Monday, June 29, 2009

Traveling Markers, pt.3

by Kathleen

The markers were totally psyched for the weekend… I had promised them some excitement and I delivered…

On Saturday morning we went to the local WWKiP. Hosted by On the Lamb in Staunton, with complimentary iced tea from Blue Mountain Coffee Shop…
About 20 plus (?) showed up to knit and spin a little…
And compete in the crazy hat contest… It was great fun and many thanks again to Joe and Angel from On the Lamb, Blue Mountain Coffee Shop (no website, but great coffee!) and Byer’s Street Housewares (who donated one of the contest prizes).

That afternoon I had promised a trip on the Shenandoah River but I had to renege a little… Instead the markers took a simply GORGEOUS trip down the valley and into Highland county…
To a friend’s cabin by Bull Pasture river…

Where they sat and soaked up the dappled sunshine, the call of the kingfisher across the river, and a very nice gin and orange juice… Later that night they helped me wind a skein of yarn by firelight.
The next morning, by sunlight, I fixed it… by myself…
There was fishing...( no really, there's a fish there... look closer... reallyreallyreally close.........)
and good food, and dancing (no photos), and great friends. A wonderful time, and the markers agreed… it was good as a riverfloat.

Then… last week the dentist, this week… the doctor’s office!

Where besides the bronchitis and plantar fasciitis (which I knew) I got x-rays…
showing a probable nerve pinching bone spur causing my arm pain.
The markers attempted to convince the doctor that the most plausible treatment option involved long days off of work doing nothing but knitting… but he didn’t buy it.
(and by the way… how cool is it that the x-ray tech was a knitter and thought the idea of taking a photo of my knitting with my x-ray was perfectly reasonable!)

A boring week of work rounded out the time… and we re-entered the new weekend with a nice dinner with the hubby (and the markers) on our candlelit front porch of eclecticism…

I'll have the markers for this one more week... I have a little treat planned for them on the 4th... and then they'll go on to their next host(ess).
I'll kind of miss them though... they certainly got me taking photos!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Mojo Returns

by Caroline

No, I haven't been to the blog in a while. You may have noticed that, considering the last 4 or 5 posts were Kathleen's. But really, how interesting is it to read: "started the Prince of the Wood Elves sock for the third time . . . fourth time . . . fifth time"? Or, "took 2 weeks to finish my wee tiny sock"? So, yes, there was little knitting mojo in me this last month. But I got better.

Let me refresh your memory on the Prince of the Wood Elves, April's entry from the Lord of the Strings sock club. I was feeling pretty cocky, having finished Hobbiton with a little over a week before the arrival of the next sock. And then, Prince of the Wood Elves was in my hands! Eeep!

So, the cuff is done sideways with a 3-needle bind off and then pick up however many stitches for the size you are working and begin the leg in the round. Three issues here: 1) never done a provisional cast-on, 2) gauge, and 3) never done a 3-needle bind off. I don't know if I can condense all the wrong things I did in just the cuff. I didn't check gauge. I jumped up a needle size. I didn't pick the right size to knit. I did complete the cuff once (there were a couple false starts before I got there) and ran into problems picking up the stitches in my provisional cast-on.

Actually, I had screwed up my cast-on so well that no one could pick up the stitches! And believe me, I passed that cuff around to many in my knit group. But I did notice that it didn't look like it would go around my leg anyway, so I pulled it all out. Jumped up another needle size and went up, oh, 2 sizes on the sock. Still no gauge check. Tried another cast-on. Knit too tight. Rip. Lost my place. Rip.

Finally completed the cuff again. Picked up the stitches from the cast-on with Gina's assistance. Yay, Gina! Tried the 3-needle bind off. Did it wrong. Got help. Did it right. Are you still with me? Are you awake out there? So, the sock was underway. I had almost 8 inches done of the leg. This is where I should have been starting the heel and I still had about an inch to go to complete the pattern. Mmmm, maybe, the sock is too big. In fact, it was looking rather odd. Have you ever seen on nature shows, where they pull up a squid and lay it out? That is what the sock was reminding me of, without the tentacles.

Can you say rrrrrrriiip! I took it into knitting and gave it to Laurin to frog. And then I had to take a break from this sock. I had 2 wee tiny socks to get out. And they were not going to make it for their deadline. It's ridiculous to think I had so much trouble with wee tiny socks. I mean, I've done 2 a month for a while but I couldn't seem to get these done. sigh

They finally went out to their patient recipients and I picked up Prince of the Wood Elves again. Dropped down a needle size, picked the correct size to knit, crossed my fingers, and began one more time. Finished the cuff, did the 3-needle bind off, picked up the stitches, and then began to knit. Also, I began to worry that I still hadn't checked gauge. So, I pulled some yarn out of the skein and did a swatch between the sock and the skein. Whew! All seems to check out. I haven't taken any pictures yet. I think I'll wait till I find out whether this time will really work.

Hey, Kathleen! Guess what I did Friday?

Heather brought in a wheel that she was selling and let me play with both it (a lovely single treadle Louet) and her beautiful double treadle Kromski Sonata. It is probably too early for me to be looking at wheels. I hardly touch my drop spindle. But the wheels were fun and educational. I tried some roving but had to switch to some bulky yarn as I couldn't manage the treadle and the drafting at the same time. Thank you, Heather and I think I might be going to SPA next year.

The third installment of the Lord of the Strings sock club is in: The Fellowship. OMG! If I thought Prince of the Wood Elves was challenging . . . . this one is just chock full of techniques I've never done: toe-up, new cast on, colorwork (and wait till you see the yarn). I haven't even read through all the directions, yet. There might be more! This club is one of the best things to happen to my knitting, ever! I'll get pictures up soon, I promise.

I also have some exciting news. I'm going to the Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon in August! Yay! I got through registration day: couldn't get in, didn't get in, then I got in. Had to fight the servers for a connection. You wouldn't think sitting in front of a computer would be so exhausting. But I finished the day with most of my top choices. I have a class with Cookie A (The Perfect Rib), a class with Cat Bordhi (Dancing with Socks), and a class with Abby Franquemont and Denny McMillan (Spindle Spinning Basics). I'm also taking KnitteRx (ergonomics) with Carson Demers and Hip Hems for Him and Her with Stephen Houghton. I'm planning as much sight seeing as I can manage between classes. I plan on coming back home seriously sleep deprived! Can't wait!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Traveling Markers, pt.2

by Kathleen

The markers had a better time their second week here. A bit humdrum, but at least they got out of the house! The week started off with a busy Saturday…
I volunteer at the Virginia Quilt Museum and the markers stood duty with me at the door… I wish I could have posted photos of the exhibit… gorgeous floral applique! But, no photos allowed inside (I cheated with the one of the door).

After the morning stint at the museum we walked around back to the common green area where the city was having “Court Days”. This is kind of a recreation of Harrisonburg in the mid 1880s. With vendors, exhibitors, storytellers and the occasional person in period garb. My fiber guild was manning a small booth with rug hooking, and weaving (small floor and inkle loom) demos. Two of the spinners were from our guild too. I made it for the last hour and helped strike the tent.

The markers looked at women in hoop skirts, men in tall hats, blacksmiths, and big horses pulling wagons, and ate an entire bag of kettle corn. At least I know I didn’t eat a whole bag by myself!

The day finished with a beautiful evening spent on the porch of a good friend… eating dinner and sipping gin and tonics, watching the sunset…

From there the week got pretty boring…
Tuesday they came with me to our weekly knit night at our local coffee shop. There the markers consumed a panini sandwich and a grande skim chocolate turtle latte. Our friendly barristas…

And to finish the week out the markers came along to visit the dentist. Good news… they had no cavities!

This coming weekend I’ve promised them some real excitement… WWKiP day and a canoe trip down the Shenandoah!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Travelling Stitch markers, pt.1

by KathleenC

Prologue: A Ravelry fun fling. This is a travelogue of sorts featuring one of the 50 sets of stitch markers which were made and sent to volunteer hosts in each of the 50 U.S. states. Each host takes photos showing the markers about their area of the state (while knitting something with them, of course). When their project is completed they send the markers on to the next eager host.
I am the third host in Virginia.

My first post acknowledged their arrival and wondered what their stay would include... what joys, what agonies?

My second post, a week and a half later:

I was, apparently, psychic when I asked what agonies might await the markers… I hadn’t planned what project they would participate in (not knowing exactly when they would arrive), so the first few days were spent deciding what item would knit up quick enough, but not too fast, be interesting to watch develop and still fun to do… and needed markers. And then, just as I was poised on the precipice of a decision…

The Plague Struck Me Down (cue the morosely maleficent music)…

The view from the couch for several days…

The view from the bedside table....

As I felt a little better I sipped chicken soup and ate Ben&Jerry's (neither of which I could taste sadly) and the markers browsed through inspiration with me…

I finally felt able to consider knitting again, and decided on the appropriate project, the simplest but prettiest of loose lace scarves, but the fever and the headache made it impossible to concentrate. Cast on and rip, cast on and rip… Drastic measure had to be taken…

An icepack wrapped around the head can do wonders for your ability to cast on.

Next… the markers venture out of doors!