Sunday, July 29, 2007

Twice is Nice

On Saturday I decided to make another baby hat. I am expecting another grand niece soon, which will increase my mother's great-grandchild count to three. To me this is an impressive number!

It turns out that while the first hat was simple to make, it still took a little figuring, which I failed to make note of, and I spent several attempts on the second hat to make sure the increases lined up neatly. Thus I shall make notes.

Oh, also, note how the hats are perfectly matched. I did not plan it that way. The yarn for the second hat was already at the exact spot to start the exact same hat.

Knit in sockotta yarn on size 3 addi turbo circular needle.

Abbreviation: kfb=knit in front and back of same stitch.

Cast on 4 stitches
Knit in i-cord for 3 inches.
k1, kfb, k2 (5 stitches)
k 1 row
kfb 5 times (10 stitches) <--at this point I started knitting with 5 stitches on the front, 5 stitches on the back, magic loop style.
k 1 row
kfb 10 times (20 stitches)
k 1 row
[kfb, k1] across row. (30 stitches)
k 2 rows
[kfb, k2] across row. (40 stitches)
k 2 rows
[kfb, k3] across row. (50 stitches)
k 2 rows
[kfb, k4] across row. (60 stitches)
k 2 rows
[kfb, k5] across row. (70 stitches)
k 2 rows
[kfb, k6] across row. (80 stitches)
k 3 rows
[kfb, k7] across row. (90 stitches)
k 3 rows
[kfb, k8] across row. (100 stitches)
k 4 rows
[kfb, k9] across row. (110 stitches)
k 5 rows
[kfb, k10] across row. (120 stitches)
k 3 inches
k in 1x1 ribbing for 1 inch. I did the knit stitch through the back loop to tighten up the ribbing a little.
Cast off.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Frogtastic Surf Socks

After a concerted effort, the Frogtastic Surf socks are off the needles. I have knitted nothing else since putting them back on the needles on Tuesday, and finished late last night. I cannot count the number of times I had to frog back on these socks. Right down to the bitter end, when I was on one of the last rows of the last heel, the yarn wrapped itself around one of my lovely skull markers and when untangled, it left a loop of yarn that would have meant a big hole or sloppy large stitches in the heel.

Needles: I started with a size 1 Crystal Palace Bamboo Needle. It broke. I moved on to a size 1 Knitpicks circular. It made the legs too small. I finished the legs with an Addi Turbo size 2 circular. I also used a size 2 Knitpicks circular when frogging on the legs required separating the 2 socks so I could only frog one leg.

Yarn: Regia Surf Color

Pattern: Chevron from Sensational Knitted Socks. While I used the chevron pattern, I did not follow her sock pattern.

This was a stashbusting project, knit with clearance yarn I kept passing over. But look how much yarn is left! I still have to find a project to finish it off!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Back on the needles

It's been since May that I touched these socks. Ever since trying them on, moments before binding off, and discovering the legs were too tight and didn't fit over my heel. Today I slipped a needle into them in a row above the heel, and then wound all the yarn into a cake, including the frogged yarn.

Off the needles

One pair of Big Black Socks for Socks for Soldiers. Legs machine knitted by Nancy Maria, heels and feet by me, knit in Regia Stretch. I knitted on a size one needle, but I actually think that a 2 would have been perfectly fine.

Baby socks!


Needle: Addi Turbo Size 2
Yarn: Sockotta, 45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon. "bold stripe 5616"
Pattern: Peaks 'n' Valleys from Knit Socks!. What was interesting is that I had determined to do the sock in this pattern, and had intended to adjust it for infant dimensions, but the pattern actually has the measurements for a baby sock. I did change the heel to be a forethought heel, because I didn't like the fact that an "inline" heel would disrupt the stripe pattern. Having different coloured heels made me happy. :)


Details here

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lucky Lurker

transcript of morning chat

9:45 AM me: good gracious
that sock yarn i crave, duets...
she has a sock yarn club
that sold out in two hours
but she said she'd post some more spots at random
and i actually found a spot!
But I keep telling myself that $105 for 3 batches of yarn is ridiculous
I can't spend that!!
no no no no no no no no no no no no no no
i'm wanting to knit faster than i stash, ya know?
negative stash growth
but i'm failing on that front

10:07 AM Ember: Hullo
10:08 AM me: hi!
Guess what
Ember: I'm scared to ask

10:11 AM me: I talked myself into the duets club
Ember: Which reminds me that Interlacements lady says she's about to start a sock club.
me: sock clubs are so hip! the Interlacements lady would be stupid not to, eh? :)
I just decided that I've wanted this yarn for so long, and I've been pondering sock clubs for so long, and that I would consider that my yarn spending for the fall.
I will plan on not spending all fall, yep
uh huh
10:15 AM Ember: It seems like the only way to GET the Duets you keep wanting
me: yeah
that was one factor
Ember: I saw something called Duets and I almost bought it but it was obviously not what you like
me: awww, but thanks :)

end transcript

Clearly the lucky lurker spots aren't all that scarce, because everytime I go over she's posted another. I see it sell out, and another shows up. So wander on over to A Swell Yarn Shop and grab yourself a spot in the Lucky Lurker Club. Even non-lurkers like me can get a spot...

