Thursday, 28 April 2011

Don't Panic!

No, this is not the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You do not need to pack your towel. Although the old brain was going a little loopy last night. Let me explain why:

As mentioned in my last post, the pattern specs for Round 4 of Sock Madness were released on Monday. By Tuesday 5pm the pattern hadn't yet been released, and I figured that since it was the middle of the night over in mod-land, I'd be safe. So off I went with some friends to a weird little play about vodka. Just before it was about to start, I checked my phone, and horror of horrors, the pattern was out!!! Sent a hurried text to Deane requesting that he please reconnect the printer to the network, log in to my email and print the pattern for me, so it was ready when I got home. I was stuck watching the play (which was actually pretty funny) until 9.30pm. I walked very briskly back home and sat straight down to knit. Bless the man, he'd even checked out youtube for the instructions I'd need for the cast on! (Although he told me I wouldn't need them until row number 40. At least he'd tried to sound informed...)

We watched an episode of Chuck, then Deane wandered off to bed. I carried on knitting, and somewhere around 12.30am put on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1 for a little background noise (and some distraction). By 6am I decided I would benefit from a couple of hours sleep, so begrudingly dragged myself off to bed. By 8.30am I was up and back at the needles again. The first sock was done by that afternoon, but sadly was too small. I'd figured that out by about the heel, but decided to knit on, and reknit the sock after I'd made it through the round. Unfortunately, the reason why it was so small is because I was knitting to the recommended gauge on the pattern. Next time I'll just knit how I want to and be damned the gauge! Almost as useless as a gauge swatch ;-) Sock #2 was cast on with a bigger needle, and knit with a looser tension. By 11pm I had to admit defeat. I still had four inches of the foot to knit before I could start the toe. It occurred to me at this time that I had absolutely no idea why I was even in the competition. Why was I busting my ass trying to knit a pair of socks as fast as I possibly could, knowing full well that there are many, many knitters halfway round the world that can knit twice as fast as I can? There's absolutely no way I can win this! So why bother? In fact, why do I even knit at all?? Heck, why do we do anything??? The weirdest things were funny to me, and I discovered that the fabric of my pants felt really nice and soft. Definitely bedtime!

8am this morning, straight back into it. I finished just before lunch, and came in about seventh in my team, eighth overall. It's starting to get a little trickier now. Only 11 people make it through this round, six in the next. I don't hold out much hope for getting through Round 5. If by some freak occurrence I do get through, I'm going to take my time knitting that sixth round pair. No point being in a hurry when there's no chance of beating the speed knitters on my team. If they were all knocked out of the sixth round for some strange reason I'm fairly sure I'd have a sporting chance of winning, but we all know that's not going to happn, so best stop daydreaming now. Would be nice to get that far though...

Anyway, after all that babbling, I'm holding off posting a picture of the finished socks on here, because I've already frogged the first sock. I did of course take a picture and email it through to declare myself 'finished' for the purposes of the competition, but the first sock was not only too tight, I had screwed up the rib pattern and wasn't happy with it at all. So sock #1 is now a small ball of hand wound yarn. I cast on again, and knit one round before deciding that I really couldn't be bothered knitting any more today. When I do finish the sock (again) I'll take a (not blurry) pic of the proper finished pair. The pattern is really neat, and I knit the socks in my Grape Kool Aid dyed yarn. I really like how it turned out! So keep your eyes peeled for the reveal next week!

But for now, it's an early night for me :-) Sleep well, people. I know I will!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Where did April go??

It's drawing to a close already. This year is zooming by so quickly you really have to pay attention!! We're halfway through the school holidays, and its Easter Monday and ANZAC day here. MIL left for home this morning after staying for the long weekend (and pilfering a pair of handknit socks while she was here ;-P). The boys have chomped through a third of their Easter eggs (but oddly enough, have not requested any today yet). Deane is officially 32 years old, which means I will be 32 in about six months time. Scary.

