Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sock salvation

Another Christmas gift finished and done! This is the regular old sock pattern I love from The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. The yarn is Shelridge Soft Touch Heather I bought in Rhinebeck. They went super fast with the magic loop method (yay!) I did something weird on the first sock where the toe came out a little crooked but I don't think it's anything someone on a galloping horse would notice as they rode by...

This on the other hand was kind of startling...

The first time I chose to wear handknit socks this season a couple of weeks ago I chose to wear the Waterfall Rib socks I finished during the summer. Somehow I got this blow out on their very first wear and it just broke my heart. Who knows, maybe I had something in my shoe, maybe it's because my foot is still swollen from the surgery (yes... still...) but I almost fainted when I saw that big ugly hole staring back at me. So what to do? Learn how to darn socks of course! I found a pretty good tutorial here. After I read it through, I was like, ok I can do this. But like a lot of things in knitting it's totally different once you sit down and actually try it in real life.

Here is my sock with it's Hannibal Lecter like sewing thread grid. And notice my light bulb held inside since I don't have a darning egg, it says try a light bulb which I think is kind of funny, but it works. Looks pretty neat, like this should be a straightforward endeavor at this point right?

Yep, about as straightforward as mud. At this point I'm really fudging it, each time I try to pick up a stitch I'm like "Is that the right loop, is that a yarn or a thread? Or a piece of fuzz? Do I go around 2 pieces of thread or one?" As descriptive as the tutorial is there is the part about 'faking' a stitch. I think about halfway through the hole I finally had my aha moment and my work started to match what I had read online. Unfortunately by this time the shape of the stitches was getting a little 'creative.'

Nonetheless, I'm pretty happy with it. It's a pretty thick patch and I think it should hold for a good long time. I know it's not perfect but it is my first darn job and I think things will only improve from here. I know a lot of people don't bother to darn socks, they'd just rather knit another pair but I really kind of enjoyed this. The alternative, to only have worn these socks once and call it a day? I just wasn't ready to go with that...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What we're giving it for this year, big and small...

For the pie, the stuffing, the potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the turkey, the gravy- the carbs, the fat, the sugar, I love you, I love you, I love you.

For the fact that I have 2 feet and 2 legs that work without pain. With every step, several months later, I'm still glad I'm not on those crutches anymore.

For my husband who is constantly taking out the trash, doing the dishes in the sink, helping people with their coats and cheering me on, every step of the crazy holiday, usually before I even need to ask.

For my family and friends near and far, I'm never with them enough. The ones that are far away today or not with us anymore, today I will miss you like hell.

For a New York Jets Win. Please, please, please let it happen. Please.

For the money to pay the bills, put the food on the table, for the health to enjoy it. For living in a country where it's easy to feel safe, I have clean water, shelter, clothes. Hey, a lot of people in this world don't. A lot.

For the parade, the cheezier the better. I love it! The balloons, the broadway numbers, the songs where a million people dressed all the same do cheezy little dances. And Al Roker. Al, I love you. Call me, we'll celebrate the carbs, fat and sugar together...

For taking off my shoes, having the glass of wine, picking up the needles and watching tv at the end of the day after everyone has left.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Wherever you are and whatever you do I hope you are thankful and well fed and happy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm knitting and I'm breathing...

Even though my progress is just running smoothly along on these socks (thanks to Magic Loop!) I realized I still have an entire scarf to knit before Christmas! I'm not sure why but for me scarves always seem to take a long time so I figured I'd better get cracking and cast on this.

The pattern is called Fuchsia Lace Scarves by Fiber Trends. It's for my mom who very specifically requested an all white-6 inch wide-not overly thick or heavy scarf. (Specific right?) I have to admit working with the white yarn makes my inner high school goth girl reel. Half the time I just know I'm going to spill something on it or get it dirty somehow, the other half of the time I just think it looks like crap. But I know it does not look like crap, it is just something that I would personally never, ever, ever wear. It looks kind of flared out because after 2 repeats of the pattern it was so narrow and I was worried it looked really weird so I blocked what I had so far and it stayed to be six inches wide, and actually looked a lot better after blocking. So now I am tempting fate and by just taking what I blocked and kept on knitting on it. Hopefully once I block the whole completed thing it will stay a uniform 6 inches wide throughout, and the section I've already blocked won't expand further mysteriously or anything like that. Hopefully...

