Holy Finished Projects, Batman

Bloody Mary

Pattern: Bloody Mary Socks by Sandra Park
Yarn: SW Trading Company TOFUtsies #725
Needle: Knit Picks Harmony 32" 2.5mm
Mods: Um, I stopped reading the pattern, so I don't know.

Love the way the very simple slip-stitch rib pattern and the pseudo-striping of the TOFUtsies play off each other. And I love the colors. The pattern is simple and easy to memorize.

Sock Scarf

Pattern: Plain weave with a sett of 15 epi; 5" width in reed; weave until you run out of yarn.
Yarn: Regia 4-ply Mini Ringel #5220 (WEBS had on closeout AGES ago)

I've had this ball of sock yarn for a very long time and had finally accepted that I didn't want to knit socks with it. It was likely destined for de-stash when I couldn't sleep the other night and started wondering what would happen if I wove with it. Did some quick mental arithmetic and realized that there was enough here for a scarf (albeit a narrow one). So, I wound a warp and wove it up. It was a really quick project (fastest I've ever gotten through 100 grams of sock yarn), and I like the finished project (which looks sort of plaid to me).

I did have to keep the warp fairly loose in the loom and beat it pretty tight to compensate for the stretchiness of a 25% nylon sock yarn, but it worked, and I'm especially proud of the very even selvedges (which always work out better when I don't think about them).

In the future (yes, there's more sock yarn I'm not likely to make socks from in the closet) I would loosen the sett to 12 epi which would probably allow me to make a slightly wider scarf with no loss in length.

Another photo to show the interesting pattern (and those even selvedges):
Sock Scarf

And just because he can't help but be cute, K-man:
K--man Sleeps

The Good, The Bad, and ... Well, It Was the 80s

So, we've been going through the old issues of Knitter's that a friend gave us, and it's been great. We've got them all the way back to the premiere issue, and I have to say I love how classic it all started out (not to mention the legendary caliber of the contributors). Very different from the magazine as it exists today.

The Good
Knitter's Magazines

The premiere issue (Guernseys anyone?) and Issue 9 which was all about shawls (and includes some fabulous patterns -- there goes the Rav queue). So far, these are my favorites (though we've really only scratched the surface).

The Bad
Knitter's Magazines

Not really the patterns so much, but the styling. And that 'stache -- makes Jason Giambi look, well, he still looks like a 70s porn star to be perfectly honest -- is there anyone else out there who simply cannot look at the TV when he's batting?

The 80s
Knitter's Magazines

Get a load of the linebacker look on her. Oh goodness -- I'm having Joan Collins flashbacks.

But enough snarkiness, there has been a tiny amount of fiberwork happening around here in amongst all the gawking at bad 80s styles.


What do you get when you weave with self-striping sock yarn? Something that very much resembles plaid. I'm kinda liking it, though it has taken me a few inches to get the hang of weaving with something so stretchy. I'm especially proud of my hemstitching prowess:

And there has been knitting:
Bloody Mary #1

Bloody Mary sock #1 done. I really like the way the yarn and the simple slip-stitch rib pattern work together. And the colors are fabulous.

And then there's the cat
This is K-man's new favorite hang out spot:
K-Man Has a Bag

Honest, he does have cat beds and cat shelves and climbing things and even some cardboard boxes that are his size. He prefers tiny boxes and now this cut down paper bag.

Blast from the Past

So I got a phone call last week from a church member and friend who is in the process of moving. She said she had some old knitting magazines and would I like to look at them. Well, sure. So she brought them to church yesterday.
Knitter's Magazine

What a hoot! This is about 15 years worth of Knitter's from the mid-80s to late 90s. My my, how knitting and fashion have changed over those years. We have only scratched the surface of the pile, but I am looking forward to spending time with these gems this week.

In other news, this crept out from the corner of the loom room yesterday.

