The Rocket

Knitting, pregnancy, and other stuff

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

a sudden interruption

Things have been suddenly and unexpectedly busy here at Chez Rocket, mostly work stuff. Regularly scheduled content should resume soon.

In other news, I taped the Knitty Gritty show about spindling (sucessfully, this time) and I have been doing it all wrong my own special way. A way that's very, very different from everyone else's. (As long as you end up with something resembling yarn, can it really be so wrong?)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

another quick cable fix

I was reading what the Yarn Harlot posted about fixing cables, and it occured to me that I know another way to fix a miscrossed cable. Basically, it is very similar to the Harlot's first method of cable repair, except rather than unknit the entire cable, you only unknit the solitary miscrossed strand, because if there's a lazier more efficient way to do something, I try to find it.

For the purposes of this demonstration, I have used a 6 stitch plait cable on pp 244-245 of Barbara Walker's first treasury, the variation. Let's say you've been knitting merrily along, and you just finished a wrong side row or non-crossing round when you notice a flaw in yout beautiful knitting. Behold, the miscrossed cable:


(It is at this early point in the photography progress that I begin to realize I should have used a color of yarn other than white, for ease of viewing purposes. Mea culpa, I'll know next time.)

OK, you work over to your miscrossed cable, and free the errant stitches from the needles altogether:

Then, you unravel your stitches down to the last cross. In this case, we know it was two rows ago. When you examine the fabric carefully, you will see a little hole caused by two sets of stitches crossing each other at a distance. Normally, this hole is covered by the stitches you just unraveled, but right at this moment, you have set it free. (You may be able to see it more easily from the back of your fabric.)


Now, you have two little stitches that you just unraveled waiting right next to the hole, so push them through the hole to the other side of the fabric, which is not so coincidentally the side of the fabric a correct cable cross would have been made on.


Rescue your little waiting stitches with a double pointed needle. I often use one a bit closer to the size of the working needles, but in this case, I forgot to bring one with me, so I salvaged a sock needle. It doesn't matter, as long as the needle you use is the same size as the working needle or smaller.



Then, all that remains is to knit those two stitches up using the loose yarn ladders that you unraveled way back up at the top of the post. Et voila! You have correctly crossed cables and can go merrily on your way. Have a celebratory drink as suggested over at the Yarn Harlot's, or in my case, a nice glass of soda water with lime.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

embossed leaves part 2

Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts. I am trying to think positive thoughts and remind myself that this was just one test, and the next one might be more positive. By being negative. :)

Now that the brother-in-law socks are finished (yay!), I am making more progress on the Trekalong socks, the Embossed Leaves from the Winter 2005 Interweave Knits. I made a pair for my sister-in-law, whose feet are slightly larger than mine, on US 1 needles, so I decided to make the pair for myself on US 0s, so that the pattern would be pulled tighter and show up better. I think if I make these in Trekking again, I will add another repeat on the leg, and maybe do that repeat on US 1s as well. (I did the ribbing on 1s, for these- if I had done it on the 0s, there's no way I'd be able to get it over my heel. No. Way.)



I am very excited about the Socks That Rock. Not having used it yet, just wound it into balls, it's incredibly soft. I got the Jasper in medium weight and the Lemongrass in light weight, so I should be able to report on both, in due time. Eventually. (Has anyone used the heavy weight? It seemed a little thick to me, but I bet it would make good boot socks.)

Now if y'all will excuse me, we went to the Farmer's Market this morning, and I have some blueberries to eat.

Friday, June 23, 2006

guess what came in the mail

Some happy happy yarn came in the mail yesterday:



Socks That Rock, in Jasper and Lemongrass. And boy, did I need it, because it seems my glucose blood test was high on Wednesday, and I have to go in for a three hour test to determine if I have gestational diabetes. Which, bummer. Luckily, I suppose, I was going back for the 4-D ultrasound on Thursday anyway, so that will give me something to do in between testing at hour 1, hour 2, and hour 3. The silver lining is to think about how much knitting I can get done with 3 whole hours of waiting room time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

this is a sad, sad day...

... to be a fan of US soccer.

