Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just under the wire....

Where did October go? It seems like Socktoberfest just started and here we are at the end...didn't October just fly by?

I only knit one pair for Socktoberfest 2006 but they turned out to be one of my favorites so just under the wire on the last day of October I give you....



Hedera by Cookie for Knitty
US #1 (2.25 mm) Aero double pointed needles
Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn, colorway Melon
Mods: Switched from flap heel as written to yo short row heel with mini flap and gusset

I love this pattern - easy but interesting and I think the subtle colorway of the Fleece Artist really worked well with the lace! I highly recommend this well written pattern for beginner lace knitters and I can't say enough about this super soft, beautifully colored yarn!

The Lotus Blossom Thistle Flower Tank is finished (woot, finally!) and is blocking even as I type so she won't make her debut for another few days....she is a real beauty tho!

These aren't socks but I used sock yarn so do they count for Socktoberfest?....hehe...

In all my years of knitting pre and post 15 year hiatus, I've never knit any sort of hand covering, I'm not sure why! I'm so glad I changed that cause they are almost as fun as socks!

Here are some beaded wristers for my neice....

And a close up of the beads which I added using the crochet method


Pattern: my own cobbed together from a few different free internet patterns
US #1 (2.25mm) Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs
Regia Silk, 6 fadig (sportweight) in Black (I know this is a shocker, lol!)
About 200 6/0 seed beads, size #13 steel crochet hook
Totally fun and totally cute!

My neice is 17 and I think she's gonna go crazy for these....and they were so much fun to make I want to knit her a whole wrister wardrobe! I've seen so many bloggers knitting some variation on the fingerless mitt and now I know why! Another reason to love Knitbloglandia!

Here's the P-Man playing with one of his favorite toys.....a backscratcher from the dollar store a friend bought me as a joke!

He just loves to bite and "bunny kick" this thing, better than any of the assortment of genuine cat toys he has! Whatever the P-Man wants, the P-Man gets, what can I say?

My "Great Pumpkin" and I wish everyone a Happy Halloween with lots of treats and no tricks! See ya soon!

Saturday, October 28, 2006


So I got my laptop back from being serviced 2 weeks ago and the manifest said they reinstalled the memory....WTF?? There was nothing wrong with the memory, all 1000 megs of it!

I turned on the newly serviced machine with hope and anticipation just to be disappointedly staring at a black screen and a flashing cursor, nothing more....sigh.....Apparently none of the knuckleheads over at Gateway bothered to turn on the machine after they replaced the memory which clearly was the reason I've gone thru 4 hard drives since June......UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!

The good news is Mohammed, Gateway on-site tech extraordinaire, came to Chez FKD today and installed a new motherboard, new hard drive and new processor so here's hoping this is the last installment in a wholly unbelievable and seriously frustrating saga! See? Here's Mohammed the Wonderful, hard at work....YAY Mohammed!! (and he thought my pic taking for blog fodder was totally fun, hehe!)

Here's hoping my stay in the Computa Triangle is over and the saga of The Computer Woes of a Fluffy Knitter can reach it's much awaited conclusion! And on that note, to all the new subscribers to FKD, let me say thanks for showing me the love and still subscribing even tho I haven't been posting much and to all my staid and steadfast "longtime" readers that have hung in there, thanx guys, YOU ROCK!!! So...... let's get this party started!!

Here's another interesting and beautiful Saturday Florida sky....

Looks likes a sky full of cottonballs!

I finished the Soctoberfest Hedera/Fleece Artist socks as well as 2 pairs of wristers plus I'm just a neckband away from finishing the Lotus Blossom Thistle Flower Tank. I didn't want to push my computer luck so quickly after Mohammed's visit so I'll be back next week with a bevy of FO's and some new projects!
Til then the P-Man says have a great weekend!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday Sky and a good snooze

My knitting looks pretty much status quo....another repeat on the Lotus Blossom Tank Thistle Flower Tank and a heel turned on the Fleece Artist Hedera sock. Both lovely, yes but nothing really exciting to see.

