Sunday, December 31, 2006

Knitting Resolutions

I have been inspired by Scout. She has decided to "Just Froggit", and I'm jumping on board with her program.

I have decided to frog Icarus. Yes, I'm in the border, but I know I'm going to run out of yarn. I did not have a US size 3 circular needle when I began this project, but after last week's trip to the LYS, I now have one in my possession. I loved the way it was working up when it was young and small and I believed I had enough yarn. I want to go back to loving my Icarus! After I frog it, I will dedicate myself to its completion and work away until the very last stitch.

Here's the next challenge. I am going to frog the mohair travel shawl, which I actually made out of kid mohair. This means, I will have way too much fun delicately picking at my fuzzy yarn. The original pattern called for it to be worked in two pieces, and having completed the first half, I now have second-half syndrome. I no longer love the way this one was working up, so now I get to search for a new shawl pattern. I'm thinking about some options like Branching Out (which will give me plenty of leftovers), Print O' The Wave (but worked in one piece a la Mason-Dixon), Leaves and Waves, or more than likely the Yarn Harlot's Snowdrop Shawl. I've loved Snowdrop since the first time I saw it on the blog. With almost 2000 yds of hot pink mohair, I can't think of anything better to brighten up the winter and to get myself ready for spring.

I'll post pictures of my piles of fiber as soon as I rip them up!

It's time for our quiet family New Year's celebration. We're staying in tonight with mucho munchies, and the kids are trying to make it to midnight so they can watch any fireworks on TV. I think the Moose may crash early, but I'm almost positive the Roo will make it through. Anyone willing to lay odds on this one?

Have a safe and fun evening wherever you are. See you next year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Speed of Socks

After my trip to the LYS last week, I started a sock for the Moose, then I did a sock for the Roo, and repeated the process. By Thursday morning, I had two complete pairs of socks, and my children now happily wander through the house with striped warm feet. They wear them with the pajamas at night, which makes me think I need to make more so they stay nice and toasty.

I am delaying my gratification in knitting my alpaca hoodie. Instead, I dove into my miniscule stash (I am odd--I only keep yarn around for projects in progress or projects to be) and came up with several skeins of navy blue Encore which were destined to be a Hogwarts scarf. I really have no need for a double-knitted, 10-inch wide scarf here in SoCal, so I frogged the scarf and started a top-down, loose-fit raglan for the Roo (growing room, you see).

I started by making a gauge swatch--25 stitches wide and 25 rows long--and then I used Knittingfool's sweater wizard to come up with a pattern for the sweater. It's all based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage method, but I, the math teacher, did not feel like doing all that math myself. So far, I have only had to make one major modification in the neck. I cast on using US size 6 needles instead of size 5, and I increased the number of stitches to be cast on so it would fit more easily around her head. All this is so she can have a Weasley sweater like the ones Molly makes for her children and for Harry every Christmas. If you need a good picture of one, go to Alison's blog. She even has her own pattern there.

Here's why I opted for a raglan. Though I love seaming sleeves and sides of sweaters, I find setting in the shoulders tedious. It probably has something to do with where I place my increases. It will come with time and practice which only means I get to do more knitting!

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Real Meaning of CHRISTmas

After all our planning, buying, baking, knitting, crafting, singing, decorating, and wrapping, this is what it's truly about. God's promised Messiah came to save us all and fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets. Here's the real story from Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

May God bless you and everyone in this holy and precious Christmas season. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Progress of Sorts

As expected, I am tired of Icarus. After Friday's trip to the LYS, all I've done is work on new socks. I made a plain vanilla sock for Moose in his chosen yarn, and I've started a plain vanilla sock for Roo in her chosen yarn. I love these socks! After fighting with the Mardi Gras sock yarn for so long, it was nice to see some forward movement in my knitting.

I will keep working on my socks today, and I'm thinking about dragging out the Mohair shawl instead of Icarus. It's miles and miles of mindless garter stitch except for the edging, so it will be good TV knitting. I'm DVR-ing oodles of Christmas shows to watch later, so I'll need something for all those programs.

Tonight's agenda includes feeding the reindeer, leaving out gingerbread cookies for Santa and a piece of cheese for Santa Mouse, and possibly attending my first 11 o'clock communion service since the kids were born. Having small children in the house who can't be left for long periods of time absolutely precludes my attendance at such solemn occasions. They both want to got to church tonight for the Communion and Carols service instead of to the more family oriented 7 o'clock service. It's the first time they have ever been interested in staying up for the late service, and I'm inclined to let them go if they can make it. We're going to take it slowly today and judge their readiness for this grand event by their behavior towards one another and us. I find the late service to be more intimate and more holy for welcoming Christ's birth, and I will be thrilled to be able to go this year if we can.

Enjoy the watchful moments while you wait for Him to arrive!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Two Steps Forward...

and one step back. This pretty much describes my knitting this week while I've been out of school. Let me spin you a yarn...

First, there was Icarus. Yes, I'm working away on it, but the super long rows are making it tedious for me. I started the last pattern repeat and got about halfway through it before realizing I was going to run out of yarn somewhere in the edging. So I had to frog an entire day's work. Thank goodness for that dental floss I put in there! The next day I started the edge, but kept switching between charts 2 and 3 instead of sticking with chart 2. I tried to knit chart 3's row 7 at least twice where it didn't belong. I think I must be desperate to move on to chart 3. Obviously more frogging was involved. I successfully finished chart 2 on Thursday, and my reward for doing that was starting a new sock.

I had to start a new sock because here are my County Clares I finished earlier this week:

They have cables at the top a la Fetching, they are worked in 4 x 1 ribbing down the leg and foot, they have what I consider a "normal" toe, and the afterthought heel. They also obviously need to be blocked.

Yesterday, we had to escape from the cleaning lady. The kids and I don't like to be home while she's here, because we feel like we're in the way. We went out to breakfast, and after eating, entertained ourselves by reciting the names and performing the hand motions for all the states from Maine to Wisconsin. I'm sure the other diners thought we were nuts. It's a memory device called Motion USA used in our 2nd grade class to help the students learn the names of all 50 states. The kids' favorite sign of the moment is Wisconsin. You use your hands to form a triangle and hold it above your head, and it's supposed to remind you of the Cheeseheads. They find it extremely hilarious. After breakfast, we went to the chiropractor and to the library. Then, we went to the yarn store. Oh my!

I had my Christmas gift certificate from my school secret sister, and it was burning a hole in my pocket! I have lots of new treasures like Trekking for the Moose, which is already turning into a sock,

Trekking for the Roo,

and some yummy alpaca

which is going to turn into this for me.

The pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple. I don't normally wear hooodies, but I really want to try one, and I'm hoping this will scratch the sweater itch I've been feeling lately. If not, I'll probably do the Perfect Sweater from over at Mason-Dixon.

Moose's sock is a result of my rebellion against my Lisa Souza Mardi Gras Sock! Merino. I have started and frogged a sock in that yarn about 5 times this week. I just can't find a pattern to suit me that works up small enough to fit me. I decided (duh!) it must be a gauge problem, so I also broke down and bought some US size 0 Addis so I can try again. I really want to knit Lombard, and I hope this solves my problem.
The DCA and I finished the wrapping last night, and I finally feel ready for Christmas. All that's left to do now is to pick up the ingredients for all the Christmas dinner yummies, so we're off to the store to do our last-minute shopping. I'm sure we'll have lots of company!

After that, I'm going to sink into the sofa with Icarus and the Trekking sock, play some Christmas carols, listen to my children playing, and get lost in the wonder of Christ's entry into the world.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You Know You Want To!

