Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monkey on my back

So, here, Chez Wool, we are running a little behind schedule. Just a bit. Honestly.

Monday night, Caleb and I finally had a moment to sit down and perform that perennial rite of spring, dyeing Easter eggs. Nothing like being a month behind the times to put oneself back in the running for America's Crappiest Mother of the Year Award.

All was well and good. We dyed eggs in single colors, we dyed eggs in multiple colors, we used the stupid clear crayon provided (quickly realizing that one of our own colored crayons would be a bit better for identifying our artistry what we were attempting). It was lovely.

Until Caleb attempted to use the crayon on the very last hard-boiled egg and it slipped out of his hand and crashed to the floor. Tears erupted and a grand mal tantrum ensued.

Cool, calm reasoning along the lines of "I know you are upset that the egg fell on the floor, but we can't dye it now because the shell is broken" only made him more morose. It was as if he was unable to wring any pleasure from the evening because of this blip.

This pattern of pouting and sulking until he is coddled and cajoled into a better mood is grating and I am at a loss as how to rectify it. I understand that at 5 he doesn't have great control of his emotions and the tempest in a teapot analogy is apt. But, the lack of proportion in his responses is stupefying. I'm unable to tell if a given situation is truly bad or if he is manipulating me to get the cuddles that he wants. I have no problem with kisses and hugs, but he throws his body around like a marionette with the jitters and it just plain pisses me off. I am at a loss for how to help him express appropriately the negative emotions he is feeling without all of the unwarranted melodrama.

Luckily, I do retain some mastery over wool. I can manipulate string and tiny sticks and end up with something approximating the desired result. The first of the monkey socks are done and while I am not 100% thrilled with the modifications I made, they are passable. I did end up decreasing the extra stitches out for the foot so it wouldn't be too loose.


1. I added 1 extra stitch on either side of the pattern for a total of 18 stitches per repeat. This resulted in an extra 2 rows per repeat. Because of this, I did 5 repeats instead of 6 which works out to about the same number of rows.

2. The heel flap was done over 36 stitches and 36 rows to accommodate my cankles. The stitch count was reduced to 32 after all of the gusset decrease were done.

3. I did the eye of partridge stitch on the heel flap. Love the look of this stitch pattern in hand painted yarn, it looks like I did some sort of fancy stranded fair-isle technique. Pure genius! It is a bit fiddly, but it looks fantastic.

4. The extra stitches on the foot were reduced on the first pattern repeat after picking up the gusset stitches. The 3rd row of the pattern doesn't call for decreases and this is where I snuck them in. While I'm not thrilled with how it looks, you can't see the difference from 10 feet away, so I am assuring my inner critic that it will be fine.

Overall I love the sock and have already started the second one. Actually, I'm thinking that I may have to knit another pair with the picot edging that is so popular, if for no other reason that a) I haven't tried that technique yet and b) I am still not tired of the pattern.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another one bites the dust

I love my Monkeys. Love them with this yarn. Lovethemlovethemlovethem. Unfortunately, they don't love me. I can't fit them over my heel. Damn cankles.

So, I frogged.


I tried a different yarn, but I didn't feel the love.

Going up a needle size isn't an option because the fabric will be too loose.

I tried a different pattern, but it did nothing for me in this yarn.

The Sweet Georgia Yarn wants to be Monkeys. It needs to be Monkeys. I've added a stitch on either side of the pattern repeat so that each repeat is 18 stitches instead of 16. We'll see how it goes. I just finished recharting the pattern. and am off.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Monkey see Monkey do

What a week.

Caleb has been sick. Over the weekend he had a playdate with a friend he doesn't see very often. While he had a great time, the end result was yet another round of the flu.

Tuesday he said he wasn't feeling well, but he went to school without any more complaints than we normally get. On Wednesday, he came home from school with a fever. Thankfully, Eric had discharged his only patient the day before and was able to wheedle a day off on Thursday.

Today, he seemed to be feeling better so we shoved him off to daycare and school because I had a three hour training session that was required this morning. A quick call to daycare at lunch proved that this was the right decision, he not coughing so much and isn't listless.

