Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Love/hate relationship with socks

I really want to like making socks. I look at all the beautiful sock patterns and yarns out there and I want them all. I have a pair of socks I made myself that I love to wear. I want to give socks as gifts. But so many times I get to the heel flap and set the sock down for months. Why? I know how to do the flap and turn a heel. I don't even have problems picking up the gusset stitches.

It might have something to do with how long it takes me to make a pair of socks on size 1 or 2 needles. But, if I work on a sock faithfully, I can get it done in a reasonable amount of time.

Oh well, enough lamenting. It's time to get serious about socks. One way I figured I would push myself to make socks was to join the Sock of the Month 4 KAL. (Click on the button in my sidebar for more info.) I joined the SAM3KAL late and only finished two of the four pairs I was supposed to make. I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to join the next round but I decided to look at the final socks that people had made. And I immediately signed up for the 4th round.

Of course, now I had to get a pair of socks made. I was working on a pair while in New Hampshire that are made from Moda Dea "Sassy Stripes" on size US 3 double points. I worked on that sock for the whole week and almost finished it. Unfortunately, I hated working with the 100% acrylic yarn. I had to switch from Crystal Palace bamboo needles to metal needles to finish the foot. Here is a picture of it just before I finished the toe decreases.

It looks nice but believe me, it was torture! Then I tried grafting the toe late at night and it looks terrible. Oh, I think it's salvageable but I left it in disgust. I dread making the second sock.

Now it's getting toward the end of August and I didn't have socks done for the KAL. I know I can't get a pair of socks made on size 1 or 2 needles with sock weight yarn in time. I'm just not fast enough. Then I remembered that to be eligible for this KAL, they don't have to be adult socks. Baby or child size socks will do. Plus Afghans for Afghans is asking for warm wool socks for kids from ages 7 - 14.

Ta da! A pair of warm wool socks made in Patons Classic Wool on size US 5 needles. It's the "Good Earth" colorway.

I cast on 40 stitches to make the child's medium size but accidently made the foot 6" long instead of 5" long. Since they are for charity, I'm sure they will fit someone. I started the socks on August 21st and finished them on the 27th. The second sock was started in the car on a trip to Rochester to Ariane. 2 1/2 hours to get there, knitting on them for most of the day, and then the 2 1/2 hour trip home knitting in the dark. I was on the foot by the time we were coming home so I didn't need to see what I was knitting. As so I have my August socks completed for the KAL with a few days to spare!

I dug out two more skeins of the Patons Classic Wool in varigated colors and started another pair yesterday. These are in the "RoseWood" colorway. The socks need to be sent to A4A by September 12th. If I finish up two more pairs, I'll have my September socks done for the KAL, too.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Center Harbor, NH

Do you know what is located in Center Harbor, New Hampshire?

Can you read the sign above my head? That's right! Patternworks!! I'm standing on the wooden walkway of Senter's Marketplace preparing to go down the stairs and to my left to get here (click on the picture to enlarge it):

They have a sign right as you walk in the door asking that you not take any pictures of the inside of the shop. And I respect that so I'll just have to tell you what I found inside.

Immediately to my left was a corner filled with sock making supplies - needles, books, and yarns. I picked up a set of Crystal Palace 6" double points in US size 3. I was a little surprised that they didn't carry any dpns in the 5" length. They had 4" Addis and 7" Brittanys and the 6" Crystal Palace but no 5's. As for sock yarn, I saw Regia 4 fach, Tofutsies, Jawoll, and a few others that I forget right now.

The store is set up in several rooms and each room seems to have a general theme. There was worsted weight yarns in the first room to the right. This room also held Addis in all sizes. I went through this room to a little hallway that held chunky weight yarn. I was looking for Encore Chunky to make the Oregon Vest by Oat Couture. I found 5 skeins of a pretty garnet color but I needed at least 6. I asked one of the 3 sales clerks if there was any more of that color. She went upstairs to check for me and came down with two more skeins. I decided to take all seven skeins to be safe.

