Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ravelry and socks

I got my Ravelry invite last month, the morning we were leaving on our family vacation! I knew it was coming (I had been stalking the check your place in line page) so I got up extra early to sign in and look around a little before my guys got up and got moving. That turned out to be not such a great idea! Wow, there is a lot too look at! The entire time we were gone I kept wondering if anyone would notice if I disappeared for a bit to "check my e-mail". We all had a great time on our trip and I saved Ravelry for when I got home.

The only problem with Ravelry is that you could spend hours there without even noticing. There is just so much there. If you haven't signed up for your invite, get over there and do it right now. It only takes a second and they are really zooming through the wait list now. Even if you don't think it's for you, check it out, you will probably find something there you didn't even know you were missing.

I spent a little time checking out all the things I could organize, mostly just stuff off the top of my head (and that I had pics of on Flicker). I am not what you would call an organized knitter, but I wanted to give it a try. Everything was super easy to do and I was completely amazed at how perfectly everything was linked together, not just linking my stuff together, but my stuff linked to everyone's stuff. The more stuff I entered, the more cool stuff I found that ravelry could do. It is just so cool! I got to the page to enter all my needles and decided to just put in my dpns, to check it out. My dpns are pretty organized so it was easy to just grab them and enter the info. It turns out that this is really the only place on ravelry that isn't amazingly awesome! It's just a chart that you enter your needles into, but it ended up being pretty cool for me. I went and got my dpns and remembered that I had a few sets in the sewing box in my bedroom. I rummaged around to find them all and came across a skein of STR heavyweight Stonewash that I had completely forgotten I had. I am calling this my "welcome to Ravelry" yarn, thanks ravelry!

I haven't posted in a while (you might have noticed) but it's not just because I have been spending all my time on Ravelry, I have been knitting too. I finished my Harlotty socks and promised them to my oldest. I finished grafting the toes while the boys were in school and left the completed pair on the table in the hall outside of his bedroom. That night at dinner I noticed that my youngest already had the socks on his feet! I can't really blame him, they are nice socks.

Pattern: Basic sock with slip-stitch pattern
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts - STR Mediumweight in Harlotty
Needles: US# 1 dpns
Gauge: 7sts = 1"

I have some more socks done, just waiting to get some pictures. I even finished up a pair from Cat Bordih's new book! Those will have to wait for my next post, which I hopefully will be soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Busy end of summer

I have been way too busy lately and haven't had much time to post here, sorry about that. I also haven't been able to finish up much knitting. I have had time to get a few socks started so that will have to do, but first I wanted to reply to Debby's comment on my last post.

Debby asked about how tight my knitting was on size #0 needles with the Panda Cotton. I am a rather loose knitter so I usually use needles 1 or 2 sizes smaller than recommended, but I like my socks to be knit fairly tight (loosely knit socks wear through quickly and are not as comfortable on the soles of your feet). So, with my loose knitting and size #0 needles I was able to get a gauge of 8 sts to the inch which resulted in a very nice sock.

I knit this sock up last month while I was up in northern Wisconsin for a week.

Pattern: Basic sock w/ Steeples stitch pattern from the Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR Lightweight in Lunasea
Needles: US #0 dpns
Gauge: 7.5 sts = 1"

I really like this sock, I just have been distracted by other socks and haven't knit up this ones mate. I actually have the top inch of ribbing on the needles, tucked away in the bottom of my knitting bag.

This sock is Tamara's fault, she had this same yarn at knitting Group recently. I loved the colors and asked her what it was, when she told me I realized I actually had that yarn in my stash at home!

Pattern: Basic sock w/ slip-stitch pattern
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR Mediumweight in Harlotty
Needles: US #1 dpns
Gauge: 7 sts = 1"

I tried several different stitch patterns until I finally settled on an old favorite. This is a simple 2 row stitch pattern but it looks great with almost any yarn. I started with a k3,p2 rib and then:
Row 1 - Knit
Row 2 - * k3, slip 1 (k-wise), k1, yo, psso k1 & yo (pass slipped stitch over the k1 and the yo)*
This socks mate is almost half done and will probably be finished within the next few days.

This sock is Eunny's fault. I love cables, especially teeny tiny ones on itsy bitsy needles. I could not resist. I love them.

Pattern: Bayerische Socks by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Lang Yarns Jawoll
Needles: US #0
Gauge: 9 sts = 1"

These are not nearly as difficult to knit as they look, you just have to pay attention a little bit. It is a lot of stitches (96 sts.) and cables on every row. I am not crazy about the yarn (it's a little scratchy) but it might soften up after washing. I just couldn't think of a nice solid yarn that would be thin enough for this pattern. Claire came up with the perfect yarn, after I already knit this one, Lorna's Laces. Damn! I love that yarn. The only thing I DON'T like about Lorna's Laces is how long it takes to knit a pair of socks with because it is so thin. My favorite socks to wear I knit with Lorna's Laces. I can't believe I didn't think of it.

That's all I have pictures of for now, so I guess the rest will have to wait. Thanks for stopping by and I'd love if you left a note to let me know you were here. That way I can come visit you too.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A not so manly skeleton scarf, oh and some socks.

I had intended this scarf to be for my husband, but it seems that this is not a very manly scarf. I thought that might be the case so I had him try it on (when it was the right length for me) and asked him what he thought. He thought it would look great on me. The fine ladies at my knitting Group also confirmed that this was definitely not a manly scarf, I'm not so keen on these things. I finished it up, and after it was washed, blocked and dried, I had to agree, this was way to luxurious for a man! I just love it!

Pattern: Skeleton scarf by Donna Druchunas from Arctic Lace
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas - Alpaca & Silk in Kiwi
Needles: US #3
Gauge: 6 sts = 1"

I did change the pattern a little. I used a different yarn (thicker) but still wanted a rather narrow scarf, so I only did one repeat of the pattern instead of two. Also, the ends of the scarf don't really match so I changed the end border a little to make them match better. I blocked this rather quickly (I was excited) so the ends to really match in this picture. I will block it again and be patient this time, it's totally worth it.

