Splashing in the Frog Pond

These used to be socks!

Most knitter’s know the sound that ripping back stitches makes.  Sometimes that sound makes you sick to your stomach as you are undoing so many hours of work, sometimes it is a freeing feeling, that you are being released from a burdensome project.

(Generally this activity is known as frogging, mostly because knitters are pun-ny and the rip-it, rip-it mantra is much like that of a frog.)

For me this time, it is a freeing sort of frogging.  I cast on my Pseud0-lettuce socks at the beginning of the month with the intention of them being my May Socks.  However, as the month wore on and I finished a pair of plain socks, a test knit lace cowl, two woven scarves,  crocheted cowl, and spun two yarns and filled 5 bobbins with singles I started to get the feeling that I was intentinally ignoring these socks.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t fibering (my new word for when I either knit, spin, crochet, or weave), I just wasn’t working on those, so maybe it wasn’t me, it was them.  So last night I made the executive decision to frog.

They were nice socks, but I just wasn’t enjoying knitting them.

Releasing myself from this project feels almost as good as getting my hair cut yesterday, there is something about starting fresh and with the new job on Monday (which I will have lunch breaks for knitting, unlike my last job), I’m feeling like it is time to free myself from unnecessary burdens.

P.S. If you want to watch the new pair from this yarn grow, they are going to be Leapfrog Socks (seems fitting considering how I came by the yarn for them).

FO: It’s Sunny Being a Kid

Ahh, plain vanilla socks, they are great knitting a comforting friend in times of stress and boredom and with with stripe-y Felici they become something greater than just vanilla socks.

I have been enjoying working with Felici, I have made 2 other pairs of Felici socks (Groovy and Recess) and I wore them all winter.  While I have enjoyed the pattern I was working, I wanted to try different heels, and when I ran across the garter short-row heel of the Up + Down Socks in Simply Sockupied eMag (which as a side note is a great publication for learning basic sock stuff and a great format) I was sold.  However it has a short-row toe and wasn’t designed to be two-at-a-time so I decided to hijack the heel and act like old Frankenstein and make myself a hybrid/mutant sock.

I think this, with a modified slightly more roomy heel that I just figured out yesterday, might be my new go to vanilla sock.

In addition to being awesome, these are my May entry to my Year of Socks. I have a pair of patterned socks on the go, but with my lacy test knit cowl (that I hope will be released soon-ish), a crocheted cowl, some handspun yarn and two woven scarves, I’m only on the leg repeats of the patterned socks right now.  So these will be my May socks and hopefully I will get my patterned pair done for June.

– Details –

Project Name: It’s Sunny Being a Kid

Pattern: Proto-Casserole Socks (a plain sock pattern I have been designing), but are a hybrid of the Up+Down Socks and the Kid Stuff

Recipient: Me

Yarn: KnitPicks Felici Sport in Sunny Day, a 2011 Color

Modifications:

  • Well, these are hybrid socks, so I took the toe and leg from the Kid Stuff and the heel from Up+Down Socks.

New Skills:

  • Short Row Heel: LOVE IT!  I find that the arch/instep fit more tightly than a heel flap sock.
  • Garter Short Rows: LOVE IT TOO!  I’m finding myself more and more in love with Garter Stitch, I may feel differently about Garter Short Rows after I make my own Color Infection Affection Shawl

Feedback:


  • Yarn: Felici Sport is one of my favorite yarns, it makes for interesting plain socks and is so soft and wonderful. No knots or big jumps in this one, so that is a good thing.
  • Pattern:  I want to make the heel cup bigger, and I have my proof of concept so my next pair will have deeper short-row garter heels.

Re-Knit?: Yep, next pair is already on the needles and I have an impressively large stash of Felici.

Snippets of May

I have two drafts and five finished objects (and two handspun yarns with more to come) to get posted on the blog, and yet I haven’t published in weeks.  With my gainful unemployment ending next week, I feel a mania grabbing me and getting me to start and finish all sorts of projects knowing that I won’t have nearly as much time going forward from June 4th.

On June 4th I start a new job in Bracebridge, about an hour east of Parry Sound, in Muskoka.  For those of you who are familiar know that Bracebridge is in the heart of cottage country and a neat little town.  I’m going to be working for a local environmental not-for-profit doing archival and stewardship work.  I’m really excited to start, the work should be interesting and I hope to learn lots from such a good organization.  Also, it could mean moving, most importantly, out of my parents house for like the 4th, and hopefully last, time.

