Monday, May 29, 2006

Summer has landed

Ladies and gentlemen, Seedless Grape's summer has officially landed!

After slogging through two weeks of law journal duty after the end of exams, I packed up my things (with GPG's help), moved them into storage (again with GPG's help), and drove down to Houston to start my summer. Tomorrow I'll begin 4 weeks of work with Big Firm.

In the meantime, though, there are a lot of knitting pictures to catch up with, thanks to GPG's digital camera.

First, I finished the Regia Multiringel socks! They'll go to the Chairwoman as a belated birthday present. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn't manage to swing identical socks.

I started out pretty well for the legs . . .

But things went pretty downhill from there:

There was no way I was going to get identical socks--not with the amount of yarn I had. So I just kept knitting and figured that the feet would get hidden in shoes, anyway. Right?

Here's a shot of the heels:

And a shot of the fronts:

I wasn't sure at first if I liked the way the stripes looked with the ribbing (especially with the purls), but they've grown on me.

I also finished the second Koigu ankle sock. Voila! A finished pair!

And, verily, this my first pair of toe-up, short-row heel socks! (I'll admit, unabashedly, that I still have to finish a second Wyvern sock. I'm suffering from serious second-sock syndrome with that pair, for some reason. But I brought the yarn to Houston with me and I really hope I'll git 'er done.)

I'm quite pleased with the way the Koigu socks turned out, although they did take a bit of frogging and re-knitting, both at the toes (as I tried to figure out how many stitches I needed for the circumference of my foot) and at the cuffs (as I tried to finish the socks without using the second ball of yarn I had).

This is my first pair of Koigu socks, as I've mentioned before, and I really like the yarn. (In fact, I've started another pair of Koigu socks with yarn from my stash! Have to have a project to work on while sitting through first-week orientation stuff with the Big Firm.) I took a (blurry) photo of the cuffs of the ankle socks to show one of the things I like about Koigu: the beautiful color variation in the yarn.

I just love the way the color changes over such small repeats. It's really beautiful!

But, let me tell you, I was nervous about finishing these puppies up with the yarn that I had. I actually ended up frogging the first finished sock a little to make the cuff match the second sock, which was more constrained by yarn yardage. I haven't yet woven in the ends of the yarn, and you can see below just how little yarn I had left!

Anyway, they turned out great. As I mentioned in my earlier post, they were supposed to be for someone else, but I decided to keep them if I could finish them without using the second ball of yarn that I have in this colorway. This way, I can still make another pair of these for a friend with exactly the same size feet as I do. (I didn't really have any good ideas for what to do with less than one full ball of Koigu.) I'm making some full-size socks for the person who got gypped out of these ankle socks.

I start work tomorrow. Currently, I'm a few rows past the toe of the new Koigu socks I just started. I wonder: how much will I be able to knit tomorow at work?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good news, bad news

Good news: I finished my first ankle sock out of Koigu (that is, first ankle sock AND first sock out of Koigu), and it fits me perfectly.

Bad news: My feet are smaller than the feet of the intended recipient.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Chairwoman!

Today is the Chairwoman's birthday. She gets to celebrate by being offered a teaching position at the Kyoto International School! Congratulations to the Chairwoman and many happy returns!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Foodie news

And, if you haven't checked it out already, there are some more Austin restaurant reviews at Eats and Drinks, a sort of personal blog that GPG and I keep to remember the places we've eaten and the things we liked/didn't like about them. For a variety of reasons, I've eaten at 4 new (to me, at least) Austin places in the past week, and I've written them all up. More reviews will probably come up next week.

Cooking for a crowd

I had the slightly loopy idea of bringing my waffle iron to school today and making waffles for my colleagues on the law journal I work for. I warned them all that I would only make enough batter to give each of them one waffle apiece, but they groaned so much that I caved and made an extra batch of batter for a total of 6 batches. That adds up to . . .

