I finished those pink socks using a Sweet tomato heel that worked really well. I made sure to add extra rows to make up for there not being a gusset. The heel might be my new favourite heel. I tried them on and…
They are too short! Like an inch of foot length! Crud!
Frog, frog, start over.
That may be the end of the sock jag.
I have discovered The Bee Keeper’s Quilt.
Besides stash busting, there are some really nice things about those 23g socks. They are so fast as to pretty much be instant gratification…at least by my knitting standards.
The first pair, I completely followed the Chocolate Vanilla Sock Pattern. That was the pair in the Regia, Kaffe Fasset yarn. The second (the first official 23 gram pair) I added ribbing after the gusset reduction on the Chocolate Vanilla pattern and reduced the foot length since the first pair were too long. The third pair, I completely changed the after heel deduction to what I posted last time.
Now I’m on pair number four and I am changing to the Cat Borhi Sweet Tomato Heel.
So, let’s pause for a moment. Crazy work all month long. Only one hour of knitting group all month. One knitting circle where mostly I knit mom’s scarf in between helping others with their projects. One major chest infection. Very minor knitting time….
Three and a half pairs on socks in less than four weeks.
My word! I do not knit that fast! It takes me more than a month to knit a pair of socks…. Doesn’t it?
Well…. no…. I usually pick complicated socks with lots of lace and maybe some cables.
The best part of 23 gram socks is that I get to try out all kinds of new things. This is great.
I am knitting a lovely lace scarf for my mom. No, really! I am!
But it is lace and 300+ stitches in a row and requires a lot of concentration. This month I am working almost every single day except for the week the kids have off from school and Little Girl has two swimming lessons a day, every day. Oh, and the three days I took off due to that chest infection.
Not a great set up for knitting lace.
So I have been knitting these:
I’m calling them 23 gram socks, because … well… I feel a teeny bit cheated. By the time I take the label off the skien of CoBaSi (I bought six skeins because… well, just because) it is pretty consistently 45-46 grams not the 50 it claims on the band. This is fine for me, but really an extra four grams would make these socks a little more accessible.
None the less if your feet are a women’s 7 narrow….
The the skein into a ball and place on your Lee Valley Precision Scale. Frown that you, once again, only have 46 gram of yarn. Take the outside end and wind it onto your ball winder until the scale only reads 23 grams or half of whatever you started with.
Cast on 24 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast On and the Magic Loop to do two, toe up socks. My needle is a 100com, 2.25mm circular.
I cheat and tie a single knot using the tail and the working yarn on the inside, then knit the first round using both the tail and working yarn held together. This slightly re-inforces the first row and works in my end at the same time.
On the second row, KFB, knit to second stitch before end, KFB, knit. Repeat on second sock, repeat on second side of sock.
*Knit one round. Repeat increase round.
Repeat from * until each sock has 30 stitches per side (60 stitches per sock).
Knit 55 rounds (or until sock is 3″ less than your foot length. You will likely need more yarn that I use.)
Decide which is the top and which is the bottom of you socks.
On the bottom, KFB, knit to two from the end, KFB, knit. Knit the top. Knit next row. Repeat until bottom has 74 stitches.
At the end, you still have too many stitches (74) on the heel needle, so:
Knit 26, k2tog, knit 20, ssk, knit 26, knit 30 on the top on the sock.
Next row knit.
Knit 25, k2tog, knit 20, ssk, knit 25, knit 30 on the top on the sock.
Next row knit.
Knit 24, k2tog, knit 20, ssk, knit 24, knit 30 on the top on the sock.
Next row knit.
Work as established until both needles only have 30 stitches.
*Knit 2, purl 1* repeat until almost out of yarn. Cast off using the Jeny’s Surprising Stretchy Bind off.
I can knit these socks a couple of stitches at a time without looking and finish a pair in less than a week of hardly knitting at all. I would suspect they are a Saturday afternoon pair of socks. Less than 6 hours for sure.
