Friday, October 27, 2006

A Sock-y Wind Is About to Blow

Guess whose smiling face and top-of-his-lungs screeches did not wake me up this morning?

This is my first day by myself since before Slim was born, and the first time the Cap'n has traveled alone with him. The boys and Mia have ventured up to NYC for Slim's cousin's birthday party and I'll ride the Chinatown bus up this afternoon to join them after my tour of GWU.

I love them all, and yet I can't describe to you how well-rested I feel.

It's been crazy busy around here, but my sock-knitting mojo is coming back...slowly but surely.

The first of my Law School Socks is finito. I'm hoping the 6-hour bus ride this afternoon will give me time to make significant progress on the second so I at least finish one pair for Socktoberfest and Sock-a-Month.

I LOVE THESE SOCKS! lovelovelovelovelove...These are for me and they fit perfectly. They are soft, warm and comfy. I'll put up more details about them when I get the pair finished, along with hopefully better pictures. But I do have a LSAT formal logic question for all you sock knitters out there:

If you knit one sock with yarn that stripes at randomly alternating widths, then:

  1. The pair of socks will last longer than other handknit socks.
  2. The second sock will be an identical twin of the first.
  3. The knitter should abandon all hope of having two socks that stripe alike.
  4. The stripes are set at a distance that is most pleasing to the eye.
  5. You must knit the second sock with a different set of needles.

Congratulations to all of you who chose #3! In order, we have answers that are (1) out of scope, (2) 180 degree logic, (4) faulty use of detail and (5) out of scope, according to LSAT logic rules.

Can you guess that I've been spending a lot of time studying? As much as I can anyway. I've still not blocked the sweater (eek!), Slim's head is not covered with a handknit despite the colder weather, and I haven't been commenting on anyone else's blogs either.

I'm really hoping to get some more time going into November. Last weekend we made our first visit back to NC in a long time and Slim got to make his first visit to the State Fair. No fried Twinkies or fried Snickers for him, but he did like the giant turkey legs and caramel apples.

We're not planning any more trips in the next month, so I'm hoping to have more study/application time. I've still got to take some pics of the other birthday stash enhancement that I have to show you. Sex on a skein, I tell you.

But leave a late Happy Birthday comment here for my sister who just learned how to knit! Sarah has finished up her class at Yarns Unlimited, and in the grand tradition of our family who knit (the two of us), has ripped out her first class project (baby booties) to make a fisherman's ribbed hat. Sounds fabu, and I'm so proud of her already working the DPNs! (P.S. Tell her to start blogging too!)

She's starting to get a stash with birthday money and another yarny present may or may not be winging its way to her, thanks to a Sugar Bunny. And like I said, a sock-y wind is blowing: Her next knitting class is going to be 2 socks on the Magic! Loop! I hoping to finish my pair of socks on the Magic! Loop! in November for an early Christmas present. We'll have to race.

I gotta start getting ready and get out of here for my tour. I do want to make a short plug for Chrissy's new blog: I'm a Knitter and I Vote! I signed up as soon as I heard, and I'm going to try to post up there when I get back from traveling. As a new DC voter, I don't know the political terrain around here really well, but I do think it's important to get people active in the politial process.

Gotta run!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hats! Bloggers! (No Socks)

I had my first brush with knit-blogging fame yesterday. Guess who I saw near Eastern Market?


And she looked fabulous this fine Socktoberfest Saturday. She looked vaguely familiar, but honestly, it was her beautiful Multidirectional Scarf that made me do a subtle double take.

She was bustling and I was bustling (down to the coffeeshop to study for the LSAT), so I didn’t get a chance to kvell over her, but I was bursting all afternoon. I saw Lolly! In person!

(Not that I would have known what to say...or even what to call her. By her real name, her blog name? What's the etiquette on this?)

The rest of the afternoon was spent analyzing my first practice test from class last week. I am so pysched about this law school idea. Now I just need to find a few more hours each day to get everything done on time.