Go see Stephanie over at her blog. Once again, she is promoting a fundrasier for Doctors without Borders, and she is encouraging knitters to double our previous contributions. The goal for this holiday season is to bring the cumulative total on her page to $240,000. Help share the Light of this Christmas season with those less fortunate--give a few dollars to a great cause! (P.S. All donors become eligible for a drawing after the deadline!)

And in today's news: I finished the County Clare socks last night. I'm odd, I admit it--I love using Kitchener stitch to graft toes, so adding an "afterthought heel" that had to be grafted too was especially fun. It ends up looking somewhat like a short row heel, but with the decrease ridges that look like those on the toe. I still prefer a heel flap, but I may use this option occasionally when a pattern calls for a short row heel--I prefer this look. Sensational Knitted Socks says this is also a great option when people wear out their heels quickly. Apparently, the heel can be easily removed and replaced when needed because it was not knitted as part of the main body of the sock.

Today's project? Icarus. I'm feeling the need for some Black Bunny Fibers between my fingers, so I'm going to go see if I have enough laceweight to make it through the border. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, December 18, 2006


I was way tired of the pink, and the button bar was just too crowded for words. What can I say? It had to be done.

It's a Muppet Christmas!

Friday was our last day of school before Christmas. Of course, the kids were wild, so after we mixed up enough hot cocoa mix (recipe from Yahoo! below) for the parents of both the 6th/7th and 8th grade classes, I popped in The Muppet Christmas Carol for everyone to watch during our Christmas party. It lent a certain Christmas-y spirit to the air and promoted the message of good will to all which is so needed during Christmas these days.

So you can imagine my delight when I took the Christmas movie quiz I found over on The Knitting Philistine's blog.

Your Christmas is Most Like: The Muppet Christmas Carol
You tend to reflect on Christmas past, present, and future...And you also do a little singing.

While I was there, I also found the Muppet Personality quiz, and it turns out that I really AM my favorite muppet!

You Are Animal
A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts.You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary.But you sure can beat a good drum."Kill! Kill!"

So, I have lots of plans for my Christmas vacation. First up is to finish the STR County Clare socks which have now been started and frogged about 6 times since my last update. I just couldn't find a pattern that I liked, so I reverted to type and invented my own. I've started sock #2, and in my dream world, I will finish it today or tomorrow morning. I also plan on returning to Icarus and to the Mohair Travel shawl. I love Maude to pieces, and I want to take my time with her and to enjoy her for as long as possible. I am not quite so enamored with the other two shawls, and I want them out of my stash!

My secret sister from school gave me a gift certificate for my LYS for Christmas, so I will definitely be buying yarn some time in the next two weeks. I feel the call of another sweater, so that may be next on the needles after the shawls come off.

Some time in the next few days I have to mix up the annual batch of Colonial Williamsburg gingerbread. This is a family tradition that started when the Navy banished us to the Left Coast several years ago in a location much too far from the Raleigh Tavern Bakery. We'll have lots of gingerbread people to keep us company while we're out of school!

I also get to mix up my first batch of the DCA's grandmother's homemade doughnuts. She makes them every Christmas, and sugaring them is a treasured memory of his childhood. This year's request was spurred by hearing that she was making them for all the family back in Delaware last weekend while his parents were visiting. I think I can handle it once I find all the ingredients.

The holiday hustle continues here, but the message of Christmas remains the same. The Light entered the world to show us the Way: He was God made man, and He came as a child to save us from our sins. The greatest gift of all is the salvation we receive when we call on His Name. Keep Him at the center of Christmas, and you will be blessed indeed!

2 C. sugar
4 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. instant coffee powder (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Process all ingredients in a food processor until chocolate is finely ground. Pour into a nice jar with a tight-fitting lid.Type or print neatly the cooking directions on a small card, punch a hole in the corner, and attach with a ribbon to the jar.

*Attach this to the Jar*
Directions for 2 servings
Stir 1/4 cup mix and 2 tablespoons hot water in a medium-size saucepan until blended. Gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups milk. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Button, Button...

I woke up at 3:15, and I can't go back to sleep, so I'm doing whatever good knit-blogger does and I'm surfing around your sites and updating mine. In the process, I found that Scout has a new button for her shop, so of course, I have to change it. Isn't it cute? I think it probably matches her new merchandise tags for the store!

I'm also trying yet again to upload a Lime 'n' Violet button. I love those girls, and I want all of you to go and visit their podcast. They have so much fun reviewing yarn and books for the rest of us!

I think I may go knit now--I might as well make myself useful if I'm going to be awake.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Do the Holiday Hustle!

It's the Christmas season, so it's that time of year when we all seem to run around crazily in 97 different directions trying to accomplish every little thing that needs to be done. My life and my knitting are definitely falling into the holiday hustle and bustle category.

I frogged Maude. After I took those lovely pictures last week, I stretched her out in all her loveliness on our coffee table to admire her glory. Yep, you guessed it, the glory disguised not just one, but two, places where I worked the ends of the bias stitch rows incorrectly. I couldn't bear to leave the errors there because I suspected it might someday affect my decreases on the other end. I re-started Maude and found I made exactly the same mistakes as before. I frogged back to the first mistake, picked up my stitches, checked for more errors, and then disgustedly threw her in my knitting bag. I have ignored her now for over a week, and I don't feel any pricks of conscience as a result.

Knitting was slower than usual this week because of my schedule at school. I spent breaks there and time at home entering grades into the computer and getting ready for report cards because the trimester ended Friday. I am pleased to say my report cards are almost completely finished. I just need to print them, copy them on letterhead, and stuff them in their envelopes in time for Thursday's awards assembly. It was painful to stay five hours on a minimum day afternoon, but at least they're done. I won't be one of the people scrambling over the next few days!

On a brighter note, I have made some amazing progress on some other things. I finished the plain vanilla *b-marie* socks on Thursday night, and then I wore them to work on Friday. They were a huge hit with everyone who knew them as my conference socks from Thanksgiving week.

I was on such a knitting high Friday after the extra time at work that I re-sized and cast on for a miniature sweater ornament I found via Emily's blog. The pattern for the real ornament is here. I couldn't resist it! Moose's class at school is having a hat/glove/scarf tree for Christmas. As part of the giving spirit of Christmas, each student is being asked to bring something new and warm to wear to add to the tree. The donated items will all be given to needy children for Christmas. I love how our tiny Christian school can still celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and reach out to others during the season.

I thought a slightly larger version of the mini-sweater would make a perfect tree topper in the classroom, and I couldn't wait to give it to his teacher. I knit like crazy Friday night, and finished the sweater before bed. All I had left to do was the weaving in. Roo and I attended the Christmas tea at our church on Saturday, and guess who was there? Moose's teacher, of course! I had the teeny sweater in my knitting bag, so I quickly pulled it out of my bag and wove in all the ends while listening to Christmas carols and chatting with the other ladies at our table. After I finished and during a song break, I jumped up, ran to her table, plopped it on her place setting, and ran away. She stopped by our table later to say how cute it was. Please imagine a picture of it here, since I failed to take one in my eagerness to give it away.

Most of Saturday was spent knitting a pair of Fetching for myself using my leftover Highway 30 Socks That Rock yarn. I used U.S. size 2 needles and didn't make too many adjustments in the pattern. (I must have skinny hands.) I started them in the morning and had one finished before we left for the tea. I started the second one while we were there. I took them both along when we went to watch OU win the Big XII championship with the Sooner Club (Look out Arizona--here comes the Sooner Nation!). I practically finished the second one--I actually bound off the hand part and then realized I did not have enough yarn to make the thumb hole. I had intended to make the hand section longer (24 rows instead of 18), but I had to shorten the length of the hand and frog back to 20 rows instead to have enough yarn. Of course, when I did that, I had to go back and change the other one too. I'm so glad I was lazy and didn't weave in any ends! I finished them up after we got home from the game, and I popped them in my knitting bag to keep in case my hands get cold.

