Friday, May 31, 2013

Peeps! a belated pair of Easter socks

At last, my Easter socks (Easter next year, apparently) get their day in the spotlight:

As does my garden bunny, for what has proved to be the last time: after this photo was taken, it suffered a tragic accident which knocked it onto the pavement.  It was once a peerless bunny, and now it is an earless bunny.

Still, life must go on (along with ears when I can figure out how, sigh.)  I love how the socks' red stripe lines up right under the strap on these shoes, don't you?

But really the socks are much more comfortable with the shoes off.

Even though I do love these shoes.

Bright stripey socks are not something I ever thought I would want to be wearing, before I started to knit them.  My sock drawer used to consist of of socks in black or grey, and some white ones for running shoes, with the late addition of some wool ones in dark green and black or grey and black very thin stripes.  But then I discovered Vesper yarn from Knitterly Things and now I get annoyed if I have to go someplace where stripey socks stand out.  In a bad way, I mean: of course, stripey socks like this stand out everywhere!

I usually match the stripes almost perfectly on my Vesper socks and this pair is no different, but this picture with the stripes a little offset is pretty yummy.  

It would probably drive me crazy to have done this for real down the length of the pair, but for design purposes it's good to know it looks neat.  Offset-stripe curtains, maybe?  Or an offset-stripe pair of armchairs?

Mostly it's just nice to be finished a knit and able to sit and ponder.  Colours that pop are amazing, aren't they... I'm glad I didn't go my whole life without enjoying them on my socks.

Today is Friday (weekend, yay) so I hope you have a chance to sit and ponder, yourself!   and I'll see you on Monday.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shawl progress: care for the caregiver

The mystery KAL shawl I'm knitting is moving very very slowly, but I don't mind (much).  I don't like to show too many pictures of what it looks like since it is, after all, a mystery... but really I'm so far behind everybody else at this point it probably doesn't matter. 

I only did the minimum number of repeats of the stitch for the second clue, which produces a very pretty offset leaf motif.  Some people were doing two or three times as much (and were ready for the next clue the day it was published, not that I'm bitter.)

What I noticed about the repeats I did do, however, was illuminating: when you knit just one full sequence of a stitch like this, you can't see it.  You have to do it many, many times to appreciate how it interlocks and builds into something that matters.  Even unblocked like this, you can see the dips and elevations in the pattern and it's their repetition that produces the viewer's reaction.

I think life is like this, at least where small ordinary things are concerned, and when we're not in a 'can't see the forest for the trees' mindset.  The things we do once, may very well be nice and appealing and memorable.  But the things we do over and over - they imprint on our minds and become routine.  We come to rely on them, because we know that when we do them next we will get the same result, and for the most part we humans crave that kind of security.

When I heard about this knitalong I resisted joining, not least because I had no idea what I'd do with yet another shawl.  But very soon in I knew I was knitting it for a close friend who paints landscapes and loves purple.  This colourway, called Boreal and shifting from purple to browns to greens and back again, couldn't be more perfect for her.  And the shawl, with this repetitive, organic feeling, is also perfect.

I should be knitting it for somebody else - I think I alluded to this when I cast it on at first.  Somebody she loves a lot, and who I also know, though not well, is facing a long period of treatment for something challenging to cure.  I should be knitting this shawl for her, but my gut feeling is that my friend could use some support too.  She's not a primary caregiver, but she's up there, and that's a tough job.

I mention it because this situation is the same kind of pattern repeat we use in a shawl, isn't it.  Somebody is hurting, and we do something to show our love and support.  When we can't make the problem go away, we can turn back to our predictable secure routines for comfort - comfort for us, comfort for the people we love.

(and isn't it great when those routines are entirely calorie free??)

Hope you're able to enjoy some happy routines today, and I hope I see you tomorrow - one of the happiest routines I have.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A progress report on the univers(al socks)

Pink and blue and peach and grey: who knew they could look so adorable with brown?  This club yarn from Knitterly Things is called Across the Universe, and it is universally yummy in addition to being a perfect match for my favourite jeans, aka the silvery grey ones that clash with everything else I like:

Also, the first one is finally over the heel, which warrants a great big WHEW.

