Thursday, February 23, 2006

Today is your birthday Anniversary!

I suck at titles. I have the most terrible time coming up with something creative to call my rambling. I discarded a bunch of titles before picking that one. ;)

Yes, today is my and my DH's fifth anniversary. Where did the time go? Mostly all of it has been happy. I feel very lucky at least once a day to be with him. =) I'm looking forward to what the future brings. In the immediate future...

Sock progress!

This will probably be the same progress photo for tomorrow, as I don't anticipate much knitting going on tonight (if any). Tonight my DH is taking me to the Bollywood Grill, with some old movies and cuddling for afterwards. I'm glad... I've been really good and knitting a lot the past two days, and am ready for a break. (So give me a silver. Really! :)

As for the second heel turn, it doesn't look like the first one, but I've entered the grand universe of Not Caring. I don't think it will be that notable, and I like how the second one looks better on my foot. It *was* much easier than the first, and depending on how they wear, I might make short row heels again. I plan on trying Jaywalkers as well as some Knitting on the Road patterns next, however, so there are several pair of heel flaps in my future.

One of the other odd things about the Lolita pattern is that there is a definite spiral bias to the fishnet stitch. My needles rotated just a smidge over 90 degrees to the right as I knit the foot stitches. On the first foot I just started the heel shaping there, but on the second foot I rearranged the stitches so the heel was in line with the toe and then began the heel shaping. I'm thinking I'll see which sock is more comfortable and then rip the other one, or just leave it. =)

One of my ongoing pattern irritations is that since I taught myself to knit and I knit Continental, my idea of a k2tog slants the opposite way than English ones. I have to rewrite the patterns I encounter, switching the k2togs for K1PNSO's and vice versa. Anyone else who knits continentally encounter this?

Okay, enough prattle. Off to check my gel. :) Happy knitting!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Homestretch in sight... and an elf story

I had to stay late at work last night, but the good part of that was that since it was after hours and I was waiting for an incubation, I got to spend an hour of that incubation knitting. I also got in some knitting last night while watching Hellboy - for some reason I've been thinking about Hellboy lately. No, I don't know why either. After I snapped this picture, the DH offered to read to me, so there's about an inch more of foot eyelets than in this picture. A rather productive evening!

I learned a new bind-off technique... hopefully it works well to be stretchy. Cascade Fixation seems to make everything stretchy, but I wanted insurance... Curious folks can find the method I used here.

Now all I need to do is the new short-row heel, and then to zip up the leg. I might actually finish in time!

In other news, my friend Inertiacreepies said last week that she was going to WEBS, and asked if there was anything I wanted. This was an evil temptation that I gladly succumbed to. I'd been pondering the Odessa hat published by MagKnits. It then occurred to me that the Odessa hat would look gorgeous in a pale blue... the kind of blue that 1940s movie stars tended to wear. There are some lovely pictures of my Grandma in a blue pillbox hat, and I rationalized that it would be nice to remember my Grandma by looking fabulous in movie star blue. Inertiacreepies and I scoured the WEBS site for the named yarn with little luck, but settled on either Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece or Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, depending on which company had a better movie star blue. All that remained was for me to find a source of the beads.

Look what my yarn elf brought me at SnB a few days later!

Not only did Inertiacreepies find me a gorgeous powder blue, but she took that yarn ball into a neighboring bead store and found the perfect beads to accompany it. I'm amazed and happy... thank you so much! Inertiacreepies did say she had a lot of fun being a yarn elf, though the lady in the bead store was impressed that she held up the yarn to all of the blue 6/0 seed beads in the store. :) (I have an exceptional yarn elf. Not only did she do all this for me, but she got it on *sale*. I feel so spoiled.)

Now I have two reasons to finish my Olympic knitting in a hurry! I've promised the DH that I'd shorten his vest next, but I'm really excited about knitting with beads for the first time. We'll see what happens. :)

Okay, off to see if my long incubation from yesterday has borne fruit. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

five days to go and I'm starting to sweat...

Current progress - first sock almost complete. Here you see the sock-in-progress lounging against my (L&Stitch) blanket in an attempt at colorful contrast. I had a wonderful weekend during which not a lot was spent knitting... most of the progress you see here was on Monday. I've modified the pattern a little bit (largely in response to dontcallmemolly's sage advice) and included an extra stitch in one side so the selvedges appear more equal. Hopefully from this picture you can begin to tell that I've been knitting flat for a while. As I've no doubt mentioned, black lace pictures are a pain in the butt.

