Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DH's Socks

DH's socks are finished!!!  Woohoo!!!  He is happily modeling them for me and they are a perfect fit!  He wanted to wear them today, but I said that I had to take them for show and tell at knit night.  Was that mean to do?

Pattern:  Retro Rib Socks from Favorite Socks 
Yarn:  Knit Picks Risata (a cotton blend for those of us in warm weather states)  I have been asked to report back if this yarn pills after washing and wearing and I will!  Right now they have a nice squishy feel.
Needles:  US 2 doing 2 at a time on magic loop (a new skill for me).
Mods:  None really.  I did 15 repeats of the pattern for the leg, 19 for the foot and 4 rounds of plain knit before starting the toe.   And look how much yarn was left. 

Talk about walking on the wild side.  I'm very glad I only did 15 repeats on the leg instead of the 17 the pattern said....I would have had to order more yarn.   In case you were wondering DH wears a mens 10-10.5.  These are also my September socks for the Pair A Month Challenge.  I was definitely cutting it to the wire!

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and prayers about my health.  My tummy feels better today but I'm tired.  I know the Lord will give me strength to do what I need to do.  (Maybe He will provide a little time for a nap too!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Almost finished

Well, let me tell you....Retro Rib socks are almost finished.  I just need to graft the toes.  I remember last time thinking these socks take forever and they do.  It may just be my style of knitting, but these aren't a quick knit for me.  I mean a month for a pair of socks?  Normally 3 weeks max is all I take.  Oh well, they look lovely and tomorrow you will see them.  DH seems pleased with the result as well.  

I didn't feel very good this weekend.  (mom thinks it may be food poisoning, I'm not sure)  So I'm still a little under the weather this morning and trying to play catch up.  I'm thankful that I feel better today than yesterday and my head feels like thinking :)  Sorry for no pics, but tomorrow you will see.  Oh....I think I forgot to mention that N (my spinning teacher) is having everyone from Knit Night that wants to come to her house for spinning this week!  I may get to try a wheel!!!  I'm very excited....as if you couldn't tell.  (I will be sure to document the experience in pics for you!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The perfect gift

Tonight the ladies from church are going out to dinner as a farewell party to a Russian exchange student who has been worshipping with us for the last few months.  I really wanted to get her something as a going away present (and of course handmade would be preferred, but not essential)  I also didn't want it to take up much room, because I know space is a premium. Then I remembered this:

I made up a whole bunch of these bookmarks at Christmas time and had one left over!  It is perfect for my new friend who I must say goodbye to!!

Last October my mom had brought me a very similar cross that my great grandmother had made and wondered if I could reproduce it.   The pattern follower that I am, I went in search of a pattern that matched what I saw.  This is very very close and I couldn't be happier with the results.  In case you are interested:

Pattern:  Cross Bookmark
Thread:  I used size 20 I think.  You could use a heavier thread/yarn if you want, but then the bookmark is bigger.  This one is about 3 inches tall.
Hook:  Don't remember really...I would guess a 8 or 9, but whatever size works for you.
Mods: I used two colors and put the tassel at the top....that was how my great grandma did hers.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dropped stitches

The thought of a dropped stitch is normally enough to make almost any knitter freak out.  It is our worry.  If I drop a stitch, will I be able to pick it up?  Worse yet, will I be able to fix the pattern at that spot? or will I be forced to tink it back?  Even worse, you don't notice the drop stitch until you go to block the item and then are left with a huge hole, can it be fixed?  Luckily I've only read about the last situation!  But, in the Clapotis dropped stitches are a good thing! Here is my first column of dropped stitches!

It felt like such an accomplishment.  The increasing rows were over and now I'm starting to get a glimpse of the finished product (mind you I still have a lot to go).  Knox wanted to get in on the fun too!

It feels like the knitting is just slow going right now, maybe that is because of school, or maybe it is just in my head.   Anyway, I finished the gusset decreases on my socks and am working on the foot, so I will show you that soon too!  Happy knitting! (or crafting! or maybe I should just say have a super day glorifying Him!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Shoes!

