Sunday, April 29, 2007

Birthday Week

I found this fun meme on Marigold's blog while I was looking at her Hogwarts swap socks. She's making Ravenclaw socks out of Koigu! Maybe they're for me?

1. Go to Wikipedia and enter your birthday without the year:
May 3

2. List 3 events that occurred that day:

  • 1960 - The Anne Frank House opened in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. On my way back home after 9 weeks in England I arrived in Amsterdam for my charter flight home with about $40 and no credit cards. I thought I had a place to stay for the weekend, but the people had gone out of town. I had to find a hotel room cheap. I walked for blocks looking for a room. After paying for the room I had enough money to take the canal trip to see Anne Frank's house and a shuttle to the airport, but not much extra. I had a wheel of Jarlsburg cheese that I had bought at Harrod's to take home, and I bought some tomato juice and a book to read. I ate nothing but that cheese for the whole weekend so I could visit the Anne Frank house. It was a powerful experience for me and I recommend it to anyone who visits Amsterdam. I missed the Rijksmuseum with the Rembrandts, Vermeers and Van Goghs to see the house. I have never been able to stomach Jarlsburg cheese from that day to this (over 30 years).
  • 1916 - Easter Rising leaders are executed in Dublin. There is a wonderful movie about this event available on DVD, but the name escapes me right now.
  • 1937 - Gone with the Wind, a novel by Margaret Mitchell, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. When I was 15, I was reading this book (not for the first time) in my bed after midnight. I was reading about the Klan attack where Scarlett's husband was killed. My dad came upstairs to see why I was crying. All I could say was "Frank died". He was reassured and left me alone. This is the father who read the encyclopedia when he was growing up because that was all he had to read. One of my favorite books.

3. List 2 important birthdays.

4. List 1 death:

1152 - Matilda of Boulogne, Queen of England (b. 1105) Empress of Germany, mother of Henry II, second husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and grandmother of Richard the Lionheart and King John.

5. List one holiday or observance:

Sunday Seven: A Baker's Dozen

Seven Things I'm thankful for this week:

  1. Spring Sundays
  2. Strong coffee
  3. Free time to knit
  4. Clean sheets
  5. Costa Rica vacations
  6. Family pot lucks
  7. Fresh orange juice

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hooray it's Finally Friday

Let's have a feast!

How fast can you type?
I have passed a typing test at 45 words a minute but only because I have a photographic memory. I refused to take typing in school because I wasn't going to be a secretary. Many term papers (and blog entries) later, I sometimes regret my decision.
What is your favorite online game?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), how intelligent do you think you are?

Main Course
Name three of your best teachers from your school years.
Mrs. (SuDee) Guichard, who took us to see the King Tut exhibit when I was in 3rd grade. I decided to become an Egyptologist right then and there.
Mr. Chavez, my civics teacher at Tamalpais High School (celebrating its 100th birthday next year.)
Joyce Gross, who taught me how to make quilts, appreciate their graphic presence and research their history.

What are your plans for this upcoming weekend?
Postponed Easter brunch with family, knitting, gardening, shopping and cleaning

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Four Pairs Down, 48 More to Knit

I finished my 4th pair for the month of April. Only 48 more to go for the 52 pair plunge challenge. The socks are based on the Horcrux pattern by Susan Pierce Lawrence, but I made major alterations to it. No pictures yet because these socks are for my Hogwarts swap pal. The original pattern, knitted in worsted weight yarn, is available on Susan's blog. A fingering weight version is available to members of the Six Sock KAL Yahoo group. Anyone can join this group. It's a great group of socknitters who knit original sock patterns bimonthly.

I started this pair last Sunday and finished them today. One week from start to finish! That might be a new record for me. In order to keep up with the 52 pair plunge, I'm trying to cast on for sock two as soon as I finish sock one and keep knitting. Usually I start a new sock project when I finish sock one and come back to sock two after working on a few different designs. This helps to alleviate the boredom factor and makes the pattern fresh again.

I also finished another sock this week and made some beaded stitch markers. I got a multicolored bag of silver lined seed beads, and my DD makes macrame beaded necklaces, so she had some larger beads to add to the mix. She pressed some white mother of pearl beads on me, which I used to make a rainbow set. Each marker uses a pearl bead and two beads of a rainbow color. I think they are my favorite, but I've always been a sucker for rainbow colors. I'm using the turqouise beaded marker on my new sock project. I also got some oval Czech glass beads to use for my Hogwarts sock swap partner, so I made some Gryffindor and some Slytherin markers. Some of the Czech beads were purple with red, green and pink swirls, so I added pink or red seed beads to them. I think I made about 25 sets of 5 markers, and I have lots more beads to make new designs. I'll post pictures when I figure out how to use the camera. I haven't done my laundry yet and I need a pair of pants to wear to work tomorrow, so I'm off to fill the washer.

