Sunday, May 31, 2009

Always Coming Back to Socks

I'm always returning to socks because I have a heavy rotation of loved ones who love their hand knit socks.

There's my mother-in-law who likes socks in bright colors with just a touch of ribbing in them to help them stay up. She just got a pair for Mother's day. Now Luke started wearing my socks just this past winter because he found them warm and comfortable. He likes plain patterns and green or muted colors. These two types of sock aren't terribly exciting to knit, but I do it for love. I get great satisfaction out of knowing that my loved ones' feet feel great because I found scraps of time in which to knit a sock.

Here's one such traveling sock, so-called because it travels with me every where:

The yarn is ONline Supersocke, knit in my standard 72 stitch pattern, but on a smaller needle than usual, a 2mm. I used about an inch of k1 p1 rib at the top and then did the rest of the leg and foot in k5 p1. I like the look of the wide ribs, it works in this type of yarn.

Remember a while back, I was asking about what sort of ease you knit into your socks? Most of you said you prefer to knit your socks with negative ease because they bag out with wear. Well this pair was my first attempt at tightening things up. It didn't work too well, because the smaller needle size made a sock that's a bit too snug. I wanted to give them to Luke, but he had difficulty getting them on and declared he wouldn't wear them. Jim was willing to tug, so he gets this pair.

Jim is one of my favourite people to knit socks for because he's willing to wear just about anything. Like lace and bright colors...

This is Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Socks for Evening wear, knit out of Kataish's handpainted yarn. Aren't the color's gorgeous? I love that they didn't pool and that all the shades and tones are so beautiful. She used KnitPicks Gloss Bare as a base, so these socks feel quite decadent too.

Next to Jim, I am my favourite person to knit socks for, because I can knit myself whatever I like! Plus, I save all the best sock yarn for myself. But my sock drawer is pretty full, but Luke and MIL only have a few pair, so I predict it will be a summer of dull-colored and plainly knit socks for me.

I'd better go stock up on some more podcasts....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Minor Adventure

Yes Saturday was lovely, and it seems like many others around blogland enjoyed their Saturday too. Sunday, wasn't too shabby either. While walking Dexter through the ravine in our neighbourhood we came across a big snapping turtle! We hurried home for my camera and I snapped the snapper:

I've never seen such a big turtle out and about like this. I've only ever seen them in zoos. I knew enough to keep Dexter well away. The turtle pulled its head in when Dexter and I came along, so we stood back a bit and the turtle started walking. Using the zoom on my camera, I shot this video:

I'm such a nature geek. I find it very exciting. I only hope the turtle got safely home again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Beautiful Day

It's lovely in southern Ontario at this time of year. Everything is so green and fresh and it's not too hot yet. Lovely weather to sit outside and knit. Doesn't this look inviting?

What you see here is the bridal wreath bush in bloom, a nice cup of tea, a cute ceramic sheep that was a gift from my mom, Cast On and Sticks and String on the i-Pod, two cushions on the chair, and yes! my Kauni is back in progress.

I procrastinated on returning to it all week, knitting some very boring socks instead. I'm glad I waited because when I picked it up again, I decided I like it. The hiatus did me some good. I believe I've been over thinking this thing. Today, I decided to just knit it. And a very enjoyable knit it was too.

Here's what was going on just behind my back at the other half of the yard:

Jim is re-laying the patio stones so they'll be level and to take out all the dirt that was supporting a good crop of weeds. Dexter is gnawing a fresh marrow bone we picked up for him as part of our Saturday errands. Luke is reading in the chair and Alex is lazing in the hammock.

What a great Saturday!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day Dreaming of Lilacs

In the deepest dark of January I started knitting this floral shawl in a lovely shade of fuzzy purple that reminded me of lilacs. It was a cozy project, the fuzzy yarn warmed my lap through the blustery weather but as spring returned I realized I would have to get the project done before it was too warm to work on it. And now, in bright spring sun, with the scent of lilacs in the air, I have finished the project.

The Dayflower Daydream by Eugen Beugler was a deceptively big project. I used almost five hanks of my mystery yarn, of which I had six. There is over one hank of yarn in the border alone. I thought it would be a quick dash to the finish, once the main body of the shawl was done, but that border was like crossing a desert. Every time I thought I must be getting close to done, I would assess and find that I'd hardly moved at all. It took me two full weeks to knit the border alone.

But wasn't it worth it? I think this shawl pattern is just perfect. There's not a thing you could take away or add to it. I love a design where all the pieces fit perfectly together.

This shawl is over 5 feet in diameter. The brushed acrylic yarn let me use a large needle (5mm). The result is a full-sized blanket that is lofty and light. Ravelry details.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mistaken Identity

I don't have any knitting to show you though I've been working hard on my Dayflower Daydream shawl. Last weekend I finished up the body of the shawl and was excited to start working on the border. The shawl had been swelling on the needles like a flower bud and it felt just ready to burst into bloom. So excited, that I took it with me on Monday for the Ravelry group meet-up at Coffee Culture (first Monday of the month, at 7:00, at the Dundas and Wellington location).

I'd been telling everyone that the yarn was silk and mohair. But Mary Jane took a careful look and said quietly, "I think that's acrylic." She pointed out that the fuzzy fibers were rather kinky and that mohair fibers are straight. I couldn't remember if I'd done a burn test. I was so excited by the color, quantity and source of the yarn, it was quite possible I hadn't.

So guess what I did when I got home?

And in case you'd like to watch it flare up, I posted a little video on YouTube. This yarn actually burns with a bright little flare for a bit and leaves behind a melted blob of plastic.

I'm very grateful to have found this out now, before I went through all the effort of pinning it out for a full blocking. I AM going to finish this shawl. I still think the color and fuzz of the yarn is beautiful and now I understand why it seems to sparkle a bit. Actually, knowing that it's acrylic opens it up as a gift option because I don't have to worry about a muggle trying to care for the lace.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

London Artists' Studio Tour

The London Artists' Studio Tour was on this weekend. Jim and I and our friend Laurie B managed to visit 9 studios all in one afternoon. It was a whirlwind of gorgeousness.

If you want to take the tour, you just get the map from the brochure, and drive to the house of the artists that interest you. No fee, no schedule. The artists must apply to be part of the tour and are selected for quality of their work as well as their studios being able to accomodate visitors. The artists benefit from exposure and a chance to sell their work. I heard they had a great turn out today, probably because the weather was just perfect for driving.

As much as I enjoyed looking at the art, I enjoyed seeing the artist's creative spaces even more. They reminded me of my knitting room so much, I felt an urge to nurture my space more than I do now.

I was also surprised at what fired me up. While I do enjoy visual media, the work that spoke to me the loudest was by a metalsmith who wasn't even part of the tour. I was so enthralled with his pieces, I just wanted to dive right into them. The artist (Richard Sturgeon) described them as experiments in negative space and that made me think of knitting lace.

It reminds me of a ball of yarn, or a mobius and I want to touch it, trace it, and warm it in my hands. Think of the colors it could reflect and the shadows it would throw. What a fun piece! His other pieces were trees, figures, and flowers, but the tangles thrilled me the most.

The tangle is sitting on a coffee table that I seriously lusted after, made of spalted maple by an different artist. (I didn't get the name, and I'd be ashamed if it weren't because I was so enthusiastic about the work.)

And that's the only picture that I have to show. I couldn't do the art justice with my photography skills. But I highly recommend checking out the Studio Tour website which has links to the artist's websites. There's a lot of talent in London.