Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rock and Weave Socks

The socks are finished. I completed knitting the second sock and sewed the buttons onto both today.

Project Info
Pattern: Rock and Weave
Designed by A. Karen Alfke
Rockin Sock' Club May 2006
Yarn: Socks that Rock
Color - Fairgrounds
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 5 - cuff
addi TURBO -US# 2 - instep
addi TURBO -US# 1 - heel, sole

I'm happy with the finished socks. There are several mistakes, but I tried several new things for these socks. The cuff was knit in a strip and then stitches were picked up along the edge and joined in the round to knit the foot. I would have never thought of knitting a sock like that. Very inventive idea. I really like the linen stitch cuff. The end results look almost like weaving.

I had also never actually knit a button hole before either. And I sure didn't expect to knit buttonholes for socks! But as you can see each cuff has two little buttons. A little fussy for me, I like to just pull on my socks and go. I wonder if the Victorians were the last to button their socks.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Yard Art

I don't have any knitting content to post today, but I do have a couple pictures to share that I took around the porch.

This fist picture is of a little tiny grasshopper that was on one of my house plants that stays on the back porch in the summer. The grasshopper was only about the size of my thumbnail. I also saw a katydid on our porch, but I was unable to get a clear picture.

I really enjoy taking photos of interesting creatures and plants that are living and growing around my house. You have probably guessed this from the photos I've posted to my blog so far. I've gotten a little better at taking pictures since starting the blog and have been entertaining the idea of exploring the topic a little more. We'll see though - all I need is another hobby. And I'm sure that the equipment would put a definite dent in any budget I have for yarn.

The other photos I have for today are of my hoya plant that is blooming. Back in April I posted H is for Hindu Rope that showed one of my favorite and most interesting house plants.

The plant is outside for the summer and I have started fertilizing it on a regular basis. It is growing well and has finally bloomed. The blooms occur at the end of the long stems and are in clusters. So far I only have one cluster on my plant - but it appears that there are many more peduncles. These are the little "stems" from which the flowers appear. I'm hoping that there will be more flowers this year, but at least it is a start.

I had been checking the plant every day for signs of flowers, but had given up. The other day I noticed these star shaped flower bud hanging down and almost touching the concrete floor of the porch.

Here is the flower in all its glory. I haven't been able to detect any scent of the flower, but I love the star shape and the flowers are covered with fuzz, like a peach.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rock and Weave Socks - Almost Done

I have mentioned these socks in several posts and "promised" to have them finished by the next post. I did that to spur me on to finish them. But it didn't work. I keep picking up something new. Like the afghan - and that is going to a huge project.

I really want to get these socks finished to free up some needles to cast on a new sock project too. All my sock sized needles are stuck in current projects. I just got the new Sock Club kit and I want to try the Anastasia Socks that Mintyfresh posted on her blog. It is a great looking pattern and I have koigu just sitting around begging to be pulled out of the stash. So I must stay focused to get these done.

But the end is approaching and I am beginning to see the end of this project. One sock is complete and I am knitting the heel flap on sock number two!

I've really had only one problem with the pattern so far. That isn't the fault of the pattern at all. I just didn't actually read the pattern correctly. I sat down on Sunday morning to knit the heel flap of the second sock. When I was about halfway done with the flap, I realized that it didn't match the flap on sock number one. Hmmm.

Well I finally figured out what happened. On the second sock, I was following the pattern as written. The first sock, not so much. The pattern indicated a two row repeat for the flap and I misread the first row. The pattern said to slip 1, purl across row, turn. What I did was to *Slip1, purl 1, repeat from * across row.

It doesn't look bad though and I wanted the heels to match so I started the second heel flap over and made it to match the first. It did create a pretty thick flap, but on the bright side, I don't think I'll ever wear a hole in the heel.

Well I hope to have these finished by this weekend, but I'm not promising!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rockin' Sock Club - July Edition

I received the July installment for the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock club today. The yarn is lightweight STR (Socks that Rock) in a new color called Peaseblossom. The colors are great in pink, kind of a jade green, and a periwinkle type blue/purple. Of course, a small matching emergency skein was included too.

The pattern is great! It's called Crunchy Granola and was design by Peace & Love. It is a short anklet sock with a mesh type pattern. The sock pattern also uses a short row heel, so that is what I will be learning on my next pair of socks!

There was also a temporary tattoo and club contest too. The contest involves submitting a name for the other colors in this series. There are clues everywhere as to the theme that they used to come up with Peaseblossom. Peaseblossom was a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream. There is also an extra clue on the back of the ball band with the washing instructions. The mystery word on mine is Lovepotion. hmmm. The notes say that these colors are part of a "midsummer series". Well the notes go even further if you read them - so no one should miss these clues. The best names will be voted on and the person coming up with the winning name will get a skein of that color! Now, just to think of a name!

I'm working on last month's socks. I have both cuffs done and I'm knitting the heel on the first sock. I plan to spend my knitting time this weekend trying to finish these up so I can get started on the new pattern.

Now here is the obligatory close-up.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Log Cabin Afghan

I am hooked on the Mason Dixon knitting book. I love that the patterns are of a very utilitarian nature that can be used around the house. I have decided to try my hand at a log cabin afghan.

I've decided to use Mission Falls Cotton. It is machine washable and the ball band indicates that you can tumble dry on low heat. I ordered my yarn on last Monday and had it by that Friday. It is a lot of yarn. I picked out thirteen colors and ordered five skeins of each. The Mission Falls has a nubby texture that I really like. I think it will give the finished afghan a homey feel.

