Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2-at-a-time SOCKS - Melissa Morgan-Oakes

Summary from Amazon.com: Sock knitters everywhere know the frustration of Second Sock Syndrome. It goes something like this: A cute new sock pattern and soft, foot-warming yarn lead to many happy knitting hours, resulting in . . . ONE sock. The first sock is done (and it's adorable!) but pattern distraction sets in. Who wants to knit the same project all over again? There are so many new projects waiting to be discovered.

Melissa Morgan-Oakes ends the drudgery of the second sock by showing knitters how to cast on and knit two socks at one time on one long circular needle! Her method is captured in step-by-step photographs, clearly showing knitters how to turn out two socks at the same time. Goodbye to lonely, abandoned single socks. Hello to unlimited pretty pairs, knit on one needle (often finished on the same day), and worn with pride and that gratifying sense of accomplishment.

Oakes is a dedicated knitter, knitwear designer, and knitting instructor who has known the frustration of Second Sock Syndrome. Her easy-to-learn technique enables sock stitchers to adapt any pattern to her two-at-a-time method. But before experimenting with other patterns, readers will want to try Morgan-Oakes's 15 original designs. Fun and creative, they include simple to complex choices, a variety of yarn weights, and designs for women, men, and children.

Socks are small, relatively inexpensive, and interesting to knit — a favorite portable choice of busy knitters. Keep the fun in sock-stitching with the innovative new technique that produces two socks — yes, that's one sock for each foot — at the very same time!

I originally learned to knit socks 2-at-a-time from the toe up about a month ago.  Then I discovered that if I learned how to knit socks from the cuff down that I would open myself up to tons of more sock patterns.  So I jumped in and starting making the sample socks in purple and pink which I will give to a co-worker for her two year old daughter.  So far so good but I have only done the cuff and leg.  I must admit, I do like that the cuff is more durable than using the invisible bind-off on the toe up socks.  But you must know something, I am a sock newbie, this is only my 5th pair of socks so far in my knitting career.  I am enjoying this book with very thorough descriptions and pictures to assist me as I work through every step.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Toys!

On Wednesday, hubby and I went to Northampton, MA to have lunch at Sakura's Japanese restaurant.  We are both on vacation this week and came home from Lancaster, PA early due to the enormous amounts of rain from Saturday to Tuesday and about 2" per day perdicted until Saturday.  So we came home.  Since we were headed to Northampton, I was able to go to Webs for a little yarn shopping.  I got 2 skeins of Plymouth Sockotta yarn for me and 2 skeins of Valley Yarn Northampton Bulky to make hubby some wool socks.  Plus while I was there, I bought myself two new toys:

It is a plastic and metal umbrella swift and a Royal ball winder.  Here is the link to it from Web's store.  I have been eyeing a ball winder for some time.  Also, since I have bought some hanks of sock yarn thanks to Knit Picks sock yarn sale a few weeks back, I needed a swift to help me wind them.  So far, I have only played with the ball winder.  I love how it makes round "cakes" of yarn that feed from the center.  Boy am I going to miss winding my yarn by hand and making my infamous egg (it was supposed to be a ball but it never is).  I am really happy with these two products and I would recommend them to anyone who is in the market to purchase them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Paprika Socks

Here is my latest pair of socks:

This is the first time that I have used fingering weight sock yarn.  It took a little while to get used to using really thin yarn and small needles.  I like how these came out!  Next time, I will be sure to check that they stripping is the same on both socks before beginning.  It's no big deal but I would like to try to make them identical next time!

Pattern: Beginner Toe Up Socks for Magic Loop
Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight - Deborah Norville Collection #1389246 - Paprika
Needles: US 2 with 47" cables

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Outsider - Ann H. Gabhart

Summary from Good Reads: For as long as she can remember, Gabrielle Hope has had the gift of knowing--visions that warn of things to come. When she and her mother joined the Pleasant Hill Shaker community in 1807, the community embraced her gift. But Gabrielle fears this gift, for the visions are often ones of sorrow and tragedy. When one of these visions comes to pass, a local doctor must be brought in to save the life of a young man, setting into motion a chain of events that will challenge Gabrielle's loyalty to the Shakers. As she falls deeper into a forbidden love for this man of the world, Gabrielle must make a choice. Can she experience true happiness in this simple and chaste community? Or will she abandon her brothers and sisters for a life of the unknown? Soulful and filled with romance, The Outsider lets readers live within a bygone time among a unique and peculiar people. This tender and thought-provoking story will leave readers wanting more from this writer.

Gabrielle lives among a Shaker village which has been her home for over seven years.  She sees a "vision" of a fellow brother, Nathan, trapped in a burning building.  The Elders listen to her and find Nathan and he is badly burned but survives with the help of Dr. Brice Scott.  Brice is an outisder but with his help, Nathan survives and his wounds heal.  Gabrielle is very close to Nathan and is by his side throughout his recovery.  During this time, Brice falls in love with her and tries to convince her to leave the Shaker village and live with him.  She refuses to leave but she is fighting an emtional battle inside over her feelings for him.  Will love prevail for Gabrielle and Brice?

