Saturday, June 30, 2007

An Unofficial Summer of Socks

As you can see there has not been much knitting progress. I do love the waving lace socks and I often fantasize about knitting them while I am working. They're actually knitting up really quickly, I just can't find a moment to pick them up. I've tried them on and they fit nicely. I can tell that these will be my favorite socks someday. Who am I kidding? They already are. :)

They leyburn socks are on hold for a bit because I misplaced my fifth 2.5mm dpn. This is unfortunate because I'm actually quite close to completing the first sock. This leads me to the problem of not knowing what kind of bind off to use for toe-up socks. I want something nice and stretchy that will still hold its shape. I will probably end up trying the recommended EZ sewn bind off.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Green Gable

Pattern: Green Gable by Zephyr Style

Yarn: Bonsai Japanese Maple 6.5 skeins
Needle: US 6
Notes: This was a very easy pattern and the result is cute and comfortable. I wouldn't recommend the bamboo yarn for the pattern because it does stretch with wear. I've stitched a ribbon into the back of the neck to keep it from sagging. Still, this is a sweater for short-term wearing. It was lovely to work with and it feels nice, but I think I'll be sticking to wool blends for my future garments. I still have some bonsai left and I'm still trying to decide what I'll do with it.
I didn't make a particular size, I cast on for the smallest size and worked the raglan shaping until it fit me. The end result was probably somewhere between the 32'' and the 36'' sizes. This was a nice instant gratification project, especially since I've been knitting so many socks lately. I would be willing to make the pattern again, but my next zephyr pattern will be Wicked. I've already swatched for it and found a gauge that is suitable for my yarn. I can't wait. :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In preparation

Today has been a day of preparations. This morning I went to the lab to prepare reagents for my work week. Then, I came home and predrafted some English wool top. I'm guessing this is about an ounce of fiber (I really need to get a scale). I have 5 ounces of this total, and purchased it to be my practice yarn. Most spinners say it takes about 100-300 meters to find your spinning groove. This cheap feltable fiber should get me through the learning curve, and then I can use it to make a felted bag (or some other felted project where the variable nature of it will not matter). I actually like working with it. It's really grabby with a long staple length, so even as a beginnner I can draft aggressively.

My other preparations were for future projects. I currently have two (mismatched ^_~) socks on the needles right now. Now, stash watchers say sock yarn doesn't count and I've kinda decided that as far as projects go socks don't count either. I'm really enjoying the socks, but I just don't feel like I have a "project" on the needles. So, I picked up my size 7 needles (they feel huge after doing all this sock work) and made a gauge swatch in Artyarns Supermerino for the Wicked sweater. I've learned to wash my swatches, so the swatch in this picture is drippy wet, but it's measuring-tape-sheep-approved! I know it's a small swatch, but I feel like swatching is wasting yarn. I am consumed with guilt everytime I swatch, and feel equally guilty if I don't swatch. I am so proud that I got gauge with the recommended needle size. This sock knitting has helped me to tighten my gauge which means my knitted garments will be more sturdy.

I think I'm going to need to keep at least one sweater-type project on the needles at any time. From now on I think I'll stick to one pair of socks because I get so excited about sock yarns. I don't want to experience sock infidelity because of a particularly tempting new fingering weight. I shall use my willpower to keep myself from second-sock syndrome.
I'm really excited about 2 things right now. 1. Ravelry and 2. Knit Picky's 1st anniversary fiber festival. These are good times for fiber fans. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What have I been up to?

It's a good question, seeing as my updates have been few in number lately. The truth is there has been very little fiber progress. The good news is that I think I'm finding my perfect sock-knitting gauge on the waving lace socks. I am still madly in love with Fleece Artist and definately plan to use it in the future.
I've only completed one pattern repeat, but it's still such a lovely sock:

The other thing taking my time lately has been the staining, finishing, and assembly of this beast. I just put the bobbins on their holders to snap this image. However, my hands (especially thumbs) are so sore from the assembly that typing is rather unpleasant at the moment. I think I'll let them rest a bit before I start spinning.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Doing my part

I did participate in worldwide knit in public day, though it was not an organized event. Nearly every Saturday is KIP day for me, though! First, I met Karen for lunch at Panera and talked to a woman who thought it was cool that we were knitting together. She was not a knitter, but she still called it cool! I wonder if she'll ever pick up the needles and give them a try. We then scooted over to meet Gena at Angelina's Teas where we were sold $0.25 chocolates by Angelina herself (and sold tea by her mother). I sipped Panda Keemun and brought some Cream Earl Gray home with me.

