Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another Day

Another pair of socks knitted. Yep, it's another completed project every day here at Still My Life, With Knitting. These are the Cotton Socks. Pattern coming Tomorrow! (Or thereabouts) But here are the highlights. Yarn, 8/2 cotton (unmercerized) held double -- two colors here, grey and black. Size 1 needles. Notice the toes on these -- much better, IMHO, than the blocky grafted toes on the Jaywalkers from yesterday. And the ribbing, a good way to make a nice comfortable, stretchy sock from an inelastic yarn. I'm going to wash these up over the weekend, we'll see what a trip through the washer and dryer does for them.

I'm excited for Knitting Knite tomorrow. Hopefully Heather will be able to make it. We haven't seen her in weeks. Something about not wanting to leave the kids home alone. Whatever. They were sleeping anyways. (Personally, I would have just brought my kids and made them sleep at B&N. But that's just me. My kids were the ones trying to lie down and sleep on a sidewalk in London.) I know CQ will be there, because I'm driving her. And Carly says she's coming with her new knitting friend, and hopefully we'll see Zeepo and his wife, so we should have a good crowd. Knitting, conversation, a good excuse not to be working...what more could you ask for? I know, coffee, but they have that over in the cafe.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Once in a Blue Moon

I will have once again finished two socks this week. This time they will both make a pair.
First up, the second Jaywalker. I'm very pleased with the pair, they fit great (I made the larger size) and the color really is awesome. It looks so much better knitted up than it did in the skein. Warm wool socks! Just in time for the 90 degree weather!
Next up my first pair of cotton socks. They match my laptop so well, don't they? I only have 8 more (increasingly smaller) rounds to finish these up, so they should get done tomorrow. Two pairs of socks in a week. How often does that happen?

In other stuff, I'm beginning planning and preparation for a graduation party for Older Son. I should have done some work towards it tonight, but exhaustion and pain got the better of me and I got sucked into watching too many episodes of Stargate SG-1 with the guys. (Season 3 was OS's birthday gift.) Family bonding and getting to sit on my butt or lots of hard work and sweating. Hmmmm, how's that one going to fall out?? But I really have to focus on getting the work done.

And finally, from my last post, Holly -- Kathy Sierra is/was a tech blogger who was subjected to death threats and threats of sexual violence both in the comments of her own blog and in other blogs. This included graphic (photoshopped) photos of her and posting her personal information (name, address, social security number). CNN and the New York Times picked up the story last month. She has closed down her blog and cancelled public speaking engagements because of safety concerns. The owners of the blogs in question claim they don't know who made the posts, but it was someone with author rights (which they had to have granted). Everyone involved seems to be saying that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and we can't just brush it off because it's "only on-line".

Friday, May 25, 2007


My neighbors are setting off firecrackers as I type, and let me tell you, that's how I feel about the upcoming long weekend. Here's the latest on the Jaywalker progress. I have shaped the heel and am starting on the gusset. I love me a good heel gusset. This sock will be put away until Monday when I go to my MiL's for the family Memorial Day cookout. I'll be working on the Cotton Socks until then. (And catching up on the TiVo watching. And maybe some Star Wars movies) Maybe I'll get both these socks done this weekend. And then what? I'm thinking some baby things, maybe.

I've been commissioned to repair an heirloom crocheted blanket that was eaten by a dog. I have not as yet seen the damaged article, nor accepted the commission. I simply said I would take a look and give my opinion. But I hear that the blanket is made up of crocheted squares and the damaged/missing portion is at the seam/edge of a square(s), so it may be fix-able. We'll see.

