Monday, February 27, 2006

The Prickley Stonewashed Pear Socks

Hmmmm. I am still trying to come up with the "perfect" name for these socks, and now that they are complete, I am even more perplexed! So, the "Prickley Stonewashed Pear" socks sounds pretty good to me, as good as anything, really. I had lots of fun working on these socks, but realized I do not want to knit another pair of fair isle socks in the very near future. At least not in this amount of time. Deadlines, schmeadlines, I am all with S in that I would like to slow down on the deadline knitting. I want to knit because I WANT to knit, not because I HAVE to knit or am committed to knit something for someone's birthday or anniversary. I want to knit for ME! I know, I know, probably selfish, but I want to be into the "me" knitting for a just a little while. Just a little while....

So, here's my Olympic wonders....let me introduce the "Prickley Stonewashed Pear" fair isle socks:

Here they are, posing again for the spotlight:

And again (I couldn't keep them out of the spotlight, as they just loved posing for the camera!)

Slipper Socks by mi mama

Real quick - these are the first socks my mother made - she used a self-fair-isle-ing yarn, knitted them on size 1 dpns, and made them real nice and tall. They are a bit loose, so she got some slipper soles at the Woolery Mammoth, sewed them on the bottoms of her socks, and - guess what? They fit my dad perfectly!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

All Hail the Conquering Hero

Okay, "conquering hero" may be a bit much, but I feel like a real Olympian. I am a GOLD MEDALIST. I finished the actual knitting on my Fair Isle socks late last night, and wove all the ends in this morning:

I am on the podium, proudly waving my socks for all to see. Very exciting.

I was able to share my happiness and excitement with some of my favorite knitters ever at Pix Patisserie, a very yummy place indeed:

Friday, February 24, 2006


I am really digging the Fair Isle. Digging it with two shovels, as a good friend would say. It has not always been fun, nor has it always been pretty, but it is rewarding.

Without sounding TOO self-confident, because as we see from the Olympic Goddess herself, Stephanie, anything can happen, I do feel that I will achieve the coveted gold medal in these Olympic games.

After this and Rogue, I am going to try to get away from deadline-knitting. Too much pressure. No more knitalongs for a while, unless of course someone decides to do a knitalong for the new Socks that Rock sock club, just the good old, reliable self-imposed deadlines that I struggle enough with.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

No Jaywalker Love

Well, the high instep strike again. The second-try enlarged-cuffs on my toe-up jaywalkers STILL don't fit me. Can't get the cuff over my heel. What a bummer. Are my feet really shaped that much differently from normal? I'm just a ribbed sock kinda gal it seems. They're striping nicely now at least. I'm not redoing the whole cuff a third time, as it is all done now except for the ribbing. I will just find someone who wears about an 8 or 8.5 and share the prickly pear goodness. A very nice gift I will squirrel away for someone with the right shoe size.

The Traveling Fair Isle Olympian

Surprisingly enough, I did not get as much knitting done this past weekend in Montana as I had hoped. I still believe I will win my gold medal for the Olympics, or at the very least make it on the podium, but thought I would have accomplished more than I did. I always forget how much gabbing there is when I see my folks; how much talking mom and I can do when face-to-face.

S and I climbed aboard the Amtrak Empire Builder in Portland at around 4:45 on Wednesday afternoon. It was a beautiful day here in the Rose City, and the train really tooled along for, oh, about 15 minutes. Then we hit our first delay - stuck on a railroad bridge crossing the Willamette for a half hour or so. It was still quite light outside, so we contented ourselves with drinking in the surrounding scenery and the feeling of un-movement that being on a train on a bridge inspires. We saw all manner of transportation from that bridge: planes, trains, automobiles, ships, barges, and many flocks of birds. The sky was blue, the sun was shining; all in all a gorgeous Wednesday. Having a shortened week made for a frantic day, so sitting together in the sunshine, holding hands, having no responsibilities, no real worries, eating a pic-nic-y snack that S had packed was really special. The trip itself was pretty great, although I don't think Amtrak EVER runs on time. Just the nature of the beast, I suppose.

