Archive for October, 2006

Happy Halloween!

The blog is all dressed up! Trick or Treat!

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Clap Cam, Day 6 – and a Socktober Update

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After almost three whole torturous Clap-free days, I finally got out to Sophie’s to buy another ball of Lion and Lamb. I didn’t have much time to work on it, but as you can see, I’ve made it the fourth dropped stitch. Wheee!!! I can confirm the rumors. Dropping the stitches is pure exhilaration. It makes those long rows worth it! Clapotis has officially grown so large that it’s somewhat unwieldy to photograph well, so excuse the crappy pictures. These were taken Wednesday, after four repeats. As of today, I’m on repeat seven of section three. It’s nice to know that I can overcome my cast on ADD, given the right pattern, yarn and motivation.

In other news, I am feeling like a big fat Socktober failure. The first Top Secret Sock is finished, and the second one is underway, but after several false starts and an ungodly amount of ripping out, many hours of work has only yielded a couple inches. Fortunately, the yarn I’m using isn’t any worse for the frogging and, at least for the time being, the sock seems to be under control.

I had hoped to finish the Top Secret Socks by the end of the month, finishing Socktober with a bang, but that doesn’t seem extremely likely. On the plus side, the birthday I’m knitting these for is actually a bit farther away than I thought, so it’s not like I don’t have time.

I can’t believe I forgot to show these until now, but I actually started another sock in Lion Brand Simply Stripes a couple weeks ago. I know, I know, I’d probably be finished with Top Secret Sock if I hadn’t cast on for the other one, but I couldn’t help it! I was hypnotized by Susan Bates! Who can resist the siren song of brand new, extra-shiny DPNs?                                                                                                 
Stripey3 I love these needles, and the yarn is pretty nice, especially for Lion Brand. I’m normally not big on self-striping yarns, but it’s kind of addictive watching the colors change all on their own. The yarn was a gift from my blogless knitting buddy, Colleen, and the needles cost a whopping three dollars. That’s cheaper than buying socks in the store! What a bargain!
 

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Clap Cam, Day 2

I am in love.
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After what could only be described as a marathon of Clap knitting last night, and about 4  more hours of Clap knitting today, I’m done with Section 2 and about about three repeats into Section 3. I had thought that by this point I would be bored with it, but this scarf has really captivated me. Is it the sheer wonderfulness of the yarn? The clever increases, decreases, and twisting stitches? Or is it the fun of getting to drop stitches on purpose? I don’t know, but I am totally obsessed!

I would probably still be working on it right now, but I ran out of yarn so I have to wait till I can get to the yarn store on Wednesday. *SOB*

Since I had to put my Clap down, I decided to do something semi productive and relocate my yarn to the living room, strategically positioned so that I can stare at my stash during commercials. I cleared off my smallest bookshelf and let Inspector Louie make sure it was yarn-ready.
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I’m pretty sure he approves. The final result:
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Clap On!

Fall is in the air! The leaves outside my apartment are starting to turn (though they’ll still be mostly green for a couple more weeks), and it’s starting to get nippy out there! Autumntrees

And every knitter knows that when it’s just starting to get, a scarf is the perfect accessory to keep you warm and happy without having to pull out you winter parka just yet. Miraculously, about the same time I was thinking about needing a scarf, Sophie’s started carrying Lorna’s Laces, which just happens to be the yarn used for the world famous Clapotis.

Can you see where this is going?

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Yesterday I cast on for my very own Clapotis, about two years behind everyone else. The yarn is Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb in Watercolor. So far I’m in love, but I am kind of dreading those long, long rows in the middle of the scarf.

As you can see, I decided to forego stitch markers in favor of purling all the stitches that will be dropped later on. In addition to the benefit of saving on endless stitch markers, it adds a little interest to the purl rows.

Finally, it’s been a while since there’s been a Weight Watchers update around here, which you can probably figure out means that I haven’t been doing all that great with my diet. But I’ve been working hard on it for the last couple weeks, and I’m down to 306.4 pounds! I can’t believe I’m so close to being out of the 300’s. It sure does feel good to see those numbers going down again!

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Sophie’s Xmas Swap Questionnaire

Because apparently all I can manage to accomplish on the blog these days is respond to questionnaires…  (thanks to Stephani for paring this Xmas swap list down from the Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire.)

