Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Racing to the finish

I've been working on my Sixth Sense socks today, trying to get them done. (The yarn is Stahl Socka Color # 9193 -- it's several years old, so the color number will have changed if it's still available. It appears to be #2401, in the Fortissima Colori/Socka Color by Schoeller+Stahl.) I'm up to the heel on sock 2. I don't know whether I'll finish or not. The new sock pattern will be posted on the Six Sox Knitalong tomorrow, and I want to be ready. Let's ignore the fact that I still have to finish my husband's olive drab socks and that I do have several other projects in various stages of completion.

This has nothing to do with knitting, but I got this link from a friend -- it's a very funny video!
YouTube - Evolution of Dance

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Still working on socks, but...

The kids are home from camp in Florida. They had a good time. The Princess turned 18 while they were at camp, and her brother turned 14 yesterday. We're sorta low-key on the birthday celebration scale. Steak & potato salad & chocolate cake with the family and one extra guest was the sum total of the party yesterday!

I got a pattern for a really cool bag, which I started knitting Sunday afternoon and ripped out yesterday morning. It was going to be huge, so I'll have to start again with fewer stitches. I'm using recycled sari silk.

I have been a part of the SiviaHardingKnits Yahoo group since before they started the Diamond Fantasy Shawl knitalong, but finally started working on mine today. It starts at the point, and I finished the first chart (35 rows) and stretched it out to look at it -- something's off right about in the middle. I thought I'd try taking that center stitch off the needles and letting it run down to the mistake, then knitting it back up. After struggling with that for awhile, I decided to just frog the whole thing and start over. Now it looks right. The yarn is HandMaiden Sea Silk, in the Glacier color.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Not quite right...

The bread was, shall we say, rather dense. Didn't rise at all. Maybe I should try using yeast (ya think?). The idea was to make authentic sourdough bread, with the starter as the rising agent. But I don't think I'm going to get too wrapped up in that. Next time, I'll use yeast.

Sixth Sense sock can stand up by itself, I kid you not. I'm doing the heel right now, just moving right along.

We had a little road trip today, and I worked on the olive drab socks from the Red Cross kit. I finished the (long, long) legs -- 3" of ribbing and 8" of stockinette, and started the heel flap before we got home.

Saving the best for last, finally a picture of my completely finished and blocked Mystery Shawl 3 (JaggerSpun Zephyr in Peacock)! Sorry about the disembodied hands. The dark area to the left of center is a clump of irises at the edge of the yard. Beyond that, we're growing hay.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I've got socks!

I finally finished the Cedar Creek socks yesterday! I made them toe-up, both at once on a 40" Addi turbo circular, size 1, which is 2.5 mm (my size 1 dpns are 2.25 mm, and I have a set of size 1.5 dpns that are 2.5 mm). My purpose in doing them toe-up was to make the legs as long as I wanted, instead of the 4.5 - 5 inches specified in the pattern. I finally quit when they were 7" long! I had estimated the amount of yarn needed to do the picot hem and butterflied it off, marking the start of those 8 yds with a safety pin through a slip knot. I started the hem before I got to that last 8 yards, though. After I got the knitting part done, I had to figure out how to attach the hem inside the sock. I had seen a suggestion on another blog about using a Kitchener stitch to sew the hem down. First, I slid the sock off the circular and onto 4 dpns. I tried to do the Kitchener sort of free-hand at first -- a bit of a disaster. So I found a use for my set of short (5") size 1 dpns -- on the inside of the sock, I picked up the top loop of the stitches I wanted to Kitchener the stitches on the needle to, and went from there. This method allowed me to see what I was picking up, making sure they were all on the same row. I was actually a row below the first row of the hem. Oh, and I picked up just 1/4 of the stitches at a time, so I wasn't dealing with such a porcupine of needles.

Next up: the Sixth Sense socks from Six Socks KAL. I have just under 2 weeks before the new pattern is posted on June 1st. I'm making these cuff-down, one at a time, on dpns. The yarn is Stahl Socka Color # 9193 -- I think it's old enough that the color number will have changed if it's still available. It appears to be #2401, in the Fortissima Colori/Socka Color by Schoeller+Stahl.

And in today's mail... the gorgeous new Fairgrounds colorway of STR, with an intriguing pattern for a sock with a sideways cuff done in Linen Stitch.

On the domestic front, I have attempted to make sourdough starter using only flour and water, left out on the counter for several days, fed every 24 hours with another 1/2 cup each of flour and water. It seemed bubbly and done after about 48 hours, but I fed it again. The next night, it wasn't as bubbly, but I decided to try making bread with it anyway. Maybe not such a good idea -- it's in the bread machine right now, and, well, it isn't risen... and it's up to the baking part of the cycle. So I have probably made a sourdough doorstop.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yes, It's Been Awhile

I'm still here -- and doing a little bit of knitting. I'm up to the legs on the STR socks (yarn color: Rainforest Jasper; pattern: Cedar Creek from the STR club). I really want to get them done! But I'm having a hard time working on them for long stretches. I don't know whether it's just the fact that they've been on the needles so long that it seems like they should have been done a long time ago, and why am I still having to go round and round....
After I finished my Mystery Shawl 3, I went for a quick & easy project -- the Black Sheep bags Kristina Bag , which was also my first foray into Fair Isle, using the two-handed technique taught in the Philosopher's Wool video. Then it gets felted, so any weirdness is disguised. Turned out pretty well.