For some reason, I got bit by the weaving bug over the weekend. Right now, I'm in the process of warping the loom with some self-striping sock yarn I stopped thinking I'd ever really make socks out of. I hope it'll make an interesting scarf. We'll see, though, since the sock yarn is a little stretchier than anything I've ever woven with before. Will keep you posted on the progress.

The loom? It's a 12-shaft 15 3/4" Leclerc Voyageur. I love it, especially since I can actually move it into the family room and watch TV with M while I weave -- can't do that with the 32" loom. It is actually the only thing which suffered damage in our move to Tucson -- it has a crack in a non-structural part (if you go to the Flickr image, I've put a note on it).

Changing the subject completely, yesterday we had lunch with a friend from college who was in Tucson visiting her sister. This reunion (and possibly a new church member) made possibly at least in part by this blog and Ravelry. Interesting how the Internets can do things like that.

Now off to work (and nurse my cycling withdrawal)....

Drive By Saturday

Just a quickie before the big guys finish the time trial.

I frogged the Seaweed Sock because, indeed, the yarn was obscuring the pattern. Instead, I decided to apply that yarn to Sandra's Bloody Mary Socks, a much better match.
Bloody Mary Sock

And oh so fast knitting. Easy to do as I work.

Remember the crocheted purse M made me? Well, she decided to make one for herself, too:
Marie's Purse

I just love the fabric she chose to line it (fabric actually came before the yarn selection):
Marie's Purse

And now I must go watch the end of the time trials. I leave you with K-man, who hasn't a care in the world:
Not a Care

Into Paris Early

The Market Squares Bag is done.
TdF Market Bag Done

Despite the false start with the fugly socks, I still managed to finish my TdF KAL project ahead of schedule. Hooray. AND I love the finished product -- though I'm still not sure of its final fate.

Pattern: Market Squares bag from Bags: a Knitter's Dozen by XRX
Yarn: An assortment of Bartlett Yarns 2-ply
Needle: Webs Interchangeable Bamboo #10 and Webs Hard Bamboo DP #10

Eventually, I would like to line this bag as there is a small hole at the bottom where the stitches were drawn together to finish it. Other than that, there is nothing I don't like about this bag. I love the way the colors worked out: bright, but not too bright, just cheerful. As I've said, I'm not sure I'll keep the bag, but for now, it'll hang on the office doorknob where I can admire it and remind myself that I DID IT. Entrelac isn't scary, in fact, it's kinda fun.

Just to keep the FO theme going:
Spring Forward Socks Done

Pattern: Spring Forward from Knitty
Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta #816
Needle: Knit Picks Harmony 1.5mm
Mods: Um, I decreased the foot down to 63 stitches (basically, I decreased the three stitches you move to make a 30-stitch heel flap), then just skipped one decrease as I started the toe to even up the stitches. I actually contemplated doing these toe-up, and I probably will at some point, but I finally chose to follow the top-down pattern.

Up next:
Seaweed Toe

It's Wendy's Seaweed Sock in TOFUtsies #725. We'll see if the pseudo-striping of the yarn and the stitch pattern clash or complement.

And now for an obligatory cat story:

Tuesday, I noticed a small lizard on the screen to the slider in our kitchen. I tried and tried to get K-man to notice the lizard, too, but he was oblivious. A little while later, after I'd returned to the office to get some work done, I heard a crash in the kitchen -- K-man had finally noticed the lizard. I don't think that cat has moved very far from the door except to eat and use the litter box since:
K-man and the Lizard
K-man and the Lizard

Random Wednesday

Hmm, what's come my way this week?

Our Mission is to Obfuscate

Ran across this mission statement from some company:
[Company name removed to protect the guilty] is dedicated to providing a results-oriented team atmosphere based upon professionalism, honesty, integrity, respect, and commitment to excellence. We pride ourselves in providing high quality customer service with a winning attitude.
I don't know about you, but I won a few rounds of buzzword bingo with that one.

Who Decides What Discipline is Allowed?