Reading about the Shaker community was different for me.  It is nothing like the Amish.  Shaker's separate men from women and all the children live separately.  They believe that matrimony is a sin and treat the community as a whole family.  To me, the Shakers are more of a cult than a religion.  You are not born a Shaker since they do not get married and have families, they are assimulated, or acquired.  The whole concept of their live style is rather odd to me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fire by Night - Lynn Austin

Summary from Good Reads: Book 2 of Refiner’s Fire. The drama of the Civil War unfolds through the eyes of two very different Northern girls. Lovely Julia Hoffman has always enjoyed the carefree life of her well-to-do family, but when she fails to attract the attention of Rev. Nathaniel Greene, a fierce abolitionist, she determines to bring meaning to her empty and shallow existence. When she becomes a Union nurse, her eyes are opened to the realities of war and suffering. She also meets Phoebe, who has entered the army under false pretenses--and whose journey to understanding herself, as well as the tumultuous world about her, is revealed with sensitivity and drama.

Julia Hoffman comes from a very wealthy family in Philadelphia in the 1860's.  In order to win the heart of the local minister, Nathaniel Greene, she decides to change her life and give up all the daily luxuries of her life to become a nurse during the Civil War.  There are many challenges that she faces as a single and beautiful woman that she must lie about herself to do what she wants to do.

Phoebe "Ike" Bigelow is a real tomboy who lives with her three older brothers.  Both her parents have passed and all they know are each other.  Her three brothers enlist in the war, rent out their cabin and farm which forces Phoebe to help a local family with their business and family.  Phoebe is not domesticated at all and instead of suffering through her new job, she cuts her hair and goes to Kentucky to enlist in the Army as a man.

War changes everyone it touches, and Julia and Phoebe are no different.  Along the way they both met some people who have a great impact on their lives.  They learn about war, nursing, love and about God.  When these two woman, from different walks of life, meet in an Army hospital and things are never the same.

This is the first book that I ever read from Lynn Austin and it will not be the last.  I really enjoyed it!  I originally read this for my local book club and the wholw group loved it that we are going back to read the first book of this series, Candle in the Darkness.  Although each of these books can be read alone, some of the characters flow into all the books.  I'll be starting it soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Rouge Socks!

On Sunday night, I finished my second pair of socks.  Here they are:

These knitted very quickly since I did not have to carefully watch every video first.  This time when I did the invisible bind-off, I paid extra atttention to not pull my stitches tight so I would be able to pull them on easier.  I am very happy with these!

Last night I started my first pair using fingering weight yarn!  I'm so excited!!!

PatternBeginner Worsted-Weight Socks for Magic Loop, Toe-Up or Top-Down by Liat Gat
Yarn: Knit Picks - Wool of the Andes #25075 Rouge
Needles: US 8 with 47" Cable using Magic Loop Method for 2 Socks At-A-Time

Monday, May 9, 2011

Knitting Knee-Highs by Barb Brown

Summary from Book Sneeze: In this book, author Barb Brown takes sock knitting to new heights by teaching you the ins and outs of knitting kneehighs, a popular sock, but one that needs more explanation than most books and magazines give it. Here, in the first book on the topic, you will learn how to size these socks as you knit them, with 20 great patterns to pick from. Each of the 20 knee-high patterns comes with a variation that features that design in a different color and style of sock, perfect for knitters who want to mix up their sock drawer.

This is a great book!  The pictures are wonderful as are all the sock patterns.  All the patterns are made from the cuff down and include graphic and written instructions. The first half of this book contains very detailed socks using two colors.  I personally like the second half of the book because it has more traditional single color patterns.  I would not suggest this book as a first book for a beginner since there are not intricate details on how to knit a sock as some other beginner books offer.  This book would be great for every sock knitters library for all the beautiful patterns as you become more experienced.

I just began kniting socks myself in April.  I am about to start my third pair tonight.  I learned by using the toe-up method versus the cuff-down as directed in this book.  My personal plan is to learn cuff-down after I have become more comfortable with toe-up socks so that I am not limited in my sock knitting patterns.  I am looking forward to knitting some of these patterns when that time comes around.

A special thank you to Book Sneeze for allowing me to review this book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Simba!

Today we are celebrating Simba's first birthday!  I actually do not know his "real" birthday since we are his third home.  We got him on November 5, 2010 and we were told that he was six months old.  I counted back six months and declared his birthday to be May 5, 2010 (5/5/10 ~ Cool, huh??!!).

Here are some pictures of him from camping, for the first time, at Cape Cod this past weekend:

He was actually barking at the ocean.  He is too funny!

Happy Birthday Simba!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chemo Cap #3

Here's another stripped chemo cap:

I think that I only have one more color of this stripped yarn.  Boohoo!  I need to see if there are some more colors.  These make great caps!

Pattern: Knit One Chemo Cap
Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #21712 - Lime Stripes
Needles: US 9

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My First Socks - Part Seven - DONE!!!

Yippeee, I'm done!  I have completed my very first pair of socks!!!

Here they are on my feet:

Don't they look good (for my first pair)!

These were not as hard as I thought to make!  I am looking forward to making many more in the near future!  So to reward myself for my latest accomplishment, Knit Picks is having a sale on sock yarn until May 4th so I bought enough sock yarn for 12 more pairs!  I love presents!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Camping Waves

I made a few of these for our new camper.

When I made these dishcloths, I slipped the stitches purlwise instead of knitwise.  I like the feel of them better this way.  They are a little loser and more pliable than knitwise.

I threw away all my dishcloths at the end of the season so I decided to make some instead of buying them!  Plus these match the colors of our new camper better.

Pattern: Chinese Waves Dishcloth
Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #00084 Sage
Needles: US 7