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Watermelon… ick. While it’s a staple at many Independence Day picnics, I don’t like the taste, I don’t like the smell, and if it’s been anywhere near a fruit salad, I have to pass the salad by. Visually, though, it’s quite a handsome fruit, so I have no objection whatsoever to having these on my person:

Socks-2014-04-12-Watermelon_Knitters-Brewing-Company

Pattern: Watermelon Slice Socks by Wendy Gaal
Yarn: Knitter’s Brewing Company Sock-aholic in color 175: Watermelon Fizz, no dye lot; beads plus wee white and green skeins came with the kit
Needles: US size 1.5 for cuff and heel, size 1 for foot
Size: women’s 9.5
Started 3/6 and finished 4/12/2o14

As posted a few months ago, I used two dice to determine random seed (bead) placement. I rolled them and how the two numbers landed side by side indicated how many stitches between seeds. A 2-4 means 24 stitches, a 4-2 meant 42. Every once in a while, I would take artistic license if seeds were lining up too closely together and space them further apart. So, not totally random, but random enough.

The instructions have you put beads all the way through, but I can’t imagine having lumpy beads inside my shoes! My watermelon is a hybrid variety: seeded and seedless in one fruit.

A boy about 6 years old on a bicycle stopped while I had these lined up on the park bench, wanting to know “What are you doing?” His tone was priceless and I wish I could convey it here. Me, responding with my usual creativity, “taking a picture of my socks.” Him: “They look like a melon.” Me: “yes, they’re supposed to.” And then his dad hustled him way from the weirdo who carried her socks to the park. A photo shoot, though… be still my heart. This year has been quite unusual, weather-wise, sunny sunny sunny, but July has arrived and with it the summer fog, which means I was finally able to take photos of finished items today. Drat the sun, washing everything out for months on end.

2014-07-04-dahlias-GGPark-1

Dahlias filling in as fireworks…

Happy 4th, all! I have no desire to join the teeming hordes at the waterfront to look at the official fireworks; crowds are not my thing. Tonight it wouldn’t make any sense as it is: at most, the spectators are going to see the fog glow with Technicolor brilliance. I drove 4 hours south last weekend [visited mom, and her sweater fits!! so all I have to do is weave in ends now] and observed out the window that the state is one big brush fire waiting to happen, so I hope folks in general tonight have the good sense to put down the matches and walk away.

Knitting is usually nothing except pretty darn orderly, and I do well with orderly (anyone peeking at my desk might question this bold self-assessment, not knowing there’s a method to the madness). This is probably why I took so well to my hobby when I learned it nearly 20 years ago. Sometimes, though, you get a project that specifies random action. How random it really can be when I’m the one choosing the arbitrariness of bead placement, I don’t know. But there’s help for us precise types: a quick stop at the games shelf this morning yielded a couple of chance cubes which are now helping me place beads in the watermelon sock in progress:

Socks WIP

It’s a simple enough method: I rub the dice in my hands (I would never find them again if I were to toss them while riding the bus) and read them left to right. The reading above is 3-5 so I work 35 stitches before putting a bead on the next knit stitch. Had the 5 been on the left, I would work 53. There are 60 stitches per round and the dice method gives me between 11 and 66 stitches between beads. I’ll decide after about 20 rounds whether I need to increase the interval so I don’t run out of beads before the heel flap. I’m not putting beads on the foot part, imagining that will be quite uncomfortable in a shoe.

My feet are warm in socks with fantastically bright orange and pink stripes that I absolutely adore:

Socks_2012_11_13_pink-orange-socks_2

Pattern: own (basic 2×2 cuff)
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Fantasy, 80% wool, 20% nylon, color 4833
Needles: US size 1
Started 8/24 and finished 11/13/2012

There’s not much to say about style or construction. Basic knit 2 purl 2 cuff, basic slip-stitch flap heel, basic fit.

