Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In the Nick of Time

I finished my Victorian Lace Socks this morning...just in the nick of time! The Six Sox deadline is today to be eligible for goodies or whatever--I really don't know being new to the group and all. Anyway, it was good motivation to get another pair of socks into the FO list. To celebrate the occasion, I headed out to my garden to shoot some creative pictures of my VLS.

Up first is perhaps my favorite picture. I love how the yellow of the socks stands out in contrast to the brilliant crimson of the Vinca. This was my first time planting vinca (the flowers, not the flowering vine--but I have some of that too that grew under the fence from the neighbor's yard). Actually, I didn't choose to plant vinca, my mother just brought a pony pack home one day and that was that. They were the puniest things for a long time, but just in the last week or so they finally filled out and started to bloom with abundance. They do look good in contrast to the yellow marigolds, especially when viewed from a distance.

The second picture shows the socks perched on one of my most favorite garden plants--lantana. I purchased two of the newer hybrids this year, one is a fragrant purple variety that is more of a ground cover. I planted those at the base of a young Natchez Crape Myrtle. The contrast of the white blossoms of the crape myrtle look great with the lavender lantana. but the socks are perched in a lovely yellow-peach-pink hybrid called Peach Sunrise. This hybrid grows vertically in addition to the lateral spread so they end up looking more like a shrub by fall. Cool!

Up next we find the socks in the yellow marigolds. Yellow socks--yellow flowers. Need I say more? I suppose not, so we'll move on to the mainstay of any southerner's late summer perennial border: the purple coneflower. Not only are these coneflowers very long-blooming, despite the heat, humidity, and this year--drought, but they are a magnet for butterflies bees and birds. There is nothing more beautiful to look at than a male goldfinch feeding on the seeds of purple coneflowers. I guess that's why I needed to take a picture of my yellow socks on the coneflowers.

And last, but certainly not to be dismissed or ignored is the brilliant purple petunia. No, my petunias are not planted in an onion patch, but they are in pots and raised beds all around the house. My mother adores the fragrance of petunias, especially in the evening, so I planted lots of them on the deck where she sits and relaxes early each morning and again in the evening. After all, it's my job to take good care of my mother :-) Love ya Mom!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Where did July go?

It's late. The almost full moon is a glowing orange tonight and I'm sitting here wondering what happened to this month. I swear it was the 4th of July holiday just the other day. I guess watching the Tour de France every day helped the month fly by (and what an exciting finish to the Tour this year?!?!) I guess I'll have to find something else to pace my morning knitting now that the Tour is over.

I'm knitting away on my Victorian Lace Socks so they will be done by tomorrow's deadline. The next Six Sox design is scheduled for release on Wednesday and I'm curious to see what the group will be knitting next. I frogged the oversized Jaywalker sock and wound the yarn back into a ball ready for a new, better-suited-for-me sock pattern to show up. I may frog the 1st sock tomorrow too. As for the MS3, I spent yesterday knitting on the blue version. I guess I have some serious knitting to do if I'm going to caught up and ready for the 5th clue on Friday. I'm trying very hard to finish my WIPs--a challenge indeed when my fingers are just itching to dive into a new project. I'm seriously considering giving a go at a sweater--one that really fits (gasp)...but then again, maybe I'll stick with lace knitting after all :-)

Since I haven't taken any new pictures on my current knitting projects, today's visuals are of my niece, Victoria's 8th birthday party. the festivities were held last night and included the ever-present pink balloons and chocolate birthday cake. Victoria is in to art and animals, so we gave her several "how to draw" animals books along with a sketch book for her to practice in. I recently introduced her to scrapbooking, which went over with a big bang, but she still isn't all that interested in needlework or fiber arts...maybe next year :o)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Better news

Now that I've vented about my fiasco with the Jaywalker socks I'm feeling a bit better about things. Or at the very least I'm ready to move forward to knitty success. I've been watching the Tour de France faithfully every day for 3 weeks. I've only been a Tour fan for a few years, but I don't suppose there ever was a Tour with more unexpected events--good and bad. And so it is with knitting I guess. The Jaywalker socks surprised me kind of like the 2 dogs the jumped out in front of cyclists during the Tour. Yup, twice it happened--once during the first week and again just the other day. And so I've had big socks. The Panda Cotton ones I caught early on and remedied, but the 2nd jaywalker was just a bad surprise. But the Tour and knitting socks must go on! Vive le Tour!

