Friday, August 29, 2008

An Omnivores 100

I just found this little list of The Omnivore's Hundred - a list of 100 things for the adventurous foodie to try over on A Tradition of Quirky Artists-

The idea is you copy and past this list (in your own blog or in the comments section here!) and bold the items you've tried.

I've eaten strange things, (not on this list) and some common place stuff on this list (like spam) have never crossed my lips!

Not on the this list, but on my list are things I have eaten are: boar, ackee, several kinds of roe, (not just caviar), limburger cheese (an other quite aromatic cheese) kelp, carageen (and other sea weeds),red palm oil, falafal, and many other odd foods--most are not part of my regular diet, but, I have learned to at least taste/try things--thought some many foods remain on my "I'll eat, but never cook" list.

As a child, I was somewhat a picky eater--and I still dislike many of my parents favorite foods (french cut green beans, one of my mother's favorites, still make me gag!) --and many of the foods I love, made my mother gag--(onions and nuts come to mind.)

Still, I've tried many of the foods on the list....

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht (both Jewish/vegetarian, and Russian/meat kinds)
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (I’ve had other lassi, but not salted lassi)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (no cigar of any kind)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Fried and chocolated covered, and candied (sugar coated))
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk (goats milk cheese, yes, but not goats milk)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear (and Dragon Fruits)
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads (once, and I don’t like them)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (all of them!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain (from snack bags, and home made)
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (I’ve had pepper pot soup made with chitterlings-does that count?)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong (Its like drinking tar!)
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee-yes the real thing.. and lots of other special coffees
100. Snake

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Progress Report--pocket socks

I had a wonderful time this weekend, visiting with friends old and new, in Catskills..

I even got a bit of knitting done!
First I took a spare needle and knit the ‘pocket flap’ using the solid turquoise yarn.
I cast on 14 stitches, and knit these stitches in stocking knit for about 10 rows, (more or less a square.)
Then, as I came to the last few stitches on a row, (7 to be exact) I
1: knit stitch 7 and the first stitch of the pocket together
2: continued knitting the pocket, (6 more stitches)
3: slipped the 6 un-knit stitches onto waste yarn
(turned the work)

I continued then knitting the pocket stitches, (6) and slipping unknit sock stitches onto the waste yarn.
The final stitch of the Pocket flap was knit together with the sock

I repeated this process on the second sock

This is what the sock looked like at that point.

Since then I’ve knit some 3 or so inches of “leg” and an inch of cuff.
Another few rows, and I’ll be binding off the cuff.
Then I’ll complete the heel

After the heel is completed, I’ll complete the pocket by:
1—picking up the stitches from the waste yarn, and casting on one stitch at each edge, (for the seam)
2—knitting a cuff for the pocket –that will include a buttonhole (for the button)

The pocket will be finished by sewing the flap to the inside of the sock. and sewing on a button.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Libraries.. and reading

Teabird made a post today about libraries…This post is a comment on her post--made here, because it was too long really for a comment!

I didn’t really read (or I don’t remember really reading) before school.

I read words, (Stop, Webster (Ave) Milk, etc) but not sentences. I might have stumbled too, with sentences till about 2nd grade, when I clearly remember READING.

My mother, a great reader, never read to us. (Not to me, not to my siblings)
She set an example, and took us to the library, (and let us take books out) but I don’t remember her reading the books (for us/to us).

And poverty meant few books in the house --one 3 foot wide, 3 foot high book shelf was sufficient to hold all the families books for most of my childhood.

Still —I was lucky.

We moved when I was a preschooler from Astoria, Queens to the Fordham section of the Bronx. My local library there was the multi-storied Bronx Reference Center (It just relocated last year, and it was a page 1 (section B) story in the NYTimes)

The old location, the library I knew, was a huge. There were 2 main entrances, the Research division, --entered on Marion Avenue, and the general library (2 more floors!) entered on Bainbridge Avenue. The building was a full block deep! –Double deep-- about 200 feet, since in general, lots in the Bronx were 100 feet deep)—and about the 100 feet wide… a big building—and it was 3 stories high(it might have been 4—I have vague memories of another floor not open to the public)

Bronx is hilly, and grade between the two avenues/entrances was a full floor. Enter on Marion Avenue you entered the ground floor and research center (with a full basement full of material available on request.)

