Monday, April 30, 2007


Since I won't be at Knitting this Friday (Celtic Queen and I will be on our way to MDS&W) Heather and I got together Friday night ostensibly for knitting, but really we ended up doing beading stuff. I did actually knit one needle on the Socks in Socks and I did give Heather her birthday gift which was beaded knitting, so I guess that's the segueway. We stayed up way too late, ordering bead stuff on the internet (I'm betting that Heather's Mister doesn't follow my blog.) I made these earrings for Heather. Along with various other beady sundry. We were trying for pins, but needed thicker wire, hence the internet ordering. We'll have to get together in 2 weeks for more beading, Heather!

Then yesterday, in what can only be described as some kind of knitting frenzy, I became obsessed with casting on and knitting with this yarn. (I included my cell phone for scale.) The yarn is from Woodland Woolworks, it's 8/2 cotton, and it's in their weaving catalog. (It's so thin they don't list it for knitting at all. But it comes in a million colors, and is really cheap, only $16 a pound for colors and $11 a pound for natural, which would make a lot of socks. I'll keep you posted on how it works for socks.) I have a pound of it. (I actually have almost 3 pounds, a pound each of black and grey and just under a pound of natural.) I bought it with the intention of doubling it to make a nice weight sock knit on size 1 needles (my normal sock knitting.) But yesterday I was gripped by the urge to cast-on and knit with it singly on my size 000 needles. I knit enough to discover that, yes, it will knit up ok on the 000s but would probably do better on the 0000s, and then came to my senses this morning and decided not to knit socks that required over 100 sts per round. I'll cast on double with the black and grey together maybe sometime later in the week. UPDATE: I just checked my Yarn Barn of Kansas catalog and they have the same 8/2 cotton in 1/2 pound put ups for less! Only $4.50 for natural and $7.25 for colors. Also 1 lb cones for $10.50 for colors. Watch this space for a review.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm Tired of Being Nice

I was kinda cranky and tired of being nice. I'm really tired of being nice and not even getting a simple acknowledgement that I'm being nice. You're not entitled to my politeness, ok people? I'm tired of letting other people go in front of me or stopping and letting the other car go (we have alot of narrow streets that allow parking on the side thereby squeezing the road to a single lane here) and getting back that "Well, I'm entitled" smirk in return. I think the best was the woman who sauntered into my way while I was rushing to get into the store and then was too busy mouthing off about me cutting her off "Well you could say excuse me!" to hear me saying "Excuse me". Arrrgh!

So I was fuming about the rudeness of others and how no one appreciates politeness or courtesy but just take it as their due and give nothing in return and then I saw a rainbow on my way home. Ok. I guess I can be nice. One more time. This one's for you Heather. Just what you wanted. So everyone go hug your kids and tell them you love them and they'd better be nice to that weird knitter lady with the flyaway grey hair because she's got some mighty pointy sticks!

Oh yeah, and the Socks in Socks look like this now.

That's a Forest Gump feather on them. It was there when I picked them up, honest!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Early to Bed

I'm trying to get to bed (and to sleep) early tonight. So of course my positioning myself horizontally prompted a parade of boys through my bedroom with last minute requests. Younger Son had almost a bit of a meltdown because he could not accompany me to work tomorrow for "Take Your Kid to Work" day. I explained that I would love to have him come to work with me, but that I needed a bit more lead time since I had to get my boss' permission first. And what's this with "Take Your Kid to Work"? This was supposed to be Take Our Daughters to Work" Day. Doesn't this whole generic "kid" thing defeat the original purpose of the day?? Why can't we have something special for girls? (Well aside from the great shoes.)

