Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Soggy Saturday in Suburbia

So, here I am, in the wilds of Surrey - Vancouver burbs to you foreigners - on the Wet Coast, wondering why I feel so crappy. Could it be the damp greyness out there??? The Spider Plant has been outside on the patio for over a
week now & is happily producing baby spiders! I think he thinks it's Spring. But my Basement is cold, dark & damp & I just want to be outside in shorts again. It's very much wool weather no matter what the Spider Plant thinks so maybe I need to get started on those gloves instead . . .

Socks #3 are on the needles! They're in the 'Nations' series by Regia. I thought it was 'Flags' but I was mistaken. Doesn't matter though, it's still the same orange/purple etc etc that I reported before.
Since both sets of my favorite 2.25mm steel needles were in the toes of my second pair of socks when I decided to start the ribbing on #3, I dug out my new Harmony circs - they're those lovely wooden needles Knit Picks has created. I just love the colors!! Anyhoo - started the ribbing on two circs which is NOT my favorite way to knit socks - I find two circs much slower to work with BUT the stitches don't fall off when you're packing the work around stuffed in your purse or down the side of your knitting bag. Part way through the first ribbing, my new Harmony DPs arrive!! Yeah, baby!! So I started the second sock on the new DPs. They're a little short for me - ouch, I'm just a glutton for punishment! With practice, I think I can get used to them, although, I hate to say it, I really do prefer my steel needles, the Brittany Birches or my all time favs, the bamboo skewers! Trust me here - if those bamboo skewers came just a little smaller in diameter, I'd be knitting on them!!!! I DO prefer the Harmony circs for patterned or lace socks though. I find it's easier to keep track of pattern repeats on TWO needles rather than three.

So, halfway through the second ribbing
I realize something is wro
ng. The needles & the circs looked to be the same size but it turns out that they aren't. My new DPs are 2mm or size 0 while the circs are 2.25mm & size 1. Grrrrrrrr All those little stitches!!! Both socks are now on the new DPs. I notice the difference more when working with them since I'm used to knitting on 2.25 or 2.50mm needles that are at least 2 INCHES longer than these cute little wooden needles!! Imagine me with the shorter ones I bought the first time around!!! Gotta say though, this is tough & my left wrist aches like stink. My left hand is not happy with little short things yet. Funny, I just thought I wrenched the wrist in November when I fell! But, I guess the wrist bone is connected to the knitting bones . . . .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Off Like a Turd of Hurdles

I made some Resolutions er, guide lines for the coming year. I thought if I actually wrote them down & published them on the blog that some of them might get done. Number one was to knit for ME for a change. Well, I've been doing just that. I decided that a few of my socks were looking definitely scruffy & I put a toe through the end of one sock!! Am I going to darn it?? Nope. I'm not going to rip the toe off & knit another, neither. They were one of the first pairs of socks I made mys
elf when I left the Ex 13 or 14 years ago . . . I knit a red pair & a blue pair in Trekking, bought ON LINE from Red Bird Knits!! Back when I knit those socks, the only yarn shop around was down on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver!! I've worn both of those pairs of socks at least once every TWO weeks since. When I first knit them, I wore them every second day until I had a week's worth of socks! I think it's time they retired.

I've finished the second pair of my 2011 socks! I actually finished them a c
ouple of days ago but haven't had the time to get them photographed! Today you get to see them. This is Regia yarn in Saturn, of the Planets series. I don't see any Planets but I guess the streaks & blobs remind someone of the rings of Saturn. What the hell - they'll wear well & they ARE colorful & soft. And they aren't purple or pink, for a change!

The next pair of so
cks are not for me - yeah, they're already on the needles - they're for a Motorcycling Mama who admired a pair I knit up for another Motorcycle Mama who's an Instructor at Action Motorcycle School. Diane's a terrific gal & I knit them up as a surprise for her summer ride to Saskatchewan with the Girls. I had another couple of balls in the same orange/blue/yellow/purple colorway for a friend of hers who really, really admired them. I have no idea why bought 4 balls in THIS colorway! What was I thinking??? It's Regia again - good quality - in the FLAGS series. Damned if I know who has a flag with all these colors but I'll bet it's in Africa!

