Second Sock Syndrome Solution

I have Second Sock Syndrome.  I love to knit socks but after the excitement of finishing the first sock to see how it turns out – how the yarn looks knitted up and how it fits – I often times don’t feel like getting started on the second sock.  I’ve tried the two at a time on circular needle thing but don’t really like it very much – things get too tangled up and it’s hard to take with you.

So, I decided to knit the pair of socks I just started in stages. Do the leg of one sock, then start the leg of the second sock, then do the heel flap on one sock and then on the second sock, then turn the heel and pick up the gusset on the first sock and then on the second and so on.

Two Socks in Progress

Hopefully, this will solve my Second Sock Syndrome – I already have the heel flap done on the first sock and have the flap partially finished on the second. 

Knit 6 - Purl 2

This is going to be a very basic pair of socks, it starts out with Knit 2, Purl 2 ribbing and then changes to Knit 6, Purl 2 for the main part of the leg.   The Knit 6, Purl 2 leg is nice because there is enough plain knitting to show off the color of the yarn and enough ribbiness with the Purl 2 so the sock hugs your leg nicely. 

When using multicolor or self-striping yarn it seems kind of a waste to do a fancy pattern stitch because it doesn’t even show.  This yarn is Knit Picks Imagination , a blend of  50% superwash merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca and 25% nylon in the Frog Prince colorway.  It is very soft and really nice to knit with.  Even though the skeins are from the same dye lot, they aren’t the same color – one of them has more of the light green shade and the other one has more of the dark green shade.  I guess that’s how it is with any kind of hand dyed yarn. 

Since the beginning of the year I’ve really been in a sock knitting mood – which is a good thing because all my hand knit socks are getting worn out and I need new ones!

You can click on the pictures for a larger view.

This, That and The Other

This blog post is kind of a mixed bag – definitely a reflection of how life has been lately!

EarCozyHatI started on a quick. new knitting project – a hat for my husband.  It is based on a childrens’ hat pattern – Ear Cozy Hat by Fiber Trends – I redid the math to make the hat in a large adult size.  I’ve made this pattern numerous times in the small sizes.  It is really nice because it covers the ears and keeps them warm – however, the ear flaps are much nicer than most ear flap hats because they are made with short rows and don’t hang down strangely and they don’t need ties to keep them in place.

JackHatBeg

Jack Hat Beginning

The wool is lovely, Karabella Aurora Melange – it is so soft yet bouncy feeling and is 100% extrafine Merino Wool that is machine washable, always a plus for a hat.

In other knitting news, I finished up the Pet Bed I was knitting with Knit Picks bulky, hand dyed Wool of The Andes in the Island Breeze colorway.  It took three skeins.  Now, I need to felt it and see how it looks.  I’m hoping the fabric gets a lot thicker and the sides will stand up on their own.

PetBedUnfelted

Pet Bed Unfelted

This is the second Pet Bed I’ve knitted – the first one never ended up being felted because my dog, Gidget, likes it just the way it is.  She spends a lot of time sleeping on it and hates me to pick it up off the floor. There’s a picture of that in this post:  She Likes It .  For the first Pet Bed, I used a felted bowl pattern and just made it bigger.  I wasn’t totally happy with the how the bottom turned out, so, for this bed I came up with my own pattern that has 9 segments to form the circular bottom.  It seems to lie nice and flat.  After I felt it and see if it turns out well, I’ll write up the pattern and make it available on this blog.

Yesterday, I baked some Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins, they are based on a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins that Mary Jo baked recently for our knitting night.  I altered them a bit to make them more cake-like by adding less oil, one more egg, more flour, more cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg and a bit of milk.  They turned out well – not very sweet but very good.

PumppkinCranberryMuffins2

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Finally, I wanted to share this picture of our two grandsons having an after school snack and playing Nintendo DS – they bicker so much that it was wonderful to see them cooperating with each other!  You can see how much they really do love each other even though they tend to bicker over everything.

BrothersCooperation3

Brothers Cooperating

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see a larger view.

Carrot Ginger Cookies and a New Knitting Project

CarrotCookies2-3_Blog

Carrot Ginger Cookies

These Carrot Ginger Cookies I made today turned out very well. They have lots of finely grated carrots in them along with freshly grated ginger. They are very light and delicate tasting – the fresh ginger gives them such a nice flavor. Even though they have LOTS of carrots in them – they really don’t taste like carrots. I think they will go very nicely with a cup of tea.

I rolled the balls of dough in coarse Demerara sugar before baking – next time, I will use a finer sugar. The crunchy, strong taste of the Demerara sugar kind of overpowered the cookie.

Carrot Ginger Cookies

1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 egg + 1 egg white (if you double recipe, just use three eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup finely grated carrot (about 3 normal sized carrots)
1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root (about 1 small root)
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Stir in the carrots and ginger until well blended. Mix the cream of tartar, soda and salt with the flour. Stir in the flour a cup or so at a time and mix well.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. If desired, roll balls in sugar before placing on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 14 minutes until slightly browned and top springs back if touched.

The dough is quite soft, it might help to refrigerate it before rolling into balls. I usually make a double recipe (or even triple) of cookie dough and only bake one or two pans and then put the rest of the dough in the fridge in a tightly sealed container or bag. That way, you can bake a pan or two every day or so and always have fresh cookies on hand.

*****

In other news – I didn’t have to report for Jury Duty today (Friday)! It was such a relief – I was dreading it so much. I had called the phone number on the summons earlier in the day on Thursday and then again around 4pm to check on the status of the trial and the recorded message said the trial was still scheduled. So, I had started getting everything ready for the next day – clothes, charge cell phone, get purse packed up with the needed stuff, etc. For a couple of days, I had been trying to think of a small knitting project to bring along in the hopes I might knit to fill in the tedious hours of jury selection – finally decided to make the Shetland Shopper Market Bag. My friend, Emmy, knitted this bag and it turned out very well. So, I cast on for the bag with Adara (cotton/linen blend) from Elann and was happily knitting away on it when my husband came home from work.

