January One -- Monkey Socks

May 27, 2009

Five Little Monkeys

So it's been awhile, and I feel badly about that, but things haven't been so great and I've been taking the ostrich approach to life meaning I basically moved to my sister's for a few weeks. The work they've been doing on our building made life here unbearable (the drilling noise was off the charts) and absolutely NO ONE is coming to see our house. Forget making offers, no one comes to see it even. At all. Which is super, super depressing. But when I'm not here I don't think about how in a month we'll have to pay two mortgages and I'll basically be eating mac & cheese for the foreseeable future. I know that things could be much, much worse for us and I am thankful every day that we can survive in this situation (although Meli might want to think twice about college) but still it's very scary and my stomach is in knots the minute I pull up to our parking space.

To combat these feelings of dread, I've been knitting. A lot. And I even have proof for you!

The Great Socks That Rock Monkey Experiment of 2009
L to R: My Blue Heaven, Firebird, Love In Idleness, G Rocks and Never On Sunday

Yup. Five Monkey Socks. The Love In Idleness one I started a little while ago but was unsure of it and then I went on this jag where I'd cast on and start a sock and decide the colorway wasn't working the way I wanted. Then somehow I had the idea that when I hit on a color that was good I'd put it aside until I found another color I liked and I'd start a kind of assembly line. I actually have a sixth sock started somewhere but I lost it (again - I keep losing this sock!) So once I had the five socks on the needles I decided that I would knit the cuff on one and then stop and move onto the next color. To knit the cuff, I do six repeats of the pattern. Once I was finished all five cuffs, I started doing the heel flap. (Basically, I didn't go any further because I had to consult the pattern to remember the math on turning the heel. It had been awhile.) Heel flaps done. Check. And then I picked up a sock - it was the Love In Idleness one - and turned the heel. Then I knit the gusset. And then I was all like oh my god I've knit the gusset the sock is practically finished! So that's what I did. I finished the sock.

Then I became obsessed. I couldn't stop knitting and finishing socks. Every time I finished a sock I immediately wove in the ends and then cast on for the second sock. I didn't do the whole picot cuff, just cast on and knit a row or two. But the needles are full and that's what counts.

Now that I've got five new socks, I'm ready to start all over again. My plan now is to knit the picot edge and one repeat before moving on to the next color and finishing the cuff. Rinse and repeat. I'm not so obsessed anymore, but Meli is getting pretty good at giving me a little bit of time during the day while she plays on her own, so I'm making sure a sock is nearby. And no, I'm not sick of monkey socks. This pattern is absolutely my stockinette sock. Way more than the Jaywalker even (does anyone even remember Jaywalkers anymore?! How crazy were those days!) I have at least three more monkeys in mind. They fit great, are easy to knit, and look fantastic with lots of colorways. What's not to love?

Posted by Cara at 09:06 AM | Comments (35)

February 14, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I spent about 15-20 minutes on my hands and knees trying to decide if I was in labor or not. Clearly I wasn't. Last night I kept dreaming that my water broke. Over and over it seemed. I've come to believe that pregnancy definitely comes full circle. At the beginning you're paranoid about every twitch and cramp because you think it might be the end, and now, I'm paranoid about every twitch and cramp because OH MY GOD! It might be the END!

Then, this morning, I threw up.

But still, I'm not ready for it to be over. I find myself feeling a bit crampy here and there and suddenly I'm making deals with the baby. Don't come out, PLEASE, don't come out until X is done. Then you can come out anytime you like. Of course, the days continue to drag at a god awful slow pace, but yet the projects keep piling up and nothing seems to get done. Of course, I can't work as hard as I'd like. I'm in the middle of going through all these boxes of papers that need to be piled and filed and after about an hour I have to get up and lay on the couch for like two hours. Then I can go back and work for another hour. Then I have to rest for THREE hours. So you see why nothing is getting done.

The pediatrician was great - we felt a very good vibe. She was excited for us and I just know she'll be loving toward our kid. Philosophy wise we meshed well and the office was friendly and big and I'm confident. Also, at least one of their offices is open 365 days a year. Very nice.

The other day my mom told me she really wanted to see my nephews and niece on Thursday and I was like what's Thursday? Valentine's Day! It's such NOT a big deal in our house. Kind of the way we feel about Thanksgiving - like if you need a day to remind yourself to thank all the people around you - that's kind of lame. Same thing with love. I'd like to think that my husband and family and friends know how much I love them because I tell them and show them all the time, not because I gave them lots of candy on a particular day in February.

That said, when I got home from taking my husband to the train station this morning I found the sweetest box of Curious George chocolates on my desk chair. The box said, "I'm bananas for you!" I totally burst into tears. Many of you may think it about your own mates, but I KNOW I'm the luckiest girl in the world. My guy has taken such unbelievable care of me and our baby - there aren't words to describe my gratitude. Not that I didn't think he would, but he's stepped up in ways that I couldn't even imagine. Thank you my love! Thank you!

I started a new pair of socks. I wanted another pair of monkeys because garter stitch and monkeys are about all I can handle these days and I wanted to go in a different direction with the yarn. So far all of my monkeys have been heavily variegated, but I sort of fell in love with Claudia's Chocolate Monkeys and I wanted to try more of a semi-solid. Then I decided that I wanted them to be red. And that they should be my going home from the hospital socks. My baby will be head to toe in red so why shouldn't my feet be clad in red? (Of course, the way my luck is going it will be 90 degrees that day, but still!) So life-affirming. And seemingly a good color for labor, you know? Placenta socks, if you will. ;-)

I went through my STR stash and pulled out all the semi-solid reds I had on hand. There were a lot of them, surprisingly and it was kind of hard to decide. Then I found this skein:

Mystery Monkeys

The only thing about this skein? I have no idea is what it is. I'm 99.9% sure it's STR - it feels the same and looks the same and was in with all my other STR (yes, I do keep the STR separate from all the other sock yarns!) But there is no label. Or at least none that I could find. And I compared it to all the other red STRs and it's definitely different. So don't ask me the colorway, or if it's available or anything because I have no idea. Mystery Monkeys. I'm thinking the yarn was some kind of stash gift and destined to be my birthing socks. [ETA: I'm fairly certain it's not Ruby Slippers. I made a pair of jaywalkers from Ruby Slippers and the repeats are very long. The repeats in the mystery yarn are much shorter and there are more color variations.]

I've barely started them, but I'll have some train time tomorrow as I'm going down to Philly for the weekend. This will most likely be my last trip down there before the baby comes and changes everything. We're doing a belly cast this weekend! I've done one for my sister for all three of her kids, so it's pay back. Pictures next week hopefully! Have a great weekend!

Posted by Cara at 12:04 PM | Comments (35)

February 05, 2008

A Prince of A Monkey

Even with all the excitement during the big game on Sunday, I managed to finish my Purple Rain monkey socks. I love them. 'Natch.

For all of you who've been living under a rock, through no fault of your own I'm sure, I'll give you the particulars. The pattern is Monkey by the genius that is Cookie A. All the credit for the Picot Edge mod should go to Margene because she's the one who did it first. Wizard Woman Tina dyed the yarn - STR. Purple Rain colorway. Don't ask me if it's available. If it's not on the website, it probably means the colorway's not in the rotation at this time. Don't hate me because I have a large stash of the stuff.

