Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trekking Update

School has started, the days are feeling cooler, and we bid a fond farewell to the delightful Trek-a-long.

I had my girls over for a photo shoot and I bring you the final results:

Left to right:

#109 purples, plain 2 x 2 rib sock (Ann Norling pattern) knit by Carla, modeled by Carla.
#71, blues, plain 2 x 2 rib sock (Ann Budd Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns) knit by Emily, modeled by Emily.
#133, pink and purple, (Ann Budd book again--it comes in handy if you are knitting socks for several sizes of people) knit by Emily, modeled by Molly.
#108, blues with browns and a little orange, plain 2x2 rib sock (Ann Norling pattern) knit by Jodee, modeled by Jodee.
Not pictured is Lydia, who was too busy doing her own trek on the golf course to join us. She finished a sock in #91. Must catch you later, Lydia!

Here'a an additional one started by Carla:

#107, pattern: RPM from Knitty.

A closer shot of Molly's #133. I loved this colorway so much I've started a sweater out of it.

# 155, a cool boy colorway, kind of camoflage-y. Next time I will hold the photo shoot as soon as the socks are done, not after they have been worn all summer.

#69, browns. Knit by Emily, modeled by Dave. What, doesn't everyone flag their husband down on his way to work for a quick photoshoot of socks?

Kids say: Whats going on over there? A photoshoot of feet? Gotta get in on that action....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Finished Flower Basket

Here it is!

The Flower Basket Shawl.

My four year old might have a future in avant-garde photography...

Full view:

True color:

The Flower Basket Shawl designed by Evelyn A. Clark
Interweave Knits, Fall 2004
Yarn: Fingering weight wool yarn, hand dyed by me.
Change to the pattern: 15 repeats instead of 7.
Notes: I would have done one more repeat to make this shawl really huge, but I ran out of yarn. Even so, I majorly love this shawl. It is so pretty, not to mention quite toasty. Sewing a white blouse to go with it is on my to-do list. For great notes on this shawl, see Becky's site.

Amount of yarn used for 15 repeats: Approximately 825 yards.

Size before blocking: 60" wide by 30" long.
After blocking (and I did stretch the dickens out of it while blocking): 80" wide by 38" long.

One more thing: I loved knitting this. Up until the 7th or 8th repeat, I had to keep careful track of exactly where I was, and I couldn't pick it up and tell just by looking at the knitting where I was in the pattern.

But then some magic switch clicked in my brain, and it became so easy! I am serious. I was able to read the knitting and know where I was, which made it so much easier for picking up and putting down. Towards the end, I was knitting and watching TV at the same time! 24 even! I kid you not.

I loved this. Did I say that already? I am now officially addicted to lace.


New project, the Diamond Fantasy Shawl.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Flower Basket Shawl OR "Fun With a Scale"

I had dyed 1/2 pound of this periwinkle sock yarn, and had made one and a half socks when I decided to make the Flower Basket Shawl also. I had (what seemed like) a TON of this yarn, and the plan was: finish the pair, and make a shawl with whatever I had left over. Just keep knitting and knitting on the shawl until the yarn ran out.

It wasn't until I started repeat #12 that I realized: big shawls take A LOT of yarn. And I started to worry about running out. Here is what I had left in the current ball:

6 grams.

So I gathered up all the rest of the yarn and weighed it.

A small skein, 25 gms:

A ball attached to sock #2: 39 gms. I calculated that I would need about 19 gms for the sock, so, say, 20 gms leftover for the shawl.

And took these weights just for reference: sock partially knit, 15 gms.

Sock #1, already finished, 34 gms:

Then, as I knit the 12th repeat, I made notes of how much yarn I used. I used 5 gms of the ball still attached, and 12 gms of the next skein. 17 gms total. With 28 "flower baskets" in that repeat, that meant: .61 gms per basket. (I calculated per basket, because there are more baskets in each repeat, therefore you will use more yarn with each repeat.)

Repeat 13: 18 gms
Repeat 14: 19.4 gms
Repeat 15: 20.6 gms
Border: approx 2o-something gms.

All this gobbledygook boils down to this: if I wanted to do 15 repeats, then by repeat 15 I would have finished off the ball attached to the sock and be cannibalizing the sock already 1/2 knit, and for the border I'd have to start frogging the sock already finished.

I was imagining all sorts of scenarios for saving the socks, mostly involving a pair of shortie socks with contrasting heels and toes.

Here I am, ready to start eating into the partial sock:

Here, I'm on the 15th repeat, and that tiny amount of yarn attached is what's left of the partial sock:

It was painful. I really liked that sock. But I didn't want to come this far on the shawl and not have the big shawl I wanted. In case you don't recognize it, that ball is a former sock:

And here it is, finished and unblocked, resting on the sofa.

