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Ms. Knits: March 2006

Wednesday, March 29

Why a scale is sometimes a good thing

On Sunday, I finished the first of the Sockapaloooza socks. I was hoping (unrealistically) to get two socks out of one skein of the Opal Louet Gems yarn - after all, in the latest issue of Interweave Knits, the lacy anklet pattern only uses one skein for a pair of socks! Nevermind that these aren't anklets, aren't really lacy, and most importantly, are about two sizes bigger than the Interweave pattern. Ah, optimism - one day it will be my downfall.

Fortunately I was able to determine that I was running short on yarn before I started the second sock. Read it and weep:

Yeah, I was a little off on my yarn estimate! Thankfully I was able to get another skein of the same yarn to start sock #2. I'm hoping to be done with it by the weekend.

There's another sewing project on deck too - Amy Butler's Weekender Travel Bag. I wasn't able to find her Sunbloom fabric anywhere, but a local quilting store carries some of her Charm line, so I'm using a lighter weight cotton with heavier interfacing. Hopefully it will work!

I also got Amy's Madison bag pattern - it reminds me of the Zelda knitting bag, which I adore but can't bring myself to buy. So, I'll make one instead!

Keep those blog name suggestions coming! I've abandoned the Domestic Adventures idea ("sounds like a parenting blog" "sounds kind of kinky" "I just hate that name"), and have gotten some other great names. Get your entry in by Friday for a chance to win some yarn!

Tuesday, March 28

Help Wanted! Yarn Reward!

Blogging is really no fun when your blog host is always having issues, you can't upload pictures, and you have to hit the publish post button approximately 43 times before the post really does upload. I'm FED UP with Blogger!

So, here's the deal... I've been messing around with WordPress a bit, and am ready to move to a different site. But, I also plan to change the theme of my blog a bit. I've been doing slightly less knitting lately, and more of other crafty/domestic projects, like sewing, cooking, and home decorating, and come spring, I'll also be doing some gardening.

This is where I need your help - I need a new blog name that is more suitable for including all of my hobbies, preferably something with an available .com or .net URL. After hours of thinking about it, I was only able to come up with one name that I kind of like: Domestic Adventures.

I'd like your input on the name, so I'm having a little contest. Here's what you have to do:

By 5pm PST on Friday, March 31, Send me an e-mail with:

1. A new and improved blog name for me


2. A note telling me whether you love or hate the name "Domestic Adventures"

On Friday night, I will choose a blog name. If I pick your suggested name, I'll be sending you some sock yarn! If I decide to use my own suggestion based on the comments, I'll pick a random person from all those who sent e-mails to receive the yarn. Got it? Good!

Thursday, March 23

A picture of my skirt

As requested by Lynette... a modeled picture of the skirt I sewed.

I'm pretty pleased overall with how the skirt turned out. I learned a few new things, including how to do an invisible zipper, lining, and an invisible hem with my sewing machine. I'm not super excited about the fabric, but it is very professional looking. It will be great for the 3 times a year I have to dress up at work. :)

I also created an invisible zipper tutorial for Sew I Knit, which I'm going to post here as well. You know, just in case any of you knitters decide to take up sewing, and need to learn how to sew an invisible zipper!

Monday, March 20

The sock gets a new heel and goes to an airshow

First, the new and improved short row heel for the sockapaloooza sock:

Yes, the flap heel has been frogged. In its place, a new, more proportional short row heel. Not only does this heel look better, I have a feeling it will fit better too.

The sock had quite an adventurous weekend as well. Most of the heel/foot knitting was done in the car on Saturday, as we were sitting in traffic trying to get to the California Capital Airshow. It took us an hour and a half to go about 2 miles! Finally, we gave up, and postponed our trip to the airshow until Sunday. Having learned our lesson, we took the light rail and bus on Sunday. Much easier than fighting traffic!

The sock (and I) got to see some pretty cool planes. Very little knitting got done at the airshow though. I was too busy marveling at the performances and all the amazing aircraft. Between Todd and I, we ended up with over 400 pictures from the airshow... a few of my favorites are below.

The sock and a fighter jet

The sock and a WW2 war bird

A war bird in flight

A biplane

Simulated Blackhawk rescue

The Blue Angels

A C5 Galaxy cargo plane - this thing is HUGE!

Friday, March 17

Attack of the monster heel!

The Sockapaloooza sock knitting has begun! The socks are the Elongated Corded Rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, knit with Louet Gems Opal in a pretty sky blue color.

[FYI - SKS is a wonderful book with dozens of neat sock patterns that will work for almost any yarn gauge, color (solid/stripe/variegated), sock knitting technique (4 or 5 DPN, 2 circs, magic loop), and foot size.]

The only problem is the heel of the sock... is it just me or is this an unnaturally large heel? To give you an idea of the actual sock size, the dpns are about 8 inches long.

I realize that the ribbing pulls in quite a bit on the leg and the foot of the sock, so that may be affecting the scale of things a little, but the heel just looks completely out of proportion to the rest of the sock right now. I don't quite understand, because my gauge is right on, and I've followed the pattern exactly. But the heel just looks enormous and out of place to me. Unfortunately, my sock pal's feet are a couple of sizes larger than my feet, so I can't get a good idea of how these will fit her by trying them on myself. The sock isn't overly huge on me, and the ribbing allows for a little leeway in fit, but I'm still worried that my pal will end up with baggy heeled socks. Not good!

I'm debating whether I should rip the heel and use a short row heel instead. If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, please let me know!

I'm really enjoying this pattern. I love how the ribbing looks when it is slightly stretched, and I'm hoping that because the ribbing is stretchy it will fit the recipient perfectly. This is also a very simple stitch pattern - a 4 stitch, 8 row repeat, and only two of the eight rows deviate from 2x2 ribbing. Total mindless knitting, yet still quite pretty! Love it!

The most difficult part of the sock so far was picking up stitches around the heel flap. You can see in the top picture that there is a 3-st garter stitch border on the heel flap. I had a bit of a tough time figuring out how to pick up stitches on the edge of the garter stitch. If you do it wrong, you end up with big gaping holes at the edge of the heel flap! My heel flap preference is a slipped stitch edging, which makes it much easier to know where to pick up the stitches, and is virtually hole-proof.

Monday, March 13

In a funk...

I thought that once I was done with school and back into a regular routine, I'd be able to post a little more regularly. So far, that hasn't been the case though. I'm having a hard time adjusting to "real life" - I feel like I have 3 1/2 years of life to catch up on, including projects around the house, hobbies, friends, and generally relaxing.

So far my catching up has mostly included catching up on sleep, TV shows, and housework. I've also taken up a new-old hobby -- sewing! I sewed a lot of my own clothes when I was a teenager, but hadn't touched my sewing machine for years until about a week ago. Thanks to Sew-I-Knit, I've rediscovered my very first fiber obsession, and have a brand new skirt to show for it.

McCall's 3341, View C
Fully lined, with an invisible zipper and invisible hem

There hasn't been a lot of knitting around here lately, but I'll save what little there has been for another post.

Sunday, March 5

Life before knitting

Anyone else notice that their life has changed since they started knitting?

The thing that I've noticed most is that my shopping style has changed significantly. I am a shopper. I love clothes, and I love shopping for clothes. A typical before-knitting shopping trip would go something like this: Go to the mall. Stop at Macy's, Nordstroms, Ann Taylor, Gap, Banana Republic, etc. Adore the cute clothes. Try on said clothes. Maybe buy a few things (or, more than a few!).

Since I began to knit, my shopping trips have been reduced significantly in both frequency and scope. Even more interestingly, the way I shop has changed. I no longer browse idly through the stores. Now, I make a beeline for the sweaters and look at the style, the shaping, the construction, and the yarn.

Case in point: I recently went to the Eddie Bauer outlet store with Todd. He had some things he wanted to get, and I didn't even bother looking at the women's clothing. Instead, a sweater on the sale rack in the men's section caught my eye. The yarn looked soft and comfy and tweedy. I envisioned the sweater becoming a different sweater - a sweater for me! A cabled sweater, perhaps my own design. (hey, a girl can dream!) So, I bought the sweater JUST FOR THE YARN. Is that wrong? For $10, I got enough yarn for a sweater, or maybe two.

Today, I started frogging the sweater. This is only the back of it... I still need to finish the front and sleeves.

Thankfully, I had a couple of new tools to help me out. Check out my brand-spanking new homemade niddy-noddys...

These were super easy to make - just buy a 1 1/8" dowel and a 1/2" dowel, cut the dowels to whatever length you want, and drill 1/2" holes in either end of the thick dowel and slide the smaller dowels through.

Friday, March 3

Post-Vacation update

Day 1 - Arrive at the Village at Squaw. It's starting to snow! Woohoo! Wait a minute... it's starting to rain. Yuck. Well, at least we're in the mountains. It will definitely snow tonight, and we'll have great snow for skiing.

View from the balcony

Day 2 - It's still raining. #*&@ rain! I thought we were in the mountains. You can't ski in the rain. Grrr. Good thing I brought my knitting.

Day 3 - Finally, glorious snow! But the winds are gusting at 100mph over the ridges and most of the mountain is closed. Off to Homewood, where the winds are (supposedly) not as bad. The slopes aren't groomed, and we end up skiing in a foot or more of "sierra cement" - heavy, wet snow. After two runs, our legs hurt so much that we decided to call it a day.

How are you supposed to turn in this stuff?

Day 4 - A perfect, beautiful day on the mountain. The first day on this vacation that I didn't knit a stitch.

A gorgeous mountain morning

At the top of the Gold Coast lift

Day 5 - Must. Ski. More. Crappy weather again, but the lifts are running, so we head up the mountain to get in a few more runs.

Day 6 - Time to head back to reality. I did manage to get some knitting done on this trip during all of the crappy weather... a bit more of Salina (no pictures - it looks the same as before, only longer!), and part of a Jaywalker for me.

An almost Jaywalker