Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

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March 5, 2009

Stuff I Like

I should admit that I'm doing rather well with this whole postpartum thing. I've lost around 50 pounds, give or take a few. In fact, I'm having to buy new clothes as my pre-baby clothes don't much fit me anymore. Bummer for me, eh? I've got increased energy like I didn't know I could have. I've been walking lots, and feeling good. My head is clear, and [gasp] I've been working on my dissertation. Yup. It's true. In fact, right now I'm taking some time out from the ol' diss to write this posting. I'm hoping to have a prospectus meeting sometime soon, and maybe finish the whole thing off this summer at the latest.

I've accomplished other things too, including knitting. Yeah, once upon a time I used to write about knitting on this blog. It's been awhile, I admit. But that doesn't mean I haven't been knitting. Before baby S was born, I finished her log-cabin baby blanket. It's made in Cascade Luna, which is one of my favorite yarns ever. Someone told me it looks like ice cream, and I think that's a great way to describe it:


This was the perfect project for me because there weren't really any directions to follow. You just garter stitch in one color as long as you like, then bind off, turn the project to the right, and begin with a new color. You keep going around to the right the whole time, and it gets bigger before you know it. And now, it's a soft blankie for S! I love it!

I also finished a pair of socks recently. I started these right before I found out I was pregnant with S. I think the motto with these was "slow and steady wins the race." I love to knit socks, but I was really distracted with other things. Then, I realized I wanted to knit something for my OB. At first, I wanted to make her mittens because S was born in January and I thought that would be cool. But, then the doctor told me that when they are on call, socks are one of the only ways they can express their individuality. I asked her what her favorite color was, and she said green. I immediately thought of these socks, as they fit my doctor's personality, too. I'm not sure what I mean by that, but I gave them to her the other day, and I think she liked them:

They were my first attempt at dyeing sock yarn, and I think they turned out terrific! I was surprised and pleased at how much they almost striped, as I wasn't trying to make self-striping yarn. I love the effect, though, and I'm glad I still have yarn left enough to maybe make S a little hat or something.

And finally, I have to end with a picture of baby S. I am more in love with her every minute!! She was so alert and interested when I was taking her picture today. There was sun streaming in the window, and she was so curious about it. I think that's what she's looking at in this picture. I LOVE this picture--I love the intensity of her look. She's such an awesome baby!


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Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

September 22, 2008

Finished Object Report

Yay! Baby has a new sweater!

September 2008 012.JPG

Specifications worth mentioning:

Yarn: Sundara Yarn Princess Pink
Pattern: Nope, didn't have one. I just cast on and cast off when I figured a sweater was in there somewhere. Yeah, the arms might've gotten a wee bit long, but I think baby won't mind. And besides, the yarn stretches a little, so maybe it'll last a little longer than I might think now.

I'm pleased with how it turned out. I'm already on to the next little sweater for baby. It's a good thing she's gonna be born in the winter because she's going to have lots of knit snugglies to keep her warm!

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Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

Category "Random Distractions"

May 27, 2008

Sock Wars III

So, awhile back, I heard about Sock Wars III, and thought it might be fun. After all, what could be more fun than knitters trying to "assassinate" each other by making such a deadly weapon as a pair of socks, right? I had to sign up!

So, the pattern comes out as promised, and it turns out to be a wee bit harder than I had anticipated. Not really difficult, mind you, but a little more thinking required than the mindless knitting it turned out that I've been up to these last few weeks.

Fortunately for me, my "death socks" arrived the other day, and my weapons in progress have been turned over to Princess Knitter in Seattle, WA, who is carrying on the good fight.

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March 30, 2008

Boston Not-So-Red Socks

I've been in Boston now for more than 24 hours, and I'm at the halfway point in my East Coast trip. This weekend has been mostly down time here in Boston, although I've gotten some good walks in. And of course, lots of knitting, although this is certainly not my best work:

March 2008 004.JPG

This is Pagewood Farms colorway "Crayon." I really like the colorway a lot, and the yarn is very soft. These socks are, once again, the Yarn Harlot's Basic Sock Recipe, which makes for good mindless knitting while attending conference sessions.

I tend to be a loose knitter, even with my KnitPicks US size 0 circulars. I'm really hoping they make the 00 circulars sometime soon, as I could really use a smaller needle. But, if you look closely (although I'd prefer that you don't) you can tell when I was attending the session that really ticked me off, because my gauge got a little tighter. I decided to continue the tight gauge all the way through, which led to a somewhat tapered leg and nicely-fitting sock. We'll see if I can replicate all that on the second sock, but the good news is at least that I've already cast-on! See?

March 2008 015.JPG No second sock syndrome here! And I have a week to go to finish my East Coast socks--I think it might actually happen!

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March 29, 2008

Knitty Gritty Up Close and Personal

Awhile back, our LYS had a special event--Crafty Planet had Vicki Howell, host of DIY's Knitty Gritty over the on the eve of Knit Out.

My little guy adores her--in fact, DIY is his favorite channel, although he probably likes the home improvement type shows more than he likes the crafty shows. Nonetheless, he didn't want to miss this opportunity to tell Vicki he likes her knit bits.

It turns out she's got a couple boys, and she loved meeting J! He gave her a little gift of chocolate, and she seemed really pleased. Maybe he'll learn to knit after all?

March 2008 013.JPG

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March 12, 2008

Knits All in the Family

I am a muggle-born.

Nobody in my family taught me to knit. My mother knows how to knit, but I'm sure she hasn't done it for at least 30 years. Instead, she's a quilter through and through. My grandmother knew how to knit, but she preferred to spend her craft time baking, sewing, beading, embroidering, and crocheting. I have strong memories of my aunt knitting when I was a child. My cousin and I would play with her knitting needles, wondering how it all came together, and how a person ever got the stitches off the needle. But, as it turns out, that knitting project still isn't finished these 30 years later, and it was the one and only knitting project my aunt ever attempted. She was surprised to hear, this weekend when I showed up for my mother's surprise birthday party, that she was my original inspiration to learn to knit.

