Friday, March 30, 2012

Chasing Rainbows Blankie

At long last, this blanket project is done.  I started this in May 2011 and it was my intent to use up all of the Plymouth Encore worsted weight yarn in my stash (all in baby colors).  I kept picking this up to work on it and then quickly put it away; the pattern got boring and each round just took longer and longer.  Yesterday at my knitting group, I just grabbed the white yarn and cast off.  This proved to be a big mistake since the piece wants to roll something awful along the edges. I washed and blocked the blanket yesterday but blocking did not help the rolling. I spent a few hours today adding a crochet border and it still rolls quite a bit. I am a tad disappointed but I am over it.  It's done.  I am not touching it anymore.  I need to mail it off with another blanket completed long ago.  This will go to the Denver Children's Hospital (Denver, Colorado). 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cartoon: Rhymes with Orange by Hilary B. Price

My mother-in-law, Maryellen, came to visit last week.  I was able to give her the blue-green Clapotis I had made for her and she LOVES it!  Maryellen did not come empty handed; she gave me a container full of the most delicious home-made caramel corn.  It did not last long and I did not share!  On top of the container, she had taped this cartoon which, of course, I think is hilarious.  This is not the first time a friend has cut out and given to me a "Rhymes with Orange" comic strip. I have decided the cartoonist, Hilary B. Price, MUST be a knitter!

I searched for Ms. Price's cartoons on the Internet. I found her blog where you can see her daily syndicated comic strip.  Also, I was able to search for her comic strips which contain references to yarn or knitting.  A link is HERE if you'd like to see more. 

Note:  I especially like the cartoon where a woman is knitting her spaghetti with two forks.  I have that comic strip on my desk at work (given to me by a friend) but the knitter in the comic strip has "Kim" written in over her head and the knitter's male companion in the comic strip has my husband's name written in over his head.  It's great when your friends know you so well!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some Cheerful Socks

Yesterday at work was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  I've talked about terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days here on my blog before (click HERE).  When I have a day like this, it reminds me of a favorite children's book called Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  My mom was such a trooper; she read this story to me each and every time I brought it home from the library.  I was one of those kids who brought home the same books over and over...  Harold and the Purple Crayon, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, and Where the Wild Things Are... just to name a few.

When I got home from work last night, the boys had already had dinner and were out playing tennis, so I made super simple dinner just for me... comfort food... some Swiss Cheese and Black Forrest ham warmed up between two tortillas.  I gobbled it down (so frustrated from my day... gobble, gobble... I did not even taste it) and looked at the story in the book.  It was good to have some time alone to wind down after an icky, frustrating day. 

I sent a message to one of my friends on Ravelry and told her I had had a bad day at work and that I wanted to go crawl into a cave... but bring my knitting with me of course. She said that made her laugh!

But I have to tell you that one of the things that kept me going through my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day was knowing that, when I got home and had some time to relax, I could work on my cheerful socks.  I started this pair of socks right after I finished up my Cotton Candy socks just the other day.

The amazing yarn is Regia 4-Fach Haltbar Design Line by Kaffe Fassett in the colorway "Exotic Easter".  The yarn is from my local yarn shop, Grandma's Beads and Yarn.  I just love it! 

As the evening progressed, I tried to "let go" of the things that were stressing me out.  Working with this cheerful yarn also definitely cheered me up... despite my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Afterall, some days are like that... even in Australia.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cotton Candy Socks are Complete!

Just as soon as I finished these socks last night, I went rummaging through my stash to find more sock yarn to start a new pair of socks. Completing a pair of socks tends to have that effect on me!  "Clever girl," I think to myself... "that was so fun... now make another pair!"

The next pair of socks are being knit up in a pattern called "Cable My Big Toes" from the "Sock Yarn One Skein Wonder" book and the yarn colorway is called "Exotic Easter"... so very appropriate for this time of year.  I will share my progress some day soon I imagine but are just a few photos of the socks I finished last night.  I like them very much because... after all... PINK SOCKS ROCK!

Yarn:  Lion Brand Sock Ease (finished with Aloe Vera)
Colorway: Cotton Candy (you've got to love that name!)
Pattern:  Silky Soft Socks (
Pattern link on Ravelry: Click HERE.

Can you believe I took this photo of my feet by myself?  That's a pretty good trick, huh?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Random Thoughts of a Gal Knitting a Pair of Socks

I am on about row 35 row of the foot portion of #2 Cotton Candy Sock.

I am on a mission.
I will finish these socks!

I was about to frog sock #1 last week some time. The sock was sort of in hibernation mode. Not getting much attention from me. Sitting there making my knitting area in the living room look cluttered. I was getting the notion that if I toss a project aside because I lose interest or I am not satisfied with how a particular yarn is knitting up in a particular project or pattern... well, then I should just frog it and find a new project for the yarn. My new mantra "Finish it or Frog it!"

But before I ripped out all of my work (I was just an inch or so away from starting the decreases for the toe on sock #1), I tried on the sock. It fit like a dream. What was I thinking? These socks rock!

Now, as I knit away on sock #2 determined to finish some time soon, my mind is wandering. Funny thoughts enter into my head. For example, if my feet were not so darn big, I would finish these socks much more quickly. One thought leads to another... it reminds me of a thought I had in an exercise class years ago... push-ups are so hard for me, but they would not be so hard if I did not weigh so much. Funny how the mind wanders. Then my mind drifts off to the other sock yarn I have in my stash. What socks will I make next? It seems that as soon as I finish one pair of socks, I want to cast on another. Something about making socks is just so darn cool. They are so useful and you feel so clever after completing a pair... look what I did!