Fully blocked shots coming shortly!

On a personal note, I'm taking my oldest to first grade tomorrow. My first one to be gone the full day. I thought that I had been eagerly anticipating this (for years!) but the past couple of weeks, I've been a mess. My baby cub. Eating lunch with his friends instead of at home with the rest of us. Sob.

Hopefully, after the milestone of dropping him off the first time, I'll be fine. One thing I know I am looking forward to (besides the obvious having time to myself and my projects) is having a lot more one-on-one time with my middle child, who I sometimes feel gets the shaft.

And a good friend reminded me tonight that there are many other moms in the same boat. So, my thoughts are with all you moms this time of year, whether it's dropping off preschoolers, elementary schoolers, high schoolers, or those college kids!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dino Quilt!

I feel like I’ve been posting a lot about kid’s projects recently, but, hey, that’s what summer is all about here at WTGB.

And so, rather than show you another photo of the Flower Basket Shawl (I'm on repeat 15--so it looks the same, only bigger), I’ll show you what we’ve been working on, quilting-wise, this week.

A dinosaur quilt for my 6yo, based on a drawing he did.

I was thinking of doing a little tutorial of how I translated this into fabric from my son’s picture. Leave a comment if you would like to see this. If I think that anyone would find it helpful; I’ll be sure to follow up with it.

Meanwhile, I am taking the kids today to grandpop’s house on Crooked Lake. One last short hurrah before we start school next week. I’ll catch up with you on Monday!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend With the Girls

This past weekend was a really great weekend for a mother-about-to-go-crazy.

On Friday, I went to Stitches with friends Jodee and Lisa, and we met up with Carla and Lydia who were taking a class. Here we are at lunch, working on our Trekking socks for the Trek Along.

From L to R: Lydia and colorway #91, Carla with #107, Jodee with #108, and I'm working on the second sock for Dave, in browns, I think it's #90, but don't quote me. Sorry, must get organized.

We had a great time! Thanks ladies!

Last year I remember seeing a lot of ponchos, this year was definitely the year of the shawl. Shawls-freakin-everywhere. I saw one lady wearing the Flower Basket Shawl, and I accosted her and asked her the number of repeats. She said 14. Her's was a nice size, and I have now revised my goal from 16 repeats to 14 or 15.

I also saw a lady wearing the Lacy Kerchief Scarf from Interweave Knits Summer 05. At one point, I wanted to make this scarf so badly, that I bought some yarn for it. That would have been at Stitches last year, to be exact. I have now renewed my interest in that project and you might be seein' it here soon.

Here is the only picture I took of the actual show, and I know it's not great, it was just of the aisle as I leaned over from our lunch table. But it includes the "Needle Lite" sign, which is a little foreshadowing to the events later in the weekend. Those lighted needles were everywhere, and made us laugh! Who might need to knit in the dark?!?

So, here's my booty, mostly patterns, a little Koigu for a specific project I have in mind, and a few Bryspun needles in sizes I've needed. I was happy to find everything on my list.

Saturday was a trip out to Melody's, for out annual "May" birthday party. Several of us have birthdays in May, and Melody loves to throw us a little party. But we weren't able to get together in May this year, and this was the best we could do. It was wonderful.

That's Mel in the middle, and clockwise lower left: Tommy, me, Jane, Judy, Frieda, Laura, and Anne.

After a delicious lunch (thanks Dave!) with many wonderful prezzies passed around, we ended up in Melody's studio of course, where she had cleared her design wall to put up a quilt show for us.

Then it was back home to the fam, where there was a particular amount of interest shown for one of the presents, in particular. It was the lighted knitting needles! From Judy! Thanks Judy, you can see, they will get a lot of use in my house:

They are perfect for Fighting Evil in the Galaxy....

or for granting a wish...

Dave is exicted about the possibility of landing planes in the front yard....

And me?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Back to the Flower Basket

On Monday I mentioned that I was making progress on the Flower Basket Shawl. Last weekend I had some serious knitting time and, in search of some variety from the socks, I picked it back up. I read through the pattern to become reaquainted with it and realized that I was on the 5th of 7 repeats! I didn't remember being so far along! Bonus!

However, I knew that I was going to make it bigger than the pattern, because I want a substantial shawl and not a shoulder-scarfy thingie like they show in the picture. Plus, I have plenty of yarn. I figured, maybe 8 or 9 repeats.

Here it is at the end of the 7th repeat. Little People for scale.

So I got the idea to search for other blogger's notes and see if other people had done extra repeats, and if so, how many.

