August 10, 2007

Sockapalooza 4: Coming In

What a crazy week this one has been -- we all have them, we all know.  Today was the day I could finally sit down for a moment, breath, and savor the unveiling of my Sockapalooza socks.  What a joy it was to open the package and find these beautiful socks inside!  My pal Bonnie hit the nail on the head -- I love the yarn -- Crystal Palace Panda -- the pattern -- Parasol Socks -- and the perfect fit.   Thank you Bonnie for your skill and thoughtfulness and thank you Alison for organizing such a fun exchange.  Now for your enjoyment, the socks...

Love Them!

Love Them!

Love Them!

August 10, 2007 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (8)

August 07, 2007

Sockapalooza 4: Going Out

Many California homes have neither basement nor attic, making the garage the receptacle for all the junk -- from valuable to ridiculous -- looking for a spot to hangout.  Our garage has been in a constant state of "need to organize" since day one.   That is, my orderly friends, until I returned from London and got the cleaning bug.  Clearly a side effect of empty nesting.  I hereby declare our garage to be organized -- O.R.G.A.N.I.Z.E.D -- fully labeled and replete with mop bouquet.

As for knitting, it's all about the Sockapalooza. My pal's socks are finished and mailed.  Overall I'm really happy with these socks and hope my pal enjoys wearing them! 

Modified Mini-Monkeys for my Sockapalooza Pal

Started: July 21, 2007
Finished: August 7, 2007
Pattern: Monkey
Yarn: Louet's Gems Pearl in Lilac and Baby Lilac.  I really like this yarn and look forward to using it again.
Needles: US 1
Gauge: 9 stitches and 12 rows in 1 inch.
Modifications: Lots!  Since I was working at a smaller gauge, I casted on 80 stitches and worked 5 stitch repeats of the Monkey lace pattern.  I felt ankle socks had more of a summer feel, so I only knit 4 row repeats of the pattern followed by about an inch of stockinette stitch before starting the heel flap.  My pal likes a tight gauge since she always wears shoes over her socks.  Because of this I decided to knit the foot of the sock in stockinette stitch for a closer fit.  Also, since her foot is slightly narrower than her ankle I decreased the foot stitches down to 76.

As for my socks, I received my package today but will wait until tomorrow to open it.  One can only have so much paloozing in a single day.

August 7, 2007 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (11)

July 23, 2007

London Bound

I'm in London for a week accompanying nona-hubby on his annual business trip to said local.  Hopefully by the time I return this yarn will be transformed into a pair of Sockapalooza socks.  Cheers!

Louet Gems for a pair of modified Monkeys.

July 23, 2007 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (10)

September 21, 2005

In My Mailbox!

Today -- after working, teaching a knitting class, grocery shopping, getting my car's oil changed, and setting the TiVo to record Lost -- I popped out to pick up the mail.  Typically mail is nona's least favorite chore.  Since we're friends, let me tell you -- sometimes I only go through the mail once a week, letting it pile up in the garage.  Not this week, not with Sockapal-2-za socks flying through the mail.  Today was my lucky day.  Shall we go through the unwrapping together?

Click the image to go from package to feet.
Did you notice the wrapping paper matched my chair?

Hey, I recognize these socks and the label!  What a kick, I just saw these a few days ago on My Escape from the Boys!  Many, many, many Thank Yous to Jackie for knitting these wonderful socks.  I love everything about them from the yarn, to the color, to the pattern, to the fit, to the detailing, to the superb craftsmanship -- oops craftswomanship.  These socks will be treasured and worn often!

nona's feet are very happy!

September 21, 2005 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (7)

September 17, 2005

Sockapal-2-za Done

Last night -- with a little encouragement from some chocolate covered almonds -- I finished my Sockapal-2-za socks.  A few days late, but in the ballpark.  I'm going to mail them 2nd day air, so hopefully my pal will receive her socks early next week.  A huge thank-you to Alison for hosting such a fun event!

Here's the skinny on these socks...

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock -- my favorite sock yarn -- in color 701, Purple Club

Needles: US 1 -- knit in the round using 2 circular needles -- even though I love knitting with double pointed needles, I'm becoming hooked on this 2 needles business.

PatternElfine Socks designed by Anna Bell.  I made a couple of variations to suit my knitting style.  Specifically:

  1. Toe shaping - I used a provisional cast on and short rows to shape the toe -- I learned this technique from PGR.
  2. Size -- I included an extra repeat of the lace pattern to add width to the socks
  3. Cuff -- I added a cuff of [k1tbl, p2] ribbing.

nona, would you knit these again?  Yes, definitely!

September 17, 2005 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (14)

September 14, 2005

Deadlines Looming

Deadlines are looming on the horizon, so this evening I got down to business.  With one Sockapal-2-za sock completed -- remember all that knitting I did on Labor Day -- and the second sock half way finished, nona cranked into high gear in a valiant attempt to finish the sock by tomorrow's deadline.  Did I mention that bookclub is next week and we're reading Devil In the White City, which I'm just starting?  Deadlines -- quite inspiring.

  1. First sock in the pair, finished and waiting for her mate.
  2. iPod playing the audio book of The Devil in the White City -- I decided to listen to this month's book so I could keep knitting.  By the way, doesn't my 1st generation iPod look big and hunky compared to the slick new iPod-nano?

  3. Second sock, half way complete.  You can just feel my concentration level as I churn this one out -- I've got the lace pattern down cold!