Finally, coming late to the party (again) I just read about the whole Kathy Sierra ordeal. I think there's something about an anonymous (or what people believe is anonymous) forum that can bring out the worst in people. And if you believe it "can't happen in the knitting community" let me tell you it can. About 10 years ago when I was just starting out in the on-line community I joined a couple of knitting mailing lists. In one of them (for charity knitting, no less!) I made a casual remark about a national charity. Unbeknownst to me, there was some behind the scenes issues going on between the owner of the list and this charity and I happened to walk into the middle of it. Let me say at the outset that the remark I made was A) True (I did my research!) and B) Complimentary (I said they were doing good work!). Well. SOMEONE at this charity decided that they didn't like what I'd said or (more likely) the forum I'd said it in and called me at my home (!) to threaten me and my family. Think about that a minute. All this guy had was my FIRST name (not even my last!) and the city I lived in so he had to actually put a fair amount of effort into TRACKING ME DOWN. Kinda scary. But it gets worse! I looked up the national headquarters of this charity and contacted them because I thought they should know what some crackpot was doing to their reputation only to be told by the woman I spoke with that yes, they knew who had called me, and that yes, he did work for them and that they stood by the threats he had made. Well, at that point I hung up and contacted the police. (And yes, the charity is still around, still purporting to do "Christian" work. Every time I see it mentioned in a knitting magazine it makes me want to throw something.) I guess my point in all this is that you can never be too careful. Be smart, don't give out too much personal information, and be ready to go to the police if necessary. I agree that when it threatens your life, your livelihood, or your safety (or your family's) it's not "free speech". And just because a forum is anonymous, that doesn't mean it's a free for all.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Best Laid Plains

Because of longer than expected commuting today, I am already at the heel of my second Jaywalker. So what will be my next carry-along project? I'm seeing an end in sight here. I have to make Older Son some graduation socks. There's also the Languishing Lopi-Like sweater (hereafter dubbed the LLL Sweater). And I need baby things. Did you see Yarn Harlot's rainbow baby sweater? $160?? No way, not when I have all that Easter Egg dye and undyed yarn laying around. Which brings me to, what about this long weekend? Sounds ripe for some dyeing to me! I might break out the hemp and maybe a t-shirt and tie one one. (Sounds bad, doesn't it?) And there's Older Son's sweater and vest I have the yarn for, and something for Younger Son, all that Noro I bought at the end of December, the navy yarn I got last summer, lace...the list goes on. And remember, I'm knitting from stash here. I think I could go another year from the stash (but I won't).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thank You For Your Support

Thank you for the kind words on my latest socks. All I can think of when I look at the picture is...Gosh, I have big feet.
I have been working on my mates, too. Here's the second Jaywalker. I both love this yarn and the pattern. I think I will rework the next pair I make with my new favorite Star Toe shaping. I'm thinking Rainbow Trekking yarn, Celtic Queen. And I think I definately need to get you a skein or two of this yarn colorway for Celting socks. It is so their colors. (I told CQ last Friday, if the Celtings had a national flag, it would be these colors.) I myself am tempted to go out and buy a pair of Crocs to match in order to showcase them to their best advantage.
And the cotton socks. I included the cones with the second sock so you can see how much I have left. Do you think it's enough??? The next pair of these are going to be for Dave. And TKR you could so totally make socks. I'll show you at our next Knit Knite. (Bring sock yarn and size 1 or 2 double points.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Two Socks

I've completed two socks. They don't however, happen to make a pair. My first Jaywalker and my first Cotton Sock. I'm still really liking this Cotton Sock. I think I'll make this sock pattern my June pattern of the month. (I know, I know, I haven't gotten the May pattern up yet. Still working on it.) And I'm liking the Star Toe for socks, much better than my old standard grafted toe.

In other news, today had been a good day. Work was good, my commute home was exceptionally good, and this evening has gone very well. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Somewhere some poor person is having all my bad luck. Or maybe my bad luck has run out! I've been watching alot of Mary Tyler Moore, maybe that's the secret. The positive attitude is rubbing off on me, like some kind of sit-com magic lamp...

Monday, May 21, 2007

This Could Be a Sign You've Eaten Too Much Birthday Cake

There I was, snarfing down the last of the birthday cake when I got some icing on my hand. I was going to lick it off when I saw this:

Older Son's birthday went well.
I presented him with his socks on his birthday morning, which he wore immediately. We took him out to dinner on Friday. Saturday we went to a movie and lunch, then had cake and ice cream with my dad.
Older Son is getting set to blow out his candles. Yeah, there's a cake and a big cookie there. OS doesn't like cake (No one who knows me and my predilection for cake can believe this. I think it was when Dave dropped him on his head when he was a baby.) Yesterday we finally got around to giving him his gift and he asked "Where are we going out to celebrate my birthday today?" Yeah, it's not just a birthday, it's a week-long birthday extravaganza around here.

