Saturday, August 29, 2009

wish I was Jessie's Girl

Be still my heart! Rick Springfield is soooo hot! And he's 60!!!!!!!!! OMG - the concert was fantastic. He got flashed by a woman and he flashed back (what a chest). ::drool:: The females in the audience were screaming at him (including yours truly).

(sock is intentionally out of focus)

I was knitting at the concert and on our way out, a couple passed us and imagine my surprise when the husband asked me if I finished my knitting project. I said no. He asked if I was knitting a sleeve and I told him I was working on socks. He wished me luck.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

broken promises

I had hoped to have some knitting to show you but everything that I'm working on is top secret. Not that there has been much knitting. Still getting my new computer set up. I bought ink for the temporary printer and I figured out how to make the printer driver shut up. It talks a lot and it's really annoying. Then I merged files from 3-4 computers. I've got backups in case I overwrote a file with the wrong version. I also got the monitor software installed so that I can rotate the screen image when I rotate the monitor.

The rest of my time is taken up with SUV shopping. The Highlander that we were looking at (and made an offer on) has sold and there are no other Highlanders that meet our requirements so we've expanded our search to include the Honda Pilot. I test drove one yesterday and those things are cruise ship big. I think we'll go back to looking at Highlanders.

There was a big snarling cat fight outside the bathroom door yesterday morning while I was in the shower. When I got out to check on everyone, Phoebe had a ton of dried spit stuck to her neck and I had to pick up several tufts of white fur from the floor. Ricky doesn't have any new holes in his face as you can tell from this picture.

Ricky doesn't get bed head, he gets 'window fur'.

I'm off to see Rick Springfield tonite (and embarrass the heck out of hubby when I sing to all the songs) and hopefully, I'll be able to track down my favourite fair food - deep fried Oreos!!!! YUM!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

new toys

I am blogging from my new toy (and my new 'office') - a brand spanking new desktop computer. The laptop has been relegated to the 'almost scrap heap' and my bootable HD in hubby's desktop will soon be reformatted (must make a backup before he does that). The CPU is pretty cool - it's got a big removable filter screen so that I can clean it when it gets filled up with fabric lint cuz it has to share space with my quilting corner. The area has been redesigned (aka cleaned up) but I still need to find a place for the scanner and the printer which is on back order. I get my own widescreen monitor and you should see the fancy monitor arm (costs more than the monitor!).

I can push the monitor out of the way when I need the space to sew/quilt and still be able to watch a movie or maybe a video tutorial. It pulls way out so that I can even see it while ironing. With 3 horizontal pivot points, 2 vertical, plus tilt & swivel, it's very versatile.

I can adjust it with the flick of my hand and it's very stable. It's a slick piece of hardware. I believe hubby is very jealous of my monitor arm.

Sorry but there's no knitting content today. I worked 3 days this week plus we had dinner guests on Thurs. Every spare moment has been spent getting my new toy up and running. Hopefully, I'll have some knitting to show you next time.

Ricky would like some sympathy for his boo boo (click on pic for a close up). He came up to me a few days ago with blood smeared on his face. On closer inspection, there is a good sized hole and I believe he walked into Phoebe's claw. I'm sure he started it.

Phoebe says, "Take that, Ricky!"

ETA: CarrieK (I can't find an email address for you) - I read these 4 books: "Cat in a Flamingo Fedora" and "Cat in a Jeweled Jumpsuit" both by Carole Nelson Douglas plus "Cat on the Edge" and "Cat Breaking Free" both by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. They are murder mysteries where a cat (Midnight Louie and Joe Grey/Dulcie respectively) solves/helps solve the crime. They're very fun to read.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I am slowly recovering from Sock Summit. I'm going to bed relatively early and sleeping like the dead. I spent most of last week scrambling to get ready to teach my Sat. sock class. I think it went well except for the fact that it was an all day class and the students were completely worn out by the end. I'll have to think about changing the format a little.

After all the intense knitting at Sock Summit, I haven't really picked up my needles since I got home. I did read 4 out of the 5 books that I bought from Powell's. After I finished the last book, I was unpacking from Sock Summit and I came across the cowl that only had 3 rounds left to knit so I finished that.

Pattern: Clemence by Katya Frankel (Ravelry download only)
Yarn: Koigu Kersti Merino Crepe in col k3039; 2 skeins
Needles: 5mm Addi Turbo circs
Notes: The yarn is cable plied and a bit splitty but oh so soft!

Ricky sez, "Not another cowl! At least, it isn't a bib."

When you look at photographs of cowls, do you like to see them modeled (and scrunched up) or do you like them photographed flat? I have a styrofoam head but the neck is kinda short and so is my own. I don't know how much longer Ricky will put up with modeling cowls for me.