As I mentioned awhile back, I decided to make my mother a pair of handknit socks for her birthday. This project went through a few iterations before I finally settled on some self-striping yarn and the basic sock pattern from the Yarn Harlot. I knew my family would be impressed with the self-striping yarn, and as the time crunch increased, I knew I had a chance to finish them because I didn't have to pay attention to the pattern.

I took the train to North Dakota for the big birthday surprise. Yes, my mother did not know that three of her four children who live out of shouting distance from her were all coming to visit, unannounced. I was counting on some good knitting time on the train to finish the socks, but I didn't plan for the heat to go out in the train.

Let's face it--when it looks like this outside:
March 2008 019.JPG
and there's no heat inside, it's hard to do this:
March 2008 014.JPG

Folks, there was frost on my needles! I contemplated the notion of knitting to stay warm, but I was so cold, I couldn't do it. Eventually, they got some repair people on the train, and it started to warm up, but we were practically to my destination at that point.

At any rate, I kept at it, and got the socks finished for my mother's big birthday. I decided not to worry about having the self-striping yarn match on each foot, and it was a good thing, too, as in one place, the yarn was actually knotted together, and I didn't figure it out until much later but there was a huge gap in the pattern at that place.

Finished socks! Yay!

I gave them to my mother with all of the beaming and raw emotion of a child. It was like I was 7 again, giving her a glue-smeared popsicle stick birdhouse ornament for mother's day. She took them, told me they were beautiful, and then said, "they're much too pretty to wear" and put them in her drawer. I responded in words I knew she would understand: "you wouldn't want me to say that about your quilts--they're much to pretty to use."

She paused, and realized what she had said, and apologized. The proof, however, was still in the pudding. She didn't wear them the rest of the weekend. Muggle. No more handknit socks for her!

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February 6, 2008

What's in the queue?

So my LYS is moving, and they're clearing out lots of good yarns so that they have less to move. If you're a local, you should stop by and check out the sales! I ended up buying some things other than sock yarn, on speculation. Lots of cotton, which is one of my favorite yarns for baby knits. It all got put away, though, because I already feel like I have too many projects on the needles:

1. Bird in the Hand by Kate Gilbert. My first real two-color knitting, and so far so good. Almost one mitten finished. They'll probably be done right before winter's over, but hey! it's Minnesota! Winter'll come 'round again, I'm sure.

2. Boring ol' legwarmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. While the pattern has long since lost my attention, the combo of Cascade 220 and Rowan kid mohair have not. So soft and lovely. These have a chance of being finished before the snows have come to an end. After all, they're supposed to be "last minute" right?

3. Another pair of Waving Lace Socks from Favorite Socks by Interweave Press. My mother turns 75 next month, and I thought since she likes socks, it might be nice to make her a pair of handknit socks. I'm glad I already know she's not a stickler for deadlines, since I'm doubtful I can get them done for her birthday, which is the first week in March.

4. a scarf for my dear, sweet hubby. To be fair, I made him a scarf a few years ago, and he lost it within two weeks, so I'm not exactly in a rush to get this one done. But, I think I've finally figured out what I want to do, and I've got it started. It might be finished before the snow stops falling.

5. Natalie Coat, from Big Girl Knits. I'm not so far, though, so I hesitate to put it on the list. I tried to start this project once before, but gave up because I was still learning how to read the pattern. Now I understand it better; it's just that I've never knitted a full garment before (outside of baby sweaters), and this is an undertaking, just from the sheer volume of knitting to be done.

So, that's about it for now. I'm in Atlanta for a meeting, so I'm working on the socks for my mother, since they're a nice, portable project and they have the most time-sensitive deadline.

Since I have no pictures of knitting to share, I leave you with a cute kitten picture. It's a little blurry, I know, but that's because she was moving when I took the picture. And, if you come across her on Kitten Wars please vote for her. She must be up against a real winner because my cutie doesn't have the best stats so far.

second run photos 2008 024.jpg

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February 1, 2008

I HATE the Yarn Harlot

I could be knitting. But no.

I could be dissertating. But no.

Why not, you ask?

Because I'm too busy launching little hamsters into the air.

Thanks alot, Yarn Harlot!

Click on the link. I dare you. You'll thank me later, I'm sure.

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November 11, 2007

Socktoberfest update

I'm not so good at the Socktoberfest KAL. I DID finish my socks in October, but I didn't get them posted anywhere in time. In fact, it wasn't until I was in a hotel room in Dallas, TX before I realized, oh yeah, I'm in Dallas in November and I still haven't posted my socks!! Oh, well. No prizes for me. But I DO have adorably cute finished socks:

October 2007 043.jpg

I've decided that I need to be one of those knitters who knits both socks at the same time, a little of each at a time. Then, I can be happy when I've finished the pair instead of getting done with one and wondering if I'll ever finish the second. Because that's where I'm at right now. Almost done with one sock, and wondering if I'll EVER finish the second, especially since I have some new, cool sock yarn to cast on with. See?

October 2007 023.jpg

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October 24, 2007

Socktoberfest Blues

Last week Monday, I turned in a HUGE consulting project that I'm oh, so glad to be done with. Writing deadlines just make me want to knit more, and more knitting means no writing was getting done for awhile. No writing meant lots of scrambling and sleepless nights before the big deadline, but now it's done. Turned in. And the knitting has begun.

I spent the first day of increased freedom reorganizing my stash. We moved somewhat recently, and in our new place, we have a little alcove area in our bedroom that hubby thought would make a great "Knit Nook." That's right--it was HIS idea! I have it set up with a comfy chair, a lamp, a table, and a nice rug. And, so far, my stash has not outgrown that space, and it probably won't for a long time.

