Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My socks are now all dried and blocked and I tried them on....


OMG, they are fantastic. I loved them before but I more than love them now. They are fantastic! I want to make socks for everyone now so they can feel the awesomeness of handknit socks! AH! I'm in love!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Can't Decide!

Success! My first pair of socks are done!


Well, okay, not done done as technically I am still in the process of blocking them. But they will dry without any more input from me, which means that while my socks aren't 100% wearable yet, they will arrive at that state through no action of my own. Thus my part is done.

I'm rather pleased with them - they fit wonderfully (or at least did before the blocking, so fingers crossed on that perhaps) and they are rather ridiculous, which always seems to increase the pleasure I take in a knitted finished product. Of course, we are heading into spring so my timing could have been better for knitting wool socks, but then Texas doesn't have an especially long knitwear season so meh.

But now I have a problem: I wasn't mentally prepared to finish my socks for another day or two - the end of the project kind of snuck up on me. (How something that took approximately 34 hours to accomplish can be sneaky I have no idea but there we are.) So I now find myself at a loss of what to knit next. I had previously targeted another cardigan, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for a big project quite yet. Part of me wants to make another pair of socks but I haven't hit on quite the right pair. So I'm floundering. And stalking patterns on Ravelry.

Maybe I'll pretend I'm still working on my socks and just watch them dry.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Knitting Magic!

I've been working diligently on my socks and have gotten quite a bit done. Today I got to experience the magic of turning a heel first hand! Turning the heel is knitting the shaping that makes the heel of the sock actually heel-shaped. Logically, I knew how it was done, but apparently I'm a hands on learner cause it didn't click 100% until this afternoon when my socks magically developed heels!

Closer to Sockdom

Also, I have to say that this pattern has the most adorable heel flaps. It starts as 2/2 ribbing and uses six cables over ten rows to make the rib cross and twine then separate back to 2/2 ribbing. Sadly, though, since my yarn is multi-colored the ribbing and cables don't photograph all that well. But still, amazingly cute.

I still have a ways to go - I'm just now shaping the gusset then have the normal foot portion and the toes, but I'm hoping to get these done maybe by the end of the month. Too exciting!

(Also, out of curiosity I have been sort of tracking how much time it takes me to knit these. I say sort of because I'm more tracking what I watch during my knitting instead of the exact minutes, but it still gives me a ballpark figure. And since that current ballpark figure is about nineteen hours, I might regret tracking this. Cause seriously, that's a lot of time.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feet Mittens

Check out what I'm making now: socks!

Future Socks

Or rather, they will be socks. At least, if I do everything correctly, they should be socks.

This is my first pair of socks and so far they are going swimmingly! I might have knit through three movies today. Just maybe. The pattern is a bit addictive.

And isn't the yarn delightful? I'm enjoying watching the colors as they come up. I'm knitting one sock from each end of the yarn cake so they won't match exactly, but honestly, I don't know if identical matches would be possible with this yarn. (It's Schoppel-Wolle Wunderkleckse, if you are interested, a lovely gift from my in-laws last year.) I look forward to seeing how the colors develop on these! Honestly, I anticipated these being less colorful based on how the yarn looked in the ball, but I'm really grooving on the great, vibrant colors.

I was worried when I started these that they would be a bit too small for my calves (which apparently are thicker than normal based on my zip-up boot buying history) but after some great Ravelry advice, I decided to make the calf part of the socks with a slightly larger needle. And it worked! They feel like they are going to be perfectly sized. Exciting!

Here's hoping I'll be able to say the same thing once I get to the heel and foot!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mothy Goodness

I think I like alternating big/complex knitting projects which quick/simple ones. After finishing my very first sweater at the beginning of the month (and I totally love it - I wore it 4 days last week!), I felt the need for something a bit less involved.

So I knit a moth.

Lavender-Filled Knitted Moth
Knit Moth

He's filled with lavender and his purpose in life is to help keep my yarn moth-free. Well, not completely moth-free. But rather to keep the moth population to one.

Stash Moth

I think he looks happy there.

As an aside, when I was young (eight-ish or so) a moth got into the house and managed to fly down my nightgown. Much unhappy squealing commenced. I'm still a little freaked out by moths at night. And yet I knit this. Which kind of makes him even more ridiculous but that's kind of why I like him.

