Tuesday, October 31, 2006

One and One Hundred

Know what today is? Other than Tuesday and Halloween, that is. No idea? Here's a hint: go take a look at the archives. Figured it out yet?

Yes, that's right, today this blog turns one year old. Happy blogiversary to me!

In honor of this event, I've decided to finally do one of those memes that have been floating around the blogosphere for at least the past year. Without any further ado, I give you:

ONE HUNDRED THINGS you probably didn't want to know ABOUT ME:

1) Since this is primarily a knitting blog, I'll start with the obvious: I've been knitting since my aunt taught me how when I was 7 or 8 years old.
2) The first thing I knit was a very misshapen garter stitch rectangle, made out of orange acrylic (ack!).
3) I knit nothing but garter stitch, stockinette, or ribbed scarves for years, until I discovered a yarn store around the corner from my apartment building in Philly when I was in grad school.
4) I've been obsessed since about this time last year.
5) I started this blog after J (then boyfriend, now fiance) found Jen's blog and showed it to me.
6) Since I've gotten serious about knitting, I've become a yarn snob. Although I used to use exclusively acrylic (poor me didn't know any better), I've been reformed and now only use it for baby items.
7) J and I have been engaged since this past June and are busy planning our wedding next September.
8) We met online.
9) We had enough mutual friends that we were able to "screen" each other first.
10) It took me several months to realize I had feelings for him, but after that I fell hard and fast.
11) I've lived in Western PA my whole life, with the exception of the five years I was in Philadelphia for college and grad school.
12) I have a bachelor's degree in psychology.
13) I have a master's degree in elementary education.
14) I'm not using either degree in my current job.
15) I taught third grade as a long-term substitute for a year after grad school. Then I couldn't find another teaching job.
16) I work as a proofreader/editor.
17) I don't really miss teaching, although sometimes I miss the kids.
18) I was once a voracious reader and have a personal library of several hundred books.
19) I don't read much for pleasure anymore, now that I read for a living. (I knit instead!)
20) One day I'd like to knit for a living.
21) I am a registered Democrat.
22) I've voted in ever election since I've been eligible.
23) I've yet to elect a president (see #21).
24) My greatest ambition is to be a mother (although not for at least a couple more years).
25) I've had two journal articles published.
26) Another top ambition is to one day publish a book.
27) I'm still not over the death of my childhood dog, Sugar, who died in 2003.
28) I think a mini daschund would really help me get over it.
29) I've auditioned for Jeopardy!
30) They still haven't called me to come on. At least I got a cool pen.
31) In college, I minored in art history and classics.
32) I've studied four foreign languages in my life -- French, Italian, Hebrew, and ancient Greek. (I don't include the tiny bit of Spanish I had in first grade.)
33) When I was in Kindergarten, I told my parents I wanted to be an artist when I grew up.
34) Sometimes I still want to be one, and occasionally I pretend to be one.
35) Last year I painted J's portrait for his birthday.
36) I was in a sorority in college.
37) I never participated in any pillow fights in my underwear.
38) I have the same name as a British jewelry designer, a former editor at Philadelphia magazine, and an Australian, er, adult film actress. Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson have also played characters with my name in movies.
39) I've been mistaken for someone else in two cities.
40) I always wanted a sister. Instead I got a brother, and next year I'll gain a brother-in-law.
41) I went to an all-girls school for 13 years -- actually, I went to two all-girls schools for a total of 13 years.
42) I wouldn't even consider a women's college.
43) I'm still really close with my roommate from freshman year.
44) In fact, she's going to be my maid of honor at my wedding.
45) In college, I planned to go on to grad school to get a degree in counseling psychology.
46) Then I had to take statistics for my major and promptly changed my mind.
47) I'm still not really sure what I want to be when I grow up.
48) I think I might like being a book editor for a publishing company.
49) I really love children's literature, and I still enjoy rereading favorites from when I was little.
50) I could never pick just one favorite book.
51) The two books I've probably read the most times are Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre.
52) Jane Austen is my favorite author.
53) I am petrified of flying.
54) I will still fly if I have to, and I do better when I'm flying with someone else. Or when medicated.
55) I've been out of the country several times, including to Europe twice and to Israel once.
56) I used to write regularly in a journal.
57) I haven't opened a journal in a while, at least since I started blogging.
58) I once got a shoulder rub from John Stamos (it's a long story, maybe another time if anyone is interested).
59) I cry easily, and just about anything can set me off -- movie, commercial, radio report, you name it.
60) I am also afraid of snakes.
61) I absolutely did not see Snakes on a Plane. I couldn't even watch the ad on TV.
62) My favorite color is blue.
63) For years I refused to wear anything pink.
64) I finally got over it when I got to college.
65) I have a great uncle named George Foreman. No, he doesn't have a grilling machine.
66) My mother has been one of my greatest female role models.
67) I'm a sucker for cheesy romantic movies. Yes, I cry.
68) I absolutely detest scary movies.
69) I've had a Netflix subscription since I had my wisdom teeth out last summer.
70) My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
71) I'm not such a fan of the turkey.
72) I celebrate Christmas every year, even though...
73) I'm Jewish. (Another long story...)
74) Whenever J is out of town (and sometimes when he's not) I sleep with a stuffed elephant that I made out of old long underwear when I was a teenager.
75) I still have (but rarely sleep with) the teddy bear I got the day I was born.
76) I have read all the Harry Potter books.
77) I hate driving.
78) I don't mind taking long road trips, as long as I'm not in the driver's seat.
79) When I was a really little girl, I was afraid of "mans."
80) I'm still a little shy.
81) I'd rather stay home on a Friday or Saturday night than go out to a bar.
82) I love to cook.
83) One day I'd love to go to culinary school.
84) I have a subscription to Gourmet, although I almost never read it (see #19).
85) I've been known to get addicted to Food Network.
86) I listen to NPR every day in the car.
87) I have an uncanny ability to remember which actors were in movies I've seen, but I've forgotten the names of people I went to school with.
88) I am allergic to lilies.
89) There will be no lilies at my wedding.
90) I am extremely proud of my baby brother, who is know a freshman at the college he dreamed of attending for years.
91) I love to spoil my sweetie.
92) Largely because of my job, I catch grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, etc. errors all the time.
93) Sometimes it bothers me to read blogs I like because I can't get away from these kind of errors. I do my best to ignore them.
94) As long as I am knitting, I think I'll always be knitting socks.
95) I have more sock yarn in my stash than anything else.
96) I wish I had more friends who lived near me.
97) I especially wish I had more friends who knit.
98) One day in the next year I'll be changing the name of this blog. I already know what its next incarnation will be.
99) I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll never be rich or famous, but I'll do all I can to make sure that I'm happy.
100) I had no idea how long this list would take until I sat down and did it!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Just in time ...

