I went to a quilt retreat and didn’t get any knitting done this week. I also have a ton of reading and homework. Yeah. However, I came across a sentiment I can still discuss with you this week. We were discussing quilting, and while a beginner class, or a parent or grandparent teaching a child to quilt on an easy, straight-lined pattern, there are two of us in this small group that are self-taught quilters. We came the conclusion that one thing we love about being self-taught is that you often don’t know enough to know better.

Ah, the tools of an avid beginner…I knew nothing…and yet…I feared little…

This can get you in trouble…but it can get you great results without someone saying, “No, you have to do it this way.” I’ve decided learning to knit on your own is similar. No one told me I had to only knit across in garter stitch. That is good. I get bored easily.

Watch for the improvement…the green were more interesting than the purple, and better (having learned better)

No one told me I had to knit one direction, turn it and purl the other direction in stockinette stitch. That is good. I get bored, well…yeah, easily. No one told me anything. I looked at stitches and patterns and decided I needed something a little challenging. I promise, I didn’t start with a cable needle in my hand, nor even dpns. I began with the flat knitting aluminum needles from goodwill with stoppers on one end and Caron Simply Soft acrylic yarn in a burgundy tone.

 

Meeting that pain of ripping out your work to create something more beautiful.

No one had to tell me to yarn over or how…I think most of us figure that out on our own…we just have to told what it’s called. I did have to figure out how to decrease after including all of my yarn overs in my first knit since I was ten years old. I used pictures in a greatly detailed small book I found at the J-store. I then learned how to increase, which comes easily.

Though not everything I knit comes out as planned, many of them turn out beautifully.

Then, I learned to decrease, out of necessity. When a panel that could become a blanket goes from 33 stitches to 51 stitches, or even as many as 80, if I recall correctly, one must learn to decrease. I didn’t rip out stitches until I was on my second or third pair of socks. It was one of these two pair…alas…I’ve since moved on and conquered many projects, mostly because no one was there to tell me it was hard, and if someone on Knitting Paradise said it was hard, someone said there was nothing to fear. That fearlessness has taken me on many journeys which I get to share with you. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

 

 

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Choices Made Easier

June 14, 2018

 

Cornhole boards…nothing says summer like cornhole boards…My niece wants to bid on them at Art Reach. They are not yet finished.

How do you choose whether to knit or quilt or paint Cornhole (Bean Bag toss) boards this week? The easiest way to make this choice is to run out of yarn after a tough row, and to get a last minute email requesting the Cornhole boards be painted.

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Close up of my progress…try not to count the stitch mistakes, please. They shouldn’t be noticeable in the end.

I got my second repeat of row one  on the Indian Cross Scarf finished, and hoped I had enough yarn to finish row two and maybe row three. I was pretty sure I was going to the yarn store this week. I just finished row two for the second repeat and found I had about sixty inches of yarn left. That’s sixty inches to cover 216 stitches + 7/9 extra stitches, which I’m not redoing. I had won the yarn chicken battle, but I would not win the war. The skein is out. As for the extra stitches, this is exactly why decreases were invented. I’ll recount before I start, after I pick a good join, and divide that number by 216 to figure out how often I need to decrease to keep it even. I also have the option of finding the stitches where I knit 9 stitches into 8 and decreasing there, but I think the even decrease will be less obvious.

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Current progress on the Indian Cross Scarf.

I also decided I had only three choices for the yarn chicken loss, but they’re not great choices. I could use another yarn, but I don’t have any cotton and acrylic, and I want these yarns to look close. I could knit with an entirely contrasting yarn…but I didn’t work that in from the beginning, and it won’t provide the effect I want. The third choice is most satisfying all around: I can buy more yarn.

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Same brook, different view. Such a lovely little space.

I decided to walk into the yarn store today and get more yarn, so I could pick a join, knit this up over the weekend, I hoped, and finish this to present at quilt retreat. The yarn store was out of this yarn color and didn’t have any good substitutes since I still have close to a third of this scarf left to knit. Luckily I had kept the label and she’s ordering another skein for me.

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I can’t think of a better place to read, knit, or relax right now…at least not within driving distance.

