Sunday, July 30, 2006

Beta Testing

Just so you don't think I'm skipping out of my beta-testing responsibilities to -- oh let's say to go float around in our next door neighbors' new pool (just used for the first time yesterday....not by me)-- here's a pic of me and my "consultant" hard at work.

Yes, Dot wants a pair of tube socks -- uh, 2 pairs of tube socks to fit her "petite but well-endowed" legs.

Come to think of it, those are my criteria too!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Busy, Busy....

I'm one of a lucky bunch of Mac-using sock-knitters that gets to Beta Test a new Sock Wizard program this weekend! So stay tuned to your favorite internet station (just kiddin') for news about its impending release. It's really quite NIFTY!!

I probably won't have a chance to post anything more for the next week or two due to my upcoming trip to give aid and comfort to the Momster, who's having surgery next week.Please say a prayer of health and wellbeing for her!


Monday, July 24, 2006

Couldn't Resist

After spending SO much time on those Trekking socks, I just couldn't quit cold turkey.... so I created a "Mini-It"! AAAWWww .......

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Socks Finally Finished!

Here they are -- those sole-sucking socks are done. I still need to learn how to fit a short row heel to my foot, allowing for a high instep (who knew!?!), but I'll approach that "scientifically" with my next pair of Fortissima Cotton socklets.

I've done some more Kool Aid dying (although I used Flavor Aid from the Dollar Store). Here is my VERY RED mini skein in Tropical Punch:

I figured I'd use the sun's power to help "cook" this skein on one of the really hot days this past week. It was fun looking out of the window to see when the color had been sucked up into the skein. Very fruity smelling even though I washed it out.

I think I have one more pic done on my new camera........hmmm, what was it?

Oh yeah, I'd added an earphone pocket to my iPod cozy. I think it looks quite spiffy. I'm writing up the directions for knitting this cozy and will post it here soon.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bits of Stuff

Boy, it's been so hot the past few days! Makes it real hard to concentrate on anything for very long. So this post is going to take its own form.

New toys:
(1) I bought myself a present last week: a new type of spindle that spins like a noisemaker (gragger, for you Purim observers). What's really cool about this is that you can be sitting down and spin yarn out to the side instead of vertically down. I'll let you know how it works. It's called the Rakestraw Spinner.

(2) DH gave me the most wonderful anniversary gift -- a new digital camera! This pic of it is hopefully the last picture I take with my old camera. The LCD screen is HUGE compared with that of my loyal but technologically-handicapped Cybershot.

Knitting Progress:

(1) The Trekking socks are in their final stage of knitting. I'm on the cuff ribbing and it looks like I'll have a Ta-Da! pic up by next week. I think that I'll give these to my Mom so that she can wear them into the operating room when she has surgery next month. I always find that a pair of handmade socks helps "breaks the ice" with the OR staff before I'm put under anesthesia. Usually it's the OR nurse who notices first; she can't keep her hands off of them once she realizes (you tell her of course) that they're handmade. Then she apologizes for having fondled your feet without permission. You've just scored a point! No longer are you an anonymous "body" on the surgical slab table; You are that neat person with luscious socks. Or better yet: My mom will be that person who has someone who loves her enough to make her beautiful, handmade socks!

(2) A not-so-successful project was my attempt to knit a mug cozy. It ended up too big for even the biggest mug. Did I do a guage swatch? No, I didn't -- the whole darn mug cozy is about the same size as a guage swatch. Grrrr. Only afterward did I ask myself: why would I want a mug cozy? Idunno...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Box O' Fun from Yarnball

There's nothing more exciting than coming home and finding a box on your front step....Unless it's a box that has a message on it that says, "From your Secret Pal." Yes, the mysterious Yarnball has struck again!

