Here's the regular random post for June 17.
I live in a crafting wasteland. Some people might think that Nova Scotia would be chock full of crafty goodness. They would be wrong.
Granted, this is the home of Fleece Artist, Lucy Neatby and Ilga Leja. They're all crafty goodness incarnate. But in terms of actual supplies? It's a wilderness.
You cannot buy decent knitting paraphernalia here to save your life. I'm not sure about spinning, because I don't do it. But I suspect if you have a hankering to take up spinning and you live in Nova Scotia, you'd be ordering a wheel online from out west or the US.
I have been unable to procure decent needles here. This is the home of the Addi blunts and the bamboo breakables. Anything more durable requires Paypal or Mastercard and the patience of Job when dealing with Canada Post.
Today's rant is directed at beads. Yes, beads.
We have a Michaels here. It has a beading section. There are many wondrous beads to choose from. Except seed beads. It doesn't really have many of those. There are a few tubes of 6/0 beads, and some 11/0 beads. But if you want 8/0 beads, you're out of luck.
So I was thinking of ordering some online. Then I saw the shipping price and decided against it. This is Nova Scotia. This is the capital of Nova Scotia, in fact. The legislature sits here. Cruise ships dock here weekly between May and October. Surely we have beads other than the scant offerings at Michaels.
Before I started to knit, I used to do a lot of beading. I made tons of funky bracelets with cool clasps and memory wire and venetian glass and who knows what else. But I never needed small beads.
There are two bead shops that I know of here. We have as many bead shops as yarn shops. The first used to be called The Bead Pod. Then it was sold or taken over and it was Faroz beads (or something like that). Now It's Halifax Bead and Metal Clay.
So I decided to go there to see whether I could find some 8/0 seed beads for the Tour de Sock which will require 500 beads.
For a store that advertises itself as having the largest bead selection in the province, it has pretty slim pickings for seed beads in 8/0. There were around 10 choices. Now, bear in mind that I have a stash of about 900 skeins of sock yarn. I should be able to match pretty much any beads with a skein of yarn.
I found 4 containers of 8/0 seed beads which I thought might do. Four.
Apparently the 10/0 and 11/0 seed beads are all the rage. The helpful sales person asked me what I wanted the beads for. I told her I need them for knitting. Then she obviously thought she had mis-heard me, because she said, "Oh, native beading? We get a lot of natives looking for beads."
I cringed. Um, we don't call people "natives". The correct term is aboriginal.
And no, that's not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for size 8/0 beads to string on yarn. You know, the stuff made from sheep. We do have those in abundance in Nova Scotia.
So I purchased my little containers of seed beads and went to store number 2.
It is somewhat amusingly but inaptly called Beads-R-Us. They do have a lovely selection of belly-dancing skirts in the back. But they don't have a lot of seed beads.
In fact, I found one colour in size 8/0. They're yellow-green.
I have no idea how many are in each little baggie. Hopefully 250 or so. I dumped them into my little iPod container.
So after an afternoon of hunting for beads in a torrential downpour, this is my haul.
Yes, I did previously purchase about 500 3.0 mm hematite beads from Michaels. But I discovered that the hole in the beads is so small that sock yarn won't go through it. They might be okay on a laceweight project, but they're not going to work for sock yarn.
So for Tour de Sock with the 500 beads, these are my choices. Blue/fuchsia [which would be amazing with my skein of TFA Blue Label in Iris], light blue [which I was saving to use with my Bomber Moth Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga for Adrienne Fong's Dewdrops pattern], gunmetal, ruby pink irridescent, and the yellow-green beads.
It's a crafting wilderness. But I will persevere.
I could use the yellow-green beads with my Eidos in Tethrippon.
I could conceivably even use them with the March RSC Hope Springs Eternal.
I also have several other choices for those particular beads. So it's not as if I'm fussy or hard to work with. Have yarn, will travel. Need beads.
So Tour de Sock stage 2 opened on Monday June 10. I got the pattern that night when I got home from work. I had decided to do fraternal twins out of Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Adonis Butterfly and WRM Melon. [Far left and middle; the one on the right escapes me right now, but was t5oo pastel and didn't quite go with the Adonis Butterfly].
Apparently my braindead streak continued.
I decided to do the first sock in the blue. So I promptly cast on 72 stitches for 2x2 ribbing. Then I did 16 rows. And discovered that I had in fact cast on 76 stitches. So I decreased by 4 and continued on.
The colourwork was pretty good. I was pretty happy with it. I was still having trouble carrying the second yarn in my left hand. I'm a thrower, so it's hard to pick. My biggest issue was figuring out how to tension the yarn.
By the time I got to the third sock, I had it figured out. Yes, that's right. Third sock. There are only 2 in a pair.
You can tell I didn't have a good experience with TdS #2.
The twisted rib pattern calls for the first stitch of rows 5, 13 and 21 to be borrowed from the end of the previous row. I interpreted it as shifting the row by 1 stitch on each of those. So by the time I finished Chart B (24 rows) and started the second repeat, I realized something was horribly wrong. The stitches weren't lining up.
