Friday

[knitting] Ugly Hat

I had one ball of Queensland Collection Himalayas lying around.

Himalayas


It doesn't look too terrible, right? I decided to knit a hat. I had already seen some nasty color pooling that this yarn makes so I opted for a seed stitch pattern to try to tone that down...

Seed Stitch Hat


Seed Stitch Hat


I realized a few inches into the hat that it was going to be too wide. Rather than starting over, I kept on going and decided to knit it too long as well and then felt the sucker. Here's the felted version:

Seed Stitch Hat


It is Ugly. I like the cloche shape and it fits well but it's so Ugly. I blame the yarn and the Ugly colorway. I'd be knitting along, "Burgundy... Brown... Peacock teal... Peach? ... Mint?" Blah the peach and mint colors really ruined the thing. Overall, everything works together to look like barfy camouflage.

So I'm trying to think of things to do with it. I tried folding up the hem on one side and making the other side pointy (to make a Robin Hood style hat) but that just looked weird. I suppose I could attached a handle and make in bag of some sort, but I wouldn't want to carry it about in public- children would cry, dogs would howl, a solar eclipse would occur, etc. My sister suggested cutting it. Maybe cut out some flower shapes to attached to something else? For now, it's just sitting around, being Ugly at me.

Thursday

[knitting] Denmark Socks

Finished the socks:

Denmark Socks


Socks


I call them Denmark Socks because I was flipping through pattern books, looking for a cable pattern to spice up the leg on a new pair of socks, when I saw something that would work in Knitting on the Road. So these are loosely based on those Denmark Socks.

Because I was using a worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220 Superwash), I only have 6 cable repeats around the leg, with a "purl 2" between each one. The leg is still quite stretchy because the 6-stitch cable is actually two 3-stitch cables.

I'm ready to cast on for the next pair of socks. I have two balls of Berroco Comfort in navy blue and I'm interested to see how the nylon/acrylic yarn machine washes and dries.

Wednesday

[knitting] Slippers- Ta da!

Slippers with suede soles attached:

Slippers


Slippers


Slippers


Slippers


Sewing the suede bottoms on was a little tricky. I used leftover Patons Classic Merino Wool in the olive green color and a thin-ish darning needle. Working around the heel was easy but around the toes was more difficult with my hand up inside the slipper.

All the sewing probably only took a couple hours. I think it looks uneven in a Frankenstein way but Dollar says it looks rustic in a Vermont way. He loves them and is wearing them all the time now.

Tuesday

[knitting] Luxe Neck Warmer

I've made some good progress on the Yoke Pattern Jacket and decided to reward myself with some instant gratification. I saw some really pretty Luxe Neck Warmers (pattern in Knit Two Together) on Ravelry, knit with Patons SWS. Here's mine, knit in one evening with one ball of Natural Navy:

Neck warmer


Neck warmer


Neck warmer


It's just a pretty feather-and-fan stitch tube to wear around your neck. It's best with a coat that zips/closes all the way to the neck, rather than a tailored one with a v-shape in the front (because the neck warmer doesn't go down that far). It is easier to wear than a scarf, you just pull it on and off like a hat, and it looks very posh on.

Since this was so easy and I had a different color SWS in my stash, I decided to make another one. What a freaking disaster.

Attempt 1: I decided to make the second one a smidge looser, so instead of casting on 72 stitches, I included another 8-stitch repeat. I cast on 80 stitches. I knit almost two rows before coming across a knot in the yarn. I cut it out, ripped back all my work and restarted.

Attempt 2: I knit almost two rows before coming across another knot in the yarn. I cut it out, ripped back all my work. Now, I know I'm smarter than yarn so I decided to re-wind the entire ball to see if there are any more knots. I got my ball winder out and wound only a small portion (probably just another two rows worth) before finding ANOTHER knot. I was able to wind the remaining ball without incident. I had another ball of SWS in the same color and was able to wind that without finding any knots (although there were a few wonky irregular spots).

Patons SWS


Attempt 3: With the larger ball of SWS, I cast on 80 stitches and was able to knit three rows before realizing I had the wrong number of stitches. The feather-and-fan pattern is a 12-stitch repeat, not an 8-stitch repeat. I ripped back.

