Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Knitalong status--did I make it?

So it's January 31. Did I make it? Did I finish my two knitalong projects?

Well, I finished the socks. Totally down to the wire. I posted the pictures last night. The pictures are here. (I took the photos and downloaded them at my mom's house, so I have no idea how to import them into the blog). I'm pretty happy with them. Next time I make this pattern, I'll do 4 pattern repeats for the cuff; I think I'd like them a little longer. I'm not loving how I seamed the toe, but it's more than good enough. Now I just have to block them. I know, they're shown on the blockers, but I did that for photo purposes. I definitely need to learn how to take better photos.

The Square-along square didn't make it. With all my sock setbacks and illnesses in the house, I just couldn't get to it. This is why I don't make many commitments.

In the meantime, I went back to a UFO, the Rosie Knits Popover Gloves & Hat in Alchemy Alpaca Pure, color Cherry Tart. It's probably 1-2 months since I've worked on them. I had worked the first mitten up to the index finger before I put it aside. Last night I picked it up and realized I was short several stitches and could not figure out where to find them. In my search for the lost stitches, I realized I did not like how I picked up the stitches at the base of the completed fingers. So now I'm ripping, hopefully to the thumb gusset, but worst case scenario, down to the cuff.

I've also brought down a baby blanket to work on. It's been sorely neglected and the baby is coming in May. The pattern is a 2-stitch rib, so it's the perfect opportunity to learn to knit continental. I just have to remember how to knit continental, or get the website from my mom.

Coming full circle, it is January 31, which means it's time to plan for February's socks. So I will pick yarn from the stash and a pattern, and will swatch either tonight or tomorrow. And February's a short month! Ack!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

So close, and far

I've finally finished sock no. 2. I knit 6 rows of stockinette before starting the toe. I even grafted the toe's still too short! That's it!! I'm resting sock no. 2 and am ripping out the toe of sock no. 1 and will do another pattern repeat before decreasing for the toe. These are the socks that will never end...and the deadline is looming!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I don't know what happened!

I'm making time on this second sock. I know February is bearing down on me, and February's themes are being posted in two days. I'm knitting whenever I can: in front of the computer, watching tv, watching children (when there's extra coverage tonight), on the telephone. Perhaps therein lies the problem.

So tonight, I'm catching up with my youngest sister, knitting away. I finish my heel flap. I actually turn my heel while talking to her (these days, counting and talking are a challenge). Being the sweet and good-natured soul she is, she waits while I count.

We get off the phone. I am picking up my 15 gusset stitches when...I have fifteen stitches on the needle and roughly 10 more gusset stitches to pick up. Whaat!! What did I do?! I don't make these kinds of mistakes! Well, I do now. I just ripped back I don't know how many rows and am going to turn the heel again. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Monkey Sock is so aptly named

Ok, so I'm almost done with sock no. 1. I know, that's where I was a few days ago. Since then, Boys E and M have developed pink-eye, or whatever it is Boy J has/had going on in the eyes. Try giving almost three-year-olds eye drops three times a day. I've broken one of my hard and fast rules: I bribe them with cookies because it's so bad (also Boy J, because his oral antibiotic tastes so bad), and even then, it's hard to get good cooperation.

On the sock front, I've ripped out the toe two or three times because it's too short. As it turns out, I needed another full repeat of the pattern, plus roughly 4-8 rows of stockinette before decreasing for the toe. I've had it with the ripping. The yarn and I need a rest. So, I've cast on the second sock and will make my adjustments there, and then will rip down the first sock one more time and knit to match. I did learn a new technique, though: how to weave the needles into the knitted fabric on the row I want to rip to, and then ripping. It's painstaking, but I couldn't take the "unknitting" for that many rows, and to just pull out the needles and rip is a disaster, because the stitches are so small and the yarn so fine that I get dropped stitches everywhere. Ugh.

