Misc.

I’ve been writing and doing write-y things lately (like prepping for NaNoWriMo).  So, it will be no surprise that I have run across a 30-day writer’s prompt challenge.  I’m totally excited about Day #4!

I found some Dansko Mary Jane’s on clearance yesterday and they were too cute to let go.  It felt like shoe shopping when I was a kid:  there was an actual shoe store clerk to help with fitting (a dying breed).  And there I was with one pair of excellent shoes to go back to school in!  However, I’m already back to school…but, hey, it’s Labor Day weekend so I am calling it the same thing.  [School starts too early anymore…!]

I’m debating on whether or not to purchase some yarn for a sweater.  I’ve never knitted a sweater before and it’s a LOT of yarn to get at one shot (you need the same dye lot).  And what if I don’t like it when it’s done?  Then I’ve spent wads of cash on all this wool yarn that I will have to frog out and it will just sit there in the basket making me feel awful…

The harumph and the happy

I don’t know what to do with myself.  I can read or listen to anything other than what is on my list!

I just started the heel flap for the second sock of this pair.  I had first sock syndrome and it took me forever to finish the first one.  However, now I decided to actually get the second one done in two weeks so I can wear the pair!  Unfortunately, I also realized that my heel flap needs to be frogged back and recounted.  I am four stitches off what it should be!

Tonight I had a lovely conversation with some of my students about their upcoming final paper and how much they loved the class (even if it was difficult).  Yay!  +10 on the good feelings-o-meter!

Bundle up, baby!

oh, baby, it's cold outside!
oh, baby, it’s cold outside!

Greetings from the cold, white north!

Technically it isn’t really white.  We’ve got maybe an inch, but we need significantly more snow or serious rain to refill the water level depleted by the long drought last summer.  But it is cold!  It is 4 degrees and the wind chill is -11.  Boy, howdy.  I don’t wish to step outside today!

I’ve been up to my typical reading practice of making plans and then reading something altogether different.  I’ve got The Hobbit and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea going.  So, naturally, I picked up and finished Wizard’s First Rule and then started Stone of Tears–both by Terry Goodkind.  Of course it makes no sense to have books that I am reading still sitting there while I wander off to different books.  I’m just not made of much sense.

I’m also knitting and playing with knitting patterns.  I finished one sock from The Weasley Homestead pattern by Erica Lueder–my very first cuff down sock pattern and I had to learn the Kitchener stitch to finish off the toe!  After grading a few papers this morning, I will probably be casting on for the second sock.  The colorwork sock is slow going, but it definitely is keeping me on my toes for paying attention to the pattern.  Not only that, but I am having to juggle two circular needles and four balls of yarn.  It all makes me want to be a faster knitter…

Back to the grindstone…

Today is the day where I officially begin having tons of work again–break is over.  How I wish it could go on forever…

ice on trees
ice on trees

But, that said, it is a perfectly lovely day for hot cocoa!  Yesterday evening began with freezing rain that turned to snow.  Aren’t I lucky to work from home?  No braving that mess for me.

 

What have I been doing?

my adaptation of the snowflake pattern
my adaptation of the snowflake pattern

I’ve been knitting and altering the knitting pattern I am following. I really like these socks but I like socks that knit from the toe up rather than the cuff down.  So, beyond altering the pattern to be knit toe-up, I tweaked the snowflake pattern slightly from a 22×20 stitch size to a 22×22 stitch which changed the spike in the overlapping diamond between the snowflakes to an even checkerboard.  I really am a stickler for symmetry and things that don’t evenly line up drive me nuts.

all the wibbly mess
all the wibbly mess

I also changed the toe pattern to stripes because the sole of the foot is checkerboard and wrapping that pattern all around the toe is too much for me.  Heaven knows I am a slow knitter, but as my first foray into a colorwork pattern I thought I should tackle something that keeps my brain as occupied as my hands!  And, I also am taking a stab at doing these two socks at the same time on two circular needles.  [Do you have any idea how often I have to unravel the strands?  I swear it might be helpful to use a lazy susan to keep them straight!]

I should be reading.  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Hobbit do not read themselves!  Unfortunately, I do not have brain capacity or hands enough to both keep track of my knitting and read (or flip pages).  I have been ignoring my reading which is something I wish to conquer.  But likely as not I will get sick of knitting in a bit and go on a reading kick.

A present to myself!

Hooray!  My Knit Picks box came today.  I’m so excited…

Yarn:

Stroll Sock Yarn--Sport in Cobblestone Heather and Hollyberry
Stroll Sock Yarn–Sport–Cobblestone Heather and Hollyberry
Wool of the Andes Tweed--Worsted--Prussian Blue
Wool of the Andes Tweed–Worsted–Prussian Heather

Needles:

(2) 24" Harmony Wood circulars--size 3 (3.25 mm)
(2) 24″ Harmony Wood circulars–size 3 (3.25 mm)

Miscellaneous Whatnots:

Split ring stitch markers
Split ring stitch markers
Two different yarn stranding guides--just in case...
Two different yarn stranding guides–just in case…
Wool wash for all my wooly hand-washables.
Wool wash for all my wooly hand-washables.

Guess what I’ll be doing this afternoon?

Happy birthday, blog!

blogiversary!

Allegraphy is 1 year old today!

In my very first post I listed a few things I wanted to accomplish in 2012, and mostly didn’t.  So much for my follow-through (see flibbertigibbet)…

This year, instead of listing things I want to accomplish, I thought I’d try to list things that are less finite:

Goal #1Be healthy.  Make healthy food and lifestyle choices.  Eliminate soda, hfcs, milk products (mostly), and meat.  And, if I fall off the wagon, the world won’t end; just adjust and re-focus.

