Friday, February 29, 2008

Upside Down Monkeys

If you are any sort of online obsessed Knitter (like me) then you are well aware of the obsession of the Monkeys. Any non-Knitter or Muggle (as we playfully call you) is going, huh? eh? Monkeys?? It's okay, but what is most interesting is how many are out there. Ravelry has a number of 4,099 monkeys...I know there are way more then that since not everyone is on Raverly yet and the pattern dates back to Winter '06.

At first sight I shrugged the pattern off. Then when everyone was knitting monkeys, I was all "Oh,'s not THAT cool" ... that was until I finished the Serendipity socks. The pattern and yarn just went so well together...

So far so good. My little Monkeys are growing nicely. The colors remind me of when you squint at a light Christmas with blurry colors setting it all off. The pattern is very simple and I bet I'll have it memorized by the time I'm to the leg. I cast-on this past I think I'm getting faster. Certainly wont be done in 8 days...or will I?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Do I Deal?

I try to create interesting photos of my finished objects. I try to take an unique approach to the subject matter. I could just plop the thing on my obnoxious bedspread and be done with it. I'm not going to say I'm super cool about it, but lets just say I at least put thought into it.

Do you even have a clue as to what I have to go through in order to get the right shot? This is in no way ranting or bashing anyone... While deleting some unused photos from my camera I noticed a trend. Here is some samples of why it's so hard to be me.

Maybe it's not sooooo hard, but...yeah, do you see how I have to deal with such cute camera monsters?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's Next?

After finishing with all these quick projects I went back to my old reliable knit. Fulmar. Accomplishing 12 rows of the pattern this weekend I then saw this...

A miss-cable. The cable is not suppose to lean in that direction. It should go under not apparently I thought this was a cleaver design feature because I repeated that mistake on the same row towards the left (not shown). sigh. I've been tossing around the I ladder down? or do this. This link brings you to a tutorial on cutting...yes, cutting the cable to realign the cables in their proper position. I don't know if I have the cojones to preform that one.

We are tossing the project into the closet and thus moving on to something more rewarding....a new project or two or even three...

Socks are usually the old standby. Off to the stash bins I go.

Found some great sock yarn... Gypsy Girl in the Holly colorway. The next shipment of the Rockin Sock Club yarn wont be in my hands till March, so we'll see if I can get another pair off the needles before then.

I then got to thinking that I really should swatch for several projects to just get the ball rolling. This then lead to me swifting up some yummy yarn cakes...

Nature Cotton has a different hand to it. Its got a thick-thin quality that produces a unique texture. I'm not completely sold on this for the Fitted Knits V-neck Sweater, but like the yarn very much.

While pulling out the bins I spied the Malabrigo... oh yeah baby... How Wicked!!

The depth of this burning orange is stunning. Pulled out the Wicked pattern and got to swatching. Loved it so much that I cast-on as soon as I hit gauge.

Don't you love having options? Now I really need to sit down and think about this cable... What is the worst that could happen? reknit it right? I think I see surgery in my future.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

FO: Calorimetry

Pattern: Calorimetry

Yarn: 1 skein Mission Falls 1824 Wool (85 yards)

Needles: US 8

Start Date: Morning of February 21, 2007

End Date: Evening of February 21, 2007

Comments: Okay seriously... a one day project. I just need buttons. I know the pattern only calls for one, but the end piece is really stretchy and needs a little more support.

My buddy Tangled from SnB told me to swatch. Hers come out loose too, so I did. I did stockinette and in rib....I was getting gauge, but the end fabric was really, really stretchy. I only cast on 112 stitches instead of the 120 recommended. That put the piece 2 inches shorter. If I was to do over I would use a smaller needle. I do like that the pattern is very open to scale. You don't have to go as directed to achieve a great knit.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

FO: Serendipity Dragon Socks

Pattern: Serendipity (only available for Rockin Sock Club member)

Yarn: 1 skein of Socks That Rock - Dragon Dance Colorway (not available until 2009)

Needles: US 1 circ's

Start Date: February 12, 2007

End Date: February 20, 2007

Comments: Did you even notice... eight. eight days...seriously? in eight days I finished these socks. wow.

This project was full of a "firsts" for me. My first sock club yarn and pattern. My first time knitting cuff down on two circ's. My first mix of variegated yarn and lace pattern. I have to say...I like it. The only thing that I'm not quite sure about is the star toe. The pattern calls for K2's every so often and it ends up creating a spiral toe. This also means it tends to twist on the toes during wear. hum. I'll wear them for a day or two to really judge.

