Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jaywalker copycat

This is the post in which I realize the socks I am making are an almost exact copy of the ever-so-popular Jaywalker socks. I really hate the example photo shown on the pattern, which is probably why I didn't want to knit these.

I do like my version a lot better, because of the lace aspect. Jaywalkers use a knit front and back of stitch increase and combine the decreases, resulting in a hole-less pattern.

There's no such thing as plagiarism in knitting, is there? Just reverential borrowing.

One sock? Check!

I finished the first of the Chevron socks last night. After trying to make it bigger, and longer, for my friend who has feet at least a size and a half bigger than me... this sock still fits me perfectly. Oops. Maybe I can block it out? How does one block socks, anyway?

I absolutely love the pattern on these socks. The zig-zags go so well with the stripes. But, I'm not too thrilled about the stockingette stripes on the instep. It just looks so... bland. Luckily, that part is on the bottom, so most of the time, we get to look at beautiful beautiful zigzags!

I tried my hand once more at kitchener across the toes. I'm pretty sure I get it, but still something isn't quite right with it. I probably just wasn't paying close enough attention.

I used not-quite-all of the first skein, so I'm going to cast on for the second sock with the end of this skein, and use the leftovers of the second skein for an accessory. Maybe a wristlet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I baked today! I've been feeling pretty exhausted for the past week or so- I got pretty bad poison oak (on my eye, and other places) and have been residually itchy and anxious. Also, I needed some time alone- being with other people 24/7 is just not good for me!

I made a list of things to do today, and at the top of that list was bake. Mike's mom just got a new stove, with an oven that actually works, and we had a bag of stale cereal. I took a recipe of raisin bran muffins and made a few modifications. Instead of bran, cereal. Instead of wheat flour, white flour. Instead of raisins, dried cranberries (which were also in the cereal). After the first fairly bland batch, I added more cranberries and some cinnamon. The texture is good, but they're not my favorite thing I've ever baked. They didn't rise well, and are chewier than I'd like.

However, I feel good. Baking always makes me feel refreshed and renewed, even if whatever I make turns out worse than I imagined. Maybe I'll dig my sourdough starter out of the fridge and play with it a little, too.

Also in the plans for today: cleaning the trailer- we're living out of boxes and things keep getting strewed about and it's driving me crazy, getting our stuff out of Jackie's house and into the trailer (and their respective boxes), working on my Chevron sock (I'm past the heel on the re-knit and larger version, but I still think it might be too small for my friend), and getting pictures off my portable hard drive and onto Ravelry!

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm in!

I got my invite to Ravelry this morning!

I get so distracted from life by the internet & blogs, now I wonder if I'll ever get any knitting (or anything else!) done.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work at the construction site today, so no playing til I get home. And then, there's paperwork to figure out for law school, getting Mike's sister ready to go abroad for a year (Italia), etc etc.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nothing Better...

There's nothing better ... than this!

We did get to the beach in Santa Barbara. I even knit on the beach in Santa Barbara. Luckily I was wearing jeans (who knew it was foggy all the time in Santa Barbara?), or else I'd be as sunburned and miserable as Mike's mom, who was wearing shorts. See, the thing is, the sun comes out after it's foggy and cold all morning!

I'm still working on the legs of the Chevron socks. I didn't knit on the way home, but I didn't drive either. Mike drove the whole way, and I read aloud to him. We love books on CD, but didn't bring any on this trip. We're reading The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell, a contributer to This American Life, our favorite radio show. (On the way across the country, we listened to Bushwhacked by Molly Ivins, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder, and Harry Potter, the first one. It was a long trip.)

Now we're at home, listening to the helicopters flying overhead to the forest fire across the canyon (don't worry- we can't see any smoke yet- although we think we can smell it), and Mike is installing the new appliances his mom bought. If I can stop reading A Widow For One Year for long enough, maybe I'll get some knitting done this weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let's go to the beach

Actually, let's go to Santa Barbara! I doubt we'll actually go to the beach- we're only here for one day (today) to help Mike's sister move out of her college apartment.

It was a seven hour drive, and despite all my claims of not being a car-knitter, look what I did! The other night, I ripped out the entire miniature sock, and cast on when we left for Santa Barbara. I knit almost the entire way (except for the one hour I was driving), and got through almost all of the yarn I had ripped out! I'm very proud of myself. (Although Mike and his mom would have preferred for me to do a little bit more of the driving!)

When we got here, I noticed in Sara's closet, she had a great shirt, knit in a Chevron stitch very similar to the one that I'm using for my socks! I really like how it looks, and if I can muster the courange to knit a shirt out of fingering weight yarn, this might be a lightweight knit shirt I'd actually wear! I wish I'd taken a picture of it before she packed it, it was so cute.

UPDATE: I found the sweater! I'm pretty sure the decreases are: k2tog, k1 and pass the k2tog over. And the increases are yo twice. (For the socks, it's k2tog, slip one, k1, psso, and yo, k1, yo).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yikes! Stripes! Fruit Striped... Socks!

Look Mom, I started a sock! It's for my best friend from throughout high school. Unfortunately, she does not have miniature feet. (Mike's mom is sitting here saying, "I've got small feet! I've got small feet!") However, this friend's birthday is not until August, and I will have time to reknit. I am also planning socks for another friend with a birthday in August, and also I want to make something for my brother's birthday, also in August. Good thing I don't know anyone with a birthday in July!

