Friday, November 19, 2010

The Fruits of our Labors

Today was a super special day for us here - it is the first day of the San Diego Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk! You may recall that we did fundraising all summer for SGK, and today was the day to celebrate everyone's hard work and contributions!

The funds we raised (over $400!) went to SGK via our friend Judy who is walking in the event for the first time. Judy has a long history of volunteerism and participation in charity fundraising events of all kinds, and she loves doing it. She's always been a regular walker, but over the last several months has kicked into training for the event - walking many miles per day. The 3-Day route takes the walkers on a 60 mile journey all around coastal San Diego County, with two nights of camping (and foot rest!)

Kelie and I dressed in pink this morning and found a spot along the route on a nice neighborhood street, which was formerly very peaceful and quiet until we showed up! For several hours we clapped and cheered for the walkers - helping to keep them entertained and energized. Kelie is much better at cheering than I am, she had a special style of shaking what God gave her while she shouted "Save The Boobies!" This always got the walkers laughing and cheering :-) I have a feeling she's going to be pretty hoarse for the next couple of days! In this photo from left to right are: yours truly, Judy, another friend Patti who is also one of the awesome walkers, and Kelie.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of rain forecast over the next two days of the walk, but we wish the walkers the best, and Mr. Wendy and I will get out there again tomorrow to cheer them on. It's SO much fun to see all the costumes and decorated cars and motorcycles on the route. Even the male bicycle Police patroling the route were having fun, playing loud music, and wearing pink skirts over their uniforms :-)

And on a completely unrelated topic, I received some prize dishcloths in the mail today! These were made by Dashiemouse from our Ravelry group, and they are awesome! She sweetly volunteered to make prize dishcloths for our Fantasy NASCAR league, and she has done a wonderful job. These are just too pretty to use - I love the star-shaped one! Thanks, Dashie! I so appreciate the Fruits of Your Labors!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Matching Stripe-itis

When it comes to matching stripes on socks, I have a real illness. For me, stripes must match across the two socks, and I often go to an insane level of detail to ensure it happens. My only comfort in this is that I know I'm not alone.

Here is perhaps the crowning achievement of my sock-matching disease. When I was in Sock Wars a few years ago, I received a partially completed pair of socks from a poor fellow that I killed. (I truly did feel badly about knocking this contestant out of the game - there are so few active male knitters, that I don't want to be killing any of them!) On the right is a photo of how the pair looked when I received them. The first sock was beautifully knit, and the second one had only a cuff - a completely mis-matched cuff!

Obviously that wasn't going to fly with me, so as you can see, I promptly cut that cuff off the ball, and started over. I also noticed the first sock had a tighter gauge than the standard pattern gauge. This was a good thing - as written, the Detonator pattern was too big for most contestants, and this excellent male knitter had made the necessary change in needle size to resolve that situation. Below is the finished pair - one made by him and one by me. The stripes match so well, that they are perfect down to the one white row of Kitchener on the toe. I love these and was proud to kill some other knitter's ass with them :-)

So recently, I needed a new travel knitting project for my trip to Portland, as none of my WIP was very portable. I decided it was finally time to make a pair of Cooke A's Monkey Socks. I've had this pattern in my queue since it came out in 2006, and I had this beautiful hand-dyed skein of Jolly Jumbuck Helios (70% Wool, 30% Silk) stashed away for the perfect project. Tada! As I was winding the yarn, I decided that this was going to be a total "mental vacation" project with no worrying about anything matching. My plan was to make these socks two-at-a-time, from both ends of a center pull ball. Let the colors fall as they may!

Well... I finished the stockinette toe (I'm making my Monkeys toe up) and couldn't help but notice that the colors were pooling identically on the front of one toe and the back of the other. How could that be? I took a good look at the dye repeats in the yarn and realized it is symmetrical with respect to direction of use. Darn it. You know what that means... now I can't ignore the fact that the pair can actually match.

So I flipped one of the socks around on the needles so that the matching sides faced the same direction and started into the pattern stitch. No longer are these a "mental vacation". Now I ensure on each row that the bright yellowy-green stripe hits at the same place on each sock - varying my gauge slightly as needed to make that happen. Here is how they look so far - I've just started the heel gusset increases.
Now that I'm back home, the Monkey are going to hibernate for a while as I crank out some Christmas gifts for my family. I've clearly bitten off more than I can chew - so we'll see how it goes!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our First Fiber Festival Exhibit!

I'm pleased to report that our first fiber festival exhibit was a huge success! Last Sunday, we had a booth at the Southern California Weaving and Fiber Festival which is hosted each year by the Southern California Handweavers Guild. The Guild members put on a great show - they are super organized and communicative, very friendly, and a real pleasure to work with. They even made us lunch :-)

Our nine weeks of strategic preparations worked out perfectly! There was no last minute fretting, and we seemed to have everything with us that we needed to have when we got there. The night before we left, Mr. Wendy commented that he noticed I wasn't running around with my hands waving in the air like I usually am before an event or travel! I love it when a plan comes together. On the left you can see all our weeks of work packed and ready to go.

We had a large booth space, and had no problem filling it! I got a few photos before the show started - here is Kelie showing off our new Sock-aholic T-Shirts.

And here is the "Sweet" side of the display, featuring the yarns and projects to go with them. We had a very colorful and eye-catching booth, which was enhanced by our sunny location. Just perfect!

Our booth was very busy throughout the day, and we even got to meet a few of our Ravelry group members from the Orange County and Los Angeles areas. That was a nice surprise! Many of the visitors to our booth enjoyed our "business coasters" - heck, anyone can have business cards!

While this show features all types of fibery-related goodness, one of the highlights is the demonstrations put on by the Handweaving Guild members. It's really interesting to watch them work, and to see the variety of loom types and fibers that they work with. Aaahhh, another craft to put on my bucket list...