Sunday, November 29, 2009

don't stop cookin cause i feel alright now

Well, after ordering yarn last Friday, I worked very hard on finishing the Smooshy socks in progress, so they'd be done before I got diverted to the next project. I've not finished them yet, but I think they're tall enough to start the cuff. And even with another project to love, these still get some attention.

socks knit toe-up, still on the needles, nearly finished, in charcoal grey

As soon as the Noro was in my hot little hands on Wednesday, I started on a scarf. It really is as addictive as all the other knitters say.

a striped scarf in progress, rolled up, sitting beside two cakes of yarn

Help! I've started knitting a scarf and I can't stop!

a striped scarf in progress, stretched out to about three feet in length

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Why, yes, I am still not stashing yarn frivolously, and all purchases are on a need-to-buy basis. The following yarn is all needed for gifts.

I have a coworker who recently knit the enticing Noro Scarf. I've been resisting the pull of this project for so long, but now that I've seen and witnessed it, I could no longer resist. The biggest deterrent was the cost. When I remembered I had $25 credit at the Loopy Ewe, that did me in. I bought Noro. The Noro is Silk Garden is colours 252 and 267. As always, the Loopy Ewe shipped it immediately by priority, and it arrived very quickly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

4 Monstrous Heels

I really am a fan of the Bordhi heel from New Pathways. I think it's an exercise in excess, but I love the construction. For my dad's socks, I decided to do the Bordhi heel but, like I've often done, only increase every other row. This meant I could use her charts, but needed to construct my own formulas for when to start the increases. I calculated very carefully, and came up with a good number. By Friday I was done with the increases and Saturday I started the heels. After doing the short row heel base, I measured the sock and it came up a quarter inch short of what I'd expected. I went ahead and turned the heel, but even after turning the heel it was still a quarter inch short (surprise surprise). I kept convincing myself this was okay for a number of reasons, like it's just the slipped stitches pulling it in, with a big foot there's more room for error, and such. Mostly I was loathe to rip back all those increases just to add three rows before they started. But I had already built in a half inch negative ease in the length, and this shortage meant that now there was three quarters of an inch of negative ease in the length, and I knew this could mean the sock would be too short and fit weird.

I pig-headedly proceeded, despite my doubts, until I was nearly finished with the second heel. At that point, I was sitting in a cold car parked downtown, enjoying the seat-heaters (my family calls them heat-seaters), listening to S&G, waiting for a carpool of ballerinas to finish rehearsal, and knitting on heels. I started texting Ember about my worries, and as usual, talking it over with some one else helped me figure it out for myself. I knew exactly what to do, and it didn't involve ripping out a third of each sock to redo the increases, although it did involve ripping out two heels.

By evening, I was feeling like I'd been knitting heels all day. Which was totally accurate. After ripping out the heels and getting all 216 stitches back on the needles, I added three rounds of plain knitting after the increases and before the heel stitches. Then I did the heel as before. At the end of one completed heel, I measured, and got exactly my target length. I finished the second heel around 11pm last night, snuggled up in bed, watching The Colbert Report through Hulu on my husband's laptop.

Thee heels are done! From here on out, it's all easy knitting. I just hope that my best efforts with measurements will result in a properly fitted sock. Please fit, sock!

two unfinished socks, back to back, focused on the heels and increase section

Monday, November 16, 2009

An attitude adjustment

The neon socks I just finished knit up at an amazing speed. I couldn't stop knitting them. I was drunk on the speed. This was particularly emphasized by the fact that I only knit one at a time, since I wasn't sure about the design and only wanted to rip out one mistake. Knitting one sock at a time makes the sock feel like it's flying off the needles.

In contrast, I started a pair of socks yesterday for my dad. Going from socks for daughter to socks for my dad is a huge adjustment! I have to get used to the new adjusted pace of knitting these socks. Consider these numbers:

With the neon socks, I was knitting 44 stitches per row. This meant that every inch took 352 stitches.

With the new socks, at 72 stitches around, knitting both at once, I'm knitting 144 stitches per row. And with the smaller gauge, there are more rows per inch, so every inch takes 1584 stitches.

Unsurprisingly, these new socks seem to be creeping along. But that's okay. I like the knitting, I like the yarn, and I like the pattern. I may not be flying through the socks, but the steady progress keeps me happy.

two knitted sock-toes on circular needles in dark brown yarn 
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Kiva loan to a yarn store in Bolivia!

