Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sock Troubles

I am currently working on my very first Toe-Up Sock. I had planned to do the Crossed Ribbing sock from the book "More Sensational Socks" by Charlene Schurch.

I did the easy toe cast on where you do a provisional cast-on and basically knit a small rectangle, pick up the cast on stitches and pickup stitches along both ends. Had no problems this. At this point, the only problem I had was of my own making. I had determined I would need to end up with 72 stitches after the toe increase, which turned out to be WAY to many. So I backed down to 64 and that was still too many. I finally ended up with 56. I breezed along until I got the foot done and was ready to start the gusset. Pardon my saying this, but Ms. Schurch's book doesn't include any mention of a gusset. Maybe she assumes since this is Book 2, you have Book 1 (which I don't) and that explanation is in book 1. I have no idea, but I wasn't sure how to proceed. From the instructions it reads as if you knit the foot section as long as you need it and then proceed to the heel flap/shortrow toe. Thankfully I have other sock books. I dug one of those out and figured out how to do the gusset. I was going to do a short-row heel, but I must of missed the part where it said "stop here if you're going to do the short-row heel, but proceed past point for a heel flap". Anyway, I made my gusset section too long and determined that I really really didn't want rip out a 1-inch section. So I went ahead and did a heel flap. It turned out wonderfully. I tried it on last night and it fit like a glove.

Now I've run into another dilemma. I have decided I don't like the original cuff pattern and want to try something else. I tried one last night, got 4 rows in and determined it really wouldn't show up well with my variegated yarn. I really wanted to do a cabled or mock cabled pattern. But after knit club last night I went home and since I was too impatient to wait until today to look on the internet, I settled for the Grapevine pattern from the "More Sensational Socks" book. It's kind of a lacy pattern. Well last night I was satisfied with it, but I have slept since then. And this morning I have determined that I really do want to do a mock cable pattern. So at lunch today, I plan to rip back the pattern yet again. I looked and found a couple mock cable patterns on Ravelry this morning, that have the correct number of stitches or at least use multiples of 8. Now I just have to figure out which one I want to use. Because I really don't want to do any more ripping on this sock.

I just hope that the careful notes that I have been taking will make sense to me when I do sock #2.

Here are 2 photos of my sock. The second is a close-up of the heel flap.

PS I finished my Liz's Magic String Grocery Bag. And here are the photos for that. I have a picture of it before it gets unraveled, but that is on another dig. camera and has yet to be downloaded.
Now I just have to remember to take it with me to the Grocery Store!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yarn Harlot

Almost forgot to mention that Faith and I went to see the Yarn Harlot in Oaklawn, IL on Friday night. Boy what trip. We left early enough that we should have had plenty of time to visit the LYS before the show started however, I there was an error on the Google Map and we some how missed the I-294 exit. So we didn't arrive until after it had closed, but were just in time for them to start seating everyone.

We had a very good time and there were a lot of laughs.

PS: I firmly believe that the error was made by Google and not by my navigational abilities or the fact that we were both talking a mile a minute.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vacation Update

Although the rain gods were frowning during my last post they decided to have pity on my vacation plans.

Instead of heading out to Ludington State Park on Sunday like we had planned we ended up at the Grand Haven State Park in Grand Haven, MI instead. And boy could you tell the difference.

If you're into beaches, GHSP would be a great place to stay. However, we like grass and trees more than pavement and sand. And luckily for me there was a nice sandy spot to set up my tent. I would not have liked trying to set it up on pavement. Would have rather slept in my Ford Taurus.

Anyway, we spent a day and a half in GHSP before we got the news that Ludington SP was re-opening their doors at 5pm. So after dinner on Monday night, we packed up and drove to Ludington. By the time we got there, got signed in, and the campers leveled, it was 10pm and we were setting up my tent by lantern light. I didn't realize it until I laid down to sleep that my tent was on a slight incline and bed roll was across the hill. Every time I turned over I felt like I was going to roll out of bed. But I was too tired and/or too lazy to switch the bedroll, so I just placed the pillow on the downside incline.

There were quite a few cancellations due to the number of camp sites that were underwater. So we were able to extend out stay. I left on Thursday and my friends stayed until Saturday.

I was able to visit their LYS. It is called Nautical Yarn and I found 3 lovely skeins of sock yarn. You know sock yarn is just way too easy to buy. Because you know you need roughly 400 yds. For other yarn, I look but don't buy unless I have a project in mind for it. And am lucky enough to know my required yardage.

As always, I have plenty of photos, just not downloaded ones. I will work on that this week.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bloody Hell!

If I could remember the exact Irish curse phrase that Liz introduced us to last week I would definitely be saying it right now. It sounded something like Bloody Pumpernickle, but I know that's incorrect.

Well anyway the reason I am soo mad right now is that the rain gods just don't like me. I was planning on going on vacation next week to Ludington State Park. At the beginning of the week the forecast was rain most of next week. However this morning I got the good news that only a little rain on Sunday and great the rest of the week. I had just enough time to really start getting excited and then this afternoon the rug got pulled out from under me. All the rain that was supposed to hit next week, hit this week and they have closed/evacuated the Park due to flooding.