And since the yarn won't show up for a few months, hopefully I can make a stash dent before it arrives. I'm working hard on that, I am! If only I didn't have to go to work....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Desert Hiiumaa #1

For many years, my socks have been toe up, knitted simultaneously. Thus it is odd that all socks this month have been cuff-down, and some knitted one at a time. Desert Hiiumaa #1 is finished, I do not know when I'll make time to cast on #2.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I finished HP7 today at 12:37pm. Yes, I read insanely fast. I fell asleep last night at 1:30am, and woke up today at 7:30am, so I estimate that since getting the book in my hands I spent 6 hours sleeping and 6 hours reading. There was that drive home in the dark, during which I couldn't read, ya know.

... and I don't know what to say. There's that feeling of completion. I know how it ends. There's that feeling of loss. No more Harry Potter books.

My kids think that a midnight release party for a book is a normal thing. They discuss what they'd do at "the next one." It's crazy, this midnight release party thing. We ran into friends, the mom of my son's buddy, and she said her son was staying with his aunt in California. The shocking thing was, she reported, that the aunt had no intention of doing anything at midnight but sleeping. The boy had to wait until flying home today to get his hands on a copy of HP7. Poor boy. I was probably past the climax before he even held the book. None of them could understand the aunt... what do you mean, you're sleeping tonight? What about HP??

My 12 year old is curled up, 2/3 of the way through the book. He says he fell asleep at 4:30 last night, and set his alarm to be sure he was up by 10am. My husband is reading to our 8 year old, who is capable of reading it to herself, for the first time when an HP book is released, but the habit of him reading it to her is deeply ingrained. Now that I'm done reading, I spell him off, and alternately knit while listening. After devouring it at an indecent speed, participating in a read-aloud is a way to absorb far more of the details, and also to not let the whole experience be over.

Happy reading, all. (HP or not) :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Princess Academy

(crossposted to itbit)

I’ve read that adolescent girls read books about boys and girls with equal interest, but adolescent boys only read books about boys. Apparently my 12 year son has not yet gotten that memo, because when he saw The Princess Academy on my shelf, he asked if it were any good, and when I admitted I hadn’t read it, he handed it over as my next assignment. Now my son is as unprincessy as the next clumsy, ravenous, awkward, messy 12 year old boy, but he appreciates a good book as much as I do, and won’t let female main characters stand in his way of enjoying a story that ought to be enjoyed.

That said, he hasn’t read it yet, but I have, at his request. I started this book in the evening, when I got home from work yesterday and was all tuckered out. I had to put it down to go to a show downtown. The Fiery Furnace band sucked rocks. I sat there, knitting on big black socks, wishing I was somewhere cozy reading Princess Academy, my son wishing almost the same thing, only he’s reading The Golden Compass, my daughter complaining loudly “I’m booooored” and my husband pleading with the gods to stop the show before the end of the next interminable song. After that we heard Yo La Tengo, who were awesome, and drove thoughts of mountain top adventures straight out of my brain. Upon arriving home, I curled up in bed and finished the book.

Our copy is autographed, personalized for the true princess in the house, which just makes it a little extra special. This book is a Newberry Honor book, which explains its ubiquitosity in bookstores and libraries alike. You can totally see its Newberriness in the main character, who is a seething mess of self-doubts and misgivings. Naturally this story takes Miri, named for a little mountain flower that young girls wish upon, on a captivating journey from her self-loathing through self-discovery and towards self-actualization.

Truly my son is a card-carrying member of the Harry Potter generation, and prefers fantasy over any other book. This story has a small element of fantasy, and its pre-industrial setting has a flavour familiar to fans of fantasy. Set atop a mountain, cold and remote like I imagine the mountains of Tibet, the story takes place in a classic kingdom, where villagers work hard in the quarries, and trade their goods for everything they need to eat, wear and get them through the long, hard winters. A Cinderella-style story, where all the girls prepare to meet the Prince at a ball, it lacks a fairy godmother to set things right. Instead, the girls must rely on themselves, plus the strengths of their families, their community, and the very mountain on which they live. There is competition and cooperation, anger and reconciliation. With just a hint of magic, the true driving forces in this story is the characters, the setting, and the heart-pounding adventure of the climax. There’s a little romance, a nod to families and the ties that bind them together, and some appreciation of one’s home, seeing the good rather than the faults.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

six inch feet

My socks seem to be progressing together. I just measured the feet, and all measure six inches long.

