Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Or blog, or think for that matter!  My town's average temps are in the low 70's so we don't have things like central air conditioning.  We are currently in the midst of a pretty nasty heatwave, yesterday it got up to 97 in my home and at 6:30 am this morning my thermostat read 80.  The thought of knitting makes me weep with misery, and the kids barely have the energy to annoy me.  So, I shall return when I can manage to sit in front of the heat producing computer for more than 5 minutes at a time.  I hope all of you are getting the fall weather I wish I had!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

WIP: Wine Rib Scarf

 I don't know if you recall my brief post about a gifted yarn that I received right around when I had my wisdom teeth out?  It's a lovely skein of Fleece Artist baby alpaca in the wine/burgundy colorway, a boucle yarn that really had me stumped as what to do with it.  I was practically tearing my hair out trying to figure out what to do with this yarn, as it is a boucle yarn it really would not work for a complex stitch pattern but I did not want to do some basic pattern, I wanted something with a bit of interest to it.  I fell in love with the Truffle cowl, but after giving it a go the stitch pattern just wasn't showing up through the fluff of the yarn.  Then I found the Short Rib Row scarf and it is working beautifully!

As much as I love the colors of this yarn, a wine red and purple blend, it is not really my color, I am more of a spring colors kind of girl so to someone else it shall go.  Thus it will be a Christmas present for the lovely Missus Gordon, for whom I had originally purchased another yarn but after showing the freebie yarn to Chatty-Cathy and Auntie T was persuaded that this would be much more to her liking (which turns out great for me because guess who gets to keep the tropical sunset colored Araucania Itata I bought with her in mind?  That's right, me, me, me!).  I certainly hopes she likes it, even though it isn't really my colors, I do love how the handpainted yarn is looking with the patterning in the scarf, so are the kids as they keep stopping to pet it as I am knitting this project.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Starting school

For us it's not so much Back to School, as it is starting school.  Lil' Miss has begun Kindergarten and boy do I miss her during her time at school.  I managed to not cry the first day though, yea me!  She was perfectly fine with it all, telling me to go watch her from behind the fence to the Kindergarten recess yard rather than wait next to her for the teacher to take them into their classroom.  Such a self-confident little person, amazing!  We did go to the orientation the day before school started so knew where to go and the basics of what her room looked like and who her teacher was going to be, so that may have added to the confidence of Lil' Miss.  Apparently our school has had a little surge in enrollment as they had to hire on a teacher just four days before school started due to needing three classes for Kindergarten instead of two.   Guess which teacher we got?  I don't mind getting the new teacher, I am not such a fan of Lil' Miss being in the portable classroom though, it would be a bit nicer to be in a permanent room.

We are now into our second week and in spite of any reservations that I may have she is loving school so far.  She enjoys getting up to get ready for school and eagerly tells me about her day on the way home.  Luckily enough we live close enough to the school that it's an easy walk there and back for everyone.  We are even starting to see friends on their way home so are learning where in the neighborhood her new friends live.  We'll see how well our walk goes once it starts to rain though!  I plan on investing in some rain boots and rain jackets for both rugrats to keep them dry for that walk back and forth, we'll see if I need some rain boots too after the first couple of times walking in the rain.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with myself, how to rearrange my schedule with this change.  I am a bit of a creature of habit so will be much happier once I get it figured out and know what I am doing and when.  On the plus side, since I have to be up and ready earlier than I have gotten used to I am already adding in one good routine to my day, Destructo-boy and I are taking the looong way home from school so I can get in a little exercise every day.  Then once we get home I do my daily cleaning and then do my consultant work, and before lunch I have cleared all my "must do's" from the days schedule.  It is truly strange to have all afternoon to knit/scrapbook/sew before heading back out to pick up Lil'Miss at the end of the day.  I am sure we will all get comfortable once we settle in our new routine and I can only hope Lil' Miss continues to love school as much as she does now.  I still miss her every day though!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Popping the sock cherry, part 2

So now I am working my way down to the toe and decided to check my gauge just for giggles, yup, you knew this was coming didn't you?  It has changed, I am now getting 8 stitches per inch just as indicated in the pattern, and that makes for a sock too small for my colossal feet.  Apparently working with the yarn and needles has changed my gauge, well crap, are the socks still going to fit?  Thank goodness for stretchy yarn, I tugged, pulled, yanked, slipped it on and can still get my foot into the sock, thank heaven for small favors!