I shall always have fond memories of Cream Earl Gray. About a month ago I got to go visit my family for Mother's Day weekend. I was excited because I had purchased a sheep teacup, tea infuser, and loose cream earl gray for my mother as her Mother's day gift. She presented my birthday present to me the same night - an infuser teapot. As if that weren't enough of a coincidence, the teapot she chose for me matched the teacup I picked for her. While everyone else was going to bed she and I brewed some of Mom's new tea and sat up sipping and talking. Since I live pretty far from my family she and I don't get moments like that often. Now the smell of Earl Gray reminds me of home.

While we were at the tea shop I took a break to wind my hank of Fleece Artist into a center-pull ball. Now, I've always said that everything looks better in a hank, but as I saw this yarn forming into a ball I fell in love. Fleece Artist does not reskein their yarns so you see large patches of color in the hank. When I wound the ball I could see how long the color runs are, and how they gently run into one another. Looking at the hues all mixed together in the ball enhanced my love of a yarn that I was already dieing to knit with. Balling it when I have another sock on the needles was a mistake. I managed to resist the siren song of Fleece Artist all day Saturday, but today I broke down and had to cast on with it. It's so silky soft, and the colors are <3!!!> Someday this will be waving lace socks, but I suspect I will need to find needles smaller than a 0 to make them work. Does anyone have a cure for knitting dismally loose?

I'm not upset about having cast on a second pair of socks. I had nothing else on the needles because I finished the Green Gable sweater (there is a pic on Gena's blog, I'd take one myself but it's currently very soggy). I like to have 2 projects in rotation. I've found that now that I cast on for waving lace socks I am eager to knit more on my leyburns!

The "neglected" sock actually got a lot of love on Saturday as it toured the town with me. I'm still not loving short row toes and heels, but maybe by the end of the pair I'll be a changed woman. My next toe-up sock will use a figure 8 cast on and a slipped stitch heel flap. I like the feel of a heel flap better, and I don't get the little pointy bits (admittedly the pointy bits are probably just a lack of practice on my part).

I actually have a score to settle with the figure eight cast on. About 3 months into my knitting career I decided I wanted to knit a pair of socks. I selected my yarn (Koigu that remains unknit to this day) and my pattern. The pattern called for this cast on, and I actually figured it out. I was so proud of myself. But, much like kitchener, you're left with loose stitches at the tip of the toe that must be tightened. I went back to tighten these stitches but my beginning knitter's eyes could not trace the stitches well, especially when they were all loose and sloppy. I finally got down to the last 2 stitches and could not find the next stitch to pull. I put the toe down and came back to it later, but after many tries I simply could not figure out how to get rid of the huge awful loop of spare yarn sticking out of my otherwise lovely toe. I finally admitted defeat and ripped my toe back to wind it back into its little ball.

These days I've kitchenered a few toes and I know how to read my knitting and trace the yarn through a row of knitting. I still have that lovely Koigu all ready to go (it is crying for revenge, for no Koigu should go unloved). All I can say to the figure eight is:

Bring. It.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


Today I finally got my yarn fix. I met Karen for lunch (mushroom and spinach quesadillas!) and some knitting at Knit Picky. I brought along my Miss Bab's Sock and Baby yarn and started Leyburn Socks. I absolutely adore these rich greens. This is my first toe up sock, and I'm excited about the idea of knowing how tall I can make each sock based on reaching the halfway point in the ball. I can't say I'm in love with short-row toes. They look nice when they're done but It wasn't terribly enjoyable knitting the second half and picking up double wraps. Maybe it will get less fussy with practice.

Karen also assisted me in a photo shoot for an upcoming pattern that will be available on the blog. Thanks a bunch, K!