I have knit a pair a week for the last two weeks. The last pair were knit in 30 minute bits as Little Girl swam. 30 minutes per lesson, 2 lessons per day, 4 days + a few minutes here or there while she was in the shower = a pair of summer weight ankle socks.
I have another pair just started today. I am kind of hoping to use up all six skeins and clear out my stash or CoBaSi. The thing is…. six skeins…. no colour repeats, so summer length socks only.
Plus I was curious, because I usually knit socks to fit and they are 30-ish gram socks. Which means I get three socks out of a 100 gram skien. I wondered if a 25 gram sock would be a reasonable length. I think I will stick with my 30 gram winter wool socks and save the extra to make a sock yarn blanket or something. 23 grams are too short for most of the year around here.
I’m about half way through the month of full time shift work that getting set up for the new casual job is taking. I am not working full time at the new job, it’s about three days a week. But I am still working at my old job both days, every weekend and some extra mid week shifts because they are short staffed just now.
Full time really is too much for us.
Yes, I know there are a lot of families out there where both parents work full time and some where both parents work full time with shift work thrown into the mix. There are even family with both parents working full time, and shift work, and blended families with no easy to predict schedule for when the kids will be where, plus three people with health conditions that require a bit of extra time to manage, all mixed in together who are somehow able to do a better job of holding it all together than I seem to be. More power to them. If you are them and have some tips, please leave them in the comments. I don’t know how you do it.
We are a little stressed. The floors aren’t washed, the laundry is falling behind, the menu plan is getting weird and we actually ate out twice one week. That last one might not seem like a big deal, but two dinners out for the family costs as much as my food budget for a week of home cooked, never-mind that dinner out is never as healthy.
The thing is, we have been here before. This is pretty much exactly the problems we faced when I returned from mat leave to be placed in the secretarial pool and had to also work weekend in health care to keep my licence. At that point T and I had a hard look at our life and decided that, really, 0.6 FTE was about all I could work and still have our family function with all the challenges that occur in our household.
In the meantime, I have come down with a chest infection and ended up missing the last two days of a 10 in a row shift run. Exhaustion + healthcare exposure to nasty coughs = sick employees. Funny that.
Yes, I understand this post is getting a bit whiney, so:
Today is the first day of my new job. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I really hope that if I can make it through the extra long orientation (at three sites) that will take up all of February, that I can make this a good long term fit for our family.
I’m currently reading the back catalog of the Yarn Harlot blog. It is quite good.
So, why am I reading ten years of back blog? Well… we are sick. V is really quite sick, Little Girl is a little sick. I have a slight cough and don’t want to progress. Lots of snuggle under the covers time and I am digging out my soup cook book.
Please stand by
There are lots of organizational blogs for people with kids that are based on minimalist ideals.
I am not a minimalist.
In some ways, I may look like it. I started Project 333 and took out all my clothes and counted them. I was very aware of the guidelines and was prepared to cull. I have 29 items of clothing in my seasonal wardrobe, not counting socks and underwear. So…. success?
Little Girl has toys, but not enough to completely cover the floor.
The thing is, no one with five bicycles and as much cast iron as I have can call themselves a minimalist with a straight face. Or at least I can’t.
I like my things. I like the 12 place set of cobalt blue glass dishes that were imported from France for me. The ones that I never use. That are waiting patiently for Little Girl to get big so I can dig them out and use them with less worry about breakage. I will use them. Some will get broken. They are irreplaceable, but it will be OK. I just would like to limit the amount of breakage.
I like that I have Gramma’s Victorian furniture in my sewing room. It isn’t practical. It isn’t child friendly. It doesn’t really match the 1960′s basement setting of my sewing room. The circle chair cradles me perfectly and I love sitting and knitting in it.
I’m not a big fan of clutter. It makes my eyeballs itch. I have a fear of crossing that invisible line between having too much stuff and just having stuff. I am aware of exactly what would go if T and I ever move into one of those two bedroom Craftsman houses I dream about. I am sorry to say it would include most of Gramma’s furniture (not the circle chair).
