Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I may have a problem

Last night my wife and I decided to go grocery shopping since there was nothing good on TV. We grabbed some quick eats and then proceeded to make a shopping list. We find we eat better when we plan out 3-4 home-cooked meals per week. I hopped onto the computer to check my email and messages on Ravelry (I'm waiting to complete a de-stash) while my wife worked on the list. When I finished, I came back into the living room and proceeded to get EXTREMELY antsy/fidgety/anxious.

I recently started a new pair of socks (more on those later) and I really wanted to get cracking on them. I had finished the foot of one and I wanted to start the other while I still remembered how I started it. (I'm trying some new techniques.) But, I didn't want to just pick up and start knitting only to have my lovely, wonderful wife say, "ok, let's go" and have to put it down, or have her wait, thinking I wasn't ready to leave. So I left it alone. But we (WE, both of us, not my wife :) ) were taking waaaay toooo looooong. I felt my heart racing and I really could not sit still, I wanted to GET GOING so I could get back and start knitting.

Once we got out of the house (and away from the knitting!) I felt much better. I really surprised myself though, I really felt like I was freaking out. I guess I'm just excited to be casting on new items and trying new techniques.

The two Mountain Dew's I had with dinner may have had something to do with it too...

About those projects...I've started three new projects in the last week...but you'll have to wait to hear about them until I can take some pictures. Sorry, blame the weather :-P

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FO: Garter Rib Socks

garterrib 002

Garter rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks' Felici in the Pebble colorway
Needles: Knit Picks' DPNs size 1 (2.25mm)
Started: October 3
Finished: November 2
Modifications: Maia's toe-up gusseted heel, eye of partridge stitch carried through the heel turn and up the back of the heel.
What I learned: 1) Love the look of EOP instead of a slipped stitch heel. 2) I don't work well on deadline. These were initially my October entry for the SAMKAL4 and, well, you can see when they got finished.

When I first started these, the garter rib pattern was great; interesting enough to not be boring, but simple enough that I could work on the socks anywhere. After I finished the first sock though, SSS hit hard. I could barely stand to switch from knit to purl every other row. I see some straight up stockinette stitch socks in my future.

The same thing happened with the yarn, on the first sock, I loved it, the feel of the yarn and the colorway; I kept anticipating each color change. However, with the second sock, the yarn (and needles) just seemed too fine/small. At times it felt like I was working with sewing floss instead of wool yarn. Don't take that as a knock on the yarn though, I suspect it may have to do with the colder weather and lack of humidity (or something like that).

The socks fit well enough, but I think I made the feet a little too long. I started the heel flap sooner, and thus made it longer, than on the twisted tweed socks and it messed things up. The foot being longer made the leg shorter, they're just barely long enough for me. I'm still experimenting to find the perfect equation to fit my feet, but with all the variables, I'm afraid it may take a while. Unfortunately, I don't have it in me to knit the same pattern over and over again until I get it right.

P.S. Check out the blog contest over at Fine Martial Fiber. Can you guess the smiles?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's been too long

First a clerical issue... The response I posted below was not my own, but someone who had commented on Debbie's blog post. I simply agreed with what he had to say. Thanks for all the comments, it's good to know there are people out there with their head on straight. :) Enough of that, it's been up too long. Back to knitting.

I've picked up progress on the Garter-Rib Socks. It kind of puts me back on deadline to get these done by the end of November, which was the reason I gave up on the SAMKAL4, but I think now that I'm past the heel, I can just finish them up and be done. I won't be able to wear them to Thanksgiving, but I definitely plan on wearing them for Christmas (it's one day before Thanksgiving, I suppose it's alright to mention the C-word).

I've also started adding the black lines to my Rock 'n' Roll Argyle Socks using duplicate stitch. Holy crap these are a lot of work. All the intarsia was bad enough, but I left most of the ends unwoven because I couldn't tolerate weaving them in when I was done. When I started the duplicate stitch, I was catching a lot of the ends with my needle, so I had to stop and weave all the ends in before I could continue. I'm almost done with one sock, but I'm afraid SSS is going to creep in again before I can start the other. Who knew you could get SSS twice on one pair of socks?!

The Baby Shedir is finished, it just needs to be blocked and photographed. Speaking of, there's practically no good photography light anymore. I really hate winter. I know as a knitter I should love it because I get to more easily wear hand knits, but I'm not at a stage where I can whip out a sweater in 2-3 weeks and I don't have one already done, so it doesn't really do much for me.

If you've scrolled down past my most recent entry in the past week or so, you've probably noticed some lovely progress bars. I was lucky enough to get in as a Ravelry tester for this particular feature. It pulls the progress on your project straight from Ravlery, so you don't have to update it in more than one place. Pretty neat. So far, I've learned two things: 1. I have a lot of projects that are in the home stretch and I really should finish them up. 2. I need to start some new projects! I'm just not sure what yet.

After finishing the Baby Shedir and Aww Knucks! I realized that other than one ball of Wool of the Andes, all I have is sock yarn. I do plan on knitting at least one more pair of socks for December, but otherwise, I'm not really into knitting socks right now. I really want to use some heavier weight yarn. But I'm on a self-imposed yarn diet until after Christmas. I did think about making the WOTA into a hat, but I'm not sure one skein is enough. I'll have to find a simple top down pattern.

