Sunday, June 27, 2010

When is a pair of socks *NOT* a pair of socks?

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I finished knitting two socks. You may remember that I ripped back sock #2 because the striping on the heel was very different from sock #1...

Well....then I decided that I didn't like the fit of sock #1, nor the gusset when I re-knit the heel of sock #2, I switched to a short row heel. It's not obvious in this first photo, though you can tell that the sock on my right foot (#1) looks a little baggy compared to the left (#2):
Here's a view of both socks in which you can compare the heels. Short row heel on the left (#2), gusset heel on the right (#1):
The astute among you also noticed that the right sock is a bit longer than the left... I prefer the shorter length. I generally fold the sock at the back of the heel and knit until the leg portion is as long as the foot portion -- that is the perfect length for me.

Side by side, the difference between the heel styles is perhaps more obvious, with short row on left (#2) and gusset heel on right (#1):
Also notice how the sock on the left maintains the stripe sequence all the way up the front of the sock. So, I have a "pair" of socks, but the one on the right (aka sock #1) is going to be ripped back to the point just before knitting the heel, and I will re-knit it to be just like sock #2... That is the plan, anyway, until something quirkly happens with the striping sequence and that gets messed up again... I think I've spent more time on this pair of socks than any other pair I've ever knit, because after I rip out the one on the right, I'll be knitting my fourth heel on this pair... On the upside, it turns out that socks are much easier to knit during baseball games than lace...AND easier to rip back...but ripping back the lace is a story for a different day...

I am halfway through with summer school already; my kids and I are having a busy summer, and it seems like it is blowing by us pretty fast. The boys have had two weeks of summer vacation: Week 1 = honeymoon period; Week 2 = constant bickering; Week 3 = hopefully we will be more accustomed to spending so much time together so that we all get along better and know how to handle the days having less structure than what they were used to at school. Thankfully, swim team, baseball, music lessons, and the summer reading program at the library break up our days..., I suppose I should rip out that sock now so that I can be all set up to re-knit the heel and leg part of it during baseball games this week... I hope you're having a nice weekend!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"tink" is "knit" spelled backwards...just sayin'

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

First, do I have to remind you right now to plug in your lift station pump? Just checking... A wise man once said, "You home is your hassle, I mean castle..." Yup...but it certainly does beat a lot of other options that come to mind...

Okay, so here is the current state of the Hanami:
It is difficult to see them in the photo, but I am inserting a lifeline after every pattern repeat. I know it is a rookie thing to do, but this project comes with me to swim team practices, baseball games, and piano lessons, and I've generally been feeling lucky if I am able to get across a row without messing something up... So, I'm three pattern repeats into the thing, and I'm thinking I should take a photo and post to the blog or something, and there is always that moment of trepidation when you spread out your lace and really look at it, because you are hoping that some error doesn't pick that exact moment to reveal itself....but alas:
....I have no idea what I did, but something got messed up either six or eight rows ago, so I have to tink back... I guess *that* is why I think I need lifelines... Hopefully I can tink back the six to eight rows without having to drop back to one of the lifelines, but it's hard to say at this point.

In other ripping news, remember the ugly sock:
Even though my mom told me that she liked them and would wear them if I gave them to her, I just couldn't bring myself to continue, I dislike them that much, so I'm giving the yarn a fresh start (merely a *coincidence* that the freshly wound ball of yarn is sitting next to a beer in the photo...really):
And finally, the shower curtain in the main bathroom has been hanging like this for months:
Recall that the cabinets and a chunk of the wall were all painted to match this particular shower curtain, so it MUST BE SAVED! To that end, I purchased the "Extra-Large Eyelet Kit" months ago, and let it sit on the kitchen counter for a long time:
Finally this past week, I reinforced the area around the original hole with some clear duct tape, then used a scissors to cut a hole in the newly applied duct tape to enable eyelet insertion:
...and voila':
I thought about putting eyelets on *all* of the holes in the shower curtain, but that seemed like overkill, though we'll see how long I can stand to have the one hole be different from all the rest...

