June 25, 2013

FO: Outlaw Ribbed Socks

I'm taking the day off.  I mean it.  After weeks and weeks of working like a man to get into this new farm life and then make it reasonable to live here--a woman cannot live with a new kitchen alone!--I just had to break down and knit something all day long. 

I have blisters, callouses, bruises, scrapes, scratches, insect bites, a foot injury, and one whopper of a headache.  As a reward for my labors, and the labors of my super-awesome Honey, there is an ever-growing garden plot that has been carved out of the top part of a pasture and a flower bed around the front porch.  Don't get me started on the level of idiot that it took to bury 200 square feet or so of weed cloth a foot BELOW ground so that roots of at least three trees (who plants trees against the foundation of a house ?!?) and well over one hundred scrubby daylilies could embed themselves in it.  The front flower bed has taken about a month and the muscle of one seriously determined farm tractor to salvage. I'm down to transplanting my grandmother's iris and two mandevilla to replace the clematis that just didn't make it through.  I've managed to transplant the tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, and chili peppers from the old garden to the new.  I've still to move the strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and grapes.  Otherwise, I've done all I can do on the transplanting front.  Fortunately, the garden is in just in time to make a second planting, so I'll be impatiently waiting for cukes, zucchini, more okra, beans, and lettuce to get into the game.  Sometimes it's good to live in the South.

Of course, I've tried to save a little energy for some knitting in the evenings.  And even though it has taken me faaaaaaar longer to finish this pair of socks than usual, they are done.  Finished last night.  I give you ... basic ribbed socks in the Gypsy Sock colorway Outlaw.

I would like to add that no color enhancement was used for these photos.  The farm really is that green.  Really.  You can see, however, that I managed to somehow work the colorway in reverse from one sock to the next.  It doesn't really matter.  I like them anyway.  They are a little more on the tan/brown side when you see them in person.

I was so pleased with this pair that when I went to put my new hank of sea cell/silk lace weight from Mary at Colors to Dye For 

into my already overstuffed fingering weight stash drawer this morning, and the hank of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL (Tulgey Woods colorway) popped out, well ... I figured it was asking to be cast on.  So after knitting on and off all day on the back porch with a glass of sweet tea and a nice breeze, I have this much to report:

I hadn't really noticed at the time that I ordered it that it looked as if the hank had been a little over-cooked and was a slight bit felted, but I sure noticed when I wound it into center-pull balls!  Even so, it's knitting up nicely, though a little more green and a little more "fuzzy" than I had expected. It's difficult to see, but I'm past the cuff and onto the leg. 

I hope that's thunder that I hear in the background because my poor little plants have had enough heat and sunshine for one day!

June 18, 2013

A little Entrelac on the side

I was sitting on the porch during a short break between hauling loads of boxes and baubles a few days ago, thinking about how I had reached the boring section of the socks I've been working on (the foot) when a sudden flash of panic seized me and I realized that I had no viable sample knit for the Entrelac class I am teaching in (gasp!) 3 weeks! (July 13th so mark your calendar and call the Art Guild to register) What else hadn't I done? The yarn base that I am supposed to dye for the class. One has to actually order it if one is going to dye it, right? I am living proof that moving makes your brain fall out.

It cost me a bruised little toe, but after a few maniacal minutes of moving and re-stacking a mountain of boxes in the new living room, I managed to find two hanks of Twisted Sisters 50/50 silk/merino in a stash box and cast on. In the twisted hank, the yarn is quite attractive. In Entrelac ... well, not so much. The gold forces the eye away from the pretty sea foam and grey shades. I've been trying to convince myself that the dominance of the gold would just blend into the background as the piece got longer. It's not.

I am also having flashbacks to the last time I did Entrelac with a 50/50 silk/merino hand paint by Cherry Tree Hill and ALL of the dye bled out with the first hand wash, leaving me with an olive so drab that the Army wouldn't even claim it. Still, I intend to persevere.

I have started on the sample for the class again. This time I'm using a superwash kettle dye (Grasshopper) of my own. The weight is lighter than what I had planned to use for the class (sport instead of DK) but it's turning out to have a pretty stitch definition as it is. I guess it's lucky that I didn't order the yarn yet, after all.

The Entrelac pattern selection on Ravelry was less than satisfying, so I am writing this one as I go. I have intentions of making this into a cowl pattern of some length. That way, anyone in the class not into cowls can add some fringe or not and wear it as a scarf.