They are taking forever because I am just not loving these double pointed needles from Signature (insert wistful expression.)  I'm still working out exactly what isn't doing it for me because I'm sure other knitters would and do adore them, and I would like to join their happy community if only I could make the necessary adjustments... which, so far, doesn't look likely, because the company's admirably specialized service does not extend entirely into dpn territory.  I'll do a proper review as soon as I confirm what is and is not possible, in case you're holding your breath for that.)

So: while I resume shopping for the fingering-sock dpns of my dreams, let's take a moment to be amused by how a sock looks when you stop for pictures right at the start of the gusset:

Am I the only one who sees the resemblance to a chompy sock monster?  The brown stripe at the turn of the heel looks a lot like an eye to me, and the pale stitches like teeth.  In fact that yarny tail reminds me of one of those awe-inspiring Chinese dragons with the filaments curling out of their nostrils.

Let's have a look at this sock in its natural environment:

Yep, super chompy.

Maybe if I tell myself I am running to safety from the chompy sock monster I will knit faster?

Hope you knit fast today too, although it would be nice if it was from sheer delight and not necessity.  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A walk in the park (literally)

Sometimes my direct route from A to B is through this gorgeous, super huge, tree-filled parklike space (which happens to be mostly a cemetery.)

Isn't that a super pretty sky?

I took these on Saturday, and even the fact that I'd just had almost all of a cafe latte without noticing the foam was lumpy from spoiled milk and was therefore feeling extraordinarily ill could not detract from the loveliness of a cool spring day.

People run and walk and ride their bikes and roller blade through here, and recently leashed dogs have also been allowed, but I didn't see any on Saturday.  I did see other animals though, like a raccoon (which a lady was trying to feed from her hand, gah!)  I didn't take a picture of the raccoon but I did take a picture of this other wild guy:

I'm thinking gopher, but maybe it's a possum?  I would look it up but mostly I was just pleased to walk along snapping a ton of pictures as he leapt along, pausing to eat grass.

The cemetery is so big, it has its own underpass so it can take in the entire space across three major northbound roads. It isn't even that far out of the downtown core, so it's really accessible to everybody, and it shows. 

People are very respectful around actual burials, though.

The cemetery has a huge variety of trees.

Also: paths.  It's easy to get lost in there, which is why huge maps are posted at the entrances and colour-coded lines are marked on the roads.

Mostly though, my focus is all those leaves marking a border against the sky.  I thought I was done seeing that really bright springtime green of new leaves on sheer blue for this year, but nope: still a few stragglers in the cemetery.

Hello, only cloud of the day.

This picture reminds me so much of my childhood - perfectly manicured lawns and roads, and young trees planted with the future in mind.

One thing I have never done in the cemetery is stick around and knit.  It's funny that a place of rest is used as a place to move through, by way of promoting health and longevity... though I suppose all those grave markers are motivation, heh.

Anyway: it's not Yorkshire, but it's home!

Monday, May 27, 2013

The happiest knitting

The other night I had a huge block of time for knitting, and I managed to finish the first Sunshine and Bubblegum sock.

I love knitting these socks.  Not just this particular pair, but all the pairs I make with this yarn on these needles (2.75mm original-production squares... not crazy small, perfect for DK weight socks.)  Every stitch is a pleasure, and I've knit the pattern so often I don't have to think about anything but how nice the yarn and needles feel together.  Oh, and what might happen next in the movie I'm watching.  Pure comfort knitting.

The striping I did at the top might not show well, but it was enough to ensure I could finish the sock with enough yarn to spare that I wasn't panicking as I neared the toe. 

And they are so long!  They'll really keep me warm, come winter - this weight of this fiber combo makes the warmest sock I've ever found, but having them come so far up my calf is going to be heaven.

I know, I know, it's hard to take a sock seriously when it's got rabbit-whisker needles in the toe and a lot of yarn hanging off the end.  I'll get to the grafting and running-in eventually, I'm sure.  Well, by the time I have to cast on the next pair, anyway... I only have so many of these needles after all!