I have been yarn shopping though. I want to make a brown cabled sweater with some worsted weight wool yarn, but I'm realizing that I know next to nothing about yarn other than KnitPicks. They were the first yarn supplier I bought yarn from since the price is right and I've been scared to take a chance on more expensive yarn. I really like the look of tweed yarns, so I've been browsing WEBS for good deals.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Men, the New Women, Alert: No, Balls of Yarn Are not Cojones
Could you be any more close minded? My favorite response to this so far?

I am a 36 year old male who knits. It has given me much enjoyment and have met several friends through knitting groups. I ahve traveled the world and knitted in public in several contries. I have found that it is Americans who just can not get over knitting being a hobby that belongs only to the female gender.

I will give up knitting if YOU make the following sacrifices in your life. They are as follows:

1. Give up your career ambitions (attorney,columnist), they are "masculine" jobs and belong to "men only". Women should not have jobs, or much less an opinion.
2. Cancel your blog site. No one should listen to the opinions of a women for we all no women have no intelligence.
3. Take a match to all degrees recieved. Its a "mans world". Women should not be educated.
4. Stop voicing your opinion. Women should not have a opinion. They should be quiet,passive and ALWAYS agree with their husbands opinion.
5. Stop voting, women should not be allowed to vote.
6. STAY AT HOME! Womens place is in the house and not in the work force. Cook, clean, and always have dinner on the table.
7. If your not married, give up all hopes of finding a man. Convince yourself that no man would ever want a woman over 25.
8. If married, submit to all demands and requests of your husband.
9. Give up birth control. Women should have as many children as their spouce demands. Oh, and submit to him sexually as much as he wants. Sex is for men, not women.
10. Cancel all credit cards in your name. Close all bank accounts in your name. If the man brings home the bacon he should decide how you should spent it!
11. Last and not least, be "pretty" for your husband at all times. Don't dare gain a pound or change your appearance. Ask for your husbands permission when changing your appearance. Always remember you are his property.

Now, follow these simple steps to a more "feminine" Debbie! Your starting to demasculate this 36 year old male.

Debbie, step out of your prehistoric cave (with the cavemans permission of course) and begin to accept that both men and women have come a long way since the dawn of time.

I encourage you to let this ignoramus know how you feel.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I've Been Busy

So I haven't blogged in over two weeks. So what? I've been busy knitting, and that's really the point isn't it? I've finished the Fibonacci Ribs sweater, it just needs to be blocked, modeled and photographed. So I should have that done in another year or two. :-) The other good thing about finishing the sweater? Leftover yarn! I ended up with two whole skeins of Asparagus Merino Style left, and so I knit the following over the last two weeks:

Aww Knucks!

Pattern: Knucks from
Yarn: Knit Picks' Merino Style in the Asparagus colorway, 1.2 skeins (approx.)
Needles: Bamboo DPNs size 4 & 3, Knit Picks options size 4
Started: October 22
Finished: November 2
Modifications: Made the fingers longer, magic loop instead of DPNs - much easier

These were a quick and easy project, only took me a week to complete. Love that instant gratification! Don't mind the color, it's really a lot brighter green. That's what I get for indoor photos at midnight. I'll be making more of these, hopefully refining the design along the way, they're a little loose after the thumb gusset. I started the textured cuff and I liked it, but I couldn't complete the crab stitch edging since I couldn't find the right size crochet needle. I frogged and worked a ribbed cuff with smaller needles. I'd like to unvent a cuff up (?) version that eliminates the gaps between the fingers. Still haven't come up with anything to embroider on the knuckles yet (P*SS OFF!, F*CK OFF!... I'm an angry driver :-) ), suggestions are welcome. My wife asked for a pair, but she wants a different color, so you know what that means...yarn shopping!

Baby Shedir
baby shedir

This is the Shedir pattern from Knitty using the modifications found here. I got the idea from Ravelry after browsing other patterns knit with Merino Style for ideas. Again with the color... I started it on Saturday to have something to work on during the Michigan vs. Michigan State game, Go Blue! I know, wrong color, but it didn't jinx the team. I've knit this pattern before and it's just as enjoyable this time around, even more so working on two circs instead of DPNs. I have to say, even thought it's my first, I LOVE knitting baby items. They're so quick! I'll definitely be making more of these in the future both for us (we're all talk for now) and for friends that are expecting.

Not much else to report on in the knitting world, Ravelry still consumes much of my internet time (more than it should), and the October (now November) garter-rib socks get a row longer here and there. I'm just not feeling the tiny needles right now. (Maybe it's the DPNs?) And I decided I'm not totally giving up on the SAMKAL4, just skipping October. I figure I have one pair 65% done, I can finish those sometime this month, then have a month and a half to knit a December pair. Four out of five isn't bad in my book.

P.S. - Had to do a little surgery on one of my Options needles. The end came off the cord - cleanly, not broken - and I used super glue to reattach. I must've waited too long after applying the glue though, the cord wouldn't go all the way back in. It's usable and it doesn't snag yarn, but I'm not happy about it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

As promised

Wham! Yarn! Porn!


