Tag: socks

Shearing Day and a Sneak Peek 10

Far and away, one of the best parts of living where we live now in Northeastern Tennessee is the huge fiber community. Yesterday, we got to help our friends Brad and Ruth Ann with shearing day. Their farm is called Two Roots Alpacas.

It was a beautiful day.

Here’s Ruth Ann providing a little moral support before shearing.

And here is Paul doing a little friendly herding afterwards.

These are some of the bags of fleece, set aside for processing later.

I spent the day drawing up injections but had plenty of breaks for knitting in between.

I’ll just note in passing that the “two roots” part of the name has to do with the vineyard that Brad and Ruth Ann run and that we were richly rewarded with amazing wine after all the work was done. You can see part of the vineyard here in the background.

And did I mention there was a baby?! Alpaca babies are called crias, and this one’s name is Storm. He was born last week during one of the recent bouts of crazy weather we’ve been having, and ooooh, my heavens! The CUTE!!!

It’s a busy week. Between work and the normal life things, there hasn’t been a ton of time for knitting, but I’ve always got something with me. This afternoon we’re going to be running errands, and I plan to work on a very special surprise project for my BFF. I don’t want to say too much, but here’s a sneak peek.

What are you up to this week? I’m loving all the shawls I’ve been seeing lately and am thinking there’s got to be a Find Your Fade in my future. I was resisting at first because there are so many other things I want to knit, but I’m pretty sure Marilyn’s slew of gorgeous Fades over at Yarn, Books & Roses has effectively decimated my resolve!

“I hope fireflies remember to do exactly what it was they used to . . .” 16

Birthday Cake 1

I think I’ve mentioned that soon after we moved to the mountains, my father moved up from Texas to be near us. We love that, and I think he does too, but he misses his Texas friends. Well, for his 84th birthday this past week, a couple of them came up to visit him.

We went with him to the airport to pick them up, and I knitted on a new pair of socks while we waited for the plane to land.

Airport Knitting

For Daddy’s birthday, I made Smitten Kitchen’s Triple Berry Summer Buttermilk Bundt Cake. It might have been the best cake I’ve ever made. Instead of using three kinds of berries, I used all blackberries. They were some of the ones we picked this summer. And I added birthday sprinkles.

Birthday Cake 2

It was a happy cake for a very happy occasion.

 

Birthday Wish

With visitors in town and a lot of work insanity going on, there could not have been a better time to come across this post on Wool n’ Spinning about getting your knitting in when you can. Wise words right there, folks.

I took the advice to heart and ended up working on Paul’s Checks and Balances sweater in ten-minute spells here and there to the point where the progress on it started to actually offset some of the frustration that’s been going on with work lately.

 

Knitting 1

Knitting 2b

Knitting 3

Another yarn-related thing I read this week was this post on the huge number of spindle whorls archeologists have found buried with female skeletons. Some are from as far back as Neolithic times. I knew about this in a vague way, but the article made me think more specifically about what it means that women were taking their spinning with them into the afterlife. I’m still thinking about it.

Here are a couple of other pictures from my week.

Chocolate

Work was hard. Paul brought me chocolate.

Our little friend Shanti stayed with us while her mom and dad went on an end-of-summer trip. She and Lola alternately played until they couldn’t play anymore and then passed out.

Shanti and Lola

Even though it’s only mid-August, the air is starting to feel like fall. I’ve been working on the porch when I can. Rasta likes to help.

Rasta

The title of this post is a line from Josh Ritter’s “Song for the Fireflies.”

With intermittent rain and shine
the sky re-started six or seven times
It’s blue because it sees
All our infidelities
We both know that it’s been so long
I’m not sure what to say so I hope
Fireflies remember to do exactly what it was they used to

I’ve been listening to Sermon on the Rocks non-stop.

Sooo Smooth! 13

Smooth Operator Socks FO 7 web

Woohooo!! I finished my Smooth Operator Socks this morning, and I love them!