Enter on Bainbridge Ave., and you entered the Main reading lending section and the main floor—stacks and stacks of adult reading, plus the second floor –up a grand stone staircase--a full floor of childrens and young adults books.

The glory of this system was kids were free to make noise (not too much, but some!) –making the library an inviting place—since a whole floor separated us from adults seeking a quite place to read in a noisy city.

I suspect I was plopped down in reading programs, while my mother explored downstairs... There were, in those days, several librarians—or perhaps just 1 and several assistants—but there was always someone behind the desk to check in and out books, and someone on the ‘floor’ to help you find books.

I know I had a library card as soon as I could write my name--(kindergarten or earlier)—and when I graduated to my adult card, my mother signed off—and gave blanket permission for me to be able to check out any book. (Something she occasionally regretted, but never rescinded)

Going to the library was a weekly (if not more often) event in my childhood--it established a lifelong habit--one both my children share--and my grandchildren are learning.

Some 20 years ago, I made a resolution to read less fiction –my goal: 1 non-fiction book for every 2 pieces of fiction. I’ve pretty much stuck to that resolution.

My reading taste are eclectic—histories figure large, but I like to read math, too, and biography, too--doesn’t everybody?

The last 2 books I read were both non-fiction;
Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma
and
Mary S. Lovell’s The Sisters:Saga of the Mitford Family
(but the 2 before these were both pieces of fiction)

PS: the half foot is now half a foot (6 inches) and the pockets will be an inset one… I’m photo documenting as I go, but there won’t be any posts this weekend, (and likely the next post will feature an almost finished pair of socks.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward
Into the valley of death...

No, that’s wrong, it’s half a foot, half a foot, --and the foot we are talking about is not one third of yard, but a child’s 8 inch foot. Or some 4 inches-- It's quick work knitting a sock with just 48 stitches!

(Miss B has a birthday coming up—and while socks aren’t usually the first choice for a present--well, not from this grandma--maybe socks with pockets are a notch or two above!)

Toe up—starting with some left over 4 ply Kroy (Patons)—this is twice left over! First from some striped socks, and then from some swirl socks.

I used the magic cast (my newest favorite cast on).

The foot and leg are/will be of this hand painted yarn—it was a gift from Germania, (a light traveler, she never had more than a skein or two of stash, and she parted with that when she moved.)

I thinks it is Cherry Tree Hill, but it could be something else-- Germania had knit it and frogged it, (and I never had a label).

I made a pair of socks for myself out it—and had a lot left over--plenty for a pair of children’s socks.

The yarn is super soft, (and should be knit with 1’s I think, but I am working on 2’s) the Kroy is a bit more durable—and I’ll use it again for the heel, (and maybe even for the pocket) –the colors are a bit off, (not as dark as this picture) The better image—colorwise—was blurry, and I was in a rush. I opted for a clearer, if not color perfect image.

Sturdy heels and toes are a must of kids socks--and while turquoise and brown are the new favorite colors, and the hand painted yarn has both, it is a bit dark --and the Kroy brightens up the color while adding some strength where it will be neede most.

Last night at my Long Island City (LIC) group, Kimberly said there is a pattern on Ravelry for a sock with a pocket, I looked (a quick look) and didn’t see it, if any one knows it, let me know--here or on Ravelry (where I am, (as I am most places on line) Of Troy)

Other wise, the pocket will just be a simple insert above the ankle (sort of clock pocket –where the term clock is a for a decorative element on a sock, not a timepiece!)

I have plans for this weekend, so I don’t think they will be finished before the middle of next week--and for now, I am off to knit--if not a league or foot, at least a few rows.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Socks (sans pockets)

As a child, I wore a uniform to school.
Most of my other clothes were home made.

At times, I hated this, and wanted clothes like my peers, but more often, I liked being able to dictate details—to be able to chose, ribbon, please, and not rick rack like in the illustration, or short sleeves, not long ones, PLEASE! (I was always hot and hated (and still do for the most part, LONG SLEEVES)

For the most part, my mother accommodated my (and my siblings) quirky requests.

