Monthly Archives: August 2006

Tragedy strikes.

I’d like to say that I was more than halfway to another finished sock right now. Sadly, I’m back to square one again.

On Saturday I cast on for the Simple Stripes Fair Isle socks. I was nervous about trying them because while I’ve done 2-stranded fair isle before, I’ve never done it on DPNs. Well, as it turned out, 2-stranded fair isle on DPNs has more to do with being comfortable with DPNs. If you’re comfortable with fair isle, too, then hey, I think this project should be no problemo. Also, I think using the variegeted yarn this way is absolutely brilliant. It looks like you’re using 4 colours when actually you’re using only 2.

I’d forgotten the charms and allures of fair isle – how quickly the rows go by, how the tension is balanced across 2 hands and lulls you into a sense of security and stamina. By Sunday night I’d managed to get halfway through, past the theel and about an inch into the foot section.

Then I decided to try it on. You know, just to make sure.

It wouldn’t fit. The leg could slip over my foot but would not make the turn over my heel and arch. On any other sock, 64 sts on 2.75mm needles would be perfect, but not with this sock. Apparently in my renewed love
affair with 2-stranded knitting I forgot the small wee details that fair isle fabric is
a) not as stretchy as regular fabric, and
b) twice as thick as regular fabric.

Nothing for it but to rip back and start over with more stitches. I hope the love affair will still be there when I cast on again.


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August Socks?


Pattern: Rib and Cable Socks, Interweave Knits Fall 2005
Yarn: Patons Kroy, Chelsea Tweed
Needles: 2.75mm DPNs (would use 3mm were I to do this again)

I’m very pleased with how these turned out. This is the first non-basic pair of socks that I’ve done, and so it took some getting used to with the cable twists on such tiny needles. They’re comfortable, attractive, and my sister said they were “pretty badass socks” when I tried them on after binding off, so I’d say that makes these winners ;)

They are not without errors, though. From the shot above they look just fine, but there is a big honking mistake in the left sock. Allow me to explain:

Somewhere in the process of working the heel flap, I dropped the 2 purl stitches and 1 knit stitch along the right side of the instep, and as a result the right hand cable got a little too snuggly with the gusset. By the time I realized my mistake I managed to correct as best I could (I actually went to the process of adding the stitches back in and getting to the toe decreases BEFORE I realized what was up), but by that point I was not about to rip it back. So, the sock is 3 stitches more snug than it should be across the arch, but as long as the sock stays on my left foot then only I’ll notice the difference.

Mwa ha.

And another thing – I used 1 ball for each sock, and for each sock, this is how much I had leftover:

It’s probably a solid 10-15m in each ball, but it looks like a whole lot less when you’ve got Ladies Size 11 feet and still have a couple of inches left to go with the toe.

I’ll be glad when it’s cool enough to start wearing these :)

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It’s like they want me to buy yarn.

I think Elann is now reading my mind. I’ve been searching around for sport weight wool yarns with decent colour selections (KnitPicks’ Telemark looks not half bad, but doesn’t have the full pink-purple and blue-green spectrums that I like.) This Devon line from Elann is also coming darned close. *wants*

It really is the rule that as soon as you put yourself on a yarn diet (I just shelled out a whack of $$ for a September plane ticket to London, I gotta give the ol’ credit card some recovery time – plus, I have no shortage of stash to use up), that’s when you find yourself lusting after new purchases. *sigh*

What would I do with this Devon, you ask? Well, I’ve been fooling around with a design for the last few months based on the fair isle turtleneck sweater Hermione wears in The Goblet of Fire. I’d like to use sport weight yarn at the heaviest, so that I can get the gauge down pretty fine. Another option would be Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, which has colour selection aplenty. But Elann, though…well, they already own my soul. I’m working towards that gift-certificate-if-you-spend-enough thing with them, how could I cheat on them now? :)

No pics for me today, although I’m pleased to report that i’m already 5 inches in to the second Rib and Cable sock. I’m hoping to finish these in time to have them count for my August Socks in the Sock-A-Month 2 Knitalong. *crosses fingers*

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Anatomy of a Knitting Bag

I don’t have a purse – at least, not an everyday purse. I do, on the other hand, have a knitting bag:

It’s got a large main pocket and two small outer pockets. Inside, there are two little pockets and another small zippered pouch. It’s a regular handbag that I chose because it was moderately roomy but not cumbersome, and its wider-than-it-is-tall style meant that it was a good fit for straight needles. (In a piece of irony, since I bought this bag I have all but given up straight needles in favour of circs.)

