Monthly Archives: October 2011

Plain-Janes

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I think I may have mentioned that I’m working my way through a pair of plain-jane socks (from Socks from the Toe Up, of course) for my roommate. In order to give them SOME SORT of excitement (!) I’m using some Stroll Multi that has been ruminating in my stash since my last big Knit Picks order. It’s light blue (denim-ish), dark blue, and some purple. For some reason, I thought that I had used some stroll multi before and it didn’t pool- but maybe that was because I had knit the socks in a different size. Because, for real, these babies are pooling like no tomorrow. On the foot and leg it’s like they are in stripes- and not the good kind.

Blue. Violet. Multi.

Still, I don’t really have much motivation to rip them out and start again. Primarily, the stockinette is killing me with boredom, and I don’t really look forward to re-doing an entire sock (and she requested stockinette instead of any sort of patterning). Also, they’re a size larger than I usually knit, so the instant-gratification that I usually get from socks isn’t really coming. Secondly, my roommate, who leaves to visit her boyfriend EVERY Thursday and doesn’t return until Monday afternoons is starting to get on my nerves (can you hear some venting coming on?). Recently, she’s started snoring, which is really, really something I desire in a roommate. Also, because the temperature is FINALLY going down they turned off the A/C for our building. Apparently, this is some sort of catastrophe for her internal thermostat, because the room has to be sub-arctic (not arctic, sub-arctic) for her to survive. As a result, her fan runs 24/7, and she leaves the window open all night (our building is right on a busy parking-lot with a bus stop). But still, I’ve survived. In fact, I have, on occasion, been nice and not-grumpy in the morning (which can sometimes be the only time I see her because our schedules are so different) and asked how she’s doing. This has not made me any more excited to work on her super-boring socks.

sock #1=complete...mostly

Still, I plug away at them. I’m just about finished with the first sock, and I’ve started the second. I know, I know, that sounds weird, but I have a plan. I only have 1 50g skein of the Stroll Multi, so I’m doing the toes, heels, and calf ribbing in a contrasting green. They just won’t be very tall socks 😉 So, after I turned the heel on the first sock, I knit about an inch in the multi, and then I put the stitches on some waste yarn. I’ve cast on the second sock, but I’m still working on the toe (bad me- I didn’t work on it ALL WEEKEND!). Eventually, I’ll try to even it out and use up all of my multi- or as much as possible. I know this would be a lot easier if I had a yarn scale, but I have no idea how to go about purchasing one. Knit Picks does have one, but it’s $20 and with shipping that’s a little out of my price range right now (I’d like to keep it under $15). If anyone has any suggestions, or at least ideas of what I do/do not want in regard to using a kitchen or postal scale as a yarn scale, I would LOVE some advice.

why isn't this sad little toe growing??? why???

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Sock Pattern Round-Up

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Since all I’ve done since we last spoke is cast on a pair of boring, plain-jane socks, I thought I would take a look at a couple of sock patterns that I’ve recently added to my ravelry quene- and maybe show you the yarns that I plan to use with them!

snagged from the ravelry page (link above)

duchess, unskeined

First up is Sunday Swing from Knitty Summer 2009. This pattern really just looks like a simple sock with a very simple lace pattern, which is just what I need for some of the more…eclectic…sock yarns ruminating in my stash. Right now I’m thinking about my Twilight Knits Superwash Merino Fingering Weight in the duchess colorway. I picked this up from her etsy shop well over a year ago. Pretty quickly, I knocked out a pair of Dead Simple Lace Socks, and it came out pretty awesomely. The mix of the pinks/purple, shocking blue, and golden yellow is gorgeous together- but you really can’t add much else without basically killing your eyes. Whoops. The one thing I’m not too happy about with this yarn is the amount of fading it’s taken in the past year of heavy wear, but is that really going to stop me from finishing the rest of the skein? NOPE!

snagged from the ravelry page (link above)

overexposed, so the colors are a little deeper than that, but I'm sure you get the idea...

Next, lets take a look at the Blackrose Socks from Knitty Winter 2008 designed by Suzi. At first I thought this was just a sort of standard sock with a little lace panel…and then I looked a little closer. The lace panel doesn’t run down the center of the leg like most do. Instead, it covers the side of the leg and foot, creating a really, really cool effect. I’m considering using my Araucania Ranco Multy, purchased at In Stitches Needlework for this project. I have actually already made a pair from this yarn, and I was really turned off that, despite the fact that it is 25% nylon, the sock still felted a little in the wash. Non-machine washable socks are not something I really desire, but I figure I’ll work something out- I can always just wash them in my sink and lay them out on a towel to dry. I think I have some wool-lite at home- I should totally pick that up. Anyway- Ranco Multy, greens, brown, a little bit of blue…cute. Hopefully, solid enough to fit with this pattern. I think it’ll work…

snagged from the ravelry page (link above)

once again, overexposed...sorry

Finally, the only pattern not from knitty! Here is Nutkin from Knitzi.com and designed by Betty. Nutkin uses yo’s and decreases to create a cable look without any cables. As a result, you don’t get the gaps and thickening that you can get from big cables, which is totally a plus for a sock! Despite the fact that its a free pattern there’s some really cute and professional touches throughout the pattern, and I think it’ll look great with the rest of my Malabrigo Sock, which I picked up at the then brand-new Yarn Lounge. I fell in love with the purple, and the little golden touches fit surprisingly well with the yarn (hey, those are the same colors as my tallis…trend?). Browsing through the pictures of other people who used the same yarn makes me think it will come out perfectly!

