Friday, July 27, 2007

Making progress

I'm loving the colors of this sock. My pal mentioned liking blue, green and purples... I think this should do the trick! And its so squishysoft.

The second one should go much faster now that I've got the hang of short row heels. I didn't do the short row toe, just my usual one.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Take the fork out.... I'm done (with grad school)

Well... I hope I am. I mailed off my capstone project and now have to wait for my final grade.

I can't believe I busted my butt in the evenings for my Masters degree in 18 months and it is finally over.

Sleep at last! And knitting more than an inch or two at a time! And dyeing!

I'm giddy.

Happy Blogversary to LaVerna!

LaVerna (my sockret pal spoilee) is celebrating her blog anniversary and an upcoming birthday! (Go leave her a little congrats if you have a moment).

She asked if anyone could guess where the title for her blog (Ridiculous Obsession) came from, and for once, it's something that I know. Moulin Rouge is a movie I can watch over and over.

One of the most memorable lines in it for me was "Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love!" (Actually, the "ridiculous obsession" is mentioned several times by different people).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

SITM Contest 1

One of the swaps I'm currently in asked why and how I started to knit.

I'm not sure why it was appealing to me to begin with, other than simply stress relief. My mind races a lot of the time (or forgets to turn itself off when I try to sleep at night). I thought knitting would keep me engaged enough to let go and just relax before bed. And I had visions of alpaca and cashmere scarves/sweaters in my head. (My favorite wool sweater at the time cost me over $85 and I had drooled over it for 2 years before buying it... I liked the idea of being able to make sweaters myself, so I would have a bit more control over shaping and color. Little did I know knitting would be so expensive!)

I picked knitting because I liked how it draped, and because I thought it would be harder to learn how to use two needles (and so I could always go back and learn crochet easier than it would be to be used to only one needle and then try to learn how to knit). I considered needlepoint but I didn't think I would ever use the finished products.

So I picked up a learn to knit kit from a craft store, and spent four days trying to do it. It never took, so I tossed it in a drawer for over a year. When I came across it the second time, it went much easier and I was determined to figure it out. I was a bit concerned since I started to knit two weeks before my grad school classes started in the evenings, but I figured if there was ever a time I needed stress relief, this was it!

My first completed items were dishcloths for the Knitting Olympics.

Then I did a booga bag, realized I'm not a felted bag person, and gradually moved onto socks.

Absolutely cute!

In the midst of all my stress related splurging, I also stumbled across this site:
Sock Project Bags- completely customizable!

So cute (and reversable!)

Actually, the one that sold me on it was this one, and I'm not even a lime green person. But when I'm stressed, I like to clean and organize and I've come to the conclusion that
A) I have too much yarn stashed away with no purpose
B) I have too many socks-in-progress hanging around (one pair is in my really nice Lantern Moon bag, and one is in a Victoria's Secret handle bag, and three soon-to-start projects are just randomly sitting out waiting to be noticed)

Making great progress on the sock now during my study breaks, and the garter heel's growing on me (I'll admit, I did consider re-doing it because I was used to seeing primarily stockinette short row heels, but the idea of re-knitting the heel for a 9th time raised my blood pressure a little bit, considering the deadline). And now, I'm coming around to it. It's squooshier than a stockinette heel, and looks pretty good.

I should finish this sock by Monday night, and then plan to finish the second by next weekend- in plenty of time for the August 2-August 7 mail dates.

I'm also in A Sock It to Me Sock Swap and I have selected the yarn/pattern, which always seems to take me forever. I think this will be my 'travel' sock that goes with me in the car and during work lunches since I have until the end of Sept.

Friday, July 20, 2007

what's this??

I finally figured out the heel! It's a garter short row heel (I was so busy following the tutorial, I didn't realize it would be garter until I was halfway done). It's not perfect but its so much smoother than all of my previous attempts.

It actually seemed much faster than picking up the gusset once I understood the tutorial.

Off to bed... but what a relief it is to finally figure it out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Finally! The perfect stress reliever.

I've been seeing pictures of this fantastic sock yarn, Wollmeise, around the net. (Warning... look at your own risk- it's absolutely gorgeous).