I finished the pair of demo socks for The Little Craft Store (btw, did you notice the shop now has its own website??? Yay!!):

Baudelaire socks by my fave designer, Cookie A. Knit in Misti Alpaca Tonos Carnival in Rosemary Garden. Soooo soft and comfy on your feet! Lovely to knit with too, and warm! I think I may have to invest in some of this for myself...

I've got 4 1/2 repeats left on the feet of my Firenze socks, before starting on the toes. I'm trying to get these finished today - the pattern specs for Round 4 of Sock Madness have been released!! And I haven't even started knitting the optional round socks!! Poop :-( The pattern looks awesome - Diamonds in the Fluff (Ravelry link). They were designed by a fellow Needles of Fire team member, so I'm definitely going to knit them, just not yet. I have the perfect Needle Food yarn to knit them in too. Can't wait!

There are a couple of parcels eagerly awaiting me at the Post depot - I think they'll be more squares for the Ron Weasley blanket swap. Everyone's finished their squares and posted them, so I just have to wait for them all to arrive so I can mix them all up and send them out again. So much fun! I have well over 40 squares myself now, so I guess I should start thinking about sewing them all together...

The HPKCHC is about to start a new term, so its time to start thinking about another OWL project. Although I'm seriously starting to run out of options. Maybe two cardigans for Transfiguration - the Featherweight and the Simplicity (both Ravelry links). Too much of a challenge perhaps?? Or maybe a shawl for Ancient Runes using my handspun. Remember this?

I'm thinking either a Swallowtail, Holden or an Echo Flower (all Rav links, again). Decisions, decisions.

The weather here is starting to get cooler and wetter. Perfect for cosying up on the couch and knitting. Just the type of weather I like!! Hope you're enjoying whatever weather you have - make the most of it! Have a great day :-)

PS: Almost forgot to mention, I finished the Sackboy I was making for my nephew!

Isn't he cute? He was very well received, and I got an awesome hand made card in return. Sweet :-)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

It's over already

T was sick a few times this morning, but now he's had McDonalds for lunch and we're all good. Kids are amazing, aren't they?

What a great start to the school holidays

Its the first official day of the school holidays, and T starts the morning by throwing up on the couch :-( He was sitting on one side, and the vomit ran down between the cushion and the arm. Thank God for leather!! I would've been tempted to just throw the couch away if it was fabric. Cleaning between the gaps of a couch is difficult at the best of times, especially when the cushions aren't detachable! He's now sitting back on the couch after having a shower, wrapped in his towel. He refuses to get dressed. I think it may take a little prompting on our part, before he gets cold. Maybe it'll help if I hand him some odd socks...

He's taken to wearing mis-matched socks lately. Grabs out two pairs, and pulls out one of each. I've no idea where that came from, but he's happy with the arrangement. Me? Not so much. It means my odd-sock pile is growing unusually large. On the plus side, once he runs out of clean pairs, he'll turn to the odd-sock pile ;-)

We have no solid plans for the holidays yet, although I'm hoping to get down to Napier to visit friends and family. The boys would love to go spend some time with their cousins and see the grandparents. I'm trying to work up the courage to drive the long distance from Auckland to Napier. My main issue is that I'm likely to get lost. Deane always drives the back roads, and I would have no hope of remembering the route. I assume the main route is signposted all the way through, but I've never really paid attention. There's usually a book or some knitting in my hands to keep me occupied on long trips, so bascially the drive between Auckland and Taupo is pretty much a mystery to me. I know Hamilton's in there somewhere. Unless Deane's driving. If you haven't figured it out yet, yes, I'm a wuss. I worried over driving from Wellington to Napier until I actually did it once and found it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Perhaps its just time to harden up and stop being such a girl.

The trip would require me taking a small suitcase full of sock yarn and needles, just in case the Round 4 pattern is released while we're away. There are only ten spots left on the slowest team, which should (in theory) be taken up in the next couple of days, which would leave plenty of time for another pattern release. Although the mods always steer clear of releasing patterns around Easter, because so many people are 'unavailable' for the competition which would make things unfair, and skew the results. I'm kinda hoping the slow team takes a bit longer, so the pattern gets released after Easter. Either way, at least one pattern is coming out during the school holidays, and I have no idea how the knitting's going to go with the boys home. Only time will tell I guess...

