Finished Mystery Socks, an Icarus, and some Sea Silk (and a partridge in a pear tree)

Although I finished these socks sometime last week, I'm just getting around to posting a picture of them. Behold! The Socks of Mystery!:

They're a cute pattern, although nothing so spectacular I would want to knit twice. Like I mentioned on the mystery sock blog, I did make a few changes - I prefer my socks very short at the ankle (long socks on my short legs make me look... stumpy), and I prefer a reinforced heel. Everything else is exactly as written. I didn't especially like the toe when I finished, and it seems awfully long, but it does show off the yarn nicely. I suspect my ribbing was not very good on these, and as you can tell from the picture they do sag a little around the ankle. If I were to do the pattern over, I think I'd do the k1tbl, p1 ribbing. I used that for the Embossed Leaf Socks from Interweave Knit's Winter 2005 issue, and those socks have a much better "grip."

Luckily for me, these socks did turn out mostly identical. I know how self-striping yarn can be the bane of the OCD Knitter's existence, and this yarn behaved (mostly) well. No fraternal twins (or first cousins) here.

I've also gone back to working on the Icarus Shawl. Poor Icarus has been sadly ignored in favour of more challenging patterns, but for reasons I'll detail below, is back at #1 in the WIP line. Here it is, with about one and a half more repeats of the plain section to go:

I'm really hoping the magic of blocking is going to work on this shawl. I know knitters everywhere have used alpaca and turned out just fine... only, it seems so SPRINGY. I despair of ever getting it to lie still and behave. I'm also debating whether or not I want to put in an extra repeat for length. I definitely have the yarn - I bought 1200 yards of the Misti Alpaca lace, and I would like to use up most of it. If any of you readers have done the Icarus, please let me know in the comments whether or not you added the repeat, and if yours turned out long enough.

The work that was SUPPOSED to be #1 has... well... fallen out of favour. It's a pretty enough pattern, the Paisley Long Shawl from Fiddlesticks. Last time you guys saw this, I was using Schaefer Andrea, but...

The Sea Silk arrived. I had originally intended the sea silk to be the Peacock Feathers Shawl (also from Fiddlesticks), but two problems happened.

1. I ordered this colour: Ocean

The picture below shows what colour I got, and yes, the colour is showing true in this photo. I should have just sent it back, but I had already balled one of the skeins, in a moment of true knitter idiocy.

2. I hate to say this, but I don't really like the yarn. It's much denser and heavier than I expected, so it REALLY didn't suit the Peacock Feathers shawl. There's an odd feel to it, and since the colour isn't really exciting me either.... I suspect it will be a while before I finish the Paisley Shawl.

I love the other Handmaiden yarn I've gotten (I used her Lace Silk to make my Shetland Tea Shawl), but I doubt I will be ordering Sea Silk again.

In happier news though, soon this may be "Duck Knits and SPINS!" I'll tell y'all more on Monday, until then!


Adventures in Hiking (part 2)

A few corrections before I start this post:
1. Those trees in the previous pictures are Madrones, and not Manzanitas.
2. We actually went hiking Tuesday. Funny story about that, in that I could have sworn we had made plans for Wednesday. Imagine my surprise when Jeanne calls, ready to hike, and it's... Tuesday. So I guess my blog entry reflected my mental confusion re: hiking dates. :)

So, on to the cute flora and fauna. All photos but the last one are once again courtesy of Jeanne, photographer extraordinaire.

This is just one of the many rabbits we saw along the trail, but this one sat still forever. We got a ton of pictures of this little guy, and I'm beginning to think maybe he's just a vain little bugger. All the rabbits there have the cutest little cotton tails, and you just want to take them home with you, they're so cute. Incidentally, it was weird for me to see rabbits in the wild. I'm such a city dweller that it's hard to picture these little guys actually surviving outside a plush home.

There were some neat flowers too. I have no idea what these actually are, but they're awfully pretty. I want a yarn based around those colours.

Normally, I am NOT a fan of anything in the insect kingdom. I go a little wiggy everytime I feed my newts and salamanders crickets, and I can't ABIDE anything crawling on me. That said, I have to admit this little guy was actually pretty cute:

I have video of it walking on Jeanne's hand, but I suspect it's too bandwidth intensive to post. It might make great blackmail someday, though. :)

The next is one of my favourite photos. I feel it totally rivals this one from Cute Overload. Again, not normally a fan of bugs here at Chez Duckling, but that one was pretty darned adorable.