Anyways, here's the current Socks in Socks. I'm happy to report that in the bright light of day (well, at least what passes for it here in Pittsburgh -- right Heather?) this morning, I could not detect my repair from last night, so I must have done better than I thought. Even the wonky stitch seemed to have relaxed back into line with its compatriots overnight. I finished the ribbing and have started on the leg. Nothing much exciting until the heel. I'm considering working up a class/workshop for this technique. If enough people are interested, I could be teaching it at Steven's fiber festival next October. Also, I was thinking today (inspired by Heather's Worsted Weight Socks) that it would be easier to start off on bigger needles and worsted weight yarn. Also, much easier to see what you're doing if you're working with a self-striping yarn - with the stripes misaligned, of course. Hmmm, self-striping, worsted weight...Can you say Noro? I'm thinking I may have to get some to try this out. No violation of Knit From Your Stash here because a) It's sock yarn (even tho I've exempted myself from this loophole in other regards) and b) it's yarn I need for a specific project and c) If I give a pair away, they're gifts. I think I need to try out both the Kureyon and the Silk Garden. And maybe some Paton's Soy Wool Silk (just for comparison's sake, you understand) and maybe that new Keltic yarn I've been seeing in the catalogs. I bet I'll see some of that at MDS&W.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Night Off

I'm posting this post to say I'm taking a night off from posting on the blog. How's that for surreal? Kinda makes you thing of Waiting for Godot, doesn't it. Anyways, I'm pretty tired, and there's nothing to see here except more ribbing. Wait, wait..OK I just remembered, there is something to see. I messed up on the ribbing and have to fix. Hold on, I'll get my knitting and the camera...

Look! My socks are stuck together! Oh no! What will I do? Here's a closer shot of the joining. I'm not sure exactly what I did (I think I knit a stitch with the wrong yarn).
To fix it I find the offending stitch(es -- this time it was two) and follow them back up to the needle then pop them off and unravel to the joining. Separate everything out and ladder the stitch(es) back up to the needle. Easier said than done. After half an hour or so of wishing you hadn't started this when you were really tired and had poor lighting, you get this:
All the stitches back on their needles and just one wonky looking stitch in your ribbing, which you decide you can live with.

Monday, April 23, 2007

More Socks in Socks

I finished the "Stick a Sock In It" socks on Sunday. I handed them to Older Son, who immediately put them on his feet. They are in the laundry now. I really like the Star Toe. And (this is so cool!) as an added bonus because I knit one sock inside out -- the shaping on the toes are reversed -- the socks are right/left oriented. How cool is that?! Pictures after they've been washed, I swear!

Pictured here is the second pair of Socks in Socks. Again, I had trouble with the ribbing. This is (at least for me) the hardest part of the socks. Too bad it comes at the beginning. I'm going to keep making these until it becomes second nature to me. I love this murky guy-colored yarn, and I had two balls! Perfect for the technique at hand. These were a gift from my Other Secret Pal. I think they're perfect for this sock. I've modified by dropping down a needle size and casting on a few more stitches. Like I said, I'm going to keep at this until I've perfected it.

Thinking about MDS&W. I won't be buying (much) yarn. (I'm reserving the right to call this my "Get Out of Jail Free" purchase.) I've been doing the "Knit from Your Stash thing for 4 months now, and I have to say I'm not missing the new yarn. In fact, I'm a bit overwhelmed with projects still. Go figure. But I have to do some lace swatching/designing this summer so I will need some plain lace weight yarn at the very least for swatching (this is allowed under the "Knit from Your Stash" charter).

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Well, I have discovered the cause of my big ladders in the Stick a Sock In It socks. It's a geometry problem, as I thought. I'm not sure if I can adequately describe or picture it, but I'll have a go at it. Because I was purling, I was carrying my purl (facing) yarn up from underneath my right needle to purl the first stitch on my left needle. Because of this, no matter how tight I pulled the yarn, I was always wrapping it around the right hand needle, and the diameter of my needle was what was making the ladder.
BUT, if I pull the working yarn over my right hand needle to make the first stitch, I can snug it up right close to the previous stitch, with no needle in the way -- the ladders should disappear. I'll keep you posted. As with most things, when I finally paid attention to it and really looked, I was able to figure it out fairly easily. I'm knitting to the toes of these, and liking the technique more and more. If the Star Toe works out, this will become my preferred method of working plain socks, especially where I have two balls of yarn.

And check out the latest entries in the Walker Treasury Project. Some lovely lace leaves...

Nothing much else going on in my life. Getting ready for MDS&W/summer/college.