I am definitely NOT sick of this pattern yet. In fact, yesterday I cast on for a new pair, but I'm not loving the harmony between the colorway and the sock. I may go a completely different direction in colorways on the next pair. I have to go through my stash again and make some decisions.

Thanks for all the kind comments on Oblique - and on my belly! This pregnancy thing is so weird. All of a sudden, sort of like, you're this completely different person. Not just mentally and emotionally - but PHYSICALLY! What happened to me? I don't remember what it felt like to NOT be pregnant.

The drilling today is driving me nuts. BONKERS. C-A-R-A-Z-Y! So I think I'm going to eat some breakfast (or MORE breakfast) and take a walk in the fog wearing my new cozy sweater and new socks. My polling place is pretty close by so I think I can make it there and back without too many breaks. If you live in a primary state, I could care less who you vote for - that's your personal business and just like I don't think anyone should tell you who you should (or shouldn't) marry or which god you should worship - I don't think anyone should tell you how to vote. You should vote the way YOU believe is right for you and your family. But you should definitely VOTE.

That's my public service message for the day. Have a good one!

Posted by Cara at 10:00 AM | Comments (21)

January 25, 2008

Monkey Feet

Hey! Check it out! It's a SOCK!

I finished my first purple monkey last night (STR Lightweight Purple Rain.) I honestly forgot how much I absolutely adore those tiny little sock stitches. They look so perfect. I'm so glad I've remembered!

So here's the deal on why I haven't worn any monkeys until recently (although now I haven't taken them off.) I started knitting monkeys in May. The last pair I finished was in August and I started the first purple sock in August. I don't think I need to tell you that May through August equals NO WOOL SOCKS. I'm a barefoot girl in general, but I do like to wear my handknit socks. I usually wear them all winter. But I also wear these shoes most of the winter. They have a very warm fleece lining which is perfect for bare feet. (I actually really like going out in the cold with bare feet and these shoes. It's a little bit decadent and wrong.)

Also, this winter hadn't been so cold until recently and I'M PREGNANT. Which means I'm 80 million degrees most of the time. And nothing makes you hotter faster than wool on your feet. Trust me.

There's also a little secret weird thing I do with my socks. I don't weave in the ends until I'm ready to wear them. I finish the sock, I photograph it for the blog, and then I stick it in my sock drawer. When I'm ready to wear them I take them out and weave in the ends. So strange. The real truth is that anytime I reached for a sock this winter I remembered I hadn't woven in the ends and went for a Jaywalker instead. Sad but true. Now you know the whole story.

I can't wait to cast on for the second sock and I'm already planning what I'm going to knit next! Jaywalkers and Monkeys are PERFECT for my beloved STR Variegated yarn - anyone have any other pattern they've had particular success with in terms of variegated yarns? I'd love to hear about it!

I've also finished the collar on Oblique.

Which means all I have left is some quicky ribbing on the sleeves and seams. I hope to have it finished by the weekend. This thing is HUGE. But I still love it.

I've got some yarn coming to me for a very special project that I'm chomping at the bit to start. Hopefully I'll have it for next week! And I've got another project that I hope to get on the needles this weekend. At least cast on. If only I didn't have all this cleaning to do. Or taxes. Or other work stuff I'd be KNITTING KNITTING KNITTING!

I'm also planning on a major fiber sale. Time to make room for baby. Stay tuned!
Have a great weekend!
L, C

Posted by Cara at 10:44 AM | Comments (36)

January 22, 2008

Dream Baby Dream

Last night I had an awful dream - I was injecting myself with something and I knew that injecting myself with this "stuff" was going to kill me, but I did it anyway.

Yeah. Not so much fun to wake up to a suicide dream. Although, I realize, that it has nothing to do with suicide and everything to do with being pregnant. I'm thinking that the injections symbolized the fertility drugs I had to take to get pregnant and the dying wasn't so much a physical death but a METAphysical death. You know - like the death of my current identity being morphed into my NEW identity as a mother? Just my armchair psychology for the day, but it was spooky nonetheless. Took me awhile to fall back to sleep again.

I've pretty much escaped the crazy dreams of pregnancy. I have one every now and then but most of the time I'm pregnant in my "regular" dreams and I'm always telling people I can't do this or that because DUH I'm pregnant. Tellingly I wasn't pregnant in last night's dream. Georgie, my poor sweet, has been shouldering the bulk of the nightmares this pregnancy. I think because I manage to work out my anxieties while I'm awake rather than asleep.

The identity dream fits well with all the work we've been doing around the house. Sunday we needed two cars to schlep the FIFTEEN bags we had filled to the Salvation Army. FIFTEEN and yet our house is still filled with crap and looks a mess. Georgie started moving things out of the room that will eventually be the baby's which means I have to now SHARE the spaces I've called my own for the last ten years. Not too much resentment here. I walk into my closet and there's all of his STUFF.

It's okay. I'll get used to it. And it's not like we're all freaked out that the room won't be ready for the baby, per se. I mean, the furniture and stuff won't be delivered until AFTER the baby's born - it's that we have 16 years of accumulated CRAP that needs to be weeded through and thrown out and the baby is just an excuse. I keep telling myself that this is a great exercise because hopefully sometime in the next year we will be moving and there won't be as much to throw out when we do!

It is a daunting task though. Yesterday I actually got down on my hands and knees and vacuumed the base boards next to my bed and underneath my night stand. DISGUSTING. I told my sister and she said WOW - you really are nesting. Guess it's true.

I also did some knitting!

Friday - when we had no heat or hot water - it turns out a transformer blew in our building. So in order to fix it they had to turn off all of our electricity. They did this at 2PM. I thought GREAT! I'll get out my Creative (like an IPOD only BETTER) and listen to some podcasts and finish Oblique's sleeves! Only the Creative was dead. So I knit to the tune of jackhammers (they had electricity, of course) until the sun went down. Then G came home and rescued me from the cold and the dark. Sometime while we were out, the lights went back on - as well as the heat and hot water.

I did manage to finish the sleeves. And I did the button bands on the body AND I seamed the raglans. All I need to do now is the collar, finish seaming and decide what to do with the bottom of the sleeves. I sort of draped it on my shoulders and this thing is HUGE! I think, it will get a bit smaller once it's all seamed up, but still - it's like a blanket coat! Which isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. I hope to have it finished by the end of the week. There's a chance I'm going to run out of yarn, but I have an angel helping me out. Margene has the yarn in her stash and she's going to send me a skein. Although, I think, now, I might be okay. Fingers crossed!

I knit something else yesterday too!

