July 27, 2012

The sock kit we've all been waiting for ...


After many months of craziness and knitting frenzy, I am proud to announce that my Hiker Chick Sock Kit is finally available in my Etsy shop!  Pre-sales are going on now, and all kits will be availabe to ship beginning July 30th.  Kits are $38 each and include:  410 yards of hand-painted Rocket Sock superwash merino (your choice of 3 colorways), printed written pattern, and one set of 40-inch circular needles.  Don't forget that Veronika of Yarnonthehouse.com is also doing a giveaway for one of my kits--winner gets a choice of colorway.

Now, on with the show!

July 26, 2012

Took a little trip ...

Honey and I took a little trip to Las Vegas for the honeymoon we never had this past week.  It was great fun to be away from home, just the two of us!  Of course, no vacation would be complete without a trip to a LYS, and I found one:  Gail Knits.  It looked like a quick trip by public transportation from our hotel to the shop, but looks were deceiving--it became about a 4-hour investment of our time! (Las Vegas is not very commuter-friendly, I'm afraid.) It was also a little difficult to shop for yarn in 98 degree F. heat. 

If anyone ever tells you that the desert heat of Nevada is barely noticeable because it is a "dry heat", you should immediately imagine yourself having been stuffed inside your kitchen oven to be baked at a "dry heat" of, say, 450 degrees F.  It was just plain ugly hot in that desert!

Anyway, many beautiful skeins made it difficult to decide, and Honey patiently waited and waited. He chatted up the ladies who were working on baby items, table-side, while I finally elected to go with these:

I am sure that it was fate that I went to this yarn shop because I have been wanting to knit up a pair of those "Burning Stripes" socks by Susan Luni for about a year now, but I have had the darndest time finding Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in complimentary colorways that I like--plus the online prices haven't been too friendly. I finally printed out the pattern right before the trip with the resolution that when I returned from Vegas, I was going to find the yarn for this pattern, regardless of obstacles. At the Vegas shop, however, Marks and Kattens Fame Trend caught my eye, and I think that will work out as the perfect substitute. There will be Burning Stripes socks for me!

I love vacations with yarn shops included!

July 17, 2012

A Slew of Socks!

Hooray!  The socks are finished!  The pattern is finished!  Hooray!

This kit, Hiker Chick, will be featured on Yarnonthehouse.com during the last week of July as a giveaway, so you should enter!  The kits will become available in my Etsy shop on July 30th for $38 and will include: one set of wooden 40" circular needles, one 410 yard skein of Zibeline Knits hand-painted Rocket Sock superwash merino yarn in the colorway of your choice (choose from one of the three colorways shown here), and my printed two-at-a-time, top-down sock pattern. The pattern will be sold separately, as well, in my Etsy shop and on Craftsy.  Look at my gorgeous socks and their colorways and imagine these on your feet!

Water Sprite (seen here in size large, which fits ankle/foot circumference of 8 to 11 inches):

Little Sister (seen here in size small, which fits ankle/foot circumference of 5 to 7 inches)

Copper Kettle (seen here in size medium, which fits ankle/foot circumference of 6 to 9 inches)

July 13, 2012

Decisions, decisions ...

I declared today to be a work day.  Since 5 a.m. this morning (that was NOT a voluntary wake-up time, that was a two-new-puppies-were-ready-to-go-outside time), I have been working on the last test knit for Hiker Chick.  The day has gone well.  I have knit the heel panels, turned the heels, done the dreaded gussets, and am now on my way to a completed foot.

Every now and then I get a text from a former student.  It's been a while since students texted me since school is out for the summer, so I was surprised when I was texted this afternoon by a former student who had just heard that I wasn't coming back next year and was texting me to find out if that rumor was true.  After a few "you were one of my favorite teacher" pleasantries and his thanking me for having been such a great teacher, he asked:  "Are you okay with not being a teacher at _________ anymore?"

Let's pause for a moment as we take in a few views of my afternoon "office" on this work day while we contemplate my reply.

Here's the view from my chair beneath the umbrella on the deck while I sipped my iced coffee and listened to Blues Traveler and Eric Clapton ...


Here are my work day efforts in full swing ...

(Yes, my green polish does incidentally match the green in the socks!)  And look, I'm in the home stretch on these socks!

Now, does anyone out there REALLY think I will regret having this office over my old, dark, sometimes heated, sometimes air conditioned, rarely cleaned, overcrowded classroom with the broken blinds, book shelves glued to the floor with wax, and broken filing cabinets?  Hmmmm.  

July 10, 2012

A very good day!