Everyone loved Fetching at church this morning, and I can't wait to wear them to school this week. My friend from church wants half a pair. She only wants one for her left hand, and she wants it extra long to cover up her bangle bracelets. She crochets while she runs the sound board during the church service, and Fetching will keep her bracelets from jingling and clinking while she works. They're not only adorable--they're functional! I already have her Christmas gift done, but I may make her one anyway with some more leftover sock yarn when I finish my next pair of socks.

I intended to work on Maude today since I have been neglecting her so. Instead, I have been doing the holiday hustle around here. We decorated for Christmas when we returned home from church, and then I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen preparing my annual batch of Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies*. When I finished up that enormous task, the DCA and I started Web surfing to find the best price deals on the few remaining things we need for the kids. Because presents are available locally and shipping is getting so ugly, it has been decided that I will spend my teacher work day this Friday bopping around town to finish up the shopping. I then did some online shopping of my own for the DCA and paid those ugly shipping prices anyway.

Somewhere in all this, I started the next traveling sock. It's toe-up (yes, I know--the cuff-down girl must be high on cookie fumes), cabled, and absolutely lovely in STR County Clare. I went with toe-up this time, because I want to try a reverse heel flap and because I want to use the picot edge from Fetching at the top of the sock as a decorative detail. I'm just in need of a challenge after the plain vanilla pair I just finished. STR is pretty stretchy, so I'm confident I will have a lovely cuff when I'm finished. Now where did I put that sock???

*So you want to know about Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies? Once upon a time, the DCA and his family lived in Italy (his dad was in the Navy and was assigned to Naples). His mother's friend shared her recipe, and these cookies became an annual tradition in the DCA's house. When the DCA and I got married, I was handed the recipe and informed that the cookies were now my responsibility. The original recipe calls for a 5 lb bag of flour, a can of chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, and hazelnuts (among the other "regular" cookie ingredients), and the cookies are supposed to be rolled out like the play-dough snakes we made as children and then cut into bite-sized pieces. I followed the recipe exactly for our first Christmas, and the DCA hardly touched any of them. Upon questioning, I was informed that he doesn't eat nuts in ANY baked good. I have no idea why it took me over 18 months to learn this about him or why no one in his family mentioned this tiny change in the recipe to me. I also learned that rolling out a full batch of these cookies by hand in the original method is literally a day-long project and that dunking them in their powdered sugar glaze can sometimes cause them to go moldy. I have since tweaked the recipe and made a few simple changes, and each December, I produce one half-batch of Italian Chocolate Chip Cookies with no nuts dropped by teaspoonfuls on their baking sheets. I must do okay, because the DCA says they're wonderful, and the Roo informed me this afternoon that they are her absolutely favorite cookie in the world. Do you think I can abdicate as cookie queen when she gets married???

Friday, November 24, 2006

Where Did November Go?

So, in my last post I announced Icarus had been banished, Clapotis had been pulled from retirement, the Jaywalkers were complete, and the *b-Marie* socks were underway. Much has happened since that day, and it also seems that I owe some eye candy, so here goes...

First, here, on the right, are my completed Socktoberfest Pomatomus socks. Scout created the colorway, and I've absolutely enjoyed wearing my autumnal socks made from her fabu yarn over the last month. I may even keep them around through the winter!

Next, on the left, are those pesky Jaywalkers in Lisa Souza's Joseph's Coat colorway. I must say I enjoyed knitting the first one, but the second one definitely led to second sock syndrome. It's a great pattern from Grumperina, and I'm glad I tried it. It will probably be my only pair of Jaywalkers though, because I'm finding them a bit baggy in the ankles for my liking. They make great lounging socks though--absolutely lovely with my jammies!

I scored some awesome Koigu in the mail from Yarnzilla last Friday. It was destined for Maude, and I raced home from piano lessons with the Roo before heading back out to a birthday party that evening just so I could check the mail. I spent my time at the party avoiding small children and swatching for Maude. The other parents looked envious because I had something to do. They should learn to knit too!

The Roo and I have co-opted a phrase from the movie Over the Hedge to explain how we feel about Koigu. You have to check out Hammy the squirrel. He has a great line in the movie that he utters in a childishly sweet voice when he wants a treat that has been taken away: "But I love the cookie." After we both oohed and ahhed over the Koigu in its box and lovingly petted it, we looked at each other, and almost immediately said together, "But I love the Koigu." The Roo does almost a perfect imitation of Hammy, and it completely sums up our love for my new yarn. I know I have created another yarn addict in exposing my youngster to Koigu at such a tender age, but it's better that she develop an appreciation for luscious yarns than be stuck in forced acrylic ignorance as I was at her age. It's my prerogative as her mom and knitting mentor!

Now for this week! Each year, the teachers at my school are required to attend the regional ACSI conference in Anaheim. It always falls during Thanksgiving week, and school is closed for the entire week to accomodate our trip. The students all get homework to make up for the 2 or 3 days they miss because we're out of town and growing as professionals. The DCA and the kids meet me in Anaheim on the closing day of the conference, and we usually spend the next day at Disneyland riding as many roller coasters as possible.

As you can see, my Clapotis is finished. It went along in the car on the way up to Anaheim on Sunday, and kept me occupied during the two general sessions and four seminars I attended on Monday. I finished dropping all the stitches Monday night at the school staff dinner and wove in all the ends afterwards in the hotel. As a reward, I actually wore it Tuesday because it coordinated well with the sweater I packed for that day. The Lisa Souza Silk Merino is toasty, and I would use it again for another project. My only wish is that the colors were more evenly matched between the skeins. They are all from the same dyelot and dyed on the same day, but each skein was slightly different from the others. I know it's due to the vagaries of hand-painted yarn, and I also know I could have fixed it by knitting a few rows with each skein and carrying the yarn up the back. I just didn't see how it would work very well with the edge on Clapotis. I'll just toss it casually over my shoulder, have a croissant, and worry about something else, like whether or not I will ever finish Icarus.

I did cast on my *b-marie* yarn in the Snicket pattern, and got about halfway through the cuff on sock #1. That's about where I decided the pattern and the yarn just weren't a good match. I couldn't see the lattice pattern, because it kept getting lost in the stripes. I have opted for a plain vanilla sock instead, which I like very much! They remind me of zebras! I started this pair on Monday night while I was in Anaheim. They provided me much entertainment during the Tuesday general session, and they kept me from being overly frustrated with the lines during our annual trip to Disneyland on Wednesday. I think I'll use Snicket for the skein of Socks That Rock County Clare that's calling to me from the sock yarn stash...

So after a long day at Disneyland on Wednesday, we headed home on Thursday morning and managed to avoid all those crazy Thanksgiving Eve drivers on the I-5. Maude was born as we drove out of Anaheim. It is a quick and rhythmic knit, and I am enjoying every stitch. She seems a bit small, as I mentioned before, but I have never been good at gauging the size of a shawl as it grows. I'm hoping she grows by leaps and bounds in the next several repeats. I do, however, have an extra skein of my yummy Koigu just in case I need to make Maude a bit wider than the pattern calls for.

After all this, I wake up today and realize it's the DCA's birthday, 22 days until the Moose's birthday, and 31 days until Christmas. I'm glad I got a lot of Christmas knitting done this summer, because I would probably be panicking that November is fading fast. Now I just have to be a responsible knitter and put the handmade gifts in the mail. There's still plenty of time for that, right?