My mom’s feet are warm in socks with a simple yet effective and interesting cuff:

Socks_2012_11_25_Mamas-Gentlemans-Fancy-Sock_2

Actually, those are my feet again. I had her permission to model these (really, I think she didn’t want to stand in socks on cold stone and would rather wield the camera, so she asked me to wear them for the photo shoot)

Pattern: Gentleman’s Fancy Sock by Nancy Bush, as published in “Knitting Vintage Socks”
Yarn: Regia Tweed 4-fädig, 70% wool, 25% nylon, 5% rayon
Needles: US size 2 for the tops, US size 1 for heel and foot
Started 11/4 and finished 11/25/2012

A bunch of as yet unknown babies’ feet will be warm:

Booties_2012_11_30_7-pairs

Yarn: Koigu KPPPM color P602 (peach/strawberry), N.N. Sportiv color 0647/20/24 (red), Regia Tweed 4-fädig color 10 (brown), South West Trading Company TOFUtsies color 733 (pink), TOFUtsies color 870 (pink/green/black)
Needles: US size 2
Started 7/26 and finished 11/30/2012 (worked on them off and on)

And my mom’s feet are warm again with another pair:

Socks_2012_12_25_Mamas-monkey-socks_1

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A, as published on Knitty
Yarn: Tausendschön Handgefärbte Sockenwolle, 75% wool, 25% nylon, color Tag am Meer (day at the sea)
Needles: US size 2
Started 11/25 and finished 12/25/2012

As usual, because these are for hiking, I keep the fancy pattern on the cuff only and work the foot part in stockinette so it’s nice and smooth in the shoe. I like how they pooled at the tops and striped on the feet. I’m also surprised by it because the stitch count for cuff and foot is the same. It goes to show you how much a stitch pattern can affect gauge:

Socks_2012_12_25_Mamas-monkey-socks_3

After I made her about 8 brown-based pairs of socks at her request so far, I was amazed when she picked out this color, Tag am Meer, at Tausendschön in Saarbrücken last fall. She apparently has embraced wearing bright socks and I think this is her current favorite pair; she keeps sending me photos of these particular socks’ latest adventures, like this:

Socks_2013_01_04_Mamas-monkey-socks-in-action

Not that I mind. I’m always happy when my work is appreciated.

The pattern is Dragon Rider, the yarn Seegras — so I guess these are seadragon socks.

2012_05_06_Shurtugal_socks_2

Pattern: Shur’tugal by Alice Yu
Yarn: Tausendschön Handgefärbte Sockenwolle Merino/Nylon, 75% wool, 25% nylon, color: Seegras
Needles: US size 1
Started 2/23 and finished 5/6/2012

The yarn is vacation souvenir yarn from our trip to Germany in 2008 and I held off using it because that was my last trip together with Mr. MmmYarn. Some souvenir yarn I just want to keep; if I use it, it won’t be yarn anymore. Kind of silly, I suppose, that I sometimes prefer to see the yarn whenever I walk past the sock yarn stash rather than see the finished socks in the drawer. However, I have seen on Ravelry that I’m not the only one who does this.

2012_05_06_Shurtugal_socks_5

I worked the pattern just about as written except I made my usual knit 1 slip 1 heel and had 67 stitches for the foot circumference. These used up nearly the entire skein of sock yarn, not enough left to make booties.

Taking pictures of my own feet is challenging.

2012_05_06_Shurtugal_socks_4

Getting one’s lower legs arranged while sitting on a park bench and aiming with a camera involves some gymnastics, plus a bit of natural grace to not fall off said bench. Fortunately, there are so many people doing weird things in the park that no one even blinks and bruises heal quickly.

Today’s was supposed to be all about socks but it turns out I haven’t taken picture of the other pair so you’ll get a mix of items instead. The first item is indeed a pair of socks. Last year, Halcyon Yarn celebrated its ruby anniversary, and as part of that released two special dye jobs of sock yarn. I bought both. The first skein I used is a divine mix of reds and oranges called Ruby Sunset, and I made what I call Fruit Loop:

2012_02_08_FruitLoopSocks

Pattern: Froot Loop by Kristi Geraci, published on knitty.com
Yarn: Halcyon Yarn Ruby Anniversary sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon, color: Ruby Sunset
Needles: US size 1
Started 9/15/2011 and finished 2/8/2012

Only a couple of modifications: after a few false starts on the cuff (63 stitches as dictated by the pattern was too small for me, as was 70; the loop pattern reduces the stretch significantly) I got the circumference correct on 77 stitches and I made my usual knit 1, slip 1 heel instead of what’s in the pattern.

