Washout

A combination of living close enough to Yankee Stadium that I could wait until the last minute to leave for a game and good, old-fashioned luck had prevented me from showing up at a game, only to have it be canceled due to the weather. Tonight, my luck ran out:

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While the rational side of me knows that they were trying their best to get the game in tonight, during this last home stand, the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that they can’t have minded having a captive and hungry audience to sell concessions to for an hour and a half after the scheduled start of the game, when they made the announcement. Or possibly, they could have been trying to give us a few extra hours to think about how much nicer and non-leaky the new stadium will be during these long delays.

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The enforced free time was good for chatting, and for getting another stripe in on my first pinstriped sock from way back at the beginning of the season, but as a fan, the lack of communication from anybody in the organization got really old, really fast.  On a related note, it will also be interesting to learn if you’ll be able to hear the PA system from under the bleachers in the new stadium, or if the announcements will still sound like they’re being delivered by one of the adults in a Charlie Brown TV special.

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Still, tomorrow will be another day, and with it will come my chance to bid the old girl a final (and hopefully drier) goodbye.  Despite all her quirks, I’m very sad to see her go.

Knight Errant

My second-to-last game in Yankee Stadium was also my last Yankees-Sox game at the Stadium, and my friend B and I managed to have a good time, despite the outcome being less-than-ideal.
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While Sidney Ponson has seemingly had the magical ability to both allow a ton of guys on base and not allow them to score, August 27th was not his night. Sir Snacksalot got roughed up for four runs, and the bullpen put the game way out of reach for a final score of 11-3. These have been frustrating days to be a Yankee fan, and this game was no exception to that. Defensive play was downright sloppy at times, with Cano misplaying a routine-looking groundball (that runner came around to score), and various outfield miscues and mishaps. On the bright side, Alex Rodriguez did fulfill my prophesy that he’d have a big night, with two doubles, one of which drove in a run. Jason Giambi hit a home run in the 9th, but by then it was too little, too late. Still, a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day at a lot of other places, and I want to enjoy this ballpark before they tear it down.

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On the new stadium front, there have been rumors floating around that the Yankees will discontinue their policy of allowing people to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into games. As someone who goes to as many games as she can, I have to hope that isn’t the case. One of the things that makes Yankee Stadium affordable is the fact that I can bring in my own water and some lunch/dinner/snacks, rather than being at the mercies of the stadium vendors. This is especially important in the bleachers, where the concession pickings are rather slim. I do rather enjoy the occasional stadium hot dog, and I find it hard to resist the siren call of soft-serve ice cream in a bowl shaped like a helmet, but that cost does really add up over time.

In other sporting news, the Ravelry Olympics have come and gone. I oversubscribed drastically, because I wasn’t sure what project I could commit to, but I ended up medaling in two events: the WIPs Wrestling for one pair of socks, and the Colorwork Crosscountry and Sock Put for my Ziggy Socks.
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The pattern is Ziggy from the Summer 2008 Knitty, and it was my first time using Noro Kuyreon Sock (in color S95) and doing any sort of stranded colorwork. I couldn’t carry both colors in my left hand without massive tangling, so I ended up with one strand of yarn in each hand, trying to knit Continental and English at the same time. It was very slow going, until I got some coaching from Ann Marie at knitting group, which really helped to speed me along. I’m still not sure how I feel about knitting two-handed. As it turns out, I’m very left-hand dominant, and I found that forming stitches with my right hand gets very tiring after not very long. I’ll have to find a source for one of those rings that you can run yarn through for colorwork to give it a try that way before I take on the Ivy League Vest, which will be my next stranded project. All in all, I had a great time doing the Ravelry Olympics, and I’m very grateful to the moderators, volunteers and team captains who made it such a fun experience.

I’m amazed at the response that my Unraveled Rib Socks have received this past week. I really do hope that everyone has as much fun with the pattern as I did writing it, and I’m definitely inspired to try my hand at design again. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s socks turn out!