I wasn't going to mention it, but I can't help it, and one of the reasons I have this forum is to talk about things no one here listens to (which just happens to be knitting 90% of the time.) First off, NBC was wrong, wrong, wrong to go public with this "manifesto" and every news agency that picks it up is wrong as well. Hundreds (thousands?) of disturbed people are watching it and thinking "Yeah, all I have to do is shoot some people and they'll listen to me!! I'll can make them listen! I'll be famous, everyone will know who I am!" Duh... Let's make mass murder a ticket to celebrity. Second, every single bio of this guy mentions he was a victim of bullying. And not just any bullying. They say things like "frequent bullying", "common target for bullying", "severely bullied". When are the people who are entrusted with the care of our children going to grow up and face the reality of what the consequences of bullying are?? I hope the principal of this guy's high school spends some sleepless nights over this, because he/she definately deserves some of the blame.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

China See

Here is my line-up for summer reading. Apparently I'm in the midst of an obsession with China. I haven't been reading at all lately (the occasional article in a knitting magazine doesn't count) and I realised this week that I really miss it. So this evening I took an hour and spent it having dinner with a good book. It was wonderful, and I feel as refreshed as if I had a good night's sleep. I think I'm going to try and make this a weekly appointment.

I'm still knitting the Stick a Sock In It socks. Older Son has expressed an interest in them, and since his birthday is next month, and since I gave the last pair of hand knit socks to his brother, and since I haven't knit him anything else, I think he will get them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Here is Dave, off to mail our tax returns. I'ts only 10 PM, which is decidedly early for us. We owed, so there was no point in sending them in any sooner.

In knitting news, I'm knitting to the toes on the Stick a Sock In It socks. Pretty boring. I keep wanting to stop people and show them how cool it is to knit two socks at once. I rode a different bus from work and I just wanted to stand up and shout "Excuse me! But I'm knitting two socks at the same time on the same needles here, and it's really hard!" I guess I'm just not feeling the appropriate awe and amazement from the guys here. Philistines.

And finally, I'll leave you with this miraculous photo. While making myself some toast and marmelade (Rose's Key Lime marmelade, which is extremely yummy) I spooned out my marmelade and it formed a perfect bunny! Look, he's reaching out his paw. (It's a week late for Easter, though or I would have considered contacting the local news.) I called everyone into the kitchen to look at it. What does it mean? We all marvelled at it (Dave suggested the photo) and then I ate it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Good Turn

Here is the current state of the Stick a Sock In It Socks. Over the weekend, I managed to turn the heel (rather painlessly) and have worked the gusset. If you look closely, you will see that the surface showing is reverse stockinette. The two socks here are being knit right sides facing. Or, to put it another way, one is being knit inside-out. Here is a picture of the "inside sock" (the needles prevent me from opening up the socks completely.)
Why one inside out? Here's where I differ from the instructions I started with. Call me picky, but I see no point in this technique if it doesn't gain you anything. If it's not faster, or provide a benefit to offset the the extra time and effort, why bother? Then it truly is a knitting parlor trick, good for nothing but showing off. Ok for some, but not really my style. If you read the instructions you'll see that the two yarns used are separated on either side of the needle. One is already in a position to purl, and one to knit. So why not work them that way? The instructions have you knitting with both, a feat which involves moving the working yarn for the facing (outside) sock from front to back to front again every time you work one of these stitches (every other stitch), thereby increasing your time and effort by about 2.5. And why? Reverse stockinette (all purl) works as well as stockinette. So I decided to just purl every round for my facing sock, and knit it inside out. I also changed the heel, the instructions are for a short row heel, but I'm more familiar with a heel flap, so that's what I did. Decreasing is a snap, as long as you remember the purl equivalents to K2TOG and SSK. Decreases are worked very similar to cabling without a cable needle -- just have to rearrange the stitches before working them. I think I'm going to do a Star Toe shaping, and that way I can finish the pair off without having to separate the stitches (I believe, I'm going to have to try it out.) The one problem I see is that the outside sock ladders horribly at needle changes, and I haven't been able to solve this yet. I believe it's because of the extra distance between stitches (there's another stitch in the way). I'm working on possible solutions.
My final opinion on this technique is that I like it for plain stockinette socks (the majority of the socks I knit) and worked my way there is only a very slight decrease in efficiency (after an initial learning curve, of course). This is offset by the fact that both socks will be absolutely the same size, always. (This is something I've struggled a bit with in the past, as Older Son pointed out to me when I was expounding on the technique to my captive(ated) family in the car on a recent outing.) In my opinion -- it's worth it.
On a knitting difficulty scale of 1(easy)-5(really, really hard), this is definately a 5. I wouldn't say it's beyond an adventurous beginner, but they have to be willing to "try, try, again" to get it right. Prerequisites would be knitting with two yarns (colors), a thorough knowledge of sock construction (you've got to be able to make one inside out), and cabling without a cable needle.

