Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I was so excited to get home and find my "Socks that Rock" club package with January's sock in my mailbox on Saturday. Since I didn't find out that there were still available spots in the 2009 club until a week or so ago, I am a little bit late getting started. The shipments come every 2 months and I wanted to get January's installment as quickly as I could so I could have it done before March's was on it's way. Since I always have other projects going, it's all about getting things done before the fervor passes and I'm on to doing something else like the ADHD person I am. I'd gotten 2 circular needles so I could try the "two at once" technique for the socks, but after looking at the 10 page pattern I didn't want to try a new technique on a complicated pair. I decided to save the circs to use on something not quite as scary.

I opened the package Saturday but wasn't feeling well so I made a mental note of what needed to be done and put it all away until Sunday. When I got up Sunday I got out the yarn ball winder and the swift to wind the skein into a ball, and got a binder from my stash for all the materials that had come in my package. I made a copy of the pattern so I could write on the copy that I was using. That required climbing under my desk to get to the copier which doesn't get too much use. I had already acquired the floss threaders necessary to put the beads onto the yarn so I sat down and counted out half the beads and got them threaded onto the yarn, under the watchful eyes of my helpful kitten who did not get to steal any of the beads.

I spent a little time Sunday night actually knitting, but when I took out the waste yarn that I'd used for the tubular cast on (a very new technique for me) I found I hadn't read the pattern right and it all fell apart, unstitching all the work I'd done up to that point. That was ok, I only had about 20 rows done and saw that it was looking very large, too large though I'd really hit the gauge on the pattern. Go figure. Monday morning I re-cast on using the medium (rather than large) pattern and got underway again. The pattern looked really complicated and frankly very scary but when taken one step at a time, I found that it wasn't that bad, and now that I've mastered the twisted stitches that I wasn't familiar with before, I'm making quick progress. I'm presently working on the heel flap, between doing other things and nursing my sinuses and ears still. Putting the beads into the knitting is very simple yet looks very complicated. I love when something looks difficult but really isn't.

One of my trusty companions (Rosie) thought she would take up position on the cat pad on top of my sock yarn stash drawers...it was right in a sunbeam and she was in absolute kitty heaven. I usually have at least one or two of the girls in my office while I'm working, their company is very nice to have though they don't tend to be very much help when I'm overworked!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A man that knows his math

He writes:
I was riding to work yesterday when I observed a female driver, who cut right in front of a pickup truck, causing the driver to drive onto the shoulder to avoid hitting her. This evidently angered the driver enough that he hung his arm out his window and gave the woman the finger. 'Man, that guy is stupid,' I thought to myself. I ALWAYS smile nicely and wave in a sheepish manner whenever a female does anything to me in traffic, and here's why:
I drive 48 miles each way every day to work. That's 96 miles each day.
Of these, 16 miles each way is bumper-to bumper
Most of the bumper-to-bumper is on an 8 lane highway.
There are 7 cars every 40 feet for 32 miles.
That works out to 982 cars every mile, or 31,424 cars.
Even though the rest of the 32 miles is not bumper-to-bumper, I figure I pass at least another 4000 cars.
That brings the number to something like 36,000 cars that I pass every day.
Statistically, females drive half of these. That's 18,000 women drivers!
In any given group of females, 1 in 28 has PMS. That's 642.
According to Cosmopolitan, 70% describe their love life as dissatisfying or unrewarding. That's 449.
According to the National Institute of Health, 22% of all females have seriously considered suicide or homicide. That's 98.
And 34% describe men as their biggest problem. That's 33.
According to the National Rifle Association, 5% of all females carry weapons and this number is increasing.
That means that EVERY SINGLE DAY, I drive past at least one female that has a lousy love life, thinks men are her biggest problem, has seriously considered suicide or homicide, has PMS, and is armed.
Give her the finger? I don't think so.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Koigu Carusoe socks finished

The one advantage of being sick and being home sick this week, (if there is any silver lining in it at all) is that I have had some extra time to knit. I didn't have to move my head or get off the sofa while knitting, and I could lie right down and get a nap in if I wanted. I finished this pair this morning, and I like them a lot. They'll be great with early spring clothes and jeans. The pattern was easy and fun. They have a short rolled top which is easy to get into and they are stranded all over the pattern area.
I needed only to make a couple of changes to the pattern (the turning heal part number of stitches wasn't right and I needed to adjust it) and they came out nicely. The Socks that Rock January package came yesterday so I just strung all the beads on the yarn and I'm itching to get started on that but it's a tired day so far. I'm still trying to get over the sinus crud and the ears being full causing my usual vertigo. I'm off to cast on to the now beaded yarn, it's really beautiful but the pattern looks more complicated than anything I've ever done on socks. Well, I'd better get started. See you later. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Snowy Day

