Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Down

Well round one of Sock Madness 2 is officially over. It doesn't look like any of the 4 divisions actually managed to have 40 people finish before the declared cut off, or if there were it hasn't been updated on the site. My group (Baylor Ball Bands division) got the closest with 39.

There are a few things going on in SM2 land now. We know that the next sock up to bat is Sock C. This calls for 350 yds of fingering weight yarn and US size 1 needles to get a gauge of 8.5. There's no color hint or suggestion on striping or solid. Normally this would mean a pattern release to come in about 2 days. However the powers that be are showing mercy toward one of our members who is getting married this Saturday, and the pattern release is going to be delayed until April Fool's Day. I have to admit that I'm also glad the pattern delay will mean that I don't have to try and knit around my bridal shower. (Hey at least I'm not crass enough to try and knit through it!) So sometime between now and Monday I need to swatch up at least one of my yarns to be ready when the pattern hits.

The last bit of round one will be the creative awards. The final cut off to post an interesting picture of completed socks (either yarn choice, sock modification, or photo presentation) is tomorrow 6pm est. Hopefully by Friday there will be a poll up to vote on the favorites, and determine who the winner(s) are.

I feel I have a pretty good shot at this. You've seen the official finished picture of zombies. I liked the juxtaposition of the budding spring tree with zombie socks. However, there was a photo in my mind that I just couldn't let go. Submitted for your enjoyment is my vision of the zombie attack. Let's all give mad props to Jeff for being a great sport. It took us quite a bit of work to get this photo taken, but he never gave up, and I love the way it turned out. Without further ado... Zombie Attack!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

They All Fall Down

The Falling Leaves socks for Jeff are finally complete. I feel like I've been working on them forever. Of course it's actually only been a month and I have dabbled in crochet, and knit another pair of socks in there. There's also the large chunks of my life where I cannot knit, and the recovery time after the Zombies where my little wrists just needed a break.

Details: Pattern: Veil of Leaves from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One by Cat Bordhi
(modified to fit a US Men's size 12 1/2)
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) - 2 circulars
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too
Sox Appeal Color 9580
96% Superwash Merino Wool / 3% Nylon / 1% Elastic
Started Feb 25th and Finished Mar 24th (at 11:30pm). On the one hand I can't believe it took so long, on the other hand I really didn't push to finish them all that quickly. And just because I think it's an insane number I'd like to point out that this single pair of socks is comprised of more than 29000 stitches. Adding up just the easy to count stitches it came out to 28,820. I didn't bother doing the math to figure out what went into that sassy heel, or the cute (not so little) toes.

And before you question it, yes he's entirely worth it. Now it'll be a while before I take on another project like this for him, but I think a simple yarn change would have made all the difference in the quickness of this project. So, what I hope you take away from this is, do not knit big socks in a yarn that is even 1% elastic. It will dampen your spirits and make it seem like it's not actually getting any longer... even though it really is.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Strawberry Plant
Strawberry Plant,
originally uploaded by thingwhatsqueeks.
This is one of my strawberry plants. They're coming along pretty well; I think we might actually grow strawberries this year! Hope you have a great Easter weekend.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spot of Heaven

I really need these cupcakes. I meant to go to the store and purchase ingredients today, but I failed. I've had a rough day. We had external auditors at work checking on transactions we did last year, I chipped a tooth, and nothing seemed to be going quite right. Let's chalk not getting cupcakes up to one more misfortune.

If anyone feels the need to bake a batch of these, please send one or two my way. I'd love to help you eat them. I mean, just looking at the photo makes me drool.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Free Online Books

Apparently you can sign up and get access to free books online here. I have been too busy with sock knitting and house work to take the time to browse. It sounds interesting, and it's free (although I hear it's only available if you have a US address) so it's worth looking into maybe.

I think I'd rather have the free audio books, because I don't care for the idea of only being able to read a book at my computer, but it could be very handy for books that have pictures you would like to see. Those don't come across so well in the audio format. Of course I haven't checked that out either.

