Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I finished the socks! Last night, February 27. These pictures more accurately show the colorway and show the heart detail:

I'm not thrilled with the toe shaping, and on the sole, there's a distinctive line where I fixed the pattern; I'm hoping it will block out, but if not, who looks at the sole anyway? Aside from that, the socks are delicious! I just love, love, love the yarn and colorway (STR Bleeding Hearts). I love the pattern, too, which was well-written to boot (no pun intended). Although the pattern is not that visible because of the colorway, I know the hearts are there.

In the meantime, I'm still potty training and still careening toward a breakdown. I bought three more potties, so now we have two potties in the downstairs bathroom and two in the upstairs bathroom. Now the boys all want to go together, which is fine, because it gives everyone an incentive. On the other hand, I'm still having post-bedtime potty craziness, which makes me crazy. In the crib. Out of the crib. Screaming. Wanting the big potty. Wanting the little potty. Wanting the other little potty (note: all four potties are identical, which is pretty much the only way to operate at this point). Not wanting to wait one's turn. Having to wait one's turn. Not wanting one's turn to be over. Wanting a brother's turn. Wanting a brother to not have a turn. Believe, me, I want my turn to be over! I have imposed some rules and am having moderate success. However, by the time I'm finished with potty mania, I'm exhausted and have not been able to get much knitting done.

I know February is 2-3 days shorter than the other months, but it seems like I've lost a whole week. The boys turn three in two weeks (!), and I decided yesterday to make a family party this Saturday. So now I have to get party supplies and order a cake(s). I just can't imagine buying 3 regular-size cakes. I've got to figure something out.

I don't want to leave Baby Girl out of this post, because life is not all about the triplets. She's still so sweet, but her tantrums are out of this world, simply remarkable. She thinks it's her way or the highway! She's talking up a storm, and her vocabulary includes "Mallomar" and the WonderPets theme song (though her ABC's are coming along too). Fortunately for everyone, the weather has warmed up and melted enough snow so that we could knock ourselves out at the park--yay!

But back to knitting. I've been thinking about the Socktopia March themes, reviewing my stash and my sock patterns. Nothing is actively calling out to me like the February socks did. I've printed out the Socktopia newsletter with the March themes and walk around the house with it while I look at patterns online and in my books (is there such thing as a yarn geek?). I'm thinking of winding a few skeins and swatching, and then going from there. But I've got to get started--March is tomorrow!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Yet another race to the finish

Yes, I know I finished the Heart socks last weekend, but I had that little problem of an extra 10-row repeat in there. So this morning, while camped out at Mom's, I ripped out to where I thought I should re-knit (about 20 rows down after the toe)) and...I didn't have the pattern! Ack! Looks like it will be Oscar knitting tonight. I forgot February is a short month. Yikes!

So instead of working on my knitting, I'm trolling knitting store websites and knitting blogs. In all fairness, I can't knit (yet) because I'm eating a sandwich for lunch. So look what I found at Holly Jo's blog, one more row (aside from some good-looking knits and cool pictures of Alaska): a visited states map! Here's mine:

create your own visited states map

Have fun!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Not so fast....

So, you know that little blocking problem with the Heart socks I mentioned in my last post? I took a deep breath and tried them on. They're beautiful! Except one sock is way too long. Like one pattern repeat too long. How could that have happened to someone as compulsive as me?! I count rows. I use a row counter. I make copious notes. This does not happen to me. Ever. I don't twist stitches in joining in the round. Only once in 10 years did I knit a portion of my first row with the tail end from the long tail cast on. The circular knitting jog? I didn't know what that was until I read about it. Not to brag or anything, but these things don't happen to me. Until now.

So here's the plan. I rip out the extra repeat and re-knit the sock. It shouldn't take that long. I take pictures before I do it so I can post on Socktopia. In the meantime, here it is:

If the top sock looks like it's longer than the bottom sock, that's because it is. And I think it's impossible to capture the pattern with my camera. Oh well!

I note that the discovery (or rather, confirmation) of this problem occurred on the day I received the yarn from Loop for that troublesome Koigu blanket mentioned in the last post. Coincidence?

Maybe I should just pick up the Babette blanket and work through a little crochet.

Oh, and by the way, after spending the better part of the morning at the pediatrician, we confirm that Baby Girl has a penicillin allergy. And once again, I have spent 40 minutes doing potty time at 9 p.m. And I didn't get to knit yesterday, and hope I can get some time in tonight.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The descent slows (sort of)

On the knitting front, I'm actually doing ok. I finally found a project, got gauge, cast on and am enjoying the yarn, though not loving my pattern so much. I can't discuss it more because I decided I'm knitting my gifts, and basically, as far as I know, my readers are my family (except for gray la gran--thanks!) and I don't want to spoil any surprises. If I get on the ball, I'll take pictures in progress and post them after if anyone will even remember at the end of the year!

