Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spaghetti Socks

I have made it past the heels on the sock-blank socks. I was able to pull the yarn from the other end of the ball to do the heels. I knitted the heels double-stranded, to make them extra-strong. I have a mild fear that this will ultimately reduce the length of my socks, but logic tells me I have more than enough yarn.

I really love how the ball has two strands together. It's an excellent way to knit two socks at once.

While I was knitting on the socks, I noticed that the yarn looked remarkably like spaghetti noodles with marinara sauce. The comparison was so vivid I found myself checking my fingers for sauce stains. Can you see it?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ahoy! Acquisitions

I've said before that I'm a sucker for contrast yarn. So here I go again. Yarn, perfect for soakers, complete with contrast yarn. Yes please! I'm so into soakers, even though the baby wearing them isn't mine, and isn't even near enough to cuddle. Since her mother will put her into soakers, I just keep making them. It makes me happy!

Although, really, when I say soakers, I mean longies.

This came from Yarn Pirate on Hyena Cart. I'm not entirely sure how the whole Hyena Cart thing works, but I got me some yarn, so it works well enough to please me! I adore the colours. I wanted to cast on the moment I got my fingers on this yarn, but I'm not sure what size to make. The baby is currently 2 months old, but I want this to fit next fall. How can I know?

See the row of little radish plants by the yarn? I managed to make something grow!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

State of the Socks

I've made it to the heel flap on my St. Peter Port Stripes. The sock is coming along swimmingly.

picture of black and white striped socks

Last night, I was preparing for a 2-day conference, and naturally I needed some knitting to make it through. I've learned through experience that heels are to be turned only at home (except for road trips), and so I couldn't take my St. Peter Port Socks. Unfortunately, my Hiiumaa socks haven't been ripped back yet, and when they do get ripped back, the first thing to be knit will be a heel. So they were out, too.

I needed some mindless knitting, so I decided my sock-blank socks would be perfect. Unfortunately, my sock-blank socks weren't finished. They were yellow, awaiting further action.

picture of a yellow sock blank

So I soaked the yellow blank for an hour, and then utilised the same methods as I did for the volcano pants. Except that I didn't have strawberry koolaid, so I used cherry instead.

picture of yarn being dyed

Well, it turns out that the 2 packets of cherry koolaid that I had weren't enough. The dye exhausted well before I was done with the process. Fortunately, I had some very old orange DrinkAid stashed about. I pulled the blank out of the pot, stirred in the orange powder, and then gradually lowered the blank back in. The old drink crystals didn't mix well, and there was white powderish goo floating about in the pot. Oops. But the results were still good.

picture of a gradated dyed sock blank

I started knitting as soon as the yarn was dry enough. Turns out that you can only knit from one end of these blanks, and I dyed the red on the wrong end. So trying to knit from the red end was a disaster. I had to untangle at every edge, pulling out enough yarn to stuff the socks through. It was insane. So I had to unravel the blank, starting from the yellow end. The resultant cake is very pretty!

It seems, though, that it takes some work to get the dye to saturate these blanks. My dye job did not properly saturate it, and the yarn is therefore quite spotty. I'm not a real fan of spotty yarn.

But irregardless of the spots, I still need to knit up the yarn into socks, right? I selected the Milanese lace pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. Between knitting in reinforcement strands under the ball of the foot, and knitting in the pattern, it was hardly 'mindless knitting.' But I managed to work on it and enjoy the conference. Socks are coming along nicely.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

St. Peter Port Stripes

When I first paged through Nancy Bush's Folk Socks, the socks that spoke loudest to me were the St. Peter Port Stripes. I just adore those socks. They didn't turn out to be the first socks I knit from the book. In fact, I've only knit one other pair in all the time I've known about/owned this book. I did purchase the yarn required to knit this pattern several years ago, and that yarn has rested quietly in my stash.

What a curious thing, the fact that I've wanted to knit these socks all these many years, and even owned the yarn for it, but yet never got around to it! Why did they not ever make it to the top of the queue?

I've decided that their time is now. I am knitting St. Peter Port Stripes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pictures of Ditsy make my life so wonderful...

