Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's all about the gifts!

Sometimes, it really is all about the gifts. Who doesn't like getting a present of some kind for their birthday? When you go to a baby shower, what is emphasized; the gift for the baby but of course! Some gifts are sent, some are received, some are hand made, some are store bought and some you just have to buy for yourself. That's what this post is all about...the gifts!

The first gift came to me via something I volunteered to do because I was interested in what the person was doing. I met this person Q, at a Yarn for Breakfast group that I belong to. In a casual conversation one Saturday Q mentioned that she makes soap. I have a collection of interesting soaps in my bathroom. They are just in a little basket and sometimes I have to dust them off. I bought some olive oil soap from France back in 2001 and haven't been able to force myself to use it. They are huge blocks. So ever since then I have been adding to that basket.

I was lucky enough one fall to be gifted a very nice sized box of scrap lavender from my favorite lavender farm here and I have been giving it away from time to time. I have made sachets for my three knitting groups. I have two envelopes waiting to be mail with a zip baggie in each of them going to two new Ravelry friends and I gave some to Q. So Q was nice enough to give it back to me in this form.
I doubt seriously I will use this soap up because it's so pretty, but I wanted Q to know that I do so appreciate it! So gift received.

Some gifts are given. I belong to a Christmas swap via Ravelry and the only thing that was notable that I sent my swap partner Nanna, was this.
I tried to use the computer screen blackness as a background for the stocking. It's knitted with left over sock yarn on size #3 dpns. I knit the first one on #1 dpns and was so discouraged that I almost gave up. The toe gave me fits. Since I needed a hand made gift for the July swap, I decided to use #3 and they worked out better. It's not exactly knitted like a regular sock but pretty close.
Here is a whiter background. It's very small and fiddly to make. I am not sure I am a small and fiddly knitter, but I gave it a try. It was fun doing the swap. I forgot to take a picture of all of the box's ingredients so I will just tell you what they were. I bought her a tea cup with a strainer that fits to that cup. The cup even had it's own warmer lid. Nanna mentioned she liked Earl Grey tea so I picked up a nice 2 oz bag of loose Earl Grey. I thought it was funny that I even stumbled on to a bag of tea candy sort of like this brand. The box was only supposed to be $5-10 excluding the postage. It's hard to find things to bulk up a box for that amount of $$.

So I got a really nice box from Nanna and that is a gift that was received. It came on a Saturday that I was home thankfully! I am never sure when someone leaves a package if it will be there when I get home or not! Here is what I got.

Here are almost all the ingredients from my box. I did eat three pieces of chocolate before taking this picture. They really were delicious! Two of them were chocolate covered cherries and the last one was a small piece of chocolate that I think had hazelnuts in it. Really good stuff. I do love chocolate! So wait until you see what's in the boxes.

This is the handmade ornament I got. Isn't that cute? I love handmade ornaments so this will be so pretty on my tree with all the others I have made and collected.

Also in every box was one of I got three! Jackpot. I will use these for something creative down the road. Then the next box... these are really small glass Christmas balls for a tiny tree or maybe earrings? They are just like the larger version. They might look good in a really small glass jar for a table scape. Just too cute.

And then the last box had this...
Isn't he just adorable? I collect old world looking Santas and this one will fit in nicely. Thanks Nanna for such a lovely box that I know a lot of thought went into! I look forward to October's box. I only hope that mine will measure up to yours!

Then there is the gift you give yourself. Another enabling friend from Ravelry and Yarn for Breakfast turned on to a site where I found the best deals. I have already ordered three skeins of yarn but this gift I gave to myself was a reward for my year's biggest clients this week. I am beat at the end of the week so I thought I would need a treat. So I gave myself these little treats at 30% off and free shipping.

These should help ease the pain I feel in my feet. I am so excited to keep adding to my Addi collection. You should check out this site! So remember it really is about the gift but the best gift you can give yourself is a good friend and time spent with them having a good time! Now go call someone and have a laugh or invite them to come and knit with you. Happy Knitting!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Failure to Plan

I figured since I did so well on the last pair of socks, I should do another pair. So I am, but I hit a snag. I failed as so many knitters often do; to plan ahead. When I finished the last pair of socks I was so smitten with them I cast on the second pair less than five minutes after I closed the toe on the last sock. When I got to the heel I rooted around my reinforcement yarn drawer and found two cards of Schoeller Stahl's Fortissima Socka in dark brown. In my mind that would be a perfect color for my newest socks. So away I went. Here is how the first heel looks.