The color palette from left to right:
Row One: #402 - Sea, #302 - Wintergreen, #209 Maize, #207 - Chili
Row Two: #302 - Fennel, #303 Jade, #100 - Ebony, #208 - Merlot, #206 - Peony
Row Three: #400 - Fog, #304 - Moss, #204 - Lentil, #200 - Musk

I didn't do any math before ordering the yarn. So I'm not sure how large the finished project will be. I plan on knitting individual squares and them seeming them together. I will just continue making squares until I run out of yarn. I'm also going to add a knitted border to the finished afghan. I like the idea of playing around with the layout of the squares. I know from looking at Log Cabin quilts that there are a number of ways to lay out the squares and that each way will produce a different pattern for the afghan.

I did make a swatch and threw it in the washer with a load of clothes and then it went directly into the dryer. It came out fine. It was a little fuzzier and it had shrunk just a little bit. I am using Addi Turbos in size 6 US for the knitting.

I did finish one square over the weekend. The square ended up being 9.5 inches wide and tall. It took me a while. I don't think that this will be a long term project that I can pick up between other things.

Friday, July 14, 2006

M is for Mushroom

Well all the rain we had in June produced a large variety of mushrooms in and around our yard this year. I really don't know much about mushrooms or fungi and I tried to look up what the different ones are called, but I didn't 't get very far. I wasn't able to make a guess what these were.

I think this mushroom is called Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces floccopus). If I'm right, this thing is edible. Can you imagine coming over for dinner and being served a plate of this! I did read that it doesn't taste very good. No matter what the reviews are, I think that this is staying in the garden. This one was found in a natural area on the edge of our yard among my hostas.

Now this thing is just down right necrotic looking. Maybe it is just an old man mushrooms dying off. It was very close to the it.

I found this mushroom growing on the edge of the lawn near a natural area. I thought the colors and the gills of this mushroom were very interesting.

I believe this one is American Caesar's Mushroom (Amanita jacksonii) It is very colorful and I saw several of these growing in the woods along our driveway.

I did find out that mushrooms can be used as a natural dye for fabric and yarn. Elizabeth from SABLE (Stash Amassed Beyond Life expectancy) dyed some yarn using dandelions from her yard. The results were great. I'll have to take a serious look around the yard and see what I can use for dyes. I would love to try my hand at dying some yarn with natural dyes.

There are a couple books on dyeing fiber with mushrooms, Mushrooms for Color by Miriam Rice and The Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer's Field Guide by Arleene and Alan Bessette. I added them both to my Amazon wish list. I think this will have to become my next reading topic. If anyone can suggest a good book on natural dying in general, I'd appreciate the suggestions.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Wind and Waves Shawl

The Wind and Waves Shawl is finished. I finished last weekend. I began last Saturday by trying to get my second hank of the yarn into a center pull ball. Well somehow the hank was all twisted and tangled around itself . I'm not sure how it happened. Maybe it came that way. I've never had as much trouble trying to wind a hank.

I took it off my swift and tried to do it by hand. It took me six hours to ball up that 550 yard hank! There were a couple times in the beginning that I almost just tossed the entire hank out the window and went on to something else. But I decided that the since this was supposed to be a gift - I'd continue. The pattern called for 700 yards of worsted weight yarn. I ended up using less. I'm going to guess about 100 yards less. The pattern also called for needles sized US #10 - I ended up using 11's. The finished size listed in the pattern was 30"x 62". I came very close to that finished size.

You can see from the above picture where the second skein begins. I guess I should have knit a couple rows from each ball so that distinct line wouldn't be there. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. I don't think I'm going to frog the entire shawl and start again - especially after the fun with that last hank of yarn. I'm not sure I'm going to gift it anymore though.

I do like the pattern and it was very easy to work. I have enough of this yarn left to make another similar shawl . Here is a close up of the pattern and the details.

Project Info

Pattern: St. Seraphina Knits -
Wind and Waves Shawl

Yarn: Great Adirondack "Montana" -
Nantucket Blue

Needles: addi TURBO US# 11

Finished Width: 28 inches

Finished Height: 63 inches

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ballband Dishcloths

As you might guess from the dishcloths above, I ended up getting the Mason*Dixon Knitting book. I have several balls of Sugar 'n Cream yarn in my stash that was purchased from the local craft store when it was on sale. So I though I'd try out the dishcloth pattern first.

Project Info
Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream, Hot Blue and Summer Splash - 1 ball each
Needles: addi TURBO US# 8/5mm
Finished Width: 9.25 inches
Finished Height: 9 inches

The two balls of yarn were enough for both dishcloths and I did have a small amount of each left. The multi color balls have a little less yardage than the solid colors though. The pattern was easy and pretty quick. I was able to knit one cloth in an evening. I didn't even have to refer to the pattern after I had complete one repeat. They feel nice and squishy, so I will definitely be using these.

Mason*Dixon is a great book. There are several projects I'm wanting to do. The rugs are wonderful and I have added a Log Cabin afghan to the To Do list. I'm trying to decide what yarn to use. I'm thinking a natural fiber would be the best feeling to curl up with in the couch, maybe cotton or wool. Whatever I do pick, has to be washable.

I do see more of these dishcloths in my future. It makes for a nice easy project that anyone can use. I want to try the Peaches 'n Cream yarn too. It's nice that it comes in large cones and isn't terrible expensive. I think I'll try the bath mat once I get some of the Peaches 'n Cream ordered.

I didn't get any work on my Rock and Weave socks done this weekend, but I did just bind off the Wind and Waves shawl I was knitting. I'll get it blocked and post photos later this week.