I learned about the pattern from Alex, and because I’m a sucker for stripey socks and I absolutely cannot resist a good knit along, I joined in the Itty Bitty Knits Group KAL for these.

The main thing the pattern does is show you how to preserve the stripe pattern through the heel– something that brings me no end of happiness. That’s not all, though. It also has some super helpful tips about sock knitting in general. I’d have paid for the pattern seventeen times over just to read what Susan B. Anderson has to say about the Kitchener stitch. Pure knitting gold.

So I had fun knitting along with the group, got a cool pair of socks, learned a few things that will improve my sock knitting forever and ever, AAAAND I tried a new technique.

I knit these two at a time!

Smooth Operator Socks Progress web

Back when I knit socks one at a time exclusively on DPNs, I thought I’d never want to do it any other way. Then I became a two circs convert, and I kept knitting one sock at a time because I didn’t really see any reason not to. I don’t have second sock syndrome, and there is something I really like about the tidy little motions involved in knitting one sock.

If I were ever pinned in somewhere and couldn’t move my elbows or even my wrists, I could probably still manage to keep on knitting one sock pretty easily just by moving my fingers. You know, like if I were in a plane crash, and we were all crunched into a teensy ball of wreckage waiting for rescue, and no one could move anything but their fingers. You understand what I’m saying, right?

Well something about this project made me decide to throw caution to the wind and take up a little more space. So I knit these two at a time. And you know what? I LIKED it!

Smooth Operator Socks FO 5 web

For one thing it made it feel like the socks were finished in an instant. Surely, knitting these socks took the same amount of time it would have taken to knit two socks individually, but it didn’t feel like that. It felt like magic. Poof! Two socks!

The other thing I did with these was use magic loop. I usually find magic loop kind of fiddly, but something about having two socks on the needles actually made the two circulars feel awkward. I decided to give magic loop a try instead, and I got into a groove right away.

I think I may be hooked!

Smooth Operator Socks FO web

Rabbit Holes 16

Since things are feeling a bit insane around here workwise, I will make no mention of my own knitting projects today. Instead, I want to tell you about the explosion of blog serendipity that happened yesterday.

I was catching up on recent posts from my favorite blogs and intending to keep a tight rein on my habit of following links down rabbit holes, but darn it if Fiber and Sustenance didn’t draw me in with a picture of stripey socks and desert boots. I accidentally kept reading and was reminded that she and a friend were doing a hap KAL and that I’d wanted to check out said friend’s blog over at Rosalind Craft Supplies.

Well . . . Kate of Rosalind Craft Supplies posts lots of pictures of books and knitting against which, it just so happens, I am powerless. Ten or fifteen happy minutes later, I got ahold of myself but fortunately not before I’d discovered this awesome video that Kate shared in a post about her pick for the Top Nine Television Knitters.

I LOVE this guy. And it turns out he actually did finish the bow tie!

So anyway, determined to avoid future detours and stick to the essentials, I stopped by alexand knits. I had several posts worth of catching up to do, and wouldn’t you know it? There’s this post about how Alex’s friend Carol of knit equals joy gifted her a sock pattern. That led to my checking out both Carol’s terrific blog (awesome, awesome photos!) and the sock pattern, Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks.

Well . . . it just so happens that there is a KAL starting for the Smooth Operator Socks in Susan B. Anderson’s Ravelry group, itty bitty knits. You know what that led to, right?

Moving on . . .

But not really. See, in the same post where Alex mentioned the Smooth Operator Socks, she talked about a Wolfberryknits post and said it was really worth checking out. Oh. My. Heavens. Check THIS POST out! It’s the best thing I’ve seen on a blog in ages. It’s about taking local fleece and dyeing it with dyes made from local plants, and spinning it, and knitting it into a glorious pair of 100% Australian socks. There are tons of pictures, and the socks are insane.

Should I mention that as I was reading the comments on the Wolfberryknits post (I told you it was bad) I came across this sentence: “I have always been attracted to shiny things. I am a life experience magpie who wants to know how things work and who collects processes like other people collect random paraphernalia.”  You know I had to find that person.