I did find time to finish my latest hat project. But I ask you, which of these fine gentlemen is wearing a hat and which one is not?

The Stats

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in Midnight Green and Limeade
Pattern: Candy Dots (large size) from Cabin Fever’s Kids’ Knitted Hats pattern book
Time: Less than a week to complete
Modifications: Only 2 colors instead of 3 and no roll ridges (deemed "girly" by eventual recipient). Oh, and also top down instead of brim up with the help of Lucia's awesome guidelines.

A blog post about this project was not forthcoming when promised because the Cap’n took the hat with him on a work trip. He confirms that it is nice and cozy and is now requesting matching mittens. I’ve found this two-needle mitten pattern online that I think will allow me to get the slip stitch pattern on the top of the hand to match the hat.

For those of you keeping track, this is now the 3rd attempt at making a hat for Slim. What went wrong? Well, I went with the bigger pattern, and I think, though Slim’s head is large, the combination of the yarn and the pattern made it stretchy enough to fit the Cap’n. Who (I must say) is by far my most favorite handknit recipient. While he isn't a knitter, he appreciates the work that goes into it and asks for more. Gotta love him.

So Slim is still in need of something to cover his head now that temps are dropping. I’m going to try to the Elf Swirl pattern out of the same book because I already had some Lion Brand Magic Stripes (Lumberjack Black colorway) sitting around. I got it c-h-e-a-p on sale at A.C. Moore awhile back when I was still in love with self-striping yarn.

The advantage is it is straight stockinette for awhile (good to study with), but the disadvantage is working it on a US4 16" circular Addi Turbo, which is making the tendenitis in my left wrist flare up. There's not much needle to hold onto there.

I have more yarn acquisitions for you to slobber over, but that will have to wait til Tuesday night. It's back to the salt mines to make progress on the Law School Quest, and hopefully, the Law School Socks.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hats Off to Socktoberfest

I promise a post with photos tomorrow of the FO hat that came off the needles late last night/early this morning. It's worth its own post.

It is strange that for Socktoberfest so far, I have been knitting hats instead of socks. I lurve socks, but I think the pressure of Sock Wars got to me a little bit. So I've been on an almost two-week hiatus.

So I thought I would answer Lolly's sock history questions to get back in the mood for sock-knitting. Here goes:

1. When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

Originally, I wanted to tackle my fear of the DPNs, so I jumped in to this pattern online. I made it through the foot, turned the heel and when I got back to the ankle, the sock was barely wide enough for Slim's 1-year-old foot, much less the Cap'n's (the intended giftee). Not sure where I read the pattern wrong. So I took my second class at Stitch DC, taught by the mucho knowledgeable Karida. She used Judy Gibson's toe-up sock pattern to get us started.

2. What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?

The first pair was made from Patons Classic Merino in Deep Olive for the Cap'n. I love me some Patons. Who can argue with cheap 100% wool in a wide range of colors? I used the Purled Ladder pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks for the legs, and made them as long as his other favorite camping socks. They are his favorite hiking socks right now.

3. What would you have done differently?

I'm pretty sure Patons is hand wash, and I would have made the Cap'n's socks machine washable. I think they've accidently gone through the machine, so they have felted a small bit. I also didn't really know how to bind off well, so both socks are a little funky at the top.

3. What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

Claudia's Handpainted is really nice to work with, as is Lorna's Laces. I still want some Cherry Tree Hill and Koigu KPPM to try.

4. Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I adore DPNs, particularly Brittanys and bamboo. I really hated Bryspun plastics (too bend-y) and got frustrated with havnig only 4 needles instead of 5 Boyes. My first Magic! Loop! sock project is still on the needles. Honestly I started getting ladders with Magic! Loop!, which I NEVER do with dpns. Hello. Tight Knitter here. Also, I'm trying two socks at once. So it's slow going.

5. Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

My next sock challenge will be a short row heel. I prefer toe-up socks with what I guess you could call a backward heel flap. I did a pair of forethought heels on the Welt Fantastic socks, which came out nipply. I think there might be a solution to that, however, with the next ones.

6. How many pairs have you made?

I think six. That's pretty impressive for not quite a year of knitting, I think. I'm trying to keep up with my Sock-a-Month commitment, so hopefully there will be 3 more before year's end. I still want to finish a pair for myself. Until my Socks of Doom arrived, I still hadn't had a pair for myself. And WOW, do I want more now.

Well, that actually has inspired me to get back on my main pair of socks OTN. They are my chevron, striped Law School Socks (formerly aka Job Search Socks).

Knitting on...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Knitting From Beyond the Grave

Appropriately spooky for the month of October, this knitting blog is being brought to you from beyond the grave.

Yes, I have met my end in Sock Wars. I believe I have my original assasin, The Beav, to thank for the tweedy goodness of the yarn, Cleckheaton Country Silk 8ply, which I had never heard of before. Get thee to a yarn store that carries this 85-wool, 15-silk yarn from Australia. It is awesome.

Gartlande (my assassin's assassin's assassin's assassin -- confused, yet?) dealt the final blow (sweetened by some Dove chocolate), which essentially came at the same time as the most wonderful package from my victim. Stinky Socks sent me her unfinished socks in a lovely Regia along with the cutest matching earrings and necklace, lovely smelling perfume and lotion, a CD, and Milano (yum!) cookies. I was completely and utterly spoiled, and must say thank you to Yarn Monkey for organizing the swap.

A friend thought it was funny that we were able to take an inherently peaceful, quiet hobby and turn it into "violence." I say competition is where you find it.

Thank you again to Stinky Socks, The Beav and Gartlande for making Sock Wars so much fun. I know there were some organizational snafus, but I have had nothing but an enjoyable experience. I love my socks and my treats!

And for other treats, we have birthday loot to show off! It was a busy week for the UPS, USPS and FedEx guys delivering packages to Chez Muthaknitter.

With my dad and stepmom's gift certificate, I scored Knitter's Stash, The Art of Fair Isle Knitting and EZ's Knitter's Almanac. The Fair Isle knitting book is WOW. I find most Fair Isle sweaters to be a bit busy, but the whole history and art and tradition of them is fascinating.

With my step-grandfather's gift, I got the law school book you see there in the back. I'll just come right out and admit it: I'm studying for the LSATs and am going to apply for law school to start next fall. I am really nervous, but so excited. It's given me a goal to focus on, and I'm pysched about the idea of being in school again after almost 9 years out. Wish me luck. You know, what with actually getting in and then really going through with the idea of full-time law school, a 2-year-old and a 6-month-old.

As far as meditative practices go to keep the LSAT pressure low, I've now got a ball winder to keep me calm, yet entertained. The Cap'n ordered one for me from Louise's Studio. She sent it to me quickly and with a sweet handwritten note, so if you need any craft supplies, I can highly recommend her. Plus, you have got to check out her art quilts.

So as soon as the ball winder got here, I had to try it. As you may remember, we were decorating with yarn for awhile, so I had some skeins ready to be wound. My "swift" was still at work, so I decided to just drop the skein over my forearm and wind, baby, wind.

This is what the literature majors call "Foreshadowing."

I'll spare you the grisly shots in the middle of the winding. Not that I could have taken any pictures, what with both hands and arms completely wrapped in wool. But at last, I reached Yarn Cake Nirvana:

Ta Da! That's purty. My sister says it stripes up in the sock like a watermelon. This is where she got the yarn and also where she is taking her first knitting class!! Yay! The virus is spreading...Maybe she'll start blogging too, and then we'll be sister knitbloggers!

