Better Blue

Another FO report.  These are the Blue Ridge Motif socks, from SoXperience, by Edie Eckman.  (If you go to the SoXperience link, scroll down to the photo of several socks in early progress.  Mine’s left front.)  They were knitted for Mary as a very belated birthday present.  While the colors were such that I knew several of you would LOVE them, I knew instantly that these socks were the reason I hadn’t been able to settle on what to give Mary for her birthday.  You see, Mary lived in Virginia for a while, so it’s all the sweeter that she now has her own bit of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the desert with her.  She’s also been my crochet coach, so it was only fitting that she got the first even partially crocheted item that was worth giving away!

Pattern:  One Edie handed out at the workshop, but it’s basically a VERY standard top down, stockinette all the way sock with a heel flap, and a motif sewn in via picking up and binding off stitches.  I was sorely tempted to try the alternate motif placement on the heel flap, but as I knew before I finished the first cuff that I was making these for Mary, I stuck to the pattern.

Yarn:  Claudia does an exclusive each year for SoXperience, it would seem.  The watermelon colorway from last year is back at Carodan, for those who missed it.  I love this yarn; Tofutsies, watch out!  You might be displaced by the local (ish?) dyer whose soft yarn with colorways often named after local stuff is a pleasure to knit with.

Needles:  Size 1, after a frogged #3 attempt.  I used the Addi Lace, and I’m not a fan, not at this size.  Maybe that put a hole in your hand tip is appreciated in a larger size, but I truly feared Sissy would take an eye out when she was near these things.  It’s been replaced with a Hiya Hiya #1, and ooh boy!  If you haven’t tried these needles, you’re missing out.  They’re truly the perfect circular needle, but a review will come another day.

Hook:  Wee doggy!  My first efforts with anything smaller than the H hook, I think, and I jumped all the way down to a D.  That’s about as small as I care to go.  I will mention that there’s no hook for me like the Boye hooks.  There’s something about the head and the throat shape that are just right.  Hooking with them is effortless, and considering my very novice skills, that’s saying something.

I’d been waiting for Mary to receive her socks before I blogged, because I didn’t want her asking more questions, and I wasn’t in the mood to fib about where yet another knitted gift really went.  Today seemed right, because my last post was indeed rather blue, and that’s not the way I want to leave things, not on a day of celebration.  Not on a day when the President’s helicopter (what do they call that?  Birdie One?) was making Sissy nutty.  (Yes, I also live close enough to Monticello that we all heard the bird flying not so high in the sky, twice.  He’s left the area, in case anyone cares.) 

I’m spending my National Holiday knitting, as planned.  I’m actually going to finish the I’ll never tell project today, I do believe, so I’ll have lots of time to spend on the baby blanket my Ravelry notebook says I want to finish by July 15th.  Or, I’ll have time to cast on something else…

Happy 4th!

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Powerful Women

I fell in love with Disney movies all over again with Mulan.  Nothing like mainstream girl power, which even the young Page thought was a cool movie at the time.  I’m here to tell you though, there’s nothing like a powerful woman.  I unabashedly admit I am one, but I am ever so thankful for all of the strong women I have around me.

What makes a powerful woman?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  This is the email I started to forward to every woman in my address book, but I knew I’d miss a few:

Powerful Women…….

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, “Oh shit … she’s awake!”

For some reason, that pleased me to no end this morning.  Heck, it’s still making me smile, some ten hours after it arrived in my inbox!

Before going to bed last night so my feet could hit the floor and make Satan shudder, I not only finished the first Motif Sock, but I started #2 as well.  Yeah, it is too big for my custom-made for ME sock blocker, so maybe that’s a hint for some special someone out there, huh?  I love the cool blues against the vivid green of Sissy’s yard, and it does indeed remind me of my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains, meeting the sweet summer sky on a nearly – but not quite – cloudless day.  I have that angst one always has when making socks for someone else…  I just hope they fit!

Ordinarily, I would find the knitting rather tedious on these basically stockinette socks, but right now, the rather mindless round after round is perfect.  I can think well enough to stop and measure every now and then, so they should turn out just fine.  I hope.

Cards and more keep rolling in, letting us know we’re cared for and supported by many.  Sissy was thrilled to receive a box and some brown packing paper from some friends.  I should be grateful she didn’t care to try to eat the peace lily within. 

I just realized I never ate lunch, which means I can have another handful.  Anyone else into the Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds?  OH.MY.GOODNESS.  Get you some, if you even kinda’ like chocolate or almonds.  The linkym’doo will tell you how good they are for you, but to heck with that.  They’re incredible.  Take my word for it and get you some.  These babies and a tall glass of iced tea are all it takes to make my world a better place.  Your kind emails help too, but I can dish these nuts out as I please.  I still don’t know how they dry roast ’em with dark chocolate dust on them, but seriously, this is my ambrosia.  Just let me know if you hear it’s a seasonal item or something, because I must stock up if that’s the case.  (Case.  That wouldn’t be enough.)

The only problem is, I can’t shovel these nuts in and knit at the same time.  I’ve put them away for now, because I do want to finish this other sock this week so I can give them away and tell you where they went.  So, back to knitting.  I guess the Knight’s going to have to take me out to dinner, because the peace lily is on the stove right now, to keep a certain nosey girl out of it until I decide where it will live.

