Sunday, August 31, 2008

August roundup

...because it's never too late for a roundup! (That would a sentence fragment, or an informal writing choice, you be the judge.)

August was the month of the Ravelympics where I knit many pairs of socks (plus some mittens).

The Ravelympics goal was to knit 5 pairs of toddler socks, which I met with days to spare. In all, I knitted 6 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of mittens, cut my son's hair, sent the kids back to school, and started a grammar refresher course (not coarse).

The UFO's were ignored (and so was the vacuuming), while the dishes jumped into the dishwasher and washed themselves! (Not really. Just checking to see if you were paying attention.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Read the labels

Little mittens and socks have captured my attention the past few weeks. As soon as I was finished with one pair I would cast on for the next. There seemed to be no end in sight. Suddenly, though, I felt done.

Today was a visit to the hospital. Just tests and everything turned out fine. I was the designated driver. As in:
Him: "I can drive myself, you can just stay home."
Me: "Shut up, I'm coming and I'm driving."
See? Designated by me.)

Anyway, the trip provided several hours of knitting time, and since we had to be at the hospital at 6am, I had to pack my knitting last night. I was all ready to pack yarn for another pair of socks, but suddenly I reached for the pattern for the Waffles for Brunch sweater. I added two skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn and needles and was all set.

This morning I double checked the yarn. "Hmmmm..... I have both worsted and bulky weights of this yarn, I better make sure I grabbed the right ones. " I checked a skein, it said bulky, and I was off to the hospital.

Except, (can you tell where I'm going?) I only checked one skein and not both. That's right, one was bulky and one was worsted. (And why were they next to each other in my bin? Why weren't they more separated? What was I thinking? And why am I up so early in the morning?)

The whole skein of yarn was knitted. When I got tired of knitting, I would read and the sweater would become my leg warmer. (This picture was recreated. I didn't actually bring my camera to the hospital.)(I thought about it, but didn't bring it.)

Once I finished the skein, it became a covering for both of my feet.

Why must a hospital be so cold? I was never so happy to get home and find a pair of socks and a blanket.

Now I need to find the other bulky skeins of yarn. This time, I'll read the labels.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow

As the summer went on, I would occasionally ask DS#2, "Hey, would you like a haircut?"


Alrighty then.

He almost got it cut the week of soccer camp. It was a week of being outdoors all day long (7 hours each day) in 90 degree heat. He had given in and actually asked for a cut, but by the time I could do it, he changed his mind.

"I think I'll keep growing it for a year," he said.

Alrighty then.

He went to school for the first week with nice, long hair. It's actually about the same length as DD#2's. So much so, that I thought you'd like to guess (seeing that you've been doing so well on my quizzes), which one of the following pictures is my son and which is my daughter?

Okay, I suppose it's not really that hard to tell which is which, but you can definitely tell that it's almost the same length.

(I'm adding some space here in case you're actually guessing....)

(sing amongst yourselves.....)

(here we go....)

It was the first picture. Here's the front view. (Goofy smile as usual. It'll make a good blackmail picture for later.)

He didn't really get teased about it. (Other than our family, of course, and we were rather relentless. Except for DH who would chime in to talk about the ponytail that he had in high school and ruin all our carefully planned teasing.)

It finally got too hot and he was ready to have it cut. (The whole "keeping it brushed and looking nice" was wearing on him also.)

This is what we did over the weekend.

(Water bottle shown for scale.)

He was thrilled with the cut and hasn't shown any signs of remorse. He can still fling back his bangs, and flinging is very important in his styling.

Today at school he could pretend he was a new student. At least one kid had no idea who he was.

(DD#2 is a bit sad, she feels like she no longer has a little sister.)(That's right, we were relentless.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mystery solved

Lesson #2 in my Grammar Refresher course had me going on a tangent that answered one of my longstanding questions.

What is the plural of cancel? canceled? or cancelled?

I've seen it both ways, and the answer is.....
Canceled for the American spelling and
Cancelled for the British spelling (that goes along with colour, valour, grey, and theatre.)

That's why I've seen it both ways. Even when I use spell check I get it right both ways. And that's why. Because they're both right.

The rule (for the most part, although cancel doesn't seem to follow this rule) is:

"Double the final consonant before adding an ending that begins with a vowel when the last syllable of the word is accented and that syllable ends in a single vowel followed by a single consonant." Quoted from here. (I'm not linking to my class, since that would probably be illegal somehow. My links are all from other places.)

A couple of examples:
omit - omitted
travel - travelled
open - opened

That explanation helps a lot! I took a spelling quiz and only missed three.
Take this spelling quiz yourself! How did you do?

Okay, that wasn't really the topic of my lesson, but that's all the grammar I'll bore you with today.

Let's talk about knitting.

At this point I went upstairs to get my camera and take pictures of my knitting. Instead, I got two of these and came back downstairs.

Oh, that's right. Now I remember what I went upstairs for...

Knitting. And pictures.