Of course, all hikes must come to an end, and ours did quite spectacularly when - not 100 yards from the end of the trail - I tripped and ended up ass over teakettle. Check out my totally adorable leg post-fall:

Luckily my boyfriend is not one of those obsessive leg-men. I'm finally almost healed, but the skin is sort of... super-pink, still.

All in all though, a very successful hike, and one I'd do again anytime.

Coming soon: The Icarus, progress has been made! And, pictures of my Mystery Socks (I finished them days ago, but my boyfriend has been visiting, and so I've been ... distracted). A review of the Sea Silk, and a new Shawl-In-Progress.


Adventures in Hiking (part 1)

Since I spend a ludicrous amount of time knitting (those shawls don't just knit up in an hour, let me tell you), I have a tendency to be somewhat... indoorsy. This was especially brought to my attention by my dear friend Jessica (model of the Noro Sweater of Intense Angst), who pointed out that I have become somewhat, well, shall we say, reflective?

Then there's Jeanne. Jeanne is an OutDoors Type of Person:

That's Jeanne conquering the Bench on our latest outdoor adventure. Jeanne is good for me, because gourds know otherwise I would probably never get outside. Note how comfortable she is in her surroundings. I, on the other hand, accidently wore sandals, and was COVERED in dirt.

Anyway, last Wednesday she got me out of the house again, and we went on the neatest trail. Like I've said, I'm not much of an outdoors person, and I suspect I may not be the most fun person to hike with, but what a gorgeous hike.

(Note: The following photos are courtesy of Miss Jeanne, whose camera and eye for photography far exceeds my own)

We saw the coolest manzanita trees, which, if I could have - I would have brought home with me. Manzanita is one of the only substances my parrot can't destroy instantaneously. He can still chew them eventually, but yeah. I love the bark on these, and the interesting way it peels away:

The trail (all 5 miles of it) also has some spectacular scenery. Let me tell you, when you've been hiking in the sun, and you see fog like this coming over the mountain, it's the best feeling in the world. In the Bay Area, this is natural air conditioning, and boy do we whine if we don't get it. This valley is stunning, though, and it almost reminds me of some of the pictures I've seen of New Zealand. Blogger is limiting my photos, as always, so I'll try and post a few more in the next post.

The trail also has a number of hallways created by the overhanging trees. I absolutely adore places like this - it feels like being in a storybook. Admittedly, this particular storybook was a little overpopulated with spider webs and poison oak, but storybookish all the same.

It's not just all plants and fog, either. The park is full of neat animals, which I'll post in the next episode. :) Surprisingly enough, even though it's August, the park was FULL of baby animals. Unfortunately, the quail would always get away before we could get a photo of them, but take my word for it: The cute and fuzzy factor was THROUGH THE ROOF. Cute Overload would have had a field day.

Coming soon: BABY BUNNY!


Silverware Pr0n

For those of you who like this sort of thing, and I know you do *coughJeannecough*, I thought I'd share the glory that is my new silverware! I've been living with crummy plastic handled silverware (not that it even deserves that title) for two years, and I finally decided to upgrade.

The pr0n:

A special thank you to the ladies of the Knitty Chat, who helped me choose between designs and figure out what the hell "Continental" size is.

So. Pretty.

And yes, I do obsessively organize my silverware. Why do you ask?


Work in Progress Roundup

From my recent posts, you'd probably think I was actually caught up on my works in progress. Sadly, you'd be wrong. Here are a few of my current projects:

The Paisley Long Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Fear not, the red is only being used for the provisional cast-on. The yarn is the very lovely Schaefer Andrea in colourway Greenjeans. I'm still on the silk-a-thon. It's quickly becoming my favourite fiber.

Next, a scarf slooooowly being knit up for my mother. Considering how many problems she's bailed me out of recently, I really ought to be knitting this faster. The pattern is just a feather and fan, and really, I'm still tempted to change it. I'm trying to find something that will really show off the lovely colours of the yarn. The yarn is from Mystical Creations Yarns, and is a 50/50 wool silk blend. Frankly, I can't remember the name of the colourway. I definitely recommend checking MCY's eBay store, as they've constantly got lovely yarns. I could so mortgage my soul to them.