All in all, I'm making progress on the second sock. I've finished the ribbing and have finished the first pattern repeat, or just about finished it. Battlestar Galactica is on tonight, so I should get some good knitting done, unless I get too engrossed in the show!

The Square-Along square is coming along nicely. It's a pretty simple pattern which will be a great way to use up leftover sock yarn.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Knitting right along into the next knitalong

This is my post from 1/18; Blogger flipped out and apparently, it was not posted, so here it goes...

So after a night of getting up every few hours to check on Baby Girl, who decided to spike a fever of 104.5 at dinnertime, I decided to forego the diaper shopping I intended to do while the boys were in school this morning and took some time out to knit with my regular knitting companion, Mom. We reviewed my new double-pointed needles which just arrived from Knit Picks. Definitely an "A." I tried out the size 3s on Mom's Debbie Bliss toddler sock (her first foray into knitting socks) and she enjoyed them as well. And we had a first: I modified the pattern! Really, all I did was to tell her to slip the first stich on each row of her heel flap to make picking up the gusset easier, but it was a first! And I may even branch out from there on other patterns.

I also finally had the time (as ridiculous as this sounds) to examine the color card for Knit Picks' Telemark yarn, which I ordered because I'm intending to knit Pirate Mittens. I never thought I'd ever buy a color card, but these days, with my difficulties in getting to yarn stores and with my growing penchant for ordering yarn online, I've decided that I need color cards if I'm going to order online.

I also showed her the sock blockers I bought. Yes, I bit the bullet and ordered sock blockers from The Loopy Ewe. I added some sock patterns and was hardly able to resist the Sweet Georgia yarns. Can't wait for that package to come!

While relaxing and knitting my sock, I decided to go online and see what was new over at Testalong and found...a new Knitalong Testalong! And I was automatically in because I did the Socks 101 Knitalong! Of course, I talked Mom into signing up, and now, I just have to dig up some yarn.

After packing all this knitting excitement into one hour, I picked the boys up from school, whereupon Boy J obviously was developing a health problem--he was gooey! We spent lunchtime at the doctor's office, and he was so good natured, eating his grilled cheese and apple slices out of a plastic sandwich bag while we waited to be seen. And after giving him a wooden train to play with, he kept asking if I had one for Boy E and one for Boy M (which, of course, being the mother of triplets, I did). End result: sinus problem with eye involvement, requiring antibiotics and eye drops. Man, was he a trooper when I put the drops in; I'm not sure how good he'll be tomorrow. That's ok--I obviously need another challenge. Unfortunately, this trip consumed all of my naptime knitting time.

I posted a picture of my partially completed Monkey sock on the Socktopia flickr group and got such lovely comments--my first comments! It gives me some hope for this blog. Maybe, one day, I'll have blog readers other than my Mom and my sister. Though I don't expect anyone else to be particularly interested. But who knows!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quick update

I'm now halfway through the instep on the first sock. My knitting time is hampered because Baby Girl (aka Pumpkin) decided to bust out a 102F+ fever last night. She's sweet as pie, but I was dosing and talking to the pediatrician last night during prime knitting time.

I don't have another picture to post yet. I must admit, after taking pictures of my knitting, I realized I have not taken photos of the kidlings in a month. Bad Mommy!

Well, I'm off to knit: I have enough time to squeeze in knitting and a short nap before all hell breaks loose, i.e., the boys wake up.

Monday, January 15, 2007

This is the start of the breakdown

The breakdown, however, has nothing to do with knitting. If you're only interested in knitting (and I don't blame you), skip to the next paragraph. Here's the problem: toilet training. I decided to train one boy at a time. The wrinkle is that all three boys want to toilet train and I can't say no to a boy who asks to use the potty. At 6:30 this morning, I started out in the bathroom. I emerged 40 minutes later. You get the picture. Add to that, the downstairs bathroom is probably 5' x 4', and I have a toilet, a sink, two potties, three boys and me in there all at the same time every 1-2 hours. Enough said. Exacerbating things is that although the sick boy is getting better, the other two are coming down with colds. And it's cold and rainy so we can't go out. And they're fighting. I've taken to throwing all participants in "time out" because I don't have it in me to play Solomon, and also my mom used to do it, and we turned out ok.