On to the knitting content. By stint of carrying it with me virtually everywhere and knitting on it almost all the time, I have gotten this far on my first Jaywalker sock. I also finished the first of the cotton socks (not pictured) which fits me and which I really like.
And finally, I won a contest over at Steel City Knitter's and got this fabulous sock yarn. I love the colors. Although I'm tempted by more Socks in Socks, I'm thinking I'll use this yarn to make Pomatomus. I've been wanting to make it for a long time, but didn't have the perfect yarn. This yarn reminds me of tropical water and the pattern makes me think of ripples on water. A perfect match, I'd say. Thanks again, SCK!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Miss Me?

I fell asleep last night before I could blog, which is a Good Thing. I've been having trouble sleeping lately, so I'm happy and feel pretty good considering it's a Thursday. However. I finished the knitting on the Socks in Socks and was going to show you my amazing finishing off of the toes and the dramatic reveal of the completed pair. Well. I completed the knitting on the bus ride to work -- then looked up and spied my friend and fellow fiber enthusiast Beverly (I'd been so engrossed in the knitting I hadn't spotted her until then) and proceeded to have an animated discussion about knitting and crocheting over the girl sitting between us (who did not seem entirely thrilled about it) until it was time to get off the bus. I told myself the weaving in and out of ends was too fiddly for the bus, anyways.
Then I started a NEW Project at work (when I should have been doing other things like paying bills and returning phone calls) because well, that weaving of toes WAS very fiddly, and I needed something to work on on the T and bus ride to my dad's and back after work. (Jaywalkers with Trekking XXL). So when I finally got around to the poor neglected Socks in Socks I pulled them out of the knitting bag and lost a needle. After much cursing and frustration (did I mention what a B&*%$ it is to pick up dropped stitches with this technique? No room at all between the needles) I just ripped out all the needles and separated the two. Here's the Inner Sock all done.
The Outer Sock...Well, as you can see it's still a work in progress. I had to rip back quite a way to get all the stitches straightened out. But I did, and it's progressing nicely enough in it's backwards way (purling on the far needle in the round, because of the inside out construction.) I will either finish up tonight or tomorrow morning early and present to the Birthday Boy (who will be 18 at 1:17 AM precisely) first thing in the morning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spritzy Yarn Seeks Perfect Soul Mate

I am knitting the toe decreases on the latest and greatest Socks in Socks. There should be no problem in getting these done for the big day on Friday. We will have a small celebration on the day, and our main family celebration on Saturday when we will go see Spiderman III (Older Son's choice) and have lunch. It has become a family tradition to celebrate birthdays by going to see a movie first thing on the Saturday closest to the birthday and then lunch at the birthday celebre's choice of eating establishment. I think it will be Pizza Hut. Can you believe I'm the mother of an 18 year old? I told a friend it doesn't seem like it's been 18 years, but it does feel like I've had 18 years sucked out of me... I will be happy to be done with these socks, though. Because of the small needle size (0s) the knitting is tight, and I'm feeling it in my hands. And quite frankly I'm tired of the murky man colors. Good thing I can look up and see this
waiting for a project to do it justice. This is my spritzer yarn, and the more I look at it the more I like it. Here's another shot. (Blurry, but you can see the color blending)
I have two skeins and am in search of the perfect project for them.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend Knitting

My weekend knitting was spent working on my cotton socks (at home). I've turned the heel, and I am still really liking this knitting with the two strands of cotton yarn. It's a tiny bit stiff, and a little sleazy* for my taste; but I think that when I'm done and throw them in the washer and dryer they will both shrink and soften right up and be the perfect cotton socks! I'm not sure who these are destined for, final dispensation will be determined by shrinkage. Once I have that figured out I'll be able to size future pairs appropriately to the recipient.

We spent Mother's Day at my Mother in Law's. Everyone goes over for a work day, doing chores for her that she's unable to do for herself. Since I'm a mother too, my chore was to sit on the couch and knit. So I worked on my Socks in Socks. They are ready for me to start the toe shaping tomorrow. Which is good, because they are meant to be Birthday Socks for Older Son and the big day is Friday.

