Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Socktoberfest wrap-up

I was going to call this "Socktoberfest update," but given that today's the 31st, I figured "wrap-up" is more appropriate.

My goal for Soctoberfest was to finish my pink and blue socks, as well as work on other pairs of socks that are in progress. Not a very ambitious goal, but for me it's enough.

The result: pink and blue socks!

These are technically the second pair I made started, and the first pair that I started for myself. (Jim got the first pair I started.) They're on the baggy side and maybe a little too thick to really wear with shoes, but I absolutely love wearing them. They're comfy and I can't help but just wiggle my feet in them.

Project Details
Pattern: Basic Stockinette Socks from
Knit Socks! by Betsey McCarthy
Yarn: Cascade Sierra (1 pink (15) skein, 1 blue (24) skein),
purchased for 40% off at The Point
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs, size 5 (I think)
Started: Summer 2005
Finished: October 21, 2006

I've got enough yarn left to make blue socks with pink toes, but that's a project for another season.

Aside from my goal of finishing the Cascade Sierra socks, my other sockie goal for the month was to continue working on my other socks that are in progress. I haven't started anything new (well, no new socks, at least). So here's what else I've worked on...

I made some progress on the third red sock while on the Elderhostel trip. Here's the sock enjoying the lovely view of the Potomac at Mount Vernon this month.

I also made a little bit of progress on Jim's Austermann Step sock (picture to come), and I've made quite a bit of progress on the second Thuja.

I'm about ready to start the heel flap. But I want you to compare these two legs...

Look at the color pooling. Striping vs. blocking? Not exactly matching. I'm getting flashbacks to the Claudia Handpaint red socks... Definitely fraternal twins, unless... uh... is there some sort of handpainted dyelot curse when it comes to multiple skeins of sock yarn???

I'll have to see how the foot comes out. I do have a third skein. I hope this doesn't call for a third sock. (Memo to self--maybe I should stick to single skein sock yarns.)

And now for something completely different...

I've jumped on the Fetching bandwagon big time! These completed (and frequently worn) ones are mine, another pair (for my mother) are currently on the needles, and a third pair (for my youngest sister) are in the wings. But I digress...

'Tis the end of Socktoberfest. I hope everyone had a fun, productive month!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It may not have been Rhinebeck...

My Elderhostel trip with Jim. From Philadelphia down to Virginia and Annapolis. It may not have been Rhinebeck, but there was yarn...

...and sheep...

...and yarn from the sheep!

The yarn in the first picture was from a colonial sutler set up at the Yorktown Victory Center, part of the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown. I didn't buy yarn here, but I did buy a wooden thingy that you use to make cords (i-cord maker???).

The sheep? They're Leicester Longwool at Colonial Williamsburg. Jim and I drop off the Elderhostelers in the historic area in the afternoon, and then I dragged him around we went off in search of some sheep. After all, I gave up Rhinebeck to join him on this trip. Didn't I deserve to see some sheep?

I dragged him all over the place looking for sheep. We found horses. We ran into reenactors. (With the big anniversary reenactment there were, like, tons of some 2,000 reenactors in the area.) We ran into reenactors we he knew, and even ran into someone we recognized (Henry Liu) from a PBS special on Patriot's Day in Lexington.

As a side note, Jim dressed in colonial attire on our day in
Yorktown/Williamsburg. I didn't, and while we were walking through
Williamsburg I felt really weird. Lots of our reenactor friends who have
been there have dressed in period attire during their visit. I always
thought that was so weird. However, it felt weird to be dressed in modern
attire. Hmmmm... have they assimilated me like the

Anyway, after I found my sheep we went back along Duke of Gloucester Street and stopped in a couple more stores/gift shops. Well, in one of these shops they were selling yarn from their sheep! And after calling Elsie to ask her advice on what I could make out of a single skein of this stuff, I bought one! (And while talking to Elsie on my BlackBerry, Jim and the colonial shopkeeper took great pleasure in making fun of me "talking into a black box" and saying that maybe I should be "taken to the Public Hospital" (a.k.a. insane asylum). Yes, I gave him crap for it.)

All in all we had a good day wondering the streets of Williamsburg. And even after dragging Jim around looking for sheep, he was able to chuckle.

This is what he'd probably like to do to me if I come home with any more yarn.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On the road again

I really ought to be sleeping right now, but I've just finished packing up my knitting projects for another Elderhostel trip with Jim. He started this program in Philadelphia on Sunday, and I'm going to join him tomorrow evening. Then Thursday morning we head down to Virginia, up to Annapolis on Saturday, and back to Philadelphia--and then New York--on Sunday. Just a little bit of traveling, eh?

And come Monday I'm going to have 2 (count 'em, TWO!) finished objects to show you! I'm looking forward to some good knittin' time this weekend.

However, on this trip, I won't be taking my laptop with me, so there won't be any blogging until Sunday night at the earliest. (I hope I don't go through Bloglines withdrawal.)

So for all of you who are going to Rhinebeck, I hope you have a wonderful time. Please pet some fiber for me! I can't wait to hear all about it next week!!!