Fortunately for me, I had a mental health day yesterday. I had extra childcare help, so I was able to get on a treadmill (I have a workout about once every three months at my local gym, i.e., Mom's treadmill in her basement) and then we (Mom and I) went on a yarn crawl. First we hit Stix-n-Stitches, where I looked at lots of gorgeous yarn but exercised self-control and only bought Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and Yankee Knitter's Classic Socks pattern for three yarn weights (also a few notions not worth mentioning). I'm definitely thinking of designing my own socks, but not yet. I need a lot of preparation and thinking. Then we hit Modern Yarn down the road. There, I was unable to resist fingerless gloves knit in Automno--only one skein per pair! I bought enough for two pair:

Along the way, Mom got sucked into buying sock yarn--she's got the itch since I've been talking up socks.

Speaking of socks, I'm moving right along with my sock. I've turned the heel, picked up the gusset, and am now working the instep. This pattern is a lot of fun! I'm a little concerned that the heel is too narrow, but I can't really tell until I finish the sock. If it is, I guess I'll knit the second sock, modify the heel (I can't wait to figure out how to do that!), then frog the first sock down to the heel (ack!). Hopefully, you'll see pictures below:

Here's the questionably narrow heel:

(obviously too difficult to see, but I know it's there).

And here's my favorite new knitting accessory/bag:

This is my GoKnit Pouch. It attaches onto a belt loop or a purse strap (though I thought I was the last person who would walk around knitting out of a yarn pouch attached to my belt loop until I did it yesterday) and has a loop inside to run the working yarn through. I am in love!

My next accessory to buy: sock blockers. I never thought I would need them, but apparently I do. It's also obvious from the way the Monkey sock looks on the needles vs. the photos accompanying the pattern. Besides, between Socktopia and Rockin' Sock Club, I'm obviously knitting a lot of socks this year.

Since I got the photo thing working again, here's a photo of the LL Lion & Lamb in Iris Garden that I bought for "the Clap":

Here's the LL sock yarn in Valentine:

This is the Esperanza scarf; you can probably see my color pooling issue even though it's not a good picture:

Unfortunately, my photo skills are not up to snuff, so you can't see how fabulous the colors really are on the sock yarn and the Esperanza, and the photo doesn't do justice to the Lion & Lamb either. So be it--I'll just do the best I can, which is my approach to most things these days.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Moving right along

Today was a big day in knitting. I finished the cuff:

I dropped three repeats off the pattern because I like a shorter cuff. Since I've taken the photo, I've knit almost the entire heel flap. I did have a minor setback though: I lost a needle. As a result, I switched from knitting on four needles to knitting on three. Not a big deal, except the pattern is a 16 stitch repeat over 64 stitches, so it's easier to knit it on four needles. Fortunately, I was able to find stitch markers and maintain the pattern on three needles. The good news is that the lost needle turned up at my parents' house (I had brought the kids over to play and was able to squeeze in some knitting with all the adults around). The needle was recovered after I started the heel, so I won't need it again until I get to the gusset.

I also bit the bullet and ordered the KnitPicks dpns in sizes 0-3 so that I don't run into gauge trouble again. It's hard to get gauge when you don't have all the needle sizes you might need!

As you can see, I also learned how to post photos to the blog. Unfortunately, I need to learn how to take better photos. Here is the Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb in Iris Garden that I bought for Clapotis:

I bet you thought there would be a picture here. So did I. Looks like that's a project for another time.