I mean, I'll still be watching the World Cup, but this takes away from the fun.

one more to go

Yesterday, I spent the wait at the doctor's office putting afterthought heels on my brother-in-law's socks. Here they are, pre-heel, looking a little snaky:



And here they are post heel, looking like actual socks. I used the Round Toe from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks (which is one of two first knitting books I ever bought, and remains to this day one of the ones I use the most.) I wanted to avoid the decrease line that regular toes (even when used as heels) have, but I thought a Star Toe might be a little girly for a guy with such huge honkin' feet.




The yarn to the right of the socks is all that remains of what was once a pretty darn big ball of Regia. It might look like there's a fair bit left, but it's actually cut into about 4 or 5 pieces, since I wanted these socks to match pretty closely. (Which they do. I'm very pleased.) As I was knitting the heels, I had a moment of thinking "I'm going to run out of yarn. Everything about these socks except the heels will match and it will torment me to the end of my days." Luckily for me, there was just enough. I like to live dangerously.


What this means is that I have only one more pair of socks to knit before the Great Sneaky Sock Project of 2006 will be complete. Whew! I could do a little dance, I'm so happy. This leaves me free to knit the Trekalong socks, at least until I somehow figure out my father-in-law's shoe size. (I really hope it's smaller than this brother-in-law's. These socks are huge.)

The doctor's appointment went well. Everything looks good, and next week, we're going in for a 4-D ultrasound. We're going to walk out of there with a picture of the Future Progeny's face. Technology is amazing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

from spindle to skein

Here is the result of my second spindling effort. After filling up the spindle with my single, I decided a good way to skein it would be to wrap it around a book, tightly enough that all the overspun pieces would straighten out. (You can see an overspun piece immediately to the left of the spindle.)





Then I tied cotton yarn around the skein in four points. (I had help.)



Next, I let the yarn hang out in some hot water with a little Soak.

Next, the yarn got hung up with a spritzer bottle full of water to weigh it down. (And in between the last picture and the next, it dried enough for me to rewind it around the back of a chair and wet it again, because the book was just not long enough. The stubby little skein was not being pulled out by the weight of the spritzer bottle.)

Finally, I twisted the dry skein into the familiar shape we all know and love, and then admired it, and made Ben admire it, and taunted the cats with it. According to my calculations, I have 28.5 yards of homespun (whee!) plus whatever's in the first (much smaller) skein. Now, what can I do with 28.5 yards of (thick and thin) yarn?

Monday, June 19, 2006

unmatched cuff

Aija pointed out that one of my haiku was featured on the Beer Haiku Daily website on Saturday. And then hers was featured on Sunday! You step away from the computer for the weekend, and all kind of cool stuff happens.

We watched a good amount of soccer this weekend. Fun games with some very bad officiating, and lots of knitting time. And, it must be said, bead stringing time. With soccer calling us all day on Saturday, I was unable to resist the pull and made this:


The pattern calls for US 0s, I used US 00s, just because I had them and I could. The cuff is a little big for my taste (not for my wrist- it fits just fine), but luckily, my MIL saw me making it and loves it, so I gave it to her.


I think the next one I make, I'll use smaller squares (3 beads across instead of 4) and eliminate the red beads. They bug me. They're too warm for the rest of the colors, and they pop out too much. Obviously, they didn't bug me enough to pull them out and start over, but they definitely change my plans for cuff number two.

I've also been processing my spindled single (attempt #2) with the notion of maybe knitting something from it. I think I have enough for a little hat, possibly just big enough to fit on the head of the Future Progeny, when he gets here. I've documented my (highly scientific) process, and thinking maybe I need a niddy noddy, because the book I wound my yarn around didn't quite cut it. The Trekalong socks are also proceeding apace. I just need to get out and, you know, trek somewhere with them. I'm pretty sure the parameters were "get out and hike with your socks," not "sit on your ass and knit."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

haiku

Aija posted a link to this very fun contest over at her site. I don't really need to win a beer right now, but man oh man do I love writing stupid haiku. We used to amuse ourselves for hours writing haiku in high school. Here are the ones I posted on the Beer Haiku Daily site:

My brother homebrews.
This fall, my child will be born.
Y'all save some for me.

I used to drink wine
while knitting bibulously.
Beer won't stain my yarn.