Now, on to the socks. I must apologize for how horrible these pictures are. I should really get myself a nice camera. Anyway, I knit these up for me. This was my first time using the Panda Cotton and I didn't know how they would turn out, so I just made a little pair of summer anklets.

Pattern: Highland schottische kilt hose by Nancy Bush from Folk Socks.
Yarn: Panda Cotton in Fern
Needles: US #0 dpns
Gauge: 8 sts = 1"

I significantly shortened this pattern! I eliminated the beautiful turned down cuff and all of the leg and made tiny little ankle socks. I do like the full pattern and might make them another time, but right now this is all I wanted.
The yarn is rather splitty. I needed a break after finishing the first sock and picked up a shawl that I have been working on in some INCREDIBLY splitty yarn. When I started up the second sock the yarn didn't seem to be splitty at all. The socks are very comfortable, so soft and perfect for summer. I will be knitting more socks with this yarn, I already bought more.

Here is another summer sock.

Pattern: Spiral Boot Socks by Veronik Avery from IK Summer 2007
Yarn: Cascade Fixation
Needles: US #2 dpns.
Gauge: 7 sts = 1"

These socks are actually quite different from the pattern. I shortened them so they would be good for summer, but I also changed the stitch pattern without realizing it. I cast them on with out having the pattern in front of me, fairly confident that I remembered the stitch pattern. I didn't realize until I got to the gusset that instead of doing a k2tog dec., as the pattern calls for, I was doing a SKP. So, my spirals go in the opposite direction and the stitches look a little different (see how all the stripes peak up a little bit, they should be pointing down). Still, they turned out pretty nice and were quickly claimed by my youngest. I do think I will try this pattern again, knee socks this time in a nice soft wool.

Even though it has been pretty warm here, I needed a little wool fix. I got a little more than I bargained for.

Pattern: Undulating Rib Socks by Ann Budd from Favorite Socks.
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Toscana
Needles: US #1 dpns.
Gauge: 7 st = 1"

This is a great pattern for a guy, I know, I am not the best person to make that call, but all three of my guys like them, especially my husband!

I am not sure if there is a mistake in the pattern (it isn't on the errata page) but I thought this change looked better - after the plain ribbing, start the undulating rib pattern on row 9 of the chart. I didn't continue the purl sts. along the toe dec. simply out of personal preference. Other than that, this sock is great.

I did run into a slight problem (my mistake, not the pattern). The stitch count on the instep changes from the 1st half of the chart to the 2nd half. This is important to realize when you are decreasing for the gusset. On the first sock, I counted just the heel sts. and stopped decreasing when I got back to the original number. On the second sock, I counted all the sts. and stopped when I got back to the original number. When I got to the toe, I realized I had decreased 2 extra sts. on the second sock. I figured he wouldn't even notice, it's only 2 sts. I had him try them both on (the 2nd still on the needles) and he said, "These are really great! Why is this one so much tighter? Is it the needles?" ARGH! I ripped them back to the gusset and did them right. He is totally worth it (he buys me lots of yarn).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wine and roses mitts

I've been super busy this month and just haven't had time to update this here blog-o-mine, sorry about that. I have finished quite a bit of knitting so I figure I better hurry and get caught up before I get my Ravelry invite and get all distracted over there. I just checked and there are only 530 people ahead of me!

I finished these up awhile ago and (as usual) I couldn't get a picture that captured how lovely they are. I wish I could show you just how soft and light these are. How incredibly elegant they are, but I can't. So, quick, go knit yourself up a pair - you won't be sorry!

Pattern: Wine and roses mitts, by Jolene Treace - Interweave Knits Winter 2006
Yarn: Rovings Cashmere Tweed
Needles: US #1 Crystal Palace dpns
Gauge: 8 sts = 1"

This yarn is WONDERFUL! My husband gave it to me for Christmas (he left the price tag on so I would know he wasn't skimping out). It is so soft, I love knitting with cashmere. The only problem I have with cashmere is that I don't like to frog it! I agonize over what I will knit with it because I want it to be right the first time. I have touched this yarn almost every day since Christmas and finally decided this was the right pattern. It was, I loved it from the moment I cast it on. I knit the pattern exactly as written, didn't change a thing and I didn't notice any errors either (at least I don't remember any errors, I did finish these awhile ago).

I had planned on keeping these for myself, but as I was knitting them I kept thinking about how great these would look on my mother's hands and how much she would love them. By the time they were finished, I knew they were meant to be for her. I am a little disappointed that they aren't mine but that's just the way it is sometimes. I will just have to knit another pair for my self.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Solstice Slip and some other distractions

I finished these last night and I just love them.

Pattern: Solstice Slip - Rockin' Sock Club pattern
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts lightweight STR in Firebird - June club yarn
Needles: US #0 dpns

I wouldn't normally care for these colors but I guess I was just in the right mood. I did make some minor modifications to the club pattern. I added a ribbed cuff (k3,p2) which flows beautifully into the pattern, I added a heel flap (personal preference) and a stockinette stitch toe (again, personal preference). This is a really great pattern and I really like how it looks in this yarn. The pattern is relatively easy to remember and knits up super quick, especially if you do the cables without a cable needle. These would probably have been done sooner, but I got distracted by the strangest thing. . .

I was reading through a pattern for a summer shawlette and it seemed to have a lot of stitch markers. I don't often use stitch markers (because I usually end up flinging them across the room instead of slipping them) but this pattern didn't have a picture of the front of the shawl or of any of the shaping. Stitch markers would probably be helpful, at least in the beginning. Next thing I know, I'm making these little cuties.

