Sunday, December 28, 2008

Socks complete! And new sock yarn

Arriving on xmas eve from the UK is my new sock yarn from Angels & Elephants. About 1600 total yards of hand dyed sockish deliciousness. From left to right they are: Polperro 100% British sock wool in colors of blue to green to deep purple (maybe for the Saartje booties or the Bellatrix socks), Zennor 100% blue faced leicester in colors of lavender to grey to blue to purple, Autumn Leaves 100% blue faced leicester in colors of pink to olive to browns and greens with a little mustard (I'm thinking of using this for either some Morgana socks or for the Ginny Weasley socks), and finally it's Damson Delight 100% British sock wool
in deep purple to medium purple to pale violet (maybe this for the Bellatrix socks?).

And here is a final shot of (and it's impossible to get the true color of the yarn which is a deep and bright garnet color) of my Baudelaire socks that I finished up. I can't get a good close-up of the lace pattern with my camera, but I got some fairly decent ones a few posts back. They are very comfy and snuggly! I love them!

So...I'm going to try to pick out my yarn and get started on the Saartje booties. They should be a very quick knit, and I'm thinking I can do both of them at the same time on the circulars. I have to wind my yarn into balls, so that will consume the first hour of my time right now at least...but at least the yarn came in 50 gram hanks so I can just wind them separately to use for two-at-a-time socks. That's my new goal. I'm even thinking that I can do four-at-a-time baby socks right? Yep, that sounds totally plausible. Someone has to have tried it. Just use lots of baggies to keep that yarn separate....

Jim had gone to Michaels and picked up a bunch of rolled casting to use for my belly mask. With how crampy and odd I've been feeling everyone is getting ready for this baby to come any day. I'm still at 36 weeks though and knowing that I've given birth with my other children anywhere from 39 to 42 weeks there's just no telling. But a nice glass of wine definitely calmed things down the other night. Sometimes I can't even figure out how to get into a comfortable position where it doesn't feel like the baby is trying to completely turn itself around or over, or where my stomach doesn't feel like it's pushing itself out into everything I get near. Other times it feels completely like it's a part of me that doesn't interfere with anything at all. This has been the most unique of my pregnancies, but Jim tells me that they all have had their own issues like this. I seem to be able to forget anything unpleasant then I guess.

I would love for Winter Break to go on, and I'm a little sad for there to be only one more week. I'm enjoying this break from routine and obligations so much. I always do. Summertime is too long of a break, but these small breaks really make it nice. Especially now when I'm physically uncomfortable for one reason or another lately and love not having to get up early, or run to ballet, or drive kids back and forth to schools and all the other stuff we have to do. I love being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Again, what I miss the most from homeschooling.

Well, time to wind the yarn and think about what I want to use to start those booties. Sometimes after it's wound into a ball it starts to look like something completely different than when you see it in a hank. It begins to take on a life of what it wants to be. When I have more time, I think I might even start dying my own yarns. I have so many ideas of what I want to do but I'm trying to just take things one day at a time, at least until after the baby comes and we are settled back into some sort of a routine.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sockies and the floppy puppy

Here you are, the tiniest little sockie around. This is from the handspun local alpaca I got. It's loftier and denser than I'd have imagined. Definitely use a #2 needle next time. Possibly a #3. That's the toe for the second one on the #1 circulars next to it. And they are both lounging on top of my one Baudelaire sock. Keeping it company. I will now have to re-wind 1/3 of my alpaca ball because one of the kitties (I don't know which..) took it out of the bag, and unwound it while I slept. So....apparently it's nice to snuggle with. But now I have to attempt to detangle it so I can knit with it. Damn kitties.