Do you have a crafty project you make over and over and never gets tired?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cherry blossoms and tea and cottage life

I missed the cherry blossoms in High Park this year, which is probably why I felt I really had to buy myself this insulated portable mug:

Comfort shopping probably has nothing whatsoever to do with it (or with my crazy yarn archive, either).  Who wouldn't want a sealable cup like this to make life less spilly while taking their tea down the lake at the cottage?

Unfortunately the only way to acquire this particular design of tea tumbler was to buy the whole gift set, aka pay for the tea that goes with.  So I did (clearly I really felt hard done by about missing the cherry blossoms.)

Green teas and floral teas fall into that vast receptacle of 'things I'd love even to like', so I wasn't expecting much from my first brewing attempt. 

In good news, the tea strainer that tucks neatly into the tumbler is awesome! 

In bad - gleah.  Even with honey in it, ew.  I could not drink this if it was a magic potion that instantly melted away every inch that stands between me and the cardi I started ages ago and isn't going to fit when it's done unless I find some magic potion or, you know, exercise daily and ignore bread and chocolate for the next four months.

But back to the good news: rehydrated and dumped from the strainer, the tea components are pretty cool:

Okay, maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think the unfolded leaves look fragile and lovely, and I also see some lemon peel and a cherry (or maybe a rosehip?)

And let's not forget: tea leaves! My Auntie Bert used to read tea leaves.  I wonder what she would make of these?  You're not supposed to read your own fortune, but I think I see a tree laden with branches almost obscuring its trunk there, and if it turned out that this particular arrangement was saying something about four feet of beech tree impaling the shingles on your cottage roof, the reading would have been dead on.

(the weather report up there says Rain On Tuesday.  I'm hoping my good friend Don can get up on the roof to put tarp over it before that.)

So: that's how my weekend is going.  Yours?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fiber journey: from roving to yarn cake

When you break it down, there is something faintly ridiculous about spinning your own yarn.  I mean, there you are with heaps of yarn in the cupboard waiting for you to take it out and make something with it, and instead you do this:

Find the perfect roving,

Divide it up evenly so you can spin it into singles,

Several singles, that is,

Then ply and weigh it,

Skein, measure, prepare to wash it,

Let it dry, and then cake it.

All that before you can even think about working with it.  And in this case, there are still more steps before the yarn can become something because each of these cakes has turned out to be a slightly different weight of yarn.  Not a lot different, but enough that any socks I try to knit with them will be a very peculiar shape with many bumps and protrusions.

Fortunately I have rather a lot more roving to work with, ahem.  And after all, I can always stripe my handspun socks, right?

The gory details

I'm sure there are many people reading Hugs who are a good deal more experienced with spinning, but I thought I'd share some details about the ways I've found easiest to tackle these various steps.

Dividing: I use my kitchen scales, which have yet to see my kitchen, and a big plastic bowl to weigh the roving.  When I was first spinning I liked to ply two singles together, but now that I'm able to get thinner singles I divide the total amount of roving into three equally weighted piles instead of that early two.

Spinning: I don't have a lot of extra gear with my wheel, so when I've finished spinning a lump of fiber I free up the spindle by wrapping the end of what's on the spindle around my first two fingers to start a ball.  I let each ball rest for a few days to set the twist.

Plying: I don't love the plastic element of this solution but it is very, very effective (and cheap!).  I keep a few seal-able plastic sandwich bags with a little snip cut into the side, and I pop each ball into one of them, then run the loose end out through the snip.  This keeps the singles from unwinding too far and wrapping up around each other before I want them too.  When I get to the end of one ball, as invariably happens, I open the bag containing the other, fish out the other end, and bring it up to the end of the first ball so I can ply the what's left of the second onto itself.  Eventually I'm left with a little loop wrapped around the sandwich bag, and I just snip the yarn at the fold.  Done!  (except that I'm thinking now of sewing little pouches with a silky smooth interior and a grommet on the side, and if I go that route I can expect to add another 4-6 hours to the process... the first time, anyway.  I'm slow with sewing.)