Turns out, that’s narf7, and her blog is Serendipity Revisited. And yes. It’s an extremely cool blog.

That’s it. Back to work. But first, the final stop on yesterday’s out-of-control coffee break: Woman Sentenced to Five Months of Knitting for Road Rage Punch. Yes–she did, and she was. Here’s the scene of the crime:

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 10.49.58 AM

(Picture: Cascade)

 

I love you, summer . . . 6

Somehow, I’ve ended up with a lovely window of down time for a couple of weeks. I’m in between summer classes, perched on the dash in the middle of the crazy long sentence that is my current editorial project. The timing couldn’t be nicer.

The weather is fabulous, and this past week, I’ve gotten to do all sorts of decadent things including taking my wheel to the creek to spin.

Spinning-4web

I also went hiking with my friend D. We like to trek out to this little waterfall.

Falls

The going is strenuous at times but not overly so, and the reward is this pretty spot at the end. Plus . . . you almost always meet a dog or three. Today, we visited with this sweetie. Her name is Cocoa. She’s eleven years young. She’s apparently been hiking with her dad and her two human sisters since she was a puppy, so she’s kind of a pro.

Cocoa

She approved of my handknit socks.

Handknits In Action

Other things I’ve gotten to do this week are work in the garden:

Garden

And do yoga on the deck:

Yoga

Snuggle with Augie in the mornings:

Augie Paw

And watch the sun set in the evenings:

Summer-Evening

Isn’t summer wonderful?

On the knitting front, the big blue rectangle is finished. Pictures of that next time. Be well, my friends.

 

Ringing out the old . . . 2

Stripey Socks

Ringing out the old in handknit socks . . .

Here we are on New Year’s Eve. I can hardly believe it. I thought while I was winding down I’d sneak in one last post for 2015.

The Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar project is a wrap.

Scrap Yarn Socks 3 Scrap Yarn Socks 2

I’m so glad I did this! Besides enjoying the knit along, I absolutely love having a pair of socks that’s made up of yarn from so many other projects. Every time I look at a particular stripe, I think back to what I was doing when I knit with that yarn the first time around. There is even a section that uses yarn from the very first pair of socks I ever made! I’m talking serious handknit mojo right there.

And remember the Christmas washcloths I was knitting for my dad? I finished them just in time. They were actually the last present he opened on Christmas. I think he was starting to worry that I might not come through with the good stuff this year. He should know better.

2015 Dishcloths 4 2015 Dishcloths 7

My works in progress are all in a happy state of close-to-doneness. I have just a tiny bit of the border left to finish on my Travel Shawl. And I have the sleeves, ribbing, and collar and button band left to do on Gramps. I started a super easy loop-type scarf while I was in Texas, but I’m not in any hurry to make progress on that. I think it might live in my take-along bag for awhile.

What I’m really looking forward to is Blankie Mania 2016! It’s a blanket knit along in my favorite Ravelry group. Everyone will be working on something different, but we’ll all be doing blankets of some sort.

After considering a bunch of different things, I’ve decided I’m definitely going to do the Geek-A-Long blanket. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the brainchild of the ladies at Lattes and Llamas. Every Sunday, for 48 weeks, they post a pattern for a free, geek-themed double-knit/crochet square. In the past the squares have featured everything from a caffeine molecule to The Magic School Bus and Dr. Doom. The main purpose of the whole thing is to  raise awareness for Child’s Play Charity. If you’re not familiar with Child’s Play, follow the link and check it out. It’s very cool.