1. What is your favorite yarn? Is there a yarn/fiber you really hate?

As you probably already know if you’ve known me for a while, I’m a certified yarn snob and definitely prefer natural fibers. Two things I’m not so wild about are mohair (it makes me itch) and self-patterning sock yarns. Some yarns I’m very into right now are the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Cascade Fixation, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, and anything Noro.

2. What do you use to store you needles, projects, and gadgets in?

A haphazard assortment of baskets and boxes that you can find randomly strewn about the house. Oh, and ziploc bags.

3. Do you have an Amazon wish list?

Probably, but I’m pretty sure that posting it wouldn’t be worth the time it would take to clean it up.

4. Do you like candies and sweets? Specifically…

Pretty please, no sweets, unless your goal is to destroy my diet. Yarn is sweet enough.

5. Do you practice any other crafty habits?

I’m flirting with spinning and trying to get into scrapbooking, but my primary craft is (and most likely always will be) knitting.

6. What type of music do you like? Hate? Are you MP3 compatible?

My musical tastes range far and wide. I know a lot of people who say they have eclectic tastes, but I really mean it! I enjoy punk, rap, opera, country (especially old school country like Johnny Cash), soft rock, jazz, techno, hippie folk songs, oldies, dance…. I could go on but I guess you get the point. If I had to choose an all time favorite band, I’d probably have to go with Bad Religion. (What can I say? They sing what I think.) Crossbuster I practically live on my Ipod, so yeah, I’m MP3 compatible.

7. What is your favorite color? Is there a color you don’t like so much?

I tend to be drawn to purples and pinks and bright primary colors, but I’m pretty open to anything that doesn’t resemble cat puke.

8.Do you like hats, mittens, scarves, ponchos?

Hats: Yes.
Mittens: Yes, and fingerless gloves are pretty rockin’ too.
Scarves: Yes.
Ponchos: Only if I’m entering a costume contest dressed as a sofa.

9. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes!! And I promise, I’m am a deeply satisfying knitted gift recipient. You are pretty much guaranteed that your gift will result in squealing and jumping up and down. What more could a knitter ask for?

10. What is your needle preference?

I’m on the hunt for Susan Bate’s DPN’s in sizes 3 and below. I’ve discovered that I love them for sock knitting, deeply and passionatley. Bonus: they are a bargain, usually less than three dollars a set. But I’m having trouble finding small sizes. So far all I have is a lonely set of two’s. Of course, if you have deep pockets, I love Addi Turbos and Crystal Palace bamboo straights.

11. Is there anything you collect?

I know this might be shocking but…. YARN. Also, anything to do with panda bears.

12. Are there any books, magazines or patterns you are currently coveting?

I’ve been hoping to get my hands on the Ann Norling Spiral Rib hat pattern for quite a while now. The only Elizabeth Zimmerman book I have right now is Knitting Without Tears, and I’d love to have them all. Also, this isn’t knitting related but I’m reading the Chintz ‘n China mystery series, and I have all of them except for the second book, Legend of the Jade Dragon. Tragically, the series is out of print. So if you think you might have a copy laying around, I’d love to have (or borrow) it!

13. What size are your feet?

Somewhere between sailboat and submarine.

Seriously, they’re pretty big. I usually wear a 10 or 11, depending on the brand of shoe. And I have large ankles and calves to match.

I’m the kind of person who just gets tickled at getting any kind of present, so I’m pretty easy to please. Don’t stress it too much!

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Socktober Survey!

1. When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
Last February I bought Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and I was off to the races!

2. What was your first pair?  How have they “held up” over time?
Technically, my first pair of socks was the Jazz Socks from Weekend Knitting, but I think they barely count because they’re basically just a knitted tube that you graft at the end and then put in an afterthought heel. Jazz1
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They have all of the classic beginning sock knitter mistakes: one is about twice the size of the other, one of the heels looks like it was grafted inside out, and the cuffs are so tight that wearing them for more than a few minutes might result in the need to amputate a leg or two. But my feeling is, the first time you knit socks, if you get something that even remotely resembles something that might fit someone’s foot…. you’ve succeeded.

Still, I consider these my first real pair.

