Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Costume Ideas

The party on Saturday night was a blast. The Dandy Warhols were excellent. Collective Soul was OK, but they aren't my favorite band.

Some of the costumes were brilliant.

I had great admiration for the woman in the Catwoman outfit if for no other reason than she was walking around in six-inch spike-heeled boots and a vinyl Catwoman outfit that left nothing to the imagination. And she looked damn good. That takes a bit more dedication than I have!

My favorite costume was my friend who wore a Playboy bunny outfit with a skirt made of dust mops and with little ashy cotton balls all over her. She was a dust bunny. What made the outfit was the fact that her husband came in a French maid's outfit complete with fishnet hose and full makeup. Hilarious!

The big, hairy Italian guy who came as the Tooth Fairy was also pretty good. Nothing like a six-foot guy with a pretty good gut dressed in a tutu.

Another friend is a pilot for Southwest Airlines. He wore his uniform and his wife went as that trashy girl who got thrown off the plane. It was pretty funny.

There are always tons of Hefners and Playboy bunnies. On one hand, if you are over 40 and have the body for it, I guess you want to show it off, on the other hand, there were at least 10 couples dressed like that so it's not that imaginative. Not that our outfits of SNL's Killer Bees was so original, but there were only two other bees at the party and they weren't SNL bees. There were also a ton of pirates and wenches.

The most time-consuming costumes had to be the "Birds of a Feather" who all had very elaborate full body bird costumes created from crepe paper. Amazing stuff.

Overall, it's a can't miss party. I do not even want to imagine what their bar bill was (open bar with premium liquor for 1000+ people - you do the math). I'll bet the party cost more than my house is worth. Maybe even a couple of houses. It's an amazing shindig.

Karl Rove Hates Halloween

We have a small child. Hence, we usually go trick-or-treating around 6pm. This is the same time at which all the other small kids in the neighborhood go out.

The lovely idea of extending Daylight Saving Time (which ain't saving us squat because the lights I'm not turning on in the evening are the same lights I have to turn on an hour earlier when we get up), means that we'll have to trick-or-treat in the DAYLIGHT.

I think it's a government plot against Halloween.

And, no, we can't just go an hour later. She's 5. By the time we get home and get her calmed down from the excitement, it will be plenty late enough. She can barely make it to 7.30 on a normal night.

Just another thing that makes me wonder if Bush and his pals understand the difference between President and Dictator.

Ah, screw it, she's just going to have to be tired on Thursday. We're going to go to a neighborhood party in Plano. It's not like most of the kids won't be fried at school anyway!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dumb things I gotta do today

Go to Joann and get batting to stuff bee costumes.

Make bee costumes for me and Dr. Pig for tomorrow's adult Halloween extravaganza. Which is seriously an extravaganza. I have a friend who throws these over-the-top Halloween parties. This year, they are renting out the House of Blues (open bar, food, valet) and the Dandy Warhols and Collective Soul are the bands. You have to be on the guest list, have your wristband, and be wearing a costume or you will not be admitted. It's a helluva bash. Hence, SNL Killer Bee costumes.

Finish Whitby socks. (Didn't even know I started them, didja? Quickest socks EVAH!)

Take bags of candy for Halloween party and Sally Foster order up to school since I forgot to do either at carpool.

Make a Target run.

Fold laundry.


Wish I had time for a nap.

Take Bean to sushi tonight (promised by Dr. Pig and I'd rather stay home and order a pizza).

This weekend is going to be a beating, but it will be fun. We have 4 parties to go to, not counting the Saturday night extravaganza. We aren't going to all of them because I value my tenuous grip on sanity. But we have to attend two on Sunday and that will be plenty. More than plenty.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A bustle in my hedgerows

Sorry about the title, but given what happened, I couldn't resist.

I scored some Sundara sock yarn in her last update. This is another yarn that is new to me. I decided to be something of a literalist. I love Jane's green Hedgerow socks and here I am with green Sundara yarn.

Hedgerow Socks ensued.

Love the pattern. It makes ribbing a bit more interesting and the sock fits extremely well. This is definitely a sock to knit in a solid or slightly varied color rather than a variegated yarn. The pattern is fairly delicate, so I can't imagine it standing up to a stripe or high contrast colorway.

There was only one teensy weensy problem.

I totally horsed up the pattern. Instead of knitting pattern A on rows 1 and 2 and pattern B on rows 3 and 4, I knit pattern A on rows 1 and 3 and pattern B on rows 2 and 4.