In the meantime, Yes, I would like that vintage x-ray machine calibration equipment you are going to throw out. No I am not going to use it for calibrating my home x-ray machine. I am going to shadow box them for cool, geeky art work.
And, yes, I do understand that I will likely have my children gasp and roll their eyes at how much stuff I have as they try to help me move into a smaller place. But I am trying to keep it from getting completely out of hand. and I do go through it all every year and see what can go. I think that is the key. I have stuff, but I physically touch each and every item at least once a year in my January clean. The things I have, I am not just keeping “because” I am keeping them with careful thought and gratitude about what I have.
I live in a small house built in 1963. It is small, not tiny, at just over 1000 square feet on the main floor. There is no second floor, but there is a basement of about 900 square feet. There are five people and one rabbit in my household.
This makes storage an issue, so I try to be careful about what I bring into the house. I don’t have great storage, but I’m working on it. It is really important to me that each of the girls have their own bedroom. C and Little Girl are upstairs and V has a fully developed room in the basement with her own bathroom (which is currently the nicest bathroom in the house, but I’m saving for a reno). None of the bedrooms are big, but we are ok with that. No one has a walk in closet. There isn’t double closets in the master bedroom.
I do have an ensuite, but it is just a powder room. Over the holidays we removed the old sink that survived a…. I hate to call it a flood. It survived Little Girl playing in it and running it over and getting the walls and MDF cabinet
wet really clean. The wall behind the new sink is still a little uneven from this event, but it is dry and suffered no mould issues, so I can live with the slight wave until we do a major gut job.
I love reading house blogs. Heck, check out my blog roll for my current favourites. They change a bit but I always have a few. The thing is, I kind of fall into a house blog void. I am not proposing to fill this void, I am just pointing out that it is there.
Tiny houses have lots of resources…. for, well, DINKs.* My house is bigger than most of the houses in the tiny house blog-o-sphere, but a lot of the time when I look at square footage divided by number of people using it, I have less space than some of these Tiny Home Owners. Some of the storage ideas I can find on those blogs are great, but most aren’t practical.
Mini Manor and Young House Love both started out in houses that were close to the size I have, but have since upgraded to three or four times the space I have. Most of the decorating blogs have houses WAY bigger than mine and the things they work on don’t help me.
Apartment Therapy is great and it often makes my kitchen/dinning room/living room feel huge, but they aren’t really targeting budget conscious moms with three kids.
The thing that boggles my mind (besides how YHL keeps pronouncing it Foy-r instead of foy-yay) is that there is a huge market of us middle class moms with kids living in houses from the 1950′s – 1980′s where we don’t have a tonne of space but do need help spending our decorating AND RENOVATING dollar. I know that is the thing, money. How is it that there is a market where…. Target or Homesense or The Bay or Ikea* or WHOEVER doesn’t have even a sponsored blog to talk about how to store 27 million pieces of Lego in a 9×9 kids bedroom?
If you laundry room is in the unfinished basement and DOESN’T have a chandelier, what tips do you have for how to store your off season clothes? And worse, your kids’ off season clothes, when you have no idea if they will fit next year but you can’t stand the idea of having to shop for a completely new wardrobe for a 5 year old every season. Any more than absolutely necessary.
I hate to say this, but Take My Money Please! I am definitely the target demographic for the retailers mentioned above. Can’t someone start a blog that is also geared towards my demographic? But that’s the thing, right? All us moms with 2.75 children living in small houses looking for affordable decor are too busy raising our 2.75 children to blog about who has the best sales and how to organize the Lego in only 81 square feet.
In other news, stand by for a post about how I set up a craft room in an underdeveloped basement using my Grandmother’s furniture. It may be thrilling.
*Dual Income, No Kids
* Yes, Ikea does have a newsletter, but it doesn’t really follow the families besides just a photo shoot of the room, once.
On Wednesdays I’m the classroom mom at Little Girl’s school. I work one on one with the kids who are struggling using activities provided by the school. I am not ashamed to admit that Little Girl is one of the kids who is having a tough time learning her letters.
