Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Socktoberfest Sock

Socktoberfest has been for me, an exploration of different sock yarns that I've wanted to knit with, but haven't gotten around to. One of those infamous sock yarns is Koigu. As much as I love the colors, I bought some sock yarn earlier this year in a colorway P303 that I just adore.

I'm using the Thuja pattern from Knitty, but adapting for the yarn I'm using. I originally tried a different pattern with the Koigu and used 70 sts, which was just ridiculous. I'm knitting Koigu down on sz 1s to create a nice, dense fabric, but it works well for the yarn using only 60 sts. I love this Thuja pattern and am now thinking it can be my default pattern for socks, or at least a good way to knit up some of these other hand-painted sock yarns. I just love it and the ribbing it is really nice. The yarn is so nice to knit with, it's so enjoyable. The tighter, dense fabric feels nice and cushy and soft. While I love knitting with it, I don't know if I will go out of my way to buy it again for socks. I probably will use it again at some point in the future, the only worrisome part is that you don't get much yardage for each skein. Only 175 or 185 yds, which is a bit skimpy imo. I kept worrying about running out of yarn, but I don't usually make the leg of my socks very tall. With this one, I knit the leg to only 4.75", which turned out to be perfect and is just the right height. I can't help the length of my foot as I wear a size US 10 in a ladies shoes, so I wanted to have enough and I did with some yarn to spare, but it was a bit nerve-wracking. And no, I'm also not interested in knitting socks toe-up. Cuff-down has been quite favorable to me.

All of that to say, I now have 1 completed sock and have cast on for the second one. I may not get it done for Socktoberfest, but I will try. I can't wait to have this pair of socks done and ready to wear.

Monday, October 23, 2006

10 Knitterly Things About Me

A meme started by Grumperina to list 10 knitting-related things about yourself that many may not know about you sounded fun, so here goes.

10. Until this year, I'd never tried my hand at any type of charted work for cables or lace.

9. I always thought I was the type of knitter who would never knit cables, lace or fair isle work. While I'd done some cables before, just very simple ones, I didn't much care for them.

8. I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to knitting. Often times I find a mistake, but I don't want to go back and unless there's a glaring error, I will keep knitting.

7. Now that I've done some fair isle work, while it's fun, I don't think I will ever want to do a whole sweater.

6. Although my favorite color is purple, I have no yarn in that color. Red is my second favorite and I have enough yarn in my stash for one sweater in red.
The reason I don't have my "favorite" colors in the stash is because I feel that if I have too much of it, it becomes common and less of a favorite. I'm very odd that way.

5. While I love knitting, I don't get the need to spin or dye. It's too much work and would take away from my knitting

4. I'm absolutely anal about my stash. I like to go and play with it all the time, take out a skein and think of what the possibilities are. I have a spreadsheet with all of my yarn listed and yardage. I'm currently at 35.94 miles of yarn. Mind-blowing to me.

3. I enjoy knitting most for me, as I appreciate my handknit items more than anyone else.

2. I don't have a favorite yarn. With every project, I tend to have picked out the yarn for some reason, so I enjoy the differences. I don't care for mohair any longer since I found out I was allergic and angora sheds. Everything else is fair game.

1. Still thinking about this one . . .

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

FO Report x 2

Hmm, a couple of things I've been meaning to blog about. I did finish Tivoli quite a bit ago, but sent it to a friend to do some extra crochet around the neck, sleeves and bottom to help keep the top from rolling. I really do hate rolled edges, it's so unfinished to me and I like a straight edge and non-rolling. I've *got* issues, I know :-). Onward to Tivoli. No pics with me modeling it as it's now too cold (it snowed today, we got almost 3 inches of snow!) for me to attempt to model it. Perhaps next spring?

