used the drill press to put holes in the handles for the elastic to go through. A bit extreme, but I felt like a successful mother......

A bit of magic, and the string turns into beautiful things, right? Or perhaps its all part of the Mysteries... Wizards, knitting, Mystery Stoles.....

And a bit of detail on the latest socks. Not the greatest of pictures to show off the colors. Its not exactly what I imagined the yarn would be when I bought it. Thought more of 2-4 inches of each color, all blending, not these stripes. Oh well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New challenge

Well, after finishing the Rona shawl AND the Moc Croc socks, I suddenly found myself with only the MS3 on the needles. Since that doesn't seem to require a full week's worth of knitting time, I had to find another project. So.....

The Michelle's Shawl from Alison Hyde's Wrapped in Comfort. In a mystery yarn I was bequeathed from my sister, who obtained it from someone else..... It's a yarn from the Czech Repulic called Pletaci prize MarLen. The contents read 80% bavlna (I'm guessing cotton), 10% viskoza (viscose?) and 10% akryl (acrylic?). Looks like each ball is 0.100kg (=100 grams), and I have 6 of them. Should be enough. No clue on the yardage.

Anyway, its a strange yarn. 3 distinct plies, just wound together. See:

One is like a boucle cotton, the next is a very white rayon, and the last is a thin beige shiny thread. Totals out to a bit over a worsted weight. I went up to a size 9 needle to compensate for the thick yarn.

And the shawl in progress:

I don't know who this is for. Usually I have someone in mind when I start a project, but I guess not knowing is in line with Alison's general rules for making things. The right person always comes along just as she finishes, and I'm going to choose to believe that this shawl will find the right person like that as well.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Moving along....

I'm just finishing stuff left and right over here in very, very, very hot NJ. Yesterday, while some friends were over for a swim, I finished the crochet edging on the Rona Shawl. Once they and the relatives left, it went into the sink with some Eucalan, and then I spent from 9-10 p.m. up in my knitting classroom pinning it out. It looks so good, but gosh darn it! I don't own enough t-pins. Must go get more at the JoAnn's this week, just to have them in the house. Now, mind you, I do have 2 ends to weave in on this monstrosity, but I think untucked ends are just going to have to all wait for the right day around here. (Marc's Lang Jawoll socks still have ends hanging everywhere, but who wants wool socks when its 95 degrees and humid outstide)



Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud, 100% Alpaca laceweight, in color Stream. Worked on Size 5 Options needles. Blocked to a bit bigger than 56 inches in diameter.

Today, I did the short row toe on one Moc Croc sock, and I may stay up late and do the second one now. Big problem with this is that I don't have anything else on the needles to work on while I pedal on the exercise bike tomorrow morning. Shall I start some new socks? No question I have plenty of sock yarn on hand. And the new More Sensational Sock book. Or perhaps another lace project? I'll see how I feel in the morning......

Good night all!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Clue 2 done!

The Mystery Stole is moving along very nicely. The clue this week was only 50 rows, they went pretty quickly. Finished it this evening (Sat.), and its now packed away waiting for next Friday.

Another photo, just so you can see the cute bag that came with the British Knitting magazine a few weeks ago.

I put the beads into a little acrylic box I found in my Grandmother's sewing box, it worked out very well. I could carry my beads around, they were secure, and it was relatively easy to stab one when I needed it. If this didn't work out, I would have gone to the drugstore and stood staring at the candy, trying to pick the one that came in the right sized tin. Believe me, the type of candy wouldn't have mattered at all.

The Rona shawl, all 1,152 sts of it, is now well on its way to being done. I'm about 2/3rds of the way around casting off the sts. As per the instructions, I'm using a crochet hook -- work 3 together, chain 7. (The instructions alternated ch 7's a few times, ch 5 twice, but it was all too complicated) It looks all ruffly, but when I block it, I'll get to pin out all those ch 7 spaces. Sounds like a lot of pins. Time will tell how it looks.

Its late - I'm going to go do a few more loops on the bindoff, then off to bed. Still no clue on my next project, but I'll have to decide soon. The MS3 just isn't enough this week, and I hate to be without a project.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Lots of stitches

A quick update: The Rona shawl is now up to 1,152 stitches per round. I have just knit 4 rounds at this stitch count, and yes, it takes a long time. The next row is the LAST!!!!!