My dear SIL and I have been virtually shopping together recently! Yes virtually shopping. Sending emails back in forth getting the others opinion, because we live so far apart :( She found some Dansko shoes that she thought would be perfect for showing off my handknit socks!

She was so right!!!! She found out what stores nearby me sold said shoes and after school on Friday I went and got these! They are very similar to what SIL had picked out (she has such good taste) Plus they were 50% off. (Otherwise I might have waited before getting them, but those clearance aisles do me in every time)

Now it just needs to cool off enough so that I can wear them!! I think they will go great with jeans or slacks! Plus they have such good arch support that I will be able to walk all over campus with out hurting my feet!

Now as much as Grace warned me that I really didn't want to know why my name was on the list, my curiosity got the better of me. Now I have to answer the same questions and provide my own mysterious list. If your name is on the list just know I love you and you really don't want to have to do this, so please don't ask for the list of questions!
1. Ashley
2. Abby
3. Ysolda
4. Bea
5. Grace
6. JP
7. Tracey
8. Robin
9. Stacey
10. Aunt Kathy
11. Jen
12. Abigail
13. Stephanie
14. Linda
15. ??
16. Nancy
17. Kaity
18. ??
19. Michelle
20. Tiffany
21. Ben
22. KJo
23. Scott
24. No one
25. Turtle
26. ??
27. Davene
28. Don't know what this means
29. DH
30. Okay now please don't ask, just comment on the cute shoes!

Friday, September 19, 2008

WIP Friday

I don't have a whole lot to show you today, but here is what is on my needles/spindle:

1.  Clapotis using my new Silk Noir!  So last night I just couldn't resist casting of for this project.  I am loving the yarn and how happy all the colors look.  It is really hard to capture this yarn accurately in a pic, but trust me it is lovely!

2.  Retro Rib Socks #2 in Knit Picks Risata.  I have turned the heels and started the gusset decreases.  The first time I made these socks I thought it was a slow pattern....it still is.   These are my September socks (for PAMC) so I must keep going!  This is top of my weekend to do list, even though I really want to work on my Clapotis!

3.  Here is my first plain (ie-Knit Night) sock finished!  (It was good to work on during the hurricane too)  I'm using Online Cotton and really liking it! 

4.  And on the spindle....a friend who thought she wanted to spin, but decided she wasn't going to get around to it gave me a huge bag of 70% Shetland 30% Mohair roving!!!  (I'm spinning it up for her for Christmas....shhhhhhh!)  It is coming along nicely!

5.  Okay Gertrude (the giraffe) is still in her balloon stage waiting for a rainy day, my alpaca sweater is still just the back...it is still hot here (but maybe starting to cool down)

Do you see something missing?  Yep!  I started the second plain sock (the mate to #3) for the tutorial (thank you for all your encouraging comments) and messed it up at Knit Night.  Yep!  Can't even do ribbing at knit night....so I went shopping instead....and am loving the Silk Noir.  

From the comments yesterday, Carole wrote:
Hi, I really enjoyed the lesson. I have a question. I got my needles from knit picks size 2 circulars. I'm wondering if my cord is too long, as I spend more time pulling on the cord than I do knitting. I did get the heel made, but just to had to give up . Could anyone tell me is there a trick to get them to slide smoother? They seem like really nice needles.

Carole brings up a good point and in my opinion one of the real draw backs of Magic Loop knitting.  You do spend a lot of time readjusting your work, especially is you are a tight knitter.  I have never used the knit picks circulars?  Have you?  Do you have any suggestions for Carole?  
Thanks in advance for your help dear readers!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Silk, but not Seasilk

So Tuesday we had knit night at our LYS (we do this once a month)  They were have a 50% off sale.....I thought I could resist....I was wrong.

I picked up this beautiful Silk Noir by The Great Adirondack Yarn Co.  It is 900 yds of 100% raw silk....and very soft!  The colorway is storm.  And it will be a Clapotis!

