Monday, July 30, 2007

If ur innernets iz lolcated undr rox...

... you may not have heard about I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGR?, which hosts goofy captioned pictures of cats and other critters. But mostly cats. The occasional lolrus. Anyway. Of course, there is now a quiz to see Which Lolcat Are You? I took it. (Big surprise.) My results:

Your Score: 7331 Cat

47% Affectionate, 51% Excitable, 60% Hungry

Lolzergs have nothing on you. You are swift and ruthless, cutting down whatever and whomever necessary in order to obtain the foodz. As one of the first lolcat known to man, your ancient skills in location-declaration and object-verbing have been passed down several generations, keeping the spirit of felinity alive.

61% hungry? Yeah, that's about right.

Random Monday

I haven't mentioned the Tour de France Knit Along much, other than to overangst about it, but I have to thank Meg and Debby for making it such a fun ride.

They will be posting about the participants' FOs for the next few days, so stop by. Maybe you'll join us next year. Save me a spot at the starting line!

January One is still looking for submissions for the August issue of Yarnival!, which she is hosting. Deadline is July 31, hurry!

Did you know that Lily Sugar 'n Cream comes in stripes? It's not even on their web site, but I picked some up at Major Craft Store today. I love me some stripes, people. Ball-Band Warshrag, here I come.

I'm working on another project that I'll need some help on, so check back later in the week for updates.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Quick update: I've decided to hold off posting the sock pattern until the Sockapalooza socks are finished. Last night I knitted my first tiny sock from the extra yarn.

In the meantime, here's me as a Simpsons character:

Friday, July 27, 2007


Twisted Grapevine Socks for Sockapalooza 4 and the Tour de France Knit Along:



Newly dyed yarn






Apologizing again for my cruddy camera. I'd say the actual color is closest to the "Progress" picture above. Depending on the light, the color will vary within the entire range represented above. I'm working on the pattern and will post when ready. Click here to see all posts on this project!

Foto Friday!

I'm going to try to get photos on the blog every Friday, at least until I get my software issues straightened out. (sounds like a personal problem to me!)

DIY Sock Blockers:

The top pair (blues) is for me; the bottom pair (pinks) is for my sock pal.

I pretty much followed the directions at Little Sesame Knits. Placemats are from Target. I traced my finished Sockapalooza socks onto cereal box cardboard to make the template, cut that shape out and traced it onto the placemats using a colored pencil. Cut it out with some sturdy scissors, et voila! (gotta get that French in there for TdF!)

My feet are just a touch smaller than hers, so I trimmed the template accordingly, then traced and cut for my set.

Worsted Weight Chevron Sock on DIY blocker:

Killing two birds with one stone, here. Demonstrating the sock blocker with the Fancy Chevron Lace Sock. The second sock is on the needles, just haven't had time to work on it.


Wooden Sock Blocker:

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about finding this at a yard sale for $2! I love that one of the former owners put their name on it: L. Mollot. Should I put my name on there as well?


More Steps on the Road to SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy):

But, oh, what a lovely road it is! This nummy worsted weight is Shepherd's Wool from Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, Michigan. It is the softest 100% wool yarn I have ever felt, almost as soft as baby alpaca. The color is a beautiful heathered deep sea green (lighter than it's showing up here) called "Seebreeze." It may be a gift if I can bear to part with it.

Knit Picks Incident:
We can now confirm that, yes indeedy, there was a Knit Picks incident last week. At the top we have two skeins of Knit Picks Bare for more Kool-Aid dyeing. Left to right we have KP Essentials, all superwash sock yarn: Peacock, Cocoa, and Blue Violet Multi. I was almost disappointed to see the Blue Violet because it is exactly what I was going to try to dye! Oh well, I know I'll love it, and that leaves more color combos to explore with Kool-Aid!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Sockapalooza socks are finished! Photos to follow. (Promise.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Time Trials

Yesterday's leg of the Tour de France was a time trial segment. Now, I'm not sure what this means or why they do it, but it inspired me to do a little time trial of my own. I knew it was taking about 1/2 hour to do one repeat of my Grapevine socks, but I wanted to get an "official" time and see how long each round took.