However, in the meantime, I’ll show you some pleasant places for future knitting between appointments or after exams when I don’t wish to study. I stumbled across the mini brook in the afternoon as I decided to prep for a writing appointment, which I moved to the gazebo, fountain and now brook area of my school’s campus. In the future, I may be found knitting there…or at least sneaking some photos…I think it will change as the year goes on, I mean…Look at this beauty.

Only two boards to paint, but I had to include the horn and unicorn hair artist, Jessica, posing with her work.

I also ended up with two Cornhole boards to paint this afternoon, once I confirmed my partners in crime were willing to lend me space. I may still be a little high on spray paint fumes, but it’s worth it so far…And they’re not done. Whatever you think of them, they’re not done yet. I’ll post that in the next couple of weeks when I can get better photos of the finished boards.

One of my favorite knitting phrases is “I’m halfway there.” The project starts to take shape and really look like what it’s supposed to become in this half. In addition, I know the end of any monotonous rows will come…I can hope. When you’ve cast on 216 stitches, you keep wondering if you’re ever truly close to halfway or if you need to count all the way to three-quarters of the way there.

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Beginning of the crossover stitches…this is what happens when you begin to knit, wrap the needle three times, complete the stitch and drop the elongated stitch in the next round.

But I like still having something to knit, while seeing it take shape. I like finishing and casting on a new project…but there’s a sense of sadness in finishing…even with the Ta-da moment. There’s a nice since of new as you steady the needles in the beginning. But the real magic happens at the halfway point…the design takes shape, the pattern shows through and you feel as if you are creating something special. Considering the number of stitches you put into each piece, you are creating a labor of love.

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This is how it looks once you cross four stitches over the other four stitches (yes, you are counting to 8 27 times), then knit them…it is a pretty effect

This week’s labor of love is pretty simple, a little fun, but not my style. It’s crossing over elongated stitches to make a great pattern called the Indian Cross Scarf. I did figure out what I was doing, and the knitting became smoother and easier after that, but it’s just not my thing. I’d almost rather cable across a total of 144 stitches any day. But I’m enjoying making this for a friend and wondering what in the 101 Designer One Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant I shall knit next.

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Half-way there on the Indian Cross Scarf…

I’m considering felted bowls or some matching hat, scarves and mitten/gloves patterns. Oddly, there aren’t many matching patterns out there. I’m a little surprised at that, but then, I haven’t taken the time to simply sit down and actually work out and design a pattern to create my own matching hat, gloves and scarf set. (Gloves may mean mittens, I’m undecided on knitting fingers yet.)

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This is another angle of what half way there looks like. It is turning into a lovely scarf.

In the meantime, on those stealth argyle socks, I’ve begun to make the toes for the second sock and can knit up to the size 3 needle point. Then I have to measure yarn and divide and hope for the best.

I confess, my knitting has been slightly neglected of late, but the Iris are blooming (with no help from me, thankfully).

1) Self-imposed deadlines kill knitting time: I’m not kidding, they really do. I had planned to do more evening knitting or early morning knitting, but then I got hopeful and I had a phone call made, and then plans were made…there may be knitting in the car next week.

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These lovely Iris flowers make me happy!

2) Certain volunteer activities might infringe on knitting time. However, I promote volunteering. It not only provides needed assistance and resources to others, the interactions you get from these exchanges are priceless. I did sneak in a round of knitting in public today as well.

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The socks I snuck in one round of easy knitting for this afternoon…

3) Complicated patterns infringe on knitting time…I may start a pair of vanilla latte socks for this, where I can simply knit a pattern up without much thinking required. As long as I have to follow a constantly changing sixteen stitch repeat or a “what the heck am I doing?” row for 216 stitches…there will be limited knitting in public.

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The back of the socks…don’t you think they’ll fit in a Victorian era home;-)

But I went to the Midland Center For The Arts Heritage Park training today, and I did think that not only the knitting but the wooden needles were period for the Victorian Gothic era…now i have many new subjects to learn about…Victorian furniture, dining accessories, kitchen tools and lending libraries. You guys may not hear the end of this, and yes, some sort of knitting that can be interrupted will be going with me…Now, which skein of yarn in the stash wishes to be vanilla latte? Or, do I take an extra shift and buy more yarn? Okay, okay, I heard you…extra shift it may be, but I’m checking the stash again…I may have just the thing…but that yarn wouldn’t be period…oh, I get your drift, now.

