Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rock and Weave Update

I've been working on my Rockin' Sock Club socks and so far I have one cuff and part of the second finished. It is nice to have such an unusual sock pattern to try out. This is really out of the ordinary for me - I had never seen a sock that was constructed with a separately knit cuff.

I have decided to keep the right side of the linen stitch on the outside of the cuff. Although I do think both sides of the stitch pattern are very nice. I think the linen stitch pattern would make a nice scarf too because of that. It is kind of a dense fabric not really stretchy - which might be why the designer chose to use buttons on the cuffs.

The cuffs are going quickly when I actually sit down to knit. I just need to do it. I'm hoping that I will have one completed sock after this weekend. The feet of the sock are in stockinette and should go pretty quickly once I can get the stitches picked up and started.

You can see an accidental little bobble or something in the second cuff - it's up by the needle. I have frogged that back and fixed it. I wasn't going to, but one I saw it in the picture - I had no choice. There are similar little features in other parts of the cuffs and I'm not going to fix those. But when I saw this one on my monitor, I just couldn't leave it alone. These little imperfections have always been the bane of my existence in crafting. I've given up projects and whole areas of crafts for less. Ask my mom, her attic is full of abandoned projects and crafts I started at some point. It would just take to long to fix every mistake. When I start a new craft and I can't get a finished project in a reasonable amount of time, I lose interest in the whole thing. I've gotten better with age though. It was really hard when I was just learning to knit. I was always frogging - never actually completing anything. The lady teaching me to knit finally talked me into just finishing something and letting the little things go. So, that's what I'm doing now. I'm trying to let those little things go, hoping my skills will improve over time.

This picture shows the edge of the first cuff and my first attempt at button holes and picot bind-off. I do like the picot edging. It did skew the edge of the cuff a little - but I think that will block out. The button holes look a little bit wonky to me, but maybe they won't look so bad when they are actually buttoned up.

I'm knitting this pattern as written. I know that some are changing the linen stitch pattern slightly. It seems that some are having problems with the slip stitch edges. Some are having problems keeping the edge stitches tight. I don't think my edges are too loose. Another issue for some seems to be that the left and right edges on the cuff do not match when knitted according to the pattern.

I know that some of the clever knitters on the Sock Club KAL have posted some solutions to this, but I decided it doesn't bother me. The cuff edge on the left in the picture above is the edge where the rest of the stitch will be picked up. The edge on the right will be on "top" of the cuff. I betting that I won't be able to see the difference once the sock is finished. Hopefully I'll have another update on this project at the end of the weekend.

Friday, June 23, 2006

L is for Luna Moth

This moth is named after the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna. It is part of the Saturniidae family that includes the Giant Silkworm moths - although these aren't the same as the silkworm moths that are used for commercial silk production.

This moth was on the frame of my front door last summer. I'm going to guess the wingspan was almost six inches. He was bigger than the palm of my hand. This is a male - the antennae of the male moths are more feathery than the female. And yes, the colors in the picture here are true to life - he was really this lime green with the pink and purple accents.

Until about three years ago I had never seen one of these and since we moved into out house by the woods, we see a few each summer. Sometimes they appear as early as March and as late as the end of July. Apparently in my climate they can go through 2-3 life cycles in that time period. The moths are short lived and don't actually eat. The adult life span is only a week or so; just long enough for mating. The caterpillars actually eat before spinning their cocoon and that is enough to get the moth through its short life. The caterpillars like to eat Sweetgum, Persimmon, and Walnut tree leaves. The moth often lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves.

I know the woods around our house are full of Sweetgum trees; so maybe that is why we see so many in our yard. We usually only see the moths at night but sometimes we are lucky enough to see them when there is still daylight left and get a picture. I have only seen one moth so far this year. Hopefully there will be some more this year because they truly are an amazing site to see.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

First Knitty SP7 Package Arrives

My first package arrived today and it is perfect! Most of you are familiar with the Secret Pal idea. For the few that aren't - some of the readers at the Knitty Coffeeshop Forums set up a secret pal exchange. You sign up and fill out a fun questionnaire and are assigned a person to send wonderful surprises to and someone in turn sends wonderful surprises to you. You don't know the identity of the person sending you things until the end of the exchange (3 months/3 packages). It is a lot of fun trying to prepare a package that your pal will enjoy and of course it is always fun to get a surprise in the mail!

The package my pal sent to me couldn't have been better if I had been there pointing out exactly what for her to get. Check it out:

My Pal is calling herself Delia to keep her identity secret, and so far it is working. I haven't had one hint to her identity. Not even the postmark on the package had a location! The only thing I could think of when she shared her nom de plum, Delia, was the children's book character Amelia Bedelia. I loved those books when I was young. But I really don't think that it has anything to do with her. It only says something about the weird way my mind associates things.

Inside the package was a very nice note on a beautiful note card with a peony, one of my favorite flowers. There are some rubber ring stitch markers and a CHIBI darning needle set. Both are things I've wanted but didn't have. I drink tea everyday and there is a sampler of different teas for me to try out. I'll try out the first one tomorrow morning.

