Friday, June 22, 2007

What's in a Name?

Last year for Christmas I gifted my friend Heather with some yummy green cashmere yarn, because she's a terrific person and she likes me, I think, rather more than I deserve. A good quality in a friend. Anyways, I said, "I'll design a shawl pattern for it." And she took me up on it.
I decided that I would base the design on...heather (the plant) and I would use heather yarn to knit my test version. (KnitPicks Shadow in either Lost Lake Heather or Oregon Coast Heather. I'm leaning more towards Lost Lake Heather at the moment) because, well using a yarn with "Heather" in the name amuses me. I'm like that. I was initially thinking more "stole" than "shawl", but in an impromptu survey of myself, Celtic Queen and Heather, I found that although I preferred rectangular stoles, CQ liked a round/square shawl, and Heather liked triangular shawls. So a triangle it was. And also, Heather really likes knitted leaves. The yarn is green, so why not a leaf theme to the shawl? Sounds perfect. So, I poured over lace pattern books on my own and with Heather and I think I'm about ready to start swatching. As soon as I order my yarn. But here's the thing. As I was thinking about the shawl...well it's all about Heather and leaves. But I don't want to call it that. Because, if you know her, well, she doesn't really like here all that much. Now, I can so totally understand the need to have something to gripe about. No one's life is perfect, and sometimes you just need to vent a little and complaining about the crummy weather/mean people/lack of decent local wine where you live is not a bad way to go. But as I told her last week, when she says these things it makes me a little afraid she might move away. My weird superstitious-ness makes me think that if I start putting those two words together....So this is just the HEATHER shawl. It has a LEAF theme. Got it?

On the baby knitting front, I've completed the second front of my latest Devan sweater, and cast-on the first sleeve. As you can see, I'm making no effort to match sides here. I like the randomness of the stripe pattern of this yarn. With some effort, I could get this done by next weekend.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

We Didn't Start the Fire

Happy Solstice! Is your bonfire lit? I called Celtic Queen (as I do on all the Sabbats I can remember) to ask her if she's having a bonfire in the backyard. I always threaten to come for the dancing and celebrating. I don't know why, but imagining the neighbors' reaction to a solstice celebration in the backyard never gets old for me.

Moving on to knitting stuff. I finished up the white baby set, sewed all the seams, tidied up all the ends, and promptly tossed it aside. It's on to bigger and brighter things for me! Yes, that's another Devan sweater. That makes five! I started at lunch and I've finished the left front an cast-on the right. (Bus and Stargate knitting!) I really do love this pattern, though. This time, puffed up with my success in creating the White Baby pants, I'm going to make matching pants. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Still Here

I'm still here. I just got off the phone with Celtic Queen and she pointedly asked "Are you going to update your blog?" So I'll take that as mandate from my public. (Hey, take what you can get, right?) I've been crazy busy at work. I've got a big project that I feel I have the responsibility to finish up before I leave, and then there are all the meetings so that we can make sure there are people who can do the things that I do when I'm gone. (There aren't.) So there's that to do too. I've been keeping busy. Mostly watching Stargate Season 4 (Dave's Father's Day gift) with the guys. But I've done a little knitting. I love these little pants. I designed them otf to match the little sweater. You can't see it, but there's a little short row section on the bum to go over the diaper. How cute is that? I put the ruler in so you can see the size of the outfit. It's sized for a 5-8 pound baby, a true newborn size. I'm going to make some booties and a little cap and call it done.

I did a little spinning, too. Sundays are supposed to be for spinning, here at the G household. I have to get on the ball, or the fiber to spin is going to take over the house. I think I have something like 50 pounds of unspun fiber in containers and bags around the house. And at the rate it's coming in...Well, we'll all suffocate within a few years if something doesn't change.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Different Is Good

Well, my big announcement for today is that I'm starting a new job! I received a job offer yesterday that was too good to pass up, and so I gave my notice at my current job today and will start my new job on July 2. I'm frankly surprised, because I really didn't feel the interview for this job went well at all. (Even bad for me, and I'm a horrible interview at the best of times.) But I know a guy...and although he told me he didn't really do anything, I think he made the difference for me. My personal mantra this year has been "Try something different" in everything from menu choices, to housecleaning, to colors, to knitting. This is a great way to shake things up, get out of a rut, and maybe find a better way to do something. Now a new job! And guess what? I'll be working dangerously close to my favorite knitting store and my favorite restaurant. How great is that?