Finished Object: Socks!

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So, to FINALLY talk about what I’ve been hinting at for the past two posts, I want to get to my newest pair of socks. This is a pair of Diamond Gansey Socks from my favorite, Socks from the Toe Up. I knit them in Spud and Chloe Fine in a spirited lime green colorway on my regular Knit Picks US1.5 DPN’s. Here’s my ravelry project page.

so, so pretty

I had actually first gotten the yarn at Woolwinders in Rockville, MD while I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle. Before I left, I had made sure to google any yarn shops close to her. Luckily, we ended up with a couple of free hours for shopping. I browsed the store for a while, trying to make sure I picked out the PERFECT yarn. It’s a rather strange store- kind of small, but they didn’t try to pack the yarn in like my LYS at home does. The stock is spread out, which makes it easier to see all the different choices, but does cut down on the amount they can stock. In the end, I decided on a sock yarn (why not?). I had actually heard of Spud and Chloe online before, but I don’t think that I had ever seen it in person. The fine seemed like a very solid, quality yarn. I especially liked the idea of the silk content- I had never used silk in my socks before, and it sounded like warm feet for me (plus a rather pretty sheen)!  Plus it is actually 60g of wool, not the standard 50g. I can squeeze a single pair of socks out of 50g, especially if I use a contrasting color for the toes, but 60g was actually the perfect amount for me-sized socks.

Looking down

I had my wound skein actually sitting on my desk for a long time (Sweater from Hell, anyone?), waiting for the perfect time to become the perfect pair of socks. When I cast off the Ribby hat, I knew I needed something to slow my knitting mania- I didn’t want to burn out anytime soon! A pair of socks would be good- small guage+small project=takes a little bit more time, but without the investment of a sweater.

Closer up of the stitch pattern- it came out wonderfully!

A solid sock yarn as light and sturdy as mine definitely needed a stitch pattern that would show it. I haven’t actually ventured into the gansey section of SFTTU, and I chose the diamonds because they were…first. When I cast on I freaked out a little that the pattern would be too complicated to hold in my head, and that those socks would just languish on my needles forever. Boy, was I wrong. Except for that little bit of trouble I had with, you know, stabbing myself through the elbow, these things flew off the needle.  And I ended up with a pretty spiffy pair of socks, if I do say so myself!

Artsy shot from above- it kind of looks like I have no ankle, and my foot is just a continuation of my leg...

Socks from the Toe Up- My Sock Knitting Bible!

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So, before I show you pictures of my newest finished objects, I wanted to do a review of what is probably my favorite knitting book in the universe. Wendy Johnson’s (is it stalker-ish of me to admit that I read her blog every day?) Socks from the Toe Up (BN/Amazon/Ravelry link) is my go-to sock knitting book. I think I bought it just after I had made my first pair of socks- a traditional cuff-down, heel flap, DPN pair made in a Encore Worsted. The socks had turned out OK, and I was really interested in trying my hand at some new ones. Luckily for me, one of my LYSs was going out of business and I was able to snag quite a few skeins of sock yarn on the cheap.

Shamelessly Sniped from Barnes and Nobles (link above)

I think I started with a pair of On-Hold Socks in some navy Wildefoote Luxury Sock on size US0 needles. Here’s my project page. Those socks came out just a smidge too small, but that one pattern was all it took to get me addicted to knitting socks. Particularly, Wendy Johnson’s Toe-Up Socks.

On-Hold Socks

Since then, I’ve tweaked my recipe just a bit. After experimenting with my Knit Picks nickle-plated DPN sampler set, I now know that if I use my US1.5’s I get a perfect fit on the size M, which should be just a bit bigger than my foot. I guess I’m a tight knitter then, especially on the DNPs. I’ve also learned that if I go 5 inches from my toe increases then that’s the perfect time to start increasing for my gusset- that took a bit of trial and error.

Trilobite Socks in Knit Picks Stroll Multi

In the end, though, I think I’ve knitted about 9 of these patterns- some more than once. I really can’t recommend this book enough- especially for people who are just starting out knitting socks. It has three plain-jane basic patterns, 16 lace patterns with varying degrees of difficulty, 3 gansey socks, 2 cabled, and even 3 patterns in sport weight. The introduction also has tons of information on knitting socks from materials like needles, accessories, and yarn to some great, simple illustrations on different techniques. I would definitely check this book out!

