April 2004 Archives

Audrey Knit-Along

| 3 Comments

It's been a busy week so far Chez KeyboardBiologist. And believe it or not, almost none of the busy-ness has had anything to do with knitting. Instead, with the help of Becky, Morgan and Elisabeth, I've been involved in getting ready to launch something that I am really, really, really excited about. And even more fun, the wait is over. It's time to spill the beans on the Audrey Knit-Along!

audrey.gif

No April Fool's joke here! In addition to Knitting Along with us, we're also hoping that the participants will want to blog along with us. No blog experience is required and there will be plenty of fun stuff going on as we work our way towards a beautiful sweater. We hope the end result will be a very comprehensive resource for others who want to tackle this project. If you've never tried blogging before, here's your chance to try it out in a friendly environment.

Expect plenty of knitting tech talk, 50's glam talk, fashion discussion and other good stuff. There's even going to be a few special surprises for the participants along the way.

There's always time to join up! Just click the button above or in my side bar and it will take you directly to the blog page with info about how to get started with us. Even if you don't want to blog, we'd love to have you along!

P.S. No knitting to show today... but I'll be back in action tomorrow!

P.P.S. Apparently blogging and knitting along is all the rage -- if you're interested in a different sort of project, you can also check out the Everyday Cardigan Knit-a-Long

A Finished Bearfoot Man Sock

| 12 Comments
20040401_MTBMidnightSapphireSock.JPG
One Down...

Even though I haven't had a lot of knitting time this week, I did have a chance to finish John's sock over the weekend. I would have shown it off earlier, but I wanted a real daylight shot that showed off the colors in the yarn better. I think this picture gives a much better demonstration of what this yarn really looks like. Dark enough to be man acceptable, handpainted enough to be knitter acceptable.

In spite of the success of the afterthought heel that I tried on my Opal sock, I decided that I would try out Priscilla Gibson-Roberts short row heel on this sock. It was an interesting thing to watch come together, and over all I thought her instructions were very good. But I am still trying to decide whether I like it or not.

20040401_MTBMidnightSapphireSockHeel.JPG
The Dream Sock Heel

To be fair, what I am actually trying to decide if I like is that corner area where it is always difficult to keep a hole from showing. I wasn't really successful with this sock (it would be easy to see if John was modeling it, and you can probably see how big and loose the stitches in that area look). Fortunately, it's also pretty easy to do a little inside work on the sock to shore that area up.

If anyone out there has done this heel before, I'd be curious to know how you get those areas tightened up. This was one of the first times I was thinking that it probably would have worked out better with double points than with my two circulars.

I didn't follow PG-R's toe -- I just did my usual simple toe. By the time I got to it, I just didn't have the energy to think through the short rowing process.

And of course, this sock did get a try on. John liked it a great deal, but gave me the sad face again and told me he thought it looked lonely -- and that it was getting warmer. So I've got the second one cast on now, in the hopes I can finish it before Spring has really Sprung into Summer.

It was a wonderful early spring weekend here in Chicago. And it was marked by my first fiber festival of the season, the Stephenson County Fibre Art Fair in Cedarville, Illinois. This is a fair put together by a local community group and not a huge fair by any stretch of the imagination. But it was a wonderful drive out to Cedarville and it's always nice to find out about a little more about the state I live in. It was also a blast to see some people I have met through the KIP as well as meet Tina, who is one of the Audrey KnitAlongers, in person. Tina had a fab version of the Lo Tech on. She found another way to make it look great with out a hood by adding a lovely seed stitch collar!

Even though it was a very small show, I did find some goodies to bring home. The most "blog worthy" find came from "The Fold" a store in Marengo, IL. They carry yarn and rovings from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. WOW is the best word for the sock yarn and silk and merino blend rovings she had on hand. I couldn't leave without grabbing some of this to take home with me:

20040404_BlueMoonTigersEye.JPG
Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Socks that Rock" in Tiger's Eye

Definitely a new color direction for me. It reminded me a lot Interlacements Little Toes. It's 100% superwash merino with a strong twist. You get 200 yards on a 2.75 oz skein -- more than enough for a pair of socks for a guy with big feet -- and it was a real steal at $9/skein.

When I got home and went to put it in a nice, safe, cat-free place, I came face to face with a shocking discovery: I have an awful lot of sock yarn. Don't believe me? Well just take a look here and here. In the interests of full disclosure, I must point out that the bottom shelf in the first picture is two level's deep and that I didn't even take a picture of the Cascade Fixation knock off yarn that I just bought from Elann.