In non-knitting news, it's Heather's Birthday! I may be giving away some State secrets here, but I'll reveal that she's over 25. Go wish her many happy returns on the day!

And finally, here's a picture of Older Son getting ready to present his Senior Project (which he did great on, btw!) He's tying his own ties, and he shaves now [sniff] Where'd my baby go?!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Knitters 1, Rude Store Managers 0

I've been waiting to post about this since last week. I wanted to work it out privately first, before posting here. (Although I think that all three people who read my blog were there!) Anyways, last week at our knitting group the manager at the bookstore was pretty rude to us.
We arrived to find that the staff had set up a table and folding chairs for us, and had removed the regular chairs that were normally in the space we meet. We weren't really thrilled, but whatever. But then, when Carly and her guy Taylor brought back one of the chairs this guy came over and made a nasty remark to us about it. (He asked us not to "steal the chairs", although he later denied saying it.) Well, I got a bit steamed, and asked him why the chairs were removed from our use. He claimed there had been complaints about not being able to get to the bookcases (blatantly not true) and then proceeded to say that allowing our group to meet there was "a privilege, not a given." He kept repeating that the store had to "consider customers", even though I kept repeating to him that we were all proven customers, and that we spent $$ in the store every time we met there. It just wasn't getting through. So I left determined to speak to the head manager this week. (Zeeppo spoke to him earlier in the week and reported that he was completely unapologetic about the incident, so I was prepared for battle. Literally. I had flyers ready to pass out in which I implied the store personnel were Nazis. My husband said he was embarrassed to be associated with me.) After evading my calls for a few days, I finally managed to speak to the head manager this morning. I don't know if Zeeppo or someone else who was there got to him, or if Dave warned him I was on a rampage, or what; but when I spoke to him he was completely apologetic. He apologized for the guy's behavior last week, told me the guy was "completely wrong to say that," and even went so far as to say "I think he was frustrated with dealing with the teenagers in the store and took it out on you. Which was definately wrong and he absolutely should not have done." Now, I don't think everything is all sweetness and light. The guy obviously wasn't happy about having to apologize to me, and it was very apparent to me that he's not thrilled with having our group meeting in his store. So we'll discuss options when we meet next week. BUT, it was also obvious to me that he recognized that we were not to be trifled with, and furthermore he definately had the sound of a man doing something he really didn't want to do but that he knew he HAD to do it. So whatever the reason, Mr. Store Manager realized that KNITTERS are a force unto themselves. Yeah! We represented!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Random Acts of Knitting

Because I know you're dying to see it -- here's the current progress on the Stick a Sock In It socks. It's six rounds of, as you can plainly see in the photo, two completely separate socks being knit on the same needles. I'm getting the hang of it (my progress was a bit slowed by the fact that I had to learn how to purl Continental-style. Up till now I had only knit in this style and only used it for two-handed Fairisle projects. Now I can purl. I do it Eastern uncrossed, if you're keeping score.)

Today's blog title comes from the woman I saw on the trolley who was knitting an absolutely gorgeous shawl. She was doing the edging, which had points. That was about all I could see, other than the fact that it was brown. It got me thinking (because if you've been keeping up, I take public transportation every day) about the knitting we do in public and the effect it has on other people. Who knows who you could inspire? The next Elizabeth Zimmermann or Kaffe Fassett (who has teamed with Regia to create some self patterning sock yarns).