I may be scarce again next week too, because I have to grade all that home study work I assigned and the first trimester ends Friday. There's nothing like last-minute grading and report cards to eat up all my knitting time. I might have to be teacher-y and responsible during my planning time at school this week just so I can grab some moments of sanity with my sticks and string here at home. Maude will make it all better!

The Maude Button

I tried lifting the header to the Maude Along as a button to post on my page, but I can't separate it from the background. Instead, I'm using a bit of Courtney's picture from the Maude pattern. It should be a tribute to her anyway, because she did such a great job designing the pattern. I am having a blast knitting this up. Stay tuned to hear all about it in my next post!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I Don't Think So!

So, I took the "What American Accent Do You Have?" quiz I found over on Cara's blog. It says I have a Midland accent. I know this isn't scientific, or anything, but you can definitely tell it must not be designed by a linguist. Anyone who knows me will tell you I have a Southeastern accent! Just ask the students in my class. I suppress it most of the time, but they just love it when I go visit the church secretary--she's from Alabama--and I return sounding like a highly educated Scarlett O'Hara. Obviously, my results must be skewed.

I liked the Female Literary Character quiz I found over on Wendy's page much better. This week:

I'm Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen!

Last week I was Beth March--I must have been feeling overly kind and generous that day. Not that it's a bad thing.

Enough with the quizzes!

I have banished Icarus to the stash temporarily. I'm just too frightened of running out of yarn to deal with it right now. Instead, I have pulled Clapotis out of semi-retirement and am zooming away on it. It is so relaxing and rhythmic to me for some reason. I may even stick this one out to the bitter end!

I pulled out my *b-marie* yarn from the Indie Swag club and started knitting a new pair of socks. I'm trying Snicket to see if I can see the raised cabling in the stripes. So far it's looking okay.

I really need to find the camera and take some pictures. The site is looking kind of bare lately!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just Say Thank You

It's Veterans Day here in the U.S., so I found a little something over on Wikipedia about the holiday. Be sure to check out the Department of Veterans Affairs page too, for even more info.

"Veterans Day is an American holiday for honoring living war vetarans. It is celebrated on the same day as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. It is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states. All major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice. Armistice Day was first commemorated in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and many states made it a legal holiday. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 inviting all Americans to observe the day and made it a legal holiday nationwide in 1938."

But, wait! There's more! (The emphasis is mine.)

"The day has since evolved as a time for honoring living veterans who have served in the military during wartime or peacetime, partially to complement Memorial Day, which primarily honors the dead. There has been some discussion of whether a person's veteran status depends upon his/her retirement or discharge from any of the armed forces. However, the term applies to any that have honorably served their country or that have served in a war zone as directed by their superior officers or as directed by lawful orders given by their country."

No matter what your politics may be in this time of conflict, take some time today, or any day, to say thank you to someone who has served in the military. When the U.S. military became an all-volunteer force in the 1970s, every veteran since then has willingly and voluntarily sacrificed his or her time in the service of our nation. Many still walk that line every day. They did this for their country, and they did it for you. Please show them the appreciation they deserve, and thank them for their service. They will be so glad you did.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Sock's Day Out

Please excuse me while I totally steal a page from Stephanie's book on traveling socks.

Today was a federal holiday and the school was closed, so we took the kids to the zoo. I, of course, took the sock in progress (which is STILL Jaywalker #2).

Here's what good ol' Jay got to see:

These are the zoo's polar bears play fighting for their human audience. No, I don't know how that extra hand got in there--it's not one of ours. The sock was rather frightened by this ursine display, so it stayed hidden in my knitting bag.

This was Round 2, even though it looks like the bears have kissed and made up. The DCA took both of these, because the kids and I had no chance of making our way through the wall-to-wall people to get close enough to the glass. Both pictures happened by chance when the bears just sort of "plopped" in front of him.

And, here we have the sock's favorite moment of the day--its pose with the camelids.

Yep, believe it or not, those are real, live Guanacos and relatives of those lovely Alpacas and Llamas we all adore. Yes, that's my hand, and no, I didn't knit the sweater--it was a steal at L.L. Bean.

The sock grew somewhat today on its wanderings around the park. Icarus grew this afternoon too. I think tomorrow will be a sock day, because I am growing weary of Jaywalker, and I'm itching to cast on in my *b-marie* from Scout. (I stole the photo from Karen's blog, because I'm too lazy to take my own picture.)

Don't forget to stop to thank a veteran tomorrow!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Almost Finished Object

My chunky sweater is finished, and it's...well...chunky. I love the color, and I love the softness, but here in SoCal, I may not need such a toasty sweater. Does anyone in a cold location want me to come visit?

I started sewing up the sweater on Monday, but I didn't use the Yosemite like I planned. My borrowed copy of the Yarn Girls' Guide said I should use a different yarn from the one in the sweater, so I went stash diving to find something that would work. I have decided that sewing in a sleeve is a "major pain in the wuckus" as my friend would say. It's enough to make me stick with socks, shawls, and raglans.

I must say, however, that sewing up straight seams is quite gratifying as you see two edges of knitting begin to merge together to become an apparently seamless piece of fabric--until you look at the back anyway.

I still need to weave in all the ends, and then I'll try to get a picture up this weekend. I should have plenty of time in between trips to the zoo, a friend's dinner party, our worship service, and some random church meetings on Sunday. Stop laughing! Okay, go ahead, I've probably giggled enough at the grandiose plans of others.

The Moose wants to play Cadoo, so I'm off to dig out Icarus and to entertain my darling boy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Notes from the Underground, Part 3

We bring you another special report from HoyaGirl who has lived through 3 weeks of media deprivation somewhere in California...

Oct. 30: Day 15 of the Media Fast
Today was our anniversary, and I got the coolest present! The DCA bought me the KnitPicks Options Needle Set so I have really good circular needles to play with. The first thing I did was hook up the size 4 points and shift Icarus over from the bamboo circs. These needles are delicious! The points are perfect for working with Carol’s laceweight, and I am speeding through yet another pattern repeat. If you don’t have this set, you really need to add it to your wish list for Christmas!

Oct. 31: Day 16
We don’t do trick-or-treating in our house. There are only 3 kids on our street, so we don’t stay home in our own neighborhood. Instead, we take off after dinner and head to one of the local churches for their Halloween alternatives. This year, we went to the Around the World Trunk or Treat near our own church. The kids got just enough candy to make them happy, and they got to play some games with a few of their school friends. I spent the evening knitting Jaywalker #2 while we walked around. The sock received many compliments, and several people were tickled by the biblical name, Joseph’s Coat, of my Lisa Souza yarn.

Nov. 1: Day 17
The color is pooling badly on the leg of the Jaywalker. I don’t know if it’s my knitting or the yarn, but I’m pretty sure it’s my knitting. I must be doing something VERY different this time around. I’m even starting to wonder if my stitch count is correct.

Nov. 2: Day 18
The Moose had an orthodontist appointment today, so I took advantage of the office’s location and stopped by my LYS. I picked up enough Yosemite chunky yarn to work on a funnel-necked sweater from the Yarn Girls’ Guide to Simple Knits. The yarn is in the Peacock colorway and has all the gorgeous purple, green, and blue jewel tones that I adore. I did gauge swatches on U.S. size 11 and U.S. size 13 needles, and I thought U.S. size 13 might work the best. I worked through about half of the first skein tonight, and I can see why it’s a simple knit. It is working up very fast!