In reorganizing, I found some socks that had been forgotten. A pair partly done, using Regia bamboo. Another pair of koigu that may never be finished (I knit the first one way too big, and frogged it and started over. At this point, I'm not done with the new first sock.) I finished the Regia bamboo sock, and struggled to find the remaining yarn for the second sock. Oh, do I ever have Second Sock Syndrome! I don't want to keep knitting another boring blue bamboo sock, when I could be doing something much more exciting. Like what?

Like making baby hats. Baby hats are the world's most perfect knit. They can be made with sock yarn. They are needed and appreciated. They don't take long to make. AND, best of all--you don't need to knit two! I have made three baby hats in the last week. I've been slowly knitting on a pair of socks, but baby hats--that's where it's AT!

So, what AM I going to do about that Socktoberfest KAL I signed up for? Make baby socks, of course!

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October 10, 2007

Happiness is...

Mutsumi 3.JPG

A happy baby wearing the sweater you knit her. And, happiness is the sweater arriving before she grew out of it, too!

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October 4, 2007

Don't Cast On During Take-Off

So, I've been doing a lot of travel for work lately. In the last few months, I've been to Nashville, Atlantic City, DC, Nashua, and Salt Lake City. In the next few months, I'll be going to Dallas, DC, a place yet to be determined, New York City, Boston, DC, and Orlando. [Notice I seem to go to DC a lot?] I didn't even have a worldperks account before I got this job. Now, I'm racking up the frequent flier miles.

Flying is something I could take or leave. I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite thing either. I dislike the cramped quarters, people who insist on reclining the seat in front of me, people who think that just because I'm sitting next to them that means I should want to talk to them, and fact that airplanes are not a place I can get work done. Before I learned to knit, I would buy a trashy magazine and flip through it, counting down the minutes until the landing.

Then I learned to knit. Then, I learned to knit socks, and I figured out that socks are a great project to bring on an airplane. The first time I took my project through security, I was SO worried I'd have to give up my needles. I tried researching online, but frankly, it doesn't seem like there really was a clear answer anywhere about knitting needles and security. So, I brought bamboo needles, and hoped I would not have to give them up (I didn't).

Several flights later, I've gotten pretty bold. On the flight to/from Nashua, I brought Addi Turbo lace needles on board. Now, common sense might suggest that it would be a real shame if I ever did have to surrender them to the TSA, but I was feeling risky. And nothing happened. By nothing, I am NOT referring to the several rows of knitting I got done on the plane. So this time, I started using Addi Turbos to knit socks on circular needles (I'm trying it for the first time and LOVING it!).

While in Salt Lake, I decided my pattern wasn't working out with the yarn. The yarn is lovely, but--have you ever had a yarn that was too strong for nearly any pattern but a boring rib or stockinette? So, I decided to start over.

Fast forward to the airplane. There I am, fumbling with not one circular needle, but two circulars, trying to cast on. I'm hoping I don't drop a set (cuz, will I really ever be able to retrieve something dropped on an airplane? Ever?). Needle points are flailing about like octopus tentacles, and the flight attendant walks by, doing her routine check. The look on her face says, "The TSA let you on with those?" and she calmly says, "Could you put those away during take-off?"

Of course I did. But I wish I had asked why she didn't have more faith in the pilot.

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September 24, 2007

Sock it to me!

Just when I thought I could slow down a little on the knitting and maybe work on that dissertation, I hear that it's almost Socktoberfest! How fun is that?

And, the Yarnery, one of my LYS, is having a knitalong! Sign up here . Even if you don't live in the Twin Cities, you can participate, although to win the cool prizes your finished socks would have to find their way to the Yarnery somehow. Let's keep the excitement from Sockapalooza going!

And finally, check out this first day of school picture:

Jurgen first day of school.jpg

Doesn't he look both cute and mature? Admittedly, he IS on the old end of kindergarten. Most parents of a summer birthday boy can appreciate the question of when to send their precious little boy to school. We decided to wait, and so far, I think it was a good decision. You can see the confidence on his face, for sure. And, it was J's idea to hold his backpack like that. How GQ of him!

And yes, he IS wearing a school uniform. He goes to Yinghua Academy a local public school that is Chinese (Mandarin) immersion. So far, he's loving it!

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September 16, 2007

I'm not a SockapaLOSER!

I was so worried I'd never finish my socks for my sock pal. Let's just say the last month or so has been not at all what I expected (details to come later, when I can say something more conclusive). Finally, a little over a week ago, I finished the second sock. I proudly blocked them, and delighted in my vision of me at the post office, sending them off to their waiting owner. But alas, there was a problem. One sock was about an inch longer than the other!

How could this happen?! I had been so careful with the second sock, measuring it up to the first over and over and over again. Now, if they were socks for my mother, she would wear them proudly, never minding that one sock was significantly longer than the other. My loving husband looked at them and said, "Oh, maybe she won't notice." Muggle! Of course a sock knitter would notice! And, I didn't go for his hopeful comment that maybe one leg is longer than the other, either.

After several long moment in the fetal position, I contemplated my choices. The way I saw it, I had three choices:

1. Knit a whole new pair of socks, this time much more carefully. This did not seem reasonable given it was already September and it had taken me all summer to knit one pair of socks. Chances are, no one would want their Sockapalooza socks to arrive in December.

2. Frog that long sock and start over. I had already been suffering a bit from Second Sock Syndrome, so the thought of knitting a whole other sock again did not sound like a good idea at all.

3. Give the socks to my mother, who would accept them graciously. Tell Alison I needed a sock savior. This option seemed the most reasonable, especially given the circumstances of the last month of so.

These choices did not seem so spectacular to me. How could I ever wear my socks from Nan--those gorgeous Monkeys in STR Downpour--if I did not send socks to my sock pal. And besides, I had two finished socks. It's not like I hadn't started yet, or something. I thought some more. I contemplated throwing my problem out here on the blogosphere, to see what suggestions I might get. Instead, it came to me in a flash--call my LYS! They would know what to do.