A breakdown of each round:
Round 1 - pattern round
Round 2 - all knit stitch
Round 3 - pattern round
Round 4 - all knit stitch

Here are the results:

First Trial (results scrapped due to tinking incident; see Round 3):
Round 1 - 7 mins
Round 2 - 4 mins
Round 3 - realized I should write this stuff down, got up for pen and paper, then realized I missed something somewhere and had to tink needle #2. Twice.
Round 4 - 5 mins
First Trial total - 29 minutes (so round 3 took 13 minutes??)

Second Trial (official results):
Round 1 - 5 mins
Round 2 - 4 mins
Round 3 - 5 mins
Round 4 - 5 mins
Second Trial total - 19 minutes!

I think a typical repeat takes me a little longer because of children distractions, admiring the yarn tinking, etc.

I have another inch or so on the instep and then I can start the toe. Woo hoo!


In other yarny news, there may have been a recent stash enhancement expedition at Knit Picks. Details are sketchy; we'll keep you updated as the story unfolds.

Also, if you are participating in Sockapalooza, hie thee over to Knitting Ewe and design your own Sockapalooza project bag! These are super cute, made up in "official" Sockapalooza fabric. She is selling the bags and also gift certificates so your sock pal can design their own later. I just ordered one, so I can't vouch personally, but Host Allison raved about hers recently.

And, Mad Caterpillar has designed a PDF label to wrap around your Sockapalooza socks in when you are ready to send. I've printed one out, and if my magenta ink was working, it would be very cute!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yoiks! And Away!

one more...

"Ho, haha, guard, turn, parry, dodge, spin, ha, thrust..." THWACK!


Until last Thursday, it hadn't rained here in two weeks. Almost every day, the Weather Channel would forecast rain, but no rain would come. It would come north of us or south of us, but not ON us. If you don't have a sprinkler system around here, your lawn is brown right now.

Finally, last Wednesday, the forecast for Thursday was 80% chance of rain! It HAD to come now, right?

Thursday morning, no rain.

Thursday after lunch, no rain.

I checked the Weather Channel again. No rain in the forecast. What? Where did that 80% go? I realized I could hold out on my poor plants no longer and gave them a good soaking.

About an hour after I got done watering my plants, FOOM!! Out of nowhere, this ferocious storm blew up from the north east, an entirely wrong direction for weather around here. Wind blowing like crazy, rain coming in sideways. We lost a big limb in the backyard, and the huge oak tree next to the house was thrashing back and forth so hard that I banned the kids from kitchen, lest it should crash down upon us. It was like this Bugs Bunny cartoon.

"Arise, storm! North wind, blow! South wind, blow! Typhoon! Hurricane! Earthquakes! SMOOOOOOGGGGGG!!"

For maybe 15 minutes.

Then the clouds parted, the sun came out and it was beautiful the rest of the day and ever since.

Oh yes. And we lost power. We have a well, so no power = no well pump = no running water. Edison estimated the power would be back on by 1 a.m. Not too bad, considering they also estimated 50,000 to 60,000 homes lost power. We used baby wipes on our hands, brushed our teeth with bottled water and didn't flush (ew). I took a chair outside and knit until the sun went down.

Friday morning we woke up still without electricity. Hubs brought up a bucket of lake water so we could flush. The kids ate dry cereal for breakfast. We took our unwashed selves up to the library for movie day (yay!), where I knit through Stuart Little 1 & 2. (Read the book, kids!) When we got home the power was back on. We were out for just short of 24 hours.

I haven't heard the official synopsis, but there are rumors of a tornado south of us. Our neighborhood has many, many huge oak trees down, as well as large limbs. There are still people in our county without power, 48 hours and counting. I feel for them. The only plus is that it hasn't been hot out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peace of Mind

I've made a decision about the Tour de France Knit Along.

I am not withdrawing from the race! Rather, I will change tactics and strive to finish my Sockapalooza socks during the tour. Remember their name from early on, even before I made the final-final FINAL decisions on color and pattern, was Grapevine. Well, grapes... wine... France... you know.

Anyway, not sure of the "rules" on this. The TdF mods seem pretty easygoing, so I hope it won't be a problem. But I'll email them to be sure.