  4. The Elfine sock pattern designed by the talented and fashionable Anna -- I highly recommend this pattern!

September 14, 2005 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (8)

September 05, 2005

Labor Day Progress

Today, Labor Day, as many of you picnic with friends, enjoy one last day at the beach, work in the garden, or do your college laundry -- nona-son -- I will be sitting on my butt and watching the US Open.  In an attempt to offset the blatant laziness of my day, I'll be posting photos throughout the day of the progress I'm making on my Sockapal-2-za socks.  Click on any of the photos for a larger look-see.

10:30am - I've rounded the heel, started on the leg, and am about to start watching the Agassi match.

alt_here 12:30pm - I've completed 1 1/2 repeats of the leg's lace pattern.  I'm using Anna's Elfine sock pattern with a few variations.  Agassi's up 2 sets to love and is on serve in the 3rd set.

alt_here 2:00pm - Lunchtime!  A take out deli sandwich, of course.  Agassi just won in 5 and James Blake's match is just under way.

3:30pm - With 3 repeats of the lace pattern completed, I think I'll knit 2 more and then finish with some ribbing.  I've enjoyed my recent lace knitting -- with lace you have one round where you have to think followed by a no-brainer round.  Perfect for tennis watching.  James Blake, after dropping the first set, is now up 2 sets to one -- you go boy!

alt_here 5:45pm - Pre-dinner munchies enjoyed while I watch Pierce play Henin -- Pierce won the first set, can she hold on?   My sock is almost to the ribbing, but I'll have to break to whip up some dinner.  Is nona having a great day or what?

alt_here8:30pm - One sock down, one to go...

September 5, 2005 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (9)

August 24, 2005

Entrelac You Say?

So, I sat down last night with several sock books, on the prowl for some interesting socks to make for my sockapal-2-za buddy -- she favors textured calf length socks in blues and greens or purples and reds.  Cables and lace instantly came to mind -- that is until I stumbled upon the Entrelac Socks in the Socks, Socks, Socks book.  Entrelac you say?  Yes entrelac.  Now entrelac smacks of the 70s and 80s -- at least to nona -- but it looks fun and with the right variegated yarn, who knows?

I knit a felted entrelac bag several years ago, so I had a foggy recollection of what it's all about.  With that, the sock pattern, and some scrap yarn I sat down today to make a swatch.  Well I tried and I tried and I puzzled and I puzzled and for the life of me I could not get the pattern directions to work.  With a boost of confidence, I decided the pattern had to be in error.  A few moments -- and a google search -- later my swatch was off and running.

Remember, if the pattern just doesn't seem right, it's not -- trust your own instincts and judgment.  Now to track down the right yarn...

August 24, 2005 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (13)

June 27, 2005

Gulp! Grafting!?

Why oh why would nona -- a reasonable project finisher -- leave a 99.9% finished sock on her needles for 8+ days.  Here's a hint, the next instruction in the pattern read "using the Kitchener st, graft rem sts tog".  Kitchener st?  Graft?  These words chilled the blood in my veins.  I have vague memories of attempting this feat several years ago, along with vague memories of frustration and creative language.  Well, my friends, today was the day I faced my knitting skeleton feeling confident and sassy.

Trying to keep things light and easy, I turned to my "friend with black fingernails" -- the illustrated pair of knitting hands in Stitch 'N Bitch.  Somehow, these friendly hands with their peeling nail polish make things look so easy.  With page 79 opened on my lap, I grafted those toe stitches together.  Guess what?  The grafting bark is worse than its bite. 

Hey, if nonaGrafts then you can too!  Let me show you how...

For this grafting demonstration, I'll use my hunky yarn and needles.  First the prep work:

  • Place two equal number of live stitches on two needles
  • Hold the needles parallel to one another, with the wrong sides of the knit fabrics facing each other
  • Thread the working yarn through a tapestry needles -- I'm using a contrasting color for illustration

Okay, you're ready.  Grafting comes down to 4 simple steps repeated over and over until you've worked all the stitches. 

Step 1

Step 1: Slide the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit AND drop this first stitch off the front needle. (Front needle, knit wise, drop off)

Step 2

Step 2: Slide the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl.  Leave this stitch on the front needles (Front needle, purl wise, leave on)

Step 3

Step 3: Slide the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl AND drop the first stitch off the back needle.  (Back needle, purl wise, drop off)

Step 4

Step 4: Slide the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit.  Leave this stitch on the back needles.  (Back needle, knit wise, leave on)

And we're back to the very beginning.

Hey look, I'm grafting.

To sum up, grafting is much easier than it sounds.  Just repeat -- or sing -- the following:
  1. Front needle, knit wise, drop off
  2. Front needle, purl wise, leave on
  3. Back needle, purl wise, drop off
  4. Back needle knit wise, leave on
And remember to the pull the yarn a little tighter than you'd think.   Tomorrow I may just buy a bottle of black nail polish in honor of my dear, helpful friend.  Maybe you should too!

June 27, 2005 in Sockapalooza, Tips and Techniques | Permalink | Comments (12)

June 12, 2005

The Tipping Point

Picture yourself, tanned and toned -- come on use your imagination -- at the edge of the pool.  Toes curled around the pool lip, contemplating a dive into the icy water.  Lean forward, pull back, lean forward, pull back, lean forward.  There's a point, if you lean past the point you're committed, committed to diving into the icy pool.  A point of no return.  A point of commitment.  The tipping point.

A sock has a tipping point.  The point when the knitting commits itself to becoming a sock.  Now picture yourself, tanned and toned, sitting by the pool knitting a beautiful tube.  A tube filled with possibilities.  A cuff?  A glove?  A sock?  You lean forward and bam you're over the tipping point -- the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset.  The tube of possibilities is a sock -- done deal.  Still beautiful, but now predictable.

The "Go With the Flow" tube is now a sock

June 12, 2005 in Sockapalooza | Permalink | Comments (4)

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