Project Specs:
Pattern: Tivoli/Picovoli by Kathy aka Grumperina
Yarn used: Elann Luna, 57% viscose/43% cotton
Needle size: Either US 5s or US 6s, but unfortunately I no longer recall
Size Knit: 40, but my gauge was a bit different from pattern
Modifications made: umm, not many, but because I fell in between 2 different sizes, 36 or 40 and the pattern does call for negative ease and the gauge was different, I cast on for the larger size, but maybe did an additional decrease round or two and added a couple more rounds of increases through the bust. I can't say for sure what I did, but when I first tried it on prior to blocking, I was not too thrilled, it was t-i-g-h-t and I figured I needed to lose weight to wear it. I was pretty bummed, but after the crab stitch and single crochet edging was put on and blocked, I tried it on and it fit great! It really does look good on and I've worn it a couple of times before the weather turned. I love the top and the color, I have to say is a great one for me. It's sort of a burnished orange and with the viscose a shiny yarn and the cotton matte, it has a great sheen to it, but sort of muted. I love it!

Secondly for the ISE, I knit my pal a Triangular Scarf. In looking for a pattern that would suit my pal, Suzanne (not to worry, she's already received the package), I wasn't sure what to select. I searched high and low on the internets, through pattern books, but couldn't settle on a pattern. I already knew what yarn to use since my pal liked autumnal colors, I had Plain and Fancy Sheep & Wool (one of the best yarns known to wo-man) in the colors my pal was requesting. But as it is a variegated, I kept debating between patterned stitches, cables or lace and nothing just really struck me.

After much debate and I was just going to use a semi-lacy pattern, I found a pattern on Interweave for a Wild Cherry Triangular Scarf Pattern (careful, this link is a .pdf!)that sounded just up my alley. As the yarn used in the original pattern was a boucle yarn that the pattern shows off in the yarn to best advantage in stockinette, so too did I think that the triangular scarf would look nice in stockinette. Also my pal stated that she didn't think it got very cold in DC to her, as she's originally from Maine. My thought was that perhaps a triangular scarf would be nice to wrap around her neck inside or outside of her coat as an extra layer of warmth.

Once again, sorry for the goofy pic of me, but that's not really a surprise. I tied it around my neck just to show how I imagined it would be worn.

and below is just a pic of the scarf/shawl right off the needles:

Project specs:
Pattern: Wild Cherry Triangular Scarf
Yarn used: 1 skein of Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool (the pattern uses 1 hank of yarn that 1,440 yds, but only used 1/5 of that amount, roughly 288 yds. P&F comes in 400 yd. hanks, so I knew I'd have plenty)
Needle size: US 7 (4.5mm)
Time to knit: 1 week (incl. wash & block)
Mods: just made the scarf longer than called for in the pattern by about 20 or so rows, but stopped before it got too long

My pal received it and says that she liked it. I sure hope so.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Blogger seems to not be updating my feed today, so just a test. The new post should follow below.


Sweaters, sweaters, sweaters

I started to post about some FOs that were finished recently, but decided to leave it. I recently completed a scarf for my scarf pal. And I was pretty excited to get that out. I also mailed out a package to my mom with the shawl I completed for her. I can't wait for her to receive it.

But last night, I was so pleased. I finished the second sleeve to M's sweater. Below, you will see a crappy picture and I apologize for it. I'm ever so happy that the sweater pieces are mostly finished now. I just need to do a 3-needle bind off on one shoulder and then pick up stitches to do more of the twisted ribbing around the neck and then sew up all the pieces. I've decided since other people I know are designating Sundays for finishing, that will be the time to work on his sweater, as doing all the finishing parts will be less thrilling to me. I'm all about the knit, baby! But I'm so happy that I've got time to get this baby all finished up and done, way before Xmas, which is M's designated time to receive it.

I started a new sweater last week or the week before, the ubiquitous Hourglass sweater, using some Jaeger Luxury Tweed in color china pink. I love using this yarn, but the alpaca sheds like crazy. I got tired of trying to make the hem work and just knitted it and will have to deal with sewing down the hem later, oh well. I love how it's working up. The color is really drawing me to it.