Sunday Seven Dozen

Seven things I'm grateful for this week:

  1. Spring Showers overnight (we need the rain)
  2. Bead stores online
  3. Needle nose plyers
  4. DD's who have a bead collection to die for
  5. Color theory classes
  6. Pack rat tendencies
  7. Spring sunshine during the day
I spent this morning making beaded stitch markers for knitting. It was a lot of fun and I didn't want to stop but I ran out of head pins.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Thank Goodness it's Friday's Feast

Friday Fun


What is your favorite kind of bread?

Sourdough of any type, most especially Beckman's Three Seed whole wheat variety and the long gone but still lamented late bake sourdough loaves from Lombardi's. When we lived on the East Coast our friends would send us sourdough bread and hard salami from San Francisco for Christmas.

When was the last time you bought a new pillow?

I found some on sale at Sear's about 18 months ago

Approximately how many hours per week do you spend surfing the ‘net?

whew! probably 5-6. Surfing doesn't include reading email, posting to my blog, or shopping for stuff, right?

Main Course
What’s the highest you remember your temperature being?

104 degrees, and I was delerious. I still remember the dreams I had then. That was 40 years ago.

Fill in the blanks: When I want to have fun, I start knitting a new sock project. (I have no life.)

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's Official! I am a Sock Knitting Fool

I am obsessed with knitting socks right now. Yesterday, instead of finishing my taxes, I started knitting the Horcux socks designed by Susan Pierce Lawrence. These socks were the mystery socks on her blog in March, and didn't have a name. I won't say much more about that because they are for the Hogwarts sock swap and are a secret. I've changed the pattern quite a bit, too. (No more hints for my swap partner to see!)

I may have reached the point of no return. I have a baker's dozen of sock projects on the needles. They are all "first socks". I finished three pairs of second socks this month, which is a good thing. Of course, having free needles and lots of enthusiasm, I started four new sock projects. It's a good thing I have lots of needles. I don't use all of them to knit with, but they're okay for holding projects that are on the back burner. Last year when I counted my SIP's I had 9, and they were mostly second socks. I've finished all of those and more besides, so there is hope for these projects. I'm glad I have company in my obsession.

1. Monkey in the same yarn Cookie used, but in lavenders and blues (Yum Yum) KAL
2. Mona in Navy Sisu (needs really great light to work on it)
3. Waving Lace in Fleece Artist cherry pinks and bronze (maroon colorway)
4. Inside Out in STR Monsoon
5. Hogwarts sock swap striped socks of my own design in Socka, with thanks to Susan (almost finished)
6. Mitered Square socks in Lorna's Laces Lake House and the late lamented Special Blauband
7. Fairisle socks from SKS in self striping Blauband and KP Essentials solid (not mindless)
8. Broad Spiral Rib Socks from More SKS in Vintage Striped Opal (one sock finished)
9. Madtini Socks in varigated Silja (may frog these and use the yarn for something else). My second pair in this pattern from the Sock Madness competition
10. Slip stitch stripes in hot pink Bollicine (may be a UFO) This was a SOTM kit from
11. Blueberry Waffles in Blueberry Fixation, toe up. This is a really old UFO because I hated the needles I was using (old Bryspuns). I've knitted the sock onto my new rosewood sox stix from Lantern Moon and it might get finished before the next millenium. I was so happy to win the sox sticks at Stitches West. A pair of ebony single point needles, a post it note pad and cover and a rubber vase were also in the package. What a great prize!
12. Maze Mosaic socks from SKS in light and dark grey Silja (ran out of yarn and have to frog)
13. Sun and Moon socks in red and grey Regia 6 ply (what was I thinking!) The first sock is actually done but I never started the second sock. The reason being: the color combination doesn't show off the great pattern design, which is unfortunately no longer available. This sock has been a UFO for a number of years. I still remember watching the original Frankenstein with DH while I worked on this sock. I want to make them again in better colors.