Hey, Sockapalooza 4! Anyone want to sign up?

In non-knitting news, I had to take my dad for an injection today. He's had some health problems lately. Because he's old, but the doctors don't want to say that. They skirt around it and try to be polite, but that's the long and short of it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Here's today's progress on the Sock In a Sock project. I've completed my cast-on, joined, and knit 1/3 of my stitches. That was on my morning commute. (I talked to my sis on the way home, so no knitting.) I love the bus, by the way. Currently it's the only knitting time I get. How does everyone else cope? Seriously, I get up at 5:00 AM and I'm going pretty much non-stop from there. I've decided to go keep going until 9:00 PM (16 hours); I found that sitting down to relax at 7:00 (only 14 hours!) just wasn't getting it done. That's almost constant -- the only "breaks" I get are a few minutes in the morning to eat breakfast, I allow myself a half hour to eat dinner, and the bus ride. What am I doing wrong? I'm so tired. I was complaining about this to my boss -- "I need to see the doctor, there's something wrong with me, I'm exhausted after only 12-13 hours, I need to keep going for 15-16 hours." She just looked at me like I was nuts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Our Continuing Saga

In which Laurie knits for hours and hours and ends up with this to show for it:

Which is the cast-on (and not completed yet either) for two socks knit at the same time. (And if you follow the link, you'll see that I don't mean on two circs, or however those cheaters do it. I mean two, one inside the other.) I decided to sit myself down and master this "knitting parlor trick" as I've so often referred to it. So Sunday whilst watching several episodes of Star Trek (The Gamesters of Triskelion,Bread and Circuses, A Piece of the Action,Spock's Brain, Tholian Web, A Private Little War,By Any Other Name, and The Omega Glory)and a movie (Happy Feet) I struggled with casting on and knitting the ribbing. Unfortunately, the hardest part is casting on and ribbing. We've had several false starts. But I thing I'm definately getting the hang of it now. I probably would be farther along, but while knitting on the bus on the way home I was jostled and lost a couple of stitches, and couldn't pick them back up. But the good news is when I ripped it all out, my two socks were completely separate!

And in other knitting news, here are the "glamour shots" of the skeins I dyed last week with Heather. First up is "Spritzed Yarn",
then "Crock Pot Yarn" (which looks alot more like "Spritzed Yarn" than I believed.) and finally,
my absolute favorite, the "How Green is Your Valley" yarn.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Weekend Recap

Well, the holiday weekend didn't get off to a great start. I got a call from my dad Thursday when I got home, saying that his doctor had called and he had to go to the hospital the next day (Good Friday) for a blood transfusion. That was all he could remember. I went over to see him and take care of some stuff and then just as I got home he called me again and said we had to be at the hospital the next day at 7:00 (AM!!) So on my day off I dragged my butt out of bed at my usual 5 AM, got ready, and went to pick up my dad and drive him to the hospital. We were there until almost 4:30 in the afternoon. So I grabbed some dinner, picked up CQ (she lives right up the street) and went to knitting. (Still hadn't been home!) That may explain my run-in with the staff, or maybe not. More on that maybe later.
By the time I got home I was wretched, cold, and miserable. So the only thing to do was put on some hand knit socks and go to bed. (These are, btw, the first socks I ever knit with self-patterning sock yarn.)

Saturday CQ and I went to check out a new yarn store. I think Heather went too, but not with us. It was only their second day in business. I purchased a little something from them (I have to support a new yarn store!) that I'm not going to talk about right now, and an Addi lace needle because I have to do some lace swatching and knitting. I really like this store, and plan to go back. They had lots of really nice yarn, and they're really close (right on Route 19 near Donaldson's Crossroads -- across from the Giant Eagle, if you know where that is.) Also, coincidentally, my brother-in-law just purchased a house right around the corner from it. Anyways, they had...Are you ready for this? A closet with shelves of.....SPOTTY YARN! And it's alpaca, too. I want to make a sweater out of all of this yarn (or maybe a blanket). I did get to some knitting on Sunday, but I think I'll cover that tomorrow. 6+ hours and I'm still at the cast-on. But I think I made progress!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I'm back. I had connectivity issues yesterday, and then got very sleepy. I fell asleep shortly after 7:00 and slept through until this morning. I had a great day yesterday, I had to take off and take my dad to a doctor's appointment, and after that was done I called Heather and met up with her and her son for lunch and then some knitting. I made her knit on her cardigan for herself. A very enjoyable day!