for the (near) end of Socktoberfest, a pair of completed socks! I give you ...

Siegfried & Roy!
Pattern: My own -- basic stockinette with K2P2 ribbing at cuff, leg shaping, and a slip stitch heel
Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic), color 9967, two skeins
Needles: US 1 Addi Turbo 12" circs

These were actually finished Friday evening, but I haven't had a chance to post until now. I've named them Siegfried and Roy because the striping made me think of their white tigers, particularly the way it pooled near the cuff. Rrrrr.

Now that these are done, I've started a new travel sock -- another custom-fit design of my own, this time a knee-high stocking. I'm calling these socks my Pumpking Pie Socks, as I'm using the peachy cream and pumpkin colors of Jaeger Matchmaker I ordered from WEBS. So far the cuff is done and the first round of decreases have been completed. You'll get a peek when there's more of the leg to see!

ETA: In case trek is reading, I picked up some more Fixation on Thursday evening in order to make some Adult Wonkies!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh happy day!

What's the best thing about getting home late, after dark, to an empty house?

Finding yarn waiting for you! Yes, that's right, the yarn kleptos in Leetsdale have been foiled again. They tried to mess with me by sitting on it for a full day, hoping I'd forget all about it, but they don't realize the mental powers of the knitter they were dealing with. I kept checking that darn tracking window all day, and today my yarnstalking was successful! Up front here you see the two hanks of Gloss (not really purple as they appear, but rather a wine red) for my Sockret Pal. The rest of this yarn is for me -- all Merino Style, 11 skeins in Hollyberry and three in Rhubarb, to make myself a Union Square Market Sweater (Kate Gilbert, fall '05 Interweave Knits). I fell in love with this sweater when I saw Mari's (whose blog, by the way, I discovered relatively recently and love, but she hasn't updated since mid-August! Why is that?) It's gonna be a while until I get to the knitting of this one, unfortunately.

