Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm Back

Ok, well, it's been a while! Things got crazy there with the Christmas knitting and fun weather we've been having. First off, I finished three pairs of socks for people as Christmas gifts, all well-received. Here is the pair I gave my brother:
I used a pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, although I've already forgotten which one!! How awful is that. But my brother says he really likes the socks. He lives in San Francisco, and says they keep his feet nice & warm in his condo.
So the Seattle area had some unusually snowy weather right around Christmas. I won't go into too much detail, but suffice it to say I missed my flight to California the Monday before Christmas, despite a heroic drive to the airport. On the way back home I got stuck in the snow right outside my garage:

Someone told me I was "high-centered". A term I've never heard before, being the California girl I am. It took an hour of digging and five men to finally get my car into the garage. I was lucky a bunch of guys were doing some construction on a nearby condo, and were willing to push my car. After getting the car inside, we were stuck at home for the next four days. We finally made it out at 8:30pm on Christmas night, arriving in San Francisco at 10:30. Luckily my family was willing to hold "Christmas Day" on the 26th. We had a great time once we got there! The weather was wonderful - in the low 60's mostly. It was such a relief to get out of the snow.
The funny thing about snow in Seattle is what normally happens is that it snows an inch or two, the world shuts down (schools close, nobody can drive anywhere because of the hills) and then it all melts in about 24 hours. This time we had snow for over a week. It was really amazing.
We had a great time in California. Great gifts were given and received, and one day we went to Pier 39. This is a view of Coit Tower and the Transamerica building from the top level of the Pier:
I lived near SF for most of my life, and just realized that some of the best views can be had right from Pier 39!!
I hope everyone had a great Christmas/New Year, and is looking forward to a wonderful 2009!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Christmas Sock Knitting

Well I've finished a few things. Unfortunately, I didn't meet my goal of knitting 600 yards for the Stash and Burn Socktober challenge, but I did manage to finish these (I only finished the 2nd sock for the challenge - the first one was done earlier):

These were done in the Basket Weave Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Fortissima, and I cast on 80 stitches for this sock. They are for my dad. I sure hope he likes them, because they took forever to knit!

The other sock I finished in October was this one:

This sock is for my dad's girlfriend. The 2nd sock is currently in progress - I'm about halfway down the cuff. This pattern is a fairly simple pattern called Shapely Secrets Socks by Dawn Adcock. I've knit a pair before for myself, and they fit really well. They have some graduated ribbing at the top, and some extra heel shaping that makes the socks really hug your feet. The yarn is Opal yarn - I have no idea which kind, I've had this yarn in my stash forever and I can't read the ball band. However, I LOVE Opal yarn - it wears like iron. I've washed & dried my Opal socks for years and they are still going strong.

Can you tell my family likes blue? I love it, my dad loves it, and I'm assuming Alice (my dad's girlfriend) loves it too, because she wears a lot of blue.

Just for fun, here's my daughter at Halloween. She didn't go trick-or-treating this year for the first time (sob, sob - she's growing up!) but she did go to a party on Saturday. I kind of had to laugh - as I dropped her off at the party I saw the other girls dressed like ballerinas, butterflies, dolls - and here comes my daughter, the pirate!! It was kind of funny.

I hope everyone is doing well with their Christmas knitting if that's what you are doing. If not, I hope whatever you are knitting is coming along nicely!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Slow Knitting

I think I am a slow knitter. It seems to take me forever to finish anything. I know knitting on size one needles with fingering weight yarn is going to take awhile, but I keep reading about people who finish off socks like candy! I am taking part in the Stash and Burn Ravelry group Socktober challenge. You have to list how much sock yarn you have, and how much you want to knit up during October. As mentioned before, I discovered I have about 15,000 yards of sock yarn, and I was planning on knitting about 600 yards, or about 3 socks. Actually, 3 socks is probably more like 650 yards, but who's counting.

Since I joined the challenge, I finished the first sock of the pair I'm knitting for my dad, which was basically the last inch or so of the pattern plus the toe decrease, and I'm down just past the gusset decreases on the 2nd sock. Now, granted this is a sock of man-size proportions - cast on 80 stitches, size one needles, etc., but still - I'm still working on one sock while others in the group have completed pairs and pairs, or several single socks. I am either very slow or other people have a lot more time than I do!!

I will post a picture of the finished socks once I'm done. I already have a plan for the next pair of socks - they will be for my dad's girlfriend out of some Opal yarn I have, and the pattern will be more plain, not a basketweave (no dreaded purling!). I'm also slowly working on the Twilight socks for my daughter, but since I decided I really want to finish my dad's sock I kind of put the Twilight ones aside for the moment.

Off to my knitting!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

How Much Sock Yarn Does A Girl Need?

