Sunday, 20 March 2011

New Projects and Yarn

It's so nice to have those socks done :) So yesterday I cast on, using Jeny's Super Stretchy Cast On, the Rivendell Smoke Ring pattern from Susan Pandorf's Fellowship of the Ring collection of designs :) I managed to get the first chart done last night while watching the season one finale of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, Epitaph One, and the pilot episode of a show I had never watched while it was on, Earth 2. Maybe you can see what I'm going to talk about today... ;)

First off, though, here are some pics of what I'm working on and of the furry occupants of the household :)

Yes, I'm using little twists of yarn as stitch markers, as mine have not shown up yet from my etsy order from winemakerssister. I must say, I'm rather disappointed with that, because the status of my order as of three weeks ago was showing as "shipped"... so where are they? I got my order from Twisted Fiber Art last Tuesday (and omg, are the yarns ever gorgeous! will have pics below) and I'd received an email from them about my order having shipped at the same time as the etsy order status was showing as shipped so, in theory, I should have received them at approximately the same time.

This is my baby girl, Honey :) She's a cocker spaniel/miniature poodle cross, heavy on the poodle, and she's the love of my life.

This is Boo, my boyfriend's Golden Retriever :) She's eight years old, but acts more like she's eight months a lot of the time. She's such a sweetheart.

This is one of his two cats, Flea, named so because she was picked up at a local flea market and also because she wasn't much bigger than a flea when he got her. She still had to be milk-fed, she was so young.

And now for more yarn... hehehe...

The socks I'm working on for Rod out of the Red Heart Heart and Sole yarn in the Toasted Almond colourway. My gauge is about half a stitch off, so the fair isle patterning isn't quite lining up, but I still really like the way it's coming out anyway and more importantly, so does he. I like it so much, in fact, that I went and placed an order for more from the Red Heart website, and it arrived in only a week. From Michigan. So my theory about packages from the U.S. taking 2-3 weeks is now shot. Whatever. Two of the colourways I ordered were out of stock, so I'll still be getting another package from them later - yay! Presents in the mail are so much fun :D

These three are the Berry Bliss, Faded Jeans and Christmas colourways. I thought I'd use the Berry one to make socks for my sister for Christmas, the blue is for myself and the Christmas colourway doesn't look as gaudy as it might sound in the photo on the website so I thought I'd use that for another pair of socks for Rod :)

As I said above, here are a couple of pics of the Evolutions yarn from Twisted Fiber Art :)

She also sent a small sample of another colourway on a different base, just to show what's it's like. Her yarns are soooo soft and squishy, I just can't wait to work with it.

Now I have to comment on Jeny's cast on - it makes no sense as to why it works. None. I know it's a slipknot, and it... well... slips... but still, it makes no sense that it should be so stretchy. The bind off makes sense though, the yarn overs add in the extra room for it to stretch which makes it perfect for the toe-up socks I make. It will also be perfect for the cowl as well, and anything where you don't want the edge to bind at all. I had to cast on for the cowl twice because I messed something up early on, and it still made no sense. Some day I'll figure it out :P I will say, and this is mentioned in the comments on the YouTube page for the video, that this is best done with a very smooth yarn, most sock yarns are ideal, and not one that is particularly textured because it will tangle up a bit and the knots won't form smoothly, but it is a very easy method to use and I'm really glad I made the effort to learn it :)

I've been marathoning Joss Whedon's Dollhouse last weekend and this weekend - I got through the first ten episodes on Netflix last weekend and watched the last three of season one yesterday. Finally Netflix has some good shows on it - ones that I like, anyway - so I'm a little more favourably inclined to the service than I used to be. For quite a while it was all crap shows, movies I'd never heard of, or would just never watch even if tied to a chair with toothpicks propping my eyelids open.

