Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Needles and socks

Thank you so much for all of your supportive and encouraging comments on my last post. Being a mother is a challenging, difficult job, and I won't pretend that I love every minute. However, I will choose to enjoy the precious moments that I have with my children. Time is a tricky thing. It's here now, gone tomorrow. I love my three littles so much, and hope that I am the best mom that they could possibly have.

Moving on to knitterly things. Everyone's heard about Harmony Wooden Needles, the newest additions to the Knit Picks Options line? Well, if not, click here. I'll wait. Anyway, as soon as I saw them, I saw a need. So I bought a few.
Knit Picks Harmony Options needle tips
Of course my purchase had to be at least $45, so I bought a few other things as well.
Knit Picks order (of course had to be at least $45 for free shipping!)
I haven't used the needles yet, but just from touching them I can tell you that these are very special. They are gorgeous, smooth, hard and pointy. Sounds nice, yes? (Get your minds out of the gutter, my goodness!) Anyway, I'll report as soon as I give them a try. I'll be swatching for my next project soon.

Speaking of projects, here is the official finished object pictures of my Green Gables Socks.
Green Gables Socks
I ran out of yarn at the toe of the second sock. I didn't have any roving left to spin any more...but as it turns out, I'd knit the first a tiny bit too long anyway. After a little bit of frantic un-knitting and re-knitting, I finally had a matched pair. And they both have toes!
GG Sock detail
There were a million ends to weave in, but it was worth not having to figure out a way to conjure yarn out of thin air.

Pattern: Diagonal Rib by Ann Budd
Needles: Susan Bates aluminum DPNs, size 1 (for cuff) and 0 (for foot)
Yarn: My own handspun, 3-ply fingering weight. Approx 300 yards. Roving was handpainted by Amy of Spunky Eclectic. This was the April Fiber Club for 2006.
Began spinning for this project: Last week of April, 2007.
Completed knitting project: Last week of August, 2007

Do you ever have the feeling that a project is taking advantage of you? I started a pair of toe-up socks. I'm using the happy fun 70's - esque rainbow self-striping yarn that I bought a while back. Suddenly, I was half-way done. These were supposed to be my boring movie knit, but I kept Until-The-Next-Striping until I'd gotten this far:
Rainbow socks in progress
I'll knit these until I run out of yarn, so they might end up being knee-highs. (Yes, my husband just gave Max and Sparky haircuts. Yes, it was a surprise on both counts.)
I don't think that I could ask for cuter sock blockers
I actually do want to work on some other things, so I've put these away for now. After all, I can't spend all of my time on the boring movie knit! What will I do then when I actually have a movie to watch?

Daisy is 5 months old now. Here she is, helping my friend Jillian with the laundry.
Daisy in a basket
She's almost strong enough to start thinking about sitting up on her own now.
Daisy in a basket 2

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Working up a sweater

I've noticed something about my projects. I enjoy the idea of knitting a sock more than I actually enjoy wearing them. I enjoy the idea of wearing a sweater more than I actually enjoy knitting them. So I knit socks, and dream of sweaters. Now, I do, of course, wear my socks with pride and all, but there's just so much of a fashion statement that can be made with them -- they do generally reside inside of a shoe.

I was thinking about all of this, because... well, does anyone remember that I was working on Sahara a while a while ago? It's been almost three months exactly. Initially this project excited me, but then a bunch of other projects got queued up in front of it, and it kind of got left in the bottom of the knitting bag. Stockinette....endlessly, it seemed. Nevermind that I'm knitting a size small short sleeved version -- it was so intimidating to me for some reason! Over my visit back to NY, I finished up almost everything else that was on the needles, so I had to find a way to work on this without feeling like I wanted to stab my eye out. As it turns out, it's completely painless as a movie knit! Speed through round after round without even looking, and suddenly -- progress!
Sahara, joined in the round
I know, not terribly impressive. But this has gone from a rectangle of fabric to something that actually has armholes and such, so I can't help but be pleased. I'm just used to having something immediately pretty and interesting on the needles...

So I cast on for this:
Loksins in progress
Mmmm... the satisfaction of sweet lace in a small project. Oh lovely sock, how I enjoy thee.

Speaking of lace, I think that a blocking session is in order...
Nightshade, unblocked
Maybe tomorrow.

In other news, I'm blond again.
I'm blond again

Boy kisses
There have been a lot of days lately where I doubt who I am, and hate the fact that I am stuck in motherhood, but I've got to tell you: I adore these little people. I really do.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thank you Sock Pal!

At long last, here are pictures of my socks from Sockaplaooza Pal, Cat (of Domesticrafts).
Twisted Flower Socks from Sockapalooza swap
They are fabulous, and fit me perfectly! The red is a little more of a burgundy, but it was hard to capture in the bright sunlight this afternoon.

One of my favorite features of the Twisted Flower Sock is the way that the pattern travels al the way down the heel.
Twisted Flower Sock heel detail
I love them, and have already worn them a few times.

