Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is It Summer Yet?

Usually in South Dakota we have many more hot days in July than we've had this year. In fact, more days than not, we've bundled up in the morning to take our daily bike ride. There's only been a few days I've been able to wear shorts. Even so, the flowers seem to enjoy the cooler weather and our lily trees (l) and Oriental Lily (r) had extraordinary flowers this year.

Waterfall socks
Originally uploaded by bruggerknits

On the Needles: I enjoyed making WendyKnits' Waterfall Socks so much last week, I started a second pair on Sunday. It's so much fun tonight, Tuesday, I already turned the heels on both socks. This will be Pair #13 in the 52 Pair Plunge III on Ravelry.

Off the Needles: Pair #11 in the 52 Pair Plunge III was my first pair of Waterfall Socks. I made these in Mini Mochi which is probably a nice yarn for everything except socks. It's a loosely spun one-ply yarn. I am very concerned about these socks felting from wear. Of additional concern is that I purchased two balls of the same dye lot and the colors were wound on the balls in opposite directions. Had I known, I could have started one sock from the end of one ball and the second sock from the inside of the other and I would have been fine! I do like identical socks, but these ended up as being slightly different. I do start and end on the same color though!

Pair #12 was another pair of baby socks made out of the Debra Norville sock yarn.

On/Off the Spindle: I've decided that next year I am going to do my level-headed best to avoid challenges and knit-a-longs, particularly on Ravelry. Why? Because I am very disappointed in myself because I didn't finish my goal in Tour de Fleece. I am competitive by nature and I know, it was supposed to be a fun thing . . . Anyway, next year is going to be the year to relax and enjoy it. Someone may need to remind me.

52 Books in 52 Weeks/Book 33: Santa Clawed, by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown. I always enjoy reading about Christmas in July. I used think it was a heat thing, but it couldn't be that this year, so it must be a fun thing. Also, Mrs. Murphy Mysteries are probably my favorite and this one did not disappoint! This one involved the murders of monks, plus one - very good ending!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lost & Found

From time to time I get the urge to organize. Usually, it happens at the first of the year. The next most common time is when I have been unable to find something. As I discovered today, those two times can collide into disaster.

I could not find something in my office. It's not material what it is, but it is important. I looked in all the logical places and organized as I went. There was still a glaring hole in the middle of the data range of the documents. In the course of looking for that glaring hole, I moved two boxes of recycled paper, mostly in the form of catalogs and magazines out of my office and eliminated, three rather large piles of "stuff" of the paper variety, mostly advertisements and articles I had cut out, for what reason, I don't know anymore. I also knocked three chessmen behind the file cabinet - probably to remain until we re-carpet or move. Once the piles were eliminated, I noticed a pristine narrow three-ring binder on the file cabinet. I looked inside. It was the glaring hole I'd been looking for, the victim of my organizational efforts from the first of the year.

I'm finding the blank places on my desk and floor a little scary - but I'll get used to them, I hope.

Off the Needles: Nanner Socks, designed by Wendy D. Johnson, in my very own Sheepish Fibers Big Foot in Lemon Drop. I like my socks to hit about mid-shin so if my slacks ride up, folks just get to look at more of my socks! I'm very happy with these. It's a fun pattern and available on Ravelry or WendyKnits website. Incidentally, these are Pair #10 of the 52 Pair Plunge III and yet another pair for Summer of Socks 2009 and the Great Sock Off. I haven't figured up the yardage yet for Limenviolet's Sock Marathon, but I'm well over four miles already and three was my goal, so give math is my least favorite activity, it may not get figured up. (This math stuff cuts into my knitting time!)

On the Needles: I had so much with the Nanner Socks, I started Wendy D. Johnson's Waterfall Socks (which are available at the same two locations - did I mention it's a free download?) I am using the Mini Mochi that I purchased at Stitches West. In fact, I purchased this yarn after I saw WendyKnits pair of Waterfall Socks in Mini Mochi. It was all the rage at Stitches West, but I'm not convinced a single-ply yarn is appropriate for socks, particularly one that is so softly spun. I did use re-enforcing thread in the toes. I will be very surprised if they don't felt while I'm wearing them - but I'll keep you posted.

I also have a pair of children's socks on the needles for a yarn review for Knitting Purls, so I'll show those there first. Incidentally, Knitting Purls is a free publication and you can subscribe by contacting them at info@knittingpurls.com.

On the Spindle/Off the Spindle: I'm still treadling away on the Tour de Fleece roving. I now have two bobbins completed, count 'em two bobbins! I'm not sure I'll get this completed by the end of the tour, but I'll be so far along, I'll finish soon after. I can't wait to start the plying of this to see how it comes out.

52 Books in 52 Weeks/Book 32: A Widow for One Year, by John Irving. I haven't read anything current from John Irving, so I can't say if he is still using the same elements or not. One of the fascinating things about a John Irving novel is his use of many of the same elements, but he integrates them into a totally different story. In his earlier novels, like Garp and Hotel New Hampshire and to some extent, Cider House Rules, he utilizes elements like child death, hotels, prostitution, writers, sexual intercourse in multiples and a child who misinterprets a word or phrase (under tow in Garp; ring bearer in Widow). He weaves these into a story much like a fiber artist, who uses many of the same fibers, but in different colors and textures, into a wonderful story. I rarely "like" his female characters, in that they aren't the kind of people I generally associate, but always "love" his male characters, who are usually just as flawed as his female characters, but much more charming. This is a great book and well worth the time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


There are times I feel like I'm juggling lit torches and this was one of those weeks. I don't think I was really any busier than usual, it just seemed like it. As I start the new week, my desk seems a bit more orderly than it usual does at this time of the week, so perhaps the extra scramble during the week was worth it.