Now please don't worry that I have given up on seasilk.  I love it!  But....I put a lot of pressure on one garment....it needed to be perfect.  Plus the color my mom and I picked out is gone and it would be a long time before I could afford it.  So I caved and think this will be great (and I stayed in budget!)

Here is my second skein of handspun!!!!

It is 4 oz of Corriedale.  It is 2-ply and 345 yds long.  I compared it to my first skein and my work has gotten much more even and thinner.  I thought I had overspun my first singles a little bit, so this time I tried not to do that.  Now I think I underspun a little bit.  Hopefully the third time is just right!  I'm super excited about it!!

and here is my new pillow in its new home!  I will be looking for a nice round button! (thank you all for your help!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Magic Loop Tutorial Part 1

***Warning: Picture heavy post!***

Many of you wanted more info about the Magic Loop method for knitting socks, and Magic Loop two at a time.  Before we tackle Magic Loop two at a time, let's make sure we are all familiar with magic loop.  You experts out there feel free to chime in!

Magic Loop Tutorial (Part 1)

***I'm assuming you are somewhat familiar with how to knit socks.  If you aren't and need more info let me know and I will be happy to direct you to some super websites for that info***

1.  First off you need the right tools.  For magic loop you need one long circular needle in the desired size.  

I'm not sure how long is ideal, mine here is 40 inches tip to tip.  Some use shorter others longer.  I find this size just right for me!  My needles are Addi Turbos (only brand I've used for this method)  Ideally you want needles that have a flexible cord because it will be bended and you want the joins (where the cord and needles meet) to be fairly smooth so your work won't snag.

2.  Now we are ready to get started!  Cast on your desired stitches onto the one needle.

3.  Divide the stitches in two equal amounts.  You are going to be pulling a loop of your cord out between the two halves.  Here is that in pictures:

Stick needle between the two halves (note: cast on stitches should be on the cord, not needle part of your circular needles for this step)

Pull the cord through the stitches

Keep going until you have a nice size loop.  As you can see my stitches get a little stretched in this process.  No worries!  When you start knitting make sure to give a little tug when you switch needles (just like with DPN to prevent ladders)

4.  Now we are ready to join so we can knit in the round.   Move your stitches to the needles part of your circular needle.  You will want to keep the wrong sides of your sock (purls) facing each other on the inside at all times!  Here my stitches are moved to the needles.

On the front needle are the stitches I want to knit next (the ones I first cast on)  Pull the back needle out moving the back stitches onto the cord, leaving the stitches on the front needle alone.

Pick up the back needle and begin knitting!  Knit all the front stitches in desired pattern.

5.  Now that you have joined your stitches in the round, you are ready to go.  After knitting the front stitches as shown

Turn your work making the back stitches the ones you just knit and the front stitches the ones you need to knit next.  Remember the wrong sides should be facing each other on the inside.

Move the front stitches to the end of the needle (I think of this as home position!)

Now pull the back needle out moving the back stitches to the cord.  You are ready to knit the front stitches!  

Continue until you are ready to do your heel flap (that is part 2)

Summary:  (after you have got started!)
1. Have your work in home position
2. Pull the back needle out 
3. Knit the fronts
4. Turn work
5. Move the front stitches to the needle (now you should be in home position ready to repeat)

Now, what questions do you have?  I'm sure others out there have them and are too shy to ask, so please don't hesitate!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Library Trip!

Saturday (after DH got home!) we went to the library again.  I had been waiting for this book to come in (it was recommended in a raverly discussion)

Spindle Spinning by Connie Delaney.  It is currently out of print (so check your library)  Amazon does have a few used copies, but they are $20-25.  It is a small book, but completely devoted to spinning on a spindle---no wheel talk here!  She gives good info on different types of wool.  If you've tried to by fiber to spin with you understand how overwhelming it is when you here all these types of wool....come on isn't all wool the same?  The author explains the different lengths of the fiber and when you might prefer one over the other.   It was a quick read, but very good!  Much of the info I was familiar with, but not all.  It isn't overly technical either! I learned better ways to wind my yarn into a skein, ply, and get the right amount of twist in my singles! By far the best spinning book I've read so far (best of 3)  If you want/need more details about the book let me know!

