Tuesday, February 14, 2006

One Sock, Three Sock, Red Sock, Blue Socks!

Whole lotta socks goin' on 'round here!

First, I finished a simple cuffed sock using KnitPicks Sock Memories in Flower Power.

I think it came out super cute! I can't wait to get sock #2 finished! The pattern is simple. I've used it enough times I have it memorized. :) You can get it here at Bernat.com.

I have also started a pair of cabled socks for the Knitting Olympics. More info on the Knitting Olympics is at Yarn Harlot's Blog. And more here. I'm making the Baby Cable Rib socks from Charlene Schurch's book Spectacular Knitted Socks. This is the first time I've tried any sort of a more challenging sock than ones like the simple Bernat sock pattern I used above. The Knitting Olympics I thought was a perfect excuse for me to branch out into higher realms of sock knitting Nirvana.

I'm knitting both socks at the same time so that I don't have to fight with Second Sock Syndrome. Ever had an attack of Triple S? That's when you finish one sock and it looks great.....but then you discover you really don't want to start all over again to make the 2nd sock. There must be plenty of lonely matchless knitted socks in the world. Sad victims of chronic Triple S, or just "sssssssssss'' for short. Boo and Hiss at ssssssss! So I decided to pool all the #2 dpns I could find to knit both socks at the same time. Death Knell for SSS!!!

No great speed knitting on my part yet. I do have the first little bit of k2, p2 ribbing mostly done on both of them. I'm going on a weekend trip this weekend where I will have some good knitting time, so hopefully when I come back, I can show some actual cabling being done on these cabled socks. lol. *Crossing Fingers*

I'm not using any fancy sock yarn for my olympic socks. It's Magic Stripes in Sea Blue. It's fingering weight and a mix of wool and nylon. At first it had a noticeable acrylic-y plastic sorta feel to it....but now that I have a few rows done, it doesn't seem that bad, and the colors are really pretty. I'm reserving my judgement on Magic Stripes until I have the socks done and wear them though....if they breathe and stretch relatively well, I will definitely be using MS again!

I ventured to area craft stores this past weekend on the lookout for sock yarn -- and found NONE. I was sorely disappointed. First I went to my local LYS....they had some, but none that I really wanted to try. Ugly colors. So then I went to Hobby Lobby -- no sock yarn besides one or two orphan skeins of Bernat Sox. I love the colors of Bernat Sox, but the one pair of socks I knitted from it are so hot that I can't stand to wear them unless I'm absolutely freezing cold. It's like wearing a mini nuclear reactor on my feet. Ugh. No breathing at all. Too acrylic-y. So, I was miffed at there being no sock yarn. I looked at the other yarn they had -- interesting nobby funky looking yarns. But.....they wanted upwards of $8-10 a skein for some. I'm not going to pay that price range for acrylic. Acrylic/natural fiber mix maybe. But not straight faux naturale. Nope. Not doing it. So, then we ventured over to Michael's, where I thought they would surely have some sock yarn. They had NONE. I even tried Walmart. NONE. Fun Fur in every mix of rainbow color....(looked like all the Muppets had been murdered).....but not one skein of sock yarn.

See a pattern here??? Plethora-of-Acrylic everywhere...including an acrylic that looked a lot like Noro Kureyon but made out of some polyethylnobaabaa sorta stuff. Faux wool!!! Ewwwwwww! I was insulted. But you know....polyethylnobaabaa can still be felted. With a blow torch.

So, I poo-poo'ed Michael's and Walmart's yarn too. Bought myself some new paint brushes, but I left yarnless. Someone on a email list I belong to said that Michael's stores were paring down their yarn sections to emphasize scrapbooking and other hobbies. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. All I wanted was my*&^%$&# sock yarn fix. But NOOOOOOOO. I'm still feeling huffy and snippy about it. Midol needs to make a medication for PKS (Pissed-off knitter syndrome).

That's allright.....I can order awesome sock yarn from Knitpicks online. Much better than Hobby Lobby or Michael's would have had. And I didn't want polyethylnobaabaa sock yarn anyway.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Secret Pal ROCKS!!!

