May 30, 2012

let the games begin!

For several years, I have been going to county fairs and the (now defunct) state fair, looked at all the pretty knitted stuff and the ribbons, and faithfully promised that next year I will enter something! For several years, I have failed/forgotten to do so. This year, I’m more on top of things. Not totally on top, just more. I have actually been thinking a lot since the start of the year about what I might enter. Socks, obviously, but which patterns/yarn specifically. I never came up with anything, but at least it was on my mind, right?

Well, I finally looked up what all needs to happen to enter this past weekend (and a good thing I did, as one of the deadlines is this week! Told you I wasn’t totally on top of things…), and started making a plan. I am entering into three different county fairs (my own county doesn’t have one, because it is lame, so I’m going with the three surrounding counties), and two (possibly three) community fairs. For several of them I should be able to enter the same things. Unfortunately, a few of them overlap, meaning I would not get my entries back in time to send on to the next one, so I need more projects (husband, I see you shaking your head at me!). I also decided (today) that I am going to enter something into the State Fair of Texas. Once upon a time I lived there and have a love affair with their state fair (damn, I could be a rapper!), and since my own state no longer has a state fair (shakes fist at lawmakers), it seems right to go with Texas.

(the other reason I love fairs - CUTE AMINALS!)

So you may be asking why I am entering a bajillion fairs instead of just one or two. I am sure that part of it is that I plan my knitting like I order sushi: my eyes are bigger than my stomach, so I order enough to feed a family of four (and then force myself to eat it all, for leaving fallen sushi-soldiers is just plain wrong), which in this case translates into getting as excited as a four year old on 30 pixie stix and planning to do way more than I am capable of. But when it comes down to it, the answer is simple: ribbons. I want them.

I know I should be all “oh, it’s such a joy to share my knitting with other” (it is), and “I hope to inspire others” (I do), or "oh, it's so great to be a part of the community" (sure is), but really, I am a competitive bitch who loves to WIN. So I am entering in as many fairs as I can to maximize my chance of “making it rain” with ribbons. I'll let you know how it goes!

May 24, 2012

a slew of socks

I was listening to a slightly outdated episode of The SavvyGirls Podcast on my way to work where Deborah discussed how much she hates knitting socks, in particular the dreaded SSS. For those of you unfamiliar with SSS, it stands for Second Sock Syndrome and basically refers to the unwillingness many knitters feel when faced with knitting the same damn thing they just finished knitting. I am often prone to this awful affliction and end up with five sad and lonely single socks to prove it. Anyway, as Deborah was sharing her dislike of sock knitting, I (rather loudly) exclaimed “ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?!” Keep in mind that I had had about 32 ounces of coffee at this time (side note: I lurve my new 32oz Biggby “grab it 2 go” mug! Finally an appropriately sized reusable mug!).

I just don’t understand not loving knitting socks. I mean, I can understand it not being a primary love (some people don’t mind purling, I guess, and so adore knitting lace), but to just flat out not want to do it?! Nevermind that handknit socks are so very comfy, sock yarn is soooooo pretty! And there are so very many beautiful patterns to choose from! My ravelry queue is FILLED with gorgeous sock patterns! How can a knitter not want to knit them ALL?!  

Once upon a time, I had never knitted a sock. I watched friends knitting in class (as in, grad school), working on their socks with those tiny needles, somehow not drawing blood, and I yearned to be “that knitter”. There was nothing cooler in my eye than being a sock knitter. I so wanted to do it, but was deathly afraid of those fiddly little things, especially when these ├╝bercool sock knitters casually tossed out words like “heel turn,” “gusset” and “gauge.” My dear friend/enabler pookiebb, after spending quality time taunting me with her beautiful socks (which at this point was the equivalent of swinging a t-bone in front of a starving lion), finally convinced me to grab those proverbial bull testicles. I never looked back. Clearly. 

Knitty gritty: Schaefer Yarn Company Heather in Agatha Christie
Size US 1.5
Plain stockinette with slipped stitch heel, CO 72
I have a love/hate relationship with this yarn. It’s really beautiful and feels really nice on my feet, but I hate silk (even a small amount) on my fingers when I knit. It feels like rubbing my hands on a chalkboard, and just typing that caused shivers to run up and down my spine. This is project #1 of my Agatha Christie knitting adventure.