Now, not only do I rarely use stitch markers, but I'm not really a "beading" person either (not that there is any thing wrong with that, I'm just not). I am, however, the type of person that doesn't throw things away. I had all these little beads and wires and stuff from when my guys were little. (They used to make little beaded ornaments for Christmas presents, angels and snowflakes, etc. I do remember being surprised one year when I received a lovely beaded ornament of a Christmas Spider and I believe my Mom has a praying mantis on her Christmas tree. The joy of raising boys!) Anyway, I used some of the left over beads and such to jazz up my stitch markers and they turned out pretty cute. I guess I figured I would suddenly start using them a lot more because I kept going and made these.

And these.

I had to try them out so I cast on the shawl. The first few rows, I still flung them, but they didn't go very far. After a few more rows, I started to get used to them and they slipped quite nicely. I will admit, a few rows after I got used to them, I slipped them off, you really don't need all those stitch markers. I left two on there just because they are cute.

This is the shawl so far. I now have three shawls (wraps, scarves, whatever) on the needles; a white one, and white & blue one and now a blue one. I have a feeling this one might get finished first, I really like it. More details to come, I think this is enough for today.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It not ALL about socks

I got distracted by the June Rockin' Sock Club shipment and forgot to post about these little sweeties.

First up
Pattern: Lutea Lace-Shoulder Shell by Angela Hahn in Interweave Knits Summer 2007
Yarn: Cotton (this yarn has been in my stash for over 10 years!)
Needles: US #5 Crystal Palace circ.

This pattern does have corrections (but there is an error in the correction - left-back shoulder Row 1 should begin K2). This was a super fast knit and it's worked in the round so there is almost no seaming. I knit it up following the pattern and wasn't happy with how wide the shoulders were on me. So, I ripped them back and decreased a few sts. on each side and it fits perfect. I love it.

Next, this is totally Alyssa's fault. She knit up this great little baby sweater and baby knitting is so contagious! It really is a great pattern. It's simple and quick and best of all, it is knit top down in one piece. No seams at all.
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-ease
Needles: US #4 circ.
Now I just need someone to have a baby so I can give it to them.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The dangers of sock club membership

Warning - June STR club spoilers ahead - - -

I was running out of the house last Wednesday night, trying my hardest not to be late for knitting Group. We were having a surprise going away party for Alyssa. I was in the car and I had plenty of time, I really thought I was going to make it. I was just about to pull out of the driveway and that's when I noticed the package that was just barely sticking out of the mailbox. I knew the fine ladies at BMFA had started to ship the June packages, I just didn't expect it to make it to me so quickly. Needless to say, I was excited (and in a hurry, I still didn't want to be late) and in my rush to get the package I somehow caught my thumb nail on something and bent the nail back - OUCH!! I jumped back in the car and attempted to tear the package open. Well, those darn white mailing bags are really durable and my hand slipped and that same thumb nail caught on the package and bent back again!!

I finally got the package open and fondled the yarn and looked at all the goodies (a beautiful note card with pictures of yarn on the front, the dyers notes and a pattern for this months yarn) and then I hurried on my way, only to be stopped by a VERY slow moving freight train, delayed by an accident and further delayed by a traffic light that was out. As you can guess, I was late.

The party was wonderful, Liz made a fantastic dinner and then we all got to see her stash (which is all neatly stored and organized and all in one room - yes, I am jealous, my stash is everywhere in my house, it's kinda like an Easter egg hunt but with yarn - a skein behind the phone, one in the drawer, three over there on the bookshelf.) Later we all had way too much dessert, but the best part of the evening was being able to spend it with some of my favorite people!

Back to the yarn, this is not a colorway that I would have chosen myself, but something about it struck me. I even liked the pattern that came with it, I ended up casting on the first sock right away.
I did make some personal preference changes to the pattern - added a ribbed cuff, heel flap and stockinette toe. I am very pleased with how this sock turned out ( I finished sock #1 since I took this picture).

Pattern: Solstice Slip - June club pattern
Yarn: Blue Moon STR - lightweight - in Firebird - June club yarn
Needles: US #0 Crystal Palace dpns
While I was knitting these, I noticed the mailbox incident left me with a lovely bruise under my thumb nail that perfectly matches the colors in this yarn! What a coincidence.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Socks for Dad

I finished up the socks for my Dad in plenty of time for Father's Day. They fit great and he just loves them.
I love this yarn (one of my very favorites to knit with) and I am just mad about these colors together, but initially I had a slight pooling problem. I am not totally against pooling, but time it was bugging me. I adjusted the # of sts. and messed around with different stitch patterns, but I kept getting the green & yellow on one side and the blue & burgundy on the other. These four colors look so great together and I wanted them to mix at least a little bit. I decided to give it one more try and ended up with the colors perfectly stacked in four columns - green, yellow, blue, burgundy - no mixing what-so-ever! My husband thought this was very cool, I did not. Looking back, I should have at least taken a picture, it was pretty wild.
I decided to put it away for the night and try again in the morning. First try I ended up with these and they are exactly what I wanted.

Pattern: Basic sock w/ slip-st. rib
Yarn: BMFA Socks that rock (medium weight) in Scottish Highlands
Needles: #1 Crystal Palace dpns

These socks did have a fun outing while I was working on them. I went to the doctor about this little bump I have on my finger. It's just an odd little bump, not really doing anything or causing any trouble, but it has been there a while and I thought I should have it checked out. Doctor agreed and sent me off for blood work and x-rays. The blood work part was no fun, but it was quick, the x-ray part was more fun.
X-rays are so cool. It's not often you get to see your bones. The x-ray lady (o.k. that's probably not her official job title) was very nice and took lots of pictures of my hands and then explained that it would be a few minutes while she checked to make sure all the pictures where good and then a few more minutes to make the films. She told me to make myself comfortable and she would be back in a little bit.
I sat down and worked on my Dad's socks. A few minutes later, another x-ray person walked by the room I was in and noticing me, stopped and in a rather surprised voice asked, "Is she knitting in there?" Well, my x-ray lady was busy looking at my x-rays and apparently didn't hear the other person clearly because she jumped up and hurried toward the room I was in muttering, "She better not be naked, I only had to x-ray her hands!!" It turns out that knitting in an x-ray room is less shocking than standing there naked for no reason, but only slightly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Socks for Mom

I decided to knit a pair of socks for my Mom for Mother's Day (still catching up on posting) and I ran into a few snags.

