Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Secret Shopping

I've been under a self-imposed regime of yarn rationing for the past couple of months: I'm determined to not buy any yarn until I've finished a significant chunk of the projects I have. At the very least, I want to finish all of the socks that were on the needles when I made this vow. This might be possible; the only two left are my Bavarian Strolling Socks and my Bulgarian Rose Socks. I don't know how many other projects I'll start and complete before I buy some new ones.

Sweaters don't count, of course. There's no telling when I'll get the sweaters finished. But I'm trying very hard to avoid starting any new ones - although the Cascade Fixation Disaster may require a small exception there.

There are, naturally, exceptions to my no-yarn-buying rule. Yarn for Sock Club doesn't count. If River Knits ever gets anymore "Baltic Sea" Shepherd Sport yarn from Lorna's Laces, I'll grab 2 skeins as quickly as I can. And I wouldn't pass up any exceptionally great deal that came my way - that would be silly.

Yarn for someone else is also an exception, and a fun one. So lately I've been shopping for my Secret Pal, and for the Sock Day Club. I have the yarn and pattern picked out for the first set of socks, and now I'm trying to come up with an appropriate design for the second.

I'd love to write about all the goodies I'm collecting for my Secret Pal, but what if she should stumble across this? So I'll just say that it's loads of fun to shop for someone else. When I signed up for Secret Pal 8, the $60 spending requirement seemed kind of high. But I'm already almost there!


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Race Day!

Right now I'm at work. That is, I'm playing on the computer, listening to the Indy 500, and about to start working on my "Gull Wing" socks.

Yep, it's Race Day, arguably the most important day of the year in Indiana. I'm disappointed to learn that poor P.J. Chessen, who celebrated his first race with a tatoo, will finish 33rd. Hope he doesn't feel the need to get a tatoo every year.

The library is completely deserted. Even if it weren't Race Day, I doubt anyone would be studying on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. So I should make some serious progress on my newest socks.

I'm so glad for webcasts.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"These are for making socks!"

I have a completely adorable 2.5 year old niece, who's reached the age where she wants to talk about everything. From time to time she's shown an interest in my colorful socks, and I've tried to encourage that.

Last night, I was knitting on the Dreaded Small Capitals Sock (more about this month's Evil Sock Club Project later) when she came in and picked up a ball of yarn. "I'm making socks," I told her, and she put the yarn down and moved on to something else.

But later that night, as I was going to bed, she wandered back to pick up the yarn that I'd oh-so-casually left lying out. With both balls in her hand, she ran around saying "These are for making socks! A blue one and a white one." So maybe she's hooked. :-) My mother was very worried about potential damage to the knitting (or to the niece, since she'd tangled the yarn around her feet), but I think a few unraveled stitches are a small price to pay for a new knitter.

So before I left this morning, I scattered some more socks and yarn around the house. I hope they'll catch some attention.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sock Day

I've joined a scary new sock exchange - the River Knits Sock Day Club. Eight of us have all promised to make socks for each other - not just for one person in the group, but for everybody.

This is a little bit scary. It's also somewhat cheering - after some time thinking I was getting old, I turn out to be one of the younger knitters. There's a downside - we're determining sock recipients in order of age, from the oldest to the youngest. I won't receive my socks until February 2008.

Now I'm trying to decide which socks to make. Several socks are percolating through my mind for the first recipient. Turkish socks for everyone leaps to mind, but I've already made Turkish socks for one member as part of a Secret Pal exchange.

It's also been my ambition lately to write a book of sock knitting patterns for travel. Most of the books I've seen only nod toward convenience, still requiring elaborate patterns or many colors. My idea of travel knitting is something that's easy to carry, that can be stopped and started at any time, and that doesn't require frequent referrals to a chart. So maybe what I'll do is start my collection of sock designs, and use them for the Sock Day Club. Right now I have only a couple of designs in mind, and none of them are really suitable for our first person.

Why Sock Day Club? Because each member will get to celebrate her own "Sock Day" when she collects!


Monday, May 15, 2006

Fidalgo Fallout!

I've finished my Fidalgo Feet socks, so I'm on track for Sock Club. However, I chose a pale yellow Gems Merino for my socks, so the evergreen lace doesn't look very tree-like. I think it looks more like a Fallout Shelter sign (which is kind of cool, since I've always wanted to own a fallout shelter sign).

So I've cast on Pomatomus for my fiddly, work-on-at-home socks. The Fluted Bannister Socks are still in progress on the road.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Socks To Do

I've been trying to keep a list of all the socks I want to make. So here it is - if I get better with HTML mabye I'll make an actual checklist.

"Small Capitals" from Sensational Knitted Socks in Cascade Fixation
"Pomatomus" from Knitty in Icehouse Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
"Bavarain Strolling Socks" from the Pattern-a-Day Calendar in Dale Baby Ull
Maple Leaf Socks from ??? in Baltic Sea Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport
Fluted Bannister Socks from ??? in Rainbow Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport
Leaf Lace Socks from Socks Socks Socks
Beer Socks (my own design)
"Succession" socks (my own design)
"Pearls of Wisdom" socks from Socks Socks Socks
Toe Socks
Several kinds of self-striping socks
Bulgarian Socks from Piecework in Dale Baby Ull
"Oriel" from Sensational Knitted Socks in the Fancy Image Yarn-of-the-Month from February

The truly scary thing is that I already have the yarn for almost all of these!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fidalgo Finished!