On the Needles: Nanner Socks by Wendy D. Johnson (Wendy Knits). I'm just starting so the my yellow socks look like what one of my good friends calls my bikini top! I'm using some of my own yarn - Sheepish Fibers Big Foot in the Lemon Drop Colorway. I'm sure to have some left over, even if I make the socks extra long, as I like them.

Also, on the needles, I've continued with my big black and teal bag which is shown in last week's entry. I hope to have that completed this week. So hopefully, next week at this time, it will be all felted up and ready to use!

Off the needles: I finished the Knotty or Knice Socks which I started last week. The yarn is from Fleece Artist and it's in wonderful pastel shades of green, lavender and blue. These are a little shorter than I usually make, but the pattern was so complex, I really just wanted to be done!

On the Spindle: I'm still working on the Tour de Fleece with the Ember colorway of my superwash roving. Bobbin 1 is completed and I'm well on my way to completing Bobbin 2.

52 Books in 52 Weeks/Book 31: Catnap, by Carole Nelson Douglas. This is the first entry into the Midnight Louie series, one of my favorites. Douglas lands us right into the middle of Temple and Louie's lives, so there could always be a prequel! Midnight Louie and Temple meet at the American Booksellers Association convention in Las Vegas. They encounter a body and find the catnapped Baker & Taylor Scottish-fold cats. There's always a lot of action in the Midnight Louie series and this first one set the pace.

Out in the Garden: I have plenty of weeding to keep up on, but the lilies are coming in. I tend to buy perennials at the end of the season, so sometimes, I'm not really sure what is going to bloom the next summer. The pink and whites ones were a complete, and very pleasant surprise!

Other projects are limping along. I haven't forgotten about the Pokey fleece or the Bug Jar Quilt. The quilt I'm still hoping to finish quilting this month. I'm also still listening to A Widow for One Year, that may be completed this week - hopefully - as long as I'm not juggling again this week!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Technical Difficulties

This week does not have an entry to 52 Books in 52 Weeks due to technical difficulties. I thought I finished Widow for One Year, by John Irving, but as I got down to the final minutes of the audible.com recording, I quickly realized the there were a number of issues that were unresolved. I've read enough John Irving, like just about everything he's written, to know that he just does not leave folks hanging for an eternity. Then I heard it: "End of Part 1." But that's all that was on my iPod! Fortunately, Audible.com, like Amazon.com and eBooks, keeps my library for me. I'd forgotten to download Parts 2 and 3. So stay turned - it's a great book. John Irving can set a scene like nobody else. I can picture everything - it's better than a movie!

So onto my upper midwestern listing of what I've accomplished this week!

Tour de Fleece: In conjunction with the Tour de France, Ravelry has a Tour de Fleece for spinners (the kind with one wheel and a treadle, not two). I joined the Spin Our Socks group and started spinning the Embers fleece. On the bobbin is what I accomplished after Day 1. I think the goal of the group is to spin 3-ply sock yarn, however, I may have to be happy with a 2-ply. We'll see if I have enough fleece for a 3-ply.

Off the Needles: Pair #7 of the 52 Pair Plunge III is another pair of mini-socks. These little socks are great for working out patterns.

On the Needles: For Pair #8 of the 52 Pair Plunge III, as well as the July pair for the Great Sock Off, and my stress-free pair for Summer of Socks, I started the Knaughty & Knice socks for Interweave Fall 2008. It's a fun pattern, but is a little slower going than the patterns that got me to seven pairs in one month-but maybe slowing down a bit is a good thing. I have some more ideas for mini-socks to catch up.

I also started playing around with the Knit One Below method from the book of the same name by Elise Duvekot. It's been a challenge for me to follow the excellent directions provided in the book. When it comes to knitting, I tend to assume I know how it goes. I'm usually quickly humbled, as I was this time. It's a super-easy technique, if you follow the instructions. I'm working on a bag using the technique, in Green Mountain Spinnery two-ply black worsted and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in teal. The Lamb's Pride is a second, because it's not colorfast (although my fingers aren't turning teal), so I wanted to use it with something that wouldn't show if it did bleed.

On the Hook: I'm not much of a crocheter, but I do still have a lot of scraps of washable sock yarn. I'm doing this modified granny square in hopes of using some of the scraps. Actually, I'm hoping to use all of them. My sock yarn stash is significantly reduced because of the Sock Yarn Marathon I've been working on since February 1, but I want it reduced more! Hopefully, this will help.

Last of All: I was totally surprised and extremely pleased with the shout-out my Etsy shop, Sheepish Hand Knits, received on the Daily Chum on Friday. I recently started a new line of sock yarn called "Big Foot" and as a result of the Daily Chum piece, I've been busily packing and dyeing up more yarn this weekend. You can see the the piece here:
http://www.limenviolet.com/blog/?p=6731 IdaW, Limenviolet and all the Daily Chum folks - thank you!