 

 

 

 

SoXperience

Well, here we go.  Grab a beverage, a snack, and settle in somewhere comfortable, when you have more than a few minutes…  I didn’t take photos.  I took my camera, but I was too engrossed in my classes to even think about it!

Saturday morning, I headed northwest to Carodan Farm for SoXperience.   I’d signed up for both of Edie Eckman‘s classes, Motif Crochet (for Knitters), and the Blue Ridge Sock with Flower Inset.  When we checked in, we got a great little goody bag.  The yarns are much prettier than this photo shows; deep, dark jewel tones, and so very soft to the touch.  The yellow wad is Post-Its, which I think most of us use in one fashion or another while knitting.

HERE is the link to Edie’s teaching schedule.  She’s going to be teaching five or six (I can’t recall which) classes at Stitches East, and I sure hope at least one falls while I’m there.  I stongly encourage you to take a class from her if you get the chance.  I really wasn’t excited about the Motif class when I signed up, but figured I’d approach it as a learning experience.  Ha!  I am now chomping at the bit for the August release of said book!  I might become a happy hooker after all. 

So, the Motif class. 

I made that.  ME!!!  (You’d really be impressed if I’d blocked it.) My very favorite part of the first class was the super-cool cast-on Edie taught us to avoid crochetintheroundholeitis.  See how tight and closed my motif (ME!  I did it!) is in the center?  Squee!  That alone was worth the price of admission.  Now I can crochet chemo caps in a few minutes, because I’d cast them aside when I couldn’t close the dingdang hole at the top.  I can read crochet charts now, and boy are those things logical.  What you see is what you get, and it doesn’t get any better than that.  I think Edie had all of her swatches (from the cover shot anyway) for her new book with her, and let me tell you…  If you drooled over the colors and shapes in that measley photo, again, you owe it to yourself to see Edie and her swatches in person.  The colors are so contemporary and vivid, and it was so helpful to see the same swatch done in solids vs. contrast, or the three circles done in the pattern I did (ME!), but with three different borders/edges.  I don’t visualize well, so actually SEEING the differences in person was impactful.  I now truly feel that with patience and dropped shoulders (just in case Edie does read this), I can crochet most anything.

The afternoon brought another motif and a sock.  I’d actually done one of these suckers about five times (if you count how many times I did part of the pattern before even “don’t frog” Edie suggested I go back to the point of non-mess-ups), but it was in DK weight, and y’all know I’m a fingering weight gal.  So, thanks to blogless Margaret from RCK (my knitting guild – Judy and Carrie were there too!) and her D-hook, I produced one motif on my second try, and took off on my sock, on a size #3 circ, which was then frogged at home after I tried the sock on.  I’ll show progress shots later this week, but with my trusty size #1 Addi, I’m making a sock that fits.

The yarn was a custom-dye by Claudia for SoXperience, Blue Ridge Blue.  The DK weight seemed a little deeper and darker, and one gal in the afternoon class said that the first sample she saw was MUCH darker, which would match up with my idea of the Blue Ridge Mountains better than what I have, but I still like the yarn and the colors.

After the class, Edie made good on her offer, and with just the Magic Loop booklet and my feeble explanation of what I thought might have gone wrong on the heels of my first attempt at two socks on one circ, I am quite sure I will have complete success on my next try.

I also grabbed some of this month’s Tofutsies special yarn, Bandstand.  It’s very lovely, and I’m curious about this knit flat cuff that starts the pattern that goes with it.  That might be next on my sock queue…

So, my question is, does this count as knitting in public on WWKIP Day?  I mean, I wasn’t at home, but I don’t think we opened any non-knitter eyes as we were back on the farm…

 

Sway with Me

Just sway, from side to side, right where you sit.  Slow and easy, from the hips…

Yeah.  That’s what I do.  I sway in the breeze.  If you read the post below, written during a morning hot flash, I’d punted SoXperience, feeling the guilt trip Sissy and Mugsy were sending my way.  However…

I really am a fickle soul.  After a very kind reply to a previous post from Ms. Eckman, I am all signed up for BOTH of her workshops tomorrow.  It’s going to be miserable outside, true enough, but I’m still blown away every time one of the published fiber arts authors responds to me.  (Me! on my blog!  Squee!)  Ms. Eckman is going to show me her version of two socks, one circ tomorrow after all.  I get what I want AND then some.  Actually, now that I’ve visited her site, I’m rather excited about tomorrow’s classes.

Look!  Anita, those colors just scream you…  We’ll get a chance to pre-order this weekend, but if all else fails, there’s my ever-faithful Amazon cart.  Maybe I’ll finally be a happy crocheter one of these days.  Maybe tomorrow, I’ll actually bond with one or more of my hooks.  Stay tuned.  You just never know with me, do you?

 

As it turns out, I am already a fan of Ms. Eckman’s work and didn’t know it.  Remember the Pinky socks I ended up making for Amanda?   Well, they were from her Learn to Knit Socks book.  It was the first time I’d taken a dpn written pattern and used two circs.  As I recall, those socks were my Nashville/Cookbook U project…

I’ll have to leave home pretty close to the same time I leave for work in the morning.  That’s when the Knight’s leaving too, so the dogs will be confused and think it’s just another work day.  I’m still getting The Moth blocked though, even if I have to work it in around the Knight’s plans for tonight.

Hey – just a thought – if y’all sway just right, maybe it’ll make a cool breeze for me tomorrow…