Monday, August 28, 2006

SAM 2 August - done!

August has certainly been a good month loot-wise. I wish my knitting was as productive as my mail box :-)

Before I can start talking about SAM 2, I must tell you that I won one of the "surprise" prizes in the first go-round! Wanna see what I got? Of course you do.

Very cool indeed. Thanks, Chrissy, and I'm very happy you decided to continue for another six months. I've enjoyed seeing all the wonderful socks that people have been making, and it's really helped me keep on track. At least I'm getting a pair of socks finished every month!

I also won a contest over that crankygrrrrrl had a while ago. (She's not really cranky at all; she's quite nice and a lot of fun! And she got a very cool birthday present -- you should go look.) Wanna see what I got? Of course you do.

Also very cool indeed. Thanks, cranky :-) I've recently started a pair of socks in Cherry Tree Hill, and I can see it becoming one of my favourites. Their potlucks are fun. Interestingly, this colourway is marked "water". They must have some strange water down there in Vermont.

You may have noticed that I also succumbed to a couple more of those extremely expensive "knitting stands." I had to go back and get a purple one and an orange one. I did show some restraint ... the Barbie pink and screaming yellow ones remained to grace the shelves. Yes, my name is Dave, and I am a Doodad Doofus.

In the Other News Department, I lost a toe. Maybe you know where it is? Please don't say it's at the end of my foot, because I'm talking about a sock toe. I'm sure I saw one that had you graft the final stitches vertically rather than horizontally. The band made by the decreases carried right across the toe. I can't find it now. I thought it was in one of Nancy Bush's books, but if it's there, I can't see it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, here it is, my August sock. You'll be sorry you read all the way down here just to see these, because I think this yarn has made an appearance here more than any other. I was hoping to get another Trek-along out of these, but it just didn't work out that way. After carrying them around with me everywhere I went for the last six weeks, I finally finished my Trekking socks!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Some thoughts on swaps

I gushed enthusiastically yesterday about the Knit Sock Kit I received from Teri because she did a wonderful job with it, her craftsmanship was excellent, and she certainly deserved the accolades. A few people indicated in the comments to that post a concern that they couldn't compete with a wonderful kit like that, so I would like to address a few comments in that regard.

My instant reaction was the simplistic,"But it's not a competition." And truly, it isn't. However, it is a bit daunting to put together something for another knitter, who likely has very definite preferences and tastes, knowing that it will most likely be compared with what other people did.

I thought long and hard before I joined that swap, because that I didn't sew and my "skills" are mostly limited to knitting round and round and round. I knew that some people would put together things much more fantastic than I could even imagine, much less produce. But I joined anyway. Why?

To my mind, it's about participating . I participated because I wanted to have a more tangible connection with the inter-knit world out there. Knitting, for me anyway, is basically a solitary activity, and so is blogging, although I am lucky enough to have some wonderful commenters and I try to interact and comment back as much as I can. I think just the act of participating with others was something that I needed to do.

However, it was also about expanding. I felt the need to push myself a bit. And push I did. I had never made a bag before. A bag? Simple enough, probably, but there is a vast array of patterns and styles out there. Even considering the components of a simple bag -- handles, zippers, buttons, pockets, etc. -- pushed me a bit.

I also pushed myself technically. I started with a base pattern, but I adjusted it to what I wanted to make. I've adjusted lots of sock patterns, but bags presented a different set of considerations. I learned that just because something folds a certain way when it's one size doesn't mean that it will fold the same way when it's bigger.

I did embroidery, which is something I had never done before. I even "made up" the pattern because I wanted to individualize and personalize my bag.

I did I-cord, which I had never done before. The I-cord had loops and a tassle wrap on the end, which I had never done before. Not complicated techniques, but there were different from anything I had done previously.

I did a Russian join, which I had never done before. I didn't want to have woven ends showing on the inside of the bag, so I tried to join invisibily. I wasn't entirely happy with the way it ended up, because I still could not completely hide it, but I tried to make it the way I wanted it .

I even did crochet, which I had never done before. I looked up how to hold the hook and which way to wrap the yarn and where to stick the hook and how to pull through a loop.

