Thursday, June 29, 2006

Trek along with me!

So, I decided to take the socks on a little trek this weekend. Little did I know it would turn out to be quite the production!

The whole trip was filled with events the entire way. The first one started before we had even left the apartments- there were two little deer in the yard! In the middle of the day! What are the chances? So Casey was nice enough to stop and let me shutterbug the moment:

Then it was off to the highway. However, we didn't get too far. There was an accident on the highway. An engine passed us, followed by the State Police, an ambulance and then a Water Tender from the local rural district. We stopped and waited, like patient drivers should. Then there was a rumble from above. A freaking HELICOPTER landed right beside the car on the highway. No kidding. Here's proof:

And after all that production, they ended up not using the helicopter after all. But, it's always better to be safe than sorry, especially when your vehicle ended up like this:

People, you MUST drive safely on rural roadways! Just because your car can go fast, doesn't mean it should. This man was pulled to safety by some passersby, just as his vehicle erupted into flames. The local media didn't get a description of his injuries, but you can bet they weren't good.

Finally, we made it to Florence. If you aren't familiar with the Oregon Coast, there's a few things you should know. First, a lot of Oregon's beaches look like this:

If you like pristine white sand beaches, go to Hawaii. If you want to tan on the beach, go to California. If you want any other "party" type of beach, head out to South Florida Keys. The Oregon Coast is cold, always windy (seriously) and has two food options: seafood and more seafood. We go to the coast in the summer to cool down. It's been 96 in town and foggy at the coast. The Oregon Coast is a quagmire, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Why? Because any time you go there, this is what you can see:

Bright whitecaps and rocky jetties! The rocks support a tidepool community of starfish, sea urchins, crabs, mussels, clams, octopus, rockfish, otters and many other types of life.

Oregon is home to lots of species, such as dungeness crabs, delicious wild chinook salmon and other types of wildlife/game/ fish/ trees. Right now there's a large problem in the state with our local fisheries. The federal government is limiting the catch of salmon because of the low runs (due to warmer waters, other man-made and nature-made ecological factors). Essentially, this could wipe out the year's industry for salmon. There's some federal money on the way to offset it, but it's not nearly enough. This type of problem has existed in part in the last 20 years or so with the Timber industry as well. Oregon has always prided itself on two factors: the impressive natural resources it houses and independent thinking. (State motto: "She flies with her own wings"- I love it). However, the twain do not work together on the former and the latter. Thus, really difficult problems just result in really difficult people to work with. And nothing gets solved. That is the part about Oregon that drives me nuts.

Below is the only picture that turned out of the socks. The wind kept gumming up the camera lens and the light outside was way too bright to make a good picture possible. I think my body is providing the shade necessary here. See the lichen and mini mussels around the socks? You can barely make them out, but they are there. The pattern is the Rib and Cable socks from Interweave Fall '05.

Later we went to the "Old Town" part of Florence. This little strip holds all the touristy attractions- t-shirts, things made of seashells, glass art (a major tourist attraction each year), saltwater taffy and the like. It's also where the fireworks are put on every 4th of July and where the ships come to dock at night.

Ever wonder what lives in the slew where the ships travel? I love looking at the waterfront tidepools. You never know what you're going to find, especially when the tide is in!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

In which I confess...

Did you just hear that? Just now? What was that?

Oh, I see. You found the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth at the fair, did you? Well, let me see the damage.

Good lord! Three skeins of socks that rock lightweight? Two skeins of bamboo yarn? How much did that run you? I didn't even know they made other types of yarn....wait, you're in trouble here. You do realize that rent is coming up, right? And your car is in need of repair. And there are children starving in Africa. Angelina Jolie's gonna have your ass. And..what's this?

That appears to be 1,250 yards of 100% silk laceweight yarn, shining valiantly in the shade, no less. Are you aware there is a name for people like this? Yarn Hoarder, that's what you are! With proper medication and time in counseling, your addiction can be cured. What? You say you don't need a cure, and you have plans to use it all. Uh huh. That's what they all say. Then, three months later, do you know what happens to it? It goes in the stash! That naughty place where yarn binges go when you realize you can't knit it all. Two years from now, this yarn will be sitting, unused and unloved, not even wound in a ball. Use it all my ass.

