Sunday, July 26, 2009

quilting, jam, and socks oh my!

When I started this blog I envisioned it to be about knitting. Particularly some of my knitting problems (hence the name disasters with yarn). Then the first few things I had to write about were baby quilts. Then I wrote about jam. And of course I threw in some knitting too. Well today I have all three!
First the baby quilt.
My cousin recently had her second baby, a boy. And since she doesn't read this blog I can tell you about her baby quilt. I decided that I needed something splashy as she is an art teacher and the quilt I made for her first baby was WOW. So I picked finally to do a blue kaleidoscope from M'Liss Rae Hawley's Scrappy Quilts. I have never had so much trouble with a quilt. I could not for the life of me get the triangles to lay flat when they were sewn into the hexagons. Fortunately my MIL is a much better piecer than I am and she put all the blocks together for me. I did everything but that. Now it just needs borders.

And needs them quick because we are turning my "quilt studio" into a craft/play room and the new carpet is scheduled to come in in about a week or so. We still need to pick up my sewing things (which is now down to my sewing table and ironing board) and rip up the existing carpet and mop the tile underneath. Whew. I've decided that I'll be putting a border on this afternoon and moving everything after that, I'll get it ready to quilt while we clean that space and quilt it after we move back in.

Hmmmm there don't seem to be any pictures of the jam I made last week. Since we love strawberry so much I should probably only make that, but I like to play. So this year, I decided to make sour cherry jam. Now, sour cherries are not beautiful like sweet cherries are. They are small and squishy and well... gross. In fact so gross that not only did I not photograph them, I also couldn't bear to taste the jam until several days after I made it. The insides are yellow and so I was pleasantly surprised that after I blended them--and I did blend more than I usually like to with fruit jam, I like my jam chunky--that the resulting jam is reddish. ALso, I was surprised to find it tastes like cherry pie filling. The verdict from the family is that aside from the skins that it is good good good jam.

But perhaps most exciting is the knitting that got done this week. And by got done I mean:
lace and cable socks
These are Lace and Cable socks (size small!) from Socks from the toe up. The yarn is a knit picks bare that I dyed. I took them on vacation and nearly finished the first sock--the second one I took along everywhere for the last three weeks (swimming lessons, playgroup and tv knitting). And for what--socks that are too warm to wear until September! I got so warm posing in the socks that I didn't wait until I got a great picture--just an "ok you can see the socks and tell what color they are" picture.

I also finally got the lace pattern in the dollar and half cardigan sorted out and knit a swatch. The gauge for the pattern is in the lace pattern but I think I may have to go up a needle size for the lace, but I like the look of the reverse stockinette. I'm washing it first though, in case it grows. Ravelry tells me that many people use two different needle sizes so I'm guessing I'm not the first to look at the swatch and decide that. I do need to invest in a circular needle size US 4. I have a denise set and it only goes to size 5 and if the lace gets gauge at a size 6 I may want to bring the reverse stockinette down to a 4. Doesn't make for a whole lot of exciting knitting though.
So for now I have the tongue twister "sweater swatch" that I keep wandering around saying. Try it--say it five times fast.

Friday, July 17, 2009


When I worked at the yarn shop, they told me summer is a bad time for yarn stores--mostly people just want to knit dishcloths and socks. I don't knit dishcloths, usually, in part because I don't use them. I do knit socks though.

Last time I updated I was deep into trying to figure out what to knit. Made in part way more urgent by an upcoming vacation. I like to knit in the car and I like small projects for that so I don't have to pack a ton of yarn. Socks are ideal. I really wanted to work with my Harry Potter sock yarn so I'd have Harry Potter socks for the movie (geek) but after swatching I decided that perhaps a plain pattern would work best with that yarn and by golly I did not want a plain pattern. I did some more swatching, this time with the knit picks yarn I dyed. I figured I was getting about 8 stitches to the inch and took off with the book, knitting socks from the toe up, the yarn and 2 sizes of needles--(my 1s and 1.5s not the zeros which was a mistake). What happened was quite funny. The first day in the car, I started on one pattern and quickly figured out that they would be huge! 8 stitches to the inch at 8 inches around and somehow my sock was coming out way to big. In part because I've learned, my foot is only 8.25 inches around and that means I should be making about a 7.75 inch sock. Which amazed me to discover my size 9 feet are considered small. I did a ton of math attempting to get the pattern to work out and in the end decided to find a pattern that came a bit smaller.
Very few patterns in that book came in a small. If I'd only had the size zero needles, I could have had a few more options.
Instead lace and Cable socks were about my only option.
I like them though.
I finished the first sock on vacation and have been working on the second sock since.
socks in progress

I keep trying to find some space to work on my swatch for the dollar and a half cardigan since I think I've worked out my problem with the pattern. I ended up writing out the lace pattern in a way that I can follow easily with a row counter. Because the lace pattern is written as a seven row pattern but you don't work it in order, instead you work row 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. So why not write it that way? I have no idea I don't write patterns. It was tedious copying it out onto a sheet of notebook paper, re-numbering all the rows, but I think it will help. And I'm sure after I get working on it, I'll be able to take it places and talk while I'm doing it.
I never thought I'd be able to do that with the sock, but I not only did that, I took it with me to swimming lessons and had to set it down mid-row on a chilly day to help my daughters into their towels. Go me.

Also for my future self, I ned to find a way to keep track of the jam I make because I made WAY too much peach last year and I have no idea how much I made. I finally got he strawberry right and have no idea on that either. This year I made 3 batches of Strawberry. I'm only making one peach. I'm going to try sour cherry too--I'll try to photo essay it.
Love Farmer's market:
peas in a pod