Today is going to be quiet for me, I'm fighting a nasty cold and just finished putting a pot of chicken soup on the stove to simmer. It's snowing big fluffy snowflakes outside the window of my office and it's beautiful. Yesterday was quiet too as I tried many times to do work at my desk and my attention span was less than a nanosecond. I'm planning on alternating between sock knitting and sleeping so maybe I'll be feeling better tomorrow. This is a finished (and begun second sock) "STR Purple Rain" Sock that I started over a year ago. It's such an easy pattern that it's brainless so I'm going to work on it at work. This blue one is a neat pattern I found on the web called "Wheat" and it's being done in STR "Blue Brick Wall". It's a very subdued coloring, appropriate for a quiet day, and I think it's perfect for wearing with jeans. The pattern is time consuming and takes attention, but I really like the way it mixes up the stripes of color. This sock knitting thing is darn near addicting to a lot of knitters, and I'm enjoying exploring all the possibilities now that I finally understand how similar each sock really is to a standard pattern. I adjusted the number of stitches on the Purple Rain sock to fit the heal and toe decreases of a very simple formula I use. I was proud of finally figuring out how to do such things.
I am getting bored with just doing a plain knit (stockinette) sock like the Pirate's Booty ones I finished last week. The yarn for this is Koigu and I'm so hoping I have enough for the entire sock since I only have 2 balls of it in this colorway. If not, I'll put a solid on the toe that goes with the colors in the yarn, the yarn has been in my stash for years so I'm sure there is nothing like these colors available anymore. This pattern is called "Carusoe" (because it's STRANDED) and I got the pattern from Knitty. If you're a knitter and not familiar with this website, it's full of great patterns, tutorials, and help with everything and anything. Anyway, this one will be short with a rolled top, and the stranding pattern all over the leg and instep and heel. You can just see the stranding starting closer to my needles in the picture. I think the colors are perfect for spring. It is going to be spring someday, isn't it? I do hope so!
Here's Gracie, she's my office mate while I'm working on projects. She has her own spot on the futon and definitely does not like the flash of the camera. As soon as she sees the spot of light on her that the camera makes when it focuses, she shuts her eyes tight! So far, she doesn't seem interested by yarn, but Rosie gently picked up the ball I'm working with twice while I've been sitting here and tried to walk out of the room with it. Belle chews yarn and tries to eat it, and she's even "disconnected" the strand I was casting on with while I was knitting, I was not pleased. She's fast, and unfortunately she tends to try to swallow what she can, which so far hasn't gotten her sick. I do try to make sure everything I'm using is put away when I finish for awhile. She doesn't have any interest in inventory yarn, just what I'm working on. I think it smells like me or my hands while I'm knitting so that might be the draw.
Here's the sock machine without any yarn on it. I got it threaded yesterday and was able to get some rounds done and then it jammed again. I haven't been able to get much done with it because it keeps jamming. I'm sure it is my error, and I called the guy that rebuilds the machines yesterday. He's really good at them and making socks, and he gave me several ideas and tips which I will try out today. Hopefully I can get it going. I have tons of cheap sock yarn in my stash to play with...not the beautifully colored ones like I'm knitting now, but ones for a straight stitch sock that will self stripe. I have been getting quite frustrated with it lately. I moved it up to the office so that I could have it close to the computer since there are a couple of tutorial videos on YouTube that I'll want to review when I get a sock going. Hopefully I'll have something to show for my efforts before too very long. At very least, I'm getting lots of experience in threading it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Bad Cat Day

With thanks to my dear daughter who thought that these cats reminded her of our "acrobat", Rosie. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cats know how this works too. :)

funny-pictures-cat-beeps-nose-of-other-cat We taught Aidan that noses make honking sounds too. I guess these cats know how it works as well. :)

