Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Winners and Losers

Have you ever purchased a book only to discover that it's not what it promised? I received my copy of Mother-Daughter Knits by Sally Melville and Caddy Melville Ledbetter and it is very disappointing. I love Sally Melville's books. Her knitting experience series is the bomb.

I looked forward to this one with the same excitement. I should have taken it as a sign when I kept getting javascript errors on the Knit Picks website and couldn't preview the book. First off, a significant number of the 'designs' aren't clothing therefore they can't fit or flatter. There are patterns for a headband, shopping bag and legwarmers to name a few. If either of these fall in the "fit & flatter" category please tell me where.

This book proposes to tell us how to fit our "hourglass" figure even if we don't have one. It's interesting that none of the models deviate from this hourglass norm. Don't get me wrong there are a couple of designs I would knit from this book, but I am extremely glad that I did not pay full price. I'll keep my hopes up that the next Melville book in the Knitting Experience series will be a winner.

On the bright side, I also received my copy of Sock Innovation by Cookie A. I've spent a significant part of today reading, re-reading and admiring the sock patterns. Besides being inspiring, Sock Innovation provides explanation and insight into the processes CookieA uses to create her fabulous designs. The cost of the book is worth it just for the patterns alone.

I've purchased several of CookieA's individual patterns and haven't knitted any. This is the extra little push that I need. After I finish the gray socks one of her designs will be my next sock project.

I gave the book to Mom to peruse. She doesn't like patterning on the feet, but after seeing this book she's willing to make an exception. I couldn't do anything but laugh.

So at the moment I'm batting 50/50. Could be worse.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

They're Playing Basketball

I love college basketball! I can't dribble and I can't shoot, but having grown up in a family with siblings who played on the high school and college level, I grew up with a strong understanding and appreciation of the game. The closest I came was score keeper for my high school team.

March Madness means almost round the clock viewing of both men's and women's basketball games. This results in very little knitting production. I tend to get caught up in the games and the knitting just sits idly in my lap. It's almost as bad as the Olympics.

I've managed to knit a few more pairs of baby socks.

They are nice and easy mindless knitting and look oh so cute. While knitting these it occurred to me that I never knit socks for any of my nieces or nephews when they were babies. Three of them got toddler socks. For some strange and unfathomable reason it never occurred to me to knit baby socks.

Through Ravelry I discovered the Dizzy Sheep. The site is run by The Village Yarn & Fiber Shop. They have new special every day called the "Daily Dizzy Deal". I ordered the Plymouth thinking it was white but it's natural. I was going to use it to make a sweater for my next door neighbor who wants me to knit her a white sweater. I'll save it for something else calling for DK weight.

The Mountain Colors Winter Lace was new to me and I just couldn't resist these two colors. The red is Ruby River and the blue Marias Fall. It is the same composition as JaggerSpun Zephyr.

I rewound the Kauni EA in preparation for a sweater. It is much easier to see the color repeats in cakes than in skeins. Two skeins out of the five had interrupted repeats.

I'm going to use a Fair Isle pattern from Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting. I'll be using Ruth Sorenson's Kauni Cardigan pattern as a guide. I've been fighting the temptation to jump into this project every since the yarn arrived.

I've completed all but two pieces of the Cassidy cardigan. I finished the left front over a week ago.

In the midst of watching games I kept making mistakes on the cables. I'm committing myself to finishing this during the remaining games even if it involves some ripping.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Change of Heart

In exchange for payment our knitting guild agreed to knit for the stork project at the church where we hold our meetings. I voted no and resisted knitting for this project. I hate to feel obligated to do something especially when it comes to knitting and would have much rather paid for the meeting room. This weekend I begin the first of many pairs of baby socks to come.

Pattern: My basic toe-up sock worked over 16 stitches.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino leftover from the Velvet-Edged Jacket
Needles: 2 US Inox dpn's
Started and completed: March 13, 2009

I began my 7th pair of socks using the Patons Kroy Sock that I got on sale at AC Moore when the skeins were 2 for $6.00. I using my basic toe-up pattern with 4 x 6 cables. This is the first time in a very long time that I've had to use a cable needle for cabling. It must be the combination of small stitches and small needles that is giving me a problem. Mom and I both wear a lot of black and I realized that we needed some black and/or gray socks to go with our wardrobes so I will be knitting several pairs.

So far, I've finished both sleeves and the left front of the Cassidy cardigan. This will more than likely be the last thing I knit for a while. I've got to institute some more lifestyle changes.

I got the results of a recent sleep test and found out that I have sleep apnea. My youngest nephew, Isaiah, told me that he doesn't like my snoring and on one occasion woke me up to stop it. My sister and mother have been complaining about it and that was my main reason for mentioning it at my yearly appointment with the sleep doc.

I'll have my CPAP test in two weeks to see if that will help me. In the meantime, the doctor told me that I am too fat and need to get skinny again. I have gained a tremendous amount of weight and have so far last 9 pounds in the past 7 weeks. With the dietary changes and exercise that I've already implemented I should be able to change my current status and improve my health. I'm looking forward to the continued good weather as I tend to get out more and thus will be more active. It's going to take some time, but I have plenty of that.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I have enjoyed knitting these socks but I am very disappointed with the yarn. I had 3 knots in the leg of the second sock. The colors were reversed after the second knot so the legs don't match. It's not that obvious and granted the socks are still pretty, however I really like for my socks to match. Perhaps this was another lesson in letting go of the need to control.