Here's Gabe snuggling up with Morgana's xmas present that I knit. I have to make him the stuffed kitty now because he is sorely upset that he has to stop playing with it so I can hide it and wrap it. Luckily she slept in today so I got around to the face. I really don't like embroidery on toys. I'm trying to get over that issue. And I'm convinced that pattern-makers must be lying when they tell you to make a 'french knot' for the eyes and you see their perfectly not small and circular "knots" on the faces. I thought I just sucked, but I decided to do a french knot, then do chain stitches from the center to the outside all around to make a dense circle. That seems to be the trick.

All my knits love to hang out with my sock.

September takes a break from watching the snow to investigate the floppy puppy. Nope. Doesn't smell like alpaca. Back to the snow.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby's new Curly Purly

So here it is this morning after I finished up the ribbing on the second leg cuff. I knit the entire tiny soaker last night with that exception. The color IRL are very pretty olive and harvest mix (both Malabrigo leftover from my f.pea mossy sweater and my first pair of knit longies). I did a k3tbl, p1 ribbing for 21 rows approximately, then switched to St st, and did k1,p1 ribbing for the leg cuffs for 15 rows. Jim got a giggle over the "pod legs" as he calls them. I used the sewn BO that I learned from knitting up my Baudelaire sock (I have to start the next one...I'm definitely doing two-at-a-time-toe-up-socks next time!) It's attractive, trim, and stretchy.

I added in 3 short rows as indicated in the pattern since I knew it was a trim-fit soaker. It really is. The long waist and leg cuffs I think help to keep it trim and in place. But look at how cute it looks when you fold them back :)

So, this was a satifying project as it took no time at all, took barely any yarn, used up some of my stash, made me feel more prepared for the upcoming birth, and now I can finish up the embroidery on the face of M's floppy puppy. That's all I have left to do. I buckled down yesterday morning and finished the ear and tail, seamed and stuffed, and now I just have embroidery to do. I actually like that part the least (well, I really didn't like the seaming either - there was a ton!) because I have such trouble making french knots turn out right. I have to work on that....

So, I need to knit up some socks for the baby too. I haven't gotten my BFL from Angels & Elephants that I ordered (coming from UK so it's cheaper, but might take a bit long with the holidays) so I found a pattern that calls for DK yarn for baby socks. I'm going to see how that goes with my locally spun alpaca that I got. It looks to be a DK weight so I'll swatch it and see. I was thinking of doing the Saartjie booties out of it (Bockstark way to use that wonderful magic CO) also but I think it might be a little big and if so, I'll probably wait for my BFL sock to just make life a little simpler right now.

I think we're ready for the holidays. Despite the fact that I haven't done any baking, have no idea what I'm cooking for Yule or xmas, and that I never sent out my holiday cards yet. Oh yeah...I need to scan that Santa picture.

Beautiful snow again this morning, and really a lovely morning. Even with taking four little kids to the dentist - it went swimmingly. Honestly. I feel peace and happiness is in the air. Jim came home with a carload of holiday cheer and presents, and things are feeling good. Despite the fact that Jim has to work xmas night.....

Hopefully more snow, although it's warming up a bit now and actually finally melting some. Hopefully no freeze tonight - Jim's off Sat. night which is when the freezing rain is supposed to start. I'm thankful he won't be going out in that weather. Driving at 1am where there might be ice makes me worry until he texts me to let me know he's OK. School was canceled all week, so the kids officially now are on Winter Break, but with the snow week they are off a total of 25 days in a row. Talk about a vacation.....
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jim's Yummy Yarny Xmas Present for me!

My dear Jim has listened to me carefully - and watched me look at this online so many times. He got me a subscription to Biscotte & Cie's 2009 sock club! Woo hoo! I LOVE her yarn! I only wish I had bought all of her past Harry Potter colorways because they are awesome.

So I will have a lovely yarny time during the first few months of 2009. And as for Jim's presents.....he's gotten one of them, but when I went to go to Bath & Body Works yesterday in the mall, they had a sign on their door that they were closed due to snow, since Sunday. Amazing. Every other store in the mall was open, and the buses were running just fine. So...I guess I'll have to go back later on sometime. Not my favorite place to be really, at this time of year, but alas.

