Sunday, January 31, 2016

I thought I'd run out of yarn

I dragged my butt on finishing the current pair of socks because I knew I would run out of yarn. I'd turned both heels & was midway down the first foot when I realized I was running out. I only had two balls of this particularly happy Kroy 4-ply yarn & running out made me really blue. Seriously blue. It's not that I don't have bits & pieces of other 4-ply yarns but I don't have anything close to working with these happy colors. And I wanted them for myself. I suppose it's the time of year & the gloomy weather that really paralyzed me when it came to finishing this particular pair of socks .  .  .  .  because it was really weird. I just let them lay. And then a couple of days ago I thought, Hell, I'll just knit them until the yarn runs out & rewind them into nice little flat bottomed cakes on my ball winding machine until I feel like making a smaller size. Seriously.

So I was knitting away last night just to get them off the needles while watching my favorite Saturday night line-up on the Knowledge Network, when the lightbulb came on. And I realized I might just be able to finish them with the existing yarn. It was going to be close. And I decided I could probably find something to finish the toe caps if I really had too, even if I had to combine two other yarns to do it. This is where I got to on the first sock when I decided I'd probably be able to finish them. WoooHoooo I ended up with less than a foot of yarn left over between them. And I have another pair of thick, 4ply, Kroy winter socks in a really fun colorway. And there's nothing better than that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One More Gloomy Blog

 This is the third time I've started this. Every time I read it, it's so gloomy that I don't want to publish it. It's the darkest, gloomiest, dampest, loneliest, brokest time of the year & One More Gloomy Blog Entry won't help anyone, including me.

And what is it that makes me Gloomy??? Perhaps it's the legacy from my highland Scottish ancestors. Maybe it's the hoarding tendencies inherited from my English great grandmother. Or maybe, it's surviving in a world of rapidly decreasing income & increasing cost of living. We're all a couple of paychecks away from being homeless in this country & it doesn't help to be reminded of it every time I read a paper. I guess I shouldn't whine, I have a bed, a roof & hot & cold running water. The toilet flushes. I'm warm & dry with the internet & 900+ audiobooks in my library. Is it just the mid-winter doldrums???? Maybe a week of warm, sunny weather & a sun-kissed nose would help??? Oh, and some of those rum drinks with the fruit & parasols in a coconut in my hand wouldn't hurt!!

Maybe it's just the lack of color at this time of the year. It's just so grey out there - even the greens are grey. Maybe its time to work with bright colors for a change. Was it the Neon Pink toes on that last pair of Frankensocks that did this????? I'd really like a slightly oversized sweatshirt with a lovely big collar instead of a hood to keep me warmer in my office. Something with a really bright yoke & a darkish bottom. Or maybe a tropical hat in Hot Pink & Orange?? Or maybe, GASP, a Stephen West scarf in wild colors??? Wow. What a thought. Now wouldn't that just brighten up the whole world???

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Some'in Some'in

I really meant to blog a while back but I got busy. I'm working on two courses for now - both are much too interesting to drop one in favor of the other - and I moved myself to a future date on the third. Whew. So much interesting stuff out there & they all start at the same time!!!! So, this month, I'm concentrating on my Gut & Chromosomes. LOL They are linked, believe it or not.

When not beating on the computer - yes, it's year-end time for a lot of small businesses AND year-end time for personal Income Tax too - I'm knitting socks again. I dug out all the bags & boxes that have sock leftovers in them and decided to make  Frankensocks out of all the leftovers. Not that I need any socks, mind you, but it's always wise to make socks when fingers don't mind making socks. And my fingers can't always make socks when they want - sometimes getting socks ON & tying shoes is about all I can manage. So, I'm making socks while I can.

I adore patterned yarns for socks. It may be that I'm just too lazy to work my own pattern. And solid colors are so dull & boring on their own. Call me crazy, with all those wild, patterned yarns out there, why not go for it???? So many patterns, so little time!!

Frankensocks are my favorite type of socks & so much fun to boot. Most of
my male friends have preferred Blues, women preferred Reds &  Pinks/Purples. I, well, I like them all. I've rarely had someone ask for a pair of Yellow or Orange socks although the 'Mexiko' colorway with it's Red/Yellow/Orange/Brown was very popular. And only once did I ever make myself a pair of socks in brown, it was a pattern called 'Africa' in shades of brown/tan/yellow - think of traditional African Mud Cloth prints. They are gorgeous & I love to wear them.
So, I finished my Blue Frankensocks. But, they were sooooo blue. I thought they needed a little some'in some'in & not just another dark blue toe neither. I asked the 20-something boys at my favorite truck stop cafe what they thought about Neon Pink. The boys said YES!! Today, I showed them off. They were arguing over who should get them while I ate lunch .  .  .  .

