Archive for the 'Socks in Progress' Category

Sometimes everything goes bad

January 14, 2010

I started to make a list in my head last night as I was trying to fall asleep.

Dog ran off after deer yesterday morning. Ran after her in Crocs in the snow. Feet wet and cold. Bad dog.

Feature article for newsletter not going well. Boring.

Rosarie (Ravelry link) swatch not looking the way I wanted it too. Waiting for different colors to arrive. May take forever. Bad mail.

Yarn arrived for third start on Mendocino (another Ravelry link). I would wind some yarn and get started if it weren’t for that pesky pillow project for the window seat. The zipper has me paralyzed. On the positive side, the ONLY foot I can find for the sewing machine happens to be the zipper foot. I don’t know why. I have not sewn a zipper into anything since completing my hideous seventh grade home-ec sewing project. Which I wore. We got a better grade if we were brave enough to wear it. Bad memory.

I’m restarting the merino/possum socks for the third (or is it the fourth) time. On the last attempt, I got through the heel. Too tight. Too short. Bad sock.

I’m way behind on work. Lots to do. No motivation because I couldn’t get to sleep last night. Actually no, that wasn’t the problem. I would fall right to sleep, then wake up. For no reason. Lie there. Fall asleep again. Wake up. Bad sleep.

Stash busting hasn’t gone well at all. In the last couple of weeks I’ve bought five skeins of sock yarn, enough blue Bainin for a vest, enough ruby Bainin for Mendocino, one book, two Starmore kits and the extra 2-ply for Rosarie. I cashed in the gift certificate the RNK gave me for The Yarn Gallery and came home with 20 skeins of baby llama — enough for another sweater. Bad girl.

I would add more to the list — believe me, I came up with more last night — but it wouldn’t be interesting. Bad post.

At least I took a pretty good picture of an “Oregon” black-eyed Junco.

Good bird.

(Updated to add Ravelry links)


I like wine too

January 7, 2010

Have you ever watched the movie “Sideways?” I love that movie. It’s such a great statement about friends and the enduring quality of friendship. My favorite scene in the movie – it’s not really a scene, actually it’s just a brief shot – shows Miles’ eye as he looks down the hallway and spots Jack’s wallet. If you’ve watched the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

Miles has such a wild, determined and slightly crazed look in his eye. I love that.

Perhaps I love it so much because, I’ve got my own version of the wild crazy eye right here, in my office, with me every day:

However, I think that the reason I often think of that movie probably has more to do with the fact that in one way or another, I relate to just about every character in the movie.

I love the way Maya thinks. When Miles asks her why she likes wine so much and she explains about all the things and people and ideas and places that are captured in each bottle of this magnificent living creation and how it changes day by day . . . wow. That’s all I can say. I love that aspect of Maya.

And Stephanie. What a free spirit! I love her ability to embrace life and abandon herself totally to the emotion of the moment. I also relate to her ability to flip that internal switch and snap. I mean really snap. Really.

I can’t say I want to go out on a conquest search like Jack, but I certainly can relate to his ability to get through life by acting; acting so convincingly he even convinces himself. Besides, Jack is so incredibly childlike. There’s an innocence, a sweet kernel buried within the horrible things he does. He just can’t grow up. I think we all carry a tiny aspect of that inability to face the consequences of being a mature responsible adult within us. And even if we don’t, even if we are totally mature and responsible and “good,” there are times when most of us wish we weren’t — the inner child saying, “Let’s play hooky” on days we know we shouldn’t.

And, of course, Miles. Today, I see a little bit of Miles in me. No, I haven’t had any wine yet. I did last night, a really nice California zin right before I began working on a new sock pattern. Though I kept saying to myself, starting at round 3, “Gosh, this seems like it might be a little bit big around,” I kept at it. By round 12 it was clear. This sock would fit Barbar.

Like Miles, I kept plodding along, resisting the change that would get me to a better place. Sometimes you just have to start over; accept that the first novel isn’t a winner and try again. Even Miles eventually came to that conclusion – with his novel and with his first marriage.

I plodded along, knitting merrily away on that sock and by round 16, I almost had myself convinced that I was inventing an amazing new pattern. At round 24 I was going to flip the sock inside out, do a purl row on what was going to be the new outside and decrease stitches in that purl row to get down to the right number of stitches. Then I would carry on with the pattern and I would have a spiffy little cuff that was large enough to easily fit over the sock leg with a nice crisp fold line. I almost had myself convinced I was really on to something.

