Monthly Archives: January 2008

I am knitting socks

Since this morning I haven’t been able to stop feeling chilly, have sneezed more times than I can count, and I am afeared that The Cold that has been circulating has finally reached me. I’ve managed to do the bare minimum of things that could qualify as ‘work’, and since it’s officially mid-afternoon I have scheduled the rest of the day with knitting, hot tea, and vitamin C tablets in an effort to head any Cold off at the pass.

Technically, I did start Venezia on Sunday night. I say ‘technically’, because while I did in fact cast on and accomplish a few rows of the stockinette that will become the turned hem, I haven’t moved any farther on it and am letting it sit and wait a bit longer before I call it a full-fledged Work In Progress. So, instead, I am knitting socks.


Finally, I have dipped into my Rhinebeck purchases from October, with the ‘Garnet Dreams’ shade of Socks That Rock Mediumweight. I started these last Friday morning on the bus into Toronto, which followed a period in which I – wait for it – had no Works In Progress whatsoever. I know, I almost stun myself to think about it. OK, sure, those hours were between Thursday night and Friday morning and therefore largely spent sleeping, but since I can’t actually remember the last time I had no WIPs I feel it is still a moderate accomplishment.

So I am going to just go with the STR and work on these knee socks for a bit and see how project monogamy treats me this week. After finishing a few projects in January I have a bit of that knitting whiplash, and stockinette is suitably mindless. This is Knee Sock #1, just past the leg shaping decreases. In a few more inches I can start the heel and then I’ll be in foot country. Foot country’s my favourite kind of sock country.

If I can stop sneezing, at least. ;)
Stay warm!


Filed under socks


Monday, Monday, Monday. I know you have to come every week, but honestly this is starting to get annoying. Are you sure you and Sunday can’t work out some kind of a truce?

At any rate, nothing distracts from Monday-dom like cutting up some knitting, am I right? ;) I was so flattered and warm-fuzzied by all your lovely comments on my Ivy League Vest last week. A lot of you expressed your own fear over doing a project that requires you to cut things – and really, one has to sympathize. Every knitter who is a steek-cutter was once a knitter who was not a steek-cutter, who in fact probably exclaimed “you want me to do WHAT with that thing I just knitted out of 8 colours and 2 months of my life?” at the very prospect of cutting a steek.

So, I was thinking about this, and if you’re in the WHAT? category, ::coughcough::mymother::coughcoughcough:: here’s something you can do about it. First, you knit yourself a swatch. Find yourself 2 shades of fingering-weight wool (this only works with wool, sadly), cast on about 70 stitches or so, and work it in the round in a pattern of your choice. I used the chart from the Endpaper Mitts, since the pattern was close by and that can be worked in 10-stitch increments. Here, I used Knit Picks Palette in ‘Red’, and ‘Blush’ (a little bright, in retrospect – next time I attempt a demo, I’ll choose a combination that’s easier on the eyes), and my 2.75mm bamboo DPNs.


If you’ve never done stranded knitting, this is a good time to practice holding one colour in each hand, too. (There is a video clip of one method of this at the Philosopher’s Wool site under ‘Video Clips’ – viewable in I.E.). Somewhere in the swatch, be sure to insert a steek – a column of 8-10 sts which you will later cut down the middle. Here, I worked the steek stripe pattern similar to the Ivy League Vest, alternating colours and keeping the 2 centre colours the same: A, B, A, B, A, A, B, A, B, A.


Work to a length that feels good. Don’t be too stingy, either. This is also a good opportunity for you to consult what gauge you’re getting, if that’s a piece of information you’d like to know. Bind it off and then have a nice ponder over the fact that you’re about to cut this up down the middle. Feel free to have a sip of wine or eat a bag of chocolate chips or do some push-ups, or whatever it is you need to do before diving in. But remember, this is only a swatch. If you mess up, then it’s not as though you’ve ruined a precious gift. And then, you cut:

My little clip here is definitely not the only YouTube video that shows cutting a steek. This one has particularly visceral sound-effects (heh), and also displays a different steek pattern option. And it also shows you how important it is to keep one hand inside the knitting to make sure you can keep the scissors’ path steady – you don’t want to end the cutting only to discover you’ve just sliced the entire works into two pieces. If that happened, I would need something a whole lot stronger than just a sip of wine.

You’ve just cut an unreinforced steek. I think it’s nice to just leave it out on the table, or in your purse, or even let the cat paw it around a bit. Let it stay unreinforced for a bit and get a feel for how sturdy it is. But eventually, you can do some trimming on the cut edge and some reinforcement. Sew it down with sewing machine/needle and thread, fold and whipstitch it down, or just a line of single crochet will do:


Congratulations! At this point, the swatch has done its job and doesn’t owe you anything else. But if you’re like me and can’t turn down the opportunity to make something more, you could, say, fold it in half and sew up the sides…and pick up some stitches around the base of the steek…


And throw some ribbing on there, and get a wee little pouch out of the deal.


