Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One sock on, one sock off

I finished my first Monkey sock on Sunday, and here it is, finally:

And a texture closeup:

(And of course I've started the second one.)

I really like working with the Claudia Hand Paint yarn, especially once I figured out that the Gems that Claudia and Koigu both work with is nominally machine washable. I hand wash all my socks anyways, but it's nice to know that I won't accidentally felt them in the sink.

As for Serrano, I've figured out that I'm more than ready to start the armhole and neck shaping. I just have to find time where I can concentrate on more than one thing at once.

Finally, the preview of the new spring Interweave Knits is out!

I want to give a speedy review based on the images.
First, IK seems to have a revised cover design. Not sure if I like it yet, because to me it looks older, but not a big deal.
Second, I want to make about 5 or 6 different things based on the tiny photos alone. I'd make Eunny Jang's entrelac socks, although probably not up to the knees. Also the Green Tea Raglan and Dollar and a Half Cardigan, and maybe even the Slanted Neck Pullover. I'm not sold entirely on the Swan Lake Cardigan, any knitted skirt, or any of Stephanie Japel's designs; nor the mini-capelet, that keyhole top or strange knitted bandeaus or halters. Maybe that's because none of the last three designs would work with my body. It's nice to see what appears to be a fairly complex Fair Isle, and while a knitted apron probably isn't my idea of the best way to make an apron, I still wanted an apron, and IK delivered! I'm also excited about Grumperina's socks and the shawlette, although I might make it in a more relaxed gauge.
Thirdly... I don't know what to make of the lingerie, but it's a fun idea. I like the socks anyhow.
Finally, I always want to see more content in IK. Maybe I shouldn't complain and work to create some content for them instead. In conclusion, I think the magazine looks like it's going to have some good sweaters in wearable shapes, some inventive ideas, and some things, as usual, that I wouldn't be caught dead in. Definitely worth my subscription price, although I don't know how I'm going to resolve my desires to make new sweaters with my stash restrictions!

Then again, I figure if I still like the design in 6 months, maybe it will actually be worth my while to make it....

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I think I'm still in fancy cabled sweater destruction denial, so I've been working on socks instead. I like to have a project I can drag around with me wherever I go, even if I don't get to work on it.

Lately I've been working with some really yummy Claudia's Handpaint and the Monkey pattern. I really like it and they've been working up very quickly, aside from some gauge mistakes:

This was the first attempt, on #2 needles. It has taken me a while to realize that there's a huge gap between #1 and #2 needles -- half a millimeter really makes a difference here. So I was happy to find some #1.5 Crystal Palace dpns (sadly, one end was badly splintered, but I've been working to emery and wax it into submission) and now the Monkey socks are a little more the way they are supposed to be, after ripping the first attempt out entirely. I've also turned twisted ribbing into ordinary ribbing, and the plain heel into an eye-of-partridge one.

My camera seems to have difficulty with purple: these are in the colorway Purple Earth, which is shades of royal purple, lavender, green, and golden brown. Lovely, but even in natural light the photos don't seem to come out right.

On the other end of the spectrum from the relatively simple and speedy Monkey has been something entirely different. Can you guess? You can probably see them by now.

You bet! Eunny Jang's gorgeous Bayerische socks, in Lang Jawoll and #0 needles. Am I crazy? It's likely, but I will suffer to finish these, because they are gorgeous. I can't wait to wear them and show them off.

I feel as if I am building a teeny tiny cathedral when I am knitting on these. So many tiny stitches, and every single one must be just so. My wrists might ache a little, but I am so happy to work on these.

And I'm even using the yarn the model was knit in, a strange thing for me:

I'm only including this photo because it was kind of a surprise for me to stick my finger into the middle of the ball and come away with the spool of reinforcing thread. How clever.

In other news, I think I'm far enough along on Serrano to separate for the armholes and back, but I'm going to measure it at least twice more and count the rows, because I don't want another too-short sweater!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reference Post: 2006 Finished Objects

  • Norberta and Knee-High Socks

  • Scribble Lace Scarf/Wrap

  • Shetland Triangle

  • Felted Hedgehog

  • Sock Project Bag

  • Vintage Cabled Pullover

  • Embossed Leaves Socks

  • Jaywalkers

  • Gossamer Ruffle Shawl

  • Basic Handwarmers

  • Child's First Socks

  • Cell Phone Cozy

  • Kool-Aid Dyed Slippers

  • Parade Socks

  • First Plied Handspun

  • Picovoli

  • Falling Leaves Socks

  • Rosedale

  • Baby Surprise Jacket

  • Nordic Mittens (2006 Knitting Olympics)

  • Clapotis

  • Fraternal Twin Socks

  • Baby Booties

  • Curlicue Coverlet
  • Appetite for Destruction

    I know this isn't a very good excuse, but part of the reason I haven't had much to say lately is because my knitting is going backwards rather than forwards. And unknitting isn't nearly as much fun as new knitting.

