Friday, July 27, 2007

Travel Plans

First things first: I finished the Fawkes socks. I know I don't have a picture up yet, but that's because we've packed the camera for our trip. The FO eye candy will have to wait until we return.

Secondly, I have a vacation plan! I started the Nagini socks today using the Scout's Indie Swag Glampyre yarn. I think the snakeskin cable pattern might be hard to see in the variegated yarn, but it just seemed to be the right choice. Here is the rest of what I'm packing for tonight's departure:
  • Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Red Rover colorway. These are to do the Sailor's Ribbing Socks from More Sensational Socks for the DCA.
  • Cherry Tree Hill yarn in the Sugar Maple colorway. This skein is to make a pair of Welt Fantastic socks from Sensational Socks for the Moose.
  • Seacoast yarn in the Bubblegum colorway. This skein is for the Roo's Seeded Ribbing socks from More Sensational Socks.
  • The June Rockin' Sock Club pattern and yarn.
  • The Chevron Scarf for Mom.
This should be more than enough to keep me busy, but I did tell the DCA that I could always make an emergency yarn acquisition at the LYS near his parents' home. I hope it doesn't come to that, because I have no idea where new yarn would fit in the suitcase!

Lastly, the next post will be from the road! Mouse House, here we come!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Flying Along

I've finished Fawkes #1, and I'm about to go cast on for #2. I can't wait to finish this pair so I can start Nagini. Then my set of Harry Potter socks will be complete!

In other knitting news, this blog will be a little more quiet starting on Friday. We're about to head out on "obligation" (a vacation to visit family), and I don't know how often I'll be able to check in to update my knitting progress. I hope to get lots of sock knitting done on all the planes, trains, and automobiles while we're gone.

I have started thinking about what to pack for the trip. The DCA says I'm not allowed to take an extra suitcase to hold the ongoing projects and yarn (he knows me so well!), so I need to plan well for things to fit in my suitcase alone. I will probably just be taking sock projects because they're small, lightweight, and perfect for the expected heat and humidity. Tomorrow, I'll be winding up the yarn from the Loopy Ewe shipment so I can take it along on the trip. I figure one pair of socks for each of us will probably provide enough entertainment. I may also pack the chevron scarf, just in case I need something extra to do.

I'll post the detailed plan once it's more concrete. Now, back to Fawkes!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Crash and Burn

I made great progress on Fawkes yesterday during the wedding. I put it down last night while I read the new book (it's a great read, but I still have a few unresolved questions). I worked on it some more this morning, and then I tried it on after church. It was too small. Sigh. I frogged it all, and gave up on it until I finished the book this afternoon. I've started it over on US size 2 needles instead of size 1. I hope it helps!

I've also decided to shorten the ribbed cuff to 12 rows instead of 14 and to work it in twisted rib (k1 tbl, p1) instead. I also inserted a plain row of knit stitches before starting the pattern. It just looks neater somehow with the phoenix stitch.

I took photos of several of my most recent socks. I've downloaded them from the camera, and I will probably post them tomorrow after they've been edited. Keep an eye out for them!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fawkes Is Flying!

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add the picture of the finished socks.)

I finished Bellatrix yesterday during the children's piano lessons. Because I need to keep busy while I wait for the mail carrier to deliver my copy of HP7 this afternoon (my book was delivered to my P.O. yesterday afternoon), I immediately cast on for Fawkes using my Scout's Indie Swag Kung Hei Fat Choi as soon as I kitchenered Bellatrix's last toe. It also helped to pass the time while I was hosting a wedding rehearsal at church last night. (Among my many other activities, I act as liaison between the wedding party and the church for any wedding which takes place on our campus. This afternoon, I get to hang at the church and keep working on Fawkes!)

