Friday, April 30, 2010

Shout Out

Just wanted to point out that there is a new blog on my sidebar: my HLM is chronicling his final couple of months in "Chef School." It's a very mixed-media affair, over there.

Before you get jealous, I should point out that I don't get to eat any of this stuff.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Skew Socks

Between last night's coffee night with the girls and a few minutes in front of the tv this afternoon, I have finally got the second of the Skew socks into the finished pile.

I really love the way that the stripes in the yarn turned out -- it's partly because of the angle, and partly because of the increases, and partly because three out of the four colours in the yarn sort of blend together at a distance. You can probably see easier in my previous post that the yarn has a bright watermelony pink and three darker colours: a deep teal, a chestnut brown, and a dark violet. Up close they are all pretty apparent, but from a distance they all blend somewhat and the pink really stands out more than it would, were the others more variegated. Makes for some cool stripes that remind me of lightning bolts.

The yarn itself is one I bought off the internet ages ago, intending to make it into Joelle Hoverson's Chevron scarf (ravelry.) I didn't like the way the scarf was turning out with this yarn as I was knitting it, so I frogged it and the yarn sat in my stash, unloved, until now. Having knit these socks with it, I am really impressed -- it has a weight and roundness similar to Socks that Rock Lightweight, and I love the saturation of the colours. I actually have more of it: one full skein in shades of teal, and one partial skein in yellow/orange. I will have to use them up, one of these days.

The socks in particular were a bit of a challenge, in that the pattern was something I had to really follow, line by line. I was also relying on written instructions, rather than charts, which is not my favourite. The socks fit pretty great, after the fact, except that the last few decreases above the heel made them a bit more snug in the leg than I'd like. Next time, I'd probably just ignore those decreases and let the leg have a little more room. I definitely like the pattern, though, and would do them again... when I feel like a more challenging sock.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nom Nom Noms

I tried a new recipe last night -- the magazine I found it in calls it Oh My God Chicken, and I can't say I disagree with that. There are several whole heads of roasted garlic nestled in there amongst that saucy chicken, and some white wine and red pepper and onion and kalamata olives, not to mention that crunchy bacon crumbled on top, people. Deadly good.

Thanks to the informative internet, I also discovered that I've been making cinnamon toast the wrong way, lo these many years. I always thought (misguidedly) that the various flavour components were all that mattered. Thank you, Ree Drummond, for setting me straight. I sang you many hallelujahs, this morning. I sang them with crumbs flying from my mouth as I devoured the best cinnamon toast ever. If you are a cinnamon toast lover (I am talking to you, Mom) you should really give it a go. And don't leave out the vanilla, either. You will thank her.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I finished the first Skew sock, and while it was certainly weird, I have to admit that I love the final product! The heel turn is a very strange thing, and until a row or two after it, it's hard to believe that it will really be a heel -- I tried it on as soon as I felt like the rows above it were stable enough for that. As others have said, it's a bit of a squeeze to get your heel through that bias strip of knitting, but once you do... what a lovely hug all around your foot. Very very cozy sock.

In the meantime, I turned the heel and finished the gusset on the first Slip Jig sock, only to realize that it's too big in the foot. I've ripped back to the heel flap, where I'm going to try a combination of shortening that and decreasing a few stitches around. Then we'll see how it goes with the altered gusset. I have to admit that a little bit of frogging isn't as unpleasant when you end up with such a pretty pile of yarn to re-knit.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Week in Knitting

After finishing Sophie, I picked up the Skew socks I've been knitting on, and let me tell you, they are getting interesting. There are some sort of Zimmermann-ish contortions about to happen, which are somehow supposed to turn all those stitches bulging off to the side of the heel into the back leg. The mind boggles, I know. I'll show you the finished heel once I've made that turn, but don't count on it making sense.

I also got the March Rockin' Sock shipment, and of the two lovely patterns that came with it, I chose the one called Slip Jig. It is a much more straightforward pattern than Skew, so when my brain starts to hurt too much from the strange construction of Skew, I just resort to knitting on these ones. Aren't the colours lovely? It is a very springtimey yarn, and they are very fun and quick to knit.

Lastly, despite being distracted by so many socks, I made a bit more progress on the Aeolian shawl in the last day or two. I am just past the first row of nupps, and they turned out so nice (even though you can't really make them out in this photo. Trust me.) I just did a row with nearly 70 beads in it, so it is also very sparkly.

Friday, April 9, 2010


After knitting on the new socks for an evening, I couldn't resist the inspiration to start yet another project. This one was another stashbuster (but aren't they all, this year?) the perfect size project to use up a couple of balls of lovely pink Cashmerino Aran that I had sitting around.

I don't know if it's because of all the bunnies I've seen, recently, but I suddenly had an impulse to make Sophie -- an adorable little bunny pattern from the inimitable Ysolda. It was pretty easy to make, knit in the round on double points. There was very little finishing because the parts were all built off of one another, rather than separately and sewn together. I used a crochet hook to pick up the stitches, which made things a lot easier than trying to do it with a knitting needle. There were a couple of difficult starts (like the first few rounds of the ears and arms) but other than that it was so simple and turned out so cute!

Sophie is pretty relaxed -- she mostly just chills out on the sofa and watches TV. One thing she's pretty excited about: how the final season of Lost is turning out. She is full of theories about the show, though she has so far kept silent about them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April Fool's Socks

Early yesterday, I finished the April Fool's Socks. As you could see in the last post, they were constructed all in one piece, first a toe-up sock, then one cuff leading to the next, ending with a top-down sock.

I really enjoyed knitting these, because (believe it or not) it was a bit of a stretch to my brain, to begin with the mental map of making a toe-up sock, and following that structure, and then switching my mindset at the halfway point and doing something opposite.

It felt sort of like matter & antimatter, or yin & yang, to create two items that are identical yet precisely opposite.

(Oh yeah, and they fit really well and are warm and cozy and comfortable and pretty.)

I celebrated by casting on another sock.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lemons, Knitting, Joy

Spring must be in the air, because I made my first batch of the year of homemade lemonade, this morning. Nothing complicated or fancy, just a simple lemonade concentrate, to dilute with fizzy water for a blissful experience. Amazing what simple syrup and lemon juice can do.

Also, as you can see, I am nearly finished the second April Fool's sock... or should I just say second half of the pair? Clearly you can see there is something different going on, here. I am nearly at the second toe, so another hour or two, and these ones will be on my feet.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An April Fool

I settled on a layout for the Futurella quilt, and yesterday, I spent an hour or two pinning and labelling the strips in order for sewing. Today I even sewed the first few strips together. Pretty exciting stuff, right?

In the meantime, I have been waiting impatiently for the March shipment from the Rockin' Sock Club. I have been haunting the forums, reading many peoples' comments on how lovely the yarn and patterns are, but nothing. Since we are coming up on a holiday weekend, I will likely not see the package until the middle of next week, since it didn't arrive today. I couldn't wait another moment, so I cast on a different pair of socks.

These ones are designed by Star Athena -- they are the second installment of the Socks for All Seasons club, and are called April Fool's Socks (ravelry). So far they are a basic toe-up stockingette sock, but soon enough they will take a very odd turn, indeed. The yarn, by the way, was a gift from a dear knitterly friend -- it is Araucania Multy in a bunch of perfect colours for me. I love how it doesn't really stripe or pool, but is really random. Love.