Next up: socks!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Will Never Work in a Sweatshop

I am done! After four and a half months, I have finished my very first sweater!

My First Sweater!

Honestly, it shouldn't have taken as long as it did but I ended up not working on this for several weeks all totaled because of things like traveling, my arm being in a sling and hurting my back. (Gah! I really need to be more careful when stay-at-home-wifey-ing. I need to stop hurting myself!) But it's all done now and it is awesome!

I'm just really tickled at how this turned out. I used a different (smaller) needle size than the pattern called for so I had to rework the pattern based on my new gauge. Math told me to follow the directions for the large to get the sizing for the small (factoring in how much the yarn loosens with blocking) - and it worked! I know that math makes sense, but I always have some level of stress after making math-based changes to a knitting pattern until the project is all done and it is proven that yes, my math was correct.

I made a few other changes from the pattern, too, which calls for a rolled stockinette edge on the sleeves, bottom hem and collar band. I'm not a huge fan of rolled edges so I tried a few different thing. First, I did a folded hem (with a row of purl bumps for a fold line) on the bottom hem.

Bottom Hem

I really like how that turned out. It flared a bit before I reblocked it to flatten it out, but post-blocking it's nice and flat that blends nicely but is also subtly set off from the sweater back which, I think, makes it look nicely finished. I can't say I loved how long it took to sew the hem down so I might try something different the next time I'm in a similar situation. And that different thing I might try is what I ended up doing on the sleeves.

I Win!

Initially I thought I'd do a 1/1 ribbing but, meh, I just didn't like how it looked. So instead I went straight from the stockinette to double knitting and then grafted the two sides together. I really like how it turned out - it's pretty much exactly what I wanted! I didn't change the stitch count before starting the double knitting, but for something larger, like the back band, I think I would double the stitch count on the first round of double knitting and then go from there.

The last change (I think) that I did was on the collar band. I did a 5/1 ribbing hoping that it would prevent the stockinette roll (I had tried 2/2 ribbing but it pulled in too much and I just didn't like the looks as much). It did reduce the roll greatly but not completely and I wasn't thrilled with having the bind off edge be the edge of the fabric (it didn't look as finished as the other edges), so I folded the edge over by about three rows and stitched it down.

Collar Band

This pretty much eliminates the roll entirely and gives it a nice almost decorative edge. (It also seems to help keep the ribbing from flaring. Bonus.)

Funnily enough, making my own knitwear has made me less protective of my store-bought knitwear. Not because it is store-bought but because I don't want to make knitted things and not wear them for fear of kitties or other damages. I make my knit goodies to be worn and used! And if I'm determined to wear my handmade knitwear (which, thankfully, I know how to fix if a kitty claw damages it) there's no reason to be more protective of machine-made sweaters. I suppose it's a bit like using the good china for a regular dinner.

Anyway, so there's (way too much information about) my first sweater! There is more detail (shockingly, it is possible) on my Ravelry project page if you want it. Now I find myself hoping for a cold snap so I can wear my new sweater! And I'm looking forward to starting another one (which will be after about two or three smaller projects). I have discovered that love knitting sweaters! Honestly, I think it is something about the sleeves. Perfectly fitting sleeves is awesomely exciting. I love it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Events Have Happened!

First off, sorry for the less than stellar cell phone pictures. But Dan and I went somewhere to which I figured I didn't need to drag my big camera. Yes, that's right, Dan and I had an event! And guess where we went?

Rahr & Sons Brewery

Surprise! Somewhere beer-related! Specifically, the brewery of a local craft brewer, Rahr & Sons.

We went to their "VIP Pairing", which is basically a fancy excuse to drink beer and have some snacks. And even though I'm still not a big beer fan, I thought it was pretty cool! We had six different beer "samples" (in quotation marks because these samples were a generous eight-ish ounces) paired with six different mini-dishes made to accentuate a quality of the beer (or the beer to accentuate a quality in the food, for example the hops in one beer accentuating the heat in the jambalaya).

Rahr & Sons Brewery

Check out the ABV of some of those beers. Yeah, Dan and I both were feeling fairly relaxed afterwards - and I only had half glasses of things!

