Friday, January 21, 2011

Sam socks finished!

I'm done! Wearing the socks now. The fix using a different yarn really worked. For some reason it took me forever to finish the toe (kept making mistakes and going back), but now I'm blissfully done :)

I hope to get some good pictures tomorrow and also of the finished Tomten Jacket, it has zipper now :) I'll tell you all about it later.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Racing socks

ETA: The fabulous Jodie, AKA Queenie Knits, saved the day (or should I say the socks). She gave me some leftover navy blue fingering weight yarn that blends nicely with the original colors.

Ok, where do I begin. Hmm....

The beginning is always a good place isn't it? Well, the beginning is 3 years ago. Here is my first post from October 2007 about the Woodland shawl and then I blocked it couple of months later. What does a shawl have to do with socks you might ask?

Well, I ended up ripping up that shawl because the size of it wasn't working. it really was too little for me to use it. I've had the ball of the ripped yarn in my yarn cupboard (What! doesn't everyone store their yarn in a yarn cupboard? - and no, that's not all the yarn I have, I have more) for a while, meaning to make one of those one-sock yarn-skein shawls out of it. However, the weekend before Thanksgiving I had the sudden urge to start socks. There were two reasons, one, I want more knitted wool socks for myself, and two, my friend was coming on the Monday for a visit and I knew I'd be taking her shopping so I wanted a very portable project to take with me.

It just so happened that I had two sock books on loan from the library. One of them being Cookie A's 'Sock Innovation'. I chose the socks called Sam (Ravelry link), because they had an intersting leg pattern but then it was smooth sailing for the foot (just plain stockinette). I like to have something interesting but I also love to speed along, so this pattern had both aspects for me.

Believe it or not, but the ripped out ball of sock yarn was the only skein of sock yarn I had (with one exception - Wisdom Yarn Poems Sock, which is a single ply sock yarn and I'm not so sure how it will hold up as socks. It was originally bought for a shawl but might turn into mittens) so I cast on for Sam.

The cable pattern was too complicated for mindless knitting, but it sure was portable. I did have to rip back and tink back couple of times, especially with the first sock, so it started to take a long time to finish. I did, however, finish the first sock during my Christmas break. When I finished the first sock I noticed that I didn't have a lot of yarn left and doubted that I had enought for the second sock.

I started the second sock right away, curious to see how far I would go until I ran out of yarn.

I actually got a lot further than I expected. I was at the start of the toe decreases when I ran out of yarn. I never thought I would make it that far. It was actually very exciting in the end, how far would I go? I was considering taking bets from people ;)

The photo above shows the two socks and how little was left. The finished sock is blocked, and the other one is not.

The photo below shows the pattern off better. The photos above don't do the pattern justice, but the one below should be closer to the real thing.

So what to do now? I have these lovely socks, all but a toe missing. I considered getting another skein, even if I got this yarn 3 years ago it's still being sold (on the Internet), I even saw a skein on Ravelry for sale (much cheaper than the online stores too). But with only a toe left I'm considering using another yarn for the toe, the problem is that I don't have any leftover fingering weight yarn that could do.

So I want to ask around. Do you have a leftover yarn I could use? This yarn is Zitron Trekking XXL color 184. I don't necessarily need the same colorway, but perhaps dark blue fingering weight yarn, preferable sock yarn (so it will hold up to wear and tear). Please look around and check if you have anything I can use? I would be forever grateful.

p.s. The pattern totally lied, the yarn requirements were 383 yards (1 skein Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino) and I was using Trekkin XXL with yardage of 460 yards and still ran out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something new today

It's been a productive day. It doesn't hurt that it's a 3 day weekend and tomorrow (Monday) is off too. Often I have the feeling that the weekend ought to be one day longer. I don't know if you can relate to that? Anyways, this one was so I decided to use it for good.

I'm also inspired by my knitting group, who is have decided to pay more attention to unfinished projects this year. So what did I do?

First I put some patches on my kids trousers. It only took about 10 minutes, which makes me wonder why they sat patiently in my room for months and months waiting to be repaired! I even had patches and everything - and they were iron-on!

I'm really proud of myself for finally doing the patches, and it was liberating in a way to finish a task that was just sitting there in the corner of my craft/bedroom. But I didn't stop there. I finally pulled out my 'brand-new' sewing machine.

