Saturday, February 25, 2006

Finished Olympic Socks

I finished my project for the knitting Olympics tonight! Yea! I'm finished. I'm glad I signed up for Yarnharlot's challenge. I learned several new techniques and I finally got over "sock fear". I learned all the different part of sock, turning a heal, and of course kitchner stitch. Although I'm lucky that kitchner stitch wasn't the only element. I'm not proficient in that yet. But it was a lot of fun.

I didn't really get second sock syndrome, but as soon as the first was finished it seemed unfair that I had to wait to have a pair of finished socks. So for my next pair, I will try two on two needles. I'm also going to treat myself and get a book on sock knitting, Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch.

I'll be keeping all my sock yarn and of course getting some more. My husband liked them too; even tried them on. Now he's waiting for his own pair.

Monday, February 20, 2006

D is for Deer

These five little deer are about 15-20 feet away from our garage doors. They are standing just off our driveway in the front yard. They actually visit on a regular basis. Usually they stop by early evening around 5:30 pm. I'm guessing its the same group - it is always about five of them. Usually they don't get any closer to the house than this - but one time I did see a couple standing on the front porch as we drove up the driveway.

When we first moved into the house we thought we might put out food or a mineral lick out so we could watch the deer from our back porch over our morning coffee. But it seems that the flowers I plant are attraction enough. They seem extremely interested in my perennial hibiscus. The plants are supposed to get about 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide and covered with big blooms. But these deer make a snack out of all the leaves and flower buds as soon as they appear. So I've never seen much more than a bare stick poking out of the ground. So we won't be putting out anything else to encourage them. I can't even count on the dog chasing them away. Sherman, our great protector, will bark at his reflection in the window, but is not at all bothered by the deer in the yard. Even when they are only a few feet away.

I know that this picture isn't the best quality. It was taken through a closed double pane window in our house. It is hard to get any closer to them without them running off.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Olympic Update

I am almost finished with my first sock! For such a small piece of knitting this is a huge feeling of accomplishment. Part of the accomplishment is just overcoming my own procrastination thing I had going, but I am actually learning new skills too. I think if you can get used to the toothpick like needles and the thin yarn, you can knit socks too. Socks are pretty easy if you keep the pattern simple. I realize that this is a lot of talk from someone who has yet to actually complete a sock.

This project is going a little quicker than I thought it would. I began the first sock on Friday evening as I sat down to watch the opening ceremonies. I am not a big fan of ribbing, but the leg part was easy to start and things were going well. On Saturday I was ready for the heel flap. So, I reread the pattern and could feel the same old hesitance coming back. I mean that turning the heel part was just around the corner. I have read directions for turning heels and shaping gussets ad nausea. And I just couldn't picture what was supposed to happen. I know what a sock looks like and I understand how to read a pattern, but there was no way my mind was connecting those two things. So the easiest thing to do was knit something else and I have done this for a year. I have just never been able to get past this in a pattern and start a sock. This is why I decided on socks for my Olympic project.

The most helpful piece of advice I got was don't think, just do it. Follow the pattern and it will work out. And of course it did! I really now understand why people are so crazy for knitting socks!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

Today is the beginning of the Knitting Olympics. There are over 4000 knitters ready to begin a new personal knitting challenge. Right now I'm at work wishing I was home. I have all of the necessary tools waiting for me as soon as I get there. I am ready to place all my other projects on hold and concentrate on one single goal for the next 16 days. I am set to finally knit my first pair of socks and actually complete them. If I don't complete the socks in the allotted time, I have threatened to trade away all the stashed sock yarn I have. I'm not willing to let it come to that.

Anyway, my goal is to complete a pair of socks using the two circular needle method before the Olympic flame is extinguished in Torino on February 26. I'll be using size 1 Addi Turbos and Opal sock yarn from the Rainforest Collection in Parrot. The colors kind of have a red white and blue Olympic spirit.

