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Archive for April, 2008

FO: Fall Foliage Socks

Cherry Tree Hill Fall Foliage

Pattern: Generic Toe-Up Socks
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in Fall Foliage
Needles: Size 2.5mm/US 1.5
Started April 4, 2008
Finished April 23, 2008

Last weekend was my oldest son’s first soccer game… He really shocked me and the hubby with how well he played, especially considering he’s never played on a ‘real’ team before. He scored 2 of the team’s 3 goals during the game and stopped one or two shots on him while he played goalie. The program he’s playing with doesn’t keep score, but as a family we do. I think it’s incredibly important that my kids understand that they can’t and won’t always win, but it’s still fun to play. In my opinion, it’s not winning or losing so much as it’s giving all you’ve got and having fun doing so. If you’re not doing both, why bother?! In the game of real life, there’s no question it’s about winning and losing… but that’s not all it’s about. I hope we can instill that in our kids, even without the help of the park district!


(He’s far left in the photo)

I guess this means I’m officially a soccer mom, huh?!

Edited to add: The team lost their first game.  🙂

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Bummer

We got some bittersweet news the other day. You might remember my mentioning that we were all headed to Costa Rica as a part of a business-reward for the hubby performing quite well in 2007 sales. Well, it’s not going to happen as planned. The people involved were given two options–take a similar trip in October of this year or take a cash offer plus one week paid vacation to be used as each family sees fit. The entire group voted and the result was each family receiving some cash. We’re not sure what we’ll use it for, but it’ll definitely be some sort of vacation. We had already planned a 2-3 week trip to Florida again over the summer, so I think we’ll stick with that and plan to use the cash on a trip for next summer. I’d love to hear suggestions about where we should consider!

In other news, I’ve been chugging along slowly on my Central Park Hoodie. I’m making progress, but as the weather is finally turning Spring-like, my desire to work on it is diminishing. Same thing happened last year right about this time, too!

Central Park Hoodie #3/4/5??

The blogfront may be a tad quieter than normal over the next month or so. I have 2 friends who are expecting a total of 3 babies within 10 days of each other and that means I have lots of little goodies to knit. Problem is, I can’t really blog about them because both expectant mommies have access to my blog. I can’t let the cat out of the bag, now can I? One mommy isn’t finding out the gender of the baby until D-Day, so I’m going neutral on that one. The other mommy is expecting twins and told me she’d tell me the gender(s) only if I promise not to tell anyone. I’m good with that… now if I can just wait until the ultrasound…

I have some ideas for what I’ll be knitting as gifts but I’d love to hear any suggestions you all have! I’m most in need of ideas for the older siblings of the twins. The girls, to be exact. They’re 7 and 9 and I have no clue what girls of this age like… Mom has given me a few ideas, but nothing along the lines of which I could knit. I know I could go out and buy something, but I’d really like to knit something special for each of the 4 siblings.

Let the suggestions fly my way!

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Watermelon Socks!

On 4/9, I mentioned that I followed this tutorial to dye some self-striping yarn. Here’s how it worked out:

First, I decided how I wanted the striping sequence to work out: 5 stripes green, 2 stripes undyed, 5 stripes pink, 2 stripes undyed–for a total of 14 rounds per sequence.

I cast on the required number of stitches for an appropriately sized sock for my feetsies (72 sts) and marked the yarn at the beginning of my first round (not the cast on row) & began working. I knit 14 rounds and marked the yarn at the end of the 14th round. The next step was to frog the work and measure the total length of yarn used. Once I had that measurement (420″) I had to divide 420 by 14 (the number of rounds per sequence) to get how many inches of yarn each round took (30″)… I took the number of rounds of each color and multiplied that by 30″ to determine how many inches total each color would use.

Green: 5 rounds x 30″ = 150″
Undyed: 2 rounds x 30″ = 60″
Pink: 5 rounds x 30″ = 150″
Undyed: 2 rounds x 30″ = 60″

I then placed two chairs 210″ apart from each other and wound the entire hank of Knit Picks Bare Merino Wool around and around and around and around and around… I placed some acrylic yarn ties at 150″, 60″, 150″, and 60″ increments. I used an alternate color acrylic to tie off in other places to help minimize the potential for tangles.