It's probably been about 9 months since I got it - sometimes last spring, and today I finally used it! I had another sewing machine before that I was trying to use. I say trying, because the tension was all wrong on it. It was probably fixable, but I ended up giving it away. Besides, I would have had to take it somewhere else, since there is no one in my small town that could have fixed it. So I get this brand new sewing machine (at a sale too!), and what do I do? NOTHING

Well, today I finally used it and I couldn't be happier. It's a simple machine, it's even called 'Singer Simple' and I got it at JoAnn's for $100 ($30 off), but it works so much better than my old sewing machine :) I wanted a simple sewing machine because I want to master the basics before I invest in a big, fancy machine (if I ever will). I know I will use straight and zig-zag stitch 99% of the time anyways. There might come a time where I will want a fancier sewing machine, who knows. It depends on how much I will be sewing and what I want to use it for. But for now all I want is as simple of a machine as possible.

Happy, happy, joy, joy (you get extra points for knowing where this reference is from)

The first thing that I sewed was fairly simple. A bib, actually two bibs. The front is a quilting fabric that looks like bandana (kúrekaklútur eða gamaldags snýtiklútur) and the back is a terry cloth (handklæðaefni-frotte).

The pattern was from One-Yard Wonders, a wonderful book with very diverse selection of patterns - all requiring no more than a yard of fabric (and maybe backing as well). I will be making more from this book for sure.

The sewing went well and I love how they turned out. I put another patch on the backside that says 'Crafted with love'. I don't know if the recipients will appreciate handmade things or not (one of them is my husband's sister-in-law - svilkona - and the other is my husband's cousin), but this way maybe they will at least realize that it is handmade and not bought. Not that I mind whether or not they appreciate it. Once a handmade gift is out of my hands, it's no longer mine and I don't worry about it. If people like it and appreciate that's great. But if they don't that's fine too. I make it sound like I don't think that the recipients will like the bibs, but I think that they will. I've just never given them anything handmade before. That's all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finish it!

This year in my online Icelandic knitting group Garnaflækja we got fed up with our unfinished projects and decided to give each other a little support to get them finished.

I made this shawl last summer, while traveling from Ohio to California and back again (to Ohio) on a road trip. The knitting was no problem. Shawls are the perfect travel project, especially this one since it has a lot of stockinette stitch. You start with the outer border, which is knit back and forth into a long band, then you pick up stitches on the edge and knit the lace panel. After that it's a smooth sailing, where the frequent color changes keep you interested (mile after mile after mile - 500 miles a day). Top it off with a picot trim at the top and voila, you are done!

However, as smooth sailing as the knitting the shawl was, it's been sitting in a zip-lock bag for 6 months now, unblocked. I even got blocking wires for my birthday 2 months ago and the shawl remained unblocked. Until this weekend, when I finally got it out of its plastic bag, washed it and blocked it. Blocking with wires, rather than pins, is a dream. It still is a lot of work, but once you have threaded the wire through all the picots and tips of the shawl you don't have to adjust all the pins to stretch it, you just move the wire. It's such a luxury :)

I've had the yarn for a long time (well 2 years at least). It was the rare occurrence of me actually buying yarn without having something planned for it. The reason was that the yarn (Dzined- Ravelry link) is from a local independent dyer and she was quitting her dyeing business so it was the last chance to get any. Her yarn was a gem, wool/hemp blend. Not something you see every day. So I wanted to do something special with it and it took me a long time to find the right pattern. For the longest time I meant to do a capelet with it, but then I saw this pattern for Andrea's shawl and I was sold. There's even enough yarn left for Andrea's mitts.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Meet Oscar

I want you all to meet my new friend Oscar.

Oscar is nice little fellow, made out of Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted. Oh, how soft it is and beautiful and how irresistible it was in the sale bin for 40% off.

Once he was done, I got some buttons for him and then couldn't resist adding a smiling face. Oscar is quite a little charmer.

But Oscar has a secret. He's nut just an adorable green rectangle. Oh no. He is a protector of something very valuable and dear to me. My Kobo e-reader.

I wanted something to help protect dear Kobo and I loosely followed a Berroco pattern, Baobab. I got some buttons for the cover and after I put them in I saw how remarkably they looked like eyes so I couldn't resist adding a nice smile and that's how Oscar was born. Doesn't he just look like an Oscar?

Oscar is a fierce protector of my Kobo as I just mentioned. On Kobo, I can store all my knitting pattern, put journal papers and of course read books. All of this is very handy, and very portable and easy to use. The documents are put on the Kobo by 'drag-and-drop' (i.e. you plug it into the USB port on your computer and copy directly to the Kobo - no special programs needed. It also has a SD slot, so I can put memory cards in it to increase the storage even further (it comes with 1 GB of memory).

The Kobo came in handy yesterday (Friday), when I had to see a doctor and then get an X-ray and wait at the pharmacy for pain killers. Thankfully the bone is just bruised, but not broked, but I had a lot of waiting to do and got through a big portion of the book I borrowed from the library (Marley and Me). What happened was that I fell, knees first, on concrete. I don't recommend it.