Monday, May 28, 2007

We Have a Winner!

The baby sock/swatch using the blue/white Socka Colori is finished. So bitty and cute! I really like the faded blue colors as they are -- like old denim. And look how the self-striping made the toe and heel stand out. Love it. I hope I can find a similar starting point for the next one so that they sort of match.

At this point, I think I am leaning toward using the Raspberry Chocolate yarn for my Sockapalooza 4 socks. I took the advice and comments to heart, and also had a little pondering time to myself.

Not to get all goal-oriented on you (oh, my mother would be so proud), but I think it came down to what I wanted to achieve with making this socks. This sock exchange is a great way to force myself to learn new things without making a half-assed effort -- a nice lady in a far off land is looking forward to receiving my handiwork; I cannot let her down! So do I want to focus on learning about dyeing and colors, or on pattern and technique? Given my current level of knitting, I think the logical choice would be to challenge myself with pattern and technique. The Zen Yarn Garden yarn is pleasurable to work with, it will be all the easier to keep focus on learning new knitterly skills. Experimenting with color and dyeing will be an excellent way to step it up after I have further mastered the process of knitting in itself.

Besides, this little blue bootie came out so well. It would be a shame to mess with a good thing.

And now, onto the hunt for a pattern...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Comments Rock!

Thank you THANK YOU thank you for your wonderful input! It is SO exciting to see the comments section fill up with encouraging and helpful words. Your comments are emailed to me in addition to showing up on the blog, but I cannot respond directly to all commenters via email. Bleh. I want to encourage more comments, and I think the advice was super helpful, so I will respond and summarize here. Perhaps other overly-apprehensive sock knitters can benefit from your comments.

Knitty Kat encouraged over-dyeing the sock since my sock pal, despite being a master sock knitter, may not have done this for herself. Great thought! I would love to give my sock pal something that is new and fun for her. (BTW, I have every other Monday off, but with "Heroes" ending its season last week I now have a void to fill on Monday nights. I may *sigh* have to devote that time to housecleaning but I'm sure I can insert some knitting time too!)

S B notes that dyeing yarn in the skein before it is knit up can produce better results than dyeing a finished knit; it hides the dyeing "imperfections". Great tip! She also really liked the Raspberry Chocolate...hard to argue with that.

Seanna Lea feels my "Heroes" lament and digs the Raspberry Chocolate, too. She asked about patterns -- I do have some in mind. I'm not big into knitting lace, but don't want to do plain stockinette. Something with a fun ribbed or cable pattern may be in order. I'll have to see what will work best with the yarn I choose. An upcoming post will be about my pattern options.

Muoriska says that she loves dyeing so much that she sometimes would rather dye than knit! Now that is a excellent red flag for me...the last thing I need is a new hobby! If dyeing is as addictive as knitting, I may be starting down a shadowy path of additional distraction and obsession. She likes the Raspberry Chocolate as well; good to know that even yarn-dyeing pros are into this colorway. Zen Yarn Garden certainly did a fine job.

Alison (the organizer of Sockapalooza 4!) sends words of wisdom regarding fears of knitting for a sock knitting superstar: "If she makes herself a lot of socks then she's a genuine sock-lover and will love whatever you make for her!" That makes me feel like a million bucks...thanks!

Carola offers some very practical advice -- you can't tell how the dyeing experiment works out until you're done. She also sends encouragement about knitting for a super sock-knitter: " participating in this exchange [she] signed up to the surprise. You will do fine!" So take heart, other newish sock knitters, the fun of these exchanges is in the surprise - not in the perfection - of the finished object. Very reassuring!

Jess Poskozim brings it home: "...if your petting and sighing is any indication, it will be fun to knit with something that soft". So true, so true. Using the same yarn (in a different colorway) to knit socks for Mr. Hipp was pure joy. The yarn is like butta, and it's DK weight so it knits up a lot faster than the fingering weight Socka Colori.

Some great food for thought. Thank again for your great comments!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Should I Dye or Reverse the Sock Pal Karma?

Sockapalooza 4 has arrived to Casa de Hipp. Just my luck, I have been assigned to knit socks for a master sock knitter. She seriously posts four new pairs of hand knit socks on her blog each week. I assume they are all knit by her, but since her blog is not written in English (international sock pal! super fun!) that assumption might make and ASS out of U and ME in the end. We have already exchanged emails, in which I have warned her that I just learned to make socks last year and she has generously said she will be happy with anything I knit for her. Woo hoo! Easy that's my kind of sock pal.

Nevertheless, I want to make socks that will make this nice lady happy in her far off land. The first order of business is yarn selection. Thanks to the Yarn Lady Bag Sale (no worries, purchased pre-yarn diet), I have eight balls of Scholler Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color. Go ahead, say it out loud to yourself. "Schoeller Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Color". Fun, huh? The balls I have are blue, white, and gray. The yarn is good stuff, but my sock pal had no mention of blues or grays in her color preferences. Easy going, yes, but I can do better.

My first thought is to use this yarn anyway and overdye it with Kool Aide into something that is better suited to my sock pal's preferences. I've decided to make a pair of baby socks as my swatch. I'll see how they dye up and go from there. With all the pregnant ladies around me, my swatch can be used as a baby gift, too. Two birds with one stone!

My second thought is to use the sock yarn sent to me by the person who was supposed to knit socks for me in Sockapalooza 3. She ended up not having time to knit me an actual pair of socks, but did send two skeins of gorgeous soft yumminess from Zen Yarn Garden as a karmic offering. I have made a pair of socks for Mr. Hipp out of one skein, leaving this one - Raspberry Chocolate - for me to pet and sigh over. Please excuse the cat-as-background. She decided that it was her time to join the cat-modeling fun.

If anyone out there has any thoughts on the matter, I would be glad to hear them. Off to do some chores before "Heroes" comes on. I don't know what I will do with my Mondays this summer!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Belated Mother's Day

For all of the mothers out there (especially my own!), I hope yesterday was super duper wonderful. Yay, Moms!

My mom takes crafting to a whole other level. I think she sees it less as a hobby and more as a common-sense approach to getting what you want, how you want it, when you want it. Her crafts have included everything from remodeling houses, to sewing my homecoming dance dress (green velvet!), to building her own china cabinet. There is nothing she can't do, or at least won't try once! That's the kind of spirit that makes crafting not just relaxing, but also practical and rewarding.

And now for some Mother's Day news: the recipient of this baby knit arrived on Saturday morning, just in time for Mother's Day. I have also received word of two more mothers-to-be in recent weeks - that brings the count to up six pregnant ladies that I know (it was seven until Saturday morning!). My goodness!