Now that just ain't fair!

Bloody Hell!

Well, at least I still get to go to see the Yarn Harlot next Friday near Chicago with Faith. I hope!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flowers, Projects and a new Room-mate

Well I promised photos of my Peonys and here they are. I have 2 Peony 'bushes' for lack of a better term. I had 13 buds on the one near the house and only 2 buds on the one in the back yard. I love the smell of the Peonys.

This shot is my favorite one.

This is the lone bloom on the back 'bush'. Even though there were 2 buds, the other one doesn't look like it will do anything. According to the neighbor who gave this plant to me, this flower is the "old style" Peonys. I think she said it had something to do with how full or how many petals each bloom had. Anyway this is the first year that it has bloomed, so I am anxious to see what it looks like. I looked this morning and it is about 1/2 open. When I leaned down to sniff it, it looked as if it had some kind of cocoon in the petals. When I tried to look closer, a giant greyish spidery looking thing uncurled itself and tried to hurl itself at me. Luckily I know how to jump fast and scream to scare it away. Yeash!

And I got my Cross-Hatch Lace socks finished! They turned out great and they are real comfortable too. Only they are too hot to wear right now.

Now let me introduce you to my new Room-mate. I picked her up on Monday night, but she hasn't yet told me what her name is. As we get better acquainted, I'm sure she'll get over her shyness and tell me. LOL!

Yes, as you can see I have purchased my first spinning wheel. Last year I learned to spin using a drop spindle. I like it, but had my heart set on getting my own wheel. However, even the used ones just seemed to be way out of my price range. I was at the Elkhart Farmers Market Fiber Festival last Saturday talking about my yearning to own a Ashford Traditional, when Charlotte Wolf told me that our friend Liz M. had one that she had been trying to sell. Very reasonable price too. I immediately called her up and made an appointment to see her. And the rest is history as they say.

These are the accessories that came along with it. 6 large bobbins, 4 small bobbins, a lazy kate for the small bobbins and spinning head for the smaller bobbins.

I tried it out at Liz's house, but wasn't able to do much when I got home as I had to mow the hayfield that is my yard. But I will soon.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Just Stuff

I can't believe this week has flown by so fast. Not much has been happening.

Mostly I've been on a reading kick. I have been re-reading some old favorite books by Jude Deveraux (romance).

I've done a little knitting on my Cross-hatch lace socks. After trying them on, I thought I only had an inch to go before starting the toe. Well I knitted the inch, re-tried them on and somehow I still have another inch to go. Either I miscalculated or my feet have grown. Personally I'm betting on the feet growing.

I started a swatch for my Cul-de-Sac Vest. I used size 6 needles to start. I miscalculated on determining what the gauge should be (23 divided by 4 is NOT 7.something) and tried size 8 needles which was too big. After re-figuring the math (should have been 5.75) I figured out that I was getting 6 stitches per inch on a size 6 needle. I thought that might be close enough, but some of the other knitters at Bella Vita, said I should try a 5 based on the gauge ruler thingy since there is only a .25 mm difference between a size 5 & 6 needle. So I open my needle case to switch out the tips on my circular needles and I discover that the 5's are missing. OK, no problem they are probably at home being used on my cascading leaves shawl. Nope, I have dug and dug, but cannot find my size 5 tips. Luckily Hobby Lobby carries the Susan Bates Tips and even better, they are 40% off this week. Think I'll get 2 just in case.

I also started a grocery bag pattern. It is called Liz's Magic String Bag and it was published in the Chicago Tribune. (Sadly it is no longer on their website unless you pay for it through their archives) A couple of the Bella Vita ladies have made them and they are pretty cool. It of course uses a size 5 needle also, but just to try it out, I used a 4. And I grabbed some Omega Sinfonia cotton yarn out of my stash to knit with. The pattern says you need 375 yds and I only have about 218 with the Sinfonia, but I have another skein (not the same color) but I'll use that if I need it.

On to another subject, my Peonies are blooming. They are really big and smell wonderful. I currently have 4 blooming and 10 more buds that I hope will open up too. I took lots of photos, but I just haven't downloaded them. I will get that done this weekend and post them. I was trying to tell my friend McKelle about them on the phone last night, but when I said "My Peonies are so big" she said what???? She was a bit shocked because she thought I said "my panties are so big." We had a good laugh.

Speaking of McKelle, I am going on vacation with her and her family. We are going up to Ludington to go camping. Although their camping is much different that mine. They all have 5th-wheel campers and I have a lowly tent. But it should be fun. I haven't been camping since 2003. I even found out from another knitter that Ludington has a really cool yarn store called Nautical Yarn.

And now I'm back to talking about knitting. This weekend the Elkhart Farmers Market is going to be having their first ever Harvest Moon Fiber Festival. It is today and tomorrow. I'm going to go check it out tomorrow. I really should be mowing the lawn, but heck I can do that another day.

PS. I found this really neat web-site called You type in a location and it gives you a map of all the local knitting/yarn stores. You should give it a try for your next outing.