Friday, July 31, 2015

Concrete And Tulips And Misbehaving Socks

New yarn has arrived! I've been wanting a skein of Caterpillar Green Yarns' Concrete and Tulips color way for some time, but kept putting it off. When I saw that they only seemed to be accepting preorders and that preorders only seem to show up monthly, I jumped. And I am happy I did. I think I'll have to knit these socks toe-up, which I haven't done in a while. But in the case of this yarn, every last bit needs to be used up.

Meanwhile, my Sheep May Safely Graze sock has still been giving me troubles. I finally I have the right white for the job, but I spent this week knitting all the way to the foot only to find that I needed to decrease the gusset more than I thought. (The foot will have 56 stitches when I am done. I guess my handspun is more of a sport weight.) After ripping and reaching the foot again, I realized that the ankle was too baggy for my slim ankles. So I ripped back even further and took a repeat out of the fence. I am on the heel again. Will this sock ever get knit up?!? 
While all this sock drama has gone on, the Onoprodum sock has saved my sanity. I knit up the rest of the foot and just have the toe of the second sock left. Hurrah! Of course my US size 0 needles are taken up by the other two socks, so I have put Onopordum on hold for the moment. I'm just happy that the hardest part of this sock was choosing the colors.
The Monkey sock is also at the heel flap. I am not in a real rush to finish it since it is my car knitting project. It is behaving itself for the time being.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Small Talk With Tangey And Scooter

Mum told me the other day that she kept forgetting to bring her phone to take pictures of Tangey when he would come over to say hi to Scooter. I've gotten pictures before, but this time I got them from their point of view. I wonder what they say to each other.

Tangey: Hi Scooter. What's been going on with you?
Scooter: I got my hair cut the other day. Audry did a much better job this year. Last year the vet laughed at me.

Scooter: Mmm... tuna breath.
Tangey: Smells like you still get the same old dry dog food.

Scooter: I wish I cou..... What's this wonderful smell?
Tangey: I guess I'll see you later then.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Valley of Fire, Baby!

I just got back from a trip to Las Vegas. I'd never been and Connor had a business trip, so I tagged along for a few days. The day we landed, we saw the Cirque Du Soleil show "O". I'd always wanted to see a show, but hadn't had a chance until now. I highly recommend it. I also learned a bit more about myself while in Vegas. Here's the thing: Vegas is full of bright lights, loud sounds, and lots of people. More people than Disneyland in summer. (There are also lots of stairs you have to climb in order to get anywhere... but that makes sense. Vegas is about an overindulgence in many things.) It was fun for a day, but that was enough for me. It got overwhelming to be in packs of people for hours all while trying to get to food, or see a show, or to just look around.
This was the line to check-in at the Luxor. It was this long from 2pm to well past 11pm. The only time it wasn't this long was at 7am.

Luckily Connor and I had planned to see other things on the one full free day he had. So we rented a car and headed out to the Valley of Fire. I had wanted to see the Elephant Rock and the Fire Wave, but after getting a map, I saw "Petroglyph Trail" and we had to go there instead. It's a there and back again trail that comes in under a mile. We walked all the way there without seeing one petroglyph. I was disgusted... until we walked back and realized that we were idiots. There are petroglyphs along the entire trail. We had been looking to our right and down (in case of Rattlesnakes) on our way out. The petroglyphs are on your left on the way out. 

It was quite hot. And even though we had brought lots of water, we were still overheating. We drove a little ways more towards the Fire Wave trail, still deciding what to do, when we saw a bunch of people on the side of the road pointing. This has happened to me before and it always pays to pull over. This time we got to see a Desert Bighorn Sheep family. So cool! And unusual, I'm sure. It was the middle of the day.

At this point we decided that it really was too hot to do the 1.5 mile trail to the Fire Wave. I was a little disappointed because that isn't a long trail, but heat exhaustion can be quite dangerous. We decided that we now have a reason to come back. So rather than hike more, we headed to our second destination: the Hoover Dam.

I didn't ever think I'd get a chance to see it in person, but the opportunity presented itself. A fun fact that I didn't know about the Hoover Dam is that it straddles two states as well as two time zones. We experienced Mountain Time in Arizona before walking back to Pacific Time in Nevada.

And in case you ever wondered, in the evening, Arizona is the hotter state. The Nevada side was quite shady by evening and it tricked Connor into leaving his hat in the car when we walked across the dam.

I got a nice collection of doodads from this trip. I've casually collected patches during trips in the past, but I've invented a new blanket project that would incorporate them better. It is our new treasure hunt. The hardest one to find this time was the Las Vegas one. We found it at the World's Largest Giftshop, despite talking to employees who didn't think they carried it. And who could blame them? It was a really big shop. The shop is divided into several different shops. We found it in the rightmost shop in the leftmost room. We've also taken to adding the occasional magnet to our fridge, but we are pickier about what gets added there.

Overall, it was a fun trip. I've love to go to the Valley of Fire again. But in the case of Las Vegas, I'd only want to stop overnight to see a show before continuing on our way.