Okay, beating your kids is not okay, but this recent ruling in Canada may go a little far.
If you deny your children access to TV or withhold their allowance, can they take you to court? And win?

How Many Can You Get?

This one is especially for those from the US. Test your knowledge of the states. I highly recommend doing the one WITH outlines -- the other is just frightening (and I did fairly well in geography in school).

Just In Case Gas Prices Have You Down

Rent an oil rig of your very own. Well, these people will sell or rent you a new or used rig and even supply a crew to run it.

For Special Occassions

Someecards has e-cards for those with a slightly warped sense of humor. For instance:

Let the Sun Shine In

So, the landscapers came yesterday and chopped the vines (can they still be vines if some of the trunks are over 1.5" thick?) and took out the rest of the lattice (what hadn't been brought down by the storm and already broken up and toted off by us).

No Vines

With nothing to block it right now, there is sooo much light in our kitchen and family room. In the morning, this is nice; by afternoon when the sun is beating on the windows, it won't be so nice. New trellis (or perhaps some kind of outdoor roller shades) this weekend. It's so strange to have all that trellis and vegetation gone -- even that cats are staring out the windows wondering what happened.

We Have Felting
Tumbler Cozy
I said we needed cozies for the new aluminum tumblers, and M delivered. This is the first one to felt down to the correct size; the others are still in process.

And lookee here:
Felted Market Bag

Getting oh so close (sorta like my George in today's TdF stage, bummer) to the finish. It just came out of the washer and got itself stretched over a popcorn tin (per the instructions) for drying. Let's see how long said drying takes. I will probably wind up lining this bag eventually as there is a small hole at the bottom where the stitches were drawn up and tied off. I do like it. I like how the colors muted somewhat in the felting. Still don't know what this bag's eventual fate is going to be. Stay tuned.

And Yet More Entrelac
Garterlac Dishcloth

This is the garterlac dishcloth from Criminy Jickets that I started mostly to get my head around the entrelac concept after the failure of the fugly socks. It's a lot of work for a dishcloth, but it served its purpose, and I highly recommend the pattern for anyone who just wants a non-threatening way to get a handle on entrelac technique.

Second Spring

It occurs to me I never really shared the plant that my favorite desert flower grows on. This is the desert bird of paradise plant, showing off one of my favorite things about the monsoon -- we get spring round two. After the first monsoon rains come and wet down the desert, things start to bloom all over again. Take this lovely for instance:

Second Spring

All that blooming has happened since Sunday.

And Some Loot (all the way from Down Under)

This package arrived yesterday from Meg, the Queen of the TdF KAL. It's my prize for being a randomly chosen member of the winning team in our first team competition. If you haven't met Ribby Man, the Team Rabobank um, mascot, you've got to check him out.

Anyhoo, this is Cleckheaton's new book, She Knits, and yarn to make the knee socks on the cover. Yeah, Meg (the greatest of greats among race directors) pointed out that knee socks might not be the best in Tucson, but don't worry, Meg, none of this will go to waste. I do have friends in cooler climes.

And One Final Observation

I have to say one of the most amusing things about watching the live coverage of Le Tour on Versus (which I can do because we're way out here in the west where it's over by 8:30am most mornings) is listening to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen do promos for World Extreme Cagefighting. It's priceless.

Storm Damage

I had hoped to be able to show off pictures of a Market Squares bag completed. Alas, that was not to be as we came home from dinner Saturday evening to find this:
Storm Damage July 20

Guess the storm was pretty severe here in our neighborhood. Tore down half the trellis on our ramada. More pix:
Storm Damage July 20
Storm Damage July 20
Storm Damage July 20

Consquently, much of Sunday afternoon was spent cleaning up some of the mess (the plants await the landscapers and their scary tools later today probably). Then we need to put up new trellis because around here, a west facing exposure without some kind of shade is a bad thing.

