Monday, August 17, 2009

Sock O Rama

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for fixing our blog graphics, and for cleaning it up in general!  Much improved!  Also, nice to have our header back...

Here is some sock yarn I bought back in May, in colors I wouldn't have normally gravitated to without my mom telling me to get out of my comfort zone:
It probably seems tame to you, but the green in particular seems odd to me, though I'm committed to making socks out of it and wearing them proudly.  Also, does anybody have any suggestions for patterns (other than plain stockinette) which would work well with the Kaffe Fasset stripes, shown on the right in the photo above?  I was thinking about Monkey socks, but the pattern might be lost in the colors/stripes?  (Also, Cindy G, that is a "top down" pattern, just sayin'.)

Second, you've seen both sets of these socks in progress, but now they are finished.  This pair is just a standard toe-up short row heel pattern using Trekking yarn, size 1 needles:
They don't match, but that is part of their charm, right?!   It's not clear to me that the yarn had actual pattern repeats in it, so it's not my fault  :-)   so the perfectionist side of myself is being forced to just "let it go." 

This next pair is the "Gusset Heel Basic Socks" from the book "Socks from the Toe Up" by Wendy:
A close-up of the heel:
To orient yourself, you are looking at a lateral view;  the part on the left shows the back of the heel, and the part on the right shows the bottom of the heel.  My 9-year old took these photos, and he told me that I would have to tell you exactly what you are looking at, because it's not otherwise obvious.  It is an interesting heel construction, and quite different from any others I've made, though it's much more straightforward than typical short row heels which involve lots of wraps and turns, so in that respect, this would be a good choice for less experienced knitters, or for knitters who are not overly fond of lots of wraps and turns (ahem).

I'm working on another pair of socks from the same book, called "Diagonal Lace Socks."  This pattern utilizes a more conventional heel style (Sl 1, K1 every other row, etc), though worked from the toe up, and I only had to wrap and turn 8 times during the whole thing (for eight short rows, while turning the heel). 
This yarn is TOFUtSies, made of 50% superwash wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton, and 2.5% chitin.  I was curious about making socks out of something that came from shrimp and crab shells, and I don't know why that makes it antibacterial, but there you have it!  Nice yarn, to say the least...

I also have three sweaters which I dug out of hibernation, and which *SHALL BE FINISHED* before I even think about casting on for another sweater.  I hope to have at least one of them completed before my next post (which may even happen this week -- just warning you, because I know that it could catch you off guard -- but hey, I have no classes for more than two weeks!!)

More soon!
Have a great week!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sweater bands, take two.

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

First, I don't know where our blog header is.  I suspect my DH might have done something with our web repository (moved it? the blog can no longer access the proper files??) - I'll try to figure out what is going on with that so our graphics return to their rightful places...

Second, you have some of the most unusual projects I've ever read about.  I think you're the only person I've ever known who has assisted in building a windmill.  Also, the only person I've ever known who had to retrieve her sheets out of the treetops.  And, there was that cow sling thing that you knit...  My sweaters/socks pale by comparison.  Maybe I'll try to knit in a tree or something...

I have two very large tests next week, so I thought I'd take a little time right now to procrastinate by posting to our blog.  After Wednesday, I'm *DONE* with school for the summer.  Then I have two weeks off to clean our bathrooms, mop the floors, haul the dust away, and get myself and the boys ready for school...  I've got lists of things to accomplish;  if I get even half of it done, I'll be thrilled.

Remember my Basic Chic Hoodie?  I really love the pattern and the way it's turning out, and as I work on it, I keep thinking about what other colors or stitch patterns I'll use when I make the next one of these.    For now, however, I really should focus on what I'm doing...for example, when picking up needles to knit the front band, I maybe should have checked the actual needle size called for in the pattern *before* I completed the entire front band.  Here it is with size 6 needles:
Difficult to see, but perhaps you noticed, ahem,  some significant puckering, which didn't look nearly as bad when it was on the needles, really....but it was too much to try to block out and live with, so I ripped it all out and re-knit with size 7 needles, as called for.  

I used "one-row buttonholes", which are my favorite ever buttonholes, over three stitches. And, instead of following the directions for number of stitches to pick up, I did my usual "pick up three stitches for every four rows" method, and I came within two stitches of what the directions suggested.  Also, the directions have you make the left front and right front bands separately, and then seam the right band to the left band where the hood seam is.  I decided to pick up all of the stitches at once and make both sides at the same time, so no seam.  Just a few more stitches to bind off of the front band, and some additional finishing, and I'll post a picture of me wearing the completely sweater (which seems to have taken forever -- school has really cramped my knitting productivity).