Since there is a double decrease (SK2P) on the last round, the final stitch count will be 22 sts x 48 groups = 1,056 sts. Wow. Thats a lot to then work an edging on (its crocheted)

So, here is what 1,152 sts look like on a 47" needle.

Its hard to get a good picture. Especially when the lace is all bunched up. And we all know how crappy lace looks until its blocked. Perhaps my next post.

Still have not decided on my next project. The Curved Shawl is still a top contender, but maybe it'll be something from Alison's Wrapped in Comfort instead. (Got my signed bookplate for the front of the book in yesterday's mail. Yay! And she sent a second one, maybe I'll save it for her next book....)

And, for stash enhancement, I just placed yet another order with Knitpicks. I'm such a sucker for a book sale, and then I needed another size of dp's, in doubles of course, so I can make both socks simultaneously. And I have to try the new sock yarn, right? My family is going to have so many socks, they are starting to beg me NOT to knit them anymore. And this Sat. is the Silk City outlet day, I haven't been there in months. Not that I'm lacking laceweight yarn or have a project in mind for any.

Not much else. Waiting for the next MS3 clue and I'll clean up for our get-together on Friday morning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Almost finished!

Yay! The Rona shawl has been moving along well! It just needed me to love it again.... I'm getting at least a few rounds in every day (takes about 30-45 minutes per round, so this is significant time) Thank goodness for the plain knit every stitch rounds, I can monitor the kids in the pool and still get somewhere on the shawl. I'm in the middle of round 144, the pattern ends at round 153, then you do a crochet edging around.

Want to see a picture? Nah - it doesn't look like anything at all. Just a mess of blue. But wait till its blocked!

So, its getting to that time again. What will the next project be? Besides the MS3 stole, of course. Maybe the Curved Shawl from VLT, in the Mountain Colours Wool Crepe. Got to try a swatch of that, see if the bouncy boucle yarn works in the pattern.....

Oh, and I did get a few rounds in on the Moc Croc's this weekend at some friends' house. They may actually be up to the toe shaping.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mystery Stole 3

The knitting has begun!!!!

The clue was released Friday morning, and I was there! Got it at 7:35 am, and started knitting immediately.

This is not a pattern you can work on at night. I keep finding myself dozing off with my knitting in my lap, and no idea what row I am on. But even with all the interruptions of life (why do the kids need to be fed?), I finished it this morning.

The edges look horrible, as you can see in the picture. They keep flipping under. I know that blocking will correct this and open the lace as well. But what really scares me is the size. It measures only 16" across in the picture, and the desired size is closer to 20". I kept looking at it and regretting the size 4 (3.5mm) Options needles I used, but the size 5 tips are in the Rona shawl, which is still at least 10 hours from being done.

So, what to do? Simple. Take off the needle tips, put on some end caps, and block the thing! So, here it it, its pinned at 20" wide, 10" deep, and I think it needs to be blocked out even larger to really get the lace to open up. I can live with that! Aren't the Knitpicks Options great?

I'm such a nerd - I had to block this out into a right triangle, instead of just pulling it. See how it follows the diagonal of the blocking lines? And I've also screwed up with the beads. Instead of putting them on the stitch and then knitting it, I knit the stitch first, then put on the bead. Its not a big deal, I'll do it correctly from now on. Its not like its all that visible anyway, certainly no one else would ever see it.

I am so glad this stole has all the beautiful scroll curlicues and the wonderful braiding up the side. I didn't get to participate in MS2, and I loved all those great patterns in it, so its just wonderful that this stole has the same fancy work!

I'm going to go back to working on the Rona now, maybe the Moc Croc socks also. I'm also going to try to organize a get-together for other MS3'ers in the area for this Friday, when the next clue is released.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Victorian Lace Socks

A bit of time has passed since the last post. So, without futher ado, here are the finished Victorian Lace Socks from the Six Sox Knitalong.

They came out great! Trekking XXL, had 75 grams left from the Horcrux Socks, size 2.25 mm needles. I used every last inch! But they are exactly perfect. Its going to be 90 degrees tomorrow, so I think they are going to have to hibernate until October. But thats OK.....