My dear, I hope you have said your prayers twice tonight. Because you certainly have sinned.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sunny Days

So, what did I do on the last day of my weekend? Here's a hint:

That's the view from my back porch. Isn't it wonderful? So very project spectrum. Summer is finally here in Eugene, hooray! It was actually bordering on HOT, with a cool breeze in between. So, I gathered up my supplies and headed outside:

Note the Birkenstock. They are required footwear here in town. The big tangled mess of yarn is my ball of Trekking XXL. Yeah, that's right, I actually worked on the Trekking socks! I'm using the cable pattern from the Interweave Knits fall issue, and it's kind of tedious. I'm not a cable-ey person, I have to be in the right mood. However, Miles and miles of lace on cozy and some substantial progress on some backup stockinette socks have left me rather scattered and looking for a pattern. I knit a couple cables before I read in my book and finally gave up, sleeping on a blanket in the sun. YAY SUMMER!

Here's a progress shot. It sucks, I know. But it was just too darn bright out to get a better one. Next time I will, I promise.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kit it..Kit it Good!

I'm such a poor blogger! My progress has been stunted as of late, and so the all-important pictures of the WIPs have been lagging. Well, I'm whipping myself back into shape starting now!

If you're reading this, you've most likely found my blog through the Knit Sock Kit Swap KAL comments page. Maybe you're even my secret pal! If you don't meet the first two qualifications....well, hello there! Welcome!

The KAL has questions to help your pal get started, as they are wont to do. So, let's get started, shall we?

What are your favorite colors?
Blue! Then cool-spectrum colors like green, purple, white and the like. A very New-England style beachy spectrum. I also love funky colors mixed in with pink and black. But I detest Orange in nearly all its forms. Unless it's on a pumpkin.

Are you a new sock knitter? How long have you been knitting socks?
I've been knitting socks since the beginning of the year. I've knit a few pairs, and know my way around a gusset and a heel. That being said, it doesn't mean that a sock won't totally stump me. Guauge seems to be my arch nemesis at this time.

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn?
Actually, either, depending on the color. I adore self-striping yarn, but not so much the "false fair-isle" type of patterning. I love big, bold colors and graphics.

What fibers do you prefer in sock yarn?
Mmm, wool! Alpaca is my absolute favorite. I love anything soft, squishy and warm feeling.

Where do you usually knit socks?
At work, at home, in the car (when I'm a passenger) and at other people's houses. My friends have given up the odd looks and actually expect me to have some sort of yarn tote with me when we hang out.

How do you usually carry/store small projects?
I have two options: a pink seatbelt purse tote that I carry when I go to other people's houses. It has all my notions strewn about in it, can carry patterns and books and extra yarn and needles. The other is to stuff a skein and circs into my work bag (a messenger bag) and then store it in my inbox for quick access during breaks.

What are your favorite sock knitting patterns?
The fact that stockinette in the round is just knit stitches over and over and over. Seriously, I love the look and feel of stockinette.

What are your favorite sock knitting techniques? Do you prefer circulars or dpns for sock knitting?
2 socks, toe-up, on 2 circs. I avoid DPNs because when I repeat a sock, it's never the same. Thus, they have to be done at the same time to look right! My favorite type of needles are Clover bamboo, but I also love metal circs like Addis and Susan Bates. I really dislike plastic.

What new techniques would you like to try?
I am really yearning to learn fair-isle. I have lust for the Norwegian stocking from the Folk Socks book. I look at everyone's online and just drool.

What are some of your favorite yarns?
I love Debbie Bliss! Alpaca Silk, hands down. But that's not a sock yarn. I've had love for everything between Knitpicks and Trekking XXL. If its soft and it's pretty, it goes home with me. I just can't help myself!

What yarn do you totally covet?
Currently, I'm dying to touch the new Debbie Bliss silk yarn. I have wanted to make the bolero in her new book forever. I've never had the opportunity to fondle Lorna's Laces, Socks that Rock, Malabrigo, or anything that's super fancy. It just doesn't grow at my LYS tree!

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object?
Actually, I'd just buy yarn, books and patterns like there was no tomorrow. Regardless of knitting them. Because you never know when they'll discontinue a type of yarn or when the urge to knit a really complicated and over-the-top lace shawl will hit. I love having a library and stash to shop in.

