Friday, June 29, 2007

Mahogany Socks

Yaaaay! I finished my Sockapalooza socks!

I was a little worried that I wouldn't finish them before major crunch time for the bar starts in July. As a result, I've been knitting in all my spare time (in the car while GPG's driving, just before bed, whenever the Barbri lecture drags (and maybe when it doesn't . . .)) to get these socks done.

This is the first time I've ever knit socks for someone whose feet weren't substantially the same size as mine, so I really hope they fit. They feel loose on my legs, but my ankles are about an inch narrower than my sock pal's, and her feet are also an inch longer than my feet. So unfortunately, I'll have to wait and see how they work for her, since I have no way to confirm independently that they'll fit. I followed her specs, but I'll still have doubts until I get feedback from her!

Pattern: Undulating Rib from Interweave's Favorite Socks
Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino Sock, Mahogany colorway
Needles: Clover US2 DPNs
Recipient: Sock Pal!
Modifications: US2 needles instead of US4 and US3; short-row heel instead of heel flap

Regarding the modifications: The pattern calls for a cast-on of 66 stitches, which made the suggested US4 and US3 needles seem awfully big to me. I knew that the Retro Rib pattern (also in the same book) has the same number of cast-on stitches, but uses US2 needles, and past experience with Retro Rib tells me that 66 sts + US2 DPNs is just fine. So I gambled and started with US2 needles. I think the resulting socks should be okay in terms of circumference, especially since the pattern is so nice and stretchy with its ribbing.

I also swapped out the heel flap for a short-row heel. I had to do some creative juggling of the placement of the heel because I wanted a purl-stitch gutter on both sides of the instep, and the division of stitches for the instep and heel suggested in the pattern didn't seem to provide that. I also increased by 4 stitches at the heel for a better fit, as suggested by Gleek in her most excellent post on short-row heels.

The yarn was FABULOUS. Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn has officially turned into my favorite sock yarn--it's nice and squooshy and has such beautiful, beautiful colors. I was so enchanted with the Mahogany skein that I immediately cast on for the next pair of socks with the Raspberry sock yarn that I bought at the same time as the Mahogany. It's a wild pink color that reminds me more of lipstick than of raspberries, and everytime I start getting used to the pinkness, I put the sock down, do something else, and look back at it only to realize that wow, it really is wildly, extravagantly pink. I haven't decided if I like it just yet, but knitting with it sure is a dream. Progress pictures of that will come eventually.

In the meantime, though, have a great weekend and a super Fourth of July holiday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

3L Finals Socks!

I actually finished these socks over a month ago, while I was in Taiwan, but I'm only now getting around to posting about them (curse you, Barbri, and the horse you rode in on!).

Pattern: Generic garter rib stitch. K4, Rib 2. 64 sts in circumference.
Yarn: Koralle im Meer (Coral in the Ocean) colorway, from Wollmeise
Needles: Addi Turbos, US1, 2 circulars
Recipient: Me

I actually don't knit very many socks for myself, because I don't often have occasion to wear them. It's fairly warm in Texas most of the year, so I usually only wear handknit woolen socks to bed when my feet are cold in the winter. I prefer to give away most of the socks I knit. But I needed a simple, portable project to knit on while studying for my finals in May, so an easy garter rib stitch was just the ticket. I didn't have any ready recipients in mind, so I just knit them for myself.

I read on Sheri's blog that the Loopy Ewe will soon be carrying Wollmeise yarn. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this. I've knit with several colorways from Wollmeise, and they're all gorgeous. Her sock yarn is smooth and easy to knit with. Although a lot of them do stripe, it's a very close repeat, so you never get big blocks of color, which I appreciate.

Of course, with the stripiness, you do get some big bull's-eye heels with a short-row heel:

But that's okay with me. I actually like that unexpected bright splash of concentrated color at the heel.

Oh, and of course I knit up a miter for the Extra-Long-Term Miter Blanket Project:

This is the only miter I've made in a while. Most of my energy has been spent on my Sockapalooza socks. But there will be some exciting new miters coming up eventually, thanks to Caitlyn. I will post about those soon(ish)! I'm almost finished with my Sock Pal socks (knock on wood)!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: The Miho Tunnel

I'm not actually sure if this picture looks significantly different from the one I posted yesterday, but GPG spruced it up in Photoshop for me for Eye Candy Friday. The Miho tunnel really is one of the cooler architectural things I've seen (not that I've seen many noteworthy architectural things, though!).

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A brief outbreak of travel blogging

I realize that I took my trip to Taiwan and Japan a long time ago (at least, it feels like a long time ago now!), but I did take some interesting pictures that I'd like to share with you. I especially have to post a few pictures to explain my post for Eye Candy Friday tomorrow.

Before Eye Candy Friday, though, here are some pictures from the Taiwan leg of the trip. I visited Taiwan several times when I was younger, and the thing I remember most is the traditional Taiwanese street markets. Although Taipei has urbanized and modernized quite a lot, there are still traditional street markets here and there along specific streets. I don't think they'll ever completely go away--they're really a part of Taiwanese culture.