I did get some knitting done on the bag. The bag itself is done:
Market Sqares Bag Unfelted

Here it is draped over one of our counter stools. One handle is knit, and the other is happening (I don't love i-cord). Felting should commence this evening if I'm lucky. And that means that (yes!) it should be done before the cyclers ride into Paris next Sunday (though it's humid enough around here, it may still be drying).

Speaking of cycling, I don't like rest days. I understand that they're necessary, but I go through withdrawal.

In other knitting news, Spring Forward #1 is done, and #2 is started:
Spring Forward Socks

Still loving the pattern, and I love the finished sock.

I have to get to work, but I leave you now with a picture of our cat, impersonating a workout t-shirt:
Brownie in a Drawer

Special thanks to anyone who can come up with an LOL Cat caption for this. I'm just not that clever.

A Little Down Today

After learning that Riccardo Ricco tested positive for drugs and Saunier Duval has withdrawn from le Tour, I'm a a little cranky, a little sad and a lot angry. Take Back the Tour.

How about a gratuitous yarn pic to make me feel better:

Mocha Denali

The picture doesn't really do justice to the beautiful pinks and mauves mixed in with the brown. Yarn is Pagewood Farms Denali (Merino/Nylon) in Mocha. I had to go to the yarn store yesterday to return some yarn for M, and this just HAD to come home with me (thank goodness for understanding spouses). Will have to find the perfect pattern for it.

Meanwhile, progress proceeds on the TdFKAL Market Squares bag, but I will spare you all yet another picture that looks a lot like all the others. Have finished the yellow tier I'd started during the All Star Game (congrats to J.D. Drew -- big brother as M and I call him -- on the MVP win) and have started the next red tier (tier 7 of 15, and the first of the from-now-on ever-shrinking tiers -- guess that means I'm a little over halfway done). Still very much enjoying the entrelac, though I can see why some find it tedious or boring.

First Spring Forward sock has a heel:

Spring Forward (now with a heel)

Some day I will get a picture of this which shows the lovely strand of lighter green running through the yarn.

[Aside: you probably didn't even notice, but I stopped in the middle of that sentence and went away for half an hour or so so I could have a conversation with one of the project managers at work about a promotion -- yippeeee!]

So, all in all, not a whole lot of knitting progress to report, but the weekend is coming.

Oh, and Mystery Project is gone, gone, GONE. It'll be in the hands of its rightful owners on Monday, inshallah. I do hope they are pleased with it.

This is where one of my cats has taken to sleeping:

Brownie and the Bentwood

Even after I moved the chair from the living room into the bedroom -- she followed it. Of course, her brother now sleeps under the front of the rocking recliner in the family room (no pic of that yet), so our cats obviously are NOT nervous around rocking chairs.

Oh, that rug by the bentwood rocker? M has had it since she was eight (her father made it). As you can see, it's had a few encounters with vacuum cleaners over the years, but it's held up remarkably well, I think. His name is Lemon Frog -- guess you have to think like an eight-year-old to understand that. [And the rocker itself was $5 at the dump in the town where we lived in the hills of Western MA.]

Random Wednesday

I'm actually feeling a little too random (and tired since I actually stayed up until someone won that darn baseball game last night) today to put together a Random Wednesday post. How about another rant? This one'll be really short and fairly mild, promise.

Here in Arizona we have what is called (really, I mean it) a "stupid motorist law". Yep, it's a law specifically designed to protect sane drivers and other residents of this fair state from having to foot the bill to rescue stupid people and their cars.

You see, as I've mentioned, it doesn't rain in the desert until it does, and when it does, look out. Rivers and washes flood, water runs over the road in low places, and it gets messy out there very, VERY quickly. And rain does not have to have fallen exactly where you are for driving to become treacherous. The county is peppered with signs warning you "do not enter when flooded" and they mean it. One of the first things we were told about driving here is never, ever to drive into running water, and avoid anywhere with one of those signs when it's raining.