Attempt 4: I cast on 84 stitches and knit three rows before seeing an error I made in feather-and-fan pattern and would need to tink back almost the entire row to fix it so I might as well just rip the whole thing and give up.

I took this as a sign. I had so many false starts and errors that I came to the conclusion that this yarn doesn't want to be in this pattern. I could have knit the first neck warmer in the entire time it took me to make all these errors. On the other hand, do you think this is a test? Should I be tenacious enough to carry on and force this stupid neck warmer of endless torment to happen? I say no. Instead, I pulled out a couple balls of the uber light Sublime Kid Mohair to make a tam. Now the question is, can I finish the tam in time for Christmas...

[knitting] Knitting Ornaments

Here's a picture of the Christmas tree (in the dark- it's wasn't so pretty in the bright flash photo):

Christmas tree


I like lots of different lights and a junkpile of ornaments. It should be friendly, not uptight.

And the knitting ornaments I made:

Knitting Ornament


Knitting Ornament


Knitting Ornament


I wish I had knit the Aran tree skirt from Handknit Holidays, and a couple stockings. I'll do those for next year but I should probably cast on for them right now to ensure they're completed in time.

Monday

[amy] Blur

Where did the weekend go? I woke up this morning moaning, "Nooooo. Nooooo. I don't want to go to work."

Last Thursday night I wasn't home alone like I thought I would be- my sister came down to work on her drawings while I knit and watched Angel. Also, Dollar's mother stopped by to drop off THE most BEAUTIFUL poinsettia I've ever seen. She got it at a special poinsettia place in Newport, NH. You know those puny, half-dead poinsettias at the grocery store? THIS is the poinsettia those poinsettias aspire to be. It's easily two feet tall and the flower heads are as wide across as large dinner plates, but I digress.

Friday Dollar was working the night shift so I really was home alone. My mother called and asked if I wanted to go shopping on Saturday. Um... Um... I actually wanted to spend the morning with Dollar after not really seeing him for a couple days but shopping with my mom is like winning the lottery, so... Um... Okay. She said she'd pick me up at 7 am.

!!!!

I got up at my regular going-to-work time on Saturday morning, said good-bye to Dollar and came downstairs to see my mother peering through the glass of my front door at 6:50 am. We went down to Manchester, NH, shopped till we dropped, stopped into a Korean Food Store for supplies, and were back home in the Upper Valley by 2:30 pm.

I greeted Dollar and his brother (who had just arrived home for the holidays) and called my sister to have her come with me to get a Christmas tree.

That very same night we made the long haul down to Claremont to see The Golden Compass. This was a great movie and I've since pulled out the trilogy to re-read.

Since Saturday was a full tilt 6 am to 12 am day, all I wanted to do Sunday was nothing. Maybe have a leisurely cup of coffee. Knit more on the socks. Watch some Angel. ... That's about it. I managed a few chores but the big thing was decorating the tree.

Getting Dollar to decorate a Christmas tree is like getting a vegan to butcher a cow. The situation is very, "This has nothing to do with me. I hate this, why are you making me do it?" He sees this time of year as blatant consumer gluttony and he hates feeling obligated to buy stuff. Me, I see it as a time to give presents to people I love. We go around and around in circles on this. It's a holiday that he's personally not interested in but is forced to participate in.

So we decorate the tree and I tip toe around him like I'm in the middle of a minefield. I don't say, "Oh my god, like how much fun are we having right now?" because I know what the answer will be. Instead, I take out the Star Wars ornaments for him to hang. I have him help me put the Mr. and Mrs. Claus ornaments in a decidedly x-rated position. I let him do what he wants- like placing a Japanese lantern ornament on top of the tree instead of a star. WTF? I think he did the same thing last year.

We turn off the downstairs lights and admire the tree in the dark. It's a hodge-podge of confusing lights and old ghetto ornaments, but it's ours. We go upstairs and I play a game of Catan on the Xbox (I'm so addicted to this game it's a little sad) and then crash into bed. A minute later the alarm goes off and I started moaning, "Nooooo. Nooooo. I don't want to go to work."

