Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sock Wars – Day 3

I have completed one sock and was past the gusset decreases on my second sock. It looked like I was close to a kill. Unfortunately soon after this photo was taken I compared the two socks. The second sock had a shorter leg portion than the first sock. So the heel had to go.

The socks look short, however I am using Cascade Fixation in a camouflage colour, and this yarn if you are not familiar with it has lots of stretch. So this sock fits my foot nicely and since my victim has the same size feet they should fit her as well.

Jenni wanted to a pic of the project bag that I received from knitters guild, the foot is included for scale. It has one divider inside, slightly off center which is nice for holding patterns. Jenni- it is larger than the bag that you got from Target in the spring. The colour is purple (a colour my camera detests) not blue.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Day 1 - Sock Wars

Weather caused a delay to the beginning of the war. Yarn Monkey lives in Northern Ireland and they were hit by the remains of a hurricane. Due to the infrastructure being down the pattern and dossiers were late being sent. I haven't received my victims dossier yet, although that info has been posted.
Despite the delay there are rumours that combatants are beginning to fall. My target has a bit of a reprieve, I am only done the first 1/2 of the first sock. The question is can I out knit my assassin.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Sock wars

The battle starts today. I have yarn and needles ready, I am just waiting on the pattern weapon and victim. I was hoping to get a few projects finished before this started but they will have to wait.

I also promised a KW Knitters Guild update. Since it was 1.5 weeks ago I guess I should do it now since the next meeting will be here soon. I was a little late for the meeting as I was tied up working the swallowtail shawl. I arrived during the announcements, there is about 150 members this year in the guild - lots of expertise and wonderfully friendly people.

After the announcements they have show and tell- where you can bring in some knits, tell a story about them and then leave them on display for the rest of the meetings. Never having been to any guild or stitch and bitch this made me think for a bit. This is the forerunner of the knitting blog and you get something that you don't get in blog format. You can share your work and ideas with fellow knitters and they get to see your garment. We have all seen postings that "this is so soft and squishy" at the guild you can experience that.

Following show and tell, the programming committee discussed some of the speakers we will be having at upcoming meetings. The schedule hasn't been completely ironed out but a couple of names I remember are the Yarn Harlot, Amy Singer, and Maureen Mason Jamieson. I'll keep you posted as I hear more about the speakers. The programming committee also discussed this years theme -"Reduce Reuse and Recycle" and how this can be applied to knitting. We had a presentation from Spinrite with some of their new yarns and colourways. The SWS soy-wool blend attracted my eye - it is soft aran weight yarn. The presentation from Knitwerx encouraged us to look after the environment by carpooling to the yarn stores (the added advantage that if you are not driving you can knit) or even stay home and order online.

The guild also has a wonderful lending library with several magazine subscriptions and new books being added all the time. One of the guilds fundraising efforts for the is a raffle, and at my first meeting, the first name pulled out of the hat was mine. I won a beautiful project bag, that I am already putting to good use. I will be enjoying these once a month meetings with the wonderful members.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ribbit Ribpit Rippit

Monday night when I was working the 13th pattern repeat I started looking at the shawl and decided that it was too open. I was using 3.5 mm (US4) needles. What would happen if I used a smaller needle. I had some 2.75 mm (US2) handy - so I put in a lifeline and worked a couple of sections with smaller needle. I didn't love it. So last night I tried 3.25 mm (US3). I liked this fabric the best. So the shawl hit the frog pond. I cast on immediately with the 3.25 mm needles and have done 4 repeats. I am loving this, when I pseudo block I enjoy the fabric. With the 3.5 mm I enjoyed the fabric preblocking - not what you want with lace.

Also I am installing categories to the blog entries. We will see how this goes, I hope to have menu section with the different categories in the side bar.