And before anyone brings up the subject of Ricky cruelty, I'll have you know that he started purring when I put the cowl on him.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Highway 30 to Sock Summit

On our drive to Sock Summit, I finished another pooling scarf, just in time to give it to one of my Ravelry friends.

The pattern matches my yarn really well, and I love how each leaf got its own colour, thanks to the pooling effect. It's made with one skein of Socks that Rock, in the Highway 30 colourway. Edited to add -- 360 yards of STR in lightweight makes a 7 foot long scarf.

I've posted these photos to Ravelry, and promised that I'd have the pattern up by the weekend. So here you go!

Highway 30 Pooling Scarf

Lay out your yarn so that you can see how it will pool. In this case, I'm planning to use just half a loop of each skein for each row. In the photo below, you can see how my yarn translates into my first few garter rows. If I start my cast-on from the left side of the skein, then when I come back, the other half of the skein will stack its colours on top of my cast-on.

Using US 7 needles and beginning at one end of your skein, cast on 43 stitches with the backwards loop, or "e" cast-on. This is the most annoying part of your scarf, because the first row after this cast-on is slippery, and you're still juggling your gauge to try to get the colours to line up. Don't worry if you're off by a couple of stitches — it'll work out later as long as you're close on your gauge.

Knit 6 rows in garter stitch (knit every row). If your gauge is close to mine, you'll want to knit these rows fairly loosely. (I find that my knit-only rows take up less yarn than my lace rows, which in turn take up less yarn than my purl rows.)

Knit the lace chart, which is the Coat of Arms Lace from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary. If your gauge is tighter or looser than mine, feel free to add or subtract garter stitches to your edging to get your yarn to pool properly. (Click on the chart to make it bigger for printing.)

At this point, you may also want to switch your "purl" needle to be one size smaller than your "knit" needle. I knit with an interchangeable needle set, so at this point I just switch out one of my needles so that I have a US 7 on my knit rows and a US 6 on my purl rows. This is because for most knitters, the purl stitch uses up a little bit more yarn than the knit stitch, just because of how we wrap it around the needle.

Follow the chart until you're done with knitting on your scarf. It'll be about 7 feet long if you use one full skein of Socks that Rock lightweight. End with a Row #1.

Do six rows of garter stitch (knit every row) and bind off.

Wet-block to stretch out all of your lovely lace work, and give it to your friend. (Hi, Nikki!)

And thank your co-blogger for actually getting a photo that turned out of Nikki wearing the scarf. (Thanks, Dotty!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

odd'n ends

Here are some Sock Summit tidbits that don't really fit anywhere:

- While anxiously waiting for the marketplace to open for students Thurs afternoon, we started singing "99 skeins of yarn on the wall".
- Gladys and I were probably one of the first 10 people to enter the marketplace.
- The rush for Bugga! at the Sanguine Gryphon booth was insane and I was insane for being in the middle of it.
- Meg Swansen admitted to being spanked by Elizabeth Zimmerman. This revelation sent Stephanie into a major fit of the giggles and she disappeared behind the podium for several seconds.
- Aug 9th 2009 was the 99th anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth Zimmerman.
- We sang happy birthday and there was cake.
- After thanking everyone, Tina read out to Stephanie, "Thank each other - or not". They gave each other a bear hug and got a standing ovation.
- Hotels have low flow toilets. You must hold the handle down longer when flushing.
- If a mosquito is trapped in the van with myself and Gladys as the only occupants, it will bite me 5 times in the back of the neck, once near the elbow, and once on my wrist before it is killed. I don't think Gladys got bitten.
- I was right when I predicted that Gladys would be mobbed because of her pooling stole.
- Gladys gave a pooling stole to a friend who wore it everywhere during Sock Summit and she was mobbed, too.
- The trio of stitch pattern books by Maria Erlbacher is being combined into one volume and translated into English by Schoolhouse Press. Twisted-Stitch Knitting should be available in the coming weeks.
- Hubby took it upon himself to freeze the blueberries that I left in the fridge. He did this without consulting me or washing them first. He gets to wash the blueberries when they are thawed.
- My cousin took me to Chipotle and I ordered a chicken burrito and it was awesome! If you're ever near one of these, give it a try.
- I tried some Signature Needle Arts dpns. Oh my. They are the sexiest needles on the planet.

And for the part that a lot of you have been waiting for - what I brought back from Sock Summit:

Sock Summit souveniers

GothSocks (Elegant Gothic Lolita & Barbigoth) and Stranded In Oz Italian sock (col unknown)

My world record knitting. I will be framing this.