Last night I spent the first half or so of Gilmore Girls trying my hand at making some stitch markers. Considering I'm no expert with the wire or the pliers, I think I did pretty well:

These are for my Sockret Pal (who hopefully isn't snooping around, or she'll ruin the surprise!). These are all made to fit up to a US 3 needle -- perhaps a bit large/heavy for sock knitting, but if you only use one to mark the beginning of the round, you should be okay. One of my coworkers moonlights as a jewelry designer, so I may ask her for some tips for better finishing before I make any more.

Tomorrow night I'll be getting home late again (my "little sister" from my college sorority is in town, so I'm taking her out to dinner), but if all goes well I'll come home to yarn yet again, this time my Cherry Tree Hill. I am so ready for the sproingy-ness (that's for you, Jenn).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Somebody stop me!

Why is it that when I have a lot of projects on the needles, I can't stop myself from buying more yarn for more projects? Yesterday I couldn't resist the urge to order some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn -- hey, I've wanted to try it for a while, and I found it on sale. I couldn't not buy it, right? Then, of course, there's my most recent Knit Picks order, which seems to have once again been held hostage by the crazy kleptomaniac knitters in Leetsdale. According to the tracking on the Knit Picks Web site, it arrived there yesterday at 11 a.m. Doesn't appear to have moved since then, even though Leetsdale is less than an hour's drive away. I'm hoping for tomorrow (not that it matters anyway -- I won't get to the sweater the yarn's intended for for at least a couple of months!).

But enough with the negativity -- I made progress over the weekend! Especially on Sunday afternoon, which was as gloomy and depressing as you'd expect a fall Sunday afternoon to be. J wasn't feeling well, so he napped on the couch while I watched the Steelers game (that certainly didn't help me feel any less depressed!). Here's Lady Eleanor, who's approaching the end of her second skein of yarn:

And then there are the navy socks, whose heels have been successfully turned and whose gussets are complete! Now it's just the straight knitting (with patterning on the instep) for probably another 4-5 inches until I can start the toe. You'd think after getting this far, past the 10 1/2" leg especially, I'd be all gung-ho to finish up, but frankly I'm just bored. Hence the progress on Lady Eleanor.

Last night I swatched for my pumpkin pie socks, which will be my own design with the pumpkin and peach Jaeger Matchmaker from WEBS. They will hopefully be pretty darn close to knee socks, all depending on how long the pumpkin color lasts (it will be the main color, with contrasting toes, heels, and ribbed cuff). I may start them this weekend, when we're driving to Cleveland. I can't work on any of the holiday gifts, as we're going with both my parents and J's to meet and spend time with some of his cousins. (At least this will be a good opportunity to finally measure my father's feet!) I am also close to finishing my travel sock, which you haven't seen yet. They're in black and white Cascade Fixation; the first sock is done, the second sock is in the gussets.

I'm off to eat dinner (yay, tofu!) and get all the projects ready for Gilmore Girls. Ta.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Better

To start off, I must apologize for all the bitching and moaning in yesterday's post. I blame it on a lethal combination of high hormone levels, stress at work, lack of sleep, and being deprived from my once-a-month knitting get-together with other knitters (somehow knitting every night while J putters on his laptop isn't as satisfying). For lack of a friend or significant other to listen to me, you got to be the audience to my kvetch session. I hope I haven't lost any readers* because of it (not that I think I had that many readers to begin with ...)

Things did get better last night, what with the wine, the good TV, and the knitting. I made decent progress on the navy socks, although the combination of the wine and the exhaustion slowed my knitting speed down a bit and I didn't get as far as I'd like. Setting up for the heel flaps was also really fiddly, as I had to use two dpns to move all the stitches to where I wanted them (as I said to J when he got home, do you realize how many needle points I was dealing with at that point? It's a wonder I didn't hurt myself, which I always manage to do in really odd ways -- like this morning, when I made my left thumb bleed by washing my hands.) But I digress, or ramble, or whatever. Since I had no photos for you yesterday, today I've decided to put in the obligatory and entirely unexciting progress shot on the socks:

Roughly six more rows to knit on the flaps before I turn the heel. I've been working these on both socks at the same time, but I'll turn the heels individually before moving on to the gussets. Should get in to them tonight, as J and I are having a quiet dinner at home -- a "real, adult" dinner, meaning at the dining room table instead of at the coffee table in front of the TV! -- and catching up on our DVRed shows, namely Lost.