There are tons of really bad photos showing examples of this variegated yarn and lace blend, but I have to say this combo really opened my eye to more possibilities. I thrilled to have joined the club and now eagerly awaiting the next shipment in March.

Just look at my sock blockers in action...awesome!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Sock Blockers

So, I'm surfing the net and this thought comes to mind. I really should block those Manly Rib Socks I just finished. Their looking kinda strange and not at all like socks. Then I contemplated buying sock blockers...they are pricey. On average your spending 26 - 30 bucks for blockers. And to be honest, I normally don't knit large men's socks, so buying blockers for this project knowing that the blockers would sit and never get used... not realistic.

That's when I discovered some websites that showed you just how to make your own. cool.

The Knitting Zone has inexpensive and an easy way to make your own sock blockers out of metal coat hangers. Then there is Little Sesame Knits who shows you a super easy DIY sock blockers tutorial using a plastic placemat. What a great idea and while at Walmart the other day I found some cute colors. It wasn't as sturdy as I had hoped but I think they work fairly well and to know that I spend $4.50 for three sets of blockers is pretty awesome too.

There is a PDF you can download from the Little Sesame Knits blog with the template file for sizing, but I ended up tracing my own. I double checked my sock books for the full foot length of each sock block size I was wanting to create.

Here you can see my cardboard template in size Ladies 7 and below that are the placemats I picked up.

I traced with marker around the template and then had within minutes I had 3 sets of sock blockers. The blue one are for ladies size 7, the orange is a ladies size 9 and then the yellow is a mans size 9 1/2. I think my son was a bit disappointed to not see his size 12 template...

This was a fun project and now I have templates in hand, so when ever I see some sassy plastic placemats I can quickly add it to my collection.

Here are the Manly Rib Socks on there own blockers drying away after taking a nice bubble bath.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What a Wicked Weekend!

I think that was the best weekend ever. Hubby and I have been wanting to spend some serious quality time together. After two years of not celebrating our anniversary, it was high time for something good.

So, what do you do? I really wanted to make a weekend of it... I reserved a room downtown at the Silversmith Hotel. The hotel was highly recommended by the local actress/waitresses at our local pizza place we frequent. Even got the "family" discount which is completely awesome.

I can't say enough good things about this hotel. It is definitely a hidden gem of Chicago. The room was spacious with high vaulted ceilings. The staff was pleasant and I loved that security was also very tight...your room key also activated the elevators. very cool.

Don't mind this somber look...he never smiles.

We had reservations at Susi Wabi and that was quite delightful. A little smoked salmon, little tuna, yummmm!

I was introduced to this place by some fellow co-workers and have been meaning to share it with hubby. The place is small, so make reservations if you can. I think the only thing that irritated me was paying $2.25 for a pop, but in all fairness it wasn't the only place charging high prices for drinks. At breakfast we paid $2.50 for a cup of coffee.

The main entertainment was scoring Wicked tickets at the Oriental Theater.

If you haven't seen it... Go right now, get some tickets. I would have waited for our real anniversary date, but when you've got the time and money...just do it. The place was packed. Not one empty seat. I've never been inside the Oriental Theater and it is an amazing site to see. Our seats were 6 rows back from the stage and you could see everything. The performance was awesome, amazing, it was totally wicked. I loved each character and when it was over, I was left wanting more. I wanted to stand up and say do that again...hit rewind and repeat.

I was all worried about what I was going to wear that night. Not so much because we were going to the theater, but Chicago's weather is screwy from morning to night. I didn't want to be uncomfortable hot or too cold. I ended up not doing the coat check...good thing too. It was freezing in the theater and I truly needed my winter coat for my legs.

There were so many types of clothing styles to see. From really stylish and posh to a man wearing cargo shorts. Hubby and I went middle of the road with dressy casual.

After the performance we went back towards the restaurant in search of a spot for coffee and pie. Everything closes downtown after 11pm unless you want to bar hop, so we raided 7-11 for coffee and apple fritters. We truly had a marvelous weekend and have had some talks and plans for another trip next year.

So, I know the big question that you want answered... yes, I did knit. Here is my status report on Serendipity socks.

Practically to the toe. I see a FO in the near future.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A squid, or a pebble, or a policeman...

