a sock story, revisited.

Morning, folks. I think I posted about this when it actually happened, but as last night was likely my last regular attendance at weekly knitting night, allow me to tell you a brief sock story. Back in the fall, my internet was down for at least a week. My ISP couldn’t figure out what was wrong, and I was frantically working on all of my graduate school applications, so I was spending an hour or so every night at the coffee shop closest to my house. One Tuesday evening, when I stopped in to submit some forms and check email, I noticed a table of women who looked incredibly fun doing something with their hands — I had to look again to confirm that they were actually knitting! I introduced myself and asked if I could join them. Luckily for me, I had one of those fleece artist yellow tiger socks in my bag. They welcomed me and encouraged me, and soon I was knitting with them every Tuesday night. I’m heading to Base Camp next week, and then off to New Home for graduate school, and while I am going to try to meet up with them whenever I come into town on a Tuesday, yesterday was the first of all of my goodbyes. They marked (ha) my departure with an incredibly sweet and unexpected gift: gorgeous sock-sized stitch markers from Hide and Sheep (on etsy).

See how the marker itself isn’t simply circular?

It was all I could do to keep myself from casting on another pair of socks at 11 PM last night, just to admire these on a sock in progress. I am plugging away at Sunday Market Shawl number 2 — brought the remains of the one the dog gnawed through to show and tell last night, and am slowly adding length to its replacement. Here’s a rather blurry picture that shows the gorgeousness of the purples in this Dream in Color Smooshy yarn:

You’d think stockinette wouldn’t be tricky, but when I yanked this out of my bag last night, I managed to pull out a bunch of stitches and picked them back up all weird. Ramona to the rescue!

I feel incredibly lucky to have found such a wonderful “real life” knitting community — I will be thinking of you guys on Tuesday nights this summer — and I will particularly miss the “mommy” talk.

FO: super simple short socks

I love them. LOVE. I finished these in two weeks, while working on other things, and I am super proud of them. The heels look far more awesome than my last pair of socks, and I even kitchenered a bit better (though on the second one, something weird happened and I was left with a loop I couldn’t tighten. I finally just used a scrap piece of thread to help me pull it to the inside, where it will hopefully stay). Anyway, I love them. Despite the serious pooling:

Also, they look so cute with my purple crocs:

I wore this combination around the house while packing this morning, even though it is really too hot for socks and shoes. I also had a tea date with my landlord — I live in her backyard, so she came over this morning to learn how to knit. She is a natural — was able to do a long-tail cast on after watching me cast on 3 stitches. We had a lovely visit — such a nice way to end my 2 years here. (I move out on Saturday.)

This post is harder than usual to write, not because of the content, but because I just took Boh for a run, and it is far hotter outside than I anticipated. I am working on rehydrating now — should’ve had more agua last night and this morning before our run. Also, my body is a bit sore, as I went on my first run in quite awhile on Saturday. Yay for number 2. Here’s what the dog is doing:

Ooh — and this is unrelated, but I made some color choices this weekend:

I may be leaving the Southwest, but I’m bringing its love of color with me. Hope you’re having a great 3-day weekend. I’m off to a badminton yard party for the afternoon…

toe pick.

Anybody? (The Cutting Edge? Elementary school sleepovers?) Anyway, that’s what I think whenever I complete a heel flap. Can’t really explain it. See? Heel flap:

Toe pick! Also, it was very hot this week. So hot that I began second guessing my summer knitting plans. (Heading to Base Camp next week for the summer, and everything else I own is slowly making its way out of this teeny house and into a shiny storage unit.) I fell in love with this sweater from Knit.1 magazine: the gathered cardi. This is way cooler than I am, and may make me feel like I am playing dress up, but I really like it. I’m realizing as I pack that I may need to adapt my wardrobe a bit for graduate school, as I doubt it will require carharts and backcountry gear anywhere near as often. (Justification of need for sweater and thus, yarn, accomplished. You see, I don’t have any cotton in my stash!)