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be?
I'd be simple and honest, super soft with a bit of pizazz thrown in. Maybe a basic alpaca with some silk or bamboo to shine. And in a rich, deep, vibrant color. Probably worsted weight.

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack?
Haribo gummy bears! You can get them at Wal-Mart, World Market and such. They are the best gummy bears IN THE WORLD!

What’s your favorite animal?
Dogs. Hands down. Especially those of hound decent, like Beagles and Bassett Hounds. I love those ears!

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages?
No, but I lust after everyone elses. Watch your pets, people!

If you were a color what color would you be?
Blue! Like the sky on a hot summer day. A shining, vibrant blue.

Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s)..
It's one I made. It's called a "craig shirt". Lots of my friends have variants of them. It has a picture of my friend Craig when he got yeast in his eye while making his own beer. It states below, "who shot that guy?" I've stopped conversations and an entire meeting while wearing it. People read it aloud, cock their head to the side and look puzzled. It's hilarious.

Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read.
"There he is!"- Pagoda in The Royal Tenenbaums
Also, just about anything from Jon Stewart on politics. I can't get enough of that guy.

Do you have a wishlist?
Are you kidding? I can't even make a birthday list for my family each year. It's too much decision-making for me to handle.

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today?
I think I've shared enough already! But do share if you would like to hear more!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I is for Impressed

My dye-o-rama pal is better than your pal! Nyah Nyah! Here's proof:

My package came on an overcast day in the middle of my work week. What a pick-me-up!

Look at the goodies inside! Do you see the cute card? It's handmade! (I hope you are part of the PS card swap, girl!) There's haribo bears (coming with me to work tonight!) and some sour haribo gummies, which will of course be consumed lightning-quick! Another handmade item, a bookmark with a cute lil puppy on it! I've been reading books at work this week, and I needed a bookmark desperately! Finally, puppy stickers, which made me squeal and giggle!

What a pretty dyed hand-dyed yarn! She called it "Kelly's Greens" just for me. *smile* It's made from wilton's pastes and makes me absolutely jealous of my dyeing skills!

THEN, she included stash yarn! I've been reading other people's blogs about this super fantastic "denim" type yarn, and I can't wait to find an awesome pattern for it. It's so soft!

I'm thinking Green just might be my new favorite color of Blue! A thousand thanks to Roberta, of St. Ann, MO! You rock!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

H is for Hellbound

...which is where these #$@%! socks are going if they don't shape up. Sinners! Why do I hate the sock so much?

There's your problem

I have yet to discover what causes this problem in this yarn. It mystifies me. The yarn is Trekking XXL. I'm on size 1 circs (toe up, 2 at a time). I measure the wee sock my on my toes for fit regularly, count my stitches, obey guidelines of pattern and such, and... THEY ARE STILL TOO FRIGGIN BIG!

The fabric created from the yarn just grows exponentially. I was doing the jaywalker pattern- known for it's tight, stiff sock fabric. Nope, not here. Here, the pattern refuses to work and THEN has the audacity to laugh when I rip back, and try again with simple stockinette. I don't understand. There's paired increases and decreases. I'm not creating stitches. Yet, the yarn, she grows.

Add to that everyone's "ooh, I'm special with my prettily dyed yarn and jaywalker that works" photos as of late. You know who you are! For shame!

I tried the sock on 2's for a while, with the toe on 1's. Oh no, that was a poor decision. This yarn was meant for 1's. This is my third try making ANY type of socks with this yarn. Now that is just stubborn. Finally, I give up. There's nothing left to do, but this:

Acupuncture for very bad yarn karma

So, the yarn will choke on its fabric-increasing candor. I didn't want it to come to this. I love my circs, I do. But this yarn has been very, very bad and must be punished accordingly. There may be cables involved before this is through, just to add another needle in there. And then a blessing by a priest of some sort. Maybe I'll pay a creepy old lady to wander in, mumbling "This house is clean" for added effect.

Progress continues on the cozy wrap. I'd show you, but it just is a few more rows past last time. And that's not interesting. Really, I tried to make it so, but it isn't. Of course, if I could go a pattern repeat or two without fubar-ing the whole thing up, then I'd probably be somewhere close to done by now. Or at least like, four more rows ahead.