Nov. 3: Day 19
I was speeding through the leg of Jaywalker #2 today, and I reached the point at which I needed to start the heel flap. I put the two socks side by side, and I found the problem with #2! I must have been knitting much tighter this time around since the stitch counts match. The second sock was ¼ to ½ inch narrower in circumference than the first one. That’s a big difference, and I’m sure it’s what caused the pooling. I did what I thought was unthinkable and ripped back the sock. It was painful, but they were so different, and I knew I couldn’t live with them. It was a frogging kind of day, because I also ripped back the sweater. The fabric on U.S. size 13s was turning out to be too stiff for my liking. After dinner, the DCA took me down to Michael’s and I picked up a pair of U.S. size 15s. I knit one entire skein this evening, and I’m over halfway to the armholes on the front. It needed to be done, because now my gauge is perfect and the fabric is a bit looser. I think it will make the sweater more comfortable in the end.

Nov. 4: Day 20
Today’s projects will include Icarus and the new sweater. I think the sweater will garner most of the attention, because I need some instant gratification after the Pomatomus socks and the frogged Jaywalker. I did see a completed Icarus in my visit to the yarn store on Thursday, and that has inspired me to spend a bit more time with my shawl. I can’t wait until I get to play with the edging!

Nov. 5: Day 21
I finished the back and almost the entire front of the new sweater yesterday. Today, I finished the front and both sleeves. I’m still wondering if I really should block such a chunky yarn or not. I have pseudo-blocked the edges by dampening them, steaming them with the iron, and then letting them air-dry. I just didn’t do all the parts. Does it really make a difference? Aren’t the edges the most important things when you have gauge AND the pieces are exactly the same size? Who knows? I’ll let you know how the stitching up goes. The most irritating thing about the whole sweater is that I reached the end of a skein two rows (two, count ‘em, just two) rows before I was supposed to bind off the second sleeve. Don’t you hate when that happens??? I guess the new skein will be for the sewing up!

After a long absence from the Internet, regular blog entries, visits, and comments will resume on Nov. 6! Hooray!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Notes from the Underground, Part 2

We bring you another special report from HoyaGirl who is still living in a media-deprived existence somewhere in California...

Oct. 23: Day 8 of the Media Fast
Tonight, I made it through the gusset. I have given up all hope of having them done in time for the fall festival on Saturday, but I figure with much perseverance and the total lack of television, I will be able to get them done in time for Halloween next week. I can’t wait to show them off to the students at school!

Oct. 24: Day 9
I lost a lot of knitting time today due to Parent-Student-Teacher conferences. I also kept distracting myself with work. I was doing responsible teacher-y things like writing next week’s assignment sheets, planning my next two science units, and preparing my materials for the rest of this week’s conferences. Maybe I’ll get more knitting time over the next two days since I have fewer meetings.

As a side note: Today was the first day I actually considered turning on the television. I think I just wanted to do something mindless after being at work for so long. It would be nice to have something to listen to in the background while I work on the sock. The DCA wasn’t helping much either when he mentioned over dinner that I have at least two new podcasts out there which have downloaded. I really need a pod fix! Lime? Violet? Christine? Knitty D? Wendy? Help me! I’m detoxing!

Oct. 25: Day 10
I finished the first Pomatomus sock. I even grafted the toe and wove in the ends. Then I stayed up way too late casting on for the second sock. I am determined to have them done in time for Halloween, but still I must sleep…

Oct. 27: Day 12
The second sock is progressing well—I’m already into the second pattern repeat on the leg. Mandatory school meetings are good for knitting, and that’s where I finished most of the work today. This sock will be my main project this weekend, because I WILL have it finished in time for Halloween on Tuesday. I did decide today that, because of their lovely fall colors, the socks will be suitable for wear all the way through to Thanksgiving. The thought seems to have given me a boost in overcoming second sock syndrome and carrying on. I hated the thought of having a pair of socks I was going to wear once and put away until next fall! I must admit that I enjoy the foot part of this sock more than the leg. As with most socks, the foot just flies by and the leg just drags on and on and on. This is STILL the main reason why I will always be a cuff-down girl. Now, back to the sock!

Oct. 28: Day 13
It’s almost our anniversary, so the sock went out to dinner with us tonight. After we finished a fabulous dinner at the Gaslamp Strip Club, we walked over to Starbucks to get espresso instead of dessert. We sat in the window and watched the Halloween revelers walk by in their costumes. We and the sock were amused and appalled by some of the chosen disguises. There are just so many female cop short-shorts outfits you can tolerate in one evening! I made it through most of the heel flap while enjoying my caffeine fix. Tomorrow, the foot!

Oct. 29: Day 14
I finished the heel flap and started working my way through the gusset at church this morning. After a few errands this afternoon, I camped on the couch and knit away on the foot taking breaks only for sustenance and laundry. The DCA interfered with the media fast by continually checking the NASCAR race and the football scores. I figure I’m not really breaking the fast when I’m subjected to programming I wouldn’t normally choose to watch. It was highly tempting, however, and I occasionally thought about surfing for a movie. I finished the toe and grafted it around 9:45 p.m., so I will be able to wear them on Tuesday after all. Icarus was so glad to be dragged out of semi-retirement for a celebratory row or two!

Can HoyaGirl make it through one more week with no TV? Can she continue to live without blogs and podcasts? Tune in next week to find out!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Notes from the Underground, Part 1

We bring you this special report from HoyaGirl who is living in a media-deprived existence somewhere in California...

Oct. 16: Day 1 of the Media Fast
Scout’s Indie Swag arrived today. I have the members-only black, grey, and white sock yarn and a new black and white knitting tote. Included in my package was my skein of Socktoberfest, the special colorway designed for those of us knitting along in the month of Socktober. I am entranced by its fall colors, and I am throwing everything aside to start a pair of socks for the church’s Fall Festival and for Halloween.

Oct. 17: Day 2
I tried starting a sock with 60 stitches, and the color started pooling in a fat spiral pattern that I found unattractive, so last night’s work was sent to the frog pond. I’m casting on with 56 stitches today.

Oct. 18: Day 3
The spiral got even uglier at 56 stitches. One could even call the resulting pattern “pooling.” I ended up with a half-black and half-purple-and-orange-striped sock. This, too, will be fed to the frogs.

Oct. 19: Day 4
Realizing that the stitch count should have gotten larger instead of smaller in order to fix the ugly spirals, I have cast on at 64 stitches. Maybe this will work now.

Oct. 20: Day 5
Nope, it’s not working. I now have socks that would fit the trunk of the tree outside my door, even if they do have a striped pattern I can live with. I believe I have lovely ankles, and I really don’t want them covered up by baggy, wrinkly socks. If I’m covering them, it will be with lovely, fitted socks! I’m going to check 60 stitches again just to see how the color does in the stockinette section of the sock.

Oct. 21: Day 6
I have decided the yarn is possessed and that it doesn’t want to be socks in time for Halloween. The colors started pooling again in the stockinette section of the 60-stitch sock. As a result, I have spent most of today playing with Icarus who is feeling much neglected after this week of warring with Socktoberfest. I, however, am stronger than the sock yarn, and I will exert my will for its existence. The sock is obviously not intended to have a stitch count anywhere in the 60s. Don’t tell, but I broke the media fast in order to access the Pomatomus sock pattern at Knitty. I think I will finally have a breakthrough when I cast on 72 stitches!

Oct. 22: Day 7
We have lift-off! The sock is well underway, but the DCA does not think I can stick it out and make it last—this is, after all, the 5th attempt at forcing the yarn to bend to my will. I made it to the heel flap, so I think this one will definitely work! The "fish scale" design of Pomatomus doesn't show up terribly well in this colorway, but the color-striping is absolutely what I imagined it should be.

We expect another report from HoyaGirl about Days 8 to 14 of her media fast some time in the next week. Stay tuned for more news about the Socktoberfest battle and the Pomatomus saga!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


It's about to get even more quiet than usual around here.

