Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Good Yarn Day

I stopped by River Knits today to pick up my girl scout cookies, and to pick out yarn for the next project - the entrelac socks from Interweave Knits. I've never done entrelac before, so this will be a fun thing to learn. I'm trying to break out of my blue-purple-green color trend, and experiment with something different, so I hope I'll be happy with these.

Coming home with new yarn and Thin Mints wasn't the best part of the day. The best part was coming back to my boyfriend, returned from Germany for a brief visit. AND he brought yarn! Two skeins of the delightful Regia Silk, to be exact. He was there when I bought my first Regia Silk - he'd scoped out the yarn stores for me - and he knows how much I like it. So this yarn may creep up a bit in the to-knit queue.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Finished Socks

One nice thing about this weekend's trip was the chance to finish my on-the-go socks. So here they are, ready for their debut (which they'll make today). They're Fortissima Graffiti Color, 56 stitches around on size 2 needles. My pattern didn't come out quite as nicely as the illustration, but I'm still pleased with the result.

They have brown toes because I ran out of yarn before I ran out of foot. 2 skeins isn't quite enough for an adult's sock, especially if you're trying to keep the pattern even.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Big Mo and Mammoth Cave

Yesterday my friend Karen and I visited Mammoth Cave and some of the delightful surrounding attractions in Cave City, KY.

We signed up for the Historic Cave Tour, a 2-mile trip in and out of the cave to see some of the things people have done to it. The equipment for mining saltpeter - which provided the gunpowder for the War of 1812 - is still there, as are the remains of a tuberculosis sanitarium.

The tour went pretty fast, so there was no time for knitting, but I made sure my socks visited the cave. The very blurry picture shows the sock with some "candle writing" - graffiti from the 1800s to 1860s.

The rest of Cave City is pretty delightfully tacky. Most of the attractions weren't open, but we stopped by Big Mike's store, which has a Moasaurus skull inside, and a lifesize model of "Big Mo" outside.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Knit in a Wigwam

How cool is this? We spent the night at Wigwam Village #2, the pride of Cave City, KY. If you've seen Cars, the Cozy Cone Motel was inspired by this roadside attraction.

There's a wonderful book by David Macaulay, Motel of the Mysteries, in which he speculates about what future archaeologists might think about 20th century motels. I wonder what they'd do with Wigwam Village. Visiting Cave City is definitely like a trip back in time.

Karen & I were the only guests at Wigwam Village last night, but they say it's insanely busy during the summer. Here she is in front of our concrete home-away-from-home, Wigwam #6.

Kentucky's Wigwam Village is the oldest one left, and one of only 3 still standing. Each guest room is a free-standing concrete "wigwam," complete with its own bathroom. There's a central wigwam that once held a restaurant, two small wigwams for public restrooms, and a wonderful vintage playground.

No posting would be complete, of course, without a picture of my socks-in-progress. There was no good way to attach them to the wigwam for the picture, but here are the socks leaning against the too-modern air conditioner.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Secret Pal 10

I've taken the plunge and signed up for Secret Pal 10. So here are my answers:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport may be my #1 favorite, but I'm fond of the Cherry Tree Hill and Lucy Neatby sock yarns too. I look at the superwash soft wools, often multicolored, first. I prefer natural fibers, overall. I haven't done much knitting with novelty yarn, but the only yarn I REALLY don't like is the cheap acrylic. Well, Cascade Fixation and I are currently on the "hate" part of a love-hate relationship, but I've heard so many good things about it that I'm determined to give it a chance to charm me.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
The pockets of the suitcase where I keep my yarn. I'm not very organized.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned knitting for the first time when I was about 7, and learned for good when my crazy aunt taught me a few years later. So about 25 years, off and on. I'd say I'm intermediate-advanced, since the bar for advanced seems to get higher and higher.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, my Amazon wish list is here.