My DIL sews less (but then so do I now days!) but she is particular about the kids clothes.
And my granddaughter, Miss B, almost from birth, has been as particular about her own cloths, too. (Sometimes her tastes run contrary to her mothers, but there don’t seem to be any major issues.)

Still Miss B, like any child who has taste, quickly learned that one major advantage to home made clothes was the ability to request, (and be accommodated!) on details.These socks are for Miss B—and are lacking the one detail she requested—Pockets!

Now pockets in socks might seem a strange idea to you (and me) but it’s what she wants, and she has learned, that if you ask, you are likely to receive!

Moments ago, socks were just packed in a box (and the box was sealed, and addressed, and made ready to mail—and I am passing a post office today in my travels... so they will actually be mailed!) and I’ve already cast on for another pair of socks… socks with pockets.

These socks were knit in last years favorite colors, (blue, green and purple) the New socks are going to be made in this years favorite colors, browns and turquoises. There are plans (but who knows if the plans will work out) to make a set of sweaters—One for Miss B, and one Master C—in brown, taupe, teal and turquoise.

I suppose, now that I know these are favorite colors, I should get started on them. But first, socks with pockets!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mistakes—Or Leaf me alone!

Somewhere, lost in the history, some knitter made a mistake and made a yarn over. They weren't the first to make this mistake, but they were the first to look at it, and say, Hey, this is cool—I've made a hole.

Sometime after that, they figured out, that by pairing holes (YO's) and Knit together's, they could make lace like designs.

Mistakes are opportunities.

Hate the sweater?
Or is it the wrong size, the wrong gauge?
Or just not something your really want to knit?
Is it sitting in a frog pile.. or just stuffed in a bag, being ignored?

Your mistake could be a great hat.. (and the extra yarn, a scarf, or vest)
Your mistake could be a felted bag.. (and all those minor mistakes lost forever!)
Your mistake could be the best thing you've ever knit.

I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes I frog them, more often I try to salvage them.

Remember the secret project that I said you wouldn't be seeing for a while? Well, it's back to the drawing board for me... (I had knit, and frogged 3 times before I got around to taking a photo, and a few rows later, I realized, I had, yet another “mistake” but this time I salvaged it.

I didn't intend to knit this silly little hat, but I like it-- and this is a fine mistake—if you don't like it, you can Leaf me alone!

It's not a hat for warmth, but for style--its a mistake that been redeemed!

While rethinking what to do to get what I want (and I didn't want this little hat, for sure!) I've been weaving in some ends, and other wise finishing up a brainless project—a linen hand towel.

It's the second (of a non matching pair), and I still have scraps of this linen yarn left over.. I think I am going to be the proud owner of some matching washcloths.. (I didn't think the 5 partial balls would go this far!)

It's been worked (d'oh!) in linen stitch.. even though this slubby yarn is the best choice for this stitch (or for a hand towel either!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

and some other stuff...

In May, I made a major stash enhancement, when I purchased two dozen or so cones of wool. Some were superfine (lace weight) mohair’s—in assorted colors, blues, purple, black, green, cinnamon brown. (I started a shawl, blending two of the yarns, but I am unhappy with it)
When the weather gets cooler, I’m going to frog it…It's almost impossible to frog mohair when it’s warm, but cold mohair can be frogged. Freezing works, but the work warms up quickly –and it’s a stop and go process in the summer—in a few weeks, I can bundle up, sit outside and get it done quick as a wink.

There were also 2 cones, (each weighing in over 2.5 lbs!) of fingering weight merino. These were not labeled for fiber content, and I think they are a silk and merino blend—a flame test confirms they are natural fibers, (as does a simple dye test—they take dye beautifully with a slug of vinegar!)

