Monthly Archives: October 2006

Yarn anxiety

So, a month or so ago I decided to knit my first Ribby Cardi as a gift sweater for someone this coming Christmas. Since superwash yarns are always touted as the magic bullet for gift knitting, and since KnitPicks just came out with a new worsted weight superwash yarn, I decided to take the plunge and order up a bunch for the Ribby.

I really should have looked into these things sooner – according to the Brainy Lady’s recent post, and at least 2 others I’ve come across, Swish does in fact shrink up after machine drying, changing from a row gauge of 7 rows/inch to 8 rows/inch. Ack.

There’s no going back, now, I’ve ordered the yarn and this sweater is darned sure going to be knitted with it. I’m just hoping the Ribby Cardi will stand up to some lengthening – I’ve never done a raglan sleeve before (I know, I know… *sheepish*), but I bet it’s a lot harder to lengthen those armholes than on a set-in sleeve.

Le sigh. Thankfully I”ve still got the Fair Isle sweater to distract me (I MUST finish it before starting something else, I MUST), but Christmas sure is getting closer. Hm.

It’s my department’s Halloween party tonight, so not much knitting for me this evening, but I do wish a happy Halloween to those participating in the festivities tonight! And for those who are staying home to knit, knit a row or two for me, would you? ;)

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TTC Knit-a-long

On Saturday I joined the West Team for the TTC Knit-a-long. It was a fun time.

(Note: I haven’t gone and asked individual permission to post photos, so if there is anyone pictured here who would prefer not to be, please let me know right away and I’ll take down the photo.)

Lady Octavia and I (sorrily late, we missed the 9am start at the Drake cafe) waited forlornly outside the Knit Cafe on Queen St. until we saw a group of transient knitters walk by.


We were united then, and so continued on the streetcar to Romni Wools since the Knit Cafe didn’t open until noon.

At Romni, there was much ogling of yarn and decision-making to do.



Attempted shoplifting…


Some knitting…


And kidnapping new knitters.


Then we carried on for a break at The Second Cup, where we blythely commandeered a whole table and paid no heed to confused looks from lined-up coffee patrons.


There was more knitting when we eventually headed back to the Knit Cafe…



And then we made it to Lettuce Knit in bits and pieces after lunching on Spadina. Good times had by all. Even the kitty, I think, whose ears received many little scratches from me.


I did not make it out unscathed, but I didn’t go too overboard. My wee haul included 2 Philosopher’s wool skeins, a ball of Austermann Step, and 2 Fortissima Color solids from Romni, and 2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces from Lettuce Knit.


I’d like to spend the rest of the weekend just ogling my new yarn, but that would drastically cut into my knitting time.

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Pomatomus pride

The sound you hear is me collapsing with a sigh of relief.
(They’re done! They’re done!)

These are my finished Pomatomuses (Pomatomi?)

(Pomatomus socks, pattern free at Knitty by Cookie A., knit on 2.75 mm DPNs with Patons Kroy Socks, winter eclipse colourway)

This is the yarn that I had left:

(Excuse me, I have to lie down for a moment.)

This is how much of them most people will see, but I will know the truth that lies beneath the denim:

(Such modest toes from such hard labour)

Overall, I’m pleased with how these socks turned out, but boy howdy did the pattern challenge me. Additionally, by some strange twist of fate, I finished the 1st sock with about 3 yards of yarn to spare (a whole 3 yards! party!), but ran out of the 2nd ball halfway through the toe of the 2nd sock. (Those with size 11 feet – beware! Extra yarn is your friend!) I finished the toe with every little last scrap of yarn I had left. (For those curious – Yes, my gauge was the same on both socks, and yes, I stopped the foot pattern at the same place on both socks. I’m not sure what happened.)

Whee! And *phew* – a finished pair of socks just in time to count for my October “Sock a Month” Knitalong entry. What socks next, what socks next… ;)

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Late to the party on the interwebs

In another knitting ‘first’ this month, I finally started checking out the Cast On website for the audio podcasts. My friend Kelly mentioned the site to me ages ago but for some reason I never went to look at it until this week.

Well, I think I’ve just found the new magic to get me through my hour at the gym. I was starting to feel dreary of my musical playlist (Even when I add in new songs, it doesn’t take long before they feel old again), so…podcasts to the rescue! I get to think about knitting and learn about knitting and listen to a few tunes, and all the while the minutes on the elliptical trainer or the track are flying by. Awesome. And the best part is, because I came late, I still have 30+ podcasts to download. A month of podcasts, here I come! Provided I manage to ration them out and not listen to them all at once.