Don't you just lurve it? Maia made this for me after I won a contest on her blog. She offered hand-dyed sock yarn, so I asked her to make some up inspired by Socks That Rock in the Monsoon colorway. I don't know how close it is, but I don't care. Maia is starting up a fiber business called Tactile Fiber Arts. She's not up and running online yet, but as soon as she is, I'm sure she'll be flooded with orders. Or at least she should be.


This is freaking awesome sock yarn. By far, the best sock yarn I've ever owned. I named it Typhoon. Usually people know exactly what they're going to make when they get yarn of such awesomeness, but I don't know yet. I need to clear my mind and let the yarn speak to me.


Hello there...what are you trying to say?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too Much

I think I'm going to give up the SAMKAL4. I might finish my October Garter-rib socks (I'd hate to get close but not make it), but I just don't see myself getting a pair done for November and December, what with the holidays and such. It takes me the whole month to finish a pair (I honestly don't know how people finish a pair of socks in two weeks that aren't DK weight) and I don't like being under the pressure to finish before the end of the month. I find myself glancing at the calendar constantly thinking, ok if I finish the first sock today, I'll have an extra day to work on the second one, etc. Speaking of the garter-rib socks, I am done with the first sock and started the toe on the second.

Also wanted to point out the ad on the right there for Vickie Howell's new podcast. She's giving away free yarn ... catch your breath ... that's right free yarn to anyone who posts the ad on their blog. I'm really excited about her third episode, she interviews Will Forte from SNL. I loved him in Beerfest and it's so cool that he knits. Way to represent the guys Will! Anyways, it's a grass-roots effort to promote the podcast, so do what you feel like to spread the word. Check out her blog for more info.

P.S. - I got some awesome yarn in the mail yesterday, just need to photograph it and I can tell you all about it. It's so cool!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kauni Lust

I decided to do some research on this whole Kauni business. I know the Yarn Harlot made one, but after reading this post by Sally Rainey, and seeing the original sweater, I realized there were options and was truly inspired. I like going away from the lines and blocks of the original Kauni pattern because it opens up the sweater and you can really see the color changes happening in one connected flow. So far though, I've only seen the sweaters knit in the rainbow colorway which, let's face it, would not look good on me. It wasn't until I saw the different colorways available here that I decided - this is something I can do. (Is it really that cheap? What's 7.50 Euros, like $10? How many skeins does it take to make one sweater? I hear tell they're huge skeins...) I like the EB and EV the best, but I'm still searching for examples knit up since it's a little hard to tell just from the skeins.

Then this morning, I had an epiphany. Again, Sally hit me when she blogged about the pattern she's using and mentioned charting the pattern yourself from a photo since it's really hard to find. I had thought about using an M.C. Escher tessellation, but thought that might be too busy (and nerdy) for a sweater, although I'll keep it in mind for a scarf. The thing that really got my juices going was the thought of using an ambigram; I'm familiar with them from Dan Brown's Angels & Demons. Now I just need to do enough research to find the perfect design. This may prove to be too busy (nerdy) for a sweater as well, but I suppose that depends on the design. Ooh maybe I'll have one designed.....

In other news
The garter rib socks continue apace. I've turned the heel, worked the gusset and started the leg. I did realize something though...when I start a pair of socks, the foot always goes really quickly and the knitting is stress free. Stitches don't ladder (too badly) and it's really easy going from one DPN to the next. However, after I pick up the gusset stitches, the sock really puts up a fight.

I never could figure out why until I realized that it's probably the extra weight combined with the odd shaping of a heel sticking out instead of just a tube of knitting. Even once I'm back to knitting a tube up the leg, it's not as easy/enjoyable as knitting just the foot. Maybe I'll start the second sock after I've knitted the gusset on the first, that way I can alternate between fun, easy knitting and a weighed down struggle. Another thing I noticed: my DPNs are bent. :-(

Another future project
I was watching Accepted for the 500th time last night and decided that I need to make socks that match the argyle sweater Jonah Hill (Sherman Schrader: "Ask me about my wiener!") is wearing in the courtroom scene at the end of the movie. Unfortunately I can't find a freaking screenshot, so you'll just have to watch the movie. Alright, if you simply must know, they would be black socks with a bright orange and blue argyle. Totally crazy. Sounds like another Knit Picks order to me. But not for awhile, I'm knitting strictly from stash until after that December holiday that shall not be named.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

New projects and Ravelry

Garter Rib Socks

Started these Wednesday night and I love them. The yarn, Knit Picks Felici in Pebble, is nice and soft and the color changes make the knitting very interesting. The pattern is Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks, and it's also interesting yet simple enough for TV knitting. These will be my October socks for the SAMKAL4.

I'm also nearing completion of the Skull Bag.

Skull Bag

This is for my wife. She requested it a few months ago, so I figured I would throw it in as a mix-up to all the sock knitting I've been doing lately. The design is my own, I created a chart based on a graphic I found online. It's worked with Knit Picks' Palette. This will get felted and then I'll need to install a zipper to finish it.

