23 March 2007

Madtini Socks!

Whew! Completed Round 2 of Sock Madness. Wow...this was a super nice pattern to knit. It was easy to understand and fun. I used Trekking XXL in colorway 100...on U.S. 2 dpns (3.00 mm). The pattern is called Mad-tini Socks, designed by Karin Bole.

Before anyone asks: "Why didn't you match up the stripes?" Good question...I did try but funny thing about this colorway is that the stripes do not repeat...each color change is different from any others in the skein. So the socks match but not exactly.

The picture doesn't do the pattern justice and the yarn is a bit busy for the pattern but there are some unique things about it. Here is a clear picture of the pattern that was done as a smaple. First off the cuffs are really stretchy because the ribbing is done without any purls..its knitting with YO (aka Wrns....British term for the same thing...learn something new everyday!)...the YO are pulled over two knit stitches...makes for a woven look on the cuff...the leg has this spiriling effect which I think can be seen better in a less busy yarn....also the heel flap was a new for me....it is an "Eye of Patridge Heel"...makes the flap cushy...

I feel bad that the person (sopranospinner) I was matched up with had her non-knitting life intrude on her knitting life and could not participate as much as she would have liked. However, like the first round...the other competitors were supportive and helpful. It was fun!

Round 2: Sock Break

Whew! Needed a break...Round 2 of Sock Madness began yesterday. I recieved the pattern at about 1:30 pm (pacific)...and casted on right away...finished the first sock by about 1 am...and am now into sock 2....I am using Trekking XXL in colorway 100... I love the colorway but it is really wild...none of the stripping repeats....so this is going to be one of the wildest pair of socks I have ever seen. The pattern we are doing is really nice...new type of cuff that I really like...and an interesting heel...it isn't too difficult...I actually think this pattern is easier then the first one...maybe its me....in the interest of time please checkout the Sock Madness 2007 flickr group for pictures. Ok break over back to knitting....


20 March 2007

Sock Madness Round 2

Round 2 for Sock Madness has been announced. We get the next pattern on Thursday. We have been told that we need a variegated sport weight yarn and size U.S. 2s. Now I have a TON or sock yarn. Yes that much! Never mind all the non-sock yarn. But it is a surprise to me that I have little to no sport/DK weight yarn. Most of what I have in that weight is from Mode Dea's Sassy Stripes line, which I have made two pairs of socks for my honey. I found in my stash one colorway that I have enough of for the project but I do not know if self stripping will work or not. We were told that we should have 7 stitches to the inch with 2s but I got 5.5 stitches to the inch with the Modea (colorway: Spring, 6983). I only got 7 stitches to the inch when I used 1s. Now I did a swatch with some really lovely Schaefer Anne sock yarn with 2s and got 7 stitches to the inch with it but its not sport weight, it is fingering weight. Its difficult to judge what to do without seeing the pattern. LOL so I have pulled out both yarns and will judge when I get the pattern on Thursday afternoon.

In the mean time I have been knitting on other projects. I am more then half way done with an entrelac stole from "Scarf Style". I also completed a pair of toe up socks that I really love. I did the short row heel from the first round pattern. I just wanted to learn how to do a toe up sock. If I had had the funds to buy extra needles and the time between rounds I would have tried doing socks on 2 circs. I just want to add to my skills. :-) Anyway here are the socks and a possiblity of yarn for round two.

15 March 2007

Japanese Mataro Dolls

Thank you all for your interest, comments, compliments and questions about my mother's artwork. Many asked for more information about the dolls so I asked my Mom to supply me with the info. because I just didn't know lol...I am posting here what she said and I hope it answers the questions :-)

"Thank you so much for adding my dolls to your blog. I enjoy making them -- no I love it. The Japanese community has been very accepting and appreciative of my work. These are the national culture dolls of Japan. The art is over 2,000 years old. I am the first (and I think the only) American that has been allowed the Artist Guild Book that goes back over 1,000 that is in the Imperial Castle. I have a license from the Japanese Government to make the dolls and I also received my Teaching Certificate. At the present time they have accepted my into the Masters Program. I have to make over 150 certain dolls to qualify. Because of the degree of difficulty of most of my dolls, they have reduced my quota to 120. If I keep making these difficult dolls I may be able to reduce the number to even less than 120. I previously sent you an explanation of the history of the dolls -- let me know if it is clear. I am now working on six dolls at the time -- trying to get them finished for my Brooklyn Museum "Cherry Blossom Festival.""