Actually, two of my brothers-in-law do in fact homebrew, and clearly, I must send them to this site. One of them actually investigated brewing non-alcoholic homebrew because he's just that nice to me.

And some non-beer ones:

Spindling last evening
was so deeply involving
no knitting got done.

To be good at one
must I give up the other?
Too many hobbies.

I lied. I did knit.
Embossed Leaves needed ribbing.
(Took less than an hour.)

I took no pictures.
Another ball of singles-
looks like yesterday's.

:)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

getting better

Round two of me vs. the sheep fluff seems to be going a little better. Towards the top of the spindle, you can see the results of my first try, and towards the bottom, last night's attempt. It still feels odd, but less so, and the results are starting to look a little bit like "yarn." Didn't Churchill say that consistency was the hobgoblin of little minds (or something like that)? In that case, this single is very great minded.




In other news, I cast on Embossed Leaves so that should the urge to go Trekking strike, I'll be prepared with, you know, actual socks made of Trekking. Also, the LYS is hosting a Stitch and Sip tomorrow, and I thought if I feel like going after work, it might be nice to bring something made of yarn I purchased there. I'm not sure of the etiquette on these things.


Last night, Ben brought home pizza, a dumb movie, and a smart movie. He asked which I wanted to watch, and I asked if he would think less of me if I voted for the dumb movie. So we watched Underworld: Evolution. Hee hee. I am completely curious how Derek Jacobi ended up in this movie, and, in fact, that's exactly what I said when he first appeared on screen: "What's Derek Jacobi doing in this movie?" If you have 13 hours to spare, rent I, Claudius instead. Anyway, U:E was good dumb fun with lots of eye candy and plot holes you could drive a Lincoln Town Car through. My belief is that the end was intended to leave the option of a(nother) sequel open, but instead, it had us looking through the special features to see if there was anything that might further explain what it was we just watched (there wasn't). At least I got some knitting done. (Movies are never a total waste with me.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

help

Ok, Alyson, I want you to pat yourself on the back for being a very effective enabler:




Now, can anyone help me figure out what I'm doing wrong?

The single perpetually wants to unspin itself. Is this normal? Or am I doing something unconventional? I'm looking at some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, which is basically a single. It doesn't want to turn back into sheep fluff every time I let go of it. Why does my single want to revert?

How does one keep the spindle going in a clockwise rotation without it wanting to cackle evily and begin going counterclockwise?

Coincidentally, Digging for the Truth was on last night. It was the episode about Vikings. There was a brief scene with a woman using a drop spindle. No matter how many times I paused it and went back, those 4 seconds did not illuminate my personal process.

Monday, June 12, 2006

i need a weekend after my weekend

I did not get much knitting done over the weekend because we had a rich, full social schedule, and I am pregnant and tire easily. Friday night, there was an alumni cocktail party for the high school that both Ben and I went to. We ended up going to a bar afterwards with some folks we hadn't seen in a while. I made it through 2 non-alcoholic beers and about an hour before I had to plead exhaustion.

Saturday, I went to the Farmer's Market with my parents and my sister (and her dog, he's far more popular than we humans are. He gets recognized from year to year, and he's very popular with the under five set) and scored some really delicious blueberries and some pretzel bread. Truly, I can't sing the praises of the pretzel bread enough. The last two weeks have been pleasant, but this Saturday it was hot. At 8 a.m. Man, it's going to be a long summer.

I had my first uninvited stomach touching by a total stranger at the Farmer's Market. (I've had a few by acquaintances, and of course, family doesn't count.) She then apologized and let me hold her little 6 week old puppy to make up for it, so I let it slide. This time. It was still very bizarre.

After the Farmer's Market, I went to get a pedicure with my mom and sister and noticed that my feet have begun to swell. Is it the heat? Am I being punished for the tiny little heels that I wore to the alumni cocktail party? (Or could it just be, you know, pregnancy?) I've been putting away water like I'm moving to the Gobi desert tomorrow. The entire rest of the weekend I spent casting envious glances at the ankles of the ladies around me, admiring their visible bone structure and non-cankle-y joints.

