Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pigeon Forge and other ramblings

We got back from our Thanksgiving trip yesterday. We had a wonderful time! It rained on Thanksgiving day, but we had our meal at the cabin, so it was alright - it was actually nice not having to go out to a restaurant for the meal.

On our way out of town yesterday we stopped at a yarn shop in Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountain Spinnery. What a wonderful little shop! The owner, Nancy, helped me pick out a drop spindle and some roving to learn how to spin. She was so friendly and helpful! I bought some sock yarn too (of course!). I picked up some Wildefoote and some Rio de la Plata yarn in a beautiful sand, cream and peach colorway. I've started spinning some of the Blue-face Leicester roving - not very evenly, I'm afraid! But I'm just learning, so hopefully I'll improve with practice :-).
My dad liked his socks, and they fit him, too! I'm so happy!

Here's DS#2 looking at the jellyfish at the Ripley Aquarium in Gatlinburg. It's a neat aquarium, but not worth the $20/adult, $6/child to get in, IMO.

Now I've got to get working on the rest of my Master Knitting swatches. I've done a K1,P1 rib swatch, but I'm not sure the ribbing section is up to par. The stockinette section looks great, but the ribbing seems a little distorted. Maybe blocking will help it. If not, I guess I'll try again!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Christmas is just around the corner!

Ta-Ta for now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Getting Better

Thank you for all your well wishes about my toe! It's getting better. The swelling has gone down some and the bruising is fading. It still hurts, but not as badly as it did, and it's started aching and itching.

I'm just past the heel turn on sock #2 of dad's socks - we're in the home stretch! I can't believe how freaking long it's taking to knit these socks!! The only other socks I knit on 0's before were the one's I did for William, and let's face it, his feet are tiny compared to a men's size 10.5. :-) But I didn't think they would take this long! I mean, I cast on in early October for goodness sake! Hopefully they will be done in time! About a week to go - keep your fingers crossed for me!

I am so looking forward to our week in Pigeon Forge - you have no idea! I can't wait!! I'm already packing some stuff and making shopping lists for groceries and such.

Oh well, back to the daily grind. Laundry, vacuuming, dishes and general cleaning up await me. The boys are doing "quiet time" right now, which is the only time I get to myself until DH is done with work.

Talk at ya later!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Broken Toe

Big clutz that I am, I stubbed my toe on the door frame Saturday night, and of course, I broke it. It's really amazing that I've never broken a toe before now, with the amount of toe-stubbing that goes on with me. Here's a (blurry) pic of the purple and blue mess:

I have it "buddy taped" and I wear a lovely post-op shoe that is awkward as heck to walk in. It still hurts like the dickens too. Oh well. C'est la vie!

I blocked my Master Knitter Swatch #3. I think it looks acceptable (I hope!!):

And, after about three attempts, I think I have an acceptable Swatch #1:

I didn't realize I had such trouble getting ribbing to look even. The ribbing on my socks looks great - maybe the fact that they're knit on 0's and 1's has something to do with that?! (And possibly the fact that they're knit in the round). When I actually pay close attention to my knitting it seems harder to get a consistent tension!! I'm still worried that the ribbing is too loose. And I hate how my selvage stitches look. I may try to knit this one again when all is said and done. I want to move on to another one though, since I'm fed up with this one! Two down, 14 to go!!

I'm still plugging away at dad's socks - I'm just past the calf of the second sock. Two weeks to go - I really need to get busy!! Plus I have several things I want to knit for my Etsy shop. I need more hours in the day!! (or at least some more hours free of the kids!! - The pitfalls of being a SAHM - no time away from the kids!!)

Oh well, back to the kids now. It's really funny (not!) trying to chase around two boys with a broken toe!


Friday, November 2, 2007

Swatch #3

I got my Knit Picks Yarn in the mail yesterday, and I've started working on my Master Knitter swatches already. I'm starting with swatch #3 - seed stitch, since several of the swatches have to be knitted on the same size needles, and some people have said that they've had trouble getting the seed stitch swatch dense enough. My first attempt was pretty pathetic! Uneven gauge galore! So I tried using the Combined Purl Method on my purl stitches (i.e. bringing the working yarn under the needle to form the stitch instead of bringing it over the needle). This results in a stitch sitting on the needle incorrectly, which you then have to fix on the next row by working into to back loop of the stitch. Doing it this way helps to eliminate the excess yarn that you tend to have when forming a purl stitch. I also made sure to move the previous stitch forward with my finger when moving the yarn to the front prior to working the purl stitch - this helps to eliminate any excess yarn between the stitches. Both of these techniques helped greatly, as you can see by these photos:

These are unblocked swatches. The swatch on the left is my first attempt - I didn't knit the full 4 inches since it was obviously a piece of crap. (Halfway through I started doing the combined purl to try it out - can't you tell the difference?!) The swatch on the right is my full completed swatch. Here's a closer look:

I'm not sure if this one will pass, since the tension still seems uneven in several spots. My selvedge stitches are a little uneven as well. I'm hoping that blocking will take care of it and even everything out - we'll see. I'll probably block these tonight. Oh, yeah, I used Clover Bamboo size 6 needles on both of these. I really didn't want to go down a needle size - my stitches seem small enough as it is - I don't want to blind the committee members!

I also added to my knitting reference library with a couple of books:

I'd like to start on my research paper soon, but I have so many other things to do. Plus take care of my kids somewhere in there too! :-)
I really need to work on the second of my dad's birthday socks. The first one took me so long, I'm afraid I'll run out of time. His birthday was Oct 25 (he turned 60!), but we're going to do a little surprise party for him at Thanksgiving. We're all getting together in Pigeon Forge for a week (my mom rented a 4 bedroom cabin.) I am so looking forward to it! I hope dad likes his sock(s)! :-)
I'll keep you posted on the swatches!