Then I realized I had misread the pattern. I accidentally left out two knit stitches in each pattern repeat. No wonder it seemed so wonky and off kilter. The cuff might be a great idea, but this wasn’t the right time to try it.

Inevitably, I frogged. Life is like that. Sometimes there are little setbacks and you just have to try again. By golly, if Miles can do it, so can I. Besides, I like wine.

Twelve and three quarters to go

November 23, 2009

I’m counting the sold skein of Poison Nr. 5 Wollmeise as my second stash-busting project. It’s gone. I didn’t knit it; but, it’s gone. That’s good for something.

Project number 1 is finished. The socks are ridiculously short in my opinion. I had yarn leftover. I tried to pick up the cast on edge and add a pattern to the top. No matter what I did, it looked stupid. An add on. A mistake. Too tight. Too frilly.

I made them the exact same height as the other pair of Socks that Rock lightweight thinking that I would use every last bit of this lovely yarn. The other pair was either the second or third pair of socks I knit. Was my tension way tighter or something? I have about one third of the total weight of each sock left over in additional yarn. I could have made the legs a full two or three inches longer. Bummer.

With no leg extension idea I liked and the pressure on to get through 15 projects ASAP (so I can buy yarn with abandon once again), short socks it is. If I have to reknit the heels, I’ll have plenty of yarn for that. I did use a pale brown reinforcing yarn on the heels already, so hopefully, it will be a long time before I need to make repairs.

I always reinforce the heels on my socks now. I’m trying short row heels because this style of heel makes reinforcing easier. However, my wraps look like crap. [There’s a poem in there somewhere.]

Perhaps it was the top down construction that caused my wraps to look so yucky. Nope. Toe up is no better as far as improving my wraps. I even tried a different wrapping technique on the current, in-progress pair. But, in spite of how crappy they look, knowing how many times I tinked and knitted the wraps on the Socks that Rock pair, I just forged forward. I feel guilty. Such shoddy workpersonship with such a lovely yarn.

Yes, it is Wollmeise.

My photo doesn’t do the color justice. It’s deeper and more purple and much more rich.

The pattern was taken from Barbara Walker and is called, if I’m remembering correctly, Japanese fan. It waves. Back and forth. I had to insert a row of purl ribbing down the sides of the foot to help balance out the waves. Without the ribbing, the waves made my foot look quite disturbingly misshapen.

It will be OK on the leg after I am knitting pattern all the way around. I hope.

I have a ton of yarn. Wollmeise comes in huge skeins. The pattern doesn’t show up too well in this dark color. However, I was thinking the length of this pair could make up for the lack of length in the prior pair. There is a purl row between pattern repeats. I may use that as a shaping spot and go for some really tall socks. After a few more rows, I am going to increase needle size so the pattern expands a bit too.

With my pasty white legs (as the RNK calls them) as a foil, the lace pattern should show up quite a bit more.

Hmmm. With all this prospective length, maybe I can’t quite count this pair as a quarter done. Oh well, close enough.

Show and tell

November 9, 2009

1. The trade. I definitely came out on the better end of this one! I traded the cardigan for this lovely shawl.


I love shawls. I have tons of shawl patterns and yarn for knitting them. I knit a shawl. Once. But for the last year or so, I just can’t seem to get off my sweater/sock kick to knit another.

This shawl is the perfect size for me. It fits around my shoulders and keeps the chill off my neck when we watch movies and yet it’s not so big as to be overwhelming. Absolutely perfect. It folds down into a very small little bundle which will make it excellent for traveling. The workmanship, Claire’s, is impeccable.


2. The slippers. They felted up OK. I still need to redo the elastic for the button strap on the left slipper. It shows too much from the outside. There’s a fine line between getting the elastic buried enough so that it doesn’t rub on the foot and getting it too close to the outside. I missed that line.


If you look back to a previous post, you can see that they felted down quite a bit. Same ruler. Felting is pretty weird.

3. Socks. We went to Santa Fe for the RNK’s birthday on Saturday. We ate at Cafe Pasqual’s and had a lovely dinner. On the way down, I got to knit in the car!