And on a humerous note ... I had to retrieve my knitting needle order from the post office yesterday afternoon for this project. When I saw the gigantic box that the 10" needles had been shipped in, I exclaimed "Wow! That's a pretty big box for one little pair of knitting needles!" (This was met with a "Glad they're not poking out the end of the box. You should see how badly packaged those cheap Ginsu knives come in here!" banter that sucked up everyone behind the counter into an odd knife shipment reverie for some minutes that could only have taken place in a Southern rural post office.) There's a funny part: as I was walking away from the counter, one postal lady called out to me in the same tone I imagine she would use if she were warning me to stay away from Crack, "Honey, you be careful now. I hear that knitting can be pretty addictive once you learn how!" I just smiled and thought, "Ya think?!?!?"

June 11, 2013

Accidentally Awesome

We bought a new house with 25+ acres (mule to be purchased later) in North Georgia cattle farm country and did so with the understanding beforehand that we would have to gut the kitchen, paint the exterior, paint all of the rooms, clean the carpeting, install all new lighting fixtures, add some plumbing and a water heater, put up some walls, tear out some carpeting, lay down some flooring, and hang doors before we could move in.  It sounds like a rat trap, but it's really just an old farm house whose previous owners were very ... interesting.  If you've ever done a home improvement project with a deadline, then you know how stressful it can be and how often you and your significant other might go a round or two about the schedule of improvements, especially when you pass the deadline by about three weeks.  Needless to say, it's been an emotionally and physically taxing last six weeks, and just getting the cabinets and counter tops to install a new kitchen was nearly the death of me (NO love left for Home Depot left in this house!!). We do have an awesome front porch that is soon to get a porch swing, plenty of room for the dogs and chickens to roam, a peach orchard, and we have taken the first steps toward all the business licensing for what is now officially referred to by the government, at least, as Cedar Hill Farm

Meanwhile, back at the business, I've been trying to conclude the body of my super-secret cabled top-down sweater and have been fussing over not being able to find just the right fit. This project is also fast-approaching a submission deadline that happens to coincide with what I expect to be moving day.  So while the right half of my brain was busy having an emotional crisis, the left side of my brain, in a super-sneaky ninja fashion, solved my sweater pattern dilemma.  I picked it up today to begin the bottom ribbing, thinking "let's just finish this sucker and call it good, even if it looks like crap!" and realized that I had subconsciously done the most awesome thing to the sweater as a consequence of getting the order of my cable rows reversed.  And now I am picking up my project and thinking "this sweater rocks!" but with all of the house insanity, it turned out that I missed my submission deadline after all. I keep thinking there will be another opportunity to market it, and then I remind myself not to be in such a hurry because, well, right now the pattern is only written for one size ... mine.  There's a lot of sizing that has to be done, and we all know how much I (gag) love to do the math.  Like I have told many a drama student in the throes of pre-opening night catastrophe, "Don't panic. It's going to work.  I don't know how, but it will all work out."

Unfortunately, I can't show you the sweater; but I can show you my amazingly large peonies and say that, as a perpetual peony killer, I'm pretty darn proud of how these have turned out, too.  I have great skill at killing certain plants, like dahlias and peonies, but this year these are pretty awesome! 

I also have a garden that is more like a jungle this year--only because I had intentions of moving most of it to the farm.  This picture was taken about two weeks ago and now the cukes have taken over the gravel and the tomatoes are 7 feet tall.

Funny story about the garden ... I mislabeled my seed containers and thought that I had 19 okra plants that sprouted and only one squash plant.  So I had Scout #1 plant the okra (and I was so excited to have so much prospective okra in the garden this year) and I planted another 6 zucchini and another 6 yellow squash, all of which came up.  Turns out, I had it backward.  Only one okra plant sprouted and now I have 6 zucchini and 26 yellow squash plants.  I hope that survive the drive to the farm, but it would be okay if some of those squash didn't make it. 

I've also managed, despite no more carpooling hours and most of my time spent packing, driving, and unpacking, to nearly finish a pair of basic ribbed socks in my Gypsy Sock colorway Outlaw.  It's a bit more pink than I expected, but who's to say that women can't be outlaws?  I also realized by the time that I got to the heel that I had wound one hank backward so the pair doesn't exactly match up.  In my defense, it's been a stressful spring.

I know that this isn't a fantastic photo, but I have a camera, a computer, a knitting bag, and a house full of boxes right now. 

Until next time ... Love the yarn you're with!


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