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October 27, 2007

Socktoberfest 2007 Progress

On Tuesday, I finished these socks and have already started another pair (Lorna's Laces, Shepherd Sock, "Jeans") for my older son.

Finished socks

I cast on 56 stitches with a 2.25mm double-pointed needle but knit them for about an inch with 2.0mm - I used a simple ribbing pattern throughout - K3, P1. The yarn was enjoyable to knit with but had a weird tangled knot in the middle of the ball (while I was knitting the second sock). I had to cut the yarn and when I resumed knitting, the striping pattern was a bit off resulting in mismatched toes. However, the recipient totally didn't care and insisted on trying on the socks while they were still damp. He asked me to "make them dry" so he could wear them to bed. Although I had handwashed them, I crossed my fingers and put them in a warm dryer for a bit until they got dry enough for him to wear. He LOVES them. They fared well through the dryer and the washing machine (and dryer again) the following day. The fit is great with a tiny bit of extra room in the toe to allow for growth.

The best part? His reaction to the socks and his happiness with them. It is the most awesome feeling to knit socks for somebody who loves them so much.

Orange Crocs and Socks

October 23, 2007

Sneaking by to post

Thank you all for being so kind about my new pattern. I have a lot to learn, and I appreciate the great suggestions and tweaks. It's not too late if you have suggestions - I'd love to hear them.

I've been wrestling with a cold since late Saturday and I think I've finally beaten it into submission with Airborne, Sudafed and ibuprofen. However, the last time I checked, I can't call in sick to my day job. People around here still expect to eat, wear clean clothes and get to school on time. But my "bosses" are cute and entertaining, so I can't complain. My cold has made me melancholy and nostalgic though -- I miss my sister. I miss ALL of my sisters but especially my younger sister. I'm going to share some OLD photos of us -- the rest of the post might bore you, but at least the photos might distract you:

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Karamursel AFB, Turkey, 1969

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I kept that pink bear till I was 22

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This photo was taken in 1971 - the year we moved to Oklahoma

The main reason for my sneaking by to post is my wanting to talk about some of the thoughts I've had due to the ongoing dialogue at Hannabirke. I'm linking to the entire blog because I think I'd do a disservice by just linking to bits and pieces. In a nutshell, it's caused me to think more about my role and my clothing and how my clothing reflects my life. Since I became a (mostly) stay-at-home mom in 1997, I've relished my freedom from the tyranny of pantyhose and fully embraced my daily uniform - jeans and knits. I no longer need to dress to impress (professionally) but am focused more on function, utility, comfort. But I've decided to kick it up a notch and get rid of anything that doesn't reflect my style or color preferences. There are "reasons" but it's not all that deep to anybody but me -- and it relates to my desire to look closer to my chronological age. I'm thankful for my genes and my genetic predisposition to having good skin and hair and lack of "smile" lines, but I don't know that my choice to dress so much younger than I am is making me feel the way I want to feel. The changes are likely to be imperceptible, but when I walk into a room, I want to feel a certain way and carry myself a certain way . . . for ME. And although I can't control the impressions people form when they meet me, I can control some of my own details and choices. And I'm not fishing for compliments or feedback, but I am writing things down so that I follow through. It's always been my choice NOT to wear "mom" jeans and not to be "frumpy." I do those things for myself out of self-respect, and you wouldn't believe the things people feel that they can say to somebody who takes these pains -- they treat me as if I'm forming a revolt against womankind's right to be frumpy. I am not. It's my own choice and my own decision -- one that I made many years before it was even close to being an issue. NO FRUMP. EVER. My choices don't mean I am judging you. I would put on make-up every day whether I see anybody outside my home or not.

So if you've read this far, you're probably wondering how I extrapolated all that from somebody's blog entries and why I suddenly felt compelled to ruthlessly rid myself of half the clothes in my closet (already a sparse collection) -- it was because I couldn't move forward until I released what I didn't want. You've heard "don't think about what you don't want," right? There were several things hanging in my closet that were still making me think of what I didn't want. Basically, there are emotions attached to some of my things and until those things are released, I can't release the emotions.

It's also changed my mind about things I "thought" I wanted to knit. All of this is related, believe it or not. That's why I'm releasing stash - so I can move forward. And nothing is escaping this filtering process right now -- the knitting, the projects, the way I spend my time. The blog is here to stay, however -- I love writing here; it's not going anywhere and there will be no sudden disappearance. Thank you for hanging in there with me, for reading me, commenting and sharing.