So far I have only made a few changes to the pattern. Instead of doing "sl 1, k2 tog, psso" in row 5 of the chart, I'm using "sl 1, ssk, psso" because it bettter mirrors the k3 tog in row 11. I'm all about symmetry--it's that math teacher thing. So far it looks like four pattern repeats is going to give me a fairly short sock, so I'm thinking about doing five repeats instead. Six would be ideal, but that may be too many for the amount of yarn I have. I'm also going to center the offset column of purl stitches from where each round begins and ends over the heel before I begin the flap. I am considering doing an eye of partridge flap instead of the one in the pattern to keep with the whole bird theme. I may play with it when I get there to see how it looks.

I received my first shipment of the Harry Potter Sock Yarn Club on Thursday. It's called "Another Weasley" and is a great mix of autumnal colors that call to mind Molly, Arthur, the twins, Ronald, and Ginny. I can't wait to try it out even if it's not a regular colorway I would pick.

It's time to get off the computer now, so I can avoid any spoilers for the book ending. I'm also avoiding the TV news by watching movies I've saved on the DVR. I may drop in tomorrow to update the Fawkes progress, but it's probably not likely since I'll be deeply immersed in the wizarding world later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts...

If you haven't received your acceptance letter from Professor McGonagall yet, you need to stop by the Hogwarts Sock Swap blog and notify the Deputy Headmistress that you would like to be included. Specific instructions for second year students and for first years like me can be found here. Signups began on July 14th, so you need to hurry before the swap begins on August 1st!

Here is my homework set by the Deputy Headmistress. I'm sorry that it's not on parchment, but I didn't have a piece quite long enough.

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?
In the words of the Sorting Hat: "Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you've a ready mind, where those of wit and learning, will always find their kind," I am a Ravenclaw.

2. Shoe size?
U.S. Ladies 9

3. Foot Length?
My foot is 10 3/8" (26.4 cm) long from my heel to my big toe.

4. Foot Circumference?
The circumference around the ball of my foot is 9" (22.9 cm). The circumference around the middle of my calf is 11 3/8" (28.9 cm).

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.
I don’t know my needle brands because I received them from a friend of mine who was sorting her mother’s things before an estate sale. My favorites are mostly aluminum and really old, so they might be Susan Bates or something similar.
a. U.S. size 1, 6”
b. U.S. size 2, 6”
c. U.S. size 3, 6”

6. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
I would love to try some of the Knit Picks DPNs. I usually knit with U.S. size 1 (2.25mm) needles. I could REALLY use a set of U.S. size 0, though, because I don't have any. I prefer 6” needles.

7. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?
Go Ravenclaw! I prefer the film colors of blue and silver, but that’s only because they match my wizarding robes better than blue and bronze. A purist, however, would stick with the book colors, so surprise me!

8. Allergies? Do you have any? Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals?
I am allergic to tobacco, so until Madam Pomfrey finds a cure, I would prefer a smoke-free pal. I have two cats here in my Ravenclaw tower dormitory room, so my pal’s socks will be near the two felines but not in close personal contact with them.

9. Are you an international participant (outside US)? Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal?
I am a resident of the continental U.S., but I’m willing to have an international pal. According to Professor Dumbledore, it’s all about International Magical Cooperation!

(The DCA thinks I'm a total geek for writing in character. It must be why the hat sorted me to Ravenclaw.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bellatrix Is Not Lestrange!

I love Bellatrix--it's so easy to do! I finished my Grasshoppers last night and cast on immediately for the Bellatrix pattern using my Scout's Indie Swag Punk Pink. They are turning out so well in the leg!

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add the picture of the finished socks.)

I have fought and fought with this skein of yarn trying to find exactly the right pattern to use with it. It pooled terribly, it made fat spirals, and it made beautiful stipes and then pooled later in the gusset. Nothing has worked until now.

The yarn overs in the pattern are breaking up the pooling by allowing the tiniest of stripes to cross each pool, and the loosened stitches are providing the perfect contrast on their own. I hope it continues to be this wonderful as I approach the heel and move into the gusset later today.