3. What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I have pretty limited experience with sock yarns so far, but I can tell you that I don’t enjoy knitting with Fortissima sock yarn, though it does seem to be holding up pretty well even with repeated machine washing and drying. I’m really drawn to Koigu, Mountain Colors, Lorna’s Laces, and Socks That Rock for their fascinating colors.

4. Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
Well, I learned using the 2 circulars so that’s the method I know best, but I’m never opposed to trying new techniques. I’m in the process of learning how to use DPNs, which is proving to be a lot of fun. I love my new Susan Bate DPN’s! They’re awesome!

5. Which kind of heel do you prefer?  (flap? or short-row?)
Once again, I haven’t done anything but a heel flap yet. I think short row heels look better, but I have concerns about them being kind of fidgety to knit, and also about their durability.

6. How many pairs have you made?
You mean I can’t count individual socks? To date I’ve completed 2 pairs, and that’s counting the Jazz disaster socks. But I have a lot of socks that either don’t have a mate yet or I stopped and pulled off the needles halfway through for one reason or the other.

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While I Was (Not) Blogging….

So I know you’re all just dying to know: what has been keeping me from blogging for the past month or so? Have I caught the bird flu? Been taking tap dancing lessons? Hunting the mighty hodag? Learning to play the pan flute?

Sadly, I have none of these fine excuses. I am just a bad knit-blogger who never gets around to updating and will probably be punished with lots of dropped stitches and broken DPN’s.

Here’s what I actually have been doing:

I cast on for the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, using Rowan Tapestry in the Potpourri color way. I made it through about a foot of the scarf before I threw in the proverbial towel. Why? The yarn is fabulous, the pattern is easy to memorize and fun to knit, and it was a lot of fun watching the colors fall into nice little zig-zag stripes. The problem is it rolls. Failedchevronscarf

Now, maybe this wouldn’t bother you, but I know that that roll would haunt me until the day I died. I knit on for a while in the false hope that maybe it would block out, but I was warned by Liz, who made the same scarf a while back, that no amount of blocking would help the roll. The final nail in the coffin was seeing the scarf on Knit and Tonic in the Loser’s section. If Wendy thinks it’s a loser, I feel like finishing it means that I’ve lowered my standards. (Oh, and the fact that it’s a six foot long scarf knit on size 3 needles didn’t do much to help its case either.)

I wasted a good week on that scarf, but by the time I was done I was much too emotionally exhausted to blog about the whole debacle.

I think I may have cast on for a few small projects in the weeks before I started what I’m working on now, but I’m not totally sure. I just realized that I now cast on enough projects without finishing them that I don’t even remember them all. Now that is scary!

Last week I was browsing the fiction at Target when I happened across Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LeZebnik and bought it on a whim. I try to read all of the "knitting fiction" I come across because I feel obligated to do so as part of the knitting community. Even if it’s not something I would normally go out of my way to read, I think it’s important to support endeavors that you would like to see more of, and I would love to see more books where characters knit as if it’s an indispensable part of their lives. Some of those books I haven’t been all that impressed with, but this has been a really fun read and I wholeheartedly grant it the Golightly Seal of Approval.

Knittingundertheinfluence That pink blob sitting next to my book is the beginnings of Fetching from the Summer ’06 issue of Knitty. I taught myself how to cable with a cable needle for this project, using Grumperina’s fantastic tutorial. (Thank you Grumperina!!) I’m using Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, but I’m not convinced that it’s really the best yarn for the job. I had intended them to go with a cabled hat that I made as a gift for non-blog reading friend last year. The hat never made it to the friend, but I figured if I made some cute little cabled gloves to match and gave her the set this Xmas, it would make up for her abandonement last year. Cabledhat_1

Last but certainly not least, I signed up for Socktoberfest (go sign up here if you haven’t already- better late than never!) I’ve been working on a pair of socks that i just adore, but here’s the deal- I can’t show you the socks yet! A certain someone has a birthday coming up and I just can’t ruin the suprise! I have to say that it is pure pleasure knitting socks for a recipient who doesn’t have calves the size of tree trunks (i.e. myself).
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Well, there you have it folks. I’ve posted at long last. Hopefully you’ll forgive me for the long, silent space in between postings, and hopefully there won’t be too many of those in the future!

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