Weighing and skeining: I weigh each ball before I skein it, then pop it into a deep (clean, empty) juice jug so it doesn't roll away while I skein it.  I make a 72" skein so that each wrap is two yards long, and then I count the wraps around the swift to see how many yards I got.  Then I tie the four sides of the skein with colour-coordinated scrap sock yarn: four greens for one, four multicolours for another, four reds for a third... you get the idea.  I keep a book specifically for noting yarn weights so I always know where to look for this information, and I write down the weight, yardage, and colour code for each.

Washing:  I do this step in the washing machine on 'Soak'.  First I fill the machine as high as I'll need, and pour in some (surprise!) Soak.  I let it agitate a little to mix in the Soak, and then I turn off the machine and pop the skeins, safely tucked into lingerie bags, into the water.  This last time I forgot the lingerie bag step and one skein got wrapped around the agitator in the spin cycle, which is not something you want to have happen to you, ahem.  The spin part comes after the yarn has soaked for as long as it takes me to remember I left it in there - ideally not more than half an hour, but I've gone longer and it's still yarn when I get back to it.  Nearly dry yarn, at that, when the spin-dry part is finished.  (I don't let the machine do any agitating; I turn the dial straight from Soak to Spin before I turn the machine back on.)

Drying: Each skein hangs around the neck of a plastic hanger in the laundry room till it's dry.

Caking: I prep a scrap of paper for each skein with its colour code, weight, yardage, and a conversion to the number of yards per 100g to make it easier for me to determine which cakes will work nicely together.  Then I cake the skeins one at a time and tuck the correct paper scrap into the middle of each cake as I go along.

Whew... that is pretty crazy, isn't it.  But it's worth it, because there is nothing puffier and softer than a nice handspun yarn.  And hey, it's not much more crazy than knitting a lace shawl - hours and hours of intricate work that is concealed immediately upon wearing, if you scarf it snugly around your neck (I'm looking at you, mirror...)

And with all that: have a fabulous weekend.  I'll see you Monday - I have some knitting to show you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Anticipating a crafty cottage summer

This whole business of owing the cottage is still quite strange to me: the place belonged to my aunt and uncle for 40 years, and there is still so much of them in it, it's hard to remember it's now ours to play with and, more to the point, take care of.

(especially after we found the Harry Belafonte Calypso record and got it onto the player: did I mention the main room is plenty big enough for dancing?)

Fortunately we got enough done last year that I was able to come home again from the spring checkup with a very manageable list of fun things to do.  Near the top: buying some cheery new mugs to add to the existing inventory, because a lot of hot beverages get drunk up there, morning and night.  (summer = hot chocolate season, if you are also roasting marshmallows.)

I really tried to choose some that were a bit more manly, but it was an effort, and I think some of those stripes are pink.  My apologies to any men who visit, but in good news, there are a lot of manly ones still in good kit in the cabinets there.

Check out all the different kinds of handles! Everybody likes something that fits their own hand nicely, and I aims to please.

There is a strawberry mug at the cottage that is looking a little worse for wear just now, so I picked a strawberry one as an homage to it.  How sweet is this little strawberry on the inside of the rim?

Just picture these cups on a pretty tablecloth sharing space with a freshly baked Gateau Basque, a recipe for which I just found on NPR, by Dorie Greenspan.  YUM.  (I've become a bit obsessed with this cake after stumbling across it at one of my local bakeries - it's edible pretty much any time of day, can be mixed days in advance, and doesn't look too fussy to make.  Perfect for cottage living, yes?)

The message on the teapot cup says "Life is like a teapot: what you get out depends on what you put in."  Which I think is very good advice, and what I intend to go on putting in - at the cottage especially - is lots of knitting and spinning, and maybe some weaving but don't quote me because I'm not sure I'm speaking to my loom right now.

Mostly on this run we were focused on the new well, which needed to be flushed of the chemicals that get put in at first.  That took hours, and we're not sure it's sufficiently complete even now for us to do the second step of testing the water to see if it's safe to drink.

We also checked for mice, and Yay! there were practically no signs of any.  We know they got in - the back of one dresser got a bit chewed - but it appears they did not stay.  Definitely, they didn't get into anyplace where I stored stuff.  All those hours of mouseproofing last summer paid off, and now I just have to find that elusive entry point.

