Friday, September 4, 2009

The Art of Starting: Again and Again

So I've tried to start this blog entry a few times and it seems everytime I do, I get a little stumped.  Beginnings seem to be problematic for me as of late. 

Speaking of trying to start again, I've been off and on trying to get back into a strong running routine.  Much like my blog entry, I seem to be constantly restarting a routine that I can stick to (only to get sidetracked, and have to try to start a routine again).  Some weeks I'm right on target with getting my mileage in, but most weeks I'm not.  I think I really have to start looking at my routine as though I'm a beginner runner all over again and go from there. 

I've written a schedule down so it's a bit more concrete.  I have a race on Monday, but after that, I'm going to start again by trying to stick to this schedule.  We'll see how it goes. 

Running isn't the only place that I've had problems with starting.  Beginnings seem to be dogging me even in my knitting.  Case in point:  my Wicked sweater.  I bought this sweater pattern and the yarn from the Miss Babs booth at Sock Summit.  I met Miss Babs herself, and she was super-nice and tried to make sure my two skeins of Yowza yarn matched as closely as possible, but we were under unatural lighting, and it proved to be more difficult than we first realized.  More on that as the story progresses...

While at the Summit, I decided to ship a lot of my yarn home to make room in my luggage, but shipped one skein of the Yowza yarn and kept one with me so I could start my sweater as soon as I got home.  When I got home I did start, but realized that the medium size was too big for me after trying it on.

I was able to complete all of this knitting in just three days, so I thought if I had to start again, it wouldn't take me too long to get back to where I needed to be.  In fact, when I decided to start over, UPS showed up at my door with the yarn I had shipped from Portland, so I thought I'd start the next sweater with the other skein and compare sizing and make sure I was on the right track.  I went ahead and started working on the smaller size.  After finishing the shoulder shaping, I realized something...
Hey!  This sweater is lighter!  Crap... 
I didn't think I would need to alternate skeins.  We were so careful to try to match them in the booth, but alas, we were under unnatural light, and most of the lightness in the yarn seemed to appear only after I had wound the skein into a ball.  I would need to start again and knit from both skeins of yarn, switching them every other row, in order to blend the colors properly.

A note for my nonknitting readers:
  Many knitters these days buy yarns from independent dyers (like the lovely Miss Babs).  Their operations are much smaller and therefore, their hand dyed yarns often don't look exact from skein to skein (unlike most commercially sold and dyed yarns).  This usually isn't a problem unless you are making a larger project and need to use multiple skeins of yarn.  Otherwise you can have something that is mismatched on the same garmet.  I found this scarf on Ravelry and the knitter was saying that the two skeins of yarn were from the same dyelot.  This can happen with hand dyed yarns, but it is also this same quality which draws us to buy it.  These yarns are unique and beautiful, even if we have to go through the trouble of alternating skeins from time to time.  Here is a picture of the two skeins of the Yowza I got at Sock Summit:
After looking at them side-by-side, it is obvious that I need to alternate them..
So, in the end, I needed to frog both sweaters and start again, but this time, alternating skeins so that the colors would blend.  I have already restarted the sweater for a third time.  I am hopeful that this will be the last time I have to start this project again.  It would be nice to finish something after starting it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Art of Summing Up: Remembering Sock Summit

I think I've finally gotten over the general feeling of exhaustion from Sock Summit. It was a lot of fun, but getting reacclimated to the world outside of Portland was a wee-bit difficult.

I soon realized that knitting in public is generally not an acceptable practice. Instead of being met with, "ooh! What are you working on? What yarn is that?" I generally just get strange stares.

While in the grocery store parking lot, I noticed that the last three letters of the car's license plate in front of me were "SSK." For those nonknitters out there, that means slip, slip, knit in pattern instructions for knitting. I almost said something aloud about it, but thought better of it.

While driving, I noticed that the car in front of me was a model that I was unfamiliar with. It was a Toyota, Yaris. Only when I first read it, I thought it said Yarnie.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Portland anymore.

So, while I've been trying to readjust to life as usual, I thought I'd post some pics and links of the fun that was Sock Summit.

I was lucky enough to get through the registration process and got some classes at Sock Summit. I was even luckier to get a class with Anne Hanson of Knitspot! Anne designed the Gridiron Socks that I'm working on for Chris. Since the class, I've gotten a few more repeats in. It's a simple sock, and I enjoy working on it when I'm not able to work on something that requires more attention. Anne has a lot of other designs I'd like to try, but I really should finish those socks first. It seems that I take longer to finish items that are not meant for me, I'm afraid.

After class, she let us all pose for a class pic.

Even while not in classes, I was able to learn from others at the Summit. Sarah, of The Sanguine Gryphon took some time out from selling and taught me how to use a drop spindle. The fiber is Dragonfly Fibers BFL and I'm afraid I'm not doing it justice yet. See all the nubby-uneveness? I'm getting a bit better and will soon be taking a full day class on using a drop spindle.