Saturday night, we went to an annual croquet tournament. It's a fun time. The third keg was brought in at 8:45 p.m. I sat sipping my water, watching all the folks putting away beer while walking around on their dainty, unswollen feet, with their visible waists and normal-sized boobs, and it occured to me: I'm kinda tired of being pregnant.

Sunday, we went to a party for Ben's work, after watching a little soccer. (Actually, anything I do for the next month, mentally add "after watching a little soccer." World Cup! Woo hoo!) It was a lot of fun, but kinda hot, and wouldn't you know, all the ladies there had cute feet, too. And they were going swimming. In bikinis. While drinking beer. I helped myself to another Pauli Girl N.A. and a second helping of mac and cheese, thanks.

Then we went for drinks and cake to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday, and I hope I don't have to tell you that I fell asleep on the couch pretty damn quickly after all that. I could use another day or two to recover from all the festivities. A day or two which would be spent on the couch with my feet over my head, in the probably vain hope that all the blood making them look like watermelons might drain away to somewhere useful, and I could see my beloved ankle bones again. I'm wearing my Pomatomus socks today. I don't care if my feet get hot, I want to look at something pretty when I keep obsessively checking to see if the feet I know and love have resurfaced.

I don't know why this is bugging me so much. Expanding midriff? The sign of the miracle of life taking place within. Unfortunate attractant to strangers' hands, but still: miraculous. Weird line under bellybutton? Kinda cool. Perpetual hot flashes? Great! I'm making more blood for the baby! Bellybutton getting shallower and assuming an odd angle (doubtless prepatory to becoming an outie)? Well, neato cool! Swollen ankles and feet? Stop this ride, I want to get off. Is it September yet?

To distract from all this sudden pregnancy bitterness, let us remind ourselves how cute babies are:






I don't have any cute people baby picture on hand, but kittens definitely work.














I feel better already.

Friday, June 09, 2006

kaa the python

I decided to knit these socks with an afterthought heel, mainly because I've never knit one before. This does lead to the sock looking a bit like a ginormous snake. I also believe that this particular incarnation of Regia, the Patch Antik colors, would be perfectly suitable for making a little stuffed snake, if the inclination so moved you. The stripes have started looking like scales to me as the sock gets longer and longer with no heel in sight.




Except, of course, for the little bitty stripe that is my waste yarn, site of the future heel.



Naturally, I came to the decision about the afterthought heel only when I got to point where it was time to actually make it. Think ahead? Never! As this is my purse project, I was not at home where waste yarns abound. I actually did have some waste yarn in my purse, as it turns out, a little leftover Elann Baby Cashmere. This is probably not the best yarn to use for a waste yarn, as the stress of being in my purse for a few weeks had begun to felt the outside of the ball of yarn. Cool! Also maybe an indication that I should unload a few items from said purse. Hmmm. I'll let you know how using such a sticky yarn works out when it comes time to free the held stitches for the heel.

In the meantime, I'm considering getting googly eyes for the toes. Hsssss! Watch out, Mowgli.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

i can't stop...

... with the beads! Here is a skinny wee companion bracelet to MaryElla. I think I used about 330 beads, and who knows how much cotton thread- I still have a pretty good amount. Made on US 000s.



Sl1 = slide a bead between stitches, where the number equals the number of beads. E.g., sl2 means slide 2 beads between stitches.

To make: Cast on 4 st.
row 1: knit
row 2: knit
row 3: knit
row 4: knit
rows 5 & 6: k2, sl1, k2
rows 7 & 8: k2, sl2, k2
rows 9 & 10: k2, sl3, k2

row 11 - whatever: k2, sl4, k2

repeat until bracelet is .5 inch shorter than you want it to be. Then repeat rows 9 &10. rows 7 & 8, and rows 5 &6 in that order.

knit a row
knit another row

graft live stitches to cast on edge, or cast off and sew the cast off to the cast on edge.

Here you can see my grafted edges:


Another thing I think would look good (maybe better, in fact) would be to slip the first stitch of every row so that the edges would be a little neater. This didn't occur to me until about halfway through, so I didn't bother with it.