I just can't help myself when it comes to sock yarn... usually it's only a couple of skeins and the colors are often just too yummy to walk by.

I really need to stop buying yarn for a while, tho. I'm going to Maryland Sheep & Wool and I know I'm not going to be able to restrain myself when I am there...

Could it Be?

| 15 Comments

I'm in the process of becoming a French yarn fanantic. Yes, I know, everyone else discovered Phildar wonderfulness last year while I was having Filatura di Crossa fever. In addition to Tendences (which I picked up to be ready for the Onde-A-Long that Bonne Marie is hosting), I also decided to treat myself to Famille which has lovely patterns for the Phil'Onde as well. (In case you are looking for a North American source for these publications (with English translation), you can find them at Knit 'n' Tyme in Canada.)

While paging through Famille, I came across this:

20040405_PhildarThalassa.JPG
Thalassa in Jeans and Ciel

And I thought to myself, That Husband guy of mine with the big shoulders would look awfully good in that. But would he wear it... hmmm... it is grey... and then I put the magazine away for a while until he came home.

Then the big test came. I opened Famille, put it in front of him and asked him (as I have so many times) Do you like this?

Of course, I was expecting I don't think so, Therese (which is what he calls me, and what he usually tells me when I confront him with a sweater pattern. Instead... Yeah, I'd wear that. That's not bad

Whoa.

Now, Phil'Onde is actually a good yarn as far as man-friendliness is concernded. It's mostly acrylic, with a little cotton thrown in for good measure, so it's very washable, which means he can wear it against his skin, which he likes. It's also soft and friendly without having that acrylicky feel. It only has one little problem... it likes to be knit up on 3.5 - 4.0 mm needles. And the love of my life is not exactly a small guy -- he's got nice big shoulders. So this won't be a tiny sweater, but it will be on tiny needles

But he likes it. And it will be very striking on him.

What do you think? Should he get this sweater? Wouldn't it be great for fall?

P.S. Today's real "knitting content" can be found here at the Audrey KnitAlong blog. I've been swatching, and I finally got gauge!

My Other Spring Lady

| 3 Comments
20040406_FiligreeLaceJacketSleeve1.JPG
The First Filigree Sleeve

Even though I am getting all geared up to get to work on Audrey, I'm still working on my lace jacket in Kid Silk Haze. After the back, this sleeve hardly seemed like anything at all. I'm now plugging along on the left front of the jacket.

I'm still not sure when I'll finish this one. I like working on it in chunks. Usually I come home from work and do a pattern interval and then set it down again. At that rate, it could easily be the beginning of May before I am modeling this sweater.

I'm really enjoying the lace work now. I've gotten much better at knitting a little more loosely, and that makes all the decreases go a little more smoothly. The sweater has definitely gotten me back in touch with my inner bamboo. My Crystal Palace needles also work better when I can keep everything a little looser.

Needless to say, between Audrey and this jacket, I've come to appreciate the importance of picking the right needle to provide the right knitting surface for the job.

Bearfoot in the Park

| 2 Comments
20040407_BearfootMidnightSapphireSocks.JPG
Finished Man Socks in Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Midnight Sapphire

Look what I finished tonight. Actually, about 15 minutes ago. I had a lot more yarn left over than I thought I would. I have another skein of manly Bearfoot. I think I will probably add an inch onto the cuff on the next pair. This cuff is only 6", and I know John would have liked them to be a little longer.

But static sock pictures are no fun, so John was kind enough not only to model them, put to put his feet up on my desk so that I could get them under the Ott light. Natural light bulbs are an incredible thing. It's not completely like getting a real outdoor shot, but without it, there would be no color visible in these socks besides black.

20040407_BearfootMidnightSapphireSocksModeled.JPG
Sock Model Shot: Still Not Sure About Short Rows

I'm still not sure about the short rows. You can see from the sock on his left foot that I didn't resolve my little gapping problem. Also, the heels also seem a little shallow for John's heel. I might try this technique for a pair for myself, but I think I'll probably go back to a Dutch or afterthought heel for John's next pair.

Although I think he would have preferred a longer cuff (he kept asking me if I could just knit up from the ribbing), I consider them a success over all. Even from his perspective. How do I know? After I took the picture, he wouldn't give them back. Looks like it will be a while before I get to fix that gap...