An interesting coincidence has occurred as I've been knitting my socks. This is my first time doing both socks at once, and while the regular knitting wasn't so hard to wrap my head around, figuring out how to manipulate the right stitches to have them in the right position for the heels and gussets and then for the feet has been somewhat of a challenge. I've been referring a lot to Kenny's tutorial (technically for working both socks on one long circular, but the general concept is the same). Meanwhile, the past few days Kenny and I have been having an e-mail conversation about a good yarn for a sweater he wants to knit. I had commented on his blog about Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed (which you know I just bought a lot of for a sweater for J), and he e-mailed me back to ask some more specific questions. Fortuitous coincidence, no? Since he has helped me with this two-socks-at-once thing, I thought the least I could do is try to help him.

Here, dear readers, is where you come in. Please share your yarn opinions and expertise! Kenny is thinking of something tweedy, and fairly substantial (needle size at least a US 5 -- he doesn't want to grow old knitting this sweater!). He is not much of an Internet yarn buyer, as he likes to feel/pet his yarn in person before purchasing; however, he acknowledges that there are some good deals on the Web that just can't be had at an LYS. I'm sure that he'd appreciate any sort of review or guidance you can give him on specific yarns. Please, go visit his blog (see especially this post) and help him out if you can. Thanks!

I'm off to get dinner ready for sweetie. Have a great weekend!

*Sockret Pal, thank you for the sweet comment you left me yesterday! I can hardly wait to see what you're putting together. I hope you won't take yesterday's post as representative of this blog and come back again!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Aaargh

Last night was just a total bust as far as knitting was concerned. Bear with me, this is going to be a rant.

Last night was, of course, the regular knitting night at B&N with the girls. I was already going to be a bit late, as J and I were meeting a friend for dinner. We were scheduled to meet sometime around 6:45, which was a little later than I would have liked on a knitting night, but that was the time the guys were available (J had a meeting right after work) and as the restaurant was literally down the road from B&N, I figured I'd eat quickly and only be a little late.

I got there first, as usual (some people are always late; I am perpetually early). I got a table and played games on my Palm Pilot for about 10 minutes until J arrived. We waited a bit for the friend, who we figured would be along soon. At about 7:10, when he still hadn't arrived, J decided to go outside (where there was cell reception) to call him. Turns out there'd been a slight mix-up: we were at Walnut Grove, in Aspinwall, and he was at Shady Grove in Shadyside. Oops. He said he'd leave and come meet us, so of course J said we wait for him -- mind you, in the best of traffic conditions, it's at least a 15-20 minute drive from one place to the other. And traffic was bad last night. To make a long story short, he finally got the restaurant at about five minutes to eight. Fortunately J had had the foresight to call him and find out what he wanted to eat so that we could at least put in an order, but by the time the food came I wasn't hungry and only ate about three bites. Then I felt like it would be antisocial so leave as soon as the friend arrived. So I stayed. And stayed. And finally left the restaurant at about quarter to nine.

How late was I in getting to knitting? Put it this way: 40 guy was already there and had already left his liquid refreshment on a table and gone off to find his reading material for the night. I stayed for about 20 minutes, just enough time to meet The MWP (hi again!), let the ladies pet my Soy Wool Stripes, and knit exactly one end triangle and one rectangle on Lady Eleanor. I really shouldn't have bothered. Sigh, such a let down.

On top of all this, I got home and got everything ready for today (clothes, coffee, etc.) and was in bed in plenty of time to watch the Project Runway finale. Or should I say Project Wrongway. Come on -- Jeffrey?! What are you people thinking?! I think I have lost all respect for Michael Kors. Pardon me for thinking that the winner should be someone who designed things that real people would actually wear -- I guess "real fashion" is all about "real ugly." Yuck. That is not how I wanted it to go and it totally made the night even worse.

Tonight must, MUST make up for the crappiness of last night. J will be home late because he has to go to some tech awards thing, so dinner will be for one and will involve a nice big glass of sauvignon blanc. Then it will be all about the navy socks and (hopefully!) their heels and another installment of McDreamyness.