Finally, these are my new running shoes, which I love, applied to a nice green background which has become the official color of the business I'm working on with one of my classmates:
I've been having "fun" with some photo editing programs, because for my summer classes, I'm having to design a brochure, do several presentations, etc... The assignments are a royal pain in the places where no sun is shining, though they become a bit more fun if I try to be a little creative with the graphics... And, we'll be able to use the brochure in our business. By the way, my business partner and I came in third in the nation wide business idea contest we entered... Trips to attend the private practice meeting in DC next November went to the top two winners, and if one of those winners can't make it for some reason, then we get to go... It was thrilling and disappointing at the same time to learn how close we came to being selected...

Okay, so I had some other knitting ripping to show you, but there is probably enough bad knitting already contained in this one post. A gal can only deal with a certain amount of ripping at one time.

Have a great week, and warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Rip-Roarin' Time

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Well! You've certainly been making the most of your time without classes!  I've really enjoyed reading about the adventures of getting your oven repaired, and all of the projects you've been working on.  The seafoam scarf went really quickly, and it's lovely!  Your sweet harmony bag is amazing. I can't wait to see it in person! And I'm not going to look TOO closely at your Hanami scarf - I do not need any temptation to cast on another project right now, and I've longed to try that pattern.  However, I'll have to enjoy it vicariously through you for now! 

My oven is working fine right now, but I had to chuckle when I read about what you would go through to use your cook top or oven.  I have several things here that are on "manual operation" status.  A little clip broke on the water softener, so while the dial moves, it never trips it to run, so it runs whenever my feeble brain remembers to cycle it (ha!) or when I notice the water is getting a little orange.  Even more fun is the lift station that pumps my drained water up to the waste pipe that carries it to the septic system.  Occasionally (and I haven't found a cause/effect pattern) it doesn't turn off after it's done.  I'm pretty tuned in to the sounds of the various machines in the furnace room, so it eventually sinks in that it has continued to run long after the last time I ran water.  I can unplug it nearby, but then I have to wait at least 15 minutes before I plug it in again. Remembering to do so is the tricky part!  It has happened that I have flushed and then heard the tell-tale "glug-glug" sound that tells me I have mere SECONDS to get that plugged back in before I've got a real mess!  Hmm, wonder what it would take to convince my landlord (!) to get one of those....what did you call it??....."repairman?"  ;)

 Anyway, I've been knitting too!  I finished that pair of sport-weight socks last weekend, and I really like them.  It's nice to think of wearing them next fall!


I immediately turned around and cast on another pair of plain socks.  I was headed to a Tin-Caps baseball game (local minor league team - used to be the Wizards, remember?)   and I needed something that didn't take much concentration.  I knew I had a pair of plain socks started, but the invitation to the game was last-minute and I couldn't find them, so I grabbed a ball of sock yarn from the stash, some beloved Signature DPN's and the toe-up sock directions from the Summer 2007 Interweave Knits that you pointed out to me, and so here is my current 'portable summer knitting project."  I got the toe done during the game, a
Zauberball Sock
and I did not get knocked out by a foul ball either!  It was a great time! 

February Lady gets some knit time as well, although not enough.  It's getting a little warm for me to enjoy having that much wool on my lap.  I take it to "Sweater Night" at Knitting Today, and occasionally to work on at lunch.  I'm on the lace now, and I noticed immediately that it's not a complicated pattern, so I was happy about that.  Although it occurred to me several times that for a simple 7-stitch repeat, I was finding plenty of mistakes the first few times through, but I was able to do a little fudging.  Then yesterday I realized that I had done a complete row incorrectly two rows back.  Consistently - but wrong.  I toyed with ripping out the 8-10 rows that I had done, but I decided to try to just rip back the two rows,and if I could get the lace back on the needles, I'd move on.  That worked, so I did a full 4-row repeat to cement the pattern in my brain and in the sweater, and now we're good to go. 