It was a normal day yesterday....ho hum....until my friendly postman brought me.....(suspense, suspense, suspense).....THE BOX!

My SP7 partner sent me a great giftie box!

Lookie, Lookie!!

She sent me several kinds of funky fun yarns that I can experiment with, several sets of knitting needles, a set of dpns in size 2, 2 prs circ needles, a pair of slippers, a Journal, knitting notecards, a pattern book Socks Soar on 2 Circular Needles (I've been wanting that book for forever!), and a nice big bag to put my knitting in, with a smaller long bag for my knitting needles!

Thank you!!!!! What you sent was just wonderful!!!!

I have stuffed a box full of goodies to send to my secret pal, and it will be going into the mail on Friday. I'm a few days behind as the baby was sick, and then he was nice enough to share his cold, cough and very sore icky nasty throat problem with me. Ugh. Feeling better -- so the box will make its way to the post office. I think she'll really like it!

Joshua was excited yesterday since I got a package. He always gets to pop the bubble wrap and helps me unwrap everything. He waited patiently in his Wiggle chair for me to get things ready.

And then just as I was getting ready to take pictures.......


I guess the digital camera looked more "fun'' than yarn and knitting needles. LOL. After wiping off my camera lens, I defeated the baby monster with tummy tickling, of course. :)


Monday, February 06, 2006

Winter Blahs

Know what I'm tired of???

Grey, cloudy skies. Cold wind. Bare tree branches. Dead grass. Blah, blah, blah.

Winter and I don't get along. By February each year, I have developed a chronic case of Cabin Fever. I am tired of being cold. I am tired of no sunshine. I'm tired of rain and sleet -- we haven't had any snow yet this winter here.

I'm ready for Spring. I'm wilting. I need sunshine. Warmer weather.

So, to keep my mind off cold, grey and blah....I am going to start knitting and crocheting happy spring projects. I have some really pretty scarf yarn, and some nice festive sock yarn. I'm going to make use of it. And, I think I will put in a yarn order for some nice bright festive sock yarn from KnitPicks. That outta get me out of the winter doldrums.

I'm keeping busy this afternoon designing a purse pattern. That outta keep me busy for a little while at least.

So, I will warm up my hooks and needles. Wrap up in my favorite shawl, and curl my tootsies into my favorite pair of wool socks and try to forget that it's ANOTHER grey day outside today.

Spring is coming!! I will make myself happy with pretty yarn until then!


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Socks and the Superbowl

Well, I rooted for the Underdog, but Pittsburg still got the win in Superbowl XL....their 5th Superbowl win. That's why I was hoping Seattle would pull it off. But, they had too many penalties, and not enough umph to either their offense or defense. Pure and Simple -- Pittsburgh outplayed them. Not a very exciting game. There were a couple memorable plays -- like Kelly Herndon running 76 yards after intercepting a pass. But the game wasn't a nail-biter at all. Not like last year's game that had me screaming and jumping up and down for the last half.

Since there wasn't any excitement, I managed to knit on a pair of socks throughout the game.

I would be much further along on my newest sock project if the baby hadn't pulled it off the needles 3 times. LOL. Cursed socks!! Joshua seems bound and determined that I should never finish this pair of socks. :) 4th time must be a charm since this time I got the cuff finished. And I'm being careful to put it out of the reach of the baby. I don't want to have to start all over AGAIN.

While I was watching the football game, my husband and son were in the game room playing D&D Miniatures. Yes, it's true. The men in my family don't watch football. I'm the only gridiron fan in the household.

It's just unAmerican. lol.

But here's the proof:

They didn't even come out that much to see commercials. This year, the commercials weren't all that great. They really toned it down from last year. Of course, I can understand why with the wardrobe "malfunction'' and all the Viagra ads last year. LOL. But I think they went a little too far the other way. The usual really good hilarious ads just weren't there this year. I did like the Sprint ad about the guy's phone having "crime deterrant". I haven't ever been beaned in the head with a Cell phone before, but it really looks like it wouldn't be much fun.