Unraveling Rib Socks

Unraveling Rib Socks

Finished size: 7″ circumference, unstretched. Fits a women’s size 7 foot.

Materials

Yarn: 1 skein Dream in Color Smooshy yarn (superwash merino, 3.99 oz, 450 yds), color Wisterious. My socks used up approximately 338 yards, so a second skein might be necessary if increasing the size.

Needles: 2.25 mm (US Size 1), 42″ circular needle. This pattern is written for Magic Loop, but can be adapted for 2 circs or for dpns if desired. To knit for a larger foot, substitute 2.5 mm or 2.75 mm needles.

Notions: Stitch marker, cable needle, darning needle

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch in stockinette, approximately 9 stitches/inch in unraveling rib pattern

Supplemental Information:

Exploding Rib Chart

Adapted from Exploding Rib from A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker.

The 33rd pattern stitch is only necessary to balance the pattern on the instep of the sock. For the leg, use only stitches 1-32.

Methods

Cuff: Loosely cast on 64 stitches and divide: 32 stitches per needle. Join to begin working in the round, placing a marker at the beginning of the round.

Cuff ribbing: K2tbl, [p4, ktbl] to end of needle. Repeat for second needle.

Work a total of 12 rounds in ribbing for the cuff.

Leg: Begin chart, knitting stitches 1-32 of chart.

Repeat chart 3 times, ending on row 30 on last chart repeat.

Heel Flap: K1tbl from needle 1 to needle 2. 31 st remain on needle 1.

Row 1: sl1, [p4, k1tbl] to end

Row 2: sl1, [k4, p1tbl] to end

Repeat rows 1 and 2 15 more times (16 repeats total). If you have a high or low instep, knit more or fewer rows for the heel flap and adjust the gusset decreases accordingly.

Heel Turn:

Row 1: sl1, k17, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 2: sl1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 3: sl1, k7, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 4: sl1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 5: sl1, k9, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 6: sl1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 7: sl1, k11, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 8: sl1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 9: sl1, k13, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 10: sl1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn work

Row 11: sl1, k15, ssk, k1, turn work

Row 12: sl1, p16, p2tog, p1 turn work.

Gusset

K across 19 st, pick up 16 stitches along heel flap, plus 1 st between flap and instep. Knit in pattern across instep stitches (following chart row 31, and including all 33 chart stitches). Pick up 1 st between instep and heel flap, and 16 stitches along heel flap. There will be a total of 81 stitches. Knit 9 stitches from heel and re-position marker for new beg of round.

Round 1: K10, k17tbl, Knit next chart row on instep, k17 tbl, k9.

Round 2: K10, k to last 2 st, k2tog, knit instep in pattern, ssk, k to end of round.

Round 3: K all st to instep, knit instep in pattern, k to end of round.

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until 31 stitches are left on sole (needle 1), and 33 on instep (needle 2): 64 st total.

Foot: Continue in pattern, knitting all sole st in stockinette and following chart for instep, until foot is approximately 2 inches shorter than desired length. Slip one stitch from needle 2 to needle 1, so that there are 32 st on each needle. k across all st for 1 round.

Toe:

Round 1: Knit to last 3 st on needle 1, K2tog, k1; k1, ssk, k to last 3 st on needle 2, k2tog, k1; k1, ssk, k to end of round.

Round 2: K all st to end of round.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 24 st remain, 12 each on needles 1 and 2. Break yarn, leaving an approx 12″ tail and graft stitches from needle 1 to stitches on needle 2 to close toe.

Finishing: Weave in ends and block well.

Unraveling Rib Socks

This is the first pattern that I’ve ever published. I hope everyone has as much fun knitting it as I did! The pattern’s Ravelry page can be found here.