12 eggs
12 cups flour
12 cups milk
3 sticks butter
3 tsp yeast
3 tsp vanilla
3 tsp salt
6 Tbsp sugar

. . . and a very messy Seedless Grape, very messy Seedless Grape-mobile, and very many, very messy Seedless Grape bowls. I had no idea that 6 batches of waffle batter had so much volume! I split the batter between a plastic container and the two largest bowls I had, but the batter still spilled out of a bowl (despite plastic wrap) and onto the floor mat of my car's back seat. Yum.

And you know what? I didn't even use up all the batter. That's the last time I listen to people and their misconceptions of how much waffle they can eat.

In knitting news, I'm on foot island of the second Regia sock. It's gonna take forever to get these suckers done.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The things you do for identical socks . . .

I'm trying to make my Regia socks identical, but that may be a fruitless endeavor. As I was knitting the first one, I noticed that the stripes don't repeat in any regular way. I'm trying to match up stripes for the second one, partly by cobbling together the remnants of the first ball of yarn with the second. With the yarn bits I'm using, I will have two yarn joins and four extra ends to weave in after this sock is done. But I'm pretty sure that once I start knitting from the second ball, the stripes won't match, despite my best efforts.

Grrr. I thought the whole point of self-striping yarn was to be able to have identical socks!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Stick a fork in me and pull me outta the oven, 'cause I'm DONE!

With both my second year of law school AND a multiringel sock, that is. Yee haw!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Foot fatigue.

I hadn't finished the heel flap or turned the heel of the Regia sock by the time I had to leave, so no pictures. Instead of knitting, I spent my last afternoon in Houston running around to various second-hand shops, like Half Price Books and Buffalo Exchange. The resulting loot? Rowan's Denim People for $6 and a pair of Citizens of Humanity Jeans for less than half price. I love, love, LOVE finding a great deal!

Now, though, I'm well past turning the heel on the Regia sock and am working on the foot. But again I'm feeling foot fatigue from these US 1 needles. The foot feels like it takes a LOT longer on these smaller needles! I'm afraid to try knitting on US 0 needles, because I think I'd never finish socks if I did.

My last exam is tomorrow. YAY!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Belated updates!

I almost forgot! Now that I'm at GPG's, I can show you a picture of the second loaf of cinnamon bread I made a few weeks ago:

I was silly and forgot to take pictures until we had already eaten more than half the loaf. But it turned out just as well as the first. I might try to make some more this weekend, after I get back to Austin.

And, I also forgot to tell you about the great finds I made this weekend at a public book fair hosted for the benefit of the Houston Public Library. Look at what I got:

The lower bottom book is The Splendid Table, which is a thick book of Italian recipes. Everything I've looked at so far in there sounds really delicious and I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes out (although that may not happen any time soon, what with school ending and me shuffling around the country throughout the summer). It's no exhaustively tested America's Test Kitchen, but the gold sticker on the front is a Julia Child Cookbook Award, so I figure it has to be a decent cookbook. Right?

The lower right book is the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. I'm excited about this book, too, because I've always been interested in trying some embroidery or needlepoint, and the book gives some clear instructions for these and other fibery/fabricky crafts, like macrame, crochet, knitting, and quilting. Again, I don't know when I'll actually be able to try my hand at any of these things, but I'm sure that this is a good reference book to have.

And, lastly, the top book is Melanie Falick's Knitting for Baby. I really like Melanie Falick's books; they're always so beautiful. And since I know a lot of people who have or are going to have babies, I figured the book would come in useful. In fact, I know of four new babies coming up in the rest of the year, so I'd better get started on some baby gifts! I don't have the time or yarn to make anything elaborate, but there are some nice baby bootie patterns in the book, plus some patterns for toys like balls, blocks, and teddy bears. Those will probably do to eat into my Cascade 220 stash a bit.