February Lady progress

Now, to the Norwegian Rose socks.  I've had a bit of a struggle there! (Imagine!)  I cast them on using a set of my beloved Signature DPN's. It's the first set that I got, and while I cannot express enough how much I love these needles and how addicted I am to my stilettos, when I got my first set, I chose the 5", thinking that would be nice since my hands are not that large.  I thought wrong.  The other sets that I have are 6" and that 1" difference is the world.  It really came to a head with this colorwork.   I was using 1 needle for all of the front pattern stitches, and 2 for the sole, and with the shorter needles, I was always losing stitches on the end and having to pick back up (or not! I notice my count is 2 stitches short on the back.) 

I talked to Lea-Ann at Knitting Today, and we decided that it probably wouldn't be noticable if I switched to Magic Loop.  I've also been fiddling with whether to hold the yarn two-handed, or both in the left.  When I was on DPN's, I mostly held both yarns in my left hand, but when I switched to Magic Loop it seemed easier to do two-handed.  While the front look great, the sole is a mess!  And the side stripes are a jumble.  I called Lea-Ann and told her that the change was really obvious, and she said, "That's ok - it can be a teaching sock!"  I appreciated that, but it still bothered me. 

The directions said to knit the foot until it was 3" less that the total length of the foot.  I noticed in the picture that it was a short row heel, and I thought 3" was a pretty generous heel, but I didn't worry so much about it.  The sock on the model showed the heel place at the end of a second pattern repeat, and since this is a one-sock model, fit isn't a big deal.  I got to the end of the second repeat, and was ready to start the heel.

At this point I was encouraged by you to go ahead and do both socks to eventually wear them.  I looked at the mess on my needles and thought - "Hey, the front looks fine and the foot will be in my shoe.  I'll just make this the sock that I keep, and knit another, more consistent sock for Lea-Ann to display."  I didn't mind it being a teaching sock because my gauge changed, but all of the messy bits along the side do bother me.  This is going to be displayed, and I can do a better job! 

So I measured my foot (9") and the sock (7") and noticed it was not a 3" difference. Since I'm going to wear these now, I didn't want a 10" sock, so I started reading the pattern to find out why the heel was so's not.  Since this is color work and not as stretchy, they have allowed for a 1" of gusset increases before the heel, and then a small 1" flap to decrease back after the heel.   Oh.  More ripping!  I'm just going back 1" to do the gusset correctly, so it's not so bad. (I did have to be talked down from just ripping the whole thing out.  Being a struggling perfectionist is such fun!) 

Anyway, I'll cast on another sock for display, and end up with two socks!  Yay!   I have more to post, but I should sign off now so I can get ready to go Knit In Public today!  More later! 

Keep knitting! 

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Powered by Qumana

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Diary of a lady waiting for a repairman...

Oven repairman scheduled to arrive sometime between 8:00am and 5:00pm.

7:50am: Clean kitchen, including washing dishes, clearing countertops, so repairman does not think I am a complete slob.

8:15am: Remember that classes started yesterday, and though this was supposed to be a summer to glide through, after starting summer school yesterday there are already several assignments looming to be completed during the next six weeks; decide to prepare for and knock out a few online quizzes so that there is something to show for a full day home by myself.

8:20am: Consider that this is a knitting blog, and I actually have been working on a new stole. Post photo of current knitting project (Hanami) having first pattern repeat completed:
While pinning out knitting project, decide to measure it, just to get an understanding of what the finished width will be; reach for yardstick but realize one of the kids must have taken it for some very important magic trick or something and not returned it to its home. Make mental note to advise kids for the bajillionth time that they may borrow Mommy's tools but only if they put them away *as soon as they are done with them.*

8:25am: Walk by kids' bathroom and examine towel holder which is no longer attached to wall due to seven year old pulling on towel which had been hanging there because he "didn't know it would come out of the wall."
Wonder if I will have a chance to get to hardware store today to purchase slightly larger wall anchors for use as an after school project with seven year old to re-affix towel holder to wall ("you break it, you fix it"). Realize that towel is covered with toothpaste. Decide to get going on some laundry.
8:30am: Recognize that school work can wait, and what I really must do right now is sew a Sweet Harmony Tote Bag lining. Make secret pact with self to get tote bag completely finished *before* repairman gets here, in a covert attempt to actually get him to show up here early in the day so that I am not tethered to the house for the entire nine hour service window.

