Just Saying…

Yesterday it did snow here, and for four beautiful hours big, fat flakes fell from the sky.  That was from the perspective of my lakefront windows.

Not everyone thought it was glorious.  Our blue heron likes to stand on the fountain base in the middle of the lake (when the fountain isn’t running…not a Heron shower).  There he stood in quiet dignity while big  snowflakes made his blue grey.  That just wasn’t right!

The other bird whose routine was disturbed was one of the mallard hens.  They often of a morning root around in the grass for insects.  The added inch of snow accumulation meant she came up with her bill looking like a “milk mustache”.  Mustn’t laugh at mallards,  mustn’t laugh at mallards!

I’m not doing the whole knitting Olympics thing, but, of course, I am knitting while I watch.  Last night I finished up the toes of a simple sock and a Jaywalker, and cast on their mates.  The simple sock is my usual purse knitting, and the Jaywalker my home knitting sock.

Did you see the two new patterns Knitty is offering? I could knit Skew, but I don’t think I would ever wear them.  Rooibos, however, looked like it was written for me!  It will fit both my lifestyle and bod.  Why, yes, I have ordered yarn:  Knit Picks is shipping me some Swish Bulky in Merlot Heather.

Best of all?  It’s Spring Break, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, so I don’t have to study this week for my seminar.  Knit on!

Sun smiling down on me!

Finally we have a sunny day, and it’s a balmy 65 degrees.  I finished my Caribic socks four days ago, but the skies have been grey ever since.  The yarn is Online Supersocke 100, Color 734, Caribic.  The colors really do remind me of pleasant days spent on the Caribbean.  I knit them in my classic 2 x 2 rib to show off the stripes.

The socks are hung on my drying rack.  The part with the bars pulls out from the wall at the top, and is held in that forward position by straps on each top edge.  It is by Ballard Designs, and is one of my all-time favorite purchases.  (The link is for the drying rack, not just the company.  )  Sherry of The Loopy Ewe posted about this rack once, and once I investigated them on Ballard’s site, I convinced my Patron of the Arts to invest.

Speaking of The Loopy Ewe, I’ve reserved a red Namaste Monroe.  Notice how her Kindle fits so nicely with her purse things and knitting gear?  I’m calling my Monroe a “Nook accessory”, and hope that both will arrive shortly.  (The UPS man just came, and I couldn’t resist hovering in the hall to see if my Nook arrived.  Nope – a package for our eldest.  Rats!)

When the Loopy Ewe elves tell me the bag has arrived at the shop I will add a second sock blocker to the order, taking advantage of one shipping charge.  Admittedly, I only use the blockers for photo shoots, but it is frustrating to find a way to show both socks.  You’ll just have to take it on faith this time…they’re identical.

Pictured, as promised

Hopeful in my heart that “The Sun Will Come Out – Tomorrow”, I delayed my photo shoot by one grey, winter day.  Good news:  sunshine!  Bad news:  arctic air mass, low of 22 forecast for Louisiana!

Here, then, are my Saffron socks.  They have been my travel-in-your-purse-knitting.  Such projects always take longer than those that get my everyday attention. I cast them on November 1, 2009, and completed the second sock on December 26, 2009.  They got my full attention that last day because I wanted my Knit Picks circs for other socks.  As long as I don’t purchase a second pair of KP #1.5′s, they should remain an impetus to second sock completion.

The specifications are Premier Yarn’s Serenity Sock Weight, color Saffron.  This yarn is 50% wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon.  Hobby Lobby sells it for a very attractive price of $4.29/skein, or just about $9 for a pair of socks, tax included.  The striping is consistent, and the yardage sufficiently generous (230 yards/50 grams) that knitting identical socks was a breeze.  Best of all, I have discovered only one knot after knitting six skeins of this yarn.

As I prepared my Ravelry entry for this sock I thought of a knitting (low)tech tip I should share.  I put my print-out patterns in a plastic page protector for ease of handling and pattern preservation.  But Wait! (as they say on infomercials) There’s More! As I begin knitting I slip the first yarn label down into the page protector, too.  Then when I’m all done (could be months later) I have the label at hand.

What is that in the background, you ask?  Why, it’s a cat tower.  Where else would Meezermeowmy pose her socks?