He asked if I had called to check on the status of the trial, I told him I had and that it had not been cancelled. So, he called the number to check again and it WAS cancelled! I was in disbelief, it must have been cancelled at the last minute. I even called the number myself to make sure it really had been cancelled! What a relief – it seems like when you get all ready and prepared for something, then it never happens.

So, I shall think of the Shetland Shopper as my lucky knitting project!

Shetland Shopper Market Bag - Beginning

Shetland Shopper Market Bag - Beginning

I felt so happy and relieved today that I decided to bake the Carrot Ginger Cookies, had been meaning to try them for a while. It was originally a recipe for Bunny Carrot Cookies that I modified quite a bit.

You can click on the pictures for a larger view.

On-Line Knitting Class

Mirth Fitted Raglan Shawl

Mirth Fitted Raglan Shawl by Stefanie Japel

On September 7, 2009, I started the on-line knitting class taught by Stefanie Japel for the Mirth Fitted Raglan Shawl which she designed. It is the first time I’ve taken any sort of on-line class, or any sort of knitting class. Mostly, I wanted to take the class to learn how to knit a charted design. I’m almost ashamed to admit, that in my over 40 years of knitting – I’ve never knit a charted design and have always felt kind of intimidated by knitting charts, they look so complex and hard to understand. I’ve knitted lace before but have always followed the written out row by row kind of instructions. So, when I found out about the class I hurried to sign up as the main emphasis of the class is learning how to understand charts and knit from charts.

Stefanie is teaching the class through her Ning website:

Stefanie Japel’s Knitting Studio

So far, the class has been even better than I expected! Stefanie has uploaded so many detailed videos to watch about every aspect knitting this shawl. She explains every line of each chart and shows clearly, in a video, how to knit it. There are forums and live chat where you can get together to talk about your progress and any problems you are having. It is really a wonderful learning experience – I think even better than a live class. The reason I think it is even better than a live class is because you can do it at your own pace, you can watch the video on how to knit a row of the chart and then do it yourself. If you have some problems, you can watch the video again. If you need help, you can ask in chat or in the forum. A live knitting class might last a few hours and you could forget a lot of stuff before you ever started on a certain part of the design. With this video class, you will be able to finish the whole shawl in the three weeks the class runs.

In the first week of the class, I’ve finished knitting Lace Chart 1 and am ready to start on Lace Chart 2 for the second week of class. I’ve learned so much about knitting from a chart – it’s fun, it’s logical and it’s much easier to understand than the written out instructions for lace!  Stefanie is a totally charming teacher who explains things so clearly that it is easy to understand.  Hopefully, she will teach more on-line classes soon, this one is really an enjoyable learning experience.

Here are some pictures of my progress, you can click on any of them for a larger view:

Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted - Fresh

Lorna's Laces Green Line Worsted - Fresh

This is the yarn I used, Lorna’s Laces Green Line Worsted.  It is very nice to work with.  I love the colorway which is called Fresh but think the lace pattern would have shown up better in a solid color.

Starting Lace Chart 1

Starting The Shawl

At the start of the shawl, there is a very clever cast on to make the top look great.

3 Repeats of Chart 1

3 Repeats of Chart 1

Here is the shawl after three repeats of Lace Chart 1.  The multi color yarn does hide the lace pattern a bit but it also hides the couple of mistakes I’ve made!

5 Repeats of Chart 1 - Ready to Start Chart 2

5 Repeats of Chart 1 - Ready to Start Chart 2

The shawl now has five repeats of Lace Chart 1 completed and I’m ready to start with Lace Chart 2.  It is getting very large – it’s on a 47 inch needle and starting to get a bit cramped.

Can’t wait to see how the new lace pattern from Chart 2 will turn out!

Autumn Colors and a New Knitting Project

On Saturday, October 4th, my husband and I decided to go for a drive to see the autumn colors in the moutains near our home. It is the perfect time for fall colors but it was a less than perfect day for a drive to see them! It was cloudy, rainy and sometimes so foggy you couldn’t even see very far ahead. However, it was still a beautiful drive – some of the aspen trees just seemed to glow with color. It was also kind of fun to drive in the rain and mist – it felt very cozy in the car.

Here are a couple more pictures. It was pretty wet so I didn’t take my good camera outside to get any super pictures, just used my little point and shoot though the windows.

  

I got started on a new knitting project on the way – all the others I have going are at a point that they aren’t good to take in the car. This is going to be a vest, it is based on this pattern from Gardiner Yarn Works – Venice Beach Tank. I’ve changed the bottom shaping quite a bit but I really like the way the straps are knitted on in one piece with no sewing. The yarn is lovely, it is called from Koala from Needful Yarns. It’s a very soft wool, alpaca and acrylic blend which I purchased from Elann. It has lots of body yet is still soft. This is going to be for a friend of mine who is like a daughter in law – this color looks wonderful on her.

We stopped at our favorite shop in Chama, New Mexico and bought some fudge and looked around. The couple who run the shop are so nice. It was very busy there as the Cumbres Toltec train had just come in and the passengers were wandering around Chama. On the way, I had wondered aloud to my husband if they would have some pumpkin fudge for the Halloween season. They did! It tastes really, really good. In the picture it is the gold color fudge on the upper left.

We ended up in Taos and did some shopping at Cids grocery store (they finally had some adzuki beans) and then ate Mexican food before we came home. It was a fun day even if the weather was bad.