Cutting up your knitting – it’s good for what ails you. ;)

*Thank you, Fried Green Tomatoes.


Filed under fair isle, fearless knitting, swatching



I’m glad it meets with her approval. But it does still need buttons. ;)


In other news, I was very generously gifted with this ‘make my day’ blogger token from MJM Knitting, and Queen of the Froggers. Thank you so much! D’awwww. And the blog-iverse demands that I pass it on, so without further ado I would like to show my affection for Canary Knits and Foxy and Crafty who are two of my new favourite people (and bring the sarcasm), my lovely sister Martha, Elinor, Rach (who I suspect may be a wee bit busy right now!), Moggle, and Marianne.

In fact, the whole damn blogosphere pretty much makes my day every day, as has every single person who has ever left a comment here. You have my undying gratitude for helping me procrastinate and keep the real world away just a little bit longer every single day ;)


Filed under cats, ribbi cardi

Making the most of it

I discovered today that one piece of my Rhinebeck experience that I had totally forgotten about – being captured on camera by the LetsKnit2gether podcast – has now hit the airwaves ;) So if you head over there you can see about 30 seconds of me in the blogger meetup segment. But more than that (because my dorkishness is, let’s face it, only a minor thrill even if I did reveal my unintentionally overachieveing laminated Blogger Bingo card), it’s a pretty awesome vodcast because she’s captured a lot of the key aspects of Rhinebeck. There’s film of the sheepdogs and angora goats and all sorts of stalls. You can practically smell the yarn fumes and maple cotton candy. And you can see a whole bunch of other bloggers too. I keep going back and looking and scanning the crowd shots to see who I recognize. (Note Raverly’s Jess in her ‘Mama Rav’ tee!)

In other news, I am loving reeling in the Finished Objects this month. I finally got to take the Ivy League Vest out for a spin, the Ribby Cardi #3 is now washed and laying out to dry, and the Monkey Socks I finished a couple of weeks ago have now gone into permanent rotation. But these items were all begun in December, and I now have the first FO that belongs completely to 2008.


Back in June last year at the TTC Knitalong in Toronto, I won a prize of a skein of Colinette Jitterbug in ‘Fruit Coulis’ colourway. I love the colours, pink and purple are definitely my speed. Only problem is, Jitterbug comes in a scant put-up of 320 yards per skein, and since I can just barely squeak out a pair of Monkeys from a 360 yard skein of Socks That Rock lightweight, I have been letting the single skein of Jitterbug sit while I pondered how best to use it up. Then, the week leading up to my first dissertation defense loomed, and I just said heck with it, this is pretty pink yarn and I want more socks and I am doing something with this Jitterbug just because.

Making the Most of Your Colinette Jitterbug When You Have Size 11 Feet:

1. Split the skein exactly in half. (See above).
2. Work toe-up instead of cuff-down.
3. Up-size the needles, since Jitterbug is slightly smooshier and can handle it – I normally use 2.75mm and went up to 3.25mm on these.
4. Use fewer stitches – I normally use 64 and went down to 56.

And then I added in a k3, p1 rib pattern just to keep it interesting, and voila! Finished, cute, highly wearable socks:


They may even, dare I say it, be slightly too loose. I’ll see how they wear and if necessary, I would be willing to rip back and re-do the 1×1 ribbing on the cuff a little more snugly. Hurray! Pair of socks #2 for 2008!

I send many yarnish and virtual well-wishes for the weekend. May your knitting be close by (especially if you live in the cold snap parts of Canada right now because DAMN is it cold enough to freeze your snot out there.)


Filed under finished object: socks, rhinebeck

Making friends with steeks

I want to thank everyone for the comments on my socks in the previous post – they have brought me much cheer and encouragement! The pattern file is open once again and I am going to get back to it in short order. In the meanwhile, though, I finally have this Finished Object to show off:


Um. I mentioned before how taking photos of yourself is really hard, right? Yeah. There are about a dozen more shots in the trash, heh. But I did manage to get a few worth showing, that display the vest in all its glory. The steeks worked. The fair isle was wonderful. The pattern is well written. I’m so happy with it I don’t even mind including a shot with my rear end in it. ;)


Pattern: Ivy League Vest, by Eunny Jang, Interweave Knits 2007 (scroll down)
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (substituted; in twig, cream, tidepool heather, blue note heather, brindle heather, and mist) I only needed 1 ball of each for the 34.5 inch size, which makes this project a freakin’ bargoon.
Needles: 3.5mm on the fair isle, 3.75mm on the ribbing
Modifications: I knew from the get-go that I wanted to add length to this to bring it just over the top of my hips. I did this by adding 2 small peeries at the bottom before beginning the waist-shaping. I also up-sized the needles on the ribbing and on the two peeries that I added before the waist-shaping, to allow for a bit more room in the hips. This worked out well, and in fact I think I could have gone up another needle-size on the ribbing. I think next time I wash it I will block the ribbing out a little more widely, as it is rippling slightly just below the waist.

