Thursday, May 30, 2013

In the Tire Store

We have the greatest tire store here in Atlanta - Discount Tire Co. They are currently trying to figure out why one of my tires keeps losing air. That is giving me time to work on, and maybe finish, my free-sole San Juan sock. We shall see . . .

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another kind of art

 First, another gift from the greenhouse.  I had no idea that this orchid was even thinking about blooming.  Two others bloomed in the SubT over the course of the winter, but this one never does.  So I was shocked and delighted to find a bloom stalk on it as I brought it out.

I do love the color of this one!

 And this is That Other Girl's art - she did this as a project in school.
It is actually a copy - exact but much larger - of a poster that she found in a book of french posters and advertising art.
The original was probably 6" tall.

This one is probably 5' tall - that is the patio door next to it.
I think it is wonderful.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

From the SubT

These and some other flowers were in bud or in bloom when they came out of the greenhouse - they were an unexpected gift.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy

These are the girls with their winter coats . . .

 Zuzu with her black tipped ears and colorful side.

Casey, regal and gorgeous.

These coats keep them warm but they are a lot of work for both the dogs and me.  Especially in the springtime because they require almost constant brushing to prevent tangles.  

 This is the pair after their spring grooming.  Short hair for summer - not so hot and a lot less brushing.

 Zuzu was fascinated by everything - her eyes had been covered with hair for so long that seeing was a new thing for her.  I also discovered just how much of the caramel color that little girl had on her - a whole lot!

And Casey, still regal and gorgeous.

And yes, I did save the clippings to spin . . .


Thursday, May 16, 2013

New is Fun

I started something new. I have two projects on the needles but I still started something new. One project is an alpaca hat that isn't as much fun as I had hoped it would be to knit so I am avoiding it - have been for weeks. The other is my free-sole socks. I ripped them back to the heel and started to reknit them. Guess what? Still too tight. So I ripped them again. That's a lot of knitting and a lot of ripping and even more reknitting. I think they are going to be ok this time, but I guess I am afraid to find out that I am wrong, so I am avoiding them

That is a lot of avoiding. It has to count for something that I am finally aware that I am avoiding things. Right?

The new project is a mystery knit along - a shawl called Leaf Evolution. If my needle was longer and I could stretch it out, you would see little leaf shapes . . . Use your imagination and you can almost see them.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sometimes things go backward . . .

 This is my San Juan Sock - the free-sole sock I was knitting for the knit along.  I was doing great, ready to start the diamonds and then bind off.

Until I tried to put it on my foot.  Well, actually, I had tried and ripped back a few rows already once.  But then I reknit those rows and then many, many more without trying it on again.
It wouldn't go over my heel.  
The knitting was too tight. 

I'm not sure why it was too tight because my stranding is nice and loose.  But there you have it - a sock that cannot go on your foot is no good at all.  Yes, someone with smaller feet did offer to take it off my hands (or feet), but when it's wrong, it's wrong.

The only thing to do with knitting gone wrong is go backwards.

More on this later . . .


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Third Time's the Charm or A Few Years in the Making

 I started this sweater in November of 2009.
I knit it as the pattern was written - it was Mr. Greenjeans and was supposed to look like this:
In June of 2010 it looked like this.  I hated it.  The ribbing made it too tight where it was and the top was too loose.  It was ugly.
So, in February of 2011, I ripped the button bands out (they are picked up and knit) and then ripped out the entire 10 inches of ribbing.  I reknit the bottom of the sweater and the ribbing and the button bands.

I finished it in March of 2011.  I loved the new it.  I loved the fit, the color, the shape, the warmth - everything.
Then I washed it, blocked it and went to dry it.

I stuck it on the rack in the dryer to air dry it.
But one sleeve fell off the rack and rubbed on the barrel in the dryer and felted.

But when I finished it, I had an extra hank of yarn and when Dena was here I had given it to her.  So I called her and asked her to send it back, swearing that I was going to cut off the felted part and reknit the sleeve and have a sweater.

I would like to tell you that she just finally remembered to mail the yarn, but she sent it promptly when I asked.  I stuck it and the sweater in a bag and hid it away under the sewing machine.

Until a few days ago.