I took “More Sensational Knitted Socks” with me. In the end, I just winged a pattern, alternating a K6P2 ribbing a bit because I love this yarn and I didn’t want the pattern to detract. I can’t remember the name of the color, but it’s Socks that Rock lightweight. So far, I am pleased. The heel is a bit funky. I have only done one other short row heel with wraps. I hope the other sock turns out a bit nicer.

4. Opal. She’s such a bright spot in our lives. Always entertaining. Today, she had a chipmunk trapped under a flagstone walkway.




Chimpmunk lovers, don’t fret. No chipmunks were actually harmed in the making of this blog post.

Peaches and Herb

November 25, 2008

I was a fool to ever leave your side
Me minus you is such a lonely ride
The breakup we had has made me
Lonesome and sad
I realize I love you
‘Cause I want you bad, hey, hey

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited ’cause we understood
There’s one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
‘Cause we’re reunited, hey, hey

Another trip to Denver and Jojoland Melody is singin’ away. socks and sweater

I don’t believe the little fellow suffered unduly; although, the gals at the dentist’s office are apparently into bondage. The sock was all wrapped up in a ziptop baggie with note on reuniting us stapled to the bag. Now, we’re ready to rock and roll again. With no distractions, I’ll finish these socks over the next couple of evenings and I can return to my knitting monogamy. This time on the sweater.

I started the sleeves on the Textured Raglan on the way up to Denver. Didn’t get too far because I had to restart one sleeve three times to get the cast on to match the other. I don’t know why — I did the same thing each time. A knitting mystery. Anyway, they match pretty well now.

Textured Raglan tubular cast on

I’m using a tubular cast on for this project and it looks pretty nice. It’s very stretchy. I think I may regret my decision to not use the cable cast on the pattern calls for when I get to the neck because I suspect the tubular will not match the edge on the neck. But, oh well. What’s done is done and the good news is that it does look like this sweater will get done!

I wonder if Sheri at the Loopy Ewe knows what she started with that Dream In Color Sweater KAL last spring! I have turned into a virtual sweater monster. I bought more yarn in Denver for a color sweater. I have yarn for three or four about nine sweaters all lined up with patterns for most, if not all. Will I ever need this many sweaters?

Actually, I don’t think knitting is about needs. Not for me. It’s really all about wants. Things I want to do for me, to please me. Which means, no Christmas knitting going on here. Oh well dear friends and readers. Do not expect a sock in your Christmas stocking from this knitting maniac. Chris, in Germany, tells me this is just fine and I’m going to believe her on this point.

On a slightly different subject, I wanted to mention that we don’t have just one dog. We have two. I know it’s weird (because he’s a dog); but, I totally relate to those moms who don’t want pictures of their children on the internet. I am very protective of Jakob. He’s not all there. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s a dim wit. However, I will tell you that his nickname is “Punkin’Head” if that gives you a clue.

He’s a standard wire-haired dachshund and I fear that he has become jealous of all the comments regarding dear little Opal. So, unveiling for the first time, an entire picture of Jakob (vs. just a shot of a tail or ear or whatever).

Jakob in his standard reclining pose

He is a doll!

He's not particularly photogenic.

Isn’t he adorable? People ask what kind of mutt he is all the time. With a very straight face, the resident non-knitter tells them he’s a cross between a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig and a schnauzer. The responses are hilarious — to me anyway. Most people simply accept this answer. Which makes me understand how, in this great country of ours, so many people liked Palin.

When Jakob isn’t on hand to show his beautiful little self in person, and people ask what a standard wire-haired dachshund looks like, the resident non-knitter uses various descriptions to explain the breed. “A pig in a gorilla suit”
and “an extra-large dachshund covered in pubic hair” are his two favorites.

Do you see why I am so protective?

I have drifted

November 18, 2008

away from knitting with these last few posts. Oh yes, there was a purl word wedged in here and there. But, for the most part, I was all-consumed with selling houses and dogs stealing the comfortable chair and that dog-gone election.

This seems an appropriate time to mention that yes, I am still knitting. I feel obligated to share with you the real top 3 reasons why I haven’t been posting about knitting.

1. I lost my sock.
I was merrily knitting away on the Jojoland Melody socks. In fact, I was being even more monogamous than normal, not even allowing myself to think about another project when along came a trip to the dentist. We drive 4 hours each way to go to the dentist. My first choice would have been driving up to see my favorite dentist; but, he’s in Coeur d’Alene and that’s a little bit further. Like another 12 to14 hours driving each way further. So. I settle.

