Sweaters for Your Feet

Taking photos of socks is not as easy as one might expect! Well, for those of us who haven’t ever photographed a pair, anyway. Maybe this is old hat for some of you, but who knew how complicated it could be! Here’s a small summary of my first socks photo findings:

  • Get rid of all dog hair and dust, both on the floor and on the sock. Check again. Check one more time. Then look again just for good mesure.
  • When trying to get rid of said dust, it’s probably best not to use the sock as a temporary swiffer
  • Don’t let socks slouch
  • Figure out how to set the self-timer before setting up tripod (or in my case, a few legos)
  • Make sure kids are asleep so they don’t remove the legos whole your back is turned
  • Most importantly, stretch! Self sock photography is not for the weak… or inflexible.

After an hour or two of a rather painfully steep learning curve, I have some FO photos to share! So without further ado, here they are! My first pair of socks, Atlantis by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops.

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I love them! I really do! I’ve actually worn them three times before I got them photographed and now the heels are looking a bit felted and worn (which is why I havent worn them more before getting pcis). I can’t believe I waited this long to knit my first pair. I’m sure you’ll notice, especially in this picture directly above, that the colorways are a bit off, but honestly, I don’t really care so much. My feet spend very little time side-by-side, and when they are, they are directly in front of me, up on the table, enjoying the quiet while I’m sipping some hot tea. As the mother of three, this happens so rarely that when it does occur, I can’t be bothered to get upset at something as minor as a color shift. And I’m certainly not going to point it out to perfect strangers while out and about! I’ve also made a mistake or two that I let slip, but just watch and see if I’m going to show you those 😉

The pattern was a complete joy to watch unfold, and the Koigu was such a dream to work with. For me, it was an interesting exercise, as this was my first major lace undertaking–other than the little baby sweater I did a two years ago, but it wasn’t nearly so involved–as well as my first pair of socks. Definitely a steep learning curve with this project! Although the Koigu was incredibly soft and heavens-to-Betsy do I love the colorways, I beleive that I will try out some sock yarn with a bit of nylon to see if they hold up a bit better. The felting is definitely pronounced on the heel, although I imagine that it probably increases the strength of the fabric somewhat.

I did run into two issue while knitting. One was a small discrepancy in the pattern when it came to the number of stitches in the heel flap purl row; Kirsten immediately sent out a correction, although I have to say that it was such a minor issue that had I a bit more confidence I would’ve done as my instinct told me to and not worried so much. Also, on my first sock, there was a rather large gap / hole right where the last stitch, or is it the first (?), was picked up in the heel turn. See it below, that little stitch that looks all ready to give out and unravel at any second?

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Here it is a little closer, right smack dab in the center.

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I was able to correct in on the second sock following this tip from the TECHknitting, a really wonderful source for knit construction tips, if you haven’t been there yet.

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Look Ma! No holes! Woo-hoo!

I think I’ve been bit by the bug… I’m not sure I’m going to fall prey to the second sock syndrome (famous last words, I’m sure), but I tend to like knitting a pattern more than once anyway, and by the time I finished with the first, I feel like I’ve just become acquainted with the pattern and that I’d like to spend some time getting to know it a bit better! So the second sock flew off the needle in record time. And it’s all so compact and easy to travel with! Now that I have a decent pattern holder, I see no reason to travel with any other project in my bags… well, maybe I’ll leave some room for a hat or two.

So! Thanks for putting up with me rather sketchy photos (I’m sure I’ll have better to show nex time ’round), and my long-winded post! If any of you are hesitant to try socks, I say jump on in! No time like the present to make some sweaters for your feet!

When Life Hands You Lemons and Too Many Adverbs

Or when a certain airline deems you need to sit in an airport for a few hours because there is no plane for you…

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Might I suggest, casually, you call your husband to tell him about your delay, unless of course, your cell phone dies because the movers packed the cord before you had a chance to recharge. Then, I might advise finding yourself a lovely little irish pub for some boxty and Facebook (please note the all important coffee beverage within arm’s reach!)…

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Until, predictably, your battery runs out because you smartly packed the power cord in the checked bag so as to save yourself a bit of weight in your carry on. The next step, obviously, is to grab your handy dandy butter yellow yarn and brand new knit picks needle set to whip up a much needed hat for the youngest child using a lovely pattern from a lovely book by and even lovely-er friend...

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Unless you discover, naturally, that the cord that attaches the needles is much too long to knit your wee cap in the round (14″ diameter cap on a 16″ cord between two rather long needles = uh, not so much!). In which case, I would propose, that you find your gate and spend some time ruminating what you might use to shorten the cable (no scissors or lighters allowed, so no cutting the cable shorter and melting the plastic back together) or as alternative needles (chopsticks, anyone?) until you happen upon the idea that using two too long cables might work. I didn’t have two sets of number 4’s, so on each cable I attached one 4 and one 5 needle…

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So as to make progress! Put these all together, add a dash of extra will-the-plane-make-it-or-not time, a few shakes of some horrendous rush hour traffic, and an hour of knitting recovery time at your new home to re-establish your sense of humor…

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because, almost certainly, the hat will be entirely too small to fit your babe’s head.

My Creative Energy

The movers came and packed up all we had left with no space to spare…

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and came to the new house to drop it off…

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and unpack it all…

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how nice of them…

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to provide me such fertile ground…

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for all of my creative energy…

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for the next few months.