Today, I was given a rather worn version of the above puzzle and told to get the kids to say the words that went with each letter and the sound they made. The letter pieces were mixed in a bag, to be drawn at random. I worked with five kids and learned some very interesting things.
A – is for: Crocodile. 5/5 kids looked at the picture and said crocodile.
B is for: 3/5 blocks, 2/5 letters
C is for: 4/5 carrot, but the puzzle was a bit faded and Little Girl had to ask if it was a carrot or a parsnip.
D is for: 4/5 had no idea, 1 guessed brownies
E and F everyone knew Elephant and Feet
G is for: 3/5 world, 1/5 planet, 1/5 tape measure
H and I were fine
J is for: 3/5 smarties, 1/5 jelly beans, Little Girl just said beans and I had to explain jelly beans which I think she has had before but she doesn’t remember
K is for 1/4 had no idea what the picture was
L is for 1/4 said sticks and was prepared to argue that ladders are made out of metal and are shaped like this (a triangle shape made with hands). L was clearly (to him) for sticks and I was just plain mistaken.
N is for: 4/5 peanuts, 1/5 “some sort of fruit with a stone?”
Everyone knew O
P is for 4/5 piano, 1/5 keyboard
Q is for 4/5 chicken, 1/5 “I just don’t know! Bird?”
R is for: 2/5 liquorice, 3/5 candy cane
S and T, no problems
U is for: 1/5 brolly
V is for: 1/5 violin, 1/5 fiddle, 3/5 didn’t know
W is for: 3/5 got waffles, 1/5 said fruit, 1/5 didn’t know
X is for: xylophone 5/5, but I suspect that this is because x is ALWAYS for xylophone
Y is for: 2/5 string, 1/5 wool, 1/5 pants (no, really.)
Everyone knew zebra. 3/5 said Zed, 2/5 said Zee.
Somehow I just find this completely fascinating. I can understand how frustrated these kids get when the picture CLEARLY has no relation to what the adult claims it to be.
Way back in September, I had contacted my community association about them hosting a knitting circle. Just a nice weekly get together and knit. They briefly talked about would I be willing to TEACH and I hesitantly said sure, but all I really wanted was a place to socialize and knit. There are a lot of widows in my neighbourhood and a social crafting night might be appreciated.
Yesterday I got an email. This email:
The knitting circle is set to start this Monday, from 7-9, are you still able to go? We do have one person signed up and we’ll have it sent out on the email blast.
Um, the first class is scheduled for tonight. I had nothing really planned to teach, other than a vague, “let’s make a hat” plan. The one person was a senior woman, but so is my mom and she doesn’t knit. Don’t fall prey to stereotypes, right?
I got there a few minutes early and had to track down the janitor to unlock the room where I was supposed to be meeting… the one and only person in the city who thought $10 was a fair price for 10 weeks of knitting. I have my hat pattern, my sweater project and a bunch on spare needles.
Whoo-hoo! Let’s do this!
The one woman is named P. She looks at me a bit skeptically and asks “are you the one who knows how to do the european knitting? I hope you can teach me”
O-kay then. Take a deep breathe and start talking about knitting theory. She graciously lets me ramble on for a while before saying that she has knit before, but she wanted to learn the other style.
O-kay. We cast on. I show her how to hold her needles and her yarn. We go through the knit stitch. She is struggling with holding her yarn on the other hand. I keep having to remind her to straighten her index finger. After a few rows, she is mostly OK and I show her the purl stitch. Purl stitch went better, but she kept having to remind herself that the yarn needed to be on the other side of the needle.
Once she gets going, we start visiting.
P is a Certified Master Knitter with the Knitter’s Guild of Canada. Her certification is recognized all over the world. She came to my “class” to learn combination knitting.
I feel more than a little intimidated, but I was able to get a way with some serious slacking off in the teaching department after that. Still, the mind boggles that I was able to teach a master knitter anything.
She says that next week, if I bring the frost flowers pattern she will show me how to do line 12 with the p3tg-tbl