10:00am: Rip out small section of bag lining which is not fitting together perfectly and set aside to take ten minute break for snack and to check e-mail to see if results of private practice contest have been sent yet, after five weeks and two hours worth of waiting to hear response to essay submission. Think about calling DH to see if he might be available to meet for lunch and then realize that I am still tethered to the house awaiting visit from repairman. Get back to making bag and continue with secret pact to complete it before repairman gets here...

11:35am: Finish Sweet Harmony Tote and determine that I LOVE THIS BAG. It is large and very, very sturdy because of the three types of stiffeners/interfacing in it, and it has five pockets and will easily hold my laptop. Decide that *this* is the bag I will be carrying when I see you in Chicago in August:
While making this update to the blog, receive phone call from GE repair guy indicating that he will be here in five minutes. Decide that it is better to *not* tell him that I *just barely* finished my bag *before* he got here, though I secretly know that I WON! Wondering if I should take bets as to whether or not the part they sent to our house ahead of the repair will be sufficient to actually fix the range; also wondering if the fee to make the repair will exceed the cost of a new model. Take cursory glance around kitchen and decide to move the two beer bottles from the countertop to the recycling bin in the garage.

Noon: Repairman working on range right now. He came here this morning from his home in Kenosha. After I pointed out an issue with the element, he indicated that the part sent ahead is the wrong part; however, he has the correct part (a new element) on his truck. Anticipates that he will be done fixing the oven in a few minutes. He is quite chatty and lived in Indiana for a while; fun to talk about my former state of residence, though of course this *does* include talk about basketball.

12:15pm: Repair complete; repairman gone. I suppose I should get started on some school work... Planning baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta for supper -- nice to have the oven back!

(Edited to add: 2:45pm: Realized that repairman left signed work order and check for payment of parts/labor lying on kitchen table. Do I phone them, or wait to see if they figure it out on their own?)

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

If I was a person who bought lottery tickets...

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Seafoam scarf is finished, final dimensions 60x6":
I love the stitch pattern, and it will look even better when it is not blocking on a green towel for a background:
If I was a person who bought lottery tickets, I would buy one today, because this is how much yarn I had left after the final pattern repeat/bind-off:
Sometimes things do work out (YAY) -- another life lesson :-)

I will be taking Hanami to baseball practice today, and all of the swimming practices which will be a daily thing beginning in about a week (intermixed with my own summer class schedule).

Day six of the range not working; planning grilled pork chops for dinner... The boys will be thankful that our main course is not a vegetable, because it has been for the past couple of nights. They'll eat just about anything I put in front of them, though feel free to say things like, "Mommy, I really prefer something like this with a different dressing, no offense." Well, I guess as long as there is "no offense...."

Have been running low on the blog fodder... Thanks for reading, if you're still awake, that is :-)

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

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Attention Deficit

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Just wondering how your socks are coming along... The photos of them are incredible, and I think you *should* make two of them so that you can wear them. They will be amazing! Also, perhaps after you and Lauren finish your February Ladies' Sweaters, you can model them together for us?

With classes starting on Monday again, I've been a whirlwind of haphazard activity. One thing different in grad school from undergrad is the fact that so many of my classmates have been getting I've been making dishcloths to be able to give them a "little something" to mark the occasion. These are for Jeannie:
And all wrapped up:
I also got started on the lining for the Sweet Harmony Tote, though had to carefully rip out a little bit as I installed the first interior pocket zipper. I'm happy with the finished product here, but after this part was done, I set things aside to do the other pocket zipper on a different day:
And, the weather was downright chilly here yesterday morning, so I mustered all of my "finishing energy," which you know I hate, to get one sleeve sewn into my Two Hearts sweater. It took FOREVER, because I am soooo picky about the finishing, so once this was done, the weather was warmer again and I set the thing aside again... Really, one of these days it will be done:
And finally, I missed the Hanami craze of several years ago, but cast on for one now! I'll work on this more after I finish the seafoam scarf, though I wanted to give it my undivided (with no children at home) attention so that I could get it cast on, because the cast on included beads and a new method I wasn't familiar in a couple of days when the seafoam scarf is finished, I'll get going on this for some perfect summer knitting:
Speaking of the seafoam scarf, the ball of yarn has not gotten any smaller since I started knitting with it. I can't explain it, but I think it will go on forever... I'm going to keep knitting on the scarf until I run out of yarn.