Each step of the way I had to dig out a book and look up how to do it. These are simple techniques that I would not normally have had the chance to explore, and although my execution of these simple techniques could be improved, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to try them.

In the end, I know that my partner gave better than she got. I also know from reading people's reactions upon receiving their packages that not one of them has been negative. Every single participant has seemed to truly appreciate the thought and effort that went into making a kit for them. Yes, some may be "nicer" or "better" than others, but that is, in the end, irrelevant. I certainly hope my partner will be happy with what I did, because a part of the bag is the growth that I made as I put it together. And for giving me the chance to make that growth, I thank her.

I found watching the creativity that went into putting together the various kits to be inspiring. I read about and learned a lot of new techniques. I really do feel that the part of me that was worked the hardest was my imagination. I participated, and I expanded, and that to me is worth more than any of the material things associated with the swap. If you're considering not participating in a swap because you think it's a competition, please reconsider. It really is something much bigger and better than a competition; it's a chance to push your boundaries a bit and to be creative and to grow.

I didn't mean to get preachy, and if I came across that way, I apologize and you can kick my the butt next time you see me. And because I like to have something to look at besides a bunch of black letters on a white page, let me show you something I found this week:

You've probably all seen "knitting stands" like this in craft stores, etc. I found this one in my local dollar store when I was looking for squirrel eyes :-) What I particularly like about it is the size.

It's perfect for sitting on the floor beside my desk, holding my current sock-in progress.

And the price?

See? It isn't always necessary to be bigger and better. It's what you make of things that counts.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Knit Sock Kit Swap -- Kit Received!

My Knit Sock Kit Swap kit has arrived, My swap partner was Teri, of Knitting, with Beads. All I can say is, wow. I mean, really. WOW!

The bag is gorgeous. It's a wonderful denim-y blue, with blue and white striped handles on the top, the front, the back and one side -- and on the other side:

A very cool, round zippered pocket. Umm, pockets?

There are THREE more pockets inside, one with a zipper. This bag is so well crafted -- I cannot even begin to imagine how long it took so sew together all those bits and pieces and zippers.

Inside the bag? Another bag!!

Perfectly project sized!

There was also some DPNs, point protectors, darning needles and candy.

There was some soap that smells absolutely wonderful and was hand-made by Teri's sister.

I also got some yarn :-)

Shimmery merino-silk in an incredible shade of dusky blue! And the skein in front with the rich shades of green and blue? It was * hand-dyed * for me by Teri! This yarn absolutely glows, and every time I look at it I see another shade or colour in it. It is gorgeous. (Teri, I'm sorry about your fingernails -- I hope they have finally returned to their natural colour!)

I also got all the information I need to make a sock using this beautiful Herringbone rib stitch pattern - very cool indeed.

You may have noticed the beads that were on the zipper pulls in the first few photos? Teri made those beads herself. She * made * them. Like, from grains of sand or something :-) Incredible! She sent me some more in case I want to switch them around!

The blue one in front was made specifically with me in mind, and the others coordinate beautifully. I'm sorry, Teri, that my photography doesn't do justice to the depth of colour and lustre of these beads. They are simply gorgeous.

So yes, WOW. Thank you so much, Teri -- I love everything, and I am incredibly impressed with your crafting skills in so many different areas. I know I will enjoy using this beautiful bag and making some green and blue Herringbone socks!

Monday, August 21, 2006


I have four socks on the go, all ready for heels, and I don't feel like doing them. I don't feel like working on the Swallowtail shawl. I don't feel like working on any of the various sweaters that are just sitting there waiting. I am fighting the urge to cast on even more projects. More socks. An afghan. I *must* cast on. Anything.

I lost the battle.

Another fun pattern from those clever Fiber Trends people, this one is No. FT-229, Nuts about Squirrels. He's cute, eh! Lots of fun to knit too. Do I need a felted squirrel? No. Have I forgiven all those rotten little rodents for digging up my tulips last year? No. But this squirrel, I like. As long as he stays out of my garden, that is.