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This knitting may be tougher to pass…but it will be quite pretty, and I will likely have a simpler pair cast on by the time I volunteer…

4) Order take-out…cooking time also imposes on knitting time…There you have it, suggestions for finding more knitting time in your day…If you go anywhere, take the knitting with you, If you create a deadline, pad it with knitting time, if you knit a complicated pattern, cast on a simple pattern that will knit up easy and quick…and finally, order the take-out…especially if every recipe you’ve ever encountered takes twice as long as you planned. In the meantime, while I interrupt my knitting to look up books about this subject, allow me to ask: What other questions do you have about a hands on history house museum of the Victorian era? Let me know so I can look up answers before I show up for my first shift.

Finally, invest in books on tape when possible. That way you can read and knit…or at least play some poetry or comedy on youtube.com(or other streaming channel), to allow you to knit or sew while you get in some other forms of entertainment and some multi-tasking, while we are at it.

Until next time, Happy knitting.

…not once, but twice, Dear James got me some new needles.

 

  • Chiaogoo Red Lace Steel Circulars 40"  - 1
  • This could get exciting;-) He’s so good to me;-)

 

In the meantime, I’m playing “Are we there yet?” with the sock pattern, and hoping for the best for making two pair so large…I just may cast on a second sock shortly…but that will take some work and another gift finished and marked off the books before that happens.

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Need to work on settings…those are supposed to be green and purple…looks blue in this light…Perhaps as we knit on…p.s. one set of the new needles are covered.

I’ve also gotten this lovely large pair of knitting needles in size 10 (which are substituted for a size 9, because I’m a tight knitter). Since I have them, and I took the time to wind the skeins the hard way(the skiff is hiding, and the skeins weren’t sure they’d work with it anyways), I went ahead to cast on the Indian Cross Scarf by Marci Richardson from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. It’s an interesting pattern requiring 216 stitches to be cast-on…This is probably the definition of love…in case you were wondering.

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Still…casting on 216 stitches is a lot of love…

“It’s only a few rows,” she told me. The first time I looked at the pattern, I thought it was twelve rows…anyone can put up with this, I thought. Then I read the pattern. Wait, you want me to knit 4 rows before I begin the pattern…okay, not bad. But that makes sixteen rows. Then I read the pattern…after row 12, it says “repeat rows 1-12 one more time.” It’ll be fun they said…but that’s 28 rows total. Then I read rows 1 and 2…you want me to do what?!?…I get to wrap the stitch three times every other stitch…in the next row, I get to drop it…This should be fun, she thought…see why I’ve spent so much time quilting. Alas, maybe it will knit up easier than it looks. It’s a lovely scarf, but I suspect it’s going to be a challenge to knit up…

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Almost there…just a couple more rows…then, more knitting;-)

So, while I knit up three more rows and work towards a needle change, I also got another pair of needles in a surprise shopping experience…yes, I’m broke…but dear James and I have a tacitly quiet agreement, and he’s given approval. If I put something in his amazon.com cart for a reasonable price…he checks out before he notices it and buys it for me…So, when I need new knitting needles (that week, not that day), I simply click on the pair to add them to his cart, and let him surprise me with them. I like this system. One day, I’ll remember to add a second set of rechargeable batteries for the camera;-).

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Getting to the heel of the matter;-)

In exchange, I promise to occasionally make him a tasty bacon covered meatloaf surprise on my nights off or other tasty dishes he likes. I earned those knitting needles this week, really.  It was a good meatloaf…and photos are not possible as it was a little too good to wait to take photos…Now to bag up the chicken soup for when I get sick.

 

How Not to Complicate Things: 1) Do what the pattern says. 2) Buy the needles. 3) Do not say “No” to more yarn. I haven’t exactly fallen down the rabbit hole this week, but I have inspected their den’s quite well, and usually come up with yarn or fabric or Squishy Mail!

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I think I love this yarn…now to pair it with cream or buy a small amount of gray?