Update: This pattern is now available as a .pdf! download now

Now it can be revealed

(Warning: If I recently attended your wedding, this post may contain spoilers)

I may have mentioned that I had a few secret knitting projects going on, which cut into my sock knitting and blogging schedule. Well, my week of wedding attendance is over, so now I get to show off what I’ve made.
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I started off with some Wedding Washcloths from the Purl Bee Blog for my friends E and O’s wedding. I made three sets, one each in the light teal, and natural colors of Blue Sky Skinny Cotton and one in a pretty coral shade of Rowan Purelife Cotton. I’m very happy with how they turned out. They’re all quite soft, especially for cotton, but I do wish I had used the Rowan for all of them, as it has a lovely sheen to it. As big a fan as I am of wool and wool blends, I think it’s good to knit with cotton and other plant fibers every now and again. They really require you to reflect on your knitting and exactly what you’re doing because they’re less forgiving of mistakes than stretchier fibers. Fortunately, blocking does work miracles.

My second secret project is also a very vivid example of the magical powers of blocking. My friend susebraids married a fellow knitter, so I took the risk of going off-registry and making a Hemlock Ring Blanket for the two of them. I very nearly didn’t finish it in time for the wedding, but after a feverish night of knitting the Tuesday before they got married, I had this (with 23 g yards of yarn to spare):

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Not terribly impressive, I know. But a good long soak in some wool wash, in combination with every pin that I own yielded this:
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The blanket took almost two entire balls of Cascade Ecological Wool in color 8063, knitted on size 10 needles. I knitted the entirety of Jared’s extended chart (3 repeats past where he ended). To be sure that I wouldn’t run out of yarn at the very end, I eliminated the last round of plain knitting, fudged the number of stitches on the edging and tried to knit really, really, really fast. I don’t think the fudging shows up, but the next time I make this (and there will be a next time, because I want one for myself), I’ll do the edging as written. I’ll still try to knit really, really, really fast, though, because I’m sure that was the key to having yarn left over. The finished blanket is very soft and cozy, and has just the right degree of frilly-ness. I couldn’t be more pleased with this project, and I hope the newlyweds like it too.

Summer doldrums

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My second pair of socks for Summer of Socks is not the rousing success that the first one was. Is it possible to have second sock syndrome before you’ve even finished the first one? It’s not the pattern. My problems can be attributed to a combination of user error and fussiness over sock fit, but as a result of having to rip back all the way to the toe, it’s taken me over two weeks to finish one sock, and I am ready to be done.

At least I’m learning something from the project. It’s the special Summer of Socks ’08 pattern, and it’s my first pair with a toe-up flap and gusset heel. So far I’m finding that these heels are a little bit harder to “fudge” than the short-row heels that I’ve done on every other sock I’ve knit have been, but that could just be the learning curve talking. My second go at it was much more successful than my first one was (knitting the instep of one size sock and the sole/heel of the next bigger size might have also helped). The mesh pattern does bias, in spite of a half-hearted attempt at taming it, but I think that’ll block out. Despite the setbacks, I’m very happy with the way the socks look, and how the lacy pattern breaks up the way the colors spiral around the foot.

I’ve also had a lot of other stuff on my plate over the past few weeks. I’ve had not one, but two secret knitting projects going on (which will be revealed in time, but I’d rather not spill all to the Readership right away). But knitting hasn’t been the only thing on my plate.
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There have been lots and lots of my favorite summer fruits out there that just had to be eaten.

I celebrated my country’s birthday by watching the Macy’s fireworks display with several thousand of my closest friends.
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I also ended my boycott of All-Star Game related activities by attending Bon Jovi’s concert in Central Park with my cousin and 50,000 of our closest mutual friends (there was very likely some overlap between those two groups of close, personal friends). Oh, and I got my Mactop back from her adventures in data retrieval and getting a new hard drive installed, which means that I’ve got a month’s backlog of photos to go through and upload. There are going to be quite a number of trips down knitting and baseball memory lane in the very near future.