If the beads want to trangress from between the stitches to actually in the stitch, it is far easier to drop the stich and reknit it than to try and push the little buggers back into place. You don't want to know how many tries it took me to figure that out.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

something old, something new

One of my co-workers is getting married this fall. She's seen my knitting at work, so she asked me to knit something for her. Rather than simply make another hat, or god forbid assign myself another pair of socks, I decided to make her this knitted garter. I think it will be a fun part of my quest to use ever tinier needles, and one less thing she'll have to look for while she's out doing wedding shopping stuff. After MaryElla, I'm also thinking it might be kind of cool to add beads in there somewhere.

Seriously, the beads are kind of addictive. I'm having to remind myself that I have BIL socks going, plus the very last pair of Great Sneaky Sock Project of 2006 after that for my father in law (whose shoe size I still don't know), not to mention the Trekalong socks to get going on, plus Ben's sweater, plus this garter, not to mention poor old Branching Out which looks exactly the same as it did last time I photographed it, and I really don't need to also start the Unmatched Cuffs.

Because that would be ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

random bits

I've started the Regia socks for my brother-in-law with the big feet. My husband and my two other brothers-in-law all have the same size feet, about 1.5 sizes smaller than this last one. At least the Regia is knitting up quickly on US 1s, and the stripes keep the stockinette kinda interesting. (Not as interesting as Trekking, though.) These are my purse project.



I've decided that now is the time to start reading to the Future Progeny, so we've started with Kipling's Just So Stories. I haven't read these in years, and I'd forgotten how good they are, very fun and very silly. I think I was read them from an illustrated version when I was little, but this one in the collected works has Kipling's original illustrations, and they are funny. Next up: A. A. Milne. (Winnie the Pooh is our favorite baby shower gift, so last time we owed a present, I went ahead and got a copy for us.)

So last night, while Ben was at work, I sat on the couch, aimed my voice at my belly, and began to read "How the Camel Got His Hump." Both cats turned around and looked at me. It was a little disconcerting. I think they were wondering if I'd lost it and started talking to myself, or if I was trying to tell them something. They both kindly pointed out that they don't really speak English, so if I must read aloud, could I please read in Cat.



Ok, I kind of feel like this is cheating, because I actually finished these socks ages ago. I got my mom to help me take pictures, and for some reason, my computer is freaked out by her camera. Photoshop kept closing down when I tried to open the files, even though they should be just jpegs like any others. In fact, there were three pictures, but I can only show you two, because the third shut down my browser window when I tried to upload it. Three times.

These socks were made from Brown Sheep Wildefoot, color Ragtime, on US 0s, with a pattern I made up. I added beads at the very top with a crochet hook. The lace pattern is Arches and Columns, from one of the Barbara Walker treasuries.

I have finally returned to Ben's huge cabled cardigan after letting it languish on top of the tv for months and months. I am making progress, but until it actually looks like progress, I think it will remain unphotographed. That way it'll look more impressive. During the down time, I taught myself how to cable without a cable needles, and that really helps. Really, really helps.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

maryella

As predicted, the MaryElla, she was finished Saturday. Here she is, admiring how potted the plants are with the leftover thread and beads.



And here she is bedecking my wrist, admiring the fact that, yes, the petunias are potted, too.


And here she is out in the sunlight, thinking that perhaps the details are a little less visible, but my skin looks slightly less pasty in this one.


Some stats: I made her from this kit on US 000s. Bead stringing time: about 2 hours. Knitting time (including finishing): somewhere between 5 and 6 hours. Beads used, according to my calculator: 1,200. Estimated leftover beads already strung: 432. To estimate my leftover beads, I counted the number of beads in one inch of strung beads, and then multiplied that by the number of inches remaining. Scientastic, no? I think I might make a skinny little companion bracelet out of the leftovers, and give them both to my sister as part of her birthday present.

So, it turns out the devil really is in the details. I was very excited to finish the knitting on MaryElla, and to have had the forethought to bring both snaps and a needle with me so I could really really finish it. I broke apart the snaps and merrily started sewing the first one on. Since snaps take a lot (relatively speaking) of force to separate, I sewed the crap out of that bad boy. This is a snap, thought I, that is not going anywhere, no matter how many times it is unsnapped. Then I noticed I had sewed it on backward.

...