I have changed the pattern just a smidge though. It does not affect the pattern at all, just the way I'm choosing to work it. Instead of placing yarnovers between stitches, which meant I had a lot of adjustments to make to them later, I wrapped the yarn extra times around the needle when making a single stitch. Here's what I mean: instead of "yo, k1, yo 2 times, k1, etc." I did "k1 wrapping the needle twice, k1 wrapping the needle three times, etc." It just works better for me in the long run, and it creates exactly the same effect intended in the pattern.

I think this pattern must have been designed just for this yarn. I adore my new evil socks!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sock Ideas!

I am completely obsessed with knitting socks. They are my "go everywhere" project because they are so portable. Due to my complete and utter addiction to all things sock, I started listening to DharmaFey's Socks in the City podcast. It's full of lots of great sock patterns and sources for indie dyers.

In one of her most recent episodes, she mentioned the Harry Potter patterns available at Socktopia, and I couldn't resist downloading all three. Bellatrix, Fawkes, and Nagini are all designed to keep us busy while waiting for Book 7 to arrive. I think I'll be knitting Bellatrix in the Punk Pink yarn from the first round of Scout's Indie Swag, and Fawkes will be in the Kung Hei Fat Choi yarn from the same club. I'm still musing over Nagini, but the Indie Swag Glampyre colorway is definitely in the running. If you love Harry and socks, you should check out the site. You just might be Dobby the house-elf in disguise!

In fact, I'm so entranced by Harry and sock knitting, that I have signed up to join the Harry Potter Sock Swap. I'll be a first year, so I'll have to watch out for those prefects patrolling the corridors. Just in case you didn't know, I, Morgana Bagman (my groovy Hogwarts name), have been sorted!

Want to Get Sorted?
I'm a Ravenclaw!

I'm really not surprised--I get sorted here all the time!

It's time to go finish up my last Grasshopper, because I can't wait to start working on some great Harry socks!

Confidential to My SockPal

In case you drop by, I have a message just for you! You said you were rushing to finish up my socks, and I want to let you know you can take your time!

We are headed out soon on our family vacation, and we will actually be gone during the "mailing week" for Sockapalooza. We will be back home on the 15th after our bi-annual trip to the right coast, if you would like to hold off on mailing it until we're back. I would rather that you hang on to it for an extra couple of days (and have oodles of extra time!) than to have it sit in the P.O. with all our held mail.

Just thought you should know! I can't wait to see it!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sockapalooza Sigh...

I thought I planned it all perfectly.

I bought a skein of Socks That Rock Titania and the Titania's Revenge pattern by Cookie A. It seemed like the perfect combination for a Shakespeare professor who loves A Midsummer Night's Dream. I tried the pattern--I did! I knit one sock, and I was happy with it. I wasn't so happy later when it became obvious I was going to run out of yarn halfway through the foot of the second sock. I got gauge, so I'm confused as to why I was running short on yarn. I ripped it back and re-started them in a few different designs before settling on Carolina, Queen of Naples.

I finished the pair today, and the first one is blocking as I write this. I don't normally block socks, but I feel it's kind of necessary for the exchange. It's going to take a couple of days since I only have one sock blocker, but it will be worth it in the end.

(Edited on July 22, 2007 to add the picture of the finished socks.)

I know I must have chosen the right color for my pal. I checked her blog yesterday to see what she's been up to, and guess what she bought? Yep, that's right! She has bought her very own skein of STR Titania in the last 2 weeks or so. Sigh. I really hope she doesn't mind having two pairs from the same yarn! She is considering Monkey, so I might be safe as long as Carolina is out of the running.

Maybe she won't cast on at all, I'll send her the Titania pattern, and she can knit it herself! Wouldn't that just be perfect??? She knits much more than I do, so I just know she can get it to all work out!

Where to Begin?

Yes, I'm still here (thanks for asking, Sock Pal!), and I'm still knitting away.

I can't believe it's been 2 months since I posted. The end of May was insane because school was winding down. The first half of June was also intense because I took my class on a three-day trip to camp on Catalina Island right before the last week of school when grades, awards, and end-of-year office items were due.

