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?