Then there's the poor abandoned hat from GirlFromAuntie. It's the Cabled Cap pattern, and like I've said before, her patterns are worth infinitely more than she charges. You always get plenty of extra information, and they're so easy to modify. I'm knitting it with Noro Transitions, colour #19 mixed with a sparkly Trendsetter yarn that I lost the ball band for long ago. The hat in progress is modeled by my darling kitty, Ceres, who is obviously VERY proud to be part of this show.

Also modeled by Ceres is the Icarus-in-Progress. I'm working with Misti Alpaca Laceweight, in the Sea Mist colour. I love the finished shawls I've seen, but I have to admit that putting work into Icarus is... well... not very interesting at times. It's great for detailed movie watching though, and I can even watch subtitled movies and knit this shawl. I suspect it's going to be a long time before it's finished though. The yarn is fab, and it's super soft and springy. I'm hoping that won't be a problem when blocking.

Finally, my main project: the Mystery Sock! It's also a Schaefer yarn, Andrea. The pattern is technically Viv's Lacy Sock pattern, but somehow working without a picture has freed me to make adjustments that I would usually be afraid to make. I made the heel a reinforced heel, and just worked by eye after that. The sock is being held quite reluctantly by my adorable boyfriend Tom, who has been incredibly patient with all this yarn taking up space.

I suspect the socks will be finished before anything else, as I actually have a knitalong to spur me into finishing.

I'm still on a shawl binge, and I've got Sea Silk coming to make the Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks, and soon I fully expect to be knitting three shawls at once. I never thought I'd be a shawl wearer - they seem so fussy, somehow. Imagine my surprise that they're really better than a jacket for California's oft changing weather.

And of course, my favourite part - gauge, while useful, isn't as incredibly important as while knitting a sweater. I've never knit a shawl that didn't fit. Here's to many more of them while summer lasts.


Poor Neglected Socks

As much as I'm a yarn slut, sometimes a project takes over my life, and nothing else gets worked on. That was the case with my poor neglected Embossed Leaf Socks from last Winter's Interweave Knits. They had several strikes against them - a) it got stupidly hot in the Bay Area, so knitting with wool was Out Of The Question, b) standard Second Sock Syndrome, Squared, because I'd already made these socks for my mothers' birthday in April.

Interestingly enough, my gauge apparently has also suffered a HUGE shift. The second sock was finished on the same needles, but it's roomier and longer than the first one. All you have to do is look at the stitch difference. I don't know what happened; it never changed needles, and I've been so stressed out that I wouldn't think my knitting would loosen that much. Anyway, here's pictures, the "second" sock is the sock on the left:

On the job front, as many of you know, I left my position because the harassment and comments from my boss had gotten to the point where I couldn't deal with them anymore. I'd talked with our San Francisco office, and been told they had a position for me, I'd be great for it, etc. etc. They said to talk to my boss about pursuing it anyway, so I kept that in mind when I gave my two weeks' notice. That was almost two weeks ago. Now? It's "oh, you need to send in a resume," and "oh, well, we're evaluating the position, so it'll be at least another week before we make a decision."

The delicate readers might want to cover their ears for a moment...



What the EVERLIVING FUCK? I bow out gracefully so the company doesn't get embroiled in Ye Olde Lawsuit of Doom, and this is how they treat me? Come fucking on. Ugh, it makes me so incredibly pissed.

And that's why I'm surprised at my second (giant) sock. Neat how I tied that all together, huh?


Dear Gourds, it's DONE

8:30 this morning, I wove in the last edges after a good night's blocking:

I stayed up till 1 am last night, determined to finish the edging that night. Blame it on the full moon, but it seemed important at the the time. Took a few minutes to block the darn thing out (with an excutive decision not to pin the edges out) and fell into bed. Picture below of detail:

And that's it. I'm stumbling off in the direction of a shower and to brush my teeth, and possibly to go back to sleep.


Blank Spaces

Obviously, my posting "schedule" has not been quite the norm lately. Those of you who know me from the thing we call "Real Life" or the knittyboard know that I've been without computer because I quit my job.

Luckily, I have a new computer at home, and can hopefully get back to posting regularly. The shawl is almost done, and with any luck I'll have pictures in the next few days.