It all started when I began dropping hints to Kate that I'd like to learn how to spin. She was only too happy to take me to the Carolina Homespun booth in the marketplace and show me some stuff. Later, she told me that Sarah would be great to teach me (I think she was trying to avoid being blamed for getting me involved in another yarn related addiction.) It's okay, ladies, I only blame myself. More about my spinning adventures in future blog entries.

After the first day, we attended the opening ceremonies and despite their exhaustion, Gryphon and Sarah of The Sanguine Gryphon and Kate of Dragonfly Fibers smiled and posed for a pic.

While at Sock Summit, I participated in two record breaking events! I was one of the knitters trying to break the record for "Most Knitters Knitting In One Place." and even got my photo (well sort of) in a local paper! That's me behind the ladies in the blue and purple knit "wigs." My friend Nikki (Ravelry name Kurokids) pointed it out to me. Nikki also hosted a lovely dinner for a bunch of us Ravelers. We had so much fun that night.

On the last day of the Summit, I had an opportunity to knit part of the Biggest Sock in the World!

Also saw some lovely handknit socks from different time periods in the Sock Museum. Yes nonknitters, there was a sock museum.

After buying up all kinds of yarn at the Marketplace, I decided that I needed to play with some of it right away. I set up a make-shift yarn swift out of my luggage in order to wind a ball of Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs' yarn.

Despite the fact that I was at a knitting conference, I didn't have a lot of time to knit. There was so much to do and see, that I only found a few moments here and there to sit and knit in a corner. I more than made up for that when I got home. More on that in future entries.

With all of the knitting and yarn that was surrounding me at Sock Summit, it is no wonder that I've been having trouble adjusting back to business as usual. The biggest adjustment is realizing that no one around me speaks knitting. I have to get used to speaking the native tongue again.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Let the Sock Summit Begin!

I tried to blog last night and actually fell asleep while typing on my phone. I wasn't in a state to blog, but I wanted to. The first day was amazing.

The first day was busy, but not as crowded as it is today. The marketplace was only open for students yesterday, so it wasn't too hard to shop or get around, though The Sanguine Gryphon's booth was mobbed the entire evening. Check out their blog in the next few days-they have some stories to tell.

Although yesterday's lines overall weren't too bad, today's look a bit more scary:

Not too bad? It goes on...

And on...

That isn't just a crowd of people in the distance; that's the actual line winding away into the horizon. Do you think they all want Bugga?

I was able to do some shopping myself, yesterday. After class, I was able to catch up with another Ravelrer and we went downtown to the Button Emporium and Ribbonry. It was truly a charming store.

Everything was about whimsical embellishment.

I'll have more photos from my camera when I get back, but here was a very cool mermaid in their window.

And of course, I bought buttons:

After our little excursion into town we made our way back to the convention center to visit the marketplace. It hadn't been open all day and it would soon open to students only.

I had made a deal with myself. I was only going to buy things that I otherwise have a hard time getting. I couldn't believe what I was able to find!

Exhibit A:

Gothsocks and Oh My Goth sock yarm from Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. I was able to grab a special Sock Summit colorway called Summer of Goth. I haven't been able to catch her updates, but made up for it here.

Also got Numma Numma and String Theory at the Loopy Ewe booth!

And then there was the Zauberball by Skacel. This is a funny story.

While wandering happily through the marketplace, I noticed a man knitting something peculiar in a corner within the Skacel booth. When I took a closer look, I realized what he was knitting.

This is Brian, and he is knitting seven pairs of socks at a time. That's right folks, a week's worth of socks at one time.

While I stood watching this, one particular colorway caught my eye. "Which one is that?" I asked and pointed. "That's the Zauberball Crazy," he said.

That's crazy allright, I thought to myself, but very charming. I ended up just going for the regular Zauberball.

After more and more shopping, they began to announce that the marketplace was about to close. I caught up with Gryphon, Sarah, and Kate, and we started making our way to the Opening Ceremony.

It was a real treat.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot) and Tina Newton (Blue Moon Fiber Arts) began telling all of us about how Sock Summit came about. If you have been reading these ladies' blogs, you might know most of the story, but they were so funny in telling it. We were in stitches.

I noticed that someone was filming the event, so hopefully people who weren't able to come will be able to see it.

The event was also very emotional, when Tina talked about the challenges they faced to get something of this magnitude off the ground. And then of course it was very emotional when they began recognizing the teachers and how none of them said no when asked to partcipate. It was a great event.

Afterwards, we all left a bit bleary-eyed from fatigue, and I stumbled wearily to my hotel room. Which leads me back to the beginning of my blog entry-where I fell asleep.

And that was just Day 1.

--Post From My Phone

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Day Before: It's Almost Here!

After traveling a whole lot, I'm in Portland!

I wanted to keep blogging about my daily summit adventures, so I'm resorting to blogging from my phone. I hope this works ("is this thing on?").

My photos are coming from my phone, so tthe quality may not be the best, but more photos will follow when I can upload them to my computer from my camera.