It’s a sad day in Yankeeland

Sight for sore eyes
Rest in peace, Bobby Murcer. I’m too young to remember him as a player (I was 3 when he retired), but his warm presence in the broadcasting booth was always welcome in my living room. His positive outlook in the face of treatment for brain cancer was inspirational, and he will be deeply missed.

Sending out an “SOS”

I’m doing the Summer of Socks 2008 knitalong this year. I’m trying to be realistic about what my goals for the knitalong are. I know that I don’t have a chance in the competition to knit the most socks (it started at midnight on Saturday, and people had finished socks by Monday), and I’ll have to see how I do with my “socks on vacation” photo. So I’ll be treating it as an opportunity to work through some of my sock yarn stash and to try out some new patterns.
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One sock pattern that I somehow managed not to knit yet are Monkey socks from Knitty. I’ve had them in the queue pretty much since the pattern came out, but just never got around to doing them. But once I received my latest skein from the All Raveled Up Sock Club, I knew it was fate. The name of this colorway is “Codemonkey,” so what could be more appropriate than, well, Code-Monkeys? The first one knitted up incredibly quickly for me. The lace pattern is very easy to memorize and read, and I found it to be simple enough to be social knitting.
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I finished up the first one at a Sit ‘n’ Knit event on Wednesday night, at the Raul Midon concert in Madison Square Park.

My Mactop is in the shop with a busted hard drive, so I currently lack the ability to crop photos.
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When she gets back, I have a lot of baseball game recapping to do, between seeing Joba and Andy start for the Yankees this past weekend (and yes, Andy Pettitte does have the sweetest pickoff move in baseball), and my plans to catch the Brooklyn Cyclones with M on Saturday, and the Red Sox with J over the holiday weekend. The season is three months old, but it’s finally baseball weather and I am loving every minute of it.

It’s too darn hot

All I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning. It’s the first truly hot week of the summer season, and although I haven’t had to spend much time outside, the heat and humidity are just oppressive.
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Before the warm front moved in, I did get a chance to see Joba Chamberlain’s Major League starting debut. Joba was clearly a bit jittery, and wasn’t always hitting his spots, but was a textbook example of why, if somebody took leave of their senses for long enough to put me in charge of a baseball team, I would never reveal a total pitch count ceiling to the press. Because when you have to get through as many innings as you can on 65 pitches, any opposing team worth their salt will take as many pitches as they possibly can. And the Blue Jays did just that, knocking him out after 2.1 innings.
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Chamberlain was followed by Dan Giese, making his debut as a Yankee, and doing quite a respectable job, despite being tagged with the loss. It was one of those games that could have gone either way, until the bullpen completely imploded, allowing 6 runs and putting the game totally out of reach. Well, at least someone in the Yankees organization had a lot of fun photoshopping moustaches on the players who had grown them.
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Perhaps the nicest thing that I can say about the game is that it gave me an opportunity to get a lot of knitting done. I turned the heel and got a couple inches into the cuff of my pinstriped socks.
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There was one other good thing about the game. Because I stayed until the bitter, bitter end, I did get to see Derek Jeter get his 2,415th hit, putting him into a tie with Mickey Mantle for third on the all-time Yankees list.
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Derek got his 2,416th hit the following game. Only Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are ahead of him now, and he’s in some mighty rarefied company.

I don’t usually do memes, and I’ve never done one here, but since I’ve been tagged by both Penelope and Nicole, here goes nothing:

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
This would be right about when I was recovering from my AP exams and getting ready to take finals during my senior year of high school.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
Run the dishwasher (if it cools down at night)
Finish up a gift
Pay the bills
Some experiments down in the research mines (I could have 5 things right there, but I’ll spare everyone the alphabet soup)
Staying hydrated

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Raspberry Milano Cookies
Fruit
ice cream
cheetos, or almost any cheesy chip or cracker

4)Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Among other things:
Fully fund a scholarship or three at my high school.
Season tickets to the Yankees (good seats, even) Or, I suppose I could just buy a baseball team, take leave of my senses, and put myself in charge of it.
Lots and lots of travel: the 30 ML ballparks, the Grand Tour of Europe, and then the rest of the world

5) Places I have lived:
Sayreville, NJ
Cambridge, MA
Manhattan, NY
Until I was 22, I had always lived in Middlesex County. Only the state changed.