It turned out they had a free clinic that very day! I took my socks in, embarrassed to show them my mistake. Of course, I quickly lost that feeling when I saw that I was not alone and that there are other knitters out there with greater knitting problems than I. Plus, it didn't hurt that people admired my socks. The helpful knitter at the clinic observed that i had done an extra pattern repeat, and then she taught me how to do sock surgery. Yep, you guessed it (because you're much smarter than I am, and you already knew that I just needed to cut that extra pattern repeat right outta there). I would cut off the top and reknit the cuff.

Now, cutting one's knitting is not something to go into lightly. I practiced. And, I practiced. And, I worried too much about the fact that it was a lace pattern and what might happen if I cut the wrong row. In the end, it was all very simple (if you haven't had to take out several rows this way, I assure you, it IS very simple). The only minor issue is that the two cuffs look a little different, since one was a cast-on row and one ended up being a cast-off row. So, here they are, right before jumping into the package to go to my Sock Pal:


Sorry for the photo quality. You can't really see the subtle variegation of green and yellow. It's a very pretty color, in my opinion. We have a habit of losing our digital camera, so this was the best I could do under the circumstances. The socks didn't turn out quite as great as I wanted them to, but hopefully my sock pal won't mind. The yarn is Yarni, a locally dyed yarn. I included another colorway of Yarni in the care package to my sock pal, so she can make another pair of Yarni socks if she wants.

Now, I can move on to other knitting, guilt-free. Or nearly guilt-free. There IS that thing called a dissertation to work on too.

Stay tuned for first day of kindergarten pics!

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August 8, 2007

When your sock pal is in California...

...You get some cool loot from Disneyland with your socks! I got my package today, and even though I feel bad I haven't finished socks for my pal, I couldn't wait to open it.

August 2007 366.jpg

Thanks, Nan, for knowing exactly what I like. I'm munching on mango while I'm typing this, and J (my son) is begging for the mickey lollipops. It's been awhile since we've been to Disneyland, and I always get those lollis when we go. J hasn't been there yet, though. Anyway, on to the socks...aren't they awesome?

August 2007 370.jpg

Nan doesn't have a blog (should we beg her to get one?)--I figure someone who can make socks this awesome must be pretty cool. Nan, I'd love to read your blog, so if you get one, let me know! Anyway, these socks are making their web debut right here, so feel free to ooh and aah--I know I am!!!

Here's another pic:August 2007 371.jpg

Hey, hey, they're Monkeys! And, correct me, sock pal, if I'm mistaken, but I think they're Socks that Rock Downpour?
They fit nicely, and I adore them!

Now, I'm feeling a bit like a bum because I haven't quite finished socks for my sock pal yet. (And, I know she' s already mailed hers out too, so she's gonna be expecting her soon.) Here's an update:

August 2007 372.jpg One waving lace done.

August 2007 374.jpg And one waving lace not yet done. I'm knitting as fast as I can!

Trouble is, I have another knitting deadline next Thursday and an important meeting for work in DC on Monday and Tuesday (do ya'll think I travel enough?!). So, I'm knitting in my sleep if possible.

Soon, very soon, I'll tell you what I'm up to with these: August 2007 054.jpg It's a very special story...and one I can share soon.

Thanks again, sock pal!

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July 20, 2007

Hey secret sock pal,

Are you wondering if I fell off the edge of the earth? Ever since that thing called Nashville, it seems like I haven't been blogging much. I think of you, though. I think of you, and wonder if you've given up reading my blog since I haven't updated it much. I think about updating it, and then I realize that I can't post pictures because my camera doesn't have batteries has gone missing is currently out in the car. I want to post pictures because...well, what knitter doesn't want to post pictures? Besides, I could visually represent my indecision about knitting for my sock pal:

1. I thought about Baudelaire. I signed up for a class on Baudelaire. Due to my travel schedule for work, I ended up missing most of the classes. I have a lovely toe started in red Fleece Artist sea wool, though. Besides, I worry about the fit--it's probably better to make Baudelaire for someone whose foot you have access to.

2. I started Pillars of Atlantis on some really cool green Yarni (it's local to North St. Paul). I concluded that my gauge and the cable pattern were making socks for a child, not my sock pal. I frogged.

3. I started Pomatomus. I realized that I cannot knit Pomatomus in a deep blue Adirondacks yarn and listen to the incessant ramblings of a charming almost 6 year old. He's charming. Really. But, I was getting lost in the pattern. I need more quiet time, let's face it. Until then....

4. I started Waving Lace in a gorgeous pink Claudia. Gorgeous, folks. I got a few rows in and looked at my gauge and thought, these would probably fit my chubby ankles but not my sock pal's svelte ankles. I've seen them on her blog, you see. I cast those aside.....

5. I wondered if I should just go with the partially done plain ol' stockinette in a self-striping yarn of blues and greens and oranges. I don't think my pal likes self-striping yarn, though. Plus, I think she likes lace.

6. I cast on some Cascade Fixation I bought down the street, just to see what it felt like. I started making a striped stockinette sock, but it's definitely NOT my sock pal's taste.

7. I thought about doing something with my hand-dyed yarn. No, it's not her colors....

Are you worried I'm not going to make it yet?

8. FINALLY (yes, finally!!) I cast on Waving Lace in my lovely frogged green Yarni. It took awhile to get the pattern down--a few frogs that followed a "Mama, look at my lego guy. See what I did! Look. Can you play a game with me? Let's pretend you're a gecko and I'm an iguana. Only geckos don't knit, ok?" But, eventually I got it. I'm still worried about gauge (please, sockpal, I hope your ankles are as small as I think they are). I am ALMOST done with sock #1.

As for sock #2, I am going to Atlantic City this weekend for work (Read=knitting on an airplane) and then to North Dakota (I should have done a giveaway for that!) for the family reunion next week (Read=12 hours on Amtrak--LOTS of knitting time). Sock #2 should be done by August.

But in the meantime, sock pal, if the skies are sunny where you are (and I think they are), and you're enjoying working on another project because you've long since finished my socks, I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!!!
I'd rather believe you are in my boat, knitting furiously in every spare moment to finish a pair of socks to soon enough say goodbye to and mail off to their eager recipient. Right now, I'm knitting too much to feel eager. Soon. Very soon.