On the downside, I blocked my Heart socks. I learned that neither of my upstairs bathroom sinks will hold water and I need to have the plumber come. So I blocked them in the tub and used the rest of my sample size Flora Soak (love it!). And then, I put them on my blockers, which I love. And then a moment of moderate horror: the socks were too long for the blockers. Whaaaaaat?! One was only a little too long, no big deal, but the other must have had 1-2 inches flopping over the toe. Are you kidding me?! I tried them on while I knit them, and after they were finished. They fit properly. I knit both socks to the same specs (I count rows on sock no. 1 so I know what to do on sock no. 2, and still tried on sock no. 2 throughout). I think my Socktopia photos have to be taken with the socks on my feet so no one can notice (of course, I've just given myself away).

But back to the upside. I received three (!) knitting packages today. The first was the Knit Picks with the circular needles for the Koigu Daydreams Baby Blanket, which probably should have been named the Nightmare Baby Blanket. I know, it's going to be one of these things I'll kill myself for making, and then want to make it again because it's so beautiful. The extra skeins didn't come from Loop, so that's my excuse for not trying it again yet. Honestly, I don't think I've had a long enough rest from that torture!

Next, I received my package from The Loopy Ewe. Boy, I love to order from Sheri. It's only my second order, but Sheri is lovely--in my first package I received a yarn sample that fascinated me, so I called her for the color. So here's what came today: two skeins of Regia Bamboo in color 1062, several patterns, two yarn samples (gotta love it!), Sheri's homemade needle inventory (gotta love it!) and this cool little sock project book, Loopy's Knit Notes for Socks. This way, I can transfer all my little pattern notes that are currently stored in ziplocs with the leftover yarn to this little book and have the information appropriately organized. Yes, I am compulsive and love organization--Clean Sweep still gets me every time!

Finally, I received my Yarnahoy/Monsoon Winds yarn order. Goodness, the colors are gorgeous. I bought one skein of Berry Bang

and two skeins of Spring Pole.

I'm providing links to Yarnahoy's etsy shop for Berry Bang and Spring Pole because I think her pictures are better, and I'm showing off that I actually took pictures of the new yarn acquisitions today.

Pictures? Did you see pictures? Yes, I took pictures this evening! Why? Well, Baby Girl tipped her KinderZeat over (it's supposed to be non-tippable, but I guess they don't account for 18-month-olds who like to put their feet on the edge of the table and push back), and I mostly sort of caught her (I had to leap over a child gate, no less), but she did knock the back of her head. Frankly, I thought I was lucky I didn't dislocate her arm. She was ok, though I worried all afternoon, but the doctor told me to rouse her every 20 minutes for the first hour she was sleeping. So, I decided to take pictures during the intervals. She's fine, but goodness, the Sudafed and Benadryl (we think she's having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic for her ear infection) really knocked her out. Oh, and I had to spend the last 20 minutes running boys to the potty. Because the time they really want to go is at 9 p.m. They absolutely refuse to go while they're playing, but they think 9 p.m. is prime time potty time.

Well, back to knitting. Let's see what else I can post. Sophie's Toes yarn in Cupid:

and Passion.

A Swell Yarn's Duet socks:

and the Briar Rose hand-dyed I bought to make this hat and mitten set:

Oh, and let's not forget that Jitterbug:

I still have to figure this photo thing out, but you get the idea.

Well, I'm off to knit. And when I get too tired, I'm going to look through my new sock patterns/pattern books and work on my theme for March's Socktopia sock--yay!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Or "Knitting into Obliteration"...

Oops, I am totally falling behind in posting. Computer trouble: no internet access/intermittent internet access, which culminated in three hours on the phone with the ISP and the computer manufacturer last night. I swear, I was going to kill myself (and it didn't help that I had to spend those three hours knitting and ripping out the finger parts in my fingerless gloves, but more on that later). End result is internet access with no firewall or virus protection--is that the best they can do?! Adding to the delay: moderately sick children (of course), and just everyday life getting in the way.

On the other hand, I finished my Socktopia Heart socks this past weekend. Yay! And they are faaaabulous! The color is phenomenal. They fit (I thought the instep might be too narrow)!! The pattern is somewhat hard to see, but I don't care 'cause I love 'em! I'm just going to block them, and then take my photographs and post them. Yeah, yeah, I've been promising to take photos of all the loot from the yarn crawls and of works in progress....