Because I seem to have such a problem with the ball of my socks wearing out much faster than the toe or heel of the sock, I thought I would be smart by starting my reinforcement on the foot of the sock at row 40 instead of the toe decrease. I usually have to have 70 rows from the gusset decrease to the point where I would start the toe decrease. This time I started the reinforcement at row 40 so that the complete ball of my foot would be covered. I thought I was so smart!

I wasn't sure how the dark brown would look with so much of it at the end of the sock, but I had gone too far to rip it out. The second sock was to the point I needed to do the heel so as soon as I finished this sock, I could whack out the heel and be in the home stretch to finish my July socks in July! I have gotten behind in my commitment to knit twelve pair of socks for the year. I am still one pair down on the count but maybe in August I can catch up!

Here is the first finished sock. I thought it turned out well after the adjustments that I made. I have ever expanding calves so my total stitch requirement for the cuff is expanding also. Tidal Wave calls for 64 stitches and I changed that to 72. After I finished the ribbing I decrease two stitches per needle as evenly as I could and then started the body of the sock. I tried the sock on and it seems to be much better for not stretching the cuff to within an inch of it's life. So now I know that I can make this adjustment and I am feeling confident that eventually I am going to feel comfortable with changing more sock patterns to fit my Flinestone feeties.

My failure to plan my need for reinforcement thread as put a stall on my second sock. The heel is about halfway finished. I did an Internet search and found a resource for the thread and I went nuts! I ordered 14 spools so that this won't happen again for a while! So here I sit and wait for the mailman to bring me the fruits of my Internet thread spree and thinking about another pair of socks.

Sock Stats: Yarn is Fortissima Colori Socka. The colorway is Mexican Country hence my naming the socks Mexican Tidal Wave. Needles are Knit Picks #1 1/2 2.5mm.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tidal (Title) Struggle

Personally, I think the hardest thing about writing this blog is coming up with a catchy title that ties in with the theme of the knitting shown here. This time was no exception. I look at the sock and come up with lots of titles and then think how silly they sound and 86 the idea. I wanted to tie the theme and the photo of my latest project with the official title of the design name. It's been tough. Does anyone else out there in blog land have this problem besides me?

I truly think that fall is my most favorite season for so many reasons. I am built for cold weather (this means I am overweight). Fall colors are my most favorite colors because I think on some subconscious level I have memories attached more to those colors. Things like seeing the leaves change while driving across country with my family and when I was a kid. Halloween is not my favorite holiday, but I do love the shades of orange in the pumpkins and seasonal squashes. I love the shades of the old football mums we wore at the homecoming football games. in high school. Christmas has my most favorite color with so many shades of Green. So most of my knitting seems to be earthy and warm tones of fall colors. So it's no surprise that this latest project has shades of brown and beige.

I did a search on Ravelry for free sock patterns. I found a ton of them but then had to weed some out. Cuff down, toe ups? I only know cuff down so I try to only favorite the cuff down socks. I also have to be sure that the directions are not mainly charts and that they are usable for dpns. I knit socks with dpns only. Ever since I learned to make socks I have really taken to using dpns.

So I had this pattern as a favorite for a while now and decided I needed to do them. I am one pair of socks behind since joining The Great Sock Off 2009. I missed making socks in May and started my socks late for June, but they are done and I have already picked at pattern for the July socks which will be cast on here shortly. I don't want to get behind again.

So here are the June socks! They are titled Tidal Wave socks, hence the title for this blog entry (play on words-Title-Tidal). They were very easy to knit. It was only a 12 row repeat. The pattern is pretty straight forward. I had some Plymouth Yarn Rockin' Sox in a variegated brown.
I was not sure that the pattern would show up very well but it did just fine. I loved that the foot is just stockinette so the pattern is only on the leg of the sock. So if you are a newish knitter, this would be a great sock to save after you have your first pair under your belt.

I read about 10-12 blogs on a regular basis. In some of those blogs I noticed that they are using a leg or half a leg to model their socks. I really love the way that looks so I got myself one. When I slipped my sock on the form I did notice that the form's foot is a wee bit slimmer than mine so the sock does look a little big. So here is one of my Tidal Wave socks on the new model.

Like I mentioned above, the 12 row repeat pattern is concentrated on the leg. I did 5 repeats. After trying on the socks, I discovered that the cuffs are a bit snug for me so an adjustment will be made on the next pair of socks that I am knitting for the month on July. So there are the Tidal Waves socks; simple yet sturdy.