• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 148 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 171,938 hits

Hitchhiker Scarf

As you saw when I posted pictures of my Vernal Equinox Shawl, I’ve spent a good portion of my summer knitting.

About a week ago, I finished another large project…my Hitchhiker Scarf.  The pattern is available on Ravelry.

I knit it for the final round of Quidditch in my Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.  You might recall that I’m a Hufflepuff.  We complete projects that fit into prompts…all in the hopes of accruing lots of points to help our respective houses win the Cup (just like the books).

This final round of Quidditch was brutal.  In fact the entire term’s Quidditch matches were challenging.  You had to craft for certain teams and could not proceed to the next round unless you had crafted for the previous rounds.  Thus, the number of people making things went down each round.

Also adding to the challenges of each round were yardage requirements.  The final round’s rules stipulated that crafters use a minimum of 450 yards of fiber.

Oh word!

Hence, my Hitchhiker Scarf.

I dug deep into my stash for the yarn and selected Regia Silk.

I bought the yarn so long ago that it’s been discontinued.

Ahem.

What drew me to this pattern and the yarn was the casualness of it.

I love the color of the yarn.  I think that will make this scarf pair well with a pair of blue jeans and blouse or button down shirt.

I was only able to knit 37 pattern repeats and bound off on the 38th.  The pattern was super, super easy, and I had it memorized after only a few repeats.

As I played with the scarf, I tried out different ways of wearing it and discovered, to my delight, that it can be worn as if it is a shawl.  This pleases me.

If you’re looking for something to whip up as a gift, I highly recommend this pattern!

Belle Epoque Socks

Several months ago, I was gifted this yarn by a knitter of the West Coast Oddball Blankets…

Regia Silk - Color #2

Regia Silk - Color #2

Oh yeah…it’s as soft as its name implies.  I fondled it a bit and then added it to my stash.  A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to start a new project, and the yarn literally jumped out of my basket imploring, “Pick me, pick me.”

Gee, twist my arm, why don’t you.

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to tackle two-at-a-time socks.  It must have been a year ago when I made a pair from this book, but I struggled the entire way:

The socks got finished, but the journey had been difficult.  Completing the gussets had, in particular, given me fits.   So, I put the book on my shelf and completed many other projects.  Somewhere along the way, I made several hats and socks using Magic Loop.  Magic Loop is the method by which the above book’s patterns are based, only you’re completing two socks on the one needle.

I decided to give it another go, nervously selecting the Belle Epoque Socks from the book.

Now, maybe you’re a more advanced knitter than myself, so my next advice might not come as a surprise to you.  I’ve learned that it is a good idea to check Ravelry for comments by others who may have encountered difficulties with the pattern.  I found the Two-At-A-Time forum here, and I eagerly searched through all of the threads pertaining to my pattern.

I also searched for pattern errata.  Sure enough, I found this site, which contains corrections.  Lo and behold, the original editions contained mistakes in the gusset instructions!  I had not been going crazy on my own!  I’d had help!

Woo Hoo!  I wasn’t crazy!

My kids would beg to differ with the above statement.

Anyhow, if you own this book, go to the publisher’s site (same link as above) and download the pattern errata.  Print it and stick it inside your book.  If you have a problem downloading it, send an email to the contact provided on the publisher’s site.  I did that, and a representative replied within 12 hours.  She even sent me the corrections as a PDF because my computer was not cooperating with me.  There are a few patterns that have corrected charts, so make sure you get those as well.

Doing your homework BEFORE starting projects saves loads of heartache later on.

Armed with all of this information, I began the project on May 25.  I decided to use size 1 1/2 needles and cast on for the medium size.

Starting the socks was a nightmare.  I did as the book suggests and placed each skein in its own separate baggie.  This helped keep the yarn in check, but I had a dickens of a time sliding the cords back and forth.  I also marked each sock with a different colored stitch marker (green was Sock A, and orange was Sock B).

Add to that, the picot edge, which just about threw me over the edge of knitting sanity.

However, I persevered, messed up the picot on half of the first sock before the instructions clicked, and I worked the rest of the edging properly.

Once I finished the edging, I proceeded at a rather fast clip.  The pattern was pretty easy after a few repeats, and I started sailing through the project.

I worked eight pattern repeats on the leg and then “customized” the repeat on the instep…opposite of the heel.  Ok.  I messed it up…got my row count wrong and squashed the cable, but it’s the both on both socks, so at least they match!  I only knit 26 heel flap rows instead of the 36 recommended by the pattern.  I could tell the yarn was stretchy, and I know that recommended heel flap sizes are always too long for my legs.