Squishy Mail

I don’t even recall who to blame…I think it’s Midnight Knitter, who hosts the “Yarn, Books and Roses” blog. I was catching up last week, and she mentioned her Mixology shawl and in Mixology Finale with all of it’s colors. One of those colors was called Dubrovnik, by Madelinetosh. Since Dubrovnik, Croatia was my first port in the Navy and where I first experienced Beef Carpaccio (Car-patch-y-Oh), I was off to find this yarn. And I did. And then I clicked buy before I could second-guess myself or ask if my budget was playing nice this week. It’s not, but we made room for new yarn. It arrived today! So, excuse me while I squish this skein!

 

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I mean, who wouldn’t be petting and squishing right now…

Complicating Matters

Okay, I’m back from my squishing and petting excursion, but not for long. As I knit on the Stealth Argyle pattern by Eunny Jang, I realized I was getting near the needle change part. The needle change has me quite anxious. These socks are supposed to end up 14” tall…Do they know I have man calves? Apparently not, I may have to see how far I can get.

DSCN3432Please ignore those toes…it got a little warm for knit socks today.

So, I stopped at the local yarn store to buy needles (and ended up with more yarn, but that’s next week’s post as I was a bad bunny and didn’t get photos of the other yarn. I’ll post that next week, perhaps after I get more needles…So, I buy the size 3 Cubics by Knitter’s Pride. I’m starting to love the Cubics, and I’ve been careful not to break these yet…The dog can be a little hard on knitting needles.

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Is there enough yarn? We’ll find out…

I’m still not sure I will go to the full 14 inches on this sock. To be honest, it scares the daylights out of me. So, last night, I got out the knitting scale. I have only about 35-38 grams of yarn on the sock so far, and I have plenty of yarn (so the scale tells me) to knit these up as the pattern says. But I left the numbers at home with the scale and the newest yarn. So, I’m currently in a position to ‘just do what the pattern says.’ Most of you knit, you know how hard this is;-).

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The backside of this sock…

Yet, here I am, weighing yarn, determining if these socks should be fraternal or identical twins and thinking about starting the second sock before I finish the first…I mean, I can rewind the ball, right? (See why I stay in school so much…I don’t have time to consider these options when I’m in school). So, to wind again or not to wind again…and I have enough needles to pull it off; At least in size 2’s.

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I’m loving this low-immersion dye fabric as well…It makes a good backdrop with my pansies;-).

 

Alas, in the meantime, I’m thinking identical twins with opposing cuffs (out of necessity and preference), but we’ll see what story the yarn will tell in the end. In the meantime…don’t you love the low-immersion dye fabric background. (Yes, when money smooths out, I’ve found a potential new hobby, which will likely include yarn…no, I’m not starting a new blog for it). In the meantime, I’ll leave you to enjoy the photos and get photos of the latest yarn haul for next time…when I discover just how complicated these socks will really be. Until then, Happy Knitting!

…I should be knitting. I’ve spent a lot of time quilting of late. I’ve also been studying my tush off to get through finals. I think it was worth it, though I missed a perfect semester by one A-. At least it was in the most challenging class. I even got a 100% on my last test in my Learning & Memory class (which was a pretty cool class). Now I wish I could remember what it was all about.

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I do think the heel is a bit wonky…but i’m hoping that is because of the needle set-up, not due to knitting failure…that would break my heart.

But I drowned those memories with a celebratory bottle of Chianti, and yes, I offered to share. However, I’ve made it back from quilt retreats and I’m not taking classes so far this summer…so I finally get to knit again. Yeah!

The dogs and cats enjoy this as the knitting takes up less of my lap than studying did. They feel less neglected when they get to “help” me knit. I’ve even got some neat photos of the sock I’ve been working on. Usually, I only get cat help as Briannag watches. This week, Briannag had to try to help…not sure if she was trying to eat the yarn or kick it all of my lap as she climbed on. She’s technically NOT a lap dog. (Don’t tell her that.)

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Latest progress on the stealth argyle sock…I’ll try to get some angles to show these off soon…

I will admit small concern that I’d feel like the leg was taking forever ask I knit this toe-up. I fear that will be true, but only because the leg is 14”…if she goes all the way. I may cry mercy earlier. However, the leg repeats are going about as quickly as the foot, if not quicker…but we’ll see if you need to remind me of that in 3-6”. In the meantime, I have to finish one or two more quilts and get some knitting done in the evenings to feel like I’m making progress.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

*Pattern is Stealth Argyles by Eunny Jang in Sock Knitting: Master Class by Ann Budd. I am not a master. I just don’t know enough to know better;-).

