My Back Yard : : My View of the Rogue Valley

Friday, September 23, 2005

What kind of sock are you?

You can never have enough socks!

Wow! You would have been a pair of socks as long as it's possible for socks to be before they're tights - and all multi-coloured with pretty patterns and detail all over the place - then you could stand and admire your sock-self all day!

What type of sock are you?
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Very Busy Week

The college where I work is opening a new campus with the new school year. And the new school year starts on the 26th. Needless to say those of us assigned to the new campus are going a million different directions at once so that everything is functional before Monday! I'm completely exhausted tonight and wish the week was over already. Alas, I have 3 more days to go.

A couple of weeks ago we couldn't occupy the downstairs because it was still being remodeled so now the rush is on to get moved in. The focus of this campus is professional/technical programs like Electronics, Construction, Fire Science/EMT, and Diesel Mechanics. So there's some very large equipment that has to be in place by Monday, and they only have a week to get it together. Makes for some very intense days because everyone thinks their area should take priority. The IT folks are hammered from two sides because it's their responsibility to have staff computers and peripherals connected to the network and functioning properly along with making sure the computer labs are ready to go for the first day of classes. While I'm not an IT person my area is responsible for all of the audio/visual equipment and most classrooms, including computer labs, have a projection system that needs to be installed, labled, and tested. And there are a lot of classrooms.

Did I mention I'm tired?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Knitting filled weekend

Bought this beautiful orange wool & microfiber blend, Teseo, from Cascade Yarns this week from my LYS. It's for a special family member. Once I got it home it looks like it wants to be a hat & scarf. Any opinions?

Scarf or Hat?The natural is merino homespun. Since the orange needs to be held double to work with the merino two-ply I'm definitely going to need to buy more yarn.

Speaking of LYS, this store is brand new in my area. The store I had been going to since I moved here in 1985 closed in 2003. Which meant I had to drive almost an hour away for a not so LYS.

Recently the local bead shop started offering yarn for sale but it wasn't really a yarn shop. But now we have a bona fide yarn shop that I can hang out at! Yeah!

A new Knitty is in town

Check it out - Lots of great sweater season knitting in the new issue of Knitty.

Speaking of sweaters

Mystery SweaterAfter whining about knitting socks for my husband I decided I should start on a major project for myself. Looking through my stash and agonizing for several days over what exactly I could make with the yarn at hand, I settled on some Balboa that's been laying around for a couple of years. I settled on a raglan with 3/4 length sleeves with ruffles at the neck, end of sleeves and on the bottom. Because there isn't enough Balboa for the ruffles I had to do some stash enhancing and added Cascade Yarn's Prisma. The sweater body is almost done up to the underarms so now I have to figure out how many stitches to cast on for the ruffle and for the sleeve just below the elbow. Knitting is always such an adventure! :o)

Monday, September 05, 2005

On Knitting Socks

After a short two weeks or so of not knitting socks I'm suffering from withdrawal. Funny, I was so sick of knitting socks, none of which were destined for my feet, that I was determined not to knit any for awhile. At least I don't have to make a trip to my LYS for supplies. :oP

I started knitting socks about 6 years ago and gave the first pair I made to a dear friend. They were traditionally knit from the cuff down in black Wildfoote Luxury Sock Yarn, which hid all of my many mistakes. Those socks are still keeping her feet warm.

Knitting socks these past few years has been a journey to perfect my technique and to discover the sock formula that works best for me. I taught myself to knit using two circular needles because I hated the dps sticking out everywhere and they just weren't easy for me to take with. Inevitably one of the needles would wiggle its way out of the stitches leaving me to pick up the mess. Before switching to two circulars I decided, for a reason I can no longer remember, to knit a pair from the toe up. Probably because I like to do things backwards. :o)

I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun and the instructions from "Percentage-Based, Toe-Up, Garter-Stitch Short-Row Heel, Gauge-Less Socks by Stasia" to create a sock that was decidedly funky. (The link I have for the instructions is broken.) It was my first sock design and had cables up the instep and a cabled rib for the cuff. I completed one sock but it sat without a mate for 4 years until I finally decided to finish the pair. No pics but I'll take some soon.

As each pair of socks passed through my needles I modified my pattern more and more, trying different toe and heel combinations. However, there always seemed to be the persistent hole by the point where the heel stitches came back to the foot. In my quest for the perfect sock I've tried every short row method I've come across. I bought Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts to try her method of short rows but couldn't figure it out. Then there was an article in the Winter 2004 issue of Interweave Knits by Veronik Avery that described several methods for short rows. The yarnover method looked promising but was still too convoluted for me to figure out on my own. (Little did I realize it was the same method described by Priscilla)

Finally, while cruising knitting blogs I found these great instructions for the yarnover method of short row knitting. Thanks Alison for very clear instructions that even I could figure out!

Now that I have the toe and heel down I'm free to let my needles go where they will in the creation of my socks. The formula is simple, provisional cast on for toe of half the number of stitches needed for sock circumference, work yarnover method until there are about an inch worth of stitches on needle then work back, pick up stitches from provisional cast on, knit to 7.75" for my size 9 foot then work the heel same as toe. Finally knit about an inch of plain st st before working the cuff. I usually do a k2 p2 cuff and end with a tubular bind off. I prefer the tubular bind off as opposed to the regular bind off, it gives a very finished look. Within this formula any number of stitch patterns can be added. This sock is worked using my formula but the short rows are wrap & turn.

You can direct any questions to lilith.designs at gmail dot com.

The Tragedy Continues

I've been unable to post since last week because of the tragedy that continues to unfold in New Orleans. Any of my adventures seem so trivial in comparison to what folks in the path of Katrina are going through. If you would like to help, the Red Cross is a good choice for donations. There's a more comprehensive list of organizations to donate to at Good Morning America and another list at Go Fug Yourself. As I watched the news earlier in the week I was struck by the slow response by outside agencies, read government, to help those stranded in the city. Folks cut off without food, water, or shelter and no one seemed to be coming to their aid.

Today there are stories of neighbor helping neighbor, of the elderly hanging on in their inner city homes, of a wealthy business man in San Diego evacuating survivors to San Diego to restart their lives, and tragically of the killing of gunmen that were shooting at construction workers trying to rebuild some of the levies. Now the word is that New Orleans won't be habitable for 9 months. What would I do if I had lost everything and had no home to live in and no job? I don't think I can honestly answer that question sitting snug at my computer in the very dry & safe Pacific Northwest.

I encourage everyone to do what they can to help.