I dug the sweater out of it's hole and took a pair of scissors to it.
Lest you think this is just a small hunk of sleeve, I cut all the way past the underarm.

Then I picked up the loose stitches and put them back on a needle.  I attached the yarn Dena sent me and started knitting.  I looked on Ravelry for needle size but it was wrong.  I knit about 4 inches and kept hoping it would get right, but it never did so I had to rip that out.  I went up a needle size and repeated the same mistake.  My gauge was still off after another 4 inches so I ripped again.
Finally on the third try, I got the needle size right but there was still a funny ridge where the new knitting started.  I left it hoping it would come out when I gave the sweater a soak.  (Not sure if it did or not - sweater is still drying).

These were the buttons I had put on it when I finished it the second time.
They are much blacker in person and really didn't look good on the sweater.

I've been collecting vintage buttons since Stitches South where we found some wonderful buttons. So I decided that some of them would look much better.  These are the ones I picked.

See?  They look much better.

This is the finished sweater.  Sorry - no modeled shots because I have no photographer - one girl is still busy and the other is still mad.  Trust me it looks great and feels great.  I've been wearing it all weekend because it's chilly here (at least chilly for the deep south).  I finally dunked it this afternoon and it's on the bed drying.  When I pulled it out of the water, I found a little hole in the front - not sure where it came from but it won't be a big deal to take a little piece of yarn and fix it right up.

I love this sweater.  I wish I hadn't let it take three and a half years to finish it.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Peony and Cherry Blossoms

 I finished my Cherry Me shawl - actually I finished it about a week ago but I couldn't get anyone to model it for me.  One girl was too busy and the other isn't speaking to me.
Last week was the week from Hell.  Period.

And another Peony picture because I am so thrilled to have these.
Only one plant is blooming but it has so many flowers - and I love these flowers sooo much.
One of the roots I brought home this spring has a bud on it and maybe it will bloom too.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers who read this, but especially to my Mom,
Happy Mother's Day!

 From my husband . . .

I think he knows me too well . . .


Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Present for Me

I found this at the Arts Show that happens near the girls' school in May and November.
I didn't need it, but I did really like it and it looks good in e window.
I'm calling my early Mother's Day present to myself.
I realize I have badly neglected this blog, and I have several things to post . . . 
It's been a really crazy week and I just haven't had the time.  Things will be better next week.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Free-Soling It!

Free-Sole socks are socks that are knit in such a way that all or any part of the sole can be cut off and reknit (easily) should holes happen.  This sock architecture was thought up by the Brilliant Anna Zilboorg.  

The start is a small piece of stockinette, just a few stitches wide (4 in this case) with live stitches at either end.  A marker is place in the exact center. 

 To start the instep, you pick up an equal number of stitches on either side of the center.

 Then you begin knitting, picking up stitches at the end of each row - so you pick up one on each side every two rows.

When you get to the end of the little piece of knitting, you have finished the toe.  That's when you pickup the live stitches at the ends of the starting piece.

 Then you knit flat until the instep measures 2" less than the length of your foot.

Now it's time to start on the sole.  You pick up the same number of stitches on either side of your center marker.  Since you are picking up stitches and these are not live stitches, should holes arise later, you can simply cut this part off the sock and re-knit the sole.

 Once again, you knit picking up stitches on either end until you have increased enough for your toe.

Once the toe is complete, you pick up the stitches on the sides, but knit them together with the last stitch from the previous row.  That way you are still attaching the sides but not increasing anymore.

This is what it looks like when someone tries on the sock in progress.

Once you have knit to a certain point, you go back to increasing for a gusset.

Then turn the heel with short rows.

Then we knit the heel flap and decrease the gussets on each side.

And finally start up the leg just like any other toe up sock.

I think it's brilliant and it's certainly not difficult to knit!
Sock Knitting Master Class has the Half Stranded Sock which is free-sole.
Knitting Socks from Around the World has the Poppy Sock which is free-sole.
Magnificent Mittens and Socks has several free-sole sock patterns.
Socks for Sandals and Clogs has free-sole sock patterns.
Free-Sole DVD has the Half Stranded Sock pattern and has Anna explaining, step by step how to knit these socks.