Sorry for the decided lack of pictures in this post. I'm in a bit of a funk and nothing looks good enough to photograph right now anyway (do you really want another picture of those navy socks looking exactly the same as last time?). Starting next week I should be a more productive knitter, as I will having much more time on my own. J is starting a new role/project at work that will require being in Chicago every week for potentially the next six months. He'll be home on the weekends, and some weeks he'll only be gone two or three days, but most weekday evenings I'll be on my own, so the stash will have to keep me company. In yet another example of how well this man knows me and my knitting, I present a snippet of last night's conversation:

SJ: Just don't leave me alone too long -- because you know what happens when I'm by myself for too long.
J: You buy more yarn?
SJ: Yup.

Need I say what I did at lunch today? Let the stalking of the Knit Picks Web site commence!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Trick and a Treat and Ubiquitous Socks

Seeing what [intentional] felting does to wool never ceases to amaze and excite me. Case in point: pumpkin before felting ...

and after ...

Pattern: 12:01 by Nathania Apple, October '06 MagKnits
Yarn: Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian highland wool), color 7824/Burnt Orange (2 skeins) and color 2445/Shire (1 skein)
Needles: US 8 dpns and circs
Mods: Many. To begin with, I used much smaller needles than the pattern called for (US 8s instead of US 13s, which I frankly didn't have on hand). I also doubled rather than tripled the yarn, which was hard enough on the hands, and added a few extra rows in the middle for some added depth. I have a feeling that this adorable bag turns out much bigger, even after felting, if you follow the instructions as written, but I like this size. It'll stand in for my candy dish on my desk at work for the rest of the month and then might show up as a decoration for Thanksgiving.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, it's back to the holiday knitting. Specifically, I'm focusing on these right now:

Color is off, as usual (I guess the camera couldn't handle navy yarn against the red rug as a background), but here are the nearly complete legs for the socks for my future FIL. They're relatively slow going at 80 stitches -- well, I guess 160 -- per round and a purled pattern, but at least when I'm done there's no second sock to knit.

Tomorrow is knitting night at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble with, I expect, all the usual characters. I'll be a bit late, as J and I are meeting a friend for dinner down the road, but I will be bringing Lady Eleanor and her pretty wool/soy yarn for attendees to pet. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yarn Explosion!

This has been quite a stash-enhancing week for me. First, on Saturday, I stopped by Yarns By Design to pick up yarn for my mother's holiday gift and for my latest project (I'll get to that in a minute). Then, on Tuesday, my order from WEBS arrived:

This box contains primarily yarn for J's sweater -- yes, he is finally letting me knit him one, sweater curse be damned! It will be an Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless sweater, yet to be designed. The main color will the gray you see in the back right, with the blue for turned-up hems at the arms and body. This is all Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed, which was such a deal on closeout at WEBS that I couldn't resist. In front -- and the colors are totally off -- more closeout deals, four skeins of Jaeger Matchmaker. The two on the left are more of a pumpkin color, and the one on the right are more of a slightly pink cream. These will be socks for me, with the pumpkin the main color and the other for contrasting toes, heels, and cuffs. I'm going to do these toe-up, with the hope that they'll be high socks (perhaps not knee-highs, but high). I see a lot of calf increases in my future.

J was home before me this evening, so he brought in the mail. When I walked in the door he told me I'd be happy -- a package had arrived from my Sockret Pal!

How amazing is this package? The pattern for Fetching from the last Knitty, two skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (which I handed to J to feel and then had to pry out of his hands) in a gorgeous dusty pink color, a box of Halloween chocolates, and a friendly and funny card -- in which my Sockret Pal informed me that this booty was just to tide me over until she sends my real first package! Sockret Pal, I don't know who you are, but you are fantastic! Thanks so much! Even J (the fiance) weighed in on this package:

As I alluded to before, I've started yet another project -- because apparently my four current projects just weren't enough. But really, October is getting to be close to half over, and there was one project that I really wanted to have done in time for Halloween. So I've started 12:01 from the current MagKnits. I'm using Cascade 220 and I'm nearly half done, after having started it last night at about 8:30. Should be a quick and satisfying knit, and then I can start on a pair of Fetching(s?), since it's cold outside!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Reason #783,615

Yesterday, in all the excitement of the successful felting and other things*, I completely forgot to tell you about another reason I'm marrying the most wonderful man in the world.

Before I get into it, I need to go back a little bit and give you the full back story. You may remember that last October J bought me a Jordana Paige Knitter's Purse on our first trip to Knit One after researching them on the Web. I used it just about every day and more or less wore it out. I retired it about a month or so ago, when I realized the straps were disintigrating and I began to fear for the accidental loss of my knitting. J bought me a swanky new bag that fit my sock bag perfectly, and I relegated my knitting purse to the closet for the time being.

