Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WIP update

I've been having a fantastic time working on a silk shell design for Gryphon - knitted up in her most luscious 100% heavy-ish weight 'Klee' yarn. (NB - she just dyed up a ton of this stuff - keep an eye out for when she updates her shop, and grab it before someone else does!!!)

Klee in the back - the heavier & darker shaded skeins -
while the pale blue-green bundle in front is Gaia
(55% silk/45% cashmere)

Working with this yarn is just lovely - I find myself stopping while knitting to say something or look up to see what the Munch is doing, and find myself petting the shell or stroking the skeins while doing so.
Neckline shaping.

The stuff is absolutely faboo. It does get a little.....furry at times, but a careful petting and/or stroke here or there quickly gets rid of that. And working with this yarn has *totally* blown my previous notions of silk being delicate and fragile.

Strong. Strong, strong, strong, strong. Like, "I-can't-break-this-with-my-bare-hands" strong. Don't try it - it hurts a LOT if you even attempt it. Take my word for it, learn from my mistake, and let me be the only one with stinging fingers. Use scissors.

Plus, there's the colour. How can you not see this and not want to just dive right in? When I've worked on this in public, folks have walked across a room to take a closer look at it - the colour hooks 'em, and then the luxury of the pure silk reels them all the rest of the way in.


The only bummer about this shell? It's totally not mine - standard design protocol, but heartbreaking nonetheless. It's also knitted a size smaller than I normally wear. Now, I'm designing it with some positive ease, as I don't want it at all to be too-tight and tartish, but positive ease withstanding, I still don't know if I could squeeze my 36C sized chest into it. I might be able to get away with it, as it's a split-neck top, but it might be a bit too tight for me to modestly wear out in public.

......but I sure as shit am going to try it on in the privacy of my own house before I send it off to Gryphon, you can bet your whole stash on that one!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Silk Shell - 1: Socks - 3: Sleep - 0

That should actually be more like "silk shell - 1/2" but I didn't think that the Blogger title would handle fractions very well.

I'm currently working on the back of the shell that I'm designing for Gryphon, am two cable turns away from starting the heel of my Chuck's Cabled Socks, am a mere 10 rounds from decreasing for the toe of my second May Day Sock Swap sock, and have knit several inches of the Twisted Flower sock out of my brand-spankin' new Beekeeper wool/seacell yarn from MamaBlue. I keep spending so much time knitting lately that I'm going to bed around 1:30 or 2 AM every night. Ugh. I really need to curtail this a bit, as I'm a bit groggy and fuzzy around the edges lately. More so than usual, that is.

(This picture grossly misrepresents the colours of this beautiful yarn. Damn overhead lights!)

What a day! It's been utter chaos here - we found out this morning via a very suprising e-mail that a colleague who has been working in the department for well over 30 years is leaving - and leaving in 3 weeks. All of a sudden there is major scrambling to get the soon-to-be-vacant hours covered, shifts dealt with, committee appointments changed, liaisons notified, etc. Major major major changes.

Luckily for me all of the shifting helped with one thing - I was able to change out my work day of Saturday, May 3rd for Saturday & Sunday May 10th & 11th. I'm certain that at first glance that doesn't seem at all a good switch - a single shift for two shifts? A single shift for two shifts on Mother's Day weekend????

A single shift that occurs smack during the middle of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival?

(There's the rub.)

I am now happily free from that single pesky shift, and the Munchkin and I are going to sign ourselves up for a bus ride to and from the festival, courtesy of a LYS - the same one that Kim and I took advantage of last year. We'll leave our place at the jaw-droppingly early hour of 6:30 AM (the Munch is such a lucky weasel - he'll get to sleep on the ride up!) and will leave the festival to come back home at 4 PM. All in all, it should be the perfect time - he can play with me and read books during the bus ride up to the fairgrounds, and can probably sleep on the bus ride home, which will provide him with just the perfect nap so that he's not a cranky monster that evening. Me? I'll just drink a boatload of coffee and will get by merely on caffeine and the contact high from being around all of those alpacas and sheep.

The real question this year is - what to buy? I think I'll skip the 45+ minute long wait for Socks that Rock this time around, and might instead look for some nifty spinning fiber rather than yarn. But then again, I might be utterly seduced by something completely different all together!




(I certainly take custom orders, if anyone is dying for something and can't make it themselves!!!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Light Bulb Finally Turns On

I was working full-tilt on my May Day Sock Swap socks until I got slightly waylaid with a few other knitting projects. They are special socks to me - both because I really really am adoring my sock swap partner, and because I came up with the idea myself and they are the first pair of socks that I designed that actually WORK, if you know what I mean.

However, I was toying with the idea of trying to get the design published in Knitty - but as soon as I decided to try and submit them for publication, I started to feel weighed down by the socks instead of lifted up. And so I put them aside and let them be while I worked on other things - my Dad's Grey (Boring) Engineer Socks, the shell design that I'm working on for Gryphon - things that didn't require me to chart and record every stitch for possible-pattern-posterity. (I should say here that while I am designing something for Gryphon that needs to be patterned and recorded, the main part of the design is nicely simple and lets me simply work away at it happily without having to be totally anal about every stitch, while the socks, due to the specific way in which I have knit them, requires me to be about as Type A about it as Type A can get - if I want to reproduce them exactly as they currently are, that is.)

But yesterday I rooted through my knitting basket and - as always - the skein of Sundara yarn ('Grape over Grey Violet') caught my eye and this time instead of feeling guilty and pushing right on past the guilt - and the almost-finished second sock - I instead pulled it out and really looked at it........