If you missed the Superbowl ads and want to see them, you can see most of them here:

Well, back to my socks! I'm going to keep knitting until Grey's Anatomy is over. :)


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Torn Between Two Yarns

C'mon....sing with me!

Torn between two yarns
Feelin' Like a fool
Lovin both of them is breakin' all the rules....

Ok...Ok....Simon Cowell would tell me not to give up my day job. But I am admitting that I love both natural fiber....and **Dare I say it???** Acrylic. Yes Plain ol' acrylic....which I will call POA. The yarn that we all happily crocheted and knitted with before the "natural fiber'' craze.

But....I also love wool, mohair, and all those wonderful novelty yarns too.

I have heard it argued that POA doesn't hold up well -- that it pills, goes out of shape and generally makes a project that's worth the 1.99 a skein you paid. A "you get what you paid for'' sorta thing.

I have to argue with that. I made an afghan for my son years and years ago when he was little. It was the first afghan I ever crocheted -- and I made it with *gasp* Red Heart from Walmart. $1.26 a skein -- 5 skeins.

So, after years of being dragged all over the place, taken on multiple car rides and vacations, thrown on the floor, slept on by numerous pets, being used as a tent, and enduring the washer and dryer over and over and over and over and over and over again....this afghan should look like heck. Right??

Wrong. It still looks great. It hasn't pilled. Hasn't lost its shape. The color hasn't faded. It still looks great.

Now I have bought cheap acrylic yarn that was just poopie. Like that Pop n' Yarn walmart sold a few years ago. Oh my....that stuff was just so coarse, thick and plasticy that it was just icky to crochet with. (I didn't knit at that time). But I have several brands of acrylic worsted weight that I just love -- including Red Heart.

But I also have plenty of wool, mohair, alpaca, cotton and other natural fibers in my stash, too.

So, I'm not what they term a "yarn snob'' -- I'm addicted to yarn period. I don't care what they make it from...I can find a project that fits whatever sort of yarn catches my eye. Cheap, expensive, weird....in my years of crocheting and knitting, I've tried it all.

I've heard all sorts of arguments on the subject. It ranges from long-time knitters saying that those who knit with huge needles using novelty yarns aren't "real'' knitters, to those who say that they will never knit or crochet with anything that isn't natural fiber.

For me, it's a question of loving the craft. Fashion, and popular culture is going to change -- and knitting/crochet patterns change with the times. Funky, different fabrics and making homemade garments and accessories is the In-Thing right now.

Isn't that cool?????

I remember when the hobby section of most stores had a couple knitting pattern books and maybe a book like "I Taught Myself to Crochet'' and a few skeins of yarn. There just wasn't much to choose from -- and I had to listen to all sorts of "grandma'' jokes when I was teaching myself to crochet 15 years ago. It seemed like nobody crocheted who was under 60. And a few people knitted, but not in public.

Now you see knitters and crocheters everywhere. Garment patterns are cool, trendy, and fun to make. And, hobby sections have magazines, books, notions, hooks, needles -- all sorts of things for crocheters and knitters. I even saw a booklet at the checkout counter called "Knitting Scarves'' And hobby magazines mix the crafts now -- knitting and crochet associating together in the same magazine!!! Imagine that!!

Handmade items are finally cool! There are so many yarns, colors, fibers and textures to choose from now! And no more grandma jokes! They teach knitting and crochet at school now. Knitting and crochet clubs are considered fun!

Wow! What I love is finally COOL!! I feel vindicated!!!

So I'm not going to apologize for knitting and crocheting with every sort of yarn that catches my eye. I have proof that $1.26 per skein acrylic yarn can stand up to long hard use. And I've also made beautiful things out of very expensive yarns as well.

I love yarn! All sorts of yarn! And I knot it up into all sorts of neat things with whatever craft -- knitting, crochet, tatting. I'm a fiber arts snob. If it can be knotted....I'm gonna knot it!

A world without yarn is chaos! :)

All psyched up now. Gotta post this and go knit something!!!