July 30, 2006

The knitting black pink hole

A few weeks ago a friend pointed me toward this site, because she knows of my love for sock yarn, and also, they were having a sale. A sale, I will point out, that is still going on (go on, you know you want to look. I'll wait).

I think we all know where this is going, right? Since the Sock Yarn Addict's Club is over, and since I did manage to make a small dent in my existing sock yarn stash with sock pal swaps and so on, and since the whole goal of the pink ribbon breast cancer sock give-away thing was to make an even larger dent in my stash, I decided that I deserved to do a little bit of indulging. Guess was arrived in the mail yesterday?

The blue and white yarn at the top right is even a little bit sparkly! I am having all kinds of fun planning out what stitch pattern I can use for each new skein.

But first, before I can play with any of my pretty new (sparkly) balls of yarn, I must finish what I started with all that pretty pink superwash and the grand idea of making pink ribbons socks.

You see, back when I came up with the idea of giving away pink ribbon socks as a prize for donating to my Avon Breast Cancer Walk fund raising account, I started with ten balls of the yarn and I figured I might get five or six pairs out of it, tops. However, I did not count on this innnocent-looking pink yarn turning out to be the sock yarn equivalent of the knitting black hole. I keep knitting socks, and knitting socks, and it never, ever ends. Four pairs of socks into it and I have not even managed to work my way through half the stash. Gah. Four more pairs will be working their way off my needles over the next few weeks (since I sent out the first four sock winning notifications this weekend). I am almost a little scared to ponder how much yarn is going to be left after I knit my way through the sixteenth sock. I swear this yarn is never ending. But I said I would make pink ribbon socks til it was gone, and by golly, that's what I'm going to do. Even if by the end I never want to see a pair of pink ribbon socks ever again.

Posted by Jenipurr at 03:11 PM | Comments (3)

July 23, 2006

Shrinking in the heat

Hello from the middle of a heat wave. My word, it is hot. I know the entire country's in the middle of the same heat wave (or some variation on a theme) but that doesn't make it any more comforting when you walk outside at 9pm, when it is dark, and it is still over 90 degrees outside, and muggy to boot. That's what we experienced Friday night after we went to see the new Pirates of the Carribbean movie, and it's gotten even hotter since then.

All this nasty heat means that I'm doing my best to stay indoors and avoid going out if at all possible, and I am focusing the knitting on small things, like socks and baby stuff. My coworker's little girl was born back in May, but what everything else I had to get done, her baby gift didn't even get started til this past week.

I'm making this set, or rather, as much of that set as I'll have yarn to finish. Instead of Opal, I'm using some Lorna's Laces yarn in soft, sherbet hues of pinks, creams and greens. It's creating kind of a random striping effect with the colors, but I love how it looks. And it has the benefit of being very small and light, which is good for both the heat, and for the fact that tomorrow I fly off to Phoenix for a business meeting, and if I thought the heat was bad here in the Sacramento valley, the weather forecast for the next few days in Phoenix looks even worse. Yuck.

And since my knitting seems to be all about the sock yarn these days, I've had my eye on the gorgeous mitered square blanket that Shelly has been working on. I have a respectable stash of leftover sock yarn, although not remotely enough yet to do an entire blanket, and I've been trying to come up with a way to use it up, and this looks perfect. I'd have already started on it, except for one teensy little problem.

You see, as un-color-coordinated as I am, I looked at that mitered square blanket idea and immediately thought of those amazingly gorgeous quilts where the quilter takes hundreds and hundreds of tiny squares of fabric and puts them together so that the colors actually sweep across the quilt, moving from darks to lights (here are some examples, although the ones I really love have the color gradiant changing diagonally). And I have always loved the look of those quilts, but since I have neither the patience to do all those millions of tiny little stitches, nor the desire to actually learn (and I will note that I have nothing but deep respect for quilters and I also realize that socks are all about millions of tiny stitches too - it's just that I prefer knitting needles to sewing needles), I figured the closest I will get to one of those quilts is by viewing them on display at the state fair.