Anyway, there’s a very large yarn store, Showers of Flowers, just a few blocks from the dentist so I don’t get much knitting time while I wait for the resident non-knitter to finish with his appointment. Knowing I would only have a five or ten minute wait until my turn to step into the torture chamber hygenist’s chair, I broke the monogamy by bringing yarn to swatch for a sweater.

I wasn’t starting a project mind you, just a little swatch. It turns out that both of the women that work in reception at the dentist’s office are knitters and we got to talking and I took my swatch over to the counter, and then I dug the sock I was working on out of the bag and I showed them it snugged up safely in it’s Knitzi and then we swapped some pattern ideas and yada yada yada.

Sixth Sense Socks

Meanwhile, the other sock, the one that was done, crawled out of my knitting bag and slithered under the sofa I had been sitting on and curled up to take a nap. Who knew?

It wasn’t till I got a call two days after we got home that the wayward sock’s whereabouts surfaced. Fortunately, the women at the dentist’s office recognized the little fellow and have it safely tucked aside for when we go back up.

Meanwhile, it’s unfinished counterpart languishes because the toe on the Sixth Sense Sock pattern didn’t quite work out as written. I need to see the finished sock to make the two match.

2. Meanwhile, I’m having an affair.
You would think that loosing a sock might push me further into knitting monogamy. The way I see it, this wayward sock was punishing me for picking up the needles and casting on the sweater swatch. “Just you see what I think about you abandoning us for some tart-swatch,” it taunted me as it slinked it’s way under that sofa.

Not one to put up with this sort of behavior, I pushed both the little Jojoland hussy and the offending seductive swatch with it’s sexy blend of merino, cashmere and silk out of my mind. Instead, I picked up the Shibui Knits textured raglan in this color.

3. Bored to tears.
While it looks like it will be a lovely sweater when done, it’s not the most exciting knit. On the other hand, it is a quick knit. Ten days into it, I’ve already got over nine inches on the body done and am thinking about starting sleeves. Is it photogenic? You tell me:


Whoops. My bad. That’s the hideous 60s carpet that is in my office. The RNK tells me the color of the sweater is remarkably similar. Could this have something to do with the boredom?

Here’s the real deal:

Textured Raglan

Meanwhile, a few accessories. A new bag and a new pair of “reader” sunglasses with a magnetic clip right at the center of the nose for car knitting and map reading on sunny days.

OK, so it's a kid's bag

They don't look quite as dorky on, honest.

All the signs are coming down

November 6, 2008

Yesterday, on my way back from town, I saw someone in a van picking up all the political signs along the highway. It gave me a weird feeling.

The campaigning for this election has been going on forever — the longest of any I campaign I ever remember. They are saying in the news that it was the longest campaign in U.S. history. I think many of us feel a void now. This morning, I got an email from the friend of a friend about the electoral college. People can’t quite stop those political juices. It’s hard to let go of all the emotion and effort and hoopla that surrounded this election.

Do you doubt the emotion? I did, until I realized, as I was knitting and listening to the results coming in as the polls closed on Tuesday, that I had wrapped the stitches on the heel turn not once, not twice, but about eight times. I was just knitting back and forth on the same row over and over and over and . . .

I was so wrapped in the count that I lost count. And then, they announced they didn’t want to call it; but, they were going to call it; and yes, Obama won! The Resident non-knitter and I looked at each other, stunned, amazed, shocked, pleased, jubilant, overwhelmed, relieved, scared . . . what a crazy mix of emotions. At that point, I looked down, realized that I had been knitting for some time with absolutely no progression on the heel and I saw what I had done.

By the time I had tinked back and gotten to the first wrap there was no doubt. McCain had completed his very gracious and moving concession speech. This was the McCain that captured the hearts of many Americans in 2004.

So, onward we go. Into a brave new future.

And once again, because posts without pictures are, well, pictureless, a few more Tassie shots for your enjoyment:

Van Diemen Tulip growers on the north coast:
Just coming into bloom

Stunning colors!

Eucalyptus bark

Tree fern fronds

Spring snow

Highway snow removal crew

East coast just before sunset

Want to buy a house?