When leaving Providence, RI, I didin't think I'd see anyone that might be a summit-goer. I figured I'd have better luck when I arrived in Chicago for my connecting flight.

As soon as I reached my gate, I pulled out my Loopy Ewe project bag, and sure enough, it acted like a beacon, and I was very quickly surrounded by friendly knitters.

During my flight I was lucky enough to sit next to Kate of Dragonfly Fibers. We chatted and knitted away and before we knew it, we were landing.

While on the plane, I finished my homework!

This will be for Anne Hanson's lace sock design class. I wonder what it will become?

After landing, fellow Ravelrer, Kermit and I grabbed some tastey treats:

I seem to have forgotten my running shoes. I made a point to check and see if the hotel had a gym (and they do) but my running gear didn't make it into my bag. This could be problematic.

After a much needed nap, I went ahead to the convention center to register. While I was organizing my registration materials, I noticed some familiar faces walking towards the registration booths. It finally dawns on me that it is Ravelry founders Jess, and Casey along with Ravelry team member, Mary-Heather. I feel like a dork wondering if I will bother them by saying "hi." I end up walking by them smiling, but my very nerdiness is blinding, and that's the best I could muster.

I was going to try to say hi, but what I really wanted to say was "thanks for Ravelry, it rocks."

I didn't say either.

Lame. Oh well.

I'm anxious to start classes tomorrow!

Let the classes begin!

-- Post From My Phone

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sheep Exonerated!: 2 Days to Sock Summit

So the truth is out there. The sheep is innocent. I've apologized, and I've gotten almost all of my homework done. (He said he would've done the same if he were in my shoes.)

Everything is bagged and tagged according to classes.

One of my homework assignments was to create a swatch of a simple stitch pattern that I'd like to incorporate into a sock design. This is a swatch of a stitch pattern called "Wave" from the Vougue Stitchonary 2 book. I knit it in Araucania's Ranco Multi in colorway 325. The colorway and stitch pattern seem to work together.

Another bit of homework has proven to be a bit more frustrating. I've frogged it about 4 times, and will probably have to do it on the plane to make sure it gets finished. It is for a class on lace sock design and I'm supposed to have a simple lace sock pattern started and ready for class. I can handle lace, which is why I'm confused about this pattern. The pattern has two options for a cuff: a lacey one, or a simple 1x1 rib. I thought the pattern was fairly straight forward and forged ahead with the very pretty but simple lacey cuff. In the pattern there are a few yarn overs after purl stitches-which I've done before and haven't had too much trouble finding the yarn overs on the next round to knit it, but somehow I kept ending up with extra stitches and would have to frog it and start over. Lack of sleep is started to rear its ugly head.

Realizing that I'm running low on time, I just started the rib pattern, but I just realized that I didn't cast on loosely (I usually use two needles to cast on loosely), and will probably have to frog it again. I'm a bit unclear how this is going to work in class, but we'll see.
This is supposed to be the Waving Lace Socks from the Favorite Socks book. It is being knit in Socks That Rock, Lightweight in the Moonstone colorway.

This next project is probably the project I will work on while on the plane. It is also the project I'm bringing to knit during the Guiness World Records event. It is the Knitty's Lace Ribbon Scarf done in The Sanguine Gryphon's Sappho II yarn. The yarn is a beautifully saturated purple and the picture is not capturing the subtle changes from light bluish purple, to reddish purple, to dark purple. It is wonderfully soft.

Again, sorry for the lame picture. Will do a better job when I have a bit more to work with. This is one repeat of the pattern and there isn't enough to photograph it well.

And that's it for homework. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it was a lot to get organized in a couple of days.

In addition to these projects, I have a grad course that is wrapping up and have been doing homework for that too. Last minute, my professor sprung a mini paper today. I had planned on using the time to finish knitting my homework and start packing, but I lost about four or five hours on the grad school stuff, so packing will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm trying to keep hysteria at bay.

Which isn't too hard when you are exhausted...Zzzzzzz.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"The Sheep Ate My Homework!": 3 Days To Sock Summit

It could happen.


I'll just keep working at it. The teachers wouldn't believe it anyway.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Art of Panicking: 6 Days to Sock Summit

hys*ter*i*a (n) - behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.

Today, I started getting my stuff printed up for sock summit. This included printing my confirmation email, a map of the marketplace, a list of vendors, a schedule of events, and finally, my classes. I'm having a great time listening to my Ipod and highlighting booths on the map and making notes as to which vendors will be there that I want to visit. I highlight times and places of events and classes, so I can quickly glance and get my info. I go ahead and highlight the confirmation numbers of my classes so the nice people at registration can quickly find the info they need to register me. I even print out an extra copy that isn't highlighted in case they don't want those numbers highlighted for some reason. I then go to my classes that I've printed. I'm about to highlight the class lists of materials and then it hits me...

And then the hysteria began...

I forgot to put homework on my list.