Cat mysteries and Moonsinger's Friends for me and Orson Scott Card for hubby.

A black sheep wearing purple socks mug by Jennie the Potter, a 4.5mm (between a size G & H) crochet hook, and underneath is some lovely knitting hens fabric (a gift from my friend, Mel aka Stranded in Oz)

My stack of autographed books

Last but not least, Socks That Rock - ST-2 in med & light on the left. The rest are mill ends - ???, Puck's Mischief, Lover's Leap, and three skeins of ST-2.

Can you tell that I love STR?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It was intense and mind-numbing but both my classes were awesome. I took Bavarian Stockings and Don't Knock Knee Socks. My instructor for both classes was Joan Schrouder. She is a fabulous instructor. Very funny - she didn't wear a poodle skirt to the Sock Hop. She wore a strudel skirt. Ha ha ha! I learned several new cast ons. And my brain truly did hurt after navigating the charts for the twisted stitch cables/motifs (but Gladys' brain hurts more after Cat Bordhi messed it up). It took me over 5 hours of knitting to make this tiny little sample (front then back):

Here are all our samples together:

In Don't Knock Knee Socks, we learned how to measure our legs and we learned about gauge and the different ways to create extra fabric for my *ahem* shapely calves. And we knit a sample with a simple ribbing increase/decrease. I walked away from the class with a bunch of black dots on my right leg. Call it my new sock tattoos.

On Fri and Sat nights, I ditched my sock knitting pals and hung out with my cousin and her family. I hadn't seen her in about 30 years. It was great to catch up.

I met so many people, made new friends, connected with people from home, and got to see people that I only 'talk' to via email/Ravelry/online. I was in awe to be in the same room building city with such knitting icons as Barbara Walker (super long line-ups for her at the book signing), Cat Bordhi, Cookie A, Meg Swansen (and the legacy that Elizabeth Zimmerman leaves in her), plus many others. The amount of knitting intelligence in one place at the same time was mind-boggling.

I was very sad when the Luminary event ended because it marked the end of 4 days of fun, craziness, and socks. I am energized (despite the lack of sleep) and inspired by everything I saw & heard. It was an experience that I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life.

Woodsock: A sock knitting conference first held on Aug 6-9th 2009 in Portland, Oregon. It was billed as "Taking Sock Knitting Almost Too Far". This conference brought together thousands of knitters, instructors, and knitting vendors from all over the globe under one roof. An attempt to set a knitting world record was made (results still to be verified by Guiness officials). Despite the intense concentration of sharp pointy needles, only one needle inflicted injury was reported that required a quick trip to the ER. The area surrounding the Oregon Convention Center was reportedly covered with scraps of yarn and wooly lint while the faint odour of sheep hung in the air.

That about sums up Sock Summit for me. Sock on people, sock on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Photos, photos, photos!

Wow, I'm exhausted. But I had the time of my life. Sock Summit was like a convention of 2000 of your best friends, where you could drop into a conversation about the best cast-ons in the world and talk for 20 minutes — and not get bored, and not be boring. And then switch into the fart jokes and everyone *gets* you!

If they ever do this again, I'll go, even if I don't get into any classes. Because Sock Summit was about so much more than classes. It was about finding my people, who are just as obsessed as I am about yarn and the perfect needle and the perfect cast-on, or cast-off, or just fine-tuning that very last stitch in a sock, so that you don't have a bump downwards in the line of your sock.

A quick photo post. Here's the photo that Dotty took of me and my Windowpane socks in the Sock Museum.

The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! sock yarn was the sell-out of the show. Here's the Bugga! rack about 7 minutes after the doors opened on Friday morning. Yes, that 7 minutes was timed, by Gryphon's husband.

I have been a fan of Barbara Walker since I bought her feminist mythology books, and I was so thrilled to be able to meet her in person, and even take a course from her. Would you believe she sold off her hand-knit socks for $5/pair to students in the class? I was one of the last ones to get into the classroom so I totally missed it, but I was stunned when people told me about that.

Here's Cecilia, aka qiviutqueen on ravelry. She's the sweetest, warmest person in person, and her husband was soooo patient and (mostly) understanding, if a little flabbergasted, in the marketplace.

From left to right: Dotty, Lorie, Rebecca and me. We met Lorie for the first time on Friday, and she was soooo funny to hang out with! That's what I mean about Sock Summit. You meet people and it's like you've known each other for years, just after a few minutes of knitting jokes and sharing tips.

I think we were tempted to take Lorie home with us. She lives in Edmonton, so poor Rebecca (who lives in New York) was surrounded by Canadians. (And Canadian chocolate, which I think made up for the cultural gap. It's a ZED, not a ZEE, folks!)