The instructions can look intimidating…a factor that had led me to delay working socks using this method.  And I’ll admit that when I began working the heels and gusset decreases, I had to tink back a couple of times.  I like putting puzzles together and trying to figure out how things work, so this type of project is right up my alley.

I learned, though, not to over-think the instructions.  You work them for one sock, and then you work them for the other.  Trust the instructions (most of the time).   It’s like doing yoga.  You don’t think you’re going to be able to put your body in a certain position, and you want to shoot darts through the instructor (or pattern’s author).  But then, without even realizing it, you’ve turned yourself into a pretzel, and you’re better for it.

After turning the heel, I worked six more repeats and then completed the toes as instructed.  I’m probably the only person who loves the Kitchener Stitch…breezing through it in record time.

And the end result?  Take a look for yourself…courtesy of Chicky’s wonderful photographing abilities (even while she complained the entire time)…

Belle Epoque Socks

Belle Epoque Socks

To say I’m pleased with these would be an understatement.  I’m absolutely delighted.

Sure, I probably could have gone down to a size small since the yarn stretched more than I anticipated.  However, the socks are a good fit without being overly stretched, and they are warm as all get-out.  The yarn was a DREAM to work with…not splitty at all and smooth as could be.

I only used 80 grams, so it wasn’t quite two full skeins.

Another project done…on to that Mexican Rainbow Shawl!

Flowers and Socks…They Are a Growin’

I went outside this morning to check on my newly planted sunflowers.

Lookie!!!!

Can you believe it?!  I just planted those three days ago!  What a great little project to do with young children since they wouldn’t have to wait long to see the fruits of their labor!

My sunflowers aren’t the only things growing around here.

I started a new project last week…the Belle Epoque Socks from the book Two-at-a-Time Socks.  I’m using Regia Silk sock yarn…a gift from a West Coast Oddball knitter.

Here’s my progress so far:

I’m getting ready for the heel flaps.  Fun stuff!  I’ll post more details when I finish the pair.

Life Doesn’t Stop For Christmas

It’s the day after Christmas, and Rooster is still sick.  And it’s not just the sniffles either.  We’re talking raging fever since Monday.

Sigh…

After sleeping fitfully on Christmas Eve, he woke up fever-free and a bit sweaty.  We thought his fever had broken for good.  He felt well enough to open presents at two different family gatherings.  And what fun we had!

The in-laws gave me enough money to pay for a ball winder and swift…the two biggest items on my list.  I must take a moment to brag.  I am a smart shopper.  After scoping out the KnitPicks swift, I went to Joann.com and found this swift.   My mother-in-law found a coupon in the paper, so after the discount, I paid only $49.19!  Woo Hoo!

Knowing that I could only use one code at a time, I placed a second order for a ball winder.  I hesitantly tried a coupon code that expired on the 24th, and it worked!  So, before taxes and shipping, I paid only $25!  Woo Hoo!  I have $31 left!

Santa brought me a couple of knitting magazines, Ghirardelli chocolate, a pack of pens, and a bag of Twizzlers.  I love eating Twizzlers when I get to go to the movie theater.  Boy am I wanting to see the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”  Finances will dictate that I wait for the DVD version.

My sister gave me a Kohl’s card. Soccer Chick looked over my shoulder and ooohhhed and aaahhhhhed.

The in-laws are extremely generous, going beyond the money mentioned above.  They also gave me a new tripod, camera battery, SD card for the camera, and a Kohl’s card, which Soccer Chick was eying greedily (keep your paws off my stuff Sista!).

The kids got new iPods from the grandparents, along with a few other goodies.  Teenagers are very expensive these days, so the number of gifts has gone down as the expenses have increased. They’re very pleased with their iPods, though.  Especially since the one that Rooster received last Christmas recently underwent a bath in the washing machine. Dh got a Blue Ray DVD player. He’s nearly giddy!  You know how men are with electronic toys.  Of course, I’ll probably have to figure out how to use it and then give him a lesson on “DVDs for Dummies.”

I only knit a couple of gifts this year.  My mother-in-law opened her’s:

Flirtation Cozy - Patons SWS (Natural Berry)

Flirtation Cozy - Patons SWS (Natural Berry)

And exclaimed joyously “Oh, how pretty.”