First, I chose some Regia silk (color 028 but I call it Apricot) and cast on the Uptown Boot Socks from Favorite Socks. I got to the heel and decided I really didn't care for the look of the pattern, I don't know if it was the yarn, the pattern or me but the three combined didn't make for a sock that I liked. I frogged the sock.

I liked the yarn, so I cast on the Cable Rib Socks, also from Favorite Socks. This sock went along perfectly, actually too perfectly. I was so pleased with the whole thing I thought of another pattern this yarn would look great in and it just so happened that I had more of this yarn. I went to the sock drawer to get the other yarn (it is not weird to want to hold the yarn while imagining the sock it will become) and that's when things started to go wrong. There was the yarn, right where I knew it was, but only one 50 gm. skein! Where was the other one? I was completely perplexed. As I stood there, staring at the one skein wondering where the other could possibly be, I realized that the second skein of the Apricot was not there either! That is when I proceeded to tear the house apart to find the missing skeins. I am one of those people who keep yarn everywhere so this was no small task. I tried to remember when or where I bought this yarn, maybe that would help me remember where I stashed the other skeins. I have absolutely no recollection of purchasing this yarn. Finally, after opening and closing the same sock drawer another 10-15 times, I threw the beautiful apricot sock in, needles and all, closed the drawer and walked away.

I still needed a pair of socks for Mom so I took up a skein of BMFA Sock Candy in Kiwi and finally came up with the right pattern for the yarn. I decided on the Highland Schottische Kilt Hose by Nancy Bush from Folk Socks but simplified to ankle socks. This was the first time I tried the Sock Candy cotton yarn. It knit up nicely, cotton is not my favorite to knit with but this was fine once I got used to it. I was pleased with the way the yarn looked in the pattern and the feel of the fabric was nice and would probably soften after washing. The color is what really got me. Is has yellow, blue, green and tan, but the yellow is so bright and cheery, just the right hue that every time it came around it would make me smile. I love when a color can do that. This sock knit up very quickly and when I got about 1/2 down the foot I decided I should cast on the other sock. This is part where this pair starts to go bad.

The first skein was a gift from my wonderful guys, and bless their little hearts, they only got one 50 gm. skein unaware that I would actually need two to make a pair of socks. I went back to the shop where they bought it but, of course, the only skein they had was from a different dye lot. I bought it and decided to hope for the best, after all the socks will be on different feet, who will notice. I started the second sock and it was quite obvious the colors didn't match. You could have kept the socks in different rooms and still notice that they didn't match. ARRG!! Frog.

Third times a charm, right? This time I cast on the same socks but with some Panda Cotton in Fern. I really liked the feel of this yarn, very silky, but also VERY splitty. I need to get some pointier dpns for this yarn. Sock #1 knit up quickly but the color just wasn't right for Mom (so I sized it for me) and set it aside because Mother's Day was quickly approaching and I didn't have time to be messing around knitting socks for myself.

Socks from left to right - Panda cotton (sock #1 done, #2 otn) - Regia Silk (I did go back and reclaim the needles) - Sock candy (totally frogged both socks, it's like it never happened)

Fourth and final attempt - I went for a (can't go wrong with this yarn) Koigu in a solid (works with any pattern) shade of (goes with everything) basic beige. I cast on the Cable Rib socks and they just flew off the needles. I got them finished in the nick of time. They fit Mom perfectly and she loves the color and the way they feel. They were worth every stitch.

Pattern: Cable Rib Socks by Erica Alexander from Favorite Socks
Yarn: Koigu KPM color #2390 - Beige
Needles: #0 Inox dpns

This is a great pattern, it looks and feels great. I love the way the cable runs down the side of the leg and then one side turns and becomes the heel and the other becomes a new cable down the side of the foot. I will probably make these again (for me!) but next time I plan to reverse the twist of the cables. The pattern has you twist the cables so that the one side of the cable goes under the other and then into the heel flap, but if you look closely at the pic. in the book that side of the cable twists over the other and then into the heel. I think the cable twisting over and then into the heel looks better, but that's just me.
Now I just have to get Dad's socks done before Father's Day. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lots to catch up on

While I was working on the Elegant Ribbed Socks (previous post) the Inox needles I ordered arrived and I just had to try them out! I had planned on using this yarn to knit the Anniversary Socks by Nancy Bush from Favorite Socks but couldn't get gauge with these needles and I did feel like fiddling with the pattern so I started these...

Pattern: Merino Lace Socks by Anne Woodbury from Favorite Socks
Needles: #0 Inox dpns

I wasn't paying very close attention to the chart and missed an entire section of the pattern. I realized my mistake after 12 rows and had to drop those sts. down and reknit them, ARG! Then all went well until I got to the heel flap, the instructions say to - slip the first 3 sts from needle 1 onto needle 2 and then work the heel flap across the remaining sts. on needle 1 - now maybe I am missing something but I thought it odd to just skip those 3 stitches, so I knit them and moved on. Then the pattern says to - slip the first st of each row p-wise with yarn in front - that's what I normally do on wrong side rows but on right side rows I would slip with the yarn in back, slipping the yarn in front would wrap the stitch when you brought the yarn to the back to knit the next stitch. Oh well, maybe it adds some design feature, so I tried it. All it did (unless I did something wrong) was to wrap the first stitch on each right side row (as I thought it would) and make those neat and tidy slip-stitches along the flap that are so easy to pick-up, not so neat and tidy and very difficult to pick-up because they are all wrapped! Not only was it more difficult to pick-up the stitches, now the two sides of the heel flap look different. On the bright side, I learned something, my way was better! Well, while I was knitting up the flap preoccupied with that slipped stitch, I (again) wasn't really paying attention and just followed the chart to knit the flap - the lace pattern continues down the flap, very cute - but the flap as written happens to be about 2 rows too long for me, which I didn't notice until I was ready to knit the toe.
Finally my lack of attention paid off on these socks, the chart for the instep has a mistake - none of the the purl sts. are on the chart, which is glaringly obvious when I look at it now, but while I was knitting these I didn't even notice. All in all, I am quite please with these socks and the yarn, very nice, very nice indeed.