Finally, I got my invite to Ravelry on Monday, so that's why I've been absent from here. I'm JGM over there since knitswithballs was already taken. I'm a little irritated since it looks like he's been in for a month, but not added anything. Oh well, I'm over it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

FO: Twisted Tweed Socks

It took me a few rounds to remember to slip the stitches with the yarn in front, but this was a really enjoyable pattern to work with.


Twisted Tweed by Schrodinger, toe-up version
Yarn: Knit Picks' Memories in the Yukon colorway (discontinued)
Needles: Knit Picks' DPNs size 1 (2.25mm)
Started: September 3
Finished: September 23
Modifications: Maia's toe-up gusseted heel instead of short row heels; picked up stitches 'the pretty way'; 72 stitches on the foot, but 78 stitches on the leg due to the constricting nature of the tweed stitch.
What I learned: 1) How to make socks toe-up on DPNs, which I think is harder than Magic Loop or two circulars because the DPNs are not flexible when you begin the toe. 2) I really, really like the Memories yarn and I'm sad that it's discontinued. Not a huge problem though because it's really only the colorways that aren't available anymore. The bare yarn is still available and only serves to fuel my burgeoning desire to dye yarn.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mmmm meat pig!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Quick Hits

1. September has turned into quite the busy month. Two weekends ago, we went on a day trip to Milwaukee to pick up some Sprecher and Usingers. Click the links, I'll wait.... Delicious no? I recommend the Puma Kola and the Ravin' Red from Sprecher and the Hot Hickory Sticks from Usingers. Yummmmm.

Last weekend we had a wedding on Saturday and Sunday drove to Lansing to visit friends and their new baby. I did get to knit in the car on the way back, so it wasn't a total bust. This weekend, we're going camping. Yes, you read that right, it's the last weekend in September in Michigan and we're going camping. At press time, the estimated number of people is closely rivaled with the estimated number of dogs (8:6) so it should be an interesting weekend. It's not supposed to be too cold though, which leads me to...

2. I swear I must be the only knitter in the world that is not looking forward to fall. Everywhere I look, knitters are rejoicing in the nearness of cold weather, turning of the leaves and sweater or afghan knitting. Not I. I'll stick with my socks and other accessories for now. I hate being cold. Granted, being a larger guy it doesn't happen all that often, but still. I was so happy when, last weekend, I actually uttered the phrase, "I'm not cutting the grass. It's too hot out."

It might also have to do with the fact that I am not a speed knitter and I can't churn out a sweater in 2-3 weeks. It takes me that long just to finish a pair of socks. If I started a sweater now, I probably wouldn't get to wear it until next fall/winter.

3. The Twisted Tweed socks are done. I was waiting for the perfect convergence of lighting, weather, a clean place to stand and proper photo taking skills to post, but I'm going to have to scrap that to post them in time for the SAMKAL4 Sept. deadline. They've been done for a week but I haven't posted them because...

4. I was out of the office Mon-Wed with Flash 8 training. Hopefully I can find some time to put together a nice piece for the blog to spice things up a bit. Probably just flashy header though. Stay tuned.

5. I've been reading a LOT of the Yarn Harlot. Because I was in class for three days and I picked it up really quickly, during breaks (and sometimes during lecture, shhhhh) I worked on getting caught up on her blog archives. She's really hilarious, there were several times during class that I had to cover my face and bite my tongue to not laugh out loud. It also makes me feel better to know that a knitting celebrity like her still makes a lot of the mistakes that us commoners do.

6. I've started the sweater socks. Remember the sweater I de-constructed? I'm using the sleeves to make socks. Pictures of those next week, assuming they survive drunken-fire-smoky-camping-knitting.

7. I have another new project to show you, but we're not speaking right now. It decided not to follow the chart, so I decided that I didn't need to knit on it for awhile. We're in counseling. The outlook is hopeful.

8. In honor of this weekend's planned activities, I leave you with the following photo, a favorite of mine:

Tent and Jeep at Tawas, 2005

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yarn pr0n and progress

Some yarn pr0n for you.


I ordered the two blue and yellow skeins and the girl took an extra week to ship them, so she tossed in the other skein and a free issue of Vogue Knitting. How cool is that! I'm thinking of making a shawl with this for my mother, any pattern suggestions? I was thinking of doing the Yarn Harlot's Snowdrop Shawl, but I just noticed today that is takes ~1300 yards and I only have ~850 in each skein (the two blue and yellow skeins are different).

Up next we have progress on the twisted tweed socks.


I hate progress pictures because they're immediately obsolete. From this point I've since picked up the gusset stitches and begun decreasing. But hey, the lighting is great. You can also see my newest sock knitting bag ;-)

And lastly, we have a progress picture of....the Fibonacci Ribs Sweater!!!


It's a Knit Picks pattern that is no longer available on their site. It was my first attempt at a sweater with good yarn. I'm not in love with the set in sleeves and I think it's too long, although my wife likes it that way. I think I started it almost two years ago now and I'm determined to finish it before winter! Right after I finish the twisted tweed socks... and a bag for my wife... and some more socks... and a water bottle cover... and so on...

