Estranged
April 3, 2010

I have been supremely lazy on the blogging front lately. First, it was exaustion after finishing the quarter, then, I had a minor case of startitis and suddenly blogging about all of my projects seemed overwhelming, but I’m going to give it a shot:

First up, I had promised pictures of my finished olympic project. I spun some yak fiber into sock yarn and knit Betty Cable. The yarn turned out very well, but, honestly, the fabric that resulted from the needles I used was extremely thick. And, in the end, the socks fit me but only barely. So, this is a charity project, and once I figure out what charity takes garments in fibers other than wool, I will send them off. I mean, a homeless person could probably wear them around as shoes. Here they are all finished.

And, since I cast off just before the closing ceremonies, I am proud to say I deserved this lovely medal.

After that project was done I went a little insane on the needles. Let me see if I can do this in chronelogical order:

First I finished, finally, the socks I was test knitting for a friend, “Onward!,” and they turned out really well. It was my first pair of sport weight socks and they are so very plush and comfy. Unfortunanelly they are so plush that they don’t fit very well into my clogs which is the only pair of shoes that I wear hand knit socks in; oh well. Here they are:

By the way, these hairy legs are not mine if you’re wondering. Since realizing that my brother can fit into my socks, I’m now using him as a sock model for photographs. It’s hard to take pictures of your own feet! Second, was new pair of socks in pattern Hydrangea, with STR Lightweight in “Eggplanted.” I love them dearly. They fit me great and they are very handsome.

After that I believe I cast on a pair of plain vanilla socks in Fleece Artist’s Merino 2/6 in the colorway “Twilight.” I think they are the longest pair of socks I have knit so far, usually preferring to keep them moderately short if not for comfort than for necessity: I have man calves and I don’t like to do the math on unplanned increases. But these are just tall enough to be long but just short enough to not need increases so I’m pretty happy about them. Also, it was my first foray into the world of short-row heels and toes and let me say that I love the toe, but not the heel. I just don’t think that the short row heel is as comfortable as the heel flap and gusset heel (I don’t know what its name really is; “Slip stitch heel” perhaps?) Also, much less reinforced. This hasn’t been a problem for me yet, since I haven’t been wearing hand knit socks long enough for my heel to bust out of one, but it’s bound to happen someday. Here is a picture of my “Twilight” socks:

Next up was a gift from a friend. She had bought some Casbah sock yarn in colorway that had more tan in it than she was hoping for (I’m thinking maybe Orchid?), so she overdyed it with some cool-aid and gave it to me. It’s so very very soft and it’s going to make the most wonderful pair of socks. I’m doing the pattern Celebrate Spring, but since I don’t have the size needle that the pattern calls for I first tried to knit with one repeat less and a larger needle size. I totally didn’t work. It was just a bit too snug, so I went with the pattern as written and it will be roomy but not too bad. I do have thick ankles anyway. Here is the leg part, almost ready to begin the heel:

With all of this sock knitting and sock wearing, I finally peaked my younger brother’s interest and had him asking me if I could knit a pair for him. I had him dig around in my stash and he pulled up this lovely Fleece Artist yarn that I had got in a ravelry trade. It’s older so I’m not sure what type it is, but it feels like 2/6 and looks like a cross between the colorway “Chocolate” and the colorway “Earth.” He also chose the pattern Nutkin, which apparently is manly enough. My problem with him is that he has little skinny ankles and legs, but his heel is huge. So, in order for the sock not to pool around his ankle it has to be snug enough that he has a problem getting it over his heel. I think the sock is stretching out a little though and it should be fine.

Next up, I have been meaning to start a large lace shawl, so I took some Misti Alpaca Lace in the colorway Straw Melange and started knitting an Adamas Shawl. So far I really like it. The pattern isn’t too tricky, but, in my usual fashion I have already made a couple of mistakes. I don’t think they are noticeable. I’ve pinned it out a little so you can see the pattern:

And speaking of shawls, my mother and I went to a Stephen West workshop last week (more on that in a later post when I can get some pictures) and we purchased a few of his patterns. Here is the beginning of an Herbivore in some lovely Koigu KPPPM. The colorway is P722 I believe.