15,000 yards, that's how much!! I joined the Stash and Burn Ravelry Socktober challenge to find out how much sock yarn I actually have, and to say how much I will knit up this month. So last night I took a deep breath and pulled out all my sock yarn and added up the yardage. I found out that it wasn't actually quite as bad as I thought, although it is still a lot! I am going to try and knit three socks in October (around 600 yards) - the 2nd sock of the pair I am knitting for my dad, and the entire pair that I am planning on knitting for my dad's girlfriend. They are both Christmas presents. I took a picture of my stash (sock yarn only, let's be clear) for posterity:

As you can see, I have a fondness for Opal :} It looks like Trekking is coming in second, and I have a fair bit of Regia - although that black, gold & gray yarn I've had for probably 10 years. I can't remember what I was thinking when I bought that gold yarn, it is so not a color I would generally buy. Sorry the picture quality isn't so great - I did this last night after work, and I didn't want to leave it laying out all night. Who knows what my cats would have done to it!

Here is my dad's sock in progress - as you can see I am almost done with the first sock, hopefully I will finish it today. I ended up having to go buy a 2nd ball of yarn, since this sock is taking a lot more yarn than I realized it would. I'm knitting the Basketweave Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks on size one needles, and I casted on 80 stitches. My dad wears a size 9 shoe, so I think these will fit him pretty well. The only reason I will be able to get so much knitting done today is that my daughter is away on a choir retreat. I guess they are all "bonding" which will help them sing better together. I hope she is having fun. She loves being in this choir, so I'm sure she is having a great time. I have to go pick her up tomorrow morning, and they are about an hour away from here. Nothing like a Sunday morning drive! Due to traffic, the choir leaders decided to bus them all up together Friday night, thank goodness. But we, the parents, will be in for a mini-concert when we pick them up tomorrow, which will be fun.

In other news, I got my Harry Potter sock yarn from Simply Socks Yarn Company. I woke up one morning (Monday, maybe?) to find an email stating that the yarn was available to purchase. Before I was even dressed or had my coffee I had credit card in hand. Shipping was so fast - I had the yarn by Thursday. I totally love it, and can't wait to knit it. Unfortunately it will have to wait until after my Christmas knitting is done, which might be a while. But aren't these colors great? I ordered, from left to right: Hedwig, Tonks & Draco. I didn't much care for the other colors, but I thought these three were wonderful.

I have another pair of socks I want to knit for my daughter for Christmas, but I don't know if I can pull it off. They are the Eclipse Socks based on the 3rd book in the Twilight series. We both just read all these books, and loved them. I think I might be able to knit them while she is in choir practice - I have about an hour and a half of time twice a week. I don't even have the yarn yet or anything, so we'll just have to see. She would love them, though!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another School Year

Boy, it's been almost a month since I posted anything. Could it have something to do with school starting again, along with all it's associated activities? I think so.

But I do have one FO to show, and here it is:

Yep, I finished one of the fingerless gloves for my daughter. I can't tell you how close I came to throwing this thing across the room! I finally got the lace pattern down OK, but when it came to knitting the thumb gusset I had to try about four times before finally getting it right. I'm really not looking forward to the 2nd glove. My daughter took pity on me and told me very graciously that I could take a break before knitting the 2nd glove to knit some socks. Since I have about three pairs of socks I'm planning on knitting various people for Christmas, it might be awhile until I get back to the 2nd glove. I have to admit they look good on her, so I really should finish them, though.

I didn't take a picture of the socks I'm working on right now, but I'm down to picking up the gusset stitches on a pair of socks for my dad. I'm using the blue Fortissima yarn I bought a few weeks ago. I decided on the Basketweave Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. I think it is making the sock a little thick, but I'm pretty sure my dad will like it. Once I finish these, I will be knitting a pair for my dad's girlfriend and then another pair for my brother. I'm thinking I'll use some self-striping Opal yarn for my dad's girlfriend and just knit a pair of "plain vanilla" socks for her. I'm not quite sure yet what I will do for my brother.

Before the summer ended and school started, I took my daughter down to the Seattle waterfront to visit the aquarium. Here is a shot of her while we were outside at the aquarium with the Seattle waterfront behind her:

And just for fun, the first day of school! This is always a fun day - she picks very carefully what she wears to school. In fact, this year she and her best friend went through her wardrobe and actually took Polaroid pictures of outfits she planned to wear for the first week of school. They had all the clothes laid out on the floor, including accessories. It was hilarious.
We are having a beautiful weekend here in Seattle. It's been a bit grey & rainy for the past couple of weeks, but today is about 70 and sunny. We are enjoying it immensely!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day Shopping Extravaganza

Holy Cow. My daughter and I went out to run a few errands, and came home with a haul. First, we hit the Redmond Farmer's Market, which was brimming with great fruits and vegetables. We started off eating Hawaiian hot dogs, which are totally yummy, then we picked up some blackberries, pluots (a combination plum & apricot), apples, pears, an onion, and some peaches. Oh, and I got something called a lemon cucumber. I can't wait to try it in a salad with some of the cherry tomatoes I'm getting off the plant on my balcony.