Look what Bea sent me!!!  When she was showing her finished object (her pics are worth looking at---much better than mine) I commented on how much I liked the pillow and how it would brighten my office....then I get an email saying if I want it she'll send it to me! WOW!! The generosity of knitters overwhelms me!  Thank you Bea!!  It is so fun! and I can't wait to take it to its new home!  Bea thinks it needs a button, what do you think?  if so, what kind?

Today it goes to school...I snap a pic for you all!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sock Meme!

Well Ike caused school to be closed at noon. (no real worries, but we've got some wind) Didn't get to teach, but that means one less lesson to plan for next week.  We'll see if they make it up.  But it did allow me to scoot home early!

From ashpags:

When did you learn to knit socks? July of 2007

What's the first sock you ever knit? Basic sock with 2x2 ribbing all the way down the foot using Sockotta (they turned out a tad too small, so my SIL now has them) and the yarn was a little scratchy.

Favorite sock pattern? So many great ones....Waving Laces from Favorite Socks (they are on the cover) or Monkeys

Favorite sock yarn? So many nice ones....and many I have that still need to be tried.  Louet Gems, Dream in Color Smooshy, Knitpicks Gloss.

Favorite needle method? Double pointed needles.  Magic loop for travel or two at a time

Favorite sock needles? Knitpicks Harmony DPN

Who do you knit socks for? Everyone...family, close friends, and occasionally myself.

How many pairs have you knitted to date? 15 (I think), and I have two pairs currently in progress.

What's on your sock knitting to-do list? I want to learn toe up!  But I don't want to give away all my secrets either.

What kind of socks do you like to knit -

Striped? Yes, I think it is so fun to watch the colors unfold.
Colorwork? No...I think it would make the socks too tight.
Plain stockinette? Love the outcome, but don't keep my attention well...good for knit night :)
Cabled? Sure!  One of my upcoming pairs is cabled (unless I change my mind)
Lace? Absolutely!
Anklets? Yep (only made one pair so far, but don't think it will be the last)
Knee socks? don't think so
Solid colors? Yes, it's a great way to highlight stitch patterns.
Bright & crazy? Why not?  Socks should be fun
Faux-Fair Isle? See above colorwork comment.

Tag a few sock knitters here: Anyone who wants to! =)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spinning Kitty!

Did you think I forgot about you? I'm trying to adjust to my new schedule (made harder by the hurricane) and haven't quite figured out where blogging fits into that...so tonight it is!  I think I've miss named my blog....instead of "Knitting Giraffe" maybe it should have been "Spinning Kitty"?

See Knox loves when I spin!  She comes running to "help."  Don't know how I could do it without her!

I rigged up a tool to help me wind my singles into a ball.  See you spend lots of time putting twist into singles and this twist wants to twist onto something....I think of it as a magnet that is attracted to anything it can twist onto to even out the tension so to speak.  It will twist on itself (which can be very annoying)  Eventually you ply (put two singles together) and let them twist on each other.  Then all is happy and you have yarn.  BUT....until you ply you must keep tension on your singles or it will twist back on itself.

So I poked a hole in a shoe box and cut a notch to put my spindle in and voila.  I am able to keep tension on my single while winding.  (If that doesn't make sense and you want more details let me know....I'm still a novice and learning a lot)

Here is my 4 ounces of Cordial top ready to be plying!  Note:  toilet paper rolls are perfect for fitting over a ball winder to help keep the middle of your ball under tension.   I used this to help me make a Lazy Kate.  Mine doesn't work quite as well as hers because I don't have bobbins (not using a wheel) but over time I think I will be able to tweak it!  Plus the price was right!  (You can by lovely Lazy Kates, but I'm not ready to invest in that)

Soon I'll have yarn! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some Giraffe Cuteness!