P.S. The KIP is tonight! Come and meet up with us at Letizia's on Division.

Friday Frustration

| 3 Comments

Well. I took my Phil'Onde to the KIP tonight in hopes of swatching for "Le Pull" from the Phildar Famille book.

20040408_PhlidarLePull.jpg
Phildar: Le Pull

It was the sweater that Phildar made available for free for a while. (They have a new free pattern that also uses Phil'Onde but is in the Tendences magazine. You have to go to the French Version of Phildar's website to find it.)

I didn't look very carefully at the pattern translation. I saw "US 5 needles" and so pulled those out and began my swatch. This pattern calls for 24 stitches and 26 rows over 4". I got way too many rows/inch.

Then I looked back at the pattern translation and realized that they were calling for a 4 mm needle. A US 5 is only 3.75 mm. So I breathed a short-lived sigh of relief, ripped out my swatch and cast back on using a US 6 (which can be a 4.0 mm or 4.25 mm needle).

Still too many rows per inch. Rip. Rip. Rip. Rip. Back into the box with the 6's.

Now I'm working on a swatch with US 7.0 mm (4.5 mm). It's looking like it has more promise, but I won't know until I get a few more rows in. The pattern specifies that I am supposed to knit loosely. I guess they weren't kidding.

Maybe I'll go back to lace and socks...

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. To all others, a happy weekend to you!

Onde Target

| 5 Comments

After two more swatching attempts, I finally got the gauge I needed with the Phil'Onde. I ended up on 5.0 mm needles instead of 4.0 mm needles. I guess they are not kidding when they say "knit loosely". Here's the proof of my swatching victory.

20040411_OndeSwatch.JPG
White Onde Swatch

It's not as pretty as I'd like (note the far left stitch on each rib block...). When I speak of getting gauge, I was mostly concerned about getting row gauge. I've never been very good at dealing with stitch gauge in ribbing. But this swatch does work out to 4" in both dimensions with the number of stitches and rows expected.

I have to admit, I was feeling very uncertain as I kept increasing needle sizes. So I did a survey of the projects in the Phildar books that I have that use Phil'Onde.

While most get 33 rows on 3.5 mm needles, there are a couple of patterns that get 32 or 29 on the same size needles. I guess the moral of this story is that you need to swatch and be sure and not assume that the recommended needle size is going to work for you.

But who wants to knit with white yarn when there is a variagated ball of green goodness waiting for you? After I got my swatch out of the way, it didn't take me very long to cast on and get going.

20040411_LePullOndeBack.JPG
Onde Way (Bad Pun Intended)

Such a happy springy green!

I also spent some time trying to track down a solution to those ugly stitches. As per usual, it is Monse Stanley to the rescue. (If you don't own this book, you really should! It's a great investment and is filled to the brim with excellent tricks and tips, not to mention good diagrams.)

Her suggestion:

On the right side row, knit into the back of the stitch (i.e. twist the stitch).
On the wrong side rown, purl the stitch, wrapping the yarn under the needle.

Of course, I didn't look this up until after I got the back of my sweater started, but it's still early in the game, and that's not going to be a high visibility area. Plus the Phil'Onde has a boucle texture that makes stitch definition appear a little fuzzy and makes less well formed stitches less obvious.

Posting Note: The class I am taking this quarter (the last one I need to complete my masters in computer science) is proving to require more effort than I initially anticipated, and I've got some (good) things heating up at work as well. While I'm going to try to post on a daily basis, please be patient with me if I'm somewhat irregular until June.

A Little More Lace

| 15 Comments
20040413_FiligreeJacketFront.JPG
A back, a front and a sleeve!

I achieved another milestone on my lacy jacket: the left front is now finished and attached to the back via a three-needle bind off. I couldn't help but lay the completed pieces together to see what kind of impression they made. It's definitely beginning to look like a pretty lace jacket, even though that's hard to tell when it's sitting on a background of similar color.

In case anyone is wondering, the white edges on the pieces are from the crochet cast-on. I chose a white cotton yarn (fingering weight) so that it would be easy to deal with later on when I have to remove it and put on the picot edging that is the finishing trim.

20040413_FiligreeJacketShoulderSeam.JPG
Lacy 3-Needle Bindoff

Every time I do a three needle bind off, I wonder why I don't do it more often. It makes for such a nice clean seam. I like how the wave in the center seems to travel from the back to the front and almost distracts me from noticing the shoulder seem at all.

