Monday, February 26, 2007

Obsess much?

In case you haven't noticed, I'm on a bit of a sock kick right now. It's been all socks all the time so far this year (except for that one scarf, it might have been a fluke). Lots of Sock-related KAL's over in that sidebar.

So, naturally, I finished another pair this weekend. The speed socks are done. These were zippy fast. I cast on last Friday and cast off yesterday a few hours before the Oscars. Simple stockinette socks with a Lana Grossa self striping yarn in gray and blues and greens.

I'd intended to cast on my first toe-up pair last night during the ceremony, but static electricity thwarted my yarn winding efforts and I spent the entire ceremony untangling the mess.

However, now I have a gorgeous skein of Sundara's sock yarn (in Denim over Purple) all ready to go and be cast on tonight.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

In Training

Sock Madness starts in a couple weeks and I've been gearing myself up for the strain of competitive sock knitting.

Some of my strategies:

1) Finished the cotton socks. They were sitting by the computer with just the toe on the second sock waiting to be knit. I finished it up last night while playing with my new toy. These have been a long term project. Not out of necessity, I just haven't felt the need to zip through them. They would get a row or two here and there, gradually progressing until the second sock was just close enough that I just sat down with it and finished it up. I'm pretty sure I cast on for these in late July/early August. Definitely a back-burner project.

2) Increased my speed. I knit an entire stockinette sock this past weekend. Cast on Friday night, kitchnered the toe at about 2am on Monday. The second sock is progressing a little slower in the evenings during the week but I'll probably have another finished pair this weekend. In project spectrum colors even.

3) The new toy. I succumed to the allure of time-delayed TV and added a Tivo to my plethora of gadgetry in the house. I'm also letting myself get a little obsessed with it, so it's going to have lots available for me to watch and knit during the marathon.

4) Vacation time. The marathon's official start date is a Saturday... a Saturday that I will be spending in California in an amusement park. I'm hoping to "catch up" though. I'll be able to steal a little time here and there on Saturday and Sunday to get started, print things out on Sunday and continue progressing Monday. I'll have the whole flight back on Monday night, and I'm considering taking Tuesday off as well which will give me another free day to hopefully catch up and keep running with it.

5) New skills. I think I've dabbled in most of the requisite skills here and there, not all at sock scale, but I've done some color work, a little lace, a few cables. The only thing I haven't done yet with socks is toe-up construction. So, once the second sock for the speed pair above is done, I'm going to work on my first toe-up pair that will be another long-term sock sock project. I'm considering either Baudelaire's or Falling in Love as they will both give me good training on toe-up construction, plus a refresher on lace and cables.

6) Supplies. Most of the required supplies I have in my stash. I did place an order with the Loopy Ewe to fill in the blanks. So I should be all set on needles now and filled in some of the solids to go with varigates I already own.

7) Progress on the backburner projects. Pomotomous has become my stand in for the cotton socks now that those are done. I love the pattern, but the sock just gets a few rows here and there in between other things. It progresses slowly, but they'll get done eventually. I should also finally revisit the legwarmers, make a decision and either frog or continue.

I probably should plan a mad dash at housecleaning prior to the start date as well, we'll see if that happens or not over the next two weeks.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Monkeys for Mom

FO: Monkey Socks
Yarn: White Willow's Secret Garden

These have to be among the fastest I've completed a sock project so far. Less than 2 weeks from cast on of the first sock to weaving in ends on the second. I think that may mean I'm ready for Sock Madness (these are also my 5th complete pair to date, so I just barely still qualify as a "Novice" sock knitter for Sock Madness).

When I bought the yarn last month, I picked it out specifically as more mom-friendly in color than the last pair I made her. If you've read back, you'll recall that those were a happy accident of mis-fitting my own foot that resulted in a perfect fit on her foot but the colors while fun and funky were a little loud. This colorway while still not plain by any stretch, is a little more subdued and momish.

I think they are by far my favorite pair that I've knit to date. It's going to be hard to give them away, but I know the pattern now and have plenty of other yarns in my stash that should look good in the same pattern should I choose to make another pair. I've already got plans for another pair of jaywalkers, might as well repeat the monkeys too.