5. What's your favorite scent?
Light florals (lilac, lavender, jasmine) or crisp, spring/rainwater type scents. But I like some spicy and fruity stuff too - I just try to avoid the seriously cloying or overpowering stuff.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Sort of - I try not to eat to many sweets. Chocolate is a migraine trigger, so I only indulge myself with the dark chocolate (especially with mint or nuts) that I really like. I'm also fond of the occasional Almond Joy bar, Chick-O-Stix, Lik-a-Maid, SweeTarts, Peanut Butter cups, and Jolly Ranchers. I like sweets that aren't incredibly sweet, if that makes sense. I'm also fond of baked goods, and like to bake.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin, but not very well, with a drop spindle. I sew, do embroidery, and fiddle with other types of needlework. I make glass beads. On some glorious day, I will assemble the model Goodyear Blimp that I coveted for years and finally bought on e-Bay. I cannot draw, paint, sculpt, sing, play music, or do anything else along those lines.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
The most recent album I bought was Pink Floyd's Division Bell, so I'm not exactly musically cool. I like showtunes, '80s pop, classical music, early music, and some carefully selected folk. I like to think I'm open-minded about music, but I've never developed a love for rap.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Favorites are blues, greens, and purples - really anything jewel toned.
I'm generally not fond of the '70s appliance pallette, but one of the fun things about knitting is exploring different colors. I usually say I'm not into brown, but I'm knitting a pair of terra-cotta socks right now. So I couldn't say there are any colors I absolutely hate.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live alone, but have a boyfriend who probably would be a live-in partner if he weren't in another country (not Iraq - it's not that kind of going away). I have two VeryBadDogs, Max and Oscar.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes to the first 3. I haven't owned a poncho since I was 6. I don't have anything against them, but I'm not sure I'd ever finish knitting one.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I keep starting sweaters, and I've made a handful of hats, mittens, and scarves, and you never have too many bags, but socks are definitely the top of the list.

13. What are you knitting right now?
A dog sweater for Oscar, a pair of self-striping socks, a pair of Fascine Braid socks, and the Sunrise Circle Jacket.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I've been using circular, but it's not a strong preference. I like wood needles best, but I don't indulge myself with really nice ones (see Question #10 about the VeryBadDogs).
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No. I've never thought I needed one, but some people seem to think it's strange when I wind balls by hand.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
For any project, the oldest is the needlepoint kit my parents gave me for my 4th birthday - which makes it 30 years old. Considering knitting projects that may be finished someday, about 2 years.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
The 4th of July, Race Day, and Christmas

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Some people think I have a lot of fish things. "A lot" is such a vague term, isn't it? I also collect interesting coins, handmade glass beads, and, of course, yarn.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't subscribe to any knitting magazines.
I'm intrigued by the Socks That Rock yarn. If I ever find anyone selling "Jewel of the Nile," I'll snap it up in a heartbeat.
I'm always hoping to find insanely fine yarns (think 8/12 perle cotton) in silk, but I've never been lucky.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I want to know about the funky mittens on the Yarn Harlot's blog.
The Linen Stitch (as seen in Socks that Rock) looks interesting.
I'd like to work on my lace-knitting skills, and try some superfine knitting.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I knit socks. I wear a size 38 shoe. (I'm sorry I can't give a U.S. size, but I've been wearing Birkenstocks for a couple of years and now nothing else seems to fit.)

23. When is your birthday?
June 15.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Thrum, They Told Me

Here's a record-breaking finished object! I cast on these thrummed mittens last Friday after Sam's Sockday party, and just finished today. Not bad for a week's work, although I think the snowdays helped.

It's been much too cold here. None of my other gloves or mittens keep my hands warm. But I just bought a pair of glove liners from Wintersilks, so between those and these I should be ok now. Maybe finishing the mittens means spring is just around the corner!

I used Cascade 220 yarn, with some random bits of wool from the stash. The pattern is from Yarn Forward, although I also appreciated the Yarn Harlot's tips on thrumming (which I don't seem to be able to find right now). I'd definitely make some changes to the pattern if I did it again - the cuff should be longer, and I'd do shaped decreases for the top. But if I did it again I'd probably just find a pattern with a thumb gusset. I'm not sure how well these are going to fit. But if my hands are finally warm, I'm not sure I'll care.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Sam's Sockday

Last Friday was Sam's sockday, for our Sock Day Club. We celebrated at Don Pablo's, and she left with seven pairs of new homemade socks.

These are the ones I made. They're Turkish-style, toe-up socks, made of Dale of Norway's Falk yarn. I sort of charted out the foot pattern, and sort of bluffed as I went along. The upper patterns are from various sources - I collect them wherever I find them and add them to my Stitch-n-Bitch journal. The heel pattern is my attempt to imitate the Wolverine football helmets. I don't know how successful I was.

You can see the socks on Sam's feet here. I see they're a little bit big right now. I'm finding it hard to knit for other people, because I like to try everything on as I go. I'm afraid of making something too small, but too big is the result.

I love Turkish socks, in part because you start with the toe. So by the time you get bored, you've made a lot of progress. I cast on for normal socks several times before I ever made it through the ribbing.

My plan is that everyone will get Turkish socks. The challenge is trying to come up with something new for each person. I've already rejected a couple of ideas for the next set, so I need to get busy and come up with something - the next sockday will be in May. I also have a real incentive to work fast...every sockday we move up brings us that much closer to mine!