I like to work on several pairs at a time so I don't get bored and have two mindless pairs to be my on the go project, but this is ridiculous. To be fair, I have finished 7 pairs already this year, 4 in March and three in April. (In January I was enthralled with entrelac and felting, in February I went to Stitches for 4 days, and also worked on the now finished socks).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunday Seven Eleven

Seven Things I'm grateful for this week:

  1. Cookie A's creative sock patterns. I'm working on the Monkey pattern from Knitty's winter issue right now.
  2. Shelridge Farms soft touch ultra hand painted sock yarn. I'm using this for my Monkey socks.
  3. Pony Pearl double point needles in small sizes and 6" length. They are perfect for the Monkey socks.
  4. April 15th is on a Sunday this year.
  5. Clarinex allergy medication
  6. Lettuce fresh out of the garden
  7. Spring asparagus

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Feast for the 13th

I like this one. It's Friday the 13th, so let's have a feast.

When you were a child, which crayon color was your favorite?

Periwinkle Blue, but I liked every wierd color in the 64 crayon box. I still buy a new box every so often, especially when they add new colors.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest), how likely would you be to change jobs if it required you to move?
The job would have to pay a lot more and be an exciting challenge. If those qualifications were met, I'd say 9. If not, 1.

Take all the numbers in your birthday and your phone number and add them up, one by one. What’s the total?
If I add together the final total and then add those two numbers together, it's 4. If I don't keep combining, it's 67 (a very good year.)

Main Course
Have you ever “re-gifted” anything? If so, what was it and who did you pass it on to?

I regifted a crystal bowl as a wedding present. My DD once got a birthday present of some coloring books that were already colored in by the children who gave them to her. They could not afford a new present. It was a very powerful lesson for her.

Name something you need from the store.

Garlic was the first thing that came to mind. I know it's not yarn or needles ;~)

Marble Arches FO

I have another FO! I finished my Marble Arches socks today. These were started back in the fall when I got the kit from the Rockin Sock club. I was past the heel on sock one when I decided that the top of the sock was just too ruffled for my foot. I ripped out the sock in February and reknitted it with about 1/3 less stitches at the top, and just finished sock two. I had to postpone knitting the second sock to work on the Sock Madness socks and the new Inside Out socks from this year's first Rockin' Sock club shipment. I also knit a pair of swirly girls, mosaic stitch socks and finished two other pairs which had been single socks for too long. I've been on a sock knitting roll, which is good thing, because I signed up to knit a pair every week for a year. This pair counts for week three's finished socks.

The socks are really warm and very different. The pattern was not hard at all, and I'm sure that I'll use it again. I can't figure out why the striping pattern on each sock is so different. I used the same needles, the same ball of yarn, not even wound into two separate balls, and the same number of stitches. The sock on the right was knit first, so maybe my gauge was a little tighter on that one. I did make a slight boo boo and forget to knit the band heel on the second sock. It's not too noticeable and both socks fit fine so I will keep it like it is. I do plan to use the band heel again. I like it a lot, and there are no gusset decreases. I've also got a pair of socks with two different toes and can't see the difference on or off my feet.

UPDATE: DD (now 26, pictured in the next post on the swing set covered in mud at age 7) saw the socks and liked the first one but not the second sock. Seems like she is one of those identical twins sock people. I don't mind having fraternal twin socks. Luckily the socks are for me and not her, and I'll know next time what not to knit for her!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Knitting with Kids

I volunteer at a lunch time knitting group at the local middle school once a week. We have two boys and from 10-15 girls on a regular basis. This week was the first meeting after spring vacation, and we met in a new room, so there were only two students today. There were actually four, but two hadn't brought their projects. It was a good thing.

We had given most of them a little felted bag project to work on over the break. The group was started by a teacher at the school, and we have different helpers each week (mostly knitters who come to my weekly night time group.) The bag pattern we gave them has eyelets for a drawstring, so we showed them how they will be making the yarn overs. I showed them my Petticoat socks, which have lots of eyelets in a very defined pattern. I just looked at the pattern link and think I must have continued the pattern (a variation without the purls) down the instep of my own socks, because the pattern shows a stockinette instep and my feet show a patterned one.

I was sitting across the table from one girl, whom I had never helped before, so I could only see her knitting from the back. I had already helped her with the issue of yarn strands going down to the bottom of the rectangle and then going back up into the knitting. Since the bag will be felted, I said that it wouldn't be problem this time, but I showed her what she was doing wrong. We'll just cut off those loose strands! I also noticed that her knitting was really tight on the needles. She said she had tried to loosen up but it wasn't working. I was watching her knit from the back of her work, and I noticed that she was (trying to) knit into the back loop. The lightbulb went off. She was twisting every stitch and making it very hard for herself. I showed her how to knit into the front of the stitch (leading edge, as Merike Saarniit says). She left after knitting "just one more row" feeling much better and happy with her knitting.