So here’s why I’ve decided to participate:

  • Lattes and Llamas’ design skills are crazy good. Check out their The Flash square. Who wouldn’t want to knit this kind of fun stuff??
  • I’ve been wanting to learn double knitting. Doing this blanket will give me all kinds of opportunities to learn and practice the technique.
  • One of my main knitting goals for 2016 is to finish a blanket. With the Geek-A-Long, you not only have the satisfaction of completing a blanket, you also have all the little moments of happiness that come with finishing each square. I think that will help me stick with it.
  • I absolutely love a good knit along. If it’s a mystery, that’s even better.
  • It’s for a great cause! Child’s Play Charity does a ton of good. I’m not going to be using the Louet GEMS yarn, a portion of whose sales benefit Child’s Play, but I will make a donation directly to Child’s Play.
There are probably other reasons I’m doing this too. I just can’t think of them right now. I’m distracted by wanting to dive into Extreme Double Knitting by Alasdair Post-Quinn. It came in the mail this afternoon. Woohooo!! I’ll report back!

Happy New Year, knitting people!!! I wish you lots and lots of happiness and tons of knitting time in 2016!!

Thursday 4

Hello, Knitting People!

I hope everyone is doing okay out there. I’m grading end-of-term papers and getting ready for my trip to Texas. On the knitting front, I’m making slow progress on the border of the Travel Shawl.

It was warm enough outside today to sit on the porch and knit for awhile.

Travel Shawl

I’ve also been keeping up with the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar knit along. Here’s where we are so far.

Dec 10 web

Dec 9 v2 web

The top bar of the second sock, the part that looks like it says “POOP,” is actually “Woof,” written out in runes. We got to pick our word, and I thought “Woof” seemed like a fun one because, you know . . . dogs. Anyhoo, after I finished I realized it looked like it spelled poop. Shoot.

I really love a fun knit along. I’ve mentioned the Lattes and Llamas Geek-A-Long before. Some of the squares on the 2014 and 2015 blankets were absolutely inspired. I also love the idea of doing a double-knit blanket which is what you end up with if you do the Geek-A-Long squares.

The theme for the 2016 Geek-A-Long was revealed today in the Ravelry group. It turns out it’s going to be video games, from classic to modern. This actually seems less interesting to me than the 2014 theme, Fandom, or the 2015 theme, Mad Scientists. But Dr Llama says it will be “the most visually dynamic blanket” they’ve done yet. If that’s true, it will be one awesome blanket. I’m so tempted!

I also got a card in the mail this week for the Rowan Martin Storey Knit Along for 2016. It’s starting on January 28 and runs through the end of May. I’ve seen some pics of the 2014 blanket, and it’s really gorgeous, something that seems like it would have been fun to knit and wonderful to keep and use and use and use.

It’s funny—I love blankets. Love having them, love using them, love thinking about them, love working on them… The only problem is that, so far, I’ve never actually finished one! I think one of my goals for 2016 will be to start and finish a blanket. We’ll see.

Other interesting knitting news . . .

Have you heard about Chanel? Two of their team apparently visited Fair Isle and spent time with a Scottish designer named Mati Ventrillon. They claimed to be interested in learning more about the Fair Isle tradition. A few months later, a sweater almost identical to Ventrillon’s showed up on the catwalk in Rome as one of Chanel’s new designs. Not cool. Chanel has apologized. Still…

Also, if you haven’t read Gregory Patrick’s “The Time I Was Questioned By Police for Knitting in a Starbucks,” be sure to check it out. It’s a great story, and as someone who used to be a police officer, I can say that it doesn’t surprise me one bit.

‘Round Here 3

Birthday Shawl Cast On

I’m on a mission. My mom has a big birthday coming up on December 15th, and I spent so long trying to decide what to do for a gift that I backed myself into a knitting corner. I’ve given her a couple of knitted gifts recently, so I was thinking it might be better to buy her a gift. I looked and thought and asked friends for suggestions and thought some more and finally realized the day before yesterday that nothing would feel right but a handmade gift.

Luckily, I had this gorgeous yarn in my stash. It’s David Simpson’s Green Dragon Sport (thank you, Cari!!!) in a colorway my mom will love. It’s called  “Paprika,” and that’s just what it looks like. It’s a variegated dark orange that takes on an almost brownish cast in the right light.

I’ve had my eye on this scarf pattern for awhile, and I think it will be perfect.

So yesterday, I cast on and got down to business.