My homeroom class and I are starting a 21 -day media fast tomorrow as part of our Bible devotional, The Hardest 30 Days of Your Life. Unfortunately, I have to seriously curtail my internet use--work purposes only--which means the blog is going silent. I am allowing myself to check in once a week, so I'll post anything exciting then.

I finished the first Jaywalker, and I was hoping my swag from Scout would arrive in time to start a different sock instead. I am going to have serious second sock syndrome with this pair! The package won't arrive until tomorrow (as Scout predicted in her blog), so I cast on the 2nd sock just to have one in the traveling knitting bag. I have to have a traveling sock!

To distract myself from the zigging and zagging, I also cast on for Icarus using my Black Bunny Fibers laceweight. It is working up beautifully, and I'm hoping it will relieve some of my sock monotony. I'm really jonesing for a sweater though, but I can't justify it with two shawls and Clapotis on the needles.

Stay tuned for rare updates on my progress with the fast, the 2nd sock, and the new shawl. I'll be around, but I'll just "be vewy, vewy, qwiet!"

Saturday, October 14, 2006


For your viewing pleasure, I present some Saturday socks! I'm terribly sorry for the delay in posting pics of my socks--my digital camera needs batteries, and I finally broke down and borrowed the DCA's. (Please excuse the glaring whiteness of my legs in these shots--although I live in Cali, I am still the whitest person I know!)

Exhibit A: A plain vanilla pair of Trekking XXL.
These worked up so fast on my circs after I finally gave up trying to start them toe-up and with a pattern. They appear much darker in natural light, but as you can see the colors are yummy!

Exhibit B-1: Hoya Socksa.
This pair is an original design (I think). The colorway is Scout's Storm Surge, and it reminded me of Georgetown, my old home away from home. I tried to make a pointy lace pattern reminiscent of the clock tower on Healy Hall, but it's not very visible from a distance.

Exhibit B-2: Hoya Socksa Close-Up.
It's slightly better in detail, but it's not as pointy as I imagined. That's okay, though, because I can now add "sock designer" to my knitting resume.

Exhibit C: Socks That Rock Highway 30.
This is the pair I started at the Sonic Youth show and then had to re-start the next day when they turned out too big. They were an incredibly fast knit on DPNs, and I loved the feel of this yarn! I can't wait to get started on my pair in County Clare.

Exhibit D: Jaywalkers in Lisa Souza Sock Merino!
This is my work in progress. The colorway is Joseph's Coat. I've been telling people at church that these socks are biblical so it must be okay for me to knit in church. I love the stripes on the leg, but I'm not too keen about the pooling on the foot. At least that part will be hidden inside my shoes most of the time.

As I work on patterned socks, I am learning that I really prefer plain vanilla socks for knitting. They are so much faster, and they appeal to my need for instant gratification. Patterned knitting slows me down, and I would prefer to have more to show, like a sweater or a shawl, from so much work. It won't stop me from trying patterns though--I do need a challenge every once in a while.

For now, I will go sit on the couch, knit more socks, watch some Sooner and Gator football, and wait patiently on the mailman to see if my swag from Scout is in this afternoon's mail. Bring on that Socktoberfest yarn!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Sock History

I have been a sock addict for a few years now, and I am on a real sock-knitting jag since it's Socktoberfest. Here are my answers to Lolly's Socktoberfest Questionnaire to give you an idea of how I became so obsessed with socks.

When did you start making socks?
I started making socks shortly after I knitted our family's Christmas stockings four years ago. I knew if I could handle the technical aspects of a stocking then I could definitely handle the intricacies of a sock.

Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I taught myself, of course! What else would an obsessed knitter do??? I had never used DPNs before in my life when I picked up the knitting magazine (can't remember which one) which featured the Christmas stocking patterns. I just followed the directions in the magazine and did my best. After a few years of knitting socks, I know there are a few things I would have changed about the patterns, but the stockings work just fine the way they are. After I finished the stockings, I went surfing on the internet looking for sock patterns which specifically called for DPNs. I avoided circulars like the plague until this summer when I finally tried them out and realized they are pretty cool. It was all downhill from there--I kept looking for more patterns and buying almost every sock book I could find in the local Barnes & Noble. I just stuck with reading instructions, and I picked up helpful hints here and there which I have gradually incorporated into my knitting.

What was your first pair?
Oh dear! I have no idea anymore about which pair came first. I think it may have been a pair of "slipper socks" (worsted weight on U.S. size 3 needles) that I knit for myself but then gave to my mom. They were lavender and very soft--I made them from baby yarn. Our daughter has a matching pair.

How have they "held up" over time?
They must be holding up well--she hasn't asked for a new pair like the first one. I have knitted her other socks since then, and she has mentioned that she prefers heel flaps like those in the first pair over the short-row heels used in subsequent pairs.

What would you have done differently?
I know I would have twisted the stitches that I picked up along the heel flap by knitting through the back loop. None of the instructions in the first few pairs I knitted said to do this, and it causes some "holeyness" in that part of the sock. I fixed this in all my later pairs of socks after reading a sock book.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I like all the sock yarns I have met so far. They are actually the first yarns I look for when stepping inside any yarn store. I have used Opal, Regia, Trekking, Sockotta, Socka Fortissima, Socks That Rock, Lisa Souza, Scout's Swag, Black Bunny Fibers, and even some worsted weight yarns. I finished a Scout's Swag pair yesterday, and I have two more pair--Socks That Rock and Lisa Souza--in progress.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I do not crochet my socks--they seem too holey and bulky for my taste. I use both DPNs and two circulars when I'm working on socks. My circular needles aren't long enough for me to try Magic Loop, but I'm hoping I get a chance when I get some longer needles. (Christmas??? Hint, hint, DCA!)

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I make both kinds of heel depending on the pattern and whether I start toe-up or cuff-down. I do prefer a flap though--it fits my foot better. Actually, almost everyone for whom I have made socks says they prefer the flap also.

How many pairs have you made?
I have made more pairs than I can remember. I make at least one pair for each of the children every summer, and I knit socks all year long. They make great traveling projects because they're so easy to carry around. A lot of my socks have been given away, so I don't think I could even guess at an accurate count because of that.

So now you know almost as much about my sock history as I do, and in the spirit of Socktoberfest, I am now going back to work on my chosen socks of the day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Socktoberfest Is Here!

All of my other projects are being neglected just so I can work on socks. Socks, socks, and more socks. I am loving Socktoberfest!

I finished Hoya Socksa #1 on Sunday night. I thought it was lovely; I thought it was perfect. I cast on for Hoya Socksa #2 and began the toe. Tra la la la la!

On Monday, I woke up and tried on Hoya Socksa #1, and . . . it didn't fit. Sigh. I thought using a slightly larger needle would give me a loose enough bound-off edge for the cuff of the sock, and I was horribly, terribly wrong! I spent Monday evening, re-working the bound-off edge and trying to achieve a cuff that would actually go over my heel. I looked up three or four different methods on the web, and either I couldn't understand the poorly written directions or the method didn't produce a loose enough edge. So after an hour or so of trial and error, I started experimenting!

I briefly remembered seeing in someone's directions how you can simply increase the number of stitches by 25% in the last row before binding off. My experiment included just a bit over 25%, and looks great! The cuff of the sock has 1 1/2 inches of 3 x 2 ribbing, so I increased one stitch between each of the two purl stitches all the way around the sock. I also bound off with a US size 3 instead of a US size 1 needle. It worked like a charm!

Now, I know I said I was a cuff-down kind of girl, and I'm sure you can tell that I am writing about a pair of toe-up socks. I realized in reading my pattern that my Hoya Socksa lace would not properly mimic the spires of Georgetown's Healy Hall unless they were pointing up, and the only way to make the pattern work would be to knit the socks from the toe up. It's not a bad way to make socks, but I still prefer cuff down.