Yesterday in another fit of startitis I began a spinning project as well. There isn’t much to say about it yet. All I know is that it will be sock yarn, the roving is a hand painted Merino from Capistrano Fibers in the colorway “Crayola,” it was purchased at the Black Sheep festival in Eugene, OR, it is striped and I split it down lengthwise for long color repeats, and the roving has a complimentary mate not pictured here with which it will be plied. So far I’m super happy with the feel of the roving.

And last but certainly not least, the great ongoing project: the Sock Yarn Blanket. Here it is in all its wee glory:

Since I have to knit a pair of socks to get the scraps to make the blanket it’s a bit slow going. The blanket was designed by Shelly Kang and you can read all about its construction on her blog: “Heathen Housewife.” I have to give credit where it’s due. I certainly didn’t come up with it myself. I’m very gracious to her for coming up with an attractive way to use up scraps. If there’s anything I hate it’s yarn scraps.

Phew, that was a lot! Now I have to update Ravelry, joy. I think I’ll spend the rest of my day working on one of my wide array of projects and watch Twilight films, or Blackadder. I know those two are just about as different as they come, but that’s what I seem to be in the mood for today. And, I shall try to be better about regular blog updates, because if the statistics on my dashboard are at all correct, people occasionally read this blog. I would love to get a comment or two, just to know that they are real people, but I have to do my part as well.

Happy Easter!

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Phew!
February 28, 2010

Well, I finally finished my Olympic socks just hours before the closing ceremonies. I did take a picture (don’t worry, I’ll get it up soon), but now I need to get my life back and start doing the homework I didn’t do while I was knitting frantically! I’ll share all the juicy details a little later when I have some time. Hopefully you can contain your suspense.

Oh Canada
February 13, 2010

It’s been about a month and a half since I last posted. Honestly I’ve been so overwhelmed trying to do classes, study for the GRE (which I just took last week), and prepare college applications that I’ve barely found time for knitting let along blogging about it. I have finished a couple pairs of socks and started a sweater vest, but more on that in another post.

Today I would like to talk about my olympic project. My mother and I sat down to “cast-on” last night during the opening ceremonies (in reality, I had already spun a “swatch,” and my mother is just trying to finish a WIP). They were beautiful ceremonies. Everyone kept mentioning how hard it would be to follow the ceremonies in Beijing, but, luckily I hadn’t seen them so they didn’t have a hard time impressing me. I think the coolest part was when they projected whales on the ground and little water spurts shot up from their virtual blowholes. Awesome. The slam poetry was really cool too. I just hope they don’t spend too much time talking about the cauldron malfunction when they recount the ceremonies in talk shows and on the news. TV folks tend to concentrate on the negative when something like this happens. And, I think we all had our excitement dampened enough with the death of the Georgian Luger. What a tragic thing to happen for his country and his family.

I’m not going to spend too much time explaining my olympic project because you can read about it on my Ravelry page, or on the olympic athletes list at Yarn Harlot. But, here is a photo of the original fiber which I weighed and split into two clumps:

And, here is the product from the first night’s spinning. That is half of the roving.

Now I’m just working on the second half and then I’ll make a nice tight two-ply, soak and weight it to set the twist, and away we knit. I’m not exactly sure what my yardage is going to be so I think I’ll divide the yarn into two equal balls and knit both socks toe-up, waiting to bind off until I’m done with both so that they are even.

In other news, the day that I took the GRE, in order to reward myself, my mother and I went to the Northwest Flower and Garden show and had a lot of fun. I went to this seminar on succulent plants (plants that withstand drought by keeping water in their leaves like a camel) and afterward picked up a few of my favorites at the marketplace. There are a couple of Aloe plants, an Echeveria, an Aeonium, and the little fuzzy one is a Kalenchoe.

I also decided that I should start growing orchids again, but didn’t pick one up at the show because I wanted something afordable and forgiving to be with for a few months before I expanded. So, I picked up this sweet Phalaenopsis at Trader Joe’s for only $8.00. What a score.

After it is done blooming it desperately needs to be replanted because its roots are suffocating in their tiny pot. I’m just about to order a hydroponic system for it, where it will be living in an inert medium that is basically porous clay that will release water and nutrients to the plant while at the same time giving its roots great air circulation.

Speed Skating is tonight, and I’m super excited about our Seattle natives. Go Apolo and Celski! I love Apolo dearly but I also really hope Celski gets a medal in something; he’s such a baby!