Now fast forward to last Friday. I had just had a horribly busy and stressful week at work, and that day I was especially cranky after my alarm clock malfunctioned and I got about 25 minutes less sleep that I was used to. I got home from work first and plopped myself down to knit until J got home. When he walked in, he asked me how my day was, and when I answered "crappy," he disappeared outside. He came back into the house holding a big box, which he announced was for me, just since I'd had a bad day. What do you think was inside?

A brand new knitter's purse! (The black one is the new one -- and those aren't bleached spots or anything near the top of the bag, it's just a little dust from the box that I haven't had a chance to wipe off yet.)

Aren't I a lucky knitter?

*Oh, like buying my wedding dress!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Felt it

Another FO to file under "Where Did This Project Come From?"


Pattern: My own, felted clutch
Yarn: Freedom by Twilleys of Stamford, 100% wool, two skeins
Needles: US 11 straights (base) US 10 1/2 circs (body and flap)

Another shot, this time with the flap open (it tucks inside as seen above):


This was some of the yarn I picked up 55% off at Pittsburgh Knit and Bead just before it closed. I didn't have a project in mind at the time, but I knew it would likely be something felted. This yarn is super chunky and is essentially roving with a slight twist to it. Here you can see what was left after weaving in the ends:


The construction of this bag was simple: I cast on using straights, knit for a couple inches in seed stitch, and then picked up stitches on the other three sides of the rectangle and knit the rest of the bag in stockinette. The only exception to the stockinette is a small purled heart on one side, which I used a little of the leftover black to outline. I ran this through the washing machine once and it felted beautifully. It shrank an incredible amount and the fabric became quite dense, but incredibly you can still see some stitch definition. I think this will serve nicely as a case for my dpns.

I have quite a few WIPs on the needles right now: socks for my future FIL, Lady Eleanor for my future MIL, a Clapotis for my mom, and a pair of socks pour moi. Still need to measure my dad's feet for his socks and I'll have to figure out what to do for the brothers (mine and J's), but I think I've got enough to keep me busy for now! Progress shots this week, if there's something interesting to show.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Life as a Sock Knitter

Tonight my post is nearly all about socks. And about the photos that Blogger wouldn't let me load last night, but I'll get to that in a bit.

Since we are quickly approaching the end of the first week of Socktoberfest, I've decided to take this opportunity to tell you probably more than you wanted to know about my life as a sock knitter, taking Lolly's questionnaire as my starting point. I promise, there are pictures -- including some yarn porn! -- at the end!

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

Believe it or not, the very first knitting pattern I ever bought was a Regia basic sock pattern, at what was my LYS when I was in grad school in Philly. I tried to find the first sock I made to take a picture of it, but I must've hidden it away; trust me, it wasn't pretty. It was more of a Christmas stocking than a sock. I can't even begin to discuss how and where I went wrong with that thing. All I know is that I couldn't make heads or tails of that pattern. It had directions for both a heel flap and a short-row heel, but didn't do a very good job of explaining that you did one or the other. I suspect it was originally written in German and was just very poorly translated, which was compounded by the fact that I was still a fairly inexperienced knitter.

I would say I really became a sock knitter late last year, when I made J his first pair of socks. I did these without a pattern, but at that point had read enough pattern on the Internets that I was reasonably comfortable with making one up. And, obviously, I figured out how to do a short-row heel.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

Well, if we're going with that pair I just mentioned as my first official pair of socks, then they've held up very well. They're a bit too snazzy for J to wear every day, so they spend most of their time in his sock drawer and only get worn around the house.

What would you have done differently?

As that pair was knit toe up, I would have bound off the cuffs a lot more loosely or done a sewn bind off. Of course, I didn't know about such things then.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

One of my favorites is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, but because it's on the pricier side I usually save it for "special" patterns or for gift socks. Most of the time I knit with Knit Picks Essential, since it's superwash and cheap. I also love the cotton/lycra blend from Greenwood Fiberworks, which is somewhat of a pain to knit with (little bits of it fall off and tend to stick to you), but the knitted fabric is so, so comfortable.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

Crochet socks? Never heard of that before. I only crochet afghans. Most of the time I like to work on two circulars, or on dpns if the pattern seems to require it. I've never used Magic Loop for a sock, but only because I didn't think any of my circs were flexible enough. I might try it with some of my new Knit Picks circs, since their cord seems to be very flexible.


Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I think at this point probably flap, since I think it fits better. When I first started knitting socks, I was all about the short-row heel, because I thought the flap looked funny. I've been reformed.

How many pairs have you made?

I think -- think -- I've made a total of 12 complete pairs, but I also have at least two single socks (half pairs) and three currently in progress.

Speaking of which, you want to see them, don't you? Here's the picture I tried to upload last night (and we know how that worked out):


On the left, on top of my sock bag, is my current travel sock, a basic stockinette in Cascade Fixation. I already have a name in mind for this pair, but I'll wait until it's complete so you get it. On the right are socks for my future FIL, to be gifted for the holidays. This is my first pair doing both socks at once on two circular needles, in this case Knit Picks circs. My opinion on these is mixed. On the one hand, doing both at once eliminates any chance of Second Sock Syndrome, and I'm loving the needles with their pointier-than-Addis tips and extremely flexible cord. On the other hand, it's a bit fiddly to do, with all the needles and two skeins of yarn to keep track of. I spend about a quarter of my knitting time on these rearranging needles and untangling the strands of yarn. We'll see if I make it the whole way through on these.

Next up, a peek at another holiday knitting project, this one for my future MIL:


Recognize Lady Eleanor? This is being knit in a quite luscious wool and soy blend by Paton's. Beautiful sheen, great color (reminds me of Noro color changes), and wonderful softness, even though it does shed.

Finally, the promised yarn porn! Here's one of two skeins from Carolyn at Greenwood Fiberworks that arrived in the mail today (I can't show you the other one, as it's for my Sockret Pal; I don't want to ruin the surprise just in case she happens to stop by the blog):

This colorway is called Winter Sky. It makes me think of the purplish color the sky takes on in the winter when snow is coming. This will make another oh-so-comfortable pair for moi.

One last thought for tonight: GO PENS!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Twofer

Hello, dear readers -- if indeed there are any of you left! I must apologize for my lax blogging in the past week. Work happened, and then Yom Kippur happened, and then recovery from Yom Kippur happened. I am counting the hours until the weekend, because I need to sleep and sit down and do nothing for more than a few minutes.

The good news is, since I've been offline for so long, tonight you get two FOs for the price of one! Let's get right into it, shall we? First off, I give you ...

TWINS!
Pattern: Gentleman's (and Lady's!) Fancy Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon) in Burgundy, four skeins total
Needles: His - US 1, Hers - US 0
Mods: I used a double strand of yarn to cast on for a stretchier leg opening for all but one of these socks -- specifically the first one of mine. Dummy that I am, I didn't bother pulling out the original sock when I finally started its mate to notice that I hadn't doubled the yarn the first time around, so the tops of my socks don't match. Oopsie. I guess it won't matter much, since no one will really see the tops of my socks, but I might have to switch off so that one foot doesn't loose circulation all the time.

In all fairness, only one of these socks (the one second from the left, if you care to know) is the real FO. I thought it was high time this sock finally had a mate; it was looking so lonely in the sock drawer!

Next up: I spy with my little eye something ...

GREEN!
Pattern: Tivoli by Grumperina (August '05 Mag Knits)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport (60% pima cotton, 40% Modal) in Grass, 5 1/2 skeins including gauge swatch
Needles: US 6 circs (really crappy ones at that)
Mods: none

Yes, this that green thing you got a peek at last week, finished later that evening. I then "blocked" it with an iron on high steam, which although it got the edges to lay a bit flatter also had the unexpected effect of making the fabric streeeeeetch. Can you see how baggy this thing is on me? (It's not that apparent since I'm holding my shoulders back so it doesn't sag in the front.) I had another shot (from the back) to show you just how baggy it is, but Blogger is being a poopyhead again and won't let me load more than two pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I used what was left of the sixth skein of yarn to knit up a test swatch that'll be going in the laundry with the next load of darks to test shrinkage, since this sweater obviously needs a little of it to fit the way it should.

And by the way, as much as I love how narrow my hips look in this picture, I'm not such a fan of how, um, large the girls look. But you know who my regular photographer is, so you understand, don'tcha?

Next post: it's Socktober! Find out about the three socks I'm currently knitting PLUS the beginnings of my holiday knitting.