Now it was time to dye. I filled two stainless stock pots with enough water to cover the yarn (no measuring here), then put them on the stove top. At this point, I mixed the Kool Aid with warm water in smaller plastic tubs. 4 packets of Pink Lemonade and 4 packets of Lemon Lime. After the water on the stove was about boiling, I placed the Kool Aid into each pot and stirred. Then I added the yarn, placing the two undyed portions together into a pot in-between the cooking pots. I let the yarn cook until the water was clear, stirring gently occasionally.

Dyeing yarn

Once the dyeing was complete, I waited for the yarn to be cool enough to touch, then rinsed in the sink. After that I hung the yarn to dry:

Drying yarn

A couple of things I learned:
1) Add more Kool Aid than you think you’ll need!
2) Don’t tie the scrap yarn too tight within the colored sections or you’ll end up with white spots.
3) Duh… Soak the yarn before you dye it. Oops.
4) Kool Aid dyeing is fun! 🙂

I haven’t figured out the best way to wind the massive hank of yarn into a manageable size skein yet. I don’t own a niddy noddy and the hubby isn’t crafty, so a PVC version isn’t likely. I tend to place the yarn back over the chair backs and wind from that back over my arm (like you would a long extension cord)… it works, but it leaves me with a really small circle of yarn that won’t fit over the umbrella swift. I did make myself one of these and it worked well enough, but I’d really like to make a true skein of the yarn so I can see all the colors and how they work together in the skein. Maybe if I drop enough hints to the hubby, he’ll order a niddy noddy for me?! Anyone know what size I should hint at?? Also, anyone know how to tie a figure eight into a skein??

Anyway, this is becoming much longer than I anticipated… This is what I ended up with after all that:

Watermelon Sock

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare 100% Merino Wool, 1 hank dyed with Kool Aid

Needles: 2.75mm (US 2)

Pattern: Basic Sock Pattern from the Handy Book of Patterns by Ann F Budd

Started April 9, Finished April 16. Fastest I’ve ever knit socks… I became a bit obsessed with curiosity about whether or not the stripes would work out the same on both socks. I know, I need a life. 😉

For humor’s sake, they are almost identical. Almost.

Watermelon Striping Socks

I’m in love with these socks. They’re just happy colors. YAY! Is it really sad that I own socks already dyed in almost the exact same colors?

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Wow, what a difference

A little recap of our Spring Break trip: (scroll down to the bottom for knitting content!)

We were in Florida only 7 months ago and the differences between that trip and this one are too many to mention! The kids were totally changed from the last time we visited.

Just before heading down this time, we thought it would be a really good idea to invest in swimming lessons for the older two kids. They had a total of 8 consecutive weeks/16 lessons immediately before the start of Spring Break. Of those 16, we probably made it to 10-12… And yet, this time around, the kids both had such confidence and ability in the water that the hubby and I just gasped and stared at them and each other! It was amazing and wonderful, to say the least. Even our youngest was more excited about being in the pool and playing in the sand on the beach.

The actual trip here was shockingly uneventful, too. We chose to spend the extra money on a through flight rather than have layovers and potentially ‘lose’ our luggage again. I’m so glad we did. SO GLAD! The flight didn’t leave until mid-morning, which meant we were all able to sleep to our usual time and to get ready on our typical schedule. I was able to pack pretty lightly considering we have 3 kids who all need boosters/car seats. Security at the airport was eerily quiet and easy. You heard right. Easy! We made it through without any trouble at all and were able to eat a little snack and play a little in the airport before boarding our flight. The kids had their movies and some more snack stuff… the DS games, etc. Even our 2.5 year old who didn’t have his car seat to hang out in was really content. He didn’t start causing any fuss at all until just before landing, and even then it was very minimal and only because he was tired from missing a nap.

Our luggage made it intact. The hubby was able to get our rental minivan while I waited with the kids for the bags. We found the car, and with the exception of the hubby falling over our daughter (who walked directly in his path) we were in Florida and ready to play!

I am so glad we’ve been able to travel with the kids and that they’ve been able to experience and see things I wasn’t privy to as a youngster. I know they’ve learned so many things by traveling with us… They often travel as well as or better than their older counterparts. I’m very proud!