She also supplied me with some historical information:

"Mataro Dolls preserve the tradition of the sculpted wooden dolls born on the banks of the Kamo River in Kyoto About 260 years ago (during the Genbun Period – 1736-1741), a man named Tadashige Takahashi at the Kami-Kamo Shrine in Kyoto, carved dolls from wood left over from making willow boxes to be used for the annual festivals. He also used left over pieces of fabric that remained from the kimonos made for court members. Conservation at its best.

The wood was from:
- willow trees growing on the banks of Kamo River. This is believed to be the origin of the Kimekomi (means "put into grove") sculptured wooden dolls.
- The Mataro Doll is a type of Kimekomi Ningyou (wooden dolls dressed in kimono). Mataro Kanabayashi I founded the Mataro Doll Craft Academy and created a unique style of making the dolls based on traditional techniques.

Originally the body of the doll was made of a piece of grooved wood. Glue was put into the grooves (“Kimekomi”) of the body, and the edges of the cloth were inserted into the grooves. Nowadays, we do not carve the dolls out of wood
Mataro Kanabayashi I (1897-1984) developed a new method of molding the base form of a doll from paulownia sawdust mixed with glue, and named his produce the “Mataro Doll.” His method enables us to produce dolls in quantity, making them available to many people. The Kanabayashi family has inherited this Kimekomi technique. The dolls all represent a person from Japanese history, folk tales or for the various holidays celebrated in Japan. There are also dolls which have a mixture of Chinese history as well that is intertwined with Japanese history.

I try to learn all that I can about each doll. The dolls can take me from 3 months to a year and a half to make. Below is the doll that I am about to make.

I will pass on all the compliments to her...and once again thank you all for your interest. To answer the question about "Why Japanese dolls or art?" I can tell you that ever since I can remember my mother has had an INTENSE interest and feeling for Japanese culture. My home growing up was always decorated in some fashion or another with a Japanese influence. Japanes art and style were always around. We (my sisters and I...well anyone who knows her) have always said that in another life she MUST have been Japanese. Her connection to the culture is deep for her. I have to say that being a family from a Puerto Rican background and 4 generation U.S. citizens her interest in another culture has given us (my sisters and I) the ability to be people of diverse tastes and interests. I am grateful for having been brought up with this because I believe that my own interest, tolerance and acceptance of others is because of her. I LOVE to learn about people, cultures and history of other places. My sisters are the same. I believe it made a citizen of the world and not just of one country.

14 March 2007

Japanese Dolls


This post will not be about my own art work or crafts. One of these days soon I will adjust the pictures of my artwork so that I can share them here. Today is not about me however. Ever since I can remember my mother (Carmen Acosta) has done creative things. They have changed over time except for the last 10 years (plus). My mother has become a turely gifted artist. She creates Japanese Dolls...beautiful dolls. I haven't seen much of what she has created since 2001 because of the distance between us...she recently sent me some pictures of her newest pieces. She is having a couple of shows this spring...one of which will be held in April at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves. I hope you all enjoy them.

12 March 2007

A comment about comments

I forgot to add this to my other post...I want to thank everyone who comments on my blog...as of yet I have not been able to directly reply to comments that are left...blogger doesn't let me click on an email address to reply to comments...I do not know why and if there is a way I have not been able to figure out how...there have been many comments that I have wanted to reply to via email but could not do so and I do apologize. I just wanted to say that because I didn't want anyone to think that I wasn't reading them. Also some have had problems with the verification thingy...I had to turn it on because I was getting spammed...I know what the difficulty is (I have experienced it with commenting on other blogs) but the problem is out of my control...I don't know why it gets stuck or you have to verify several times before it will post your comment...its a glich in the program.

First Round Done!