As promised, here are a few pictures of the Hedgerow Socks. They too are following the seasons, but apparently those in the southern hemisphere as they have just now entered hibernation.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the leg on the first sock and I'm not feelin' the love. The pattern is painfully easy, but entirely too fiddley. And its too snug for my cankles.

As I see it there are a few ways to resolve the dilemma:

1. I could just keep going and be much more generous than my selfish little heart desires and gift these lovely socks to someone who's anatomy is more slender and graceful than mine.

2. I could add a repeat to the pattern. It would be only 6 extra stitches which would probably be enough to accommodate my large bone structure. But, this would mean that I would have to divide for the heel flap unevenly and for some reason this seems irksome.

3. It could be that it is that this yarn is destined to be a different sock and that Hedgerow is entirely the wrong look for it. (I've been thinking this as I've been knitting it.) It wants to be lace or cables or something fancier.

Because I am chronically undecided, I've done the only sensible thing and cast on for a pair of Monkeys using the Sweet Georgia yarn* that I won from Shan.

The cuff of the first is done and I've finished the first pattern repeat. I can see how this pattern is wildly addictive. Deceptively simple and easy to memorize with lots of rows that are easy to read. Cookie A is brilliant. Obviously.

This is my first experience using a Sweet Georgia yarn. The Merlot colorway is delightful. In the skein and while knitting, the plies tend to separate easily, making it a bit splitty. But, the hand once knit is exquisite. It is smooth and luscious.

*By the way, Felicia has decided that the siren's call of the dyepot was too strong to resist and she has reopened her online shop today. Don't bother looking for sock yarn. It's already gone.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rain, rain go away

Please don't come again another day. It seems that the weather hasn't gotten much better now that the temperatures are a bit warmer. On Thursday we got 2 inches of rain. I shudder to think of how much snow that would have been.

Yesterday, I nearly gagged walking into work because of the smell of worms all over the parking lot. It was a hugely powerful smell. I won't describe it. Normally, it doesn't bother me at all. I wonder if it is just because it is the umpteenth day in a row without sun that I want to crawl into a cave and never come out. Or run away to Burmuda. Hmmm, or Brazil, or anywhere that has sunshine.

Today they are forecasting a rain/snow mix. Yipee.

I have actually done a wee bit of knitting for myself this week. I've been working on the Hedgerow Socks (ravelry link - sorry) in Regia Silk 4 ply in Red. It is really a tomato red and I love the color. The stitch pattern is deceptively simple, just a 4x2 ribbing where the center 2 stitches of the knit section are replaced with seed stitch. So, a 2 row repeat. But DAMN is it hard to remember that I need do the oppositite of what I see in that section. It is not TV knitting by any means, not if I want to actually look at the TV. My camera is MIA, so if I locate it, I will come back and drop in a picture.

Knitting a top down sock still makes me nervous, what if I don't have enough yarn, I sure as Hades don't want to have to rip back, nor do I want to pick up another ball of yarn. I have lots of sock yarn and don't need another partial ball laying around staring at me. I don't have anything that would coordinate that nicely either for heels and toes.

I've also been sewing. The sucess, however modest, at the show last weekend energized me to keep moving forward. I've finshed off four bags that went over really well at the show as well as the only custom order that I took. I'm just waiting for the check to arrive and it will go out in the mail.

Again, if I can find the camera, I will post pictures.

Monday, April 07, 2008


So, the spring show is over and it went so well. I had some pretty modest goals heading into the show and blew them away in the first day. The second day was painfully slow, but I am still really happy with what I accomplished. I am pretty sure that I will be able to put myself in the black now. It is such a relief knowing that I should be able to pay back the money owed to our personal accounts and that the business can stand on it's own moving forward.

Needless to say, no pleasure knitting has gotten done recently. I'm still working on the same projects I have been; ribby cardi and the Hedgerow socks are still both on the needles with pathetically little progress made.

But, I have decided to take 2 weeks and do some research for E's residency applications and then I am off to the races to get ready for the fall shows. I am hoping to do two of them, both near my hometown. There I will be able to focus more on doing knitted items. I've consistantly sold out of felted hats and am hoping to have tons available for the fall.