Finally, before I fall asleep and bang my head on the computer: Actual Knitting Content (TM)

Now that it is actually getting colder, Slim is in need of a hat that fits his big head (No, really. 19-1/2 inches around, but mine is 23") with strings that keep him from pulling it off. I dug into some longtime stash and pulled out Brown Sheep Company's Lamb's Pride Worsted in Midnight Green and Limeade. The Limeade is a lot more subtle in the hat than I was expecting, but we'll see if the cords and these ridges to be added later make it stand out more.

I was going to work on it some tonight, but it's Bedtime for Bonzo. I've got to get some rest.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Goodbye, Truck

Slim is really into trucks now. Dump trucks, garbage trucks, fire trucks, pickup trucks. We call SUVs pickup trucks just to simplify things for him.

At 6:40 this morning, we said goodbye to the Cap'n's "truck."

Here's the Pathfinder and our Puppy Princess on Ocracoke last December. It was the first time we had returned to the island since we got married there in 2003.

The Nissan was our wedding and honeymoon vehicle. We loaded it down with everything we would need for a week of vacation, the wedding and the honeymoon. The poor puppy had just enough room to lay on top of the load in the back for the ride up to D.C., down the Outer Banks to Ocracoke and then up to Maine and back to NC (as it turned out). It's a long story.

We were going to honeymoon on the Outer Banks, but we ended up getting married between Tropical Storm Henry and Hurricane Isabel, which started rolling in the Sunday evening after our Saturday wedding. So we drove the 18 hours straight up to Liberty, Maine, where a friend let us stay at his house.

Our wedding day was the one sunny, gorgeous day in the whole week prior to the wedding. We got married on the beach under a huppah held up by our sisters. All our friends and familiy gathered close around us, and everyone got a kick out of the Cap'n pumping his fist in the air after the kiss.

Hurricane Isabel slammed the islands hard, making a new inlet on Hatteras Island, wiping out Route 12 in many places and completely cutting off Ocracoke, which is only accessible by ferry and small plane anyway. It hurt the economy there to the point where it was just starting to recover the 2005 season. But the island, and the people, are as wonderful as ever.

On the trip in December, we drove the Nissan on to the beach, which is where we got the picture. The second time we went out to the beach, we tried a new road, and when we came to a water crossing, I got nervous because it looked deep and fast. So the Cap'n backed up to try the main road again. Backed up right into a ditch, that is.

After hiking back to Rte. 12 and over to Howard's Pub, we spent the rest of the evening trying to find a tow. The one tow truck driver? He was off island. The park ranger with the tow rope? Still working on the ferry. The other guy with a tow rope? He might be back tonight. (We were due to leave the next morning.)

Finally, the waitress at Howard's says, "I think my mom can get you out." Her mom, the pub manager (?), took the Cap'n back to the Nissan with her 4x4 and made quick work of the tow. We celebrated with beer and dinner at Howard's that night.

The Nissan went with us on all of our journeys.

The Cap'n bought it in 1999, not long after we started dating. That was when I got to see the full extent of his negotiating skills. Let's just say I had to wait outside the dealership. But he did manage to get $500 knocked off the "Non Negotiable" price tag.

We strapped kayaks on top and went for our first vacation together in North Carolina right after we moved to Raleigh. We paddled near Cape Lookout and saw the wild ponies of Shackleford Banks.

We took the canoe with us and drove from NC to the Everglades for a paddle one year. We ended up getting lost in the mangroves and slept in the bottom of the canoe one night, both convinced (but not saying to each other) that one day we would float out of the swamp, nothing more than bleached bones in the bottom of the canoe. Yes, we can bring the drama.

When the Cap'n was living up here in D.C. and I was still in NC and pregnant, I drove the Nissan because my Honda had better gas mileage for his weekend commutes back home. I would jam to OutKast in the truck on the way to work every morning and feel the baby kick to the bass.

It was the truck we brought Slim home from the hospital in.

The Nissan didn't have air conditioning, so after a few short trips with a screaming, hot baby and all the windows rolled down, it just wasn't practical. We knew we needed a 4-door car with air conditioning, so the Orangemobile came home with us.

