Thursday, July 23, 2009

Legs and Cuffs

Nearly finished and there has been no lessening of my enthusiasm for this project. OK, so that isn't a saying a whole lot considering I only started this on Sunday night, but still..... It has been extremely inspiring and motivating too, my brain is mulling over the next group of socks to be done already.

At this point I'll continue working the legs/cuffs in a k2p2 rib until I run out of each yarn. I'm pretty sure I'll do the EZ sewn bind off.

Unfortunately I won't get much knitting time in today, Gillian and her man Nick are coming home tonight to attend a wedding in the family on Saturday. I've already warned her regarding the chaos in her room/my work room, but I still have to at least clear a path for them. :o)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am sooooo loving this. The foot of each sock will be done today and then onward to the heels, might even get those done today too. :o)

Here are a few thoughts/observations I have so far in case any of you guys wanna give this a go. (and I strongly recommend it)

I really like using two circs in this circumstance instead of using one and the magic loop method. Granted I don't have a needle long enough for a magic loop but having said that, even if I did, I'd still use the two needle method. IMHO two circs is less "fiddly" than magic loop and maintains the knitting rhythm. The needles I'm using are 28 inches and as always I'm using needles of different colors. Using differently colored needles eliminates any confusion there might be when turning and grabbing the needles to knit, plus you always know where the beginning of the rounds are, which are the sole stitches, and which are the instep stitches.

I haven't had any problems with the yarns getting all tangled. All 12 balls are in a small ziploc bag. It's a snug fit but it reduces the possibility of the balls getting all jumbled around each other. Every now and then I'll let the ziploc bag dangle to release any twisting of the yarns. It isn't a tangled twist merely a turning of all the yarns together like a neatly plied rope. I have found that it is easier and less likely to cause tangles if I pull out the working yarn slack for all 12 yarns at once rather than pulling it out one yarn at a time. I was planning to stuff each ball of yarn into it's own sock as soon as the foot/feet were large enough, I prob'ly won't bother, I'm not having any tangling issues. (might consider doing it at heel time though)

The next time I do this I think I'll separate the pairs and not have two socks of the same color next to each other. I've only used the wrong yarn once and realized my error after only 3 stitches. If I hadn't noticed that could have been a huge PITA.

Next time I'll prob'ly make all the toes one at a time "remotely". In other words, I'll make a toe then transfer it to the needle(s) I will ultimately be using (just cuz I think it would be quicker) Here I used a short row toe that starts off with a provisional cast on of half the stitches, when the toe is complete half the stitches are live and half are sitting there waiting to be freed of the scrape yarn holding them. This made it super easy to slide the second needle into the cast on stitches and begin knitting the rounds of the foot.

I've been thinking hard about what heel to use and how to do it. Certainly any heel would work but the back and forth turning of some heels could cause some major tangling of yarns especially if heels are made one a a time. Hmmmm, work all the heels at once or work them one at a time or work them one at a time remotely, aka on different needles? Not sure what I'll do it yet, although I am leaning toward working them all at once. When experimenting one should be consistent in their methods right? btw I think I'll use the Balbriggan heel although it is supposed to be a cuff down heel I like the way it looks toe up too.

I haven't given any thought to the leg/cuff yet. Prob'ly this time around a simple rib, the yarns are nothing fancy or super nice, just scrapes really, and I have plenty of yarn for more socks.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Finding Mojo

Just cuz my last attempt at finding mojo didn't work out so well it doesn't mean I stopped searching for it. Last night I cruised through a couple places in Ravelry and found something that piqued my interest. Yes, it is a little out of the ordinary, but really, lets be honest, when has that ever stopped me?

Let's examine the worthiness of this new project:
Is there potential for failure? You bet.
Is the frustration quotient high. Could be.
Is it a relatively short term project? Kinda.
Do I have all needed materials and tools? More or less.
Will there be an end product? Yup.
Is aforementioned end product something I desire. Yes.
Have I ever attempted anything like this before. No, not quite.
Can I start it right now before I lose my enthusiasm? Yep.

Added Bonuses:
Is this project portable? Yeah, maybe.
Is it silly? Of course.
Are there any added benefits to this method/technique? Yes.
If things don't go right and it does fail is the work salvageable? Yes.
Could pain or injury be involved? Doubtful.
(Something I should have asked Saturday)

Hmmmm, looks like I have a winner here.

I started my version of the project last night.

Six pairs of baby socks on two circs.
My deepest gratitude to Brian at Skacel for this mojo butt kicking project.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Am An Idiot

Yes it is true. I can be an idiot, but generally speaking my stupidity usually does not cause me physical pain. Emotional turmoil and/or intellectual frustration perhaps, but never physical pain. That is to say, until today. :o/

I mentioned last time that I've been having mojo issues. Nothing seems interesting to me. I've had no desire to engage in any of my "normal" activities. This morning, I woke feeling fairly decent, relatively speaking and decided that maybe today would be a good day to kick my mojo in the butt. Today I would try doing something that, I enjoy, would get my sluggish body, mind, and soul, moving and also included the ever powerful, ultimate motivator for me, destroy something.