 

 

Allow me to explain this situation…

Busy month

I have an insane graduate student instructor. Graduate students are supposed to be a little bit insane. I mean, those classes make your undergrad look like busy work. But when you add teaching and a touch (or about 1000% control freak and finger puppets on a thirty minute presentation of why she hates Freud) you get one of the craziest experiences ever, like open book open note weekly quizzes that don’t always match the reading and a Term Paper due April 1st at 5PM. This was not an April Fool’s. And yes, the same April fool’s day that housed Easter. I’m not a huge celebrator of Easter myself, but my family is, and I missed it because of this darned paper.

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Trying on the sock to see if I am ready for the increase…this lighting did not come out as well as I wished…

About the Conference

I also had a literacy conference to attend mid-month, which changed my sleep schedule from overnights to bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at eight a.m. I was too exhausted that night to even consider going down to the hotel bar Granite City (which had a great titled beer: Barn-Raising Irish Red; as if it were named for me). I considered knitting, but only brought the needles, not the pattern for the stealth argyles by Eunny Jang. Oops. I considered tying a quilt, but didn’t have the scissors to tie off more, so I tried sleeping and found the scissors as I was packing up the hotel room at those odd morning hours I don’t do. I also met a fellow knitter there who is from Midland, a town about 25 miles from me. I was so excited to chat about knitting, even though literacy is one of my first loves as well.

But I got some decent pictures…it was too cloudy for great ones…and Mackinaw is coming, I promise.

The view of the river from my hotel room…and yes, that’s Canada over there. I’ll spare you the traffic photos…for now.

In addition, I saw a certainly well-meaning post by someone in the blog world I greatly respect. I will be happy to be half as good as she is when I grow-up. Knit wise, professionally and blog wise…in addition to creatively. I will just say the post mentioned something I happen to do, and mostly because I do not have a budget to do it differently. But it hit home, so I will be looking into better options…mostly because she is right and I’m hoping to improve your knitting experience.

Lost And Found or Meeting Fellow Knitters

Yes, there was knitting this week, and great luck…which may be inspiring something even crazier. Let’s talk about that luck. After submitting the crazy term paper (due before the end of the term), I began studying for my Learning and Memory class. I also felt worn-out from a frenzied week of extra, semi-planned class work–which meant a cold was coming on. I do not have time to be sick this semester! So, I went to my class Tuesday afternoon, taking my knitting bag with me–like a good knitter. Later, in my classes, I thought I’d left my knitting bag in the car, and didn’t give it much thought. I did have a cold or other bug sneaking up on me.

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I must admit, I like this set-up for photos better…at least I got something accomplished at the hotel…

The next morning, I woke up early for a meeting and found an email in my inbox about a small sewing bag left outside of the room I have class in. If you can describe what’s in it, you can have it back. I thought: No,it’s not mine. I left mine in my car. But, wait…I don’t remember bringing my knitting bag out of the car. Maybe I did leave it behind at class. I then replied to the email with the laundry list of yarns and the type of needles, as these aren’t just any needles, and we confirmed it was my bag. I thanked her profusely as I’ve been working on this sock all semester.

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And here’s what the top of the foot looks like…It’s going to be an adventure to photograph this to show off the argyles. I may have to call in help;-)

She offered to teach me magic loop, and I thanked her heartily, but I’d already done it and didn’t love or hate it. Though we had a nice convo about knitting. I’ll have to stop in to show her these socks when I’m done. In the meantime, I’m finding a way to label each of my knitting bags, so it will only take a phone call to return it to me if I get sick while studying for a test again. In the meantime, I won’t show you photos of a half done heel, but I will say,

“Happy Knitting!”

 

This week was the beginning of repair season…and back to the band concert…as well as two exams, versus the normal one exam per week. I’m always feeling behind right now…and am, but it’s also the beginning of Spring Break and I’m a bit studied out.

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foot of the knitted sock…I think I nearly doubled this sock in size this week.

