Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We Hate These Socks

And when I say "we," I mean, of course, my sister Debbie and me. We, the collective, universal, royal We, hate these socks. These hellish, tiny, microgaugish things are the Ravelry Mystery Sock for July, and, in a burst of sisterly love and affection, I talked Debbie into knitting them together, 600 miles apart.

Sorry, Debbie! I'm an idiot. Even if you don't hate them, and you might not, because you're a lot farther along on them than I am, I'm still sorry.

Yeah, she's farther along because she didn't tear hers out three times because (1) there was a glitch in one of the increase stitches on one side that, let's face it, no one would ever see unless I have the misfortune to get mixed up with a foot fetishist; (2) the middle size was going to be WAYYYY too big for my size 10s at 84 stitches; and (3) I can't even remember why I took it out once but I know I did. Just got a wild thread up my sock, probably.

I hereby promise you that I'll never again suggest that it might be oh, so much fun to knit a pair of socks on size 00 needles using thread and insisting on 10 stitches to the inch. Of course, poor eyesight runs in the family, but it really wasn't necessary for me to encourage the two of us to go blind together on this wicked sock. I'm picturing us, dark glasses and white canes akimbo, sitting in matching rockers in The Home, knitting garter scarves with bulky yarn on Size 17s because that's the only size we can manage.

On the other hand, Debbie, check out the Arrow Tip Lace Knee Highs in the new Cast On. It's toe-up, lace, and you certainly wouldn't have to knit the whole thing--I can tell you right now that I'm not wearing any knee length socks but it's really pretty ....

And, by the way, let me say it's not that easy to knit a teeny tiny sock when you have cactus spines stuck in your thumb, so whine, whine, whine.

But, speaking of funny socks and being totally out of the loop--well, I think it's obvious that I'm out of the loop, that's not exactly news--Thong Socks, AKA Flip Flop Socks. Here's a fun pattern by Sivia Harding in case you're as OOTL as I am. Once again the Lovely and Talented Debbie knew about this before I did--she reminded me that only Old Ladies (which seems to include me) wear hose these days.

Finally, Ms Packrat was kind enough to comment about my rather frightening car trunk. But how scary is it that Ms Packrat, who is evidently a woman of Great Knowledge of Weird Things (and we really like people like that!), knows what month Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa disappeared? Ms P, do you feel a conspiracy theory coming on? I think there's a short story in there somewhere.

And to think I wanted to live in Arizona ...


Dumb southern gringa
Thought cactus was her friend. No.
Tweezers please now. Ow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is It Any Wonder I Never Finish Anything?

One of my goals for this weekend is to clean out my car--well, I'm not going to get it all done because the trunk is horrific! But I got a good start and it's been an amazing view into My Life And What's Wrong With It.
Somewhere in the southeast quadrant of my trunk, I saw what appeared to be a project bag--not one of my favorites or I'm sure I'd have missed it long ago. Inside: one almost complete sock, instructions for said sock, yarn for the second sock, two sets of DPNs, and a book.

Anyway, back to the sock. It's gorgeous--how could I have forgotten it? It's obviously Mountain Colors and only needs the toe kitchenered. Then the other sock needs to be knit. All the size 1 and 2 bamboo DPNs are there, unscathed, which is a miracle in itself. More to the point, the pattern, almost pristine except for a few wrinkles in its plastic sleeve, includes all my careful little notes about how I changed the pattern:

The sock is Jeanie Townsend's Cascading Leaves pattern. The yarn is gorgeous, the pattern is there, the needles are with the project. Anyone want to take odds on whether I ever finish this pair of socks?

Ever done an archeological dig? I took a couple of archeological history classes in college and one of the things you learn is that you can date the age of an unknown object by the things around it in the same strata. For instance, a penny with a date on it of 1924 means that the piece of pottery buried next to it probably probably wasn't buried before 1924. Anyway, the book contains a receipt (for sushi at Ru-San's if it matters) dated 1/14/06.

This sock has been sitting in my trunk since January '06. I'm so easily distracted that, in all that time, I've never once thought to myself, "wonder whatever happened to that Mountain Colors sock?" Until today, I'd completely forgotten it.

Oh, my. Wonder what else I'll unearth? Hope Jimmy Hoffa and the Lindbergh baby aren't in there somewhere....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Birthdays ... we got birthdays ...

My baby's birthday is today and she's ... oh, never mind, I'm not going to tell you how old my youngest daughter is. If I did, you'd have to do the math, and then it would be ugly. So let's just say, Happy Birthday, Jen! You're still my baby.

And here's Cooper. He's my older daughter's youngest child--confusing? Sorry. His third birthday was last week and he still thinks it's fun to tell people how old you are. I had a great time in Charlotte with both daughters and all their kids and significant others and you get the picture. I hate being so far away from them.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lace-cation continues ...

But we have socks, and that's a good thing. Here are the Opal Rendez-Vous socks (yarn from The Yarn Grove girls).

And here's the Ravelry July Mystery Sock (Panda Silk from The Knitting Emporium). This is a microguage sock, 10 st to the inch. The needle is a 00 Hiya Hiya. I'm behind, of course, still on Clue 2 of 4. Then there's that pesky second sock problem, but there's time to worry about that later. In the meantime, the microguage means that my poor eyes are hating life and I've got even more squint lines where I don't need them. My lovely and talented sister Debbie and I are working on this knitalong together, although I haven't seen progress yet. Knowing her, she's already finished!