So instead I bring you spectaular Saturday sky!

All these were taken from my fifth and top floor catwalk at about 4 pm.

This is the sky to the south towards Miami

And looking straight up

And eastward towards the beach

Isn't it amazing how different the sky looks which ever way you look? Like I said before Florida isn't very verdant and it's really flat so the scenery isn't very beautiful but we do have some breathtaking sky!

And what did the P-Man do while I was surveying the sky?

He had a nice little snooze!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is it Groundhog day?

Remember the movie with Bill Murray where he relives the same day over and over again? Well I feel like I'm living that movie! Guess why....

As tired as I am of whinging about my computers I feel the need to continue my documentation because frankly if I wasn't living it I would never believe it myself! Not one but BOTH computers bit the dust in the last 10 days!! I shudder to think what bad karma I'm working off from a past life to deserve all this! :)

The six year old laptop had a brand new hard drive that died one month and one day after purchase. Turns out good old Gateway sold me a hard drive that was incompatible with this older laptop so it worked for a while then crashed. The replacement they sent was so incompatible the motherboard couldn't even read it at all! I know this now because a wonderful NON-GATEWAY computer genius came over yesterday to figure this out! He popped in the right hard drive and voila, FKD returns to the fold! Luckily it was NOT the $700 motherboard repair the geniuses at Gateway claimed was needed! Do you know how a technician earns the status of "senior technician" at Gateway? He finishes his new-hire probationary month!!! Sheesh!

As for computer #2, that one just died completely yet again! It's back to Gateway for yet another "complete diagnostic overhaul" since it has been a mere 50 days since it's last one! I've come to find out that Gateway won't completely replace my system until they've attempted to repair it three times....unfortunately this small fact was withheld from me until now because altho this system has crashed four times already, two of those times I allowed them to send me a new hard drive which I then installed myself so technically this is only the "second" repair. Actually Gateway has already replaced my whole system twice...yes, this is my third "new" computer since January 2005! Unbelievable, isn't it? I can't wait to see what they discover this time!

On to less upsetting topics...my annual gyn exam! Just kidding, hehe....bring on the knitting content!

Here's the first four pattern repeats of the Lotus Blossom tank

Personally I think the motifs look more like thistle than lotus blossoms but I'm loving how this is coming along! I love the way the yarn works with the pattern and it is so soft and drapey! The pattern calls for 5 pattern repeats but I'm doing at least 6, possibly 7 so I have a way to go. Luckily it's still hotter than Hades here in sunny SoFla so I'm sure I'll be able to wear it this season. Considering I was a this point before I frogged the first incarnation, I'm eager to finish and start something new!

Speaking of something new, unfortunately the green cashmere of my last post met an untimely demise! The yarn was a gift so I don't know much about it but it turned out to be far too fragile to knit with! The yarn kept breaking as I knit with it and I finally had enough! Even cashmere isn't worth it if it makes you miserable, right!

I did however, start a new sock for Socktoberfest and I am completely THRILLED with my new sock....I give you Hedera from Knitty

I'm using Fleece Artist merino sock yarn (my first experience!) and let me tell you this is YARN!! Sooo soft, perfect stitch definition and such gorgeous color! This is the Melon colorway and it just gleams with soft yellows, pinks and oranges! What a splendid yarn and a fun pattern, everything a socknitter wants! Now if I could just find a computer to make me as happy...at least I have the P-Man to cheer me!

What a stud muffin, right?

No matter how frustrating life can get, how could anyone resist that face?

Friday, October 06, 2006

T is for TMI

Well maybe not too much info but since the "10 knitterly things" meme is making the rounds and Lolly has put out the call for us to share our sock knitting histories I thought I'd use this post to fill in some of the potholes in the FKD information highway!

10 Knitterly Things about Me

1- I’m a 2 project knitter – a sock and a larger project are my WIP’s ONLY, no exceptions. More and I get very anxious and it’s just not worth it.

