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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Finished Pair and the Start of A New Pair

Sock knitting is a bit like royal accession. In one you have "The King is Dead. Long Live the King." In the other it's less dramatic, but "The socks are done. I'm knitting socks." still captures the never ending aspect of sock knitting that's like a well organized monarchy. Or maybe I just need more caffeine. Or maybe it's because I just finished reading Edward Rutherford's London. (I really enjoyed it - it's fiction, but it follows several fictional families through actual history in the London area, from pre-Roman times to present day. I've also read The Forest and enjoyed that too.)

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I did get the Vog On socks all finished up, and while I wasn't really planning on bringing them back one last time, Finn felt that we should show you the finished pair and he volunteered to help out.

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Of course, I've cast on for a new pair of socks now. This is the yarn I'm using (I'm not really far enough along to show you anything sock-wise). It's from The Woolen Rabbit, it's a Merino/Tencel sock yarn, and the color is Mo' Berry. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, she doesn't dye this base yarn or this color right now. On the bright side, the pattern I'm using is available and it's free. It's Shur'tugal from Alice Yu. Shur'tugal means Dragon Rider and if you've read the Eragon books (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr all written by Christopher Paolini), you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read them, I'd suggest you get to a library and check them out. They're in the vein of The Hobbit with a little bit of Harry Potter. I'll get more done on the sock and show you how it's actually looking later this week.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

The Second Vog On Sock - Because You Have to Knit Two, You Know!

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The Vog On Socks are just about done! Yes, both of them. This is the second one and I'm 12 rounds shy of beginning the toe shaping, so I will finish it up later today. I've already picked out my next sock pattern, but I have to go stash diving to pick out a yarn for it. You'll have to wait until next week before I tell you what it is though (because that's the kind of blogger I am.)

I have ordered the Cherry Blossom Shawl pattern for the KAL on Ravelry - they have the pattern for sale now, so that's on it's way to me now. Here's a link to the Ravelry KAL group and the Cherry Blossom Shawl's pattern page on Ravelry too.

I have also been working on some Christmas knitting. I can't blog all of my Christmas knitting because some of the people on the Christmas knitting list read the blog. On the other hand, I do have Christmas knitting on Ravelry, in my projects, since the aforementioned people are not Ravelry members. So if you're curious, you can check out my stealth projects on Ravelry - I'm PinkLemon there, just in case you didn't know. If you'd like to comment on the Christmas knitting, feel free to PM me through Ravelry - please don't comment on it here since, you know, stealth knitting and all....shhhhhh!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scarf

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I've worked 100 rows of the Gift of Friendship scarf now. I'm thinking I'll shoot for 400 or so total for a nice finished size. This pattern is definitely easy to memorize and the scarf is easy to work on at odd moments where I can pick it up and put it down again quickly. I'm really loving the way the colors and the stitch pattern are working together.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vog On Sock The First

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I completed my first Vog On Sock over the weekend (yes, I will have to knit a second one). I really like the stitch pattern on these socks. It's a lace pattern, but it lies very flat while you're working it, without blocking. Most lace patterns really NEED blocking, but this one looks fine straight off the needles. It looks good opened up a bit, but that's not really necessary.
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The reason I mention this is because one of the big problems with lace garments is how do you compensate for blocking when you're working the piece? Gauge swatches have less to with reality in lace knitting than they do in other types of stitch patterns due to the enormous amount of stretch they have. I'm thinking I might play around with this stitch pattern a bit and see what I can come up with.

Hmmm...

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Joining a new KAL

Over the last week or so, I've been getting requests from family for knitted Christmas gifts. The fact that they are on top of things enough to request them now is wonderful. I've been getting things together, picking patterns, ordering yarn and I plan to cast on for the first Christmas Gift Knitting Project of 2009 in the next few days. In typical knitter fashion (oh, you know you do this too), I've decided to join a KAL on Ravelry also. Because more projects at once makes sense - doesn't it? (There's also the fact that while some of my Christmas knitting can be blogged, some can't and I'll need something to show on the blog while I'm working on stealth projects.)