Been away from the blog

These few past weeks have been busy ones so I haven't been blogging. Firstly, I had a dress to finish for a Valley Division meeting in Gettysburg, and it did take me awhile with the ruched trim on the skirt and all. I absolutely hate this picture, I don't like bonnets (though it is called for at my age and with the day dress), and think I look horrible in them, and make up isn't period correct so I have none on which makes things worse. The fabric for the dress was beautiful on the bolt but I just don't think it's becoming in a dress whatsoever. It tends to accentuate any wideness, and as you'all know I've been doing weight watchers the last month and have been fairly successful, so seeing myself in this dress really makes me feel like a whale! And though that Civil War fashions are very short waisted by design, I think the next time I wear the dress I'm going to use a light blue belt, the gold one matches the buttons and the pattern (there are little yellow berries on the print) but I think it's too abrupt of a color change. True, CW fashion sensibility calls for huge contrast, not matching, but I live in the 21st century so I have to work with what's correct as well as what I think looks ok. I'll wait until I've lost a bit more before I decide if I'm going to keep the dress or not, after all that work on the thing, I hate to not wear it at least a few times before I put it up on ebay.
The 3 kids also keep us busy, I just had to rescue Rosie the Calico from behind and between two bookcases. I came home from work (oh yeah, I'm flying a full schedule again) and couldn't find her but I could sure hear her wails of distress because she was trapped! She's become quite the acrobat but she doesn't always make the leaps she's attempting! Grace still isn't "playing well with others" and there are fights going on pretty intermittently. Thankfully nobody seems to be getting hurt. Here's Belle trying to figure out how to drink the water out of this glass, even though she has a water fountain just for cats on the floor right below where she's standing. I guess doing the obvious and simple thing just isn't any fun.
I've been feeling better after getting off some medication for my ears and sinuses that had been affecting my moods and how I was feeling. I didn't feel like doing much at all, but managed to sew a bit. Now I'm back to knitting too, and this scarf was one that I made in the last few weeks. It's a 2 ply of my own handspun, one ply is a light grey CVM and the other is a yummy chocolate CVM (California Variegated Mutant sheep breed) from fleeces I've bought from Myrtle Dow of Black Pines Sheep in Colorado. This fiber is very spongy and springy and has a nice feel. I did the scarf in seed or star stitch and it goes well with the brown down jacket that hubby bought me for Christmas. I have plenty of fiber left, so I was thinking about doing solid grey and solid brown as well as more of the heathered ply for maybe a fair-isles hat. But that's in the future as I have plenty yarn in my stash to keep me busy for a very long time until I get around to spinning again.
I just finished this pair of socks a little while ago this morning. My dear friend Lorraine got me two skeins of this fantastic sock yarn about 15 months ago and though I started both skeins, I put the socks away because I didn't like the pattern I was using so much. I just took out a bunch of unfinished projects that I'd stashed all around the house, refound the socks, ripped out the area I didn't like and started again. I've been taking the socks to work to knit on when I'm sitting between flights and actually finished both socks in about 2 1/2 weeks. This one is called "Pirate's Booty" and you'll see that the yarn looked nothing like the finished project! The yarn is from "Socks that Rock" at Blue Moon Fiber Arts, and I just love it! I'd never gotten the opportunity to fondle any of the STR yarn in person, just read about it on blogs and looked at it on their website, in person it's really nice yarn, kind of similar to my beloved Koigu. And though the color choice was a little brighter than I usually am attracted to, I got intrigued by the way the colors repeated and grew to love it more and more as I worked with it. Judging from the way they turned out, I think the choice was perfect!
As is true with most of my hand knit socks, these are fraternal, not identical twins. I was surprised at just how different the two ended up because I was careful to start at the same place in the repeat. I guess I'll just chock it up to the differences in hand dyed yarns. I think having them be just a little different is kind of fun anyway. The other skein that my friend gave me is called "Purple Rain" and I have one sock done down to where the heal flap starts. It'll be the next portable project and it's already in it's traveling bag in my purse.
I also was overjoyed to actually get a spot in the 2009 "Socks that Rock" club, I'd tried for several years to join but there were never any spots left. I got an email response letting me know that I could get a spot for 2009 and that would entitle me to future years if I wanted. I will expect the January package in the next couple of weeks and will post what that looks like. The club sends a new project every 2 months, so I will have to see if I can get it done before March comes along. Since there are discussions on the blog for the projects, I will start March's when it comes so that I don't get behind, but I'll have to work on January's to get caught up. I can't wait! The patterns are usually more difficult than the easy and simple one I used on these so I might have my comfort zone pushed but that's ok. I want to improve and learn.
In the meantime, I "refound" this skein of chunky Noru that was in my stash. There are only 120 meters on this ball and I don't seem to have another skein or ball anywhere...any suggestions? I was thinking of weaving a narrow scarf but I don't know if that would be enough with the loom waste and all. Maybe I'll just wait and work on my other pair of socks and hope that I think of something. :) It's really thick and bulky so if I knit it, I'm going to have to use tree sized needles...still not sure what to use it for.