My Hoya Socksas have a short-row heel--this is how I chose to avoid my aversion to toe-up socks. I generally like the look of a short-row heel because it mimics the heel in a store-bought sock. Uninformed non-knitters usually look at them and ask you where you bought your short-row socks, and this can be a great compliment since they obviously don't look hand-made. Socks with heel flaps and gussets just fit better though, and I absolutely prefer having a custom-fitted sock. I'll take the fit of a heel flap over the look of short rows any day!

I guess my next challenge will be learning how to do a heel flap in reverse to see if it fits the same or better than a regular heel flap. Then, and only then, will I become a toe-up convert.

Now quit reading blogs, and go knit some socks!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Adventures of My Traveling Socks

It's been quiet here on the blog, but with school back in full-swing, I'm finding it hard to dedicate time to it. I just want to knit in my free time!

This week my traveling socks got to have more fun than usual...

It all started with a real, live, grown-up kind of date. After tutoring a student in math and helping out in the weekly after-school Bible program at church, I skipped out and met the DCA at home. We arranged for our friend to pick up the kids after dinner at church and watch them for the evening. We went to Buca di Beppo for dinner which was fabulous as usual--1893 salad, Rigatoni Positano, tiramisu, and espresso. Hoya Socksa #1 got to see the restaurant and hang out at the table! After dinner, we hit a nearby Starbucks to support the ginormous corporate entity it has become--and the sock enjoyed a few moments of quiet knitting while I had even more espresso (Doppio Espresso Macchiato-yum!). We teachers have early mornings and require much caffeine for watching music shows mid-week. We walked over to the Sonic Youth show at the House of Blues and arrived over an hour early since the start time was pushed back an hour. While we were waiting, I cast on another sock in Socks That Rock Highway 30, because plain stockinette is much easier to fiddle with in the darkened basement music hall. The show was awesome, and to make up for last year, the sound was nearly perfect. It also helped that all the teenagers were banished to the balcony, while the true, long-time fans like the DCA got to enjoy the show from the floor. If you're a fan too, you should definitely check them out while they're on tour.

The socks were mostly neglected on Thursday as I finally cast on for Clapotis. I even ripped out the 52 rounds I had worked on the Socks That Rock the night before when I realized the sock I had started would fit the elephants downtown at the zoo. I did cast it back on and start working on it again--all it needed was four stitches fewer around the leg. Anyway, the Lisa Souza Max just wouldn't stop calling to me from the stash. I worked enough of Clapotis for the stitch count to be up in the 50s somewhere, and now it's safely stored back in the stash while I work madly away on the socks for Socktoberfest. I can't forget that I have some Scout's Indie Swag coming too, and I know the Clapotis will start begging for attention again soon.

As always, the socks went to the staff Bible study on Friday morning. Highway 30 got all the attention during the weekly video and discussion because stockinette allows me to concentrate on the topic. Hoya Socksa's pseudo-lace pattern requires too much thought. (What is it about the rhythm of sock knitting that permits someone to focus completely on what is being said? I don't think I will ever be able to attend another meeting without a sock.)

That afternoon, Roo and I left for our weekend camping trip with her Girl Scout troop. Of course, the socks went along. Hoya Socksa #1 garnered much attention while I worked on it Friday evening. The camp had no planned activities for the girls that night other than checking in and getting settled in cabins. I just sat on my bunk and knitted away on the sock while chatting with the other moms and listening to the girls yell and play wildly inside our cabin.

On Saturday, Roo, the socks, and I had a busy day. We started off with time on the challenge course, a class about skunks, and two crafts. As a parent observer, I just hung out in the background and worked away on Hoya Socksa #1. There were many curious stares and lots of comments about my progress on the sock. One particularly dear child asked why anyone would possibly knit socks. I felt obligated to explain that "once upon a time all socks were knitted by hand because you couldn't go down to Target to buy a pair." She seemed stunned by this information. After lunch, we had archery, a mini-hike, and two more crafts, and Highway 30 got most of my attention during those events. Some of the scouts seemed surprised that I had more than one sock in progress, and almost everyone commented on how beautiful the colorway is. I really can't agree more.

I spent Saturday evening sitting, knitting some more, and listening to even more wild yelling. After the campfire, I absolutely crashed and burned. I couldn't focus on the socks any more, and I curled up on my bunk with Brenda on my iPod and lay there while debating whether 9 p.m. on a Saturday is too early to go to sleep. The 30-minute hike to archery, the equally long return trip, and the constant activity all day just kicked my behind. I finally gave up and passed out around 9:30.

This morning, we left camp and practically flew home, so we could make it to church for Communion Sunday. Hoya Socksa made a brief appearance during the weekly message so I could concentrate on what the minister was saying. I have been banished to the back of the worship hall because of my sock addiction (my knitting distracts other worshippers--particularly teenagers whose parents asked that I move), but I REALLY do get more out of sermons when I have a sock in hand. I can tell you lots of details about the sermons I knitted through, but I can't tell you a thing about the ones where I just have to sit, listen, and keep myself from daydreaming. I know I'm not the only one with this problem--my two best friends at church are the same way. Is there a Church of Needlework out there???

This afternoon will be fiber-oriented as I claim some territory on the couch and settle in for an afternoon of knitting.

P.S. to all those desiring sock visuals: The Trekking socks are done and went to camp with me this weekend. My apologies for not having pictures of them and the socks in progress--I was armed only with a disposable camera for the weekend. I'll try to post some soon!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And If That Wasn't Enough...

I'm joining Socktoberfest!

I always seem to have a pair of socks on the needles, so it seemed fitting. A la the Yarn Harlot, I have a pair of traveling socks which go with me everywhere--work, stores, piano lessons, church, meetings, etc. Joining along with the other sock knitters out there just lends credibility to this compulsion of mine.

Go over to Lolly's blog and read all about it! Then, join in and pick up your circs or DPNs and cast on a pair with all of us!

Yesterday, I went to a class at my LYS to learn how to knit a teddy bear. I think I may be too smart for the class. I didn't learn anything new, but I got two patterns out of it (I also got a pattern for a cute puppy!). I'm thinking bears might be great Christmas gifts for our four nieces who are all aged 9 or under.

If I start now, they'll be done in plenty of time, right? Let the insanity begin!

Button Collection

Please pardon the dust as I build my button collection for my sidebar!

I do not want to be a bandwidth thief, so I decided to post all my buttons here and then use them for my sidebar. I know there must be an easier way to do this, but as a semi-literate html user, I'm trying my best to figure out the whole process.

Here are all the places I visit on the internet:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We Were Robbed!

Any good college football fan knows the rule about onside kicks needing to travel at least 10 yards before being recovered by the kicking team. Apparently, the PAC-10 officials are not good college football fans, and they ignored this rule on Saturday during OU's game against Oregon. Their error in allowing Oregon to have the ball instead of rightfully turning it over to OU directly led to OU's supposed loss on Saturday. The PAC-10 has allegedly apologized to the Sooners. Last year's Holiday Bowl is way behind us--get over it already, Oregon!

I personally believe the game should be expunged from both team's records since Oregon apparently can't win without help from their refs, and OU was a victim of some kind of blatant bias. If necessary, both teams should replay the game with some non-partisan refs. Unfortunately, the NCAA and the Big 12 don't agree with me. The Big 12 officials are being gentlemen and are accepting the loss by reminding the fans there is no precedence for expunging a game in cases like this. Well, maybe we should be the first to set one!