Which KAL? The Cherry Blossom Shawl KAL group. This design was originally published in Interweave Knits in 2002, but the issue has been unavailable and out of print ever since I first saw the design. This was unfortunate because I fell in love with the design but I couldn't really make it without the pattern. (It's funny how that works, isn't it?) ETA: Here is a link to the pattern's page on Ravelry which has a better picture than the group's page.

Anyway, the designer is getting the pattern together to sell independently and expects to have it soon, so now that I can get the pattern, I can make the shawl! Yippee!

ETA: Please note that I am not hosting this KAL - I'm just participating. I don't want there to be any confusion about this!

I've gotten a couple of questions about a potential Mystery Stole for 2009, so I thought I'd just let everyone know here as well, there are no plans for a Mystery Stole this year. I'm not saying it will never happen again, but it's not going to happen this year. If you're jonesing for a lace KAL this summer, why not join the Cherry Blossom Shawl group with me?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A little more sock

Thanks for all the complements on the wrap yesterday (both for the wrap and model)!
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My latest public knitting project has been this Vog On sock and as you can see I've made it around the heel turn and I'm working on the gusset decreases. It's always interesting the kind of comments I get when I knit socks in public but for some reason, this sock has caused two separate people to ask if I had to knit two socks. (Both of the people who asked this question were men and neither one had given any indication of being a few cards short of a full deck before the question.) I've been knitting socks in public for years and I've been asked lots of questions about them, but this is the first time I've been asked this particular question and to get it twice in a couple of days kind of blindsided me. My answer was that yes, since feet tend to come in pairs, I would be knitting two socks.

Has anyone else ever gotten this question? How did you answer it? Is there another option besides knitting two socks? Is it possible to knit one sock, bury it in the forest on a full moon and come back and dig it up along with it's mate which has magically appeared, fully knitted by the forest fairies? Where is this forest? Do I need to leave the rest of the skein of sock yarn in the forest or do the fairies have their own stash? Do they need needles? I'm just a bit confused by the whole thing right now.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Rosebud Pink Wrap

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It's all finished! As you can see, I used the closest model available (hey, it matches his tongue). I must say, Finn is getting better at modeling knitwear. When he modeled the Wabenschal, he wasn't nearly as relaxed as he is in the Rosebud Pink Wrap.
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All the details if you care: the pattern is a free one written by Classic Elite for two strands of laceweight. Since two strands of laceweight are basically fingering weight, I used a single strand of fingering weight yarn instead. I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha (70% kid mohair/20% silk/10% nylon) in the Rosebud colorway. I used 1286 yards of yarn according to the weight of the finished wrap. I used a US 6 (4.0 mm) needle and I only increased to 175 stitches across instead of the 210 the pattern calls for. My finished wrap after gently blocking is 25 inches by 79 inches.
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This was a very easy project (it's essentially a giant garter stitch dishcloth) and while I was a little concerned that I would get bored, this turned out to be a really great project to take places and work on while I waited on Caleb. It was also a good TV project. I think if someone were looking for a gift for a non knitter, this should definitely be something to consider - it's just garter stitch so it's more in the commercial "pashmina" style than an intricate lace stole, if you make it in superwash yarn (sock yarn would be great) they can take care of it really easily and all it would take is laying it out damp and smoothing out the rectangle to dry to block it. This wrap would be great in a more colorful handpainted yarn (my yarn has subtle variations of pink) and would be fun in a multicolor.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Something New

This weekend I finished up the Rosebud Pink Wrap and I plan to block it today so I can show it to you! This gave me only a sock on the needles (unless you count the 3 or 4 things I'm ignoring right now, but since I'm ignoring them you can too) and I wanted something else just because. I was in the mood to do something with laceweight yarn, but after going through all my lace patterns for shawls and stoles and all of Ravelry's lace patterns for shawls and stoles, I just couldn't find anything I was dying to do.