And Ro sent beautiful Lord of the Rings books for my boys, and they were very happy to open their lovely gifts this morning. They're so beautiful and I'm going to be so happy to share that magic with my boys, in their own special editions.

It was the kind of conference where Cookie A would duck in front of you as you were getting your photo taken. Where you would go to the bathroom and just see Barbara Walker talking to friends in the hallway. Where you would meet Amy Singer auditing BW's course, and sit next to Judy Becker (yes, the inventor of Judy's Magic Cast-On). Or just catch the tram (free from the convention centre) to Powell's and see Lucy Neatby on the tram too. And none of this magic is namedropping -- it happened to *everyone*.

And I haven't even talked about Cat Bordhi's class yet, where she opened up all sorts of doors for me. Wow, just wow, my brain is still trying to recover its footing from being pried wide open and all sorts of stuff poured into it.

And did you know that Barbara Walker invented the SSK stitch? Seriously, she admitted to it in the closing panel session.

Stephanie and Tina, please please please do this again. It was a total blast, and a heroic accomplishment.

(Even if you didn't have any Klingons in the Red Lion lobby -- oh wait, that's the other kind of con that I'm used to going to.)

filling in the blanks

We got back very late yesterday night and I'm slowly sifting through all my pictures and my loot. I am still on a Sock Summit high :)

Here are the pictures that I wanted to include with Friday's post.

Crazy line up for the marketplace Fri morning:

That's a lot of people wanting to buy yarn!!!

The famous Powell's bookstore:

I bought 9 paperbacks - 4 for hubby and 5 for myself.

Skidmore fountain in downtown Portland:

In the background, you can see a group of cyclists taking a Portland tour.

And this is what the ballroom looked like just before we started the world record attempt:

I still can't believe that I was really there.

I finally tracked down Gladys and got her picture with her Sock Museum socks.

My brain is mush so you'll excuse me if I can't string together more than one or two sentences today.

Friday, August 7, 2009

apologies to the Aussies

I didn't have any classes today but I was still very busy. After a quick trip to the convention center, I headed downtown to do a little shopping. I picked up some stainless steel water bottle cages for hubby (it's our 11th wedding anniversary in a few weeks and the traditional gift is steel). Then I headed over to Powell's. I was in book heaven!!!! I bought a few books for myself and a few for hubby.

Afterwards, I hustled my butt back to the convention center to participate in setting a new world record for most knitters knitting. The Harlot made us apologize to the Australians who set the record of 256 knitters in June. Then we were told to knit and we did for 15 mins. It's not official yet, but I'm pretty sure there were more than 256 knitters in the room. The experience was out of this world. I had goosebumps the entire time.

ETA: here's a link to a video. Can you spot Gladys? Hint - look for a pooling stole.

The afternoon was spent standing in line and getting my books signed by the Harlot, Cookie A, Cat Bordhi, and Nancy Bush. I did a little more shopping but I didn't buy anything (still lacking in the money department). I bumped into Sivia Harding and I gave her the bootie that I test knit. I also saw Trish from Indigo Moon.

I'll let Gladys post about her adventures but she was basically in Barbara Walker heaven.

My apologies for a pictureless post. Pics are on the camera but there is no available USB port on the laptop.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

we're here and it's heaven!

Welcome to Portland!

It was a very unevenful drive (i.e. I slept through most of southern Washington state). We arrived in plenty of time to be the first ones to line up for the marketplace.

Gladys got mobbed by pooling stole admirers. I knew that was going to happen.

I finally got to meet Mel - my upstream Monkey sock swap pal. She's here all the way from Australia!!!! I also saw Caro (aka splityarn). We used to work together when we both had day jobs.

And here's Gladys' mitered square socks in the Sock Museum. I wanted to take a picture with Gladys but I couldn't find her anywhere. The marketplace was amazing - so many yarns, so many people, so many yarn fumes, and so very little money left in my wallet. It's too late & dark to take pictures of our loot but we'll try to remember tomorrow.

After our big shopping binge, we went out with Ravelry friends for a Korean supper. I am now exhausted and looking forward to a good nite's sleep where I can recharge my batteries and do this all over again tomorrow. Can you tell that I'm having fun?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sock Summit or bust!

Only one more sleep! I head over to Gladys' tonite and we're off tomorrow morning. Our plan is to arrive in time for the marketplace opening. Gladys has a huge shopping list and I'll be helping her.

We'll try to blog while we're there but I don't know what kind of internet access we'll have. In any case, we'll have a full report when we get back so keep your eyes peeled.

Ricky sez, "I'll be waiting for you."