2012_02_08_FruitLoopSocks_detail

The loop pattern uses up a lot of yarn. I ended up using 385 yards to make these, leaving not even enough leftovers to make a pair of baby booties. The other anniversary skein, Ruby Gemstone, hasn’t told me what it wants to be yet.

This next item is a pattern of my own devising. I took a skein of Chroma Worsted, unwound the skein from both ends until I found the middle, tied a loose knot, wound it back up into a ball, and cast on 6 stitches to make a tapered scarf:

2012_02_16_TaperedScarf_ChromaUPick_3

Pattern: garter stitch, increasing every other row with a yarn over for the first half and decreasing with a k2tog for the second half
Border pattern: “Eyelet Points” from page 70 of “Knitting on the Edge” by Nicky Epstein
Needles: US size 8
Size: 54″ long and 8″ wide at widest point
Started 2/8 and finished 2/16/2012

2012_02_16_TaperedScarf_ChromaUPick_1

It’s a little short for a scarf (Chroma Worsted has 198 yards and I have less than 4″ left) but Don here shows it will work.

2012_02_16_TaperedScarf_ChromaUPick_2

I imagine I will make a few more tapered scarves to use up some of those single skeins I have lying about. This border is easy to memorize (only 8 rows) and garter stitch requires no attention at all, making this perfect bus knitting.

I had Wednesday off for Independence Day and went to the California Academy of Sciences where I took in a planetarium show about earthquakes, said hello to Claude the alligator

2012_07_04_AcademyOfSciences_a_Claude

wave to Claude; it’s his 16th birthday soon!

and found week-old ostrich chicks. They’re cute even when they’re learning to catch and devour crickets (mmm… crunchy):

2012_07_04_AcademyOfSciences_c_ostriches

And easier to photograph when they hold still momentarily:
2012_07_04_AcademyOfSciences_d_ostrich

In January I hunted for a Noro-like long-repeat yarn that contained no wool or mohair because I wanted to make an entrelac scarf for a friend and accommodate her fiber preferences. After a lot of research I finally came up with Kudo but the color I wanted was backordered more than 2 weeks. Then when I got the yarn it smelled so strongly of fabric softener that it had to sit in solitary confinement in a bag with some crumpled-up newspaper for two days before I could stand to be near it (have since then purchased one more skein of Kudo and it smells the same so it must come from the factory that way). This meant I had extreme deadline knitting and had to get this done fast. I succeeded.

2011_01_30_Kudo_entrelac_scarf1

Pattern: entrelac made with 8-stitch rectangles
Yarn: 2 skeins Plymouth Yarn Kudo, 55% cotton, 40% rayon, 5% silk, color 42
Needles: US size 6
Finished size: 7″ x 60″
Started 1/26 and finished 1/30/2011

Kudo is like Noro yarns, where there are random knots and always some color I don’t like; I don’t particularly like that brown-ish/khaki-ish color. Kudo is machine washable, fiber content-wise, but is fragile so must be hand washed. Or I guess a gentle cycle might do but my Laundromat doesn’t offer that option. It’s a singles and I had to repeatedly twist it back together while weaving in the ends.

2011_01_30_Kudo_entrelac_scarf4

Next up is a project with a high emotional investment. I made these socks for Mr. MmmYarn and grafted the toes a few days before he died. He was so tired those days that I didn’t ask him to try them on so he never wore them. They have rested at the bottom of my knitting bag all this time until I was finally able to pick them up in February and shorten them to fit me. Here they are:

2011_02_17_HarryPotter_socks1

Pattern: own
Yarn: Opal Harry Potter und der Halb-Blut Prinz, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color Harry (19835)
Needles: US size 1
Started 4/5/2009 and finished 2/17/2011

While waiting for one of his appointments in April 2009 an elderly Japanese woman lit up when she saw me knitting, approached me, and pointed and mimed knitting motions. I handed the sock in progress to her and she looked at the needles and yarn, then carefully knitted a couple of stitches before handing it back to me, beaming all the more. No one could translate but I interpreted it all as meaning she used to knit, no longer did, and was thrilled to confirm she still remembered how. Hand memory over mind memory, you know.