Once in a while, I have a really good day in terms of accomplishing much more than I had expected.  I finished all four of the samples for my knitting class on Wednesday a day earlier than I planned.  I did a bit of spinning on some merino that will ultimately be sock yarn. To add to the 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce and 3 pints of tomato paste that I canned last week, today I canned 3 quarts of tomatoes and I canned 4 pints of green tomato relish--not really chow-chow because it's not chunky, but something like chow-chow and so tasty I could just sit down and eat a jar by itself.

I made apple crisp. 

I beat a very confident Rocket at Parcheesi by one point. (Ha ha!)

I took delivery of the strangest FedEx package that I have ever recieved, which was two live Maine lobsters, and shortly Honey is going to cook them up for dinner. 

I even knit a few rows on the socks.  Very good day!

July 09, 2012

It seemed like a good idea at the time ...

How many projects do you have on your needles?  I've lost track.

When I began the Hiker Chick sock pattern for the kit that will be released in (gasp!) about two weeks, I hadn't anything on my plate other than a few projects wanting to be finished up from last winter.  When I quit my job to regain my health shortly after this great sock kit idea was formulated (one test sock was done and another was cast-on I believe), I thought I would have a summer of household chores and a whole bunch of knitting. But it seems like my best-laid plans have gone awry, again.

When I got the job teaching knitting classes at the Art Guild, I only had the socks to test-knit and dying for the Charlotte Fiber Festival to do. But then I ripped out and recycled a silk sweater from the thrift shop, dyed it, and cast on for a lovely 100% silk shawl (all will be revealed in a future project post).  Then there was the last-minute attempt at getting a new cropped sweater pattern written, knit up, and accepted into the KnitPicks.com IDP collection--which ultimately failed in that dept. but which will be released on my own accord as soon as I can find time to knit the collar.  And then I thought it would be brilliant to knit a shoulder shrug in my new Finger Paints hand-painted worsted wool line as a sample of its patterning and beauty for the Charlotte thing (I think I need a new body double with arms)--the second test-knit pair of socks was finished shortly after despite not being able to follow my own directions on that one.

Then I started doing a regular Saturday booth at the Monroe Farmers' Market, which is great fun and actually quite good for making up in sales what the online market has been lacking for months.

I guess it didn't occur to me until I started teaching classes that I have to knit samples of the projects for the knitting classes I am teaching, too--no big deal at first because the first class was a dishcloth pattern and the second class was a choice between a potato chip scarf or a lace scarf and I had at least already knit the potato chip scarf.  This week's class is colorwork.  I opted to teach the basics for intarsia, striping, and Fair Isle (in two hours because I was apparently out of my mind when I put this class description together and figured two hours would be plenty of time) AND I have to put kits together and measure out yarn for this one--we are doing a striped chevron pillow because it's a little classier than "let me show you how to knit stripes in a dishcloth".

Consequently, the last test-knit is looking like an impossible mountain to climb because it's the largest size--I heard somewhere that a typical pair of socks in this size equals 20,000 stitches per sock!--and the three samples that I have to knit plus the "don't ever do floats like this with intarsia" sample are my obstacles to climbing that mountain and getting this last pair of socks done by the end of the week in time for photos and packaging and shipping off to Yarn on the House for the blog giveaway. Surprise, surprise!  I don't have as much knitting time this summer as I had anticipated. I haven't even had time to show off the last colorway of the sock kit:  Water Sprite.  This is my favorite one.

So the socks are going everywhere with me in case I might have a minute to do half of a row here and there.  Occasionally, I've gotten more than a minute.  Murphy's Law:  if you think you are going to sneak into the nail salon on an off-day when everyone will have already had their pedicures because the holiday was 2 days ago and it's right after lunch hour, EVERY WOMAN IN TOWN will be there getting a pedicure and pedicures for her three daughters, too.  For 20 minutes my feet soaked in the water before it was my turn!  Bright side:  that was 20 more minutes of sock knitting than I had planned. (Sorry, Iphone picture.)

I also didn't count on the evil sun god destroying my entire garden this past week--5 hours yesterday to re-condition and replant. Part of that time also included Honey building a hoop house over half of the raised beds in the hopes that this time around the sun wouldn't make the garden crispy.

So, today I'm going to have to be all about the chevron-striped pillow sample and the Fair Isle square on this list of class-necessary knitting projects and the socks will, sadly, have to wait until another day. I have modified this pattern for my pillow project (mine is a bit smaller for the class purposes since my knitters are still mostly newbies to knitting):  Chevron Pillow Knitting Pattern.  I highly recommend it, though you need not spend oodles of money on hand spun, hand-painted silk yarn to knit it up, that's for sure!  I'm using Debra Norville's Everyday Soft Worsted, myself. (Has anyone else noticed that Joanne Fabrics seems to be gutting it's yarn dept. all of a sudden? My local store has aisles of empty shelves!)  My sample pillow looks like this so far:

And now, off to knit and knit some more!


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