These mittnz were made using the pattern-a-day calendar. They're adult-sized mittens with nice 2x2 cables the whole way around. The yarn is yellow worsted something-or-other. Maybe Lion wool. They're another pair for Mittnz 2008. I'm past 8 pairs, which was my goal.

One final bit of trivia. Did you know that one of the most commonly misspelled words is the word "misspelled"? Rather ironic, huh?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here (not hear) are some socks

For those of you who read this blog, I have a bit of good news. It's news of something that, while I'm the one participating in it, you will be the ultimate beneficiaries. (I hope it will also tell me where the comma goes in the previous sentence, if any.)


I'm taking a grammar refresher course (not coarse).

You're (not your) welcome.

Yesterday was the first day of "class". Since I'm doing it online, class is a relative thing. Lessons (not lessens) are (not our) released twice a week for six weeks and then presto! Your (not You're) grammar is all refreshed.

Can you guess the subject of Lesson (not Lessen) 1?

That's right. Homophones. Words that sound alike but have different meanings. So far, I'm doing okay (this is good since it's (not its) class #1 which (not witch) should be easy.)

Are you tired of reading all my homophones in parentheses? Okay, then, let me show you some knitting.

I've now finished my third pair of toddler socks from my new (not knew)(sorry, I couldn't resist) book. This pair is done using the Sky master pattern.

There are several master patterns in the book. In back section are charts and directions to figure out the numbers to be used in your particular sock (stitches per inch, length of foot, etc.) and then the numbers are plugged into the master sock pattern. (If I had known this, I wouldn't have struggled so much on the last pair. That'll teach me for not looking over the whole book first.)

The gusset increases in this sock are made at the instep's center.

Yes, the sock does look really long and skinny, and it's not just a photography trick. The number of stitches/rows seem to be right according to the charts, so I dunno (not a proper contraction of "do not know").

The yarn, by the way, is the second skein of green yarn that I had previously shown you, but I'm getting tired of green so added some variations to it.

I also dyed this skein:

A pretty tan (dyeing that other skein of ugly light variegated yarn from before.) This will be my next pair of socks.

That'll be four (not for).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

1st day of school

Sleepy. So sleepy. Why must school start so early in the morning? I managed to get one kid on the bus at 6:06am (9 minutes early which is good for our schedule) and the other kid got on at 6:16am at a stop 5 minutes away.

Then, I stayed up (hold your applause), did some reading and knitting and eating of poptarts before going to work at 9am. Plus, I drank lots of coffee.

Why am I sleepier than my kids?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Event completed!

My event has been completed! I competed for Team Burnin' Up the Stash in the Gift Knits Pentathlon (I almost wrote decathlon, which would mean another 5 pairs. Phew--good thing I caught that error!) Five pairs of toddler socks have been completed (which also completes my Magic 28 pairs.)

Pair #5:

This is the second pattern from my Cat Bordhi book, called the little Coriolis. If you remember, I made bigger Coriolis's several months ago. These weren't even a repeat, though, as the big pair used 2 strands of sock yarn held together and the little pair used worsted. (that may not sound like a big difference, but all the increases were done differently.)

I also decided to do an extra increase in the toe which change my stitch total, which messed with my brain the whole way through. This was the second teaching sock so there was lots of diagrams about stitch placement and numbers which were all different than what I was using. Add that to the fact that since I knit lefthanded, I had to read all the diagrams backwards. Phew. That'll teach me to just change numbers on the fly.

There are some patterns later on where you can figure out what size you need and use the master plan pattern to fill in the numbers. I may try one of those next.

Not wanting to start them right away, I finished up two more pairs of mittens. They have been waiting in the wings and the blue pair only needed thumbs and the striped pair just needed the ends hidden (that's a really dark green, not a black as you suppose).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Socks #3 and #4

Today was a day for Olympics overload. As a matter of fact, yesterday was too. And maybe every day since the games began. The TV coverage seems extra good this year. Not only do we get to see the exciting swimming and gymnastic events, but we also get to see events like steeplechase and trampoline and fencing and water polo. Even the marathon was interesting.

I remember way back when Mark Spitz won his gold medals, and tell my kids that they'll remember Michael Phelps accomplishments for the rest of their lives.

I've also made some special things during the various games over the years.

See this afghan?

It was crocheted from January through the Olympics and into March in between finishing my B.S. degree and getting married. This was my wedding present to me. I suppose, it was the handiwork that I brought as my dowry. (Don't worry, DH got another one made 'specially for him the next year.) It took 20 something skeins of acrylic yarn, crocheted in a thick basketweave stitch that I learned in college from Carol. I still have it and use it everyday (even in the summer if the airconditioning is cold, which it usually is.)

This is what I made during the Seoul Olympics of 1988. They were in September that year to avoid the bad weather season (typhoon season? monsoon season? hurricane season? Something bad and wet, anyway.)

The nice thing about that Olympics is that they aired a late night portion of the games from 12-2am, which was great after just having a baby 'cause who can sleep, anyway? In fact, I took a stroll down the hospital hallway around 1am and in each room the Olympics was playing.

