Thursday, September 30, 2010

Slightly A-Skew

Skew increasedI have returned to my long abandoned Skew sock.

You may remembered I started this sock back in July. It was quickly dropped because of the move. I just didn't have the time to focus on a complicated pattern.

Oh, sure it looks like it's all written out, but that is expecting you to make the size in the pattern. I'm downsizing it for my little feet, which is where things got complicated.

Getting through the foot was fine because it was pretty straight forward knitting. Things got tricky when I hit the gusset section and the increases that entailed.

There are numbers throughout this pattern. Numbers, numbers, numbers. And they all had to be recalculated for my measurements.

Now that things have settled down I was able to give it the attention it needed and I think I'm on track. Skew heel setup

I'm on track for something, that's for sure. I've made it through the left heel.

I increased the gussets to 82 sts total compared to 102 and kept the heel stitchs (the ones that get Kitchenered) to 12 sts compared to 15. The 12 stitches were sort of arbitrarilly selected and maybe not the best choice. After working all the indicated decreases I had 11 sts between the heel marker and the end of round.

One stitch short of a heel. ha!

So I just took out the last decrease in order to get the correct number.

To graft it I logically went to the far end of the ball. However the free end was in a tan section and the heel stitches were purple. To compensate I reeled out the yarn until I reached a purple section. I figured I can stand to loose the length since I usually have plenty of yarn leftover.

Skew heel It took me two tries to kitchener it shut.

Things basically went fine, but I thought it was a bit loose so I started working the slack out only to discover that I had split the yarn. I ended up having to pull out around five stitches so I could free the yarn, the go back forward. By then I decided the double pointed needles on the sides were just getting in my way. A quick transfer to some waste yarn took care of the problem. I think for the second sock I'll put the side stitches on waste yarn before I start Kitchenering.

I'm glad I fussed with it. I think it looks really nice now.

There are some decreases coming up for the leg. That will be easy because I'll be aiming for the same number of stitches I had in the foot.

The real question in all this is will the damn things fit?

I don't know if the circumfrance is good. I don't know if the foot is long enough. I don't know if the heel is deep enough.

And I won't know until I try it on, which I won't be able to do until I work a few more rows.

To hedge my bets I have lifelines in where I stopped working the foot even and then at the start of the heel shaping. I figure those are the two wildcard points that I might need to go back to if the fit isn't good.

In the mean time, it's after 9 pm. If I don't get off the computer I won't get any knitting done tonight.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Kind of People

Coquille sunAnd just what kind of people is that?

Why, fiber enthusiasts, of course!

For the first week or two up here it seemed I was tripping over them every time I turned around, which is pretty awesome.

They were pretty easy to find. Especially considering it was still summer so it's not like I was wearing my handknit sweaters or anything. Although I have been identified as a knitter by my socks.

As you know when you meet new people, at least here in the States, the usual question is "What do you do?" This is even more sensible intiptoe done our situation. Obviously Hubby is teaching, which is why we're here, so how am I occupying myself in this rural area?

Of course my main answer is I'm a freelance writer. Then when I mention I'm running the social media presence for a yarn distributor that usually prompts a response about their own knitting or crocheting.

One woman on campus has even had her crochet patterns published in a few magazines.

Indeed, word has spread about me and some people sought me out in the cafeteria and other social events. Today over lunch the business manager told me she's starting a baby sweater and she might track me down if she needs help. :-)

We Run in Packs
During the first week of the month, when school was starting so Hubby was in meetings and we had to stop unpacking 24 hours a day, I ran off to the library to get my card.

It happened to be a Friday. I asked where the craft books are? And the librarian immediately informed me that the knitting group meets from 3-5 on Fridays.

How convenient.

Obviously I had to go back. Glen
I put on my Coquille Shawl, which I'd just finished knitting, so they would know I was serious, and grabbed my ball of Debbie Bliss Glen so I could crochet swatch with it.

The yarn, an alpaca/wool/microfiber blend, is very nice. My swatch...not so much. I was trying to work a ripple/chevron stitch without a pattern and made a hash of it.

