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Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

2nd Sock Syndrome Corollary

So once upon a time this blog included knitting.  Only I haven’t knitted very much since I moved to LA because, well, my apartment is too hot to touch anything during the summer and the rest of the year I can barely get thru eating, sleeping, and bathing.

Every now and again I pick up a pair of socks I started before I left for California in 2013 and knit a bit on it.  The thing is, it’s boring.  I devised the pattern myself and I should have known better.  The other UFOs I have, though, are complicated, lace or sweaters needing careful attention to necks or sleeves and my mind just doesn’t have enough room. So the sock has become my go to “I think I’ll do a bit of knitting tonight” project.

Last year about this time I finally finished the first sock and did the toe and a bit of the foot before tossing it in the UFO basket.

But it’s that time of year when not only do I have time and the mental energy to knit but it’s also not too hot. Plus at the end of the semester I usually offer the students a chance to learn.  The added bonus for them is that I also propose a campus yarn bomb project.

I needed to get back in shape for this since it seemed so long since I last knitted that I might have forgotten how so I got out the socks.  It all went well because muscle memory kicked in and short of a head injury it’s unlikely that I ever really forget how to knit.  Soon the 2nd sock was ready for the heel.

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I had to look up the instructions for my preferred short row heel but once I got into it I had it down.  Up to where I had to pick stitches to turn the heel.  Some where I must have put the sock down in the middle of a row because there was a weird half row of purl stitches on the front side of the sock.  Bummer.  I kept knitting, thinking I could live with it, until I couldn’t.  I frogged back to the end of the short rows. I began again.  Suddenly I had 6 stitches to pick up on one side of the heel and 3 on the other????  I solemnly swear I picked up a stitch at the end of each row.  Although it may not have really been the end of the row? I frogged back but couldn’t figure out where I needed to be so I went all the way back to the beginning of the short rows.  I did this a few more times.  Like 5.  The same thing, decreasing fine but increasing always too many stitches left on one side.  The yarn was now splity from so much back and forthing. I couldn’t sometimes tell anymore what was a stitch. It was now 2 am.  So I went to bed.

This morning I was waiting for some pictures to upload for what seemed like forever so got out the sock.  I only thought I would just it back to the start of the heel, again, but in the light of day I pushed on.  Then I discovered part of the problem.  I picked up a wrap and a stitch separately and now had an extra stitch on 1 side.  Eureka.  I ripped it out and started over, again.  Only even after placing stitch markers and counting each row I somehow had decreased 7 times on one side and only 4 on the other???  So now I couldn’t even get the 1st part right????

Failure to complete my 2nd sock will not be because I lack the will to finish it.  I am actually pretty determined to force it into being.  It will be because the !@#$%^&* doesn’t want to be a sock.  

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I am on vacation.  That is, I have a bit of time off between my summer job and the opera.  I am spending it by cleaning up the cat hair and cat gack that accumulated in my apartment over the summer.  That and napping.

Yesterday I accomplished part of my to do list by cleaning and mopping the bedroom and hallway.  Then I set out to run a few errands, kitchen restocking and whatnot.  I also planned to stop by the opera and check on some things and use the internet since I cancelled mine before I left and I needed to print out some receipts and that’s not possible at the other places where I can get online.  Then I was going to meet up with the Friday night knitters.

At the opera, my key would not turn in the lock.  This is not unusual because the door is out of whack.  But, it wouldn’t work in the other door either.  No access for me.  It is now past 5pm and if people are still there I don’t want to disturb them since I am not on contract yet anyway.

I head to knitting instead.  The coffee place we meet at is empty of knitters and there is no reserved sign on our table.  I am hot and bothered.  I order a smoothie and check Facebook on my phone.  Knitting cancelled.  I also attempt to check my opera email but either the password has been changed or I simply can’t type it in correctly on my teeny tiny phone keyboard.  Another fail.

I drive home.  It is hot and I have been in California all summer where it is hot but not so unbearably muggy.  My car works better if I don’t use the air conditioning in city traffic so I have the windows down, sweltering and breathing in car exhaust from the other vehicles.

Once at home, all I want to do is lie down in my cool apartment.  I proceed to the bedroom with it’s newly clean floor and behold:  fresh cat gack.

Clearly I was just supposed to stay home and nap.

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It was a soggy, drippy sort of day.

My plan was to do some dyeing because my Etsy shop has been a bit more successful recently than I was prepared for and I am running out of stuff to sell.

This is the day because soon I will have multiple work projects beating me up begging for my attention and then presto!  I will be spirited away to that alternate universe that is my summer job.  In that world there is neither the time nor the means to create things for Etsy.

Since this is not my first time stirring the cauldron, I have the prep routine down.  Move everything I don’t want dye on out of the kitchen.  Get out my apron that covers from neck to knees.  Get out the utensils, the pot, the dye, the salt, and soak the blank white scarves in a clean dish pan in the sink.