I turned the heel on the second sock tonight, narrowly avoiding a major frogging disaster. I was knitting along on the heel flap, thinking about short-row heels (which I've never done) and how hard are they and what do they end up looking like, la di da, picked up the stitches along the side for the gusset, hmm hmm hmm, knit across the top in pattern, concentrate concentrate, picked up the other side, tra la la. Uh, I forgot to TURN THE HEEL.

Good thing I had only done one round when i caught it. Tinked back with no major issues. I gotta try it on purpose some time tho - I think that would make one crazy looking sock.

And does anyone else keep wanting to call it the "Tour de Force"?

P.S. I fully intend to post Nettie, but should I have some people test it first? Testers? Volunteers? Guinea pigs?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ravelry Restlessness Rescue

Like 17,400* other knitters, I signed up for Ravelry, the hip new site where all the cool knitter kids hang out.

Well, if you eagerly check your in box every morning hoping today might be The Day, hit this link. Ravely has provided, for your impatient convenience, a way to see where you are in the invite line.

Here's me:
Found you!
You signed up on June 8, 2007
You are #7846 on the list.
1996 people are ahead of you in line.
9555 people are behind you in line.
33% of the list has been invited so far

Honestly, the idea of photographing and cataloging all my stash (and outing all my acrylic*) seems more like work than fun.* I'm sure there's more to it than that, tho, so I'll try when to give it a fair shot when my invitation comes. Someday...

*Yes, really.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Angst and the Art of Flunking a Knit Along

How I am flunking the Tour de France Knit Along? Let me count the ways...

1. Sockapalooza - I committed to this project back in April, someone is actually counting on me for socks, so it is quite high priority. Socks are to be mailed August 2 (or is it 7 now?), so there are only 20 (or 27?) days left to finish that last sock.

2. Kids' classes - I committed to these back in May, so also prior to Tour de France. Each week I need to prepare both the lesson and a project sheet for the kids to take home. There are four girls plus my daughter signed up, so again, people are actually counting on me to get the prep done. In addition, I'd like to keep my teaching options open after this, so I'd better do a good job!

3. The progress thus far - I have the first portion of the market bag done, the first solid band at the top. Honestly? This was already done before I even signed up for the TdF KAL, so does it even count? Realize this: I have not worked on my so-called TdF KAL project since the TdF KAL project began one week ago.

4. This cold - Another goal of mine during the actual Tour, was to dig out a working bicycle from our trash heap of storage and ride it every day. I haven't blogged about this, which was probably better anyway, because it Has Not Happened. At all. I did go down to the shed and look at the bikes, but I don't think that quite counts. This cold is finally going away after two full weeks, and now I don't know when I'll have time to even go visit the bikes.

5. Work - I took the part time daytime job, so I just filled up two days a week there. Plus I haven't worked up the nerve to fully quit Major Retail Store. So I'm working two part-time jobs, plus the knitting classes, and oh yeah, I still have 3 kids and a husband, and...


Can you flunk a knit along?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

1/2 FO!

Halfway done with my sockpal's socks!

On the foot, the pattern still wants to spiral, but in order for the sock to fit correctly, it HAS to stay straight up the instep. Also, the edging is curling a bit. These are things I'm hoping will block out.

I cast on immediately for the second sock, like a good girl, lol. Not too far there - just the CO and first row. Nothing to see.

Oh! I forgot to take a picture (yet), but I found an old wooden sock blocker at a yard sale today! It even has the former owner's name written on it - L. Mollot. It has a crack in it, tho. I don't know if it can be used like that or if some wood glue is in order (or would wreck it entirely).

And then I went to Target and got a couple placemats to make a new pair anyway. I have one I made from a wire hanger that works pretty well, but I don't tend to keep wire hangers around (haaaaaaate them), so I can't make a second one. Plus, I want to make a pair for my sock pal. She seems to be rather experienced sock knitter, so she may have sock blockers already. But hey, it's fun and homemade, so why not?

I hope to get the Nettie pattern up later today. No one signed up for the class, probably because I never made it to the yarn store (gasp!) to give them the sample. I do have 4 kids plus my Girl signed up for the Kids Club that will run on Saturdays, so that's good. I hope they enjoy the class and learn a lot!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Knitters, Start Your Needles... Cyclists, Start Your, uh...

Bon jour, mes amis!!