Taking pictures of my own feet required some gymnastics on the park bench:

2011_02_17_HarryPotter_socks3

Last up is a pair of beaded wrist cuffs. I made mine and a close friend so admired them that I started a pair for her immediately. Hers are grafted together better because I had had some practice by then.

2011_03_03_beaded_wristlets

Yes, that is the Hex Coat I’m wearing in the picture. That’s going to be a separate post. Also, the sundial is a great place to put my little tripod.

Pattern: Beaded Pulse Warmers by Véronik Avery, as published in “Knitting Classic Style”
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18, held doubled throughout
Needles: US size 0
Started 2/20 and finished 3/3/2011

I had to knit 11 repeats to make them fit (did not bother measuring gauge). They are grafted together at the seam and therefore have a half-stitch jog. There’s also a noticeable gap between the start and end. I thought of this while I was straightening up the graft on the 4th cuff and it’s because that grafted row would have had beads had it been knitted. When planning a graft in garter stitch on a beaded item, make the graft on the last beaded row (this means you have to push the beads into place as you graft which means you have to unthread and thread your sewing needle for each beaded stitch) or on the reverse side between beaded rows. Either way, you’ll still have the half-stitch jog but at least no gap. Something for me to keep in mind for next time I make something like this.

I decided today to start unraveling the Sweater Girl Pullover that needs to be resized. I spent 3.75 hours on it today and unraveled only one sleeve. So this is going to take a while. Stupid mohair content.

Unraveling

I have been remiss in posting my finished items as of late and Sunday seems to be as good a time as any to get caught up.

Part of the delay is that I told myself no fun stuff on the computer until I figure out some of the household’s computer problems. For the last 3 months, that’s what I’ve been doing evenings and weekends. I got Mr. MmmYarn’s blog transferred successfully to where it needs to be, got the wireless music system working again (hadn’t worked in about 6 months), and got our backups working again (I learned we have had no backups since January of 2008! absolutely frightening). Plus some other minor-yet-annoyingly-difficult stuff. I also started putting photos in iPhoto and organizing them there. Now I find iPhoto is as much of a time-suck as Ravelry was when I first started there. Which leads me to the question I have for you:

How do you organize your knitting and spinning photos in iPhoto? I mean Events-wise. I made an Event for WIP 2010, WIP 2009, etc. Those WIP photos I’m OK with grouping by year. But finished items? Do you sort them by year made, or year gifted or sold or donated? Do you make an Event for “Made in 2010” or one “All items made for [this individual]” or one for “Hats”? Do you bother with the “Hats” Event if you’re using the keyword “hats”? I’d love to hear how your system works so I can make some decisions about my own. It’s far easier to input things neatly at the outset than to fix it all later.

I did promise you finished objects. Considering these were mostly done on the bus to and from work, my evenings being taken up with computer stuff at home, I think I got a lot done. I made hat and bootie sets:

Plain hat:

HatAndBooties_2010_08_15_pastels_1

Pattern: own
Yarn: 1 skein DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color 903
Needles: US size 2
Size: infant
Started 7/13 and finished 8/15/2010

Funny long pointy hat that flops over when the balloon wears it. Also I think the sand makes the best background I’ve used in a long time (rode my bike to Ocean Beach one day):

2010_10_09_a_Fabel_HatBooties_blues

2010_10_09_b_Fabel_HatBooties_blues

Pattern: own
Yarn: 1 skein DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color 162
Needles: US size 2
Size: infant
Started 8/30 and finished 10/9/2010

Ruffly hat. The ruffle felt like it took forever, although I notice this set took me the least number of days of these sets:

HatAndBooties_2010_10_16_Fabel330_purples

Pattern: own
Yarn: 1 skein DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color 330
Needles: US size 2
Size: infant
Started 10/10 and finished 10/16/2010

Tassels!