After all the craziness was over, I just wanted to knit. I was even ignoring my daily blog reading in favor of my sticks and string. It's taken me this long to actually want to blog again.

It's easier to write bullets for this update, so here's what I've been doing.
(Edited and corrected on July 22, 2007 to include sock pictures and other FOs.)
Finished items:
  1. Clapotis - it's my second one, and it was knit from Briar Rose Fibers Wistful in a pretty rose and olive colorway.
  2. A matching Dream Swatch Head Wrap designed by Wendy.
  3. Lisa Souza Mardi Gras socks in the Child's First Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. I ripped the first sock I had done with this yarn because of gauge issues with the second sock.
  4. The Rockin' Sock Club Inside Out Monsoon socks.
  5. Black Bunny Fibers Fairy Wings socks in the omnipresent Monkey pattern.
  6. Black Bunny Fibers Senior Citizen socks in plain old stockinette for the DCA.
  7. And, last but not least, my Sockapalooza 4 socks.
On the needles now:
  1. Maude (again) in Koigu. this time it's turning out beautifully. It helps to use the correct needles!
  2. Chevron Scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. This one is done in Socks That Rock Mudslide and In the Navy, and it's for my mom. I told her she should try knitting it, but she said purling affects her blood pressure, so I'm doing it myself to save her the trouble.
  3. Rockin' Sock Club Kneehigh to a Grasshopper socks in the Silkie Socks That Rock Walkin' on the Wild Tide. One down, one to go with this pair. I took a break from these to work on my SockPal's pair.
In the immediate queue:
  1. A sweater for me using my pretty purple alpaca in my stash. I'm considering Notre Dame de Grace from the most recent IK. I have a couple of other ideas in case it doesn't work out.
  2. Hanami Stole from Pink Lemon Twist with the Black Bunny Fibers Laceweight I bought especially for this project.
  3. Rockin' Sock Club Firebird Socks - I'm absolutely itching to do this pair!
Extremely extravagant purchases:
  1. Harry Potter Sock Club from Sunshine Yarns.
  2. Enough Cherry Tree Hill, Claudia Hand Painted, Lorna's Laces, and Seacoast from The Loopy Ewe for 6 more pairs of socks. (This isn't as bad as it seems because I was spending the gift certificate to buy yarn for the patterns in Favorite Socks--both of which were birthday presents. The DCA rocks!)
  3. The Yarn Harlot's latest and More Sensational Knitted Socks--I picked these up yesterday because I don't want to wait until Christmas to get them.
That's all the latest. I'll try to be a bit better about updates, but with an upcoming vacation, I make no promises!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Birthday MeMe

I stole another meme from Heather’s blog. I just couldn’t resist.

Here's what to do if you want to play along. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birth date (omitting the year). Then share (at least) 3 events, two births, and one holiday that share your special day.

Here are my favorite June 5th observances. It was too hard to stick to the minimums.


1851 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom's Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.

1968 - U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy dies the next day.

1977 - The Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale.

1989 - The Unknown Rebel halts the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.


1646 - Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, Italian mathematician and first woman to receive a Ph.D. (d. 1684). I’m a math teacher—go figure.

1718 - Thomas Chippendale, English furniture maker (d. 1779)

1878 - Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary (d. 1923)

1895 - William Boyd, American actor (d. 1972). This guy is better known as Hopalong Cassidy.

1971 - Mark Wahlberg, American singer and actor. Yep—Marky Mark and I are exactly the same age.

1977 - Liza Weil, American actress. I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and so much of her Paris character reminds me of my high school self.

1979 - Pete Wentz, American musician (Fall Out Boy). This one is for my students who adore him. I have no idea who he is.


Constitution Day in Denmark. My father was once offered an assignment in Denmark when I was younger, and I always thought we should have taken it so I could celebrate my birthday as a national holiday. I was a little self-centered then (and still am on occasion).