I will probably cast on the second sleeve next. It's a bigger piece of knitting than the right front and I think that will make the downhill momentum stronger. I think the real challenge in this garment is not going to be the lace (although it certainly requires a lot of attention) but the finishing work. Because the fabric is so gauzy, it's going to be important to seem very carefully, otherwise the seams will be too visible. One big question in my mind is whether I should try to seem the jacket with the Kidsilk Haze or whether I should try to find some silk embroidery thread that matches. The Kidsilk likes to stick to itself, which doesn't bode well for seaming, but it would also be the most difficult to detect.

In any event, I still have plenty of time to think about it. There are 11.5 intervals on the right front and 8 on the sleeve -- 20 more days to go at my tortoise pace of one interval/night.

A Pair of Socks

| 8 Comments

No, I didn't finish a second sock, but I do have two socks in progress. That's part of my solution for solving the "Second Sock Syndrome" problem. I'll knit one sock from a pair, switch to another first sock, and then go back to the second sock from the first pair. One of my dirty little secrets is that I don't actually mind the seemingly endless stockinette involved in knitting socks on size 0 needles. Going around and around is soothing, and I can knit while paying attention to something else. Like, say, a programming class.

Yes, I am a bad, bad disrespectful student.

I used to feel guilty about playing with my PDA in class or doing something like knitting. Then I remembered that I am the one paying to be in the class, and decided that as long as I am not hindering others from learning, then quiet activities are not completely reprehenisble (I understand that those of you who teach for a living might feel differently). And I have never really learned how to take notes when it comes to programming classes. It's mostly about listening and asking questions. I could listen, answer questions and ask reasonably good questions while working on my sock. In fact, I felt like I focused a little better because my hands were busy. Not sure how that works, but it does.

20040415_Opal3705Socks.JPG
Opal Southwestern Socks

After a little more TV watching tonight, I am now past where I have inserted the yarn for the afterthought heel. So now I am getting very excited about adding another pair of socks to my collection. Wish me luck getting this one finished over the weekend.

The other sock project in progress is a pair for John using the Esprit cotton elastic yarn from Elann (just like Cascade Fixation only a bit cheaper). I'm using Rob's very excellent (and easy to memorize) Broadripple sock pattern in the color "French Navy", a man-approved color.

20040415_BroadrippleFrenchNavy.JPG
Start of Broadripple in French Navy

I've just started, but I think this sock should really fly. Size 3 needles feel like knitting with tree trunks compared the size 0s. John surprised me by not being disturbed by the waves and eyelets, so we both win, since he gets another pair of socks in a solid color and I get to do something interesting. I suspect this will be the first of several pairs of Broadripple socks since I have quite the nice little stash of Esprit

Somebody Sock Me

| 13 Comments

I'm just squeaking it out for a Monday post. Last night I was knee deep in pointers and memory allocation for my programming class, and after a wonderful weekend with my parents, I just didn't have time to blog about my knitting exploits.

When I get on a roll with something these days, it seems like I just can't stop. Over the weekend I finished up my Opal Southwestern socks in 3705.

20040419_FinishedOpal3705Socks.JPG
Opal 3705 Socks with Afterthought Heel

These socks provided me with an adventure in afterthought heels. I do think that this heel style is rapidly going to become my heel of choice. When I don't have to remember heel turning information it's pretty easy to sit in class or on the train and just crank through the project.

Recently, Melissa (of Loose Ends) also tried out the afterthought heel. She was a good deal more scientific about it and got beautiful results. Her post is definitely a worthwhile read.

Probably the only thing I would do differently for these socks is that I would knit about 1-2" less from the heel waste yarn to the end of the toe. I'm going to measure a pair of socks with a standard Dutch heel to get the exact measurement I need to worry about for myself. These socks came out a tad too long in the toes to be considered an absolute success, but not too long to make me motivated enough to rip the toes back and repeat. It might not look like it, but I almost couldn't get thes socks on. I knit these socks very tightly knowing that the fabric would loosen up when washed. So the little bit of extra in the toes helps give them a more comfortable fit overall (at least for me).

But, of course, I couldn't finish one pair of socks without starting another...