What a way to travel! You actually have room on a train - leg room, head room, walk-around-and-get-off-your-ass room. There weren't even that many other passengers, which meant we each had our own double-seat to sleep when the mood struck us. (It seemed to strike S with a lot more force than it struck me; I can't sleep much in a space like that, so I end up staring at him with just a touch of malice, wondering if I should pinch him, hoping he, too, will wake up from the discomfort. He doesn't. Not unless I wake him. The bastard).

We ended up being about 2 1/2 hours late into Libby, which meant my parents sat in their truck from 5:30 am - 8:00 am, waiting for us. Because, you see, in the mountains, on the train route, cell phone coverage is spotty at best. We had a yummy greasy breakfast, and headed to the Lincoln County Courthouse to get our marriage license. We drove back to mom and dad's home base, and began visiting and figuring. Distance in Montana is different than distance in other places; the trip to the train depot was an hour and a half; getting to town from mom and dad's takes at least a half hour; going into the surrounding towns we needed to hit to meet with potential wedding vendors takes anywhere between one and a half and two hours. We accomplished a lot of wedding stuff; it was great. Made it a lot more real for both of us, too. We tasted cake; we met with photographers, both good and bad; we walked my parents property and figured out most of the ceremony and reception logistics; we drove all around the greater Eureka-Whitefish-Kalispell area. Mom and I talked so much, I am suprised we have anything left to say to each other (we do - we just proved it when she called me Tuesday morning AND Tuesday night). We hung out with their friends, one of whom is none other than Knitting Iris, the lovely and talented Siri. She and her fam came for dinner, and we ate an Asian-inspired feast. Mom, Siri, and I knitted, talked knitting, and knitted some more. Her Flower Basket Shawl is going to be lovely; it is the most amazing shade of green.

Mom and I also casted on for her toe-up socks in STR Scottish Highlands. We each did a toe, and last night, she put both toes on some Inox circulars - her second pair of socks, and she is doing two-at-once, toe-up, on two circular needles. She ain't scared of anything - she is quite a woman. We purchased the needles at the Woolery Mammoth, a new yarn store in downtown Eureka, Montana, of all places. I HAD to support such an exciting endeavor, so I bought the Opinionated Knitter and some double-pointed needles. The Opinionated Knitter, in this humble knitter's opinion, is super-fly, and all knitters should get it.

On to the Olympic knitting round-up: I began the Fair Isle last night, while watching the speed-skating race. Just one pattern repeat done on each sock, but, ooh, doggy, it is awesome! I had been reading a Philip Margolin book that my parents loaned me (mistake - I should have known better than to start something I knew I wouldn't be able to put down), and finished it, so I am going to renew my Olympic efforts and knit, knit, knit on.

A close-up of Goldfinger, with fair isle
A close-up of both socks with the first (very simple) fair isle pattern

And these are the colors that are in the running to be tag-alongs for the rest of the Fair Isle. All odds and ends from socks finished, NK gave me the idea to use 'em up:

That is all this knitter can write right now. Hope Olympic Knitting is going well for all atheletes out there, and remember, the only person you are competing against is yourself!

(Oh, and, yes, E and I realize that there has been no mention of Rogue for quite a while - we still heart her, but haven't really felt like hanging out with her lately. We both have our needles all ready to cast on some sleeves, but are biding our time. Don't judge us).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Neptunite - Roman God of the Sea

Named for Neptune, the Roman god of the Sea, Neptunite is a relatively rare mineral that was only discovered in the last century. Thank goodness for this discovery, as these Neptunite Socks that Rock socks are one of a kind and so precious! Can't wait to have them complete! (in between all of the other projects I'm working on!) Oh well, as NK assures me over and over, it's all about the process!

In Olympic News, I'm one sock down, Sock Two to go! And, as a bonus, the first sock fits perfectly! That's always a good sign. I'm thinking about switching the colors around for the second sock (which I'll be starting tonight), as I'm running short on the Stonewash STR, so want to play it safe. I think that will add a cute touch, none the less, to have Prickly Pear as the main color.

Here are some pics:

Stash Update! Stash Update!