('tis purple)

....and I thought about my sock swap partner, and that if I am going to try and get this pattern published in Knitty that one of their rules is that the pattern can't be seen anywhere - before it is submitted/accepted/finally published - that is. Which wouldn't be for ages. And how that just didn't set right with me - it didn't feel like much fun for my swap partner to receive a pair of socks and have to keep quiet about them if she didn't wish to do so. And she's a fun person, who deserves fun socks - not socks with a ton of strings attached, if you'll avoid the pun. And how the socks that I was so thrilled about when I first dreamed them up had lost their thrill for me as soon as I tried to make deadlines, meet deadlines and in general turn the socks into something that they - and I - ultimately didn't seem to want them to be.

And with that I realized that I don't really need to get this pattern published somewhere - I just want my swap pal to like them. Because I like them. And if anyone else likes 'em and correspondingly wants the pattern, then maybe I finish writing it up and put it up for grabs here. Or maybe I won't. Or maybe I'll figure out something totally different all together. And then suddenly, I got all excited about the design and the socks and the swap all over again.

Which is really what the whole exercise was about in the first place - having fun.


Why is it that life frequently requires us to be so extremely stupid before we can become just ever-so-slightly smart?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Socks socks & more socks

I have a lotta' sock yarn. And unlike some people, adding in more (and more and more) sock yarn makes me happy. What does not make me happy in relation to my sock yarn is stashing it but ultimately not (ever) knitting it. That makes me unhappy. And unhappy, as we all know, isn't any knitter's preferred state of being.

So I figured that as I've just cast-on for my Chuck's Cabled Socks and am already about 2/3 of the way through the first leg (After hearing about all of the sizing issues with this sock, I try it on every 2-3 rounds to make sure that as it grows in length it'll still fit over my ankle!) that I should start looking ahead to my next sock. After all, one thing that I've learned for certain about myself is that I tend to work and knit in a forward-moving sort of way. While I always love what I've currently got on the needles, I always absolutely *adore* whatever it is that I'm planning to have next on the needles!

So with that in mind, I figured that I should cast an eagle eye over the sock skeins currently in my stash and devote some clear and concise thought to what yarn will ultimately get knitted into something else......

Once I hauled out my stash of sock yarns, I found myself to be thrilled all over again - same as when I bought each individual skein. And then I started pondering what patterns should be knitted with which yarn. I knew what is on my 'Favorites' list in Ravelry, so that was where I started, looking at each pattern, then at the assorted skeins, trying to ferret out what should be transformed into what.

And then I realized that honestly, most of the time the yarn itself was telling me what to do in no uncertain terms.

So honestly, once I opened my eyes - and my ears - it really was a lot easier to decide what socks are going to grace my sock drawer than I thought it was. Now the only real question is:

who's first?

My heart tends to love the latest & newest - I'm shallow that way - and really the 'Beekeeper' skein is truly a thing of stunning beauty. And that Twisted Flower sock does look like it would be fun and so totally different to tackle after all of the cables that I'm currently working on.........

Saturday, April 05, 2008

wee tiny followup

My Wee Tiny swapper received her sock, and happily enough really liked it.

Felicia blogs over at Felicia Knits (and purls) where I have had a fun time reading through her old posts - including one where she talks about how quickly she used to type and how she's slowed down a bit now that she no longer has to do it all the time. I myself had a blast trying out the typing test - as I'm always mocked (at home) for my flying fingers......

92 words

Guess that typing class back in high school came in handy after all, Mom! (Don't you just hate it when they're right????)

Edited 4 hours later: I just finished my extremely boring reference desk shift, and see what trouble my web surfing just got me in? [drool, drool, drool, drool]

MamaBlue's Sea Merino (70% superwash merino wool, 30% seacell) fingering-weight yarn in her 'Beekeeper' colourway. [................sigh.................]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Belated (& whispered) Messy Tuesday

Whatever viral nastiness is going around, it has decided to temporarily house itself in my throat, and I've essentially lost my voice. This has proven interesting, as I've had to sit desk (i.e. work at the reference desk in the library, providing research assistance to any student or faculty member who needs help) for upwards of 8 hours so far this week. Since this has struck, by the end of each night, my husband has had some relief from my typical barrage of information, queries, and anecdotes that typically fly his way over dinner and after the Munch's bedtime!

I took some Messy Tuesday pictures but was a bit slack in getting them uploaded. So - in typical messy fashion, here they are on Friday! And I have to admit, I was a bit wary of posting these as-is, so what I've chosen to do is post my Messy Tuesday shots, but with a few in 'before' and 'after' format - both so that people can see that I actually can and do clean up my (sometimes) filthy house and also so that when I feel horrible and guilty and troubled over the slovenly state of my abode, I can take a look at these pictures and realize that things can and do improve with a little elbow grease and a whole lot of tidying and recycling.





There is no 'after' picture for my front porch - it is still in this state of total disrepair & chaos.

Mess? What mess? I see reading material & knitting supplies - no problems here!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone - mine will involve 4 hours of working desk on Saturday (UGH!), a baseball game on Sunday (sock knitting!!!), and a day at home w/ the Munch on Monday as daycare is closed. Here's hoping I can do some major frogging & re-knitting of one of my projects, plus a bit of finishing on two other projects in that given timeframe! I shall re-emerge from my home-cocoon on Tuesday with a Wee Tiny sock post (mine came yesterday, but hasn't had it's photo shoot yet) and maybe a few FO's to chat about as well.

Wish me luck!