The first thing I did after throwing the bad jaywalkers in the frog pond corner was grab my yellow Panda Cotton socks. I'm knitting the Victorian Lace Socks along with the Six Sox group and it's a pretty nice knit. It took a while to get used to the Mini-Melon lace stitch, but once I mastered that things went pretty well. Of course I sort of altered everything else about the pattern except the top-down start and the lace pattern, but it was all minor things really. The best part is I just finished turning the heel on the 2nd sock and I'll have another great pair of PC socks to wear in a day or so. This is very good since I ***LOVE*** Panda Cotton yarn. I'm already plotting and planning to knit several more pairs out of this awesome yarn.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Party Grrrl

Let's see, I was looking at my blog yesterday and I realized it's been more than a week since I posted last. Yikes! Yes, I've been knitting but I've also been partying! Hey, I haven't been a party girl in years so this is a good thing! I spent most of last weekend with a bunch of folks I haven't seen in decades--three to be exact as it was my 30 year High School Reunion. Excluding the celebrations surrounding my graduation last May, I haven't talked so much or had so much fun in practically forever. There's something quite fascinating about meeting up with people you knew and loved as a kid and finding them all grown up and mature! While we had a small representation of folks who never grew up or who drink too much or...you know the list, but for the most part, my classmates turned out really great. The neatest part for me was how encouraging they were when I told folks what I'd been through the last 10 years. I walked away with my "batteries" recharged and feeling once again that the world is filled with such good people. That's pretty amazing ;-)

I had so much fun at my reunion events that I didn't even touch my knitting--during the parties or even much at home. Let's face it, I was exhausted! But I didn't stay away for long. Melanie posted a huge chunk of clues for the MS3 and I knit on the natural colored one a bit this week. I'm up to 250 rows completed on the natural one and 200 rows on the blue beaded one. This is good, but I was beginning to feel like I was neglecting all my other knitting projects--like socks! So I got on to the socks and finished the 1st Victorian Lace Sock and the 2nd Jaywalker. Then I dug out a simple ribbed cuff sock from my sock basket and had another party Wednesday night--a "kitch" party. I hate grafting up the toes of my socks, so I had several accumulated just waiting for the Kitchener stitch magic finish. Part of the reason why they accumulate is that I can never seem to remember how to get starting grafting and I have to read the instructions. Once I get rolling though, the 2nd and 3rd socks are simple :-)

Once the "kitch" party was done something scary happened. I'll show you a picture: see the pink Jaywalker socks? Can you see what's wrong with this picture? Oh BAD! Everything is wrong with these socks. Not only did I practically lose my mind while forcing myself to knit the 2nd sock, but in the end the darn thing ended up being enormous! Yes, I used the same size needles, the same pattern, same yarn, same everything, but these socks are anything but the same! OK, in fairness I knew I had knit 5 or 6 extra rows on the cuff of the second sock, and there were a few goofed decreases here and there--nothing major or worth tinking for, but nothing to merit this fiasco! Then, to top it all off, the color of the 2 socks ended up being different too! I know that's a risk with fancy dyed socks, but they came from the same dye lot and the 2 skeins were even tied together when I purchased them at my LYS. This was my 1st experience with Lorna's Laces yarn, so I was even more disappointed because I know LL has an excellent reputation.

The bottom line on my jaywalker socks: everything bombed out here. The plan: FROG POND! There's no sense wasting beautiful (expensive) sock yarn on ugly socks that don't fit. Lessons learned: 1)Listen to my gut instinct sooner. I would have frogged long before now if I had. 2)Compare sock 2 to sock 1 at intervals while knitting sock 2. That way I'll find out sooner rather than later that the 2nd sock isn't matching up. 3)Six inch cuffs are too tall for me. Stick with 4" cuffs for most things and never exceed 5" The jaywalkers are sitting in a corner along with a pi shawl waiting to be frogged. I've returned to knitting more Panda Cotton socks and the MS3. I'm done partying for awhile and I'll never go Jaywalking again!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I'm cruising right along on my MS3. After knitting the last couple of rows on the 2nd clue of the blue stole yesterday morning, I dove right on into the 3rd clue and finished it up this afternoon. I love how Melanie seems to know how to incorporate lace patterning and motifs in such a way as to make the knitting interesting without making it difficult or complex, yet the final results is anything but simple looking!

Now that I've finished the 3rd clue (200 rows) on the blue stole, I've picked up the natural-colored one and started to work on it. The natural stole knits much faster because I omitted the beads, yet the result is a slightly larger and thicker fabric because of the loftiness of the merino. The pattern is the same, but the 2 stoles are quite different!

