Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another pair of socks done!

Good morning, everyone! It's Sunday morning and DH has just left to go fishing for a few hours, so I have the house and the dogs to myself (insert evil laugh here as I can have all the dogs on the couch with me and DH won't know, hehehe). Well, unless someone tells him I've indulged in the guilty pleasure, that is.

Anyway, I finished my Vermont in June socks yesterday at knitting and will post a pic here. I'm calling them after the color name of the yarn I used, which is Stephania's Three Fates Yarns Vermont in June, variegated greens with very small dots of blue and yellow. I had planned to use the Pine Tree socks pattern but after modifying the pattern to use fingering weight yarn instead of the sport weight yarn by adding stitches in the ribbing, I decided I didn't like the way the knit/purl pattern wasn't showing up in the yarn. So I ripped back to the ribbing and just used the ribbing pattern I had created for the entire leg and top of the foot. I really like how they turned out - the color changes and the stitch pattern work very well together, neither trying to overrule the other. I'm planning to wear them today when I meet a friend for knitting in the afternoon so I can show them off to an appreciative audience.

Next weekend on Saturday and Sunday DH and I will be demoing at the Oregon State Fair in the Artisan Village with spinning wheels and I'll bring some drop spindles so we can walk around and I can spin. We do this every year to promote spinning, to show folks that spinning is still done by hand with wonderful results (DH got a blue ribbon last year on his skein after only spinning for about 8 months!), and that handspun yarn is wonderful for a wide range of uses. You can spin exactly the yarn you want for a specific project, whether it is knitting, crocheting, weaving, embroidery, needlepoint, bobbin lace, tatting, etc. We entered five items in the Fair - DH's Norway cardigan, my Rosemarkie vest, my Dream Twisters socks, the Shetland shawl he spun and wove for me last Christmas, and a skein of his handspun yarn. We're hoping for at least one blue ribbon on something, more would be fantastic.

Since I finished my Vermont in June socks yesterday, I'm back to working on the second Ruggles' Candy Cane sock and hope to have it done this coming week. My sock drawer still looks so low, since I gave away all those socks this spring, but it's so much fun to knit new patterns to fill it up again. I matched the Lexington Green Three Fates yarn I bought at Sock Summit 09 to the Dragon Breath pattern (loved the pair that Karen made using Three Fates yarn!) and will start those later. After I finish the Candy Cane socks, I will go back and knit the second Bayerische sock. I did the first one last summer and then got hung up when I thought about entering them in the State Fair. The yarn is just too busy with the Bavarian twisted stitch pattern to make a successful entry in the Fair and I've acknowledged that to myself, so now I have freed myself from the inertia to knit the second sock and enjoy wearing them.

Last weekend I started a vest to use up the leftover handspun Corriedale yarns from DH's Norway cardigan. I don't like having un-purposed yarns lying around the house tempting moths and gathering dust, so I've been pondering what to use the yarns for. I started to use the Aran Vest pattern in 'Folk Vests' but didn't like the XO cable pattern for a vest for me. So I ripped it out and started over, using the natural black for the bottom ribbing and the white for the body of the vest. I'm using matching rope cables with sand stitch for the filler panels between the cables and I really like how it's turning out. I'm making buttonholes about every 20 rows for small buttons, as I generally don't button my vests when I wear them. While I like the folded over front neck in the original pattern, it won't work in the cables so I'll do a round neckline when I get up there. At this point I'm knitting the whole body and will divide for the armholes when I get there. Once again I'm going to end up with my own pattern for the vest, since I just didn't like how the stitch pattern looked knit up in the handspun yarn for my body shape. For someone who is slender, the round XO pattern and seed stitch filler panels would look fine. I've finally gotten to the point in my knitting career where if I start a pattern and don't like how it's turning out, I feel free to change it to something I like and know I will wear. I'm tired of making things and forcing myself to finish them, only to end up giving them away because I don't like them. And I've been trying to pass this wisdom on to other knitters, so they might be able to avoid the pains I've suffered too many times from forcing myself to finish something, then not like it and give it away. Knitting time is way too precious these days to waste it on something that I end up not liking, forcing myself to finish, and then giving it away because I can't stand to wear it. I think I'm going to call the vest Handspun Corrie Cables vest - catchy, eh?