Believe it or not, I wore my first pair of monkeys Sunday night! We had a party to go to and I wanted some fancy socks in case I took my shoes off and I pulled a pair of monkeys out of my sock drawer. I have never worn ANY of the monkey socks I knit! NONE! I mentioned that I've been thinking about socks a lot lately and wearing them was so fantastic that I took out the Purple Rain STR Monkey that I started a million years ago - actually it was back in August. Last I knit these I was on the heel flap. Yesterday I managed to finish the flap, turn the heel and knit the gusset! All night long I kept telling Georgie how good it felt to be knitting SOCKS! This was all punctuated by the fact that I went through my "pedestrian" sock drawer over the weekend and got rid of EVERYTHING. I told G - once you've gone handknit - you never go back.

Thank you all for all your encouragement and support about my last post. I'm much calmer now (although we do have childbirth class tonight) and I'm handling my fears pretty well. I've been reading some stuff - stuff that pisses me off and makes me feel VERY judged and stuff that assuages my fears and lets me know that whatever I want is truly fine. It seems to me that the baby will be coming out of my body - in some way shape or form and that's NATURAL. Nothing about this pregnancy started out conventional - so who's to say the end will be that way as well? I'm open. Truly open. And I think that can only be a good thing for my body as well as my mind. I have some very solid ideas about how I want things to go - and that really has more to do with how I want to be treated (with respect and honesty and intelligence) than the actual EVENTS that take place. I trust my husband implicitly that he will help me to have the best birth I can have. So thank you for your confidence in me. It means a lot.

Off to get rid of more stuff! It's so FREEING!
L, C

Posted by Cara at 11:20 AM | Comments (42)

August 10, 2007

Purple Rain

I started a new pair of monkeys yesterday. The yarn is STR Lightweight Purple Rain (it's not on the website right now - I have no idea if it will be up anytime soon.) It's got me thinking about my teenage movie memories: Class, the first R rated movie I was allowed to see IN the movies. It was such a big deal to get permission! And what an awful movie! Footloose! Oh my god - we actually DANCED in the AISLES! Crazy! Romancing The Stone - the first "date movie" I ever went on - and really - the first date. I've always loved that movie. Ghostbusters - I saw it like five times - IN the theater. There was the time I lied and told my mom there was a double feature, when actually we went to two movies back to back. It was one of the Friday the 13th movies and Against All Odds. My mom came into the theater looking for me with my baby sister (literally a toddler at the time) and possibly my other siblings. I remember realizing she was there right during the hot pyramid love scene with Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward. Too much for this fourteen yr old to handle for sure! Man did I get in trouble! Now that I think back - 1984 was a HUGE movie year in my life. HUGE.

Purple Rain huge. I'll never forget seeing this movie in the theater - we saw it at least twice. At the Orleans Theater. Did we take the bus there? It was summer and my boyfriend worked at Kinney shoes at the Roosevelt Mall and I remember walking over there after the movie - was it the first or second time my girlfriends and I saw it? And I think he was pissed because I liked it so much. It was a CRAZY movie. Unlike anything I had seen before. Morris Day and the Time totally stole the show too! I'll never forget it. I'm not the biggest Prince fan in the world (although I'd LOVE to go to a concert - I've heard from Bruce fanatics that he rivals our beloved live performance wise) but Darling Nikki will always have a place in my heart.

What was your movie "year" so to speak? What movies changed your teen life forever?
See you next week! Have a good weekend!

Posted by Cara at 03:21 PM | Comments (71)

August 07, 2007

Hot Sox

Not only is today my beloved's birthday, but it's ONE MILLION DEGREES OUTSIDE! What better way to celebrate than a new pair of socks!

At least they're minis!

Yes, my friends, it's another pair of monkeys off the needles. As I previously mentioned, this yarn is STR Seastone - a discontinued colorway in the OLD (325 yds) put up. PERFECT for mini-monkeys!

This is my FIFTH completed pair of monkey socks and as such, I thought a bit of a monkey parade was in order:

From left to right you've got: minimonkeys in STR Seastone, regular monkeys in STR Rare Gems; regular monkeys in STR Dutch Canyon; picot monkeys in STR Chicabiddy, and minimonkeys in STR Watermelon Tourmaline. I am in NO WAY FINISHED with monkeys! I will be choosing a new color to cast on today! And I can guarantee two things - no THREE things. 1) They will be knit with STR. 2) They will have a Picot Edge. And 3) They will be regular size. You'll just have to wait and see what color I pick. SO MANY to choose from.... Hmmmm.

Thanks for all the anniversary wishes. Poor Georgie's getting a bum deal on both the anniversary AND his birthday, as I'm still not up to par. I'll make it up to him though - don't you worry. And he's planning on getting himself a new toy so that should ease things a bit.

Two things I want to put out there - Have you seen Norma's NEW (old) cause? The Red Scarf Project has taken on a whole new dimension - one that I can get on board with for sure. Don't feel like knitting a scarf (my most dreaded project honestly) then you can GIVE MONEY instead! Check it out!

Also, Eve needs editors for upcoming issues of YARNIVAL! It's not that hard and you get great exposure to all kinds of new and interesting blogs. Plus it's a great way to give your OWN blog exposure! Come on! What are you waiting for?

Posted by Cara at 01:01 PM | Comments (46)

July 25, 2007


Geez! I'm just posting later and later these days. I'm sorry. I would've posted earlier today but we had an Internet blip - you know the kind. Where you call your provider and they hang up on you because EVERYONE is calling to bitch them out. All is well though and I'm just so glad because I have a finished pair of socks to show you!

New monkeys! Yup, that's right, monkey socks. Bored yet? I'm not! I love these socks! They might just be my favorite pair of Monkeys!

The yarn is Lightweight Socks That Rock in the Chickabiddy colorway. Tina told me that this yarn will be available in the Fall on the website - so if you like it, wait for it! I LOVE IT! It's the perfect combination of pinks and browns and yellows and oranges and reds. PERFECT! And the picot, well, the picot is ALWAYS perfect. I knit these on two 2.5mm Addi Turbo circulars (US #1s.)

I was asked the other day my secret to getting my STR socks to rock so well - meaning - no obvious pooling. The secret is the number of stitches on the needles, needle size, pattern and I suspect a bit of kismet as well.

The best way to illustrate this is with a picture of a knee high I knit last year using ONE SKEIN of lightweight STR.

Click on it for a bigger version to open in a separate window. See that knee high - I used ONE SKEIN throughout. Never changed yarn ever - but look how it changes? And I never changed needles either - Addi Turbo US 1 - 2.5 mm - circular needles. The only thing that changed was the stitch count. I started off with (I think) 88 stitches, increased up to over 100 then decreased down all the way to 64 stitches, which is my personal sock stitch number. (You know - the pattern that you figure out after you've made a bunch of socks that you stick with - favorite toe, favorite heel, stitch count.) There's pooling around the gusset because I added stitches, but then look at the pretty stripes on the foot - that's the magic number 64.

Now that's to say it's MY magic number. I don't know what your magic number is. Maybe, honestly, you don't have one with Socks That Rock. I've never knit socks with Mediumweight STR (or Heavyweight STR for that matter) so I can ONLY speak to Lightweight STR. This is MY preferred sock yarn. It works for me. Once you add a pattern into the mix, it might change everything. Different patterns use different amounts of yarn and they may mess with your magic. If you love the pattern and the yarn doesn't work, try a new yarn. If you love the yarn and the pattern's not working, try a new pattern.