P.S. - The yarn I got from the sweater? I'm going to - ever so uncreatively - make a pair of socks in the same stripe pattern. I figure I can get a pair of socks just out of the sleeve yarn, right?

P.P.S - ekgheiy, the Twisted Tweed pattern is available in both cuff-down and toe-up versions, the toe-up is at the bottom of the PDF.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I went to TJ Maxx this weekend to try and find a suitable dye pot, so I can stop using our expensive All Clad. While it's ok for dyeing with Kool-Aid, I want to move on to food dyes and possibly acid dyes eventually, so a separate pot is necessary. I didn't find the bargains I had hoped to - the cheapest was $25, I was hoping for more around $15 - so I moved on to the mens clothes to kill some time while my wife looked for a dress. I was merely strolling aimlessly through the aisles when lo and behold, this popped out at me.


I checked the label and sure enough, pure wool! There were a few other nice Polo cardigans, but they were cotton and twice the price of this find, which I got for a sweet $13.



After 3 hours Sunday afternoon spent snipping, picking and unravelling, I ended up with this:


It's currently drying on an IKEA clothes rack after I soaked it yesterday to remove most of the kink. It should be done by the time I get home tonight, so maybe I'll wind some of it up into balls. I don't know how much I have yardage-wise, but the sweater was a size large. Anyone know the best way to figure that out? I was thinking I could weigh 1 gram of it, then weigh the whole skein and extrapolate from there. I don't have a yardage measuring tool, plus if I can find a home solution, I'm all about it. It's two-ply and, while in sweater form at least, was very soft. It doesn't feel as soft in hanks, but I'm sure once I knit it up, it'll be nice. Now I need to decide what to make with it, any suggestions?

In other news, the twisted tweed socks tarry on. I had to rip out pretty much all of this weekend's progress to make the leg 6 stitches smaller, but that made the makeup work go that much quicker. I think I'm already back to the length I was at before frogging. I was a little nervous about them being too small, but so far they fit perfectly. I'm also a little nervous about running out of yarn, so the smaller leg should help with that. I tried a new style of heel as well, but...well you'll just have to wait until they're done. I can't give out all the secrets before hand!


Finally, I decided yesterday that I want to knit this.

The sample is definitely more colorful than I would ever make it, but I'm thinking Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes in Onyx Heather - and some contrast color to be determined later - would make a nice winter coat. I have a vision of being clad entirely in handmade knits: hat, scarf, coat, gloves/mittens and toasty socks. It would be awesome if I could make it before it gets cold this year, but alas, I'm no where near fast enough and don't have enough time. I'd have to give up the SAMKAL4, plus my wife's Fibonacci sweater (are we sure this is even real??) still wouldn't be getting done. I promised her it would be done before it gets cold. I have a few other projects that I've promised her (and myself) standing in the, I'll just have to go without this winter. Perhaps for next year.

P.S. - Matt, the Memories is great to work with. I really am sad they discontinued it. The stockinette stitch is making a nice uniform material, there's no way you'd be able to feel stitches on the bottom of the foot. I can barely feel a texture when I run my hands over it. The stitch definition overall is good and it's nice sliding through the fingers as you work with it. A very solid yarn overall.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Twisted Tweed

twisted_tweed_001, originally uploaded by Camping Jason.

I started these Monday night after a weekend of relaxation and fun with friends. The pattern is from Schrodinger and the yarn is Knit Picks Memories in Yukon.

I know I'm supposed to be knitting the Campfire Socks according to the response from my poll, but I'm an idiot. I somehow failed to notice that they are made with DK weight yarn, not fingering sock yarn. That wouldn't really be a problem except...I don't have and DK weight yarn. At least, any DK weight yarn that is worth using.

What I do have is some nasty Bernat acrylic that is actually a very similar colorway to the Yukon. But it's awful to work with. I started the Campfire Socks (and actually did knit them beside the fire!) this past weekend, but alas, I could not continue. The Yukon cried loudly and miserably all the while I struggled with the nasty, practically plastic acrylic. I thought I would forge on, convincing myself that the speediness that larger needles and thicker yarn provided would make up for the spine tingling squeek of the needles passing through the yarn and the unbreathable monstrosities that would be the result, but the yarn cried on.

"I'll get to you soon enough," I tried to tell it, "these will work up quickly on size 4 needles."

"But you promised!" it pouted.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for good yarn.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh Yeah!

So I dyed my first yarn this weekend and Kool-Aid man was right there with me. It was pretty fun and I'll definitely do it again. It was also a lot quicker than I thought. I ended up dyeing the yarn twice to get a richer color. I started with Lorna's Laces in the Sweetie colorway. Here's a before shot:


I got this out of a clearance sale at She was out of the colorway I wanted and substituted this. Definitely not a color I would wear. Anyways, here's the result after 4 packets of orange Kool-Aid and 2 packets of cherry.