Also, I’ve finally gotten the hang of Bloglines (I know, I know, late to the party) – I did figure out a few weeks ago how to add that little subscription button for my site off to the sidebar, but it was only last week that I finally went and added in feeds for a bunch of blogs. So now I will keep adding at whim and I won’t have to go and scroll through my ever-increasing bookmarked list of blogs, just to check up and find out that only every 5th one has something new ;)

In WIP news, Pomatomus is well into the foot on the 2nd sock (I will wear these on Saturday! I will!), the scarf is half-finished (never again will I think less of scarf-knitting than I do of other projects, scarves go on forever and ever), and the fair-isle sweater has about 4 inches on the body. (I was going to wear that on Saturday, too. HAH. Not unless I can wear it as a pair of armwarmers and a belt ;) )

And now, back to the grind.

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Kool-Aid and such

I was very much hoping to have a Finished Object to talk about the next time I posted, but sadly that will not be the case today. I had sudden knitting ennui this weekend. During the week I kept thinking about the lovely weekend time and how I was going to just do scads of knitting and get halfway through my fair isle sweater and finish the scarf and socks…and then the weekend arrived and my knitting was there staring at me, and the magic wasn’t there. Hrmph.

BUT, I did dye a skein of sock yarn using Kool-Aid. I’m probably the millionth knit-blogger to do this, but since Lady Octavia and I have plans do do some sock dyeing once our KnitPicks orders arrive, I thought I’d try the basic Kool-Aid route for starters. This is the result:


(Could I have failed any more at winding a skein? I don’t think so. ;) )

I’ll post again with more details about the process, but the basic gist is that I did the turkey-baster and microwave method, and I used 2 packets each of Strawberry, Grape, and something called Ice Blue, which didn’t work so well. If I do this again I think I’ll try mixing the Strawberry and Grape and see if I can get a sort of dark raspberry colour. Also, maybe it’s my store or maybe it’s Canadian Kool-Aid, but there was not a large variety of flavours available. Hm.

But hey, now I have a pair of socks’ worth of fruity-smelling yarn. I hope to cast on before October is up, in honour of Socktoberfest! If I can just get the last danged Pomatomus sock done…

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Lettuce Knit

Over two and a half years of knitting, I had never been to a ‘Stitch n’ Bitch’ group – until last night.

I finally, finally, finally, finally, finally plucked up the courage to go over to Lettuce Knit for knitting night. I was so nervous when I went in that I had knots in my stomach. I know, I know…knitters are nice – and the LK knitters really are nice, I know this now – but in new group situations I get extremely shy.

But the ground did not swallow me whole, and I made what I think was acceptable conversation, and knitted my Pomatomus sock, and goggled at all the gorgeous yarn lining the walls, and did my best propaganda job for sock-knitting for the knitter sitting on my left who had never done socks before but wanted to. And I talked to Aven, and Amy, and a woman who I knew from my volunteer work but hadn’t seen in years, and lots of other ladies. And I will totally go again.

Back to my regularly-scheduled graduate student programming for today…

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I suppose I should be flattered…

…but mostly I’m frustrated.

I received a very helpful email today from a friendly knitter giving me the heads up that this website is selling sweaters using my Ivy pattern (click on the “Adult sweaters” link and you’ll see mine.). No, I did not give them permission to do this, and yes, I have immediately contacted them to advise them of this and asked them to immediately remove this offer from their website.

I’d like to think this is an unusual occurrence, but I’m quite certain it’s not.

We’ll see what happens next.

[EDIT]: What do you know? After two emails with the woman who runs this site, my sweater has now been removed from the “Adult Sweaters” page. Perhaps she just needed some clarification on the fact that YES it is my pattern and NO it didn’t come from Elann and NO she does not have my permission to profit from it. Arg.

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Socktoberfest! My sock knitting history

Lolly posted these questions for Socktoberfest, and I hadn’t gotten around to answering them yet! Here is my extremely brief sock-knitting history.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?

The first pair of socks I knitted was for a belated Christmas gift last year (so, January-ish), using worsted weight wool from Belle Valle Wools (an Ontario sheepswool producer). I had my sister around, thankfully, to help explain the heel-turning part, because it really did confuse the heck out of me. I still have a skein of this yarn in grey and am hoping to knit a pair of mitts with it this winter.

What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?

The first pair of socks I knitted for myself, and the second pair I ever made, used a free pattern from Patons yarns and was made on 68 sts using 2.75mm needles, with Fortissima Colori self-striping yarn.

I still have 2 balls of this yarn in a slightly lighter colourway, and they’re waiting to be turned into a basic pair of stockinette socks as soon as I finish the current Pomatomuses (Pomatomi?). The first pair has held up well, but they’re just slightly brighter than what I normally wear, so if I wear them at all it’s with jeans.