Moving right along, I finally found my Socktopia invite on flickr, so I got myself in the group. This novice blogger/novice knitalonger thing is slowing me down; I'm totally out of the loop on this web stuff. Guess I'll have to learn as I go.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Hooray! My sick boy has improved greatly, freeing me from worry and more doctor visits, and giving me time to do other things, like knit my first Monkey sock . I have only 3-4 more rows until I finish the ribbing and the real fun begins. The ribbing looks narrow on the needles, not unusual, but I know it stretches. I'm hoping the sock will fit me, otherwise, I'll gift them to someone with smaller calves (I haven't worked out how to figure that one out, maybe I need to wait until summer to scope out the legs of prospective giftees). I'm also thinking of taking out one of the lace repeats because the sock as pictured in the pattern seems like it may be a bit tall for me, but the beauty of socks is that you can try them on as you go. I'm getting very excited to start the lace part, but each time I start knitting, I keep thinking I have to order metal double-pointed needles because the birch ones I'm using are very flexible, and I'm afraid that I may snap one. In the meantime, I'll just knit gently.

I now have finished two projects this year. Woo-hoo! I think I have tied with the total number of projects I finished last year. The first finished project is the Socks 101 socks. Last week, I managed to figure out how to post them to Flickr, so you can see them here. Then last night, I bound off the Esperanza scarf and wove in the loose ends; fortunately, there were only four ends, because I could hardly keep my eyes open. It was only the will to finish that kept me going.

I haven't made it back to the attic to search for the Socks That Rock yarn I bought at Stitches and did not see on my previous trips to the attic in search of sock yarn. I also did not cull the stash yarn in my bedroom to return to the attic. I try to ignore that pile--or more accurately, the yarn blob that ate my knitting baskets and chair--each time I walk into the bedroom, and I am moderately successful. Moderately, because it gets on my nerves every time I look over to that area of the bedroom, but I haven't been driven to actually do something about it yet. Tackling the blob will be one of my weekend projects (I have many, but the most likely ones to be completed is a batch cooking session and the blob; anything else is a bonus). Here's to more progress!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm in!

I just checked the members list on Socktopia and I'm in! What timing! After two days of examining sock patterns, I finally found a pattern that felt right for a skein of sock yarn in my stash. I've had balls and skeins of sock yarn spread out in my side of the bedroom, and was starting to think that they were starting to take over the room. Correction: I know that they were taking over the room. I've been swatching for days and had just reached the point where I thought I would never be able to get gauge when I did!

Here's the project: Monkey Socks from the Knitty Winter 2006 issue in Tess Yarns Super Socks and Baby on size 1 needles! The yarn is wonderful shades of blue and purple that remind me of water, so hopefully, that watery feel will come across; if not, I bet they'll still look pretty good. My GoKnit pouch just arrived yesterday from and my sock knitting is safely nestled within. I love knitting accessories!

So, although I have my project, finishing by the end of the month seems a bit ambitious right now. In the past two days, I've knit 1.5 rounds--not so much. At that rate, I'll finish the pair by December. My excuse is that one of the boys is sick and I've been up in the night checking breathing and giving breathing treatments (and watching an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine at 2 a.m. when the boy couldn't sleep), and spent this morning at the pediatrician and this afternoon at the pulmonologist.

Like most other knitters, I've got some other projects in the works as well. One is a wonderful scarf in Schaefer Esperanza, which my sister and knitting consultant, knittingembryologist, told me is long enough. So tonight, I will bind off, and then I will wash it (definitely not tonight) in one of the flavors of Soak I ordered and received with the GoKnit pouch to get rid of the slight odor of vinegar. Despite my acute sense of smell (when I was pregnant with the triplets, I couldn't even boil pasta because the smell bothered me), I would have never noticed it except for the fact that someone in some blog I read mentioned the smell of vinegar on hand-dyed yarns (is it used to fix the color?). So now I know and now I smell it, so washing is on the "To Do" list.