The colorways are so incredibly vibrant, but with it being from Germany, I've not seen it sold here in the States all that much. I've been waiting till The Loopy Ewe stocked it and this morning, I did a little stash enhancement to ease the stress of finally finishing my class this weekend!! Thank goodness I did it this morning, I suspect there may not be any left when I get home.

I bought colors Tiefer See and Suzanne (my sister's name, so I'm a little sentimental) and I also bought some of the gorgeous Fiesta Boomerang I've been coveting. I think in Malibu, I wasn't quite awake when I ordered!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Adding to my Queue

One of the things that I like about Ravelry is the fact it helps me to organize my stash and projects. Sure, I could have probably done something similar if I had sat down with Excel or a notebook, but with school and work, I haven't had the time or energy and Ravelry's interface makes it much more fun.

It reminded me of the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with a lot of items in my stash... actually it made me realize there was yarn in my stash that I had no idea what kind of project I was thinking of when I first purchased it.

So I've started to look at patterns and make some plans on what sort of things I'd like to knit. I'm 4-5 sizes smaller than I was in March and should reach my fitness goal at the end of the year. So I've avoided knitting items that would be affected by any change in body size and shape. Socks are wonderful because they don't care if you are changing dress sizes. So are wrist warmers, hats and scarves.

But there is a part of me that wants to celebrate once I'm near my goal, and I'm anxious to try my first sweater. (besides, waiting until I'm at my goal size means I end up buying less yarn for each item!) I think I might go on a pattern buying binge. I'm looking some cute fitted sweaters since I have a tendency to get lost in bulky or oversized sweaters.

So this is my list (so far) that I plan on pruning down since I will need time to sleep, eat, workout, clean, etc...
  • Goddess- (pattern for purchase) I absolutely must have this. This design is so very... 'me'. I'm thinking a silk blend or bamboo to make it drapey and give it a little sheen. (and it shows off my arms, which look very toned without being too over-muscle-y. If only they weren't so glow-in-the-dark pale, but that's what comes with being a redhead).
  • Sundara's Tatami Kimono pattern: (pattern for purchase) I love the color of this, as well as the style. I've coveted this since the first time I saw it. Lucky me, it's considered beginner to advanced beginner!
  • Tempting II: (free pattern) I've liked this since I first discovered knitty. The neckline is my favorite part of this sweater. Very flirty and girly.
  • Green Gable (pattern for purchase) One of those patterns I like more and more. Especially the "little to no seaming" and "simple lace" part!
  • Knitpicks' Kimono Styled Sweater: (pattern already purchased) I actually purchased this pattern when I had been knitting less than a month. It's been sitting in my pattern notebook, waiting patiently for my skills to catch up.
  • Sahara: (pattern for purchase) I've mentioned this one before but I'm liking it more and more. Especially the sparkly beads. This will probably be one of my later sweaters due to the expense of the yarn involved.
  • Milinda Pullover and Krista Tee from White Lies Design. Both are so beautiful and feminine, although the lacework means these will be a little farther down the line. (patterns for purchase)
It's a bigger list than I thought. I better get to the gym!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Vacation plans...

Deep in the midst of my capstone project, I'm consoling myself with the idea of a roadtrip come this Labor Day. So far, we've sketched out a tentative plan that (hopefully) swings by Niagara Falls and then over to New Hampshire/Maine, which is one of the areas I am looking at possibly relocating. So we'll be spending a few days visiting different towns, getting a feel for the area, maybe speaking to a headhunter and hitting a few "can't miss" spots that people have recommended. Then we'll come back through Mass. and Penn. on the way back home (avoiding NYC if I can help it... the idea of that traffic does not sound too appealing).

I did find this awesome place to go, too: Alpine Zipline This is for sure on our schedule- it's 7 ziplines down the mountain and I've read somewhere the last one is nearly a freefall until the cable starts to work. Wooohoooo! I've wanted to do ziplines since I first started watching The Amazing Race and always thought I'd have to go to Costa Rica to do so. I'm pumped about doing this but those rickety rope bridges look a little scary.

I'm terrified of heights, therefore in my head I must conquer that fear. That flawed logic has made myself parasail and walk on high bridges, etc... one day I plan to hang glide and/or sky dive. The next thing after the ziplines will be one of those vertical wind tunnels to see how it feels (I'd love to do this on the trip, too but I'm not sure if that will happen).