Sometime during my worrying about running out of yarn for the Elegant ribbed socks and not paying attention to the merino lace socks I picked this up from the UFO basket and decided it was time to finally finish it.

Pattern: Take a Bow cabled tank by Linda Cyr, Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer '02
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun in white
Needles: US #5 circ.

I actually finished the knitting last spring but never got around to marking the length for the straps and grafting them on. Ten whole stitches on each strap! I just don't really like it, even finished. The gauge is too loose for me, a little too sheer, and it would look silly with something under it. I liked the cabled ribbing and the yarn looks very nice (although not in this pic.) and is silky smooth, I just don't like it. It is likely that this will soon become balls of yarn again.
There is still more but it will have to wait. One last thing, I just wanted to thank Jen for the wonderful gift she brought back from her travels, the lanolin is fantastic. I love it so much, even though I smell like sheep (clean sheep) and the cat keeps stalking me trying to take down the sheep I must be carrying, my hands feel wonderful. It worked so well, I made my husband use it on his feet (dry feet are really hard on hand knit socks) and even he was surprised by how well it worked. So, once again, Thanks.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I'm back.

Things have been crazy around here so there has been no time for blogging, thankfully there has still been plenty of time for knitting. So, lets get right to it.

These socks were an accident - I didn't plan to knit them but a recent field trip with my knitting group resulted in my "to do" list being pretty much thrown out the window!

Pattern: Elegant Ribbed Stockings by Ann Budd from Favorite Socks.
Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 6 in color #144 and Blue Moon Fiber Arts Heavyweight in Black onyx for the heel & toe.
Needles: #2 dpns for cuff, heel & toe - #1 dpns for foot.

I never knit with this yarn before so I was excited to give it a try. Turns out, I loved it! The colors are wonderful (you can't really tell from this picture, I gotta work on that) gently blended shades of brown and black and a blueish grey. Just perfect for a guy, so it was not surprising that my guys all wanted them (also no surprise, Dad won). The yarn itself is soft and squishy and knitted up nice and thick.

The pattern was great too, I don't remember finding any errors but I did finish these a while ago so I might have forgotten. I chose to omit the eyelet round (too girly) and make the leg shorter (it's long enough). I weighed the sock once I finished the leg because it seemed like I had used a lot of yarn and I was right. The cuff alone was 24 g. and I only had 100 g. No way I was gonna make it, so I added the BMFA yarn for the heel and toe. The colors match up nicely and the heavyweight is a bit thicker which works great for the heel and toe. I went down to size #1 needles for the foot and was able to finish the pair with a whopping 4.5' of the ultramerino left.

Well, there is plenty more but I'm out of time for now. More to come.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hello Spring!?!

This is what I woke up to the other day, beautiful yes, but in April! I am finally ready for spring and this is what Mother Nature throws at us.

Well, I have been doing my part to encourage spring to come by knitting up some wonderfully bright spring colors!

This was my first attempt to bring on the warm weather. My son chose the yarn but after seeing it knit up decided it might be just a little too "girly" for him. I was not surprised, I had already started to size them for myself. (For some reason there is dark stripe of pink in the photo, don't know how that happened because it isn't really there.)

Pattern: Slip-stitch rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Duet in Spring Fling from A Swell Yarn Shop
Needles: US 1 dpns
Start/Finish: April 3-10

I just love this yarn, the colors are so vivid and the yarn is so soft and squishy, you can't help but squeeze it. I also like that she includes a matching solid color for the heel/toe/cuff. I love the way the solid portions bring out that color in the rest of the sock. I think it makes the socks calmer. They can be too busy sometimes with the colors changing so often and the stitch pattern on top of it, the solid parts give your eyes a place to rest. Plus, you end up with a tail at the top of the gusset so you don't even have to worry about that little hole you get there. The only problem with these socks is that they are a bit warm for spring (they are actually perfect with the spring we are having) but they don't really cry out for warm weather.

Realizing my error, (knitting warm socks to beckon spring) I knit these up in a real attempt to call for warmer weather. Just look at that yellow! If that doesn't bring the sun out, I don't know what will. If the color alone isn't enough, the yarn is - get ready - COTTON!! How's that for warm weather knitting.

Pattern: Flame Wave Socks by Ann Budd from Favorite Socks
Yarn: Cascade Fixation in color #1430
Needles: US 3 dpns
Start/Finish: April 6-14

First off, I love this book, I have already picked out the yarn for the first six patterns that I want to knit. I put the yarns in their own little basket, to help keep me focused.

The pattern is great and works really well with this yarn. I used the suggested yarn simply because I had never tried it before (and it was sitting right next to the counter in the yarn shop - looked like fate to me and I'm not one to tempt fate). I don't really care for knitting with cotton because it has no give, so I didn't have very high expectations for this yarn. Once I started to knit with it I was pleasantly surprised. The elastic in it gives the yarn a lot of stretch, but not too much. I can see how people might want to knit too tight or too loose with this yarn, but when I just ignored the stretch and knit normally with it I ended up with a nice tight fabric with an amazing amount to stretch. The cuff of the first sock (on the left in photo) is a little stretched out because I kept making people feel how stretchy it was. When I finished the pair, I held them up to show them off and before I even said a word my son said, "I know, I know, they're stretchy!" I will definitely use this yarn again, I already bought more.