I omitted the purl ‘seam’ stitch at each side, and unintentionally deviated from the colour chart when I flubbed a few times and didn’t change the background colour or foreground colour when I was supposed to. I think it still looks good, though. I’m a happy camper.

As far as the steeks go – well, it was all fine. I’d done steeks before, but only using the Philosopher’s Wool method of cutting alongside a single column of ‘purl’ stitches that are first reinforced with a sewing machine. I left these Ivy League steeks without reinforcement before cutting, which is fine when your steeks are 8-10 sts wide. Post-cutting and post-ribbing, I trimmed the steeks to neaten them and then reinforced with a row of single crochet. So far, so good, it all seems to be holding up nicely.

ILVtake1 ILVDec8 ILVDec11
IvyLeagueDec16 ILV steeks IvyLeague3

Hurrah! Onwards to more fair isle. Soon, my pretty yarn, soon…


Filed under fair isle, fearless knitting, finished object: sweater, ivy league vest

This is the story of a pair of socks

I’d like to offer proof-of-life photos and reassure you that yes indeed, the vest has been steeked, finished, and is still alive, but the darned bugger is still damp from blocking and I haven’t been able to get it on to photograph yet. Soon. Soon. It’s cold and it’s vest-wearing time and that Ivy League Vest pattern is some kind of awesome.

Instead, I have a story. Settle in my friends. It’s been waiting for a while, and I still can’t believe that I, the queen of impatience, haven’t told it yet. I suppose there is just no underestimating what will happen when you are in the grips of dissertation distress. But anyhoo…First we go back to mid-2006-or-so, when I was watching Veronica Mars DVDs and doodling argyle patterns in my notebook. Veronica, as the modern smart girl’s hip-happening almost-Nancy-Drew and general emblematic young woman fashion-plate, wears kicky things like faux-argyle diamonds, or small amounts of argyle on hoodies or cardigans, most often in bright pinks and greens. And all of this seeped into my subconscious, and I kept thinking, you know, what Veronica really needs is a nice pair of mini-argyle socks.

‘Socktoberfest’ 2006 rolled around and I ordered myself a whackload of sock yarn from KnitPicks. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I finally got down to making some socks, all the while with Veronica on the brain, and after a few iterations (one nixed attempt is immortalized up at the bottom left of my blog header, in Apple Laine yarn) I finally had these, in KnitPicks ‘Essential':


Surely Miss Mars herself would approve. I was so pleased with them I sent them off to Knitty for a pattern submission. Sadly they were rejected, but Amy generously suggested that I self-publish. I let the idea percolate until the summer, when I reminded myself that I didn’t really want a pair of mini-argyle socks (or mini-faux argyle – these are 2-colour in the round, not the 3-colour intarsia of argyle tradition), what I wanted was a pair of mini argyle knee-socks. So, I went back again to the needles, this time with some more sedate shades of Knit Picks Gloss. By October, they were done. I managed a few photos on my own, and Beatrice agreed that the finished socks were adequate:


Then, I went out for a run one day and promptly fell and skinned my knee so badly that I began to wonder if my knees would ever be photogenic again. And then winter came on, and the thesis stress was there, and etc etc etc…Until finally we come to this weekend and I batted my eyelashes at my sister long enough for her to nab a few shots for me. Les-voila, the Veronica Knee Socks:


I love them. I adore them to bits and pieces. I have been wanting for months to get the pattern out for sale (as soon as I figure out how to do that), and all it wants is a bit more writing and some sizing instructions. I am hoping that if I post about them now, I’ll work up some sufficient guilt that I won’t let that delay for too much longer. ;)


They are worked top-town with elastic knitted into the single-rib cuffs, feature shaping along a faux-seam running up the back of the leg, a short-row heel, and use 2-colour stranded technique in the round. I used Knit Picks ‘Gloss’ in Black and Burgundy (2 skeins each), and 2.75mm bamboo DPNs for a stranded gauge of 8 sts/inch. They are warm and smooth, thanks to the blend of wool/silk contained in the Gloss. These ones here are made to fit my 15.5-inch shapely calves, to a length of about 14 inches or so between the cuff and heel.


A knit saga almost at the end. Whaddaya think, my knitting friends? Good enough for mass consumption? One thing’s for sure – in these socks, you are sure to be noticed, whether Nancy-Drewing it or no.

Next colour-work installment…the Ivy League Vest, and Why Steeks Aren’t So Bad After All. :)


Filed under design, fair isle, fandom, finished object: socks

Oh yeah, baby.

Steekin’ time.

ILV steeks


Filed under fair isle, ivy league vest