I asked folks yesterday at knitting how they would like a potluck at my place on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend in two weeks and there was good interest. I suggested a craft supplies swap and a Mexican food bar, as I'm really tired of barbecuing at this point and want a change. That way, folks who are vegetarian or vegan will have choices to eat with everyone else and not be uncomfortable. I'm going to cook the beans from scratch, as I love home cooked black beans and they do great in the crock pot all day. What would be really cool would be to make corn tortillas from scratch, so the folks with wheat issues would have a bread they could eat. I've done it before and I have a stone mill, just need to talk myself into getting busy earlier in the day. I can grind the corn earlier in the week and keep it in the refrigerator so the corn oil doesn't go rancid. Then just fry them (without oil!) on a hot grill that day. Hmm, intriguing thoughts to follow here.

I was talking with Katie yesterday at knitting and she told me about a great dinner idea using zuchini and tomatoes. You slice the tomatoes in half across the equator, cut the zuchini in half at the waist, then in quarters lengthwise. I put them on a baking sheet I had put olive oil on, then topped them with shredded cheese, Italian herbs, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper. I put them under the broiler until the cheese started to brown and then served them hot. We had two kinds of Greek olives, DH had pita bread with salsa made in Eugene, I had hummus with my pita bread, black grapes, and DH had summer cole slaw. I kind of overspent as I shopped at Roths and bought organic locally grown produce, but the taste was worth it - yumm! DH even admitted he liked it, although he was looking for the meat course, lol. I told him it was a light summer supper using fresh produce in season. We'll have our own squash and tomatoes in another two weeks or so and I plan to fix it again then. The best part about this meal is that it's quick, easy, and minimal cleanup afterward. And, of course, very healthy.

Last weekend I started changing to a Mediterranean style of eating and bought some nuts to snack on - walnuts, almonds, filberts, and Brazil nuts. I put them in a plastic container on the dining table and filled a small cup to keep on the coffee table. At first DH wasn't enthused about snacking on nuts instead of toast with peanut butter and jelly, but the cup is now emptying about every other day so he is eating the healthier snack now. Now if he will just eat the nuts and leave the toast alone, lol!

By the way, I got a note from the Sock Summit committee that they will be selling the t-shirts and other items in about two weeks. I'm thrilled because I really want to get a shirt and a bag to use. I have enough bags for my projects, since I mostly use baskets for my knitting projects, but I really want the bag for a souvenir of such a great historic event. So watch the Sock Summit website for more info!

Happy weekend!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday night musings

It's finally Friday night and I'm taking some time to update my blog here and post some pics of recent events. As a lot of you know, last weekend was the indescribable Sock Summit 09, four days of absolutely wonderful insanity, fellowship, sock knitting, spinning, chatting, meeting online friends in real life, fondling gorgeous hand dyed yarns, checking out new patterns and techniques, taking amazing classes from fabulous knitters, and just generally having a great time. I was able to go on Saturday and got to the Ravelry Meetup that night at the World Forestry Center. Jess and Casey are the most generous and friendly people you could meet and I was privileged to meet both of them.

So, here are some pics from the Sock Summit and the Ravelry Meetup.
Jess and the newest member of the Ravelry team - Sarah!

Janita enjoying meeting a new friend.

Eloise and her sister checking out pictures already taken.

Eloise taking pictures.

Jess snuck up on SnarfyWarning to wish her a Happy Birthday!

There are rumors going around that there might be another Sock Summit in two years in Toronto, Canada, on Stephanie's home turf. So start saving m
oney and vacation time and make sure your passport is current!

My Mom had surgery on Monday and we got the pathology report on Wednesday that the tumor the surgeon found was benign, a great relief to my brother and sister and I. Now just to get Mom healed properly at her assisted living center. My sister is carrying the brunt of the daily checking in with the care center and Mom, to make sure they follow doctor's orders and that she is healing properly. I spent Monday and Tuesday with Mom in the hospital as her memory has gotten so bad she couldn't remember what she was there for. The nurses had to look to me for answers to their questions. I also played practical nurse for Mom, helping with dressing changes, bathroom trips, and such.