Thursday

[amy] Small domestic disputes

Dollar is going to be away at poker tonight so that leaves me home alone. I have big plans to make miso soup. Dollar doesn't like miso soup when it get it at restaurants so I'm going to make it just for moi. Fish stock, tofu, miso and scallions. How hard can it be? I might also rehydrate some dried black mushrooms to add. I've been craving mushrooms like crazy lately. Yesterday I bought shiitake mushrooms to saute and eat with rice. Mmmm, I also like sauteed oyster mushrooms with rice. Nom nom nom.

It's probably best that the boyfriend spends an evening away. I was hopping mad at him yesterday. The alarm went off in the morning and what do I see but a light left on in the other room. I threw off the covers and stormed into the game room to see the light, Xbox, tv and dvd player on. All of it was left on all night. This happens way too often and I think it's a waste of electricity. PLUS, we had just replaced the Xbox (the old one was a piece of useless crap) and on the FIRST night we have it, it's left on all night. I turn everything off and storm back into the bedroom.

I stood at the foot of the bed for a moment, with murder (or at least serious bodily harm) on my mind. Dollar breathed slowly... evenly... totally... care... free... I resist the urge to punch him in the side of his head to wake him up. I get back in bed, then immediately get back up because I'm so hopping mad. I take a loud shower (slamming doors and drawers), stomp down to the stairs to make coffee and proceed to LOUDLY do the dishes (at 6:15 in the morning), start my car to warm it up and get my bag ready for work.

So now comes the time for the kiss good-bye. Right before I go to work, I usually sit on the side of the bed, in the quiet morning gloom, rubbing his back or chest through the covers. I gently tell him I'm off to work, have a good day, and then I kiss him good-bye. This morning, I wanted to ram by knee into his groin, wrap my hands around his neck and yell, "You f*cker! You left everything on again! I hate it when you do that- I HATE IT!"

Let's pretend I leave the house without the kiss. What if something terrible happens and that's the way things end? How terrible would that be? I would feel guilty for being so petty that I withheld a small token of love because I was mad. I can't do that, so instead I stomped over to his side of the bed and gave him a mean kiss in the cheek. It was like a headbutt but using your lips instead of your forehead. He wakes up and says, "Ow, what's wrong?" I reply, "You f*cker! You left everything on again! I hate it when you do that!" I wait. He looks at the other side of the bed to see if his nice girlfriend is there. He turns back to me and says, "Sorry." I sigh and leave for work.

We eventually resolved things (most of the blame when to my hormones and viciously crazy mood swings). In the end, it's not that big of a deal. I'm sure I do things that drive him up the wall. My socks are are one thing. If my feet get hot in the house, I'll kick off my socks wherever I am. So there are pairs of dirty socks littered throughout the house and I know it bothers him because he'll pick them up and pile them in one place.

Is there anything your significant other does that makes you want to punch them upside their head?

Monday

[knitting] Project Fidelity Ended

December is here. Over the course of November, I was able to complete the following on the Yoke Pattern Jacket:

Back
Left Front
98% of Right Front

All that's left is:

Collar
2 sleeves
Seaming
Buttons

Whatever, I'll get to it when I get to it. As soon as December 1 arrived, I picked up a sock project that I put down a month ago and haven't touched since. It felt weird knitting with larger needles and smoother yarn after 30 days of small needles and sticky wool.

I decided I don't like being project-monogamous. I also just cast on for a hat because I have to be doing several different projects at once.

My mom showed up at my house this weekend wearing a scarf and tam I knit for her. I always see socks that I've knit for Dollar on his feet. My sister says she loves her lace scarf (although it's beginning to stretch lengthwise out of control). My co-worker has started coming into work wearing a winter hat I knit for her. It's so nice to see people wearing and using the things I've knit for them!

Thursday

[cooking] Recent recipes

I've been trying to improve my cooking. In the past couple of months I've made:

- Irish Stew
This is from The Joy of Cooking and it was perfect. I had a mere pound of lamb shoulder chops so I cut the recipe in half. It was perfect- I loved how the thinly sliced potatoes broke down and thickened the stew. Great dinner for two using only lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, some herbs and stock.