Well, I finished the first round of the "Sock Madness" game! I can make a pair of socks pretty fast but these were the fastest. lol...The first round was a time trial and the frist 16 people out of each of the four brackets moves on to the next round. I do not know if any of the other rounds are timed as well. I cannot share the pattern of the socks with you because the designers have asked that the patterns be used by only those in the competition but I can give you the specs:
Mad Cow Socks
" by Jennifer Young
Yarn: Wildfoote Sock Yarn in Blue Boy colorway, the variegated is Wildfoote as well that was originally a very light pink that I dyed with Wilton's food coloring. The pictures do not show all the colors really well, there is orange, transitioning yellow, red, hot pink, dashes of purple and cobalt blue.
Needles: 5 Susanne's 2.5 mm DPNs, 5"
There was a little bit of confusion on Saturday morning about the pattern but the ladies who set this up as well as the other competitors were extremely helpful. I have to say this...KNITTERS ARE NICE PEOPLE...this is why I say this....

I have only been knitting since July 2006 (yeah I know but I have been playing yarn since I was 7...crochet) so some migh consider me a beginner....though I will toot my own horn here and say that I picked it faster then I would have thought and have been knitting some advanced things...I made a bunch of socks for the holidays and many more since then...but there is alot yet to learn out there...this first pattern for the game was a challenge for me because it had "short row heels", which I had not done...the instructions were confusing to me (no pictures)...but the other knitters stopped their own knitting to help others out...they didn't have to...stopping to write out detailed tips, instructions or just give encouragement slowed down their own knitting and competiting but they did it anyway... KNITTERS ARE NICE PEOPLE...I thank them for their help and appreciate that they shared their time and experience. :-D

This has been a nice experience for me, shared knitting with some nice people; ended up with a funky fun pair of socks; learned some new techinques which enlarged my available knitting skills; and got a pattern that I know I will knit again. Woohoo...I scored! At least I think so anyway...lol...

Its really cool how everyone made the same pattern but all the socks look different because of the color combos that were choosen and how the variegated yarns used changed the pattern depending on whether it was a self-patterning yarn or not...You can see pictures of how the socks turned out the game's flickr group page: "Sock Madness 2007".


(Sorry that pictures are posted sort of wonking...blogger is just frustrating me with the positioning of the pics and I am leaving them as is because I can't get them to line up)

10 March 2007


Alright, I have no reason why but I am totally excited about Sock Madness starting tomorrow first thing in the a.m....... well ...I am sorry all! I don't enter competitions! lol....and to be honest I am not in it for the prize (which are way cool fancy shancy yarn and stitch markers and stuff...)....I really wanted in for the unique patterns and possible meeting and making some new yarn friends .....and there are people playing from ALL over the world! Cool beans huh? Korea, U.K., New Zealand (where I once lived for 3 yrs)...and all over the U.S. ....its awesome and I am glad I am in on it. For the first sock we have to use a skein of solid and a skein of variegated fingering/sock weight yarn. I am using the sock weight I dyed with Wilton's and Brown Sheep's Wildfoote in a nice royal blue. Anyway wish me luck! I think it will be fun....you can see what is going by going to the competitions flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sockmadness2007/ for the pictures and the chat on the competition....for the main page click here: http://sockmadness.wordpress.com/ to read all about the rules and who set this up and why. I am excited...which surprises me because I didn't know I would be I jsut wanted to join a KAL or something like it to connect wither other yarn addicts elsewhere...but I am pleasantly surprised that I am really excited by this....I have never been good at competitions so though I am not setting myself up to lose.....but if I don't win its cool...it will be fun ....its already fun finding out where people are fun and seeing what yarn they are going to use for the first round....I am really curious to see how socks will end up looking since we are each using different colors....oh you should see some of the yarn some have choosen...super cool!
Anyways...less then 7 hours lol...they post the patterns at 8 am EST....so they will be in my email by the time I wake up
sweet dreams all..
happy knitting

04 March 2007

More Socks

I have gotten the sock but bad! LOL...have always had a thing for sock yarn but making socks is just grabbing me. LOL Good thing since I have joined the Sock Madness competition. I have been placed in a bracket and and am listed under Nancy's Traditional Sock Division for my first sock. Wish me luck, we start on March 10th. Anyway here are pictures of my most recent socks, the first one is Trekking XXL and the second one is Tofutsie's. I finished a 4th pair in Opal for my honey and am working on a 5th in Cascade 220 (in some that I dyed). When I finish the 5th pair I will post the pics together.