Goal #2Be creative.  Write, paint, draw, play piano…etc.  Do something each day even if it is small and most definitely if it is silly.

Goal #3Tune out.  Computers and phones and tvs can be turned off without panic; none of it is that important.  Read, knit, stare out the window…

Goal #4Dig in the dirt.  The garden plans are already underway.  Plus, it will aid all previous goals.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Notes

1.  First book on the agendaTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

2.  Coke.  It is almost 1:30 and I will happily pinch anyone.  Tea is not going to make this withdrawl easier…

Ah, Friday!

This is how Dobby tackled the morning:

Dobby the Dane

But are there any snoozes for me?  Any laying about without a care in the world?  Nope.  Since 8 am, my morning has been filled by inane conversations with students that end with me endlessly repeating one thing:

Read the damned syllabus!

don't make me slap you

 

cuff down sock #1So, to take a break away from people who want me to do their thinking for them, I am going to finish knitting this sock.  It has been sitting on the needles untouched for the whole of November because of Nanowrimo and I’d really like to wear them before Christmas.  It is time to get a move on so I can cast on for the second sock!  While knitting, I will be repeating over and over the phrase my mom used to use when upset with her students (or her kids):

This too shall pass.

colorway 2995

This yarn is Opal Kaleidoscope in colorway #2995.  It isn’t much to look at on the ball, but it sure is knitting up with interesting stripes!  And it is perfect for this pattern.

The Weasley Homestead patternThe pattern (free) is called The Weasley Homestead by Erica Lueder.  It is quite easy.  [Don’t let my snail pace fool you.]

 

 

**  May your day be blessed with naps, warm socks, and free of the mad desire to hit someone with a hammer.  **

Something new

After feeling so icky the past few days, I decided to do something new and fun.  I found a new yarn store and managed to get there without too much fuss–with the exception of trying to make one left turn at a non-arrow light downtown at lunch hour.

Was it what I wanted?  Not quite yet.  The place was fairly new and still trying to get into a groove.  However, I did see a lot of preferences for brighter yarns; a big thumbs up!  My sister picked out a bubblegum pink worsted weight wool that felt very soft.  I can’t wait to see how the place expands…

Then I headed to my normal yarn store and picked up a hank of Heritage #5630 (aqua pool blue) sock yarn from Cascade Yarns.  Because, you know, that’s just the thing to do…

Heel flaps

Update.

I’m an idiot.  Ok, well, maybe not an idiot–but definitely a novice at reading patterns.  I gave up on the pattern I was using from DROPS Design for these socks.  I got confused when I hit the heel.

So what did I do?

I went, as any clueless person might, to YouTube.  I watched a bunch of heel flap advice videos, but the best (for me) was still Kelly Petkun from Knit Picks. She walked through the whole thing step by step and provided handy little tips and tricks.

Eureka!

Since the whole sock is just a plain jane stockinette stitch, I chose to do a slip-stitch heel to give a bit of texture.  These socks are not going to be the prettiest socks in the drawer, but they will be warm and functional–and that is all that matters.

I’m still glacially slow, but I’m pretty confident I will get to turn the heels this weekend!  [Barring any grading tragedies or heaps of procrastination, of course.]

Sunday: I wish it was a sun day.

Alas, no.  We are overcast and cold: 21 F (or -6 C, if you prefer).  However, it is supposed to warm up to the 40s and create a lot of fog as the snow melts off.  And then tonight, rain.

Will this curtail the plans of the plucky ImpossibleA?  Not at all!

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.  –Joseph Chilton Pearce

A few months ago, I ran across a mention of “recycling sweaters.”  So I searched the web for directions on how to recycle yarn out of thrift-store sweaters (or even sweaters you own but don’t like wearing).  You can find information and tutorials here and here and here.

I found two incredible wool sweaters at Goodwill.  One is a khaki marl–the main thread is deep green khaki and a strands of cream and celery wrap around it.  The other is a dove grey that has never been worn!

Well, I finally got the nerve to snip into the green.  The original sweater was absolutely ghastly, but the yarn said:  Hey, I’m sturdy and warm!  Knit me into socks.  Because the yarn is a fingering weight yarn, the whole sweater took eons to unravel.  [Tip:  Have a friend or loved one help to save time.]  I now have enough yarn to knit at least two or three pair of long socks.

I also decided to learn two new things:  how to knit two socks at one time and how to knit socks from the cuff down.  I figured that if I muck up the socks in the recycled sweater yarn, I can call it a learning curve; a failed sock using good wool would be a disaster.  So, remember, $2.00 recycled wool sweater yarn is infinitely better than $23.00 hand-painted wool yarn.

Knitting from the cuff down seems to be the most popular method; a majority of patterns use this construction technique.  I know how to knit socks already, but I’ve knit them all toe up so I can try them on as I go to see how the pattern fits.  So since I have several cuff-down patterns I would like to try, I need to learn how this works.

I chose a plain jane pattern for my first cuff down sock:  Drops Design 122-19.  I also have been watching the construction techniques in Kelley’s Sock Class videos at KnitPicks.  I’m knitting on size 1 needles (2.5 mm) and only using one circular instead of two.

Being a slower knitter, learning two new things at one time doesn’t make the process quick.  The great part:  I am finding that the two at a time method is beneficial to those of us with second sock syndrome.  It also cuts down on any mismatches in a pattern–when you begin a pattern on one sock, you know exactly where to begin on the second!  [I was always worried about doing plain socks one at a time:  what if one was shorter than the other?]  The downside:  I’m not really digging the one circular gig–too much push-me pull-you with the cord and needles.  It isn’t a smooth continuous process which cuts down on the joy of mindless knitting.

[On a separate note, I absolutely LOVE these Addi lace needles!  They are sharp and the joins are so smooth.  I can’t recommend them highly enough.]