One Cone has been divided into several skeins/balls—some still the natural white, others transformed—4 oz into this silvered pink, and 8 oz into this sunrise sonata... (coral, yellow, and peach tones)

I got some silk (1 cone) and some cashmere too, -6 partial cones—3 in fingering weight (Red, taupe, cream), 3 in cobweb weight, (cream, 2 shades of very light beige) –these cones range from about 1 lb, to 1.5 lbs…The light colors can be easily over dyed—(even the red can be made darker—not that I want to—it’s a nice pure red, no blue undertones, nor orange ones either)

It’ really an embarrassment of riches!—my thought was to skein some up and sell it, (and I might yet do that)but so far I haven't done that. I have shared some with members of my knitting groups
I have other silk—this red and blue, for example—This ball is 3oz, and I have 2 more this size, and almost the same amount knit up (not by me)that awaits frogging.

I don’t really like the color way… and a few yards (100 or so) have been over dyed with a deep purple—I like these purples and plums better, but I am not sure if I want 10oz of purple silk.. I am still thinking about the best way to over dye this yarn–and get a color that sends me!

Meanwhile, the Heart & Sole socks have gussets, and I am down the home stretch to the toe…(this photo is from a few days ago, when I had just finished turning the heel.)

Of course, I still have a pocket (or 2!) to knit, but I don’t think that will take long.

And then there’s this secret project I’m working on—it’s most definitely a work in progress—this is the 3rd attempt, and it may be frogged and worked again to get it just right.

It’s a mystery project being knit with a mystery yarn-- a synthetic I think, but I could be wrong, the color is silvery dark grey—like silver with a dark patina—and it's super soft--pehaps even too soft for my purposes!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Don't you just

Love it? Hate it?
When Yarn companies and big box craft stores work together to make you spend more money?
Not that long ago, big box craft stores carried a few lines of a few companies, and 90% of the stock was synthetic...

Now, the price of these yarns are going up (many of them are made from petroleum by products) there are companies renowned for 'plastic yarn' who are now selling wools again!

Coats & Clark's, for one.

When I learned to knit, Coats & Clark's “Red Heart” yarn was wool –not the softest wool, but sturdy and cheap. You could find it Woolworth's (remember Woolworth's? Oh how I am dating my self!)

The first hat I ever knit was a 2 X 2 ribbed 'watch cap'--in grey Red Heart wool. I gave it to my father, and he, being the mensch he is, wore it.

Now, I find I can go into ACMoore, or Michaels or JoAnnes, (the 3 big chains that have stores in the NY/LI area) and find several different wools, (or bamboos, or linens, or evens blends with silk!) or nice wool and wool blend sock yarns like these Patons yarns!

Sock Yarn is what jumped out and grabbed me--not just the Coats & Clark's sock yarn, but Patons sock yarns too!

First the Heart and Sole.. a yarn I want to love... but....

It comes in a nice range of colors, and in plain stripes or stripes with mock fair isle.

It's a smooth, not too splitty yarn,--70/30 split of wool and nylon, with a really wonderful hand.
I think it's the aloe—but it's a pleasure to knit... it jumps happily from needle to needle, and the socks grow by leaps and bounds.
BUT....(why is there a but? Don't you just hate that there is a but?)

The stripes... well they are near stripes..
I am working on the recommended for socks size 2 (2.75mm) needle, and getting 9 stitches to the inch (I think I could have used a 1.5 needle (2.5mm) or even a 1, (2.25mm) and gotten a firmer fabric, but the size 2 needles work well enough)

And I am working in 1 X 1 ribbing –which, I KNOW, uses more yarn per stitch than stocking knit...but with a 60 stitch sock, I am not getting complete rounds of stripe.. And I'm not just a stitch or 2 short.. but a quarter of round short!

Now I am at the foot, and have reduced the stitch count to 56, and half the stitches are stocking knit, and I am still not getting full rounds with some colors--you can see what I mean in the photo--there are T pins near each several of the incomplete stripes

I don't think my granddaughter is going to care, (I do!) so these will be her socks..

They are pretty simple socks.. but she's requested socks with a pocket.. so I have to plan (and knit) a sock pocket--I think I'll just pick up some stitches from the fancy cast on (not that fancy really, just long tail variation and make a pocket of some sort--since she wasn't that specific!