My next project is not going to be socks. Surprise, surprise! I keep admiring the gloves my friend Gail has. They're knit out of sock yarn leftovers & she wears them all the time. I haven't been able to snag them when she isn't looking because she keeps them in her purse when they're not on her hands . . . . So, I have no recourse,
I guess I have to knit my own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Morning Hiding Out

Yup, I'm hiding out. I'm overwhelmed with data entry these days. With the year coming to an end, there's all that Year End stuff to be done for a number of people who show up with boxes & bags of paper at the last minute. There's WCB - Worker's Compensation to those who don't know - reports to file, Tax slips to file for employees, Tax slips to file for Contractors & did I mention year ends???? And then there's the Taxman calling about stuff that was filed by Someone Else several years ago that I know nothing about. And another Taxman calling about late payments. And yet another Taxman calling about forms that need to be filed for a person I haven't seen in several years - who's gonna pay me?? Today, I don't care. Today I will take the current sock-in-progress & hide out with the morning paper, my favorite cup & my new iPod mini with Anna Pidgeon in Colorado(Nevada Barr's Park Ranger Series). Today, I don't care about your year end or your late payments. Put on your Big Boy Underoos honey & take care of it yourself! Cause I'm goin' knittin'!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Here we go again

This is NOT what 3 to 5cm looks like!! The radio & TV were yapping for two days about the snow storm coming in. Only 3 to 5 centimeters were to fall on the Lower Mainland & turn to rain immediately. Yeah right, an inch or two overnight to turn to rain. Well, it
wasn't 3 to 5, maybe 15 to 30 instead. I stuck a ruler in the snow at 3:15AM last night & it was OVER 6 inches by then. That's 15cms by my calculation & it was still snowing!! Too bad it was too dark for my little camera!!! Today at 11:30 I took this picture from my home office window. I figure I've got 4 - 6 inches of slop out there although my client, a couple of miles away, says he has almost a foot & told his employees to stay home today! It's now above freezing and there's a lot of dripping going on out there so I guess, in my part of the Lower Mainland, we're going to be traveling through at least 6 inches of Slurpee once again . . . I hope it doesn't freeze tonight! Apparently we're still under a snow & rain warning!! It's pretty but puleeze come & wash it all away!!! I'm beginning to think that barnyard gumboots - wellies to you Brits - are about to become a fashion statement this Spring.

New Year Socks #2 are on the needles - you didn't think I was going to use a whole Blog to grouse about the weather did you??? I just had to get it out of my system!! I am working in REGIA again in
Galaxy, Saturn. I'm not sure I've seen anything else in the Galaxy series & was hoping to find Jupiter or Mars in my collection, but I seem to only have this one colorway. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I knit it up but I sure don't see Saturn anywhere!! Course, it could just be me. Or maybe, these are Saturn colors?? I dunno. I liked the colors so it probably won't matter in the end. Since I'm only starting the heel shaping - yes, Virginia, this is the beginning of the Queen Kahuna heel! I make the heel flap & the gussets all in one by increasing on either side of the heel flap every second round as I knit. No more picking up stitches that I can't see. I love this heel. Maybe, as I knit the foot, I'll get a Saturn!! REGIA makes a good product & I have yet to have any holes develop in any of the socks I've made out of Regia!

And speaking of Regia, I was looking at a very interesting pattern in the new Knit Kimono Too book I bought myself for Christmas. Funny thing happened. I had a Brain Fart & started imagining it in Regia sock yarn . . . in MY Very Large size! I found myself calculating how much yarn I'd need to make it. Considering that I made 47 pairs of socks AND finished the Ginny in one year, I should be able to handle it. Then I started calculating how much that much sock yarn would cost . . .

Monday, January 10, 2011

The First Socks of the Year!