Lace Rib Socks in Northern Lights Fiber Co. Solar Flare Sock

Trajedy (not for the faint of heart)

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This post was supposed to be about my newest pair of socks. They were coming along swimmingly, but I’ll tell you about that later. Instead, we will talk about The Trajedy. I had been working on my socks in bed (this is not as wierd as it sounds when you consider that my bed also serves as a bed, sofa, and, on occasion, dining room table) and had left it there. Somehow, my ‘nap blanket’/throw had covered up the knitting, which, it is important to note, was on Knit Picks size US 1.5 nickle-plated DPNs, so that I could not actually see them, even though they were at about elbow level.

Socks. Swimmingly. For Now...

So, after running out of the room to meet a friend and see “the Help” (showing for $2 on campus, after seeing it, I would have paid $10- I guess I should review this later…) I came back, showered, and prepared to watch some TV in bed (on my computer) before sleeping. I hope you see where this is going. I had my headphones in and the show was actually playing before I rested my weight on my left elbow…on my blanket…which was actually a DPN.

The needle ended up stuck about an inch into my arm. I actually had to do a fair bit of wiggling to get it out, although there was almost no blood (surprisingly). I was pretty surprised by how stretchy my skin was, and how attached it seemed to the needle. In the end, though, the needle had not only been pulled out of the knitting but the top end is completely bent- and pretty much unusable. Luckily, it’s a set of five needles and I only need four for a sock. Unfortunately, that needle is still a little bent in the middle from the last time I…stabbed it through my hand on accident. Whoops. Still, I’m pretty happy that this tragedy has a happy ending- namely one where I can keep knitting on my socks. And my arm barely hurts.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

I guess I'll have to pick up some stitches...

Finished Object: another hat

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I present to you, my wonderful readers, the finished object pictures of my newest hat! It is the perfect slightly in between warm and cold weather hat- I wore it all day yesterday.

So pretty!

You’ll note that I ripped out my decreases last time and added another pattern repeat. It ended up perfectly- it hits the top of my ears now and I had MAYBE two or three yards left of yarn. All in all, that sounds like a happy ending to me. Here’s a link to my ravelry pattern page.

Seriously. No yarn left...

I really enjoyed working on this pattern. Although the pdf is actually handwritten and then scanned in, it isn’t cluttered, or seemingly continuing on and on like some I’ve worked with. It’s just one page with the basic instructions and a chart. Some of the chart symbols are kind of incongruous (should the left-leaning decrease just be the opposite of a right-leaning?) and I don’t remember ever seeing a gauge (even though she referrers to it in the instructions- I guess you just need to divide the st count and total size yourself). Still, it’s a lot better than some free patterns I’ve come across, and I would highly recommend it (just with 1 extra repeat both ways, which was what I did).

What were they thinking?

I also wanted to tell you about something that happened just while I was trying to finish these pictures up. It was a football game weekend, so, by now, I thought I was pretty prepared for the madness. Trust me, I was not. This group brought their little trailer (which was painted with school-themed green and gold stripes) which had, in the back, a flat screen TV, speakers, and a satellite dish. They set up two tent/canopy things and filled them with buffet tables of food. And, my favorite part, about half of them never even went in to the game- they just chilled outside the whole time! Admittedly, it seemed like it was someone’s 50th birthday party, but still. Some people!

…Yet another hat…

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So I guess I’m going to continue with my seemingly unending parade of hats. Today I found Kirimoth’s Sutro Heights Hat. It’s a worsted-weight hat pattern that starts as a rib and has a lace panel inserted in a few of the knitting-rib-bits. And it is very, very adorable. Although there are two versions- one slouchy and one…not- I decided to do the simpler one. Ravelry project link here.

A couple of months ago my Grandmother had taken me to Knit Wits, my LYS at home, to pick get some help on one of her first knitting projects in years. If you know my Bubbe at all, you will not be surprised to learn that she told ME to pick out something for myself while we were there. Trust me when I say that was not a problem. Eventually I settled on this skein of Chrystal Palace Mochi Plus, which I thought would make a cute hat. And then it languished in my stash until now, when I have become seemingly obsessed with making hats.

Super-short. But still cute!

Anyway, I pretty much followed the pattern the first time through, except I added an extra pattern repeat- CO under 90 stitches on the size US 7 needles that I used would not fit my head. I never thought I had an abnormally big head- maybe it’s all of this college nonsense. Anyway, by the time I finished the hat looked a little something like this. Do you notice something? Like, maybe it’s really short and I have A LOT of yarn left? By this point I’ve pretty much decided to rip down to when I started decreasing and make another pattern repeat. Oh well.

I don’t know if I have told you guys this before, but I’m not such a big fan of single-ply yarns. I usually somehow un-twist them or something and they become very, very splitty, which I am not such a fan of. Add to the mix that this yarn gets really thin in certain places and becomes a thick-unspun yarn in others and I hope you can see a problem coming. Luckily, I never actually broke the yarn (which I have done before), but I sure came close in places. In addition, the lace-rib pattern doesn’t really mesh well with the undefined nature of the yarn…it just looks kind of fuzzy in places. But it’s still pretty cute. I think, at this point its more the yarn dye job than the pattern doing the work- I could have knitted a straight stockinette or 2×2 rib hat and I’d still want to wear it…a lot. Or, at least, I will once it’s really finished.