This is what is currently living in my knitting bag:

(Bottom row)
1. In the needle department: A set of DPNs, a 1.75 mm crochet hook (for dropped sock stitches), and a cable needle. There’s a 4mm crochet hook in there too, but it’s lost in the pens and pencils.
2. Notions: a tapestry needle (held on a length of yarn), safety pins, stitch markers (wee box of commercial ones, and a few handmade ones although those are now mostly living on my green shawl WIP), pens and pencils (far too many), scissors, and a tape measure (I have another one that stays in the knitting basket at home).
3. Life stuff: cell phone (usually turned off), spoon, power bar (both leftover from months ago when I was at a conference and was ready to Be Prepared for emergency food situations. They still linger, in the “just in case” category), US $10 bill (also leftover from said conference. I don’t know why I’m still carrying it around).

(2nd row)
4. Misc: Gauge/needle measuring panel (there must be a Real Name for this that I can’t think of)
5. Works-In-Progress: Sweater, the beginning of a front panel (in a yarn that is really too plump for the gauge, but I like the colour and I’m stubborn), a feather-and-fan shawl, about 1/5th of the way done and waiting patiently for me to pick it up again since about, oh, 2 weeks ago…*whistles*…, and the beginning of the second Rib and Cable Sock. (I’m a good Yarn Harlot follower, I cast on the second sock right away in wariness of Second Sock Syndrome.)
6. Calculator, for design purposes mostly.

(3rd row)
7. Heap of paper yarn wrappers, gathering infinitely in the bottom of my bag. I think I counted 17. I think we’re also supposed to be making decoupage with these, or similar (at least if you believe Leigh Radford.) For this reason, I still haven’t thrown them out yet, and for this reason they will remain in the bag.
8. Two empty plastic page covers.
9. Miscellaneous circular needle envelopes, some containing needles and others awaiting the needles’ return.
10. Patterns and pattern notes, some for current WIPs and some for past and future WIPs. Some are pages with miscellaneous scribbles.

(Top row)
11. First aid: Bandaids (I get blisters on my feet in the summer), ibuprofen (for misc aches and pains, knitting injuries included), and Tic Tacs.

You’d think this would be plenty of stuff to haul around with me, but actually I still haven’t looked inside the two outside pockets:

12. My wallet. (Self-explanatory)
13. Cosmetics department: Powder compact, lipstick, hand lotion. Dental floss, which appears cosmetic but is actually there in case I have to ditch my scissors in an airport situation, or if I lose my scissors and need an emergency yarn-cutting backup.
14. More first aid: bandaids. Breath mint.
15. Stationery needs: mini-highligher, pen, business cards (some my own, some of others), and small post-it notes.

And the kicker? My bag still has room in it ;)
The one thing I’d like to have in here and don’t is my knitting notebook, but it’s not at a size that fits easily into the bag, and even if it does fit it adds a considerable amount of weight. Ah well. Perhaps I just need a smaller notebook for the bag. Ooh, shopping…

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Somebody cool me down, I’m on fire!

Two Finished Objects in one week? So much glee I can hardly stand it!

Just under 2 weeks since I started them, and voila! The comfiest basic socks ever:

(I know, I know – I’ve got ladders. *sigh* I’m workin’ on it.)

And here’s where I admit that I have two, yes, two more balls of this yarn (Austermann Step – aloe vera sock yarn, that’s damned clever) waiting to be knit up. But first, I must go back to the poor neglected Cable and Rib socks. While I lovingly stroke my new FO, of course… ;)


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"Ravenclaw" Cardi

Be still my heart…It worked!

I think I started this pattern back in about April. It’s been modified here and there several times, and I still have a lovely team of beta-knitters working on it as well. If all goes well, I’ll release the pattern here for public consumption by the end of September. (I was thinking about offering it for free, but several people are telling me I should charge. I’m starting to agree. I’m also starting to realize I have no idea how to actually do that. Hm.)

Sizing will include Women’s XS to 5XL, in zip cardi and pullover options. Next up: Men’s version!

For those who are interested:

Pattern: My own, based on the Quidditch uniform sweaters worn in the Harry Potter films. Modified to be a zippered-cardigan (pullovers are worn in the films) that includes optional pockets just below the waist. Sleeves cover the wrists.
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, in Ink and Light Grey Heather, with some Patons Classic Merino Light Grey Mix thrown in to subsitute for the back stripe.
Needles: 4mm straights, eventually switched to 4mm circs to work pieces flat. Easier on my hands and elbows that way.
Finishing: Zipper installed by hand, and that was a first for me. I’ve never done zippers before, but Im happy with the result! Vogue Knitting Quick Reference was most helpful. Also, I learned that sewing seams on a dark-navy-blue piece is a lot harder without good lighting! Heh.