We had guests over tonight so I knit a few more rows on my jaywalkers too. My fibro and PMS have been acting up today and I was in no mood for company so I was grateful to have my knitting. It's frightening to think what I might have said or done If I hadn't had those pink socks to focus on!!! I'm finally at the point where the end is in sight, so I'm motivated to get these babies done! I have to take my father to a doctor's appointment tomorrow, so that should give me some good knitting time. I'd like to go back to knitting new socks :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I really hadn't planned on knitting the Mystery Stole 3 this soon. I was going to be good disciplined and finish the Hanami Stole first. But then I saw the Yarn Harlot's post and felt the energy of all these knitters, and remembered how much I enjoyed my summer evenings sitting on the deck knitting the MS2 last year, and well--I caved. But in giving in to the stole knitting thing I had to figure out what stuff to use. Economics had already vetoed buying new yarn, so that meant knitting out of my stash. No problem as my lace weight yarn stash is healthy, but what to use? And that's where the indecision took over. To make a long story short, I've ended up knitting not one, but *two* versions of the stole: one au naturale in natural and the other in chambray blue with cobalt AB beads.

I finished knitting the second clue on the natural one a couple of days ago and the blue version this morning. Not bad for starting a full week late! As you can see, with 2 clues completed things are looking good! I love them both, so I guess I'll keep on knitting on both of them until I can no longer keep up, or decide I don't like one after all, or I finish them both. Now wouldn't that be cool?

With all the MS3 knitting going on, my sock knitting didn't get much attention this week. I decided I needed to finish the Jaywalker socks before I lose my mind, so they have been the focus this week. I finished the gusset decreases and started the foot yesterday, so I don't have far to go :-) Once I'm done with the Jaywalkers, then I can go back to SOS 2007 and Six Sox knitting

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My Favorite Things

I've had a such a fun weekend enjoying a few of my favorite things. What things? Well, knitting socks and lace and watching Wimbledon Tennis and the Tour de France on TV. I've been so looking forward to the Tour de France, not because I have a clear-cut favorite rider this year like I've had the last several years, but because it's like going on a trip to France and getting to see the countryside, but without actually being there. Don't get me wrong, I would *love* to be there, but this is the next best thing. Since the recent champions (Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis) are now retired, I'll be watching Levi Leipheimer closely along with a few others. Wouldn't it be cool if an American won again? The odds are not as good this year, but it's possible. There's one thing I do know, that is knitting and watching the Tour de France on TV are excellent companions :-)

And so, speaking of knitting, I've been a busy little thing. Thanks to a little sale at KnitPicks, I've got several new books on their way to my house. I picked up EZ's Knitter's Almanac, Alison Jeppson-Hyde's new book Comfort Shawls, and the new book by Koigu. I ordered a few needles and some sock yarn while I was at it (the things I really needed ;-) to qualify for free shipping. Then I hit Michael's to buy a few balls of LionBrand's CottonEase on sale. Yes, I'm going to try again to knit a cotton sweater that fits--but don't hold your breath as I've not succeeded yet. I'm more confident, though, as my knitting skills have vastly improved since my last sweater attempt. To finish off my shopping spree I hit the Yarn Haven to pick up 2 more balls of yes, Panda Cotton! I've have intentions to design some anklets, but I needed a solid color, so I grabbed some pink this time around. Sandy got some more Kid Merino in stock and I spied a purple and green ball called violets that just screamed my name. I even grabbed the size 7 needles that Jane Sowerby knit everything Mohair in in VLT and knit a (gasp!) swatch to see how it worked up. I haven't measured my gauge, but it looks to loose for my tasted so I will most likely use a size 6 needle when I start a real project.

Speaking of real projects, I took some pix of what's up in my knitting basket. I went back to work on the 2nd Jaywalker and am almost done with the heel flap. I really want to get these things done as I'm quite tired of knitting them. But the Jaywalkers don't count for my SOS KAL, so I'm also knitting my 2nd pair of Panda Cotton socks, this time using the Victorian Lace pattern from the Six Sox KAL. Gotta love knitting socks in the summer!