Every time it rains, however, someone (and usually multiple someones) drives into water running across the road at a wash and gets their car washed away. Then the emergency services folk have to get out the helicopters and the special swift water rescue gear, and it gets expensive for the county and/or city. Enter the stupid motorist law -- it allows counties and municipalities to actually charge back the costs of such rescues to the drivers who were stupid enough to need rescuing in the first place, plus charge them rather hefty fines. So there.

I know there has been talk in parts of New England (especially parts with Appalachian Trail running through them) of doing something similar for fools who go mountain climbing in street clothes with no water, no food, no nothin' except a cell phone (yeah, they work at the bottom of a canyon in the middle of nowhere) and need to be rescued. Sounds like a great idea to me.

M personally witnessed such foolishness the day of our first significant rainfall this season -- she was headed for an underpass when she noticed a car was already stuck in the rather significant pool of water under the bridge. As she was waiting for traffic to clear so she could turn around and find an alternate route, she saw multiple cars in both directions trying to get around the car that was stuck. Idiots! And at this underpass there is actually a gauge on the walls (like the one that you have for kids) that shows just how deep the water is (about 2' at this point). Double idiots!

So, if you're ever driving out here in the desert and you see water across the road, especially if it's moving, think twice about whether it's really worth it to try to make it across. It could get very expensive if you don't choose wisely.

Just learned that the garage door people forgot to put us on the schedule and gave someone else our time slot. Grrrrr.

I promise there will be knitting to report on tomorrow.

Day of Rest

But only for those who've been braving the Pyrenees. For the rest of us, it's work as usual. But first a fight with UPS over third-party shipping. Apparently, they no longer allow you to do it online unless you also have your own established UPS account. And I can't do it at the local UPS store, either. So, Office Depot, here I come.

But all this fighting with UPS does mean one great thing: Mystery Project is DONE.

Mystery Project

Not bad for the first color work I've done in ages, no? Someday I can show off the whole project, but for now I just want it out of my house. I do have to say, though, that I like how it came out.

TdF Update

TdF KAL Market Bag

Some progress. One more tier done, and I've started the last of the full-size tiers. From now on, squares on each tier get smaller so it'll speed up. I'm still finding the entrelac to be very relaxing to work on in the evenings (last night it got a little short shrift for a bit as I watched Josh Hamilton bang all those balls over the walls at Yankee Stadium, however).

And I've decided I probably do have enough of the original color choices to finish the bag (I'd forgotten to figure that each row from here on gets smaller). I do have a plan in case I run out, but I shouldn't. And perhaps I'll even get it done before le Tour is over.

Just Another Lemming

It's a great pattern, so why wouldn't I want to join the masses who are making Spring Forward Socks this summer? All those knitters can't be wrong, right? Yarn is Plymouth Sockotta #816 (I love me a nice bright apple green).

Sorry that's not a Flickr link, but Flickr doesn't seem to want to play nice with that picture. [And I'm beginning to think crawling back into bed isn't such a bad idea.]


Knit Happens
When Alison had her stash sale a little while ago, I picked up this lovely Lorna's Laces in the Knit Happens colorway. Yum.

Half Game Up at the All Star Break


TdF KAL Update

Market Squares Bag - 4 Tiers

Four tiers gone on the Market Squares bag. I've found this to be very simple knitting to do while watching baseball and the biking. I'm liking the way the colors are working, though now that I've used each color at least once, I'm concerned that the team may need reinforcements before the race is over. Stay tuned to see if further color choices are necessary. [As an aside: red is very difficult to photograph.]

And at the risk of sounding disloyal to my Rabobank teammates: hooray for Kim Kirchen protecting the yellow jersey Sunday. I've been a Team High Road/Columbia fan longer than I've been a member of team Rabobank, so I hope I can have a little slack here.

Rally Socks Done

Rally Socks Done

Pattern: My own, based loosely on the Slinky Socks by Rae Blackledge, though these are knit toe-up with a bit of 2x2 ribbing at the ankle just to keep 'em up.
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal Cotton #1954
Needle: Knit Picks Harmony 32" 2.5mm

I love these socks, and I love this yarn. Come cooler weather, these'll probably get a lot of wear (not a lot of call for socks when temps don't drop below 100 during the day).