For some reason I’m more keen to blog when I’m working, when I’m not working I find it more of a chore to sit at my computer and not be knitting or weaving.

Here are some snippets of what I have been making and admiring (click the first picture to see all of them in a fun gallery format).

If you want to see more of me, I’m usually on Twitter, sometimes on Pinterest and rarely on Facebook. Use the links at the bottom of the page to track me down there.

Public Health Alert: I have OFATAS

So after posting about my new loom, I got a really nice comment from siberianstarbeads warning me about a communicable disease that has been spreading, OFATAS or Obsessive FiberArts Tool Acquisition Syndrome.

OFATAS is characterized by the acquisition of needles, hooks, nostpinnes, spindles, wheels, looms, carders, handcards, combs, shuttles and all manner of fiber art paraphernalia.  Warning signs of the onset of this disease is an excessively large stash of yarn, fiber and fleece, as well as a growing collection of books on fiber arts.

Well, I have a serious case of OFATAS, which is quite visible by my growing stash of tools.  I have two full sets of interchangeable knitting needles (wood and metal), two full set of 32″ and 47″ sock needles (wood and metal), crochet hooks, a niddy noddy, swift, ball winder, blocking kit (mats, wires and pins), three spindles, a spinning wheel, extra bobbins, lazy kate, hand cards, rigid heddle loom, tatting shuttle …

I have it bad and I couldn’t be happier.

For me working with my hands with these tools to create objects, useful objects, frivolus objects, one of a kind objects is really gratifying.  Considering how much of my life and work exist only in computers and theory this is a very real thing.  I imagine gardeners feel the same way, their hands can create something great and special or woodworkers or painters.

The most important thing about these tools is that they not be garbage.  My great-Oma, always said “We are too poor to buy cheap things” and this is a mantra I have taken on for many things, from food (why eat garbage, real food is so much better), to computers, to shoes, appliances and fiber art tools.  I understand needs changing, but why buy a practice spindle for $30 when the one you really want is $80 and you are eventually going to buy it anyway, save the $30 buy just buying the good tool first, or the one that won’t need replacing.

So I have a confirmed case of OFATAS and considering that Cricket Loom is not likely to treat the condition for long, I think my next item will be drum carder but I need to get a permanent job position before that can happen.

Run Bean Run

Now that it has been nearly two months, I guess feel like I am starting to get some traction with running.  I have started running a half dozen times since high school.  Every time I gave up, but this time I think I have done it long enough to actually start enjoying it.  It is a quick, cheap and easy form of exercise that can be done pretty well anywhere as long as a person has a pair of running shoes.

So, I guess this is a belated Mother’s Day post, mostly because it is my mom who is the one who makes me want to enjoy running.  Although she is in the latter half of her 50s, she is active, fit and looks nothing like a woman in her late 50s.  She runs and for the most part enjoys it, but the big thing is that with each foot thump (this morning she described her run as being elephant-like, with the steps being more like thumps than gazelle like gracefulness) she is enjoying herself, and helping to keep her body and mind healthy.

So, when I run I think about the fact that I want to be active in my late 50s and able to run well enough to not act my age. So thanks mom, for being an inspiration, even when I don’t treat you like one.

For most of my life I have been an ABR kind of person. Anything but running. I enjoy kayaking and cycling, and walking, I love walking, but running has always just been too much for me.  My weight makes running more challenging than for someone with an non-overweight body, but I just didn’t “get” running, it just seemed really stupid.

However, thanks to the Ease into 5K app, and my iPhone, I am starting to “get” running.  The program has pre-set workouts and the voice in my head tells me when to run and when to walk and I don’t have the opportunity over think things and I actually get a decent amount of exercise without having to engage my brain (which sometimes has plans of its own, that involve not running).

Now I just need to do my yoga and then my mom will be totally proud of me.

FO: Purple People Warmer

So, you know all the lessons I learned from my Apricot Jam Ring?  You can read all about it here, but basically I learned about the importance of a good warp separator, not tugging on my warp, not beating to much and how to make selveges look tidy, oh and actually doing the warp math properly so you know how much yarn you are acutally going to use!

