Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finished my first pair of socks!

I finally finished my first pair of socks! I thought I would start with a pattern aimed at beginners, so these were knit with size 7 double points from cuff to toe with worsted weight yarn. These took me months to make as I ran screaming from the first one after I turned the heal. It was painful and not very pretty. And honestly - the pattern was not written for a beginner learning on there own. It was written to hand out to a beginner as a class was being taught. (I have and will continue to complain bitterly about paying $7.00 for this pattern!)

I feel like these are "Bed Socks" vs wearing out socks. They are loose and just feel like more of a slipper than a sock. I think if I wear them at night and in the mornings when the wood floors feel cold to my toes I will get a lot more use out of them.

I am happy to have gone through the process, and by knitting these in worsted I didn't worry about mistakes as much. I did much frogging and some starting over while I tried to figure out the pattern and how to pick up stitches, etc... I will definitely make more socks!

My Ravelry notes and more pictures of my socks can be found on my Ravelry page HERE.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Garden Hoe

Slowly I am getting my plants purchased and planted (or potted - as the case may be.) I have NO idea what this plant is, and I know I must have been wrecked when I finished planting as I recycled all the tags from the planting I did this weekend. Normally I place all my tags in a baggy and label them, so I know what I put in each year. Not this time. I pretty much showered and then drooled on myself after I finished for the day.

The planters are special to me as my brother made them for me. Recycled siding with cedar tops and bottoms. Love how they look and I put them out every year. It's a garden tradition - and I just love them.

This less than stellar shot is an "after shot" is of my peony bed. I pulled all the rotten old wood chips out, surrounded the bed with Salvia (Which I know the hummingbirds are attracted to) and Dusty Miller on the corners by the solar lights. It think it's one of my best gardens yet! The white Dusty Miller seems to glow when the solar lights turn on. Very pretty. Can't wait for the Salvia to take root and pop. Not to mention the Peonies. So very happy it's spring and the flowers are popping out!

And here is one tuckered out Emma. She had fun racing around the yard with my empty pots and tags. She is just the best garden companion. ☺

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nice Pecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

We have a bird feeder station in front of our big living room windows with a cat tree for our cat Miss Izzi to perch in and watch the action. Frequently we will hear Izzi chirping away at this bird - the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I am not sure if it's the size of this bird or the way it swoops in and startles off the finches and other birds, but for some reason we will here our cat talking away to this bird.

Today I had the windows open and I hear this guy talking away. (Go here if you want to listen to what it sounds like - it's a great sound and the site is full of info on birds.) I wonder now if Izzi wasn't hearing this bird through the window and answering? Regardless, it's fun all the way around. Fun to hear our cat talking to the bird, and fun to watch this guy crawl around the feeder and pull out fruit and nuts to chew on.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Second Sock Progress

I AM making progress on my 2nd sock. I keep knitting until I hit 7 inches, and then I can turn heal number two. I am happy to have been working through these socks - but I admit I am already dreaming of my next socks. I dream of skinny fingering weight yarn in CRAZY colors and afterthought heals. I dream of Magic loop and toe up two at a time on two circular needles. **sigh** I think my summer of working on WIPs may fall to the superior force that is sock knitting.

Now that winter is over, I find myself so busy I can hardly think. I have gardens on my brain and grilled food in my tummy. Summer is so brief - that we really try and suck up every bit we can around here. I have been grilling and gardening and even got the first lawn mow of the year under my belt. (And had a massive allergy attack from all the mold and dust and pollen I kicked up - THAT was fun - NOT!)

Slowly slowly I am getting my gardens cleaned up and redone. Here is a photo "Before and After" shot of the Bird Bed.

I have several bird loving perennials in this bed and then I edged it with Snap dragons and Zinnia. Can not wait for the flowers to POP! Also on this bed (not pictured) is my new Hummingbird Feeder. I hung it out last weekend and already have had many customers at it. There is nothing like watching a hummingbird land and drink nectar.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting my groove back

Trying to get my Blogging mojo back!

It's finally Spring here and that means we are all racing outdoors to get our gardens in shape quickly. We have a very short season here in Minnesota - so we really have to get our plants in as quickly as we can so they can have some grow time. I have decided not to grow veggies this year - and instead we are turning into more fruit growing. This is largely because we have a good farmer's market locally where I can get large quantities of wonderful veggies inexpensively.

We have a lot of projects to do here over the summer - and I find myself already looking at the calendar and frowning about how we are going to fit all the projects in we want to fit in and OH yeah - enjoy the summer too!

Part of my summer wish list is to clean up my WIP piles with my knitting. I have a LOT of projects that are half baked, so I really want to get those finished or frogged. I have been kind of obsessing over socks a lot lately - I think because I find myself buying more and more sock yarn and frankly - I have ENOUGH hats and scarves. You can ALWAYS use more socks. And the one's my mom makes me every year for my birthday I just love and they are so warm. It's like wearing a hug on your feet. So I would love to start making socks.

So about two months ago I purchased 9728 Beginner Socks (Cuff Down) sock pattern by Diane Soucy on Patternfish. (The pattern is on Ravelry but it redirects you to Patternfish for the pattern.) I thought for a first time out - starting on a worsted weight yarn would be less intimidating, so even though the pattern was $7.00 (ouch!) I went ahead thinking I would make a fleet of socks with this pattern and it would pay for itself with all the use I got out of it.

Sadly this is not the case. The pattern is two pages long and there really is not detailed instruction. To me a beginner pattern should really spell out the process and direct you. I found myself flailing about a lot and feeling frustrated. So after I made it through my first heal turning, I put it back in it's project bag and there it sat for two months. 

Yesterday I picked the bag back up and finished Sock #1.

I ♥love♥ the yarn (Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Wool - color 7869) but the pattern itself is just lacking. I know this is my first sock - and I wanted to make a classic sock - with heal flap construction - cuff down.... so I could really work my way through my first pair of socks in a classic fashion. But I am really dreading that second sock. It's the heal construction. I don't like my execution of it and I don't like the actual pattern of it.

 This is where I feel my execution failed - the stitches I picked up are a little too much like lace work. I am not thrilled with that - but find it livable. It's my first sock after all - there IS a learning curve.

It's a little hard to see in the photo - but there is a ridge line under my heal. To me that means I will get blisters or at least be uncomfortable if I ever try and wear these socks out in shoes. Bummer!

So I will dutifully cast on for sock number 2, but boy am I not excited about it! I am going to pay very close attention to the heal construction this time - and try to understand it better. I am thinking ahead to "NEXT" and I think two at a time toe up construction - perhaps with an afterthought heal?!?! Sound pretty good!

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