November 3, 2008

Check it out: Send us a buyer and I will reward you with yarn. Seriously.

We have finally settled on a listing price after much deliberation. To come up with a fair price, we looked at other houses for sale in the Valley. We calculated some typical price-per-square-foot values for a wide range of property types and specifically for properties that are located out of town.

Even though a portion of our house is near new, we selected a value toward the lower end of the range because some of this home is older. Using this we came up with a home value. Then we added in what we thought might be a fair value for the portions of the property that could be considered “income” producing: the Quonset hut and the 3 acres in alfalfa.

I hope we’ve figured correctly. Coming up with a good list price seems like the hardest part in an owner-sell situation. Comments, thoughts? More important, buyers?

Meanwhile, knitting continues. I am finished with one of the Jojoland Melody socks and am working the heel on the second sock. I’ll post a picture when I get them finished.

Looking for some inspiration: check out some lovely laceknitting by Sue. Stunning isn’t it?

I was almost tempted to run look for my laceknitting books to see what beauty I could dream about for my next project. But no. I made a decision this weekend to enjoy what I’m knitting on now without longing for the next project. I’m going to focus on what’s on the needles and wait till it’s done before I start dreaming of my next project.

Easier said than done. But, why not? I picked the Jojoland and the Sixth Sense sock pattern because I thought they would look good together, I liked the idea of trying a different heel and toe design and I was otherwise intrigued by the entire project. So, why not enjoy every single minute of it without wondering what will find it’s way on to my needles next?

I think this is a good metaphor for life. Be here now. Enjoy the present. Don’t worry what tomorrow will bring because you aren’t going to change it. Unless of course, you are a die-hard procrastinator and by not doing today you create issues for tomorrow. That’s another scenario. As long as you are present and acting to your highest level, I think tomorrow will take care of itself.

This may be a particularly apropo philosophy given that tomorrow is election day.

And because picture-less posts are boring, here are some shots from our recent trip to Tasmania.

The charming B&B near Hobart where we stayed.

Two peacocks lived in residence.

The ancient flour mill.

Edge of the world--nearest land to the west is 7,000 miles away.

The east coast of Tasmania.

Way back in May

August 29, 2008

I set a goal of knitting 10 pairs of socks between then and the end of September. Meanwhile, I promptly abandoned all sock knitting and went on to sweater knitting. I think this is an incredibly graphic reminder to myself that I like to set goals and promptly sabotage them. All by myself. Weird.

Once again, it just underscores how knitting teaches you more than how to make things from skinny little wound up fibers and a couple of sticks. Or not. I’m already thinking of ways to redefine that goal to make sure I “meet” it. For example, is there an equivalency relationship between a sweater and pairs of socks. Could I count the sweater as 3 pairs? Maybe 4 or even 5?

But really now. Isn’t this all moot? I set a goal. As soon as I set it, I abandoned it and went on to something new. I didn’t seem to learn anything from this process except that I’m weird and perhaps, (note to self here) that I shouldn’t set goals for my hobbies. Food for thought.

Meanwhile, contest update: Vicki has agreed that the person who wins the prize she donated in the contest (scroll down a few posts to read “It’s a Contest Now” and to enter) can choose either two cat toy patterns or a lace pattern. She’s on Ravelry as SimpleKnits. Great patterns by the way!

Guest Post

July 9, 2008

I’ve had no time to post. Still having computer issues. Meanwhile, I have a guest post for you from my friend Chris in Germany:

I was driving back from the Botanical Garden in which I sat to knit in peace for a while. I love this place. It was sort of a bittersweet drive, because all the flowers and the atmosphere of the garden is so soothing – but it makes me miss an old friend.

Anyhow. I drove back and sat at a stop light – knitting of course. A couple on a scooter stood next to me and they nearly fell off their bike laughing. I held up my knitting (it was warm, so the window was open) and told them how much time we waste at red traffic lights and that all of it had been knit during that time.

The guy told me that we had 18 stop lights to go until they would be back home and he urgently needed green socks. So at the next stop light I showed them my first finished sock from handgefaerbt with a lot of lime green in it. They could not believe their eyes.

My, this was so funny. I love that, sharing a laugh with strangers. We laugh ever so rarely in Germany. And this is so healthy for body and soul.

Hope you enjoyed Chris’s story as much as I did!