One other thing I've learned - with Monkeys at least - they look so much better with a REALLY variegated yarn. Lots of color changes. The STR I've used so far have had a least four different color changes. Anything less and they're going to look really stripey. Unless you use a solid or semi-solid - that should look great too.

There are a MILLION sock yarns out there - new ones everyday from what I can see on the net. Find your yarn - your number - your passion. It's out there. Just look for it!

Posted by Cara at 05:05 PM | Comments (43)

July 19, 2007


So Tuesday night we went to see Kabuki! with my sister and her boyfriend and OH MY GOD! It was THE MOST FUN EVER!!!! I was simply amazed from beginning to end!

First off, when we arrived at Lincoln Center, Midsummer Night Swing was in full swing, so to speak. Then there were all the wonderful Japanese ladies in full traditional dress: kimonos, obis - the works! They were all so beautiful!

We went in and got in line for translation headsets so we could figure out what was going on. G was concerned that they might be intrusive, but it was like having a funny little man whispering in your ear. Much appreciated. We had GREAT seats (third row orchestra center!) and as soon as we sat down I noticed that none other than James Lipton, from Inside The Actors Studio, was a few rows behind us. Or maybe it was Will Ferrell? No, I'm pretty sure it was Lipton. (If you know what's good for you, you'll watch the Will Ferrell link. It's Ferrell and Baldwin at their scrumtralecent!)

There was a walkway or runway that came out into the audience and led to a doorway off stage in the middle of the theater. Lots of times actors would come in and out of the door and down the runway, so I was always looking to my left. I immediately noticed the actor who was Paul Buchman's father on Mad About You, Louis Zorich. I pointed him out to my sister, who said it looked like Olympia Dukakis was sitting next to him. Turns out the two have been married since 1962! Olympia and I had a little tete-a-tete when we were returning our headsets. You had to give up some form of ID to get a headset and all these people were standing there describing their credit cards so they could get them back. We were shaking our heads at the chaos and talking about how easy we all just gave up our personal IDs. She has beautiful skin and gorgeous silver hair.

Anyway, back to the show - did I say it was FANTASTIC? It was unbelievably good. Better than good - great! The first two acts felt very much like a Shakespearean tragicomedy. It was VERY sexy and bawdy. Basically all these men are after the same woman, and they're also after this scroll, and the main character is actually a rogue disguised as a priest. It gets really violent in the end of the second act - almost everyone dies - and limbs were literally flying! I think an arm landed on the seat directly in front of me. GREAT!

The last act, though, was spectacular. The dead priest comes out as a spirit disguised as the woman who everyone was in love with and the man who won her can't decide which is the "real" woman (which is kind of funny because everyone on stage was male.) This part, I think, was more traditional Kabuki - there was a group of musicians on the stage and it was all very elaborate make-up and dancing and the priest's spirit becomes more and more ominous and his face is constantly changing and the music is getting louder and louder and they're throwing out streamers from the stage and cherry blossoms are dropping everywhere and I felt like it was July 4th and New Year's wrapped up into one and I swear my mouth was open the whole time and the frenzy was incredible. At one point I turned to G and told him this was the most amazing thing EVER! WHEW!

On our way out of the theater, Japanese TV snagged my sister's boyfriend and I and interviewed us like we just saw Cats or something. What did we think? Fabulous, AMAZING! First time at Kabuki? Yes! And so on. it was so much fun! The New York Times has a really nice review of the show here, and you can see some pictures as well. If you're in the area and you can get over there, please do! It was an experience I won't soon forget!

We didn't have any time for Moth pictures, but it was perfect for the cool theater. And I felt special wearing it.

Okay - sock time! I finished my STR Chicabiddy Monkey sock and it might just be my favorite one yet!

I did a picot edge and six repeats on the cuff. I probably could've done seven, but I'm happy with the six. Seven it might be a bit snug at the top. I've had some questions about the picot edge - I talk about it here. Also, one thing I do - and I forget who taught me this - is that I cast on over two needles so my cast on is nice and loose. This helps a lot when picking up the picot edge.

I just love the way the colors come together on this sock - the oranges and reds and pinks and yellows and browns. I'm so happy with this yarn. Like I said before, STR Chicabiddy in Lightweight. It's not on the Blue Moon website right now, but it should be available in the Fall.

You know what I like super best about this sock? It totally matches the gorgeous flowers my sister brought me to Kabuki. Even though the flowers will die eventually, the sock will remind me of Kabuki night and my sweet baby sister.

PS - I don't know where my head is at these days! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your good wishes for G's continued good health. It means so much to us - now, of course, but especially when it was all going on. We won't forget all the best wishes and prayers. Ever. Thank you!

Posted by Cara at 02:06 PM | Comments (32)

July 17, 2007

Six Months

One of the things that made yesterday such a great day was that G had his six month cancer check and he's ALL CLEAR! YAY!

It's just so awful being back at that hospital and my heart goes out to everyone dealing with cancer - or any other illness that has the potential to rip your family apart. It's such a scary place.

But we're all good.

I promised you a finished sock today, but alas, I fell down on the job:

It's an almost finished monkey. I've got about two repeats and the foot to do. I probably won't be able to get it done today, though, because in just a few short hours Moth will make it's debut! We're going to Kabuki! The show is part of the Lincoln Center Festival and I'm really excited about it. My youngest sister and her boyfriend will be joining us - she just got back from Japan so it's great timing. We figure we'll celebrate our OTHER sister's birthday today. Happy Birthday Sis! We love you!

PS - I'll try to get a picture of me and the shawl together. No promises though!

Posted by Cara at 03:05 PM | Comments (51)

July 10, 2007

Numb Ass

Yeah. You heard me. I said NUMB ass. Somehow or other, don't even ask me how, I managed to bruise a nerve located in my ass cheek and now it's NUMB. Like go to the dentist, shoot your face with Novacain numb. Like I can't stop touching it because it feels so weird but it feels weird when I touch it so I don't want to touch it numb. And, yes, I'm very attractive walking around with my hand on my ass all day. The doc said it could be like this for awhile too.

Like I said. Don't ask. But I'm sure DUMB had something to do with the NUMB.

I promised you a new monkey and here she is:

These socks are definitely SHE socks because a) they have a picot edge. I don't think I need to say much more about that. And b) the yarn is STR Chickabiddy. CHICkAbiddy. CHICA. They can only be girl socks. Girl socks for me. I'm not doing minis this time though - I'm going to do at least 6 repeats on the cuff. (By the way, the Chickabiddy colorway is not on the STR website right now, but I have it on good authority it will be back in the Fall.)

Off to block Moth. That's right. Me and my numb ass haven't blocked it yet. Whatta gonna say about that? ;-)

Posted by Cara at 06:07 PM | Comments (31)

June 05, 2007

The Princess and The Picot

If you can stand it, so can I!

Finishing a pair of socks is like your birthday, all eight nights of Hannukah, Christmas morning, a gift from the tooth fairy, a visit from the Easter Bunny, fresh baked cookies, a good hair day, getting into your skinny jeans, making out in the car, and a Springsteen concert all wrapped up in a fantastic box with a shiny bow on top!! Okay. Maybe not as good as making out in the car or a Springsteen concert, but you get the idea. I love my new mini-monkeys!