Minty Fresh Socks on a budget

I’m not much of a gambler, but at $8.60, how wrong could I be about this yarn?  It’s from the Deborah Norville collection, Serenity Sock Weight, and is 50% wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon.  Hobby Lobby had it for $4.29 a 50 gram/230 yard skein.

Now that I’ve finished a pair of simple socks, I can report that it was a very satisfactory knit. Neither skein had any knots.  The color printing was predictable and accurate across the skeins.  I was able to start each cuff at the same place in the color repeat, and then have identical heels and gussets. There was no pooling at all.  The only variation occurred as I tapered the second toe, but by then, who cares?  The socks are soft and comfy, and knitting them as my “purse knitting” was a mindless pleasure.

What, you didn’t think I could manage a finished object photo shoot without Meezer assistance, did you?  Minky managed to come supervise this picture. As I look at her picture, I’m struck by how much the prolonged use of high-dose steroids to manage her asthma has lightened her back legs and tail.  However, her medicines have kept her out of distress and happy.  Minky is my companion cat, and she will always be my beauty!

 

I blamed the socks!

I wore my red socks today, and when I took them off the tops of both feet were red.  Shoot, I’d worn that pair several times, I certainly didn’t expect dye on my feet.

I decided to go after the dye with alcohol wipes, not wanting to get red dye on wash cloths.  Surprise – no red on the wipes!  Then I changed the rest of my clothes, and caught a glimpse in the mirror of my back – red.  I looked at my arms that had been hidden under a long-sleeved t-shirt – red at the elbows and wrists.

I began a “new and improved” stomach medicine today.  Good news – my stomach feels better.  Bad news – the rash, and the fact that it is a 24-hour time-release medicine.  In terms of allergic response, that’s the “gift that keeps on giving”.

I take antihistamine every day, so can’t add anything for the rash.  Tomorrow it will be back to my doctor, and back to square one.  I believe I’ll be wearing my muumuu, and as little else as possible.  le sigh!

Musing

The course I am taking requires us to write a spiritual biography at the beginning of the year.  This year the format asks that we describe our life in terms of friends, physical life, and play life.  If I were writing about my play life for you to read, I would simply refer to the knitting/blogging/Ravelry lifestyle.  However, for these muggles I have a lot of explaining to do.  The nuances will still be lost, I fear.

I finished my Mother’s Day socks last night.  DD gave me yarn for two pairs of socks; this pair is Knit Picks Essential in Peacock Multi (purple/green/robin’s egg blue). It’s perfect:  she loves purple, and her name is Robyn.  The cuff was knit in 2 x 2 rib.  When the yarn behaved very nicely in that pattern, I carried it on for the whole sock.

Alison blogged about having to re-learn Kitchener stitch after a long time of not using it.   As I read her blog, I was reminded of today’s tech tip.  The most versatile knitting tool you have in your purse is a cell phone with another knitter’s phone number in the contacts.  You see, I often take socks as my road-trip knitting.  Last year I had to call my knitting DD in Texas several times to tell me how to set up the Kitchener stitch.  I can do the stitch with the best of them once I get started–my mind just can’t keep the pattern stored.  Finally, I saw and purchased a Kitchener dog tag key chain from Knitcellaneous.  It’s a delightful gadget, and I never leave home without it.

Sock Summit, as seen from home

As Eeyore would say “Don’t mind me.  I’ll just be over here, knitting in the corner.”  Not going to Sock Summit, but it does sound amazing.  Many of my blogging friends are attending, so it will be my job to stay home and keep the blog open, I guess.

I was musing this morning about knitting travelers.  Will all those sock knitters freak out the airport security?  “The last gal had knitting needles with her, too.  What is this, a test to see if we are allowing knitting?!”  Hah!  Serve them right after all the grief they’ve given knitters!

Then my mind jumped to how many knit guru’s will be in Portland. All the best minds of sock knitting will be there, in one place.   It will be a brain trust that even a head of state could envy!  I pray for traveling mercies for all those knitters, and for a wonderful weekend of knitting and friendship.

I’m knitting away on my Ulmus, have about 8  + repeats on the main body remaining.  Yet I feel pulled to cast on a sock in solidarity with Sock Summit.  Heh!

The Easter Monkey

I’ve taken a fancy to the Easter Monkey.  No candy or eggs were involved.  There wasn’t even any fake grass!