For these socks, I am using a pattern called Silky Soft Socks by Deborah Norville (apparently she is affiliated with Did she used to be on "Good Morning America" or something like that and now she endorses a line of yarn... much like Vanna White and her line of Lion Brand Yarn? I am not sure. (Apparently my mind wander while I knit and while I type blog posts). Whatever the case may be, this is the first time I've gotten a nice fitting pair of socks in stockinette stitch. I often make socks in a ribbed pattern so they fit better. I am thinking I will really like this pair of socks. The yarn I am using is Lion Brand Sock Ease Yarn (finished with Aloe Vera... according to the label I just now noticed) and the color way is "Cotton Candy". The yarn was originally purchased to make some Baby Bright Tights from my "Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders" book. I bought the yarn impulsively along with the necessary needles at my local yarn shop because the Cotton Candy yarn was the exact same yarn used in the photo in the book for the Baby Bright Tights. Ummm, what was I thinking? I don't need pink wool baby pants. I frogged the baby pants and tried to make a baby sweater (from the same book) but the yarn pooled in unattractive ways so that effort was frogged as well. Hence these socks. So as I am knitting away, I am doing math in my head and I was flabbergasted to realize that each of these socks contains well over 10,000 stitches. See, I told you my mind wanders when I am knitting. Now I do struggle with math so I got out pen and paper and a calculator.

Cuff and Leg (worked over 64 stitches per round)
65 rounds x 64 stitches per round = 4160 stitches

Foot (after gusset decreases and before toe decreases)
55 rounds x 64 stitches per round = 3520 stitches

Heel Flap (worked over 32 stitches)
32 stitches x 31 rows = 992

Gusset decrease rounds (rounds start with 96 stitches per round but decrease to 64 stitches per round)
16 rounds (rounds start at 96 stitches per round and then decrease by two stitches every other round until you have 64 stitches per found)... total... 2624 stitches (can you smell smoke, this took a lot of figuring... my brain hurts)

4,160 + 3,520 + 992 + 2,624
Drummmmm roollll, Puuuhhhhlllllleeeezzeee!

That's 11,296 stitches not including the heel turn and toe. And that's just for ONE sock.
So if I make you a pair of socks, I must really love you! That reminds me, I have some yarn which might be good for my son. Oh my!  He has really big feet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Entrelac Cowl

Tah DAH!  A completed project. 

I intended to use both skeins of my Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn for a long entrelac scarf.  I used the pattern which can be found HERE.  But it came as no surprise to me that I grew tired of knitting this.

Entrelac, I think you may agree, is a very cool knitted effect and Noro Yarns tend to scream, "Entrelac... I want to be ENTRELAC!"

But entrelac is a slow and sort of tedious process.  You create small squares and triangles, one at a time. This consists of you knitting from 1 to 8 stitches in a row, turning the work each and every time you complete a short little row.  Some of the gals at my local knit shop actually learned to knit backwards just to avoid turning the work repeatedly but I am not quite that clever.  I am, however, clever enough to realize that this project was doomed to be tossed aside as a project in which I lost interest. 

I picked this project up just the other day after ignoring it for a few weeks. As I was working on my scarf, I realized I was approaching a change in color to "cobalt blue" which was the same color in the cast on row.  I decided to complete the final row and I stitched the two cobalt blue ends together.  Tah DAH... an entrelac cowl!  The two ends actually matched up pretty well; I just wear the seam at the back of my neck. 

I wore this to work today and it kind of perked me up to wear something special like this. I got some nice comments from my friends... "Did you make that!? It's so pretty... I like it."  I like that I can rotate the scarf just a little to the right or to the left and different colors appear. I imagine it will go with a lot of outfits.  I think I might have enough yarn remaining to make two more cowls just like this.  Yes, entrelac is fun... but in limited doses.  The finished result is worth the effort. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Clapotis #1 and Clapotis #2

This month I finished two... count them... TWO... Clapotis (pronounced Clap-oh-tee).

If one is a Clapotis... then maybe I am more correct to say I completed two Clapoti?

If I am finding myself addicted to this pattern, as evidenced by the fact that I made two in a row, would you say I have a "Case of the Clap?"  Oh, that's bad. Forgive me! But know that I stayed up really late to complete the pink Clapotis last night.   The pink project is made from Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock yarn in the colorway called "Sonatina". 

I said in a previous post that the Clapotis project is wildly popular on Ravelry.  I have to admit while knitting both of these projects, I did get a bit bored toward the end, but I am sure (like many others) I will come back to this pattern again some day. It's a fun knit, it's such a wearable garment (it drapes so nicely), and the pattern is pure genius and so clever; the finished result is just so nice!

The pattern is available on and on Ravelry.  The pattern link is HERE.

I like what the pattern designer, Kate Gilbert, says about this project:
French women are known for wearing scarves. Starting in September and until summer arrives, this is a most important accessory. The scarf may be striped or patterned, colorful, wrinkled and is much bigger than the scarves you probably have. Women just wrap the scarf around their neck in a "Je suis belle et ├ža ne demande aucun effort*" sort of way and off they go. Since I have lived in Paris, I have realized that these ladies are on to something. I find I am much warmer wearing a scarf, even if I'm not wearing a jacket, so here is my knit version of the French scarf. It's knit on the bias so the variegated yarn makes diagonal stripes and stitches are carefully dropped to make a pattern in the opposite direction. This creates a scarf which tends to be a little more of a parallelogram than a rectangle, but I promise, it's nice that way. It's made of the softest, most luxurious yarn I have ever used and is a dream to wear. Instructions are included at the end to modify it to create a stole. *I'm beautiful and I don't even try.