Much better! I wanted the yellow to be orange - check - the pink to be red - check - and the purple to be a lot darker - check! I'll probably end up knitting this up with some black to subdue the colors even more (I don't think I could pull off orange, red and purple socks) and I think it'll look pretty cool. All in all a successful experience at the dye pot. You can check out more pictures of the process here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Argyle update

The argyle socks are almost done. The socks themselves are done, but I still need to weave in the ends (the inside is a big pile of yarn vomit), duplicate stitch the crisscrossed lines in black (is there a term for that?) and block them so the stitches come out looking all purty. But, they're done enough to post on the SAMKAL4 in time to qualify for an August entry, and that's all I was worried about for now.

sock 006

Up next? Why, another pair of socks of course! I'm not sure which ones though, so you can vote on your favorite here. Just note that the fair isle socks are no longer in the running, I'm a little sick of multiple strands of yarn on one piece.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Neighbor Drama

This post will most likely end up with an explicit rating. You've been warned.

The following is an account of the events that took place at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday, August 25. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday night, we had friends from Boston that were in town for a wedding stay the night. We invited another couple over for small gathering to watch some movies, eat snacks and have a generally good time. We were in between movies, making brownies and getting a little loud when there was a knock on the door. We weren't expecting any more guests, so I was quite curious to know who could be at the door at this hour. I thought perhaps a friendly neighbor thought we were being too loud (we weren't) and wanted to alert us to this fact. It was not a friendly neighbor. There were, in fact, two police officers standing on our porch when I opened the door.

My immediate thought was, "Were we really that loud?", when he asked for Martha Johnson, our friend from Boston. At first I was relieved because the complaint was obviously not with us, but with our friend. I should point out that the officers were very nice and not trying to be assholes, so I didn't have a problem with providing him Martha's whereabouts. She came to the door and he proceeded to hold up her car keys. I should pause yet again to explain that Martha can be somewhat, nay, very scatterbrained, so I was not surprised to see her keys held up by the officer. We all had a good laugh until we heard the officer explaining the reason they were there.

Apparently her car was "blocking" the driveway of our neighbor. She was also parked too far from the curb, a ticketable offense. Martha, in addition to being scatterbrained, is also a notoriously bad parker/driver, so again, not a shock. The shock came from the fact that she had "blocked" the neighbor's driveway by less than 3 inches. And not even the straight line of the driveway, but the angled slope that leads to the main street. So, the asshole next door couldn't pull out of his driveway (he always backs in, which we think is weird) without having to take some care to not hit a closely parked car, and decided to involve the authorities.

Now I normally wouldn't really have a problem with, I take that back and here's why. Remember, there were two officers on the porch and these guys always travel solo. So that means there were two cop cars outside our house at 10 o'clock on a Saturday night. Add to that the fact that we live in a nosy neighborhood and the people across the street were on their front porch at the time...makes for quite a bit of unnecessary neighborhood embarassment. We're upstanding young people, the most we could be found fault with is letting the front lawn grow a bit too much before mowing or yelling at the dogs a little too loudly. We don't throw huge, loud parties that clog the street with cars and keep people up at night. Granted we don't know everyone in the neighborhood, but we've only lived here for about 18 months; we're private people.

Also, why wouldn't you come knock on our door yourself? The car was parked in front of our house, wouldn't it be safe to assume that it belongs to someone there? The only thing I can think of is that he assumes we don't like him (we don't now) but we've never done anything to show him that we don't. I can only guess that he pulled this stunt because he does not like us, but I cannot imagine why.

Other problems I have with all of this: the guy only recently moved in, he's probably been here less than 6 months. I can understand someone who has lived in the neighborhood calling the cops on somone who has only recently moved in, but hey...we were here first, jerk! He also has friends over quite often and instead of them parking in his driveway or even in front of his house, they most often park in front of our house! I normally don't mind people parking in front of our house, we don't own the street and no one has a huge driveway. But I would never park in front of someone else's house if there is open space in front of the house we're visiting. The other thing, and this more of a pet peeve, is they park in the ass middle of the space, when there's plenty of room for two normal size cars.

We just can't help thinking that he called the cops to embarass us, and that is infuriating.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to me,

Knit Pick memories in Smores and Yukon
Self-birthday present from someone else's de-stash

Happy Birthday to me,

Knit Picks Bare fingering weight for my first attempt at dyeing, enough for 6 pairs of socks!
Part of the birthday package from my lovely wife

Happy Birthday dear Jason,

Knit Picks Palette in Black and Navy for some more argyle socks
Part of the birthday package from my awesome wife

Happy Birthday to me!

Knit Picks DPN set, one size missing because it's already being used!
Also part of the birthday package from my wonderful wife

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm just sayin...

Of the 25 blogs that I currently frequent (two new ones added today!) only 3 have posted anything today. I'm just sayin...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One down...

One argyle sock down...

...and one to go. I finished the first sock early Sunday morning and promptly spent the rest of the day battling the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome (SSS). I just couldn't bring myself to cast on, and it didn't help that my arms and shoulders hurt from the sprint to the finish line the night before. I eventually did cast on Sunday night and found that once I was over that hump, working on the ribbing wasn't so bad. Once I added the color, I was back in action.

