Round Peg In a Square Hole-crafts

Wednesday, May 21, 2008



I thought I had hit the high points, but I've left out a lot. For example, I forgot to mention that I finished the Round 2 socks for Sock Madness II:Reversai-2
These are Reversai, a completely reversible sock, for those who get dressed in the dark, or who turn their socks inside out when they take them off. Made the second sock mirror image of the first, and I like how they came out, but I ask you: does that yarn look like something that could be called raspberry? Looks more like burgundy, to me.

As for the Round 3 socks, the one done with laceweight, I'm halfway down the foot on the first sock. No pics, yet, for some reason. I'm loving these socks, but they go slowly because I did a lousy job winding up the balls of yarn and they keep getting knotted. Infuriating, since the actual knitting goes quite quickly. Oh, when will Sam be old enough to press into service untangling knots?!?!?!?!?

Been collecting sock patterns by the score, in preparation for Summer of Socks. This, in and of itself, is fairly harmless, as I will not actually purchase any non-free patterns until I am actually ready to cast on those socks. However, the several trips to online vendors of yarny goodness have not been benign. Oh, my aching credit card! But I should have lots of lovely new yarn to work with in the near future; am so looking forward to that! Especially the two skeins I bought from Jo, which she said are already in the mail. We'll have to see if the package I sent her arrives before hers to me does.

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Clearing the Decks

Joined another sockalong, this one called Summer of Socks. It starts June 21st and runs through September 1, and only socks that are cast on and finished between those two dates are eligible. Thus, I have a lot of things to finish up, both so that I'm freed up to knit more socks during the game, and also to keep me from casting on any more socks before the date, which would disqualify them.

So, what are all these things you need to finish? I hear you cry. Come and I will show you....

First, an FO, Kate's birthday socks:
Baudelaires-top view

This is Cookie A's Baudelaire, and a very nice pattern it is. A little tight at the ankle when going over the heel, but fits fine once it's on. (To be fair, this may be my issue, not the pattern's; I have had this trouble in the past, particularly on my own patterns.) Knit with Knit Picks Gloss in Concord Grape, they came out very well and were a fairly quick knit. Even finished them in time for Kate's birthday, though I have yet to deliver them.

Next, we have the WIPs:

Rainbow leg warmers:
Rainbow leg warmers

I'm really happy with the way these are turning out, if only I could finish them! The dyeing went well on 5 of the six colors, but I'm having a devil of a time getting the red to work. These are both done except for the red; less than 2 hours work left, if I could just get the right color....(Will do a post on this specifically, once I solve the problem.)

Woven Cable Eyelet Socks:
Woven Cable Eyelet socks

O.K., I PROMISE that I will give future patterns more creative, less pedantic names. Really. I will! In any case, I like how these are knitting up, and am LOVING Celtic Memory's merino/tencel blend yarn. Subtly variegated, it does not interfere with the pattern, and is lovely and soft to work with. Promised these socks to my mother, but have just bought more of Jo's yarn, plus some I already had, that I am keeping for ME. (Well, at least some of it....) Just at the heel turn of the first sock; really want to finish them soon.


Why, if I'm trying to finish things, did I just cast on for a new scarf? Especially when it was over 100 degrees here this last weekend? Why, because I can, of course! Seriously, I left my knitting at work that day and, rather than work on one of the other projects I had at home, I cast on for My So Called Scarf. I had won some bulky acrylic in pink, blue and green, and thought it would do well in that scarf. Having a little trouble with tension, which is unusual; don't know if that's due to the stitch or to the yarn, or both. A quarter to a third of the way through the scarf. I like the pattern, as it is interesting on both sides, yet simple to do.

Delayed Destruction:

Finally had someone take me up on my offer to knit socks for any who didn't get theirs in the first two Sock Wars; good for you, Ann! However, bought a new yarn for this, and am not happy with it. Luxury Merino Superwash from Elann is very thick for a dk weight, and I don't like the way this is knitting up. Will go back to one of my stand-by yarns, Knit Picks Elegance, despite the fact that there is little color choice. At least I know it knits up well in this pattern. Had hoped to be able to work on these this weekend, as I will be on the road to Baycon in San Jose, and Belle is doing the driving. But will have to wait for the order to arrive, (O.K., I guess I have to actually order it, huh?) so instead I will be working on the other thing that needs to be done soonest, the Farm Blanket, for which I have no pics, as yet. Not really happy with this one, either. Got the pattern from the magazine Living Crafts and I have several concerns: the shown squares don't match the directions, which offends my anal-retentive soul; it takes a LOT of yarn (I originally thought the amounts were for 12 blankets (it was knit by 12 people, each doing 12 copies of the same square, then sharing), and this was confirmed by an email from the magazine folks; however, I've knit two of the squares, (they're knit with two strands held together) and each one took nearly a whole skein. This means I didn't buy nearly enough yarn, and this is going to be a bit more expensive than I had planned....); there appears to be an error in the pattern. Also, I realized that there isn't a lot of direction of how to assemble the pieces, which always makes me uncomfortable; these "cook until done" types of directions just bug me.

The good news, though, is that this means I get to, I mean have to, order more yarn. And, as long as I'm ordering, there a few more things that I need and.... You get the idea. I see more Harmony dpns in my future.....

Yes, I know that I have lots more WIPs that I didn't mention. Well, these are the only ones I think I have a prayer of actually finishing in the near future.....

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War is H-E-Double-Hocky-Sticks

Once again, I've been meaning to write a post about my imminent sock death, but delayed too long. So, again I am posting post-mortem, to tell you about my experience with Sock Wars this year.