*I was explaining to Heather last week that this word is used in its correct context here, that being a too open, loosely constructed (flimsy) fabric or yarn.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Greener Me

If you've been following along, you may remember that I've been taking public transportation not only to and from work this month, but also to and from my dad's. This involves two T trips and a bus to get from my dad's house to mine. The trip from home to work is one bus ride, and from work to my dad's one T ride. But because of construction and timing, the same leg of the trip that would take one T ride from my dad's normally now takes two (and will until November). But amazingly (and I may be the only person in Pittsburgh affected this way) the construction has actually helped me get home in that every bus I could possibly take home stops at the stop I'm waiting at, not just the most frequent but takes longer to get me home bus. Also, surprisingly, time wise it's a wash. I could take the bus home and drive to my dad's every day and then drive home, but I'd still get home for good at the same time. This way I save money, and I'm burning less fossil fuels. Also, I get to knit! For about an extra hour to an hour and a half a day! But it's not all good, I really miss Kai Ryssdal (Whew, I just saw his pic for the first time. I'm glad he's not butt ugly, he has such a hunky voice. This is why I don't like to see radio people.) I think this means I have to get an ipod and download the podcast to listen to on the T. But anyways, I'm feeling super virtuous and all "Earth Goddess-y" now because I'm not driving around polluting. Just don't ask me to give up the air conditioner this summer and no one gets hurt. Hey--it's not like it's whole house air conditioning, it's just my bedroom. The boys can deal with the heat, they're young.
So in that same vein, I present to you the dye I bought at MDS&W to dye all that hemp/cotton yarn I bought a couple years ago for 50 cents a skein. It's hemp! It's renewable! Yea! Soon it will be dyed red, yellow, blue, and some funky variations in between. Could be spotty! And we could do some tye-dyeing of t-shirts, too. And to end on a colorful note, here's the multi cotton I got to make socks for me. Two cones, seems perfect to me. These are manageable enough that I may make them bus knitting.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fast Forward to Summer

It appears that we have moved right into summer after only two and a half weeks of spring. Temps in the mid-80s today. With all due respect to you beach babies, I'm feeling kinda miserable. The transition was a little too quick, I think. Not enough time for my blood to thin out. Here is the current Sock in a Sock project. As you can see, I've turned the heel, finished the gusset and am on the long back stretch to the toe. I see CQ is trying to finagle Julia to sell her yarn to make her own Sock in a Sock socks (it works best with self striping yarn.) Speaking of which, take a look at the socks above. I wanted stripes that didn't match up. No prob, I never ever take the time to match my stripes for socks, just pull out the end of the skein and start knitting. So when I really want the mismatched stripes, what happens? For the first time in my life, two skeins are exactly matched in their striping sequence at the beginning of the skeins. Yeah, that's my luck.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Where Are They??

I'm still trying to hold on to the fibery feelings from the weekend. But it's tough. I worked ten hours yesterday, and what with the public transportationing to my dad's and all, I didn't get home until 9:45. I was a little tired. And everywhere I went I was surrounded by people with mucous issues. Snork, hawk, spit, over and over and over. Ewww. Tonight it worked better -- I figure it's only about 20 minutes longer doing it this way, and I'm being productive by knitting. I'm now past the gusset in the Socks in Socks. I'm trying to sort out my decreases. I think I might have the pattern perfected on the next pair. Part of the problem, of course, is that you can't see the socks, not really. Just the inside of them. And too, there's very little room to work between the two socks. A dropped stitch is a nightmare to pick up.
Anyways. Here are my Cotton Socks. I try to knit a round on them every day (in the morning while I watch the news). It's about all I have time for.