It's a rainy, rainy Saturday, and I really have to get back to studying.  In my next post, I'll have some sock yarn stash enhancement from a couple of months ago when my mom made me buy bright colors I would not be inclined to purchase on my own (which I know you don't believe actually happened), as well as two pairs of finished socks.  

More soon!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tulips it is!

Thank you all for helping me decide to make this lovely sweater for Katelynne. I didn't quite get done on time for her party, but they came to visit a few days later, so she is all set for cool weather.

I made the 4T size, which is a bit big but all the better to grow into. I still love this pattern, which is good since I have so much of this yarn!

I was delayed in starting this sweater when I took a few days of knitting time to work with my brothers on some windmill repair for my aunt, and to help haul away the remains of a tree they took down for her. (My brothers are grand men!) My part of the windmill consisted of painting the red on the fins and taking pictures. My parents and two nieces came along for the installation and we had a great day! More pics can be seen

Great job on the slippers! I've been trying to decide how to make my moms slippers 'non-slip', so thank you for posting about that.

Keep knitting!


-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, August 03, 2009

Summer of slippers (update) and appendicitis

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I have a free moment today, because the rest of my family is out of town right now.  School has been extremely busy, but great.  Only a week and a half left of the summer session...

First, status on the Sand Hill Crane family which hangs around in our neighborhood:
They walk through our yard once or twice a day, going from pond to pond in the neighborhood, and eating flowers on their way (which has been annoying to our neighbors).  These birds are great fun to watch!  The little guy is getting so big!

Okay, so when I last wrote, I had some ballet slippers knit but not felted.  Here are two pairs of ballet slippers, both knit to be the same size, one pair felted and the other pair not felted:
Here is another pair, which I felted at the same time as the ones in the above photo, and which were knit to be a smaller size, but which ended up being about the same size:
I am wondering if that is because they are a lighter color??...since lighter colors often don't felt as well?

And, I made two sets of clog slippers (one for my nephew, and one for my 6-year old) that look a lot like this:
I wanted all of these to be anti-skid, so I did some research.  

I read about using puff paint on the bottom of the slippers, applying it as cute little shapes, which then dries and is non-skid for a short while, but which would have to be re-applied every so often.  

I read about using some stuff that can be purchases at Menards which people use to dip tool handles into in order to achieve a rubber coating on them, but this looked messy, and if I messed it up, there was no way to get it off of the slipper (and to be honest, it looked rather industrial, and not like a cozy slipper).  

I read about using caulk (as in caulk like you apply around the top edge of a bathtub), but this also looked quite messy and industrial.  

I finally decided I'd go with some anti-skid fabrics.  I tried two types.  
The type which has the little raised foot shapes was made out of canvas, having edges which unravelled significantly, so I serged around the edges in order to contain the threads, prior to sewing them onto the slipper bottoms.
Yesterday was the big party, and I gave away four pairs of slippers to all of my nieces and nephews, and they were LOVED by all of the recipients (they all put them on their feet and started walking around with them on outside).  
Also, by some strange twist of fate, they all *FIT* the feet of their intended wearer, too!  I felt like I won the lottery, except without all of the money...

In unrelated news, a few weeks ago, my brother noticed a slight pain in his lower right abdomen.  Then he put in a new floor.  Then he ran a 10K race.  More than a week later, he thought he should maybe have it checked out by the doctor, but he had two days remaining to work in order to get a perfect attendance (for the quarter) award, so he went to work for two more days, and finally took himself to the emergency room.  They determined that he *may* have an appendicitis, so they took him to surgery that night, where they realized that his appendix had ruptured, who knows how much earlier, but sometime during the prior week, and his insides looked like hamburger.  So, after a much larger incision was made to scrape out the infection and rinse his insides, he ended up with a six night hospital stay.  He lives in the area, so I was able to visit him in the mornings and walk around the unit with him...  He's doing much better now, and we're all breathing a huge sigh of relief.

I've actually finished some other projects, and have made some progress on some languishing sweaters.  More on that very soon!  (Did I mention that I have only a week and a half left of school for the summer?)

Have a great August!  (August?? -- already??)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)