- Thomas Keller's Favorite Simple Roast Chicken
This is my go-to roast chicken recipe. It's so easy and it always comes out great. Dollar and I eat the legs and wings for supper, then I use the breast/body meat to make chicken salad the next day.

- Ina Garten's Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Made these to bring to Thanksgiving and while they were crispy, salty and delicious straight out of the oven, they didn't fare so well after sitting around for a couple hours before we ate. AND it was completely unpleasant to return home to house that smelled like old, stinky brussels sprouts.

- Desert Candy's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Dollar called home and said he had to work late. I told him I was in the middle of making these cookies and he said he was coming home.

- Lobster and Corn Chowder
I just improvised this, using my trusty Clam Chowder recipe, but adding Lobster and Corn. I brought this to a Soup Swap.

- Pulled Pork
Made this as part of a Mexican Menu when we had a dinner guest over. We had warmed fajita wrappers that we filled with pork (I left a pork loin to slow cook in the crock pot all day, then I shredded it and lightly added spices based on what I read in this carnitas recipe), salsa, lettuce, jack cheese, red onions, and a side of red kidney beans and rice.

-Pancakes
I'm not a fan of pancakes- I think they're boring. Dollar is the #1 superfan of pancakes but the poor guy never gets them because I'm the cook and I mostly just cook what I like. One night he said he would like pancakes for supper. Pancakes. For supper. And bacon. I'm even less of a fan of having breakfast for supper. I don't understand it. It's like driving on the other side of the road. You know it's legal and it's okay but it feels weird.

I've got more things in the freezer to play with:

- Soups from the Swap
- Local beef chorizo
- Duck

That's right- A WHOLE DUCK! I saw it at the grocery store and couldn't resist! I have NO IDEA what to do with it but I'm so excited to cook a duck!

[knitting] Hopeless

I tried. I tried to knit the Yoke Pattern Jacket in 30 days but I couldn't. There are two days left in November and I'm still working on the right front. Siiiiigh. I've taken many days off this project because I didn't want to force the knitting process and make thousands of hate stitches. I wanted it all to be love, which meant taking time off and breaks.

The suede slipper soles I ordered came and I attached them to Dollar's felted clogs with safety pins, preparing the sew them on. I had Dollar walk around in the slippers and he said he didn't like how his toes poked over the lip of the suede bottom. I realized this is because the suede bottoms are an inch too small. So I now I've ordered the next larger suede bottoms. I wonder if I can use the smaller soles on my slippers...

I don't think I'll be doing much gift knitting for Christmas. Maybe a tam for my mom and finish up some socks for Dollar. I'm going to try to finish up the jacket for Christmas.

I'm going to be making a trip to Patternworks with the knitting krew on December 16. I started browsing the website to get an idea of what I'd like to pick up there. Some of their house yarn (Bretton, Sunapee, Meredith Bay) for sure.

Monday

[amy] Post Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Hope you all had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. Mine was a little busy. Thursday was, of course, Turkey day but it was also Dollar's birthday. I give him Elder Scrolls Oblivion Game of the Year Edition and he has since been locked in the game room with it. The world in the game is really beautiful, I must admit.

Friday morning I was one of the crazy people that got up pre-dawn to do some Black Friday shopping. I really couldn't resist the sale on Patons Classic Merino Wool that the craft store was having: 50% off PLUS 20% off all your purchases at the checkout counter. It was still dark out and there were tons of people out shopping. It was eerie because while the store was crowded with people, no one was talking. It was too early in the morning (6:30am) to be chatty. I sleepily got my yarn- 10 balls of heathered gray (more than enough for a sweater) which would normally be $60, for only $24. I went home and get back into bed. Later, Dollar wouldn't believe me when I said I got up, went out shopping and was back in bed before 7am. He never even woke up.

Friday afternoon I had knitting girls come over to make ornaments, drink hot cider, knit and watch Ratatouille. That night, Dollar and I went up to my sister's to play Scene It. I always get screwed over with these games. Take this for example:

Amy gets a My Play and is instructed to name the movie based on the picture. It's a picture of a house with Christmas lights and some cars (one of them red) in the driveway. She says, "Um.. Um.. Um... Meet the Fockers." She's wrong. It's Old School.