Peruvian yarn!

LOOKIE! My #1Man just got back from Peru this morning, and the first thing that came out of his suitcase was two big packages of yarn. It's an undisclosed blend of wool, alpaca, and cotton, and very very soft. The English is cute, with "dray clean". His fourth summer in Peru, and the first time he actually saw yarn to buy me. I kept saying: Peru... alpaca... there must be yarn somewhere! But not necessarily in the touristy markets he was visiting with the groups. He didn't intend for it to be Christmasy colours, but the red and the green were, in his opinion, the best colours there.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Loopy Ewe Referral

I'm thinking about buying some yarn from the Loopy Ewe. I know they have a referral program. If some one wants me to use their referral, leave me a message directing me to their referral link, or however it works, and I'll use the first referral I get.

Friday, July 13, 2007

as always, more socks

Yes, I know there were THREE pairs of socks on the needles. No, I am not discussing the 2 pairs of mittens, 1 pair of gloves, the scarf and the shawl on the needles. Yes, I did start a new sock today. But it's just a baby sock! Even though the car is fixed, I did take the bus to deliver my #1Grrl downtown. And that bus that would take me back to work didn't show up. Sure, I was 15 min late back, but it was enough time to finish the yellow stripe.

And the Striped Soldiers officially left the needles tonight. Look at the amount of yarn left! I found the label for the yarn, and also note that it's for sale at theknitter.

Yarn: Regia 4-ply Mini-Ringel
Needles: Size 1 knitpicks circular.
Pattern: No pattern, just a standard toe-up sock with a forethought heel, 3x1 legs, 1x1 cuff, and an invisible bindoff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

gusset! legs!

Look! One gusset! Also, check it out, yet another needle for the BBS, this one the rapid-squirrel needle. This needle surfaced mysteriously out of the phone book today, specifically to be a gusset-holder.

My Striped Soldiers progress swiftly. There's been a lot of car troubles, and a lot of public transit, and a lot of sitting and waiting for a little ballerina, and that's all good for my most mobile project.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Simple Pleasures

It's hot here. Really hot.

The other day, I opened up to see what's going on in the world, and the biggest story they had was that it's hot, here in the west. Yes, it's hot, but since when is that news? It's always hot here!

So one thing we desert dwellers know is that when it's hot, ya gotta hydrate. Dehydration can be deadly and it strikes fast!

My point here, and I do have a point, is that today, I was in need of hydration, and what I really wanted was a delicious iced tea. That's when I got to looking at my water bottle, and noticed that it was microwave safe. Microwave-safe must also mean it can take heat, so I pulled out some Green Chai tea bags, and made some double-strength chai with hot water in my water bottle. When it was sufficiently steeped, I went to the ice machine and filled up my water bottle, diluting the tea to proper strength. A few packets of sugar rounded it out, and I had YUM ICED TEA.

I might take some soy milk to work tomorrow to make it a little creamier, too.

Stay cool, friends! Stay hydrated!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Heel, Rover, heel heel heel heel

This weekend I completed 5, count'em, 5 heels.

The desert Hiiumaa heel was started last Sunday on the road trip home. It was finished Friday evening soon after work.

From there, I got to work on the Striped Soldier Socks. Heel #1 was completed while watching Lord of the Rings with the kidlets. Heel #2 was completed the next morning, in the early hours while the kids were still asleep and I was having quiet-knit time.

I spent the rest of the Saturday knit time on BBS (Big Black Sock) #1 heel, finishing it before bed. Then Sunday morning quiet-knit time was dedicated to BBS #2. When knitting on the black got to me, I alternated for a few minutes knitting the baby hat. That heel was finished a few minutes ago.

I also had some road-trip knitting time. We carpooled with another family up the canyon, so I had a couple hours knitting time while chatting, with some one else doing the driving. That's when I progressed up the legs of the Striped Soldiers.

Baby hat!

Yarn: Sockotta (45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon)
Needles: Size 3 Addi Turbo
Pattern: Knit from i-cord on down until it fit. 120 stitches around.
Note: I purchased this yarn from Unfortunately, the picture on the site only shows the pink, orange, and yellow stripes. In actuality, the yarn has a jacquard row between each colour stripe. I'm anti-jacquard. It's my least favourite feature in a sock yarn. I am constantly seeking fine stripes without jacquard. I was very disappointed to find that this yarn had the jacquard in it. Instead of becoming a favourite pair of socks, I'm using it for other things, for people who won't spit in anger every time they see that little row of spottiness.