Speaking of yarn crawls, the afternoon before the King Tut exhibit, we hit Rosie's Yarn Cellar and Loop. At Rosie's, I picked up some sock yarn, Hand Jive Nature's Palette in Wheat (I thought it was time to test out a solid color so lace patterns could show up better (see Heart socks), and other sock yarn that has aloe or some moisturizer in it (I'll link to it when I find the name). Plus, I bought two sock books.

The next morning, before venturing home in the snow and ice, we hit Loop. What a beautiful store, with such beautiful yarns! I controlled myself and only bought the Wallaby Sweater pattern, because I've seen it for years, and everyone who makes it raves about it (which was confirmed by the woman who helped me). But I was tempted by the Alchemy patterns and the luscious yarns!

But back to knitting, or, as it is, knitting hell. So now, I have a whole two weeks before I have to knit another pair of Socktopia socks. Great! I can work on UFOs. I can even cast on a new project! And therein lies the trouble.

I picked up the Decadent Fibers baby blanket I bought at Stitches. I bought the peachy pink color, and it is lovely to work with. I gave up in December because the pattern is not clear. I tried it again. Several times. Still a problem. I have an email in to the Decadents, and they are ready to help me. So that's on the back burner.

There was another project, but I seem to have blocked it out. Or, it has been obliterated by the current problem with the mac & me Lobster Claws (Finger and Fingerless Gloves)a>. After the knitting troubles with the blankets, I decided to cast on the Lobster Claws in Lobster Pot cashmere in Salt Rose--gorgeous and delicious! I'm knitting on US 6's, and am making time, at least in comparison to knitting socks on US 2's. I decide to knit fingers (see earlier posts for reference to the cold sensitivity resulting from last fall's kitchen injury). I knit the pinky and ring fingers in no time, and you know what? The fingertips are unattractive. (There was a slight error in the pattern, too, but easy to figure out). I ripped and re-knit. Twice. Still unattractive. I decided to go the fingerless route.

I followed the directions exactly. For the pinky, I knit as directed: knit 3 rounds, knit round 4 k1p1, knit two more rounds, then bind off loosely. The k1p1 round makes my knuckle look bulky (I'll let you know later whether a third party would believe that to be true or it's a knitter's version of body dismorphia). The bind off does not roll back a la stockinette, even though that's how it looks in the picture. What the hell, I'm forging ahead. By the time I get to the middle finger, I get a hole when I pick up stitches. I think that happens when one knits gloves (this is my first foray except for the Rosie's Popover mittens, and I'm at the same point, knitting-wise, so I can't really say), but I'm sure I can find a way to circumvent the hole. Three hours and lots of computer and knitting anguish later, I have been unsuccessful. Well, that's what yarn tails are for, right? I'm thinking a trip to Angelfire Studios is in order to consult with Justine. Plus, I want to buy more Lobster Pot for a coordinating hat.

Oh, and I remember the project that I blocked out: the Koigu Daydreams blanket from Knits from a Painter's Palette by Maie Landra. The blanket is gorgeous. I was sucked in by my mother, who said we needed to knit it together, i.e., a family knit-a-long. She gave me the yarn which she bought at Loop and she pulled her yarn from her stash (apparently, my mother has recently become a Koigu yarn ho, because she is stocked!). I knit several rows of the practice square without any trouble, so I frogged it and just started the actual blanket. I cast on the 240 rotten stitches with my new technique, the knitted cast on. All knit stitches are knit through the back loop. It's so freaking tight! I don't have the right number of stitches, ever, except after casting on (though once I was short, even though I used markers every 20 stitches and counted obsessively). Three times, at least three times, I cast on, knit 1-3 rows and had to rip. I was beside myself. My mother said, "Honey, if it's not fun, don't do it. I thought you'd like it." I said, "Just you try it." Needless to say, she's run into trouble. So here's the plan: order additional yarn (ordered from Loop), knit on different needles (I though the points on my circular were not sharp enough for the yarn), and not through the back loop. I'm now waiting for my Knit Picks order for circulars for the both of us--I'm addicted to my Knit Picks double-pointeds and in the past hated metal double-pointeds--and my additional skeins to arrive from Loop. In the meantime, I'm actively not thinking about it, but I do not accept defeat.