On a completely unrelated note I did something different today and took my first yoga class! It wasn't anything too fancy, just the basic class they offer at my gym but I really, really enjoyed it. And it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be! For the most part the poses aren't terribly complex but when you hold them for 2-3 slow breaths sometimes you really start to feel it. I've been back at my gym (since the foot surgery) for awhile now, I actually did my physical therapy there so I would be back in the habit of going when I was ready. Since this surgery I've realized when I've always exercised before I would always just knock myself out with the cardio and never did any strength training whatsoever. Dumb move. This is a good way to end up hurt and on crutches I now know. So I still do my cardio and I had one of the trainers set up a strength training program with the weight machines for me. And guess what? I am a total weakling! Kickboxing? Cycle classes? None of these have helped the fact that I can only lift 5 pounds with some of the upper body machines. Sheesh! So I think the yoga will be good because it does take strengh and focus and it really calms me too which is nice. Especially now that the holidays are here and I'm sensing that crazed, way too much to do and not enough time feeling creeping up on me ever so slowly. It was nice to take the yoga class today and breathe and just be calm, for at least part of my day!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Magically Delicious!

One more pair down, just 2 more to go. These are for my dad, the yarn is Louet Gems Fingering Weight in Charcoal. I'm pretty happy with them, I'm beginning to think Louet yarns are perfect. Really, I can't picture being unhappy with them ever. Even though I have to admit earlier this week the sock knitting was beginning to get well, nothing short of tedious. I have 7 people who want pairs of socks for Christmas this year. Do the math and that is 14 socks altogether. Yeesh. I know I started a while ago, but with 2 pairs still to go, I'm not exactly at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully this week I was snatched back from the fiery gates of sock knitting hell (oh how I hate to see the words knitting and hell so close to each other in a sentence!) because Tracy helped me learn to Magic Loop!

This is really fun for me because if I had my choice right now I'd love to be knitting a sweater. The weather has finally turned colder here and it seems everywhere I look there are these amazing sweaters being knit or that I want to knit. Chris in my knitting group is knitting the Radiance Cabled Jacket from Webs and it is gorgeous! And I keep feeling the pretty, thick tweedy yarn in my stash wishing I was clicking away on a warm, hefty sweater rather than all these silly little socks on their silly little dinky bamboo dpns. Magic Loop feeds my delusion of sweater knitting just a tad since it's on circulars, I know it's a delusion but it might be enough to finally get through these Christmas socks. (We saw Lars and The Real Girl last night. I have the feeling delusion is going to be my new word for awhile...)

And in reality of course there are a lot of other cool pluses about Magic Loop. Beyond the 'your needles won't fall out and get lost' benefit because that was never a problem for me, I probably carry my knittting more carefully than I carry my wallet most of the time. Instead, the big thing I'm really enjoying is the absolute, complete lack of ladders. Not that the ladders killed me, I had made my peace with them long ago, and they were never huge for me-but they were there. But now with this method it's so much easier to eliminate ladders because when you go to start on the next needle you're tightening the yarn around the cable instead of just another needle and it's much easier to tighten the fabric.

I thought maybe I could make this point with this photo above-does it any make sense? On dpns when you try to avoid ladders by pulling the new yarn tight to start the first stitch of a new needle you are only tightening the yarn on the last stitch around the previous needle. With Magic Loop you are actually pulling the yarn tight around the cable which has a much smaller circumference than a needle. The result is less yarn between the last stitch of the last needle and the first stitch of the first one and therefore no ladders! Brilliant! I love it!

I swear I'm totally pulling the fabric tight in that photo too. Isn't that cool? It makes me feel smart like the guys from my new favorite show.

Ok, I know as far as shows go The Big Bang Theory isn't that good, it is very corny sit-com-y but I still can't help but love those characters. Especially Sheldon, I adore him. While I lack the actual hardcore math science knowledge of these true nerds, they possess a geekery I completely envy and probably would totally crush on if they ever existed in real life. That and the novelty t-shirts, sci-fi references and video game obsessions just get me every week.