Then we went to Borders. I had a 30% off one item coupon, and of course we bought way more than one item! I got this:
There are some really cute patterns in there, plus a few sock patterns that I really liked. My daughter got the 2nd book in the Twilight series, and we picked up a few other odds & ends as well. Then we headed off to Bath & Body Works where they were having one sale after another, and I picked up a few nice smelly things for home & bath. Then......drum roll to Ben Franklin's. Oh my. I went in for this:
and came out with this:
A sad state of affairs I tell you! Every once in a while I get a 40% off coupon to use at Ben Francklin's through my email, and I tend to go in and buy a skein of sock yarn with it. Today I bought the Fortissima Socka with it, intending to make a pair of socks for my dad for Christmas. Then my daughter fell in love with that book in the picture, Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden. I have been desperate to get her interested in knitting or crocheting, or some type of fiber hobby. She loves building legos, but that gets expensive after a while. So I caved in and bought her the book, a crochet hook, some yarn, and the googly eyes. I'm afraid she will get bored quickly, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. She also likes embroidery, so we bought a package of white pillowcases for her to embroider on. She got the bright idea that if she gets bored with one thing she can switch to the other, which brought to mind all the knitters I hear about with multiple UFO's - she'll be like that, only switching between hobbies! As you can see I also have some candles there. They are all fall scents, which just smell so good.

We also ran a quick errand to Staples to pick up the last couple of things we need for her back-to-school supplies. Thank goodness we didn't leave it all to the last minute, because that place was a total zoo! We only needed a protractor & some pens, and then we high-tailed it out of there!

I'm currently knitting my daughter a pair of fingerless gloves. The yarn is Paton's Stretch Socks in a black & white variegated color. I've not done very much lace, so it's a little on the hard side for me, but I think they are coming out pretty good:

For some reason I'm not really enjoying knitting these. I don't know if I don't like the yarn, or the needles, or both. I feel the pattern is not very well written, but I've been able to figure it out as I go along. The pattern is out of a Patons booklet written for this specific yarn called "Patons Stretch Socks Sweet to your Feet." It's Pattern #4, the Lace Wrist Warmers.

One of the things I bought today at Ben Franklin's is a set of bamboo dpn's in the size I need for these gloves to try with the next glove. I'm thinking maybe I don't like the metal needles. I hope switching from metal to bamboo won't change my gauge too much. I need both gloves to come out the same!

We are having a beautiful fall-ish day here in the Seattle area today. The sun keeps coming out from behind the clouds, but it's only about 65. The sun feels good, not to hot! I'm going to go enjoy my balcony for awhile now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crossed the Finish Line & Vacation Time

Wow! I managed to finish a pair of socks in 16 days - even less than the 17 days that the Olympics lasted. I had planned on blogging my progress each day of the Ravelympics - obviously that didn't happen. But here is my finished pair of socks and my medal:

I'm so thrilled with my finished socks. I am gradually getting faster and faster at finishing socks!

I also participated in my first swap this summer. It is the Sock Yarn Swap From Your Stash (a group on Ravelry). My spoiler, Nancy from MN, send me a wonderful box of goodies. I absolutely love the yarn. I haven't started knitting it yet, but it is definitely up there in my mental list of what's coming up. The Spam and the Trix are locally made in her area - I haven't eaten Spam since I was a kid, and I think it will be fun to have it for dinner some night! My daughter is anxious to try it too as she saw it all over the place last year when we were in Hawaii. For a few days during the Ravelympics, my daughter and I headed to Ocean Shores, Washington for a little vacation. This picture pretty much sums up how it went:
For three days before we left, we were in the middle of a sweltering heat wave (for the Pacific Northwest, anyway). It had been around 95 degrees each day. The day we left for Ocean Shores (Monday), the temperature dropped about 25 degrees and it started raining. And it kept raining. And raining. We took walks on the beach in the rain and wind. Then we gave up and hit all the gift shops in town. I bought this: at a store called Blue Heron Fabrics. They had both quilting and knitting items. Not a huge selection of yarn, but they had a lot of sock yarn that I hadn't seen in person before. I also got a mini-lesson on knitting socks on two circs - it looks pretty easy, I am going to have to give it a try!

The day we left Ocean Shores, the sun came out! Do you believe it. So we crammed in a game of mini-golf and a long walk on the beach collecting shells and rocks before we left for home.

Today we went to the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. We had a ton of fun looking at all the animals. We watched a dog show, horse exhibition, went through all the animal barns and of course the textile arts building. There were also art exhibits, canning and cooking exhibits - it was what I think of as a "real" fair. In one of the sheep barns a lady was spinning and selling her handspun yarn. Yes, I bought this: I can't wait to use it. I'm thinking either a scarf or some fingerless gloves.

I have to go back to work tomorrow. At least it is only three days, and then I get a 3-day weekend! And thank goodness school starts again the day after Labor Day. If I hear "I'm bored" one more time I am going to scream!