So I hemmed and nawed a little bit and then decided to frog the whole thing and start again with the correct stitch count. And then I read some of the help / chatter thread and realized I needed to do 20 rows of 2x2 ribbing before starting the cuff chart. Off to the frog pond.
So that's what I did. But I started sock #2 in the orange yarn instead.
I finished it on Saturday (June 15). And by finished, I mean I kitchenered the toe and wove in all the ends. It was wearable.
I started sock #2 on June 15. The above picture fairly accurately captures the blue. I decided to do the contrasting toe but not contasting heel or cuff. If I did them again, I'd add more contrasty bits.
I am finding with this Tour de Sock that I'm learning lots. With sock #1 I learned beads. With sock #2 I learned colourwork and oodles of twisted stitches.
Can I just say how much I am over twisted stitches? We've broken up. There is no immediate marriage looming on the horizon. They're slow and awkward and splitty. I despise them.
Sock #1 of this pair was my learning and swearing sock. Sock #2 was marginally better behaved, but I'm just glad to be done. I did the cuffs and colourwork band on 2.50 mm needles and the body in 2.25 mm needles. I did size medium which is 72 stitches. I was a little afraid they wouldn't fit. I know my tension for sock #2 was tighter than sock #1 because I was feeling stressed and cranky and not loving the pattern.
But miraculously they actually fit. Woo hoo!
I finished them tonight. I think I'm about number 102 or 103 or 104 on the leaderboard for Stage 2. If it hadn't been for the false starts, I could have finished in the top 100.
It was too dark for decent photos, so I just did the bare bones photo to prove that I've completed them as directed and on time. I'll take more artsy pictures for my project page tomorrow. I actually have a beautiful vase with these two colours in it which will be an excellent backdrop. I'll move the ginger jar out and use the orange and blue vase instead.
So anyway, they're done. Good riddance. Wretched things.
I have enough yarn left in each skein to do the companion sock, I think. The SG Skinny Bugga is in 450-yard skeins, so I think I'd be okay. But there is no way that I will pick up this pattern again for a very long time. We are not friends. So my feet will have to be satisfied with fraternal twisty friends.
In terms of yarn content, my Rockin' Sock Club yarn for May arrived late last week. It's lilac and burgundy-purple and pond scum and olivey green. I think the club colourway is Fleur de couleur. My ball band inside says fleur de rouge (which means flower of red).
It reminds me of a skein of Yarn Love which gave me a lot of trouble when knitting up [Marianne Dashwood in Garden Bouquet]. I already know that this skein is going to end up with the pond scum bumping up against the burgundy purple and looking vomitous. It can't be helped.
Here's the Yarn Love. I frogged it. I then attempted a Cat Bordhi something or other and frogged it as well. Then I tried something else and frogged it. After three times the yarn is in a permanent time-out. It's like Sweet Georgia's Honey Fig colourway. Lovely in the skein but hard to work with.
I think the pattern that comes with the May shipment is a good one. I'll give it a whirl, but I'm not holding my breath. Stay tuned. Of course, it may not happen until after Tour de Sock is over.
Then there was a teensy slip which I blame squarely on Ericaberry. We were having a striped sock discussion, and she urged me to get some String Theory so she didn't have to buy it all.
It was kind of like Bugga with Christine.
So three skeins leaped into my cart. Two of them are 100% BFL (the Tachyon base), and the other is some other wacky breed of sheep -- Falkland or something like that.
The colours are super-saturated and vibrant. I really like them. Apparently BFL has a longer staple length than merino and wears better. Let's hope so. Princess has worn through the toes of every pair of socks I have given her. I don't understand it. It's not even as if she has elf feet with toes that curl upward.
Ceci n'est pas ma fille.
So perhaps some BFL socks will last longer. The other thing I might do is try reinforcing the toes. I could do slipped stitch toes. Or maybe colourwork toes.
In other random stream-of-consciousness....
The hamstring is healing. I'm getting laser treatment. The chronic achilles tendonitis is slower to respond. But I was in agony a week ago. This week it's [the hamstring] a ton better. I'm not there yet, but I'm much closer than I was.
The last thing I leave you with is some interesting sidewalk art I noticed the other morning when I walked the dogs. Obviously the neighbourhood kids got into some fingerpaint. It's quite cool. And I love the fact that the water-based paint only lasted until it rained. Evanescent and transitory art at its finest.
A couple of maple leaves also caught the kids' fancy.
I want a maple tree. I'd really like a red maple.
I need something to replace the peach tree which the dogs destroyed. Little bastards. Grrrr.
That's it. I'll get some better Tour de Sock #2 photos tomorrow. Then we start down the path to colourwork on Wednesday night at 6:00 pm my time (6:30 pm in Newfoundland). I don't know what yarn I'm using yet. I suspect I'll be using 2.50 or 2.75 mm needles. I might use some STR mediumweight or some HK PIquant (I have stick o' butter and violetta and shannypants which may all go nicely together). Or I could use some Bugga. I also have some Akasha Zeropoint (?) which I bought specifically with the intention of doing colourwork.
Hey, if I can get this colourwork thing mastered, I can see some designing in my future.