We also took a Santa picture while there. Miss M was extremely upset once she saw Santa, even though she was excited up until that point. I will have to scan and post the picture as everyone looks pretty happy except for her. Jim wasn't in this picture as there wasn't much room, and he was the designated coat and bag holder while we smiled with Santa.

Snow days

It's been two days at home with the kids because of the snow. They are eager to have another snow day tomorrow - but so far, no word of it. The snow isn't supposed to start again until tomorrow morning, so there's no telling. I have my last day to work at M's preschool for our coop commitment. Jim said he'd work there instead of me since I've done 16 days there so far. It took a little bit of arm-twisting as I think he feels a bit out of his element.

Two moms from the school volunteered to work the last two days I have scheduled there in February. Jim was going to work them on his days off but they said they wanted to do it to give Jim and I some more time together as a family instead of him being at the school on his days off. How awesome is that?! There *are* nice people left in this world after all.

No ballet for Miss M today either. No one told us though of course, until after we drove out there and Damien's teacher was there to tell us that classes are canceled. Well, I dropped by my favorite bakery Baker & Spice next door and picked up some eggnog rum cakelet and a baguette to go with the soup I made today. Sadly, I only got one loaf, and it's gone already.

My Baudelaire socks are coming along nicely again - I hadn't worked on them since last Friday I think. My knitting time has been slim with all the kids home since Friday. I wonder if there will be any more school this week or we'll have three whole weeks of Winter Break?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

First Snow

This is my cat, September....looking longingly at the birds that adorned our feeders all day long. She kept vigil from around 7am until 4pm.

I spent my first night alone - completely alone, in I think, forever. I honestly cannot rememer any time where I didn't have either Jim or the kids at home with me. My parents did their Christmastime Nana & Papa stayover last night. They had all four of our kids, as well as all four of my brothers kids stay the night and they baked cookies, and hung out. To make the stayover even more fun, it snowed today and they got to play in the snow after homemade pancakes and come inside afterwards to hot cocoa.

Our youngest little guy, little Gabriel, at just 2 1/2 decided on staying over as well. He was very content with the prospect, and so Jim and I left and headed out to finish up some xmas shopping, and wrapping of secret presents before Jim headed to bed to sleep for two hours before heading into work at 1am to beat the snow. I slept in a house by myself, and woke up once during the night to the sounds of crunchy paper noises. I woke up fairly quickly once I remembered that NO ONE was in the house but me. Then I found our cat Phoebe curled up happily on the freshly wrapped gifts under the tree. She smiled (I swear she does this) and MEOWED loudly as she does to tell me how happy she was that I placed such nice little beds for her to rest on, by her new favorite water bowl (we also call this water bowl the tree stand). I headed back to bed, to wake up around 5am which is normal Gabe wake-up-time for a drink or to nurse, checked for the snow that should've been there, found none, and went back to sleep.

Then I woke up again around 7:30am to find that it was beginning to snow, and here is our other feeder, which was pleasing the finches immensely. I checked the computer, made myself some coffee, and picked up that darn knitted puppy that I've been putting off knitting all week - since my Baudelaires have been consuming my knitting time this past week. Which btw, I'm at the ankle on my first sock and it's coming along nicely.

So, I had my coffee, turned on the celtic radio, and would have finished that pesky little pink and purple puppy if I hadn't run out of the purple Mission Falls I was using. Drat. I don't like that yarn enough to really want to buy more - but I have a few more rounds on the head, and the end of the tail too. If it was just the tail, I'd skip buying more and just knit the tail all in the pink - but...the head needs it. I don't know if the yarn stores will be open tomorrow. All the school's are closed tomorrow since it's going to be about 5 degrees tonight and they're expecting a freeze. 5 degrees sounds a tad bit better than the -1 it'll be Tuesday night. A tad.