2- I have been a knitting instructor on a few different occasions so I can throw and knit left handed but my method of choice is continental, right hand dominant knitting.

3- I never purchase yarn “just because”… all the yarn in my stash is earmarked for specific projects although I reserve the right to change my project queue if I so choose by subbing said yarn for a new project.

4- I knit every single day even if it’s just a row or two. I feel like something’s “not right” if I don’t.

5- I have no desire to own a LYS unless I were wealthy enough to hire someone to run it for me and I could just be there, hang out and knit. I think turning my hobby into a job would completely kill it for me.

6- I think have a genetic defect in I that I absolutely DO NOT get the whole spinning thing. The process leaves me cold and quite frankly very little of the handspun yarn I see has any personal appeal for me at all! It’s just too rustic for my taste.

7- The only pattern I ever knit without making one single change was my Pomatomus sock. Mostly I see patterns as my palette to customize as it pleases me but Pomatomus was perfect right out of the gate! (well done Cookie!)

8- I almost never knit for babies. I just think my knitting time is better spent on a garment that can be worn indefinitely and I’ll gladly purchase a store bought baby gift instead.

9- Sometimes I intentionally close my eyes and knit…I have a (irrational) fear of losing my sight and sometimes I’ll knit “blindly” just to make sure I can if I ever had to!

10- When I first came back to knitting after a 15 year hiatus, I was so eager for knitting companionship I purchased only “see thru” knitting bags in the hope someone one would notice and say “is that your knitting, I knit too!” It worked a few times too :)

Now, in honor of Socktoberfest, here's the FKD sock saga :)

I learned to crochet and knit when I was eight but honestly I did more crocheting than knitting. I did the occasional sweater but mostly I was the lime green crochet poncho queen! After all it was the 70's!

When I was about 12 I found a booklet on sock knitting at a yard sale and I thought "wow, I didn't know you could knit socks too!".

The next week my Mom took me to Woolworth's to get the supplies that the sock booklet described. This included a few sizes of Marcia Lynn double pointed needles ...these came in sets of four, were shiny pastel aluminium and the "bargain" line put out by Susan Bates. (I still have them, 30 years later!) Unfortunately there was a very poor selection of fingering weight yarn so I came home with six skeins (2 each) of white, hunter orange and electric pink ACRYLIC yarn.

I came home and followed all the steps in the booklet and taught myself how to use DPN's...I was quite the fearless knitter in my youth! I whipped up three pairs of socks for my Mom that she actually loved and wore forever! She made them her bedsocks and believe me they came in handy for cold New York winter nights!

Surprisingly tho, after I knit those three pair, altho I kept knitting, I didn't knit socks again until 2002. I was about to purchase my first home and the process was stressing me out big time! I hadn't picked up a knitting needle in 15 years because once I moved to Florida there were NO LYS and I wasn't into the Big Box store offerings because if you think it's bad now, you can imagine what was available before knitting became "hip"....yikes!!

Of course in my 15 year knitting absence, the Internet had been born! I was sitting in my living room thinking I HAD to find something to keep my mind occupied while I was coping with home loans, inspections, ect. So I typed "hobby" into my browser and one of the hobbies that popped up was "knitting"!! I got this really warm feeling remembering how much I had loved to knit 15 years earlier and I thought it would be the perfect diversionary activity!! So I typed in "knitting" and my laptop practically exploded!! So many knitting sites, so many choices!!!

I clicked on site after site and I noticed a common thread, they were all promoting SOCK KNITTING!! This was around the time the first self striping sock yarns were being released so sock knitting had come into vogue! And so many gorgeous yarns...a far cry from my electric pink acrylic! Oh I thought, I could get into this in a big way {big foreshadowing moment!} So I placed an order for some lovely autumn colored DK weight wool, dug out my old trusty Marcia Lynn DPNs and the rest is history. My first socks in 30 years are still in play, keeping a friends toes warm in th UK.