I discovered this when I was about to divide for the heel on the first sock.

The yarn has been rewound and it and the pattern are in time-out for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sockety sock sock

Sorry, no Rhinebeck stories here. It's expensive to get to upstate New York from Texas. And worse, it takes a plane trip and a long drive. I'd love to go someday, but I have to, unfortunately, be realistic. The good thing is that I'm nearer to festivals in Taos and Colorado, and I'm planning a little trip next year!

Meanwhile, the sock obsession continues.

I find it interesting that so many knitters seem to go on jags of knitting the same types of projects. We find ourselves lusting for lace, swooning for sweaters, etc. Last year, I had a huge lace obsession and then went back to sweaters, but I seemed to also be less interested in knitting (I had less free time as well, so that was a factor). Now, I'm back in the game full force and it seems to be all about socks. I have three sweaters that are literally only a collar each away from being finished, and yet I am not interested. I want socks.

What are your current knitting obsessions and why?

Today, it's about Monkey socks. Now, I've had some problems with the Monkey pattern. I really need to knit it on size 0 needles to get pattern gauge, however at the gauge where the sock fits, my variegated yarns all seem to stripe and pool in a pretty nasty way.

I did complete one pair of Monkeys that fit nicely:

Cherry Tree Hill. Knit on size 1s. I have no idea of the name of the colorway. The colors are not quite as overwhelming in real life, however these socks are pretty retina-searing. I like them, they fit well, but I think the color is just too much for the pattern.

Monkey 2 (actually, this is more like Monkey 4, but the others were frogged)

Socks That Rock Lightweight. Colorway is Rolling Stone. Knit on size 1s. This sock is a bit loose, but it's not to the point of being floppy, so I'm not going to frog this sock - I'm going to knit the other one. These socks fit better when I used 0s, but the yarn pooled in a really unattractive manner. Sometimes, I don't mind pooling. This was not one of those times!

They aren't perfect, but they'll make nice socks for padding around the house. If I were a perfectionist, I'd rip and try another pattern. However, there has been a bit too much ripping recently and now I'm into Make It Work.

The DIC for Monkey 3.
The color is In Vino Veritas. I'm not normally much into wine colors, however my color choices have been changing quite a bit recently. My love for bright reds and pinks will never die. However, I've decided that I can try other colors and be happy.

It's a dark and stormy day here, so getting any kind of picture was work. This is the best representation of the true color.

And it had to be dark and stormy because Bean is Student of The Week this week. So, we had to bring in a big poster with pictures and I'm Snack Mom so I had three huge bags of snacks. You aren't supposed to park in the tiny school parking lot before school, but there was no way I was lugging all that stuff AND ushering my child through the pouring rain. Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Making socks that fit

Today's Sock Obsession Post is about ribbed sock patterns.

The first up is Nancy Bush's Rib and Cable Socks from Interweave Knits, Fall 2005. Now, Nancy Bush is a Sock Genius. I love almost all of her socks patterns. This one is no exception.

I'm knitting them in Shibui Knits Sock Fluids, colorway Orchid (Loopy Ewe, yet again). This is pretty typical of my color preferences, but in a new yarn. I am loving this yarn. It's thinner than STR, which makes it a bit more flexible for pattern choices and more suited to my sock gauge.

My gauge adventure began with knitting these socks on size 1s. The yarn started pooling. I never knit socks too small, so I went down to size 0s. The pooling got much worse and the sock started to look oddly tiny. Like, I Can't Get This Over My Foot tiny.


So, I did the unthinkable. I went up to 1.5s. I don't remember the last time I had to go up a needle size, but that did the trick. Oh, there's a little pooling on the foot, but nothing offensive. This sock fits beautifully and yarn is incredibly comfy. I'm holding out for a couple of skeins of Rappongi, now.

I did make a few changes to the pattern. The heel seemed really strange to me. I couldn't figure out why I would want decorative holes at the base of the heel. It seemed like they wouldn't wear that well and that they'd be sort of uncomfortable. So, I knit the heel flap in the rib and cable pattern and then knit a regular heel and picked up the gusset as usual. I like it. The only thing I did wrong was not center the cable pattern between two purl stitch sections. It's not hugely noticeable, but I think I'll center it better on the second sock and then write down the changes and put a note in my copy of the magazine for future use.