While at SS09 and with Mom at the hospital I worked on a pair of socks using my friend Stephania's Three Fates Yarn in a variegated grass green. I was going to use a pattern called Pine Tree, but the yarn is Blue Faced Leicester and too soft to show the knit/purl stitch pattern well. So I ripped back to the modified ribbing (I had added stitches to make 72, instead of the 56 the pattern called for using sport weight yarn) and finished the first sock with just the ribbing pattern with the cable in it. I really like how the sock turned out and I am about 4 inches into the second sock already. The pattern is quick and easy to knit, but very impressive looking to non-knitters and new sock knitters.

I splurged on three skeins of yarn at SS09, not being able to get a skein I really wanted because the dyer only sent two skeins to SS09. I had emailed with her before the event letting her know I could only come on Saturday and I really wanted a skein of her yarn. She told me to email the vendor selling her yarns to hold a skein for me, which I did, but when I got there the vendor told me only two skeins had been sent. The dyer did tell me in her email that I could buy the yarn in her etsy store but I feel like I've been misled. Why couldn't the dyer tell me she only sent two skeins to the event in the first place so I wouldn't get excited about buying a skein at the show? While she didn't actually lie to me, she did totally mislead me about the availability of her yarn at the show. One of my Salem Ravelers said she might be trying to direct traffic to her etsy store to build up sales. I can see that, but I still feel mistreated and I've let go of the desire to own a skein of that yarn now because of it. The colors looked beautiful in the Dye For Glory contest, but I don't like being treated that way and refuse to support vendors who practice less than open honesty. If she had come right out in her email and stated she only sent two skeins, I would most likely have ordered from her etsy store before leaving for SS09.

Okay, now on to the beautiful yarns I did buy! First, a skein of Stephania's Three Fates Yarn in Lexington Green, mmm, love the bright spring colors!

Next is Sagittarius, by Knit Witch Knits.

And last, but not least, a Dye For Glory winner - A River Runs Through It by Toe Jamz.

Well, I think I've rambled on long enough for tonight. It's time to settle down with a glass of iced tea, an episode of Stargate SG-1 on the computer and my green socks. Ahh, hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Getting Ready for Sock Summit 09

I'm slowly but surely getting ready for Sock Summit 09 in Portland at the Convention Center. I'll only be able to go on Saturday, but I'm really excited! So far Sunday night I finished my Dream Twisters socks and wound the Three Fates green hand dyed yarn I'm going to be knitting into socks at the Summit. Last night I finished the mini sock blocker sock and put it on the blocker, tying a loop through one of the holes so the sock doesn't get lost. This morning I designed and printed 100 business cards to hand out with my contact info. I've made and have been editing and editing a packing list of items to take with me. So far I have; my sock knitting, a drop spindle and fiber along with a second spindle to loan to a friend, a flashlight for after the Rav meetup, hand cream, Purell, napkins for my allergies (sneezes), meds, water bottle, 72 stitch markers I made last Saturday to swap, hang tags to put on the markers I receive so I will know from whom I received them, mini sock on sock blocker keychain, chatelaine with pins and my Ravelry pin so folks know who I am, camera, Ravelry t-shirt to change into before going to the party, shawl to wear after the party, Fair Isle yarns to help a friend knit a pouch for her chatelaine so she can learn to hold two colors of yarn at one time, business cards to hand out, MarketPlace tickets already printed, cash for my purchases, and change for riding on MAX. I'm taking a bag with lots of pockets so it will be easier to find things, lol.

In the meantime, I'm knitting on my Ruggles' Candy Cane second sock and will be casting on my Pine Tree socks later this week so I have them started before leaving on Saturday.

I got some serious news on Sunday when I was in Portland visiting my Mom and my sister - Mom has to have major surgery next Monday and will be in the hospital over night. I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off from work to be there and will be bringing two knitting projects to work on - Pine Tree socks and my Fulmar cardigan so I have a change. I'll also have my notebook computer with me to stay in touch, although Mom's assisted living center, where I'll be sleeping, doesn't have WiFi that I know of. But I can go to my sister's and use her Internet connection. I would appreciate prayers for a good outcome for my Mom, as she has heart issues which is why she's staying overnight so they can monitor her.

Now it's time to read my email and get ready for breakfast - have a great day everyone!