ETA: I put a tag cloud over there in the side bar. If you click on a tag it will take you to my del.icio.us page which lists the blog entries under that category. Let me know what you think of categorizing in this manner. I went and have added tags for almost all my posts. However I didn't edit the individual posts to mention what they are stashed under. (Does that make sense)

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Monday, September 18, 2006

New Look

As some of you have realized, the blog has a new look. If you didn't realize and you are reading this - I think you need your eyes examined. If there is anything looks wonky on your site let me know. I think I have the tweaking done but every browser different.
Sarah asked if the yarn photos are mine. - Nope they came with the template, that Yvonne designed. I was always thinking of doing some yarn photos but I am not that artistic.

Just a quick update on the Swallowtail shawl. It is moving along, as I know understand how the pattern repeats build on each other. That was my problem at the beginning I couldn't see what it was suppose to look like. Now I can tell if I miss a YO since the sts don't line up like they should. Here is where I am - I have done 12 (blue) of 14 repeats (lavender) of the Budding Lace Chart 2 - I have three more charts to go after this.According to the Shawl Calculator I am 38% finished (I thought I was much farther along). I guess that is why the ball of yarn is still so large. If there are no disasters I should be able to finish Chart 2 tonight.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Knitters Fair

On Saturday I went to the Waterloo County Knitters Fair, well myself and 1800 other attendees at this one day event focused on knitting. It is different than a sheep and wool festival in 1) there is no animals 2) very little roving or fleeces for sale (I don't remember seeing any but I did see a couple of drop spindles) 3) the focus on knitting and not fibre.
It was great, I managed to purchase only a few items. One skein of Butterflyknits merino/tussah silk lace weight for a shawl.

The colourway is Luna, a subtle yellow/green with a hint of brown (the colours are more muted than my photo suggests). I was able to discuss with colours with Meghan, who dyed the yarn - all of the colourways are inspired and named after butterflies. I wish I had a pic to show you, but Butterflyknits made its debut at the show and almost sold out. Pick Up Sticks carries the yarn so check their site for options. I cast on for the shawl when I got home. Another purchase was a skein of Misti Alpaca laceweight for the Trellis Scarf. (Can you tell I like Evelyn Clark's designs) I picked up some Louet linen and a ball of merino sock weight yarn for yet to be determined projects.

The swallowtail shawl will be my first lace project. It is something that I am finding needs all of my attention and more stitch markers than I have been using. I have had problems with tinking back for a mistake, fixing the mistake but then realize I dropped a YO somewhere while tinking and struggling to find out where I missing a stitch. I am on the second repeat of the Budding Lace 2 chart. I decided to work on it for an hour before the Knitters Guild meeting and I don't think I made any forward progress and left later that I was planning to for the Guild meeting

Some other long awaited photos

Finished RPM socks

Pattern: RPM socks by Aija Goto
Needles: 2 mm dpns
Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks in Winter Eclipse
Mods: Changed the second socks spiral to go in the opposite direction
Aija gives directions for both heel flap and short row, I started with the short row and didn't like so back to the trusty heel flap.

Sockotta Ribbed
These socks just look funny, the ribbing on the top of the sock, (a slightly modified 3x3) pulls in a lot, so the top just looks skinny compared to the foot, even though there is the same number of stitches. When I started looking at sock patterns I never liked this look. I still don't but I figured with yarn that has just as much cotton as wool it is useful to keep the sock up. In this pattern I also added some ribbing down the side of the foot to ensure a tight fit. The pattern is toe up with a heel flap from Sensational Knitted Socks.

Stay tuned for adventures at my first guild meeting

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Thursday, September 07, 2006


