Monday, March 30, 2009

Am I Good or What?

Three - count 'em - three pairs of socks this month!

First there were the Sock Madness Socks, getting me through Round 1.

Then there were the Phaedre Socks, just in time for Sock Club.

Now I have these: Last year's Sock Madness socks.

Meet Reversai, a fully-reversable pair of socks. These were the socks that knocked me out of Sock Madness last year, so now I have that monkey off my back, ready to go in to Round 2. The yarn is some that I dyed at The Fiber Event two years ago, so maybe I'll wear them if I go this year.

So that's another project out of hibernation and off the WIP list. Right now I have enough projects finished to take me through Round 5 of Sock Madness. I'm not optimistic enough to think it going beyond that will be a serious issue - but it sure is great to have a whole bunch of new socks.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

January Socks, March Socks

I've just been up to my knees in socks lately. Finished another pair and started another pair yesterday, and who knows what's next?

Here's the finished pair - Phaedre, from the River Knits Sock Club. Phaedre is designed by River Knits' own Michelle Ogden, and inspired, I'm told, by my own Kauni Cardigan.

Michelle may have said something along the lines of "You know, I've been inspired by your sweater in progress, designed a pattern, knitted and published the pattern, and had other people knit the socks for sock club, and you still haven't finished the sweater!" But who'd want to talk about sweaters at Sock Club, right?

After all, we're getting together to show off socks. And I'm showing off mine. This is the part I like best - the stripes that run across the heel flap, through the gusset, and across the sole. Some people at sock club say you never show off the soles of your feet. I beg to differ - what else would you do when you have stripes?

The stripes were a huge pain in the neck, since it meant lots of carrying yarn through the blank rows of the pattern. But it was well worth it.

The Kureyon Sock is a funky yarn, but the finished socks fit surprisingly well. I'm not so sure that I'm excited enough that I'd do another pair of socks with this twisty kinky yarn, but I like the first pair quite a bit.

With these finished, I get to start another pair - Spring Forward, for the March/April Sock Club sock. Apparently Michelle has fallen in love with this pattern, and with the Dream in Color Smooshy yarn she used to make hers. I've been very good about limiting my yarn purchases lately, so rather than give into Smooshy temptation I'm using some Sockatta I got from Heather in a recent destashing. So far I've been happy with both yarn and pattern, and may have to go buy some more Sockotta (like this made-for-Laura colorway) on my own.

Finally, I have just a bit of a finished project (finally!). This snowflake ornament was a Christmas project, but trouble with blocking meant I haven't called it properly finished until now. I tried to block it with spray starch and an iron, and I don't think that was the best choice. But it's finished, and if I make more next year I'll worry about a new blocking method then. For now, I have another project finished, which helps my bind off/cast on ratio where it should be for a couple more rounds of Sock Madness. I'm eagerly waiting for the next one!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Round 1 finished!

It's about 11:45 on Monday, Dave Letterman just announced that he was married over the weekend, and I've finished the Mertini socks for Round 1 of Sock Madness 3!

Here they are - the finished socks, on my feet. I'm not sure this is the best picture, but I'm in a hurry. I'll try to get better ones when there's sunlight tomorrow.

You can sort of see the "Drunkard's Path" pattern here, in the knits and purls.

But the truly fun and challenging part is the heel - it's an afterthought heel that looks like a normal heel. I think this fits me a little better than a standard turned heel, although there are lots of holes from picking up stitches, so that's a downside to this design.

I'm glad to be done! And I'm glad I stayed up knitting, or I wouldn't have heard about Dave. Now it's on to Round Two!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sock Madness I

It's here!

It's actually been here since Thursday morning, but given a choice between knitting and blogging, I'll go for knitting.

I've made pretty good progress, so far. This is where I was Friday night. I've since finished Sock 1, and made a decent start on Sock 2. When I last checked, only 7 people in my division had finished, so I should have plenty of time.

This is a weird sock pattern. It has an afterthought heel, but it's worked top-down, so you have to add a funky cast off/on to be able to try on the sock. Then there's a funky toe decrease, I guess just to make sure everyone's paying attention. (I had a grade-school teacher who would give assignments like that just to trip people up, and I have never gotten over that less-than-fond memory. Lots of "oops, you didn't read," and you didn't even get a sock out of the whole thing. I'm much more inclined to put up with finicky if there's a sock at the end of it.)

But don't take my grumbling to mean that I don't like the pattern. After all, this time I get a sock. I was skeptical about the heel at first, but I'm starting to like it. It's kind of a pain to do (an afterthought heel cleverly disguised to look like a turned heel), but it seems to fit me better than turned heels usually do. I'll wait until I've finished Sock Two before I have a firm opinion on whether I'll ever use such a heel again.

I'm using my Aussi Sock, which may not have been the best choice. So many sock patterns look better in a solid or semi-solid, but those aren't the sock yarns that catch my eye. This pattern is a combination of knits and purls that resemble a quilt design, so it probably would have shown up better in something else. But the sock on the pattern was knitted in a "Beach Glass" colorway, and beach glass made me think of this yarn. I'm getting a bit of neat funky stuff going on where the pooling actually complements the design, so I hope that continues. Even if it doesn't, I like this color well enough that I'll be happy with the socks.