I'll be using the two circular method because I just cannot figure out how to hold a set of double pointed needles and keep their movement coordinated. I've tried it. I didn't like it at all. It sucked all the fun right out of knitting. So I got Cat Bordi's book Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles and learned the technique. I actually learned this last fall. I just haven't started any socks yet. I did manage to complete a spiral putter cover for hubby. He seemed pleased with the cover. I liked using the two circular needles a lot. Plus it is another great excuse to stock up on more sizes of Addi Turbos. I love those needles. This still doesn't justify having all that sock yarn stashed away though. I havn't knitted one sock and have stashed away enough sock yarn for over a dozen pair. This sock yarn thing does not relate at all to my stockpiled Kureyon though. That is completely different of course. I have completed many projects using that yarn and actually all that Kureyon is waiting to become already specified projects. Most will be turned into gifts for this Christmas. I can totally jsutify that part of the stash. But this sock yarn is different. I think I should have to complete at least one pair of hand knit socks to justify buying more sock yarn. I want more sock yarn. How can you not like sock yarn. If I can complete this pair of socks, than I can justify all the sock yarn I already have and maybe even pick up a new ball or two as a prize. Right?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Stash Flash

This is a great way to beat the midweek doldrums. Take a peek at a forgotten treasure that is hiding in my stash. This cache of lime green pr0n was started because my sister-in-law gave me two balls of yarn left over from when she tried knitting. I really didn't know what to do with it, but while trolling a LYS I found a bunch of other lonely green gems that I thought would be great together. I planned on creating a scarfy wrap type thing. Something with a large number of cast on stitches to create strips of different textures that would run the length of the scarf. As you can see, I still haven't even tried anything with this. I have found out since buying all this that novelty type yarns really aren't something I would wear to much. But hopefully I'll be inspired to pick this all up and make something. I have promised my self no big yarn purchases until I work through a good portion of my stash this year. I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas out there?

This stuff I just love to look at and pet. I love these colors. I don't have enough of it for anything more than a simple scarf. Maybe I'll try a drop stitch pattern. I need to find ideas. I have also promised my sel fto curb these impulse buys that have no purpose other than to put something pretty in my bag. But on the postivie side, Moxie has graciously agreed to make a blog header for me using this photo. Put a little color up there! I should have it up tomorrow. Thanks for taking a peek. Check back next Wednesday for another flash from my stash.

Fair Isle Fun

Well I don't know if fun is really the right adjective for this, but I am getting through it. This is the promised update on the Color on Color scarf. I have started the 11th section finally. This is my first attempt at fair isle. I didn't practice on scrap yarn or anything - just jumped right in the deep end! And you can tell....

I've never been one for practice. I'd rather just get it started and learn as I go. So the fair isle sections are going to be slow for me. And I guess I never realized what an unconventional knitter I am until I read some instructions for handling the multi colors while doing fair isle knitting. Even when my friend Ruth, who taught me to knit, said I knitted "weird". I figured that I couldn't be doing anything that different. But apparently it is; I should have known. I guess my style is closest to continental. I don't wrap the yarn around my finger/hand though. I don't think I'm "picking" the yarn either. I use my left hand to kind of wrap it around the needle. I don't see any reason to change yet though. My tension is usually very consistent and I never get cramps or pains in my hands. So if its not broke...

I am glad that the scarf only has two small sections of fair isle though. This first section will be folded over and sewn together - so the back will be hidden. I think hiding the little carries on the back will increase the wearability of this scarf by preventing little snags all over the place. I am knitting this on size 5 and 2 needles. As you can see the fabric is loose, I probably should have gone down a needle size, but I'm not willing to frog at this point - onward and upward!

The yarn for this project is actually the biggest hassle. The little skeins of the Paternayan come in a three strand skein. Each skein (86 in total) have to be separated into separate strands. I've been doing this as I go. And know that there is a color change every two rows, it really slows the whole thing down. Most of the scarf is done with two strands held together on the size 5 needles. The fair isle section is done with a single strand on size 2 needles.

I guess working with this light weight yarn and small needles can be considered some extra training for my upcoming sock challenge in the Knitting Olympics. I am really enjoying this project and I think it is a challenge for me. I am a little sad to be placing it aside for a couple weeks while I work on my Olympic socks, bet I know it will be there after I go for the gold!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hold Me!

I thought I'd share a picture of my two guys today. The one in the plaid shirt is my husband. The other is our dog, Sherman. Sherman is in a class all by himself. He is the biggest baby and the most loving dog I've ever had. People that see us out and about either love him or try and stay completely out of the way. The pair are currently occupying Sherman's usual seat on the couch - and he will fight you for it! When we have guests over he always tries to pry them out of this seat that is if they are brave enough to try for it in the first place!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Felt or Frog?