For now I'll leave you with some pictures from this past Sunday's finishing class at The Point. Five hours of knitting surrounded by fibery goodness. Nirvana!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday sky... and sock yarn

It was a cool, crisp Saturday here on Long Island.
Here's the sky over Great South Bay.

And now, some sock yarn at the Village Knitter.
I spent some time with Karen and Joy at the shop today. They told me that they've had more customers interested in sock yarn than they had expected, so they're going to be getting more sock yarn. Woo-hoo!!! I'm psyched.

The shop's "husband" chair

Also, Thursday night is going to be their knitting night. Just what I need--incentive to get out of the office at a reasonable hour!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tomorrow I'm heading to The Point to heckle hang out with some friends of mine who are taking Barbara Kerr's finishing class. This is the same class that I took a while ago, and when I saw they were offering it again, I pushed it on them like a crack dealer encouraged them to sign up for it and promised them that I'd hang out with them. So, I've got my project bag of tricks packed and I'm ready to go! This ought to be fun.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Village Knitter

Last weekend I took some pictures of my wonderful new LYS. Take a look...

Does this look inviting or what? Wanna see some of the fibery goodness in those cubbies? Of course you do!

There's Debbie Bliss on the left, Blue Sky Alpacas on the right.

Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, a whole bunch of Cascade 220, and a basket of sock yarn!

Patagonia, Handpaints Originals, Turmalin and Cascade Magnum.

And Karen's getting more yarns. I'm one very happy camper. If you're ever in the area, you should stop by!

The Village Knitter
18 Fire Island Avenue
Babylon, NY 11702
website coming soon

Knit-a-little Purl-a-little

Can you hear them needles a-clickin'? We've got some knittin' goin' on here!

My pink and blue Cascade Sierra socks. These are #1 on my "I really want to get these done" list.

Jim's Austermann Step sock. I bought this yarn--what, two weeks ago? Thanks to a little encouragement from Joy, I gauged and cast on that weekend. I've been alternating working on this sock with the pink/blue puppies.

Not a sock! (But it is a really suckie picture--sorry.) This is the Big Sack Sweater from Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky that was a Web's closeout--two years ago. The color is really a gorgeous hunter green, not what you're seeing in the picture. (I'll have to photograph it in natural light.) Initially I had trouble trying to decide if I really wanted to have a sweater out of this, so I bought a single ball to swatch it. And then I did something I'd never done before (and haven't done since). I washed the swatch! And not only did the swatch maintain gauge, it softened up so wonderfully that I knew it would be perfect for this sweater!

So this is a project that I've been working on periodically for two years now. It was supposed to be my 2005 St. Patrick's Day sweater. Then is was going to be my 2006 St. Patrick's Day sweater. (Yeah, I'm a little slow, eh?) Normally I just knit a couple of rows before I go to sleep, but now I'm really motivated to get it done so I can wear it. One problem, though--I just finished up a ball of yarn and all the other balls are up at the house in Vermont (to be known from now on a "Moose Mansion"). You see, I bought this yarn during a stay in Vermont and wound up leaving most of the balls in my Vermont stash, just taking home a couple at a time as I needed them. Now that I'm motivated, well... I'm going to have to wait until I get back up there to fetch me some more yarn. Sigh...

OK, one last project--

My bi-weekly knitting group in the office is working on baby caps this month for Save the Children. We're going to finish them up this Tuesday when we meet after work.

There are other projects--the third red sock, Thuja--and there's swatching going on--Fuzzyfeet. Haven't quite decided what's coming with me to Virginia next week, but you can be sure it will be something(s) for da feets!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Good stuff, bad stuff

Good stuff: I met the owner of my new LYS yesterday. Karen's really great! Her shop is great! Have I mentioned how happy I am to have such a terrific LYS that is so close to home (and just minutes off the train)? I'm so thrilled!

Bad stuff: I still haven't taken pictures of the store. And I had the camera in my bag while I was at the store. I'm such a putz.

Good stuff: Jim's new sock is coming along quite nicely. I really like working with the Austermann Step yarn.

Bad stuff: I missed posting a blog on International Talk Like a Pirate Day. However, there was a lot of pirate talk among the Elderhostel mateys and saucy wenches participants on the trip. Aye matey...

Good stuff: Really pretty Saturday sky yesterday.

Bad stuff: I totally missed my own blogiversary! It was September 15th--the first day of my Elderhostel trip--and even though I knew it was coming, I was so distracted by work and planning for the trip that it totally slipped my mind until just a couple of days ago. That really sucks.

Good stuff: I'm going back down to Virginia with Jim for four days on another Elderhostel trip, and I expect that I won't be tied to the office by the electronic leashes nor will I take work with me. I plan on spending time with my sweetheart and doing lots of knitting.

Bad stuff: I'm not going to Rhinebeck this year because I told Jim I'd go on the trip with him. I'm sad I'm going to miss seeing my friends.

Good stuff: There's always the Franklin County Fiber Twist (I think--I haven't looked at my calendar yet).