Barbara is next. She gets a My Play and is instructed to name the movie based on the picture. It's a picture of a nice RV. She says, "Uh...." and looks at Amy. "That's- That's Meet the Fockers." She's right. Amy tears apart a nearby throw pillow.

Saturday evening I went to a Soup Swap. We played a quick game of Tsuro to decide who got to pick first. I liked this game. It was not too combative with just four people playing. I shudder to think what would happen if eight people played at once. I didn't stay to watch Twin Peaks because I hadn't seen Dollar all day and wanted to hang with him.

Sunday was quiet. I worked more on the Yoke Pattern Jacket. I'm approaching the end of the right front, but I'm not going to be able to knit two sleeves this week. Oh well. I'll just be happy when I get to work on something else besides this jacket of DOOM love.

Saturday

[amy] What to name the penguin?

SCENE: AMY returns home from having just checked the mail. There is a large box that she opens. She pulls out an adorable humidifier shaped like a penguin. Pleased with how adorable it is, she brings it upstairs to show DOLLAR.

AMY: Knock, knock. Look! That humidifier came! Isn't it adorable?

DOLLAR: Aw, it's a penguin.

AMY: Yes. They had frogs and pigs and cows, but this was the cutest.

AMY sits in the recliner with the penguin on her lap like a pet while Dollar continues his video game.

DOLLAR: Some people stopped by when you were out.

AMY: Oh?

DOLLAR: Yeah, I went down the stairs and saw a couple guys at the front door. A couple well dressed guys.

AMY: Mormons?

DOLLAR: Mormons.

AMY: What did you do?

DOLLAR: They started asking me all these questions, like 'Do I believe in God?'

AMY: And?

DOLLAR: And I was like, "Listen guys, let's just agree to disagree."

AMY: Hmn.

DOLLAR: One of them was named was Norman.

AMY: A Mormon named Norman stopped by?

DOLLAR: He was wearing a name tag that said Elder Norman.

AMY: Are you sure it didn't say "Elder Mormon"?

DOLLAR: It said Elder Norman.

AMY: Elder Norman the Mormon?

DOLLAR: ...

AMY: ...

DOLLAR: Yes.

AMY: Well, I think we should name the penguin Norman the Mormon.

DOLLAR: Norman the Mormon Penguin Humidifier.

AMY: Yes.

DOLLAR: Okay.

AMY: Come help me set him up.

In the bedroom, DOLLAR sets up the base on top of a dresser while AMY fills the body with cold water in the bathroom. Together, they assemble NORMAN and turn him on. Cool vapors begin to blow out NORMAN'S beak.

AMY & DOLLAR: AHH HAHAHHAAHAH!!

AMY: I'm going to knit him a yamaka. With a little pom-pom on top.

DOLLAR: That would be so cute.

END SCENE.

Tuesday

[knitting] Yoke Pattern Jacket: More Progress

Some progress on the Yoke Pattern Jacket. The back is done:

yoke pattern jacket


Here's a detail shot of the seed stitch pattern on the upper back:

yoke pattern jacket


And the left front:

yoke pattern jacket


At this point, the left front is done. Even the button band, which I knit up AND sewed on. Sewing/seaming is one of the HATE HATE HATE things I hate about knitting but it only took 20 minutes to sew it on.

I started to make good progress on the right front: 4 inches of ribbing complete- when I realized I was short 10 stitches. Gggrrr. Rip back all the way, start again.

I had one other close call: Halfway up the left front, I held the piece up to Dollar's midsection and thought, "This seems short." I then held it against the back and saw, yes, I was 10 rows short. I only had to rip back an inch to fix the error. I kept telling Dollar (who realized a MISTAKE had been made and was preparing for my white hot tears of frustration and blame), "This is good. I only have to rip back in inch. This is okay. Better now than later. Really, the only way this could have been better is if you traveled back in time to tell me not to make this mistake at all."

So, things are progressing CAREFULLY and slowly. I'm taking time to count rows, measure length, check and re-check the pattern. I'm right on target for how long this sweater is meant to be: 23.5 inches long. Unfortunately, through several test fittings, I now realize that Dollar will need the sweater to be at least 25 inches long. SIGH. I hope a stern and severe blocking after the sweater is complete will allow me to pull a couple more inches without losing any of the width.