What else? A baby blanket that I'm using as an opportunity to learn to knit Continental. I like it, but it takes more work than I would expect because I'm using it as a learning project. The biggest challenge is maintaining my tension. I may have to bump it up on the priority list, though, because the baby is due in May.

The Babette Blanket,, a fabulous crochet blanket started last year that has fallen by the wayside. I dabble in crochet for a change of pace, and this is an indulgent project just for me. Which makes it more tempting to do, except now I have to remember how to crochet.

The Sock Monkey blanket from the Happy Hooker, another foray into crochet. I just need to crochet the sock monkey faces, a job requiring a consult from my knitting and crochet teacher and companion, Mom. Then I have to sew them all together. I'm not that into finishing.

Oh, and an important project for me: pop top mittens from Rosie's Yarns. I've made it partway through the first mitten (2-3 fingers, I don't remember), but I need to pick it up because I could really use the mittens: I had a kitchen accident in October and injured a finger, and although it's pretty well healed, it's still sensitive to cold. Wearing mittens can be awkward when I'm out with the children and have to fasten carseats, so I may have to move this one up on the list, too.

The fish scarf from Tess Yarns, bought at Stitches. I bought enough yarn to make three scarves because I thought if would be fun to make them for the boys. Except after watching the boys play with the balloons they got at the shoe store yesterday, they probably shouldn't have anything they can wrap around their or other people's necks! Oh well, it can be a belt, too.

I see there's still a few minutes left in the day to get some knitting in, so off I go! I'm sure I'll have more UFOs to discover in the stash, as well as projects in progress.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Making the Leap

Ok, I just sent an email to join Socktopia. I made a commitment to knit socks every month! I actually raided my stash and swatched a very vibrant skein of Schaefer Yarn Anne today during nap time; I'm not sure how it will fit into any of the month's themes, but what the heck! I'm sure I'll figure something out.

I also received my order from Angelika's Yarn Shop. Gorgeous Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb in Iris Garden for Clapotis, and Shepherd's Sport (I think) or whatever weight I need to learn how to knit socks on two circular needles as per Nenah Galati's DVD. I have so much to start, but then nothing will get finished, so I think the socks will take priority. Now, if I could just figure out what theme I can get my yarn and pattern (not yet chosen) to fall under.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

So this is how it all begins...

After months of following others' blogs, and developing an itch to join a knit-a-long, I am finally taking the plunge and starting this blog. I expect it will mostly capture my adventures in knitting, a respite from the wild ride of raising triplets and a singleton, all of whom at this time are under the age of three.

I am proud to say that I have completed my first knit-a-long project, Socks 101, (I see my "to do" list will including how to set up links). I'm going to check if I can post a picture since it was a test pattern intended for publication.

In the meantime, I have been eyeing Socktopia, That means I have visited the site a zillion times. I'm the queen of lurking. I've read the the About/FAQ. At least three times. I've read the previous posts at least twice. It seems doable. It also seems like I can watch how people progress and sign up a little later. However, I think I need to have a blog to do it, ergo, here I am. Not only that, I have to make a commitment to the knitalong, after nearly three years of being unable to make commitments, or at least not any commitments that were not subject to the needs of a high risk pregnancy and multiple infants. And there are themes! Will my yarns/projects match any of the themes? Will I understand the themes? Will my Rockin' Sock Club (Socks That Rock) sock projects match the themes or will, horror of horrors, have to dig past brain fatigue and be creative? If so, maybe that's not so bad. At least it's not one of those knitalongs where you can get kicked out--that's too much commitment for me, considering my child-rearing obligations, and too much pressure. Could I really say, "Boys, I can't build a Thomas train track for you because I will get kicked out of the knitalong if I don't finish this project tonight?" On the other hand, would they even understand? It doesn't matter: a mother's guilt knows no bounds.

Well, here I go. There's still and hour of child nap time left, which means I have an hour of knitting to enjoy. And to mull over joining Socktopia.