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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Art of Planning: The Beginning of the Countdown!

"Plans are nothing: planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

7 Days 'till Sock Summit!

Started planning for Sock Summit today. I always make lists when I plan. It really is the only way I can get anything done. I never used to think of myself as distractable, but I'm finding over the years that I am very distractable. Here's an example:

I'm about to do the dishes so I can start my breakfast and coffee. When I have my breakfast and coffee, I surf the internet, check my emails and then I'm ready to start the day. I can't do any of that when I have a messy kitchen.

So I head off into the kitchen and start the dishes. Before I begin, I need to grab a paper towel because I notice the faucet is in desperate need of a wipe down. Not only does it need to get wiped down, but I suddenly notice that behind the faucet there is some wiping that needs to be done there.

Rather than start the dishes, I go to get a paper towel to take care of the faucet, but I find that the counter is cluttered and there are little crumbs that seem to have escaped me the day before. I wipe the crumbs off and tidy up the counter.

I go to throw the paper towel away and mean to get another, so I can go back to the sink, but I drop it and it falls to the ground. I go to pick it up and notice that, somehow, a strawberry slice escaped from last night's prep of some fruit salad, and it isn't pretty. This needs to be taken care of STAT.

After a bit of scrubbing, I finally go to throw this paper towel away. I flick the trash bin's lid up to dispose of it and am revealed of the horrors that lurk on the inside surface of the lid. This cannot stand. All other issues are forgotten as I try desperately to remove the stains that have been secretly amassing on the inside of this seemingly innocent lid.

Now, this domino effect continues until:

a. I realize my original intention, and I force myself to stop and go to complete
the original task, or

b. four hours pass and I'm a huddled mass in a fetal position on my (clean) floor
as I suffer from food and caffine deprevation. (A sad sight, indeed.)

In an effort to avoid this scenario, I have learned to make lists.

So on the top of my list was to get some audio books for the very long flight to Oregon. I think flying from Massachussetts to Oregon is just as long as flying over to England. I flew to England once, and it was a long flight. Typically I plan on having some well chosen audio clips for a trip, but in the last days' rush to pack, these things never get taken care of, and I end up taking whatever might be on my Ipod at the moment. Knowing this is how I roll, I put it on the top of the list.

I grabbed the second installment of the Twilight Series, New Moon. I also grabbed various podcasts of "This American Life" as well as some works from Neil Gaiman.

Another thing on my list is trying to decide what knitting I should bring for the flight, but am afraid to take anything on a cable needle since it might be looked at as more dangerous than regular knitting needles. Right now, my projects of choice to work on are the lace shawl and Entrelac Stole that I am currently working on.

I never thought I'd be knitting a lace shawl. I dabbled in some lace when I made my Embossed Leaves socks and eventually, my knitting path led me here:

It is a difficult colorway to photograph (even for me), and the yarn is just a wonderfully soft wool. It is called Free Range because it is organic wool. All the yarns are named after chicken breeds, which I think is just charming.

Pardon the photo below. I'll get something better when it is done and blocked. It sort of looks like a manta ray, but you get the general idea.

The other project that is addicting to knit is my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from the Scarf Style book. It is knit in Noro Silk Garden.

I'm knitting in colorway #251, which has been discontinued. I saw this colorway worked into an entrelac scarf on Ravelry and thought it looked divine, so I knew when I was ready to tackle it, I had to get that colorway. I was able to find some on Ebay and even got matching lots! It looks very rustic and faded which is fitting since the stole was inspired by images of ladies walking in cold and drafty castles (no insulation, you know) and thus these ladies would benefit from a nicely knitted stole. I think it will do nicely to ward away chills at work and at home (no castles I'm afraid, but I like insulation).

I'm afraid to take either of these projects on the plane because they are being made on cable needles. I'm not sure that the cable needles would make it through security. I'm thinking about starting another pair of socks but doing them on double pointed needles rather than two-at-a-time on a cable needle.

Next on the list:

1. Get a project for the flight.
2. Organize the materials for classes.

Hopefully, I can plan enough that I won't be distracted (much).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Art of Taking a Plunge...Sort Of

It's amazing how time flies by. One minute I'm saying "I need to go to Sock Summit," and then suddenly, the time to get ready and start planning is here. My head is spinning with all of the delightful details I need to get ready!

The funny thing is, I thought I'd be whipping out socks like mad before arriving at the big summit. I thought I'd have added a ton of socks to my handknit sock arsenal by now, but typical of my A.D.D. self, I find myself distracted by lovely lace projects (more on that later). In fact, after deciding to go to Sock Summit, I decided to join the 52 Pair Plunge group on Ravelry. The challenge is to make 52 pairs in 52 weeks. Some people have actually completed the challenge. I likened it to the Ironman Triathlon of Sock Challenges. It is indeed a tall order to fulfill. The challenge started on June 1st. Since then, how many sock pairs have I completed?


...but they are lovely.

Here are my Spring Forward Socks in The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! yarn. The colorway is Tufted Jungle King (which I think is the name of a butterfly).

Here's a closeup:

I thought it was funny how the yarn's colors turned out so autumnal and the pattern is Knitty's Spring Forward. I also thought it was funny how the yarn's colors looked so much lighter in the skein but when knit up, became more deep.

Here's a pic of the skein so you can see what I'm talking about:

I thought the colorway would be a bit lighter, but I've seen that happen with colors when they are knitted up. Sometimes just placing a color next to another can change the way it looks. The eyes send the image up to the brain and then it is translated differently. That is so cool.

So that was pair #1. I'm registered to blog on the official 52 Pair Plunge Blog, but I'm a little embarrassed to have only one completed pair to present while others are whipping out socks by the bucket full. Like everything else, I'll catch up.

Pair #2 is almost done. They are socks for Christopher, my husband. He loves blue, and when I found this colorway from The Alpaca Yarn Co. (Heels and Toes yarn in Singing the Blues colorway purchased from The Loopy Ewe) I immediately thought of him. I like this yarn because I love the fact that you get a contrasting color for heels and toes, but I found the yarn sort of splitty. The pattern I'm using is Knitspot's Gridiron, a perfectly suitable pattern for a boy, but perhaps it would benefit from a less busy colorway. I've acutally started the foot, so it is a bit more completed than this photo:

It has a wonderful striping pattern, but after completing the heels, there is some pooling happening in the foot. I'm not sure if I like it yet. I'm sure it will grow on me, but the big question is if Chris will like them (and I hope he does).

Otherwise, the pattern is a nice and easy one to memorize making this a great take-along project. If I could just take it along with me to finish rather than than all of the the stoles and shawls I've started to work on (more on that later).

Oh! And I never got to post a pic of my finished Embossed Leaves socks. They are one of my favorite pairs. There is quite a story about finishing them. I had cast on the socks too tightly but, for some reason, never tried them on as I worked on them, so when I finished them and tried them on, I couldn't get the cuff over my calves. I needed to unravel the cuffs and rework them so they would be looser. Did I mention that I did these socks two-at-a-time? Yeah. But, long story short, I fixed them and here is a photo:

It's too bad that they can't count towards the challenge because they were completed before June 1st.

I know that I may not reach the 52 pairs at the end of the challenge deadline, but I think the challenge, for me, is more about getting to try techniques that I normally might not. I want to try my had at stranded sock knitting, simple sock design, and more ambitious patterns. I may not complete the Ironman Triatholon of sock knitting challenges as outlined by the organizers, but I can try to overcome my own challenges and just try to become a better sock knitter overall.

What are some challenges you want to overcome?