I had a dr appt yesterday, so, as my local knitting store out here in the OC, Cozy Ewe, was having a yarn sale (15% off all RED yarn), and they are located within blocks of my dr office, I figured I really needed to stop by to support them. I mean, I NEED red yarn, right? Of course I do! I also needed to enter the monthly drawing, so had that excuse also. I ended up spending more time in there than I had planned, and left with a few new additions to my stash. One of which is NOT red, but was calling my name, so I had to add it to my cart. It was the last one left of its color, so it would have been lonely had I left it there. ( I am sounding like NK!)

Lovely Socks that Rock in Torridon, with hints of gold, brown, lavender, green:

And, because it does have a "hint" of red in it, I received 15% off this beautiful hand painted sock yarn by Art Yarns:

I also wanted to say "thank you" to NK for the lovely Goat Milk Soap she gave me this weekend as a get well present. It's one of the most lovely smells I've ever smelled in a soap - sweet Honeysuckle! Thanks also to my good friend S, for the lovely read - She's Come Undone - by Wally Lamb, as I'm enjoying it quite a bit! I'm recoving from ankle surgery nicely, I will say, and have only a little over 2 weeks left on crutches (possibly can be off of them on March 4th!) Of course, will probably be walking with a cane for several weeks after crutches, but the crutches will no longer be a part of my wardrobe at that point, that's all that matters!

The good thing about all of this, as Lindy at Cozy Ewe said so eloquently, "Thank God for Knitting!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Ups and Downs of It All

Yes, I am up late. It's 2:44 a.m. on the little clock next to my desk here at home, and yes, I am an insomniac! Mainly because I took a nasty fall tonight and came down hard on my left ankle, which, for those of you who don't know, just had surgery perfomed on it last Thursday! So, I woke up midway through the night, ankle throbbing, and what came to my mind? The Blog! Yes, girls, the blog! I thought, I might as well post my updates instead of wasting valuable time lying awake in bed, right?

So, on the Olympic home front, I am making some headway on my Fair Isle socks. I changed the pattern up a little bit here and there, as I had to adjust for my increasingly large ankles and also wanted to change the patterning just above the heel a bit. All in all, it add's a little difference to the socks that make them a little unique and one of a kind.

Here's a sneak peak:
The very different colors of the Prickley Pear and the Stonewash really make for an interesting and lovely mix, almost as if this should be its own colorway (Prickley Stone? Pear Wash? Peach meets Stone? Or perhaps it should be named Rainbow Bright, as this is what it reminded me of. :)) What do I know about naming a colorway of yarn? Nothing. Let's leave that to the people who know what they're doing, I guess!

And yet another sneak peek....

and still another....

Also wanted to say thanks so much to S for bringing over the lovely flowering bulb last weekend! I'm attaching some photos, as it's gorgeous!

Will post more photos near the end of the week. knit on!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Flower Basket Shawl - the specs

FO Specs:

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl, Evelyn Clark pattern, from Fall 2004 Interweave Knits

Yarn: STR Neptunite, 2 skeins and then some (a bit from another skein, from which I will eventually make socks)

Needles: Size 8 Bryspun Circulars, until they broke (see previous post), and then some susan bates aluminum size 9s because that is what I had

Mods: The pattern called for a stoppage after completing 8 flower baskets, which would have merely made a big scarf. I wanted a SHAWL, a substantial shawl, so I kept on keeping on until I had 15 repeats of the pattern, and THEN followed the finishing instructions. Result? A big, enveloping, loving shawl.

Who for? My mama. No one deserves a hand-made shawl more. She is a truly amazing woman, and I am going to see her in 2 days - gosh, I cannot wait. S. and I are visiting she and my dad in Montana.

I will attempt to show my Olympic knitting tomorrow. It is going well. Half of two feet done. Whoo-hoo.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympic Update

It is definitely Olympic time here at We Heart Yarn. We have three confirmed Olympians in the blogroll, and one who, although she did not officially enlist, is an athlete extraordinairre. We have all been training so hard this past year, and from what I have seen, that training is paying off like crazy.

We all saw from the last post that the NK is really plugging away on her shawl. She is almost on the third part, and I am fortunate enough to be able to testify that it is even more beautiful in real life than digital photos would lead you to believe. Rich, deep color, gorgeous lace patterning, and that attention to detail and beauty that we all love and admire the NK for.