I figgured that since I had a new toy, Tidget needed one too, so I made this:

It's the Catnip Mouse, pattern courtesy of Wendy. I filled it with the catnip that Abigail so kindly sent me as part of my package for Mama E's newest Big Adventure, Pay It Forward.

Do you think Tidget likes it?

I think she's gone nuts too.

In the Other News Department, I decided not to do an Amazing Lace Challenge No. 5, the Unlikely Model, because, well, I sort of think I already did it. I have no visible progress to report there, so no pics, sorry.

In the More Other News Department, it's great to see garterlac dishcloths popping up everywhere. I am pleased to report that Stacy very kindly formatted the pattern into a PDF and Sarah has very kindly agreed to host it on her site. You can get it here and I'll update the sidebar to include that link. While you're at Sarah's blog, check out the cool garterlac bathmat that she made -- and she provided the pattern for it! Thanks so much, Stacy and Sarah!

Friday, August 11, 2006


Many of you are preparing for the upcoming Sock War, but I have decided that I'd rather partake in a little bit of diplomacy in the Foreign Affairs Department.

The International Scarf Exchange 3 is now accepting sign-ups. Anyone else interested?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This is ....

This is Manos del Uruguay No. 102.

This is My So-Called Scarf.

And this ....

This is why I knit.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Clarifying Colour

It appears I may have misled someone into thinking that I don't like green. Not true, I DO like green.

Compare the colour of the Swallowtail shawl with the colour of the wall shown here. It's pretty close to the same. They're both a bit on the yellow side of green, and it's actually a colour a really like. The green in these socks, though, bothered me not because it was a bad green, which it isn't at all, but because of the way it behaved. It was the wash-over effect. If it had striped, or mottled, I probably would have been quite happy.

And speaking of colour, I happened to stop by a LYS yesterday. I was just driving by -- I really wasn't going to stop ... really. But I rarely get to that part of town, so, you know, since I was there anyway ... ahem. Look what I found.

There's some colour for you. And it's not green. I'm thinking it maybe wants to become a So-Called Scarf.

I don't really want to be thinking about scarves in August, but there is always this to think about.

I also discovered that there will very soon be a local source for .... Koigu. I swear, I could feel the drool dripping down my chin.

Amazing Lace - Challenge #5 - Where's Waldo?

Challenge #5 of the Amazing Lace has been issued.

In honor of that slightly crazed I-see-lace-everywhere mental state that’s a symptom of obsessive lace knitting, your challenge is to post one photo on your blog in which your lace is a hidden or unexpected part of the picture.

So how does one hide a sizeable chunk of flourescent, green knitting that almost glows in the dark?

Like that, I guess.

I've made a bit of progress in the last few days, although not as much as I'd hoped. I was planning on 10 rows a day, but I've lost a day or two due to the heat, and a day or two to stupid mistakes. Nevertheless, I'm about two-thirds of the way through the second set of charts. Here we are at Row 150.

Any luck with Waldo? Maybe this will help.

It's big enough now, covering most of the back of my loveseat, that it's a bit awkward to maneouvre, and it's a bit warm sitting on the lap, but I'm at the part where the wing proper is extended outwards - yippee, less plain stockinnette!

Still no Waldo? Here you go:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I've been PIFed

You may have heard about Mama-E's latest big adventure -- Pay It Forward.

A very kind and generous person who lives here --

-- took this wonderful idea to heart and started her own Pay It Forward, and I am the lucky recipient. Thank you so much, Abigail, for your very thoughtful gift!

She sent me candies -- yumm, half gone already; some lemon ginger cookies, which I am looking forward to having with some tea once it cools off enough for tea; a very cool cap; some catnip for Tidget !! -- and beautiful stripey blue Regia!

I think I see some more toe-ups in my future :-)

I am already working on my Pay It Forward to someone I appreciate for their thoughtful blog, their beautiful knitting and their willingness to share -- all qualities that I admire greatly. I am also working on starting another Pay It Forward, because it's a * Very Nice Idea * to let someone know that you appreciate them, and it would be totally cool to completely smother Mama-E's map with people who have been PIFed.

In the Other News department, I would like to thank everyone who voted for my silly little effort in the Amazing Lace. Thanks to you, I WON!!