Continuing on, I completed 7 repeats of the lace pattern from the heel flap break before starting to decrease for the toe.  I decreased down to only 34 stitches before grafting, but it looks kind of funky, really long, and the toe is rather blunt (okay, comments on my Yeti sized feet aside, this darn sock looks weird!).  I think on sock number two I may see how only 6 repeats of the pattern goes before starting to decrease, and decreasing for more rounds.  Yes, that would mean redoing the toe on sock 1, oh joy, feel my enthusiasm!

weird looking too big sock

Now why don't I just rip out the toe of sock #1 and redo that you ask?  Well, what if I'm wrong, what if only 6 repeats is not enough?  Yes, with my luck that is what would happen.   So on to sock #2, which will fit a little differently anyway due to my gauge changing as I knit and get more acclimated to these really tiny needles.

Yup it is definitely tighter to get over the damn arch, but the length is perfect!  Doing just six repeats of the lace pattern after working the heel before starting the toe is just right, so I will definitely be reworking sock #1.  Before I even finished sock #2 I was trolling the patterns on Ravelry looking for other sock patterns to knit.  I have some self striping felici in my stash I have to work with and am thinking the stroll tonal I have will get used for socks too (mind you I still have to redo the toe on sock #1 when I finish the second sock).  That's it, I am officially hooked!  I haven't even worn these socks but it was a fairly quick project, easy pattern, and it is an item that will definitely be worn.  Now I finally 'get' all the groups devoted to socks on Ravelry, I can see how knitting them can become an obsession.

It was very quick work to get the toe on sock #1 taken apart and redone, I was able to complete most of it before walking Lil' Miss to her first day of Kindergarten (more on that another time, sniff-sniff).  Now they are done, washed and laid out to dry.  I can't wait to get started on my next pair, but have some holiday gift knitting to work on first, sigh...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Garden Enhancement

I spent my Friday digging in the dirt to get all my new plants in the ground instead of updating my blog.  Sorry about that, if it makes you feel any better my hips are killing me after kneeling all morning bent over to get the plant holes dug.  This has it's roots in me wanting to not have to pull weeds anymore and grew to a pathway from the sidewalk to the top of the driveway with a new planter.  I just think it make for a much nicer approach to the house to walk up a path rather than up the driveway, I think it's called "curb appeal."  So my loving and sweet Mister Vonkysmeed spent a few weeks digging out sod to make room for this grand idea of mine.

To start with I had asked him to help me out with the grass weediness by our water spigot by the front door.  I just couldn't keep up with the damn weeds so asked if he could help me out with digging out some dirt, putting down some plastic and then lay pavers and river stones on top.  I liked it, a lot, and the project grew.  Next I asked for the evil vinca from heck on the other side of the front steps to be ripped out and the pavers and rocks put over there too.  With that change I would have a place for some pretty potted plants and a seating area, what fun!  Then I dropped the bomb on the poor man, I wanted a walkway, a new planting bed, and an arbor cut into the front lawn.  He sighed but agreed to the project.

After lots of measuring and figuring out the project on paper, and using his construction calculator he was off to the home improvement store to get the supplies and wow what a lot of supplies!  Who know we would need so much sand, or mulch, or an entire pallet of pavers, really!?  He really wanted the pavers set right next to each other but I just didn't like that look, I was going for a very specific feel, I wanted a little bit of the Mediterranean in my yard.  I have a couple of books on Mediterranean gardening and all the patios shown are either gravel surfaced, or a mix of pavers and gravel or stones.  Since solid gravel just doesn't do it for me a mix of the pavers and rocks it is.

