Friday, June 26, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yay! Boo!

In my last post two days ago, I mentioned that our a/c went out. Well, we got it fixed before the house got too hot and afterwards the a/c seemed to be running better than ever. I even had to turn the thermostat up a tad because it was cooling so well and so quickly. It was pretty nice.

Well, that joy ended this morning. The air conditioning started making a weird rumbling noise and stopped cooling so now we are without a/c again. Sigh.

Last time it was a capacitor. Dan says this time it seems more like a fan motor issue. We've got a call in so hopefully we'll be up and running again soon.

Of course, worst case scenario, I'll just have to convince Dan to knock off of work early and drag him out to the pool. It's much cooler out there. Well, if you are wet. Dry and it feels a bit like an oven. (A wonderful, wonderful oven.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Peacock Redux

I know my blog has been kind of quiet lately. I ran into some food issues so that's thrown me all off. But I think I'm starting to feel a bit better, so yay! Not that feeling better will necessarily increase the frequency of my blog posting. There are pretty things in the yarn but I haven't taken many pictures to share (though I probably should!) and otherwise there's not too much going on other than knitting, and knitting takes time.

There is a slight bit of news today, though. Our air conditioner is broken. Oh dear.

It's currently 82°F in the house and getting warmer. I might have to escape outside soon - the pool makes hot weather much easier to take. Hopefully the a/c will be back up and running soon. With seven cats, I dare not open a window and honestly, doing that would just mean we'd get hotter inside faster. (It's easily ten degrees hotter outside.)

The only other excitement here has been knitting related, and honestly I'm not sure how many people will actually find it exciting, but I'm going to share anyway because it is a bit of a triumph for me.

In my last post I shared a picture of the yarn I had picked for my next sock project. Well, I knew the pattern I wanted to do (Jaywalker) because I had seen someone else make some chevron socks with this yarn and it looked fabulous. However, it didn't work out so well for me. Unfortunate color pooling was the result, not the fun mishmash of random colors. Boo.

So I tried another pattern (Hermione's Everyday Socks) and while the blocks of color were smaller, the pooling was still rather unfortunate. Double boo.

Then I tried another pattern (Dalekanium) and that one almost worked but not in an exciting way. More of a meh then a boo, but still.

At that point, I was kind of stuck and frustrated. Then Dan (knitting genius that he is) said 'wouldn't it work to do something where you knit in wedges so the pooling couldn't happen, like the ones you just did?'

Peacock Socks

Why yes, yes it would! See, he's a knitting genius.

Of course, this means that this is the third pair of socks that I will have knit using this pattern. Rarely do I ever enjoy a pattern enough to knit it twice, but this pattern seems to be one of the few. (Though really if you think about it, to make a matching pair of socks, I have to knit pattern twice, so maybe I don't have the dislike of repetition when it comes to socks? Which is good since I like matching socks.)

That isn't to say that I necessarily look forward to doing a pattern three times, especially twice in a row like I am doing right now. But it does help that I think this time I've finally cracked the code of what you are supposed to do at the end of a round in this pattern. (I think the first rows should be K2, w&t, P4, w&t and then you continue on working 4 sts past the last w&t until you work the last w&t 3 sts after, leaving 4 sts between the final wraps. This seems to lead to neater ends to the round and matches up the tall bit and the short bit of each wedge better. And even if it isn't what you are supposed to do, I'm liking it so I'll keep doing it.)

While learning something new does make repetition easier, I do think it will be a while before I do this pattern again. I'm pretty sure I will do it again, though - Dan expressed some interest in some of his own and I really can't say no to that.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

They Make Me Smile

I love ridiculous knitting projects. Though most of the ridiculous things that I knit end up being not so strong on the functional side of things. (I mean really, what sort of function does a knitted guinea pig have? Other than to be ridiculously awesome? None.)

However with my latest project, I think I have a lovely balance of ridiculous and functional. Shorts!

Shorts!

I'm wearing them now and they are so fabulously comfortable - and cute! But you can't say that hand knit shorts aren't a little ridiculous. Which, honestly, point in their favor.

I'm totally gonna make more. Because they are awesome! Their awesomeness has also encouraged me to think of knit pants. And maybe underwear. (Yes, there are patterns for that. No joke.)

Before I do all that, though, I'm (unsurprisingly) going to knit another pair of socks. Well, hopefully. I'm not too far into them right now.

MadTosh in Peacock

You may notice that "not too far into them" actually equates to "haven't actually started them". But I've wound the yarn and picked the needles so actual knitting isn't too far away!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Knitting Irony

May was Celiac Awareness Month. I had intended to make a pair of green socks for it (since green is the ribbon color used, because everything has a ribbon now). I didn't quite succeed.

Well, I made the green socks, but I didn't get them actually done during Celiac Awareness Month. In part, ironically, because I had a run in with some gluten and had to die for a week-ish or so.

But now they are all done and ready to wear!