There it is: 8 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, in a mustardy-yellow/pea green shade. Won’t this be lovely with a big old wood button? Also, in the interest of full disclosure, here’s my stash.

It has been organized and in plastic tubs for a few weeks now, but today is the day it is going into the storage unit. I’ve made my summer knitting decisions, and I’m sticking to them. (Though my storage unit is easily accessible between the hours of 8 and 6 should I require anything additional on the days I come into town…) It is already in the car, and the clock has struck eight. Time to take more stuff to storage!

take 2.

Here’s my second attempt — still pretty bulky. After reading through some ravelry forums, I think I need to predraft a lot more, slow down the speed of my spindle, and move my hands further up the fiber. I’m realizing that I need some dedicated time to practice and play with this, and that packing up my whole life may not be conducive to that — which is fine. I just needed to take everything out of the box and get myself excited. Expect more spinning attempts later on, once my life is a bit more organized.

Also, because it is Friday, take a look at this silly dog:

There are no words. Hope you have a great weekend — back to packing!

you spin me right round baby…

I couldn’t help it. (With the song, but also with the actual spinning.)

Sort of hideous, I know, but bear with me. You see, this used to be this:

And before that, this:

I ordered a drop spindle and some fiber from Hello Yarn, and it arrived yesterday. Last night, after a super fun knitting night, I decided to give it a try. I still have much to learn — it feels like there are more tasks than I have hands — but I am excited about this.

After taking the dog out and enjoying the sunrise:

I tried again.

I think I need to separate the fibers even more in order to get a thinner yarn. Anyone have suggestions for websites or other resources with pictures of top whorl drop spindles in use? I’m interested in learning more about speed of spinning the spindle, how much twist is a good idea, etc.

Already late for work, but wanted to share that with you!

many moons.

A year ago, I began Thermal. It was to be my first sweater, and I was very excited. I ordered the recommended yarn (KnitPicks Gloss) and printed out the pattern. As I was still a new knitter, I was sort of afraid of color. I’ve since broken myself of that (see bright green Bolero Jacket for proof), but I remember struggling with the color decision. I eventually concluded that I would be most likely to wear my first sweater if it was black. I’m sure you’re all cringing because you already know what I failed to realize: knitting a sweater in fingering weight black yarn is akin to poking yourself in the eye repeatedly.

Enter my progress:

A tangled skein and several errors in knitting direction resulting in ripping and starting again (I didn’t quite get that it is easy to tell which way you are going). I have a solid inch of the twisted ribbed bottom hem of the sweater. And you know what? The knitting is even, and quite pretty! I am going to keep this one handy, and perhaps in small doses, I can make progress on the black fingering weight sweater. (You know, even though I am more willing to play with color now, I will get a lot of use out of a black Thermal — if I can finish it, that is.)

My 1824 Blouson met a different fate last night. I have beautiful yarn for this project, and I love the shape of the sweater, but I fear all those dressmaker finishing details AND the 4 inches of the back I discovered in a knitting bag tucked away were not as pretty as I am capable of. My now-discerning eye was drawn to a scattering of small errors in the knitting, and I found no evidence of a gauge swatch. Ribbit! I still love the idea of this sweater, and am hoping to make something similar. Ideas?

Also, to avoid the dreaded second sock syndrome, I cast on Super Simple Short Sock #2 last night.

I posted my bed on craigslist on Sunday and sold it yesterday during my lunch break. Making progress over here! Time to go rent a storage unit so that I can begin clearing these boxes out of my tiny house…

ready for grafting!

I know it’s dark, but I really like this photo — the randomness of the backdrop, the light streaming through the front door, the bright red bookshelf that is mostly empty now — it works for me. I realize, though, that you might actually want to see the sock, so here’s another shot:

I love this sock. It fits perfectly, and the yarn really makes the heel stitches pop. I can see several super simple short sock pairs (say that 5 times fast) in my future. You know, once I knit the mate to this one.

Another Monday morning sleepy dog picture for you — I absolutely adore how ridiculous Boh is when he is sleeping. We did a lot of frolicking this weekend — so much so that Boh refused to budge from the couch ALL DAY yesterday. I even had to coax him towards the door to go outside. He just wanted to lounge, sleep, dream (translation: twitch) and sigh. Life is hard when you’re a dog.