Need I say the man worked his ash off?  He even managed to get his part of the project done before I had my wisdom teeth removed so he could devote his time to watching the ankle biters for me while I recovered.  So for about 3 weeks we have had about an acre and a half of mulch staring at us daring me to do something with it.  I already had an idea of what to plant as I have another planter nearby that was all finished, I just needed to settle on the arrangement.  Sometimes that seems to be the hardest for me, I like the instant jungle look so I tend to over-plant.  I learned this lesson the had way after having to remove 3 lavender, 2 rosemary, and a Mexican sage form my backyard that ended up in the pots by the front door.  Once I had finally settled on a layout we went out got the plants and put them in the ground the next day (I have finally learned about planting quickly too, after a few dead plants).

In case you are wondering the plants we ended up with are French lavender, dusty miller, English thyme, santolina, and two grapes, a Flame seedless and a Thompson seedless.  In the pots are roses, a Sunset Celebration and a Black Magic.  The big concrete pavers in the middle of the planter will eventually have a pot with a geranium and a large pot with a fruitless olive tree.  The geranium will go in within the next week or two but the olive will be awhile, those suckers are expensive, not to mention the pot to put it in!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Popping the sock cherry, part 1

neener, neener, nee-ner!

They have been staring at me, I tell you they have, that stinkin' sock yarn and tiny little 2.5mm needles just daring me to do something with them.  Every time I go look in my box of fingering/dk yarn it stared up at me, taunting me to actually do something with it, I really hate cheeky yarn so I'd close it back up in the box and forget about it for awhile.  So I have been avoiding, avoiding, avoiding working with it, but since I just got a new box of smooshy yarn goodness I decided to finally use up the last remains from my last large order in April.

After much dithering and hemming & hawing I finally picked out a pattern, Monkey by Cookie A. from the winter 2006 issue of Knitty.  After seeing that there are over 12,000 projects using this pattern I thought it wouldn't hurt to use it for my very first pair of socks.  Plus there are lots of discussions about it in the Ravelry forums so adjusting it to fit my 'How the legend of Sasquatch was born' feet shouldn't be that much of a problem.

After fortifying myself with a large dose of chocolate I made my gauge swatch, okay, that wasn't so hard.  I then ran it through the washer and dryer and realized I won't be running my handknit socks through the dryer, the washer maybe, but definitely not the dryer.  The hanging ends of the yarn from the cast on and bind off felted somewhat and I fear what would happen with socks that actually get worn by my Amazonish feet (no worries, I have no desire to cut off my right breast, but I can tell you I understand why they did that, bowstrings snapping across really hurt!).  So according to the gauge swatch my stitch count is 7 stitches/inch but the pattern is 8stitches/inch.

Considering my gigantor feet and looking at adjustments to the pattern that were made for bigger feet I realized being off gauge actually worked to my advantage, I would have a sock of 9" instead of 8" as in the pattern, perfect for me! You know what they say about the best laid plans though, but more on that later.

Casting on was a total pain in the ash, I am doing this with the magic loop method rather than with double pointed needles.  I have a set of US 4's that are sock needles, but hey are so short it is really uncomfortable to knit with, so circular it is.  I used the cable cast on (I lurve this method, use it for just about everything) and boy do those stitches love to twist around the cable.  So I got it cast on, did the ribbing for the top and then onto the pattern. The pattern itself wasn't really hard, it's just like the lace I've been knitting, up til the heel flap, eek!  But I read through the pattern a few times and found some KnitPicks videos of Kelley's Sock Class on YouTube, and then got started.  Hey, this isn't so hard I even added in one more slipped stitch along the side as not only do I have Godzilla feet but I have an extraordinarily high instep/arch as well (remember those tight jeans that zipped up the calf from the 80's? I couldn't get my feet in them cause my arch was so high).  Uh oh, now I have the heel turn!  More videos and repeated reading, then woohoo, conquered that little devil too.  Then I just had to do the gusset, but now that I have wrapped my mind around what it is I am supposed to be doing it doesn't really seem that hard, yea me!

To be continued...
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