I also have my sweater that I knit during the Knitting Olympics of '06. (check out March '06 to see the finished product.)

This Olympics I'm doing socks that will be given away, so I won't have proof, but I will have memories of children with warm feet.

Here's my next pair:

They're the first practice sock from Cat Bordhi's book, done between 5:00pm (when I bought the book) and 12:30 am (when the Olympics was finished for the evening and so was I). (Size 5 dpns and most of the rest of the 3 oz. skein. Four socks out of one skein, with a bit leftover, is not doing badly at all.)

The heel increases are done on the middle of the instep (check out the squashed sock on the left).

There's actually a little sock to do with each new type of increase, so I see more socks in my future.

Here's pair #4:

These were done using 32 sts and sz. 5 dpns. The pattern is just purling each time I reached the brighter blue color. It makes random bumps that wanted to line up a bit too much but were fun to do.

One more to go and my Ravelympics event will be completed. Unless I pull a hamstring (or get carpel tunnel), I should be able to finish.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Glasses (again!) and Pair #2

I've had a common theme running around here: "Hey, has anyone seen my glasses? I seem to have misplaced them." It just seems to never end (and I might have to take back all the teasing I did to DH, who started using reading glasses a couple of years before me and continuously did the same thing.)

Finally, I found a pair (actually two, for some reason they were hiding together) under some old mail on the breakfast bar.

It took about 11 hours to break one of the pairs. Now, these are only $1 glasses, so no great monetary loss. However, I'm afraid to throw them out since I never know when I'll need them. So far I have 3 pairs of these lying around.

Even if I'm reading crookedly (and getting teased by whatever child is nearby), at least I'm reading. If this keeps up, I'll soon have a broken pair in every room of the house.

Wait, this is a knitting blog, right? Okay, then let's talk about knitting.

I'm behind.


I'm not even behind for any spectacular reason other than.... I am.

However, I'm not behind toooooo far, so I have hopes of catching up. Here's the second pair of socks for Ravelympics.

They're knitted using the first skein of green yarn that I dyed using the light variegated skein. The pattern is fun: Marguerite's mini-basketweave toddler pattern, using 28 sts and sz. 5 dpns.

What's behind that bag, you ask?

Well, I made a trip to my LYS today for some green sock yarn (yes, more green yarn), but instead I came home with this:

For awhile I really didn't think I needed this book, but I've since changed my mind and decided that I really did. (It wasn't an impulse buy, honest.)

An unexpected thing: There are several different baby sock patterns in there, one for each different type of increase. I can finish my Ravelympics event and make socks from my new book all at the same time!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Preparing, preparing....

Last week in preparation for the Ravelympics, I decided to dye some yarn. (Therefore it's from my stash but still new-to-me.)

I started out with this skein that was bought a couple of years ago at MDSW. I wasn't crazy about the colors, plus it's too light for socks, so I thought that a green overdye might do the trick.

After leaving the yarn in the crockpot for just a few minutes, I panicked.

It's going to be too dark and the variations will no longer show, so I took it out. There was plenty of dye left, so I put in a white skein that was supposed to become purple.

Check out the dyed yarn, and the original skeins above them. (edited to note: not the exact original skein, but one just like it. Where's my brain, anyway?)

See how the greens are different? It looks like the reddish tones took first, while the bluish ones took longer. Now I might have too much green yarn to use, so I decided to balance that with some purple (and one can never have too much purple.)

The right skein: I've dyed purple before (using Wilton's icing colors), so I knew that it would come out blotchy. I decided to help it along and only stuck half of the skein in the crockpot for the first several minutes (the more reddish tones). The second half got stuck in later and assumed the lighter blueish tones. It made a nice variegated yarn without doing any of the work.

The left skein: This yarn is handspun (but not by me) and has some natural lanolin left in it. I had originally made a soaker out of it, but it didn't sell and just hung around the house for awhile. I ripped out the yarn and washed it to get out the kinkiness. It might be a pair of socks, or I might save it for mittens...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ravelympics: Opening Ceremony

It's 8/8/08 and the start of the Summer Olympics in Beijing and also the start of Ravelympics. For my Ravelympics event, I'm knitting 5 pairs of toddler socks that will
a) use up some stash
b) complete my 28 pairs of Magic 28 socks and
c) keep five kids warmer this winter.

Even though Ravelympics started at 8am to coincide with Beijing time, I didn't start 'til I was watching the Opening Ceremony tonight.

Actually, I fell asleep, woke at 8:05 pm, ran to get my yarn and needles--okay now, it's time to finally choose the first yarn--and cast on.

Four hours later, I'm finished with my first pair of socks. (Technically, I finished these right after 12am, which put me into Saturday for blogging purposes, but I know how to change the date. And I do it way too often.)

These used 28 sts, sz. 4 dpns, Patons Classic Merino in Denim Marl.

Since I need to knit 10 socks in 17 days, this pair gives me a good head start. Not all will be this simple (but they might be towards the end.)