  Knitty gritty: WM 80/20 in Madame Souris
Size US 1.5 for cuff, size US 0 for foot

I absolutely adore these socks. The stitch pattern is elegant, yet easier than husband after a few beers. Also, they fit like a glove! I may try switching to a smaller needle for the foot on future socks… These were for the I love Wollmeise KAL in the wollmeiseholics group.

Knitty Gritty: Grant Creek Yarns Glimmer in Northern Lights
Size US 1.5
Kai-Mei by Cookie A.

Sweet butter on toast, these are stunners. A gift for the fabulous Heidi (dyer of Grant Creek Yarns), these hit the trifecta of perfect sock kitting: perfect pattern, perfect yarn, perfect fit.

Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Strychnine in Birdhouse in your soul
Size US 1.5 
Plain stockinette w/afterthought heel, CO 72
Nothing much to say here. These were in my WIP pile for a while, as during the fall the colors are too close to U of Michigan colors for me to feel comfortable working on them.

Knitty Gritty: Grant Creek Yarns Glimmer in Electric Bungalow!
Size US 1.5 for first 2/3 of leg, size 1 for the rest
Wedge by Cookie A., size XL
Remember Electric Bungalow? After trying out five different patterns and having none of them come close to showcasing the full glory of this yarn, I finally tried out Wedge. These may be the coziest socks I own. They also went FAST. This pattern is so interesting (without being mind-numbing) that you’re finished before you know it! I will probably knit it again when I have a variegated yarn I don’t know what to do with.

Knitty Gritty: Grant Creek Yarns Cushy Merino/Nylon 2-ply
Size US 1 needles
Tea and Scandal Socks by verybusymonkey
Yet another pair of socks knit in Heidi’s simply fantastic yarn. The color is incredible, as usual, and the base is really enjoyable to work with - squooshy with great stitch definition. I specifically chose this color as it looked like blood mixed with tea (the pattern being inspired by Miss Marple). This is #2 in my Agatha Christie knitting adventure. I followed the pattern exactly, and those of you with sharp eyes will perhaps figure out that there is no way even in frozen-over hell that these fit me.

I’ll save my socks still on the needles for the next post! Maybe soon I’ll be caught up! Happy knitting :) 

May 22, 2012

I’m Baaaaack

Ah, the unscheduled blog hiatus. It happens to everyone (right?). Some time-munching event comes along that keeps you from writing for a bit of time, and then that bit of time turns into a chunk because jumping back in becomes more and more difficult as each day goes by. All of a sudden, you have 40 projects to discuss, and it just becomes so much more preferable to loaf on the couch, watching CSI reruns and knitting (or surfing rav) than dealing with updating that damn blog.

What was my time-munching event, you ask? We bought a house! Then we moved into said house! Then we unpacked (mostly)! Then there was a garden to deal with! I could keep going, but you get the picture. Husband and I are so happy in our new home. We have a lot of space, which is a huge improvement, as my stash was threatening to take over our old two-bedroom condo. Now, my stash has it’s own room, and it’s a big one! In fact, the bigness of the room has the effect of making my stash look teeny tiny:

 It’s like a child in her mom’s clothing - either she has to grow, or the clothes need to shrink. Since I can’t shrink the room… you know where I’m going with this.

The other big change is that we now have a yard - a big one. We have close to four acres, which is a lot more work than our previous zero acres. The previous owners worked their asses off landscaping and tending to the yard. We did our house shopping in the winter, so we only really saw the tip of the iceberg when it came to the beauty of the property. Once spring showed up, it was like weekly fireworks in the form of perennials and trees blooming. Check it out:

Even though the continuous weeding is slowly driving me to the brink of insanity, I am really excited to have a yard, a wooded area, many large flowerbeds and a big ol’ vegetable garden.  At the very least, sitting outside in the morning with my coffee and knitting to the sounds of songbirds and smells of “the country” is absolutely glorious.

I’ll get back on track with reporting on knitting, yarn, patterns and all that in the next post!