Here is our street in the morning around 8am-ish. I love how the sky looks with the
white, and the skeleton trees.

And here are the birds hovering in the air while chittering and chattering, and arguing over who gets to sit at this feeder. I feel bad that they are going so wonky over seed with the frozen ground. Jim also said the store was out of the seed I asked him to pick up yesterday.

So, no one has school tomorrow - Jim's off work - and we all get to stay home and relax. Jim had to take the transit home this morning as he couldn't get his truck out of the parking lot from work and was just spinning and going nowhere. I took a slow route to my parents to pick up the kiddos and got them all home safely, and picked up Jim at the transit center and then we settled in for the afternoon. Hopefully we can pick up Jim's truck and get it back home tomorrow.

I'm really not sure what Mother Nature has in store for close to the Winter Solstice. I'm very happy this is the last week of school and then Winter break starts. I'm looking forward to all those snuggly days where we don't *have* to do anything. It's all working up towards the last month before the new baby arrives. Boy, I better finish up those Baudelaires so I can focus on baby knits.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have had so many gauge troubles with these socks. I just couldn't get the right gauge, just not quite. Well, short of getting some 0 dpn's, as I only have 1's and 2's, and 0 in circular, but one 16" only. I think I've got it now.

I really love the pattern though, and the yarn. I love the Jitterbug! And the garnets of varying shades are enough to make me want to roll all over my yarn in happiness. It knits up very velvety, especially with #2 needles (which I can't use for this..but..just saying..). Anyhow, so my progress thus far, after two froggings because of gauge issues....

I'm onto the fourth repeat of the instep main pattern....getting very close to beginning the gusset. The pattern is lovely so far. Easy to follow, and it's got enough variance to keep me excited and happy, but not too much to boggle, and not too little to make me bored bored bored.

So....I'm beginning to have a little bit of an obsession with Biscotte & Cie's yarn. I haven't even bought any yet, but she has so much Harry Potter themed yarns, Captain Jack, and so many amazing other colorways based upon scenes, thoughts, etc. And the yarns actually knit up into patterns, like the one that looks like real watermelon with seeds.

I bought this yarn for Miss M's little sock project, and as I was winding it and commenting to Jim that it looks really amazing (and I'm not the biggest fan of pink) - he told me it looks like the Cheshire Cat. I've always been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland and still want an original publishing of it....well, he's right! I wonder if there's a way I can capture that theme into the socks? I don't find many inventive child sock patterns. I could adapt one perhaps. Depends on my skills.

How am I ever going to get anything done for the new baby? I have too much and too many people to knit for as requests come pouring in lately. The baby will be here in about a month. Wait, that can't be right?! Seriously? Wow, I need to buy some bamboo diapers still, and make more longies.

I always had a sock obsession (I like that word), and then I sort of "grew" out of it. I remembered it when Miss M began to collect weird, funky, fun, and interesting socks. I don't even own any socks of my own right now. Yes. How did that happen? I've been wearing Jim's during cold weather. Which he blames me for all of his missing socks. Which is just such a lie. I mean, I'm the one that puts them in the laundry, washes and puts them away. But him....I just found a pair of his socks that he lost in the couch cushions a few days ago. The couch was a famous place for him to "lose" his socks on a weekly basis. I think when it comes to sock issues, he just needs to look inward and face the truth. Sorry my darling...but you know I don't like lying. I understand my psychology behind why I want to knit every sock pattern I see and buy massive amounts of sock yarn. My old obsession is reemerging and now it involves crafting. Mmmm. Sweet obsession. And soon, I may have my first pair of socks in years. And then I can move onto the Harry Potter sock patterns. Do you know there are at least 30 of them? Harry Potter fans rock. Rock my socks in fact.
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

The quest for socks

Well, there are a million things I'd like to knit, for the holidays, but I don't have the time. Next year, I can plan it out better since I'll have all year to work on items. My recent obsessions seems to be with socks. I just seem to be unable to find what I want though. I know what this means. It means I need to just pick somewhere and start there before I keep putting it off waiting for perfection. Perfection of what - I don't know. The right color, the right yarn, the right price, the right pattern.