Now to the knitting. The Cotton Striped sock is exactly where it was the last time I pictured it. The Pomatomus socks are still in time-out, but I'm almost done with the body of my first baby sweater.

I want to make some leggings to match, along with some socks, and then a Devan sweater (God, I love that sweater!) or two. Ok, maybe a Trellis too. And how could I be so forgetful? I've got to make a Peapod Sweater! Both Celtic Queen and Heather made one last year and I much admired them. Hmmmm. The shower is Labor Day weekend, we'll see how much I can get knit by then.

And Holly, I'm so with you on the staff at the school. I just want to say "What exactly is it you want me to do?" (I actually did ask that once and it put them off for awhile. Because exactly what they wanted me to do was drug him so he would be more docile. But they couldn't say that.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Baby Love

First off, the Pomatomus Socks are in an indefinate time out. I do not have enough yarn for the pair, so I'm kinda bummed. Steel City Knitter said she might have another skein, so I've e-mailed her with abject begging. (But if she doesn't, I can live with the frogging. I just need a moment.) Anyways, pictured here is my new current bus knitting. It's a baby sweater for an old friend who e-mailed last week that she just found out she's having a girl. I'm totally, completely enthralled by the making of cute and frilly little girl things as only the mother of two boys can be. So this sweater (which actually is kinda unisex, but has a connection in that long ago she picked this pattern out as one she liked and requested me to make as a gift for another friend of hers.) I'm going to design some pants to go with. I also got Celtic Queen to pick me up Dale #175 (which includes this cute little number.)

And finally, I'm almost at the toe of the Cotton Stripes socks.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pomp and Circumstance

Tonight was Older Son's graduation. Neither my photography skills or my camera were really up to the occasion. Here's a very blurry shot of OS walking into the gym:

But you know, it's kind of symbolic of how these years seemed to pass, all in a blur, over way too fast.
Here he is getting his 'diploma' (because they don't give you the real one at the ceremony, which seemed to really irk him).
And standing against the wall. Finally one of all of us together.
I was a bit ambivalent about the graduation thing. I don't remember my mother going to my graduation. I went with friends and my twin sister didn't go at all (she'd just delivered my niece that morning. Hmmm, maybe that could be why my mom didn't go). Anyways, for various reasons I have mixed feelings about graduation. But we went out and got ice cream after so I'm somewhat mollified. (Doesn't ice cream just make everything better?)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Few Minutes

While waiting today for appointments, I had the opportunity to really think about knitting. Isn't it wonderful to have something to pick up and accomplish something in just a few minutes? Would that everything worked that way. Think how much more productive we could all be. This is one of the things I really love about knitting. I also discovered that you really can't knit while stuck in traffic (well, not if you're the driver). I had a horrible experience trying to get to an appointment where I ended up stuck in traffic for almost 45 minutes, thereby making myself over a half an hour late. The drive there (which should have only been a 40 minute drive) took me over an hour and a half, I was there 30 minutes, and then the drive home took me over two hours! Over 4 hours for someone to basically tell me there was nothing they could do for me. Wonderful. Oh yeah, and everytime I play the song "Bad Day" in the car I get lost. Weird.