One of the major rules I live by is "Make new mistakes": that is, learn from what you've done, don't make the same mistake repeatedly, try new things, even at some risk. Julie Gardner, the inventor of Sock Wars could stand a little of that in her game. A veteran of all three Sock Wars, I was sad to see that several things had not changed: there was still trouble getting the pattern and the dossieres out to folks in a timely manner; she's still trying to run it with little or no help, despite corporate sponsorship; the pattern still needed a test knit by someone else, or even just some proofreading. Unfortunately, she also made new mistakes: some arbitrary decisions on disqualification; pattern written w/o a lot of ribbing, so the socks don't fit on smaller feet, even if the length is right; switching platforms yet again, when the Yahoo group seemed to work fine last year.

My specific gripe is that I had lowered the gauge on the socks, (i.e., made more stitches/inch) because I thought they would be too big around done by the pattern and I wanted my target to get wearable socks. Please note, this meant I had to do MORE work than others, knitting more rows, and adjusting the shaping, so it did not give me any advantage in the game. However, because of a ruling by said Supreme Commander, I had to rip out what I had done on the socks (about a sock and a half) and re-knit them, knowing that they would now not fit my target, but not wanting to be disqualified. It was very de-motivating, and the lost time cost me my one kill--I died while the socks were still on the needles. Unfortunately, my death socks are also too loose around to fit, so I didn't even get useable socks out of the deal. Still haven't decided if I will give the socks away, or frog them and re-knit them, in the same or a different pattern. However, my assassins (plural; it took two to kill me!) included some goodies, so all is not lost.

All in all, I had less fun this year than in the past. I will probably still sign up for future Wars, but will have to lower my expectations or risk being disappointed again.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

More Pix!

Thanks so much, Jack!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Sock Madness Optional Round--It's me! (sort of)

I had a sneaking suspicion from the very beginning that the optional round was going to be the redeux of my pattern entry, for a number of reasons: first, it was the only sock listed that only had one recommended yarn, and second, one of the organizers had said that she was reworking the design. So, I'm not quite sure how to feel about it. I mean, I'm excited that they're using my idea, but it isn't really my pattern. It does, however, retain the part I loved best about it, the seamless cabling around the leg. I'm really anxious to see how others' versions come out, as I don't think that either my original choice for yarn, or that used by the adapter were the best choices for the pattern. I'll be doing it in a solid fingering weight, in a silk-alpaca blend, in cream, mauve, or lavender, which should give me the stitch definition that my original lacked, and not obscure the pattern with varigation. Just for reference, here are some shots of my original design:
You'll notice that the sole is done in reverse stockinette; this is what Charlene Schurch calls "princess foot", as it is more comfortable to walk on the smooth, instead of the bumpy, side of the stitches. I think this is more important in heavier weight yarn, which is why I used in in this original, DK weight version. Have got a neat idea for an inside-out sock for next year's competition, that will yield a princess foot without requiring all that purling. We'll see how that goes. I also have a colorwork sock entry planned for next year, but there are some logistical problems with that that will need to be addressed. Stay tuned for more cryptic hints!

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Yesssssss!!!!! One of my friends, Jack Krolak, an excellent photographer, is going to funnel me his pix, so I can show off a little. Here's the first:

Awwwww! Ain't we cuuuuuuuute?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

CC26--Preliminary Report

O.K., my mommy points for finishing my daughter's costume get taken away because I took NO pictures at CC26. Sigh. Will have to rely on the kindness of others, that is, those who have posted their pix to the CC26 group on Flickr. Not much of me and mine in there, but here is what we have, so far:

First, we have a pic of the infamous Pink Muff, and the hat that went with it, just in case you were wondering what they looked like. They were for my version of Erte's Symphony in Black. Also on the table are my tea cozies, some purses I made for my sewing circle friends, and a fan made for me by a dear old friend. (Hi, Sherry!)

Next, despite the gazillions of folks who took our pic, this is the only one I could find of me and Sam in our nightgowns. You can see she's sans hat, so it must have been from later in the evening.

And that's it. Sigh. Here's hoping I'll be able to get more later.

In the meantime, I can tell you about our Historical Masquerade entry! Picture a dark stage, with Carmina Burana playing, and something large and dark on the stage. Cloaked figures file in, holding candles, and form a semi-circle around said dark item. Suddenly, the music changes to salsa-esque rhythms, and the cloaked figures fling off their capes to reveal costumes of various historical periods, in various colors, all made of satin. The central figure is last to uncloak, revealing a man in a carioca shirt (sleeves covered with ruffles) in all the colors of the other figures. The drapery falls off the alter, revealing bolts of satin, and the central figure steps forward, shaking his maracas. The music changes to a conga, and all proceed to conga off stage, with each getting a moment center stage to show off their outfit. As the last person leaves the stage, the MC announces, "That was, of course, an Evil, Satinist Cult."

We're sick, I know.

The groans can be heard on the DVD for a full minute. What can I say? One should always do that at which one excels...... We even took two awards: the Spazzy (basically, given for the worst joke) and one for excellence in working with evil fabric.....

For reference, this is the pattern that I made my gown out of, in dusty pink silk satin. The others were in 1920s, 1930s, 1760s (men's) and 1650-ish Korean woman's attire.

In other news, my daughter covered herself with glory in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Masquerade, as Edna Mode. Not only was she very patient and well-behaved backstage, she stayed in character the whole time. (At one point I told her how adorable she was, and she replied, "I know, dahling, I know." She also went around telling everyone backstage, "You look mahvahlous, dahling!") In addition, there were tech glitches (part of which was our fault, I must admit) in her presentation, and she stood patiently, waiting for her cues. I have seen many older folk (including myself!) go to pieces in such situations; while she was nervous, she did wonderfully well. (Maybe I need to consider theater camp, instead of Girl Scout Camp for her this summer....)

Will be trying to get more pix; will let you know how that goes.