It's getting closer and closer to the time of this baby's birth. I am feeling a greater and greater connection to the baby as days close near, and I love this part. I keep trying to get an idea of whether this is a boy or a girl, and I didn't seem able to figure that part out. I realized that in all of my new baby knitting, I was keeping the designs and colors fairly neutral, but that I was feeling like it was "okay" to be drawn to more girly items. Does this mean I'm carrying a girl? Possibly. I have the hardest time differentiating between intuition and want with these things. Everyone but my mother thinks it a girl. I'm not quite sure what she thinks actually - just that she seemed skeptical of my thoughts of it being a girl. But she likes being skeptical of everything I think, so that's probably all it is. Hmmm. Not too much longer to find out.

So...there I was two days ago. Friday. Rush hour. Me. Driving into rush hour in downtown Portland. I was actually heading to Yarn Garden because I was thinking they had Blue Sky Alpacas dyed cottons. I found out that they only had the natural colors, and that that yarn is very hard to find in town for some reason. I settled on Mission Falls 1824 cotton because the colors matched up with what Miss M requested. I'm not very excited about the hand with this yarn, as it slightly annoys me as I knit with it - but it's not bad at all. Definitely a good deal though. As for her xmas present project, she's requested a pink and purple puppy from Heidi Boyd's book of fun designs. So far, I've got the body done, and working on the third leg. It's really simple, but a little boring with the legs. I think it's because I have to work on it in secret to avoid the little girl seeing it - so I find myself working on it at times when I'm sleepy or would rather be doing something else - out of pure practicality of course. It's become my "must do" project instead of my "want to" project right now. I'm still contemplating whether or not I have time to make the little finger puppets and castle from that book for her teacher.

Really, I want to find a yarn store today that's open on Sundays (that's possible), and that has the sock yarn I want (also quite possible). Next month will likely be dedicated to making many more longies and sweaters for the new one arriving sometime then.

For now, it's time to go and do something else on this lovely and quiet Sunday morning. I seem to spend all my time on Ravelry anymore instead of other places I used to haunt.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The most disenchanting LYS visit ever.

Wow. I don't think I can ever go back there. I went into the Knitting Bee since we were on that side of town and thought I'd check them out after hearing all these rave reviews. I was excited, I was hopeful. I hadn't been to a yarn store in two weeks and I was so ready to pick out yarn for f.pea's mossy jacket. I knew what weight I wanted, I knew a basic idea of what color I wanted, I thought 25 minutes would be enough.

It started out OK, I was greeted when I went in, and shown the grand tour of the store. After that I got to work touching and looking, walking back and forth to find what I wanted. It's normal to touch yarn when you're trying to find what you need right? I was stuck though and nothing was jumping out and grabbing me, so I kept going back and forth enjoying myself exploring the store. This prompted what I'm guessing was the owner to come and ask me if I needed help. I told her "No, I'm just trying to pick out what color I want". She laughed and made a joke about just wanting to touch everything. She seemed harmless, I went back to looking.

A few minutes later she popped up behind me and began to ask me what I was making, and after explaining it was a newborn sweater, she began her bizarre episode of trying-to-make-me-buy-her-favorite-yarns. I attempted telling her what colors I wanted, and that I loved Malabrigo and Manos and that I wanted Fall colors or Winter colors. She kept mentioning how lovely Spring colors would be, and showing me cottons and telling me Alpaca wasn't good for a baby and that Cashmerino would be lovely. No matter what lovely Fall greens and browns I chose, she kept showing me lettuce greens and talking about Spring. I'm not sure when I put out that "I need you to hold my hand and pick out my colors for me" vibe, but man was I regretting doing so now.