October 22, 2007

Pattern - Leaf Lace Scarf

Leaf Lace Scarf
Leaf Lace Scarf

$1.99 Pattern - Leaf Lace Scarf

I believe that the pattern is correct as written, but please let me know if you have any questions regarding the pattern or the instructions I've provided. If you knit one, I'd love to see it!

October 21, 2007

They had me at "space age polymer"

Comfort Zone
Click photo above for more information

I haven't tried them yet, but they arrived yesterday (one day turnaround?)

I taught a beginner's sock class last week and one of my students had several sets of these Comfort Zone DPNs (all the sizes they make!) in different colors. It wasn't the colors that appealed to me as much as the fact that they're unbreakable (I break my 2mm DPNs regularly). I'm not fond of the length, but I'll let you all know whether I like these needles. I just got the two sizes I use the most because I'm a bit leery of plastic needles in general.

Regular blogging to resume soon along with a free pattern for my blog readers.

October 17, 2007

Be selfish

I worked today so you don't get an in-progress photo of the Leaf Lace scarf. I'm about one third of the way into it now and still at the giddy-romance stage. I don't get tired of knitting it and often have to put it away before I'm ready. Projects should always feel this way, don't you think? I'm finally listening to myself (heart and gut) and figuring out what I enjoy knitting and wearing. Knitters - just be selfish. Knit what you love. Avoid the pressure and the bandwagon unless you see something you really want to knit. Figure out what your "style" is. And have fun.

Pumpkin dishcloth
Click on the photo for more details at Flickr


October 14, 2007

Leaves, Laurie and Llamas

Obi inspiration
Leaf Lace Scarf - photo taken before four more inches were knit

You know, it's difficult to blog about knitting progress while you're making it. I've focused on the scarf quite a bit over this past week and have become an even bigger fan of the Malabrigo laceweight. Lace knitting purists might not like this yarn, but it is so soft and easy for me to work with. It grips my needles in such a way that it's perfect for my wonky knitting technique. Paired with an Addi Lace needle, it's a dream. I'm sorry if I owe you an email or a phone call -- this project has had my devotion.

However, thanks to my friend Megan's willingness to drive to Yarntopia in Katy, Texas, I did get out to meet Laurie (Crazy Aunt Purl) and purchase a copy of her book (now autographed). When I got home, I started reading it and finished it a few hours later. You don't have to have been drunk, divorced, or covered in cat hair to enjoy this book. If you've ever hit bottom and found your way back again, you will relate to her heartfelt and humorous story. There are even a few knitting "recipes" in the back of the book, including one of Staci's. Laurie's felted bracelet bag is adorable and unique.

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If you love Rowan, Fleece Artist, Louisa Harding, and Mama Llama, Yarntopia is the perfect place to go to see a full selection of each of these yarns (they have some Rowan yarns I'd never seen in person before). Catherine of Mama Llama Knits was having her trunk show yesterday and I found some irrestible green sock yarn (the green -- it's an obsession):

Mama Llama - Green Obsession
"Forest" Mama Llama Original Sock

Time to get back to the knitting -- I have socks to finish!


October 10, 2007

Leafy Lace

Pearls and Lace

I had some decisions to make this past week -- some were happy ones and some were not so happy. And on a handful of things, I'm still in limbo. This is difficult for a decisive person. I'd rather make a wrong decision than no decision at all. One of the easier decisions last week was buying the green Malabrigo laceweight from Stephanie at Spritely Goods. I have a stitch dictionary in which I've bookmarked mostly "leaf" lace patterns and I had to have this gorgeous spring green for one of my favorites. It arrived the same day I was using 4mm green freshwater pearls in a necklace. While my idea to use the two together hasn't worked out, I'm still moving along on a wonderful organic leaf lace pattern.

Other Malabrigo lace on the needles is the Pearl Ten colorway for the Orchid Lace Scarf. This is the pattern I won as part of Brenda's contest on her blog, Molecular Knitting. I've cast on and placed my markers but now need lace needles. I thought I could manage without them, but I don't find much joy in knitting lace with blunt-tipped bamboo.

Swatch - Malabrigo Lace
Orchid Lace, I haven't abandoned you

In light of all of this unfinished lace business and unfinished decisions, I want to share with you some things that dropped into my inbox this past week -- timely and unexpectedly helpful treasures:

From Ali Edwards' AEZine: Why Wait? - read the entire thing. Don't wait.

From Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Insights(TM) Newsletter (a brief quote for you while I try to figure out if the entire article is on his website): "How do you establish the habit of thinking about what you want? First, do your best to catch yourself thinking about what you don't want, and consciously stop and replace those thoughts with positive alternatives. It doesn't matter if the alternatives are realistic or not." It's a great article about consciously and purposely replacing WORRY with DESIRE.

And finally, another from Ali Edwards' AEZine: Creative Sharing: "Sharing information and concepts and skills helps us all. There is power in sharing - acquiring knowledge and then passing it on. One of the best ways to become ever more adept at your skills, and hone your own personal creative philosophies, is to teach someone else."

(Comments closed due to SPAM, please contact me via the link on my blog sidebar if you have any questions)

October 07, 2007

Did you see?

My sister's newest reality show: I Wanna Look Like a High School Cheerleader Again

And she's the producer, not a contestant :-)

October 05, 2007

Feeling like Fall

Socks with Crocs
ONline Supersocke 100, Holiday - Color 90

Earlier this week, I shared my Socktoberfest 2007 goal of knitting socks for my family. My husband already has handknit socks, so I'm focusing on knitting socks for each of the kids -- and using yarn in their favorite colors.

My youngest son loves orange -- he even chose orange Crocs this past summer. His older brother chose a safer color -- blue Crocs. They'll each get socks to match their Crocs. My daughter loved the Madeline Tosh "Lettuce Leaf" sock yarn so I'm going to knit her socks with those. Can I knit three pairs of socks by the end of October? We'll see.

I also recently finished a basic ribbed beanie with leftover Cascade 220. I've got another hat on the needles but it's a "practice" hat for my son. For a number of reasons, his learning to knit hasn't been our focus this past week, but we have a long weekend coming up and I hope to take advantage of the extra time.

Basic Beanie

The thought has kind of crept up on me that I need to knit more for my family. I love the idea of knitting for charity, but I want each of my kids to each have useful things that are handknit by their mom. How shameful would it be if I knit hats (or socks or scarves) for others when my own kids don't have them?

Thank you very much to those of you who've helped me release some of my stash! I've figured out that the "stash" number on Ravelry is static regardless of whether a yarn has been moved from the main stash page to the "for sale/trade" page. I'm trying not to obsess about that too much. Part of me would like the overall stash number to decrease. Most of what I've released are yarns I've had for two or more years -- some are yarns I purchased as a new knitter. And there's a bit more to come if you all are still interested. It's very empowering to think about the future "dream" projects and figure out what I most enjoy knitting and what I get excited about. Socks. Scarves. Shawls. Hats. I'm learning that I like simple, classic clothing best on me. It's just all very enlightening and I hope to be able to work through some of my thoughts and put them here soon.

Last but not least, I put together a lovely bracelet based on some inspiration about the meaning behind turquoise gemstones. I had enough gemstones and closures to make two bracelets, so I'm keeping one and selling one:

Turquoise

If you're interested, the bracelet is $39 and includes postage and handling (now spoken for). As before, the first person to express an interest will have priority.

October 01, 2007

Fleece Artist Handmaiden Sea Wool Socks

Fleece Artist Handmaiden "Forest"

I thought I had blogged about this sock already, but I now realize I haven't. Although it's just another plain sock (slideshow here), I wanted to share a few details about the yarn -- it's an intriguing combination of wool and "sea cell" (seaweed?) The color was what was so appealing to me so I bought it (via Yarntopia) with the intention of having something to knit as my "waiting in line" socks. It was unusual to knit with, but once it's washed it feels amazing -- soft and cool on the feet. My only concern was running out of yarn, yet I ended up having enough to knit a pair (with a tiny bit left over).

And . . . Socktoberfest 2007 is starting today! Here's some information from Lolly's Ravelry Socktoberfest group:

"A very simple concept with very few restrictions - Socktoberfest is a month-long (throughout the month of October) celebration of socks. It is a simple celebration of the accessories that we make as crafters to cover our feet. Think of it more as a festival than a knitalong - people who love something come together and celebrate it!"

My goal for Socktoberfest this year is to knit a pair of socks for each family member who doesn't yet have a pair -- and using my sock yarn stash to do so.

And, if you're interested in the Flickr group, here's the link: Socktoberfest on Flickr

Happy first day of Socktober!

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