HatAndBooties_2010_11_29_Fabel_redorangeblack

Pattern: own
Yarn: 1 skein DROPS Fabel, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color 672
Needles: US size 2
Size: infant
Started 10/18 and finished 11/29/2010

My mom got two more pairs of socks. These first ones went hiking in Sequoia National Park, where I heard they saw a bear:
Socks_2010_08_25_Jaywalkers_for_Mama

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina for the cuffs, my own pattern for the rest
Yarn: Regia Cotton Weekend Color; 41% wool, 34% cotton, 25% nylon; color 03029
Needles: US size 2 for the cuff, US size 1 for the top ribbing and the rest of the sock after the cuff
Started 7/24 and finished 8/25/2010

Socks_2010_10_09_NixenSocken_Mama_1

Pattern: Nixen-Socken by Elisabeth Bak
Yarn: Regia Cotton Weekend Color; 41% wool, 34% cotton, 25% nylon; color 38628
Needles: US size 1
Started 9/4 and finished 10/9/2010

I donated the brown and blue Bird on a Wire hat you saw earlier this year to the chemo center at a local hospital; also donated this one (yes, you’ve seen one just like it before, this is Shedir the Second in purple Malabrigo), modeled by the ever-obliging Sancho Panza:

HatAdult_2010_10_05_Shedir_side

HatAdult_2010_10_05_Shedir_top

Pattern: Shedir by Jenna Wilson, as published on knitty.com, with one change: I ended the crown on 8 stitches instead of 4
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino, 51% silk, 49% merino wool, color 420 Light Hyacinth
Needles: US size 3
Size: adult
Started 10/18 and finished 11/4/2010

And I got Abby Franquemont’s “Respect the Spindle” from the library last week and it inspired me to try my drop spindle again after letting it be idle for several years. That’s all I did Friday night, stand there and twirl that spindle and make some skinny pink 2-ply yarn. It turns out I’m good at it. I remember having a really hard time the last time I tried and have been using the wheel since then. I had flat pretzels with self-made tzatziki for dinner just so I could keep spinning. Yesterday I took the spindle and fresh pink fiber with me to the park and sat on a bench in Conservatory Valley for 30 minutes and made this:

2010_12_11_Drop_spindle

It was getting dark so this photo is hyper-pink. The fiber is not fluorescent. Sitting down while spinning was new. I thought standing in the park I’d make too much of a spectacle of myself so I contented myself with making about 3 feet at a time. Tonight I’ll spin standing up so I can make longer strands before winding on. But I’ll make dinner first.

One last random thing to share with you: when I visited my mom in early October, the rattlesnake babies were just a couple of weeks old. You’ll have to click for big, but here is one of the babies, curled up just above that green leaf in the middle:

2010_09_30_i_rattlesnake_baby_resting

And a mom watching us carefully:

2010_09_30_j_rattlesnake_adult2_curled_up

The snake guy was out walking the same day we were and identified this one as a female. Note to self: when in Los Osos, always stay on the path, preferably in the middle of it. Regardless of time of year. It’s almost never cold enough that they stay underground.

Welcome to the new home for Mmm… Yarn. Actually, this was its original home in its first few hours while I learned the rudiments of blogging, then we moved it to the other server. So it’s less a housewarming and more of a homecoming. Bear with me these first few posts while I figure out how to fix all the settings here.

I’ll echo the old Mmm… Yarn’s last post here so you get your yarn fix for today (as this is a knitting blog, after all). Here is the latest progress on the first of the Nixen-Socken, taken this morning at the Laundromat:

2010_09_12_Nixen_Socken

Summer weather finally arrived last week and was here part of this week, too. It’s gone today. But all the bright light indoors made my African violet bloom like crazy and the blooms remind me of the latest socks to come off the needles, both of which are a little floral.

First up, socks for me made with yarn I bought at a store that went out of business in August 1999, which means it’s been in the stash long enough to be at least starting junior high this week, were it a person. Hm.