Monday

[knitting] Men's Clogs

I felted Dollar's clogs last week and we waited a full 7 days for them to dry completely:

men's felted clogs


men's felted clogs


men's felted clogs


men's felted clogs


men's felted clogs


He tried them on and slipped while sitting down. I've just ordered some suede bottoms since I don't want him wearing these AT ALL on the wood floors- he falls down regularly in his non-skid moccasins. I can only imagine what kind of damage he'd do to himself and the house in these slippery clogs.

Tuesday

[amy] Whedoniverse

Is "holiday season" already? The grocery store (which was playing Christmas music) was PACKED this weekend. I asked one of the meat guys what's up with that and he answered, "Thanksgiving." Already? I ran a cart around BJ's and Shaw's in a very Supermarket Sweep fashion, trying to get in and out as fast as possible. And driving around 12-A? I later told Dollar that if I had a pistol, I would have been combat driving with one hand while haphazardly firing out the window with the other.

Progress is coming along slowly on the Yoke Pattern Jacket. The back is done and the left front has begun. I've committed myself to not knit on anything else until November is over but I'm still working on other stuff- like felting Dollar's clogs and buying supplies from the craft store to make these ornaments.

I recently read Identity Crisis. Dollar bought it for me at Carnage. I usually steer away from the spandex comics. I don't know that much history about The Green Lantern, Green Arrow, or even Wonder Woman. This story, though, was SO well written. It was amazing. Really.

I just picked up Season 8 of Buffy. Season 8, you say? How is that possible? Well, it's in comic form: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home. This was excellent as well. I love that Joss Whedon is writing it and I can hear all the distinct character's voices again. I also like that the story picks up in the middle of stuff. The next volume probably won't be out until the middle of next year. :(

I've been borrowing and watching Angel because I apparently don't want to leave the Whedoniverse. Ever.

Sunday

[knitting] Felted Clogs

My clogs are done:

Felted Clogs


Felted Clogs


Felted Clogs


They are comfortable and warm. They took 30 minutes to felt in the washing machine. I used two separate delicate bags, one marked with a bit of yarn on the zipper so that I'd make sure I wasn't just checking the same clog over and over again.

in separate garment bags


Obligatory unfelted clogs with foot shot:

before felting


These clogs took a full week to dry. I felted them down to the size that seemed to fit right (repeatedly trying on hot wet wool was probably the worst part of the whole process), then I pressed out as much water as I could, reshaped the clogs and stuffed them with wadded-up plastic grocery bags.

I've got little suede patches to sew onto the bottom to make them non-skid, but I've been wearing them around in the meantime. I think they're a little too long, so I plan on making a women's medium size to see if that works out better. Also, they're not really SLIP on. I like slippers that you can slip into as you're shuffling around the house. These you do have to slip your foot into, then pull the heel up and over your heel. Maybe for the next pair I'll make the contrasting cuff much shorter?

Friday

[knitting] Yoke Pattern Jacket: Progress

Progress photos. This is about halfway up the back:

Yoke Pattern Jacket


I like this blue tweed.

Yoke Pattern Jacket


Seed stitch band and starting the upper-back pattern:

Yoke Pattern Jacket


I brought this project to knitting group last night and got probably four rows done. Beer + counting stitch pattern repeats = bad news.

Thursday

[knitting] Incentive/Reward

Why oh why did I choose THIS project for NoKniSweMo?
yoke_pattern_jacket


I'm barely halfway up the back and I've already knit 10 million stitches. I'm behind schedule but I hope to make up progress this weekend.

I went to Northern Night Yarn shop in Norwich this week to look at patterns and I picked up this:

Easy Lace Poncho


I'm so happy she had this pattern, it was exactly the one I was looking for. When I get up early the weekends, I'm in PJ bottoms and a t-shirt. I think this would be a nice thing to throw on to keep warm while getting the coffee started.

I've got two large skeins of gray DK Alpaca (from NH Sheep & Wool this year) that I'm going to use for this. It shall be my present to myself for finishing the jacket.