You see, the reverse side of the female snap looks an awful lot like the right side of male snap, if one is not paying strictest attention. At least I only sewed one on before I noticed. Of course, in an effort to keep my finishing minimal, I had sewed on the snap with the cast off tail, so I couldn't just cut it off, but had to unpick it with my sewing needle, which, being sharp, wanted to separate the plies. Good times. It gave me something to do. And the knitting/finishing time above allots time for my personal dumbassery, so just imagine how quickly you make one of these if you didn't screw it up.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

psaturday

I've already had a very delightful morning at the Pepper Place Farmer's Market. I bought peaches, plums, petunias, pretzel bread, and also dahlias and strawberries. Rather than letting my new plants sit there for a week (like the rosemary, basil, and thyme from last week), I went ahead and potted everything. I have to say, it makes the front of our apartment building look ever so much nicer.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work, but Saturdays are always slow, so I'm bringing MaryElla with me. Since hope springs eternal, I'm bringing the snaps with me, just in case I finish her and can sew them on. (Yes, it's slack, but I'm there by myself, and it's sloooooooow. At least this way I won't have two mesmerized kitties trying to catch the shiny, shiny string every time I have to slide the beads down the thread.)

Friday, June 02, 2006

bead-o-rama

I got a package in the mail last night that I wasn't expecting until next week. So I immediately had to start stringing beads. Approximately one metric fuckton of teeny tiny little beads. (You can see my big eye needle to the left of my bead stringing bowl.) I watched The Rise of Man on Discovery while I was stringing beads, and it took me from Neanderthal to Homo Sapiens to get all these freakin' beads strung.




Then I had to frantically search for my never-been-used US0000s, which I never did find after half an hour of digging through both the likely and unlikely places they might be. I went ahead and cast on with US000s, and it seems to be working out just fine. This is a project for which gauge, while important, is not totally strict. Can you guess what it is?



How about a hint?




It's Maryella, from Knitty. It's so fun, teeny tiny needles, skinny wee cotton thread, microscopic beads and all. (And with these blue aluminum needles, I feel a bit like Superman just knitting it.) I only knit for about two hours last night, what with the bead stringing and all, and I think I'm almost halfway done.

I ordered the MaryElla supplies from Earthfaire on Monday, and they got here Thursday. I cannot say enough nice things about Earthfaire. First of all, they were quick, which is a virtue in this house of immediate gratification. Second, their presentation was nice. The goodies were packed in the box with pretty tissue paper, and MaryElla and the other kit I ordered were each bagged separately. Of course, I ripped right into MaryElla before photographing it, but I did exercise enough self restraint to take a picture of this beaded cuff kit:

Look! The pattern is already in a sheet protector, and the whole thing is bagged and tied with a cute ribbon. Most importantly, each kit came with a bead threader thingy, so if you were to lose the first one while making the first kit, you'd have back up.

And finally, they sent an extra bead threading thingy and a few samples of different beads, accompanied by a few little hand written notes, explaining that I should try a few different kinds of beads to ascertain what I like. How very wonderful, and thanks, I think I will.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

decisions, decisions

So, I keep looking at this spindle kit.


Pros:

1. How cool would it be to knit something that I had spun my very own self? Pretty damn cool, that's how cool.

2. I've taught myself how to do things out of books before, and there are lots of instructional sites on the web.

3. Roving is so pretty, so very, very pretty.

4. It's only $26.95. Even if I don't like it, I'm only out thirty bucks.


Cons:

1. Well, yes, it would be damn cool. You'd feel like a bad ass, is how you'd feel.

2. Despite being pretty good at the book learnin', you don't have anyone to teach you, and looking at the instructional websites, it seems like it might be helpful to have someone show you how to do it. Confess, it'd be the cats chasing the spindle around the apartment, with you chasing the cats, and little pieces of sheep hair joining the cat hair that's everywhere anyway, and none of it ending up looking like "yarn."

3. Roving is so very, very pretty. Have you looked at how much yarn you have? Have you looked at what precious little storage space you have? Have you thought about where the hell you're going to put the baby's stuff, not to mention the baby??

4. It's only $26.95 at first. Then comes the roving. Then more spindles. Then you get a spinning wheel, for crying out loud. Then you end up getting a sheep, and dear god, where will you put that?


Sigh.