Cat also sent me these:
Fun stuff from Sockapalooza Pal
Thank you so much! Lorna's Laces is one of my very favorite types of sock yarn, and I can't get Burt's Bees stuff over here (sadly!), so I was very excited about that part of it as well.

Check out what came in the mail yesterday?

Ashford Carder
I found this online from a store that was selling it used for one of it's customers. I almost felt like I was stealing, scoring it for $100 less than the listed price. My husband is a complete babe, because he agreed to buy this for me without a moment of hesitation when I told him about it.

The moment I unpacked it from the box, I carded up a little bit of the fleece that I had washed the other day. The batt came off the carder huge and voluminous, so I had to sit right down at the wheel to see what it would do.
From raw
Is spun up so finely and easily! I'm going to spin up one little sample skein of laceweight two ply, and then another of a chubby worsted/bulky to see what works best with this wool. I wish that I knew what type of wool it is. It's so much fun to play with; there's tons of body, it's strong, but not rough at all.

I'm also working on a worsted weight two ply...
Green singles
But that's all I'm going to show you about that project right now.

Another collage from my time in the States:
This was a visit to the Tuckerton Museum/fisherman's village. I don't think that it was supposed to be as interactive as we made it, but we did have a lot of fun, and we didn't break anything, so it was a successful day, I think.

Click for details and gallery if that floats your boat. =)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Jetlagged, but here nonetheless!

Adjusting to a new timezone is already challenging all by my lonesome, but with my little crew? It's been a week, and we're just getting back to our normal routine.

Out on my porch, drying in the afternoon sun:
Newly washed fleece

This armful of raw fleece was given to me by a lady named Regina, whom I met when I was back in the states. I actually met several ladies on two different occasions, some of them sheep farmers, all of them spinners and knitters/crocheters/weavers. It was so much fun. Here's some photos from one of those days:
Fiber fun
Click to get to the photoset for more details if you wish.

The green socks in the top left are indeed the Green Gables handspun socks that I've been working on since Daisy was born. I finished them on my way home from the New Jersey shore. Also completed is the Forest Canopy Shawl. It's just waiting to be blocked out, and it'll be ready for it's photoshoot. I'll take another proper "finished object" pic of the socks, perhaps this week. I also still have to photograph the gorgeous pair of socks that I got from Sockapalooza!

The socks that I knit for my pal are finally complete, and I'll be sending them out tomorrow. Here they are!

(These are size 6-1/2, so my 9-year-old sister is modeling them for me)
Marina Piccola Socks
I love the way the stockinette portion waves back and forth opposite the twisted stitch patterning.
Marina Piccola detail
Pattern: Marina Piccola by Kate GilbertNeedles: KnitPicks Options size 0
Yarn: Socks That Rock Silkie, colorway Beryl
Modifications: None
Notes: I love this pattern. It's a little fussy, and I had to pay attention to it, but after a while I was able to knit without the chart, which made it way easier. (I say "after a while", but that really means that by the end of the second sock I had it memorized. Perhaps I'm a bit slow.) I love the fact that it can be adapted to any gauge, and knit to any size. This makes it endlessly useful for any yarn you might be using.

The pattern was a Godsend. The yarn was pooling terribly with everything else that I tried until I chose this one. Hurrah for Kate!

Monday, September 03, 2007

We're back! And someone just turned four...

We're home! We arrived back in Germany at 6:30 last night, and finally got to our house at around 10:30 or so. It was a long trip back, and I'm just glad that it's done. We had a wonderful visit back in the states with friends and family, and I've got tons of pictures that I've been uploading to my Flickr account, but I'll blog about all of that in chunks. There's way too much to catch up on for one post.

I feel like this was one of the best visits that I've ever had with my younger siblings, especially. Between cherry pipes shared with Christopher and Joel, cuddling out on the porch on a chilly evening with Grace and Joy, interesting talks with Caleb, visiting the biker bar Hannah works at, cooking with my mom, hanging out with my dad, and doing a little shopping with Rachel, I feel like there was a lot of life that happened, packed into those four weeks. I even got to hang out with Grandma Claire a few times -- she has the shopping stamina of 10 women! We also got to see some of my dad's side of the family in NJ, and had a lovely time.

But for today, first things first -- it's Sparky's 4th birthday!
Sparky blows out the candle.
We are so glad to be back home with Mr. FiberFlash. We've all missed him so much. Even Daisy has been watching him like she knows who he is with smiles and gurgles and such.
Birthday!  Sparky turns four.
Instead of a cake, I got some big chocolate-dipped cookies from the bakery down the street, and piled some whipped cream next to it. Since Max is two and would have been mad otherwise, I put a candle in both of their cookies to blow out.Max, with his own "Sparky's Birthday Cake"

Happy birthday Sparky!

The kids are in bed now, so it's time for some Mojitos, etc. *wink*


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