Well, back to my knitting.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Nothin' but socks for March

I have been knitting a lot of socks lately and this month I haven't knit a stitch on anything but socks. That's OK thought because I like knitting socks and my guys like wearing them.

These socks are from Socktopia's Knit-off contest - the pattern was posted on Saturday and everyone had until Monday night to finish them (you did get partial credit in case you couldn't get them done on time). I finished on time but my team still lost, oh well, it was fun. The pattern is not one that I would have chosen on my own, I usually stay away from patterns with holes in them, but I gave it a try anyway. It turns out that I don't mind the holes nearly as much as I thought I would and my oldest said he really liked them and wanted me to make him a pair but in a solid color. Go figure!

Pattern: Eleanor - Socktopia
Yarn: Lana Gross Meilenweit Meeting
Needles: US#1 dpns
Start / Finish: March 24 - 26

Next up, my candy cane socks and your right, they don't match. I started these back in December, my wonderful guys took a road trip to get me yarn for Christmas and gave me this yarn early to make holiday socks for myself. I swatched and swatched to find just the right stitch pattern and finally knitted up the sock on the left (the one with thick stripes on the leg) but I guess I wasn't really happy with it because after I finished the first one I cast on a different sock and three months later, I still had not cast on that second sock.

I decided to start over and try the toe-up pattern I received with my Duet yarn. It was much easier this time (even though I switched to a thinner, tighter yarn and size 0 needles). Once I got the toe done I didn't want to just knit stockinette all the way up so I added a simple slip-stitch rib on the instep. All was going well until I got to the heel. I guess I didn't really read through the instructions very well and ended up with the heel stitches on the instep! After fixing the heel, the rest of the sock went along smashingly.

I even cast on the second one and finished the pair! They turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

Pattern: Toe-up from A Swell Yarn Shop w/ slip-stitch rib
Yarn: Gypsy Girl Creations in Peppermint Twist
Needles: US #0 dpns
Start/Finish: March 6 - 28

FYI about this yarn - This is a superwash wool but it feels a bit stiff with very little stretch, similar to cotton. If you like to knit with cotton, you will love this yarn, if you don't, you still might like it. The socks softened up considerably after the first wash and they feel great to wear. I must say I was surprised when I gave them a rinse to see if the color would run, the red die did not bleed even the slightest bit.

Having had such good luck with the candy cane socks, I pick-up another lone sock from December. The pattern for the first sock (on the left) is Spey Valley from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. I wanted to knit this pattern and I wanted to knit with this yarn but the two together wasn't such a great idea. I finished the first sock but couldn't get the second started.

This time I used a simple garter stitch rib and size #0 instead of #1's and the sock zipped right along. I knit up to where I thought the toe should start and tried them on - WOW! I love this sock! It was so perfect I jumped up, grabbed my husband's foot, ripped off his sock and slipped this one on. Needless to say, he was not quite as excited and actually said I needed to get out more. This sock was so great I felt guilty keeping it for myself and sized it for him anyway.

The second sock knit up even faster and I really do love these socks. I am so glad I frogged the first sock and tried again! I have another skein of this yarn in my stash and I already have the pattern picked out for it (these will be for me)! I didn't include a pic. of the finished pair (imagine it, just like the one above but both the socks look like the one on the right). Hubby liked them so much he already took them, I tried to get a pic. while he was wearing them but he is a very uncooperative model.

Pattern: Basic sock w/ garter rib
Yarn: BMFA Seduction in Neptunite
Needles: US #0 dpns
Start/Finish: March 21 - 31

Monday, March 19, 2007

And now for something completely different - More Socks!

This is my new STR in Monsoon. I love these colors so much. A perfect transition from winter to spring. I love the yarn too - medium weight is really great! Rah, rah, rah. I decided not to use the pattern that came with the kit with this yarn. I like the pattern, but I thought the yarn and the pattern detracted from each other, the yarn didn't let the cables show enough and the cables broke up the colors too much. So, I am saving the pattern to use with another yarn and I knit this yarn up using my basic sock pattern with a cartridge rib from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary. The first sock knit up quickly and I love the way the colors striped, but then I knit up the second sock and was surprised by the difference in the color pattern!

It's not that I mind so much that the socks didn't match (don't get me wrong, I mind, just not that much) I was curious as to why they were SO different. I had to think about it for a while then I remembered that when I was knitting the first sock the yarn was twisting terribly so before I knit the second sock, I rewound the ball in the opposite direction and just to be safe, I rewound the ball a second time in the opposite direction. It worked, no twisting at all! But it appears that I didn't remove all of the twist while I was knitting the first sock and now I had to either rewind the ball (with all that twist and remove the twist like I did on the first sock) or just tighten up my gauge. I chose to tighten up my gauge (which proved to not be so much fun) and the stripes started to match again. They don't match perfect, the stripes in the second sock are tighter, but they fit the same so all is well with the world, or at least with my sock knitting.

Pattern: Basic sock w/ cartridge rib from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts - Sock that Rock - Monsoon
Needles: US 1 dpns
Start / Finish: March 13 - March 19

In response to Liz's comment about my knitting speed, I am not really a fast knitter, Alyssa is a fast knitter (I have seen her knit, wow, speedy!) I just knit all the time. With the amount of time I spend knitting I should probably have more to show for it. Even though, I will take it as a compliment. Thank you.

Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day!

I am off to finish up my very first toe-up sock. I think I am starting to get the hang of it - I have stopped swearing and flinging needles about, that's a good sign right?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Love the yarn - hate my kitchen!