And that's all the blogging I intend to do until I have a "finished" post. I hope that happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Working" Vacation

It's Spring Break, but we haven't had much of a break so far. We started the week in Bloomington, where we attended an SCA event, and I did a lot of knitting.

Then it was off to Indianapolis for some wedding planning. This is the view from the outdoor garden of our wedding site. The railroad tracks and the heliport may make it appear to be a less than ideal location, but the rest of the site is beautiful. And I can guarantee a beautiful view for the wedding itself - the rightmost skyscraper is the launching platform for Indianapolis's 4th of July fireworks, so we'll have one of the best views in the city!

I think we're getting the wedding planning under control. We had dinner with both sets of parents at the rehearsal dinner location, then Aaron's parents and my mother came along for the big planning meeting at the venue. We discussed timelines, made lists of vendors, and picked napkin colors. It turns out there are a lot of decisions beyond the "yes". Next I'll be hiring a DJ, and shopping for shoes (white Birkenstocks!) - after that, I think everything will be in place.

So now we're in Georgetown, visiting Aaron's family. We managed one actual tourist activity - a visit the town's Japanese garden. The plants aren't in bloom yet, but the koi are out, and happy to be fed.

I may have been doing just a little knitting. Or more than a little. This is the second Phaedre sock, and I'm making nice progress. But I'm afraid it's not enough progress - unless I stay up really late, this sock will still be on the needles when the first Sock Madness pattern comes out tomorrow. At this point, it makes more sense to rest - after all, I'm carrying a full complement of needles with me. So Phaedre will wait another week. Or another day or two, if I'm really good!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday

I understand that for some people, "Selection Sunday" has something to do with some sort of basketball tournament. But those of us who are doing Sock Madness know what the really important selection is - it's time to choose yarn for Round 1!

Here's what I've picked (with some canine help). I'll be away from home on the day the pattern is released, so I have to carry a whole bag of yarn with me, and hope I have something that works.

The candidates are (more or less clockwise, from the top left):

Louet Gems - enough to make a pair of socks in French Blue or Orange, plus some extras for the patterns that use two yarns.

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport - this is one of my favorite sock yarns. All of the patterns are designed for sock-weight yarn, but if I can sneak in the sport, I will. The colorway is "Tuscany," and it's something that I picked up entirely on a whim.

Tofutsies - another favorite sock yarn. The blue and white is fairly sedate as Tofutsies go. I counted and realize I have four pairs of Tofutsies socks, and yarn to make six more. Somehow this doesn't seem unreasonable.

Aussi Wool - I bought this at Broad Ripple Knits, but I don't know anything about it. I liked the colors, and it was pretty reasonably priced for a sock yarn. It's blended with a little nylon, which I try to avoid, but I'm a sucker for good colors.

Soxie - I bought two skeins for the Fiber Fish Mittens, but didn't even use up one. I'm glad to have the extra, because it's a great yarn - 100% merino and lovely colors.

Regia Canyon Color - I bought this one when I was visiting Aaron in Oldenburg. It's the only distinctly striping yarn in the collection, and that may be needed for one of the patterns.

I've also packed my entire set of Harmony double-point needles, so I think I'm ready to go. Now I just have to try to get Phaedra off the needles, so I have one more set of free needles, and one less project hanging over me to finish.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Still Knitting - Sort of

So it's been awhile since I've had anything to post.

At least I've finally published the two that were just waiting for me to send them. So now it's time for some catch-up.

Catch-up # 1 is the Phaedra Sock. I just finished the first one today. This doesn't really keep me on track for Sock Club, because we're supposed to start a new pair of socks at the end of the month, but at least I'm making progress. Managing the striping across the heel and the soles is less than fun, especially since it means carrying yarn across the plain rows of the instep, but the result is awfully pretty. I've cast on the second sock, and have a lot of Spring Break traveling ahead of me, so I hope to have a full pair of socks by the end of the week.

Catch-up #2 is a new hat - Wavy Gravy VI. I know I've said some things about not starting new projects, but this one was essential. It may be Spring Break, but I'm not sure it's ever going to be spring. We've had below-average temperatures since January, and there's just been one bleak, cold day after another, with the occasional nice one thrown in just to taunt us. I'm afraid it's going to be cold on my wedding day, in July.

So I needed a hat, and in a hurry. I've been wearing the Hat Attack 2 hat, but it's just too darn itchy. The logical choice for a pattern was Wavy Gravy, since I've made so many of them, and they're a quick knit. In an attempt to come up with winter wear that's "not too knitty," as the Yarn Harlot's daughter says, I thought it would be nice if the hat went with my lovely Moebius Scarf.

This is what I came up with. It's the leftover Knit Picks Cadena from my Versatility shawl, held together with the handspun I used for the Moebius scarf. As with a couple of the other Wavy Gravy hats, I left off a pattern repeat because I was running out of yarn. This turned out to be a Very Good Thing, because the Bulky-weight Cadena makes a rather larger hat than the Aran-weight Kureyon, so the hat is almost too big as it is. But it's not quite too big, it covers my ears, and it's perfectly warm.

I finished the hat around noon today. It got up into the 50s this afternoon. And it's not getting cold tonight.

If we do get spring this year, I invoked it.