Friday, April 18, 2014

Stoichiometry

Hello:

I substituted today for a Chemistry teacher at Skeinherder's school.  I am a Math and English teacher.  I can probably make it through Physics, but ... Chemistry?  I really don't remember any of the one semester of Chemistry I had in college.  Yet, I have either tutored, or subbed in Chemistry 3 different times in the last 4 weeks.  It is not easy.

The funny thing is that each time, I was teaching Stoichiometry.  Stoichiometry is the calculation of relative amounts of reactants and products in chemical reactions.  Luckily for me, it's mostly math.  The two important things are to take the reactants and break them down to their elements and to make sure the equation is balanced.

This got me to thinking about the socks I have been knitting for Round 2 in Sock Madness, the Rainbow Pipes and Linen Stitch socks by Aurelie Colas.

I always knit my socks 2 at a time.  Otherwise, they never come out the same size.  I can't explain it, it might be tension, it might be that I can't count rows.  Whatever the reason, I need to knit socks together if I hope to get the same size socks.

This was a bit of a problem with these socks because of all of the colors.  And this was especially true when I was knitting the heel flaps.

Each heel flap used three of the seven contrast colors.



I had all 6 colors of yarn twisting and tangling with the black main color strands.  It was a bit confusing for a while, but I managed to keep it all together and finish the flaps together.

The next part of the heels, the heel turn, used the seventh color.

I just love these heels.  The flaps use the linen stitch.  The different colored bottoms really set them off.  And everything stands out so starkly against the black main color.  You can really see each element of the socks.  (See how I tied that back to the chemistry...)


I've finished the gussets, too.  But, since I just finished them, there won't be photos until tomorrow.  I feel like I am always posting photos the next day.  I need to knit at least 3 inches of the feet tomorrow, and then knit the final design element.  I think I am in pretty good shape to finish everything on Easter Sunday.  I hope so. I checked the finishers spreadsheet for my team, Tenacious Tadpoles, and no one has finished yet.  I should be in the top 5 again. 

Peace,
f1bercat
shaping the planet with balanced socks.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Perfect Day

Hello:

It was gray and rainy today.  We even had a bit of thunder and lightening tonight.  I didn't get called in to Substitute Teach, and it is early enough in the quarter that I have only been assigned one student, so I didn't have to tutor.  The Doc has the early shift this week, and has been going in to the hospital by 6:30 am.  So I got up about when he left, and other than making myself meals, I watched movies, tv shows, and listened to podcasts while I knit on the Round 2 Socks for Sock Madness.

I have been watching the show Arrow.  I love shows and movies based on comic book heros.  I love a man (or a woman for that matter) with a bow.  Arrow is based on the DC comic series, Green Arrow.  It is the most ridiculous story.  Most of the writing is very silly, but every episode has enough redeeming features that I just can't stop watching it.

My daughter, Allifer, and her boyfriend, Zemo, have watched some of it, too.  When I'm watching a show that I know my kids have watched, I just can't help texting them about the show.  Zemo is my favorite person for this because he grew up reading comics and knows tons of the back stories, and "cannon" for each character.  Zemo tells me which supervillians are supposed to be in the Green Arrow's world, and which actually belong to other super heroes, etc.  He is better than a comicwiki. 

This show is also fun because there are lots of actresses and actors that I love from other shows.  There are two people from Dr. Who, (Captain Jack and River Song) and two people from Firefly (Simon and River).  I just love when I recognize people.

The main character is a billionaire (of course) playboy (ha ha ha of course) who was shipwrecked for 5 years on an island off the coast of China.  During his time on the island, he not only learned to speak Chinese and Russian, but he also became a martial arts expert and an expert bowman.  One super funny part of the show is that he is always training and working out.  Of course he does this shirtless.  Zemo told me that he likes to set a timer when each episode begins to see how long it will take until the main character takes his shirt off. 

So, I binge watched Arrow today, and knit knit knit on the Round 2 socks for Sock Madness.


I have finished the cuff and the legs for both socks.  Tonight, I finished the heel flaps, the heel turns, and have begun the gussets.  I don't have a picture yet to show the heels, but they are just beautiful.  Really, I love them.  I promise photos tomorrow, when there is decent light.

I'm hoping to make it to Fiber Friday tomorrow at Crossroads.  The socks are on a stockinette stitch part for the bulk of the foot, so I should be able to knit on them in public with no problem.  My goal is to finish the feet tomorrow, and have the socks entirely finished by Sunday.

But, I will need another really good show to watch...

Peace,
f1bercat
shaping the planet with legs and heels.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glad to be back with the Group

Hello:

Our modem is on the fritz, and so I am using a back up internet connection that is super slow.  This will be a quick post.

I made it to Crossroads tonight to meet up with the Eastside Stitchers after way too many days and nights away.  It was a small group, but so much fun to catch up with everyone.

BlueBerryMary is back from her trip to Haiti.  She has some photos and writes about her trip on her BLOG.  It was really fun to hear about the school that her church members is helping to build, and the other things she did and saw.  She brought a lace and bead scarf to knit tonight.  This is her first project with lace and beads, and she is doing a wonderful job.