On the way home from Heather's I stopped at the bookstore (I was driving right past, and I remembered I had a gift certificate in my bag). Apparently Harlequin has jumped onto the knitting bandwagon. (Does anyone else feel it was only a matter of time before Harlequin or someone like them wrote a romance novel with this title?)

Winter has returned here. It was almost 80 on Tuesday, and it looked like spring was finally here last weekend. I awoke this morning to snow.
Here are the same daffodils today. Lovely, eh?

And finally, I've completed the first of my socks, and cast-on the second of this pair. They are a birthday gift for the Elder Celting. I think they may be too big, but he's a boy. He'll grow into them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


First things first. I took advantage of actually being home when it was light outside and took this picture of my current work in progress in "natural" light. (As apposed to the washed out over exposed flash pictures I usually present here in the blog.) I noticed that all the really good bloggers use natural light. I'm trying to improve myself. (Is it working yet?) I'm obviously working on some socks. Love the colors in this yarn. The clear red and that glowing yellow just suck me in. Not too keen on the way it knits up, but you can't have everything, can you?

If you look closely on the right in the picture you can see a long-lost Secret Project. I had lost one of them when it was half completed. (I thought I left it on the bus.) Not a huge loss, I had more yarn, and was able to complete my Secret Project (which was a gift) no problem. But still, I had to re-do all that work. So of course today I looked down while getting ready and thought "What's that on the floor half under the bed?" The fact that it took me almost two weeks to find it doesn't say much for my housekeeping skills. But, in my defense, my bedroom has very poor lighting (I'm always leaving the house wearing a black skirt and navy tights/shoes or vice versa) and this yarn just melds right into the patterning on my bedspread and bed skirt. In fact, I picked it up and put it on the bed and then had trouble finding it again. And, too, there was a basket of laundry there that I was (finally) putting away this morning and moved out of the way a bit. But then we're right back to me and my dodgey housekeeping again. I'm glad to have it back, if only because with the yarn used for it I now have two full skeins of Koigu and can knit myself a pair of socks.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Skein, Skein, Skein, Skein of Love

First things first. Heather, Celtic Queen and I went to see Yarn Harlot and have her sign our books on Friday. I missed most of her speech, as I was otherwise occupied with one of the sons. But I did get her to sign my book, and to talk to her, and CQ and I presented her with some swag.

Which she seemed genuinely excited about, as only a knitter could truly be. (They were knitter themed items.) We got to hold the sock, too.

Yesterday, I met up with Heather and we did some food coloring/Easter egg dyeing. (That's Heather's skein. Notice how neat it looks?)

Here's my skein. See the mess?
We had a couple of cute helpers, too. (Notice I made a bigger mess than the boys.)
Here are my first two skeins, that I tried to rainbow dye in my crockpot by crushing Easter egg dye tablets and sprinkling the powder on the yarn, then adding just enough water to cover. I used six different tablets. The water turned brown. The skeins are kinda brown too. I've heard people say this works. Obviously I'm not a believer. The skeins are ok, but definately not what I was going for.

Next up my attempt at a self-striper. I need to work on my winding off technique for this. I wound off sections of 6-24 yards of yarn and dyed them yellow-green, green, and turquoise. The yarn was brown to begin with. I think this may have actually worked, but I'll need to untangle the skein to find out.

Finally, my "Spritzer" yarn. The guys helped with this. I was trying to go for a spotty yarn (you know how I am about the spotty yarn), the guys and I used spray bottles to spritz color on the skeins. The colors bled and merged during the dyeing so they're not really spots anymore, but don't they look great?? It makes me think of a watercolor of a field of flowers.