Monday, July 30, 2007

Socks on the Beach

One pair of Monkey Socks, done. Amazing what you can accomplish in a few long car rides! These kept me busy the whole way to Virginia Beach, where I finished them off. I didn't do a huge amount of knitting in Virginia because of, you know, the beach (and after seeing how long it is taking me to get the sand out of my daughter's swimsuits, I'm glad my knitting went nowhere near the actual beach!) We had absolutely perfect beach weather, and I actually did some reading for a change.

Auden entered the world of knitting in Virginia, courtesy of a Mushroom Knitter from her Aunt Kathy. She caught on right away, made several I-cord necklace thingies (Kathy and I quickly got her to appreciate the advantages of Socks That Rock over the cotton yarn the mushroom came with - it's never too early to create a yarn addiction!) and is already bugging me to teach her to "knit with needles." Personally, I love the Mushroom. It is a version of spool knitting, which I had never done, but I find very soothing and addicting. I had to stop myself from picking it up and knitting on it after she went to bed at night!

I got started on my baby sweater and made some serious progress on the way home. I'll try to post a picture soon, because I need advice on the border.

There was also one quick trip to the delightful Ewe Knits where I picked up a new (to me, anyway) sock yarn, ShiBui.
It's much more vibrant than it looks in the picture ... I guess one of these days I should learn how to tone my photos, *sigh*. The color is called "Wasabi" and it has a beautiful spectrum of greens.

Monkey Socks details:

Yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight, color: Fire on the Mountain. Less than one skein.
Pattern: Monkey Socks, from Knitty.
Needles: Susan Bates 1s and 2s
Modifications: Picot Edge, from January One. I knit the edge and the toes on 1s and the rest on 2s. I decreased one more time before kitchenering the toes. I think if I did these again I might do a different heel and toes. The heel in particular looks strange to me, kind of poofy, though that mostly disappears when they're on. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this pattern!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Knittin' in the Car

You'll just have to imagine that there are cherry trees and Great Lakes and U.S.-Canadian borders (not to mention Niagara Falls and the giant SkyWheel!) out the window. I am not organized enough to knit AND take pictures en route.

My Monkey Socks kept me happily occupied most of the way from Rochester to Frankfort, Michigan, including one very slow border crossing. I didn't knit so much there, or on the way back, but they're coming along nicely. I ripped back the first one and am doing them both on 2s ... and I'm doing the full 6 repeats. I figure with the picot edge they will be shorter than the originals anyway. Hopefully I won't run out of yarn, or they'll have different color toes.

Speaking of yarn, I almost but didn't *quite* make it to the yarn store in Glen Arbor, home of the inimitable Cherry Republic. I know where it is for next time, though! I had already made a prophylactic stop at Knit A Round, a very nice yarn shop in Ann Arbor. It was just a few blocks away from our Red Roof Inn, so how could I not go? And then they had Koigu on sale, so how could I not buy some? :)

They also had Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn, which I got to to fondle for the first time in person (mmmm!) and lots of Bearfoot Mountain Colors (Mountain Colors Bearfoot?), also very lovely. But I was in a hurry, so the Koigu had to do.

A few Michigan cherry-picking pictures to prove I wasn't just knitting in the driveway:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Best. Teacher. Ever.

A little handspun prettiness to tide everyone over until my return, courtesy of my daughter's preschool teacher (who happens to have gone to high school with my husband, because it is a teeny tiny world.) This has been waiting patiently to be photographed, but now that I know she might actually be reading this blog, I figured I'd better post it. :)

She might not be thrilled that I did – an early effort, according to her, but since I've never spun anything in my life, totally impressive to me. SO soft. And beautiful muted colors – this photo doesn't do it justice. It's silk, wool and something else, and will make something lovely and warm, I just don't yet know what. It will be good fall knitting, maybe when I need something to comfort me after my baby disappears into the not-so-reassuring clutches of the city school district. :)

Seriously, she is an AMAZING teacher, in addition to being a spinner and knitter. If you know someone in Rochester looking for a great preschool, let me know.

I'm not yet sure if there will be any yarn stores on this trip. I tossed out the possibility of stopping at one in Ann Arbor and Will seemed amenable. He seems to have accepted the concept of a yarn store as an essential stop – like the gas station and Tim Horton's. (We're cutting through Canada.) There's also a great shoe store in Ann Arbor, though ... If I don't make it to a yarn store this week, I know there's one in Virginia Beach waiting for me at the end of the month.

Until next time! I'll bring chocolate-covered cherries for everyone. :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hilary See, Hilary Do

or ... just trying to keep up with Kathy! I swear, someone at the Knitter's Guild recommended Monkey Socks to me before I knew everyone else in the World on the Web was making them. Not that it matters, there is not a lot of crossover between my Real Life friends and acquaintances and the knitting blog world.

It's my first picot edge, and I'm suitably charmed by it. It doesn't seem very stretchy though ... is it going to stay up on my leg? I did the whole edge on 1s and was planning on going back up to 2s for the rest of the sock, but I stayed on 1s and now I'm not sure about that. It is very dense, and I don't think I love that. (The pattern is written for 2s, and I knit tightly anyway.)

So I think I'll start the second sock and do it on 2s for comparison (instead of ripping it out and then wondering if I liked it the first way better, which is what I was about to do.) What's a project without a little angst and indecision?

These are my car knitting for the trip to Michigan. We leave Friday, so I won't be posting for a while.

Happy Fourth to those celebrating!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Well ...

the stripey sweater is done. I was obsessed with finishing it, but couldn't bear to post pictures of it, which is why I haven't posted for so long. Plus I think there was a week or so where I didn't knit anything. *shock*

I still think this sweater is not the most attractive thing I've ever made. And I am bummed (this is like that "the food was terrible and the portions were too small" joke) that I didn't make it bigger. It is actually a little longer than it looks in this picture – I think it will fit through this school year, but not much longer than that. Which would be just one of those things, except that a) I didn't measure him and b) I deliberately made the body and arms shorter because the last Rowan pattern I made him was way too long! Stupid.

I learned a number of things from this project, including:

1. Teeny tiny little Debbie Bliss skeins leave you with many, many, MANY ends to weave in.

2. "Designing" on the fly is harder than it looks, and may not turn out as expected. Designing the sleeves separately from the body is not a good idea, especially with a raglan pattern.

3. I should not pick projects based solely on finding yarn on sale for a good price.

And many other things, I'm sure. The collar is not at all how I planned it to look, but I think it's kind of cute anyway ... and it just fits over his head. (Note for future projects: adding lining to collar makes it even less stretchy.)

Pattern: More or less loosely based on "Will" from Rowan Junior. (Modifications: added stripes, didn't make zipper, changed collar opening, made ribbing on collar shorter. The picture of just the collar is actually the closest of what this sweater was SUPPOSED to look like. But I didn't have enough yarn to make it solid.)

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton. (Which I loved! but not the teeny tiny skeins.)

I'm just so glad it's done. On to fun, fulfilling projects!

In other creative efforts today, I helped with the "Swimming Pool Cake" for Auden's 5th birthday party at the Y today. (Pool party ... there's a theme here. Also Hello Kitty.) I made the little people and some of the other little stuff, like the beach towel and flip-flops, which you can't really see in this picture. Will made the cake, which was delicious (of course) and turned it into a pool. The party was a success, I think, and even though the Y was doing all the work, we're wiped out.