More photo's soon, (I've finished the leg, knit the flap, turned the heel and worked the gusset since this photo was taken!)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rag Doll Socks--Finished!

Miss me yesterday?

Afraid I was going to disappear from the blogosphere again?

Well really, 6 days in a row of post was never my norm!

I still have a half dozen more ends to weave in... but for all intents and purposes, the Rag Doll socks are complete.

I still have lots of red (and white) yarn left...but.. I tend to like medium length socks.. I almost never wear high boots (lets face it, i haven't owned a pair of high boots in 20 years.. and I am not likely to buy them now!) so I don't need “boot high” socks.

I just don't much like knee high socks--(I do sometimes were knee high nylons.) I don't think I've owned (bought or knit) a pair of knee high socks in 40 years.

So there is no way I am going to start now.

My “normal" socks are—when the sock is folded at the heel, about as long as the foot. These RagDoll socks are about 1 inch longer.

Some details--
1—I made NO ATTEMPT to make the color changes jog-less.
(for the most part, I don't like such efforts)

2—The heel is yet another experimental effort.. It looks a bit strange, but its fits great! I might repeat this basic design(hardly an original!) and try to get it to look nicer.
There are gussets before the heel shaping (5 increases each side for a total of 10) on the sole

These creates over 1.25 inches of ease at the heel. (stitch gauge was 7.5 Per inch) And corresponding gussets where I decreased after the heel –bringing the stitch count back to original number.

3—The gussets were on the sole, not on the instep.
I frequently add gussets on this type of heel, but usually I add them on the instep.

The extra stitches made the heel significantly deeper, and shorter. And left a large number of stitches at the completion.

Normally, when I make an afterthought heel like this, I decrease till the heel is deep enough—and by then, I have anywhere from 16 to 22 stitches left. When this heel was comfortaby deep I had 40 stitches remaining. (I started the heel with 80 stitches—60 from basic sock (30 +30) and the 10 gussets stitches (10 +10)) The final 40 stitches were grafted.

4—Did you notice the kitchenered/tubular cast off? A nice touch I think.. I have, huge shapely calf muscles.. and even an inch longer sock makes a big difference—the tubular cast off is a stretchier one. And make these ever so slightly longer socks fit comfortably.

All in all, I am very happy with this sock..


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Leg Up

No make that 2 legs and foot up on finishing..
Note the advantage of having the heel stitches on needles--the foot of the sock can be easily turned inside out for finishing work!

And that was last night!

Now the second foot is 'finished'(that is no more tails!) , and the 6th stripe repeat is on its way--Just one more round to complete it!

There will still be more finishing to do..(as I added the white yarn for the 6th stripe repeat, I created 4 more tails to be woven in!) but with 44 tails woven in, the bulk of the work is done. (Still-- there will be another 24 or so tails created before the sock is finished!)

Next up the heels..

I've planned an 'interesting heel' –it works fine when I knit it in my head.. what awaits is to see if my fingers can do the same!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sock it to me--I am in the Pink (sort of socks!)

The Rag Doll socks are coming along—I completed another stripe pattern repeat... And then got bored—so instead of knitting, I removed the waste yarn and have positioned the heel stitches on needles.
I could do this, because I finished the Pink Ped's--(and freed up a pair of needles!)--and I wanted to do this, because I plan to knit the heels of the Rag Doll socks --before I finish the legs--then finish up the legs until I run out of yarn.

Today, I might busy my self with weaving in some of the ends –I've carried the red yarn, but cut the white--2 tails per stripe, 11 stripes so far, 22 ends per sock! That's a lot of weaving in to do! And there will still be more ends as knit the heels and finish up the legs.

I find doing some of the finishing before completing (be it a sock or anything!) works for me—I feel as if I really have made progress when the ends have been woven in.. And I love taking a sock off the needles and being able to finish them up in a few minutes.

Still—even though my socks (even striped ones like this) are complete almost immediately after they come off the needles—what with taking time out to do finishing before they are finished--I tend to let them 'ferment'--I almost never wear a completed pair immediately. I like to be able to hold them, admire them, enjoy them—before the become just another article of clothing!