This nice little script will show the correct link until she's fully funded, then it will be another entrepreneur. The yarn store can be seen here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finished Object: Neon Socks!

green and orange socks, model standing on her toes
Enough complaining! I have completed the neon socks, and the grrl says she loves them.

close up on the orange ankle, showing the butterfly and the roll top
As you can see in the photos, I abandoned the idea of a picot cuff and went with the very simple but effective rolled top.

view of the green sock, with the butterfly ankle showing
These are knit from Baby Cashmerino, which provided the neonest colours we could find. She wanted bright yellow and hot pink, so this acid green and vibrant orange are her second choice.

both socks, heels together, so the contrast heels look like chequerboards
The sock is a basic sock, no pattern necessary. They're knit toe-up with a short-row contrasting heel. The butterfly on the cuff is from the Kai-Mei pattern I knit recently.

green and orange socks, toes together

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quickie lil dress

My coworker made the cutest knitted babe. One morning, I had a few spare minutes while waiting for my kids to vacate the bathroom. I grabbed a few sewing scraps and assembled a quickie dress to gift to the little babe. This pictures shows Princess Anne modelling the dress before it was gifted.

woolen dollie with red hair wearing a yellow and green dress

I'm getting tired of this

My daughter wanted neon ankle socks in two different colours with a butterfly on the ankle. The butterfly is from the Kai-Mei pattern I just finished.

I started with a picot top and Bordhi's sky-sock construction. My daughter thought the butterfly was upside down. That meant I needed to knit toe-up.

an unfinished orange sock cuff with a butterfly embellishment
With the second try, I got the butterfly right. I used Bordhi's sidestream pattern.

a bright green ankle sock with butterfly embellishment
The sidestream pattern wasn't right for this sock. It made the sock all weirdly shaped and the butterfly was squashed. Also, the picot on the toe-up construction didn't lie right.

a green ankle sock with a garter-stitch triangle gusset
Next up I did a standard short-row heel. This roll-top is still awaiting her approval.

an orange sock with a butterfly embellishment on the ankle and a green heel
I like that she wants socks, but it's really challenging to match both available yarn and my knitting abilities to the things she invents in her brain. I'd love to crank out exactly what she imagines, but it's just not that easy.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Evolution of a Resolution

Okay, I looked at my stash. Really looked at it. It's easier to look at in Ravelry, of course, than it is to survey it, as it's scattered about my house, so I did. I browsed my stash in Ravelry. And I really really acknowledged that maybe I have enough yarn. Maybe I should really really stop buying yarn.

Except there's that sock yarn club I hope to join.

Okay, so I'll stop buying yarn, except for the sock club.

Except that I want to make more socks for my parents, and I might not have enough parental yarn in my stash.

Okay, so I'll stop buying yarn, except for the sock club and for gifts.

And then I got that Jared Flood booklet. And I don't have any chunky yarn for the Quincy hat. I've started one in Cascade 220, but that's not the right size.

Okay, so I'll stop buying yarn, except for the sock club and for gifts and for circumstances in which I don't already have the yarn in my stash. So no more gratuitously buying sock yarn because it's pretty, but if what I have is completely insufficient for the project I've gotta make, then it's okay to buy. But no 'stashing'. We'll see how that goes.

So my daughter described me a pair of socks she wanted to wear. And she wanted them to be neon. Yeah, I don't have any neon on my stash. So I bought this:

orange and green cashmerino

Friday, November 06, 2009

Acquistions, knitting, and a knitting injury

Things like work and ballet carpools and vet visits and other such adventures habitually dominate my life. For weeks, I've had this delightful book held for me at the yarn store, but no time with the car to actually go get it. On Wednesday I had a forced emergency voyage downtown in late afternoon, so I managed to make a stop at the store and finally get the book in my hot little hands. Made in Brooklyn by Jared Flood is now in my collection. Hooray!

Today I managed to get a great deal of sympathy over my finger injury. Blue bruising and red swelling make for serious owiness. It's actually just blue for Sapphire Sparkle Stardust and red for red Cascade 220, both of which are dying my fingers as I knit.

I have been a knitting fiend all week long. I worked with great diligence on these socks all week, and tonight, they are complete! They are way too big for my daughter, who is modeling them here.

I'm planning a photo shoot for this weekend, if I can, to attempt to capture the beauteamousness of these socks. I do believe they are my very favourite socks ever. The yarn and the pattern are a perfect match.

Next up is gift socks #2. But instead of starting them, I got diverted with a hat. I really wanted to try that famous hat pattern from that Flood book, and I need a hat to donate for the knitting circle next weekend. I figured a little recreational hat-knitting would be a refreshing break between fiendish gift-sock-knitting.