Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ode to Socks and Summer

I'm really getting into socks. Still working on the size 0 (that's ZERO) needles and am actually having a good time with 'em. Took them with me to my son's Back to School Night and knitted during the whole thing. That's the fun part about being a parent - you can get away with stuff like that at school.

There's a new group in Ravelry, Frankensocks, that I just joined. The group is taking all the bits and pieces of left-over sock yarns that you have hanging around and putting them together in some kind of a sock. All while reading Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, which I have to say I've never opened. Book club & KAL starts in October. Sound scary yet?

I can't believe that August is gone - it feels like the Summer never really got going this year and now it's gone. September is when the playtime of Summer turns to the responsibility of Autumn. It's when the oppressive heat eases up with a sigh of relief. The last of Summer produce but the start of apples. Halloween. The crispness of November air. Fire going in the wood stove. Steamy hot chocolate on a cold afternoon.

Almost sweater-making time...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Socks Good!

Since I put down the illegal shrug, I've started a pair of socks (basic pattern #3 from WendyKnit's book, 'Socks from the Toe Up'). I thought I'd have a hard time of it with the size 0 needles, especially since I was working on these while traveling (plane ride then really long car ride), but I didn't!

The needles have a great deal to do with the ease I've had, I think - two 16" Addi Turbo Lace needles, size 0. They're sharp and metal (and rather lethal looking - I'm surprised I was able to take them on the airplane), so things have been whizzing right along. I've got the foot done on one sock and am starting the toe on the other. (I like to work both socks at the same time, section by section - do one section first and then switch over to the other sock and do that part. I get both done that way. I wouldn't otherwise - ask me how I know.)

Cute self-striping yarn, Lana Grossa Meilenweit colorweed (whatever that means in German. Ironically, the yarn is made in Italy. Go figure.). It has subtle stripes in blue demin/grays and should go well with jeans.

I'm having fun with this and I didn't think I would. My hands aren't cramping at all and it's going along much faster than I anticipated. So far, so good - I might be done with my crash & burn streak (I hope!).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Train Wreck

I hate it when a good plan goes South.

You all know I've put my sweater making on hold for a while in order to lose some weight (no point in making anything I won't be able to wear in a couple of months), but recently I tried to "cheat" by making a shrug that really only covers the shoulders. Just one little shrug!

I should have known better. Anytime I try to break the rules - or even bend them - I get caught. Things should have been OK - this wasn't a sweater, after all.

Got the pattern out of the new Interweave magazine, so I thought it would be a good pattern, well written & all. Who knows, it may be a good pattern and the problem could just be me (wouldn't be the first time, nor will it be the last), but my project looks like an old, beat-up rug that got left out in the rain and dried up all funny.

This piece is not at all attractive. Not sure if I want to keep going to see if any faith I can scrape up for it is justified, or just kill the thing and unravel. Historically speaking, it usually takes me a couple of tries before I get things right, so maybe I just need to try again. Think I'll put it aside for a couple of days and think about it.

Hope all your projects are going better than mine!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Self-Challenge Tanked

Have you ever noticed that when you try to set a goal - let's just say finish a shrug by Friday - that you will find yourself too busy to even knit? From like, the minute you decide to start your new challenge until you realize it's hopeless and you will NEVER finish the item? Life has conspired against you in a huge cosmic way so that not only can you not finish your project, you can't even find time to pick up the needles? Yup, me too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Diets Suck

Since I have been on a diet I've lost almost 30 pounds. This means that most of my clothes no longer fit. ALL of my handknit sweater no longer fit, but it's OK because it's summertime in Sacramento. I don't want to start any new sweaters because I intend to lose more weight. That just makes sense, doesn't it? I think so.

But I've been itching to work in a heavy worsted/bulky yarn. I love making sweaters. Instead I told myself to concentrate on things where size is not so much an issue, like socks or shawls. I also told myself to not buy any more yarn for a while until I have my out-of-control stash under better management. I have plenty of yarns to work with while I'm off making sweaters.

So, to keep myself more interested in socks, I ordered the "Socks from the Toe Up" book by Wendy D. Johnson. Going toe-up makes sense since you can just stop when the yarn runs out. Very practical.

I received the book (ordered online) and opened it up. Such lovely patterns! Then I noticed the needle size for that pattern. It was a 0.

I don't have any 0's. Never used them. I generally like the the 7-13 size range. The smallest I've ever tried were a 1 and it felt like I was knitting with toothpicks. A 0?! Yikes! But maybe there were other patterns that used a larger needle. I was optimistic until I kept turning the pages.