And during that trip, I have my knitting project planned! I've been wanting to make G some Thuja socks out of Lorna's Laces Worsted in charcoal... so now they will be Roadtrip Socks. I'm pretty sure with all the driving we'll be doing, I'll be in good shape to finish them on the road.

(G hesitatingly asked me if I would be taking sock porn pictures on the trip. He was joking... mostly) I haven't told him yet that I am planning to hit as many yarn stores as I can during the trip, too.

So that will help get me through the next 10 days.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I have knit/frogged this short row heel now more than 7 times. I'm down to two last options- watching it on a how-to DVD and then asking my not-very-friendly LYS to help. (there's a reason why I've never taken my knitting to them in the first place). Well, one last option is calling the local fiber guild and seeing if I can pay someone for a couple of hours of help. And somewhere in between I have to finish my capstone project in under two weeks.

I do fine until I get to the heel base but then it gets... knotty and holey and very ugly. I'm not sure I am yarnovering correctly... the book shows one way and the tutorials show different ways.

Thank goodness for lifelines and thank goodness the yarn is holding up well for all my knitting and unraveling. If it had been a standard heel I would have been finished with both socks by now. Now I am determined to get the hang of this technique just to be able to say I can do it.

I'm probably going to have to contact my pal if my options fail. *sigh*

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Click, Click, Click... voila!

I keep discovering exactly how cool Ravelry is! I was looking for a DK weight sock pattern, and went to their pattern section, clicked 'DK/sport' and 'Sock' and up pops....

122 patterns in under 3 seconds!

Absolutely amazing!! then I clicked on either 5 stars or 4 stars for the highest rated patterns, and it dropped down to 64 patterns, all with pictures.

Oh, I can see this is going to be trouble... as in... I'm supposed to be finishing my final in 13 days (!!) and I've been playing in Ravelry the last hour.

Although really, I like the Ampersand pattern so much I am wondering if DK weight would work in place of Socks that Rock Mediumweight. Maybe I'll just go do a search on the yarn I am thinking of using, and see what other ravelers did with it....

Addiction. Pure addiction.

Info for Sock It to Me Sock Swap

  • What are your foot measurements? Usually size 8.5, but last few times I've been shopping I've been hovering between an 8 and an 8.5.
    • Length of foot: 9.75"
    • Circumference of ball of foot: 8.5"
  • How long have you been knitting? A year and a half
  • How would you rate your experience? Adventurous beginner
  • What is your favorite color? I don't have one specific favorite, but I like blues, greens, plums, as well as rich earth tones
  • Your least favorite color? Burnt orange. Yellow-y greens. Neons. I'm iffy on pastels.
  • Do you have a favorite fiber? Superwash for socks. I'm more of a texture type of person, I like soft fibers that make the knitting process as much fun as the end product. I also prefer natural fibers, although I am curious about some of the tencel blends and sea silk/sea wool yarns.
  • Do you have any allergies to certain fibers? Not that I know of. I'm not fond of pure mohair but blends seem to be fine. Again, texture is key.
  • Do you have an Amazon, or other type of, wishlist? Not at the moment.
  • What techniques, if any, would you like to learn? Lace and entrelac (and right now, short row heels which are frustrating me). These will be a bit down the road however because I have quite a few projects queued up for after I graduate in 2 weeks and they are mostly socks :)
  • Do you have a sweet tooth? What are your favorite snacks? I am on a fitness/eating program plan which is working very well for me. Please don't send me any snacks- I don't want the temptation and it takes me a while to get back on track if I indulge. If you really enjoy sending food items, I have an adorable pup who loves treats.
  • What is your family situation? (Children, Husband, Pets...etc.) Living with my best friend (G) and sharing a springer spaniel/black lab rescue named Gypsy.
  • Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Metal, plastic or wood? Right now, I love Options and Knitpicks Classic Circulars. They are pointy and slick, and I love the cords Knitpicks uses on their needles. I use 2 circulars for my socks, not DPNs.
  • Besides socks, what are your favorite items to knit? Right now, I'm really into socks. I could have three different socks going and be extremely happy. I'm hoping to try beginner lace at some point (my goal is before the end of the year).
  • Is there a pattern, (sock or otherwise), that you are dying to try? Monkeys or one of the Cookie A sock patterns. Eventually I'd love to try Sahara but that will be once my weight stops fluctuating, so probably 2008. I may try some Mrs. Beetons for myself and some holiday presents.
  • Do you like to read? Yes. Although with my schedule and schoolwork, I haven't read for pleasure as much as I normally would.
  • What are you reading currently? (please note, I am much more interesting than this list makes me sound- at least I hope I am!) On my nightstand:
  • Do you collect music? I *heart* my iPod. Absolutely.
  • What kind of music do you listen to? Right now, I'm playing the heck out of the new Amy Winehouse CD. Other favorites include Garbage, Dido, Sarah McLaughlin, 80s music (Billy Idol, Dead or Alive, old Madonna, Prince, Depeche Mode, that sort of thing), some alternative, Spanish guitar, some oldies. And 80s big-hair bands :) I'm not really into a lot of the pop that's out right now.
  • Is there anything you collect? Recipes. Unfortunately, any other collections, especially knickknacks, seem to turn into 'clutter' with me.
  • What are your hobbies, aside from knitting? Dyeing. Cooking. Reading. Working out. I am a fulltime marketing guru, fulltime grad student so hobby time is limited but I will be (hopefully) graduating in two weeks. When I get some free time, I'd like to start up bellydancing again.
  • Are you participating in any other swaps or knitalongs? Sockapalooza 4, debating on the next Secret Pal (11) exchange.
  • Do you have a favorite scent? Soft linen/cotton types, light scents of vanilla and lavender. I like cucumber-melon and mandarin orange scents, too. I prefer clean, fresh scents- nothing too sweet, spicy or cloying.
  • When is your birthday? Last week of October.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Absolutely beautiful....