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July 6, 2007

100 Posts Contest Winners!

Sorry it took me so long to get these winners announced. It's been a super busy couple of weeks, and not slated to slow down until August.

Here are the winners, drawn at random:

2 skeins of Koigu in my favorite colorway goes to Lisa who met her husband in the Twin Cities.

some MN wild rice soon on its way to Chelsea who might get to spend some time in the family cabin in MN this summer

chocolate from a local chocolatier goes to Alli who would probably like MN's cold winter, since she lives in Alaska. Be sure to check out her blog--she's been seriously knitting some awesome socks lately!!!

Laura, who misses the cold weather now that she's living in Mississippi, is getting an Annie Modesitt flip book. As someone recently observed, the Knitting Heretic herself has recently moved to the Twin Cities (St. Paul, to be precise) so we can definitely say she's one of the best things about the cities.

Ana's getting herself a Crafy Planet t-shirt. I really adore the stiching world logo--it's so cute. Be sure to check out their online store--they've got some nifty imported fabrics, in addition to yarn.

Fleece Artist will soon be on its way to Amy who has recently finished her Sockapalooza socks. Check them out! I hope she likes the Fleece Artist--let's just say I was in a "bright colors" mood the day I got it.

Thanks to all who entered!! I really liked hearing all the things you liked about the cities. Stay tuned--in another few weeks, I'll reveal one of my vey favorite things about the cities. But in the meantime, too much work is calling my name!

Sockapalooza update soon!

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July 1, 2007

Finally catching up, post-Nashville

Folks, Nashville was hard on me. A full week in the biodome known as the Gaylord Opryland. I live close enough to the Mall of America and this place was similar to the mall, only with a 2000 room hotel added on. Crazy hoards of kids visiting Nashville for the first time, too much talk of psychometrics, and that whole thing about me being an "expert." It's over. I survived. Don't ask me what I said--it's all a blur.

I'll have some sockpal sock pics to post soon.

In the meantime, I haven't quite recovered enough to draw names for the contest, but check back in a day or two. The results will be posted soon, I promise! Thanks to all who entered!

Posted by chri1010 at 9:27 PM | Comments (2672) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

June 19, 2007

I need a pep talk

I was going to post a picture of the yarn I brought with me to Nashville, but needless to say, I've been to busy to take any pictures, much less upload them to the blog. So, close your eyes and imagine this: 8 skeins of knitpicks Sierra in grape, one lovely skein of Fleece Artist in a red colorway (for Baudelaire, back when I was dreaming I'd actually get to do some knitting in Nashville), and one skein of Yarni (a locally hand-dyed yarn) in a yellowish greenish. The last one is what I finally picked for my sock pal.

Why so much yarn? Well, it's obvious: the Fleece Artist because I have visions of Baudelaire AND I'm taking a wonderful class at the Yarnery this week, but I'm missing it since I'm in Nashville. The Heathen Housewife is the instructor, and I'm thrilled to meet her. The Yarni for my sock pal, well that's clear, right? I'm keeping the pattern a secret for now, but it's turning out nice.

So, what's up with all the Sierra? That, too, is a secret, although nothing so special as a design secret. It will be revealed later in the summer, so stay tuned.

With all this yarn, why do I need a pep talk? If not getting to knit much isn't enough, how about being an "expert" for a public hearing that's entered into the federal register? Yep, my words are going to be memorialized somewhere for everyone to see. I "became" an expert last week, I guess, but I sure don't feel like one. So wish me luck.

And please enter my contest. There's still time. A few points of clarification:

1. The Twin Cities are in Minnesota. Minnesota is in the north central part of the US. It's cold in the winter and hot in the summer. We're the land of 10000 lakes and infinite more mosquitoes.

2. You don't have to write about Minnesota. Write about anywhere. But, if you've been to Minnesota, lived in Minnesota, wished you could visit Minnesota, I'm curious what you like. But write about anything.

3. Or, just include your name and email address. I'll include you in the drawing. Free Fleece Artist, people! If enough people enter, there might be free Claudia too. So tell your friends. You'll be glad you did!

Posted by chri1010 at 10:11 PM | Comments (27832) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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Category "Signs of the Cities"

June 12, 2007

101 Entries: Time to Celebrate!

(A longish post, but well worth it to read to the end.)

I started this blog in September 2004 upon my return from spending the summer in Portland, Oregon. I LOVE Portland (I know--I'm not the only one!), and it was very hard to leave Portland that summer to come back to the Twin Cities.

We moved to the Twin Cities in August 2002. We were two new doctoral students with a 1 year old. We were making a big life transition. We were less gainfully employed. It was a stressful time, and we didn't find the Twin Cities very welcoming.

Thus, Winter in the Cities.

New Folder 2007 017.jpg

I decided to blog to record some of my impressions of this place, known for its winters, the Mall of America, and Minnesota nice. I learned to knit, in part, to have a diversion from the stress. It seems to be working.

In the last few years, things have been looking up. We're almost done with our degrees. We've got fantastic jobs. Our kid is getting ready for Chinese immersion school. All this in only 100 entries. These days, I actually kinda like Minnesota. It doesn't hurt that we have Trader Joe's, finally.

Time for a contest, I think. And, since I rarely win in random drawings, I want this to be easy. Not that I wouldn't like to have you guess what pattern I'm using to make socks for my sock pal, it's just that, well....never mind.

So here's the deal. For those of you who live in the area, what do you like about the Twin Cities? If you're not living here now, but have lived here in the past, what do you miss? If you've never been here, what do you think you might like? If you're like I was 100 entries ago, and you don't like the Twin Cities (or have never been here and the question seems too hard), what place calls out to you? What do you like about that place? (In other words, leave a relevant posting in the comments, along with your name and email address, and I'll enter you in the drawing.)