BBS Needles

Nancy Maria asked on her blog about needles for Big Black Socks for soldiers. I've been working on the heels of the BBS she sent me and had to take of a picture of the needles I'm using now. I have the resting side on a Knit Picks circular size 1 needle, the heels are being worked with Comfort Zone size 1 double points, and the resting sock was transferred onto a straight size 0 needle. Once I pick up the gussets, they'll both be on one circular, but for now it's a mess of needles!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

pair o'legs

Socks for Soldiers has members who knit using circular sock machines. These helpful members crank out machine-knit legs and send them on to members to finish by adding the heel and knitting the sock. I received two pairs of legs from Nancy Maria. Since this picture they've been put on the needles and will soon have heels.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

one more photo

Desert through the camera's lens, as seen by an 8 year old


Our newspapers are full of reports of deadly fires, in this dry, dry summer. I'm not sure which fire this is, but we drove around the point of the mountain into the next valley over, and were shocked to see it full of enourmous clouds of smoke. This is the view of the fire from the car, and as with most of my weekend's photos, it failed to express the magnitude of the subject.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Desert knitting, part two

We discovered a secret sandy cove... well, not so secret. Apparently savvy mothers everywhere know to take their kids there, and finally now we, too, know this secret. Parents can just sit down and rest, and the kids will climb and play in the sand to their hearts' content. It's an easy walk there, and it's almost completely in shade, so the family doesn't suffer from exhaustion, sun stroke, or dehydration from the journey. I got lots of knitting done this weekend! :)

Desert knitting

When I first received Knitting on the Road, I went through all the patterns, identifying which patterns I could knit from stash yarn. I was able to select several, including the Hiiumaa mismatched mates, which would be perfect for those half-skeins of pumpkin and evergreen Knitpicks Essential.

When the KOTR knitalong selected Hiiumaa for the June/July selection, I was excited, fully intending to knit these socks sometime during the available months. However, these socks were not originally on the must-pack list for my weekend desert trip. I had all my projects packed, when I thought, "Road trip, better take Knitting on the Road." So it was a last-minute thing, grabbing the KOTR book and the pumpkin and evergreen yarn. I started the first sock--on double points, no less!--immediately after finishing the Lithuanian Amber socks from the Folk Socks knitalong.

It wasn't until I was sitting in this swing, early in the morning,

gazing admiringly at this view,

while knitting these socks,

that I noticed that the socks were a perfect tribute to the desert. Just looking up at the cliff walls, I could see the exact colours of my yarn there, looming above me.

PS When I was ordering my Comfort Zone double points, I selected orange for my size 1 needles, and never really expected to actually be knitting some socks that would hardly show on the needles. Guess there's been a lot of orange in my knitting lately...

Desert fauna

It is rare that our family actually gets a weekend away. Despite living so close to some amazing geological wonders, we don't carve out enough time to go explore them. Our son spent the week in the southern desert, rafting on a river and learning about geology and astronomy out of the classroom, directly on location. This was a marvelous opportunity for us to take some time to leave the city behind and enjoy the southern Utah desert, and pick him up at the end of his odyssey. June/July is truly not the best time to head south, for the heat only increases the further south you go, however, I was willing to take what I could get.Our daughter was delighted to learn that our cabin was not only home to humans, but hosted a variety of desert fauna as well. Most exciting were the bunnies. They fearlessly hopped about our campsite, munching on green treats. Naturally she named them all, although most of them seemed to be "Howard". She ran about our cabin, searching for bunnies, shrieking, "Howard? Howard Bannister???"
We also saw a variety of raptors, a multitude of fascinating desert insects, bats, and many kinds of birds, but only was able to photograph the lizards.
We were standing on the trail, admiring this last fabulous lizard. A couple came up, and we let them pass. We thought it was obvious we were observing animal life, but they missed the cues altogether and stomped right up to the lizard, and were surprised when it dashed off the trail. The woman exclaimed "A visitor!" and the man was quickly cataloguing its stripes and spots as it vanished. We hiked off giggling, asking, "Who's the visitor?"

Lithuanian Amber Socks

The socks are finished! They came together after two hours in the car. Hooray for road trips, they make for fabulous bouts of knitting time! (Except when he makes me drive, inconsiderate man!)

Pattern: Lithuanian Amber Socks from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks
Yarn: Shepherd's Colour4Me
Needle: Inox size 5, which put me right on gauge.
Notes: I stepped down to a size 4 for the heel, which made the heel ridiculously small and I had to rip it out. I also had to increase the number of stitches picked up along the gusset by two on each side to make the heels fit better.