TA DA! They're done! At last! Let's see, that's about 10 days or so . . . And the second pair have been cast on in the REGIA Planets series. I am working with Saturn. Apparently, Saturn shaped objects are supposed to appear when you knit. We'll see . . .

It's trying very hard out there to SNOW
. Pretty little flakes drift down occasionally & then stop. And then start again. I guess I should get my butt out of the office, get dressed & get something constructive done. Ham & Navy Bean soup in the slow cooker today & two corporate tax returns on the menu. Blahhhhhhh

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The New Year

It's been a horribly busy first week of January! I've been wearing my fingers to the bone with data entry by the DAY so I've had little time to work on my new socks. But, I have squeezed in a little here & there - mostly late evening. I found VISION TV on channel 119 with a show called "Doc Martin". Thinking it was the series about the haughty London surgeon who developed a blood phobia & became a GP in a small English fishing town that has been running on KNOWLEDGE & PBS, I tuned in with my knitting in hand. It turned out to be a TWO hour show with the same actor - Martin Clunes - as a Big City doctor who runs away from a philandering wife - he finds out that all THREE of his friends have been involved with her while out at dinner with them!! He arrives in the small Cornish Village in an expensive business suit, covered in mud with no shoes after driving his car off the road! He lodges at the pub & becomes involved in the goings-on of a small seaside village. There's a blackmailer sending messages in jelly molds, a crazy doctor & a dope smoking fisherman who's feuding with his crew. Our doc goes fishing in an effort to get cell phone reception & stays. I got a little knitting done between bouts of laughter!! Found episode TWO the following night where our Doc get divorced, finds a job & becomes involved with witches & smugglers in the attempt to secure the ancient farmhouse he wants to buy. I LOVE this series & hope to knit many more socks while laughing at it's crazy antics. And as you can see, I'm just about ready for the toe shaping with my new socks!

At noon, the sun was shining, the sky was blue so I put my poor Spider plant back outside to get some rays. My basement is very dark in the winter so houseplants don't do very well inside. I had it out yesterday for a while but it got cold again. So, it's out in the sunshine when all of a sudden I hear tapping against the window. Thinking it was that damned grey squirrel peering in for a handout, I look out to see this huge black cloud & hail just pouring down! Then snow. Then hail again. I had to run out & rescue the Spider & bring it back in. Enough snow & hail fell in 15 or so minutes to coat everything, road, car, roof & lawn!! And now I see blue sky peeping through once more. I guess it's going to be one of THOSE days . . .

I bought myself a Christmas present - I couldn't resist the free shipping - I got the second Knit Kimonos book, Knit Kimonos Too. As usual, the cover Kimono cau
ght my eye & I had to have the pattern!! The free shipping & terrific price didn't hurt neither!! I had the yarn out to knit a pattern from the first book - after socks - when I saw the second book advertised. I just love the simple kimono patterns & have been planning to knit myself one for ages. Yeah, I know, I have the purple Kyler's Kardigan to finish but it's still too heavy for my wrist to work with since it's knit in one piece from the top down - not that I wouldn't love to WEAR it right now!!!! I've swatched some of the Kimono stitch patterns in various yarns. I even did a swatch in the Arvik handspun yarn. But most of the designs in the first book call for heavier yarns than I have, except the Briggs & Little yarn, which is too heavy! The new book is different, the designs are for finer yarns. It hasn't arrived yet but I'm hoping for Monday! I have some lovely, light, hot pink/deep plum yarn which might just work out very well until I can work on the Kyler's Kardigan again.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Presenting . . .

The first sock of the year!
It's Regia Design Line, Exotic Pool by Kaffe Fassett. As soon as I was able, I cast off the damned splint & started knitting socks. It's my standard plain med/large sock pattern, cast on 69 stitches(first & last knit together), K2P2 ribbing with the Queen Kahuna heel on 33 sts & 13 gusset increases on either side of the K1,S1 heel which I carry under the entire heel so that it's extra cushy.