Less Yay!

Pete was back and forth from the car to the kitchen door I don't know how many times before he looked up:

Notice anything odd?  Something like, I don't know, this?

It's possible that tree is coming down just to the right of the guest bedroom, but I'm not 100% sure and I wasn't going to stand outside with the blackflies to find out.  Fortunately there is an amazing tree guy in the area who trained in Russia (no cables for climbing, even!) and who can do pretty much anything with tree maintenance.  Next time we go north it will all have been dealt with.

All in all: it's going to be a great summer with, hopefully, great photo opportunities for Hugs.  We had a moment of inspiration on the way in and stopped at the cute shop that sells outdoor furniture, whereupon we bought a seating/table combo to be delivered later, and left an order for a picnic table for the deck - when the bugs go around mid-July, we'll have all kinds of places to sit out and chat, be yarny, read, or do whatever else one does at a cottage when one is not busily mouseproofing it.

What about you?  are you thinking of summer yet?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A finished pair of Joyous socks

With all the mayhem in the last few months, I've missed taking glamour shots of several pairs of finished socks.  Today let's look at some Joy, shall we?

The day I took these, the sun was shining low through the fence: perfect sunshine stripes to pair with the Joyous ones.

Super stripe!

and spotlight.

I took these pictures over the long weekend, which began for me with just the best news ever, news I'd been hoping to get for about a year and a half and can't quite believe even now is true.  (it's not that interesting, but hugely big for me and mine.)  And then - minutes later - I went to the computer and read the latest post at Whip Up.  If you read that blog, you'll know what I mean, and if you don't, you probably don't want to, which is why I didn't link it.

Crush crush crush, basically.  I've experienced the death of friends and family so many times in what I still feel is a pretty short life, and I've come to accept that we all have a limited time on earth - we are all leaving these bodies, there's no way around it.  I've also come to accept that the people we lose are still accessible to us in intangible ways, and that is a comfort.  But the Whip Up news?  that has been hard to accept, even from the perspective of a non-participating reader.

And yet... joy has a way of creeping back in, even after the worst - and I'm talking here about my own losses; I expect joy is a long way off for the many people directly affected by that event.  

Life is just beautiful, have you noticed?  All these living things with survival and maintenance of species to worry about, and yet we still have flowers and a million different shades of green and soft waves on the water and beams of sunlight shining on a loved one's hair.

Life is short, but it's good, too.  And that's joyous, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Persistence: legwarmer edition

Most Ontarians who go to their cottages over the May 24 weekend stay longer than five hours, but we just never have the whole weekend free and Pete loves that drive as much as I love knitting through it, so: speed cleaning, sandwiched by two three-hour lots of legwarmer progress.

Yay!  I hadn't intended to stick with this project for the whole trip - I'd thrown three other little bags of yarn and needles into my tote when I was packing to go - but I decided there was no better time to force myself far enough into the first legwarmer again so as to stop resenting the fact that I'd had to rip out all that work.

It took all six hours, but I did make it back to the point in the yarn where I'd had to stop before.

These legwarmers are going to take a super long time, aren't they.  I am going to share the pattern as a freebie when I finish them, but you probably won't thank me, they are so time-consuming.

(in fact I'm just hoping I will thank myself when November comes and I have warm legs to show for all the effort.)

Some math:

If I work through 10 rounds a day, I will have finished legwarmers somewhere around the end of August.

If I put in six hours every weekend to and from the cottage, I will have finished legwarmers somewhere around the end of July.

If I ignore the legwarmers in favour of winter socks, I will have a lot of finished winter socks somewhere around the end of when I stop not needing them.

decisions, decisions!

Just kidding - I'll stick with the legwarmers.  The colours are so pretty, and I really want to have them, and the rounds are only getting smaller because I keep decreasing as I go along.

The real question is whether I will wear them with the purl side out because:

I love the way the purl side looks.

Self-striping yarns really are pretty fabulous, aren't they?  Or do you prefer to knit your own stripes?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A list for when I grow up

Long weekends are good for lots of things but I always use them for tidying up because obviously I don't know how to party.  Or rather, my idea of a good party is one that involves not being messy... which is the opposite of a good party so I guess I was right the first time.  I mean, I didn't even knit yesterday.  What is up with that?