The room after the chunky hallway seemed to be DK, sport, and baby yarns. There was a lot of different cottons and cotton blends in there. Each room also had books and patterns that went along with the yarns. From the sport weight room, I went back to the first room which, in addition to the sock yarn, had a corner devoted to felting, some lace weight yarns, and another display of yarn that I forget.

While I was waiting for the clerk to bring down the Encore, I noticed a very pretty teapot cozy sitting on display. Next to it was a copy of One Skein Wonders. I asked another clerk if the cozy pattern was in this book. Sure enough it was. It was done in Knit One, Crochet Too "Paint Box" in a very pretty muted colorway. The clerk took me to the worsted room and showed me the display of "Paint Box" and I picked up a skein in a brown, rust colorway. I have a copy of One Skein Wonders at home and I'll make the teapot cozy for my daughter.

All throughout the store there are baskets and shelves of sale yarns. I restrained myself quite well but I did pick up a pretty pink/white marl in Plymouth "Galway" to use for charity mittens.

And that was the extent of my purchases at Patternworks. Mainly because my husband was waiting outside the store and I didn't want overdo it. The store was a little smaller than I expected but was still a good size. The displays are neat and well organized, the rooms are very bright and not cluttered, and the sales staff was very friendly and helpful.

I haven't taken any pictures of the yarn I bought yet. The campsite is a little shady and it was pouring the day we went to Center Harbor. I'd like to go back before we leave and if we do, I'll take pictures of the whole marketplace area. Keepsake Quilting is there and a rather large cross-stitch/needlework store that I didn't even go into.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Meredith, NH

Well, here I am at the Twin Tamaracks Campground in Meredith, New Hampshire. It was a long (5 1/2 hour), uneventful trip. We traveled from New York through Vermont to get to New Hampshire. I should have had the camera in the truck because the scenery was beautiful. I'll take pictures this week to show you how pretty the mountains of New Hampshire are in the summer.

I was very happy to find that there is free wi-fi at the campground. I didn't see any mention of it on the website or in their brochure but I always check my network connections when we get to the campground and there it was! Now I can keep in touch and have my internet fix, too.

I think I need to get some sleep since I was awake at 4:30 a.m. and put in a very long day. We didn't get to the campground until 6:15 p.m. and never had dinner until after 8:30 p.m. Now it's after 11 p.m.

More later this week!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Camping in upstate NY

Camping in upstate NY usually means that at some point, you will be sitting in the rain. This is Scott sitting by the campfire at Wellesley Island State Park in the Thousand Islands. We camped there the week of July 7-15.

Wayne joined him for a while but they both gave up and sat under the awning with the rest of us. It rained every day we were there. But sometimes the rain came at night and I don't think there was any day that was a complete wash out.

And one day we even got to see a rainbow.

The trailer shown in the first picture is our new 5th wheel. We really didn't like the quality of the one we bought two years ago so we traded it in on one that we really wanted. It's bigger and very nice. I'll have to take pictures of the inside sometime and post them.

We went camping at Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes last weekend from Friday night to Monday. It rained on our trip out but then it was gorgeous for the rest of the weekend. I have a couple pictures that I'll post later.

This Saturday we leave for a week in Meredith, New Hampshire. The campground is about 11 miles from Patternworks so I'm excited. There will be a little yarn shopping going on. I just hope the nasty cold I'm battling will be gone by the weekend.

I finally finished the Hugs N Kisses ponchettes for my niece's twin girls. I mailed them before we left last Friday. I don't know if they will ever get to wear them as they live in North Carolina but they can use them as doll clothes or something.

I made them out of Red Heart Super Saver since I know Katie will just throw them in the washer and dryer. The yarn was stiff but it softened up nicely after I washed and dried them.

Now I have to get back to making mittens for the Cheyenne River Reservation. Last year I sent 6 pairs (I made 5 and Donna made 1), and this year Ann has asked for 7 pairs in 2007. I have 4 pairs in various stages of completion.

Oh man, I need to be to work early and I'm not even close to being ready. Gotta run!