I'm making good progress on the second sock so far. I started with 12 days to finish this to qualify for a prize on the SAMKAL4 I joined and I told myself that if I divided the sock into manageable parts (diamond repeats - 6 total, heel flap, heel turn and gusset, toes) I could get it done. So far it seems to be working, I've got almost 3 diamond repeats done in three days and I could start the heel flap tonight. The wrench in the whole monkey will come this weekend when we have company staying overnight Saturday. Hopefully I can either knit while we watch a movie or knit by the fire if the weather is nice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Knit Wars

Ok, so I just have to post about this. I discovered Chore Wars while listening to the Lime & Violet podcast. Chore Wars was developed to motivate kids to do their chores. It's set up like (insert your favorite RPG here) and you gain experience points by completing your chores. Well, the crazy ladies at Lime & Violet created a knitting version to motivate all us knitters! You can get XP for various knitting "chores" like stash enhancement, dyeing yarn, finishing a pair of socks or even just knitting for 15 minutes. So if you're into World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons, come dork out with the rest of us. Here's the link to join and here's the original blog post with all the rules.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August is for Argyle

An update on the argyle socks...I've made it past the heel on the first sock and only have one more diamond repeat to go before finishing off the toe. I wanted a thicker heel, but I thought just a plain gray heel wouldn't look as neat and one with some color. So, I worked a fair isle pattern over the heel flap using the three main colors of the sock. The idea seemed solid and it looks cool on its own, but I fear that it may take away from the sock design as a whole. We'll see once I seam this bad boy up and try it on. I did manage to slip it over my foot last night to check for a rough fit, but with the two seams and the DPNs still in it, the measure was not accurate at all.

To put even more pressure on myself, I signed up for the Sock a Month KAL 4 and dubbed these my August socks. The goal is one pair of socks a month for August, September, October and November. For each month you complete a pair of socks, you're eligible for prizes. Today is August 16th, which means I am officially cutting into second sock time. I suppose if I can finish them tonight, then I'll be ok assuming the second sock goes a bit faster than the first. Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pati-o Daddy-o!

The patio is complete! Click here for more photos.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Patio update!

I came home to a pleasant surprise yesterday after work, some nice progress on the patio! I wasn't sure how much they'd be able to get done in one day's work, but it was definitely enough to get us excited. I'm thinking that today they can get the rest of the block filled in and maybe start on the steps or the firepit? I know there's a lot of cutting to be done to fit the proverbial square bricks into the round hole of the design, so I'm figuring on a Friday finish if the rain holds off. We lost a whole day Tuesday because it poured in the A.M.

Monday, August 6, 2007


I've made some progress on the argyle socks, although not much. I'm alternating between these and the Fibonacci sweater (pics to come soon, I swear) to help alleviate knitting pain. I'm happy with the way they're turning out. I started to worry about the size, so I ran a lifeline through (that's the green yarn still in there) and took it off the needles. It's a little looser than I'd like, but not loose enough to require frogging. These are 88 stitches around, the next pair will be on fewer stitches.

Here's a picture of the back of the knitting. It's a little blurry, but if you click on the photo for the large size, you can see how I've twisted the strands at the color changes to lock in the yarn. It's most noticeable in the white diamond by my thumb. You can also see the "flaps" on the "back" of the leg where I started knitting flat.

In other progress news, patio construction has begun. We're really excited about it, I feel like we can finally enjoy our backyard. Now all I have to do is fill in all the dog holes.....

Friday, August 3, 2007

Rock 'n' Roll Argyle Socks

These are my newly named Rock 'n' Roll Argyle Socks. Why are they Rock 'n' Roll? Well just look at my hand in the photo! Inspirition can come from anywhere. They're knit with KnitPicks' Palette in ash, blue and white and I plan to duplicate stitch the criss-crossed lines in black. I knitted the ribbing in the round on dpns, then started working back and forth for the intarsia; I added a stitch on the edge to account for seaming. I think on the next one, I'll just knit the whole leg flat instead of starting in the round. I realize now I should have taken a photo of the back, oh well.

It's really fun to see the pattern grow with each row and it's really hard to stop knitting these because I think to myself, "Oh the top half of the diamond is almost done, just a few more rows." And then, "Well that's done, but now I want to see how it looks when the grey comes back in." It is a bit of a pain to work with all the bobbins hanging off the sock, but it forces me to go slow and be patient, which is probably good for my wrists. The other nice thing about using the bobbins (which are made from a cereal box thankyouverymuch) is it's easier to manage the tangles. When I have done colorwork in the past, the skeins just sit there while I twist the yarn to lock it in and they get all tangled. Now I can lift the whole bobbin over the working yarn to twist the two strands.

And now for something completely different, the demolition on my deck. Here's a before picture, before we moved in, before I demo'd the deck, before the dogs destroyed the backyard...
and here's the after(math)...

oh, and those dogs I mentioned? Here's one of them, Miss Ruby (Loo), otherwise known as Baloo.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Finally Back Knitting

After a few marathon sessions working on my black cabled sock, knitting every day at lunch, demolishing our deck in two days plus working on a computer all day at work, my arms decided to revolt. I started getting pain in my left wrist Sunday night and had to quit. I did a little research on carpal tunnel and wrist pain in general and decided that I didn't want to end up needing surgery or even braces for my wrists. I went a full two days without knitting (!!!) and finally picked it back up last night. Believe me, the drought was torturous. Not only had I just started a new pair of argyle socks, but I got a new shipment of yarn in the mail on Tuesday! All that beautiful yarn and all I can do is look at it and pet it. The good news is that I got 4 more skeins of Merino Style to finish the Fibonacci sweater I started oh so long ago. I think working on bigger needles (size 6) will help deal with my wrist pain too. I was knitting those cabled socks so tightly it was insane. I really need to relax when I knit. I'll try to take pictures of everything (sweater, yarn porn, argyle sock, demolished deck) when I get home tonight.