For a real-time update, I give you the progress I've made on my Regia sock:

It's been helping me study Digital Copyright. Yes, alas, I am still not done with school, despite general appearances; I still have one more exam on Saturday. But, fortunately, it's only for a 2-hour credit course, and I've already reviewed 1) a fair amount of my class notes; and 2) a fair amount of Copyright in general, for my plain-Jane Copyright exam last Friday. Tomorrow I'll head back to Austin to start studying in earnest, but until then I'm still in Houston, knitting on the Regia sock and doing some modest studying.

A heel flap will probably come soon on the sock. If I get through that sometime soon, I'll try to post a picture before I leave tomorrow!

Monday, May 08, 2006

This socks!

Cheesy title, I know. Sorry; I couldn't resist.

I have lots of sock news. Most importantly, the Trekking socks are done!

See how nice they look?

Here's another picture that GPG kindly took, so you can get a peek at the side of a sock:

And here are some details:

Trekking XXL Socks (can't remember which colorway, and I don't have the label with me)
72 sts cast-on; 70 stitches around the foot
K3, P1 rib
US 1 needles

I think that Trekking is a pretty nice yarn to work with, although it's certainly not as plush as yarns like Lorna's Laces and Koigu. I've noticed that there is some itch potential when I try the socks on; I might have to give them a wash with some conditioner to make them more comfortable. But, I really like the way the fabric of the socks turned out, and I will knit some more socks with US 1 needles. I'm a convert.

In fact, I liked the US 1 needles so much that I started my next socks on them, too. I'm using some Regia Multiringel that I've had for FOUR YEARS. But . . . although I've been hoarding the yarn for a long while, that's probably a good thing, because I think any socks I would have tried to make four years ago would have been a big disaster.

Of course, I can still make disasters for myself. Initially, I tried to make some Jaywalkers:

Buuuut . . . they wouldn't fit!

I had initially cast on the regular 76 sts called for in the pattern, but decided that was too loose. The Regia is slightly thicker than the Trekking, and 72 sts for the Trekking had been just about right, so I knew that 76 sts for a Jaywalker probably wouldn't work. At the same time, I also figured that reducing the pattern repeat by one stitch, for a 68-st cast-on, would probably also not work. But I decided to give it a try. I ripped out the loose sock and tried to knit loosely.

Unfortunately, the smaller sock was waaaay too tight. After knitting about 4 inches, I couldn't pull it past my heel! I had heard that the Jaywalker pattern makes for pretty inelastic socks, and after seeing it for myself, I decided to throw in the towel with regards to this particular pattern. My ankles and feet are pretty narrow, and I figured that anything that could get around my heel would probably end up slouching around my ankles in an undesirable way. I might experiment with the Jaywalker pattern and bigger needles or different yarn later, but right now I know that the Multiringel + US 1 needles just won't work.

So, I ripped out yet again and cast on for a new sock:

It's just another plain ribbed sock, in interests of speed and stash-busting. I cast on 70 sts for a K3, P2 rib. So far it looks pretty good.

And, the best part? It fits around my heel!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's not me, it's yarn

The second Trekking sock is slowly working its way to completion; I've turned the heel and am now trucking along (or should that be trekking along?) on the foot. Although I'm making good progress, I'm definitely aware of the relative smallness of the size 1 needles now. Usually the feet of socks fly by pretty quickly for me, especially since the sole of the sock is now stockinette stitch instead of a pattern. But these Trekking socks feel like they're taking quite a while.

I've been knitting a fair amount at school while reading and studying, and I think it's pretty funny to hear some of the reactions people have to my knitting. All my friends know that I knit, but I think this is probably the first time I've ever used any kind of variegated yarn for a school knitting project. The subtle striping of the Trekking yarn has seriously blown people's minds. "How are you getting those stripes???" "Where are the stripes coming from?" When I tell them that it's the yarn, they're astounded. It's pretty amusing to this particular knitter.

I wonder what they'll think of the next pair of socks (maybe Jaywalkers?) that I'm planning to knit out of Regia Mini-Ringel. That yarn's not just variegated, but self-striping! The world will probably start spinning backwards.