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Into the Void

The New Year is more than a week old & I'm in trouble already. Somehow, in a peak of madness perhaps, I signed on for THREE Coursera courses!!! This is not how I planned it at all. But, it seems, while trying to change my email address, I signed up twice under different email addresses. I have yet to figure out how to change my original address to the new one .  .  .  .   Coursera keeps referring me back to their Student Forums which don't address my problem at all. I'm sure I'll figure something out in the end even if I only cancel the second account & stay with the original address for now. I shouldn't expect too much from a free outfit since the local college, that cost me thousands, could never figure it out either. So, for now, I'll just have to defer one course to the next session for sure & try to finish two.

So, with most of my free time taken up with Genes & Microbes, I'm only working on my blue Frankensocks at the moment. I've turned the heel on one of them & just finishing the turning the other one. I would've been further along but I ran into a problem with the yarn. It may have been gnawed by bugs at some time in it's history but I haven't seen a thing in the bags & bins that I normally keep my yarns in. And the problem doesn't seem to be everywhere either. Just the occasional ball. And usually deep inside where the damage can't be seen. Second hand yarn from a hospital Thrift Store in one
case. A ball from a friend in another. Lovely expensive Alpaca from a yard sale in an exquisitely kept home. And two balls I know I bought from a shop in Vancouver years & years ago. 'Manly' yarn that sat around for eons in a zip-lock before I used it in a pair of socks for my Ex. The first time he washed the socks, one shredded. I thought at the time that he had splashed them with cleaning fluid or something with acid in it in the garage. But while kniting a little of the leftover yarn into my sock heel, it pulled apart as I knit   .    .    .  rip out part of a heel. Then I found a lovely dark blue remnant of another manly sock & IT broke in several spots!! It's very hard to repair a dropped stitch in a K1S1 heel flap when it's dark blue & it's dark outside. So, last evening, I re-knit & re-turned that very same heel for the THIRD time with new yarn. That's the LAST time I will knit dark blue/black heels on anything in the winter, at night. Time to find some bright blues to work with. And I tossed the damaged remains of the other two blue socks.

Oh, and did you know??? There's a new Scholarly study coming out this week on colds & rhinoviruses. You know how we've been treating sore throats & coughs with honey & lemon concoctions for ages??? Well, a new study suggests hot chocolate may be a better treatment. Why?? Well, it seems the chocolate is sticky & may better coat the irritated cells of the throat blocking the nerve sensors that trigger the cough. That's why.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The First Frankensock of the Year

I thought I'd start off the year with a bang & join a Sock-a-long with the Cabin Fever group. Socks are so much fun!! And I have the remains of hundreds of socks to prove it. Yes, Hundreds. One year, I tried to make a pair of socks every week for the whole year. I ended up knitting 54 pairs of socks that year!!! Mind you, a dozen of those pairs were infant socks but they had to have turned HEELS, so I do count them. But I did knit 42 pairs of Adult socks with turned heels that year as well. The infant socks went to a maternity clinic in a Refugee Camp & had to have heels to keep them from being kicked off by the infants. I don't think I knit anything other than socks that year!!!

While searching for something, I realized I had three full shopping bags & a box full of sock yarn remains. This represents the last 15 years of sock knitting so I shouldn't have been surprised. Since I group my remains into three color groups, Blues, Reds & Pinks/Purples, that makes a bag for each & a box for outsiders. Yes, there are some blacks, greys, browns & even a yellow or orange in there but most of them fall into the three groups. I use greys, black & brown as heels & toes or as solid stripes between wild colors sometimes just to tone them down but mostly everything else falls into my favorite groups. Some of the yarns have multiple colors but I tend to put them where the dominant or brightest color belongs. Makes life easier when putting all the colors into a sock!!

And what do I use for a pattern??? I have a generic pattern firmly embedded in my
brain. It's a cuff or top-down pattern with a K1S1 heel flap & gussets knitted on the side of the flap as I go. I just can't see to pick up those stitches along the side of the flap any more so I learned to add one stitch to each side of the flap every second row as I knit it. You can see the stitches added in the picture. Then I turn the heel the same way you do with a regular knitted flap & short row the gusset increases on each side back to the original number of stitches & carry on knitting the foot. I do a simple decrease on both sides every second row to 20 stitches & three needle bind-off the toe. I love this heel because it allows me to make it deeper or shallower by increasing or decreasing the gusset stitches. I learned early in my sock knitting career that I need a DEEP heel to prevent socks from crawling into my shoes as I walk. No afterthought or short row heel for me.

Friday, January 01, 2016