So anyways, on to the knitting. I turned the heel on my Striped Cotton Sock and am working on the gusset. Yippee! And I will leave you with a couple of links:
Nona's Sidewinders -- these might be my next socks.
Also, have you seen Celtic Queen's Vesper Sock Yarn? It's a custom dye named for her -- Celtic Queen! How cool is that? Order some, we want it to become a 'regular' color!! And I started thinking about what would be my personal colorway. Hmmmm. My favorite color is white (really!) but otherwise I'm pretty fickle about the colors I like. I wear alot of black (so much so that a few years back my sister-in-law started referring to me as the "Widow G".) But that's just because Hello! I work in an office! Need to be conservative and also mix and match! Black is the only color you can count on from season to season, year after year. We all know how I am with the screaming brights and tonal neutrals...I'm a woman of extremes. There's no middle ground for me it's all...and here we are back to black and white...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


As I mentioned, the latest incarnation of the Cotton Socks have stripes--These are the "Big Guy" size, for Dave. He says he'll wear them, although I think he would prefer all black. Every time I ask him what color of socks he would like me to knit him, he says "Black. Just plain black." I'm knitting the gusset on my Pomatomus sock, which continues to garner much admiration from the other bus patrons. The color of this yarn is really fantastic, none of the pictures so far have really done it justice. Thanks again, Steel City Knitter! I think the yarn will be just enough for a pair (at least I'm hoping.)

Not much else going on here. I'm feeling kind of under the weather. Maybe I just need to take a day off to rest. Hmmm. We just got Seasons 1-5 of Babylon 5.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cotton Socks

Size: Woman or Large Youth/Big Guy*
Materials: Yarn: 8/2 cotton (unmercerized), held double**
Needles: Size 1 US set of double pointed needles (or size to obtain gauge).
Gauge: 8 sts/inch in stockinette stitch/12 sts/inch in K2, P2 ribbing***

Cast on 68/80 stitches. Distribute evenly over 4 needles and join, being careful not to twist. Mark/note beginning of round. Knit 1 *Purl 2, Knit 2 repeat from * around, ending Knit 1 (K2, P2 ribbing). Continue in ribbing until sock is approximately 6" from beginning.
Begin heel flap: At beginning of round, knit across 16/20 stitches (move remaining stitches if any to next needle). Turn. Slip first stitch, purl across 32/40 stitches (move remaining stitches, if any to next needle). Turn. You will work the heel on these 32/40 stitches. Hold remaining stitches for the instep.
Row 1: Slip (sl) first stitch, (K 1, sl 1) across.
Row 2: Slip 1st stitch, purl across.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until heel flap is approximately square or 15/17 more times if you're counting. Work Row 1 once.
Turn heel: Sl 1, purl 16/20, purl 2 together (P2 Tog), purl 1, turn.
Row 1: Sl 1, knit 3, ssk (slip one stitch as if to knit, slip another stitch as if to knit, move both stitches back to the left needle and knit them together through the back loops), knit 1, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1, purl 4, P2 Tog, purl 1, turn.
Continue to work rows 1 & 2, working one more stitch before the SSK or P2 Tog (these will be the stitches on either side of the turning gap "Mind the Gap" hee hee) until you have worked all the stitches. End with a knit row. Do not turn!
Pick up 16/18 stitches along the side of the heel flap. (Don't worry if you're off a stitch or two either way. Just remember the number and be sure to pick up the same number on the other side of the heel flap.) Pick up one stitch between the heel stitches and the instep stitches, then work the instep stitches in the established ribbing pattern.**** Pick up a second stitch between the instep stitches and the other side of the heel. Then pick up and knit 16/18 stitches along the side of the heel. Work 1/2 the stitches remaining from the heel. Your beginning of round should be back where it was before you started your heel. You will have 38/42 stitches for your instep (needles 2 and 3, or just 2 if you're working with 4 needles) and the same number of stitches on each of the other two needles. Knit the stitches on needle one, K2 Tog on the next needle (beginning of instep), work to the last two instep stitches, SSK. (You have 36/40 instep stiches. These extra picked up stitches at the heel/instep juncture neaten up the join so there're no gappy holes there.)
Decrease Gusset Stitches: Round 1: Knit to last 3 stitches on Needle 1, K2 Tog, K 1. Work across instep stitches in established pattern, on Last Needle K1, SSK, knit to end.
Round 2: Knit all stitches Needle 1, work instep stitches in established pattern, knit all stitches on Last Needle.
Repeat these two rows until there are the same number of stitches you started with -- 68/80. Continue working even until sock is about 2" shorter than desired length.
Toe Shaping Note: I'm kind of picky about my toe shaping. If you can do something nifty fairly easily, why not? I shape my toes for the right/left foot. You can certainly ignore this and choose one or the other to work on both feet if you like. Knitter's choice.
Right Foot Toe Shaping: Work to the last 2 sts on Needle 1, K2 Tog. Knit to 2 stitches less than 1/2 of instep stitches (this is where working with 5 needles is handy) K2 Tog, work to last 2 sts on needle, K2 Tog, work to last 2 sts on Last Needle, K2 Tog.
Next round: Knit around even.
Repeat these two rounds until 10/12 stitches remain in each quadrant (40/48 stitches total), then work decrease (first) round every round until 8 sts total remain. Cut yarn, and thread through these 8 stitches, pull tight and secure to finish off.
Left Foot Toe Shaping: SSK, knit to end of Needle 1, SSK, work remaining half of instep stitches, SSK, knit to end of instep stitches, on Last needle SSK, knit to end of round.
Next Round: Knit around.
Repeat these two rounds until 10/12 stitches remain in each quadrant (40/48 stitches total), then work decrease (first) round every round until 8 sts total remain. Cut yarn, and thread through these 8 stitches, pull tight and secure to finish off.