Next up on the sock front is probably a pair of Spring Forward socks in Sockotta #816 (a nice bright apple green).


Oh, and on Friday, it rained:
Rain in the Desert
Rain in the Desert

Intermediate Sprint: Learning to Ride a Bike at 42

It was embarrassing, really. There I was, at 42 years old, wibbly-wobbling my way -- can't really say down the street, more like around the street -- lurching side to side like a newborn calf as first I cranked the handlebars too hard in one direction, then describing an opposite arc as I over-corrected in the other direction. After a few repeats, panic would take over, and I would grab the brakes and slap my feet to the pavement, relishing for a few moments the feeling of stability that comes with a lack of motion. But that just meant I had to start the process all over in order to get myself started again.

The few (though they were becoming more frequent) times when I could get going and do so in a straight line, it was the same blessed feeling of freedom that all children experience on their first few tentative bike rides. Straight-line momentum being the best friend of balance in this circumstance, if I could just keep going I could pretend that I was an adult who'd been doing this for years. Then a stop sign or a car would intrude in my fantasy and the wibbling and wobbling would start anew.

Why, you may ask, was I going through all of this at 42? [An experience made all the more embarrassing and annoying by the fact that as a child, when presented with my first two-wheeler, I had simply gotten on and taken off, before my father had even had a chance to get the training wheels out of the box -- something I attribute more to my sense of independence than to any actual physical prowess on my part -- I am, after all, the one who would later run over my own leg with a lawn tractor.]

Even with treatment, carpal tunnel takes certain abilities away from its victims. In my case, the worst of these losses were the ability to hold a tennis racquet and the ability to support my upper body on the handlebars of a bike. Enter the Burley Django, a lovely purple recumbent bike picked up at a not-so-local bike shop so that I could join the bike culture of our newly adopted home, Tucson.

The design of a recumbent means that no weight gets born by the hands -- a blessing for those with carpal tunnel and other hand or arm problems. It also means that the body is in a completely different orientation to the ground, the bike, and the plane of motion than one is used to. So learning to ride a recumbent is exactly like learning to ride a bike all over again. And it takes just as long.

After a couple weeks of progressively more confident rides around the neighborhood, I was ready to head out into the big, wide world, and now Django and I are out there most mornings, enjoying the freedom and exhilaration of bike riding. I cannot thank Bruce, the friend who first suggested a recumbent, enough for giving me back the very simple pleasure that comes with hopping on a bike.

Django, like his owner, is outfitted for touring, not racing.

Not Much to Say

I whacked my head pretty hard the other day. Actually, I whacked my face, my left eye to be exact, and managed not to break anything (including my glasses). I'm still in pain -- no, Mom, not bleeding-into-my-brain pain, more like I bruised a bone pain -- and not feeling like doing much, so there's not a lot to report today.


Forgot to post this WIP in yesterday's post:

Garterlac Dishcloth (1)

I decided I needed to practice the whole entrelac thing, so I chose this very easy project. It's Criminy Jickets' Garterlac Dishcloth. Very straightforward and definitely a great project to get a handle on the whole entrelac concept. And when you're done, you have a dishcloth -- what could be better.

Colors for Entrelac Bag

When my parents sold their house, they packed up all the left over Bartlett Yarn from Mom's former shop and brought it down to us. It was from this stash that I chose these colors for the entrelac market bag (my replacement TdF KAL project):

Entrelac Market Bag Colors

Except for the red, which appears a lot pinker here than it really is (it's a Christmas red), colors are pretty true. I decided (after many, many combinations) to go with bright primaries and secondaries. This is the order they will be knit in the bag, too.

Progress on a Mystery

I have gotten to the colorwork! Hooray -- the project is finally interesting (just in time to also be just about done).