I taught myself - with plenty of phone help from Gail - the Queen Kahuna heel because it got to the point where I couldn't see to pick up those flap stitches unless I was 1) Outside at Noon or 2) Under a Really Bright Light!
In self defense, I learned this new way to do my heels. For those who don't know the Queen's heel, the flap is made the same old way but instead of picking up the stitches AFTER you knit the flap, you knit them as gusset stitches on either side of the flap as you're making it - you M1 on either side of the flap stitch markers every second row. The heel is then short rowed as usual.

To be quite frank, I like the Queen's heel better than the old flap! It was worth the pain even though I did throw the knitting on the floor a couple of times & kick that book across the room!! The instructions were difficult to read & I admit it took THREE pairs of socks before the light bulb came on & all the Cherries fell into place. Now I can do it in my sleep with the lights OFF. I also do try to do the two circ method - best for any lace patterned socks, in my opinion - but I still knit faster & more easily on four DPs. My wrist is still a little sore so I've been using circs when my arm starts to ache which is why you see both in the picture.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Year

It doesn't seem much different than yesterday except for the crowds. I went to work yesterday & tried to visit Starbucks on the way - heh, gotta use some of that Christmas loot!! Left turns were terrible!!! Even at intersections with left turn lights, left turns were terrible! Suburban streets were bare of traffic but intersections around malls were backed up for blocks. People were running red lights, ignoring left turn signals, gesturing, screaming & just out for blood yesterday. Apparently it was the End of The Year Dash for Alcohol. There were no parking spots to be had or seats to be had either. My local Starbucks is in between two liquour stores. So I just went to work!

All was not lost though. I'm working in the home office of an old client trying to get a year's worth of stuff on the computer before the end of February. I'm supplied with tea & space to work in the downstairs office so I can come & go as I please. In the downstairs bathroom is the most delicious Vanilla Bean hand soap - I make sure to use it when I arrive & before I leave because it smells so good!! Yesterday, I asked the wife where she bought it & ended up with a huge basket of Vanilla Bean goodies to take home. Apparently it's in the downstairs bathroom because SHE doesn't like Vanilla Bean! Holy crap. He he he - what a score!!! Vanilla is one of my favorite scents but I prefer the deep dark rich warm Vanilla Bean to the light sweet French Vanilla. Although I don't get there often enough, the Body Shop scented oils in Vanilla, Mango & Papaya are my all time favorites.

To celebrate the start of a New Year, I made a few Resolutions. These are not things I do very often because Resolutions made at this time of year are usually kicked into the trash before the Christmas wrapping paper. Money talks, bullshit walks!!! This year,
I made a few Practical Resolutions.
Resolution One - I resolve to knit for myself this year!
Yeah, yeah, I know I knit socks & washcloths for myself all the time but have I finished a sweater lately??? Or a pillow? Or an afghan?? Do I need to go on???
Resolution Two - I resolve to clear out ALL the Trash.
I HAVE been taking out a bag a week each & every week since November. I can almost see ALL my kitchen floor & living room carpet. I found two more boxes under all the stuff I've already sorted, tossed or given away which I think belong to the BT. They obviously got deposited in the corner when he moved out of his condo SIX YEARS ago. I haven't opened them yet but they're going next. Then, maybe I can finally move the big ugly leather couch he stuck in my living room at the same time & failed to take when he moved 3.5 years ago. It will definitely go to the dump this year. Early this year.
Resolution Three - I will get a nice big poufy upholstered recliner with pockets, side table, massage, backscratcher & optional heating to take the place of the big ugly low leather couch I never used that took up a third of the space in my living room & just collected junk!!
Resolution Four - I will spend more time on ME. I will walk more even if it's only to Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home CDs. I will take another course or two. I will eat even more fruit, veggies, whole grains & beans. I will take the Luminosity program to improve my Brain. I will dust off the Serger & make some pants that actually fit!
Resolution Five - I won't forget to knit for Charity. Because Charity begins at Home, I will continue to make hoodies for Lynne at Knitopia so she can load up the Loving Spoonful's family hampers.