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.