Wajio is still trying to use up all of her baby yarn by knitting another pair of baby socks.
We talked about the upcoming sheep shearing event at our local Kelsey Creek Farm.  Last year I helped demonstrate spinning with the spinning guild (ok, I mostly hung out with the real spinners) during the Wild-And-Wooly event.  This will be happening Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm.  I won't be able to attend this year as I will be in Arizona watching Himes dance.  But, if you are local, take the time to go to the park.  It is a really fun day, and the shearers are awesome.

Wireknitter is working on another shawl by Susan Ashcroft using some lovely gradient KnitWhits Freia Handpaints Freia Ombre Lace in Gray.  The shawl pattern is called YOLO

And Tara1682 brought her lovely Juno Regina shawl by Miriam Felton.  She has reached the part on the pattern where she can begin the mirrored end lace pattern again, but, she doesn't think the shawl is long enough, so she is going to keep on knitting for a bit.
I brought the Round 2 socks for Sock Madness.  At first, since I am using black yarn, I thought I would have to bring something easier to knit on, but I have finished the linen stitch cuffs and am onto the stockinette legs sections.  Although black yarn is still tough to knit unless the lighting is bright, I was able to see well enough to knit straight stockinette with the group.

That's it for tonight.  My computer is having trouble uploading the last few photos, so I am crossing my fingers that they actually show up.

If not, I will try to edit the post and get them in.

Peace,
f1bercat
shaping the planet with great knitting friends.




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Got the taxes out, well...

We had clear skies pretty much all week, but not last night for the Lunar Eclipse!  I took these photos on the 13th, the day before the eclipse.

You can just see the sunset reflecting on the Cascades at the bottom of the photo.

Ok, my godkids are gone, and the house seems so quiet without them.  We had an absolutely wonderful visit.  I hope they come back to visit again, soon.

Between getting the taxes finished and mailed out (ok, we had to file an extension, but not because I didn't finish... It's complicated), and starting back to tutoring at BC, I knit on and off today on my Sock Madness Round 2 socks.

I am too tired now to have a good discussion about the pattern, but at least you can see what I have accomplished so far:
This is what the rainbow linen stitch looks like.  And here are the two socks together:
I thought I would finish the cuffs and make it to the legs be the end of the night, but I still have about 1/2 inch to go.  I am finished with the colors, though, and am now just knitting black linen stitch.  It should go faster tomorrow morning, if I don't get called in to a substitute job.

Stay healthy, teachers on the Eastside!  I need to knit socks tomorrow.

Peace,
f1bercat
shaping the planet with a rainbow.




Round 3 has begun

It's really buttons, it's a rainbow/linen stitch with all those colors.  I do like the look of the rainbow section.  Photos to follow.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Plotting Round 3

Hello:

This weekend was one of the most beautiful Spring weekends I can ever remember.  The air had just that bit of crispness, and the sky was blue blue blue.  One of our bald eagle friends took advantage of the weather to soar over Lake Sammamish.  I had a house full of guests, and we really enjoyed the sunshine.

But, about mid day, I got a text from my Sock Madness Coach, Skeinherder, "the Round 2 specs are up!"  I had to log on to Ravelry and check out the thread in the Sock Madness Group.  There are 33 from each group moving on to the next level.  Not all 33 people have turned in their socks, but the Moderators have decided to move on to the next round anyway.  If people get their socks and emails in before the next pattern is emailed out, they can move on.  I have enjoyed the rest, and gotten my taxes finished (whew!) so I am ready for the next round.

The specs are:

Knitting Goddess merino/nylon 2 x 50g, Knitting Goddess mini-skein set in Rainbow 7x10g (C1-C7)
needles: US1/2.25mm circular needles or dpns, US2/2.75mm circular needles
gauge: 9 sts per inch in stockinette with smaller needles, 9.5 sts per inch in linen stitch with larger needles
tester used: malabrigo sock 440 yd/3.5 oz in natural 063, seven colors assorted scrap yarn in fingering weight
notions: eight 3/10-in (8mm) flat buttons, 2 matches

Ok, some of this is weird.  First we need 100 g of some main color and 7 more mini skeins (10 g each) of all different colors.  Then we need 8 flat buttons. And then  2 MATCHES??

I'm hoping the buttons are for eyes, or some other type of decoration because if these are really button socks, those are usually knit flat for the button part.  These are obviously color work.  The two different size needles usually means color work since most people's gauge decreases for the color work, so they go up a needle size.  And, color work knit flat seems to be a horrible idea, especially if we are just knitting flat so we can put in buttons which are totally unnecessary in socks.  So, I'm guessing the buttons are eyes.  Or something...

But what are the MATCHES for?  No idea at all.

However, I dug out my bin of sock yarns, and started guessing at which colors I would use.  I am trying to use all partial skeins.  I used to buy 2 skeins of every color to make knitting 2 at a time easier, so I have many balls/cakes that should be enough for a whole pair of socks.

