Sunday, January 31, 2010

Full Moon Socks

Some of you have seen the toe-up socks Cathy C designed.  A dk version are on my feet AND are featured in both Fondle This! and Finger Knittin' Good.

Well, Cathy decided to run a free/donation class teaching these neat 2 circ sportweight socks to anyone who would come to her home.  The deal was that the class is free but students must agree to give a donation to the ASPCA or the local Food Net for an amount they felt the class might be worth.  Great idea!

Since Cathy lives about an hour away in a heavy snow area I wasn't sure I could make it until the day dawned sunny but really cold.  My car is toasty and intrepid.  I grabbed a coffee from the Bakery and headed on out.  What a pretty drive over rolling hills with glimpses of icy falls still rushing with water from the recent thaw.

We were taught about measuring our feet (length and circumference) and making sure our gauge and size would work once the sock was done.   Did I say there were lots of snacks?   And tea?  We each received some stitch markers, a small notebook, measuring tools, an accessories pouch, yarn, the pattern and a knitting bag. A total delightful surprise.

We were also taught Judy's Magic Cast On which really is simple and does work like magic.  The class was small as promised, and very congenial with knitters at all levels.  Cathy is such a patient teacher.

Then we started our toe up socks.    Our homework for next week is to complete the sock up to the gusset.  I just heard from one fellow student that she was so enthused she has already done that with her sock so will purchase 2 more circs tomorrow to get her second sock to the same place.  Knitting is such a kick.  Always something new to learn and play with.

I am making Jim a pair from some yak/merino/black & blue face leicester he spun special for these socks.  This morning I traced his foot on a piece of paper so his measurements can be kept instead of every time guessing or asking him to measure his feet again.

  The time went by so fast I was amazed when we noticed the clock said almost 5.  It was still light out!  Wanting to have at least half the drive home in some light, I left soon after and was rewarded by this sunset view out my dirty (sun melted ice) windows.  Sun is so rare and celebrated in the winter around here.

It was full dark by the time I got home .  Jim was at a CU basketball game (Cornell beat Harvard) so the house was dark.  Before turning on the lights this is what greeted me through the dining room window.

Ain't life grand?  Such a wonderful day. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Second Sock Syndrome SOLVED

Most of my friends know I suffer from this malady.  They have seen me enthusiastically knitting a sock, only to see me enthusiastically knitting another sock, rather than the mate to one.  When Anne came back from her PA trip with buttons for many of us at Knit Knite, she handed me this one.

Granted I have some excuse.  For 3 years I was busily designing socks for Sock Hop.  I would barely get one done and off to Bonnie, who edited and tested the patterns, before I needed to start on the next one or some other project.  I have a lot of single samples and a lot of left over yarn.

I have completed pairs.  Really.  I did a pair of the Snowy Evergreen Socks for me.  I have done 3 pairs for myveryownsister (who wears them with pride and love) and several for Jim (who loves hand knitted socks and takes incredible care of them). AAMOF he is currently spinning some yak/merino/bbfl for me to knit him his next pair.  These two are on my permanent do one pair a year list, not like my son, who barely acknowledged the set I made for his birthday last year. Of course he does not know that a pair of socks has as many stitches in it as a sweater so is a large undertaking but...... He is no longer on the list.

So... I was on the Schoolhouse Press site ordering the new version of EZ' baby surprise jacket when I saw the Arch-shaped Stocking pattern and just had to have it.  It's a Meg interpretation of a pair of stockings her mother made for her but never wrote out.  When I received the pattern my knitting ADD kicked in I immediately fell in love.  There are 7 versions in it.  I almost did the fair isle aran one first but when I went looking through my stash my eye caught on the Aurora Borealis bag holding needles, pattern, sample sock and yarn.  I love that colorway.  I love cushy soft yarn.  So I decided to make the 'plainer version' toward the back of the booklet.

The design is so clever with the arch shaping and nice heel flap.  Really simple to follow even though it looks intimidating.  I was so obsessed enthused this sock was completed in two days while happily listening to part of Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan series.

Then of course, the other projects in situ plus the leg warmers I am still designing started calling to me.  However I just could not resist so put the sock on.  It did not want to come off.  I went around with one store bought sock and one hand knit sock for a day.  Bet you can guess which foot felt best.

Next I went to frog the Aurora Borealis sample making ready to do another of this EZ/Meg delight some day.   Then I had an epiphany.

I put the Aurora Sock on my left foot and wha la...

If that is not a color-matched pair, nothing is.
Same yarn, same colorway. OK different pattern, but hey, its a wearable pair and I am wearing them right now.
So for all you knitters out there suffering from this same syndrome I say,
"Knit single socks to your heart's content with no guilt.  SSS made null.'

And a special edition of this colorway is being dyed in soft lovely angora/merino in celebration.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spanky and his gang

You may recall that a few months ago we adopted a tiger kitten from Bob at Winderwood Farm.
At that time his name kept eluding us but we called him Tomtee to be able to say something other than 'hey you' and 'kitten'.  However, as days and weeks went by, Tomtee did not answer to that name nor any other we could think of.  He really did not care if he had a name or not.