There you go, a token picture of knitting, courtesy of the good people at Twisted Fiber Art's yarn club.  Everything about this flower is heartstopping, from the club colourway (I am so ordering more of that green) to the embroidered button with its built-in thumbrest.  Those folks are geniuses.  Just wait till I show you the actual yarns: drool-o-rama.

Anyhoo, last night while staying up ridiculously late listening to a preview stream of the new Daft Punk album (ha! evidence of partying ability!) after the major clearout of a hugely daunting room, I reflected on a list of what I would like to have happen when I grow up.

Do you do this?  Make grownup dream lists, I mean, not clear out rooms - that's just bleah.  I do it all the time, even though certain people are under the impression that I am already grown up.  Even Pete made some remark about my age recently and underestimated it by two years even though he knows better, and when I reminded him he was a/ horrified and b/ defending his mistake by noting that I don't act my age.  Of course I don't! because I'm not grown up yet.

Mary's wishlist of growny-up achievements (it goes to 11)

1/ house with window seat and functioning fireplace please

2/ with insulation in it, also (because grownups are practical)

3/ and no extra stuff so I never have to clear stuff out again

4/ that's right, just the essentials, which will include lots of crafty things obviously, but only the ones I'm good at or want to become good at and not the ones I will spend years trying to perfect only to discover I don't enjoy the process and/or the result

5/ enough sleep every day so I don't wake up tired

6/ enough time - or the ability to bend time - so I can do all the crafty stuff I want without having to stop to do the next grownup thing

7/ my own copy of the new Daft Punk album (achievable goals are allowed on the list)

8/ an aversion to chocolate

9/ or else really good self-control when it comes to chocolate

10/ and maybe an actual love of exercise rather than just a grudging willingness

11/ plumbing skills so the next time the shower breaks I can fix it myself (because grownups still = practical)

I'm pretty sure there was a lot more up here at the top of the current list but I can't remember it now (did I say 'ridiculously late'?  maybe I should add 'an ability to stay up ridiculously late without getting an exhaustion-related headache' to the list.)

Okay, I'm off now to do something yarny before I go into withdrawal.  It is a statutory holiday here after all - the nice springtime one where you go to open the cottage and find out whether or not mice ate your furniture and/or trees crushed your roof, and then admire the trilliums.

Lookit! our very own trillium! 

So think about it while I'm frantically finishing off the second clue of my mystery shawl before the new clue comes out today.  If you were making a grownup dream list, what would you put on it?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Administering your knitting

When you think of how long it takes to plan to make stuff, and then make it, and then 'finish' it, it seems like a hardship to have to track it, too.

Still: so useful to have some sort of record, if only to speed up the next planning stage!  Oh the irony of that old saw, 'take time to make time.'

Journals like the ones pictured here are great because they are private, and on paper, and acknowledge only what you tell them - and even then, they will keep your secrets.

If you tell them about every bit of yarn you ever bought, they won't lord over you the fact that you still haven't knit it when you buy more, because the pages are too small to hold all of that information in one page, which is to say the page you are looking at right now.

And they won't tally a 'total' at the top of that page either, in case you thought you could skip over scrolling all the way down to see the true horror of your shopping misdeeds.

Similarly, a paper journal won't bother you about those projects you started with so much enthusiasm and then got distracted away from when you ran into trouble.  That information falls back to an earlier page and doesn't nag you from the top of the list.

Of course, you could just not tell the journal anything, but then you're back to trying to remember what needles worked with what yarn, so... yeah.  Journals are good.

The Ravelry Project Page

When life is - well, what passes for easy, I like to keep my Ravelry project page all up to date, because it's telling me good news.  But when things are busy, I don't have time to go uploading all those pictures, and... meh, it feels like too much work.

Then when I do take the time, remembering how useful it is to have those records, it's: GAAAAAH! because I don't know where to look for the photo files now, and I forgot to upload that yarn to my stash which means extra minutes I didn't plan for, and so on.  And then I do it anyway, because: glutton for punishment.