Besides, the snowy, salty winters in Akron had not been kind to the truck, and probably neither had the beach sand and salt. The rust had separated the body from the chassis, and with the potholes around D.C., you couldn't drive the truck without it sounding like it was going to separate in two. The mechanic insisted we give it away.

So that's how we ended up awake at 6 a.m., cleaning out the glove box and signing over the title to the towing company. It's a mitzvah for the D.C. Jewish Community Center, but there are plenty of other charities out there to choose from if you also have a vehicle to give away.

It was a security blanket for me, knowing the truck was there if I needed it. Especially while the Cap'n is at work. I think I've only "needed" a car 3 times in the last 4 months when the Cap'n had the Orangemobile, so there's always the Zipcar.

I got a little teary standing out there in the rain when the front end of the truck went up on the tow lift. I insisted on telling the tow truck driver about how the 1st and 2nd shifts are a little sticky, but they still work. And I forgot to mention how reverse is a real pain in the butt, but you just have to know how to handle it right.

Like I do.

Bye, truck.

Monday, October 02, 2006

October Opens Randomly

First off, a Happy Socktoberfest to you!

(I had to pick the beer stein sock button because I can't have any beer for another 5 months.)

I am working on a pair of chevron socks from Sensational Knitted Socks in a black/grey/white striped yarn, which I am too lazy to look up right now. I also have a Magic! Loop! pair on the needles in Claudia's Handpainted Caribbean Blue.

Sense a little sock ennui there?

It's actually kinda funny: Since I finished up my fastest pair of socks yet for Sock Wars, I immediately cast on for something not sock-y, thinking that I'm a little burned out on them. But I'm still cheering and rooting for handknit socks everywhere! Maybe I'll be inspired by others' socks to finish up one of the two pairs I've got going. I don't want to fall behind in my Sock-a-Month commitment.

Last night I started a hat for Slim, since it is getting colder and we can't seem to keep hats around here that fit him. I'm using Cabin Fever's Kids' Knitted Hats book that I got half price at Michael's a while back. I made a hat out of here for Slim before (my first Fair Isle project) and it turned out great, but way too big for him.

This one is a slipped stitch pattern, which I am modifying to knit from the top-down based on Lucia's awesome pattern calculator. I wanted to use up all of the yarn, and at the same time, I'm worried I may run out of one color. It's Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Midnight Green and Limeade that I've had in the stash almost since I started knitting last November. I originally bought it for the Alien Illusion scarf out of Stitch 'n' Bitch, only to realize I don't like illusion knitting all that much.

I did not knit on the hat at Yom Kippur services today, but committed KIP at the park this morning. It's actually an incredibly easy stitch pattern to do while walking.

But now to the actual randomness from the title of the post. Or "Things That I Want to Write Down Before I Forget."

1. Didn't you used to love how every Rocky & Bulwinkle episode had a second title?

2. The MPD officer who patrols around Eastern Market rides a Segway scooter. Do you and your significant other ever make up stories and back stories for just random people you see? The Cap'n and I do. We were killing ourselves laughing about Officer Segway (Segue) and about how he probably never finishes writing people tickets because he's off on another segue as soon as he starts. (Okay, our weird sense of humor is probably what attracted us to each other.)

3. I started to feel the baby move. Love those little flutters.

4. We tried to go to Philadelphia this weekend for the Cap'n's cousin's movie premiere. We ended up spending 6 hours in the car and not getting farther than Silver Spring, so we cut our losses and went home. This is what you get for trying to leave town at 3pm on a Friday.

5. Slim is still doing sign language and knows "more," "please," "thank you," and "bed" consistently. It tickles me to no end that he already has some manners.

6. Two packages are waiting for me at the post office. Aaiiiieee!

I know there are some more things, but they'll have to wait until I'm not tired and hungry. Progress photos on the hat tomorrow!