I’m also not big on tagging people, but if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m the last person to do this one anyway.

Watch it

I seem to have spent the entire last week spectating one event or another. I started out by watching the Yankees trounce the Mariners on Friday night.
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It was rewarding to finally see the Yankees put some runs on the board and get a win, in a game that included some fancy baserunning by the Captain, a clean outing for Andy Pettitte, and an opposite field double by Jason Giambi (I know the last one is hard to believe, but it did happen).

I spent the rest of the weekend in Massachusetts meeting friends and going to parties of all sorts. I could have gone to Minds Eye Yarns out in Porter Square before attending a pottery painting wedding shower, but elected to stick around Somerville for their Memorial Day Parade instead.
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In addition to marching bands, local politicians and veterans, the Somerville parade also features re-enactors of just about every war since the Revolution and a very healthy contingent of Shriners. I know that the Shriners do very, very good work, but I have never seen so many forms of miniaturized transportation in one place in my life.

Finally, I watched people lining up to watch Manhattanhenge:
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I missed getting to see how things lined up at sunset though, because I was heading north, and Central Park blocks the view.

Unfortunately, one of the things that I *wasn’t* watching was what I was doing. I was so happy that I had finished knitting my second February Baby Sweater after knitting group that I didn’t really look too closely before washing it. If I had, I might have noticed a pretty crucial flaw:
One of these things is not like the others...
I couldn’t get the sleeves to block out evenly because one sleeve is a lace repeat longer than the other. Did I mention that I didn’t realize this until the sweater was sopping wet? I had to wait a day for it to dry out before I could rip back and fix things (although I was sorely tempted to make a go at it when the sweater was merely damp), but now that I have, I’m feeling much better about the whole project. I still think it’s a darling little sweater, and if I had more babies in my life right now, I’d definitely be knitting even more of these.

Enchanted

I’ve read a bit about Elizabeth Zimmermann in knitting magazines, and I’ve picked up a couple of her books, but I had made it through several years of knitting without ever attempting one of her patterns.  It seemed like high time to fix that, with the February Baby Sweater on Two Needles from Knitters’ Almanac.  After all, how can you go wrong with garter stitch, a simple lace pattern and almost-seamless construction?
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You really can’t.  The terseness of the directions was a bit alarming at first, as the entire thing is about half a page long, but sometimes things really are that simple.  This sweater is a very refreshing knit.

The details:

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino DK (just under 3 skeins, left over from Wicked
Needles: 4 mm
Buttons: From M&J Trimming
Notes: I took a page from Anne-Marie and made 3 buttonholes at the top of the sweater instead of all the way down the cardigan (I also took her advice to start the buttonholes before the pattern mentions doing them). The other main change I made to the pattern was to make it seamless by putting the stitches for the sleeves on hold until the body was done and then picking up stitches under the arm for knitting in the round.  I’m aiming for a 6-month size, but I know so little about the relative proportions of babies that I can only hope for the best.  The sweater is 11 inches wide, and 10 inches long, if that means anything.

What can you do when you’ve just finished what may be the sweetest baby sweater ever? Why, you cast on another one.

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This one is Knitpicks Shine Sport in Orchid that was re-purposed from another intended project, and 3.75 mm needles instead of 4 mm. It’s going even faster than the first one now that I’ve figured out what I’m doing, and I bought the cutest little duck buttons at Tender Buttons on 62nd St.

And speaking of ducks. . .
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They’re back!