I printed out the 1st clue from the Mystery Stole 3 KAL last weekend, but I had no intention of casting on until after I finished the Hanami Stole. That was before I did some blog reading and caught up with the the Yarn Harlot. Yes, even our famous and beloved Stephanie Pearl-McPhee succumbed to the crowds and cast-on the MS3 using some yarn out of her stash. That was when my resolve faltered and I did some stash digging myself. I cast-on Friday night using KnitPicks Bare laceweight and some 8-0 Champagne Silver-lined seed beads. Choosing the beads was tough because nothing really looks good with natural colored fiber. Or at least I never found anything that worked when I was tatting with beads. I felt good about my choice in the lighting of my bedroom, but when I hauled the lace outside yesterday it looked just awful. So I had a dilemma. I was half way through Chart B so I didn't want to frog it, but I needed to get rid of the beads without damaging the yarn. Being the risk-taker that I am (NOT!) I took a hammer to the beads and crushed them. Even better, was I didn't cut the yarn because the beads were so completely shattered. Cool!

So I should be satisfied now that the beads are gone, right? Well, yes, i love the look of the natural colored yarn, but I'm so disappointed to not have beads in my project. I had some amazing deep blue AB beads in my stash that looked great with some light blue lace yarn. I had 3 skeins of Alpaca Cloud in a light smoky blue, but I was afraid I'd run out of yarn so that wouldn't do, but I also had a cone of super skinny cash/merino/viscose from ColourMart. A single strand was too skinny, so I went through the hassle of turning it into a center-pull ball of double-strand. I had a little bit left over, which I double stranded into a tiny ball and decided to cast-on and knit a swatch (gasp again!) in pattern with the beads. Oh pretty! So now I'm knitting 2 Mystery Stoles, one with and one without beads--and I like them both. What a crazy fool I am for doing 2 at once!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Knitting, not blogging

I guess I've been too busy knitting because it's been 5 days since I last updated my blog! Oh my! Meida's Sock has contined her travels around town, accompanying Daddy to cardiac rehab at the UT Heart/Lung Institute and going to Church on last Sunday (where a few more rows were added during the worship service).

On Tuesday the Sock went to campus for the Phenomenology Research Group meeting at the College of Nursing. A few more rows were added during group, then the Sock paid a visit to the iconic Torchbearer that watches over UTK. The Sock tried to fit the Torchbearer's foot, but as you can see, she was far too small. Let's face it, the Torchbearer is a very big statue! But the little sock was not discouraged because she was destined for smaller feet anyway--all she needed was her companion sock which was well-underway.

I finished Meida's socks on the 4th of July--and you thoughts all those parades and fireworks were celebrating something else? Nah--it was the socks! And can I tell you how much I love this pattern and the Panda Cotton Yarn? Well, I do--and so does my pal Ewe-nice!

I love FOs. It's so nice when I complete a project as I tend to specialize in WIPs/UFOs. But now that my 1st pair of SOS socks are finished, it's time to cast-on the next pair. Given my current passion for Panda Cotton it's no surprise that I'm using it again, this time in yellow. I'm knitting the Victorian Lace Socks from the Six Sox KAL group. I cast-on and knit a couple of pattern repeats on Thursday, but once again, my version was too large. So I frogged and restarted with only 56sts instead of the original 64. This will help me to know what I need for my next idea--to design a summer anklet out of the Panda Cotton. I live in cotton anklets, so this could be a very useful pattern for my sock drawer!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Just a Quickie

It's getting late and I'm tired an a bit grumpy tonight, so I'm just posting a quickie here to update my progress on all things knitty. I've been focused mostly on knitting Meida's Socks (from IK Favorite Socks book) the last few days as I'm quite smitten with everything about them: the pattern, the yarn, and even the periwinkle color! I finished the 1st sock last night, using the non-kitchener toe closure in the pattern. I'll admit it is a heck of a lot easier than grafting, which I hate to do, but I'm not sold on the final look just yet. Maybe the easy toe is a good thing, but I'm not certain of my opinion at this point.

I did have to add a couple of pattern repeats in the foot to make the socks long enough, but they do fit quite nicely. The fit is snug, but not tight; however, I will most likely go up to a 2.75mm needle the next time I knit this pattern. My success with this sock was especially joyful because knitting a good summer sock out of cotton/blend yarns is challenging. This experience affirmed my suspicion that I like Panda Cotton Yarn. In fact, I plan to cast on another pair of socks out of PC as soon as Meida's socks are finished. Kathleen left a comment on my blog the other day telling me about a great pattern from the Six Sox KAL that she just finished knitting out of PC. The pattern, Victorian Lace, is totally my style, so I joined the KAL to access the pattern. I dropped in at my LYS yesterday and picked up a couple of balls of the PC in a butter yellow so I'm all set to cast-on the Victorian Lace socks next. Thanks Kathleen for the great tip!