What might you win? Well, mostly some of my favorite stuff from the Cities, of course! I have a t-shirt from Crafty Planet (they're saving the world one stitch at a time) and my favorite sock pattern from the Yarnery, for starters. Of course, sock yarn! Enough to make a pair of socks, I'm including at least my favorite koigu colorway and a fabulous ball of Fleece Artist. Finally, there's some other Twin Cities kitsch, yet to be named. Wild rice, anyone?!

Non-knitters are welcome to enter the drawing (the prizes are not ALL knit related)--just let me know you're not a knitter. Let me know if you've got your heart set on the Fleece Artist, the Crafty Planet t-shirt, or if you'll be happy just to win (that's me!). When I do the drawing, I'll do my best to match the winners up to their favs, but I make no guarantees. (Hey, it IS free stuff after all!)

When will the drawing be held? Well, I'm heading out for Nashville later this week for a work-related event. I'm guessing I'm too swamped with work to do much posting between now and when I get back, so....if you're entered by midnight June 21st I'll include you in the drawing.

After all, by then it'll be summer in the cities. Let the fun begin!

Posted by chri1010 at 8:49 PM | Comments (1567) | Because knitting rocks my socks! | Signs of the Cities

Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

June 4, 2007

Dear Secret Sock Pal,

I'm so terribly bad at Christmas. When I was 5, I spent hours in front of the santa-clad square box under the tree, hoping and wondering--would it please be a Lite Bright? I could tear just a little corner here, and maybe I'd know. A little shake might give away the clitter clatter of the little pegs jostling each other in their plastic packaging. Would Christmas ever come?! My cousins, who were staying with us briefly while their parents relocated the family to Iceland, told me Santa lives in Iceland and if I didn't leave that package alone right now, they would personally tell Santa and his reindeer not to stop by my house. All I can say is that it's a good thing they never noticed that little tear in the wrapping paper.

Things have not improved since I've gotten older. C, my loving spouse of 14 years today (yep, it's our anniversary), knows I'm not good with surprises. Instead of buying each other gifts, we usually decide on one gift together. This year's anniversary present: a very nice, stainless steel garbage can for the kitchen. We're hoping the dogs won't knock it over. And yes, we have a weird sense of romance.

You can guess that by now I'm DYING to know if you've started my socks. I'm wondering what color they might be (if they've been started, that is). Will they be toe up socks? Are they on two circulars, a technique I thought I might want to learn but maybe have reconsidered. I look at the Pligg, and wonder which blog is yours, or if you have a blog at all. When I get my socks in August, will I have seen them on your blog and not known that they were for me? Or, will they have somehow escaped my notice?

I confess I'm still a little worried about having to pin down one pattern and one yarn for my sock pal, the one I'm knitting for. I wonder if you are like that, too (I've noticed I'm not alone in this obsession about the right yarn, the right pattern...). Do you know that I like patterns by Cookie A.? (But I have somewhat thick feet--and a little wide, I think, so it may be better if I make my own Cookie A. socks) Do you know that I'd be thrilled with a plain ol' stockinette sock or in ribbing? Really. I would.

I wish I knew those things about my sock pal, the one I'm knitting for. She doesn't blog much, and I hesitate to ask to many questions via email. So, I'm probably gonna make two pairs of socks and send her the ones I like the best.

I know my own sock pal has NOT read my blog, because I am (not surprisingly) obsessed with my SITE METER. But, sock pal whose knitting socks for me, I think you might stop by the blog once in awhile. So this post is for you, to know that while I'm making socks for someone else, I'm thinking about you, too. Wondering where you are, what kind of socks you're knitting, and counting the days til Christmas in August.


Curious in Minnesota

Posted by chri1010 at 10:19 PM | Comments (1126) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

May 24, 2007

Is This Yarn Ugly?

My sock yarn came in the mail the other day, and for some reason, it underwhelms me. So, for some reason, I decided to try my hand at dyeing my own. I had a skein of KnitPicks Bare, and some Wilton food dye I picked up for the occasion. I read an article about dyeing yarn on Knitty, and got started. Some things I learned from this process:

1. It's probably best to stay far, far away from colors that have the potential to make brown on your first foray into dyeing. For awhile there, I had a bit of a brown thing going, but carefully averted it all by overdyeing into purple.

2. The more dye you use, the more intense the colors will be. I think it's going to take awhile for this lesson to sink in--I wasn't going for such deep colors.

3. Even when things don't work out, well, they might still work out. This yarn is NOT for my sock pal, but I think it's making a fine enough pair of socks for me.

my first sock yarn.jpg
Is this yarn ugly? I thought so at first, but I'm starting to warm up to it. It's like a berry compote explosion!

In other sock yarn news, my sock yarn really did arrive. I've neglected to post a picture until now because we misplaced the camera in the move. Sorry for the quality--it's the best I could do under the circumstances:

sock yarn choices
They are Great Adirondack Silky Sock in colorways Balsalm and Deep Blue Sea. I picked the Balsalm initially because my sock pal likes oranges and greens, but right now, I'm thinking it's not going to work well with Baudelaire. I'm leaning toward the Deep Blue Sea, but I'm also thinking about scraping it all and ordering some Socks That Rock Midsummers Night, Jade, or Rose Quartz.

What do you think?

Posted by chri1010 at 10:29 PM | Comments (1482) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

May 16, 2007

The Yarn is in the Mail

So to speak. I've (temporarily) abandoned my plan for anime socks. But, only temporarily. I've settled on Baudelaire--I liked it better anyway, but thanks to all who pushed me in that direction.

Now all I do is wait. Wait until the yarn comes. While I'm waiting, I can wonder if I picked the right yarn. I can obsess about whether or not my sock pal really does like pink. I've noticed that she mostly knits things that are deep, earth tones. I've also noticed a tendency toward solids and hand dyed not-so-solid solids. In searching for the perfect yarn, I've come to recognize that I, myself, really do love a good variegated yarn.