20040419_MeilenweitCottonJacSock.JPG
Meilenweit Cotton Multi-Jacquard 405

I really like this yarn. Not so much to knit with, but the feel of it after it is knit up. This Meilenweit Cotton Multi-Jacquard is a blend of 45% cotton, 42% wool and 12% polyamide. I'm pretty taken with the color, too. I think this yarn is going to make for great summer socks. I'm doing my "standard" sock -- cast on 64 stitches, K2P2 rib for an inch and a half and then knit in the round until the heel, pick a heel, knit to the toe. Nothing fancy. But I did decide to try something new with these socks -- sock knitting on one big circular needle.

I really didn't think I would like the one needle, thing, but it's actually turning out to be very easy and very convenient -- and I don't have a second needle flopping around, so I think it will be great for when I go to my programming class tomorrow night!

Onde and Other Things

| 8 Comments

Here's my latest progress on the Phildar pullover I am doing in Phil'Onde:

20040421_OndeBack.JPG
Back of the Phil'Onde Pullover

I'm closing in on the end of this ball of Onde. I've got 27 more rows before I start binding off for the armholes. I wonder if this first ball will make it that far? I'm still finding the "chlorophylle" quite easy on my eyes and I have gotten comfortable with the stitch irregularity that is part of the character of this yarn. It feels like it is taking me forever to knit this thing, but that's probably because I can't speed-knit the ribbing as much as I might like.

It's definitely fun to watch this Onde stuff do it's magic. Not quite as fun as Kureyon or Silk Garden, but almost.


There have been quite a few interesting posts concerning knitting and yarn acquisition and guilt of late (check out Claudia, Carolyn, Wendy and Kersten for their personal feelings on the subject). I enjoyed reading these posts because they are personal perspectives on guilt and fiber acquisition and knitting. I can pick pieces of myself out of each one of them.

At the end of the day, I just have a hard time feeling guilty about my stash. I slogged through four years of college, six years of graduate school, two years post-doctoral training and then another two more years of grad school. I worked hard to get where I am and no one is going to make me feel guilty about how I spend my salary. I firmly believe in surrounding myself with the people and things that make me happy. My house makes me happy. My stash of fiber makes me happy. My collection of books and my tech toys make me happy. I'm definitely a material girl.

I consider myself lucky to have all these things. I wish everyone could have all the things that they want. But I don't really feel guilty about having them. Life is too short to feel guilty about things.

But people are a different matter. The guilt in my life comes from much more personal things. I feel guilty about not responding to the email that is piling up in my inbox right now. I feel guilty about not having enough time to blog, (because I miss my daily creative writing experience). I feel guilty about not having enough time right now to be a truly active participant in the Audrey blog (though I'm hardly needed -- there's so much good stuff happening there without me). I feel guilty about not yet having made hotel and plane reservations for a friend's wedding in July. I still feel guilty about not coping as well as I would have liked with my mother-in-law's extended stay with us over the summer. And I feel extremely guilty about not having enough time to call a dear friend who is going through a very rough spot.

I really truly feel that material things should only be worried about when they become an uncontrollable obsession that starts to hurt other people. But I also feel that if I try to keep people as my main concern, it's hard for the material things to get out of control. It's all about balance and perspective. When material things start to get out of hand, my guilt levels go up. It's an emotional warning sign that I need to re-prioritize and figure out how to be more efficient with my time.

And that's what I am struggling with right now -- achieving balance. It's amazing to me how one extra activity (my programming class) can throw everything else out of whack. Good thing it's only until June. In the meantime, I hope all the people that I'm feeling guilty about will be patient with me. And I promise to stay away from any more degree seeking ventures... at least for a little while!

Handheld Knitting Tools

| 23 Comments

No knitting update today. I am getting perilously close to the armholes of my Onde top. Perhaps over the weekend I will achieve another victory.

What have I been doing instead of knitting lately? Well, I've been programming. What kind of programming have I been doing? I've been writing programs that work on these:

device-logo_tungsten-e.jpg       kyocera_7135_md.gif
Palm OS Handheld Devices

I actually carry the one on the right around with me all day (it's a Kyocera 7135) and I feel a little bit lost and unhappy when I don't have my trusted Palm around me remembering important things for me.

Now, why am I bringing this up on a knitting blog? Well, I have to do a programming project for my class that involves developing a brand-new application for one fo these little devices.

There are already a number of applications out there for knitting...

CountAble (which I already own) is a wonderful and flexible row counting/pattern interval counting tool -- perfect for when you're doing that complicated Starmore Aran.