Birthday Shawl

Birthday Shawl 2

It’s going along fairly quickly, and the further I get, the more sure I am that this was the right call. Hopefully, when my mom wears it, she’ll know I was thinking of her and knitting love into every single stitch. That prospect makes me really happy.

The Travel Shawl is on hold for now—at first because I ran out of yarn but now because all knitting is birthday scarf knitting. The only thing left to do on it is the border, and I got the yarn for that today. I’m actually hoping to get back to it in time to finish before my trip to Texas. I’d love to take it with me and try it out!

The only knitting I’m doing that doesn’t have to do with my mom’s birthday present is the scrap yarn sock for the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar KAL. Here are my scraps.

Sock Scraps

We’re working the number of rows that correspond to the date and alternating back and forth between socks. Here’s today’s knitting. We did four rows using the color that corresponded to the year we joined Ravelry. I joined in 2011, so my color was green.

Dec 4 scrap sock

That’s about it. The weather has mostly looked like this.

Weather

Which as led me to things like this.

Baileys Cake

And whipped cream, which I acknowledge but can’t bring myself to photograph for posterity.

Weekending . . . 2

Do you know about the Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar? I’ve been waiting for this year’s knit along ever since I realized I’d just missed it last year. Every day, starting December 1st, you get instructions for that day’s stripe. By the end of Advent, you have a pair of colorful, fun stripey socks! I can hardly wait!

I think all my crocheting lately has been about the COLOR!!

Squares 4

I’ve been crocheting colorful squares during reading.

Squares 2

I’ve been crocheting colorful squares during movie watching.

Squares 3

I’ve basically been living with a crochet hook in my hand!

When it occurred to me that the Scrap Yarn Advent Sock was on the horizon, I realized I’d let my Travel Shawl languish. My plan now is to try to finish it by the time the sock knit along starts on December 1st. I’ve got about three and a half repeats of the main pattern left to do, plus the border. I’m not sure I’ll make it, but I’m going to give it a good try.

Wedding knitting

The Travel Shawl deadline has proven invigorating. That, a little visiting, and a nice long walk are on the agenda for today.

I took this on yesterday’s walk. It’s one of our local woodpecker hangouts.

Woodpecker tree

What are you up to this weekend?

Wrapping Up 4

Not a lot to report today. I finished up a pair of stripey socks last night.

Capacitor 1

Dulce did a careful inspection and said they were satisfactory.

Capacitor 2

I’ve also been knitting on the Travel Shawl. Here’s a little section of the middle. It’s not going to look like much until I can get it off the needles and spread it out, but I like the pattern a lot.

Travel Shawl

The knitting has all happened on breaks from paper grading this weekend. The course I’m teaching this term is fairly small, but even with just a handful of students, there have been a couple who have blown my mind. One student is a disabled veteran with brain trauma. Just before I met with him earlier this week, he’d learned he has three tumors on his spine. This student has been working hard, harder than most because of the particular challenges he faces. And now he’s got this devastating diagnosis to make sense of. I asked him if he wanted to take an incomplete in the course and come back to it once he’s got his medical situation figured out, and he told me no—he needs the course to move forward with a plan he has for working with other disabled vets, and he doesn’t want to quit just because he’s got turmoil happening in his own life. Wow.

Another student is stationed in Korea where he does his Army thing and bides his time. And gardens. I was going through responses to last week’s discussion questions and happened upon his account of why the Army “isn’t all that bad.” He explains that he has on-post housing with a garden. He loves this garden and talks about it as “an incredible ecosystem with all of life’s greatest drama from death and deceit, to passion and incredible devotion.” He talks about how he witnesses “complex emotional concepts physically happening” right there in his little plot of earth. He worries about pollution. He follows the life cycle of grass hoppers. Absolutely fascinating.

Teaching composition can be tedious at times, but students like these make it worth it.

Hope you’ve had a good weekend where you are. I’m about ready to wrap mine up with a glass of wine, some Travel Shawl knitting, and this week’s episode of Homeland. Lola’s got a crush on Mandy Patinkin, so we can’t be late tuning in.

Lola

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