But yeah, right then. I mean not that but yeah something like that. I mean not like that but yeah.

How many times have you been apart of this conversation? to many.

FO: Man Tweed Socks

Pattern: My Toe-Up Socks with Judy’s Magic Cast-on for the toes and Knot Another Hat’s gusset heel slip stitch formula.

Yarn: 2 skeins of Regia Tweed

Needles: US 1 circ's

Start Date: January 26, 2007

End Date: February 11, 2007

Comments: This is a perfect example of going toe-up on socks to benefit the foot size and yardage. Each ball contains only 136 yards. Do you want to see how much I had left after binding-off? Don't scream...I know I yelped when I felt the end.

Phew... Yeah, I know... talk about sweating bullets. These socks are sized for a man's size 9 1/2 - 10 size shoe. I love doing the slip stitch gusset heel flap on my other socks, so I went ahead with these.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine

And just so you get to see the lovely Serendipity Socks...this is where I was yesterday afternoon.

Here is where I am now.

Talk about a quick knit... yummmmm. Lovely red's just perfect for VD...

Happy Valentines to you all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dancing with Drangons

Last night the Manly Rib Socks fell off my needles and had to cast-on Right. Away. For. Serendipity.

This is the pattern from the 2008 Rockin Sock Club January shipment. It's a lace pattern... not sure how I feel about it. I'm letting go of any expectations and just going with the flow. I was contemplating knitting them toe-up, but didn't want to do the math or reconfigure the lace work. I am however doing them on two-circ's...this is a first for me, going cuff down. I'm kinda excited...don't you just love a new project?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nearly There

Yep, I was right... they are practically knee-high. I will knit these Manly Tweed Rib Socks until I can't knit any more... meaning, I will be out of yarn;)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Chocolate Overload

In my office we've started these "bonding" cook-offs as a way of producing comradery. It stems from this need to compete and a lot of "I'm better then you are" was pointless and unprovable. Well, until the big boss said "I make the best chili, hands down!"... nobody was going to just let this fly. Plans of what meats, beans and seasonings then started to fly. The next thing you know I'm designing Judging sheets for all employees to taste test the Chili.

It was fun and then while stuffed with tons of chili the winner decided that the next food item would be lasagna. easy...I'm a sure win and chose to participate in the bake-off. It's been now two weeks and after my victory I now get to pass the chefs hat onto another. My food item was Chocolate. I announced that it was an ingredient and any participant would have to use it as a dessert.

Talk about yummmm!!!

Can you believe there are 4...yes FOUR chocolate desserts waiting my judging.

I know for sure that my chocolate cheesecake would have smoked the competition, but alas this victory was meant for another. The winner was chocolate moose. I think everyone agreed that we would never do chocolate again. By mid-day we all feel ill and we still have left overs. sigh. not exactly helping in the healthy eating category.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Playing Catch Up

Yeah, so... right then. What have I been up to? Knitting of course you sillies. I've been meaning to get on here and post a little something, but you know how it goes. The great Mother Nature dumps 8 inches of snow in your lap, Pace Buses decided it's a snowstorm and stop running the commuter route, schools are closed, try to dig your car out of the mother load of avalanche snow piles to only call work and plead for a snow day.

Meanwhile I started some manly rib socks. The yarn is Regia Tweed, which is a lovely dark brown superwash yarn. So no worries about hand washing!! I love the little bits of color...reds, yellows and green. Here is a close up of those bits.

I'm doing my standard toe-up on two circular needles with the gusset heel flap. Kinda sweating over here on the yardage, but luckily I'm doing toe up. Why do men's socks take for ever? I think if Miss Mac tired them on they'd be tights;)

Not to much knitting going on otherwise...I'm hoping to pop these bad boys off the needles and get on to the Dragon Dance STR soon.

Today, (well, I can't say it loud enough) is a very important day... nooooo, not elections (although you need to go if you haven't yet today) ... come on it's Fat Tuesday... now where can I find a paczki around here?

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Yep... you got that right ladies and gents. Joined the Blue Moon Fiber Socks That Rock Club. The first sock yarn came in last week and I'm loving the color. The pattern is lovely too, but a bit lacey. Sometimes when you mix a variegated yarn with a active pattern you lose the color strips amongst the lacy pattern. I will most likely do the pattern with this yarn, but if I don't care for it I will rip and redo.

So, you want to see....



Dragon Dance.