The Pink Ped's were knit from some odd ball yarn--a small partial skein –one of those things I tend to glom onto –It was part of someone else's stash, (SABLE really) and while the yarn collection was HUGE and filled with fine quality stuff.. a good percentage wasn't to my taste...

As the knitters in my LIC knitting group found themselves with 10 or more skeins in shades of green, I grabbed the bag filled with single balls and left over skeins.

Ok, don't go thinking I was totally self sacrificing or anything---I got some 8 balls of an Anny Blatt wool mohair blend! And I got some other really nice stuff--this scarf was made from a half dozen partial skeins in that bag-- and its 100% silk!

(a few face cloths got knit too—nothing like partial balls of beautiful cotton, linen and blends of cotton and linen for pretty face cloths!)

Getting back to the Pink Ped's –a terry cloth like cotton yarn with a bit of spandex—the Peds were knit toe up, working from both ends of the ball—until there was nothing left (the tails after casting off were shorter than 6 inches!)they are a bit short in the back.. but they work.

Not much of sock—but good enough for keeping my feet comfortable as I walk back from the pool to my apartment..

Speaking of the pool.---Looks good doesn't it? Looks big, too! It' not a luxury pool club –Just a close by, convenient place to cool off.. And by closing time, cast in the shadow of the surrounding tall building!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Sock Yarn--Can you ever have too much?

Really, is there such a thing as too much sock yarn?

Or a broader note—is there such thing as too much yarn in your stash? (One member of the West Babylon Knitting group has named a special executor in her will to deal with her stash that is verging on SABLE)

When I decided to join the Red Sock knit-along, I knew I had some red yarn in my stash. And my sock yarn has it's own little shelf... so I knew it wouldn't be impossible (or even difficult) to find.

As I dug the red sock yarn out, I also organized re-organized a bit..

I have 5(five) 2 gallon zip lock bags that each hold 15 50 gram balls.. (5 X15=75 balls or so.. or 35 potential pairs of socks..

I have another 2 gallon bag of 100 gram balls.. (a lot of Lion Brand (old) magic stripes in that bag) about 10 balls in all.. (another 10 potential pairs of socks)

Yet another 2 gallon bag has a mix lot of 'fancy' sock yarns--. 100 grams of cherry tree hill, 100 grams of some lovely sock yarn (in a glowing yellow/coral/orange near solid) from Rhinebeck, 100 grams of Lorna's, 100 grams of ... (well all in all, enough for another 8 pairs of sock!)

And there there is bag of mini balls....
Left overs, and in some cases, samples (from Jennifer) and rescues..
I love taking odds and ends and bits and pieces and making socks from scraps.

When I was (just a year or two ago) on a sock knitting jag, and turn out 13 to 14 pairs of socks year..a 50 to 60 sock stockpile represented a 3 to 4 year cushion.. (ample, but nor really excessive)

But last year I only knit 10 pairs of socks.. (and so far this year, 4) and the 'cushion' represents 5 years worth of yarn..(or perhaps even 6 or 7 years worth!)

It is, needless to say, pretty clear, I have NO NEED for sock.
(But when it comes to stash, what does NEED mean? Nothing--Stash is all about WANT, not NEED)

And then, what does Coat's and Clark's do?

Get's on the bandwagon, and offer some bright pretty self striping mostly wool yarns—at reasonable prices!
Mellow, Razzle Dazzle and Spring—all bright colors, jewel tones, and in the case of Razzle Dazzle, colors that I was totally lacking...--in both knit socks and stash!

So, 3 balls of my stash are well on the way to being socks –and 6 new balls of yarn have forced themselves into the stash.

The Rag Doll sock have 6 pattern repeats before the heel, and currently are 2 rounds short of 4 repeats after the heel. There will be at least 6 pattern repeats before the cuff--Which I think might be white, with the final few rows red.

Even the summer croc socks show signs of being finished before the dog days depart!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Frequently, on knitting BB's or other sites, (like Ravelry)--when a new knitter asks about color work in knitting, I recommend Stripes as a first option—even though I know, stripes aren't as easy as they seem.

Yes, there is a random stripe generator
and random stripes can be interesting...