I'm beginning to sweat about finishing in time, I've yet to begin the second sock! Woops. The DH has even noticed this, as he's offered to re-watch a movie I've already seen instead of a new movie tonight, so I can feel comfortable knitting. (Awww.) Hopefully I can top up this sock and begin the new toe tonight. Cross your fingers with me!

Good luck to all my fellow sweating Olympians!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Update on Olympia

THIS time, I managed to remember to take a sideways picture. I'm awed by how good this one came out. With *black yarn*! Now if I could only take pictures that well all the time. Now if only today's science works this well...

Hopefully I'll remember to photo and post on Monday. Or at least Sunday. :) *crossing our fingers* I'm in the leg part, shortly before the flat knitting and the increases. The bootie looks way cute and DOES actually fit. I'm excited. :) (Though I'm still leery of doing the second short row heel. Betcha that one will be easier. Maybe I should start the second one right away... *ponder*

Thursday, February 16, 2006

FOs & Olympic update

Hello again! You can see what I was working on knitting this weekend in this picture. I polished up the chocolate cherry kitty bed and bound it off. I felt very smart when I realized that I could use the leftover red eyelash from Mom's leg warmers to line this bed. I was going to send it to Mom for Valentine's day but... well, it's going to be late. Ooops.

So, who thinks that I should send it as is, and let Mom felt it, or that I should felt it? Hrrm. Maybe I should call Mom and ask her, but that would ruin the surprise.

Also in this picture you can see toe #3 and sock #1. The 'challenge' aspect of this Olympics for me is in learning new sock techniques, and at first my figure 8 cast on caused me a bit of trouble... along with the aforementioned gauge issue. I was really relieved to move on to the fishnet pattern. Here's another picture.

I worked on the sock some more at SnB and last night as well. Last night was the Short Row Heel Swearing evening. I don't know if my DH has heard me swear quite so much at my knitting in a while, but I finally managed to get that *&#$ heel turned.

It occurs to me now that perhaps I should have turned the little footie-sock sidewards so that you could see it better. Woops. I'll try to remember to take a picture before I start knitting on the footie tonight.

You will also note a pair of usual suspects in this photo that I'm glad to show off. They've actually been finished for over a week and lurking in the laundry basket before their big debut. I'd like to report that the Dancing socks are very comfortable, and they're a little big on me. Woops. The speckles came out very cool looking.

So, what's next is finishing up the Lolita sock. I'll try to include more photos to come!

Go all you Olympic knitters, and good luck!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympic Update

No pictures today. Yes, I suck. ;)

I had a really busy weekend, but I knew that my weekends would be fullish when I picked a project, so I'm not worried. I knitted the first toe of my Lolita socks this Sunday, in fact, and discovered last night that the foot (which looked a bit big) was in fact ginormous. I then checked the gauge and realized that I'd made a Stupid Mistake.

I'd worked trained diligently to get my proper gauge of 4 stitches to the inch. What I didn't realize was that when the pattern SAID 20 sts/4 inches, I read that as 'oh, four stitches per inch' for no other reason than I'm on crack and apparently need more sleep. The more mathematically inclined will note that 20 sts/4 inches really corresponds to 5 stitches per inch. At least when I was sampling needle sizes I DID find one that was 5 sts/inch. So, I'm going to rip out my footie and try again... hence, no pictures. (le sigh)

Look at the upshot... I DID do my first figure 8 cast on yesterday. Twice even. Now I get to practice it one more time, with feeling. ;) Oh well, more practice won't hurt.

Maybe pictures tomorrow? ;) We'll see.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pre-Olympic Fever

I suppose that I've learned that I usually don't have time to futz with photos on Monday while I'm at the lab. Heheh. Yet Another Photo-less Post.

So, there was mucho knitting action this weekend. I finished the Dancing Socks, and an FO photo is pending. I'm very happy with them, as they're very comfy. Surprisingly, they were loose, so I might just keep them as bed socks so they don't wear out quickly. (They might even fit Ladyscience, who has Unusually Large Yet Attractive Feet.) It looks like I have half a ball of Dancing (Jig) left... haveta figure out something to do with that. :)

I also worked some more on the kitty bed. I've got the 144 stitches per round, and I've done 25 rounds of same... my big plan to have the colors feather into one another was foiled a bit by the fact that ball #3 was Very Short, or ball #2 was Very Long, so the 3/4 combination didn't last long. I'm happy though, because colors 4 and 5 look very nice together. We'll see how this turns out and if I should use a niddy noddy or a yarn meter next time to get a more uniform striping. Darn me for wanting to use up all the yarn!