I now have a heap of burgundy and gold yarn to knit one of these for my sister, who requested this thing in the first place. Hers won’t have the hem stripe on it, and may or may not have the pockets. Guess what’ll have to go on the WIP list next? ;)

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The non-knitting cats.

This past week and for most of August I’m on a cat-sitting/house-sitting gig. It’s been fun so far, and I have 2 fuzzy companions who are generally amiable and will happily purr and wrap themselves around my legs/hands/any part of me that provides a sitting surface. What’s been intriguing so far is that neither of these feline gals is particularly interested in my knitting. Sure, if I try to knit when one of them is on my lap, they will inevitably grab at it, but even if I’ve got a ball of yarn sitting on the floor as I knit, they eventually lose interest.

Example #1:

Note that on the coffee table behind her there is my knitting bag (full of yarny goodness), 2 WIPs, and a quantity of yarn, but for her the most important thing is the plastic bag that fell to the floor. Mine, mine, mine, she says. (Except then, she played with it so vigorously that the rustling startled her and she ran away. Poor wacko.)

Example #2:
Then I started blocking the Ravenclaw cardi (grey yarn substitution still going strong), using my handy-dandy new foam-mats-turned-blocking-boards, purchased for about $17. I thought that all this wool lying out on an easily accessible flat surface would at least pique their interest, but in the end both cats only sniffed it surreptitiously and gave it a wide berth on their way through the back porch:

Cats, man, just when I think I’ve got ‘em figured out. My explanation is that the Lady of The House isn’t a knitter, so if the cats have been raised without exposure to Knitted Things, then the introduction of same will provide only passing interest.

Which is just fine with me ;)

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When things get tough…

…the tough get themselves to a yarn store and find suitable substitutes in as close a friggin’ colour as they can get.

The Ravenclaw Cardi is, of course, still stalled by a lack of re-stock in Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool in Light Grey Heather. And so, when I was out last week at a yarn store (not for ME, of course, I was just along for the company…) I decided on a whim to check out the supply of Patons Merino Wool, just in case. Lo and behold, I brought home a skein of their Light Grey Mix. Well, tell me if you think this ain’t darned close enough:

(Wee bits of Elann in the front, full skein of Patons in the back.)
I know, I know, they’re not 100% exactly the same, but I’m willing to bet it’s no more different than the difference between two dye lots of the same yarn, which is what I would be dealing with anyway. And it’s close enough that I’m willing to do the back stripe entirely with the Patons wool and have done with it.

Huzzah! The sweater will be finished! I wonder if I can get that done this weekend…(There is the small matter of the seaming, making the collar, and installing the zipper, nevermind knitting the rest of the back piece, but whatever, lalalallaaaa…)

So, in this trip to the yarn store, I also succumbed to yarn pressure, and walked out with a couple of balls of the most fabulous superwash sock yarn ever. And, erm, I may be more than half done a pair of socks already. And I may have done this without even bothering to note it on the WIP list at the right… *whistles*…

This yarn is just SO soft, and the colours are so lovely…it’s self-striping but not the same as the usual jacquard prints…I would say that I’m in love, except I think the real object of my affection has become this book:

Viking Patterns for Knitting, by Elsebeth Lavold. My friend K came to visit and showed me this book, since she’d recently acquired it. I think I may have had to wipe away drool. The ‘Ragna’ pattern in particular made me fall in love…I think if I could make out with a book, I would have with this one. It’s cables, cables, all cables. Scandinavian knotwork and celtic braiding translated into cable patterns that are Just. So. Gorgeous. *sigh*

If I suddenly come home with 10 skeins of aran wool, I’ll know I’m in trouble.


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Is it really August?

I’m not ready for it to be August yet, suffice it to say.

The knitting progress is coming along on the feather and fan stole:

Except, my whole plan to just “use up” the 8 balls of Elann Quechua I had lying around is completely foiled – I did some measuring after completing the first ball, then double-checked the pattern’s completed length, and realized I’m going to want it a little longer than what the pattern calls for. So, erm, I may have gone and ordered a couple more balls…And some more Luna to make another camisole…(What?)

Then I’ve finally gotten to starting the heel on the Rib and Cable Socks:

It’s only my second pair of socks, but in my head I’m already on #3, 4, and 5. For instance, I’ve got the yarn and pattern already to go for these Fair Isle ones, and then there’s this yarn that has Aloe Vera and Jojoba spun right into it. How hard is it to resist that? (So far, I’ve managed to resist, but I don’t know how long I can hold out.) ;)

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