Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vacation, all I ever wanted

Well, the knitting has been a little on the slow side lately. I have the first sock over half's a sneak peek of it in progress. And I got some more work done on the rug while at Ruth-Anne's for our semi-regular, sorta-weekly knitting night. I finished one of the three parts of the head and one of the four legs is done. Actually, laying it out on the floor as is, it's looking like a bear that's been through some sort of industrial accident, but it's taking shape.

Tomorrow I'm headed back home for a visit with the folks, family and friends. I'll be traveling with my dear, long-time friend Diane which should be a lot of fun and will definitely make the long trip go much quicker.

Here's an example of our humor through a recent exchange about the trip. After some finagling, we finally had the trip all set. She was excited because she usually makes the trip home by herself and was happy to have me along as a travelling companion. "Oh good, I'll have a big, strong man along in case something goes wrong," she said. (I replied with "Really? Who are you bringing?") I later told her how I was pleased to discover that, though I get car sick when reading, I can somehow knit in the car without any problems. So when I told her excitedly that I would be able to work on my sock on the ride down she said "Well, there goes the big, strong man theory..."

I'm looking very forward to not only the visit, but the time away from work. Though I enjoy my job and my co-workers are great, I haven't had an actual get-away-from-it-all type vacation for two years. So, it's a much needed break from routine.

LISTENING TO: TARNATION - "Gentle Creatures." Paula Frazer's wonderful voice and songwriting are the heart of Tarnation. The band has now split, but Paula continues to record as a solo artist. If you are a fan of "alterna-country" music, this is probably right up your alley. You may also want to check out Paula's site to see her work as a weaver of beautiful wool fabrics.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sock it to me

I have put the bear rug aside for a bit. It was getting pretty warm to work with and I was running out of Chocolate Fun Fur. But, I just got the AC Moore flyer and the Fun Fur is on sale this week. So I'm going to buy the last couple of those that I need.

In the meantime I've started my socks with the Top Print alpaca. I am making these on size 2 DPNs, with 64 stitches. And Chris, since I have still not answered you as to what pattern I am doing the sock in, let me do that now! I started with a 2 inch cuff of K2 P2 ribbing figuring that I would try something different down the leg. But after trying a few patterns with the yarn I decided that most of them hid a lot of the beauty of the yarn. So I'm doing a simple pattern I saw in Nancy Bush's "Folk Socks." The whole of the leg is done in the K2 P2 ribbing with a number of heels to chose from. Then the foot of the sock is done in stockinette with a couple choices on how to close the toe. I have about 4 inches of the leg done on the first sock and it really looks great.

This sock is the first project that I've undertaken completely in continental knitting. I've practiced it here and there but it took me a long time to feel comfortable with it. However now that I've done it for a while I'm finding that I like it just as well if not better than English knitting. There is much less movement for the right hand and it feels more balanced. If you haven't yet tried it and are interested, head on over to the Knitting Help site where you can learn how with some helpful videos provided by the lovely Amy Finlay.

LISTENING TO: SONIC YOUTH - "Confusion Is Sex" I just heard that the new SY album came out this week. Though I haven't picked it up, I thought I'd get in the mood by putting in one of my favorite SY classics. Noisy, angry and essential NYC DIY post-punk.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Paca... Al Paca

Well here is what I ended up with from the sale at Cityside. I love this's 100% alpaca and is going to be knit into a lovely pair of socks...for me! This was only the second time that I've gone to Cityside. The first time I was by myself and I felt a little out of place. I went in and there were quite a few ladies, all clustered in a group, knitting and possibly spinning (can't quite remember). I just remember feeling very self-conscious and didn't end up buying anything. This time, going with Ruth-Anne, was a whole different experience...and I don't think it's just becuase I was with someone. Certainly that helped, but I didn't feel like we had stepped into someone's clubhouse and interrupted their meeting. One of the women who worked there asked what I was making and complimented me on my choice of yarn. She even mentioned how many male knitters they get in there. So that was nice and I feel much more inclined to visit them again. Especially if they keep running that 40% off sale!

Yesterday I was off work altogether. I get Thursday off when I have to work the the Friday night and Saturday morning shifts. Though I don't love working the weekend, the break in the week is very nice. It also allows me to get to some stores that I might not normally get to during their normal business hours. So yesterday I took Ruth-Anne to work early in the morning (she's having car troubles!), then headed out for breakfast at Bagel Central. After that I ran around doing a lot of errands and a little shopping. Then home for dinner, some laundry and enough time to knit a swatch with the new yarn. It looks great and I can't wait to start on the socks. I think I'm actually getting too many projects lined up. I guess I'll have to toss the names of the items into a hat and pick one randomly to see what to make next!

LISTENING TO: JILL SOBULE - "Underdog Victorious" I hadn't heard anything of Jill's for a while so it was a very pleasant surprise to find this at Bull Mooose Music a few weeks ago. Another fine album from the "I Kissed A Girl" girl. Her lyrics are always clever, usually a bit self-deprecating and often laugh-out-loud funny.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Sensational, indeed

Well, the Sensational Knitted Socks book came today! It looks very well thought out and full of interesting patterns and tips. I can't wait to get started on some of these. I have some sock yarn that I bought from Knit Picks a while back that I never did anything with, so I'll have the yarn ready to go once I narrow down which one I want to try first.

Went to Ruth-Anne's last night for some knitting. I worked on the rug and she worked on her cool, stripey socks while we watched "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe". She mentioned to me that her niece called her just before I got there and mentioned that City Side Yarn Co. is having a big sale on a lot of their wool yarns. So she and I are going to head over there on Thursday afternoon to see what they have left. Hopefully it won't all be picked through by that point! I'd love to find just the right yarn for a sweater. The problem is that I still don't have the pattern for the sweater picked out yet, so I wouldn't know how much I would need to buy. I guess I could take an educated guess and maybe add 20% just to be safe.

Guess that's about it for now. More later!

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Making progress...

I wanted to give you an updated shot of the 'bear skin' rug. The body is almost complete. Once I finish knitting the length of it (just a few inches to go!) I have to add the front and back legs and of course the stuffed bear head! As mentioned in a previous post the body is knit using four pieces of yarn held together... three pieces of Fun Fur and one piece of Wool-Ease. Wasn't sure how easy that was going to be to maneuver, but it's gone pretty smoothly. All in all it's been an enjoyable and surprisingly quick moving project.

I have a new knitting book ordered and am very excited about it! It's the "Sensational Knitted Socks" book by Charlene Schurch. It was between this book and one called simply "Socks Socks Socks" by Elaine Rowley. I figure I might eventually end up with both as they have both gotten really good reviews and socks are, at least at this point, my favorite knitting project.

This afternoon my friend Diane stopped in to see us at work. She had the day off to get her car worked on and it took a lot less time than she had originally planned for. So she wanted to see if I could join her for lunch which I did. During lunch she said wouldn't it be cool if I had the afternoon off so we could run around. I said, well that may be a possibility as we weren't overly busy and I have a lot of personal time saved up. So upon returning to work I asked if they would mind if I took off for the rest of the afternoon and got the ok from my co-workers. I'm so glad they were willing to let me take off because Diane and I had the nicest afternoon, not really doing all that much, just spending time chatting and catching up. A very nice day and much needed.

Oh, and a shout out to fellow male knitter, Chris, of the cool Tex Knitter blog for his recent help with the felted clogs! Thanks guy!

LISTENING TO: THE CURE - "Faith" An oldie but a classic. A masterpiece of minor chords and somber moods. The perfect soundtrack for a rainy evening.