I had great plans for Socktoberfest. I planned to make at least 2 socks, w/o mates using Koigu and Lorna's Laces. Yarn for socks that I'd not yet used for socks in the past. But then I had problems finding the right pattern for the Koigu. I tried one, but it didn't work out and then I kept searching, scanning for the right one, but then I ran across one from Knitty and it seems to be going okay thus far. But based on it being almost the middle of the month, I will probably only get one sock done out of Koigu, perhaps two, but definitely not the Lorna's Laces.

Besides, I don't know what I was thinking, there's no way I would really allow myself to start that many pairs of socks without matches. I was thinking I would truly be a Sock Harlot, but as usual, in the end, I reined myself in. I must have been a Puritan in another life. I've been wanting to start a new sweater for myself, that would be knitted in pieces vs. in the round, such as Hourglass. But I wouldn't let me start that sweater until I at least finished the knitting on M's sweater first. It did help me to really finish that last sleeve. I've been itching to cast on for new items lately. Scratching the itch a bit with a sock is nice, but what I'm really waiting for is to start on the Zip Cardi in Berroco Uxbridge Tweed, as well as another Clapotis using some of the Brooks Farm Limited Edition yarn I picked up at Estes and I'm thinking new lace, the Swallowtail Shawl using some of the KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud I received from Amanda. Rather than using just one skein of lace weight, I've decided to use 2 skeins of laceweight doubled to knit it, just to make it a tad bit heavier. I can't wait to knit those nupps!

So as you can see, I have dreams of lots of new projects. The reality is that lately I've only been knitting 1-2 projects at a time, which means that I get a lot more done quicker, but I think a girl needs a little more variety. Oh and I forgot, it seems that all my knitting for others is done for a little bit. I have some babies I'd like to knit for, but thankfully those don't take too long. Yay for selfish knitting!

See ya later . . .

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sharing Stories

Well friends, with the advent of Socktoberfest upon us, I wanted to post my sock knitting history.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I wanted to learn how to make socks shortly after I learned how to knit. I joined a knitting group and had friends that knit socks and I desperately wanted to learn how. I took one mini knitting lesson on socks, but never went back to the class as it was canceled. I then took a sock knitting class through one of LYS in town on bigger needles, but what I learned is that I did not like knitting socks on dk-weight yarn. I definitely wanted to knit socks using sock weight yarn. After the class, I cast on for socks with sock weight yarn and have been using it ever since. Thankfully my friends took pity on me and helped me through that first pair of socks!

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time? My first pair of socks were made with a self-striping, fair-isle pattern out of Regia. They are holding up fine I'm sure. Since my mother "stole" them from me a couple of years ago. She hasn't complained that they've worn out, so I trust they're still intact.

What would you have done differently? Probably gone down a needle size, but at the time, I was a much looser knitter, so the size 2 needles I used seemed fine. But on my second pair of socks, I had to go down a needle size. Other than that, I had no real problems with the socks, but I had friends holding my hands the whole way through.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? I've mostly knit socks using Regia, Opal, Lang Jawoll and Trekking. I've liked knitting with Regia, no problems there. I really like Opal sock yarns. I've made one pair of socks using Trekking and loved it, but this was some time ago and now they have all these new crazy colors of which I've seemed to amass about 4 more skeins of sock yarn this past year. I plan on knitting with Lorna's Laces and Koigu this month to test out some different to me sock yarn!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I honestly can't imagine crocheting socks, although I hear it exists. But I don't crochet, so that's not an option for me anyhow. I knit socks exclusively on dpns. While many don't enjoy knitting with dpns, I've never had a problem with it and if it ain't broke, I'm not fixin' it. My favorite needles to knit socks with are Pony Pearls. Although when I recently worked some socks with a lace pattern, I did have to switch to aluminum needles just for a pointy end to work the lace. I really don't care for bamboo needles for dpns as they break too easily for me and they're not cheap. I refuse to keep replacing needles that can break if I look at them the wrong way. The Ponys work well that way for me.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) Hell flap all the way baby! I tried short-row heels once and I couldn't figure out what I was doing and just ripped it and went back to my heel flap.