Anyway, the women were nice. There were three sisters and a rotation of two or three others who came and went during the time. They had fun peppering me with questions about where I was from, and why I was in town, etc.

And they all admired my shawl, as you would expect.

The next few weeks I was busy on Fridays so I couldn't go. But I put my foot down and went this past Friday and it was nice and relaxing. With the bonus of they remembered me. :-)

I keep hearing rumors about a craft group starting on campus, but they haven't set a date yet. Totally understandable if they are half as busy as Hubby has been.

I'm happy I've found them all. Of course I have my online yarn friends to talk to, but that isn't quite the same as the constant contact I had in CT working in local yarn store and all.

Although I suppose the new arrangement is better for the budget. hmmm.

Still getting to hang out with other fiber people in real life will prevent me from needing to crawl into the credenza with my hoard in order to feel surrounded by yarn.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lofty Goals

CCC hem closeOr is it "The best laid plans of mice and Anns..."

Anyway, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be done the Celtic Critter Cardigan in time for Rhinebeck.

Yeah, it turns out it takes a really long time to work 214 or so stitches in seed stitch. And then the stitch count exploded when I did the increases for the cables. It takes even longer to work 260 or so stitches in a cable pattern.

Which isn't to say I'm not enjoying it. It's just taking much longer than expected.

Actually, considering I haven't touched it in like a week it's going to take a long time indeed.

Excuses, Excuses
A few things are/were contributing to the lack of knitting progress.

First I'm still lacking in knitting time. Turns out instead of converting my morning commuting time into knitting time we've converted it into sleeping time. Which is awesome.

Instead of getting up at 6 am, being in the shower by 7 am, and trying to leave the house by 8 am. I'm not getting out of bed until 7 am! Hubby gets up a little earlier. The alarm clock must have been turned down during the move because I don't hear it go off any more. What has been waking me up is the tea kettle whistling.

The layout of our apartment causes you to pass through the kitchen on the way to the bathroom. Hubby has been putting the kettle on as he passes by. Very convenient for me.

However, I still have the goal of settling down to work by 9 am, so whoosh! There goes the knitting time.

Since my knitting time has been constricted and late in the evenings, I was focusing on those socks in the previous post. Did I mention that is the sock yarn my friends in Connecticut gave me? Well, I bought it with the gift certificate they gave me. Close enough.

Finally, I think I have a bit of a mental block over the sweater because the little bit I've worked so far seems awfully big.

CCC HemI mean, it's supposed to be 44 inches because I want it to go around my butt and I matched the ease at the hem to the ease at the bust. After I'd worked a few rows I held it up to myself and it seemed a lot roomier than I had envisioned. Of course we've previously established that I have no concept of how ease on paper translates into the real world. We learned this when I made the Schleppy Sweater and it came out more formfitting than I expected.

Oh, by the way, it was a rainy, chilly miserable day yesterday and I got to wear the Schepply Sweater for the first time this season! It was so cozy. mmmm

You Call These Choices?
Anyway. I fear the hem of the Celtic Critter Cardigan is going to be too wide. I won't know for sure until the sweater is down. That is an awful lot of knitting time to invest for something that might not fit properly.

My other option is to rework the numbers. Scale down the bottom hem to closer to actual body measurements. That would mean reworking the bottom hem numbers and the decrease numbers to the bust target. And it's not just a matter of doing the math. There will be fudging involved because of the cables and wanting them to land in a certian place.


I suppose the fudging might be easier since I have the current piece to use for reference.

Anyway, I should make a decision or this sweater is never going to be made. At this point I'm only about 15 rows in, which isn't a big investment in the grand scheme of things.

And didn't I say that accepting frogging as part of making your own design is an important step?

New Rhinebeck Knitting Goal
After I came to terms with the fact that I wouldn't finish the CCC in time I turned my attention to the other yarn I bought at Rhinebeck.

I decided I had time to knit a pair of socks. That goal was abandoned when the Simple Socks ended up taking longer than anticipated (see Excuse #1).

I've tossed that goal aside as well and have turned my attention to some of the other yarn my friends at Westport Yarns "bought" me. I've cast on for a scarf and have been knitting away on it.