Using Avoidance Time for Administration

While avoiding casting on the mystery shawl last week (I picked yarn, but I hadn't decided on a needle size, and I didn't feel emotionally prepared to make the sort of commitment that this choice would involve) I updated my Ravelry project page.

And it was (and, I believe, still is) a bit messy.  Six projects outstanding! not counting the two sweaters languishing in the cupboard on what is apparently an indefinite hiatus (I moved those to Snooze, so as not to have to look at them being sadly neglected every time I visit.)

I guess a good thing about tracking progress electronically is that you can see how little you have left to finish a project that maybe fell off  your radar.  Just getting it off the top line of those in-progress pieces becomes a desirable goal, and forces you to keep accomplishing more.

Unless you have to rip out a lot of sock to reknit it, in which case that tantalizing progress note of what was, and if only, is just torture.

Oh well.

How about you?  Do you track or are you just spontaneous?

And are you going to have a fabulous weekend?  I sure hope so!  See you Monday (but probably late, because it's a holiday here and I am so going to be sleeping in.)

ps I took better pictures of the new knitting basket.

It totally looks like a sideways knit, right?  and check out the pretty shaping for the handles at the sides:

Definitely, a knitting basket.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

News from knitting mountain

This week we've hardly talked about knitting at all, in spite of there being a lot of it going on around here (thank you, welcoming new living room, for your many knitting nests.)  So: let's see what's new.

First up, the sunshine and bubblegum sock.

Looking any more on-purpose yet?

No?  Well, how about this: I finally cast on the Mystery Knitalong shawl:

This isn't much of a spoiler because all you can tell from this tiny bit of progress is that the stitches are lace, which was indicated in the initial offering of the pattern.  What I can tell you is that the lace is very pretty, and not impossible to knit.  Also, the way the shawl starts produces a super nice border, and I'm fairly certain the colour of my yarn (Twisted Fiber Art, a club colourway whose name I forget, dyed in an evolution from one colour to another rather than striping), is going to shift just as I start Clue Three, which should look awesome.

I can tell you too that I know who I'm knitting this for (and also who I feel like I should be knitting this for, which does not add up to the same person.)  I'm feeling a bit guilty about the direction it's taking, but this has probably happened to you too - sometimes the knitting just knows where it's meant to be.

Also on the working list this week:

the second, unending, Koigu sock, whose picture I took about ten rounds before I noticed I had started the foot before entirely finishing the gusset.


Ironically, I found the first sock a bit tight around the foot, so this second one might be perfect, but if I leave it the way it is then the two socks will fit differently and that might drive me round the bend.  Also, starting the foot too soon means I've started the toe too soon, which means three choices.

1/ rip out this toe and start later and ignore the fact that the socks aren't the same diameter around the foot.

2/ rip out this toe and the entire foot to fix the gusset problem, then reknit the foot and toe.

3/ rip out this toe and reknit, then rip out the other toe and foot to redo its gusset to match gusset number two.

After trying on both socks and hoping that option one would be viable, I did the preliminary ripping for option three.  Le sigh.  These socks might just take all summer to finish, they are so un-fun to knit, and I don't know why because my goodness the colours are lovely.

In non-knitting news, my friend Jan and I saw a cool basket when we were out shopping this week,

but I saw it first, heh.  I seem to have chosen the one angle for photography that prevents you seeing that it looks as though it's been knit together, but it really does.  Perfect knitting basket!  Well, it's very big unless you happen to have a lot of knitting going on, and I know you know I do.  Plus, I'm carrying a lot of projects and gear back and forth now that I am choosing upstairs over downstairs most of the time.

Actually it's a pretty spectacular thing, those 'knit' stitches on the basket.  I will try to take a better picture for you today.

And one last update: I finally got the sock laundry into the Soak bath.  There were 17 pairs.  How does that even happen?  My sock drawer still has a lot of viable options in it and everything.  Maybe this is just too many socks.

Good thing I signed up for the next round of Vesper Sock Club before I tallied up my inventory, right?

Okay, that's it for me today.  Have a wonderful day yourself, and I'll see you tomorrow!