Socks_2010_06_24_GoldenDahlia

Pattern: Golden Dahlia by Kirsten Kapur, as published in The Joy of Sox
Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, color SY-13 Sienna Red
Needles: US size 1
Started 6/29 and finished 7/24/2010

I go to the dahlia garden frequently and have to say I have not seen a dahlia shaped like this there. The stitch pattern on the fronts and backs reminds me more of butterflies. Here is the sock twisted around so you can see the pattern better:

Socks_2010_06_24_GoldenDahlia_detail

The dahlias in the garden have lots of shapes. This is the best photo of mine I can find and of course it has a big piece of knitting in the way but you can see a few of the flowers’ shapes.

Hat_2004Sep_BlueOrangeBumpy

I have been working with those 3 skeins of sock yarn I picked up from my mom in early July. When she visited me in early August, I had her try on the mostly-completed single socks for 2 pairs so I could adjust the length. Pairs 1 and 2 are complete but only pair 1 has been out for its photo shoot. Here you go:

Socks_2010_08_14_WavingLace

Pattern: leg of the sock is Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn A. Clark, as published in Interweave Knits, Spring 2004, the rest is my own
Yarn: Regia Cotton Flowers Color, 41% superwash wool, 34% cotton, 25% nylon, color 04928
Needles: US size 2 for edging and first 1.5 pattern repeats, US size 1 for the rest
Started 7/31 and finished 8/14/2010

I made the Waving Lace pattern zig-zag in opposite directions on the two legs just for fun. The feet are stockinette because these are for hiking. Now I have to hustle on the remaining pair so I finish it by the end of this month (not that socks take so long, more that they are solely my commute project and therefore take more days than an at-home project).

I nearly always have multiple projects on the needles, some easy and some requiring more thought. Things don’t get much simpler than a garter stitch scarf:

Scarf_2010_04_04_Horizon_Neapolitan

Pattern: what pattern? it’s all garter stitch
Yarn: 2.5 skeins Trendsetter Yarns Horizon, 70% cotton, 30% nylon, color 8
Needles: US size 10.5
Size: 5.5″ wide x 78″ long
Started 3/25 and finished 4/4/2010

Garter stitch is perfect for knitting on the bus. The coloring reminds me of Neapolitan ice cream, except a little pale for that. The yarn is old, not in Ravelry or Yarndex. I’d guess at least 12 years old: it’s leftovers from an old friend, sent to me in February via a mutual friend at Stitches West. Horizon is an interesting frayed-looking woven ribbon:

Yarn_Trendsetter_Yarns_Horizon

My complicated project was a pair of lace socks for me. With all the ripping and re-knitting, these took nearly two months to complete. Fortunately, so much repetition meant I memorized the stitch pattern very quickly so these were good bus knitting whenever I was on a roll on a particular section. They blocked quite nicely:

Socks_2010_04_09_LittleArrowheadLace_blue_3

Pattern: own
Stitch Pattern: Little Arrowhead Lace (from Barbara Walker’s first Treasury, page 193, except I added a second purl stitch between motifs
Yarn: 2.25 ounces (skein is 4 ounces) Fearless Fibers sock yarn, 100% superwash merino wool, rainbow-dyed colorway Robin’s Egg; white reinforcement thread at heels and toes
Needles: US size 1
Started 2/11 and finished 4/9/2010

Fearless Fibers is a dyer I found on Etsy; in fact, my first Etsy purchase. She has terrific customer service. I don’t know what her sock yarn base is. It’s quite a bit thinner than what I’m used to working with. Her skeins are 550 yards to 112g (4oz) and most commercial yarns I’ve used are around 425 yards to 100g. This meant I had to work with size 1s instead of size 2s, not a big deal.

Mmm… pretty blue close-up:

Socks_2010_04_09_LittleArrowheadLace_blue_4

In cooking news, I used the bread machine to make whole wheat pizza dough a few weeks ago. Brilliant! I don’t know why I never thought of it before. Since I was at it, I made enough for two pizzas. Here’s the result, pizza #1 on the left, hot from the oven, and #2 waiting to go in.

2010_03_20_Pizzas

Yes, I cannot make a perfect circle unless it’s a shawl or hat crown.

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