But now I am thinking that maybe I can do this same sort of effect, but with several hundred tiny little squares of sock yarn instead. Which means that before I even start, I would either have to have all the yarn already acquired and laid out in some kind of massive grid so the colors were set up the way I want them (a prospect that makes me dizzy, just thinking of how the heck I could possibly organize them), or else do every single square individually in the hopes that some day I could then sew them all together. Either of those seems a wee bit impossible at the moment, both because I don't have nearly enough yarn yet to do this kind of thing, and also the thought of seaming all those squares together individually is enough to make me start to twitch (although in my less same moments I ponder whether seaming them with black sock yarn would actually create kind of a stained glass effect and wouldn't that be amazing). But I am determined to eventually find a way to make this idea work - it's just going to take time.

Posted by Jenipurr at 01:05 PM | Comments (4)

July 18, 2006

A little bit of silk and wool

What do birds, trees, sand dollars, bubbles, fish, water and shells all have in common? They're all part of the Pacific Northwest shawl, which is finally done!

Here it is, lounging across the back of the sofa at the coffee shop I went to last night for a knitting group, because somehow a shawl that was based on an area of the country that includes Seattle - where there is literally a coffee shop on every corner - is required to make her photographic debut posing somewhere where there is a whole lot of caffeine.

I started this back in March, but that's not exactly any indication of how long it takes to knit, because I've been slowly chipping away on this in between the cabled cardigan, Sockpaloooza, and the never-ending pile of pink breast cancer ribbon socks.

I made this with Jaeggerspun Zephyr (same as what's recommended by the pattern itself), in Peacock. I started with 100 grams (which we think is probably about 1100 yards) and the finished shawl weighs 85 grams, so that should give a rough estimate of about how much yarn was necessary. I suspect at least half of that yarn was used in the edging. It certainly felt that way when I was knitting five miles of shells on Saturday (grin). And we will not speak of the choice words which may or may not have fallen from my lips when I finished the shells on Saturday afternoon and was just about to cast off and go block the thing when I discovered that not only was I not done, what remained was to add an i-cord bind off to the top edge. Do you have any idea how long an i-cord bind off takes on nearly 400 stitches, especially when you have to keep ripping it out and starting over with larger and larger needles because it's *still* too tight?

I did this my friend-with-a-yarn-store for a shop sample (so those of you going to Lambtown might even get to see it in person), which means that it was a very good learning experience for me because instead of taking shortcuts or maybe even skipping the aforementioned i-cord bind off (heh), I made myself follow every single step exactly as it was written. It helps that the Zephyr is an absolute dream to knit with, and the pattern is extremely well written. Any designer who is willing to write out every row of their pattern because she understands that there are some of us who work much better with text than with charts gets top billing in my book.

Anyway. It is done and I am happy and even though there were times during the edging and the i-cording when it felt like it would simply never end (the equivalent of the sweater knitting black hole, I suspect), it turned out gorgous and it was worth it. And now the only problem I have is figuring out which shawl/doily/lace thing I should start next.

Posted by Jenipurr at 05:08 PM | Comments (9)

July 17, 2006

A little teaser

What do the following:

  • Flying birds
  • Pine trees
  • Sand dollars
  • Bubbles
  • Ocean waves
  • Swimming fish
  • Seashells
have to do with knitting?

Posted by Jenipurr at 09:42 AM | Comments (3)

July 12, 2006

It's a LibraryThing

Check this out. It's a free site called Librarything.com, where you can catalog all your books. Richard and I have set up a joint account because we've been slowly catologuing our rather vast library now for a year or so with various software options (we've got several thousand books between the two of us) but I decided it'd be fun to do one of just my knitting books, just for me.

It's really actually pretty interesting to follow the links and see what's all those virtual bookshelves out there.

Posted by Jenipurr at 03:57 PM

July 10, 2006

Breast Cancer Walk - the aftermath

We went. We walked. We experienced significant pain. We saw a LOT OF PINK. We raised (collectively, from the 2300 walkers who took part) over 5.4 million dollars. We took pictures. And now we are sucking down ibuprofin like it is candy and determining that if we ever do this again, we are going to be crew because they had *cars*.

Posted by Jenipurr at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)

July 06, 2006

Six of one, half a dozen of the other

The socks, they are finished! Finished! And it's not even 10pm the night before they're due. There are whole hours of potential knitting time tonight that can now be spent in blissful sleep. I think that counts as having them actually done 'early', right?

