Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sock Knitting Master Class

No, I did not take a master class in sock knitting but I did buy a book of the same name that was written/compiled by Ann Budd, a knitting rock star.

The book is very comprehensive and you can find great information on all aspects of sock knitting.  It even discusses all the various ways to knit a sock with different tools... four or five double pointed needles, two circular needles, one circular needle and the magic loop method.  The DVD is pretty good and if you are a visual learner the DVD is a real bonus.

What I like is that the author is not married to a single method of knitting socks.  Every method I have ever heard of for top down and toe up knitting is included.  You can sample the methods and find what you like or dislike before committing to a full set of double pointed needles or short circular needles or more importantly, purchasing patterns or books using a particular method that you find out that you hate.

I tried out one of the patterns for toe up knitting by another knitting rock star Cat Bordhi.  Cat is known for her use of two circular needles to create her toe-up socks and the pattern also introduces Judy Becker's 'Magic' cast-on (not so magic, just tedious IMO) and Jeny Staiman's stretchy bind-off (good choice for the sock pattern I tried).  The pattern is called Pussy Willow Stockings.

This is how they looked in the book:
Very pretty!

Here is how one of mine looks:

Not so pretty but definitely adequate.  The yarn I used is from a company called Nako and is 50% wool and 50% acrylic so they should be very durable.  I like the variety of colors in them though the yarn had a tendency to split while I was working with it.  I have no idea where you could buy this yarn as I received it in a yarn swap this past Christmas and I see on the website that this yarn is made for the Turkish domestic market.

The instructions were well written though you really need to keep your eye on them or you could easily get lost.  As in most books like this, every pattern is by a different sock designer so you can get a good overview of each designer's style.  The pattern I used will probably lead me to seek out other patterns by Cat...though I will probably not use her two circular needle method of construction as I am addicted to my beautiful double pointed needles from Knit Picks.

If you want to sample different sock knitting methods this is the book for you.  It is not for the beginner for their first sock....that pattern would be the 100 gram sock pattern in this post.  I'm going to try some more patterns from the book as there are some other intriguing construction methods just itching to get on my needles.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Five Years

Five years and two days ago I was told that I was being laid off from the Big Bank where I worked.  After twenty seven years of service they caught up with me and determined that I was no longer needed.

Five years and one day ago I started this blog because I knew I would need to write even if it wasn't financial analyses of the performance of certain groups within the Big Bank.

Five years less nine days Alex came into my life.

Right now I am a little over-whelmed by all the things that have happened in the past five years.

In so many ways I am not the same person today that I was then.  I became an orphan, took up knitting again, spearheaded a charitable sewing group, lost my gall bladder,  developed RA, made some true friends and lost some not-so-true friends, decided to tough it out and not look for a new paying job and, in a couple of months, I will turn sixty and officially be eligible for many senior citizen discounts.

In so many other ways I am still the same person.  I still do not suffer fools gladly, cannot sing or dance without causing pain to myself or others, or keep a 'company ready' house.  I still insist  that I should do my own lawn mowing, though my neighbor insists on doing the front lawn.  My teeth are still crooked and my allergies just keep getting worse.

And every morning I wake up and I am glad that I did.

Not a stellar record but that's my story and I am sticking to it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Twinkle Quilt

I am so excited that I was able to actually finish a quilt this past week.  I started Twinkle, from the Kim Brackett book 'Scrap-Basket sensations', back in January and it has taken me this long to get it together, basted and quilted.  A long drawn out process but I think it was worth it.

It came out at about 70" square which is larger than the original design because I added two extra rows.  The fabrics came primarily from my South African indigo stash of fat quarters with the stars all coming from the same piece of fabric that had four shades of yellow in it.  That outer border was actually ordered over the phone from Stitchin' Heaven when they ran out of the fabric that I really wanted for the border.  I think it all works together.

A surprise for me was that the indigo fabrics only bled a little in the wash.  I used a whole handful of color catchers and they came out bluer than they were before but not solid blue.  The lightest yellow looks a little duller to me but my fears of everything turning blue seem to have been misplaced.

This Saturday is another meeting of the Strip Club and I think we are supposed to be working on UFO's.  I'm going to bring something that has been sitting in my to do pile for several years...another quilt but totally different from a something made from strips.

If you like the quilts I have made from this book, go buy the book.  I have to buy another one as I destroyed my copy with large cup of cup with cream and sugar.  What a sticky mess!

 And even if Alex likes this quilt it will not go into the bathtub with all the other doggie quilts!