    Remember this sweater?

    What you don't see in that photo is that my awkward slouchy pose is hiding the fact that the sweater is at least two or three inches too short. Nope, not the pattern's fault, even though it's over 40 years old... reader error.

    Knowing that I would never comfortably wear the sweater the way it was, this is what it now looks like after two short evenings of work:

    Not nearly as cute, huh?

    Sadly, the major drawback of the allover-patterned sweater is that it would have been impossible to cut off the ribbing and knit downwards (which surely would have been the solution for a stockinette-bodied sweater, thus avoiding ripping out all the nice shaping and truly textbook seaming I did). So I'm back down to the armholes, ready to knit a few more inches on the front and back, repeating the armhole and neck shaping, picking up stitches for the neckband, re-blocking the pieces, and sewing the whole darn thing together again.

    I just keep telling myself, over and over, "you wouldn't have worn it the way it was. You wouldn't have worn it the way it was."

    I guess, too, that re-knitting something helps with the "knit from your stash" ideal. Although if I ever honestly run completely out of stash this year, I'm not going to rip something else out just to re-knit the yarn. If it ever does get to that point, screw it, I'm buying new yarn.

    Thankfully, there is other joy in my life:

    The Christmas Cactus is getting lots of flower buds!

    And I got some beautiful new sock yarn in a swap. I love to swap!

    I don't know whether to ignore the lavender sweater and finish something else, or suck it up and get it over with. Maybe I'll just go back to bed instead.

    Monday, January 08, 2007

    Today: Victorian Lace

    So I have a short attention span. I decided to take a break from Serrano for a couple days and try out a new pattern from Victorian Lace Today

    This is the very first lace scarf in the book, and it is very simple and easy to do. I'm looking forward to finishing the body and applying the edging.

    I like the book, I don't mind the charts, and I think the photography is nice, although in my opinion the mohair blends were overused in the models. Anyhow, the one thing that I would have liked to see is a ratio of how much yarn is used in the borders compared to the body of the piece. I'm altering a pattern because I have a little less yarn than is called for, and I am having trouble determining where to leave off -- of course I want the scarf to be as long as possible, but I don't want to get almost to the end of the edging, run out of yarn, and then have to rip out all that work.

    I think today I have to clean the bathroom and vacuum before I can knit more... better get the chores over with!

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    Serrano Body

    It's 70 degrees here in Delaware today, and I'm set to go out and take a nice long walk in a few minutes. But I've spent this morning getting frustrated over the apparent lack of interesting content on the internets, so I decided I ought to create some. Not that I promise it will be interesting, but it will be new.

    While working on Serrano a few days ago I realized I'd made a mistake in pattern-reading and its subsequent execution: "work these 4 rows 5 more times" does not, under any circumstances, equal, "work these 4 rows 5 times total". This was unfortunate because I had to rip out about 2 inches of a fairly big piece of knitting.

    Here it is before I ripped it out:

    Just for kicks, I measured it. 22" across -- and this piece is supposed to go all the way around my body. No way in hell, I thought. But since it was off the needles and I was going to rip it out anyhow, I figured it could withstand a little test stretching. Believe it or not, the sucker stretched easily to 36" -- something a lot more reasonable, and likely to actually go all the way around my torso, instead of one of my legs. I trust the pattern (especially because I happen to be making the same size as the model), but the note that the knitting will appear "very, very small" wasn't a joke.

    Anyhow, here it is today, about 8" tall.

    I'm not particularly keen on the big blank areas surrounding the waist shaping, or the obvious fact that my knit and purl row gauges are vastly different, but blocking corrects a myriad of sins. I'm also not really looking forward to figuring out how to sew down all the uncooperative curling stockinette facings, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    At this rate, does it seem as if I could possibly run out of things to knit from my stash? Oh no... because I have the ginormous self-breeding basket of red yarn for the never-ending red afghan... crud. Tell me why, again, I started a project that now I don't want to try to finish? (I will, though. Just to prove I can.)

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    Catching up, part 2

    As I had said, I got a lot of knitting done over Christmas; not all of it resulted in finished objects but I reached a few milestones.