I love that they are a bit tight (like my beloved Jaywalkers) so they stay up - no slouching here! And I love the colors and the STR and the undulations of the monkey pattern. I love that my friend Tina dyed the yarn and my friend Cookie designed the pattern and my friend Margene knit the modification. There's just LOVE ALL AROUND!

Most of all, I love that when it's finally chilly again I will have a drawer full of monkeys to choose from and you can bet your bottom dollar that my mini-monkeys with the picot edge will be the first pair I grab. There's nothing like a picot to bring out my inner princess!

Monkey Socks

Pattern: Free on Knitty
Yarn: STR Lightweight in Watermelon Tourmaline
Modifications: I cast on with a picot edge and knit four repeats for the cuff. I did my preferred heel and toe. I used US#1 Addis for the entire sock.
Princess Rubber Ducky: My sister purchased them here. Knock yourselves out. There's like a duck for everything.

Posted by Cara at 10:21 AM | Comments (36)

May 31, 2007

Mini Monkeys!

Oh my god!! Can I just tell you how much I LOVE my mini monkeys?!? THEY ARE THE CUTEST SOCKS EVER! And, if I didn't believe it before, I'm here to bear witness that a picot edge makes EVERYTHING in the world sunshine and unicorns and rainbows. It's like a big hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and rainbow jimmies and TWO cherries on top for your feet!

Here is my mini monkey formula: knit 5 rounds, yo k2tog - repeat for entire round, knit five rounds, knit together stitch and cast on edge to create picots next round, knit one round, start monkey pattern. I then did FOUR repeats for the cuff, which gave me about a 3.5" - 4" cuff, then do the heel and foot as directed by the pattern. All done on Size 1 Addis. I DEFY you to tell me these aren't the cutest socks EVER!

I made them with vintage STR from my stash - the lighter pinky color is Watermelon Tourmaline, which is still available on the Blue Moon website, and the green blue colorway is Seastone, which Tina told me is now discontinued. Both socks are from the old put up - 325yds. I'm not sure how much I'll have left over, but it won't be much. There's a possibility that I could do another repeat on the leg, but I think I'm sticking with this formula. I don't have to worry about running out of yarn AND I don't want them any higher on my leg. This length is PERFECT. The best part is that the monkey pattern really has little to no give so they stand straight up. No slouching here. I LOVE THEM!

Last night I cast on for the second Watermelon Tourmaline sock. I just wish it wasn't a million degrees outside. I might just have to crank up the air and sock it around all day.

I received a couple concerned emails yesterday regarding my self-proclaimed craziness. Thank you so much for caring, but I didn't mean to say that I was crazy (well, no more so than usual) but that IT was crazy. Meaning life. And all the stuff I have to do. I've got a lot of work which is GOOD, but I'm feeling the pull of the deadline, so I opted not to kill myself by staying up late to finish the socks and thus have a legitimate post for yesterday. I hope today makes up for that fact. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Cara at 10:13 AM | Comments (59)

May 29, 2007

I am an idiot.

Let me count the ways!

Firstly, it turns out I DON'T know what to do with miles and miles of acrylic. Oh I had grand plans, mind you, GRAND plans, but you know what they say about plans. Something or other about best laid and all that. My plan involved math and fibonacci patterns and my grandmother's recipe for afghans and intricate color combinations and it was all going to be SO GOOD. Then I sat down and cast on 257 stitches on size 9 needles, knit two rows and thought OH MY GOD I cannot do this. Ripped it right the fuck out. I will admit something truly horrifying to you: I might just crochet Babette yet. With my acrylic collection. You heard me. I realized, while I was casting on 257 stitches that I could have crocheted like thirty million squares in the time it took to just CAST ON. I suck. I know. Sue me.

The fact that I couldn't knit more than two rows of my most faboulous heirloom afghan might have to do with the fact that I've been hacking up a lung all weekend. A piddly annoying cold I had last week turned into HACKFEST 07 on Saturday. I worked really early in the morning and by the time I came home I couldn't stop coughing. A few hours later and I was locked in my dark dark bedroom with a pile of pillows over my head so I could cough without my brain exploding in a million pieces. I'm no stranger to the headache, but I thought I was going to die. Or throw up. One or the other and I'm not sure that they're not the same thing. I hate to throw up. I managed to sleep for a little bit and when I got up I was kind of okay and it's only gotten better since then, but Saturday sucked.

Also, it was hot. I hate being hot almost more than anything. So I stayed in the house this weekend and knit a lot. You know how I know I knit a lot? I have a brand new hole in my left hand index finger - in a completely different spot than the old hole - and a brand new callus/blister on the third finger (yes, THAT finger) of my right hand. Guess what? I've got something to show for it! Which leads me to reason number 2 why I am an idiot.

It's a MINI Monkey!! You may or may not know this about me, but I have A LOT of STR in my stash. A lot. Like, mindblowing amounts. (Although I bet there are a few people out there these days that could give me a run for my money.) Anyway, it's not about how much you have, but how well you use it. At least that's what I'm saying to you now. So, I've got a lot of it and a good portion of it is in the OLD put up, which was 325 yds. I'm beginning to think it was also a different recipe as well. This was before the days of lightweight and mediumweight and there was just ONE weight. Socks That Rock. I think the lightweight is a bit thinner now. Regardless, I thought monkey would make a great sock for my old put ups. I started knitting. I figured I could drop out one repeat on the leg and be good to go with my yardage. (Old put up=325; New put up=360.) I did Margene's picot edge mod and started knitting away like a champ. I was about three repeats from the toe when I realized that I was DEFINITELY going to run out of yarn.

This is where the idiot part creeps in. Last Friday I had a lovely conversation with Margene about our monkeys. Now, you may not know this about Margene, but she's 6' tall. I'm 5'6". So she's got six inches on me. And, as biology would dictate, she's got bigger feet than me. I'm about a 7.5 or 8 and she told me she's about a 9 - 9.5. So we were perplexed at the fact that she did six repeats on her Monkey sock foot and I was doing EIGHT. We talked about how I like a really boxy toe and that I start my decreases right at the tip of my pinky and only decrease down to 14 stitches on each side (28 total) and that she does a much longer toe because, admittedly, her feet aren't as pretty as mine. Which probably would account for ONE repeat on the foot, but TWO? What was going on here? Okay. Keep this in the back of your mind, but you're probably getting the drift of my idiocy, right?

So I'm knitting away. Like a champ. Then I realize I'm going to run out of yarn blah blah blah. I think to myself, I better rip out back to the cuff and cut out a repeat on the leg because I still need to get EIGHT repeats on the foot, not to mention the toe decreases. RIP RIP RIP and somehow I'm back to where I started five hours later or something. Now I've got two more repeats to go and the toe and I'm TOTALLY GOING TO RUN OUT OF YARN. AGAIN! And I've already dropped a repeat on the cuff. I don't want to RIP BACK.

