About The Country Wife Blog

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sock Madness 5

A few weeks ago on Ravelry I noticed that there was going to be a Sock Madness competition.  It turns out this is the fifth year of this competition.  It corresponds to basketball's March Madness, though I think it does not end until June.  Well, I thought I would like to try it.  There are seven patterns to be knit.  Everyone gets the first pattern, and if it is completed within the first two weeks, the knitter is put onto a team for the rest of the competition.  I signed up for the competition but then sort of forgot it.

On 9 March I went to the Sock Madness site and found that the pattern had been dispensed on March 4th and there was two weeks to do the knitting!  I was already behind the eightball.  So, I downloaded the pattern the found a good supply of two blues in Baby Ull yarn and got started.  I started out on two sets of size 4 double-pointed needles, then at the heel moved the socks to one long size 1 needle for the Magic Loop technique.

The first heel had a very large hole where the leg meets the heel, but I thought I could fix that after completing the knitting. So, knit, knit, knit.  No house work, no genealogy, no fabulous meals (or even passable meals.  It was a good thing we had a fair amount of leftovers in the refrigerator!), just knitting.  I realized that these were going to be too long for my feet so I left off the last 8 rows of the second pattern repeat on the feet, finished the toes, photographed the socks and sent them to the Sock Madness fairy.  Whew!  Finished on the 15th with two days to spare.

The next morning I found an email saying that my socks, though lovely, did not meet the competition guidelines and needed to be re-knit to include those 8 rows of the second pattern repeat.  She also told me not to worry, that there was time to make the change.  What! What! Really?!  So, I started un-picking the Kitchener stitched toes.  This was a real pain so I thought I would clip a stitch up on the pattern repeat then just ravel out.  Wrong!  That didn't work very well either....so I used my fingernail clippers (the only cutting tool at hand) and clipped all around both toes then raveled back to the right place for picking up stitches to re-knit.  It was really a MUCH more complex job than I expected.

Amazingly, I did get the job done, but had run out of the blue yarns, and since we were at the temple this week, I only had some leftover orange Baby Ull in my bag, SO there are two orange stripes.  Finally, finally, they are really done and I sent the new finished sock photo to the Sock fairy as well as posted it on the Supporters Sock Finishers thread on Ravelry.  I am very happy to have finished them.  Bob is willing to wear them, but I think they will be too large even for him!  We shall see.

It will be interesting to see what the other sock patterns hold for us. I don't think I will commit so much time to the next sock patterns.  I need to get back to more important things, though I do want to use up the sock yarn in my stash.

One of the nicest parts of this competition so far is that the wonderful designer of this sock pattern has sent me several emails.  She lives on the Isle of Wight and is a fabulous gardener. I would love to become friends with her...though it would be a sacrifice for her because she is emailing everyone who finishes a pair of her socks!  That is a fabulous gift to the knitters.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Knitting, knitting, knitting

Yesterday and today have been filled with knitting...the Scandinavian hat class hat that I am doing at Country Woolens in Lebanon, NH; the earflaps hat for Bob with many colors in it; the socks for the Ravelry Sock Madness competition. 

Today was knitting group at Elsie's where I finished the first of two and a half pattern repeats on one sock and am nearly finished the first repeat on the second sock.  I may finish that pattern repeat tonight then get rolling some more on the earflap hat, though that does not have a deadline as the other two projects do...well, next winter, I guess.

One other thing on my mind today is clearing off the sewing table so I can set up The Incredible Sweater Machine.  I have a good mind to make myself a vest with it.  We shall see.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Blanket is Finished

The charity blanket which our church ladies began in November is now off the needles and ready to give!  Hooray!  Many people participated in this project.  A good third of these ladies were non-knitters when they started.  When you look at the squares you can see that they learned very well.  It is a joy to work together for the welfare of another soul...even if we do not know the beneficiary of our service.

 Picture to follow when I figure out how to make it small enough...

  These are the garter-stitch squares sewn into strips.

This is the completed blanket.  You will notice the last two squares are sewn on for pockets if the person receiving the blanket uses it for a lap blanket sometimes.  Great place for a handkerchief, a paperback book, or to hide a couple of chocolate bars from the kids!

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to knit these squares!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun with Friends at Limerick Irish Eatery, plus knitting

To celebrate the birthday of a friend yesterday four of us got together for lunch at the new Limerick Irish Eatery in Quechee, Vermont.  Very nice meal. Friendly server, and it was great to be able to chat with Jessica, the owner, for a few minutes.  She is such a busy lady.  It is always fun to be with friends...we chatted for 2 hours before we ran down enough to leave the restaurant, carrying the conversation into the parking lot.

One quick stop at the White River Coop (not Upper Valley Coop this time), where I picked up some tortillas and a couple other things to use for supper, then an even quicker stop at the bank to drop off a key to the safe deposit box then on to home for a nap.