Bad and Good stuff: Bad--I have to go out to Chicago in November for a one-day meeting. Good--the meeting's on a Monday and the airfare's dirt cheap, so I'm going out there on a Saturday night so I can spend Sunday going to yarn shops.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My sock knitting history

When I signed up for Socktoberfest I didn't realize that there was actually a sort of calendar of things to blog/do/talk about. So, in an effort to get with the program and not fall behind like I did with Project Spectrum and the ABC-Along, I'm going to use the questions Lolly posted to give you a little background about my sock knitting:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? That's easy--May 2, 2005. At the NE Brigade's Camp of Instruction (NEB COI). And the person who deserves all of the blame credit for inspiring me to attempt sock knitting--Carole! I had been toying with the idea of making Jim a pair of socks for reenacting. I had even brought him to a yarn shop so he could pick the color he wanted. I also knew there was going to be a knitting and crocheting workshop at the NEB COI and I thought that maybe I could learn something about socks. What I had no way of knowing, however, was that I would meet Carole, and that not only would she become a good friend, but she would become (and still is) my biggest inspiration as a sock knitter.

That day my sock knitting consisted of casting on and knitting just a couple of rows of a cuff, but that sock wound up changing my whole knitting focus from sweaters to socks.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time? What would you have done differently? Well, since I'm really more of a "process" rather than "product" knitter, I only recently finished that first sock pair--but only because gift knitting and pretty yarn detoured me, and then of course the fact that I made them 2 inches too long and had to unknit and reknit them, and without him there for constant fittings, well...

Jim's soldier socks have traveled well over the last 16 months and are now finished and in Jim's possession. He hasn't spent enough time in the house lately to be wearing them, but I'm guessing once all the Elderhostel's are done and it really gets cold, he'll be wearing the socks. What I would have done differently--not break the yarn to pick up the heel gusset stitches. I didn't know any better. Carole set me straight on that when I worked on my Vesper sock. I would also have been more adamant about making him try on the socks frequently as I got near the toe. (I don't ever want to have to frog/tink dark dark navy blue yarn ever again!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? Hands down Vesper sock yarn. So soft, such lovely color, and it behaved perfectly on the Addi's. Made me smile while I was working with it. I'm also really loving the Austermann Step yarn right now.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? Haven't tried crocheting socks yet. I've knit them on DPNs (prefer using 4 needles to 3 needles) and Magic Loop, never tried 2 circulars. I love Magic Loop, but I'm not averse to DPNs.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) I've only done your basic heel flap.

How many pairs have you made? Yikes! Shamefully few are in pairs at this point, but over the last month or so I've been finishing stuff so I'm improving on this. Of course, I'm also working on that third red sock...

Let's just say that there are 8 sock projects that exist somewhere between "leg of first sock" to "finished pair."

Whew! Got that in just under the wire for week one.
Next week is review week. Boy, do I have some
sock-related reviews to share with you guys...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Look what's on the loose in Jacksonville

September 20, 2006 at 8:05 a.m.That's our garage and, yes, that there is a moose! In our driveway, behind our house, smack in the middle of Jacksonville, Vermont. Our neighbors took this picture.

Can you say "holy crap"?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Time flies when you're...

...traveling... fighting a cold... working... and knitting.

Yup. Been doing all of the above. I am getting caught up with stuff, but I still don't have time to blog about all I want to. So here's another set of bullet points...
  • We survived the trip from Baltimore to Boston back to Philadelphia and then on to New York. But I'm still tired.
  • Thuja had to be tinked back because it's too short for my foot. It's fine now.
  • Started the third red Claudia Hand Painted sock. Survey says it's leaning towards the brighter sock.
  • My new LYS, The Village Knitter, opened while I was gone, and I got to stop by last week. I'm very, very happy to have this wonderful shop so close to home! Had a wonderful time talking and knitting with Joy, a fellow blogger, who's working in the shop. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this visit to share. Next time.
  • I started a new sock for Jim with yarn I bought at my new LYS. I wasn't going to start it now, but Joy got me thinking about how the yarn would knit up and I figured what the hell! (I've been having second thoughts on the tight gauge on the Trekking sock, so I'm going to put it on hold for a while.)
  • I've signed up for some knitalongs. I don't know if it's the cool fall evenings, or the looming cold nights in a potentially uninsulated house, but I'm feeling motivated to knit me some warm socks and mittens and fingerless gloves.

Rhinebeck. I was undecided about whether or not to participate in Blogger Bingo. Well, that decision's been made for me.

I haven't cancelled my hotel reservation just yet, but I did make southbound Amtrak reservations for over that weekend. I'm going to be joining Jim for the second half of his Philadelphia to Yorktown Elderhostel program, which runs over that weekend. He really needs help with that leg of the program, so being the sucker devoted fiance that I am, I'm going to join him the last night in Philly for the trip down to Virginia. Maybe I can convince him to have the bus driver take me to that yarn shop in Williamsburg? We'll see.

Well, that's all for now. Next time I'll post some pictures on my projects. I've been knitting some, you know...