The group has many low income students, so they have limited access to yarn and needles. When the group started the teacher had them all make their own needles from wooden dowels, and many knitters donated yarn (mostly acrylic). We were also given a very generous donation of yarn and needles by the US distributor for Garnstudio (her warehouse is right down the highway). I found a flat knitted bag pattern that uses worsted weight wool and size 10 US needles, and we had the right size needles from her donation for 10 knitters to make bags. The teacher bought some wool yarn at Michael's, and I wound each skein into two balls to make it go further. The variegated yarns were more popular than the solid colors (surprise surprise).

Tune in next week for the further adventures of Cunha School's lunchtime knitting group.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Where Were You in '62?

I caught this loooong meme from Dharmafey, right after she caught one from me.

What were you doing?
20 years ago (April 1987)
Age? 33

Were you in school? No

Where did you work?
I owned a clothing store in Santa Rosa CA

Where did you live?
Healdsburg, CA

What were your regular haunts?
The Raven cinema, the public library, the park behind my house, my DD's kindergarten classroom, the quilt store, my sewing room, pediatrician's office

Did you wear glasses?
Definitely: probably creatively shaped plastic frames with photo gray lenses.

Who was your best friend?

How many tattoos did you have?
None then (or now)

How many piercings did you have?
Just the ears, two holes in each.

What did you drive?
1983 Toyota Corolla wagon

Had you been to a real party yet?
That's where I met my DH

Heart broken yet?
very much so

Status on the market?
married, broke, not investing

Ten years ago (April 1997)

Age? 43

Were you in school?

Where did you work?
same job I have now: accounting at a school district

Where did you live?
Half Moon Bay, CA (still do)

What were your regular haunts?
dye studio, sewing room, library, quilt guild meeting, eye surgeon's office

Did you wear glasses?
I was waiting to get cornea transplants, so I wore glasses but they didn't work very well.

Who was your best friend?

How many tattoos did you have?

How many piercings did you have?
same 2 in the ears, but they were closed up.

What did you drive?
I couldn't see to drive, but I taught DD to drive stick shift in a 1987 Nissan Sentra.

Had you been to a real party yet?

Heart broken yet?
Oh yeah.

Status on the market?
Still married, still broke

Five years ago (April 2002)

Age? 48

Were you in school? If so, where and for what?
Yes, getting my credential to teach adult education

Where did you work?
same place I worked in 1997, plus I taught 5 nights a week at the adult school.

Where did you live?
Half Moon Bay, CA (still do)

What were your regular haunts?
quilt & yarn stores and ebay

Did you wear glasses?
Just for reading, and contacts

Who were your best friends?

How many tattoos did you have?
still none

How many piercings did you have?
My ear holes are all still there, but closed up.

What did you drive?
a shared 1995 purple GEO Prizm with jewels on the dashboard courtesy of DD

Had you been to a real party yet?
Many more

Heart broken yet?
Several times

Status on the market?
still married, not quite as broke

As of today (April 2007)

Age? 53

Are you in school? If so, where and for what?

Where do you work?
same place as before

Where do you live?
Half Moon Bay, CA

What are your regular haunts?
yarn stores, blogland, my weekly knitting group

Do you wear glasses?
Reading glasses and contacts

Who is your best friend?

Do you talk to your old friends?
If I am in touch, it's mostly by email

Do you have a crush?

How many tattoos do you have?
still none

How many piercings do you have?
2 unused ones in each ear

What do you drive?
2004 Volkswagen Passat Wagon

Have you been to a real party yet?
I sort of try to avoid them.

Heart broken yet?
Not in a while.

Status on the market?
still married

Besides ones of the pet variety, any dependents?
Just DH and a returned to the nest DD, sans husband

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spiral Mosaic Socks Nearing the Finish Line

I watched The Good Shepherd tonight and worked on socks. It was very interesting. My dad had a friend from law school who was in the CIA (I think) during the same time period. I wish I could have discussed it with my dad but he's unable to speak at this point in his Alzheimer's dementia.

My spiral mosaic socks are winding down to the finish line, well ahead of the deadline for next week's pair in the 52 pair plunge. I ran out of the navy blue yarn right at this point. Luckily I had a feeling this might happen and ordered another skein from Knitpicks. I'll have most of the second skein left over to use with another solo skein of variegated yarn in grey, blue and a little bit of navy. It'll be much more low key, unlike this pair. I'll have to peruse my new More Sensational Socks book for pattern possibilities. I'm using the star toe in the pinstripe pattern for this sock, a nice variation that I found in the book. There are quite a few great ideas in the book that I want to try with my next pair of socks.