I had a momentary panic this weekend when I wasn't sure if my two balls of Cascade Fixation would be enough to do my Lolita Socks. I've been reassured that this should in fact be enough... darn me not noting that after I bought substitute yarn! :) I swatched and got 5 st per inch on #2 dpns... and the requested gauge is 4 st/inch. Looks like I might actually be using the reccomended needle size for a project! (I'm a Very Loose Knitter... famous for having to go down two needle sizes for a gauge swatch. What's happening to me? ;)

At SnB tonight there will probably be more kitty bed action, with more swatching. We'll see. I also got my Sweaters From Camp book in last week... interesting Fair Aisle patterns. No idea if I'm going to be using any of those any time soon!

Lastly, I was kindly invited by Whit to join the Team DPN. Unlike the typical Olympics, it seems you can belong to more than one team... pretty cool! Check out the buttons I finally got 'round to adding to the sidebar. (Okay, maybe this post isn't TOTALLY photo-less. :)

Good luck to all the Olympic knitters out there! Hopefully I'll have a gauge in time to try the figure 8 cast on on Friday. :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Harlotesque Kitty Bed

I guess I needed a sock break. Anyway, after getting more batteries at the supermarket, I reinvigorated the digital camera and again took ten shots to get two in focus pictures. I'm really going to have to get some snaps in natural light, but since it's monsooning today that might have to wait a bit.

Here's me standing on the chair, taking a picture of the yarn progression I was planning for the chocolate cherry kitty bed. It's knit with two strands held together, and I was planning on knitting half a ball of balls 1 and 2, then cutting ball 1 and knitting on with balls 2 and 3. When ball 2 is used up, I'll splice in ball 4... and so on, with the last little bit of ball 1 used with ball 8.

A closeup of the beginnings of the kitty bed on the frame...

I do Emily Ocker's circular cast on, start on three needles, and knit on three needles until the 72 st increase, after which I rearrange onto four. At the next increase row, I increase onto a 24" circular needle, which will remain until I finish the bed. :) I've been debating increasing to a 29" circular later on, but I know from past experience that I'll be okay. :)

Yes, I will work on the sock this weekend. Really! :) It's just that the red is so cheery, and it's nice to work on something where the stitches are big for a change. ;) Don't wag at me so reproachfully, sock yarn. ;)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dancing sock update and Harlot tendencies

Hello there! I've learned that I'm good at taking the pictures and then forgetting about them. Hrrm. Not a good plan. I'm getting better at editing them in Photoshop, but I still sometimes have focus issues with the digital camera.

Anyway, here's a picture of what a heel flap looks like from both sides... I've got some friends that are doing their first socks, and I wanted to post what 'normal' looked like. :)

Yes, that's probably the shadow of my head in the picture. I've now learned that the DH's old blanket is NOT a good focus background for the socks. I think the camera keeps trying to focus on the pills.

Yet another casualty of Bad Focus, but hopefully you can get the idea of what a short rowed heel flap looks like. :)

Here I'm trying to capture what my DH refers to as the 'periscope heel'. It's essentially a square of knitting with a sudden, sharp turn. What I always find cool about it is how it works out into a gently curved cup. (You could argue that I'm easily amused.)

Here is the current progress on the sock, post gusseting. (Yes, I should have taken a gusset picture. Woops.) I stole a moment and took this picture in one of the study rooms at work. Maybe I should take more pictures here, as it turned out pretty well! (Note the stylish net containing my slippery sock yarn. Available wherever garlic cloves or shallots are sold in little net bags. ;)

Last night, Ladyscience got her package from Knit Picks, containing the chocolate cherry kitty bed yarn as well as some sock yarn for me to allergy test. (I'm pretty confident that it will be okay... but someone may still inherit two balls of Parade or Essential.) In a fit of Harlot-dom, I neglected the above poor sock and cast on for the kitty bed. I'm now at four 10" dpns, (72 sts) and when I increase next I'll be on the 24" circ. I'll try to take some blog pictures of that tonight, and post them a bit later. Sorry to try your patience. :) Really, I'm going to finish the Dancing socks before the Olympics. I have to! =)

For the record, I find Emily Ocker's circular cast on much easier if you don't finish the single crochets but leave one loop lingering on the hook. Then you transfer those loops to the needles. I suppose I'll have to take a picture of this... if by finishing the single crochets have I been doing this wrong all this time?

Okay, I should be letting my right brain ponder science now. :)