If you use either of these services let me know what you think. I'd really like to get there some day, but for now I've got errands to run.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Zombies in Springtime

Here's the pair in all their glory. I started my zombie socks on Mar 13th around 11am and finished Mar 15th just after 2pm. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. My apologies to anyone who received less than my full attention in the last couple of days, and to the cats who have all been shoved off my lap multiple times.

I know that there are at least 15 people in the world who knit this pair of socks faster than I did. I suspect that there were 20-25, but I don't know if I will be given that information for sure. If I find out I will pass it along.

I did have a really humorous set back this afternoon. Jeff and I were looking for shelving brackets. ... Well really Jeff was looking, and I was knitting while walking and trying not to knock things, other people, or myself over. Anyhoo, at some point I knit 6 rows and realized when I went to drop a stitch down (on purpose) that it wasn't there to drop. I had messed up the pattern six rows back. Bugger! Well, I pulled out my needles, unravelled a bit since there was no time to be tinking 6 whole rows, and carefully put the stitches back on the needles and took off knitting again.

I knit 12 more rows and decided I'd better make sure that I needed to do another 12 before starting them. I pulled out the first sock (finished yesterday around noonish) and compared. To my complete surprise I had already done 12 rows too many. I have no idea how I got off so badly in my estimation. But, if you'll think carefully on that story you'll see the true hilarity of it all.

When I ripped back 6 rows to fix a mistake, I ripped back to the point that I was done with the patterning and ready to knit a toe. Then I knit 12 more pattern rows, only to have to rip back to that same spot again. *slap forehead* Yeah, so I might be kind of quick in the knitting, but maybe not so much in the mental department.

Well the zombies are done, and now I'm going to get some lunch and take a small break from knitting. I will knit later today, but since I can, I'm going to take a few hours off.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Past Pumpkin Time

I'm done. I'm not done with the sock, but I am done with the day. It is well past the time that I traditionally turn into a pumpkin, and I do still have to go to work tomorrow. (Turns out that knitting competitions are not valid reasons to call in sick, even if they're really fun.)

I didn't manage to finish the first sock, but seeing as how I only had 12 hours to work on it, and some of that time I was working, eating, and various other not knitting things, I think I did quite well. There are a few people that have already got one done, so don't go thinking that I'm some sort of freak fast knitter. Anyway, last picture before bed time.

Good night y'all.

Living Dead Sock

I've been all a-twitter since I figured out that 1. the Sock Madness competition was coming and 2. that I had yarn I wanted to use. As we heard teasers from the designer of the first pattern that we should be thinking "Michael Jackson's Thriller" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel" as we choose our colors I got even more excited. I had a feeling that my dark blue with rusty reds would do wonderfully with these themes.

This morning I got everything ready.See I've got stitch markers, a note pad, my yarn (wound up), my needles, a set of crochet hooks, there's waste yarn there that you can't see, a pen, cable needle, measuring sheep, and some scissors. That should easily cover my requirements. All that was missing was the pattern.

I keep my email poised all morning, and set an alarm to make sure I checked in with it around noon so I wouldn't forget. Then around 11 am I looked up and saw the pattern for Zombie Socks by Emm1e. The pattern is perfect for my yarn. I'll get a good pictures some time soon, I promise. See a cuff with the pattern:By the time I left work I'd completed a repeat and a half, and hadn't been fired, so I call that a win. Now, if you'll excuse me I've got some sock to knit, and I'd better get back to it if I don't want to get knocked out of the competition on the first round.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Socks Than You Can Shake a Stick At

See, I've been making progress on Jeff's sock. I planned to keep on working tonight, and try to make the push onto the toe section. I swear, I really did mean for that to happen.

Then I found out that my sign-up had indeed gone through for Sock Madness 2. This is a crazy game where we get a pattern and race to get a pair of socks knit. You knit faster than the others and you are a winner. If you knit slower, then you are not a winner. Even if you bumped out you still get a pattern to play along with for each successive round. The best part is that it's free. The only real downside is that it starts on Thursday, and I didn't have any yarn ready.

I spent tonight knitting a swatch for yarn I already had to see if I changed needle size if I could get the required 8 sts/inch. I was successful, but it did keep me from making any real progress on Jeff's sock.