I couldn't start knitting with the second skein because I stupidly stashed it away this morning in the bedroom and DH is asleep. I worked on another sock project for a bit and now I'm going to bed too. Being on vacation this week has not helped my sleeping patterns, which were already messed up from the switch to daylight savings time. UPDATE: Zee socks zey are feeneeshed!

Sunday Seven Times Ten

Seven Things I'm grateful for this week:

  1. Cicely Barker and her Flower Fairies
  2. Online Libraries
  3. Warm hand knitted socks
  4. Easter egg dyes
  5. Knit Wiki
  6. Movies that make me cry happy tears
  7. EZ (Elizabeth Zimmermann)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

I joined a new sock swap and have to post this questionnaire on my blog and also on the Hogwarts sock swap page. In anticipation of the new book coming out this summer, we've been assigned a swap partner and will make them socks in their house colors.

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Ravenclaw

2. Shoe size? 8.5 wide (D)

3. Foot Length? 9.75 inches

4. Foot Circumference? the widest part of my foot measures 9.5 inches, but my ankle measures 11 inches

5. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.

a. 7” Vintage Boye Balenes 2.5 mm

b. 6" Crystal Palace bamboo 2.5 mm

c. 6" Pony Pearls 2.5mm

Would you like to try a new brand of needle? Of course! Actually, I almost always use a 12" ADDI turbo needle to knit my socks. I use the DPN's and sometimes 2 longer circs for the heels and toes.

If so, which brand? Lantern Moon Sox Stix Size? 2.5mm Length? 6” or Suzanne's ebony needles, same size and length. These are so smooth!

6. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you a have a strong preference? I prefer the book, but it’s not a strong preference

7. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? YES

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Toning Down Bright Colors

Here's the second pair of socks I made using the slip stitch pattern from the Judy at the knitter. I was so happy with the first pair that I immediately cast on for another pair, but I thought I'd try using just one yarn for each color. They are both variegated. The pink yarn came from Elann and was much brighter than I expected. I used a blue/black Opal yarn as the contrast color and successfully (I think) toned down the hot pink yarn. I also used the slip stitch design on the foot of the sock. This helps with wear and gauge, as well as fitting and looking better, even off the foot. I used a two color eye of partridge stitch on the heel. The toes are plain hot pink. I'm still working on ways to account for the changing number of stitches in the gusset area in the slip stitch design. The most recent pair of socks I finished are the most successful to date at handling this problem.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Slip Stitch Patterned Socks

I thought I would share the first pair of mosaic stitch socks which I made a few years ago. I love using slip stitch patterns, also known as mosaic stitches. They work well in socks for uniting leftover balls of yarn using a 50 gram ball of a solid color as the contrast. and using the leftovers as your contrast color. This does make a striking sock, but there are lots more ends to weave in.

These socks were made with a semi solid vintage Opal yarn and lots of little golf ball sized bits of leftover self striping sock yarn. I used the Peacock pattern from the I like my version much
better than the knitter's version, which is all in blues. The second time I made the socks I used the slip stitch pattern on the foot as well as on the instep, so the socks don't look quite as much like canoes. These socks fit fine, they're just a little baggy on the heel. I've found slip stitches are less stretchy and I need to use more stitches. YMMV, and the slip stitch pattern you use also has a lot to do with it. This one was relatively complicated: 32 rounds and a 30 stitch repeat.

Here's the finished spiral mosaic sock. I used 76 stitches for the ribbing and 84 for the pattern, which had a repeat of 14 stitches. 70 stitches would not have fit my ankle, but it would probably fit a normal sized ankle. I used 2.5 mm needles and navy solid Knitpicks Essentials with Regia color. I'm very happy with the look of the heel and gusset on this sock. I've made several mosaic patterned socks and the gusset decreases always wreak havoc with the pattern. I think I solved the dilemma with this design. On to sock #2 after I finish a few more second socks. Edited to add: Sock # 2 is at the toe finished! The toe looks very pointed on this sock but I tried it on and it fits me perfectly.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sunday Seven to the Nines

Seven Things I'm grateful for this week:

  1. Good friends who scan old pictures and email them to you
  2. April birthdays
  3. Home grown vegetables
  4. The large stash of yarn I have on hand to knit from when money is tight
  5. Fresh baked artichoke bread from Norm's market in Pescadero, CA
  6. Cafe Mochas
  7. Sunday mornings at home