And, despite my efforts, I have been unable to resist buying yarn. I bought two sets of A Swell Yarn's Duet Socks, and I am excited to try them out. Yarnahoy is suspending her shop for two months, so I bought some of the yarns I've been eyeing for weeks (a lot were gone by the time I got there). And I just know there's more coming.

I'm eyeing up Sheep Shop and Lanas Puras yarns at One Planet Yarn and Fiber. I want to make this Cabo Hoodie for the children. Cool, no? And there are some Sheep Shop sweaters I'm considering for myself, but that seems soooo ambitious. But isn't having a knitting life right now ambitious anyway?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Making time

It's been a busy eight days since my last post. The boys are in bed, but I'm sitting here listening to "Eeeeeeeee!" "No Eeeeeeeee!" "Eeeeeeeee!" "No Eeeeeeeee!" What can I say. Fortunately, they're moving on to singing now.

I'm really making time on the Heart socks. I'm two or three rows away from starting the heel flap on sock no. 2. The colors are just gorgeous! I really have to work on my photography and get some pictures up. And I am just loving Socks That Rock! I have some good knitting time coming up. I'm going to Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon and will hopefully stay over, weather permitting. Tuesday evening is a college-sponsored alumni dinner and talk by an Egyptologist, followed by a private viewing of the King Tut exhibit. How cool is that?! I have been waiting for two years for the exhibit to come for Philadelphia, then my alma mater sponsors a special night!

Speaking of pictures to be taken, I've received wonderful, beautiful and soft sock yarn from Sophie's Toes that I must share. The colors are even better in person!

I also visited a new yarn store yesterday, Angelfire Studios . Justine is very cool. I bought Jitterbug, Colinette's new sock yarn (apparently, I can no longer resist sock yarn). I also bought two gorgeous skeins of Lobster Pot cashmere to make fingerless mitts. I'm clearly a yarn ho: I can't wear fingerless mitts this winter because my kitchen injury finger is sensitive to cold. Obviously, that's not holding me back. And the mitts will match a fabulous knitting gift I received (thanks, Mom!) that I can't discuss or post yet.

I'm also addicted to Etsy. I'm checking daily for new handpainted/hand-dyed sock yarns. I'm possessed!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Life is like a box of chocolates...

Ok. I went home at naptime. Brought all my sock yarn and sock patterns back to my mother's house. Spent an hour or so trolling the web for patterns. Swatched different yarns for different patterns. Nothing called to me. I was not having a good time.

So I made a decision: I'm continuing the sock. You know, the HeartStrings Heart socks in Bleeding Hearts colorway. I thought it was a good fit for the Socktopia theme of "Forever in my heart." Except, as I said in my previous post, I think it's too hard to see the hearts. And I'm concerned the instep will be too narrow. But I'm having too good a time with it to rip it out. So now, it will be a sock in the theme of "Life is like a box of chocolates," as in "you never know what you're gonna get."

How's it going?

I was so good. I had the yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight in colorway Bleeding Hearts (it's not on the website), already wound. I had the pattern: HeartStrings Heart socks. I swatched--right on gauge, first time out! I knit the two-inch p2k2 ribbed cuff. It was GORGEOUS! I knit the 10-round Ribbing to Cuff Transition. I knit 20 of the 30 Cuff rounds. Then...the big question...could you see the hearts?

Not really. The yarn color, though unbelievably gorgeous, is too dark. I tried on the sock, such as it is. Still can't see the hearts. It needs a lighter color, a more muted colorway. I have to rip it out. I can't believe it! I'll try to post a picture before I rip.

This is clearly not a good knitting day. The woefully neglected baby blanket I'm using to learn continental knitting: too wide. I'm going to drop a needle size, but I'm so not in the mood to cast on for it again.

The popover mittens that I've ripped down to the thumb gusset and re-knit? I'm still short stitches for the index finger. So I called Rosie's Yarn Cellar and will get a call tomorrow from either Lisa or Courtney for a consult.

So on top of this, my knitting time is slipping away. I'm camped out this morning at Mom's with an upper respiratory tract infection--prime knitting time--and she and I are still trying to recover from Baby Girl's fall down Mom's basement stairs yesterday. The good news is that Baby Girl is completely fine, I can't even find a bruise attributable to the fall down 12 steps (she did get checked out by the doctor, of course), but Mom and I are completely traumatized. The knitting is a good distraction, but now I have nothing to work on. And I'm not ready to go home and get more yarn.

Here's the plan: I'm home in about 45 minutes to dose two children, I'll pick up all my sock yarn and patterns and bring them back to Mom's to sort out. Hopefully I'll get something going.