Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In the midst of autumn, a hat for me; Happy Halloween, y'all!

In the midst of autumn, a hat for me

I went to a Halloween party at Mom J's house on Saturday. I didn't dress up in a costume, but I seriously contemplated dressing up as an old lady so that I could incorporate knitting into my costume.

I made great progress on this "Silk Garden Beanie" during a game of Trivia Pursuit at the party. I used Noro's Silk Garden in colorway 249. I modified the pattern a bit, but just a tad bit. I used a size seven circular until it was time to decrease and then switched to the dpns. I also knit an inch more than the pattern tells you to. I've made this hat before, about two autumns ago, so I knew I wanted it longer so that it would cover my ears. (I gave the hat away to my dear friend from undergrad. She seemed to like it.) There have been so many brisk wind storms here in New York with the arrival of autumn. I have been wearing a store-bought hat for so long, and I decided that it was time to give myself some knitterly goodness.

I was going to give you a rare (never before?) Lone Knitter moment. I was going to wear the hat for you, but alas, boyfriend is gone and can't take the photo for me.

Of course, it wouldn't be Noro if I didn't come across a knot in the yarn. I still don't know how a company that makes such beautiful looking yarn can't find a way to eliminate knots in the yarn--unless I'm the one who just happens to buy all the skeins with the knots in them. Once, I had a ball of Noro with three knots!

The size seven needles felt as if they were of mammoth proportions in my hands. I guess I'm too used to tiny needles.

Happy Halloween, y'all!

Yes, I do say "y'all." That's the Texan in me. I don't think I'll ever stop saying it. I used to be really self-conscious about how I spoke, especially when I moved to New York. I was trying to train myself to drop certain expressions and pronunciations, but now, I am embracing how I talk, even if it means that I say "y'all."

(Imagine me walking down 14th Street in NYC and a certain children's charity asking me to give money and me saying, "I already give to y'all." "You're not from around here are you?" is the reply. I guess using "y'all" limits my credibility.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Strawberries & cream socks; hot socks swap

Last night, at the knitting circle that I go to, I bound off the second sock made with the gorgeous IHEARTPINK yarn that Coley dyed for me. I'm calling these my strawberries & cream socks because, knitted up, the yarn looks like a lovely bowl of strawberries & cream.

These socks were made toe-up with a Sherman toe and heel and a 3x1 rib over 64 stitches on size 1 needles. I bound the second sock off a bit tight. Mental note: as much as I want to show off my finished object to my fellow knitters, I should wait until I go home to bind-off; binding-off loosely, even with a needle five sizes larger, sometimes requires as much concentration as making a short-row heel. The socks, however, still fit like a dream. Thanks again, Coley, for the awesome yarn!

(I apologize for the terrible pictures in today's post; my camera is low on batteries and the picture quality seems to suffer when the batteries are low.)

The Hot Socks Swap recently ended, and I got my package on Wednesday but wasn't able to retrieve it from the post office until today. I was home all day on Wednesday, but for some reason the mail carrier who delivers packages doesn't like to ring my bell. I guess the ten steps up the stoop are too much for her! Anyhow, I'm glad to have my package.

My Hot Socks Swap partner Lee really spoiled me. (She's without a blog, so I can't direct you to her wonderful person! You'll just have to imagine how awesome she may be.)

Here are the wonderful things that my package included: Lindt truffles, Butterfinger and Crunch sticks, chai honey sticks from Stash, mini RSVP pens in five colors, a lavender and vanilla bath products set, Fireside Chai and Lemon Jasmine teas from Zhena's Gypsy Tea, size 3 Clover double-pointed needles, a handmade bracelet, a handmade bookmark, (which Lee told me is called a "book thong" (ha!) in some book stores), two balls of Regia Bamboo in colorway 1071, and a ball of Trekking XXL in colorway 132. Wow! I really got spoiled. Here is a close up of the bracelet and bookmark that she made for me:

I love the yarn. The Regia is so soft, incredibly soft. And the Trekking is self-striping! It will look so cute knitted up. I was going to cast on my Koigu tonight, but the Regia is calling my name. Here's a close-up of the yarn:

I've never knit with Regia before and have been wanting to. Thank you so much, Lee. You're the bestest Hot Socks Swap partner ever!

And, in case you were curious, the organizer of the Hot Socks Swap, Laura of indieknits, was my spoilee.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Who in this universe knows what would make a knitter this happy?

Can we say whirlwind? Wow. This was an incredibly busy week for the Lone Knitter. Seems as if every time I sat down to update my blog, there was something so incredibly pressing waiting for me in my email inbox.