This is my second attempt at the Tote Around felted bag pattern from KnitKit . This bag is knitted out of Noro Kureyon color 134. I really like the colors. And I've felted with Noro a lot. It is generally my favorite yarn for felting. I just love the colors and stripes. Yes, I know all the cons, but I don't care. I love Kureyon for felting and nothing is going to change my mind about that. I'm using size 10 1/2 bamboo needles. The gauge is good, very similar to other felting projects that have turned out well. All I have left to finish is a little more of the applied I-cord strap. Everything is great except the bag seems to have a little "ruffle" effect going on around the circular bottom. It doesn't seem to be quite flat and I'm trying to decide if I want to take a chance on this being "corrected" during the felting process or just frog the whole thing (about 5 skeins) and do it right. I'm really wanting this bag to be a success because the first attempt was an absolute disappointment. So what happened on my first try you ask? Well.....

The first attempt was made out of Manos. I love that yarn!
The colors are beautiful and the yarn is soft. I still have almost two skeins in my stash witting for some inspiration. Every time I see it sitting there... But I digress, back to the story.

I had made a reasonable facsimile to the original My So Called Scarf with the intention of giving it to my cousin for Christmas. I had several skeins of the Manos left and decided to make a felted bag out of the same yarn to go along with the scarf for a nice gift. I followed the pattern and ended up with a nipple on the bottom. I don't think that the increases in the circular bottom were correct and the result was a pointy protrusion on the bottom of the bag. I figured "eh, no big deal, felting will fix it". So I carried on and finished the bag. I knit the man's on the same 10 1/2 needles I'm using on the correct version. I did correct the increases for the circular bottom on the current project, so no nipple this time. I felted the man's bag and the nipple remained. So I cut it off and took a few stitches to close the hole and refelted the bag to hid the stitches. The finished bag seemed drained of color and the resulting fabric seemed too thick and stiff for me. I like the fabric that I get from felting Noro. I discovered that the dish soap I used during the felting was labeled "OXY plus". I think that this caused some of the color loss. I was so disappointed in the final bag. I couldn't gift the bag and the scarf seemed lonely by itself that my cousin got neither the bag or the scarf!

Well this is the monstrosity. It's really not THAT bad, but it was my first disappointment from my felting projects. I Think I will either just throw it out, or cut it down and make a little felted bowl out of the bottom of the bag. I won't ever carry it. I can't give it to anyone. I have to really like any project that I give as a gift. I'm really just trying to prevent another disappointment and a waste of a good yarn.

Well after writing this I'm much closer to frogging. I believe I should frog, I know I should frog...but damn, that is 5 skeins of yarn! I'll just have to start from the beginning again.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

C is for Creepy Crawler - infesting my porch

This is an orb spider. Orb spiders create huge circular webs that show up seemingly out of nowhere. They typically spin at night and can really accomplish a lot while you are sleeping. The webs are really incredible to see. The spiders are pretty big and eat a lot of bugs and mosquitoes! That is a big bonus in North Carolina. these spiders are pretty common at our house. We end up having about 5-6 of these guys that build big webs on our front porch and around the windows.

About three years ago we built a house on about 13 acres of woods. So I will likely be trying out quite a few nature shots for this ABC Along. We have an endless supply of weird bugs, lizards, spiders, snakes, and plants.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ding Dong the TIVO is Dead!

Damn! Tonight our TIVO decided to crap out. We sat down to watch a college basketball and the TIVO spontaneously decided to reboot. So we waited, waited, and waited for it to run through the start up process. It finally came back then rebooted again! We unplugged the thing and then started it up again and then it did it 3 more times. And I think TIVO is the ONLY thing that takes longer than Windows to reboot.

We called Direct TV and they tried to run some reset thing and that didn't work either. So now we are without our TIVO. They are going to send a replacement and we only have to pay a shipping charge. It is amazing how dependent we have become on that little electronic box. It has disrupted the whole night.

After dinner we usually watch TV and I sit and knit while hubby watches TV. But now, I'm online and he is in the bedroom watching the Duke game. Our dog is a bit neurotic and like things to follow a set routine. Now he's all twisted up in a bunch wondering between the two rooms wondering what those crazy humans are up to now.