Now, 4 years, many needles of all types and many many skeins of gorgeous sock yarn later, here I am celebrating another Socktoberfest and the companionship of sock knitters from every corner of the world and every walk of life :)

Now more of Lolly's Socktoberfest survey ....

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

There are so many stunning sock yarns available that I love. The short list would include Lorna's Laces, both Shepherd Sock and Sport because the colors are rich and glorious and the yarn is soooo soft as well as Trekking, Fleece Artist and Cherry Tree Hill! In fact it would be easier to document the ONLY (to date) sock yarn I hate and will NEVER use again.....Brown Sheep WILDFOOTE! It's splitty, twisty and just nasty in general and life's too short to knit with miserable yarn! Now the Wildfoote handpaint isn't so bad and I would use it altho I wish whatever is done to the handpaint to make it worth knitting with would carry over to the "luxury {ha!!} sock yarn" line! And "inexpensive" doesnt mean crap yarn to me because Paton's Kroy is super cheap and one of my favorites as is Plymouth Sockotta! And let me just say right here, to me, there is no such thing as bad pooling!! I love love love handpainted sock yarns and love it when the colors flash and pool! Isn't it great that there's something for every knitter!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I've never crocheted socks, in fact I thought they would look horrible and feel all bumpy BUT to my surprise, done well, they are quite beautiful! My knitting group coordinator, Kim, is an expert crocheter and she crochets socks that will knock your...well, socks off! I might even try it myself someday under Kim's expert guidance!

I tried 2 circs briefly and LOATHED it! I use magic loop when it suits the yarn I'm using (the 2.5 mm vs a true US #1 that is 2.25mm) but honestly I hate the dragging of the cables around and feel like I spend more time dragging than knitting so gimme my DPN's every time! I love the flow of using them and they just feel so good in my hands. I personally own the following brands of DPN is sock knitting sizes .....Brittany Birch, Pony Pearl, Bryspun, Comfort Needles (hate these, too bendy) Skacel bamboo, Plymouth bamboo, Skacel metal, Regia metal, Clover bamboo and my two favorites...Cryrstal Palace bamboo and Aero teflon coated metal!

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

I was a diehard heel flap girl cause I hated the fit of short rows....too short in the heel cup and kept slipping into the shoes even tho I love the look and the less bulky heel. Flap heels are usually 2 -3 inches "tall" where short rows are usually less than 2! So I thought, "how do I make a short row heel tall enough to cup my heel like a flap heel?" and the mini-flap with gusset heel was born! It's the best of both types of heels and provides a perfect fit every time! There is a tutorial on this on my side bar and the Lizzie's Lacy Ribs pattern utilizes this method as well for those that are interested. Now the mini flap and gusset combined with the Priscilla Gibson-Roberts yarn over short row heel is now my default heel for all socks!

How many pairs have you made?

In the last 4 years I've knit about 100 pairs for friends, family and charity, I've also knit 2 pair for myself. Wanna see my favorite?

I knit these for Mom a few years ago and she loves em! Yes La, they are entreLACK but they were so fun to do and I think this is the perfect marriage of yarn and pattern (Lorna's Laces shepherd sock in daffodil and A Step Above Socks from Knitter's magazine)

So thanks for listening to the Fluffy Knitter Tales! The P-Man says have a good weekend, see ya next week!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

S is for socks, slippers, and so far so good among other things

So far so good on the computer/broadband front! Even tho I still await the replacement hard drive there's just too much stuff to catch up on (like the ABC Along for one) so I'm forging ahead! Thanks for all the support and empathy for the fact that I live in the Computa Triangle (hee!) Best comment from the last entry? Dorothy who asked if I had seen Jimmy Hoffa! Thanks for the best giggle in a long time D!

I've been meaning to ask this for a long time and in my many absences it's fallen by the wayside for too long so here goes...

Why don't bloggers make pictures able to embiggen?