So, let’s start with the fun stuff…a two hour long band concert. Festival is coming  (I have to check that term with my Dear James every year), and is technically done, I believe…or will be by the time you get to this post, likely. So, guest judges are invited, and the band’s performance is critiqued. This year, the band instructor decided to have the critiques done in the band room as the next band played, and she separated the high school concert band from the jazz band, so they didn’t miss performance. It was a reasonably decent compromise, as parents (and sometimes aunts) don’t wish to be at a band concert until 7PM, when it starts at 4PM.

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I can’t wait to show you what it does, and find ways to photograph those Stealth Argyles by Eunny Jang from Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting: Master Class.

So, What’s a doting girl to do for a planned hour and a half of band concert…my niece was in the third of four performances…and the band instructor told us she was aiming for 5:30 PM. I couldn’t do homework, and you guys all know knitting is portable. So, the socks came out, and I worked with the lower lighting, and made progress.

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They look lovely when done…now to find an intricate pattern for this green;-).

Then on Monday, I forgot nearly everything I planned to work on, except for the green Vanilla Latte socks I haven’t been able to wear for some time. I’m getting tired of shuffling pinks, so I cut off the new green yarn, and began darning the sock. Over half way through, I found the darning egg that’s usually in my bag;-). Yes, two exams in a week tend to throw me off. But I got the socks repaired, and test-wore them today. I couldn’t tell they had been repaired. I decided that was a success. So, here’s the picture…if you can’t tell where I fixed them, why should I?

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And a gratuitous picture of my feet once again…It’s been too long since I’ve had to photograph my feet;-).

As for the rest, I have to finish gifts by next week. So, I’m keeping up on the knitted socks, and working on quilting a gift (It’s only a table runner…I hope I’m not sewing on the binding Tuesday night when I arrive). Alas, I’m doing research this week and taking the knitting with me to my aunt’s house for a short visit. I’ll fill you in next Thursday when I return. Perhaps I’ll get back to some other repairs for some favorite socks. In the meantime, I’m going to have another drink, and quilt some more while making some tasty treats. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

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P.S. The hat is done…but that’s another story. If you like it, I’ll help you find the pattern;-).

…don’t believe me, check the quilting blog I posted last night. It seems to be a theme this week. Then, I decided I needed to get some sock yarn for repairs, and some nylon for reinforcement at my local yarn shop. Do I really have to tell you what happened? Of course I do! I’ve got pictures…DSCN3137

AS if you didn’t already guess…but this is what happened;-).

I walked into the shop with a green sock and a gray sock that are beloved and need repair. I found the reinforcement yarn to match the gray. I considered the green yarn for the repair, and I only needed one skein. Then there was a skein of multi-color yarn I’d used for another favorite pair of socks–which I managed to wear a repairable hole into as well. So, into my caring arms it went.

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I’ve been missing wearing these, they go with everything.

Then the shop owner got off the phone. And the trouble began. She’s not a good influence on me. She complemented the green yarn, and said how it’d make a great pair of socks. I almost wish I’d bought a contrast skein, but instead I picked up another 50g skein knowing I’d only need a few yards, so I may as well make socks. Perhaps I’ll find some fun contrasts to play with it later.

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These also go with a lot of my shirts and I was lucky to find a close match…

Then as she checked out another lady, I hear, “There’s a signature yarn on the table. I think there’s some sock yarn left.” She knows my name…she said, “sock yarn.” And to the table I went, and peeked into the basket, and there it was…Apple Orchard for Apple Tree Lane. It’s exclusive…and it’s pretty…and it’s mine. See…I don’t even know what pattern to knit with it, but it’s mine.

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Such a lovely green…I need more green socks.

And while I’ve been considering what pattern to knit and wanting to get back to knitting my own socks…I’ve nearly finished the C.C. Copycat Beanie hat. I’m so glad, I was getting bored with the pattern. It was only fourteen rows and three repeats…but six rows of purling and four rows of 1×1 rib in one pattern is just uncalled for. Someone hand me something with a bit of challenge to it…that I like. Alas, it’s nearly done…and I’m torn about the pom-pom…I’ll ask the gift giver and let you know next week.

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Then, and then…it’s piece d’resistance. Signature yarn for some lovely socks…

Now to find the right pattern for these babies. It’s a lovely little rabbit hole…come join me. Until next time, Happy Knitting!