Several times this past weekend, I thought - "oh I should blog this" and I didn't although their was some interesting stories so to give you the rundown. Part of the reason I didn't blog is that I have had a miserable cough that several people thought I should go to the doctors and rule out pneumonia.
  1. Went on Saturday to my niece's 2nd birthday party and it was her mom's birthday earlier in the week. Sia was happy with the Mali purse.
  2. On Sunday my friend Mike participated in his first ever triathlon. It was close by so we went out to support him. (If it was Saturday between Ernesto and my cold I wouldn't have. Mike finished 45 minutes fast. - He thought it would take him 4 hours so other people showed up to cheer him on after the 3.5 hours into the race. The problem - he finished in 3 hours 15 minutes - way to go Mike!
  3. Tuesday was a trip to Ikea with Mel and Lisa. I only made one small purchase but picked something to buy on a next trip - with some more cash. We also stopped off at Lens Mill Store and I picked up some circular needles. Mel and Lisa are quilters and they picked up some supplies there.
Knitting content - Yes I still knit - amazingly.
  1. The RPM socks are done - I reversed the spiral on the second sock so they are mirror images of each other.
  2. Last year, I made myself a pair of fuzzy feet.
    If you haven't made this pattern (I think everyone has though), you knit a giant pair of socks and felt them to your feet. It is a great pattern to learn socks on, and it is quick. However I found one flaw. They wear out quick. On Sunday I noticed I had a small hole near the toe, since they had been stretched out with wear - I thought I would throw them in the wash. Bad idea. I was hoping that the hole would shrink or worse case stay the same. That was not the case. The felting got smaller around the hole making the hole larger. Another hole showed up on the second slipper. Wearing the slippers since washing them has only made the holes even larger. Another pair of slippers is needed. Last year I made Ali these slippers. I enjoyed knitting this pattern and it takes 4x the wool- giving a much heavier sole. I cast on for these planning on using two colours - one for the sole and one for the top. However I forgot that I already had used some of the navy skein so instead of having 100g I only have 80 g - which as I have found is not enough. So these need to be ripped back and alternate colours need to be determined.
  3. With the 2mm circs I picked up on Tuesday, I started another pair of socks. I am trying the one sock on two circ method - toe up. I am not convinced this is a good way for me. Some people state they are not fiddling with stitches on 3 (or 4) needles, but sliding the stitches along the cord takes me longer than with the dpns. Also the needle I am not currently using gets in the way - or I grab it by mistake and end up with all the stitches on one needle that needs to be adjusted back. Does anyone have any hints? I have just finished the heel turn on sock 1.
Saturday is the Waterloo County knitters fair. I have never been but it sounds like fun- how could it not be. I'll be going, it is only 10 min from home.

I am going to try the camera this afternoon again to see if I can get some pics.

ETA: I can't get the camera to work today, but the sock yarn requirements for Sock wars is up. DK weight 22sts/inch on 3.75mm (US5). I don't have the needles or suitable yarn. Guess what I will be looking for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cherry trees?

A tree puzzle is solved and a small grammatical rant.

In the spring, I thought I had a cherry tree beside the house, providing us shade. It had the right bark and flowers. However as cherries began to ripen, the fruit on this tree did not. In August the fruit ripened to a dark purple, these weren't cherries - but I didn't know what it was. The birds have not been eating the fruit (yet) so I know they are not tasty. I have only seen one purple dropping in our yard. I decided to see if I could figure out what this tree is - after some searching I came up with Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). Further research led to this uninformative description that I had to share. My comments in the []

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.
[So it doesn't matter the soil type it just likes soil]The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils [again not caring what the soil is like as long as it is there] and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade [a sentence that gives some info]. It requires moist soil [this contradicts the well drained soil].

So to restate this paragraph "The plant can tolerate many soil conditions and likes partly sun to full sun." I am not the strongest writer, I admit that, however I really dislike descriptions that give next to no information. I understand that my sentance my leave out some information and can be expanded upon but to say the tree prefers and then list a range encompassing most soil conditions.

Now back to the tree itself

The fruits, called sloe, apparently are very bitter until first frost and then lose some of the bitterness, the fruits are what sloe gin is made from. I don't know enough about the correct ID of this plant though to eat it. However all is not lost, later in the article it has this info

The bark is a good source of tannin. It is used to make an ink. The juice of unripe fruits is used as a laundry mark, it is almost indelible. The pulped ripe fruit is used cosmetically in making astringent face-masks. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The bark, boiled in an alkali, produces a yellow dye.

The page lists some references for the dye, I may just have a good dye source in my backyard.

I need to write a longer post at what I have been up to, I have a bunch of stories I can share.