Morning had come early.  Before 6 AM I was at the Incredible Sweater Machine hoping to finish the strips for the Church blanket.  In two hours I had three new strips made as well as hand-stitching together  the parts of the previous two days' worth of struggling with the machine.  Yay!  I decided that four strips would be better than the six strips I previously planned to use.  This way the border will not get lost in the strips.  At least that is the idea.

Before leaving for lunch I had managed to sew together half of the strips.  Sewing together is not my forte, but it will hold the blocks and strips together so I am going to stop agonizing about the job.  After the nap I made burritos for supper:  whole wheat wraps instead of tortillas, though I don't really recognize the difference, plus shredded cheddar on fat-free refried beans plus some homemade pico de gallo (which, by the way, I used chopped parsley for the greens instead of cilantro and have decided I despise...at least in this batch).  For "dessert" I used a slice of lavash bread on which I spread cream cheese (it would have been more successful if I had removed the cream cheese from the refrigerator an hour earlier...!) and then grated on some Blueberry Cheddar cheese, then put in the microwave for one minutes.  Really not bad at all!  Liz suggested it at lunch.

After supper I settled into the great room upstairs along with the sewing/knitting project and A Touch of Frost on NetFlix.  It took me two shows to complete stitching together the strips and begin picking up stitches around the edge for the border.  I had to stop because I needed more cable on the needles to get all the stitches on.  I think I will need about 100 inches of cable....

Just now, on Saturday morning, I have spoken with Lois at White River Yarns to see if she had such a needle.  She didn't but told me that when she picked up stitches for a border on a beautiful large afghan she has in her shop, she used three needles with 40-inch cables and a fourth needle with 40-inch cable for the knitting, just like four giant double-pointed needles!  Isn't she the smartest thing!!  I am so thrilled.  Now I need to see how many more I will need--based on how many circular needles I have with 40-inch cables!

Since I wrote that last bit I have knitted a swatch for the Scandinavian Hat class I am going to this afternoon at Country Woolens in Lebanon, NH.  Using the size 3 circulars with very LONG cable, I got gauge the first time!  Yay!  That is good news.  But that was knitting flat.  Now I am working a gauge on double-pointed needles and size 4...since that is the size I am supposed to use for the River Chullo River Star hat that Bob actually wants.  I will go along with the class and the Country Creations hat...small child size for some little person for next winter...mainly because if everyone else in the class is a beginner at this sort of hat/knitting style, I am afraid my knitting with 11 colors and an ear flap with be confusing.  Far be it from me to confuse people when it is unnecessary.

After the class I will go work on the computer to enter do some Visiting Teaching work plus maybe some genealogy then go to Jonathan's after supper to pick up the bulk order that is being collected in Worcester today.  So...off to work.

PS  In case you are worried, I did make Bob a nice omelet for breakfast. I ate a great leftover salad...about 10:30.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Today was a real changeable day: I woke up early after a very bad night...leg cramps, nightmares, too much pain everywhere,  etc.  I had a meeting to attend but had to beg off and spent a good deal of time in bed but by noon I felt a little better and started working with the knitting machine again...the one that the very kind lady on FREECYCLE gave me yesterday.

The first few strips I knit with the machine nearly made me tear my hair out, but I kept telling myself that I was smart enough to do it...same as yesterday.  That really didn't help very much, actually.  Eventually it occurred to me to try YouTube, and voila!  There was a whole course on using the newer version of the knitting machine.  The final strip attempt today was 36 inches long...needs to be 48 inches long, so I am making progress, though still a long way from getting 6 strips completed.

In  the interest of sanity I stopped with the Incredible Knitting Machine around 2:30, picked up my bag of sock projects as well as the spinning workshop mitten project and went to Elsie's for knitting group.  It was SO GOOD to see her and Sharon and Cameron again. It has been a whole month since I was there with them.  Last week Elsie had a wonderful class at the library teaching kids to knit. She had 8 kids and one mom--7 girls and one boy who, by the way, picked up on Elsie's Continental knitting style and learned to do both knit and purl that way!  Good for him.

Anyway, after knitting with Elsie, Sharon and Cameron and watching Cameron's slide show of his trip to Ghent, I batted out for a shortish set of errands to include getting another skein of yarn for the strips and border of the homeless blanket. I do not believe it will be completed by Monday night, but will be much closer.

So, after coming home I worked a bit more on the last strip then picked up the mitten project. and WHOOPEE!!  I finished the first of them. It looks a little funny and it fits a little funnier, but I love it.  I showed it to Bob and he said..so? in a very sweet and gentle way.   I told him he should be impressed because it was the first project knitted with totally me-weighed/blended/carded/spun yarn.  I am so happy to have it done.  Parenthetically, I was so sad to hear that Bonnie, one of our spinners, was run into by a unthinking woman who was having her dogs drag her down a ski slope.  When she ran into Bonnie she broke Bonnie's shoulder/upper arm.  Bonnie's doctor says it will take about six months to heal before she can start spinning and knitting and weaving again.  So sad.  Plus she has missed her trip to Alaska and the Iditarod.

Mitten photo will be here soon.