In other news...I just started reading The Yarn Harlot's blog yesterday. Yes, I know I'm probably the last person in the knitting community to hop on board, but in my defense, I DID at least know about her before yesterday. If anyone knows of other good knitting related blogs I should be reading, please enlighten me. I like her blog because she's well spoken and her posts are easy and fun to read, so if you know of others like that, please pass them along.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bowties Are For Dorks

Dear Sir, I wish to complain on the strongest possible terms about knitted ties. It's just a bad idea all around. If you try to knit one in stockinette stitch to get a nice smooth surface, it's going to curl like mad, so you have knit it in garter stitch, which just ends up looking awful. I suppose you could double knit a stockinette tube, but when you went to tie the darn thing, you'd end up with a knot the size of a grapefruit under your chin! Just take a look at this poor chap. Who wears a tie with a denim shirt...shit, who the heck wears denim shirts anymore?!

And don't get me started on knitted bowties. I'm against bowties to begin with (unless you're wearing a tuxedo), knitting one only makes it worse. I don't know about you, but I think it would be extremely hard to tie a knitted bowtie. Maybe if you knitted it in a really slippery yarn like rayon or polyester, but then would it stand up? I've already thought about this way too much. Besides, anyone who wears a bowtie without a tuxedo just ends up looking like a dork:

Ok, time to bring the level of this post back to neutral. I'm making nice progress on my black cabled socks. Sorry, no new photos, but I've turned the heel, worked the gussets and started the foot. Unfortunately it's pretty obvious that I'm going to run out of yarn before I can reach the toes. So why am I still going? Well, I tried it on shortly after I finished the gussets and had a hard time getting the leg of the sock over my heel. I'm 99% sure I'm going to frog and add in another cable repeat to ease the tightness of the leg, but I want to know how 5 repeats fit my foot before I do.

If you had told me 2-3 weeks ago that I'd be frogging an almost complete sock, I probably would have cried, but I went into this project with the right mindset. I knew that it was a test pattern and that things might not work out since it was created from scratch. I think if this had been knit from an existing pattern, I probably would have been mad at the pattern by now, put the socks aside and started something else. I've learned a lot while knitting this sock - and I still have a lot more to learn - but I'm really glad I did it.

Speaking of knitting socks, I placed an order from KnitPicks Wednesday that has lots of sock yarn in it. Yay! I also ordered Sensational Knitted Socks like I said I was going to and some yarn to finish my wife's Fibonacci Ribs sweater that I started two years ago now... Let's just hope the dye lot matches closely enough or I'm going to spending lots of time in the frog pond next week. I have plans to make Grumperina's Jaywalker socks with some Memories Cape Cod and Smores as well as some argyle socks with more Palette. Those should be interesting, I'm planning to knit the leg flat for the intarsia (I had a bad experience with stranding) so I'm trying to decide where I want the seam. Also, I was wondering if I could come up with a sort of vertical kitchener stitch to avoid the ridge that mattress stitches creates. I'll have to knit some swatches and give it a go.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

How to make a center pull ball

This came about from a thread on I mentioned how I create a center pull ball of yarn without using a store-bought yarn winder, so I thought I would put together a photo tutorial for those who wanted to see how. Here goes:

Start off by putting 6 inches of your yarn into the center of a paper towel tube. I prefer a paper towel tube over a toilet paper tube because the length gives you something substantial to hold on to.

Next, hold the yarn against the tube with your thumb.

Begin winding the yarn perpendicularly around the tube. Go slowly with the first few wraps, these will lock in the yarn tail that you were holding down with your thumb.

Once you have a few wraps established so the yarn is secure on the tube (about 10 wraps) begin winding the yarn around the tube at an angle.

cpb_004 cpb_005

Once you have another 10 wraps at an angle, turn the tube 1/4 turn and begin wrapping again at the same angle.

After you have these two sets of wraps done, you can begin to slowly turn the tube while you continue to wrap. This will form a more uniform ball than if you continue to wrap multiple times in the same place.

As your ball begins to grow, you can shape it by changing where you place your wraps. If you wrap the yarn slightly away from the tube, a "corner" will form and the ball will begin to take on a cylindrical shape. Keep wrapping the yarn near the "corner" to keep that shape. If you move the yarn closer to the tube, your ball will end up rounder and be less likely to stay put as you pull the yarn from the center.

When your ball is a big as you want it or your yarn is gone, fish the yarn tail out of the tube and lay it on the outside of the ball. I find this helps to keep the tail in order; if you leave it in the tube as you pull the ball off, it falls into the center of the ball and you have to fish it out of the yarn instead of a nice smooth paper tube.

All that's left is to slide the ball off the tube and you're ready to go!
cpb_011 cpb_012