We are on day five of no oven/stove, and though I try to generally put healthy meals on the table, we have actually been eating a lot more uncooked fruits and vegetables the past couple of maybe not a bad thing. A repairman is scheduled to be here next Tuesday, and they sent a "part" for the repair, which we received yesterday. However, my own inspection of the problem leads me to believe that though I think this particular part is definitely required for the repair, there will be another part that will have to be ordered... I hope I'm wrong, but I guess we'll see. I've been assured that I will only have to pay one "trip charge" regardless...

Okay, so back to things here. Today I scrubbed and mopped the kitchen floor like it's never been cleaned before, including moving the refrigerator out to get under there, and though it's a small step toward getting this house in order, the little improvements I'm making every day are starting to add up. I know I keep saying this, but after devoting two years to school, it feels so great to have an almost normal life again!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sometimes it takes two tries...

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

While my sister was visiting the other day, we took some time to run around town a little bit and get photos of road signs matching the names of people in our family... Here's mine, located within one mile of my house:
Here's my sisters, located about six miles away from my house:
You can tell that Heidi and I are from the same gene pool, because she commented about the fact that the sign was lacking an apostrophe. We know it is a "possessive," named for a person Heidi something, because there is a marker near the sign discussing that it is in memory of Heidi something...

In old news, I might have mentioned about the dress I had to sew twice... I was using a pattern that had sleeves, because I liked the line of the dress and the fact that it fit me pretty well without need of a zipper in the back...but I wanted something sleeveless, so I started messing around with altering the pattern. On the first go-round, I sort of got messed up and got to a point of no return on an armhole while trying to figure out alterations on the fly, and then I realized there was enough spare material to just start over I did, and here's what I ended up with the second time around (son took the photo, and I did what I could to 1.) crop because it wasn't centered; 2.) straighten it because it was crooked: 3.) fix the blurriness, but some things just can't be fixed all the way... now there's a metaphor for life...), and I don't know what's going on with the odd coloring on my face but I blame my photo editing software:
It's very comfy, easy to wear, washable, yet dressy. I have fabric to make another two of them, and I'll give one to my sister, because she and I are shaped a lot alike...again, same gene pool.

Still working on the Harmony bag. The outside is finished; next step is to put the lining together, but it is not trivial, as I decided on the option having two zipped pockets inside... With all of the fleece plus 'peltex' plus interfacing in this thing, it is quite stiff, which is working out quite nicely:
So, we have things in the basement with the dehumidifier all squared away (got a replacement for FREE - my favorite price), so now we're developing issues in other areas. Here is our range:
The oven temp does not return to room ambient unless it is turned off at the breaker box or unplugged. It's sort of an inconvenient way to turn the range on and off, and the temperature setting is not reliable, as it is several hundred degrees F when the dial is in the "off" position, though whenever I must use the cooktop, I run downstairs and turn the breaker back on again (which is *way* easier than unplugging the thing). I hope it doesn't explode before next Tuesday, when the repairman will be here to fix it.

I guess that's it for now. I start classes again next week, though my schedule will be much less intense, and I already have half of the work done for the classes. In fact, I only must be on campus for two days next week, though it is still considered "full time," which primarily means that I 1.) must pay full tuition, and 2.) will be able to deduct a portion of my childcare expenses on our income taxes. Six weeks from today, I'll be done with classes altogether. Life is good!

Have a great Thursday!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)