But back to trying to hold on to the fibery goodness. What sticks with me are the people, and how great it was to be surrounded by so many other people who get it. I really believed the woman who said she made enough money from her spinning wheel to pay her utilities, and I really want to believe Carol Leigh, that I would recoup the price of my tri-loom if I sold 2 shawls. (But really, the thing cost almost $300.) Where the heck are these people who are willing to pay over $150 for a shawl? Or even to buy my handspun? I really need to find them, because I want that fiberful kind of existence.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Back to Reality

Well, after a lovely weekend in Maryland, it was back to work today. Maryland was great! Celtic Queen and I were there both Saturday and Sunday. Here are some highlights:

This is the line(s) for Socks That Rock. CQ waited in it, and ended up with 2 skeins. Note there are 2 lines there, one to get into the booth to see the yarn, and another one to actually pay for the yarn. I was not purchasing any STR. (They didn't have any of the colorways I wanted anyways.)
Here is the line to purchase T-shirts. I was going to wait in it while CQ was purchasing her STR, but when I saw how long it was I opted for sitting on a bench and knitting. I ended up getting alot of natural/white yarn at Little Barn with some dyeing experiments in mind. I also got some silk caps to spin and some more 8/2 cotton for making socks (it was only $6.50 a pound!!) I got some navy and gold (blue and gold are Older Son's college colors, so guess what he's getting for his graduation gift?) Also some dark green, rust, and some bright candy variegated just for me. Hmmmm, what else? Oh yeah, a 7' Tri-loom! I've been looking at them for 10 years now and finally decided to go for it. But I did not get the Schacht wheel, even though I tried one and it spins like a champ! I was sorely tempted!!
After shopping all day CQ and I were pretty tired, so we stopped and knit on some Red Scarves and relaxed.

Here's all our loot in the back of the van:

And the trip was even better because I got to see my sister and we got to stay with my best friend from high school who runs the greatest four star flop house within striking distance of MDS&W. We're already planning for next year.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Saved by the Library

I forgot my knitting today. No knitting on my extra-long commute. I was saved in the morning by sitting and chatting with my friend Janice. I was sorely tempted to go to the yarn store at lunch and get some yarn and needles for my extra-long commute home. But then a flash of brilliance struck and I went to the library and checked out the book I'm reading at home (and my luck was in -- they had a copy). So I read and my stash resolution is saved.
But no knitting today. My socks in Socks are at the heel flap.
Look! you can see right through. And because I have to push for more (we can make it better, stronger, faster) I am working this heel in my usual slip stitch pattern (I just did straight stockinette on the first one.)

Otherwise, I'm struggling to get the excitement up for MDS&W. I promised CQ I'd go, so I'm going. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably just skip this weekend. Too much to do -- the lawn is about as high as an elephant's eye and no one else here feels compelled to do anything about it. And I have to find stuff. Stuff I was told was one place but that I find now when I need it that it is not. And OF COURSE no one knows where it really is. So that means a major search, and since I'm really the only one impacted here....Well. This could take months.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New! And Improved!

I'm trying out new things this month. First off my blog. In an effort to generate more blog traffic (and, I have to sheepishly admit, to fan my fantasies about garnering a book deal), I've decided to post a monthly free pattern here. At least for the next year (maybe longer, we'll see how it goes), I'll put up a free pattern here at the blog every month. This month's selection is the Fleur de Lis Scarf. A perfect introduction to the Fairisle knitting technique and the answer to the common knitting dilemma of "I want my scarf to have vertical stripes, but I don't want a million stitches in a row." I will try to style it a bit more for the pattern photo. Here's how I see it, I'll publish the patterns as .pdf files, and store them on my webpage, with thumbnails here if I can work it out. I've got some things to set up, so have a little patience with me.

My other change is my evening routine. I've decided to cut down on my carbon emissions (no, I'm not cutting beans from our diets) by utilizing more public transportation. So starting today I took the T to my dad's and then walked over a mile to catch the bus that takes me almost home, then caught another bus to take me the rest of the way home. I'm undecided. The whole trip took the better part of an hour and a half to make what is normally a 25 minute car trip. Most of this extra time was spent walking to the bus stop/home (25 minutes and 10 minutes) and waiting for buses (15 and 10 minutes), so my actual riding time was the same. And I do need the exercise. Tomorrow I will see if taking the T back to town and then catching the bus home is more efficient time-wise. I'm kind of hoping it's not too far off because I think the bus I caught may be about to be eliminated. (That's the way my luck runs.)