Margene's in my head with her six repeats on the foot. My other monkeys were a little long, but just HOW long? I take out my most recent sock and try it on - but this time I let the heel fall where it should and I stretch out the toe a bit and DUDE! I've been knitting a freaking EXTRA repeat on the toe this whole time! DAMN!

I finish off the mini monky and put it on and the foot/toe is PERFECT. I can't believe what an idiot I've been! I must have put the ORIGINAL monkey on, thought it was fine where it was and cast off. Then, without thinking, I just copied that sock over and over and because it's been so hot I haven't been wearing them like I usually do. Sometimes I'll wear that one finished sock the whole time I'm knitting the second.

It's a good thing I figured out the problem because I had just enough yarn for the mini monkey with it's cute picot edge.

This yarn is STR Watermelon Tourmaline, by the way. Once I was done this sock, I did was every self-respecting idiot knitter does and went stash diving. I came up with another mini monkey:

This is STR Seastone (which, I think, unfortunately, has been discontinued.) Hopefully I'll have it finished today and a modeling picture tomorrow. The cuff is pretty short - about 3.5" - but it seems longer on my foot. Very cute! And now I know that when I knit another full size monkey (there will be at least one more pair) I can add an EXTRA repeat on the leg. I've also gone back and fixed at least one of the finished monkeys. They're so much better now. I'm an idiot, I swear.

Reason number three in the idiot dance is this whole I've got a secret game we've been playing. Now I feel like crap because you're all coming up with these great fantastic things I might be doing and I'm not doing any of them! You guys! I'm very flattered that you think I would be capable of all these feats but the truth of the matter is that it doesn't have to do with photography or a book or a new job - it's just a personal thing and it's HUGE in my life but maybe not so impressive in yours. So stop speculating. You're making me feel bad with your confidence in my abilities when, in reality, I'm an absolute idiot. Just ask Ann.

More socks tomorrow because I've turned into a factory. Really. It's sad.

PS - Happy Birthday Daddy! Happy Birthday Tina!

Posted by Cara at 12:20 PM | Comments (47)

May 25, 2007

Two Little Monkeys

Jumping on the bed!
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

The monkey thing never gets old, does it?

Just this morning I finished my STR Dutch Canyon (Lightweight) Monkey Socks and I love them! So much so I'm casting on another pair this afternoon - using Margene's FAB mod - the picot edge! Truly the new jaywalker has been born. I'm taking a chance with the new pair and going with the old put up - 325 yds - so we'll see how I do.

(Oh yeah - and to all the people that questioned the validity of a DUTCH Canyon since Holland doesn't seem to have any, Dutch Canyon is an area in Oregon near to Blue Moon Fiber Arts headquarters. I've got an answer for everything!)

In the meantime, a baby or a book?! That's the best you could come up with it? Where's your sense of adventure? Your sense of imagination? Mad props to those of you who thought things like - creative director of Red Heart - what was it? Acrylic Czar? HAHAHAHAHA! And especially to Kathy - she thought I might be taking over for Rosie at the View. Not on your life, my friend. Not on your life.

You'll all just have to have a bit of patience. All will be revealed in time. Including what to do with miles of acrylic. I couldn't get it together for today, so you'll have to wait for Tuesday. I hope I don't disappoint.

Have a great weekend everyone! Long or otherwise!

Posted by Cara at 11:49 AM | Comments (54)

May 15, 2007

QUICK! Look out your windows!!!

Do you see the pigs flying by?!?!

Yes, my friends. Your eyes do not deceive you. I have crocheted.

Here's what happened. First, Margene talked about crochet non freaking stop. Then Ann with the blah blah blah crochet crochet crochet. The final straw to fall was Vicki. She's making up songs about crochet! Yesterday I actually told her to shut up and knit already.

This morning, though, I woke up to a dream about crochet granny squares and that damn bag all my girls are making. The honest to god truth is that I want that bag too! So when I talked to Ann this morning, I asked her if she thought she could teach me to make the square over the phone.

Three and a half hours later - I had a square.

I'm not going to tell you that I enjoyed it - because I didn't. It was tough. At one point I started screaming in agony and Ann's going what? WHAT? and I yelled TOE CRAMP because my foot started to cramp up. She's all like, well then you're doing it wrong honey and duh I was so tense that my foot cramped. That hurts. Add in my elbow, my wrist, my shoulders and my back and WHOO HOO! Crochet is FUN! Seriously, I know that with practice it will all get better. I need a new hook though. I have a few lying around the house but none of them were the right size really and the one I used was way to small for the yarn (which is Heavyweight STR). The square is going to be a coaster because the gauge is so tight the damn square could stand on it's own. No drape, people. NO drape. Which might actually be good if I make this bag. We'll see. I'm going to get a bigger hook and try again. Maybe.

Ann was crochet teacher EXTRAORDINAIRE and we all got a little bit of help from Laura's crochet tutorial. Thanks Laura! All in all, I think it was a pretty good foray. Definitely room for practice.

I'm getting lots of practice on these:

A finished MONKEY SOCK! Surprise, surprise! This one is Dutch Canyon STR Lightweight. Casting on for the mate as we speak. Still loving this pattern.

Thanks for all the nice comments yesterday about the kids and the pictures. Those kids are a HUGE HUMONGOUS part of my life and it's always fun to show them off. Alright - I have GOT to eat something. Too much crochet, not enough food.


Posted by Cara at 02:32 PM | Comments (53)

May 11, 2007

So happy to be ME!

I know I said I was signing off for the weekend, but yesterday was so miserable I thought I'd share.

Last night I went to the mall in search of something to wear to my 20th Year High School Reunion having decided that everything I own doesn't fit and makes me look fatter and lumpier than I really am. That was a mistake. Not thinking that my clothes look bad on me, but going to the mall. At one point I was wandering aimlessly around Macy's trying to find something, ANYTHING, that would make me look not so lumpy and I caught sight of myself in one of the many fun house mirrors they've got hanging around the store: my shirt looked funny. I walked up to the mirror and took a good look at myself. After trying on the 100th unflattering outfit I could find, I had put my shirt back on BACKWARDS. I was so depressed that I stood there, in full view of men, women, and children, and turned my shirt around thereby letting everyone know that I can't DRESS MYSELF. It's a true story.

I even talked to my mother, complaining about how fat I've gotten, and NOT ONCE did she tell me how beautiful I was. Isn't that a mother's JOB?

And then, after buying a pair of jeans that tout "an instant tummy tuck" that I can't wear to the reunion, I sat in my car, in our parking garage, and listened to The River ten times, singing along at the top of my lungs while crying my eyes out. Doesn't get anymore high school than that.

The truth of the matter is that I'm very content with who am I and what my life is all about. I'd love my house to be cleaner, sure, and dropping fifteen pounds would certainly make things nicer, but overall I'm incredibly lucky AND I've worked very hard on myself and my relationships to get them where they are today. Generally I don't stress that much about my appearance (that's what happens when you spend most of your time in pajamas) but there's nothing like the thought of being around people that last saw you when you looked something like this:

to spur you into self-pity. Granted, they never saw me in an army uniform and this picture was taken three years after I graduated from high school, but it's the sexiest picture I have of me. Things don't change that much from 17 to 20. 17 to 37? That's a whole other story!