This show is fun and entertaining and more than a little subversive in its attitudes and ideas that it's trying to portray. I love Joss Whedon's writing and direction, and have since Buffy the Vampire Slayer came to television. I laughed so hard watching the first episode that I fell off my chair twice. Dollhouse, however, while it has its share of one-liners and funny moments, also shows a very serious side regarding the relationship between the audience, studio and actors. Joss Whedon once again pulls in familiar actors and writers as well, which sets things up to be remarkable. Knowing the quality of the work that they have brought to various shows in the past made me eager to see what they would do with this premise when it was first aired and I have to say that upon watching it again a second time I am not disappointed in any way.

Anyway, this is long enough for today :)


Thursday, 17 March 2011

C'est fini!

And it's about time... here they are!

The January socks are finally off the needles... :) Time for new things!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Random Thoughts

1. Why do the things we enjoy so much (besides knitting, of course) usually turn out to be bad for us? :P I'm thinking of my lunch in particular - linguine with margarine, Parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper. I call it "poor man's pasta Alfredo" :D I know it''s all in the portion sizes, and I'm trying to be good with that, but still, this is probably not the healthiest of lunches. Sure tastes good, though.

2. How is it that I don't really like leftovers, but I can pack the same thing in my lunch for days on end without getting sick of it? I can't have the same sandwiches day after day, or even different sandwiches for more than two days in a row, but the little bits in my lunch, the granola bar, the fruit, the yogurt - all the same, all the time. I can also have bagels day after day, instead of a sandwich. A bagel with cream cheese and cucumber is my favourite.

3. I've come to the conclusion that I'm a monogamous knitter. I currently have this desperate need to finish the January socks (so close!) before casting off my next bit of fun, or even my next non-vanilla pair of socks - those will be Miriam Felton's Porifera Socks (this is a Ravelry link, my apologies to any who may not have access to it). I do have Rod's socks on the go, but I justify that because they're mindless knitting, simple patterning that is almost impossible to screw up. Having said that, I'm sure that I will pay for my hubris later today.

4. Spring is almost here, and today it's showing outside :) It's sunny and beautiful, and so I managed to get off my butt and take Honey for a nice 40 minute walk through the park. I also snagged some more waste bags that they have in the park - I figure with the property taxes that I've paid in this town the least they can owe me is some poo bags for my dog.

5. I miss Babylon 5! I think it's just about time for a marathon. That was the one series that really grabbed me and sucked me in completely. I love Star Trek in all its incarnations, Buffy, Angel, Firefly, The Outer Limits, Battlestar Galactica - I have all of these on dvd in my library, but Babylon 5... There were multiple "a-ha!" moments in that show, so much character and plot development, and the actors involved made their characters completely real to me. Yep, it's time to cue up the Shadow War again :D

Time to pack my lunch for work,

Later :)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Movie Time!

Okay, so the January sock club socks are almost done, thank goodness :D I love them, they're so very pretty, but they've been driving me crazy for just a little too long now. The first one has about a dozen stitches left to bind off, and the other needs about three more pattern repeats then the picot cuff and binding off. I split the remainder of the ball of yarn then separated them off the same needle so I could work them one at a time and things have been going much more rapidly since then. I've come to the conclusion that while it would seem that the "two socks, one needle" philosophy would save time, in reality it just made for a lot of frustration on my end. It's entirely possible that I chose the wrong pattern to test out the process, as learning the pattern for the socks took me a while, and even longer since I kept having to repeat it from sock to sock.

In the meantime, I've been working on the vanilla socks for my guy, and turned the heel last night. Of course, I had measured three times, and my gauge was out by only half a stitch so I continued on confidently... *sigh* I really should have known better. I got him to try it on today, and had to frog it back to make the foot about an inch shorter than it was because it was just too long. So now I've turned the heel again, and am starting back up the leg. This time I had him try it on right after I'd done the heel and only a few rows of the leg, just to be sure. Frogging stuff gets old in a hurry, and that's just the socks I've been working on.