Anyway, during this act of highway robbery, I made fantastic progress on the first Trekking sock. I finished it off Sunday evening and cast on for the second sock. No second sock syndrome for me! Actually, I want nothing more than to be done with this pair so I can start those Hoya Socksa socks I have on the brain. I've also been making some good progress on the mohair travel shawl--I'm well into the short rows now in the first half. I can't wait to get started on the second half so I can see how the Russian grafting works in putting the two pieces together. The truth is, I'm just itching to use Scout's yarn, especially since the Indie Swag Club will be sending even more sock yarn my way!

I'll post pics of the finished socks when the second ones come off the needles. In the meantime, I'll be preparing myself to become a fan of whatever universities are playing Oregon for the rest of this season...Go Sun Devils!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

The oregano socks are complete at last! I love them and really want to keep them for myself, but I don't wear much green, so they will be handed off to my friend at church in the morning. I know she will just adore them! Everyone who sees them tells me they are beautiful, so it must be true...

Brenda's pattern worked very well with the colorway--you can still see the twists in each cable and the detail in every lacy inset. The lace insets even inspired me to try designing my first pair of socks. I have some of Scout's sock yarn in a colorway called Storm Surge that contains lovely shades of the blue and grey of my alma mater, Georgetown. My new pattern idea includes some pointy lace insets reminiscent of Healy Hall, so I think the pattern will be named "Hoya Socksa" in honor of the school.

Let's pause for an educational moment:

The following is borrowed from the Georgetown University New Student Guide.

“What Rocks” at Georgetown University

No one seems to know exactly when or how the term Hoya Saxa was first used at Georgetown. Many years ago there was a team at Georgetown called the “Stonewalls,” and it is suggested that a student applied the Greek and Latin terms and dubbed them “hoya saxa”—what rocks! Hoya has since become the nickname for Georgetown’s athletic teams and students.

Hoia is from the Greek word hoios, meaning “such a” or “what a.” The neuter plural of this word is hoia, which agrees with the neuter plural of the Latin word saxa, meaning rocks; thus we have hoya—substituting the letter “y” for “i.” Before 1900 every Georgetown student studied both Greek and Latin, so there was no need to explain in print what the expression meant.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog entry...

My Black Bunny Fibers indigo laceweight arrived this week. I intended it for Icarus, but the pictures in Interweave show it in very fine gauge suri alpaca. Instead, I may return to my original Print O'The Waves plan to showcase Carol's beautiful blue dyework. The waves just seem more fitting for the stormy blues and greys in my yarn (more of those GU colors!). I am looking for more suggestions though, so if you know of a great pattern for 880 yards of yummy laceweight, please let me know!

The Trekking XXL socks have been frogged yet again, and this time they have been reborn as a pair of plain vanilla top-down socks. The dark Trekking colorway wasn't letting any pattern I tried to show up, so the latest incarnation is just stockinette stitch. They will be my movie and t.v. socks for a while so I can concentrate on the show. Through all this, I learned I am just not a toe-up girl, because the style wasn't working for me. I know there are toe-up devotees out there who claim it is the best method imaginable because you can use up all your yarn, but I am like Wendy. I am just more satisfied by starting from the cuff, turning into the homestretch at the heel, and anticipating the decreases at the toe which signal the completion of a sock.

I was a very responsible middle school math and science teacher this week. I used my time wisely yesterday (both of my Science classes had tests and my homeroom had P.E.), and I wrote lesson plans for my next two units in Science and my assignment sheets for next week. I also graded all of this week's assignments last night before I finished off the oregano socks. This is very important, because I now have the rest of the weekend to do nothing but knit, knit, knit! I don't think I have ever managed to do that since I started full-time teaching. I guess I just needed the proper motivation provided by my fiber and pointy sticks!

I'm off to play with my yarn!

And, oh yeah: Go Hoyas! Go Gators! Go Sooners!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


So, this morning was our first staff meeting of the school year. (The ones before school starts don't really count, because this is the one you actually have to be in your place with a bright, shining face at 7:30--yuck.) I took the oregano sock with me to the meeting. It had to be done, and it's a good thing I did. I absolutely needed something to do while I had to sit still for so long and to look attentive. Socks will definitely cure what ails you, and for me it must be Adult ADD.

I pulled the sock out again during a break between classes. My students love seeing the progress on the socks. They had no idea I had finished sock #1, and they were amazed that I have passed the gusset and am in the home stretch of the foot on sock #2. Young minds are so impressionable!

A few of my students knit, and a few are interested. I have told them to bring their needles to school so I can help them or teach them, but so far I have no takers. I see that my conquest of the classroom will be slow.

At this morning's staff meeting, I received a personal goals worksheet. I'm supposed to list all my personal and academic goals for this school year. Do you think I should list "turning my students into full-fledged knitters" under academic (because I know knitting can be linked to the curriculum somehow) or under personal (because it's part of my plan as an evil knitting genius to take over the world)???

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Invasion Has Begun!

I am inundated by a flood of UFOs. Non-knitters may think I have started to believe in aliens, but most knitters know about this common problem. I am declaring war on the UFOs, and I am living in a self-imposed exile with my projects which need completion. There will be no casting on of new garments until these lovely items have exited the workbag.

The first Black Bunny Fibers Oregano sock has been completed. I spent yesterday afternoon and evening working on the leg of the second sock. This afternoon, I will be working the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset. I love Brenda's pattern, and I am thinking of using it again to make myself a pair of socks in a colorway I adore. I have other projects, however!

Here is your first glimpse of the Mohair Travel Shawl:This project has been underway for about two weeks. I have finally accepted that I must actually go to buy at least two more balls of Kid Merino just to finish this lovely cloud of pink goodness. I called Bonita Knitting yesterday, and they are setting aside the last four balls in this colorway for me to pick up after work tomorrow. I am thrilled to bits that they have some left. I suspect I will now have leftover yarn, but I think it may become a lacy scarf if I do. Isn't the edge lovely???

This is my zig zag scarf. The pattern is my own design. My apologies if it's really an un-vention and you've seen it before. I spent a couple of hours one evening playing with the yarn and figuring out how to make a short row, garter stitch scarf which I wouldn't mind wearing. The scarf in progress is the result of my labors with the needles, a notebook, and a pen.

The scarf came about because pink yarn was on sale last week at Two Sisters & Ewe, and I just had to pick some up. If you use the sale yarn to make a breast cancer scarf and then donate your completed scarf back to the store, they will sell it at the Susan G. Komen Three Day Walk this fall and give you store credit for the amount of money you spent on the yarn. All proceeds from the scarf sales will go to the walk. I couldn't resist the opportunity to help out, but it does mean I have yet another project on the needles. The Roo is working on a scarf of her own. I'll try to post a picture of hers when it is nearing completion.

The newest project is a toe-up trekking sock. I keep frogging it and re-starting it, but this time, I think it may stick. I intend for it to be one half of a pair of braided cable socks for me. I'm not holding my breath though, because this is the 4th or 5th incarnation of this particular sock.

My reward for finishing all these UFOs will be casting on the Clapotis. I am truly itching to start it, but I know I won't really enjoy it unless it's the only thing I am working on during that time. I don't want to be distracted a bit by anything else when I finally start.

And finally, we have the DCA's completed Fuzzy Feet. I finished knitting them weeks ago, and I finally got around to felting them in the wash last weekend. The weather has turned a bit cooler over the past couple of days, and he has been seen wearing them on occasion. He says they are toasty, which was the general idea. I would make a pair for myself for this winter, but I just don't want to face another pair of socks knit on size 10 needles. It's just a bit too wonky for me.

School with my new class went very well this week, and I am enjoying teaching all the math and science. It looks to be a truly marvelous year!