UFO August Socks. Finally.

August 29, 2009

Finally.  I finally finished something – didn’t frog it, I finished it.  The last thing I finished was in early July, so it felt very good to bind off on these  – a UFO August project done (and I’ll count these as a socks of the month project too!).

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Pattern:  Gusset Heel Basic Socks from Socks by the Toe Up, 3×1 ribbing
Yarn:  Happy Hands Toe Jamz, After the Gold Rush colorway (Purchased at the Loopy Ewe)
Started:  August 1, 2009
Finished: August 29, 2009

I really liked this yarn – it is a merino/bamboo blend, so its really soft.  Its a little splitty – I think most bamboo yarn is – but nothing too terrible.  The colors are really beautiful – and Larry likes them so that’s good since they are for him.  The pooling would drive me crazy – I wonder if I had changed the number of stitches if I could have made it more stripey, but then again, i think its sort of cool how they turned out.  Fraternal, definitely not identical.  The sock on the right has the same yellow stripkes/pooling, but on the bottom.   Love the yarn, would recommend it, and would buy it again.

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If you have read this blog before, you know how I feel about this pattern book.  How much I love this book.  How I want to knit every single pattern in it.  How it totally changed my life, and how I can’t imagine knitting socks cuff down ever again.  So I won’t mention that again.  I used the basic sock pattern, and just did a 3×1 ribbing – I thought any other pattern would be just too much for this yarn.  Sort of boring pattern – but still love the toe up.

I had knitting group today – fun as always.   I bought some yarn from Jacqui that I’ll show you next time – other people’s destash is so hard to resist.  Chris brought me some beautiful stich markers from her Etsy shop.

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These are so nice – so pretty, so light.  They would be perfect for lace – I can’t wait to try them out.  Thanks, Chris!

I took Monday off, so I’m enjoying a nice long weekend.  And next weekend is a long weekend too – so I hope to get lots of golfing, napping and knitting time in between the two.  Now that the socks are done, I’m going to take the Nefertiti shawl on the train – its been a while and its time that I get that one done too.    And of course, I’m working on the Forest Canopy shawl at night, so hopefully I’ll get both done soon.  I need to finish at least one of them – because I ordered a fair isle vest from Knit Picks (can’t beat that price!), and I want to start on it.  What a great project for fall, right?  I realized that I haven’t done any sweaters or big projects this year (other than shawls) so I’m looking forward to starting this.

OK, I’m going to go help Larry make dinner – shrimp enchiladas…yum…have a great weekend!


Blues

August 23, 2009

I don’t have any knitting content for you this post – I didn’t want to show you pictures of the same sock, same shawl, but I am hoping to have some finished objects for you in the next week (or so).  I was able to frog the shawl back and fix the mistake, and now I’m clipping along.  But I haven’t had a lot of knitting time this week, so its not going as fast as I wanted.   I have to admit – I don’t think I did a great job with UFO August – although I frogged several projects, I haven’t finished anything, and I am just about out of time.   So I’m really hoping to spend lots of time knitting this week so I can have at least one thing done.  

I can’t believe its almost the end of the summer – its been a weird summer here in NJ – cool and rainy for the most part  – with hellish heat and humidty in the last couple of weeks.  Not good weather for golfing, gardens or lazing around in the pool.  But I’m ready for the fall – I’m ready for cool days and nights, and leaves turning, and apples on trees.  And a new sweater on the needles.  Not to mention the fall fiber festivals.  I don’t think I’m going to Rhinebeck this year (too crowded) – but I do think I’ll go to the Garden State festival  and I’m hoping to go to Stitches too. 

The biggest reason I’m looking forward to fall is because we are doing some work around the house – starting with our bedroom…
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I know – they seemed like such different colors at the store when we picked the colors and got the samples.  We are leaning towards the second from the left – but I’m not sure we really love any of these, so we may start over with new samples.  My sister suggested that we stripe a wall (she’s an amazing painter and did it in one of her rooms and it looks so nice) – so we need to figure out two (or more) colors to do that with.  I’m really looking forward to re-doing the room – its been green since we moved in 6 years ago, and its time for a change.     And we are going through the house, getting rid of things we don’t use and decluttering.  Feels so good to do that!

We had a busy weekend, but we took a few minutes this afternoon to make some tartlets – I am really looking forward to dessert…

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OK, off to have dinner – have a great week!


back on track?