See, I'm going to see Pam at Rhinebeck and figure it will be nice to show I'm actually using the yarn they got me rather than letting it languish in the hoard.

Not that I need to worry. As fellow knitters and crocheters they totally understand about having a hoard.

Or wearing half finished scarves with the needles still attached.

KFI: Debbie Bliss interview

I just found out that the website Let's Knit2gether did a video interview with Debbie Bliss.

Apparently it's two parts and this is part one.

There are so many fun knitting and crochet websites out there, what are some of your favorites?

(Oh, dear. It's a bit wide for my new layout. sigh.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Pattern: Simple Socks

OnLine socks Simple is good.

Simple is soothing.

Simple is what you want after a long day when you really want to knit but you don't want to think.

Simple is where socks often land on my personal knitting spectrum. A project I can just pick up and work on without having to worry about counting stitches or following a pattern.

Don't get me wrong, one of the aspects I like about knitting and crocheting is that they both present opportunities to learn, grow, and challenge myself.

Cables, anyone? Lace, perhaps? There are plenty of opportunities in my selected fiber crafts to give my brain a work out.

Happily, there are also opportunities to also enter a peaceful, meditative zone.

All Things To All Knitters
Socks can satisfy both requirements.

Small, portable, and quick to finish many people see socks as a good canvas for testing out new stitch patterns or techniques.

Attracted to a complicate cable that you want to learn but don't want to work a dead end swatch? Put it on a sock!

Need to practice your colorwork technique before plunging into an entire Fair Isle sweater? Work the motif on a sock!

But Not These Socks
This sock pattern doesn't have such lofty aspirations.

This sock pattern produces a simple stockinette sock to fall back on for when your complicated projects are being mean.

This sock pattern is pattern I use when I have fun self-striping or self-patterning yarn. You usually don't want to work a complicated stitch pattern with busy yarn like that because it will get lost in the colors.

You can coast along will a Simple Sock pattern because the yarn does all the work for you.

However, it's not entirely mindless. The heel flap features a garter stitch edge paired with the heel stitch. This gives a nice detail along the edge of the heel with a cushy center.

With this heel flap you will not slip the first stitch of the row. When you are ready to pick up along the flap edge you will pick up the stitch between the garter rows. This makes it a little easier to see which stitch you are supposed to pick up compared to a flap with a slipped edge.

To me this pattern is so automatic that it never occurred to me to publish it until people started asking me for it.

Then I realized everyone needs a Simple Sock to fall back on. Now you can fall back on it, too. All for the amazingly low price of $2! Click the button, you know you want to.

Did you receive a coupon code? To use it click here.

To get the stripes to match I reeled out about 7 grams of yarn before starting the second sock in order to find the same point in the pattern. Since I have small feet I didn't miss the yarn I cut out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Send Cheese

Samson Because I've got plenty of whine to go around.

Wait a I hear violins? They must be either really far away or really small because the sound is kind of faint.

Today I woke up and asked myself, "What can I do today that will ensure I don't have to work tonight?"

And myself replied, "Be productive?"

Because I'm a bit of a smarty pants.

"The sarcasm isn't helping anyone," I reminded myself.

Then I proceeded to spend two hours messing with my blog template, only to revert back to my current one.

See I found out Blogger made it easier to use your own background image, which is something I've been wanting for ages. But when I jumped on it I discovered you can only use it with their new templates. Which means I have to jettison all the hard work I did learning HTML to customize my current template (not that it's the most sterling example of website design, by it's mine). And when I switched to a new template I had to reset all my colors, and some of the images in my sidebars were too big, so I had to reset the sidebar widths, which made the center/main column too narrow, but it's kind of narrow anyway. And maybe it's time to clean the blog up and ditch some of those badges anyway. But I wasn't ready to cut the cord and by then it was lunchtime.

So I reverted back to my old template and trotted up the hill to meet Hubby in the cafeteria.

Maybe a daily pledge is in order?
My extreme lack of blogging lately should be an indication to you that I still don't have a handle on my daily schedule.

Oh, I've got plenty to say, I'm just not making the time to say it. The lack of blogging is starting to wear on me.