In other things, we went to see Battle: Los Angeles tonight :D Just my kind of movie - lots of action and many things go boom! To be completely honest, it was very much a jingoistic recruiting film - look at us, we're Marines, we're badass, we never give up and you want to be one of us - and it had its issues. The effects were quite well done, I thought, the dialogue was meh, but seriously, don't put kids in an action movie please. I don't need my movie characters being distracted by children. My biggest issue with the movie was a particular scene that just broke the fantasy for me. Miss Kalendar of the Brass Needles podcast calls this "Clark Kent-ing" when one thing in a movie or show makes your suspension of disbelief fall away, and I really like this phrase. I may just borrow it for a while :)

I did have fun with the movie, and it didn't even seem overly long. I was much happier when they shipped the kids off, along with the mostly useless character played by Bridget Moynahan though. Michelle Rodriguez once again played a chick with a gun, but she does it really well so it wasn't a stretch. The music was pretty good, and I think I might have to have a listen to it without the rest of the movie going on behind it to decide exactly how good it is. It was just as rah-rah as the movie itself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The original soundtrack for Crimson Tide, for example, or Blackhawk Down - incredible stuff, and both are by Hans Zimmer, who happens to be my favourite composer.

Alright, I'm off to work on socks again. I really want to get the January club socks completely off the needles so that I can start the Rivendell Smoke Ring with my February yarn from SweetGeorgia Yarns. It's going to be so pretty :)

Later :)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Some Knitting & Some Ramblings

Good news! :D I have an FO! Just... not quite the one I was hoping for. Dang it. I managed to finish my navy cabled socks and I have the pics to prove it.

Second pic had the flash on, not sure if it's really a good picture of the pattern, but then again, it's just cables so it's pretty standard. I took some pictures of some other vanilla socks I made over Christmas, plain foot and ribbed leg but they're lovely :)

I used a lace bind-off for the tops of these socks to prevent any possibility of them being too tight, and they're wonderfully slouchy. I just love them.

The newest vanilla sock that I've cast on is a pair for my boyfriend. I made him a pair of bed socks from Cascade 220 last year, after I learned to make toe up socks, and he really likes them but he's not so good with the handwash portion of the festivities so I happened to have some Red Heart Heart and Sole yarn (70% superwash wool and 30% nylon) in the Toasted Almond colourway so I figured I'd make him a pair of ribbed socks from that. I must say, Red Heart to me is usually a crappy acrylic yarn, so this stuff is a very pleasant surprise. The yarn itself is a little scratchy to work with, but knits up quite soft and squishy and should be quite comfortable, much like the Cascade 220.  He's much happier that this yarn is machine washable though.

I think the colourway is awesome, and now I want a pair myself, but I had only bought two balls and I got it at the 2009 Creativ Needlework Show - I think. It might have been 2008... I don't know. It is still available, so I may just go order some more. I haven't seen it carried anywhere that I can just pick it up, so I'll just have to cope with getting a package in the mail... oh darn... ;)

I'm expecting a couple of packages this week, actually, and I'm very excited! I got an email last week telling me my order from Twisted Fiber Art had shipped, so that should arrive very soon, and there's also an order for some stitch markers from winemakerssister on etsy that should be here this week as well. I ordered the zombie stitch markers, and the the dog lover's stitch markers, the white dog with the black patch on its eye. I told somebody about the zombie stitch markers and I was all giddy about getting them, and was told that I didn't seem like the kind of person to want that kind of thing. I was rather shocked at that, to be honest, because I've never made any secret of the fact that I infinitely prefer sci-fi/action/adventure/horror over anything remotely girly and I thought that everyone knew that about me. I don't do girl movies or girl tv, though I will admit to reading my fair share of romance books over the years. I can do the books but not the movies or a lot of the tv shows, I'm not sure why. Probably the girliest tv show I watch is Grey's Anatomy, which I call my guilty pleasure. It's just so over the top and completely unrealistic that you can't help but have a good time with it, and really, Sheppard is pretty to look at. The new one by the creator of Grey's is fun as well, a show called Off The Map. They really like cranking the drama and implausibility to the max.