There are also two different kinds of dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate and I don't have to share because no one else in my house likes it. Perfect! I haven't tried either of these brands - and I can already report that the Green & Black's is very good. The picture above is very deceiving - some of that chocolate is already gone. And then of course there is the yarn. It definitely deserves it's own close-up shot.

This lovely specimen is Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport in the Sand Ridge color. I've been petting and squeezing this since I opened the package. Well, I actually did put it down when I got to the chocolate. I didn't want to spoil it with chocolate stains. Delia sent me two skeins of this and I'm very excited to try it out. I just have to figure out what to make. It would make some wonderful socks or she suggested a possible mini clapotis. That is a good idea too. And thanks to Delia, I have such a great decision to make. Thank you Delia for such a wonderful package!

Monday, June 19, 2006

New Toy and New Project

I got a new toy over the weekend for knitting. I purchased a digital scale so I can divide a skein evenly into balls. I can use it in the kitchen too, but I probably wouldn't have bought it just for that alone. It is not the most exciting thing I have ever purchased for my knitting, but it will be useful. I also had a twenty percent off coupon; that sealed the deal. I used it as soon as I got home to split a skein as a test drive and it worked great. My husband swears it doesn't work though - he's been weighing the candy he ate al weekend and cannot get a weight on a lone Hot Tamale. I just told him to put the candy down and step away from the scale and if he really wanted to check out the "weight" of the candy - he should hop up on the bathroom scale.
I decided to start a new pair of sock with Socks That Rock; I'm using the Fairgrounds color. It is the color that came with my first shipment from Blue Moon fiber Art's Rockin' Sock Club. I'm also using the Rock and Weave pattern that came with the shipment too. The pattern is pretty unique. The cuffs of the sock are knit flat and then secured around the ankle with buttons. The foot of the sock is begun by picking up stitches along one of the long edges of the cuff.

I'm still working on the first cuff. I got started late yesterday afternoon. The cuff is in linen stitch. It is a pretty simple slip stitch pattern and so far I like the results. It isn't a very stretch fabric so the buttons a probably a good idea. And I love an excuse to go shopping for buttons. These pictures so a close up of the stitch detail on the cuff. The photo on the left is a close up of the right side of the fabric and the picture on the right shows the wrong side.

If you are curious about what the socks will look like when finished, check out the Sock Club KAL blog to see some finished socks. There is a link over there on the right.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

K is for Kayak

I had to go all the way back to my honeymoon to come up with something for the letter K. Our honeymoon was a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands. It was absolutely wonderful. Just the two of us (and the three person crew; one person was a chef!) for what was definitely the best vacation of our lives. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

The sail boat had two kayaks aboard that we used several times during the trip. The picture above was taken one evening when we decided to paddle over to a little deserted island the boat had anchored off for the night.

The tricky part was getting in and out of the kayaks from the boat. The crew actually would take the kayaks in and out of the water each time for us, but we had to use the boat's ladder to go up and down to the kayaks. My husband kept the camera handy for each trip thinking I was sure to fall into the water. I can't blame him - I'm not the most graceful person. He doesn't call me his little ballerina for nothing! But luckily I made each trip to and from the kayak unscathed.

Here you can see where the kayaks were stored when not in use and my husband's favorite place on the boat. The hammock was towards the bow of the boat. It was very relaxing to sway with the waves and relax in the sun. My husband spent a lot of time "reading" as you can see.

I'm hoping someday we can go back. The islands were beautiful. I could live there forever.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Simple Shawl

I started a simple rectangle shaped shawl this weekend. I'm doing the Wind and Waves Shawl pattern by Sr. Seraphina. The pattern promises to be easy enough for a beginner but interesting enough to inspire an experienced knitter. That seems like a pretty lofty goal for a simple shawl pattern. I will have to agree though, that is you can knit, purl, and know what a yarn over is - this will be very easy to complete. The pattern also promised that is could easily be finished in a weekend. I'm sure it could - just not by me.

This is how far I've gotten after a weekend. I cast on Friday night and worked a short time on this project on Saturday. I did nothing on Sunday. So maybe if I had spent most of the weekend working on this - it would be done.

The yarn I'm using is Great Adirondack Montana in Nantucket Blue. The yarn is 100% wool, approximately worsted weight, and it is pretty soft. I ordered it sight unseen from an online retailer. I end up doing this a lot. There aren't a lot of great yarn stores in my area. The few that are around here are kind of disappointing, both in stock and staff. So I check out the local shops when I travel, but otherwise I buy online. If I waited to see everything in person before I ordered - I wouldn't have very much yarn at all. I must say though - I haven't really been disappointed yet in an online purchase. Although I'm sure that time is coming.

Back to the project - the pattern calls for about 700 yards and should be finished pretty quickly. This is one project that will definitely have to be blocked. If all goes well, I will have my first finished Christmas present very shortly.