When I first opened up the package from A Swell Yarn Shop I was a little disappointed. The color of the yarn wasn't quite what I expected. I was very surprised because not only did I fall head-over-heels for it the very moment I saw it online, but Alyssa and Claire both brought a skein of that exact color to Group and I was able to confirm face-to-yarn that I did in fact love it! So why didn't I love it now?!? I figured it had to be me and set the yarn aside. Later that night I was showing my son the new yarn and as I started to tell him I wasn't sure about the color I realized I loved the colors! Great, odd but still great! Once the house was quiet, I decided to cast on trying out the toe up pattern that came with the yarn. After half an hour of casting on, ripping it out, flinging needles about the room and swearing I realized I didn't really like the colors of the yarn that much again.

The next day, I looked at the yarn and I loved it, that's when I realized it wasn't the yarn or me or even the toe up pattern - it was my KITCHEN!! My kitchen walls are painted yellow. I did choose the yellow, but it's not my fault that I don't like it. You see, I hired painters to paint the kitchen because it is a big kitchen with LOTS of cutting in and the entire room was wall papered. Since I was paying someone to do the painting I thought I would have them do one of those fancy techniques that painters do, I showed him lots of pictures of what I wanted and even pictures of what I did not want. Guess what I got - EXACTLY what I didn't want! I hate it, but I am too lazy to repaint it myself and the painters and I are no longer on speaking terms. Anyway, the yellow from the walls made the yarn look more green than it really is. Therefore, I have decided that I just won't look at these socks in the kitchen - yet another great reason for me to stay out of the kitchen.

Pattern: Roza's Socks by Grumperina - Interweave Knits Spring 2007
Yarn: Duet Sock Yarn in Turquoise Tranquility
Needles: US #1 dpns
Start/Finish: March 8 - March 13

Monday, March 12, 2007

Socks are finished and it's bittersweet

I so enjoyed knitting these socks that I was almost sorry when they were finished. You know how sometimes you pick up a yarn and start to knit with it and it is exactly what you were in the mood for, just the right weight and texture. You are using your favorite needles and the gauge is perfect, not too tight, not too loose, just right. The stitch pattern you chose is nice and easy, not too easy to be boring but just enough to keep you interested while you knit away, smoothly and effortlessly. Then you notice how well the stitch pattern compliments the colors, gently blending them in a way that you don't really see where the colors change, they just gradually do. Eventually you come to the end, the knitting is done. You sit back and look at the finished work, nothing jumps out at you, not the stitch pattern or the colors of the yarn or the texture. Everything blends together in perfect harmony and it is beautiful. I love when that happens.

Pattern: Basic sock w/ slip-stitch rib
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Juniper
Needles: US #1 dpns.
Start/finish: March 1 - March 8.

This sock did not photograph as well as I had hoped, but then again, it wasn't meant to be enjoyed in a photograph.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Felted Clogs Finished! Yippee!

I finally finished sewing up the Fiber Trends felted clogs last night. They knitted up very quickly, I just had a hard time motivating myself to get the sewing done. They have double soles to make them last longer, and each sole is seamed down the center - that's 4 seams - and then there are all the ends to weave in - lots of ends! Sunday night I just sat down and finished them. Then came the hard part, trying to get a picture that could show exactly how enormous these were. I tried but this is really the best I could do. My husband was convinced they would never shrink enough to fit anyone we knew and my kids had lost all respect for my ability to judge sizing. They really thought I had finally lost it. But then, I washed them! It really is amazing what a little hot water and agitation can do to wool. The before pictures were taken at night so the colors look very dark, the after pictures are a more true color.

Everyone was amazed with the turn out! I love them. They were fun to make, easy to felt and (even thought they are still a bit damp) exceptionally comfy!

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool - New Denim (2 balls) & Denim Marl (1 ball)
Needles: #15 circ.
Start/Finish: Feb. 27 - March 4

I just received the Duet Sock yarn I ordered in Turquoise Tranquility. I like it but it's not as blue as I had hoped, it's more aqua then turquoise, though is doesn't really show in this picture. I guess that will help to keep me from getting out of control ordering on-line. I am sure I will like it more once I start to knit with it. It's probably just my mood or something.

I do still have my new Rockin' Sock Club yarn that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I am very excited to get started with this beautiful yarn. (No picture because 1. mine is in a safe place and 2. you may not have yours and still want to be surprised, if not Alyssa has posted a picture of it).

The ladies at Blue Moon could not have started with a better color. I was nervous that the first color might be a "girly" color, especially because my husband and son were standing right next to me watching me open it. We all liked the color and everyone wanted it, even the cat, who jumped up on the counter, grabbed the hank of yarn and ran under the bed in the guest room with it. It took some coaxing, but we finally got the yarn away from him and put it in a safe place. My older son was disappointed that we opened it with out him and he missed the opportunity to call "dibs". They all decided that from now on, we will open it as a family to give everyone a fair chance. They are getting kinda weird about this, don't ya think?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some socks for me.

These were fun and quick to knit up and I learned two new things;
1. none of my boys like solid brown colored socks and
2. "cables on socks are girly."
I really thought my youngest was going to claim them, I did get him to try them on and he admitted that they were incredibly comfortable, but then when they were finished he told me, "That's ok mom, you can just have them." So, I ripped back the toes and shortened them up for me. They are quite comfy!

Pattern: Whitby from Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Louet Gems in Caribou
Needles: #2 dpn
Start/Finish: Feb. 23 - Feb. 27

Group Wednesday night was great, I love our new location, and I especially enjoyed show and tell of all the new yarn acquisitions. Alyssa and Claire both had the Duet sock yarn in Turquoise Tranquility that I have been coveting. I have never been able to bring myself to order yarn on-line ( I did sign-up for the BMFA Rockin' Sock Club, but that doesn't count). I am always afraid that I might not like the yarn in person, it might have a different feel or color than I expected. This yarn was exactly what I expected, perfect! I actually had a dream Wednesday night in which I was knitting with that yarn! I finally broke down and ordered the yarn on-line the next day. I was sure that it would be sold out but the order went through and I even got a confirmation email. I am happy but at the same time I am worried, if I am now comfortable ordering yarn on-line this has the potential to become a real problem.