Socks

Astute observers will notice that these socks are pretty much a slightly less obnoxious version of these. Yes, I actually did the same pattern more than once. Shocking. The knitting didn't seem to go quite as quickly as the first time around, but since the first time I did this pattern I cranked out my fastest socks ever (four days!), I suppose that isn't too much of a surprise.

Of course, it is a bit too warm currently to wear socks. (Finally! I've been waiting for sunbathing weather for ages! But it looks like the rain has finally stopped and now the tan lines have begun!) I don't think that will stop me from making more socks this summer, though. I wear them at least one season of the year!

But due to the (lovely, fabulous, delightful) summer weather now upon us, an argument can be made that my current (non-sock) project is more weather appropriate.

Future Shorts

It doesn't look like much right now but it will eventually be a pair of shorts (see the holes where the drawstring goes?) It'll be like a sweater for my rear.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Still Breathing

I realized I've been quiet lately but contrary to recent speculation, we have not drown in all the recent rain. While there has been a ton of rain, the only issues it has caused us is unbalancing the pool chemicals, making the pool too cold to swim in, and making the grass grow really quickly.

Not much actual news going on here but I did finish a new knitting project: another sweater!

On the Beach Sweater

It was a nice, educational experience in that I learned a new way of doing contiguous sleeves. Sadly, the new sleeve method is not for me as it makes me broad shoulders look even broader, but not all sweaters can be perfect!

I'm working on a pair of socks that I had intended to finish last month but (obviously) didn't. But I've only got a little bit more to go on them so I'm sure I'll be posting about them soon!

The only yard news I have is from our front porch (because there has been too much rain to go tromping): we have more baby birds!

More Babies!

I've waffled a bit but I'm still thinking they are Eastern phoebes. (Eastern kingbirds are the other options, but it looks like the babies are all gray (no white chest) so I'm back to thinking they are phoebes.)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Logical Socks

At the end of last month, I got some new yarn. This week, I finished making them in to socks!

Spock Socks

This is probably the fastest from-purchase-to-use cycle I've ever had excluding yarn I've had to buy to finish up a project already in progress. And, even more surprising perhaps, these are for Dan!

The yarn's colorway is called 'Live Long and Prosper' and it is a special edition Turtlepurl yarn dyed in remembrance of Leonard Nimoy. So naturally (logically), these are now Dan's Spock socks. And pair five for 2015.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm Delicious

We've had a ton of rain the past couple of weeks. Which is a good thing since the lakes are all so low and we are still in Stage 1 drought measures from summer. Added bonus, it also gives us pretty rainbows.

Rainbow

But lots of rain also means that lots of bugs have been making their way into the house. Most of the bugs are little centipede type things which seem to have quick (kitty-assisted?) deaths upon crossing our threshold. But we've also had at least one mosquito. And mosquitoes love me. So now I have tons of bites - mostly on my back but some on my arms and legs. Fortunately, things on the itching front have been much better since going gluten-free. Less inflammation in my body to react to the bites perhaps?

Anyway, the rain has also really helped things in our back yard grow. This is what it is currently looking like.

Our Yard

Lovely, isn't it? I'm hoping the grasses won't get too tall too early though. We still have at least one more good month of profuse wildflower blooms and I'd hate for them to end up hiding in the tall grass.

Speaking of wildflowers, we still have new stuff popping up almost every day. On my last two visits out there, I found lots of new things blooming.

Catclaw Sensitive Brier
Two-Leaf Senna
Tiny White Flowers
Wildflower
Milkwort
Firewheel

Yes, that last picture isn't the best, but it is the season's first Firewheel (aka Indian Blanket, but Firewheel is such a fun name!) so I had to include it. If this year is like last year, the purple and yellow in the yard will give way to red and yellow soon enough and we will have lots more of these popping up!

Of course, new flowers mean new things attracted to them (and everybody still loves the antelope horn). We have tons of pollinators outside right now. Two weeks ago we were overrun with ladybugs but now, it is butterflies. Pretty much everywhere you look you'll find a tiny sulfur or a hairstreak fluttering about. And mixed in are some more unusual ones, too.

Goatweed Leafwing (M)
Gray Hairstreak
Variegated Fritillary
Common Checkered-Skipper
Common Buckeye
Sulphur

That second to last picture is of a very lucky Buckeye. I'm not sure what took a chunk out of his wings, but it didn't seem to bother him. Hopefully the birds in our yard are better behaved than that, but really, I think they just have better aim.

There are more pictures on my Flickr because I take a ton each time I go outside. Seriously, this last butterfly safari? Over 200 pictures. Most of them horrible! But in my defense, butterflies are really hard to photograph clearly so it takes me ten or twenty tries before I get it right.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Socks!

I finished my travel socks!

Staggering Monkeys

Sadly, these did not turn out to be my most successful pair of socks ever. It was really a perfect confluence of various factors that lead to these imperfect socks.

First off, this is my first time using yarn that was not mostly wool. Forty-six percent bamboo. Which, I have learned, has very little sproing-factor to it. I'm used to mostly wool yarns for sock knitting and wool is a lot stretchier than bamboo. This yarn, though, reminded me a tad of cotton yarn. (Though there is a decent bit of wool in it. Just not quite enough to save me.)