On the knitting front, I have made much progress on the first Fall Foliage sock, having worked the first heel and part of the cuff. I’m only working on it in the car now, so progress will likely slow down. I also picked back up on my umpteenth Central Park Hoodie… I cast on for this one before we left for break and am only working on it after the kids are asleep. It’s a good thing it knits up so quickly or I might get bored faster than usual. 🙂 What I’m most excited about, though is this:

Watermelon Dyed Bare

I followed Eunny Jang’s EXCELLENT tutorial on self-striping yarn this time and my results are as close to perfect as I can hope for! I was striving for a striping of bright green, white/natural, and bright pink. The only thing that wasn’t exactly as I hoped was the intensity of the color. I know better for the next attempt. When I have finished the socks, I will post all the details about how I achieved the colors etc.  I’m hoping that post will be very soon since my oldest son starts soccer tomorrow… with luck, that’ll mean an increase in mindless knitting at least twice a week during practice and games!

Enjoy your hump day!

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Almost Over

Today was our last day here in Florida. It’s bittersweet, as most vacations are. I’ll be happy to get home, but I’ll miss the weather and all the fun in the pool and on the beach.

We spent lots of time at the beach where the waves were quite large:

(That’s my hubby being pummeled by a wave!)

And we spent some more time at the pool playing with the underwater camera

We’re all packed and will head out very early tomorrow morning. The kids have had so much fun this trip that it makes me wish we could buy a condo down here and spend the summers playing in the water and sun. *sigh* We couldn’t have asked for better weather. There have only been two little sprinkles of rain the entire time we’ve been down here.

Before I forget, I wanted to share the Wollmeise yardage extraordinaire…

Wollmeise leftovers

You’ll notice there is a full pair of socks there (approx size 8.5 women’s US) plus another full sock, PLUS a huge amount still waiting to be knit! I’m not sure there’s enough to match the Vog On sock and I won’t know until we’re home and I can weigh each, but Man-O-Man is there a lot of yarn in that one skein!! I even have a good sized chunk at home from a skein-winding debacle… I got so fed up with trying to fix my winding mistake and resulting yarn mass that I finally cut the offending section. Gasp!

And I also cast on for another pair of socks… I’m using some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in the Fall Foliage colorway. Nothing spectacular, just some toe-up socks for me. 🙂

CTH Fall Foliage toe up socks


Yeah, I know you can’t really see anything there, I just like the little Pelican at this condo!
Here’s what the yarn looks like all wound into a ball:

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino

I’ll be back next week with some sort of recap of the trip… Enjoy your weekend!

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Recharge

Today seems to be the first day everyone is feeling the effects of both the excitement and relaxation of the trip. Even the kids are content to hang out rather than their typical chanting of “can we go can we go can we go can we go” (to the beach and pool.) It’s very nice. Very nice indeed.

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(I don’t know who those big people are behind my children,

but at least they’re smiling!)

I always have a hard time deciding what to bring on our trips for my knitting fix. I tend to over pack anyway, and with 3 kids that habit becomes cumbersome quickly. This trip, I opted to bring two skeins of sock yarn. The first was becoming one of my “Am I ever going to finish those” projects and the other was the just-in-case yarn.

Vacation Knitting

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I cast on the first sock in this pair just before Halloween. I had originally made one sock in the same yarn (Wollmeise in Dornroschen) using the Vog On pattern but wasn’t sure I loved it. I shouldn’t have cut the yarn, but I did. Live and learn. I do like that sock, but I’m not happy with the cuff I chose (I knit them toe-up instead of cuff-down) and I may just try to fix it… if I end up with enough yarn left over to make a second sock. Here’s a comparison shot:

Vog On (L) & Stockinette (R) in Wollmeise

On the left, Vog On and on the right a simple Stockinette

I love my hand knit socks… they’re the only socks that I don’t spend half my day pulling and tugging and fighting with to make fit, but I’m not much of a sock knitter. This creates a bit of a (trivial) dilemma, no? I’ve decided that the perfect solution for me is to take only socks with me on our trips. They’re small, I love the end result, it’s unlikely I’ll forget some notion I absolutely can’t live without to finish them, and I prefer plain old stockinette, so they’re perfectly mindless relaxation knitting. YAY!

(Obviously, I haven’t finished the first pair, so it’s very likely you won’t see any other knitting-related posts until we’re back home.)

In the time it’s taken me to type this post, my children have reverted back to chanting. I think that’s my cue to slather in sunscreen! Have a great hump-day!

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