Newly Dyed Yarn

Here is my newest batch of dyed yarn. The first one is Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. I used only Kool-aide except for the yellow which is Wilton's because I just couldn't get the yellow to be as dark as I wanted it to be with the Kool-aide.

The second picture is Knitpick's dye your own lace weight Merino wool which I dyed in Wilton's. Here is the funny thing about these two purple skeins. I mixed up a batch of the color into a giant bowl, I put both hanks in together at exactly the same time, kept them both in the bowl for exactly the same amount of time, drained them side by side in the sink for the same amount of time and cooked them in the same ziplock bag for exactly the same amount of time in the microwave. Can you see the difference? They look very different, lol, I don't have a clue why? The Knitty Otter lady suggested that having twisted the two hanks together might have avoided the difference...but who knows...I will try her suggestion for the next time I try to dye a hank all one color.

The last one is Cascade 220 dyed with Wilton's in blue and brown, which seems to be a popular color combination as of late, I like it as well. It came out really well, don't know what I will make with it yet but I have two skeins so hopefully that will be enough to make something substantial. Any suggestions or ideas? :-)

02 March 2007

Sock Madness

Woohoo! I got into the Sock Madness Competition.
Check it out:

Also...check this out...I was parusing the Knitty Otter's blog for the explanation on how she dyed her self stripping yarn. I was scrolling along and saw a cool button with a name and a bouncing ball of yarn behind the lettering. I thought "Oh isn't that cute." I then scrolled back up and then a lightbulb went on: "Hey wait a minute what did that button say????!" Scrolled back down and then read the button and it said "Yarnatic" ...Ok so sue me, small things make me happy...I got all excited..."Honey look it what the Lady Otter did? She made a button for linking from her blog to mine!! Its way cool!" I saw her tonight and I don't think she got how totally excited I was...lol...but I think it is really sweet and way cool of her to make it and she said that I could use it on my blog to allow others to use. So here it is...a super cool button to show that you are a yarn fanatic ...


For some reason I have not been able to figure out how to put button links on the side bar of my blog. When I try I get a message that says to correct the errors but doesn't tell me what the errors are. Grrr...why does it have to be so hard. Why can't I just put a picture on the sidebar and then add a link to it and turn it into a button? I was able to put the sock Madness pic on the side bar was not able to turn it into a button, sorry about that all...Just can't figure out what the problem is with doing it in blogger. Since I cannot put them on the side bar I am sharing them here, my fun new button and the buttons of others:

There are others that I would like to post and share but for some reason it is frustrating difficult to put to many pics into one post...all the alignments and spacing gets screwed up and then it takes a long time to fix it all.

Yarnatic Flickr Group

I created a Flickr group for my knitting pictures. I will put pics in my posts but since it is difficult (frustrating, annoying...etc.) do so in a post I am not able to put up all the photos I would like to so I created the Flickr group to put the pics into. Here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yarnatic/ . I will add more pics to it then I can add here but will blog here. Make sense? lol

01 March 2007

Warming Feet

Well for some reason I have gotten bit by the need to make socks. I completed another pair of socks for my honey. Third pair in a week and half ....started a fourth pair last night (almost done with one). I am hoping to be added to the Sock Madness competition, so maybe somewhere in my little mind I am warming up for it ...lol. I recieved an email today saying that I needed to message back ASAP if I wanted to join in but have not heard back yet to see if I have been added. It looks like a lot of fun and I think I have everything that is required for the competition.

Here are the socks I finished last night. I used Trekking XXL in colorway 28. I wound the yarn into a center pull ball and used it double stranded (a strand from the inside and a strand from the outside). This made the wieght as if it were thicker and I could knit the sock as if I were using a fat DK weight or worsted weight. Which for some reason works better for socks for my honey. I did not use a written pattern, just sort of used what I have learned from other patterns and put it together. I had the hardest time finding a pattern that would suit his feet. I think I found the right formula, I am going to write it all out so that it can be shared. I have alot of notes in my notebooks for patterns I have adjusted or re-written but I have yet to write up my own pattern. I want to be sure it makes sense. :-)

Here is the sock pictures. Let me know what you all think.