Now my eyesight is pretty good but often when I surf around Knitbloglandia I see such pretty sights that I want to take a closer look. I click on the picture and nothing happens and I gotta wonder WHY? Is it hard with some blogging services to do? More expensive for those that don't use free blogging services? My plea to fellow knit bloggers, please enable embiggen capabilities cause isn't seeing all the juicy stuff on everyone else's blog one of the reasons we visit? Aside from the humor, companionship, friendship of course :)

Now for some long awaited knitting content!

First up we have Rob's Twined Rib Redux with a lil sprout to donate to CIC


Adult sock: Rob's Twined Rib (free pattern on side bar >>) using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Cedar and Camouflage, size #2 (2.75 mm) Crystal Palace bamboo DPN

Mods to pattern: changed from flap heel to yo short row heel with mini flap and gusset and used a standard wedge toe instead of the star toe used in the original pattern.

Child's sock: 2 x 2 rib, toe up, using the Turkish Cast-On. YO short row heel.

I adore this soft, richly colored yarn cause it makes the coziest, quick, handsome socks and the pattern is fun and easy!

Next, the Lotus Blossom tank makes her actual debut:

This is one and a half pattern repeats post frog pond visit. As many of you complimented when I posted her as the mystery birthday contest project, I LOVE how this yarn is working up in this pattern! It's Needful Yarn's Kelly in colorway #100. It's a soft, cabled cotton acrylic blend that knits up beautifully with fabulous stitch definition, comes in lovely colorways (and in solids too, called Kim) stands up well to frogging *blush* and is totally cheap with good yardage!!

I'm very happy with this pattern so far altho I'm planning lots of mods but I'll share those when I have more progress to show!

Now I bring you the felted slipper parade! First we have FK Dad's in Admiral and Turquoise Elann Peruvian Highland wool:

The over felted pair that became Brittany's on the left and FK Mom's on the right, both in Grape Harvest and Antique Violet Elann Peruvian Highland wool. (I ran out for Mom's soles)

And here's the bottom of Dad's showing of the Fiber Trend Suede Slipper bottoms which are on all three pairs:

I like how these slippers came out altho I found the felting a bit tricky. It was very hard to get just the right size and work out all the unwanted lumps and bumps which matter much more in a slipper than a felted bag.

The construction of these clogs is completely brilliant and a quick, fun knit that makes up a sturdy attractive slipper. My only complaint was that the suede bottoms were VERY hard to sew on and made me feel like my hands were bleeding while I did it! I'm not kidding, it was so painful to do I almost cried! If I ever make these again, I will get the paint on stuff for slipper bottoms and give the sew on ones a miss! Otherwise I heartily recommend this pattern!

Here it is, October so what does that mean here at Chez FKD? Why it's

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

of course!!

Lolly has been kind enough to coordinate this fabulous event again this year!

Here's my first entry:

It's a cashmere merino blend sport/DK weight footie of my own design. I figure it was only proper for cashmere to kick off the Socktoberfest festivities and this is some very nice yarn! It's supposed to be a gift but it's so soft and such a lovely green, it's gonna be hard to give away, especially since Pumpkin's already in love with it!

Whew! What a post, so much catching up! One last note....I've mentioned that I have no LYS so I do all my shopping thru Internet vendors. My favorites have a special place on my side bar and when I find a vendor that makes me happy I want to share it with my fellow knitters!

If you want amazing, exemplary customer service, a real attention to detail, a great selection and prices, fast service and a professional who does everything with a vitual smile on her face head over to The Loopy Ewe and give Sherri a shout and you wont be sorry! She's simply GREAT!! She offers discounts, free shipping over $50 and lovely little gifts in appreciation of her customers and makes you feel like your business is her #1 priority unlike some other Net vendors! Plus she's got Claudia's Handpaint, woot! Go on, show Sherri the love!

It's cooling off, the humidity is down, (AND NO "H"'s, WOO HOO!!) the sun is shining and the P-Man can't get enough of the glorious Florida weather!

He's glad to be back and hope your week is full of sunshine and lots of knitting!