So what did my Secret Pal gift me with this time? Oh me, oh my -- my sneaky spoilster sent me not only the book Folk Shawls, the book that I'd "snuck a peak" at at Amazon. com and developed a yen for. She ALSO sent me the most beautiful lace weight yarn -- Shimmer 70%alpaca/30%silk in an amazing colorway, "Turquoise Splendor." I'd looked at this yarn when contemplating what to use for the Mystery Stole KAL, but the online pic didn't do it justice. Oy, in person it is amazing!!!
Here's a pic of my "haul":

No, my pic doesn't do it justice either. Just take my word for it....the yarn is glorious!

Now, I realize that I'd given up on the Mystery Stole KAL, saying that lace-weight is too fiddly. I will ammend that statement: Given the patterns in the book, and this wonderful yarn, I WILL knit lace-weight. This yarn is my temptress. First I will "cut my teeth" on a shawl with a thicker yarn. Then -- once I know what I'm doing -- I will go at it. Thank you for the motivation, Yarnball!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What Was I Thinking?

Lace? What was I thinking? I'm just not that kind of a girl! T-shirts, sweats, jeans, nice tight-knit socks -- that's the kind of girl I am. I got half-way through the swatch for the Mystery Stole KAL 2 and realized that this is just too fiddly for me. The yarn is toooooo thin, and the needles are, relatively speaking, just toooooo big. Okay, so I was using a size 3 circular needle with the Alpaca Cloud lace-weight..... but I'm used to fingering weight yarn on a size 0. And the idea of blocking not just this fiddly little swatch, but a WHOLE stole -- if I got that far. Bye bye lace. Now maybe I'll try it some day using fingering weight yarn. But for now there's just too many other things I'm interested in learning: cables, intarsia, fair isle, spindle spinning, dyeing.... I've got a lot of knitting to do!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Just in time for this Red, White, and Blue holiday, I've finished my pair of Magic Stripes socks. As you might remember, I cast on and started this toe-up pair as a "relief" for the "Sole-Sucking Socks," which wouldn't heel. This pair was no slam dunk either; I had to rip out and re-knit the last two rows of the cuffs (I do 2 at once on a long circular needle) because the bind off rows were too tight. I love the garter rib pattern that I used on the leg - it's so easy: Row 1 = K2, P2; Row 2 = K; Rinse, lather, repeat. The cuff rows are a K1P1 rib and the bind off is the Aloha Cast Off (a crochet cast off with an extra stitch). Extra Stretchy!

An update on those SSS: I have AGAIN pulled out and restarted the heel. This time, though, I'll stick with what I know and use the gusset-increase, no-wrap, no gap heel from Crazy Toes and Heels. Hopefully, I've calculated correctly... tune in for further info.

I promised that I would explain Project Swatch Watch. Search as I have, I can't find any source that can tell me how to compare one stitch pattern with the dimensions of another....without having to do the dreaded guage swatch each time. So I thought: if I kept a record of basic stitch swatches, all standardized to the same yarn, needle size, stitch and row numbers -- then I could compare one stitch pattern dimensions to another! I would know, for example, that a swatch 30 stitches across and 40 rows down, using Red Heart's TLC worsted weight yarn with US size 8 needles in a X pattern has the measurements Y inches by Z inches. So this is what I'm going to do. I have already knit up a swatch of garter stitch and one of stockinette stitch (a *itch to block!). I'll post these next time; I'm contemplating adding a border of garter stitches to make the swatches easier to block.

Until then, Happy July 4th!!

Eat.....and drink.....responsibly!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

And Now a Word from Your Sponsor

It is a beautiful Sunday. I'm getting geared up to start my first lace project AND my first Mystery KAL -- the Mystery Stole KAL 2. I'm going to use Alpaca Cloud in Tidepool. I'm working on my test swatch and boy, it IS a learning curve. 2.5 mm Addi Turbos, so comfortable in my hand with sock yarn, is a whole different creature when it comes to using lace weight! I'll post my swatch when it's done. But first, I will visit The Dump....

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