So, I know you are wondering.... What's next??? Well, I'm going to be joining the rest of the world for Mystery Stole 3! I joined about two weeks ago, while hubby was away and I was staying up way too late. The yarn has already arrived, Knitpicks Laceweight Bare, and my friend and I made an excursion to the only bead store in the two local counties last week. So, here is all that hope and promise and mystery, just waiting.

I think I'm going to use size 4 Options needles, since the size 5's are still tied up with the Rona Shawl. I've been trying to make some more progress there - up to row 126, 27 more to go. At anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes a round, I've still got a way to go. Or I could do the MS3 on straights. It might be the perfect excuse to get my beloved Brittany walnuts out. I haven't swatched yet, and wasn't planning to. It will all just depend on my mood when the first clue is released on Friday morning. If I use the Options, its a more portable project, since I refuse to take the Brittanys out of my "safe" zone, aka the family room. After some got broken on an excursion to the library 2 years ago, its the only way I can be sure they stay safe.

A King's Ransom of Brittanys. Just hope my family understands the value of them, Just In Case. Perhaps I'll say something to my SIL, who I've been teaching how to knit. She would treasure them. My sister prefers bamboo, so I know she won't get insulted - besides, I'll tell her she gets the stash. Even value, right?

Anyway, the MS3 has been quite my obsession this last 2 weeks. Getting the right yarn, the right beads, the right crochet hook. And, of course, the zillions of messages that have to be read, 3-4 digests a day. I want to host a meetup for those in the Bergen/Rockland area, it should be lots of fun, probably around the second clue. I'll get on that as soon as the 1st clue comes out this Friday.

And there was nothing better than sitting outside this evening, enjoying the cooling air, listening to knitting podcasts, and plugging away on the Rona. Its quite beautiful out on the patio....

Friday, June 1, 2007

New socks

So, June 1 has come, and there is a new pattern on the Six Sock Knitalong. Its lace, based on the Melon Shawl in VLT. Do I need a lace sock. Not really, but I did sign up for the knitalong. Besides, the Moc Croc's are nearly done. See---

I've turned both heels (Short-rows this time, thank you very much), tapered out the design on the instep, and now its just plain stockinette until the toes.

So, what do I use for the new socks? There is plenty in the stash, of course. The pattern calls for Knitpicks Dye-your-own, but the 4 skeins lurking in the stash are all from before they came out with so many different choices. So, thats not superwash, nor does it have any nylon in it. Now, I may be willing to handknit the socks, but no way will I handwash them. Do I place that order that's been lurking in my cart?

Or, perhaps the Lorna's Laces that I got as a gift. Its pinks and purples, but that might be too much contrast for the lace pattern. It needs something less stripey, more subdued. The Austermann Step was considered, but again, its stripey. I also have the heathered gray/blue trekking from the Horcrux socks. 75 grams are left, and considering its a lace pattern, that should be more than enough. I've also spent the afternoon toying with the idea of a trip to the LYS.

Too many choices, yes? Any votes?

And here is something else I've been playing around with. I saw this on someone's blog, and it was so clever and cheap. The point covers are vinyl caps for screws, a pair is less than $1 at the hardware store. Add some of the many beads I've collected, and put it on the stretchy clear elastic beading cord (no, I don't remember buying that, but I had a brand new roll in my beading stuff). Voila - no more sock needle points sticking through the bag!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Finished Horcrux!

Just finished these -- 2 minutes before midnight on Monday, so its officially a one week project! I started these last Tuesday afternoon.

Wanted to get some pictures up. I'll probably add more about them tomorrow morning.....

These are the Horcrux socks from the Six Sock Knitalong on Yahoo Groups. The lace part, which is very hard to photograph, is a zig-zag pattern that mimics the scar on Harry Potter's head. Speculation is that the scar contains a part of Lord Voldemort's soul (known as a Horcrux) - only time will tell, book 7 is released at 12:01 on July 21. I imagine I'll be wearing these socks for the release party at our local library, despite what will probably be 90 degree heat and high humidity in the height of summer here in NJ.

They are in blue & silver, which are the Ravenclaw house colors. I've been sorted there at least twice. Blue is Fortissima Socka, grey is Trekking, and there is a DMC silver thread carried along in the lace part, giving it some sparkle.

