Friday, August 31, 2007

Hallelujah - My Socks Arrived!

Oh happy, happy day!

My Sockapalooza socks arrived, closing the sock loop for me. And what beautiful socks they are! They're perfect for me . . . the yarn is a neutral color (charcoal gray), but with just enough pizzazz - the multicolored speckled tweed.

The stitchwork is incredible - these were obviously made on a size 0 or smaller (I'm not sure exactly what size my pal used). Check out the cuff detail.

My mouth dropped open when I saw this toe graft. Bravo, Kim!

And to put whipped cream and a cherry on top of this luscious sock sundae, my pal sent extra goodies in the package: yummy shower gel & spray and postcards of my dear socks' city of origin - Cleveland!

But the best thing of all is that Kim made these socks for me! They fit perfectly. In my case, this is no mean feat (pun intended); I have very long, extremely thin feet, one of the less significant manifestations of Marfan's syndrome, a genetic disease that has affected me since birth.

I don't want this post to turn into a downer. It is, after all, intended primarily as a well-deserved tribute to my sock pal, Kim. So I'll save further Marfan explanation for another day.

Instead, I'll treat you all to some pics of my very happy feet enjoying their lovely new sockies. First, the fashion model poses (okay, well, it's the only modeling opportunity my feet are likely to ever have, so humor them, please).

Ooh, fancy lighting!

Gorgeous Sockapalooza socks lounging under the banana tree . . .

. . . and admiring themselves in the mirror!

I love my socks! Thank you, thank you, thank you Kim!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sock Newsflash - Bordhi is Cat's Meow

Okay, knitting life is so complicated.

Not that I'm complaining. But just when I thought that I had my next few projects queued up, along comes something so astonishing that it could upset any knitter's proverbial apple cart.

The mail carrier had a special gift for me today . . . Cat Bordhi's new book New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One. I haven't actually read this book yet, not in a serious way . . . just paged through it and catching a sentence or two here, a snippet there . . . but with its focus on various types of sock architecture, along with many ultra-creative patterns in each, it's all I can do to focus on my UFOs. This book is calling out to me . . . read all of me! Try this one! No, that one, it's even more spectacular! It's more than a book of patterns; it's a way (actually, multiple ways) of understanding how to put together a sock and why the knitter would choose one method over another. Bravo, Cat! (As if you needed more accolades after your previous work . . . but you get more of mine anyway!) I can't imagine what she's got in store for us in books two & three!

What's a knitter to do?

An entreaty to my unborn Forest Path Stole and DH's sweater:
Please forgive me if I detour off of my intended path that leads to the creation of you both, at least for a little while. The temptation of the sock pathways may be too powerful to resist. You will get your chance, I promise.

I think all Paloozers and other sock knitters everywhere might want to give this book a look-see, despite its fairly hefty price tag, not discounted anywhere as far as I can tell.

And speaking of Paloozers, still no more word on Sockapalooza either upstream or downstream. :-( I'm just hoping, hoping, hoping that my downstream Pal really is on vacation,and that the purple lace sockies I made for her are waiting safely for her in a secure location. I wouldn't mind getting my socks, either, though I can be patient . . .

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stash serenity

Big progress to report on the Mathiemom stash! In the spirit of "changing the things I can," I decided to organize & inventory my stash. Okay, full disclosure: DH insisted that said stash be organized, as we were setting up our daughter's room as a hobby room (she grew up and moved out). Somehow many stuffed plastic vats of various sizes along with miscellaneous boxes, bags and stragglers just didn't appeal to him. All right, the rest of the story: the ceiling was falling in and the plaster guy was coming to put in a new one. Call me insane, but the threat of chunks of plaster & dust in my stash was enough to get me to make sure that each and every last skein and ball was properly protected. So we bought three bookcase-type storage units, boxes and boxes of ziploc bags in assorted sizes, and I went to work, bagging and categorizing on an Excel spreadsheet. And . . . voila! Hey, it only took me three months!

So that's it - the whole megillah!

I organized the yarn by weight, from lace at the top left and moving to super bulky at the far right. And note also the neatly organized knitting magazines, books & patterns. Yeah, I'll admit it, I'm bragging about my accomplishment. It does feel good to touch, feel and remember all of my yarn, right down to those discontinued Rowan lovelies.

And there's progress to report on the cashmere sweater, as well.

It's sleeve #1 - or most of it, anyway. My sleeves are going to be longer than the ones in the original pattern because I'm making mine full length instead of 3/4.

No Sockapalooza Socks in the mail yet. More disturbing (since my sending pal already wrote to tell me she would be late but was definitely working on my socks), I don't think my receiving pal got the socks I sent her yet. I mailed them two weeks ago! There is something going on with her - a vacation or something - that's causing her mail to be delayed, so I'm hoping that's the reason that she hasn't gotten them yet.

And in other knitting news, I signed up for the Forest Path Stole-A-Long. The Forest Path Stole is from an old issue of IK (some time in 2003?), and I've had my eye on it for a long time. Until now it seemed too intimidating, but I've become more confident with my lace abilities. I am thinking about making some adjustments: a garter stitch border instead of seed stitch and shrinking the width one or two repeats. I just got some Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb in Champagne, which I think will be just right for this project. But I promised myself that I would complete at least two UFOs (including the current cashmere sweater) before casting on anything new. Can I do it??? My fingers are itching and twitching just thinking about starting something new . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Camera Returns at Last!

Newsflash! The camera has returned from Alaska, so that I can actually share a bit of my knitting progress. (I'm sure that the world has been waiting with baited breath.)

Anyway, there's been substantial progress on my Vintage Pink Cardigan . . . the back and most of both sides of the front. The only minor annoyance so far is that, due to an apparent vertical gauge discrepancy from the pattern, the right neckline starts at a different place than the left neckline. This is no big deal . . . it just means that I'll have to frog back the left side and make it match the right. The length of the right side is dependent on the stitch detailing, so it pretty much dictates how both sides are modeled.

Actually, this pattern would make more sense if the knitter was instructed to first knit the right front, then the left front and THEN the back. But I realize that this would diverge from usual knitting pattern convention. Whatever. Other than that, I LOVE the pattern, especially the stitch pattern on the front, and the cashmere is to die for.

I mailed out my Sockapalooza socks to my sockpal a week ago and haven't heard from her yet. Yikes - did my frugal - ahem - cheapskate tendencies, which caused me to send the socks first class instead of priority mail, derail them and make them get lost in the mail? Please, please, tell me it's not so! Sockpal, put me out of my anxious misery and contact me!

(Heard from the pal who's knitting for me, finally! She's almost done with my socks . . . and I can't wait to see them!)

Since I referred to my menagerie in my blog title, I thought I'd include a quick shot of part of it in the actual blog. Here are Oliver, the Bichon Frise, and Lucy, the Havanese. Oh, and you can see the DH's foot in the back. I guess he qualifies as part of my menagerie!

We took aforementioned canines on a little adventure this weekend. (Okay, so it doesn't take much to qualify as an "adventure" to the doggies.) We tried out Ollie's "nose leash", designed to prevent pulling on the leash, and it worked beautifully. What a pleasant surprise! We were walking along our little local lake, and stopped at a tiny beach where a lot of other dogs were cooling off in the water. Our two have always been pretty phobic about the water, but I enticed them in to tummy depth (approx. 5") of water with treats by wading in myself . . . and they loved it. They were clearly much more comfortable after wilting in the heat just moments before, even after drinking copious amounts of water from a water bottle. Afterwards, as you can see, they chilled with us on the bed, completely content after their little frolic. A good - and low-key - day was had by all.