And then, with nary a pause, she said, “What is it?”

We all laughed!  It was too funny.

I explained the best I could without having a mug to demonstrate, and we moved on, with the next person taking their turn opening a gift (we all take turns…enjoying each person’s moment…youngest to oldest).

My sister later opened her gift…

This year, I went with a tea theme.  It started when I knit her a cozy as well:

Flirtation Cozy - Patons SWS (Natural Denim)

Flirtation Cozy - Patons SWS (Natural Denim)

Once I had the cozy, I worked on the rest of the basket.  I had seen an clip on the Today Show with Martha Stewart, and she had stenciled initials on teacups.  Of course, she’s Martha Stewart.  My version didn’t come out quite as nice, but my sister was happy all the same.  The neat thing was on Christmas Eve, my sister told me about how much she loves tea…

Isn’t it awesome when things work together that way?

After we finished Christmas with the in-laws, we headed to my sister’s house.  She and her husband (who happens to be Mr. AuburnChick’s brother…yeah, we’re from the South, okay?) were hosting the afternoon gathering with my mom and her husband.

Mom is notorious for giving my sister and me lots of gifts.  Usually, grandchildren are the ones who are spoiled in families, right?.  Not in our case.  Mom shops the sales after Christmas and purchases everything for the next year.  However, this year, she only carried in one box of presents.  The recent downturn in the economy has touched her as well.

Everyone got money.  Mom has had too much trouble with gift cards not working properly, so she opted for the green stuff.

She also gave my sister and me our own blankets…crocheted by a friend of her’s:

Can you say GORGEOUS?!  I think that if I had received this gift two years ago, I would not have fully appreciated it.  Now, I sat in awe.  Rooster has already used it to cover up with.  Fevers make you cold, you know.

Mom only gave us one set of Christmas towels this year (we usually receive a half dozen or so) and, of course, a set of salt and pepper shakers.  Rooster and I got a good laugh about that later.

During the visit with Mom, Rooster started feeling bad.  His temperature was going up, but he was trying desperately to hang in there.  After she left, we returned to the in-law’s house, where I finally pulled out the thermometer.  Well over 102.

Sigh…

He went down for a nap but didn’t feel any better when he woke up.  Everyone retired early for the night.  Rooster woke up once in the middle of the night.  His temperature was over 103.  I trudged downstairs for Gatorade, and we both fell asleep again.  We slept late.  Everyone slipped out of the house to shop.  I thought this was a good sign…sleeping in.  Not so.

He had a temperature of over 102.

I called the doctor.

After consulting with him and talking to the Mr., we decided that the best course of action was to return home.  Poor Rooster.  In his words, “Christmas has been pretty crappy this year.”

No kidding.

We left Soccer Chick with the grandparents.  She had money burning a hole in her pocket.  My mother-in-law called, telling me she was peeking around the corner where Chicky was in Victoria’s Secret buying unmentionables.  Nobody was allowed to go into the store with her.  This purchase was to be private.  I’m sure I’ll see whatever she bought hanging on the line soon.

Mr. AuburnChick got us home and settled and then left again…driving the hour and a half back to his parents.  They will be visiting his grandmother tomorrow, and sick children do not make for a safe environment for a 90-something lady. I made sure to check with my mother-in-law about how much Christmas money we should be receiving…especially after the Mr. hinted that he would be taking half for himself.

Not nice.

Santa, do you hear?  Put him on the Naughty List for next year!

When we got home, I found a box on my porch.  It was from one of the Oddball Knitters.  She sent me two completed blankets…

Pacific Blues

Pacific Blues

Lemonade Stand

Lemonade Stand

The sweet gal included an extra gift for me…

Yep…it’s a wool/silk blend and heavenly!  I can’t even imagine what the yarn will feel like knit up into socks!  What a generous gift!

The best thing about the unexpected return trip is that the dogs got to come home early.  They are extremely happy…

Molly - Freshly Bathed Sporting a Christmas Bandana

Molly - Freshly Bathed Sporting a Christmas Bandanna

Aubie - Classy Old Lady

Aubie - Classy Old Lady

Pele - Very Happy to See His Bed!

Pele - Very Happy to See His Bed!

So, it’s been a busy but strange Christmas.  Rooster is sitting on the couch surrounded by all of his Christmas goodies, reluctantly taking his temperature every couple of hours.  He says he’s going to get Thermometitis.  heehee

%d bloggers like this: