Monday, January 19, 2009

Done and done

It's been a good weekend for knitting. And laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. The good news on that front is that Rick found a way to set things up so that I can put the drying line up myself. Up until now, getting the line up involved all kinds of machinations best handled by a tall person (tying it high up in trees), because the only place to put it up is right in our front yard where it's in the way when not in use. But, Rick being the clever engineering sort that he is, he came up with a way to put hooks and pulleys and cleats in all of the appropriate places so that a height-challenged person such as myself can still get sufficient tension on the line to avoid ending up with all of her laundry in the grass.

So, between washing and hanging and folding (the humidity has been so low again that clothes were drying far faster than they would have in the dryer), I worked on socks. On Friday night, I finished Younger Daughter's socks. The timing was fortuitous, as she'd just been beaten quite soundly in a family game of Carcassonne, and the socks were a perfect consolation prize. She promptly put them on, and only took them off so that I could wash and dry them once yesterday morning (the wool socks dried in 30 minutes outside; this might give you some sense of the drouth we're dealing with here), and is wearing them again this morning.
Here's a dark but visible close-up of the pattern motif.
Aren't they fun? To recap, these are Laura's Kicking Leaves socks, knitted up in Old Maiden Aunt superwash merino, using size one needles. This was a fun pattern, and they're so lacy that they're not too heavy to wear in a warmer place; Younger Daughter is delighted with them.

So on Saturday morning, I picked up the conference socks, determined to finish them. As I knit, I came to the conclusion that the right thing to do would be to give them to Older Daughter. They fit her beautifully, and I just got my new pair of socks; if these were to go to her, then a pair of socks for Rick would finish this round of sock knitting fairly for all. So, the decision was made, and I set about with a will. I didn't get as far as I'd hoped on Saturday, in part because Rick and I went out to dinner (while the girls stayed home with a babysitter) and for a walk along the coast, which is our favorite kind of date. So the socks were finished yesterday in time for Older Daughter to wear them to dinner with Rick's family at his cousins' house.
These are dusk shots; the light isn't so good.
That's truer to the richness of the colors. These are my own concoction, toe-up, reverse heel flap with travelling stitches to make a small pattern. The Ravelry link is here. I used Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks Willow yarn, in the Forest colorway, and size one needles. I adored this yarn, in ways that would be difficult to describe. Before deciding to give these up to Older Daughter, I tried and tried to find another skein so I could knit a pair of socks for myself, but no go. Not on Ravelry, nowhere. Yesterday, after handing them over, in a fit of optimism, I gave it one more shot online, and darned if I didn't find one last skein at Crown Mountain Farms. Can you believe? In the Forest colorway, even. Talk about luck! I'm happy as a clam; this yarn is a lovely weight for a warmer climate (it's a superwash/merino blend), and the colors are stunning.

With that pair of socks done, my knitting decks feel cleared to me. I'd like to start a pair of socks for Rick, but I'm waiting for a pair of size two metal needles to show up in the mail (I'll share when they do, I promise). So as far as I'm concerned, this means that I can wind the yarn for The Sweater and start swatching. I have high hopes that I'll get that done before I take the girls to the movies today as a lot of that sweater will be plain stockinette, so I should be able to knit in the dark. The plan, such as it is at this point, is for a waist-length, v-neck pullover, inset sleeves, with a quiet lace motif on the bottom hem, and a nifty twisted thing (hard to describe; I'll show you a picture once it's swatched) along sleeve hems and neckline.

The plan was actually to get the swatching done last night while watching a movie with Rick. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. We got home at a reasonable hour, the girls got ready for bed quickly, and I sat down to read to them while Rick took the garbage down. Not three minutes later, he walked in the door and said, "The dumb dog" (as opposed to the smart dog, who would be Kia), "found a skunk." And indeed she had. (Note: Kia has not, in fourteen years, ever managed to be sprayed by a skunk. Tilly is clearly of a different ilk.) I went racing to Google, Older Daughter went racing to The Daring Book for Girls (I kid you not), and within minutes, we'd come up with the same answer. People, that formula is a miracle. I had to run to the store for hydrogen peroxide, but it was worth it. Ten minutes after dosing her, we had a stink-free dog. But between the running around and washing and drying, there was no time for swatching. Sigh...

So, I'm off to get that done. But first, I did have one advice question for all of you. I realized recently when blocking something that the one downside to all of our room-rearranging over the holidays is that the erstwhile guestroom bed/blocking station is now Older Daughter's bed, and therefore unavailable to me for blocking purposes. I used the rug, covered in towels, in the study, but it doesn't hold pins well. (On a sidenote, I did discover that it hurts my back a lot less to pin things out on my hands and knees than bending over a bed. Interesting.) So, I'm in the market for blocking boards, of the sort that can be disassembled and stored somewhere inconspicuous. Does anyone have and use such a thing and have recommendations or thoughts? My birthday's coming up, so I figure that it might be time to drop some hints...