*You can size these up or down by increasing/decreasing by a multiple of 4. Use the closest multiple of 4 to half your stitch count for the heel flap -- round down to get it if you need to. The stockinette for the flap and bottom of the foot will pull in less, and the fit won't be compromised. That's why the smaller size above uses 32 sts for the heel instead of 34 (half).

**This is a weaving yarn and is available through weaving supply retailers. Try Here or Here. You can substitute any other 8/2 yarn (Bamboo! Cotton/linen! Tencel! Silk!) but they'll be more expensive. You can also use a 5/2 mercerized cotton by itself, but this is also more expensive, and you will need to swatch for gauge. See first note for re-sizing. The 8/2 cotton is pretty inexpensive, ranging from $6 to $14 a pound which is alot of yarn. (Some places will sell you a half pound, but I've not really seen it sold less than that.) That's why I don't list an amount. You'll have more than enough for a pair. And it comes in like a million colors. See if you can get a friend or two to split it with you. If all else fails you can always e-mail me, I love the socks I knit.

***My test socks shrank about 10% both length and width-wise when put through the washer and dryer. But when tried on, they stretched easily back to their original size. Make your socks to fit exactly (no ease) and they should be fine. Oh yeah, did I mention washer and dryer? With your jeans? Easy care.

****This is why you started the ribbing with a single knit stitch. It ends up centering the ribbing on the instep. Cool, huh? It's not crucial, but purls at the ends of needles tend to be looser than otherwise. (Even if you pull tight, it's a spatial thing.) This eliminates that.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Take My Word on It

I had a long and busy day today and met up with other local knitters, bloggers and not. But I forgot my camera (after reminding myself to put it in my bag last night) so you'll have to imagine and take my word that I actually saw them. First, Heather and her boys came and met me for lunch at the Arts Festival. Lunch was good, there was some good music, we got to see some cool artists' wares (the boys were intrigued by the didgeridoos) and we bumped into Janice, another (blogless) knitter from our Friday night knitting group. We knitters are everywhere! We also stopped by Ewe Can Knit, where Heather showed great restraint for someone not committed to knitting from her stash. (If they had still had some Trekking yarn I think things might have gone differently, though.)

After work I headed off to the Beehive for a Fiber Fest planning meeting and met up with Zeeppo and his brigade, along with DDancer and Carla (no current blog) and I think I met the Mystery Male Knitter! How exciting is that? I stayed and knit for a bit, but had to come home to the guys and laundry. (I was tired and hungry.) All of that in one day! But no pictures.

But I do have one picture for you. Here's my newest commuter knitting, it's Pomatomus. I won the yarn from Steel City Knitter. It looks just like tropical water. They make me think of my sister who love these colors and tropical waters. I've also started more Cotton Socks (NEW! With STRIPES!) for home knitting. I'm wondering how long it will take me to knit up all that yarn...