Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sick in the Head

I have a head cold. It hit me almost immediately after finishing preperations for Thanksgiving. I cook for my husband and my three brothers every year because my parents spend Thanksgiving in Florida and bestow their wonderful culinary expertise on my two other brothers living there. That's fine; we get them for Christmas.

But besides being a little run down while preparing the food, I didn't think anything was wrong with me until I had finished bringing the dishes to the table. After eating, I was ready for a nap. I figured this was customary, and didn't think anything of it, until I woke up and felt the burn of post-nasal drip. Blech.

After that, I knew it was over. The rest of my weekend would be devoted to resting and trying to get rid of the cold. I wasn't going to be able to go to the gym (which I sorely needed to do), no shopping (which I wasn't too broken up over), and no major projects for organizing my house (which I like to do in preparation for the holidays).

I was even too sick to knit. That's right - I could hardly believe it myself.

So after some power napping and major tea drinking, eventually I was able to knit and got back to my socks. Sock #1 came out brilliantly, if I don't say so myself:

The colors are vibrant, the stripes are bold and defined, and the sock is a nice solid sock (construction wise). I do love making socks...

Now, the second one is decidedly less vibrant:

So far, the colors have been much darker and even some of the stripes are becoming less defined. In fact, since these photos were taken, I've progressed onto the heel and am almost finished with it. It is a darker sock compared to its vibrant pink partner. I'm not sure if they work together. We'll have to see how they compare when they are both done. Right now, side by side, they sorta' look like this:

I'm not quite sure what happened. Originally, I wanted to break up the skein into four separate balls so I could make two socks at once. When I paired up the balls of yarn to contrast with each other, I may have inadvertantly paired them incorrectly, so that the shades of color ended up matching in two of the four (if any of that makes sense). In the end, I've got the pinks and reds in one sock and the grays and purples in another. It might have been nicer to have more of a mixture in both. However, even though I had intended on making two socks at a time, I didn't get to because I realized that I didn't have a spare set of #2 double-pointed needles. If I had been making the second sock while making the first, I could have adjusted the colors. Oh well, next time. I have another skein ready for experimentation. We'll see if I have time, since this is supposed to be a gift.

If I find time, I might make another pair and be more careful about pairing up the colors. But when I look at the pair I have now, I think they can still work together in a sort of yin/yang sort of way. We'll see when they are both finished.

That's what it's like to manually stripe Noro yarns. To quote an overly quoted movie: it's "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna' get."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finished and Unfinished

Although the mittens have been finished for a little while (finished on November 15th), I haven't been able to blog about them. When faced with the decision to knit or blog, well, knitting won out and I'd knit until I'd fall asleep on the couch. Probably not the best thing to do: falling asleep with pointy needles on your lap. Luckily, no disasters as of yet, though. But here they are, finished mittens in Noro Silk Garden.

I must confess, these are the first mittens that I've ever knitted. I figured I'd be able to tackle them without too much fuss, since they seem a lot like knitting socks. I actually found the mittens easier. After finishing them, I bought a book from on mittens and gloves called "Knitting New Mittens and Gloves: Warm and Adorn Your Hands in 28 Innovative Ways." It just came in today and I'm already starting to 'squee' at the various patterns in it.

As soon as I finished the mittens, I was almost immediately casting on this next project: Noro striped socks! Noro is a self-striping yarn that comes in a variety of beautiful and bold colorways. The yarns' colors transition smoothly and beautifully from one color to the next. Fiber artists have been playing with Noro's self-striping abilities by manually striping two or more of the company's yarns in one project. The result is nothing less than striking. I've accummulated quite a few skeins of different Noro yarns in order to produce this manual stripe in various projects, but thought I should make a gift first (seeing that the holidays are just around the corner). So I'm working with Noro's Kureyon Sock yarn in color 240 - a beautiful pink/purple/gray colorway. I'm almost done with the first sock.

In order to do this, you don't need to buy two skeins. One skein is enough for two socks. However, to get the manual striping, you need to split the skein in half. Because I wanted to do two socks at time (have two sets of #2 double-pointed needles going at the same time) I split the skein in four and just matched up two balls of yarn that were opposite in beginning colors. But of course, I haven't started on the second sock yet, because I'm mesmorized by the striping effects happening in this one sock.

One thing to keep in mind: when doing this type of manual striping with a self-striping yarn, it is extremely difficult to get a matching pair where the stripes are exatly the same color on both socks in the same places. The socks will match in the sense that all the colors are in the same skein, but the striping won't match exactly. When I start the second sock, I'll post some pics to illustrate what I'm saying, but I think this type of (mis)matching is sort of charming in a handmade sock.

Looking at my yarn stash today I realized that the next few projects that I have in mind are going to be featuring Noro yarns. I'm going through a Noro phase right now, I guess. Looks like I'll have to try to work it out of my system.

Unfinished socks are calling my name...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mitt Pics!

As promised, here are some pics of my mittens. Unfortunately, I got so carried away with taking photos of my yarn stash, I tired myself out and now I can't finish the mittens that are almost done. (I really thought I was going to do that today.)

These were knit with Noro Silk Garden (colorway 228, which I think is discontinued now). These were sitting in my yarn stash, and I decided to use them up. I think I could finish these in another hour or so, but I'm feeling quite sleepy...

Tomorrow, more pics of yarn and future projects being placed in the cue!

So, what exactly art thou?

Hello all in blogging land.

My name is Laura, and apparently, I am joining the ranks of those who blog. After searching for some help on a knitting pattern and checking out some fantastic blogs out there, I thought maybe I could try my hand at it and even help others along the way with their own crafting.

What's with the name? Well, I enjoy lots of different kinds of crafts (like lots), and to limit it to one seemed, well, limiting. I thought I'd be able to post on whatever craft or art piece I was currently working on and hopefully be able to inspire others (while keeping myself motivated to finish the projects I start). If you're a crafter or knitter, you know what I'm talking about when I say "unfinished project." So whether I'm working on jewelry making, scrapbooking, digital photography, knitting, etc. I thought I could post my progress here.

So anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

What am I working on now? A pair of mittens! Will post pics later.