And this is the darn Eye of Partridge heel which caused me such consternation. Its a square heel, for the record, and I'm not too crazy about it even though it fits. Next time it will either be a round heel or my favorite short row heel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Horcrux socks

I've made significant progress on these socks, considering I bought the yarn on Tuesday and these pictures are from early Friday morning. But, as always with flap heels, I have a problem.

The heel flap is done in Eye of Partridge on 35 sts. So, here is the flap at 36 rows:

This clearly isn't a square, and the flap sure isn't long enough. Anyone know why I always have this problem? I always have to add on tons of extra rows to the flap, which leaves a lot more sts to be worked off in the gusset.

Just for fun, the sock so far:

And its mate. 50 rows in the heel flap to get it to about the right length.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New yarn

As I've already said, the HP socks have been eating at me. And that Wildfoote from the stash just wasn't working. So yesterday, my friend and I headed out for a yarn & craft expedition. So, here is the haul.... not shown - the newest Interweave Knits, obtained with a 50% off coupon at the craft store. Boy, they had hidden it well.....

I've been place in Ravenclaw by a few of those "sorting hat" tests, so I decided to go with Ravenclaw's colors. Yes, the blue is a bit dark, but you try finding solid colored sock yarn these days! As you can see, I've been quite busy with them in the last 24 hours, but it is an easy pattern to knit. The Trekking is this great tweedy blue-gray, and I'm carrying some DMC metallic along with it to give it some sparkle. The heels will be in the same Trekking, but without the carry-along, I'm afraid it will be too abrasive and cut through the yarn in that spot.

Don't you just love the zig-zag in the Horcrux part, just like Harry's scar?

And I shouldn't forget to mention these as well:

Took younger son camping this past weekend and had to buy some reading material for the trip. I'm not sure I needed the Simply Knitting magazine, but I couldn't resist the little notions bag that came with it. Its got balls of yarn in all different colors on it, so cute!

The Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book is excellent, as you would expect. Kept me laughing and laughing. I'm about 2/3rds done with it, have to make some reading time this weekend.

Tagged: 7 Random Things about me

So, I've been tagged. Rules say I have to tell you all 7 random things about me, then tag 7 more people. I don't know if I know of 7 other blogs to tag..... but I can, at least, tell you about me.

1. I collect craft stuff. Beads, bits of elastic, the inner tubes of paper towel, origami paper.... I just never know when I'll need something. Yes, it is all a mess, but I can't part with any of it.

2. I can knit continental and English. I can also knit backwards, to avoid purling. And, although I am a righty, I can knit & purl lefty (although a bit slowly) and I always teach left-handed people to knit left-handed (unless they are already knitting right-handed successfully). They are always amazed that I can demonstrate how to do it for them.

3. I become obsessed with lost things. It just really, really bugs me, and I have a hard time going to sleep if I know something is missing.

4. I haven't dusted the house in years. Spot cleaned occasionally, but I don't make an all out effort against the dust on a regular basis.

5. My favorite time of year is the spring. Can't you just smell the warm weather on the breeze?

6. My favorite flower is the daffodil. I have them planted all along the driveway and outside the kitchen window so I can see them when they are in bloom.

7. Creative ideas get stuck in my head. There is then no peace until I actually make the item. Hence, my trip to Home Depot yesterday to buy $1 worth of stuff. And a trip to the LYS. Probably cost me twice what I spent for the gasoline.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New projects...

Okay, still haven't woven the ends on those socks for DH. And both the Rona Shawl and the Moc Croc socks are still on the needles. And yet, I have a burning desire to start a pair of Horcrux socks. Joined the Six-sox-knitalong group at Yahoo to get access to the pattern, and use the tips people have posted.

I went stash diving yesterday morning, and even started the socks (Brown Sheep Wildefoote in the Brown Sugar color). After an hour of work, and about 20 rows, it became apparent that the 60 sts just were never going to get over my ankle and I needed to make it on 70. Funny, because the Moc Croc's are 60 sts on size 00, and these will be just fine, but the 60 sts on size 2.25 mm were too small. It must be that black hole in the knitting universe, I can't think of any other explanation.

Anyway, I tried casting on the 70, but on the second round it became apparent I had missed a stitch, and I had dropped what looked like an excess stitch at the join, and you know how it goes. Fling across the room in disgust.