Lilith, who feels very strongly that if I am in the kitchen then I should be feeding her, keeps getting under my feet.  I know that should I need to leave the room a nano second later she will be on the counter searching for edibles.  We have a difference of opinion about this and I banish her to the bedroom.  Imp wants to know why I have shut Lilith up in the bedroom.  Did she perhaps get a treat?  If so Imp wants in the bedroom too only not if I am going to shut the door.  Imp finally goes back to destroying her scratching pad while Lilith cries pitifully.

The first dye bath is successful.  I clean out the pot and get everything ready again.  I am using IDye which I like a lot because instead of a paper packet, IDye comes incased in a thin film that dissolves in hot water.  Nothing to open, just toss it in the pot.  No muss, no fuss, no tiny little dye particles floating in the air and landing precisely where I don’t want them to be.

This batch will be turquoise and I fill the pot, toss in the packet of dye, set it on the stove and sit down at the computer while the water heats up.

When the pot begins to make noise, I get up, get a scarf out of the dish pan and dip it in the dye.  I am doing an ombre technique so after a few dips, I suspend it on a hanger above the pot and move on to scarf 2.  I am moving the scarf to and fro in the dye bath when I notice a patch of something dark and gooey on the fabric.

In my eagerness to move on to the next color.  I forgot to stir the pot.  If I had I would have noticed that the packet had not dissolved yet.  It has deposited clumps of dye and whatever substance the packet is made of here and there on the fabric.  I haul both scarves out and frantically try to wash out the clumps with hot water.  While normally I use tongs and other tools to lift and move the fabric, this needs a hands on approach.  I am scraping the dye off the fabric with my nails.  I stir the pot.  The dye is still in big clumps.  I add the salt, which I also forgot to do and stir some more.  Finally I have everything back to what it ought to be and I am able to dye the rest of the scarves.

I let Lilith out while I clean up.  She isn’t happy, thinks she deserves to have her dinner a full 30 minutes early and starts banging her food bowl against the cabinet like an angry prisoner.

While trying to save my scarves from big blue blobs of dye, I managed to slosh dye everywhere.  Clean up takes some time, a lot of paper towels, bleach, and just when I think I have got it all, I find another spot.

But now I am running behind because I also have dinner plans.  My hands are a fetching  shade of zombie blue.  I am wondering what I am going to wear because it’s raining outside, we will be walking to the restaurant so  appropriate foot wear for the rain will have to dictate my attire and what goes with blue hands anyway?

I head for the bedroom to peruse the possibilities.  I step on something very squishy.  I take another step, more squish.  I look at the bottom of my shoe and there is the largest hair ball I have ever seen clinging to the bottom of it.  More paper towels, time, and elbow grease.

I have now dined, the scarves are drip drying in the bathtub, the cats have been fed, and we are all listening to the rain while safe and dry.  Unless I find another hairball or blob of dye, everything can wait until tomorrow.

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I have now completed 2 pairs of socks.  The world did not end.  It was not a random phenomena.

What’s more:  I bought yarn on Friday to start a third pair.  I am designing this pair myself  and I am hoping it will look like a aran sweater for my feet, only in burgundy.

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Squoosh Fiberarts, Ultra Sock, superwash merino.  The color is Raison.

In other news,  the town I live in was featured in Travel and Leisure magazines as having one the most beautiful town squares in America.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-most-beautiful-town-squares/1

This is no surprise to anyone who lives here and anyone who knows me also knows that I love where I live.  I love that it feels like a small town even though it’s surrounded by the rest of Atlanta.  I love that the Library is half a block away, that I can walk to the bank, the grocery store, or any number of great restaurants, and that the Marta train will take me most places if my car is out of whack.  I love that everyone cares what happens here and that it isn’t such a big place that it’s hard to manage well.  And I love the Courthouse square and I’m thrilled that it was noticed.

Of course, I might not be so thrilled in a month or two when tourists start showing up to hang out here instead of going to the World of Coke or the Margaret Mitchell House.  When I can’t park in front of my building or get a seat at my restaurant of choice.  When the free concerts in the park or the Art Festival are so mobbed it’s better just to stay home.  Sigh, then I might as well go brave the crowds at the aquarium or the museum myself.

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I brought knitting projects to California with me.  I have not knitted.  I have intentions.  I have at least one item with a deadline.  I am still not knitting.

I have a day off.  I am not knitting.  I am cleaning and doing laundry and clearing out my inbox.

and you did an Etsy treasury this morning…

I have not done a number of other things I intended to either, like walk everyday  and go to the bead store and take pictures of interesting things.

I only got this one because it was right in front of my door when I went out to the laundry room.

I am pretty sure that the reason why can be attributed to the fact  that this summer the schedule for the theatre has changed a bit which means I have less free time during the weeks my show is in production.  It’s a bit exhausting and  harder to maintain the rest of my life.

Then there’s little matter of your Etsy addiction.

After my Wild Bunch treasury went viral, this one, which I made that same evening was featured on the front page.  Score!  My obsession paid off.  The long nights staying up until my eyes can’t focus anymore was worthwhile.  I got positive feedback to continue.

Alas, I have not had the same success since. It was a one day, one time fluke.

The appeal is finally I think beginning to fade.  Maybe.