I'm quite sad this particular sock is turning out so small, because I've spent two whole days knitting up to the heel, and also because when I cast on, I was debating about whether to do five or six pattern repeats. I'm using a Chevron stitch pattern I found online, and there are 13 stitches in it (plus one). The Anastasias were 60 stitches around, knit on US size 2s. I don't know why I thought that 66 stitches on US zeroes would be big enough. Teaches me not to swatch.

I worked in the gallery again this weekend, and had lots of time to knit. I decided to turn the heel after just 5" of leg knitting, because the leg is so skinny I couldn't see how it would fit any further past anyone's ankle. I now think it won't fit anybody's foot at all.

On Saturday, Mike and I went to a performance of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. This was very exciting, because I (used to) play the trumpet, and Mike's a drummer. I went to a high school in New England, where I went to one football game and have forgotten entirely the marching band, and then I went to a women's college without a marching band at all. So this performance of a worldclass marching band and drumline was awesome. Anyway, I knit throughout the performance (they only did one field piece), and afterwards, made a knitting friend. This elderly woman caught me on our way out of the stands and we chatted about the Chevron stitch and the amazingness of this yarn!

It's Cascade Superwash Sassy Stripes, and I love it. The colors are great and it's soft and nice to work with. It does split with these needles, especially as I was picking up the wraps turning the heel. I don't understand the purpose of the wraps- can someone explain them to me? They just seem annoying. But I do love short row heels the best.

Also annoying? Poison oak. I am viciously allergic to poison oak, poison ivy, and mango skin. Mango skin, you ask. Yes, it's related. We did yard work on Tuesday and I now have poison oak on my eye, lower back, and neck. Luckily, I have miniature socks to distract me.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Knitting Doldrums

I have nothing on my needles. And no projects in the wings. And no ideas of what to knit next. And no money with which to purchase yarn to use on a project! This is a sad, sad day - both for me as a knitter and for you as readers!

However, lest we forget this is supposed to be a blog about baking as well as knitting, I baked this weekend! It was Mike's birthday, so I made a cake. I used a cookbook his mom had and picked out Shirley Temple's Chocolate Cake (supposedly her favorite cake, although I hear she loved maraschino cherries and this recipe was sorely lacking in that department) and a Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting. Unfortunately, I was cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen (Mike's dad's), and couldn't find many of the necessary measuring devices one normally uses for baking endeavors. Thus, I had to eyeball the amount of milk I was adding to the frosting, instead of measuring out an exact 3-tablespoons.

I am not generally of the camp that baking is an exact science and the measurements are precise and directions must be followed to the letter. My style is more "throw some good looking stuff into a bowl, eat a good helping of it before baking, and toss it in the oven" than precise. However, I have determined, and Mike will second this, that my eyeballed tablespoon is very much more than a measured tablespoon. And in frosting, this makes an incredible difference. It came out like batter. I was using a handheld electric mixer and I mixed and mixed and mixed. And mixed some more. It got thicker, but not by much. I put it in the refridgerator and mixed some more. Not thick, creamy, or spreadable. I added an additional cup of powdered sugar. No change.

I ended up using the frosting, quickly frosting the cake and doing the writing with store-bought writing colors, and throwing the whole thing directly into the fridge.

In the end, it came out delicious and beautiful. Mike and his dad both happen to prefer runny frosting anyway. Or so they said. We ate it before I could take any pictures. Sorry!

Just so this isn't an entirely boring and photo-less post, here's something from Craftster that I might knit, despite a general aversion to knit shirts and an particular aversion to sleeveless knits. It's gorgeous nonetheless. Now, if only I had some money for the yarn...

Friday, June 1, 2007

But, How Do You Know They're Not Imposters?*

Ta-da! The Anastasias come out of hiding, and here they are, presented to the public in all their glory!

A little blurry, and dark, I know. I was too excited when I finished them (at 10 pm) to wait for good lighting for a photo shoot. And, since the screen on Mike's camera is broken, we couldn't even turn on the flash! Specs follow.

Pattern: Anastasia Socks from Pepper Knit
Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca, fingering weight. I don't have the label anymore, but it was a bright spring green.
Needles: Brittany 2mm dpns in white birch. (I have mixed feelings about these: I broke three in the process of making two socks. They were each replaced with two new needles by the company, but I don't know how I feel about needles that warp and break so frequently!)

Notes: I love these socks. The lightness of the yarn and the airy-ness of the pattern make for a wonderful spring sock! I think I could have made them a bit longer (the pattern suggests 6" legs, I made mine 4"), but I don't usually pull my socks up all the way anyway. I didn't modify the pattern any, other than that, except that I did my ssk's wrong. (There's a great LYS in the town next to us, Hand Yarns - I'll have to take a picture of their sign. It's a giant metal sculpture of a ball of yarn and a pair of needles. So great. But that's another story. Anyway, I stopped in the other day to clarify the ssk problem. They were most helpful and don't even mind that I've been in three times and have never bought anything. As soon as that second depsit gets sent to Law School... look out yarn store!) I ended up knitting two together from the back of the stitch, rather than slipping the stitches knit-wise and twisting them that way. It would probably have come out a lot smoother if I'd done it right, but c'est la vie. These were my first toe-up socks, and therefore my first short row toes and heels! Also, my first provisional cast-on. All went well. Except the finishing of the heels. I have two rather large holes on either side of each ankle... any suggestions for how to cure this problem? Other than more practice? For the cuffs, I used a 1x1 rib for the end, and only two rows. All in all, lovely socks!

I have no idea what my next project is. Another sock, perhaps, as I have two more skeins of delicious sock yarn, this time variegated in orange, yellow, and blue! And that would mean no spending money I don't have.

*As in, the Russian princess, Anastasia. Get it, get it? (Props to Claudia for the hilar joke.)