My original goal was to get to Round 3 or 4. I'm now officially in Round 4, and my goal has changed. I'd love to make it all the way to Round 6 (knowing full well that I won't beat the fastest person in the team. Only one person per team gets to Round 7, therefore it is impossible) - fingers crossed!!! Either way, I did achieve my original goal, so I should be happy with my progress considering this is my first Sock Madness.

Wow, this post has turned into a pile of ramble, I think it's time to go. Quick update - T is dressed, minus the odd socks. No more vomit for now - lets hope it stays that way ;-)

Have a good weekend!! It's raining here, perfect weather for a bit spinning I think...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Don't blink, you might miss it

Yep. Knit a pair of socks this weekend. Did you catch it? Didn't think so, I'm not sure I did either...

Just kidding ;-) Of course I didn't miss it! It took me 30 hours, which did include a six hour sleep and several meals, not to mention lots of bathroom breaks, child interruptions, husband whinges etc etc. But seriously? That's the fastest I've ever knit a pair of socks!! Sock Madness indeed! And the first person to finish knit the pair in about 12 hours. Crazy...

I had a goal in mind, of trying to beat the person who keeps winning each round. Unfortunately, she scraped in before me. But I came third, which is pretty darn good if you ask me. Anyway, enough blabbering, here's a wee pic:

Pretty snazzy, huh? Dangerous Turns (Rav link), knit in Knitsch 'Peacock in the Parlour'. The colourway was one of the limited edition sock club skeins.

My hands aren't nearly as sore this time around as they were after round two (the Nornirs), but I don't feel like knitting any more today all the same. We'll just have to see how tomorrow goes...

The boys only have one more week of school before the Easter holidays - I must prepare myself. Perhaps knitting should take a break - gotta have some knitting saved for the holidays, to keep me sane while the boys tear the house apart!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Random update post

I have no idea where this is going just yet, so it's probably going to be all higgeldy-piggeldy, but still mildly interesting (I hope).

First up - I finished my quilt top!! Ta da!!!

Full credit to Film in the Fridge for the idea, and the handy block tutorial, found here. I think it came out looking pretty darn awesome, even though the Thai fabrics are bright and crazy and totally in-your-face. The white helps to balance it out. Now, if I can figure out what colour thread to quilt it in...

The intended recipient arrived a whole four weeks early, so she'll just have to wait a bit for her surprise pressie. Having said that, I don't think a newborn is going to notice a late delivery. Her mum might though - don't worry Jane, it's on the way!!!

Crazy Jays are done too:

Another of what I like to call 'Ravelry Classics' done and dusted - Jaywalkers by Grumperina (Rav link).

I've knit all the body pieces for the Sackboy (Rav link) I'm making for my nephew, but can't go any further until I get a zip and some eyes for him, and stuffing (although I may end up using some non-descript fibre I have lying around. Mmmmm, woolliness...). No point taking pics of the body pieces, they just look like weird curled-up pieces of knitting.

Cast on another pair of socks, as I needed something I could do at knitting group on Wednesday - Firenze the Centaur, which we're doing as a knit-along in one of the Harry Potter groups on Ravelry. Don't think I'll get far on them though - the Round Three specs have been posted for SM5!!! This pair has cables - ooooooh, exciting!! Should have the pattern in the next day or two, I must prepare.

Received a parcel in the mail yesterday from my good buddy Jill over in Virginia, USA.

Look at all that teeth-rotting goodness!! Peeps, and Cookies, and S'mores! Oh my! Don't worry though - I sent her a large box full of chocolatey goodness too. We'll all have huge dental bills!! Nobody misses out ;-) And she was very sweet to send me Knit. Sock. Love by Cookie A - one of my all-time favourite sock designers. I am pleased beyond words - so many gorgeous socks to knit!!!

Wow, looking back through this post, I think I have more than used up my quota of exclamation marks today. Too much excitement. I must sign off and relax a bit before heading out to buy quilt batting, zips and eyes.

Have a good day! (oops, another one snuck in there...)