What would you have done differently?

I would have used slightly fewer stitches. I seem to like the 64 sts on 2.75 mm needles for my feet, it’s worked out well for the basic pairs that I’ve done, although I do wonder if I could go down to 2.25mm needles on the same # of stitches, for my feet.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?

For basic sock yarn, I quite enjoy Patons Kroy. It feels nice in my hands as I work, and while it doesn’t come in a huge # of colours, I do like the colours it comes in. I’ve knitted 3 pairs of socks using Kroy so far, and have 2 balls of black lying in wait. I’m still deciding if I want to just do basic black stockinette (because who doesn’t need black socks, I ask you?) or to try something with a bit of a pattern, like Jaywalkers or Baudelaire.

I have a pair of skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (my first LL purchase – Black Purl colourway for those curious) also waiting to be turned into something. I already love how it feels in my hands.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?

I don’t crochet. I’m not exactly sure why one would want to crochet socks, but I suppose it’s one way of doing it. I knit socks using a set of 4 DPNs, top-down. I do want to try toe-up method, but that’s a pair or two down the road. I even learned that I can do fair isle on DPNs and it won’t kill me. :D

Honestly, though, after I read “Knitting Rules” by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, her chapter on socks made a world of difference to me. Now I understand sock principles and I just go ahead on basic ones without worrying about the pattern.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)

Heel-flap. I’ve done a short-row heel, but the heel-flap just seems sturdier to me. It is a great frustration of mine that 99% of all toe-up patterns (which I would dearly love to try) have short-row heels instead of flaps, but I know there are 1 or 2 out there that do make the attempt with heel-flaps, and therefore so will I.

How many pairs have you made?

All-told, I think I’ve only made 7 pairs, counting the 2/3-done Pomatomus pair that’s currently on the needles. I look forward to making more. :)

(Also, as an addendum, my friend K and I just ordered a whack of supplies to have our own dye-your-own-sock-yarn adventure, and I’m waiting on a sock yarn order from KnitPicks, so I’m sure I’ll have PLENTY of sock knitting to come. If only there were more knitting hours in the day.)

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Knitterly Celebration

This weekend, I finished the fair isle sleeves…

I finished Pomatomus sock #1 (with about 3 yards of yarn left to spare), and cast on sock #2…

And to celebrate, I cast on for a new winter scarf. (The chilly weather seemed to arrive in a hurry this weekend. Why can’t scarves knit up at lighting speed, I ask you?)


Once again I’ve started sniffing around the pattern for Mariah. Because, you know, I need more projects to add to the winter knitting queue ;) We’ll see…

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I’m supposed to be loving socks right now…

It’s Socktoberfest right now, and I’m feeling like a horrible Socktoberfester. I’m knitting socks, yes, but they have become what is easily the most challenging project I’ve done to date (for me…maybe some other people would rather knit these than do fair isle or cables, but I’m sitting here looking longingly at my fair isle whenever I pick up these socks…)

(Pomatomus - again, slightly blurry..I’ve got to get that fixed…)

Every step of this sock has been a struggle for me. The leg, the heel, the gussets (I do not see any good reason for switching to 5 needles for the gusset and then back to 4 for the leg), the charts (they read fine, I just hate looking at them 10 times every row), the pattern (starting rows with yarnovers is not my cup of tea)…And I’m quite sure the sock knows I’m struggling with it, because every inch or so I find myself rescuing yet another dropped stitch or wondering how the heck I have 12 stitches at the end of a repeat when I should only have 8 or something like that…

What’s worse is this: I don’t know if I’m going to have enough yarn. That little itty bitty ball of yarn in the picture is all I have left on the first ball, and I still have another half inch of foot to go before starting the 2-inch toe. It’s the icing on the cake, really.

The thing is, I know without a doubt that when these socks are finished they will be gorgeous, and probably extremely comfortable, given how stretchy the stitch pattern is. People who have seen me knitting them have exclaimed saying how lovely the colour is or how nice the pattern is…and then I tell them how much I’m hating the knitting and they look at me like I’m covered in crazy.

Not only do I have Socktoberfest to think about right now (Lolly, is it a rule that we must love all sock knitting during Socktoberfest? If it is I think I’d better disqualify myself or start up a basic pair right quick…) but I also have to finish a pair for October for the Sock-A-Month Knitalong. (Let’s not even get me started on my bitterness towards the folks who are merrily churning out stockinette children’s socks at the rate of 8 pairs a month and racking up bonus points. No no, I had to pick challenging things to fit my Size 11 feet.) I’d better pick up the pace.

Maybe I’ll love it more on the 2nd sock. Hmm.

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