(We are ignoring the fact that I have not yet packed for the weekend. Shh!).

Anyway, here's the plan for the weekend. Hint - I suspect that it will include very little actual knitting.

Tomorrow morning I head off to Napa to pick up my older sister, crossing my fingers that I do not hit too much traffic because I'm having to do this during the tail end of the morning rush hour (and we all just looooove morning rush hour, right?). Then we zip down to the San Francisco airport and if the stars are aligned and she can find a pay phone and my cell phone will hold a charge and not suddenly choose this weekend to die, we will somehow track down my little sister. Then the three of us will continue on to the hotel, dump off our stuff, and spend the day wandering - or rather, hopefully very little actual wandering because we will be trying to save our poor little feet for the impending agony.....I mean, for the actual Walk.

Speaking of the walk, the Opening ceremonies start at 6:30 AM (but it is important to note that the last shuttle to take us from the hotel to where the Walk begins leaves at 5:30 AM, and I will leave it to all of you to calculate in your own heads just how early that means we're all going to have to get up), and at 7AM my sisters and I commence walking with a few thousands of our new friends. I have this sneaky feeling there will be a lot of people wearing pink.

Saturday we do 13 miles, although we always have the option of doing a full 26 miles that day just for the fun of it (HA HA HA HA...oh, sorry, where was I). Then we spend Saturday night in tents. On the ground. Outside. Did I mention the tents? My older sister and I already have decided that we will be bringing with us large quantities of ibuprofin because if walking 13 (or 26!) miles on Saturday won't be enough to make us a bit stiff, spending the night sleeping on the ground will do the job. And then Sunday, it's another 13 miles of walking, followed by the Closing Ceremonies.

So if you happen to be in the San Francisco area this weekend, feel free to swing by one of the designated Cheering Stations and keep an eye out for my sisters and I. We'll be the ones wearing these socks.

Posted by Jenipurr at 09:31 PM | Comments (1)

July 04, 2006

If you thought second sock syndrome was bad...

...you ought to try Sixth Sock Syndrome! I've got only about an inch left on sock #5 before I start decreasing the toe, and then it's on to the sixth and final pink ribbon sock (well, final for this week - looks like I'll be able to make at least 4 pairs of socks for prize winners, and maybe even five!). I suspect I might be doing some last minute hasty knitting in the hotel on Friday night. Oof.

Here's the first four socks.

The pattern offers two options for the leg, so I decided to make one of each and see which one my sisters preferred. Amusingly, they both prefer the solid seed stitch filler on the leg, while I'm kind of partial to the lace panels, so we'll all be happy.

In other news, my June package from my One Skein Secret Pal arrived, and check out that yarn!

Is that going to make an awesome, fun pair of socks, or what? The card says 'Knit Happy' on the front, and the magnet says "Queen of Quite A Lot", and the bag in the back is a bag of tub tea, and I think that Sunday evening, after I get home from spending Saturday and Sunday walking 26 miles, as well as spending Saturday night in a cramped little two-man tent in a sleeping bag on the ground...I am really going to need a good long soak. Thanks, OSSP, for all the goodies!

Posted by Jenipurr at 06:29 AM | Comments (1)

July 01, 2006

Note to self

Dear Self,

The next time you think that it would be a really cool idea to make three pairs of (nearly identical) socks that must be done by a certain time, and you put it off and put it off until two weeks before the deadline because you are sure that two weeks will be plenty of time? Maybe you ought to remember that during those two weeks, you already promised to spend five of those evenings volunteering for a massive painting and clean-up effort the likes of which will suck all your energy out of you so that you can barely keep your eyes open to do a few rows on the sock when you get home extremely late each night. And then you might also want to remember that even though there is a full weekend and a holiday in the middle of those two weeks, there will be errands and chores and oh yes, groups of people coming to your house for events during which you really should be socializing and not sitting in a corner frantically knitting.

Also, next time you are in a time crunch, maybe you should not decide to make those six (nearly identical) socks out of skinny little yarn that knits up to 8 stitches and 12 rows per inch.



(Two socks finished, 3 1/2 socks to go before Friday. Aaaaaaah!)

Posted by Jenipurr at 10:46 PM | Comments (1)