Now I'm certainly not complaining about how I look now. I've grown into my face and my body and I know how to play my strengths. And most importantly, my husband thinks I'm beautiful and tells me so all the time. But there are (at least) fifteen extra pounds there and I am twenty years older. I can still rock it right? This picture is from a year ago:

I still look like this. Maybe an extra five pounds but I wore this exact outfit to a Bar Mitzvah last month and I looked good. My sisters told me so. GOD BLESS SPANX!

Anyway. I found something to wear. (Note: not the outfit above. WAY too formal for this event. I'll try to get my sister to take a picture of me before I leave for the reunion.) Clothes I already had in my closet that I feel good in. My husband told me I look hot. And I'll have my favorite shawl around my shoulders. It never fails to make me feel elegant and beautiful. I decided on the outfit about ten minutes after getting home. Then I did what any self-respecting fat girl trying to get skinny would do: I made myself one of my favorite Lean Cuisines for dinner, curled up with Grey's Anatomy (anyone else think McDreamy is being a TOTAL DICK!), and knit on a sock.

(My new pair of monkeys. Dutch Canyon STR Lightweight.)

I really am confident that tonight will be very weird, somewhat uncomfortable and ultimately fun! But just in case, I'm bringing along some knitting.

PS - Go congratulate my friend MJ! YAY! Mazel Tov!
PPS - Go help my friend Claudia!! I have. Now it's your turn! Do the right thing and win prizes to boot!
PPPS - This post is my own little pity party. No need to tell me how gorgeous I really am.

Posted by Cara at 10:23 AM | Comments (105)

May 10, 2007

Knanette and Her Monkeys

I stayed up late and finished my first pair of Monkey Socks - and then I stayed up later watching Inside Job. Clive Owen and Denzel Washington. Nuff said.

First though, I want to talk about Knanette! Thank you for all your encouragement. Some initial work has been done and I can pretty much guarantee that this will not (at least not right away) turn into another miter madness. There are lots of kinks to be worked out, I think, and also, it's going to take a lot more planning on my part.

I need to say right off the bat that I take no credit at all for the construction of the square I'm about to show you. I was merely the workhorse. The genius comes straight off the brain of Kay. If you'll indulge me please, I'm going to take a minute to talk about Kay. She's a great friend, a fantastic host and most of all, she has been the single most influential person in my knitting life (besides, of course, my grandmother, who actually taught me to knit.) She has opened up possibilities to me that I never ever dreamed about. She has awakened my inner artist. Thank you, Kay, for changing my life for the better. You truly are my Kaffe.

Okay. Back to Knanette. Fifteen minutes on the phone with Kayye and I'm ready to tackle my miter in the round. I don't know much about crochet, but I understand that if you know what you're doing, those baby squares in Babette can go super fast. Not so with knitting. It will take CONSIDERABLY longer to knit this blanket than it would, most likely, to learn how to crochet from scratch, fuck things up a bit, then finally be on your way cranking out squares.

That's not an option for me. I don't want to crochet this blanket. I want to knit it.

Kay and I decided (or really Kay decided) that by knitting the square from the outside in, it gives you the best way of knitting the blanket WITHOUT SEAMS. You knit a square, then pick up one side of that square and knit another one. And so on and so on. Kay also suggested the garter stitch border - which I happen to LOVE. I think it gives the square a decidedly granny FEEL while being VERY different from an actual crocheted granny square. This is how I knit the square above:

Cast on 96 stitches. Join in the round. (When you're casting on, you might want to place a marker every 24 stitches - this demarcates the four corners of the miter.)

Round 1: [Knit 10, k2tog, k2tog, knit 10] Repeat 3 times.
Round 2: PURL all stitches (For garter stitch in the round.)
Round 3: [Knit 9, k2tog, k2tog, knit 9] Repeat 3 times.
Round 4: PURL all stitches
Round 5: [Knit 8, k2tog, k2tog, knit 8] Repeat 3 times.
Round 6: PURL all stitches
Round 7: [Knit 6, ssk, k2tog, k2tog, knit 6] Repeat 3 times
Round 8: KNIT all stitches (You're now doing stockinette in the round.)
Round 9: [Knit 5, ssk, ssk, k2tog, knit 4] Repeat 3 times
Round 10: KNIT all stitches
Round 11: [Knit 3, ssk, k2tog, k2tog, knit 3] Repeat 3 times
Round 12: KNIT all stitches
Round 13: [Knit 2, ssk, ssk, k2tog, knit 1] Repeat 3 times
Round 14: KNIT all stitches
Round 15: [ssk, k2tog, k2tog] Repeat 3 times
Round 16: KNIT all stitches
Round 17: [s1, k2tog, psso] Repeat 3 times

You should have four stitches left. Cut your yarn and thread them threw the last four stitches pulling them together. Change yarns wherever you see fit. I knit my square using two circulars because that's the way I do things, but this pattern lends itself nicely to dpns seeing as it's all in fours and such.

I just love the little bud in the center from the four remaining stitches. I LOVE this square. LOVE it. Some things I discovered: I think you really need to start with a stitch count, that when divided by 4, gives you an even number. I was going to try for a slightly smaller square, starting with 84 stitches, but the breakdown is 21 and when you're decreasing by 2 for the garter stitch rows, it's not so neat. Also, you need to knit three garter stitch ridges to get the stitch count back to something divisible by 3 so you can start the stockinette section and be able to get three decreases.

The worst part of this is that you have to cast on a lot of stitches. If I want to make a really big miter - I might need to cast on 400+ stitches. BUT you start decreasing at a very fast speed - 12 stitches every round. So you pay the price up front, but soon get to a manageable place. Re changing colors - I thought you might get a bad jog because you're knitting in the round - but the color change wasn't really noticeable at all. Maybe because really you're knitting flat? I don't know, but weaving in the ends seems to cover all ills.

The square above measures 4"x4" and I really wouldn't go much smaller. I mean, I guess you could cast on 72 stitches, but it would pretty much be garter stitch. This is acceptable to me as my SMALLEST size. I tried a bunch of times to cast on the next square by picking up 24 stitches on one side then casting on the next 72 and theoretically it should all work. I kept messing it up though - didn't like my initial cast on. Twisted it when I went to knit in the round. Cast on too few stitches. You know. Bonehead stuff. I think I've got the cast on I want to use (cable cast on) and if I can just keep the round straight this should work pretty good. My plan is that I'd take a section of the blanket and attach those together - then move onto another section. So when it comes time to finish the blanket - you seam sections as opposed to individual squares.

As I said - this will take a good long while. I really want to plan things out - make up some rules color wise (already working this out in my head! It becomes clearer by the moment!) and layout wise. If I were you, I'd probably just learn to crochet. But, I'm a glutton for punishment. Don't expect much on this for awhile. I definitely LOVE my little square though!

Hey Hey it's the MONKEYS!

Poor sad little monkeys! Look how wrinkled and scrunchy they look! Dance MONKEYS! DANCE!