Does anyone else collect patches? Are there any places in particular I should try to visit? In regards to the USA, I'm more familiar with Western states. What should I look for in Eastern states, like Rhode Island, or North Carolina (etc)?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Four Whites To Rule Them All

I'm on my fourth cuff for this silly sock. I had bought Baah! La Jolla in La Perla, sight unseen, thinking it would be thicker. The thought was based on the purple skein of La Jolla that I'm using in my Onoprodum socks, which is thicker. This skein was the same thickness as the Koigu. Baah!!! So last night I bought a skein of Rosy Green Wool's Cheeky Merino Joy. It is a sport weight yarn. I probably should have just gotten a sport weight yarn the begin with when I started having the trouble. 
Clockwise from the top left corner is: Cheeky Merino Joy, La Jolla, Tosh Sock, and Koigu

The good news is that because the Sheep May Safely Graze socks have been giving me so much trouble, I've stayed focused on the Onopordum socks. I have turned the heel and started the gusset on the second sock. They are looking great, they are fitting great, and I am not running out of yarn. I am happy.

My car knitting at the moment is a Monkey Sock. I know I might have a rough time matching stripes. I'm going to try anyways. It's a fun pattern and I like how it looks in the Sugarbush color way from White Birch Fiber Arts .

I hope I'm not alone in this, but who has bough multiple skeins for a project in order to get just the right one? Can anyone beat four different skeins?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Re-Fixing 60 Socks

All socks fade over time. I know this. But I've had some fade rather fast and that bothered me. My buddy Krista let me know that Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls fame had posted a method of resetting dye using Citric Acid. (Instructions begin in the middle of the post.) The seed was planted: I wanted to re-fix the dye in all of my socks.

The process, although not that difficult, requires some space and tools. But the set up we have in our little studio isn't ideal. My parent's house however... much more ideal. I bided my time and waited for the week we were to watch Scooter. And I ended up doing this, unintentionally, on the hottest day inside the garage.

I created an assembly line to get all of this done in a reasonable amount of time. I started with the soaking instructions. While socks were socking I was wrapping the next set of socks in plastic wrap. And then I was running in and out of the garage nuking the socks or hanging them up to dry.

Incidentally, Jasmin has a 1250 watt microwave while my parents have an 800 watt one. Jasmin provided a wattage converter, which I used. I cooked my socks for a bit longer than she did. But I did only do 1 minute on, 1 minute off as suggested until I hit the total amount of time I needed to.

It was quite the job with around 3 hours of constant movement in 95˚F/ 35˚C heat. (I'm pretty sure it was hotter in the garage, though.) I have 30 pairs of socks. I didn't know that until this project. And, as it turns out, 60 individual wet socks are quite heavy.

After all the socks dried from the citric acid process, I rewashed them all with Soak and let them dry again. And now I have 30 pairs of freshly laundered socks ready for winter.
Fun fact: 4 pairs were knit for me by Tyler

I'm not sure how well this process will preserve color, but two of the pairs were fresh and never had been worn. I'll keep an eye on them as I wear them to see how well re-fixing worked. The red pair, however, I was never able to get the water to run clear. I've decided to continue laundering them with dark socks only.

Friday, July 10, 2015

It's Knit Night After All

The other week Connor and I were dog sitting Scooter. I had gone out for my weekly Friday Knit Night. When I came home, I saw this:

Connor told me, "It's knit night after all."

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

White, White, Sheep!

So.... I've ordered different white yarn for my Sheep May Safety Graze socks. I eventually decided that I liked the Koigu better than the Madelinetosh. The camera doesn't seem to like to pick up how orange the Tosh is, but if it looked like it did in this picture, I would have gone with the Tosh instead. However, like Alicia very cleverly pointed out, the Koigu is a little thin against my handspun. I wasn't so clever as to heed her kind advice, so I knit a whole leg of a sock before ordering some Baah! La Jolla in La Perla in the great hopes that it will be the white I want in a slightly heavier fingering weight.
That's right. I've now bought 3 different whites for this 1 project.

Part of me wonders if I'm being too picky, but I have good reasons to buy different yarn.
1. It took forever to spin the Enchanted and I will wear the socks for much longer than the 4 days I spent on knitting it.
2. I just don't like how clearly the handspun shows through the white when I put on the sock.
3. I can get the sock on, but it is just a touch too tight.

I've decided that all the knitting wasn't a waste because helped me to decide how I might want to spin my next Greenwood Fiberworks project: Cider House. With the Enchanted, I spun a 3-ply where two of the plies were the full length of the roving while the third ply was separated further to give the yarn a subtle fractal look. I liked how I spun it, but I want to spin a 3-ply that is not spun as a fractal this time around.

Meanwhile, because I still only have one project on the needles and it is the rather complicated Onopordum, I cast on a new sock out of White Birch Fiber Arts in the Sugarbush color way. Of course I'm undecided on what pattern to do. I'm between doing a pair of Monkey socks or Groovy Socks. The cuff will work for both. I think it will be easier to have the two socks match in stripes with Groovy Socks since it is a 2 round repeat, but really, I want to knit Monkeys.
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