Thanks to a weekend A&S day, and the first Knit Night I've been to in months, I finished my Fidalgo Feet socks last night. I really like the pale yellow Gems Merino yarn I used, but I'm not 100% sure it was the best choice for this project. The evergreen trees don't look much like trees - in fact, the whole sock resembles a fallout shelter sign more than anything else.

I tried to resume my Bavarian Strolling Socks, but I've discovered needle problems - specifically, that I misplaced one of my #2 Crystal Palace needles while I was working on the heel. I also can't find any other sets of #2s to start a different project. It's clearly time to look for a good needle storage system - the skinny little DPNs get lost so easily.

I'm busy on the 2nd Fluted Bannister Sock. It should be done soon, and then I'll cast on something with the leftover yarn from my Chevron Socks.

Working in a very cold air conditioned place (I HATE air conditioning!) has its advantages - I'll be able to wear my socks year-round!


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Finally Finals!

Not much new knitting yet, but I'm sure it will be soon. Finals week is here - I turned in my last paper yesterday, and dumped off most of the books today.

One exam tomorrow - so I'm actually studying, rather than getting any reading done. Still, the Fluted Bannister Socks are coming along nicely. The Lorna's Laces Rainbow is developing a really neat pattern in the gusset and foot - quite a contrast to the regular striping of the leg. I'll have to post a picture soon.

We're starting to get ready for the summer - cleaning up BF's apartment after he graciously hosted a bunch of my undergraduates for a party last weekend, and cleaning up my apartment, just because.

Next week I'll be working 8-hour days at the library, and with NO SCHOOLWORK to worry about I'll hope that I can get a lot of knitting done.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Secret Pal Answers

Here's my questionnaire for Secret Pal 8:

Hi everyone and welcome to SP8!
Here is the questionnaire for this round.
It's very important to post your answers to your blogs in a spot that your pal can easily find them. Please be sure to post your answers by the end of this week. Your pal is certain to be anxious to get spoiling you! :-)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like natural fibers - I use a lot of soft, superwash wool. Cotton and silk are cool too. I've never knit with linen. I don't like cheap acrylics, or really any synthetic fibers. I've never tried using novelty yarns, so I don't know if I'd like them or hate them.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
The pockets of a vintage suitcase.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting off and on for 25 years, but I just picked up again in earnest a few years ago. I'd say I'm an advanced knitter - I usually manage to learn new stuff quickly, and on my own.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
My Amazon wish list is here.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I usually like milder scents - light florals like lilac, or some of the foresty or rainy blends. I've been known to buy the vanilla/spice or fruity candles so it smells like I've been cooking. I'd say that I probably don't like really strong, sweet florals. But I can't stop buying Partylite samplers, so I must like variety, too!

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I like sweet stuff, but I don't eat too much of it - I prefer baked goods over candy, usually. I have something of a weakness for Wint-O-Green Life Savers, and Chick-O-Sticks. (I've never noticed the "O" pattern before! Can I include Lik-a-maid, or will that ruin it?) Chocolate gives me migranes, so I only eat the really good, really dark stuff - especially with mint or nuts!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Many, many things. I spin, with a drop spindle. I sew - clothes and smaller things. I do all kinds of needlework. I make glass beads. I make jewelry with beads. I cook - mostly desserts. I do origami. I do needle felting, as well as felting knitted things.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like to think I have pretty eclectic tastes, although the last hip new CD I bought was Pink Floyd's "The Division Bell." Generally, I'll listen to rock, classical, or showtunes! My computer plays MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Blue. And purple and green. Generally I like cool, jewel-toned, or bright color pallettes. But pastels can be ok, too. My least favorite color would be the '70s combinations, but any color can be nice under the right circumstances!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have a boyfriend who I spend a lot of time with, and we share one Very Bad Dog.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Hats and mittens sometimes. I don't have anything against scarves. I've never made a poncho, but toasty shawls are on my to-knit list.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

13. What are you knitting right now?
Fluted Bannister Socks in Lorna's Laces Rainbow, Bavarian Strolling Socks in Dalegarn Baby Ull, Fidalgo Feet Socks in Gems Merino, Bulgarian Socks in Baby Ull, 2 sweaters, and a very tiny pouch in #12 Perle cotton.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yep. Like to make 'em, too.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Crystal Palace are my current favorite knitting needles. Wood/bamboo and plastic are good. I use 5 straight needles for socks, and circular for just about everything else, but that's not a strong preference.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How did you learn to knit?
Learned in Bluebirds, my crazy aunt taught me, and I sat down with a book. It took 3 tries to stick.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
Nearly 31 years, but it's not knitting, it's needlepoint. For those who want to do the math, it was a present for my 3rd birthday. For knitting and crochet, 10 years if you count everything, less than a year for the stuff that's really likely to get finished.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
Race Day, and the 4th of July.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides yarn? Coins and banknotes, sort of (just cheap ones). Handmade glass beads. Old buttons, especially with cut steels. A few hedgehog and 'possum knick-knacks. Colored aluminum kitchenware. Fish stuff of all kinds. I buy a lot of books, if that counts as "collecting." You can see what I've been reading here.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
No knitting magazine subscriptions. Right now I'm hoping my Local Yarn Store will get in more of the Lorna's Laces "Baltic Sea" Yarn. Finding really fine silk yarns (or silky looking cotton) would be cool. I keep hearing about this "Socks that Rock" yarn - it sounds pretty neat.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I want to make my own toe socks.

I've never done entrelac, so that might be fun.

I'd really like to learn more fun textured patterns that I can use in socks. Socks on 2 circular needles - especially 2 at a time - is probably at the top of the "to learn" list.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. But I'm at work right now, so I'll have to follow up with foot measurements later.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
June 15.