I Googled "flower basket shawl extra repeats". Holy cow, a lot of people have made this shawl! My search took me to the gorgeous one here, and then to the great notes here.

(I always forget to google at the start of a project. And then I end up reinventing the wheel. As a first born, I suppose it is my nature to try to figure things out for myself, but it can be kind of stupid.)

So what she said, was: 16 repeats! I know she's right, and well, crap! I mean, it's not that I'm not enjoying knitting this, but I'm a project person. Short attention span. Enough already, on to the next thing!

And, really the problem is, I had aspirations of wearing this to Stitches tomorrow. So, I made a chart of how many repeats I needed to do each day to have it blocking today. Not gonna do it. As we speak, I'm still on the 9th repeat.

Very well, I hereby swear to relax and enjoy the process. Carry on!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

New Fall Colors In the Shop

See it here.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Show Me the Knitting!

There's been some hot and heavy knitting going on here the past couple of weeks, and since I'm updating the shop with yarn this week, (Wednesday) I thought it was high time I showed you my hand dyed socks.

When I started thinking about dyeing yarn and selling it, I knew I would have to have some self control. I am one serious sock-yarn-stasher, and I have no business skimming from the "for sale" stuff, when the sock yarn wing of the house is already full.

But there comes a time when I just have to grab one of those skeins, for, you know, research.

This was from a practice batch I dyed up in May.

I know those fancy schmantsy variegated yarns look so pretty in the skein, and they're glamorous to knit, but I really do have those days when I just want to wear a more solid color sock.

Here is another solid-ish combination that I love, pale periwinkle and light blue. I am using the remainder of this same yarn for the Flower Basket Shawl--progress is being made--I'll show you it later this week.

I dyed this one around the Fourth of July. I called it Picnic Basket.

Kinda festive, if I do say so myself.

This colorway was from the very first batch I sold to the public: "Iris Garden". It was a leftover 1/2 skein, not quite 50 gms, hence the shortie socks. I usually make the legs fairly long, 7 or 8 inches, and these were really just an experiment to see what the yarn looked like, I didn't expect to love them so much and I wear them all the time.

I used a scrap of "Glade" for the heel and toes.

I don't like yarns that pool or stripe, and I try very hard to dye the yarn so it won't pool. That means very small areas of color, and it takes a lot longer to do it that way, but I love the result. If it does start to pool on me, I change one of my needles (size 1) to a size 0. That usually redistributes the color enough to take care of the problem.

This one wasn't research exactly, more of a quality control issue. (Yeah, that's it.) I found a small white areas on this yarn when I was skeining it up. I didn't want to sell it, so it found its way into my knitting bag.

After knitting it up, I realized that--what I thought looked white, was really pale blue, and looked it great in the sock. So there's a skein left and its going in the shop on Wednesday. It doesn't have a name yet--anyone have suggestions?

And lastly, this was a small leftover ball of "Summer Romance". I confiscated it to make a little pair for our mascot.

And here is the Sophie's Toes mascot herself, Miss Sophie, quite happy to have her first hand-knit sock.

"Ok, Mom, when are you going to finish the second one?"

Friday, August 04, 2006


Eye Candy Friday?
WIP Friday?
Finished Object Friday?

Whatever this could be classified as, I just feel grateful to have a few quiet minutes to post.

This is a project from last week; it was one of those hot days that we were spending the afternoon inside. We are in a nice groove these days, that when Sophie takes an afternoon nap, the other kids sometimes sit with me and draw/sew/craft in the studio, and I can get a little sewing done. Not "thinking sewing", mind you, due to the chattering, but nevertheless, sewing.

So I came across a little pile of stuff I had been wanting to do since Spring: a yard of Kaffe Fasset fabric and an Old Navy tee shirt for Molly.

I dug out a pant pattern, Butterick 4118, and printed out the fabulous headband pattern Hooray For Headbands from this great blog that I've wanted to try.

For the tee-shirt applique: I used Wonder Under on the fabric, cut out a heart, stabilized the back of the tee shirt with a similar sized patch of light weight fusible interfacing, fused the heart on, and stitched around it with an narrow zig zag stitch--about 1/8th of an inch wide.

The headband is quick and easy and ingenious! Thank you Heather! There is a little piece of elastic hidden under that tie, that keeps it on. I see many headbands in our future, (maybe even one for me--can I wear a headband in my late 30s?)

I'd love to say we finished it up lickety split, but we did at least get the pants done before Sophie climbed out of her crib (yes--that was the first time and no--I'm not happy about it!) upstairs. I finished up the shirt and headband that night after the kids were in bed.

Cut to the next day. Action shot:

Four year old girl sewing a quilt.