    Works in Progress

    Custom-fit gloves:

    I really hate when my wrists get cold in the winter, sticking out between my coat and my gloves. So I'm making gloves with extra-long cuffs to help alleviate that problem.

    I'm using one of my favorite Interweave Knits patterns, a 2003 do-your-own calculation glove pattern for any gauge. I'm using Trekking Color and #1 needles, and I'm happy with the subtle variegation I'm getting. I've also modified the palm section with short rows to better mimic the shape of a hand. More about that when I get both gloves finished I think.

    Pomatomus Sock:

    Here is my most recent attempt to try and show the true color of this yarn, Brown Sheep Wildfoote, which is unstoppably difficult to photograph. I think I made a mistake on these socks; I didn't like the fabric I got on #2 needles so I switched to #1... and now, as you might have guessed, they're a little snug. Oh well. I'll finish the second one, and move on. Maybe give them away if they really don't fit.

    Serrano Sleeves:

    Blocking to the proper size!

    The pattern says that the sweater pieces will look unimaginably small before they're blocked, and that's certainly true. I'm about 5" into the body and I can't fathom how it's going to fit around my body, but I'll run with it.

    I like the pattern, the lace, the yarn, and for a sweater on #2 needles, it's working up very quickly. Or maybe that was just the hours and hours of TV I was watching over vacation.... In any case, I'm excited to wear this sweater when it's done.


    My boyfriend's dad made me a really cool box for Christmas for me to store and display my socks in:

    It's made of walnut and cherry and a few other things, and has a little inlay at the corners. It's the coolest thing I've seen in a while, and looks great with all my bookcases and other wood stuff in the living room. This photo is a little misleading: I have more socks to display, but they were all drying from being washed.

    In that photo you can also see a few of the lovely things I got for Christmas: a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Potluck on top; 2 skeins of Claudia Handpaint in Bearded Iris on top, second from the right, and 2 balls of Lang Jawoll in lavender, in the middle on the bottom, destined for Eunny's Bayerische Socks.

    And last but not least, some Crystal Palace Kid Merino:

    Which will become Melissa Wehrle's Grannie Smith Cardigan, for which I already have the pattern.

    I'm excited to knit lots of things from my stash in the new year -- I have enough yarn for three sweaters, 6 pair of socks, 3 lace shawls... I think that will keep me busy for a while, and it will help my other goal of saving enough money to visit my boyfriend extensively when he is living in Spain this spring and summer.

    Heel Stitch
    I use heel stitch to reinforce the heels of my socks because it's tight and dense. Usually you work it on a top-down heel flap; on an even number of stitches it's:

    Row 1 (RS): *Sl 1, k 1* to end
    Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, p to end.

    For my toe-up short row heels, I started it after I began increasing on the second half of the heel, adding stitches into the pattern as I could.

    I think I may have run out of catching up; now I'll have to knit some more.

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Catching up

    It's been a while again, and unfortunately I have a lot to catch up on. Suffice to say that I went on 2 weeks' vacation to see family over the holidays, and got a lot of relaxing and knitting done. I'm happy to be back in Delaware, where things are a bit more familiar now.

    Gift Knitting
    Now that the recipient has gotten their gift, I can show it off.

    This is knitty's Norberta, reinterpreted in Red Heart Plush from my stash. It was a Christmas gift for my nephew.

    Here is another view of the dragon. I don't know if it was changing the pattern from cotton to acrylic, but things were a little wonky when I went to sew it together. The spines were a little too long for the back, and the tail was a little short. Maybe I screwed up in my pattern reading, but I'm not sure. I like making stuffed animals but I probably will not make a second one, just because I hate to make the same thing twice.

    Knee High Socks

    These got finished very quickly one night while watching Coyote Ugly. I think that sometimes life calls for cruising along in stockinette stitch, and as much as I love a fancy lace or cable pattern, sometimes it's great to just knit mindlessly and get something done.

    Here they are, all the way up to the knees!

    And they are delightfully mismatched (mostly because the color pattern repeat was so long I couldn't be bothered to try and match them, and it's more fun this way anyhow).

    Sometimes, as in the heel here, the yarn did very charming things. Makes me happy.

    Lion Brand Magic Stripes on #2 needles, toe-up pattern fudged from several others, calf increases and decreases my own. I liked adding heel stitch on the second half of the short row heel -- I think it makes them fit better and I hope they will wear better. Not that I know really where or when I will wear them.

    Which brings me to the year in review. For me, 2006 was often about fulfilling a little knitting dream. I made a lot of things that I had been thinking about making for a long time, and I'm happy with the results.

    More works in progress, cool Christmas gifts, and New Year blather soon.