My yarn is wound into a cake, and my needles are ready for the competition. Tomorrow I will work on Jeff's Falling Leaves, and then put them aside again to knit more random socks. I am going to have to force myself to at the very least finish his first sock before I start the next STR sock. Otherwise he may never get them.

We were given the instruction that we should choose a solid or semi-solid (okay I didn't quite manage that) color that was "moody" or possibly "scary". I choose this dark blue/purple mix and I hope that it works out okay. I thought about using my red that I have, but I did just finish some red socks, so blue it is. What do you think?

Knitter in Waiting

Tina of Blue Moon Fiber Arts has started teasing the members of the Socks that Rock Club with information about the coming March shipment.

1. They will start shipping next week.

In response to an I can't wait post:
2. Ditto, and I know what it is!

In response to a I hope it's green post:
3. Be careful what you ask for. Remember what Kermit the frog says. "It's not easy being green"
... or pink

I can barely stand the anticipation. There's much speculation out there. Will it be green, or will it be pink, or will it be pink and green? I imagine that Jeff will be less interested in having socks knit from pink and green yarn.

Either way I better get back to work on the Falling Leaves socks. I'm working on the foot of the sock now, and I have hopes that I'll finish sock #1 soon. I can't believe how slowly it's knitting up. I mean, I understood the fiddly bits taking time, but this is just a stockinette foot. I really should have been finished by now. I blame the elastic yarn. I think that although I've knit 3 inches on it each time it's shrinking back down to 1. (It's really not likely, but that's how I give myself a break.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

Our last weekend of scuba class was really fun. I feel confident in our scuba abilities thus far. In fact, we had such a great time that we've signed up to take a class for Advanced Open Water scuba. See currently we're only Open Water certified, meaning that we're qualified to dive to 60ft. If we complete the Advanced Open Water then we're cool to 100 ft. Woot!

Of course now we have a pile of supplies to acquire. We haven't set a date on when we'll take the class, but it will probably be after the wedding and before the end of the summer. The good news is that by the time we finish the Advanced class we'll have all the "cheap" gear that we need. There's always more to buy, but we'll have lights, watches, knives, fins, goggles, etc.

Diving at Aquarena Springs was really fun. I think it would be cool to go back there some time and get the Scientific diver qualification so that you can go in other parts of the spring. Since it's a protected area now you are only allowed to dive in a very small area. It was a lot of fun, for a beginner, but already I can imagine the other sights to see.

I'm looking forward to diving in Hawaii, but it's also one more challenge that we have to face. How do we plan our honeymoon so that we get to do all the cool shore stuff, and also get to be underwater, and not get big ol' Nitrogen bubbles, cause bubbs are bad m'kay.

Friday, March 7, 2008

NatCroMo (7)

Day 7 of the CAL and only 3 minutes of crocheting done today. ... There was a time limit. The instructions today were to change yarn or hook size and crochet a HDC/HTC for 3 minutes. (That's a halfdouble or halftriple for you all that would otherwise have to look that up - like I did yesterday.)

I only managed about 27 stitches, which pretty much goes half way around the flowery looking thing that I've currently got. It was really tempting to just ignore the instruction and go all the way around, but then I stopped. What would be the fun in going all the way around? What if the next instruction comes out all the more bizarre because I have less that a full round? Yeah, we'll see won't we?

I spent longer photographing and posting about this day's work than actually doing it. Crazy!

Now back to some knitting.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Apparently March is National Crochet Month. Since I've been planning on learning crochet so that I can take advantage of books like the ones from Kyuuto! I thought I might join in on a CAL (crochet-a-long) for a free-form project where the number of stitches is determined by random number generators unique to each hooker.

So far I have a flower looking thing. I only found out about this today, so I plowed through the first 6 days worth of pattern. Even with having to reference books and About.Crochet it took less than 2 hours to do 6 days worth of the pattern. The plan is for each day of the deal to only take a few minutes of your time. Of course, that's assuming that you don't have to learn how to do each stitch as it comes up.