Before the giraffes, Suzanne made my day during Gustav, giving me my first blog award!  It was so very unexpected and she said such nice things!  I am honored and encouraged that my ramblings mean something to someone.  I "met" Suzanne in blogland during my contest!  She is a fellow sister in Christ too!  Her blog is a happy spot where she graciously lets you into her world and makes you feel like you are a dear friend!  I look forward to hearing her outlook on life! 

There are rules, and here they are:

1. Put the award on your blog. (done)

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you and say something nice about them. (done up above)

3. Name at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.

4. Add links for the recipients.

5. Leave a comment to let the recipients know they have received the award.

Picking winners is so hard.....so many great blogs out there....but these are ones I'm excited to go check and leave feeling inspired/encouraged/uplifted!  So the awards go to (in no particular order):  

Thanks ladies for sharing your life with me!

Now, giraffe cuteness:

My mom sent me this super cute card!  I just had to share (she sooooo knows me!)

Kaity showed this bag on her blog the other day and I just had to have it!!!  what can I say....I have a weakness (several actually!)  I bought it on Etsy from Ching's Tote Shop  (my very first Etsy purchase in fact)  See the back is cute too!
I think I feel like spinning tonight....we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Socks, socks, and more socks!

First off.....I have internet at home....woohoo!!! 

So what has been on the needles......socks of course!
Here are my plain (knit night socks)  Remember I started these so I could talk, listen, and have fun at knit night and not mess up my project horribly.  Turns out they are good for low light hurricane knitting as well.  It is really fun watching the yarn make its pattern.  I'm almost to the toe (1/2 an inch more!)

Once I could see again....DH's Retro Rib socks are moving right along.  An inch more before the heel!

Don't worry I heard all your requests for more info about magic loop and magic loop two at a time.  I will definitely be going into more detail about both methods in the near future for those of you who showed interest!  (if you already know the method....you can chime in your two cents too!)

Speaking of knit night...we've decided traffic is too bad to make it tonight, yes we!  Fellow math grad student and knitter, Susan, is staying with me until her power is restored!  Yes she lives right next to campus and still is without power.  So we plan to have our own knitting party at home. (DH is away this week so it is nice to have human company too--sorry Knox!)   See she is enjoying the internet too!  (actually getting caught up on ravelry!)

Off to knit and make dinner....must make all the food DH doesn't like before he is back!  :) (DH--if you are reading, I sure do miss you!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where to start?

So much time has passed and so much has gone on that it is hard to know where to start, but here goes! 

Let's talk about happy things first!  Friday before the storm I mailed my Secret Prayer Swap package to Ranveig.  What a honor to be able to pray for her over the last few months!  Here are a pic of the socks I sent her (which fit--Yeah!)  They are the Hedgerow pattern (can find it on Ravelry)

She also asked me to pray for her sister (who is pregnant) so even though I showed you the bootees before, now you know who they belong to!

I also made her a DPN case!  I just sort of mimicked others I've seen.  Do you recognize the fabric?
I'm still waiting to receive my package, but with Gustav things are a little slow here too!

Okay, on to less happy things:

We did get power Saturday night (Praise God!)  Many will be without for weeks, so we are trying to help others as we can!  Here are pics of the nearby tree that fell on the power lines and the street across the road from our apartment. 

Baton Rouge is still a mess...many without power, broken traffic lights, trees down everywhere.  Now we are trying to prepare for Ike too!  I pray we aren't hit again!   School is back in session today, so we are trying to get back to normal, but it is a challenge and will be for a while.  Just so you know, we are currently without internet at home (I can't complain about it though)  so if I'm a little quite in blogland that is why!

DH and I weathered the storm playing this:

and I was so thankful to get back to my coffee!  Have I told you about my new mug?
It is a Joe Mo Time Capsule Mug and does an excellent job keeping coffee (or tea) hot for a long time!  So I did get some knitting/spinning done too, but will tell you about that in a later post.  It is amazing how hard it is to knit in low light and spinning makes me warm, as does wool, so it isn't as much progress as I would have liked!   Thanks for all your prayers!