Actually, I cast on a pair of Monkeys between services on the Second Sunday of Easter.  (For my friends who belong to non-liturgical churches, Easter is a season of the church year, and runs until Pentecost.)  The yarn is Morandia’s MIB Fibers in “Close to Pastel”, purchased from the Knitting Asylum.

I was struck by how much they looked like an Easter confection.  They were, from early on in the first cuff, my Easter Monkeys.

The first sock was finished before our Disney vacation.  The second sock has languished, partly due to the fact that this is my third pair of Monkeys. (One other pair for me, one given as a gift.) The novelty has worn off, even more than one might expect on the second sock.  I have made progress since vacation, though:  the cuff, heel, and gusset are completed now.  There’s nothing left but racing (crawling?) for the toe.

Monkeys tend to be a bit snug on the foot for me in the 64-stitch cast on, but that size is dandy for the cuff.  I have developed a technique for expanding the foot that I’d like to share with you.  When I decrease the gusset stitches, I don’t take the heel side of the sock all the way back down to the original count (32 stitches in the case of a 64 stitch cast on).  If I decrease to 36 stitches for the sole and 32 stitches on the instep needle I get the extra room needed for my bunion.  When the sock is long enough, I do a decrease round on the sole needle only, a plain round, and another sole decrease, and one more plain round before I begin my standard toe.  The finished product looks like a proper sock, and fits so much better.

The Monkeys get to go in the car with me, while the larger sweater projects remain behind.  They went to Knit Night at the Asylum last Thursday, and the admiration they received encouraged some knit progress.  I’ll take them to my eye appointment this afternoon.  Perhaps I should get out more, if I want to finish these socks.

White and Fluffy Sunday

It was a white and fluffy Sunday.  The appointed Gospel for this week is the “I am the Good Shepherd” verse, with the accompanying Psalm being, of course, Psalm 23.  I couldn’t help thinking of my internet friends who were off on junket to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

There was good news in the announcements, too.  Emmanuel, the baby born 9 weeks early at only 2 pounds, now weighs 5 pounds +.  He’ll be coming home this week!  May I say, Yippee!  Remember the blanket I knit for him? I knew his weight was over 4 pounds last week, so I brought the gift to his parents Sunday.  I’m so glad I didn’t wait until after our trip to present it…perhaps he can come home from the hospital wrapped in it.  (Yes, I know it’s in the high 80′s, but Louisiana is all about air conditioning, and it’s COLD inside.)

When we got home from church, DH suggested a walk down the drive to enjoy the magnolia blossoms.  I dearly love getting the mail in magnolia season.  The prevailing winds blow the scent away from the house, but as you walk between the magnolias it wafts toward you, ambushing you with its perfume.

The blossoms are the largest these trees have produced.  I asked DH to put his hands in the picture to show the scale. 

Even the buds are the size of a baseball!  The rains came at just the right time this year, I believe. 

The rest of the day was spent on…wait for it…knitting, of course.  I have now finished 3 1/2 pairs of footies, and have less than an inch before I begin shaping the toe of the remaining footie.  Wednesday is our Disney trip (bouncing up and down)!  I’ll make the deadline with for the  socks.

I’m spending my knitting time considering what to pack.  I most certainly don’t want to get stuck somewhere without sufficient knitting!  Think of those poor people quarantined in a hotel in Asia because one traveler became ill!

A rude surprise

The second pair of footies has been completed, but not without a rude surprise.  First, I should say that the knitting modifications I made (changing the ribbing from 3/4″ to 1″, and starting the white for the toe at the point of beginning the toe decreases) were very satisfactory.  In fact, the first footie was just fine.

Then I began knitting what has come to be known as “the evil twin”.  I must protest that I did not deviate from my protocols.  It was the yarn’s fault, entirely!

Although you have to look closely to tell that they are even cousins, both footies came from the same skein of yarn (Fortissima Colori Socka Color, Disco, #9051).  The second was begun directly after the first (I did not fiddle around trying for identical status.)  What a terrible dye job!

Now, for the happy ending:  Because it was part of a grab bag purchase, I don’t have a lot of money invested in this yarn.  It has been marinating in my stash for several years.  Unless you have some put away, too, the odds are small that you will come across this yarn.

These are perfectly functional footies that are intended to be worn inside athletic shoes.  Only the cuffs will show.  It’s certainly a good thing I wasn’t working on something fancy, eh?

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