Next pattern - 0. The next one the same. Panic set in as I realized that every pattern in the book called for a 0. Then I got to the last section in the book. Those last 3 patterns use a size 2 needle. Whew! Saved at the very end.

Then I got to thinking, maybe I could try a 0. The material would certainly be much better for socks, more sturdy, durable and all that. OK. I'll try it. Except I don't have any 0's.

The it hit me - Filati's was having a great anniversary sale. I didn't need any yarn but I could go with a friend who had a gift certificate burning a hole in her pocket and get some needles. Cool.


Why is it whenever you put yourself on a yarn diet the most fantastic sales come up? I found some beautiful bulky yarn for about $3.00 a skein to use for a yummy cable sweater I've been wanting to do in a gorgeous burgundy. It had my name all over it, so I bought it (I know - shame on me!). I took it home and did a test swatch to see how the gauge was. It matched perfectly! Oh, how exciting! I almost never get gauge on the first try with the size stated. That sweater would become a reality...

...except I'm not making myself any new sweaters right now.

The yarn is now sitting there looking so lonely. It wants to get used for that cute cable sweater but it can't right now. So sad...

But I got the needles - two Addi Turbo Lace circulars size 0 and a set of dp's. My heart's not in it, though.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Energy-Sapping Chair

I swear, I always have good intentions. I will do x, y, and z when I get home. Do I? No - I sit down and it's game over. It never seems to hit me how tired I am until I sit down. I think the chair is sapping all my energy....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Knitting is Cool

I sat in a coffee shop this morning - no, it wasn't anyplace really cool like Naked Coffee or my favorite, Chocolate Fish - I like the independents - it was Starbuck's, but it was all about location today.

I had about an hour to kill while I was waiting for my son to finish some things nearby and a coffee sounded nice. As I sat there waiting I watched the people in the shop. They were all very busy looking, typing away at their laptops (I'm sure it was something impressive) or talking in a group of two or three people, looking glamorous and vibrant.

There I was sipping coffee while trying to figure out how to open the fruit and yogurt parfait cup Hey, it was hard - they had a separate container for the granola. I was trying to pry that section out and was educated by the nice girl at the counter when she simply lifted the granola section out of the main cup. Embarrassing...

Anyway, here were all these important people doing all sorts of important looking things and there I was just trying to open a plastic cup. I felt I was way out of my league. Then to make things even more frumpy for myself ('cause I'm normally such a glam girl), I pulled out my knitting.

I had people coming up to me. Me! Asking about the yarn and the pattern I was using, comparing which needles we all liked, etc. I met one lady who was really into sewing and had just started sewing knits and I discussed stash habits with another woman who had just gotten back from Filati's big sale. It was so cool! The hour passed by quickly and I felt like I was hanging out with friends. Could have done that all day, I had so much fun.

Knitting just has this magic way about it bringing people together, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Da Belle

The Colonnade shawl is done and the yarn really made a difference. I love this shawl and can't wait to wear it this winter!

I've started a new pair of socks - the pattern is Belle Epoque out of the 2-at-a-time socks book. The yarn is a deep red superwash from Lang yarns called Jawoll. Pretty...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Knitting for Myself

I've been doing some knitting for myself receintly. I normally knit for other people. I like the process of knitting, but honestly, I live in California and so I really don't need much cold weather stuff.

Since I am actively trying to lose weight (24 pounds so far), I don't want to make any sweaters for myself right now. My old ones no longer fit, but I want to shed more weight and feel I should wait until I have met my goal, or have at least steadied out. So, that means I get to work on socks, shawls, etc.

I finished the Tabi socks and let me tell you - they're really fun to wear! I like the pattern so much I think I may make my daughter some. (I know, I get a pattern I like and then do it over and over...) I also finished a simple scarf with a funky yarn - AslanTrends "Tango" with the color "Rust Paradise" (it has nice big slubs at a fairly regular interval - makes for a cute look). I cast on 18 stitches on a size 15 needle and went with a garder stitch until I ran out of yarn. This color is gold, red, and brown - lovely Fall colors - and should add a nice bit of color to a sweater or light jacket this Autumn.

Next on the needles is a shawl pattern from Knitty, the Colonnade Shawl from Fall 2009. I made this before with some cheap acrylic yarn and it turned out looking like a 70's poncho reject. I did like the lace part even with the bad yarn, so I decided to try it again using better stuff. Trying it with Jojoland Rythm, a cute superwash that changes all these really cool colors.

Been thinking about starting another pair of socks, but I need to finish this shawl first. That's OK, it will give me time to think about what kind of socks I'd like. I have some soft, pretty green yarn to work with - maybe some cozy cables? Hmmm... I think the decision process is sometimes just as fun as the knitting process!