When I told her I was going for a worsted weight because the pattern was written in aran and the smallest size was a 6 mos so I was using worsted, and smaller needles to get newborn. Then she opted to try educating me on how I shouldn't make everything in such sizes because babies grow. That's when I explained I had four kids already so I knew that. ::insert her eye-brow-raising here:: Is it wrong to have your own plans for a project, especially when it's for your newborn? ::sigh:: It didn't stop, as I put back the yarns she kept giving me as suggestions I heard her ask another store employee "Tsk - Where is that Smooshy I gave her?!". I guess I was offending her yarn choices for my project.

Then she came up and was again pointing out the lovely spring colors of green in the Malabrigo (I guess she was settling on helping me find a better color choice in the yarn of my choice...) and began to now ask me if my children had the same hair color and color tones as I did. So I said, "Well, no not really. I've got all colors really. I've got a redhead, a brown, and a blonde". This proceeded to produce some eye-brow-raising towards the other store employee. I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. I should've just left then.

At one point, I'm on my knees looking through yarn feeling horribly rushed and frustrated, and they are both standing behind me, watching me. I don't hear the whole conversation, but I pick up something along like the lines of how I don't seem to mind non-superwash wools. I turned around and saw one of them seeming at a loss for why I'm so weird with her hands upturned in disbelief as she explains this to the other employee. So I told them that I'm already cloth-diapering, and using wool soakers so those are being hand washed anyhow. It's really not a big deal to me. You know, honestly, if I have a superwash item, with the massive amount of laundry I'm doing already for the 6 of us, if it gets tossed in the machine, I will at some point end up putting said item into the dryer on accident. Probably on the first run. Or my husband will, if he picks up where I left off laundry-wise, or vice versa. I don't see the huge convenience of being able to toss it into the washer, but still having to dry flat. Trust me, in our household, it's much easier not to set ourselves up for accidental feltings with the so-called wonder of superwash. I mean, I'm not picking up each washer item and tossing it into the dryer. I'm grabbing handfuls of wet stuff and tossing it into the dryer. Is it really that hard to toss an item into a bowl or sink of mildly soaped water, do some other things while it soaks, then rinse and lay flat? I digress though.

So, all the other customers leave, and now I'm imposing on them tremendously because it's now 4:03pm! The younger employee comes up apologetically lets me know that they're closed so I'm going to have to get going. But that it's OK because they have a staff meeting. Does that mean I'm not going to hell for staying a few minutes late now? Gee. Why don't you actually let me browse instead of hounding me and trying to force me to buy machine-spun yarns in fresh, happy spring colors?

Absolutely bizarre. And completely frustrating. I grabbed a hank of Malabrigo Olive and got the heck out of there. I should've just got nothing after all that shouldn't I? So I still don't have all the yarn I need for the sweater, and none of the sock yarn I wanted to pick out for the other kiddos. I really should've gone to Yarn Garden instead. It would've been so much less painful. Do I sound bitchy? Well, yeah, I am about it. It was just weird. When I go into a yarn store, I'd like to be left alone like when you go into a bookstore. You know, I've never had a bookstore employee try to coerce me into buying their favorite books on cooking when I tell them I'm looking for a book about fluffy kitties.

There also seems to be a huge trend of middle-aged LYS owners that make a funny little face when you tell them you love Manos or Malabrigo. This one seemed confused that I wasn't going to felt with it. Guess the hand-spun isn't popular with everyone. That's cool with me. Just don't bug me if I like it. I'm going to venture out again and hopefully return in the next couple of days with some lovely sock yarns and a good idea of how I'm going to knit up my mossy. I love the rustic look of the mossy! I hope it turns out good after all this.......I've got a lot more things to knit in the near future, and some more Sheepy Pants longies as well. And lots of oddly colored socks per my children's requests. And some more of those lovely little newborn socks that are so easy to make. And perhaps even something for myself...and poor dh, who will never pick out the yarn for his ear warmers.