The increases in the pattern are made by jumping up needles sizes- e.g. #5 for the neck, #10 for the body, #15 for the bottom. The only change I think I'll make to the pattern is not jumping up needle sizes quite so drastically. I'll progress from #5 to #6 to #7 and MAYBE end with #8. I've got more than enough yarn and I don't like how open it is along the bottom. But I also need to make sure I don't end up knitting myself a straight-jacket tube.

Tuesday

[knitting] Horseshoe Cable Socks

I took the horseshoe cable pattern from Denmark Socks in Knitting on the Road and started a more interesting pair of socks for Dollar:

Denmark Socks


These socks have stalled because of NaKniSweMo- I started Dollar's Yoke Pattern Jacket on November 1 and it's the ONLY thing I'm working on.

I nearly completed the leg of one sock before stopping. There were a couple things I was worried about with this new pattern:

1. Stretch. I made a pair of 6-stitch (3 stitches twisted in front of 3 stitches) cable socks in the past with Encore Worsted and those ended up quite TIGHT. This pattern is better because I'm only twisting within three stitches at a time, rather than six. Also, the yarn is 100% wool, which has more elasticity than the mostly acrylic Encore.

2. Speed. I got pretty fast at the K1P1 rib. How much slower would I be doing cables (I still use a cable needle though it's possible to cable without a cable needle)? As us turns out, it's not so bad considering I only have to cable every fourth round and the other three rounds are K6P2. I think overall the time to knit the leg is the same. We'll see if I extend the cable down the instep- that might slow the foot down.

Monday

[games] Carnage Con

I have not posted for the last few days because I've been at Carnage Con in Fairlee, VT. It was awesome, tiring, informative and fun.

Thursday Night:

The convention hadn't started yet but Dollar and I were invited up for an early role playing game by a GM I trust and whose games are always intense. We didn't get home until 2 am. My character just barely managed to survive (life = 1). It was fun playing and RPG with Dollar.

Friday Afternoon:

I was scheduled to play the boardgame A Game of Thrones. I honestly didn't have very much fun. I was ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked by one other gamer and found out in the end that I was in the weakest starting position. The game is a little like Risk but much more complex. And it didn't help matters that I made several idiotic errors during gameplay. I would be willing to play this game again with friends but there's really no way to win unless you attack/fight other players. I prefer games that feature non-direct combat. This game is based on a book. I think the game would be much more rich if I understand the history and read the series before attempting to play again.

Friday night:

I wasn't scheduled for anything so Dollar and I headed home. I was a little down from the bad game and tired from little sleep. So we came home for supper and a movie.

Saturday morning:

Left Dollar in bed. I knew better than to schedule him for anything before 1pm. I went up to Fairlee for Zooloretto. Fun, easy game where you get delivery trucks of animals (pandas, camels, elephants, etc) and you need to place them around your zoo. I thought the game was a little too easy- one of the players at the table was 5-years-old. We played the game twice in under an hour. Good game if you want to play with kids but I could see it getting old fast with just adults. But now that I think about it, I wonder if this would be a good game for any beginner to Eurogames.

Saturday afternoon:

Went home to get Dollar. We played in the Bang! tournament. It really helped that we play this game almost weekly in our house- we've got most of the rules memorized. We played well enough to make it to the final round and... Dollar won! I'm amazed because he was allowed in with one of the lowest scores from the first heat but he won it in the end! He even beat the guy who won last year and wanted SO BAD to win again this year. And here's a bit of irony for you- it was the same guy who ruthlessly and relentlessly attacked me during A Game of Thrones. He was also completely ruthless during this game- he basically started shooting at someone on his own side so that we could collect ALL the points in the end, and not have to share them. What kind of gaming is that?

Saturday night:

Caylus. I own this game but have never played. I've read the rules and was left confused. I've read the rules to people and their eyes glaze over. I chose to play this game at Carnage to have the rules explained TO me and then I would be able to explain it to my friends. Well, it took an hour to go over just the rules. It seemed SO complicated. At this point it was late at night and my brain was pretty much jell-o anyway, but the game has you juggling several different strategies, tactics and actions at once. And the game took 3 hours. I walked away from the table saying, "I'm selling my copy." Now that I've had some time to think about it, I'd like to give it a couple more chances to see if gameplay really smooths out as you get more comfortable to get with it.