Part of the joy of being a knitter is rushing up to your boyfriend and saying, "See my socks?" It makes me feel like a child showing off a drawing. So the joy of the knitter-blogger is rushing to the computer to post pictures of the new finished object.

I had a finished object on Saturday. My Trekking socks were finally done. I took them off the Addi circular and put them on my bamboo dpns and they almost finished themselves. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that the socks were finished just as the Trekking yarn was starting to get interestingly bright. Seems as if I started with the darker end of the ball. But at least my socks ended on a happy note. What you're seeing in the picture above is the happy note that my socks ended on.

These socks were knit using Trekking XXL in colorway 100 across 64 stitches. They started on a size 1 Addi circular and ended on size 1 bamboo dpns. They use a traditional Dutch heel flap and have a 2x2 rib for the cuff. They are incredibly comfy. Incredibly. Quite possibly the most comfy socks I've made to date.

In the midst of a terribly long and sleep-deprived week, the mail truck came. The mail truck came unexpectedly. The mail truck came twice actually: this morning and two nights ago. Look at all the great things the mail truck brought me.

Hmmm....I thought. Who could be sending me all these wonderful knitting books? Who in this universe knows what would make a knitter this happy? Could it be a secret pal? No. Could it be my boyfriend who knows that if I'm not knitting I want to read about knitting? No. Is this some strange, twisted joke that the universe is playing on me to get me to think that magical things can happen if you believe in them enough? No. And then I read a little gift note that came with the books: "Thought that the Lone Knitter would get a kick out of this group of goodies." Well, the Lone Knitter is getting a kick out of these goodies. These are great goodies.

I got Yarn Harlot's At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, Yarn Harlot: the Secret Life of a Knitter, and Knitting Rules. And the creme de la creme of the goodies: I got Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. This is a great book. In addition to having really great patterns, it's also a history manual. There's a whole introduction that gives an overview to the history of sock knitting and different types of sock heels and toes. For a sock knitter, these are very, very interesting facts to know. The book is also bound with a spiral inside so it will lay flat as you're knitting. Very handy.

So, the mystery remains: who sent me these goodies? Who is the behind the magic in my universe? Why, it was my boyfriend's mother who, from now on, I will refer to in my blog as Mom J. Thank you, Mom J! You've made my knitting week, my knitting month, my knitting year! I've already started devouring At Wit's End and can't wait to read the other books and look at the vintage sock patterns. What I love about the Yarn Harlot is that she makes me feel normal; my obsession is nothing to worry about. Or, rather, my obsession is not normal, but I can find a method to live in such a way so that others will not notice what they should be worried about.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Out with the new, in with the old

I haven't posted in a while because, quite naively, I thought that I would post again when I had a finished object. Nope, no finished objects here. I do know, however, what is keeping me from having as many finished objects as I would like: it's the magic loop. It's giving me wristaches. I don't feel like knitting because I don't like the feel of the magic loop in my hands anymore. My Trekking sock mate is almost finished--it just needs a few more inches and then it's done, but it's on my Addis and I don't want to pick them up.

I was craving bamboo double-pointed needles.

I wanted to do something with the yarn that my Secret Pal Coley sent me. At first, I thought I would do this. But then Leslie sent me this link. Leslie caught on very quickly. I, however, have never had a great time doing any kind of increases. I don't know why, but whenever there is a M1 in a pattern, my knitting looks terrible. I did try this method, but it didn't turn out very well and then I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to get two socks onto my Addi circular when I realized that the instructions call for two circulars. So, frog I did.

I went back to my tried and true toe-up sock pattern, and I went back to my tried and true double-pointed needles. No stress on the wrists, and quicker, for me anyhow, than the magic loop.

As you can see or not see in the photo above, I'm knitting my first ribbed sock. I love how the colors are developing on the yarn that Coley dyed. I love getting to the bright patches of color on the yarn.

In celebration of Socktoberfest, I have enhanced my sock-yarn stash.

Stash Enhancer No. 1:

I went over to Knit Cafe in NYC and found lots and lots of Koigu. After hearing the A.D.D. Knitter say how awesome this sock yarn is, I had to have some. What you're seeing is colorway 530.

Stash Enhancer No. 2:

I bought this hand-dyed yarn from Lavender Sheep's etsy shop. This colorway is California Poppy, but I like to think of it as Childhood Lollypop or, more specifically, Childhood-Lollypop-That-Was-So- Big-That-You-Could-Never-Eat-It-All.