See when I started the blog I worked in an office and often ate lunch sitting at my desk. This made it easy to blog during my lunch hour.

Now that I'm working from home my days are much more fluid. I get up in the morning and think, "Oh let me just check Facebook." Then I check Twitter and think since I'm here I might as well check all my e-mails, then I start doing work. Suddenly it's 9am and I'm still in my pajamas.

As I've already mentioned I'm not eating lunch in a cubicle anymore. I'm meeting Hubby, which gives me some human contact during the day, then coming home and taking the pups out. After all that I feel like I've taken such a long lunch that I should get back to work.

And still I find myself working at 8 o'clock at night. Yet in all that time on the computer I don't manage to blog.

Obviously I need to set a "blog time." At a certain time every day I'll stop everything and blog.

In the past I never felt compelled to do one of those blog every day for a month challenges because I thought I was a pretty consistent blogger. Well, times have changes and I might need the discipline. Structure?

Speaking of Structure
Although I'm loving not having a car commute I realize now that it bracketed the day and divided it into nice little compartments. Rush around in the morning, get in the car for an hour, be at work, drive home for an hour, be home in the evening to relax. Work was left at the office.

Now it is far to easy to decide to do domestic things or run errands during the day, but then of course that time has to be made up in the evening. Which ends up cutting into my knitting time.

The only comfort is that Hubby is also trying to balance a new schedule and work conditions. His old school provided him with a laptop. He did all his work on it and carried it everywhere. This school provided a desktop in his office and another in his classroom. He has to get accustomed to doing all his work up in his office instead of here at the house so he's a bit unsettled too.

That's your complaint?
Yes, they are all good problems to have.

Oh, woe is me, I work from home with my lovely puppies and I can't seem to arrange my own hours nicely. whaa whaa whaa.

See, the sarcasm doesn't help at all.

So that's my excuse for neglecting the blog lately. I shall be more diligent about making updates going forward.

I might even get the template sorted out.

In the mean time, I have to go be productive now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Storage Update: It Fit! (Mostly)

Yarn pileDon't you just want to dive in?

Well, don't. It's not deep enough. Much better for wading and wallowing.


Of course if you combined all the yarn together you might be able to doggy paddle.

Samples On The Side
This pile of yarn was the wild card in fitting stuff into the credenza. I had been keeping it in the box it all came it, which was pretty big, so I didn't have a feel for how much room it really needed.
Yarn packed
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it all fit into one side cabinet.

As you can see it isn't very organized at the moment. I was able to bag a few by brand, but the rest I just piled in there neatly.

This situation shouldn't last long. We had to buy new curtains for the dining room and I've got my eye on the clear plastic zippered bags they come in.

And can I just ask why is it every time you move you have to buy new curtains? Why can't windows be a standard size? It's just not right. Not right at all.

Credenza packedFront And Center
I think my credenza must have TARDIS technology. Not only did that pile of yarn fit easily in the side cabinet, but the gobs of yarn in my last post fit nicely into the big center cabinet.

Unless it's just an indication of how poorly I was using the space before.

I had started the process by putting my sock yarn and such in the side cabinet as it was when we were in CT.

Then I started putting the sweater yarn in the center cabinet. The Rainbow Schleppy, the green cabled one I was swatching recently, Rowan Calmer for a shrug, the green yarn for the sweater Hubby rejected that my brother claimed, the Celtic Critter Cardigan, and on and on. I have enough yarn for at least six sweaters.

There was still space. I realized I could move the sock yarn oven. Then I was home free.

I must admit I'm a little surprised it all fit. It seemed like such a large quantity when it was all spread out. I'm not sure if having it all contained is good or bad. I mean, if it all fit in the credenza that must mean I don't own an excessive amount and can buy more, right? Although there is still enough that it was a pain to move, which means I probably do have enough.

Now, I did have to put some cone yarn into the China Cabinet cabinet. Also, some small active projects are in one of the drawers. And there is still a bunch of miscellaneous balls in a plastic tub floating around the dining room. I think I'm going to have to shift that out to the barn with the other tub of acrylic. But all the luxury yarn I'll be using soon is in the credenza.

I think it helped that I'm not storing books in the credenza this time around.