It’s about time.

Especially since my next show will be in full swing by the end of this week.

I am still not knitting but I have been to the beach.  Pictures soon.

It’s about time for that too.

The beach or pictures?

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Don’t you think you should go to bed now?

Leave me alone, I’m busy.

It’s midnight and you have to work tomorrow.

So what?  This will only take a minute.  I just need to find 3 more things.

Not that one, though.  It doesn’t really match the cool item in the left hand corner.  Maybe if I do a search for…

Stop That!  You’re obsessed and your eyes are strained from staring at too many images.

But I’m almost done. Then I can save it and go to bed.

Oh look, wouldn’t that lime green bauble make a great start for a line up of lime green things?  When I’m done with the space age layout I could do a lime green one…

No, you can’t.  You have to go to bed.

I have a new obsession.

What’s new about that?  You’re always obsessed about something.  One  week it was having to reschedule Jury Duty because they wanted you to come while you were going to be in California.  Then it was craziness at work, then it was having to go to Jury Duty now in the midst of craziness at work….  The list is endless. 

Ok, so I dodged the bullet on that one- they released everyone early that day and the work craziness will be over soon because the show has to open and I’m going to California for a different sort of crazy… and meanwhile I really like doing this even if it is a big time suck at least I’m not watching bad TV reruns, OK.

I’ve become fascinated with making Treasuries on Etsy.  This is where one finds things for sale on Etsy that can be grouped  together around a common theme- color, for example, or Romance, or Father’s Day.  Sometimes several things will leap out and demand to be put together.  Sometimes it’s harder.  Two things may look great together but not go with anything else, or there are too many possibilities,  or the last 3 items are impossible to find.

So instead of  a new blog or Facebook page devoted to my Etsy store I’m going to start posting my treasuries- as a footnote- the way I used to post what music fit best with my posts on my old Live Journal blog.

So here is this week’s treasury.  I’m particularly fond of it. You can see why I find it soothing to stay up too late obsessing over pictures of Zen Gardens instead of Jury Duty.

I’m pondering, but not obsessing, what knitting to take with me to California.  My sock has reached the point where I need to decide what sort of heel I want to attempt.  I can try to figure that out and start it while I’m still near my knitting friends so that if I get into a muddle I can get help… and probably obsess a bit about the whole thing or I could just put it on a holder and start the other sock.  Hmmm…

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I have been given to understand that having established an Etsy store, I need to promote it by starting a blog devoted to my creative process.  Really?  My creative process?  In my case that mostly involves trying to use up all the bits and pieces of stuff I have accumulated over the years in some  form that someone else might want to use or find beautiful. I’m doing this because it is about time for me to recoup my original investment in all the fabric, beads, lace, odd bits, and junk I’ve collected.  I’d like to do that  before someone else has to clean it up and clear it out.  It’s recycling for profit.  I think I just said everything I need to say about it so how is there enough content to support a blog?

I am also supposed to  start a Facebook Fan page so I can keep everyone updated on what’s new in the store and really, I should be Tweeting everyday to promote myself as the best thing since sliced bread.

I am also supposed to be doing all this to promote my writing career too.  Publishing excerpts from my stories or writing a few just for the blog/fan page, promoting myself as an AUTHOR, generating a buzz so that when I do find an agent, get published, or publish myself on the internet, I will already have a following- of people who have never read more than a smattering of my work.  What’s more,  if I do all that, when will I write, query agents, edit manuscripts and the other business of writing?  Social media might smooth the path but it isn’t going to do the work.

I can barely keep up with this blog and I am supposed to start 2 more?  Plus 2 Facebook pages, etc, etc. I know there are people out there who manage to do this but I don’t believe I could be one of them.  Especially since I can’t  figure out how to get pictures from my store to show up in the sidebar of this blog.

I am also, unfortunately, clueless as to how one blog, page, idea, person gets noticed over the sea of blogs, pages, ideas, and people out there.  Doesn’t make me a good candidate to become the next big thing sweeping the internet, now does it?

Recently the big idea sweeping the internet was the end of the world  supposedly scheduled for May 21.  It came and went and we are all still here.

I am not to sure about that myself.  I may have been swept into a an afterlife or maybe a alternate reality because  I am doing something I never thought I would do.  I am knitting socks.

Lorna’s Laces, Shepherd Sock Multi, color:  Gold Hill.  The pattern is Dead Simple Lace socks from Socks from the Toe Up.  I used a Turkish cast on because I wanted to eliminate a seam at the toe which is the worst thing about manufactured socks.  It took me something like 15 tries before I felt like I could live with the result.  But then I discovered a few rows in that I had done something weird though and it twists oddly.  None of my knitter friends can figure out exactly what I did.   Since my toes are a little pointy it fits my foot fine so I am not restarting to fix it.  If I can reproduce it (fat chance) for the other sock I may have invented a new pointy toe cast on.

Summer is here even if the calendar says not yet.  It is sweltering outside.  I have turned the air conditioning on- the brain numbing heat was too much for my frugal instincts.  The peaches are here too.

Can the fireflies be far behind?

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