Second, I took a non-elastic yarn and knit a pattern (with frequent increases & decreases) that is inherently not the most elastic pattern. And then I made it even less elastic by replacing some yarn over increases with lifted increases (a less giving increase). Which, yeah, now I don't have random holes in my socks but I also have less stretchy socks.

Then, to top it all off, I somehow managed to be very tense when knitting the heel and leg of the socks. I knew when I was knitting it that my gauge was a bit tight - the stitches weren't flowing as smoothly and I was having trouble working the increases - but I just couldn't fix it. I do tend to unconsciously tighten up my gauge when I work with a yarn with less give so I'm sure that was part of it, but I think maybe the fact that so much of the knitting took place in the car might have made a difference, too. So yeah, tighter than normal gauge.

All those things combined mean these socks aren't too flexible and as such are rather difficult to pull on. Like, really difficult to get over my heel. But once they are on they fit really nicely.

I'm a bit disappointed that I messed these up to the extent I did, but they are wearable (with some effort) so I'm still going to wear them. And my next pair of socks will be wool!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Travel Time

Dan and I just got back from a trip to the St. Louis area. We were there for a relatively short four days, but it was for his sister's wedding, so it was still a pretty big trip!

Wedding Flowers

Except for some colder-than-expected weather (the event was mostly outside), the wedding was really lovely. Sadly, I don't really have any pictures as I'm not a huge wedding girl and was having more fun just being social with folks, but I think I was one of only a few few folks not snapping shots, so I don't think anyone will notice the lack. Pretty much the only thing I got was the reception site during the decorating, just to prove it happened!

The Wedding Venue

The trip was much easier on my health-wise than I anticipated. The day after the drive there (and back) was a little rough but otherwise I was good. Though apparently four days of fairly regular activity is about all I can do before I start to turn to mush. Yesterday was a day of mushiness and recovery. I'm starting to feel a bit more non-comatose today. (Of course, we seem to have brought the cold and rainy weather back with us and that's not helping. Dang it! I'm ready for pool weather!)

The last time we drove to the area, I think it snowed for about half of the trip. This time, the drive was really nice. Long, but nice. (Made longer by the fact that Dan went the speed limit the whole way there. Which is good. But yeah, makes it longer than normal.) Oklahoma had a metric ton of Indian paintbrush and it was probably a good thing I hadn't brought my 'real' camera as I was already tempted to make Dan stop too many times for pictures.

Paintbrush

(I held myself to just one wildflower-related stop, but I did manage to slow the trip up there a little by also getting in a yarn stop. I couldn't help myself.)

The way back we ended up listening blindly to GPS a little too much which took us a slightly different way (skirting around OKC but then we ended up unable to get on the turnpike because we didn't have exact change) and that way had tons of paintbrush but also some crazy vibrant and dense patches of crimson clover.

Crimson Clover

All in all, a very good trip.

Oh yeah, and did I mention yarn?

Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace Malabrigo Yarn Sock
Vice Paradigm Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere

Whee!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Progress!

It's not news that I've had a lot of problems off and on with my hands. Lately, it's seemed a lot more on for some reason I haven't totally figured out. But good news! I've discovered that knitting daily (ideally in the morning) really helps limber up my hands and decrease the overall pain. Naturally, I've used this knowledge only for of good. If by 'good' I mean 'knitting socks'. Which I totally do.

Staggering Monkeys Socks

it does mess with my gauge a tiny bit, starting out knitting with stiff, slow hands, but I'm alternating back and forth between the socks so it hasn't been a huge deal. (Though one sock has a much neater mini-gusset than the other - the messy one being the one I did first thing in the morning, the neat one after my hands had already begun loosening up.)

I've tried to talk Dan into seeing if I can get a doctor to prescribe me medicinal knitting so we can deduct my yarn purchases from our taxes. I don't think I convinced him of the need.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sweater!

I've finished my purple sweater! Isn't it fun?

Unblocked Sweater
Purple Sweater

This is the first time I've done a lace weight sweater and I must say, I quite like it. I think next time I'll use a US2 needle instead of a US3 just because my stitches are a little messy and that didn't block out fully, but whatever. I'm happy with it.

One little bit of oops, though. Even though the two skeins of yarn were the same dye lot, one was a bit lighter. If you look at the left sleeve, you can see a line where I connected the lighter yarn. Oops. It can only be seen in certain lights and a lot of the time it just looks like a shadow, so I'm going to leave it for now. I can see how much it bother me and, if I just can't take it, I have enough yarn left to see if I can find a darker section of the ball and reknit that sleeve. I did that with the right sleeve with only marginal success - the line is a tad fainter but still totally there. Or I can try overdyeing it with something to even out the color difference. Or maybe leaving it in sun for a tad to see if I can lighten the whole thing. So yeah, I have options. Now I just get to see if it bothers me.