I found plenty that I liked, but I realized that I didn't want to do anything big at the moment. (I also realized that I didn't really want to knit any big projects with any of the laceweight yarn I have in my stash right now - I still like the colors, but they're more Fall and Winter-y. Clearly I need to order some lighter and brighter colors in laceweight for emergency purposes.) Once I realized that I wanted to do something small, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
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A few years ago, Christine, who some of you may remember as Kato or the Tech Goddess of Mystery Stoles 1-3, wrote a free scarf pattern for laceweight yarn called The Gift of Friendship. She had been gifted with some fiber and spun it into laceweight yarn and designed the scarf. I loved the look of it as soon as I saw it and at some point ordered yarn to make it. At the time however, I was neck deep in a Mystery Stole and because the single decrease in Christine's scarf is similar to one of the double decreases I use regularly, I decided for my own sanity to put it off. Yesterday I pulled out the yarn (it's from Woolen Rabbit and the colorway is Peacock, but I don't think she does that colorway or this yarn base anymore - its a 50/50 Merino/Silk yarn and I'm pretty sure it's Zephyr), wound it into balls and got started.

The stitch pattern for this scarf couldn't be simpler and once you get a feel for it, I think it would be a very portable project. I'm calling my scarf the Herb Garden scarf because that's what the colors remind me of. The soft greens are sprinkled with bits of lavender and a pale amber. This design is perfect for showing off handpainted and multicolored lace yarns because of it's simple, geometric pattern. It's been ages since I knit a scarf and the short length of the rows is just what I needed right now.

In a completely different subject, Ramius got his teeth cleaned yesterday and while he's still moving slowly (he's not wobbly and falling over anymore), everything went well with the cleaning and his teeth are in great shape. We're all glad to get that behind us!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Finn!

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Today is my birthday! Mommy says I'm 3 years old today. I have no idea what it means but my people keep telling me "Happy Birthday" and I like happy, so it must be a good thing. Mommy said I could blog today. I wonder if I'll get to play with the cat today? If it's a special day, anything could happen.
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This morning I stood up at Mommy and Daddy's bathroom sink to see how pretty I looked. I look this pretty every morning. Can you stand it?
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Ooooh, I think I saw a bunny outside! Did you see it? Bunnies are fun! You can chase them and they run away, kind of like the cat, but they run funny - kind of bouncy. Also, I don't get in trouble for chasing bunnies. I don't think Mommy believes I could catch one. If I ever do catch one, I'm totally keeping it. If I catch an extra one I'll share one with the blog. I'm sure Mommy won't mind. Tell you what, we won't tell her, I'll just raffle it off next time I'm allowed to blog. Anyone want to enter a bunny raffle?

Hope you all have a Happy Birthday kind of day!

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

She'll be Coming around the Corner When She Comes

(With apologies to whoever it was who came around the mountain years ago, wearing scratchy red pajamas and driving six white horses, no less.)
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I've reached the 72 inch mark on the long side of the Rosebud Pink Wrap and now I'm heading into the last corner! Can't tell? How about a closeup of the third corner.
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I get to decrease on every row now, and it's moving along pretty quickly. Next time you see this project, it will be blocked.

We've had some good things happen here this week with Ramius and Finn so since I'm pretty sure half of you are only here for them anyway, I'll share. I don't believe I've ever shared this with the blog, but Finn has allergies. Not occasional sneezing allergies, full on ear infections, pulling fur off his feet to nibble at the itchy places, scratching his fur out allergies. He will actually come running to me when I get out the hydro cortisone cream because he knows it makes him feel better. He has both food allergies as well as environmental allergies and we had tried a number of things with the vet in Virginia. Everything would help clear him up and heal his skin, but it was just reactive - we weren't preventing the allergic attacks in the first place. Since we moved here to Texas, his allergies have been getting slowly worse so on Monday we went to the vet here to get a new perspective and try to get the little guy feeling better. They asked lots of questions about his past allergies, treatments we'd tried and just got a feel for what was going on. Then he asked if Finn had ever had a cortisone shot. Finn had briefly been on cortisone pills but he had never had a shot. Apparently giving cortisone shots is one of those things that older vets are more comfortable with than newer vets because cortisone can cause trouble if there are other health issues happening in the animal. Except for his allergies, Finn is a healthy dog, so he got a cortisone shot on Monday. (Our new vet has never had a bad reaction to cortisone shots in otherwise healthy dogs and even treated his own dog's allergies with it.) Finn hasn't scratched himself or picked at himself since. It is such a huge difference in his behavior! I know he feels better, his skin is healing and I think he can actually think more clearly without the background "itchy, itchy, itchy" he had running through his head 24/7. At this point we wait and watch to see how long a single shot lasts for him and then we'll figure out a plan with the vet.