I feel as if I'm showing more yarn than finished objects these days, and despite the fact that I made this past weekend a knitting marathon, not much knitting got done. Well, I did knit about half of my Trekking sock and half of the Coley yarn sock. Together, I would have had one sock done. Perhaps I should make a simple hat or something I could whip up in one day to stroke my knitter's ego.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

MANFEET Socks/Mystery Socks ALL DONE!!!

Well, my boyfriend loves, just loves his socks. Yay! I had him try them on this morning, and guess what? He didn't want to take them off. I told him that he had to, as I still needed to weave in some ends. He said that they felt so comfy, like sticking his feet into a soft, soft cloud. I warned him before: once you have a pair of hand-knitted socks, you won't want to wear anything else! I guess this means that I'll be making many, many more pairs of MANFEET socks.

The second sock is a better sock because the bind-off is looser and more stretchy. In fact, it's almost perfect. I just bound off loosely in-pattern using a size six needle. Last time I used a size four needle.

For those of you who are wondering, I made these socks using this Toe Up Sock pattern. These socks are also my Mystery Sock KAL socks. The pattern calls for a tubular bind-off, but I didn't quite follow those instructions to a T. These are, however, my first toe-up socks as well as my first MANFEET socks, and I am quite proud of them.

I made these socks over 64 stitches on size three double-pointed needles using Extra Stampato by Needful Yarns (100% merino virgin wool) in the 1012 (blue) and 1006 (brown) colorways. The socks have a Sherman heel and a Sherman toe and a 2x2 2-inch rib cuff.

Say, do you ever sometimes just check-in to your Site Meter account to see what might be bringing folks over to your blog? I have to say that I'm a little, well, amused (surprised?) by the fact that there is a certain fetish out there and some folks, who are using Google to explore this fetish, have happened onto my blog. I think they must be sourly disappointed.

Someone wanted my MANFEET post in Spanish. Very cool. In Spanish, my blog title is El Calcetero Solitario. This person must had the translation done after doing this search. Notice the first site that gets a hit. (I would have linked it, but I'm afraid of what it might show.)

Someone found one of my MANFEET posts through this interesting search.

Someone Googled "my first time" and landed on this post.

But this, this takes the cake.

Who knew my MANFEET posts would get so much attention?

Needless to say, my boyfriend is a little disturbed at who might be looking at his feet and why. I did have an idea that maybe these folks really do want to knit some bondage-type MANFEET socks for their lovers. That would be an interesting pattern.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Hot Socks Swap Questionnaire

So, I did it. I couldn't resist. I signed up for the Hot Socks Swap. I signed up just in the knick of time on the day of the deadline. I suddenly started to imagine my life without the swap and it was unbearable, so sign up I did.

I'm posting my answers to the swap questionnaire here, just in case my swap partner wants to get started with planning and buying.

Hot Socks Questionnaire

1.) What do you prefer - solid, variegated or self striping?
I love knitting with colorful sock yarn. I like variegated yarns, and I also like self striping yarn if the stripes are colorful.

2.) Favourite colours?
I have lots and lots of favorite color combinations. I love browns mixed with blues. I like yellows mixed with blue or pink. I like blues mixed with greens. I like pinks mixed with browns and pink mixed with greens. I like lots of different colors, but I tend to not like red or true blue.

3.) Are you a beginner, intermediate or experienced sock knitter?
I think I may be an intermediate sock knitter. I started knitting socks in December of 2005, and since then I have made about seven pairs of socks (with two on the needles awaiting completion). There are a lot of patterns and techniques that I haven't tried, but there are a lot things that I have. I go back and forth between the magic loop method and double pointed needles. I switch between a traditional heel flap and the short row heel. I guess that's why I love sock knitting so much: the possibilities are endless and you can change your socks according to your mood.

4.) Tea, Coffee, or hot chocolate - what's your favourite? If coffee, what do you use to make it?
I like coffee, but when I'm knitting, I tend to drink tea. So I think I would be happiest receiving yarn with tea!

5.) Do you have a fibre preference? (i.e. Are you a yarn snob like me?)
I don't think I'm a snob, but I do know from experience that I don't like working with acrylic or acrylic blends. I don't mind, however, wool sock yarn that is superwash or machine washable with some polyamide or nylon in it. In fact, I think I prefer it if the sock yarn is superwash because the socks hold up better and won't felt. Basically, I'm very excited to be participating in this swap, and I'm easy to please and I'm sure to love anything you pick out for me. :)