Sunday morning:

I'm buying Power Grid. The object of Power Grid is to supply cities with power. God, could any game sound more boring? Yet this game was GREAT. The conflict is non-direct, which I like. You can cut people off but they can always build through you or, in a later phase, build where you are as well. It's really just a race to see who can power the proper amount of cities first. Nice. No one can steal your resources, no one can tear down your power plants, buying/building actions are based on rank so that people who are doing the worst are given first choice. Great game.

Sunday afternoon:

El Grande was an interesting game. Easy but not too easy. Kind of abstract. At this point my brain was melted jell-o and I was ready for the convention to be over so I didn't play as attentively or carefully as I might otherwise. I could see myself playing this game a lot.

###

Anyway, that was Carnage this year. I got to check out a lot of games I was interested in buying and after playing them, I realize that I didn't like them enough to drop the $50-$80 for them.

I think Carnage is all about having fun and checking stuff out. As you're playing a game at a table, random people will walk up and watch the game for a few minutes, then walk away. They're just checking it out.

Next year I want to play a historical miniature game. The people running those spend so much time and money on their VERY realistic dioramas.

Also, I might like to run a couple games. I didn't see Shadows Over Camelot being run this year. And I wonder what next year's theme is going to be.

Thursday

[knitting] Another Dice Pouch

I knit another dice pouch (to be gifted):

Dice Pouch


Dice Pouch


I love how flat the bottom is and how the sides stand upright when the pouch is open. It was designed this way so that your gaming dice are easily accessable:

Dice Pouch


Dice Pouch


Dice Pouch


This is the dry GMS Comfort Cotton I was talking about in an earlier post. I decided against a soak in conditioner-laden water because I think the stiff sides help the pouch stay upright when open.

Some modifications- I didn't knit this as long as my alpaca one- only about two inches after the yarnover holes for the i-cord string. Also, I purled one round before I started any of the decreases. This made a very nice right angle.

And I love how little yarn this used. I still have enough leftover yarn for one or two more bags. Dollar wants one. In black. Of course.

Wednesday

[knitting] Round Dishcloths

Finished a couple dishcloths:

dishcloth


dishcloth


The yarn for both is Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton, which I like because you can machine wash and dry it.

This pattern is easy and I like how the colors change when knit in short-row wedges (no color-pooling here), but to close the cloth up, you need to garter graft live stitches from the needle to your cast-on edge. It's difficult and if done incorrectly or too tight, there's a very definite hard line in an otherwise sqwooshy cloth.

I made this mistake with the green one (my first attempt at this pattern) and had to undo the bind off and try again. It's better now.

I still have to wash/dry these. I hope that after drying the bind off row will pull in and hide.

I've been trying to think of another way to close these up. Maybe a provisional cast-on of some sort, but that might not work because you have to wrap one of your very first stitches... Hmm...

Tuesday

[knitting] Dice Pouch

I knit a medium dice pouch this weekend (loosely following this pattern).

dice pouch


No dice inside. Instead, it's Halloween candy!

dice pouch


Here's the thing about this yarn. In a skein it's not so pretty:

Atacama


But wound into a ball, it gets more interesting:

alpaca


The yarn is Atacama by Araucania. It's 100% alpaca and so soft with a pretty halo. It's also a little splitty and wouldn't cooperate with my little i-cord machine. I had to knit the i-cord by hand. I made the pouch on Sunday and spent Sunday evening admiring and petting the bag.

I'm making another one with Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort. While the Cotton Comfort (20% cotton, 80% wool) has a pretty tweed look, it feels SO DRY in my hands. I might soak the finished object in conditioner-laden water once I'm done.

Wednesday

[knitting] Clogs: pre-felted

Here are my clogs (view from the top, then view looking at the double-thick bottoms):

Women's clogs top


Women's clogs bottom



Here are Dollar's clogs:

Men's clogs top


Men's clogs bottom


I only just started weaving in ends last night (those are lots of ends to weave in!). I'm heading down to Webs this Saturday with girls from my knitting group and I plan on getting a couple pairs of suede slipper bottoms.