The Final Countdown

This Friday will be the last day that I will set foot in my house. The closing is not for a few more weeks, but once the truck is loaded and on it’s way I will say goodbye to a few, mostly dearly beloved friends before leaving at 4am to catch a flight back to our new, albeit temporary, home.

I had planned on a few more interesting, photo-y posts, but the past two days have left me quite drained physically and mentally as I direct packers and desperately try to tick of items from the ever-growing to-do list.

So I will be back with more interesting posts soon, but for today, I’m afraid it’s time for bed.

Or, rather, since all the blankets and sheets were packed, the couch…

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Our home, quite contrary to what we anticipated, sold four days after it was up on the market.

We were all surprised… surprised and quite unprepared. We have no real right to complain; in the worst economy since the depression, we were able to find a new job and sell our home for a profit. Yet it was a rather draining experience, none-the-less. The summer was a season of upheval, but this Autumn will be a time to regroup and recenter.

What a better way to begin than by introducing ourselves to our next-door neighbors! Of course, new, under-equipped kitchen or not, we couldn’t go empty handed, so we settled in this afternoon to bake some pumpkin ginger cupcakes.

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The recipe from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans is a complete joy to bake. This is the third recipe I’ve made, and each one has been a winner. These little cakes were perfectly moist, and with bits of crystallized ginger spread throughout the batter, were not too sweet. The lovely liners were bought through the Bake It Pretty website, a small family/mom run business that began as an Etsy shop. She has absolutely wonderful stuff and I’m always happy to support these kind of businesses.

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Those of you who know me personally, know how little I actually enjoy and/or excel at baking. But the little ones love cupcakes, and a Momma’s gotta find something to stuff in their craw, err, I mean an educationally-rich activity to complete on a cold, wet, windy Fall day. So far I’ve been pretty lucky, but I haven’t tried anything too complicated yet. There was a disaster with the original cream cheese icing, but I was able to save the day’s work with a recipe for 7 minute frosting. I can’t seem to remember that I have three children–last week I kept referring to my two children–but I can remember some vague recipe I came across a few years ago. Didn’t have any cream of tartar, but google assured me that lemon juice would help stabilize the eggs whites.

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Once they were iced, suited-up, and packed up in their little boxes, we tromped them, cupcakes all and children three, through the fallen wet leaves and into the welcoming lights of our new neighbors’ porches.

It’s What’s for Dinner

on the menu tonight ::

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:: lobster ravioli with sherry glazed onions.

This is what you get when you’re living in a kitchen not your own, with an unfamiliar stove, equipment that doesn’t quite measure up, none of your spices, oils, and vinegars, and a very tired mom. I haven’t been cooking many meals these days; we’ve been subsiding on heat-and-serve meals for the past few weeks. The kids are calling it “camping”. Yes, we’re a tad pathetic.

Tonight I cooked up some sausages for the kids and heated up some lobster ravioli for me, thank you Trader Joe! Once the sausage was done and I plopped it in front of the kids (with a ceremonious flourish, I assure you), I noticed how yummy the bottom of the pan looked with all the sticky brown leftover bits. It looked so yummy I came out of semi-retirement and looked at what I had laying around…

…Which was a whole bunch of ‘nuthin.

I did have some onions. And some sherry. And a tiny little pat of butter. So I added some diced onions and a bit of salt in the pan, with a few glugs of sherry and got to scraping up all the browned goodness. I let the onions cook down and soften and brown, deglazing the pan with more sherry when things got a little sticky. In the end, I threw in a teensy pinch of pepper flakes, little bit of butter and topped it off a few ravioli to let them reheat. And then I ate it.

Honestly, it wasn’t so bad. Next time, a nice cheese ravioli, and maybe bacon instead of sausage.

Yeah, I never said I cooked light.

All That Glitters

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I started this project immediately after finishing up my socks. The Yarn, Merisoft Hand Painted by Punta Yarns literally jumped into my basket while I was walking around one of my favorite shops, and I fought hard to regain control of the situation by putting back all but one skein before I walked up to the cashier. But all my resolve was lost after I knit up a small gauge swatch later that night.

It was like knitting up stitch after stitch of tiny little jewels. The yarn is a single ply, and buttery soft, so I have been itching every night to get the kids to bed so I can watch this pattern unfold. There’s no motivation better than a good knit to make us jump right back into a schedule!

The pattern, Summer Set Long Moss Stitch Cardi by Pam Allen is not a sweater I was planning on making up, but I was intrigued by this lovely little project so I bought the Classic Elite pattern book and found quite a few sweaters, like this one and that one, that are begging for some creative energy; this one topped them off. I checked the pattern to make sure I would have enough yarn, then ran back to the store the next day to grab the rest of the lot. This was kismet.

Of course, I’ve already ripped back a full seventeen inches of work after I decided to knit the next larger size. This photo was mid-rip… but I’m already back right where the trouble started. After knitting lace on size 2 needles it’s amazing how quicky things knit up on 7s.

Be Still My Beating Heart

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Oh eldest daughter, you do not know how my heart sings when you ask if we can knit together. While you sit in my lap, holding the ends of the needles as each stitch is wrapped, pulled through, and slid from one end to the other, I can’t help but to thank the heavens that you have chosen to share even these few moments with me. Three nights we’ve managed to create a few rows together; you chatter on about what we’re making (will it be a scarf? or maybe a hat?) and I wonder how much time this new acitivty will hold your interest. However long or short it may be, I will treasure the time we spend, weaving together a peice of string into a memory, to hold in my heart forever.