Pattern: Slipped-Stitch Rib Socks
Yarn: Red Heart Heart and Sole with Aloe Spring Stripe
Needles: 1 US dpn's for body of sock & 00 dpn's for picot edge
Size: 9.5
Started: February 2, 2009 Finished: March 12, 2009

I received a package from Knit-Purl that made me smile. My rainbow Kauni that had been on back order arrived Tuesday. I feared that I may not have enough for doing the color repeats so I order some more of this color and the pastel that I ordered for mom. I'd rather err on the side of caution and have too much than risk not having enough once I get started.

Spring has sprung in these parts. The daffodils are in bloom and the tulips are beginning to poke their heads up. On the way to my car after work I saw the flowers beginning to form on the dogwoods. As I've said many times before, this time of year always makes me glad that I live in the south. It is absolutely gorgeous when all the flowers are in bloom.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


In yesterday's Sockploration post I mentioned the picot edging. Below is a picture of the completed edging.

Since this was done on a toe-up sock, I had to sew the last row of stitches to the first. I found that to be the most time consuming part of the process. I love the results and will use this technique again. I used a needle two sizes smaller than the body of the sock, size 00, and knitted 7 rows before and after the picot row. I love the look on this pair of socks. It makes them even more feminine.

I'm very pleased with this pair of socks and must remember for future reference that slipped stitches pull the work in some. This sock is very snug but not uncomfortably so.

Sleeve #2 of the Cassidy pullover is almost finished. This sweater is shaping up really well and I'm sure that if I committed myself totally to this I would have it done in no time at all.

I recently discovered the patterns of cocoknits.com on Ravelry. I'm in love with Katarina. I have the perfect yarn in my stash, Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, in two colors for this sweater. My dilemma is that I bought this yarn with plans to make sweaters for my brothers a few years back. I know that my mother and I would take much better care of this yarn than they would, but I'm feeling a little guilty about re-purposing it. They don't know that I have plans to knit them sweaters given the sizes I would have to make. Do you ever buy yarn for someone and then use it for something else?

Sockploration - Adventures in Sock Knitting, Part III

**New techniques used since original post on 2/16/07 and update on 6/10/07. This is the third of ongoing updates of post begun in February 2007. I will be adding new methods of casting/binding off that I am exploring. I have changed the techniques category to needles since this title is a more appropriate description.

Last year I began a "Sockploration", a term coined for the ongoing exploration of the methods used in sock making including but not limited to cast-ons, turning heels, knitting toes and whatever other interesting little tidbits are discovered along the way. It all started with a fascination with toe-up socks and a quest for the "perfect" fitting sock. To date I've learned the following methods:

1. Short-row, yarnover heel (PGR) - Toddler Ringel Color Socks
2. Short-row no wrap - Isaiah's Ribbed Socks*
3. Toe-Up Heel Flap (Judy Gibson) – Generic Toe-Up Socks
4. Round Heel
5. Sherman Heel – Supersocke 100 Fun 765

Heel Flaps
1. Stockinette
2. Slip Stitch - Broadripples
3. Eye of Partridge - Laburnum*

Cast-Ons for Toe-Up
1. Figure-Eight - Lilac Lace
2. Magic Cast-On - Raked Leaves
3. Easy Toe - Champlain Sunset
4. Turkish Cast-On – Broad Spiral Rib*

Cast-Ons for Top-Down
1. Longtail Cast-On - Maze
2. Twisted German (English) Cast-On – Laburnum Socks*
3. Combination (English & Longtail) - Isaiah's Ribbed Socks*

1. 4/5 Dpn's - This is my favorite and first method I learned.
2. 1 Sock on 2 Circular Needles
3. 2 Socks on 2 Circular needles – 2 x 2 Rib
4. Magic Loop - Broad Spiral Rib (Great for portability. You don’t have to worry about dropping and/or losing dpn’s.)*

Casts-Off for Toe-Up
1. Knitted bind-off
2. Sewn bind-off - Marroko Color Socks**
3. Picot bind-off - Slipped-Stitch Rib Socks**

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Snow Day

Okay, I didn't get my snow day. The truth is I didn't even see a flake. Lot's of rain but no snow. The state did give us a delay until 10:00 AM which I took full advantage of.

I changed the sock plan and switched to the Slipped-Stitch Ribs from Sensational Knitted Socks. I wish the Heart and Sole came in more colors. I would by more of it in a heartbeat. The color is Spring Stripe and it lives up to its' name.

My mind is all over the place. I have so many things that I want to knit that I keep checking and reordering my Ravelry queue before I'm even close to finishing what I'm already working on. That thing I said about having too many options is proving to be my nemesis. I'm seriously thinking about taking one day to go through the queue and stash in order to create pre-assembled kits. Usually once I've worked out a plan it's easier for me to settle down and get on with the task(s) at hand .

I've always struggled with the need to be highly organized and once things start to get out of hand it throws my whole balance off. I'm a perpetual list maker and I manage my stash on not just one place but three. I track my projects in multiple places and with the exception of my stash blog I some how manage to keep them all updated without expending a lot of time. It's one of those little quirks that make me unique I guess. Some call it OCD.