For the last few weeks Joe and I have been discussing the lilac bush nearest the patio. I use the term bush rather loosely here. Out of respect for her age and stature, I should prob'ly refer to her as the Lilac Tree for I am confident she is much older than I and apparently, as you will soon come to understand, more sturdy than I. Several years ago we "trimmed" her back to a manageable size reducing her footprint in the yard to maybe a fourth of what it had been and brought her down to maybe 2 or 3 feet in height. The time had come to cut her down to size once again, hence our near daily discussions of the Lilac Tree. She was no longer producing her once legendary showy display of fragrant blooms in abundance, a few small bundles of joy here and there was all she seemed capable of these last couple of years. Added to her inability to produce said bundles of joy she was getting waaaay too tall thus blocking most our view of the backyard. Yes, a trim was needed once again. I do know that trimming a lilac this time of year is a no no. There would most likely be no bundles of joy next spring if we trimmed her now. But considering how few her blooms have been we wouldn't really be missing much of anything, besides, her sister who occupies an enormous area in another part of yard would still be able to satisfy our needs for vases of lilacs next spring.

So having had this discussion with Joe several times plus my desire to do something different I asked Joe if I could start trimming the old girl today. He gave me the go ahead telling me to do what I wanted. He cautioned me not to tire myself too much and told me to quit any time I felt like it cuz we could finish it up together on Tuesday (his next day off). I decided that I really didn't want nor could have done a lot on my own today so I focused on just lopping off the really tall branches to better improve the view for now.

I began cutting the branches off level with the height of my chest. On Tuesday Joe and I together would determine which branches should be cut to the ground. Another factor which determined at what height I would begin trimming today was the diameter of the branches. Just about every branch taller than me was more than an inch in diameter, almost too large in girth for me to lope off even if I was using the 'Big Bertha' loppers. I worked slow and steady walking the branches out to the far edge of the yard to the burn pile frequently not wanting a pile I couldn't manage by myself to accrue. I stopped and rested frequently but did actually enjoy the task at hand. Many of the branches were a tad bit too big for me cut without using more leverage than I could muster with just my arms so frequently I wedged one of the handles against my body for resistance and used both hands to pull the other handle. Everything was working just fine that way until I came across a branch that as slightly bigger than the others. It was a stubborn old branch. One that had apparently escaped unscathed the downsizing trim of a few years back. It was old and gnarly. It bore the rough, craggy bark of age, not the relatively young smooth bark of all the other branches I had been cutting. I repositioned the cutting jaws and tried again. The blades barely creased the bark. I inspected the unyielding branch and decided cutting it a bit closer to the ground might be a good idea. Yes, the branch was thicker down there giving the old girl an advantage but I figured the advantage would be mine. I would gained a higher degree of stability by being able to kneel on the ground, thus the resistance of my body to the pull of my arms would be increased. (it sounded like a good idea at the time) I repositioned the cutting blades again, had a firm stable base, one knee down one knee up, the handle of the loppers nearest me firmly settled against my chest. I grasped the other handle with both hands as close to the end as possible and readied myself. I released a single, swift, firm burst of power.


I heard it.

I actually heard it before I felt it.

Now I wonder just how long I will feel it.

I broke a rib.

I am an idiot.

Plus I have to look at this until Tuesday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Half Spun

Like the title says, I have half of the solar dyed roving spun. Some of the variant coloration is still evident, not much, but some. :o/

My knitting mojo has left recently. Technically not just the knitting mojo but all mojo. I have my suspicions as to why that is but that is a story for another day. Besides at this point it's all just speculation anyway. Suffice to say, I do know, by virtue of a 18 hour ER visit awhile back and subsequent tests, I am as healthy as a horse. Yep, me, healthy as a horse. lol Me, the person who snacks on things like meat, beef, ham and bacon being my grazing fodder of choice. My heart and lungs are good, notwithstanding the more years than I care to admit I've been a smoking fiend. (I am trying to remedy that btw, down from 20ish cigs a day to less than 8 usually less than 5. Yea me.) And my cholesterol is perfect. Amazingly so. I had never had my cholesterol checked before, assuming all the while it was prob'ly on the high side. My eating habits for one reason, but the greater reason being most of my 6 brothers and sisters have high cholesterol.

My numbers are thus:
ttl cholesterol 144
Triglycerides 49
HDL 43
LDL 91

It's nice to know that I don't have to give up meat as I try to give up smoking. :o)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Keeping It Green

Such a beautiful day today, crystal clear skies, pleasant temperature, and a light wispy breeze. By 9:00AM I knew I'd be spending the entire day outside. I worked a few rows of a baby blanket and decided today was not a day for knitting. Today was a day for spinning.

As I sat there spinning away, nearly finished with the current batch of fibers I've been working on, it dawned on me I was soon going to be needing another batch of fibers. Given the near perfect weather of the day I decided to do another batch of solar dyeing. This time I dyed fiber rather than yarn. I dug around in the stash and came up with nearly 5 oz of roving.

Notice how I have wound the roving into a loose haphazard ball. I did this hoping for an uneven absorption of the dye, I also stuffed the ball into the dye bath dry, for the same reason.

Here, as you can see, the fiber is "brewing" in the sun. I used foil to help intensify the heat of the sunshine. The ambient high today was 81, the temperature within the dye bath got up to 180 degrees. :o) Oh and btw...180 degrees is hot.....I burned myself.........duh. I used a paired of Joe's leather work gloves to handle the very hot glass jar but as I was pouring the roving out of the jar and into the strainer I managed to pour the hot water across the glove. I didn't realize it until the leather became saturated and a small hole in the little finger filled up with the water. OUCH!

But I guess it was worth it doncha think?

To be honest I was hoping for a little more variation in the color, next time I'll wind the ball tighter and/or do a little tie-dye technique. I can't wait to spin this up. I wonder if spinning will enhance the variations or blend them too much. Actually spinning the fiber is the only way I'll know. I am really poor at guessing what a dyed roving will look like after spinning.