The same company also makes KnitAble which contains both ways to database your knitting information as well as helpful conversion tools. I don't have this software because it didn't connect things exactly the way I wanted them, but it's still a nice piece of software.

So my question is this.... can you think of a nice, small piece of software for knitting that would be handy to have on a handheld? Ideally, programs for handhelds should be small and focused on one thing they are trying to do.

Any ideas? If you come up with a good one and I decide to implement it, there will definitely be a little something in it for you...

Palm Thoughts and Afterthoughts

| 2 Comments

Wow! I had no idea there were so many good ideas out there for programs. I'm going to have to think hard about what the best course of action is. I'll only have about a month to work on it, so at least for my class I need to keep it in the "compact and achievable" range. Right now, I am leaning towards something that would help keep track of needles and projects, because this is a constant problem for me. But I think I am going to have to spend some time talking to the instructors about what is reasonable to think I can accomplish. I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew sometimes...

I'll definitely be posting here as I progress, though.

It was definitely a good weekend for me. My programming homework didn't turn out to be too terrible this week and I got it finished Friday night, which meant I had most of the weekend to play around with my needles. Sock maniac that I am these days, I finished up the first of my Meilenweit Cotton Multi Jacquard socks.

20040424_MeilenweitCottonJacquardSock.JPG
Sock with Afterthought Heel in Meilenweit Cotton Multi Jacquard #405

I just have to sing the praises of this sock yarn! I absolutely adore the stuff. It's a 45% cotton, 42% wool, 13% poly blend. It doesn't have a lot of elasticity as you knit with it, but it makes a wonderful soft fabric with a reasonable amount of elasticity when it is knit up. I also like the fact that it has a very cool to the touch feel. Will there be more of this stuff in my future? You betcha! In fact, I've already put in a little order with my favorite enablers for Meilenweit Cotton Fantasy.

In addition to a new favorite cotton blend sock yarn, I also now have a new favorite sock heel. Take a look at this:

20040424_MeilenweitCottonJacquardSockHeel.JPG
Afterthought Heel with 6 Point Decreases

Instead of decreasing in the same way as I normally decrease for the toes, I followind Dawn Brocco's instructions for a 6 decrease point heel. It makes for a much more heel-shaped heel and there is no Kitchenering at the end.

You start things off just the way you would for a standard afterthought heel, by picking up stitches on either side of your waste-yarn marked area. Then you knit the first round, picking up as many stitches as you think necessary in the gap area. Then you count stitches and divide by 6. The only difficult part is deciding whether you are going to increase or decrease on the next round so that you can get to a number evenly divisible by 6. I increased to 72 stitches and then followed her instructions to set up a decrease at six evenly spaced points along the heel.

The result is a heel that really fit the outline of my heel. I was so excited about it I asked my husband to try the socks on, too, and they were perfect for him, as well (our feet aren't so different, and I like my socks loose, so this isn't as strange as it sounds) -- in fact, if the socks hadn't had so many colors in them, I think he would have decided that he wasn't going to give this one back!

Needless to say, I cast on the second one almost immediately after finishing the heel on Saturday morning. I'm about 3" done on the cuff of the second sock. I would have gotten a little farther along, except that I decided that I needed to start yet another pair of socks, which I'll show off when I get them a little farther along.

Not sure why I am so out of control with the sock thing right now. I have a number of big projects that I really want to work on. I think it might be due to the fact that I don't have a lot of time to knit right now, and I can see progress on a sock even when I am only knitting in short bursts, whereas with my Onde pullover 30 minutes of knitting hardly seems to get me anywhere. That, and my socks are portable enough to go to class with me. Heh. I wonder if my professor will be surprised when I tell her I want to do a knitting application for the Palm...

Mermaid Socks

| 10 Comments

The good thing about finishing last week's homework early and having my midterm next week is that I get to spend most of my time working on my knitting for a little while. I'm very psyched about having started this little project:

20040424_Regia5047MermaidSockStart.JPG
The Start of the Mermaid Socks in Regia 5047

This is the first of two Mermaid socks from Lucy Neatby's "Cool Socks, Warm Feet" book -- a sock knitting book that focuses on doing creative and interesting things with self-patterning sock yarn.