Ramius got to go meet the new vet yesterday for a general checkup. He is allergic to his yearly vaccinations so after he'd had them at age 4, I decided to stop getting them for him and just take him in for checkups. He's an inside cat and it's just safer for him health wise not to get the vaccinations. He's never had his teeth cleaned and at 14-1/2 I figured he desperately needed them done. He does need them done but they really aren't too bad at all (the vet says this is because he has good genes). Apparently Ramius also has the coat of a 3 year old and is in very good health. We're getting his teeth cleaned on Monday and the vet said that should hold him over for another 15 years or so! It was good to find out that he was in good health. I hadn't noticed anything going on with him, but at 14-1/2 I could have just seen them tell me that his legs were fixing to fall off or something. (Just to be sure, I've checked and his legs are all firmly attached - didn't want to start a panic.)

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Plying

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On an overcast, dark morning it's tough to get a good picture of white Polworth being plied on a dark green bobbin, but here it is. The fact that the singles were spun semi woolen and are fuzzy and fluffy means any real definition in the photo is next to impossible. I've begun plying the Polworth finally and I wanted to show you what I had so far. I can't remember when I began spinning the first bobbin of singles and honestly, this is not my best spinning by a long shot. I spun both bobbins of singles in a semi woolen style, but the second bobbin was much fluffier and fuzzier than the first bobbin. Of course the months (year?) it took me from beginning the first bobbin to finishing the second bobbin (plus a move) didn't help much.

I noticed that I wasn't as consistent as I used to be when I was spinning the light violet merino and silk too. Obviously, I need to get back to practicing more regularly with spinning because I'm really not happy with the inconsistency I'm seeing in my current spinning. This means I'm going to be blogging more spinning than I have been, but I enjoy spinning, and now that I've seen the kind of yarn I can produce, I want to get back to that.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

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We are now officially done with second grade and to celebrate, we went to Waco to see my in-laws for the weekend. We all had fun, but Finn got to experience something new. My in-laws have a pool and theoretically Finn is a water dog (he's also a bird dog but he's scared of robins - a duck would probably give him a heart attack). All of our other dogs (ours, my brother in-law's, my in-laws) have been introduced to the pool at a very young age. Finn will be 3 on Friday. Now he met the pool in December when we came down for our househunting trip and left him, Ramius, and Caleb there. December was very cold though and while Finn thought having a giant water bowl in the back yard was a pretty great idea, he had no urge to get into it. Now that it's June the pool isn't so cold. We all got in the pool and Finn clearly was disturbed by all the people in the big waterbowl and proceeded to circle the pool trying to figure out how to get to us. We showed him the stairs and while he clearly wanted to be with his people, he didn't trust stepping into the pool on the stairs (I think it was a depth perception thing with the water covering the stairs). Finally we maneuvered him onto the stairs and he quickly relaxed just sitting there. We did get him to swim out into the pool a couple of times and he swam like a pro, but clearly it's going to take a bit more practice before he's comfortable getting in and out of the pool. In the picture above, he's sitting on the top step in about 3 inches of water.
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I also got a lot of work done on the Rosebud Pink Wrap. I've now got about 2 more inches to go before I start decreasing every row for the final corner. I'm actually still on my first skein of Geisha which is just under 1000 yards. I do think I'll need to start on the second skein of Geisha to finish the wrap, but according to the pattern, I was supposed to need about 2000 yards of fingering weight (it calls for double that amount of laceweight, to be knit with two strands held together). In the interest of full disclosure, I was supposed to increase until I had 210 stitches before I started working along the straight length of the wrap and I only increased to 175 stitches (which will still be larger than the 24 inches wide the pattern claims to give me). I do plan to block the wrap lightly to get the diagonal ridges from all the garter stitch and I'm not entirely sure that they blocked at all in the sample wrap. Now I know the pattern was written by a yarn company and they are in the business of selling yarn, but their yarn calculations seem overly high to me, despite my changes. Once I'm completely finished with the wrap, I will figure out exactly how much yarn I used and let you know here and on the project's Ravelry page in case anyone else is interested in doing this wrap. I think if you were to do this in superwash, it would make a great, easy to care for, gift for a non knitter. I realize it looks like a bit of a boring slog (seriously, it's essentially a giant dishcloth), but it's really moved along pretty quickly for me personally and I just worked on it during those little times during the day when I needed autopilot knitting or in front of the TV at night.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Some New Socks