I did not get my Fiber Trends felted clogs finished. Wednesday night after Group I did sew one of the bottom seams and weave in all the ends, but then I got bored and went to bed. I didn't even look at them on Thursday, I started a new pair of socks instead, in Mountain Colors Bearfoot - so soft and warm and fuzzy - I just love them. I don't think I am quite ready for Spring to come yet, these are really warm socks. I will try to get myself to finish off the clogs and get them felted so I can bring them to Group on Wednesday. I will get some before and after pictures to post as well. I must admit, these clogs have been fun.

THIS JUST IN - It's here!! It's here!! I just received my first shipment from the BMFA Rockin' Sock Club and I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying it is absolutely splendid!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A bag, some socks and no scarf

I am pretty sure this was instigated by Lynae's great adventure bag. I think I wanted a felted bag but didn't feel like felting a bag so I just knit it at a very tight gauge and it almost feels felted. I knit this during my breaks from the Irish Hiking Scarf that I have been having some yarn shortage issues with. I guess I have been a bit distracted because I had to restart this thing 8 times! Talk about determination. Just silly little things - cast on wrong # of sts., forgot to knit edge sts., started over on wrong needles - every time I got about 1-2 inches before I realized it and had to start over only to make the same mistake again! Finally all went well until I got to the strap which I decided to change (knit roughly 20 different ways and settle on the first change anyway!) It's done and I am happy, and the scarf, for now I am done with that too!

I started the Irish Hiking Scarf with some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino that I had 2 balls of (not enough to make the scarf) but that didn't slow me down, I figured I would see if I even liked it before I worried about the little things, like having enough yarn to finish. It knit up quickly and I liked it so when I got to the end of the 1st ball I had to make some kind of decision. I bought the yarn last summer at a little shop up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, on clearance. There was very little chance that I could match the yarn and I didn't want to try so I figured I would just pickup a ball of the same yarn in a different color for the middle and finish with the 2nd ball of the 1st color. I went to my LSY and she didn't carry that yarn, but she did have this wonderful Zara yarn that matched nicely. I added the new yarn and the gauge was perfect, the colors matched nicely, the only problem was that I liked the Zara more and now I wanted the entire scarf in the Zara. I ripped it all out and restarted with the new yarn. I only bought 1 ball of the Zara so after knitting that up I ran over to my LYS to get 2 more balls of the Zara and guess what? She sold all 8 balls that she had in the 24 hrs since I was last there! During a Blizzard! ARG! So I picked up 3 more balls in matching colors and started again. Now the colors matched too well. I started over rearranging the colors. Over and over I tried different color combos. I took breaks from the scarf and worked on the bag until finally the bag was finished and I accepted the fact that I just wasn't going to be happy with the yarn compromise on the scarf. That was when I realized I didn't really need to own this scarf, I just needed to knit it. I rewound all the yarn and was done with the scarf. What I finally ended up with was; a new knitted bag, 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino returned to my stash, 4 balls of Zara added to my stash and a whole week worth of knitting fun!

After all that I was in need of some relaxing knitting so I finished up these socks, they were supposed to be for Valentine's Day but better late than never (and you guys think I get to Group late).

Pattern: Basic sock w/ Chevron stitch
Yarn: Regia 4 color
Needles: #1
Start / Finish: Feb. 2 - Feb. 22

Monday, February 12, 2007

Clapotis is done.

Yeah! I finished my clapotis, it still isn't blocked (crazy weekend here) but I love it just the same! I must admit I have seen this all over the web, every one has made one, I just wasn't that interested in it. I had seen lots of pictures of it and even read through the pattern, it didn't grab me. Then last month, when I was at Fiddlehead Yarns in Kenosha, I saw one on display in the shop. I loved it, I had to have one!

I spent about a week thinking about different yarns for it, including the recommended yarn, but nothing was what I wanted. Then it came to me. I had bought a summer sweater set, it was beautiful but gravity was not kind to it. The sweater would stretch as you wore it and by the end of the day it looked terrible. Finally, I ripped out all the seams to keep myself from wearing it again! I really wanted to like it.

I left the pieces knitted so I wouldn't forget how badly it distorted and waited for the right pattern to come along. Well, I found it and it turned out better than I could have hoped! It looks wonderful with the top, glad I didn't rip that apart too. I still have quite a bit of the yarn left, don't know what I am going to do with it? Any suggestions?

Pattern: Clapotis, by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Rayon / silk ribbon - (reclaimed)
Needles: US #5 circ. Crystal Palace.
Started: Jan. 24, 07
Finished: Feb. 8, 07

I have Liz and Alyssa to thank for this scarf that I finished this weekend. I posted about the yarn and Liz asked what I was going to make with it, I had already been swatching with it and now I couldn't stop thinking about it! The other week at GROUP Alyssa was working on a scarf that I really liked. So, I put the two together and wallah. Thank you both. I did think it was going to be for me, but I barely got a picture before my youngest grabbed it, threw it around his neck and said, "Don't I look like Hobbes? I feel like Hobbes." and it was gone.

Pattern: One row handspun scarf by Yarn Harlot
Yarn: Classic Elite Inca Aplaca (1.5 skein) and Inca Marl (.75 skein)
Needles: US #5, metal
Started: Feb. 9, 07
Finished: Feb. 11, 07

I thought I might as well throw this in here. I finished this Knit Picks pocket shawl a while ago, but I am just mailing it off today for my Mom's Birthday. The yarn is from a sweater that I knit last winter that was just awful. It was fun to knit, once I got over all the typos and mistakes. I was concerned about some of the parts and just kept on knitting thinking it will look better when it is all seamed up. Well, it didn't. I looked back at the picture on the pattern and yep, that's what it really looks like. Damn those photographers! So I frogged it and this is what I made with some of that yarn. The cat just wouldn't leave it alone so he is here again too.

Take care all and have a Happy Valentines Day!