I tend to watch science fiction for the most part, but lately there's been a dearth of it on broadcast television which is quite depressing. I also watch a fair bit of crime drama - heavy on the drama. Really, H and the Sunnies of Justice on CSI:Miami are more than deserving of their very own meme. There's CSI:NY as well, though I gave up on the original mostly because I don't like Lawrence Fishburne in the role he plays on the show. The chemistry of the cast was lost when William Petersen and Gary Dourdan left (or were made to leave, as the case may be). I watch the reboot of V, which is fun, though it is a reboot and so I know most of the story. I watched it rather obsessively in the 80's, which dates me, I know :P I watch NCIS and NCIS:Los Angeles, Being Human, Stargate Universe, Fringe, and Criminal Minds. I started watching the new Criminal Minds:Suspect Behaviour, but I'm not sure how long I'll continue - it's starting off rather roughly.

I love Star Trek in all its incarnations, though the original series will always hold a special place in my heart. I was six years old when I started watching it in syndication and the sense of wonder and excitement are still there, even now. Something of a testament to Gene Roddenberry's vision that something he created over 40 years ago can still evoke that reaction, especially after many multiples of viewings on my part. I've truly lost count of how many times I've seen every episode.

This is getting rather long, and I need to go fall over in bed for a while. I'll pick this up later, and fill you in on my other favourites in television and movies.

Good night :)

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Not Much Progress

I'm still working away on the January sock club socks from Yummy Yarn Studio, and here it is March already... I'm feeling rather slow at the moment. I'm doing them two at a time and this is my first time using this method so there is that learning curve, and there is the fact that I had to rip them both back after turning the heels because they were going to be just a bit too small if I'd kept going. I had checked them on my foot, as well as measuring, but turning the heel didn't add as much length to the sock as it usually does and so I had to rip out the heels and add another repeat of the pattern to get them to the right length for my foot. It really doesn't help that I have larger feet, too - women's size 9-1/2. I'm finally starting my way up the leg, so the end is finally... well, closer than it was, anyway.

The cable socks I'm working on, however, are progressing very nicely :) I've had time to work on them this week and I'm up to the tenth cable repeat, so there's this one, two more then eight rows of 1x1 rib for the cuff and then the bind off. I use a darning needle for binding off, though I'm thinking of trying Jen's super stretchy bind off, having discovered the video for her cast on last weekend.

I have to try that, too, on my next project. I have to learn new techniques, to broaden my knowledge base, because I've used the same ones for too long and often they're not quite appropriate for the project I'm working on. I've gone to my LYS in the past to bug Wendy to teach me things, which has been very helpful, and I have quite a few books as well, but I learn more easily from seeing something done and being able to follow along with the motions required, which makes YouTube such a great resource too.

I did promise pics of the baby blanket I'd made for my sister's friend in my last blog and forgot to put them in, so here they are. This was the one made in Spud & Chloe Sweater and Outer yarns. They were just beautiful to work with, so soft and squishy. This blanket will make a wonderful mat for the baby to lie on the floor or outside in the summer on the grass.

I do hope both my sister and the intended recipient enjoy the blanket, though I haven't heard from my sister about picking it up. I did call her about it last weekend, but she said she was sick with the flu and so perhaps we should wait to meet up so that she didn't give me her cold. I agreed, because so far (knock on wood) I've managed to avoid any serious illness this winter and I'd really like it to stay that way, thanks very much. I had my share of being sick last October when I had a skin infection that required me to have an IV in my arm for eight days. When the nurse was putting it in my arm I was very concerned about it not impacting my knitting. I was stuck at home for almost two weeks with the illness and to keep myself from going bonkers I had to be able to knit.

Time to get ready to head to work, see you next time :)