Click at your own risk... these are almost too adorable for their own good

I'll write more later but we are on the way out the door to see Transformers....

Monday, July 02, 2007

Secret Pal Reveal!

I received an awesome package from my SP10 Spoiler!

I'm not sure if she's been secretly parked outside my window the past few months, but I'll prefer to think of her as my 'psychic friend'. She gave me a subscription to Cooking Light and some recipe cards (I am trying to learn how to cook healthier food, so this is a perfect gift. We've already marked a few of her recipes and some CL ones as 'Must Try!' )

She also gave me the "Dyer's Companion" which I immediately sat down and started to read. I've been back in the dyeing mindset lately and doing a few small gift projects here and there, so this will be a valuable resource!

She also included some smaller goodies (SOAK packet, lotion, crochet hooks since I can never find one when I drop a stitch!) and some scrumptious sock yarn from Pagewood Farm called Vineyard Blues. It's beautiful.

Here's a closeup of the rich colors. I can't wait to see how it knits up!

Thank you, Secret Pal! You've been a wonderful spoiler and I'm touched at how thoughtful your package was.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Been out of town...

But I came back to some lovely packages from my Secret Pal, and my sock kit swap pal. I'll post these tomorrow when I've had a chance to take some pictures.

We spent a couple of days in Baltimore to see the Aquarium and other sightseeing (and where I had a ton of excellent food... thank goodness we walked off all the calories). My favorite part? The Dolphin show and the excellent service/seafood we received at Phillips, for a moonlit dinner overlooking the harbor.

While I didn't get a chance to do a yarn crawl, I did enjoy shopping at the Prime Outlets on the way home. I've lived in a small town too long- I was in ecstasy over little things like the Banana Republic and Nine West outlet. I managed to come out with my wallet intact, but I definitely want to return before I find a new job and relocate to buy some new things to outfit my 'single' kitchen... unless it seems smarter to purchase everyone after I move. Some of those deals were very tempting.

I'll have my Kitchen Aid mixer, my Cuisinart, knives, wine stemware and other accessories, but will need new dishes, a Calphalon set, mixing bowls, silverware, etc- part of the joys of moving into my own place after living with one person for 9 years. I'm looking forward to being the 'decider' on what color schemes, dish sets, etc I'll have in my home.

I think it will start to be exciting once I land a job and the move becomes 'real'. Right now it just seems like a lot to plan and pack.