 One day about 3 weeks ago I heard something from him. I said, "Junior?" and heard something else.  "Sparky?"  No, then I got a picture of a group of kids that used to be on TV that my father enjoyed. It was called "Our Gang".  I told Jim and he said, "Spanky?"  The kitten immediately responded, came over and was quite happy.

And he has his very own gang too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eating My Words

Two weeks ago, at Knit Knite, a newcomer joined us.   A lovely woman who knows how to crochet but decided to start knitting.  She pulled out a set of metal dpns and some worsted weight yarn and proceeded to tell us her first project was going to be socks.  She said she had been to a LYS and this is what they recommended.  I gasped.   I thought, "Right, only if you want her to fail."

My mouth fell open, as did several others.  However Ruth pitched right in, moved over to sit next to her and showed her how to work with dpns.   Then this new knitter said she wanted to start the socks with ribbing as well.  I couldn't believe she would succeed.  If she wanted to work in the round, why not start on a hat instead of something as unwieldy as using 4 long metal dpns?  However she insisted and persisted.  Ruth helped often and patiently, but needed to go home early leaving this newbie on her own with a very tightly knit octopus-like project in her hands.

PerfectlyHooked came to Roc Day with her sock in progress.  She was helped by other knitters while she was there but I was too busy to see her progress.  I was glad she came and glad she was still knitting.  I am not sure I would have been.  And certainly I remember my first foray into sock knitting which was on metal dpns that fell out of the stitches at every opportunity, bouncing across the floor.  I abandoned sock knitting for several years after that until I discovered bamboo needles and how they are a bit more sticky than metal ones.   To this day, I don't like to knit with metal, preferring wood, Bryspuns and the new Knit Pick Acrylics over them.

Last Wednesday evening, there was PerfectlyHooked again with a big smile on her face, showing us her very first completed sock. !!!  Granted this is a small sock but still, it is whole and complete.  She was also starting a new pair, considering the first one her practice sock and not needing a mate.

I had to tell her what I thought last week and how impressed I am with her stamina and stick-to-it-ness.  She is fun to have at our Knitting table and will be a great asset to our group.

In penance and to take responsibility for my words I happily made her first sock into an award pin for her to wear.

Many of us were learning new techniques or challenging ourselves.

Ruth was working on her Knit Picks clock tam.

Anne, who is a true thrower knitter, decided she wanted to learn Continental knitting instead.

Carole was doing her first knitted beading project with the crochet add on method.

Pascale was impressing us with her fancy crochet.

And another new knitter joined us. This person is taking it slow and following the projects recommended in the Stitch 'n Bitch Book, which means starting with a thin scarf.

Stella, our youngest member is really coming along on her skills and scarf.

And we don't limit ourselves to knitting and crocheting either as shown by Carole spinning Viburnum on her Turkish Spindle.

And just in case you might think we are all seriousness.
Strangey and T found other uses for some Mojave merino.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Roc Day 2010

  Roc Day is traditionally celebrated on the 12th day of Christmas but we take small liberties with that date to fit our schedule.   From year to year, we don't know just how the weather is going to welcome us on the second Saturday of January.  In 2009 we had a great storm, but the year before was mild.  This year was extremely cold with localized squalls but the sun actually made an appearance.  It's a crap shoot but we still do our planning, starting back in August, to get ready.  Our committee, made up of 6-8 Black Sheep Handspinners members, get together about every 3 weeks at our favorite meeting place, upstairs in the Wegman's cafe right before Knit Knite.  Very convenient for many of us, especially those who love to knit for hours on end.

We have workshops, kids activities, spinning circles, vendors, a nummy extensive dish to pass, Chinese auction raffles, demos and lots of socializing.   Folks come from Corning, Rochester, Utica and other parts of the state to celebrate our addiction together.

We love how light and friendly our new space at All Saints Parish Hall is.

Ruth, sitting in the demo area, explaining to a reporter about spindling.
(Antique great wheel on the left, antique signed gossip wheel center and the back of my booth on the right.)

Bill Bartlett, our featured fiber artist, demonstrating overshot weaving.

part of the vending area

Vendors taking a quick eating break during a lull.

And a good time was had by all.
If you live nearby and spin, or want to learn to spin, please join us the second Saturday of the month, Sept - May, at All Saints Parish Hall in Lansing, NY,  11-3.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yes, it really is winter.

One day in December, instead of being nasty, chilly and grey it became cold, bitter, white and grey and has remained so for several weeks, with a day or so of above freezing thrown in just to fool us.

This is winter as I remember it, before global warming.  About an inch of snow each day and grey grey skies.  Sometimes it snows more, a lot more.  Sometimes we only get a dusting but the sun is hidden most of the time.  Our pellet stove keeps us nice and toasty.  We thought 5 tons would do us very well as we used only 4 last year, but it looks like we may need another ton before spring arrives in late April or May.

We are mostly staying indoors with Baz and the kitten.  However the bunnies are just reveling in this weather, doing binkies and basking in the snow flurries.

I placed their hay bale as an additional windblock on their palace and tunnel.  They like to play hide and seek games around it.