I looked at all of my "neutral" colors.
I narrowed the possibilities down to Brown, Black or Beige.
Then I found a skein of Bare KnitPicks that I had bought for dying.
I'm trying not to skein up anything new though, so, I am hoping not to use this.  I dug a bit further, and found two balls of gorgeous melon colored yarn

that I used last year to make a pair of socks for my daughter, Moogie.
There is easily enough left in the 2 balls for this to be my background color, if I want.

Then I looked at all the other colors I have.
This isn't even everything, just the more solid balls.  I picked a "rainbow" and put them with the Mango Tango colored yarn.
Even the orange shows up pretty well against the Mango Tango.  I am also keeping out the black, just in case.

The darker blue doesn't show up as well against the black, so, if I use the black, I will probably switch out the blue for the mango.  Now I just need the pattern.  It should come within 48 hours.  My God Kids go home (or at least to the airport) tomorrow afternoon.

Patience...

Peace,
f1bercat
shaping the planet with a rainbow of sock yarns.






Thursday, April 10, 2014

O.W.L.

Hello:

I am on break this month.  Of course, this week is Spring Break up here for our schools, and my Godkids are on their Spring Break, too.  But, I am on break for the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup.

The Cup is organized into 3 month Terms, with a Break month in between each Term.  I made so much stuff (still need to add up and post my yardage) last Term, that I really need this month off to relax.  Of course, I am still stitching.  Even with my visitors, I am finding time to knit and crochet. 

I have been working on charity baby hats, and on the 3 blankets I have in progress, but mainly, I am deciding on what will be my proposal for my next O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level Exam).  The Cup is full of opportunities for projects that must be completed in one month (regular class assignments), and even shorter projects (Quidditch), but there are also challenges to make items that take more than one month.  These are called Advanced Studies.  There are three types of Advanced Studies projects:  Order of the Phoenix Missions (should take 6 - 8 weeks), OWLs (should take 3 months), and NEWTs (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test) which are a combination of 2 OWLs and take 4 months.  There are eight different possible OWLs and if you finish them all, you are given the designation of OWL Mistress.    So far, I have completed 4: 

My first term (Fall 2012), I completed a History of Magic OWL.  I knit 3 pairs of socks, each sock representing a different famous witch or wizard.

 Coupling Socks to represent Professor McGonagall:
Bubbling Socks to represent Lily Potter:
And Snape's Stockings to represent... Snape.
The next term, Winter 2013, I completed a Transfiguration OWL.  The challenge was to "disappear" a huge amount of yarn, and I hooked an afghan.  It used over 3000 yds of yarn.
For Spring 2013, I used the OWL to hook two baby blankets for a baby shower that June.  This subject was Charms.  The challenge was to crochet 2 items in lace patterns using a minimum of 600 yds. each.
One of the things I love about the Cup in general, and the OWLs in particular, is that it pushes me to FINISH stuff.  When I have a real life deadline, like a birthday, or a baby shower, I always try to make the gifts part of a class or my OWL for that term.

I made another afghan for my Fall 2013 OWL.  That subject was Arithmancy, and the challenge was to make multiples of the same type of item.
For last term, Winter 2013, I did a NEWT instead of an OWL.  You have to have completed 4 OWLs to be eligible for a NEWT, and the NEWT has to include a subject you have already completed.  So, I did  DADA (Defense Against the Dark Arts) where I conquered the Cruciatus Curse by knitting two pieces that used mostly stockinette and garter stitch - very horrible stitches for me
and Transfiguration, where I disappeared a ton of yarn:
So this is all a big lead up to the OWL choice for this next Term, Spring 2014.  I want to use the OWL to push myself to make something I have been wanting to make and just never seem to get around to starting.  I am thinking of making Christmas Ornaments and Snowflakes. 
I have been wanting to make the ornaments from 55 Christmas Balls to Knit by Arne and Carlos.  I even checked the book out from the library two years ago, and knit 0.  Also, every year, I look at these beautiful crocheted snowflakes, and think, I'm going to make some for my kids.  And I make 0.  I test hooked a snowflake last night,  called Christmas in Paris by Deborah Atkinson.  Each arm is supposed to look like the Eiffle Tower.
There are so many beautiful snowflake patterns on Ravelry for free, and what's more, I'm sure that as I start making them, I will start designing my own.  Same thing for the Ornaments.  There is an option for Care of Magical Creatures where you Hatch an Egg or a Clutch of Eggs and craft items that are inspired  by the creature(s) you hatched.  So, I'm thinking that I will hatch a Frost Dragon, or some type of similar creature and the snowflakes and ornaments will represent the time of year, and perhaps the breath of the creature.  I just need to figure out how many is a reasonable amount of each to make. I have to remember that I will be knitting socks for both Sock Madness AND Tour de Sock during this term.  The socks will be turned in as class assignments and also most likely for my Order of the Phoenix Mission.  I want to be able to finish the OWL successfully.

This should be the push to get these done WAY before Christmas.  I am getting excited.

Peace,
f1bercat
shaping the planet with the Eiffle Tower in mercerized cotton.