I totally agree with the assessment I've seen around the blogs that these socks look better blocked - they do. But only for their photoshoot. Don't let the scrunchiness fool you. They look JUST FINE on your feet - the best blockers of all.

A thoroughly enjoyable knit, these monkey socks. EXTREMELY enjoyable. This pair took me a week. And I would've knit them faster no problem if I didn't have other stuff to do. I used Socks That Rock Lightweight, in the Rare Gems colorway (which means that it was a "special" skein that didn't go as originally planned and then was overdyed and sold as a rare gem - these are one offs. This skein is UNIQUE.) I used Addi Size 2s for the twisted ribbing and the first two repeats, then switched to 1s. I love the fit - nice and snug. The only modification I made to the pattern was to do my standard heel flap and toe. The rest of it is as written.

I'm fairly certain I'll be making a bunch of these.

Okay, so I'm signing off for the weekend. My one friend from high school, the one I'm going to the reunion with, told me she bought a new dress. So I feel like I have to go shopping - especially since all the things I thought I might wear don't fit. On a happier note, I'm getting a pedicure! Have a great weekend - reunion details next week - and more Monkeys I'm sure!

L, C

Posted by Cara at 09:28 AM | Comments (48)

May 07, 2007

I got rhythm!

Who could ask for anything more?!

Sock modeled by my own personalized Leggy Creations Sock Blocker!
A fabulous birthday gift from Margene!

I finished my first Monkey Sock, and I've got to tell you, this could be my new Jaywalker. It's got everything I love in a knit - especially in a sock. First off, it's FAST. The repeat is only 11 rows so by the time you've knit four rows you're like oh my god I might as well finish the repeat. And there are only six repeats for the cuff so you can polish them off and be ready to split for the heel in no time at all. The pattern lulls you into the perfect rhythm that makes you knit faster and faster. Like the Jaywalker pattern. Like miters. Apparently, I like to be hypnotized by my knits.

STR Lightweight, Rare Gem Colorway

While there is purling in the sock (I actually like to purl very much - but I HATE purling in a sock - I think, really, I hate ribbing in the round and on such small needles. Actually, I hate ribbing ALL the time.), for some reason it's not bothering me. I love how they fit - nice and tight. I did the twisted rib and the first two repeats on size 2s, like the pattern calls for, but then I went down to 1s for the rest of the sock. They're a little tight getting over the heel - but just like my Jaywalkers - they're nice and snug and they stay up GREAT!

The foot is actually a smidge long - but otherwise I'd have to cut out a whole repeat and I'm not doing that - so they're a smidge long. No biggie. I'm already lining up all of my old skeins of STR (in the 325 yd put up) to make Monkeys! I think if I drop one of the repeats out of the cuff I'll be good to go. When I held them up to a pair of my Jaywalkers, the length is perfect with five repeats. I've got JUST the yarn to try too. WHOO HOO! Time for some sock knitting yessireebob!

As soon as I finished the first sock, I cast on for the second. In no time at all, I have five repeats under my belt.

I'm gonna have a pair of socks before I know it! Just in time for Summer! ;-)

Posted by Cara at 03:37 PM | Comments (71)

May 03, 2007

Be True

When in doubt, always, ALWAYS - and really - I can't stress this enough - ALWAYS! - go with what you know.

Socks That Rock, Rare Gem Colorway

KT hit it right on the head with this comment yesterday: "Aren't you the one who was just telling me that you only knit for yourself? My world is in disarray. I'm confused." YES!! YES!!!!! I ONLY KNIT FOR MYSELF!

Why did I forget that? There are many EXCELLENT reasons that I basically knit for myself. It wasn't always that way, but more and more and more it's become my reality. A reality I'm very happy with. I wanted to try linen and handtowels and maybe I'll still make a few for myself - but for now this project is deader than a door nail. I've never duplicate stitched and I don't want to rework a chart and I tried this thing and it didn't come out the perfect way it would need to come out for me to present it to my cousin in front of all the women in my family and besides, I can't give a gift that's not perfect, handmade or not. There was ALWAYS another gift - my sisters and I were ALWAYS going in on something off the registry - this was going to be my little side gift. No harm, no foul. What a relief!

Once I came to my senses, I did what any sane person would do and went trolling through my considerable STR stash. I've got stuff in there I don't even remember. Collector's Items at this point. I knew the pattern I was going to knit - I've been wanting to knit this sock for awhile - and I knew the type of yarn I wanted (something with a lot of colors and short repeats) so I went diving and came up with this:

! By Cookie A! YAY!

I cast on late afternoon yesterday. I started the socks on Addi Size 2s - I like to do my ribbing on a bigger needle - and actually continued on 2s for two repeats of the lace pattern. (A lesson I learned from this sock.) I then switched to Addi 1s and did another two repeats. The pattern calls for six repeats - only 22 rows and I split for the heel! Now that's a sock I like! I love this yarn, it goes without saying, but I really love this colorway. Mostly because it's MINE ALL MINE! Rare Gems are mistakes gone gold in the STR world - no two Rare Gems are alike so no one anywhere will ever have this colorway EVER. MWHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The pattern rocks - it's easy - not too much purling (for some reason I have an aversion to purling in sock patterns. Actually it's just that I abhor ribbing.) And I'm loving the effect. I'm thinking it will be nice with some of my other handpainted coughnotstrcough yarns. What? Did you say something? What?

Honestly, I really would've loved to have gone back to the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan - but I have to read my knitting and figure out the pattern again and where I am and what I need to do. I was just about to finish the back and I was doing some alterations to the pattern and I need to check my notes (fingers crossed I remembered to write everything down.)

In the meantime, it's just like riding a bike.

Some random stuff to talk about:

-- Mark your calendars! WE HAVE A DATE! Spin Out will be Saturday, September 29, 2007 - Central Park, Cherry Hill Fountain, 11-4. Much more information to come in the next month or so, but thought I should mention this now. I received the permit last week or so and wanted to get it out there.

-- NEW SOCK CLUB! Linda LaBelle, owner of The Yarn Tree in Brooklyn, NY, let me know about a new sock club she's started: A Sock Club For All Seasons. What makes this club stand out from some of the others is the talent she's got lined up - Cheryl Shaefer, Darlene Hays, Nancy Finn, Lori Lawson and others. These are PREMIER fiber artists and for some of them, their yarn is very difficult to get your hands on. There are lots of other goodies that come along with the yarn. Check out The Yarn Tree for more information.

-- RAVELRY! Generally I'm one of those "wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member" but this one is to good to pass up. The brainchild of Jess and her husband, Casey, Ravelry is a place to share project information, pattern information, yarn information, stash information - basically anything that has to do with knitting, spinning, crochet - anything FIBER related. Right now it's still in it's beta testing stages so membership is by invitation only - BUT you can get on the list for an invitation. Use the sign-up on the right hand side of this page. BE PATIENT! Ravelry is for everyone and it's exploding as we speak so get on the list and get your pictures up on Flickr (even I opened an account - something I've been holding back on FOREVER) and pretty soon you'll be stuck in the time suck as well. ;-)

Have a GREAT day!
L, C

Posted by Cara at 08:52 AM | Comments (46)