How many pairs have you made? When I went back and counted, a total of 16. I made one pair especially for my mother and later made a pair for me that when I was done, I really didn't care for them much so my mom took them off my hands. While I was visiting during the Xmas holidays one year, my mom took one of aunts around to show her the socks I made for her and made the mistake of pulling out a pair that I had not "made for her", but brought with me to wear. She kept insisting that I made them for her and I had to tell her that I knew I hadn't, as those were the first pair of socks I made for myself! But I let her have them and figured I was off the hook for making her a pair of socks for awhile, as she managed to get 2 pair in about 2 weeks time. I've made one pair of socks for M and 2 pair for M2 and I have 10 pairs of socks in my sock drawer for me. Very nice! I love my handknit socks and I can't wait to get started on new socks for me during Socktoberfest! My personal goal is just to knit with some of the handpainted yarns that I've succumbed to buying, but have yet to knit with. Koigu and Lorna's Laces will be mine!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Today(Monday) was a good day

Sadly enough, I've been meaning to post this since last Monday. I went all the way in to work and was told that I actually had the day off. I politely turned around and went home! Who was I to argue with the vacation day that I forgot I took? Obviously I needed that. It turned out M was off too, although I knew that when I left to go to work, so we got to hang out. It was a great day. And the mailman made me very happy. First off, Esther of Pink Purls sent me this lovely KnitPicks Andean Silk that she had leftover from her beautiful Irish Hiking Scarf. Now, I can make one of my very own! Thanks Esther! This stuff is so soft, I love petting it.

Then, I purchased some yarn (yes, I know, bad, bad!) from Amanda of Clothes Knit. She was having a stash sale and giving away the KP Alpaca Cloud (6 skeins there)for the price of shipping, so I decided to pick up the KP Wool of the Andes in Fern, pictured below the Alpaca Cloud for a Backyard Leaves scarf.

I've been hemming and hawing about my purchases of yarn as of late. I've been really overboard and seem to have problems stopping. I did go through my yarn again this weekend and got rid of more yarn that I know I want use and donated some of the baby stuff that I just didn't like any longer or never want to knit with to charity and purged some of my old clothing and took it to Goodwill this past weekend. But the buying of yarn really needs to stop. I know that I will always buy yarn, but in the quantities I have been buying, it's been adding up. I still have room in my bins where I store it, but I'm not trying to fill it completely up either.

I've been thinking that I would but myself on a yarn (aacck!) diet, but I'm not sure how well that restriction would work for me. I don't do well with any out and out restrictions, so I think a no yarn-buying but for one day, pretty much like Stashalong, right, one yarn buying day per month. I'm also limiting my intake of knitting-related books and patterns. I will allow myself to purchase yarn for gifts for babies. I have some yarn that I can use, but I won't stash yarn, but if there's yarn in my stash appropriate I will use it. If not, I will allow for yarn purchases for babies because a) it doesn't take up much yarn and b) for a gift, I use the yarn pretty quickly and it doesn't linger.

I love the yarn in my stash, but I'd love to be able to buy yarn for a project and not always feel that I should try to use up the stash first. I'd love to have enough stash for a few sweaters, being 4-6 sweaters and then just being able to buy yarn when a project hits me and begin knitting on pretty quickly. I would love to do that, but don't know if I could realistically whittle my stash down to that number. That seems incredibly hard to me. Hmm, must think more about that this weekend. I feel like the stash is weighing me down lately.

Okay, enough with the stash angst! Another post soon with actual knitting content and another FO.