The thing I'm most excited about is that even if I'm doing it wrong, it'll come out okay. It's not supposed to make anything in particular, and it doesn't have to fit anyone, so I just go with the flow. What really worked for me with learning to knit was just doing the stitches over and over. Once you know how the stitches work, the rest of it kind of starts to fall together. I mean, until you make the stitch correctly it's barely worth figuring out what they look like, because your's won't look like anything much.

Hey, if you're a crocheter and you're interested in the Kyuuto! series you need to click that link up there. Chronicle books is having a sale where you get 25% off AND free shipping. I wish I hadn't just grabbed up the Lacy Crochet and Amigurumi books from Overstock. And just to reassure you, it's true, the books are in English.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Faucus is More Like It

Forgive for I have been tired and cranky all day. I'm not sure there is anything that could be said or done that would not result in my growling at you today.
I am cranky because over the last 4 days I have been getting less and less sleep. In part a cause, and in part as a result, I am experiencing increasing neck pain; neck pain always fouls my temper.

Last night really was the final straw. Jeff and I went to the Democratic caucus for our precinct. While I appreciated the fact that it was held within walking distance of our home, it was a bone headed move to have it at the Post Office. That building is tiny and narrow, and funneling people through to sign in was just a cluster f*#^.
We didn't get home until 11:30 pm. That means that I was at the post office for around 4 and a half hours. That's never a good thing... and there wasn't even free pie or beer. There were issues of having to photocopy additional sign in sheets, and then them spending a couple of hours verifying that those who caucused were eligible to have signed in at our precinct.

The only thing keeping me from becoming some sort of vicious hell beast, is that I feel like our fighting through it made a differ
ence. We're both Obama supporters, and since Texas's system is all screwy, it's possible that our being part of the 60% caucusing for Obama in our precint last night will help him snag enough delegates to still net more delegates from Texas than Clinton does.

It's a strange feeling having what I do in Texas matter during a non-local/non-state election, but it's kind of cool.

Just for the record, we had around 360 people show up to caucus at the post office near Manchaca and Mathews. If you know the area, you know that those people didn't really fit. It was an interesting crowd, but I would have had more fun if we could have done it in half the time. Apparently the last Dem caucus there only drew around 16 folks.

Life was much simpler for the Republicans, but probably a lot less interesting.

Oh and Jeff is signed up to be a delegate, so we don't have to worry about him crashing the bridal shower. I leave you with a picture of me as I knit along trying not to stark raving mad in the face of a never ending night at the post office.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

We're Still Breathing

Day 1 of 4 scuba classes has been successfully completed. We didn't drown, and I think we may have learned some things. There were some pretty funny moments, like when Jeff couldn't sink, and there was also the time when I was just rolling around all akimbo down at the bottom, because I just wasn't settling properly.

There are 4 of us in the class, and I think that everyone had a pretty good time. Our instructors are nice, and knowledgeable, and I can't wait for tomorrow. But before tomorrow there is tonight, and that means Mexican food and a margarita! I figure 3 hours in the pool is some serious "activity" and that I deserve a treat.

Falling Down

Falling Leaves Cuff
Falling Leaves Cuff,
originally uploaded by Tara DuBose.
We've been busy all week studying up for the start of our scuba class (which starts in about 30 minutes). I'll try to tell you what I think when we get back tonight, but we go again tomorrow at the same bat time, so we'll see if I get to it or not. (Two weekends of work and then we're certified!)

This is the cute little cuff for a pair of socks I'm knitting for Jeff. I've actually made it down the leg, but there's no time to get that picture today. So I elected to post the cuff. It's kind of cool, because it's doubled over so it's twice as thick as a plain knit cuff. Makes it all squishy feeling.

This is from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways sock book. Jeff picked the pattern himself, and it's been pretty fun to knit. The only issue is that his leg is much larger than the leg the pattern was written for. This is making the heel into some sort of math war that I'm waging. So progress is slow. I have lots of safety lines in so that I rip back at any moment without having to worry about unravelling the leg.

Okay, gotta go. Showers are nice, and I'm running out of time.