Pairing One Pairing Two Pairing Three
Pairing Four Pairing Five Pairing Six

Fortunately, there was a brewery tour after the tasting so I was able to work through the much smaller amount of beer I had had in order to safely drive us home. Dan, however, had not had small glasses (and had even had some of my beer) so he got to come home and put in an after-hours call to one of their work vendors while feeling... pleasantly relaxed.

The brewery tour was nifty, too. Rahr is a pretty small place so the tour (and the tasting before it) was actually run by their head brewer. So we got good information and got to poke around a tiny bit. It was surprising to see how small they were - easily the smallest brewery we've been to.

Beer folk always seem to be such an interesting bunch. Not necessarily home brewers like Dan (and a few of the other folks there) but the guys that make beer for a living. They seem to be a special breed - their style tends to be a bit homeless hipster with thick beards. And, naturally, they have their own brand of humor, too.

Beer Recycling Facility

Yes, that says "Beer Recycling Facility (Restrooms)". Ah, beer folks.

Speaking of beer, why is it that I end up with so many beer-related things on my blog? I still don't really like beer. (Well, excluding a tiny number of wheat beers that I enjoy, but Dan tells me that I'm extremely particular.) But really, thanks to Dan's home-brewing I have an appreciation for the art of beer-making even if I don't typically like the (commercial) results. Even with my personal lack of beer-love, I totally give our first real event of the year a big ole thumbs up! I wouldn't be surprised if we end up doing more tastings there.

Hmm, I wonder if there's a place that runs regular tea tastings...

Rahr & Sons Brewery

Monday, February 4, 2013


Today is Dan's birthday - he's a whopping 34 years old! Which means he's the same age as me... for at least another five months. Happy birthday, Dan!

In celebration, he had a horrible day at work and I spent all day cooking. My day was tastier and, fortunately, helped improve his day. Why? Cause I made him a tasty birthday dinner!

Dan's birthday meal sounds a bit like it is out of a kindergartener's nightmare: liver and onions with lima beans. Of course, he loves all of those things so it wasn't the punishment it might sound like.

Liver & Onions

Honestly, it's not the prettiest meal but you can't really expect much from organ meat, can you? It got Dan's stamp of approval so I'm taking it as a success. Personally, I'm not too sure if I like liver yet, but I had some difficulty cooking it (well, difficulty preparing it - the cooking went fine) so I feel the need to cook it again (and again) until I have defeated it. Which means we'll be having it again so I'll have time to decide if I like it or not.

One thing I don't need to decide if I like ('cause I totally do) was Dan's dessert. I had asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he mentioned angel food, which is my least favorite cake ever. And honestly, if I am going to cook a dessert, I'd like one I am willing to eat. So he mentioned apple pie. Yeah, sorry, you've now managed to pick my least favorite pie.

Feeling a bit lost, I stumbled across a recipe for my favorite pie and fortunately it turned out that Dan liked it too. So his birthday cake was key lime pie!

Birthday Pie

It's super tasty! It's got lime zest in it in addition to the key lime juice so it's got a nice added tang over the more typical key lime pies. And the crust turned out perfect, which was pretty darn exciting! Honestly, I'm stuffed to the gills but I'm seriously tempted to go have another piece of pie. Yummy.

Anyway, my last bit of cooking for today wasn't technically part of Dan's birthday. The key lime pie used some egg yolks which meant I ended up with some leftover egg whites and a few hours before I had to start cooking the liver. So I made almond meringue cookies.

Almond Meringue Cookies

It might look like tiny albino elephants went through the kitchen and left us presents, but no, meringue cookies. The original recipe I found was for strawberry meringue cookies, but I didn't have strawberry extract, so I let Dan pick between orange and almond extract. The recipe didn't work at all as far as cooking times, but once I consulted my Joy of Cooking, things turned out much better and we now have tasty cookies.

Not that we need more sweets with a pie hanging out in the fridge, but at least I didn't waste the egg whites!

Anyway, happy birthday to Dan! I hope you enjoyed the culinary evidence of how much I love you! (Hmm, which apparently isn't angel food level of love, but somehow I think liver levels of love are much higher.)