You can buy all kinds of things at these markets. Fish:

Pre-cooked chicken, all cut up into slices:

All different kinds of fruit:

One of my favorite fruits is mango. And boy, does Taiwan have mangoes!

And they're so cheap, too! I see mangoes for sale in the US for a buck a pop. But in Taiwan you can get beautiful ripe mangoes like these for three or four to a dollar.

While I was in Taiwan, I got to visit my one of my uncles, who works near Hualien, an eastern coastal city. His place of work is out basically in the country, and he works right near a beautiful lake. This picture below is fairly representative of the kind of lush green landscape you see once you get away from the urban centers of the island.

And what is a trip to Taiwan without seeing the obligatory tourist attractions?

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall:

The 2/28 Peace Park Memorial, dedicated to Taiwanese nationalists who were massacred by government troops while protesting the oppressiveness of the Chinese-run government on February 28, 1947 (I think--I'm obviously sure about the day and month, but not about the year).

Taipei 101, which used to be the tallest building in the world:

I also went to Japan for a few days to help celebrate the Chairwoman's birthday. I took a lot of pictures while I was there, especially of some new temples I visited, but haven't gotten to sort through all of them just yet. But I did pick a few of one of the nicer things I got to see while I was there--the Miho Museum.

The Miho Museum was designed by I.M. Pei, the same architect who designed the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris. Although the museum collections are okay (really, nothing to write home about), the museum itself, and especially the entrance to the museum, are really cool.

The museum is very modern looking, but Mr. Pei explained in a documentary provided by the museum that he wanted to integrate the design of the museum into the natural landscape of the mountain into which it was built:

He also designed a special entrance to the museum. Basically, you have to pass through a tunnel that cuts through part of the mountain to access the museum. The concept doesn't sound particularly interesting, but Mr. Pei said that he wanted to design the entrance so that coming upon the museum would be like a pleasant surprise. And he did a good job of it, too--I think the tunnel and the entrance to the museum are the best part of the whole experience of visiting Miho.

Here's what the tunnel looks like from the museum itself:

The design is really modern and striking:

The inside is lit up with lamps and is fully air conditioned:

And the best part about it is how it curves gracefully and sinuously through the mountain. It really does create the effect of happening upon a surprise as you come around the bend.

It's hard to capture in words (or even in pictures) just how cool the experience is of walking through the tunnel and getting to see what's on the other side (whether it's the museum on one side or the gardens on the other). Mr. Pei achieved exactly what he said he wanted to do.

Anyway, that's a brief run-down of some of the more beautiful/interesting/noteworthy things I got to see on my trip. I regret not being able to give the trip or the pictures a more thorough treatment, but . . . well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Barbri sucks!

I apologize sincerely for my blogging absence. I've been studying doggedly for the California bar over the past three weeks, and although there's been some knitting and crafting going on, there's been no time for blogging. My head is overflowing with ridiculous things like false pretenses, the best evidence rule, how many days the plaintiff must wait before sending an interrogatory to the defendant in California, and modified comparative liability. I don't know how I'm going to survive until the bar! My head will explode before then!

Anyway, I will try and post a few updates on the various crafty things I'm doing while studying for the bar. I'm not sure how often I will be able to post, but I'll make an effort.

My first bar-studying post must, naturally, be about Sockapalooza. I see various bloggers posting pictures of the beautiful socks they're knitting for their pals, so of course I need to oblige with a few pictures of my own. I actually started my own Sockapalooza socks just last week:

I lost my US2 circular needles somewhere during my move from Austin to Houston. I ordered some more, but they haven't come in the mail yet, and I realized that I'd better get hopping on these Sockapalooza socks now before I really go crazy studying for the bar in July. So I pulled out my trusty DPNs and started with those. This is the first time in a while that I've knit with DPNs (I prefer the 2 circular needles method), but it isn't too cumbersome.

Since I took these picutres, I've managed to turn the heel, but that's about it. (That's no great feat, since my sock pal says she likes socks that aren't too long in the leg, so I got a break there.) There will be more progress pictures eventually.

Here's a close-up of the pattern:

I chose the "Undulating Rib Socks" pattern in the new Favorite Socks from Interweave Knits. The socks in the book use a multicolored yarn, so I thought it would suit the Mahogany Fleece Artist I'm using. I have made some modifications, though--smaller needles, and a short-row heel, since I've come to believe that short-row heels fit better.

The Mahogany colorway is absolutely beautiful. I tried to get a good picture of it, but it's a little more saturated and vibrant than the pictures show. And it's a perfectly variegated yarn, too--no pooling or flashing; just subtle changes between different shades of umber and brown, with flashes of pinkish red and tan. It's a really lovely yarn.

But now I've got to get back to studying. I just wanted to surface for a moment and say hello, especially to my own Sock Pal out there somewhere! I'll try to post again eventually--I got a terrific package from Caitlyn that I have to blog about!