Sunday, March 25, 2012

FO: It only took two years...

At last, after a long time-out, my Sailor's Delight socks from the 2-at-a-Time Socks book are finished!

I gave the 2-at-a-time method a good go, but I kept going around both socks with the same yarn too many times and finally lost patience. I put the socks onto DPNs and still worked them two at a time... just not quite at the same time. I finished the leg on one, then the leg on the other, the heel flap on one, the heel flap on the other, and so on. I'd done the same working from a hand-dyed sock blank, so the method was familiar, and still no second sock syndrome to deal with.

I love how the colors spiral around the legs. Alas, they broke into weird pooling on the feet. The two balls in the same colorway and dyelot are slightly different shades. But... they're DONE at long last!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catching up on FOs, Part 2: And for the folks at home...

Besides the box going to Pine Ridge, I've finished a few things for us at home, too.

Starting with one skein of Malabrigo Rios -- I'd set the skein aside along with a simple "learn to knit" keyhole scarf pattern put out by a local knit shop, thinking I was going to be teaching someone to knit. That someone didn't show up and didn't show up and didn't show up to knitting, so I went ahead and knit the scarf myself. It starts out with a square of garter stitch, then garter and stockinette ridges, then ribbing, then the keyhole, then more garter stitch. I made it a little longer than the pattern suggested, and I think it could be longer still:

There was still half a skein of Rios left over, and I'd been thinking about making a Calorimetry for some time now. After weighing the yarn left, I figured I had about enough. And sure enough, I did.

I used the number of stitches called for in the pattern and knit it pretty tight on US size 7 needles, and it's still a leeeeetle bit looser than I would have liked. The designer must be a fantastically tight knitter. But it'll do. It's got plenty of holes created by turning without wrapping, so the button can slip into any of them and loosen or tighten as needed. Others have cast on fewer stitches to make it smaller. I made this in hopes of doing some beach walking sometime soon, now that spring break is upon us. 

Hubby benefitted from my brain-numb evenings after a long day of teaching. He'd been wearing a woolen cloth scarf that was a bit too short to fend off the winter chill, and requested a scarf if ever I were weaving one again. I pulled out a skein of Poems sock yarn that had been lurking in my stash for some time. It's got long color runs like Noro, though this skein was monochrome in shades of blue. It's a single, a bit thick and thin, and a bit loosely spun in parts and a tendency to fuzz, which made it less than desirable as sock yarn and an absolute bear to weave with as warp. I was casting about wondering, "Is there something I could spray on this that washes out? Something that would control the fuzz and strengthen the yarn temporarily? Something like, oh, like hairspray, maybe." Well, yeah, there is something like hairspray. It's called... hairspray. Liberal applications, and using an empty shuttle to beat in the warm instead of abrading it more with the heddle, got me through the project at last. After washing, the fabric fulled to make a lightweight fabric that was warm. You'd think there was mohair in this, the way it fulls and fluffs, and the way the warp strands kept trying to weld themselves together every time I moved the heddle. I had to keep a wide-toothed comb handy to gently comb and separate the strands. Sheesh, I think I'll pass on that yarn if I ever encounter it again. Soft and nice in the finished product, but a pain to work with.

Here 'tis just as a scarf. I like how the looooong color runs give it subtle stripes.

And here 'tis being worn. It was a long time before he took it off again.

Finally, I was in a swap with the Selfish Knitters and Crocheters, in celebration of Pi Day (March 14... you know, 3/14... 3.14... yeah, we're nerdy that way). Since there must be something pie-like in the box going out, and since every kitchen can benefit from kitschy potholders, I dug some Vanna's Choice acrylic out of my acrylic drawer and made a pair of cherry pie potholders using the Freshly Baked Potholder pattern that I found via Ravelry.

Looks like fun, huh? They're double-thickness, too. The back is the "crust," and the top is the "filling." If I fiddle with it and make smaller bobbles, maybe I could make blueberry pies, too. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Catching up on FOs, Part 1: Pine Ridge box

Aaaand it's a wrap. I posted winter term grades this afternoon, and I'm mostly ready for the first day of spring term, Monday after next.

So, now I can catch up on posting FOs.

Let's see... last I left off, there were only two scarves for my box for Pine Ridge. I took the leftovers from those and made a third. I warped with brown and tan, and alternated gray and black in the weft:

The pattern in the warm is 1 brown, 2 heather tan. The weft is 1 black, 1 gray. Here's the effect from a distance:

And a close-up of the weave:

Also, I used leftover Cascade Eco+ wool to make a vest using the Vest in Jiffy pattern from Lion Brand:

The scarves and the vest went into the box, as well as a black vest I'd knit years ago using the Midnight Express pattern and Lion Brand CottonEase. It came out too big for me and I thought I'd try altering it, but I never did. Well, it'll fit someone.

All together, this is what I sent off to Pine Ridge reservation:

Monday, March 12, 2012

A public service announcement:

Hey, do y'all know about They're the microloan site that helps back small loans to small businesses in developing nations. Anyone can be a Kiva lender with just $25. As a lender you earn no interest and take all the risk, so it keeps costs very low and affordable for people trying to make a dignified living in some pretty trying circumstances.

Right now Kiva is giving away free $25 trial accounts. The founder of LinkedIn donated $1 to fund the accounts, and they're going fast. If you'd like to try being a Kiva lender, click the link and it will take you to the sign-up page.

In the five or six years I've had my Kiva account I've made 56 loans so far and had only two borrowers default. Both were women in Kenya who had to flee their homes during violent uprisings. I've been focusing on single moms and widows, since lone women tend to be most vulnerable in developing nations. But there are a wide range of borrowers to choose from.

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