Life is also hard when you are a sleepy person who has to go to work on Monday morning…but I do think there is time to kitchener that sock to completion before I go.

May your Monday be filled with sunshine and coffee!

pinwheels and parties.

Remember pinwheel blanket number two? The one I needed to finish in time for the pre-wedding party of two friends? Well, you can breathe easy. I finished it. (I mean, I may have blocked it in my car and woven in the ends on the back porch of a building said friends were standing in…but I finished it and they loved it. I’m hoping they’ll send me one of the pictures they took with it/me.)

I would have finished it earlier, I swear, except one of these two friends ended up coming into town and staying at my house on Wednesday to work with us for a few days. I couldn’t very well work on it in front of him, could I?

Anyway, the work we did required a road trip (with a slew of 7 year olds) to the base camp of the wilderness education foundation I work for. Though it was crazy, I did manage to snap a sunrise picture for you:

Looking northward, Friday, 5:50 am.

I did manage to find some evening quiet time to knit by the light of a cozy fire. My ankle socks (using the Super Simple Short Sock pattern by Radiant Twist) are progressing quite nicely. Have we talked about how much I love this yarn? (Yarn Pirate Merino Sock in Kalamata.) I really love how this project fits into the center zip pocket of my Namaste bag, which could be why they are moving so quickly…

Yep, there’s some pooling there, but I don’t care. I love it anyway.

I returned to civilization this morning, in a bit of a hurry to make progress on another big project: packing up my life. I move to base camp for the summer in a few weeks, and after that, I head to New Home to start graduate school. Didn’t make sense to rent my little house through the summer only to come back and pack everything, so pack up now I must. I think it will get easier once I actually go rent a storage unit this week so that I have a place to put all of the boxes I am filling. Today I’ve been working on the kitchen. See?

Off to pack some more and enjoy the evening light.

turquoise, untangled.

Last week I won some tangled yarn from The Plucky Knitter. When the yarn arrived, I sighed with happiness. This yarn is stunning, and in one of my favorite colors. Exhibit A:

I snapped these pictures after I typed “Exhibit A” — pulled the jewelry right off my left hand. I am incredibly interested in turquoise, Navajo and Pueblo silversmithing and the way that value was and is assigned to their craftsmanship. I’ve heard it said that you can borrow more against turquoise than you can against diamonds at certain Southwestern trading posts. But I think I was getting ready to show you my pretty yarn…

Thank you, Sarah. Life is crazy over here, and I stayed up very late untangling this — I needed that meditative time yesterday, probably even more than I needed sleep. Now I get to daydream about what this yarn should become!

eye of newt?

or partridge. (Why is it called an eye of partridge heel?)

The zippered middle section of my new Namaste bag is just begging to be used for a sock project. I’ve been meaning to cast on for a pair of Super Simple Short Socks by Radiant Twist, and that whole incident with my car window (in which the nutkin mitts were stolen) means that I no longer have a knitted item made from my first Yarn Pirate Booty in colorway kalamata. I have half or slightly more than half of a skein left, and figured it should be perfect for these ankle socks. I think this pattern is really going to show off how gorgeous the yarn is — and if I can keep up the momentum with these, they will certainly get a lot of use this summer.

Lots of high school rugby watching and the fact that I was chauffeured around all weekend made for some serious progress on the second pinwheel. I’m up to 38 stitches between markers, and the blanket border begins at 44. Hoping to wrap this up and give it away this weekend, and I’m on track for that to happen, as the blanket has officially achieved “jellyfish” status. (Doesn’t it look like one?) It won’t be long now…

I am pretty sleepy this morning, even after a few cups of coffee. Stayed up super late last night organizing my life into piles and emptying my bookcase into boxes. This guy is tired too — not because he “helped” with all of the packing, but because we had a good frolic at the dog park yesterday morning.

It’s Monday, folks. I may look like this later today.