Another stretch for me this time, these were knit in pattern exactly as written. No shortening of the cuffs, cleanly kitchnered toes, heel flapped heels. Granted previous socks weren't altered much or didn't follow much more than a formula rather than a pattern, but I've been cutting cuffs short on most all the socks I've made to date.

The lace pattern was really easy to memorize (I never thought I'd say that about any pattern longer than 3 or 4 rows) and I'm completely smitten with it's effects. Definitely addictive and quick as well.

Have I lauded these enough? My only disappointment is that I won't be keeping them for myself. But my mom is definitely a worthy recipient and I'm sure there will be more handknit socks for her in the future too.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I really didn't want to leave Chicago

No, I'm not still there, but that was a possibility Monday. Cam left for work around 9, I packed up and went down to my car about an hour later. It was cold, windchill around 30 below, and I couldn't get back into Cam's building once I discovered that my car's battery was d-e-a-d, dead.

So, I rediscovered my inner bethcicle while waiting to be rescued. We spent the rest of the morning getting me warmed back up and tracking down someone who was willing to 1) try to start the car and 2) put a new battery in it asap so I could get on the road home. I also let them change the oil.

Cam got to leave work for the morning, I got to stick around a while, and I was finally able to get on the road with a much lighter wallet late in the afternoon. Awesome car guys though, highly recommended, great customer service and very friendly.My car is much happier now. Maybe I'll make a trip back once my timing belt is due to be changed out.

So, an afternoon of sitting around and not driving (plus the progress made at the super bowl party the night before) got me into the gusset on mom's sock. Had to have something good come out of it all, right?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Storm

The weather in Michigan is leaving me stranded in Chicago today (oh darn, more time with friends and a vacation day tomorrow, I'm so disappointed). So, I'll be tagging along for a super bowl party tonight and braving the messy roads through west Michigan tomorrow morning instead.

Whirlyball was crazy fun last night. we had a great dinner and the three hours we played flew by. Fortunately, the bruises on my body aren't quite as severe as they were last year. Can't say the same for some of my friends though.

Plus, a weekend hanging around Cam's place always seems to be conductive to knitting progress. He brought me in to work Friday night and Saturday to help with some testing, and we spent most of Saturday watching Doctor Who on DVD.

Adam's scarf is now finished and it came out great. I would hold off on photos, but since I brilliantly already posted one forgetting that he now has the link to this blog I might as well post another. So, um... happy birthday in a couple weeks, little bro. Hope I didn't spoil the surprise too much.

I've also been working on the first of mom's Monkey socks and have gotten through two repeats of the lace. The repeat seems to be really easy to remember and after the last few pairs of socks being knit on size 1's, these seem to go so much faster on the twos. Even though I have two other socks already on the needles, I cast these on Feb 1st to be my February Socktopia socks. I'll probably alternate between these and the blue socks this evening during the game though. I brilliantly didn't pack enough clean clothes even though I knew there was the possibility of staying an extra night, so if I can finish the second blue sock tonight then I'll have a clean pair to wear home tomorrow.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The end of SP9

Now I know who my spoiler is! Thanks Firefly, for everything. Including the great package that arrived today.

She sent a lot of goodies, 4 skeins of yarn in some great colors, a huge bag(it's folded up in the photo), chocolate, magnets. And she made me a hat! My coworkers already pick on me for wearing a scarf and my fingerless mitts at work... they're going to really think I'm a freak when I add the hat to the mix. :)

I'm headed to Chicago this weekend for a little off-season fun with the coaster friends... the bag is the perfect size to pack for the weekend. Thanks again!

On an unrelated note... I finally tallied up my sock yarn mileage for the Lime n' Violet Sock Marathon. Keep in mind, I've been knitting a few weeks shy of 1-year and it took me a few months before I plunged into socks. I've completed 4 pair of socks and have two others on the needles now. I crocheted for several years prior, but never used any natural fibers until I started knitting and certainly didn't have any sock yarns in stash before I started knitting socks.

So, how is it that in about 9-10 months I've gathered 11.34 miles of sock yarn!?!?!?!? Enough for 46+ pairs of socks!!! Apparently I'm a far more effective shopper than I am a knitter. Good thing sock yarn doesn't count as stash... plus it all fits in that one crate.