August 18, 2009

I may have mentioned that I usually check the destash group on Ravelry once or twice a week (or once or twice a day!).   Sometimes it is very easy to resist whatever it is people are selling – but sometimes its a bit harder.  Last week, I saw some beautiful Manos Del Uruaguay Silk Blend.  Very reasonable price, nice color – so hard to say no.  I had used this yarn to make a Forest Canopy Shawl for my mother, and loved how it came out.  So when I saw this yarn on Destash, I had to get it to make one for me.  The color is really off in this picture – this shows the shade of green a little better.

I know, I know – UFO August.  What happened to that?  After the Ulmus fiasco, I had to do something that would be fast, but would restore my good knitting vibes.  And I just couldn’t resist the yarn.

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Of course….I should have remembered that my knitting mojo is really out of whack, and that perhaps I should really pay attention…

The arrow on the bottom right shows how the pattern should look at the top of the diamond (leaf?).  The larger arrow on the top left shows where I am right now – oops!  looks like I actually forgot what row I was on and just started somewhere – somewhere that obviously isn’t right.  Sigh.  This is what I get for not writing down where I am, but just assuming I’ll figure it out when I pick it up.  I’m going to try and rip this back about four rows – hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the stitches and just move on.   I am very relieved I realized the mistake – I’d be really pissed if I had kept on going and saw it when I was done.  Note to self – get notepad and write down row numbers!

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If you haven’t made one of these shawls, I’d highly recommend it.  Its a very fast shawl, and not too difficult – but not completely mindless and boring.    And it really is a nice, warm, beautiful shawl done in a DK weight – I think you could probably do a laceweight or a worsted and just add/decrease repeats.  The instructions are really well written, so its a good first lace project.

We had a mixed bag weekend – some issues with one of the kids, but then I had knitting group, dinner with my sister and floating in the pool to offset.    We bought paint samples for our bedroom and started making plans on how we are going to redo it, and ran errands.  Very busy, and yet lots of relaxing time, a margarita or two, and lots of good food.  I think the look from Duncan sums up how we ended up feeling at the end of a very nice Sunday.

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Have a great week!


Living in the frogpond

August 13, 2009

Do you remember my post about UFO August?  Just in case you don’t want to look at the link, this was my plan to finish up some of my projects.  I had really good plans to finish a couple of pairs of socks, two or three shawls – I was going to clean out the knitting basket and get some of these old projects done.    I had four shawls going, three pairs of socks and a cardi.  Yeah, that was the plan.  And here it is, August 13 – and my knitting basket only has three pairs of socks socks, and two shawls.  Good, right?  Not so much.

It started before I went on vacation – I decided to do a little house cleaning in the basket (the basket ends up with odd things in it so cleaning it out is always a good idea).  I threw out yarn bands, put away needles and ring markers – and frogged Acer.  I love the sweater, love the yarn, but I wanted to start it over – I had only done a little bit and knew I couldn’t just pick it up again.     It felt pretty good to clear that out – so then I decided to look at the Swing Shawl – I didn’t like how it had knitted up – there was a ladder in the middle of each little shell, and it was driving me crazy.  So I frogged that too.   I want to do both patterns – but want to do them better.  That’s a good kind of frogging, right? (Well, except for the fact that I saw the Swing Shawl at a yarn store on vacation – and it had those ladders too – but I’m going to ignore that and try again!)

As I mentioned before, I am trying to find more of the yarn to finish the Van Dyke socks – so its not frogged, but its definitely hybernating.

But tonight, I frogged something that I didn’t plan, and something that sort of hurt to rip out.

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I haven’t knit Ulmus in a while – I took it on vacation, but didn’t touch it once.  So last night I picked it up for the first time in weeks – and as I knit, I realized that I’ve been knitting it wrong.    If you look on Ravelry at other Ulmus’, you will notice that mine doesn’t look all the garter stichy – it looks like stockinette.  Ulmus is a garter stitch shawl.  I kept on looking at the pattern, looking at other people’s shawls – and I even emailed Rachel (who has made two beautiful Ulmus shawls!).   I just couldn’t accept what the pattern was telling me – where the chart clearly said to knit, I purled. 

I don’t know why I did this – I can read a chart, and have knit a bunch of shawls.  But for some reason, I just saw the purl symbol, read the key that said that on the wrong side to knit the stitch – and translated that to purl.     So I’ve been purling all the wrongs sides, and all the nice garter stitch of the shawl was just missing.  I suppose I could have just kept going, but I was just unhappy with how it was now that I knew it was wrong.    I’m planning on restarting this – but I’m going to finish Nefertitti and the Wool Peddlar’s shawl first. 