I have several other Fair Isle projects planned -- mittens, gloves, a bigger bag that doesn't get felted, the Sampler Hat from IK. I've also signed up for Ginger's Knitalong for the Bazaar Socks in the new IK -- and my yarn arrived yesterday! (Minus one color, which is on backorder. I looked at the pattern, and I can get as far as completing the toes before I have to quit and wait for the missing color. Another reason to get the STR socks finished -- so I can start these!)
Finally blocked my Mystery Shawl 3 yesterday. It looks like a whole different creature. (No picture yet.)
Last time I posted, I mentioned that I was cleaning the house for the impending arrival of overnight guests. With help from the other 3 members of the family, we got the place into reasonable shape, guests arrived, graduation ceremony was attended, everyone came back to the house, (more) pictures were taken, people ate & visited, slept, ate a big breakfast, went "shopping" in the yarn storage to find yarn for a shawl for Mom, didn't find anything that was the right color, went to a neighboring town to watch my son's clogging team perform, then came home (my parents and my aunt left headed the other way, to go home after the clogging). Really, the whirlwind hasn't stopped yet. The kids are preparing to leave for church camp next week. My son has baseball practice, baseball games, clogging practice, clogging performances, science fair. Daughter is still finishing the college classes she was taking. And so it goes....
Here's the graduate:

This child graduated 3rd in her class, with 33 college hours, and a scholarship which will pay her tuition at Missouri State (and is renewable -- she just needs to maintain a 3.5 GPA...). We're pretty proud of her!

Friday, May 05, 2006


This is a test post to see what happens when I post to my blog using email.

Theresa is right, I should be cleaning. My firstborn, the Princess, is graduating from high school next Friday, and there will be people here! And this house is way more than 15 minutes from being company-ready. There are piles of books, magazines, knitting patterns, yarn & roving everywhere. (Have I mentioned there's a spinning wheel that lives here, too? I got it in February of 2005, and I haven't gotten past making fairly bulky yarn yet. Actually, the plan was to spin enough natural-colored bulky yarn to make the "Great Garter Stitch Blanket" from the Winter '94-'95 Vogue Knitting. It's an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern done with mitered corners and looks pretty cool. It requires about 4 lbs of yarn, so I have a lot of spinning to do!
Instead of cleaning, I am working on those STR socks in the Cedar Creek pattern. I have about 1 3/8" of foot to do before I make the (short-row) heel. Then I can knit the legs until I run out of yarn.
I also made a couple of gauge swatches for the Oregon Shawl in the lovely laceweight worsted-spun Cormo I got from Elsa Sheep & Wool Co.. I'm not planning to start this shawl right away, though. I was just... I'm waiting on some yarn I ordered to make the EZasPi Choose Your Own Adventure Mystery Pi Shawl. They've already posted 3 sets of clues! I'm hoping the yarn will be here today.

[So, what happens when you email your post is that it gets saved as a draft and you can go in and edit the html, and add pictures if you have any. There may be a way to do that part from the email program, too, but this works for me.]

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Finally Finished!

I finished the last round of my Mystery Shawl 3 on Sunday afternoon, then promptly balked at the notion of using the recommended backstitch bindoff to get it off the needles. That means cutting the yarn (suggested length is 4 times your finished edge, or about 23 yards in this case) and threading a needle, and going purlwise through 2 stitches, knitwise through the first one, and taking that first one off the needle. Repeat until done. How do you manage that much yarn? What if I didn't cut it long enough? So I tried another bind-off that doesn't involve cutting the yarn ahead of time, and it was too tight. I spent hours perusing my knitting books, looking for an edging to knit on, then realized that not only would I have to find one that would go with the rest of the lace patterns, but also that would fit on the 188x4 stitches around the edge of the shawl. I just wasn't up for that much thinking.

I posted a message to the Yahoo group, asking what others had done, and I got several responses. I also looked at the bind-off instructions for the Leaf Lace shawl, which I completed in January, and this is what it says (though I don't remember doing this): k2, * slip those 2 sts back on the left needle and k2tog through the back loop, k1, repeat from * until done. So that's what I did. I wondered about the through the back loop business, until I realized it's actually a time saver -- if you put the tip of the left needle into the front of the 2 sts on the right needle, you're ready to k2tog through the back loop.

I took a picture this morning before my helpers left for school:

Blocking is going to have to wait until the a/c is turned on, or possibly if we have to build a fire in the woodstove. The outside temps are in the 60's, and the air is damp, so if I tried to block the shawl now, it would take forever to dry. It might be chilly enough to require a fire tonight and/or tomorrow, though -- then I would just have to make the dogs stay outside. I actually wore the poor little crumpled thing around the house most of the day, to ward off the chill. Could have just put on a sweatshirt, but where's the charm in that when you have a silk & wool lace shawl?