Never one to settle on something too easily, I have ordered three different yarns. I wonder which I'll choose? In the meantime, I'm itching to get started. I might have to do a test run while I'm waiting. I've got an extra skein of Socks that Rock Fire on the Mountain (my favorite yarn EVER) calling out to me. Maybe I should make another set of these while I wait. New Folder 2007 064.jpg
I've got lots of friends having babies, after all.

Posted by chri1010 at 12:23 AM | Comments (1377) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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May 14, 2007

Anime Socks, Part 2

Ok, so several of you asked, well, what does your sock pal say she likes? That's just the problem. My sock pal has said something that I'm still trying to make sense of. What is it? I can't exactly tell you, because if I do, she'll pretty much know I am her secret sock pal. Yet, it is a kind of sentence that befuddles me. I'm not sure what it means exactly, and it truly is at the heart of my sock-making decision.

I'm thinking some of you might suggest that I ask for clarification, and trust me, I have. I have not gotten much clarification. There are some cross-cultural communication issues at play here, and before you think this frustrates me, I should say I'm truly having fun.

So, now I'm definitely thinking of making two pairs of socks. One, anime. But, what's the other pair going to be? If you were making a pair of socks that were, say, not anime socks (as I've described below--something like a green stockinette with a bunny face), but anime inspired, what would you make? What sock yarn would you use?

Am I all wrong if I'm thinking Monkey or Baudelaire?

I think I'll be fine once I make the decision and stick with it. A little guidance here will be well-appreciated.

Posted by chri1010 at 10:05 PM | Comments (3187) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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May 7, 2007

Let the Sock Knitting Begin!

I'm leaving for a quick trip to Baltimore tomorrow--work related--and I better not forget to pack some sock knitting. It won't be knitting for my sock pal, though. I haven't entirely decided what kind of socks to make. I'm actually thinking of designing some anime socks, but I'm a little worried. I'm thinking of some plain ol' stockinette style socks with a little animal face on the side. Kinda funky, anime-style.

Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's too risky. I know I for one would be disappointed if I was hoping for some Jaywalkers in STR and ended up with some bright green socks with a bunny on the side (actually, I don't think I really WOULD be disappointed--I don't think it's possible I could be disappointed by socks). But, I want to try to make the anime socks anyway, even if not for Sockapalooza.4.

Can I make two pairs of socks before August? Maybe I'll have to find out.

Posted by chri1010 at 11:48 PM | Comments (1661) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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May 3, 2007

A Hearty Welcome to My Secret Sock Pal

I'm sad to say this week I am not knitting anything. I am moving! I would say UGH, but as a friend pointed out, it's such a step up (the new place), that it really is more of a joy. I can't decide if I'm more thrilled about leaving the wet nasty basement or moving to a place with three toilets. Ah, the simple things in life.

At any rate, things are all crazy and in shambles, and as I pack up every room I find a little more yarn I forgot I had, or needles that I've misplaced. I tend to lose track--what can I say? Moving is good for this kind of stuff, I think.

I have a nearly finished baby sweater on the needles, but my friend hasn't had her baby yet, so I'm in the clear. My friend thought for sure she'd have a baby before May--she was even a little ticked that I put May 1 as my guess in the baby game. Now, it's May 3 and she's still waiting. Funny how those little ones are in charge from the beginning, isn't it?

We've got around 8 people coming over to move the furniture on Sunday--I think I'll be back to knitting by Monday.

PS. I put my new address in the database, so no worries there, sock pal.

Posted by chri1010 at 11:06 PM | Comments (3038) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

April 30, 2007

Sockapalooza 4

All of my life thus far has lead up to my finally being able to participate in Sockapalooza 4, the sock-knitting exchange. Ok, maybe I exaggerate a bit when I say that all of my life, but all of my knitting life would be accurate. I learned to knit after I came across The Blue Blog and saw how many people were having fun knitting and sharing socks. I learned to knit socks. Now, I have my very first name of a knitter, out there somewhere, to knit a pair of socks for. Wouldn't you like to know who it is? Well, I'm not telling! Not until August anyway.

But, sock pal who's knitting for me, I know you're reading this. I don't know who you are, and where you live. If you live in another country and would like me to occasionally write my entries in another language, I could only do that in Spanish or Swedish. But, let me know, cuz I want you to feel welcome here.

Let the sock knitting begin!

Posted by chri1010 at 11:23 AM | Comments (557) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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April 20, 2007

The best thing about meeting the Harlot...

...really had nothing to do with the Harlot at all. It's funny how life works that way sometimes.

So, remember how I got there early? Remember how I had that extra time to shop at the Yarnery, to buy the book, and get some Fleece Artist? Well, a few things I failed to mention:

1. It was cold that day, so I was wearing my handmade felted mittens. I think felted mittens are one of the best projects to make. Really, I do.

2. I was holding my felted mittens while I was looking at sock yarn.

3. I forgot that knitters like to look at objects made by other knitters. What was wrong with me?

So, this woman approaches and says something like, "Now let me see, that must be the...Fargo felted mittens. Interesting choice to use the Lamb's pride. Now, I usually use the naturespun myself, but that turned out really nicely."

Let me begin by saying that I am totally impressed no matter what the case that this woman saw my mittens and knew the pattern and the fibers. Wow! I told her so. She responded, "Hi, I'm Theresa Gaffey."

For any of you out there who wish I'd write less about knitting, Theresa Gaffey is a local knitter and knitting pattern designer. Apparently, her patterns can be bought online. What I especially like about her patterns is that they are relatively simple, easy to follow, and not written in too much knitting jargon. If I'm going to try something new, I'll try one of Theresa's patterns if I can.

So, I was totally SHOCKED to actually meet her! And, to meet her by her admiration of my mittens. I told her how I'd been knitting just about a year and of all the things I've made. I also showed her my socks--her pattern--of course. She thought they were awesome, and she was impressed with my skill after such a short time as a knitter.

She was so nice, I'm thinking of taking a class from her. What can I say--I'm star struck.