There are several elements that go into stripe patterns; Contrast (or lack of contrast) width of stripe(s) the number of colors and regularity (or lack there of!) .

I use a lot of self striping sock yarn—and the resulting socks are not always as successful—at least not to my ├Žsthetic!

Here are some stripe patterns/colors I like--the first is a self stripe Regia, the second stripes I designed--the pattern in each case is very similar--an oblique twisted rib.







and here are some I don't like--low contrast, and narrow stripes just do anything for me.







Some of the elements of the patterns I like include:
the color ways—I tend to like High contrast, but I also like shade of monochrome.
the sizes of the stripe (I tend to like patterns that have different stripe widths)
and the 'fair isle' element... (some self patterning yarns are much more successful than others)

But I also sometimes make stripes of my own, using (or using up!) several balls of yarn.

The size of the stripes (narrow vs. broad) and the balance-(different sizes of stripes vs all stripes the same size) and colors—the number (of colors) , the levels of contrast (high vs. low, shades (of the same color) vs. color ways ) and the regularity of the pattern (I like regular patterns—Way more than random ones...all go into creating a interesting stripe pattern.
Stripes mechanically might be easy to knit.. but good striping patterns can be difficult!.

The Red Hot Mama socks were mostly red.. (8 rows of red, 2 rows of white) –a combination that works for several reasons--
1—Fibonacci numbers
2—ratios (4:1)
3---Pairs of even numbers
These elements are general make for a good stripe pattern.

The Rag Doll socks use one element –Ratio's (the stripes are a 2:1 ratio)

The different ratio make the stripe “feel” very different—more fun
—Stripes of equal values, (1:1) ratio can look junivenial and/or cartoon-ish and the bigger the ratio between the stripes, the more adult the stripes can seem (pin stripes and chalk stripes are very clearly grown up stripe patterns!)

There is another element of stripe.. In times past, striped clothing was a sign of criminal behavior.. Convicts were required to wear stripes.. (and they still do in cartoons of all sorts!)--Stripes do have an element of outlandishness.

Finally, another pair of summer (croc socks) --will they be finished before the season is over? Well there is a hope... Goodness knows its nice to have some cottony socks to wear inside my croc's--(my standard pool side footware).



Friday, August 01, 2008

No Excuses....

or a 1000-- does it matter?

I could blame my down in the dumps mood... and the total lack of incentive and concentration.. (in the past 6 weeks I've started a hand towel (it's almost, but not quite finished) and a face cloth (finished) and a pair of socks.. no make that 2 pairs of socks.. neither is finished (tho 1 pairs shows promise!)

I could blame the hardware.. (both my computer and my modem)--a new power supple, a new USB mutli port, a new modem....(and a whole bunch of re-configuring wires, and ports and connections..)

I could blame the hot weather (and the pool membership!)

I could blame my crappy attitude—I've had plenty to say.. but 99.99% of it was negative.. I've been short tempered and nasty –everything has irritated me.. (and well I try not to give in to such feelings—giving in doesn't make me feel better—if anything it makes me feel worse!--so I could claim my silence has been an act of kindness..(to myself and to others)

I know those who have seen me, been with me in the past month, will express some surprise –I haven't seen that down, or that negative.. but that because I've been using them (and their up beat moods) to elevate my own mood. But on my own, its been difficult to be upbeat..

Truth is, the is no excuse—or a thousand.

I seem to be on the move—and feeling less glum.

And while I did take a vacation from knitting, I haven't been total idle.

For one, I have been channeling Sulu –and have 24 pairs of earing's and almost as many necklaces to prove it.. Of course her's are for sale..(mine aren't)--This collections of 5 pairs is going (gone !) to my daughter. I'll get around to photographing the ones I've keep for my self soon.


And I've died a few skeins of wool (and silk)--haven't knit them, but I have dyed!

Along with a few members of my LICKnits group, I am a member of a Red sock KAL.

A few years ago, (MAY 05) I made some red socks.. (they became a gift to one of my sisters)


My new red sock are not quite the same.. but similar...a bit more Rag Doll socks..


Maybe a photo tomorrow.. or soon.