Today is zee fabulous start of zee fabulous Tour de France. Zee race starts in London (London? London is not in France, mes petits, despite many efforts to zee contrary.)

Ok, I can't keep up the fake bad French accent for an entire post. But it's true - today (the prologue time trials) and tomorrow take place in England. And they say Americans are bad at geography.

The Tour starts at 3:00 p.m. London time, which works out to... right about now, I think. And therefore, the start of the Tour de France Knit Along!

I will be making a second Nettie for the KAL, since she falls rather neatly into the market bag category. I am scheduled to teach Nettie at our local LYS, so once that is done, I'll post the pattern here on the blog.


Here's a link to Tour coverage in English.

And en francais.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Wild Knitter Spotted at Local Movie Theatre!

We took the kids to see Ratatoullie yesterday and, there, in our very row, was a knitter! She seemed quite tame and answered a couple questions on our way out. She was knitting a sweater on circular needles, working back and forth. Pretty cool!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Show & Tell

After committing a drive-by posting, I guess I owe some explanations about the things I claim to have "unvented".

Thing 1 - The weird pattern.

The "real" Vine Lace stitch goes like this:
Row 1 - k1, yo, k2, k2tog, ssk, k2, yo
Row 2 - knit all (if in the round; purl if flat)
Row 3 - yo, k2, k2tog, ssk, k2, yo, k1
Row 4 - same as Row 2

Well, because I am lazy and stubborn, I decided I didn't want to have to start or end with a yarnover on the needle. It's too haaaaaarrrrrd. (waah)

So I figured I would knit in the same pattern, just adjusting the whole thing over a couple stitches to avoid the starting/ending yos. Like this:
Round 1 - k1, k2tog, ssk, k2, yo, k1, yo, k1 (repeat 8 times)
Round 2 - knit all
Round 3 - k2tog, ssk, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2 (repeat 8 times)
Round 4 - knit all

After a while, I realized I wasn't getting the pretty lace ribs in a straight line down the cuff like I'd imagined. Instead, the whole pattern spiraled around as I went.



See the spiral? My camera tends to take blurry pictures, so bear with. (What is this "user error" you speak of? Also, "sunless tanner"?)

I debated for a while about whether to keep this going or to frog and start over. The thought of frogging was unbearable, given how long it took me to start, so I decided call it pretty and give it a name. Twisted Vine Lace. Please feel free to (nicely) correct me in the comments if this is a well-known stitch. I don't want to take credit away from someone who actually set out to invent this stitch!

(Sudden scary thought - how do I get this to spiral the other way for the second sock? Or do I decide to just not care?)

Thing 2 - The makeshift needle marker

No photo yet, sorry, but it's pretty self-explanatory. I'll try to take a pic when I do the second sock.

Usually, I just use the cast-on tail as my round marker when making socks. However, because the pattern was spiraling, it gradually moved the tail around as I went. So to mark my first needle in a round, I took a teeeeeeeeny hair rubber band in bright yellow, wrapped it around the non-working end of the working needle before I started a round. Then when I got back to that needle, I knew it was a new round and what pattern to do for the next round.

These rubber bands also make great stitch markers. They are easy to find, and cheap. Worth it even if you don't have little girls. Maybe if you have a kid with braces, you could use some of their bands instead (new ones, please. ew).

WARNING: Obligatory Cat Photo

And One More - Unintentionally Arty Version

I mean, really. What's a knitting blog without cat photos?

What Kind of Knitting Needles Are You?

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are interchangeable.Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every eventuality covered and every opportunity just has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and every day is a new beginning. You are good at so many things, it's amazing, but you can easily lose your place and forget to show up. They have row counters for people like you!
Take this quiz!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Solid B for Me

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz

Drive-by Posting

Just a quick update on the Grapevine socks. They are coming along great; I am working on the heel flap of the first sock.

I did something weird to the pattern tho, and I think I may have unvented something newish.

I also did a fun thing to mark the beginning of my rounds that might also be newly unvented.

The yarn is still pretty, although I think it looks best in full sunlight. I'll be sure to let my sock pal know to only wear them on sunny days, lol.

Yes, I know I owe you a Babs for July - be patient! We had a busy weekend and the next day or two will be busy as well.