Posted by chri1010 at 5:30 PM | Comments (603) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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April 16, 2007


I DID make it to see the Harlot. Mid-afternoon, hubby began to feel a bit better (with my encouragement), and he decided he could make it to the potluck after all. I left work and immediately bought chocolate. Then, hubby and I drove to St. Paul, and on the way, we stopped and bought this. I confess I'm not a big beer drinker, but when I do drink beer, I like it dark, and I hoped the Harlot would like it that way too.

I got to the Yarnery in time to buy the book and a beautifully purple skein of Fleece Artist.. Then, I headed over to the law school auditorium to wait. And knit. Naturally.

I was 5th in line! Could it possibly be true?! I'm never 5th in line for anything. I was totally shocked and amazed. I was standing in line with other knitters, all patiently waiting and knitting socks, mostly. People were showing and telling and calmly waiting and knitting. Finally, we got to go into the auditorium, where we waited and knitted and waited some more.

Finally, Mary Lou came on stage and gave away some door prizes. Naturally, I didn't win anything. I sound a bit like Eeyore here, but let's face it: I don't usually win door prizes. Mary Lou also got us all to sing the Canadian National Anthem as the Yarn Harlot came onstage.

The Yarn Harlot took the traveling sock photo.New Folder 2007 079.jpg

She told us stories and made us laugh, and she did. not. speak. a. word. of her HORRIBLE travel nightmare to Ann Arbor. I'm amazed she was upright. I'm impressed she remembered her name, given the circumstances. It was all as good as could be or better.

After her talk, I waited in line for a long time (but not really that long in the grand scheme of things) to get my books signed. I ended up meeting some great knitters--newcomers to Minnesota (one's been here for more than 25 years, and yep, she still sees herself as a newcomer). We talked about some of the complexities of being a transplant, and how knitting really is a great way to find a community here in the Twin Cities. I chatted with a few other people, and I watched others knit while in line. The woman next to me showed the Yarn Harlot her own Bohus, and the Yarn Harlot was truly impressed.New Folder 2007 084.jpg

So, then it was my turn. My turn to meet the Yarn Harlot! I was not truly prepared for the occasion. I did not have a Bohus to share. I did not have some magnificently knit shawl patterned a la Harlot. I had a sock and a pair of mittens, which just happened to be in my bag because it was so very cold that day. I ventured the chocolate and beer I carried with me toward the Harlot.

She looked at them, and said to me, "You know what I call that?"

"What?" I replied.

"Dinner," she responded with a laugh. I laughed too. I showed her my sock, and she asked, "So, is this Socks that Rock?" Yep, I replied, admiring her skill for recognizing fiber. She responded by admiring my sock ever so briefly (there were only 365 knitters in line behind me!), signing my books, and sending me out into the night.

I just hope she liked the beer.

Posted by chri1010 at 8:05 PM | Comments (1422) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

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January 30, 2007

Baby Yoko Sweater

So, I've knit my first sweater--a baby sweater for my friend Yoko, who is going to have a baby any minute. Being a relatively new knitter, I wanted a pattern that was both relatively easy and interesting. Hence, the Baby Yoda sweater from Dogs Steal Yarn.

I like Baby Yoda in its original Jedi-grey. Yet, I wanted to change things up a bit as Yoko's not quite so into the Force. And, she's not telling boy or girl, but knowing her as I do, a grey sweater wouldn't work for a girl. (Remember, though, you're talking to the woman who lets her own boy wear pink tropical fruit pants. I don't have a problem with changing it up gender-wise, but thre's a time and a place for everything).

Anyway, this sweater was knit with Knitpicks Shine worsted. I think it knit up really well. Obviously, I used 4 balls of yarn--I mostly had scraps left. It was a little tricky blending the colors at the collar, so don't look too closely at that part, but overall, I think it turned out great. I hope Yoko and her baby like it!

New Folder 2007 027a.jpg

Posted by chri1010 at 11:31 PM | Comments (2047) | Because knitting rocks my socks!

Category "Because knitting rocks my socks!"

October 18, 2006

A knitting odyssey begun....

With my new job comes my new resolution to try to blog more about my latest obsession: knitting. I started knitting just this past winter, and now I've become addicted, I think. Anyway, I took a knitting class because I was a bad crocheter: all I could do was make scarves and baby blankets. That was fun for awhile, but there's only so many scarves and afghans one needs (although they come in handy for winter around here). I decided I didn't know how to read a pattern, so I took a class at the Yarnery, an excellent yarn store in St. Paul.

I was supposed to make a mitten. I had to miss the first class, unfortunately, because I was out of the country at a conference. At the second class, Sara, my wonderful instructor, taught me how to cast on, and I learned how to knit and purl, and I was supposed to make a mitten cuff. Well, after several rough attempts, I had something resembling a mitten cuff, but I've quickly learned that most knitters worth their salt will not settle for good enough. Sara told me I had knit so much, I shouldn't frog it, but instead, she suggested I just break the yarn and start over. Well, you're talking to someone who had never spent $7 for one skein of yarn before--now, I realize that $7 really isn't that much, but I grew up on Red Heart, so I was looking at that four inch square of badly knit ribbing, thinking surely there is something that can be done with this?! Am I cheap or what?

I suggested a potholder. Sara suggested I try to felt said potholder, although she warned me that ribbing doesn't felt well. That meant nothing to me--I mean, I didn't even know what felting was. How could I possibly know what ribbing would felt like? No matter. I trusted her, and kept at it until I got to what I thought would be the right size for my potholder. I tossed it in the washer on hot with a pair of jeans like I had read in some knitting book. When it came out of the washer...well, it wasn't exactly what I expected.

It looked sorta like a coaster for two drinks instead of one--it was a long, narrow green rectangle. After a few minutes of wondering how I would use a two person coaster, I came up with a better idea:

little purse.jpg

My first knitting: a little purse designed by me! And yes, eventually the mittens got made too!

Posted by chri1010 at 6:55 PM | Comments (746) | Because knitting rocks my socks!