I wasn't able to put any yarn in the pantry, but the shelf between the cabinets is fairly useless because it's shallow and closed in. It is, however, a good size for back issues of crochet and knitting magazines and books. hehehe.

I haven't tried to put my Rowan Magazines on it yet. I think they'll be too tall and will have to lay down. They are the other thing filling up the last plastic tub.

So many patterns, so little time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

39 Knitting Days Til Rhinebeck

Celtic Critter Cardigan swatchesJust to make you panic.

Because misery loves company and all.

Cast your mind back to earlier in the year, before my life descended into chaos because of my interstate move, when I had the big idea of designing and knitting a cardigan in time to wear to Rhinebeck.

The motivation was that I bought all that yarn last year that I hadn't used, which makes it kind of hard to justify buying more.

The problem is my process go severely derailed because of the move.

So much for setting goals.

The sweater is still in the swatchy state I left it in several months ago.

The "design" is still just scribbles on a piece of paper. Or perhaps several pieces, which is a whole nother issue.

Boy howdy, I hope I can understand those notes now.

I have this vague memory that I have to rework the shoulders and sleeve caps.


Well, I should go try to sort it out. Blogging about the situation isn't getting me any closer to being done.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Storage Issues

Or the potential for it.
The problem is that all of that yarn on the left including most of the stuff on the table and the two boxes in the living room you can't see all has to fit in that dining room credenza on the right.

Now, granted, a great deal of this yarn came out of the dining room credenza in the first place. And at the time it wasn't the best well organized storage system because it was my "active" yarn so I was pawing through it on a regular basis. But it still seems like a pretty tall order.

(If you look at the credenza picture, over there on the left at the bottom of the front can see Samson's butt. snicker)

I also kept a number of books in the credenza when we lived in Connecticut and storage wasn't an issue. I've transferred the books to the little shelf in the pantry along with my magazine library that I used to keep in the attic.

Pantry Out
Did I mention that Hubby scoffed when I told him my idea of storing yarn in the pantry? It wasn't that he didn't want yarn stored there. He just didn't think there would be room.

Turns out he's pretty much correct. We've filled it with linens and paper products and cleaning supplies and I don't remember what else.

I think there might be one cabinet on the bottom that is still available. I should stuff yarn into it before I wind up filling it as well.

Cost Free Solution
Yes, yes, I can hear you now. "Space Bags" are great for storing yarn. Squishes it right down and it puffs back up when you need it.

I'd really like to squeeze all my yarn into the apartment without having to spend money to do it.
Besides that would mean every time you want to get some yarn you also have to haul out the vacuum to reseal the bag as well. What a pain.

(Oh, and mom, don't bother running out and buying me any as a gift. I'd really like to work on a more traditional solution first.)

Other Room Potential
Hubby had suggested that I might be able to store yarn in the book shelf in the living room. The top is open shelves but the bottom is a closed cabinet. This is important for keeping the dogs out of my yarn.

However, despite purging many VHS tapes, we still filled that little cabinet up. I'll have to take another look, but I don't think it has much space available.

The China cabinet has a closed cabinet I didn't think we used much, but then I found myself putting serving items in it that I remembered taking out of it, and that filled up too.

There are some built in drawers in the dining room that pass through to the kitchen. We haven't utilized the bottom one very much yet. I might have to claim it.

I'm also eying the bottom of my half of the closet. I'm thinking I could put a plastic storage tub in there and put my shoes on top. That would have to be the yarn that I know I'm not going to use for a while since it would be a pain to access.

Break Time
The boxes I packed my yarn in were very large. The ended up rather heavy because not only did I put books in the bottom but when you get that much yarn in one place the weight adds up. They were so heavy that every time Hubby went to move one he was like, "What the hell is in here?!"

Because of this I wound up ferrying everything in by the armload. It took me between 15 minutes and half an hour.

Told you I had a lot of yarn and books.

But I was sick and tired of not having ready access to my yarn and notions so I did what I had to.

This, of course, means I'm kind of tired now. I think it's time to have a glass of iced tea while I stare in disbelief at the pile of yarn I have to stow away.

Wish me luck.