Truth is, I don't think this yarn is working for this pattern. Today will be expedition day to the LYS to find something else. These socks aren't all that complicated and should move really fast......

In the meantime, a few hours in the hospital waiting for a family member to recover from a test was exactly the kick I needed to get going again on the Moc Crocs. Only a few more repeats on the leg on the second sock, and then I'll be ready to do the heel turn on both.

Posting of the results of the yarn expedition to follow later..........

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Finished object!

Okay, finally done!

Well, except for the ends. Socks for hubby of the very large feet.....

And yes, the temps here in NJ are now consistently in the 70's. Much too warm for these.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Okay, I admit it. I'm in a knitting slump, or at least a slowdown. While I've been plugging away on the socks for hubby, they are frustrating - 84 sts, size 1 needles, way too long for each row, and then you don't see any visible progress.

The Rona Shawl has been sitting abandoned for at least 3 weeks. I picked it up today to work on while I pedaled on the exercise bike and couldn't even remember what row I was on. Took a few minutes, but finally figured out it was row 86 -- the first on the page...... very disheartening.

The Moc Croc socks are even more abandoned.

On the other hand, I did get the old iPod that hubby gave me working. Loaded on some knitting podcasts and accomplished a ton of housework yesterday and the day before while listening to some of them. And yesterday I went and bought some yarn at JoAnn's to make a cover for the thing -- the cover hubby gave me is really annoying, you can't get to the stop button quickly when the phone rings. I settled on the Microspun yarn and crocheted it for stability. Problem now -- how do I clip this to my waistband? Does anyone sell clips? Do I buy something inexpensive and use it for parts? I think I'll also sew in some clear vinyl to protect the screen.

Must get out of this slump. Thought about starting a "Curved Shawl" from Victorian Lace Today with this really great boucle-y yarn I picked up at the LYS sale a year ago. But that would mean accepting defeat on the current projects. I think I'll force myself to plug away at the Rona Shawl for now.

There is a Harry Potter sock exchange starting -- might be interesting. A good excuse to go buy sock yarn, right? I'll ponder for a while.

So, here are all the projects OTN:

Yes, that is ball #3 waiting to be used - both socks have run out of yarn and are short by at least 2 inches. REALLY BIG FEET. I know you didn't believe me.....

Oh, FYI, I did just use the reinforcing yarn however it came out. There would never had been enough if I tried to match the stripes.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Here we have a pair of socks OTN, for DH (of the big, wide feet.....). I'm up to starting the gusset flap. It will be under the foot, since these are toe-up. The yarn is Lang Jawoll color, and its striping up in a way you would never expect looking at the ball. It came with these cute little spools of reinforcement that are dyed to exactly match the stripes. As you can see, I didn't realize it and didn't bother to line it all up when I did the toes -- hence the shadows of colors. And thats the real dilemma now. How should I proceed with the gusset?

What would you do? Would you bother to line up the matching reinforcement that Lang included? Or would you just add it and go?

All opinions welcome!

Of course, I also didn't bother to line up the start points on the socks either....

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Really old UFO

Found these hiding with my Passover stuff. They were made WAY BACK WHEN, i.e. before children. Since oldest son is now 11.5, that means they probably date from spring 1994. This is confirmed by the label, which has a date of 3/94. Isn't is frightening what you find when you go stash diving? And how far back that stash dates?

This first picture is a matza cover. We have used it for the last 10 years or so, just once or twice a year, for Shabbos. The ends have been hanging, and I never got around to blocking it. So in a fit of efficiency, guess what I did today?

The final blocked size is 22"x20". Just love my blocking board! Good thing I knit all those lace shawls, I sure have plenty of T-pins around.

And then, while stash diving for the original ball of crochet cotton, this turned up -- its to be a bag to put the afikomen in during Seder. Since we've never hosted the seder, it has remained in an unfinished state..... My plans are to finish those two side seams tomorrow, and then have a totally finished object!

Finally, here's a little blue sock pin I made for Stitches 2004. Its knit in size 8 perle cotton on size 0000 (1.25 mm) knitting needles. It has my standard seamless short row toe and a short row heel as well. Its just a miniature version of the socks I usually make. A blue sock is the symbol used to identify other members of the KnitList.