WG, whom I visited yesterday for a short training session, is motoring on her Fair Isle socks, as well. The juxtoposition of the Prickly Pear (which E and I know well, and love) and the Stonewashed denim color are fabulous. They really complement each other well, and are going to be amazing socks. An update came in from the field just a few hours ago, and WG has turned the heel on her first one. She will be fair-isle-ing it before long.

I have made some decent progress since my tangled problem on Saturday. I cut, I wove, and I tried to keep my cool (I did, kinda). I now have two separate yet equal socks on my addi turbos, and they look pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. The colors together are almost regal. I have about 3.5 or 4 inches done on each sock, and, although the bowling tonight is sure to put a monkey wrench in my knitting, I am amtrack-ing it to Montana on Wednesday evening, and forsee quite a bit of knitting time. Speaking of Montana and monkey-wrenches, S and I went to a big open-air high end mall-type thing yesterday to register at a high-end store for the wedding. I am always amenable to book shopping, and there was a big old chain book store in this shopping arena, so we decided to go in, on the pretense of checking out if Chuck Palaniuk's new and horrifyingly disturbing (so I am told) book Haunted is out in paperback (not until April). But, as I am a Stephen-King-addict, always have been, and remembered that WG had sent me a link about a new book of his coming out in the beginning of 06, I decided that all must not be lost. They had the book, Cell, for 30% off! Of course, I bought it, to "read on the train," when knitting wasn't cutting it for me. We got home at 6 or 6:30, and I decided to read a few pages. Four hours later, I am on page 314 (out of 355) and realized that my Sunday contained not one stitch of knitting! Hmmm. Gotta finish this book, or, like Michelle Kwan, I can kiss my dreams of achieving Olympic Gold buh-bye.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let the games begin....

We have a pattern: The Aran weight Victorian Lace Shawl, freely available on the Elann site.

We have the yarn: Elann Sierra Aran in Russet.

We have needles: alot of them (this counts as a stash confession! Note: double points not included!):

And (drumroll, please!) we have knitting:

Sadly we also have the agony of defeat....there was an error. Not a fatal error, but an error. I frogged. Alas...

We have recovery: Yippy!! I will not be defeated by wooly string and a long metal needle!! NOT! I have successfully completed the first pattern section of English mesh lace. I'm about to advance to a size 9 needle and commence the Horseshoe lace pattern. My friend, Elann shopping partner, and for these two weeks "coach", Tanya, was an incredible help to me Friday night. Without her I would still be in the fetal position with this pattern. Not only that, we had the rare opportunity to hang out for a bit at the local coffee shop Saturday afternoon, and knit on our projects! "Hi" Tanya!!

Fellow Olympians--Knit on!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Opening Ceremonies

True to the credo of the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, the NK and I sneaked into her office shortly after 2pm local time to cast on. A few minutes later, I sneaked out, knowing that, for us, the Olympics had begun. I wish we would've taken a photo or two to mark the momentous occassion; watching the ceremonies last night, it was obvious that Olympians need to document their journey, too.

Thanks to a lot of feedback, and to the artistic eye of my sister, I have decided to do fraternal twin fair isle socks. Each has its own unique toe color, and each will have that as the dominant colorway, snaking up and around the sock. This is posing a set of problems that, had I actually thought things through, I may have forseen. Two skeins of yarn, two toes at once, on two circular needles, one toe blue, one yellow. Striping the secondary color by pulling from the outside of each skein. Do you see where we are headed here? To a complete and utter cluster-f*ck. A very ugle tangle. Very ugly, indeed.

What this boils down to is not enough training. I am like some brash young snowboarder, who knows she knows what she is doing, so forgoes the all-important practice runs (ie swatching), focusing instead on the partying and autograph signing (ie knitting on other projects), and realizes all too late that this Olympic run is much, much different than her home mountain. Oh, well. I know what I must do. It involves snipping yarn, and estimating yardage (eeek!) and winding a third and fourth ball. A project for this afternoon.

I will say, however, that both toes were casted on by the end of the opening ceremonies last night.