Finally, my do-anywhere-with-your-eyes-closed socks, Austermann Step. This is the stuff that's supposed to contain Aloe, and maybe it does. If so, I can't tell, and the striping is pretty if a little repetitive. But it's a nice yarn to knit with, and the socks will feel good. And since I seem to be in a blue period (when I'm not in a red or a green period), the yarn fits into my current color philosophy. And, believe it or not, it's from stash. What's that about?

Speaking of stash, I need to be organizing it and using it. With prices going up and my income going down, we're spending a lot more carefully here in the Pug household. When our grandson moves out later this month, we'll feel another pinch. So, we're using coupons and loyalty cards and scrutinizing price vs service a lot more carefully. I saw a meter on someone's blog today that showed yards knit from stash this year--my meter would be chugging along like The Little Engine That Could, because I tend to get all ADHD and buy new stuff because it's calling my name. (Do you think I feel guilty because two new yarns from Only Ewe and Cotton Too jumped in my bag recently? Nope--I never feel guilty about buying from yarny friends.)

And for the fish lovers.... I think I mentioned that about three weeks ago we added a bunch of feeder goldfish to the pond. They've been a very successful addition, and we've only lost one or two in that time. They're growing and thriving. And the two missing Koi returned...Mr. Big and Biggy Small. So, here's feeding time at the zoo, as it were. The goldfish are distinguishable from the others because they're... well, they're goldfish, even the three black ones. The Koi are the bigger ones, white with orange and black markings. Mr. Big is at the bottom left, and Biggy Small is near the bottom in the center.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Your Best Friends WILL Tell You

Yup, thank God for friends who will tell me the truth. At least about my knitting.

Just to review, things you want your friends to tell you:

  • Wow! Have you lost weight? You look great!
  • OMG, your hair looks fabulous--great cut and color. Nope, I don't see any roots at all.
  • No, it's not you. It really IS hot in here.
  • I'm sure you're going to get a great job, very soon.
  • Your husband didn't really mean it when he said you have too much yarn.
  • Yes, when you leave him [so you can be alone with your stash], we'll still be here for you.

Things your friends should never say:

  • What were you thinking? You already have a lot of yarn.
  • I just ran into your husband leaving the Motel 6 with his assistant. Wow! She's really young, isn't she?
  • Your dog is so ugly it's almost cute.
  • That color [of the garment you just spent a month making] makes you look greenish, and not in a good way.
  • Have you thought about wearing a foundation garment to fix that?

Things you'd rather not hear but need to:

  • Your gauge is off. That lace thingie is going to be WAY too small. You need to tear it out and start over.

And at least one of my friends did just that. Thanks, Ellen. (As for Pat and Debra, I appreciate your kindness and concern for my delicate self-esteem.)

Now, for the record, I'm out of the lace knitting business temporarily. I'm too stressed and anxious and crazed for lace, which requires at least a modicum of attention and a lot of concentration, not to mention time. I'm deeply envious of the lace my friends are making but I decided I wouldn't put myself in the position of starting a new piece of lace and then not being able to finish it.

BUT ... Bad Cat Summer Sampler. Hmmmm ... not too complex, not too big, several patterns to keep my ADHD mind attentive, clues are somewhat repetitive but pretty. Okay, I can do that one.

First, I broke my own rule and knit a gauge swatch. (Is that the sound of the world coming to an end?) So, sue me, I knit a swatch. Andrea (designer) calls for needle size 1-4, yarn is Lacey Lamb. First, Lacey Lamb is, let's just call a spade a spade, thread. Beautiful soft thread, but definitely thread. Cobweb. But the color--sort of a Jade? Perfect.

So, I'm a little concerned because the swatch is about 3 inches, call it 3.5 stretched, and the designer says the sampler will be 3.4 times the size of the swatch. So, 3.5 X 3.4 = 11.9 inches. I guess I can live with that. It'll be more scarf than shawl but okay. The swatch is on 3s, because I knit tight. Looks fine--okay, try the sampler on 3s. Sampler looks like a big, ugly, mess of loose stitches. Definitely ugly with a capital UG. What will it look like once it's blocked? Poot! Frog.

Cast on again, this time with 1s. By the way, why does this Susan Bates 1 look like a sewing needle compared to my Addi Turbo 1? Whatever happened to consistent needle sizes? But, anyway, it looks okay--great stitch definition. But, unstretched it's 8 inches. And it's so tight I can't imagine how much more it's going to stretch. Pull it to its farthest reaches, and it's about 9.5 inches. Now it's going to be a shawl for an American Girl doll.

Take it to Noble Knitters. Compare it to Ellen's, made of Malabrigo lace. Why am I not using Malabrigo Lace? Am I an idiot? Hers is gorgeous, with beautiful stitch definition, and beautiful on 4s.

Compare it to Pat's, Lacey Lamb on 1s. Normal sized. Beautiful stitch definition, stretches to a normal size. I am an idiot.

Poot! Frog. (Wait, don't frog, it's way too pretty to frog. Save in case I ever want to just fondle it.)

Cast on again, this time on 2s. (Addi this time--those Susan Bates sewing needles are on my list!) All right. Now, we're talking. Somewhat less stitch definition, but stretchable, blockable, you know what I mean. Unstretched it's about 11 inches. I think it can be blocked to about 14 or 15. With a border, it might be wearable. But still more scarf than shawl, especially for a woman of my, er, Juno-esque proportions.

So, thanks for your honesty. But ... this explains why I took a vacation from lace. A lace-cation as it were.