I’m really unhappy with my knitting lately – I think I’ve not been focused enough, and I’m just making too many mistakes, being too half-assed about it.  I think part of the problem is that I just don’t spend a lot of time on it – a little time on the train, but nights have been Facebook, Ravelry and all that.   Maybe I’m just out of practice.  Or maybe I’m an idiot.    Either way, I am planning on taking a little more time, focusing a little more and trying to get back into knitting well.

I am doing something well, though…

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These are from my deck containers – Larry does the big garden, but I planted some leftover plants in my deck containers, and now I have some lettuce, little tomatoes and even peppers! 

I think the first week back from vacation is always the worst – and this week has been no exception to that.  Its been really busy, and long, and I’m ready for another vacation.   I am starting to plan a little trip for Larry and I this December to celebrate our anniversary – we were originally thinking Montreal, but Montreal in December just seems like a bad idea (average temp is 14-29 degrees Farenheit!).  So we’ll see – maybe we’ll go earlier, or maybe I’ll find somewhere warmer.   I do know that thinking about it is helping me get through this very long week! 

Ravelry destash tempted me this week, so I’ll have some yarn to show you next time!  Have a great Friday!


Vacation 2009

August 9, 2009

We got back from vacation yesterday and it was like this

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with a little bit of this

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and a little bit more of this

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All in all, we really had a nice vacation.   As you can see, we went to the beach, went sailing, and shopping, eating and relaxing.  We rented a boat on the last day and went fishing – we caught some but threw them back because they were too little (which was too bad because it would have been great to eat a fish I caught!).   It was a beautiful week – it rained at home, but at the Cape it was beautiful – perfect vacation weather.   The dogs did well, and had a good time too.    We found a new family game – it really is fun, and I recommend it.  It was a great week, and I came back happy, relaxed and rested. 

On the knitting front, though….

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Nice eh?  This is the first VanDyke sock –  I finished it on the way to the Cape.   But…I can’t find the second skein of this to finish the second sock.  I’ve looked everywhere – no luck.  I’ve contacted the dyer, and I really hope that she will be dyeing some of this colorway in this weight soon (she has this colorway in lace weight right now, but not in sport weight).    I also used a new cast off for the sock, and I don’t think it was a success.  I have been using the sewn cast off for my toe ups, and it is always stretchy – but seems to take forever.  I read on another pattern about using a cast off of k2tog, slip the stitch made back to the left needle, k2tog and so on….so I did that.  And it was fast, and seemed ok – until I went to put this on – and yikes!  I really have to work to get it over my heel.  I’m not sure I’ll take it out and redo it – but I think I’ll go back to the sewn cast off (or try to find another) for future toe ups.

Since I couldn’t finish the second VanDyke sock, I started a new pair on vacation (no knitting on shawls this week) – this is Happy Hands Yarn Toe Jamz – the colorway is After the Gold Rush  (I bought this at the Loopy Ewe)- and its pretty wild.  And they are for Larry – he likes wild socks and immediately latched on these – he’s a sock pig!  I’m just about done with the first one – not a lot of knitting time this week, but enough to get a sock done!  I love the yarn though – very soft, and the colors are amazing.

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I did go to two yarn shops on the Cape – Sage Yarn in Falmouth – very nice store, and I got a couple of things (I don’t have pictures yet).  The person working there that day was really nice and very chatty, and they had a lot of really nice yarn.  I also went to the Yarn Basket in Mashpee – and I don’t know what to say about this store other than yikes!  I don’t know what the deal with this store is, but I’ve never been to a yarn store like this.  It was a little tiny shop, with all of the yarn in packages.  And thrown everywhere – we couldn’t walk through the aisles because yarn was everywhere – on the floor, in piles, falling everywhere, no apparent order  – crazy.  We left after a couple of minutes – it was just so overwhelming that I don’t think anyone could find yarn that they wanted.    That was it for me – this just wasn’t one of those vacations were I chased a lot of yarn.

Although we had a great time, it was really good to be home yesterday.  Its always nice to be back in my own bed, and I missed the cats.  Today was about getting back to normal – laundry, groceries and all that.  Tomorrow it will be back to work – it seems like years since I’ve been at work which shows what a great vacation it was! 

Have a great week (and I’ll leave you with a parting picture)…
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