For the past few weeks, I've been dragging the Rosebud Pink Wrap around in my little Go Knit pouch*.  In all honesty, I've been dragging the yarn around in the pouch and once the wrap got to it's full width, it's been riding around in a one gallon Ziplock bag which I've also thrown the pouch into.  It's not the most glamorous way to carry knitting, but it's effective and it keeps it clean.  I realized that keeping the yarn in the pouch and the pouch in the bag was probably overkill as far as keeping everything clean and together, so over the weekend I pulled the yarn out of the pouch, dumped it into the Ziplock bag (what I clearly need is a larger size of Go Knit pouch) and liberated my pouch from the wrap.
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With the wrap being as large as it is, it's not really public knitting right now (although I still take it in the car), so I decided to do some socks.  (Now that the pouch was free of the wrap, it felt a bit sad and lonely without anything in it.)  This is the first of my new pair of socks to keep the little pouch company.  The yarn is OnLine Supersocke 100 Florida color in color 1128 and the pattern is the Vog On sock - sort of.  I've knit a pair of Vog On's for Sockapalooza #something-or-other but I didn't have a pair for myself.  I remembered that it was an easy to memorize pattern so I thought I'd do a pair for myself.  I didn't want to do the little ruffle on the cuff like the pattern shows so I kind of tweaked the main design to get a ribbing that worked with the rest of the sock.  I also went down to a US 1.5 (2.5 mm) needle (the pattern calls for US 2's (2.75 mm), but lots of the people on Ravelry mentioned that the sock was pretty wide and I have narrow feet.  Here's the edging pattern I used if you're curious (I also put it on the project page in Ravelry):

Rnd 1:  *P1, K2, P1, K2, P1, rep from * to end of rnd.
Rnd 2:  *P1, K2tog, YO, P1, YO, SSK, P1, rep from * to end of rnd.

*I love the small size of this pouch for socks - it's exactly the right size for needles, yarn, and sock in progress, but clearly I need to get a medium and large size pouch too.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Yarn Harlot and a Pink Wrap

Friday evening, Stephanie AKA The Yarn Harlot was at a bookstore in Plano and I got to go hear her!  She's just as funny in person as she is on her blog.  In addition to meeting the Yarn Harlot, I also got to meet some of the knitters in the DFW metroplex (and some from outside the metroplex) that I had only previously met on Ravelry.  It was great to put some faces to names and everyone was really nice.  I wore Flamenco and Flamenco got a bit of attention too.  I'm really glad I was able to go.
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I've also been knitting away on the Rosebud Pink Wrap and I now have 50 inches along the long side.  The long side is the lower edge in the picture and I know it doesn't look like 50 inches, but it is when you smooth it out like it will be once it's off the needles.  This means I only have 22 more inches to go before I work decreases at the front of every row and finish the whole thing off.  It's really moving along much faster than I thought it would.

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