So I took all these lessons and applied them to a new scarf, this one made out of some bulky yarn hanging around in my stash that I knew I was never going to knit because I am really not a huge fan of variegated yarns (although as I mentioned I am warming to them thanks to my Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?, although that is just for socks).

I must confess, I am quite pleased with myself and the scarf because it worked and I’m starting to see the possibilities that this little loom holds within itself and my stash.

– Details –

Project Name: Purple People Warmer

Pattern: Plain Weave, 5dent reed

Recipient: Dunno, I may actually put this in the gift box because while I like it, I see more of these in the future

Yarn: Fleece Artist Big Merino (discontinued), 1 skein Purple, 1 skein Purple/Green/Brown

New Skills:

  • Doing things right!: Basically there were no new skills, I just managed to get the skills I learned last time right.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: It is too bad this yarn was discontinued, it would be great for weaving more Christmas scarves, at $8.99 for 100gm/100m it was a really good deal.  But I think this was a noble use for the last of the yarn.

Re-Weave?: I really like the way the scarf turned out, if I can find a comparable yarn there will be more of these scarves for gifting.

WIP Wednesday: May 9th

So, despite all sorts of other distractions, I have managed to have a pretty good fiber week.  I warped and wove a scarf since last week and my test knit is getting to be about halfway done (I’m not really allowed to show it, yet, but the Seabreeze yarn was just too pretty to exclude).  I finally “turned’ my first short row heel on my Felici purse socks, and I must confess I really like knitting the garter shortrows, no wraps to pick up.

The green socks haven’t really gotten started yet, it is currently my “have to think” knit priority and once it is done I will be diving into them so I can get them done by the end of the KAL being hosted by Sweet Georgia herself.  The purple cowl has made several apperances in public and I enjoy it as it is pretty much all *SC, Ch1* making it a great knit for dinners out.

Also, I have started spinning again.  I was getting really discouraged about the yarns I was making but I spent most of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at my desk finishing off a consulting project and I entertained myself by watching all the Interweave spinning and weaving videos I downloading both before I got my wheel (December 2010) and a few months ago.  Thanks to Judith MacKenznie’s video “A Spinner’s Toolbox” I am managing to spin a semi-worsted yarn and that is deeply exciting.   I split up this top braid a long while ago with the intention of spinning a fractal 3-ply .  I am going to stick with that plan, but I am expecting it to be super bulky due to my spinning style and that I am spinning it on my largest pulley.

FO: Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?

Four months, four pairs of socks.  I’m still on track to complete 12 pairs of socks in 12 months.  After the complex cables of my Staked Socks these were a nice shift with the subtle patterning and interesting color shifts.

 

They did turn out a bit small, I think for a 64in sock I need to be using a 2.75mm needle more often than not.  I find that all the different Merino Nylon sock base from my fave Cdn dyers seem to be pretty similar so I’m not surprised that I use similar needles for all of them.

So I have cast on for my next pair, I will be doing lace which is again a nice change from the plain, cables and texture of the last three months of socks.

– Details –

Project Name: Visions of Sugar Plum … House Elves?

Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder from Dreams in Fiber

Recipient: Me

Yarn: Fleece Artist Trail Socks in Sugar Plums

Modifications: None

New Skills:

  • Different Gusset Pick-up: I was reading the new Simply Sockupied eMag and Ann Budd had a cool technique using an extra DPN to twist the picked up gusset stitches, which for me resulted in a bit of extra work but a really attractive “seam” with no gaps.
  • TAAT Magic Loop on a 32″ needle: I didn’t have a longer one and I tried to do Two Socks on Two Circs and it made me want to cry so I figured out how to do two socks to 1 circ. It has inspired me to get 40″ circs to do my TAAT socks as 47″ is a bit too long feeling now.

Feedback:

  • Yarn: I am quite impressed with how Fleece Artist does a multi, while it did swirl around the leg both socks striped identically and the slipped stitch heel looks really amazing.  My aversion to multis is being reduced thanks to this yarn.
  • Pattern: Nice, clear, simple and free.  My only issue is the author doesn’t tell you how long the toe is at gauge.  Although the shape is really nice and now that I know how it works I may use it again in future.

Re-Knit?: Nope, although I may steal the toe for a default top-down pair of franken-socks (ie. my default sock made of parts of all sorts of different patterns).  There are way too many socks out there to make the same pair twice.