Again, the technically perfect knitter would rip, make the changes, and reknit. I am still into Make It Work mode. I'm going to be wearing shoes that will cover up the difference and I'm not planning on entering them into the State Fair, so, frankly, I'll live with it. I'm sure some of you are saying, "How can you stand to do that?" I think it's a matter of not realizing the issue until I was almost finished with the sock. I've frogged this particular sock twice already. I really want these socks and "As God is my witness, I shall never frog these socks again!" (With apologies to Scarlett O'Hara.)

I knit for my pleasure alone. Sometimes, I get very technical and rip until a sweater or shawl is perfect. Other times, I find that the "error" isn't enough to matter to me. I finally have a sock that fits perfectly and works colorwise. I'm letting well enough alone!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A whole lotta sockin' going on (and a mysterious beastie)

It's been quite busy at Chez Casa Liz. We've been all about doctor's visits and the outlaws have come for a visit and gone again. Now that I have my house back, I have time to post! The doctor report was fabulous! Bean's eye alignment is spot on and, now that she's had some time to adjust to not wearing super thick glasses, her vision is incredible. Seriously, we're talking super-hero - 20/15. I couldn't even identify the letters with my glasses on and she was reading them like they were right next to her nose!!!

I seem to have taken Socktoberfest quite literally, as I have been knitting nothing but socks. Sadly, there has been alot of frogging going on as well, but I've learned that, as I stated in the last post, I really prefer a sock with some ribbing in it. They fit my foot and leg better and I seem to have much fewer gauge issues.

Let's face it, gauge matters for different reasons on different projects. In shawls, I really don't care about the finished size, as long as it's not too small and I don't run out of yarn. So, gauge matters, but only in regards to yarn quantity. In sweaters, I can usually get at least stitch gauge and, if I can't, I can always go down a sweater size to compensate.

Socks are another matter. Socks have to fit. Floppy socks aren't very comfortable. Too small socks are flat unworkable. So, my thought is that, out of all the types of knitting we do, gauge can be hardest to get in a sock and it matters the most because a very tiny difference in gauge can really screw you up. I find that knitting a sock swatch does me absolutely no good at all. I have to knit the damn sock to find out if it's going to work. That can be pretty frustrating.

So, ribbed sock Number 1: Jitterbug Socks.

I have no idea why my legs look like big 'ole columns in this picture and can only hope that they don't really look like that!!!

Love these socks. The yarn is soft and squishy. I could have knit these quite a bit taller, even with the skimpy yardage, but I kind of like having them as short, flirty socks. They'll be great with some clogs, peeking out from under my jeans when I sit down.

I knit a picot edge and then a 60 stitch sock with a rib pattern of K3, p2, k1, p2, k2 - of course, the k2 at the end of the repeat and the k3 at the beginning end up turning it into K3, p2, k1, p2, k5, etc.

If you click on the picture you get an accurate color representation. My camera isn't very good at close-ups of knitting details. It doesn't do subtle.

So, now we get to play Name That Beastie. OK, it's really Name That Birdie. Over the past several days, there has been this very large and very weird bird hanging around the end of the block. Google was no help at all, so I called Wild Birds Unlimited who knew exactly what bird this is. Bean decided it was a Duck Duck Goose.

It's a Black Muscovy Duck.

Duck, it's what's for dinner! (Perish the thought - the creek down at the end of the block is just nasty. I see people fishing down there and all I can think is that I hope they aren't eating what they catch because God only knows what's in there.)

More socks to come. I didn't really end up with finishitis per se. More like sockitis.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

socked in

It's official. The Summer of Love sock is no more and never will be.

I liked that pattern reasonably well, but I will admit I thought the yarn was fairly ugly. I figured I'd knit it anyway and see what happened. What happened is that the sock turned out huge. So, I ripped and reknit on zeros. Still enormous. Reknit on zeros in the size small. HUGE! I can't get anything resembling a fit on the sock and decided that I was putting in good time on a bad project.

I think I do better at patterns that have some ribbing. The ribbing covers up a multitude of gauge sins and, generally, makes for a better fitting sock.

So, I'm dumping that sock and finishing the second retina-searing green monkey.

Then, it's on to the rib and cable sock from Fall 2005 IK. In a very pink and green Shibui Knits.

Unless my Sundara sock gets here first and I start Jane's Hedgerow socks.

Ribby goodness!