I have to start off this post by being honest and telling you, that while I am a total sock fan, I am not a total knitting socks on double pointed needles fan. I do like this book, but I while I admired the patterns (and find her advice to be absolutely excellent), when I realized I'd have to translate everything from DP language to 2 circs language, I put it on the backburner for a while.

When I finished the first of the Cotton Jacquard socks, I decided it would be okay if I cast on for another, more interesting sock project. Initially, I thought it would be fun to start a beaded sock kit that I have. Then I decided that beaded knitting is not very portable, and for a little while I need my socks to be portable. Then I got to looking through Lucy Neatby's book again. All of her patterns have interesting heels and toes, so it was a chance to learn something new and do something a little more challenging. Since I had the perfect yarn for the Mermaid Socks sitting in my stash, I cast on and got started.

If you want an upclose look at a very neat sock pattern click here. The pattern is worked in garter stitch for the cuff and stockinette for the rest of the sock. The cuff was a little tiresome, but the body of the sock moves pretty quickly.

So far I haven't had to do a lot of DP to 2 Circ translation... but the heel is coming. It's a shortrow garter stitch heel, so I'm going to have to pay close attention to the instructions. This heel is very similar to an afterthought in that she starts a new piece of yarn for the heel, but the rest is going to be brand new for me.

This book has a lot of neat heel and toe and cuff variations. I have a feeling I'll be coming back to it more and more as I try new things with socks. Even if you're not a sock experimentalist, this book has great pointers and hints to help make your sock construction better, and to help custom craft socks for special feel. This book is well written and fun -- it almost makes me want to go out and buy a whole bunch of double pointed needles...

Onde Way

| 13 Comments

I really just can't resist the bad puns that come to my head when I hear the name of this yarn. So I hope I'll be forgiven. With any luck, I'll run out of them before I complete this sweater -- and the one I hope to make for John.

I did hit a major milestone with my Phil'Onde sweater -- I completed the back.

20040427_OndeLePullBack.JPG
The Back of "Le Pull Femme" in Chlorophylle

This yarn has a lot more character when the picture is taken outside in the sunshine. I think this green has in it the essence of spring, and the morning sun makes it more apparent. The fabric itself is also light and airy and, dare I say it, springy. Here's a little closeup of the texture of the Phil'Onde knit in K4P2 rib on 5 mm needles:

20040427_OndeUpClose.JPG
Phil'Onde Up Close and Personal

It's a boucle yarn, so I gave up on completely neat and pretty. From a distance, though, all you see is the lovely gradient and the nice wide ribbing.

I've cast on for the first sleeve tonight. I want to see how far one of the gradiant balls goes so I can figure out if I need to find another ball of white. It would be just dreadful to be a few rows from finishing the second sleeve and not have enough white yarn!

I'm not sure yet, but this sweater may be one of the projects I take with me to Maryland Sheep and Wool on Friday along with the Mermaid socks. I can hardly wait to get on the plane and make the treck to one of the premier festivals in the US, especially since I know I am going to be in great company.

These Socks are Made for Shopping

| 4 Comments
20040430_CottonMultiJacquardSocksFinished.JPG
Meilenweit Cotton MultiJacquard #405 Socks with Afterthought Heel

Yesterday was a very good day. One of those days that makes me tell John "I think we need to go out for a celebratory Margarita or two at Frontera Grill" -- for those of you who are still searching for the perfect margarita, you need go no further. It's the Blue Agave Margarita at Frontera. Shaken, not stirred, thank you.

As you might guess this held up my progress on finishing the secon MultiJacquard sock. But, at 11 pm, fortified by two margaritas, some awesome ceviche and some incredible desserts (yes, Frontera is one of my favorite places in the whole of Chicago to eat) I started on the heel. After all, I'm leaving for a major fiber experience, and a girl's just got to have a pair of new socks.

I'll spare you too much summary (mostly because I am still not completely packed yet and my plane leaves at noon) and say 1) Great Yarn -- I love it and will definitely work with it again/order more. 2) Afterthought heels with a 6 point decrease ROCK! This is the nicest fitting heel that I've encountered. 3) Next time I will use 10% fewer stitches (i.e. instead of casting on 64 I will cast on 56).

Armed with my new socks, I am totally psyched for a fibery adventure with a great group of people. What could be better than spending a weekend with Bonne Marie, Carolyn, Leigh, Claudia and Silvia?

The hardest part is figuring out how big an extra bag I need to bring to haul back my treasures.

Categories