Have you ever completed the last finishing touches on the sock at the very start of the television programme, and then, instead of grabbing the next knitting project to work on, you just sat there through the entire show, petting the finished socks? Eh?

Yarn: DitsyGoth GothSocks by Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs

Needle: Size 2 (2.75) circular

Pattern: Just a plain toe-up sock. I did a short-row toe with 6-ply black yarn on a 2 1/2 (3.0) needle, then switched to the size 2 with the Gothsocks and knit plain. The heel was also a short-row affair with the same yarn as the toe, and the leg was knit in 3x1 rib. I used a 4-ply black yarn for the cuff. Under the ball of the toe, I knit in strands of a non-superwash sock yarn, leaving long tails hanging inside the sock. My theory was that the extra strands will felt up for an extra strong sole. They're already felting up, and I think I should have left longer strands.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Purple Skirty--Finished Object!

Okay, so my last several posts have been about the baby skirt in progress. I finally got a design that worked, that I'm really happy with. For the skirt, I cast on using a magic cast on, leaving live stitches on a circular needle while I knitted the skirt top-down.

When the skirt was complete, I knitted it together with the panty and knitted a unified waist band.

Now, blocked and ready to go, I think it's adorable! It was knitted on size 8 needles, using Cascade 220 Quatro and Nature Spun Worsted.

Yesterday, I was in a thrift store, looking for things to cut up, as usual. I perused the baby aisle, checking to see if I could find a matching shirt, one that wouldn't be TOO MUCH PURPLE, not TOO MUCH FRILLY, and not DORA THE EXPLORA or any other commercialised kinda thing. I believe I found the very perfectest shirt!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

more on baby skirt

Well, the progress on the baby skirt has me totally engaged, so may as well blog the progress. I discovered that knitting does not just unravel from the cast on edge. Wherever the knits met purls, there were knots. After further contemplation, the skirt became a cake.

Progress on the baby skirt.

On Friday evening, I had the house entirely to myself. I put on a classical CD and sat down to cast on the baby skirt. I cast on 216 stitches. While I believe I mastered the counting skill many many years ago, I seem to have a difficult time casting on an accurate number, and the higher the number, the greater the margin for error. So I made sure I had no interruptions, and counted aloud while I cast on. It took forever! Then I carefully counted the stitches, again outloud, to confirm that I did indeed have 216 stitches.

Next up, I had to knit in a (k3p3) pattern. This is equally a challenge, so I worked quite slowly and deliberately. When I came to the end of the row, my stitches didn't come out even, so I knew I had goofed. I went over the row very carefully, and on the second try, I found both errors. I picked back about 130 stitches and redid. This time, I got a perfect k3p3, but I still came out one stitch short. I went back over the row again, twice, and the best I could conclude was that I was dealing with only 215 stitches. Sigh. So I increased one stitch in the middle of the purls. Does that make me a bad person?

I knit several rows of pleats, and then decreased slowly in the purls, making a skirt with a row of pleats along the hem. The skirt is a few more stitches around than the panties that will go underneath, with a row of decreases at the back just as it approaches the waistband, to make the stitches line up.

While I thought the line of pleats would be cute, they don't flair enough for my tastes. While I had thought the skirt would be a little boxy, I think it's a little too boxy. I studied it carefully for a while, and finally concluded that the pleats have to go.

I think I've read that it doesn't work to rip out the cast on, rip back, and reknit backwards. But I want to explore that for myself. It's worth the time invested to see what happens. So right now, I'm in the middle of picking out the cast-on edge. This means that every single of the 215 stitches that I carefully cast on are now being individually untangled. I'm half way through the skirt. Back to work...

Friday, April 03, 2009

And the cuffs became...

My purple cuffs became legs. I'm working on new baby woolies, this time cuff upwards. If all proceeds as planned, these will be the panties of a little diaper-cover skirty.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New cuffs

Well. There hasn't been much knitting going on lately. However, tonight I started a new project. Doesn't it look like I'm starting some socks? I'm not.

Free yarn alert!

Lookie here, free yarn! I'm Knitika, and I approve this concept.

Cloverhill Yarn Shop

ETA: darnit, I don't know how to force blogger to show all the banner. :( But still! Go look! They have independent yarns! yay!