16 comments:

Willow said...

The saga of your knitting weekend is much more interesting than mine. I shall just reread this post and pretend it's me writing. FOs, walk on beach, dinner out, skunky dog deskunked (THAT one, while not pleasant was interesting, especially the part about The Daring Book For Girls), drying clothes outside.

I sometimes pin/block on to the guest bed and sometimes onto the carpet. Can't help you with advice for the blocking board.

Yarnwrangler said...

LOVE the socks! Alas my new obession as begun, socks! I am on my first pair now. My weekend the same knitting and hangin clothes outside.

Miss 376 said...

You know when they love them when you have to peel them off to wash. Both pairs look lovely, but I especially like the pattern on the eldest daughter's socks

Rachael said...

I use interlocking exercise mats. type 'interlocking exercise mat' in on amazon and you'll see what I mean. I got mine at target and they are 12" sq each making up a 6' square when all locked together. They are PERFECT. They hold pins, don't absorb water, can be made any shape you need, and can be slid under the couch when not in use.

FUZZARELLY said...

Excellent socks, all way around.

And I second Rachael about the interlocking mat things.

Helen said...

That's the best excuse I've ever heard for not swatching, 'I had to de-skunk the dumb dog'.

A museum curator once cancelled a meeting with me because someone was bringing him a Killer Whale - 'Is that all right?' he said and I told him it was the best excuse I'd ever heard for cancelling a meeting. I'm very sorry I've never been able to use it myself, and I can't use the one about the skunk either :(

Alwen said...

Instead of hanging laundry outdoors in all this snow, I have a folding drying rack that stands by the woodstove. Also good for damp mittens when there is no laundry on it.

Those are some beautiful socks and sock yarns.

Good to know the skunk formula works, while hoping we never need it! I have The Daring Book for Girls, but I think I'd have Googled first.

I've heard those interlocking foam play mats work pretty well. I saw some before Christmas that were big tiles, about 2 feet square, but I was on a mission and didn't buy any.

Mary Lou said...

I love the conference socks. I've heard those interlocking exercise mats work, but I've looked at foam insulation panels, too. I think with a towel on them they'd be great and lightweight to put away under a bed.

Lynne said...

I use a fold up cutting board [for dressmaking] covered in a disposable white table cloth. The cutting board has a grid on it and I can see through the table cloth to the grid for pinning items that I need to be 'square' - like scarves and shawls.
When I block Myrtle I'll make sure I post pictures so you can see what I mean!

itsamonster said...

Your "own concoction" socks are beautiful. I block my knits on the floor also and because I didn't want to pay for the kits that are available out there, I use a yoga mat. It seems to be working well for me. I also heard nice things about the blocking kit from Cocoknits. You can check it out at the following link. Good luck. http://cocoknits.com/block/knittersblock.html

Carrie K said...

I have a blocking board that I love but it's not big enough for most shawls and it was a little pricey to pick up another one. Except that it's been awhile so....

...the interlocking exercise mats sound like a fabulous idea.

Your socks are cute! Good karma on the yarn. Nifty twisted thing? lol.

EGunn said...

I'm glad Rick was able to rig up your clothesline. It's so nice to be able to just do something when it needs doing rather than waiting for help from the non-height challenged. It seems like I'm always asking Branden "so, are you feeling tall?"

The socks look really comfy, and congratulations on finding another skein of yarn!

I'm sorry about the skunk stink...I'm glad it came out!

Marianne said...

Thank you for the de-skunking link!
Both pair of socks are gorgeous but I have to say, those conference socks have me completely smitten. Design and colours.

Having Christmas and my birthday so close together, I gave myself (out of the gift from FIL & MIL) the interlocking blocking tiles from Cocoknits. I ended up getting the large package, I love them. Have used them several times this past month, the knits dry amazingly fast on them. I'm even thinking of getting another package, the small, to add to it. I blocked my mother's shawl on them and really, I could've used a few more. (the photo on my blog) but then that shawl was huge.

RobinH said...

Those socks are really gorgeous!

I use a big styrofoam sheet for blocking (which came with some appliance I think). It works fine, but the cat shreds it, and it's not quite big enough. I plan to pick up some of the interlocking matt things eventually.

Bea said...

Ok apparently I'm not going to manage to read the whole post any time soon. Which makes me sad because I want to, but right now I just wanted to say how awesome those socks are! (both pairs!)

Gwen said...

I love drying clothes on the line that quickly! Especially when I'm home to get lots and lots of loads done. (except for the lack of winter rain) You do indeed have a bit of drouth still.