Sunday, September 30, 2007

Can This Sock Be Saved?

House Socks

After some misteps, bad math, and indecision, this is where I'm at on the House Socks from New Pathways. Earlier in the week, I convinced myself that this pattern wasn't going to work because the number of stitches before the triangle starts was even, so no center stitch to begin with. I picked out a different pattern that would work with the already-knit toe, picked up some cool letter stitch markers at my LYS, and then realized that I'd counted the stitches wrong--I have 46 stitches, so 23 in the instep. 23 is an odd number, how about that? I'm about 20 rows into the arch expansion, and I don't like the pattern in the triangle for the following reasons:

  1. I didn't like it all that much to begin with, even though the overall effect is nice--I wanted to jump in and make something, so I picked a short, fully-formed pattern.
  2. I second-guessed the pattern when it started to look like ribbing, and "fixed" it so that now it's wrong
  3. I've gotten used to reading charts while making these shawls, and I'm having trouble visualizing how the pattern should look while I'm reading the instructions

I think that I need to rip back to before the arch expansion, and then use the master pattern to start again. Also, if I'm going to put patterning in the arch expansion, I will chart it out so that I can see what's happening. This style of sock knitting is very cool, but since it's new to me I should probably plan a little better, and maybe read the whole pattern and make sure I know that it will work with the stitches I have.

One thing that I really DO like about the sock is how the yarn colors are changing. You can see in the photo on the left that the yellowy-blue is slowly giving way to a bluey-blue. I had no idea that this was even happening while I was knitting, it was only after I looked at it under a light that it was clear. Very neat!

Cat's book uses the letter markers as guideposts in the pattern, and there are a lot of people out there making sets of markers with letters. Two in particular that I like are on Etsy, this circus letter set (also check out this seller's Halloween buttons) and this metal bead set. I thought briefly about making some, but there are so many good, inexpensive options, and I'd really rather knit.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Can't you see you're not helping?

This is why my blog posts are often short and poorly edited:


I'm starting to think that she'll do anything to get on the internets.

The Petals Collection: Kit #2

I'm so excited about the Sundara Yarn Petals Club package that arrived today! The yarn is gorgeous, and the pattern is also great. I don't get the feeling that this club is quite so anti-spoiler as some of the others, but I don't want to ruin someone else's surprise with my geographical advantage, so I'll pipe down for now. Why do I aways start new socks just before delicious sock yarn arrives??

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Letter Hound Loves Them, Too


Just a quick shout-out to my Sockapalooza sockpal--I wore my socks for the first time today, and they were extremely comfortable. Pattern & yarn details available on her blog in this post. It's started to get chilly here, and I was very happy that I had them this evening at Safeco Field. Thanks again, Jennifer!

Two Toe Tuesday: One-Toe Edition


I started a new pair of socks last week, my first pair from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters book. There's already been some unexpected trial and error (my gauge changed between the swatch and the toe), so I'm going to knit these socks one at a time.

I know that I was supposed to knit some trial socks to get used to the new construction of the socks in this book, but after misplacing the book for a few weeks I was too impatient so I just jumped right in. The pattern I'm using are the Philospher's House Socks, which are just over ankle high and utilize the Upstream Architecture. I'm not 100% how far the yarn I'm using will go, since I've doubled it, so I picked a shorter pair. Worst case, I have no problem using a contrasting color on the cuffs.


The yarn is Melody by Jojoland, it has very long color runs, so the striping should be subtle. The transitions might be a little TOO subtle now that I've doubled the yarn, or it could be that I end up with two totally different socks. It'll be interesting to see what happens, once I get past Toe #1.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Scooping Up the Field Mice & Bopping 'em on the Head


The Bunny has a face! I dug up some embroidery floss and a few buttons yesterday evening, and in just a few minutes the bunny had a face. Now I just need to make some pants for the little guy, and he'll be ready to ship off to his new home. This is a very quick project, maybe a couple of hours total. The instructions are clear and well-written, and I'm looking forward to making more of these (and clothes for them). The pattern is from Wee Wonderfuls, I highly recommend it!

P1030648One thing about having dogs who love to tear apart stuffed toys is that they don't really differentiate between their toys and, say, a bunny that you're making. Frieda made a couple of bold attempts to take the bunny away from me while I was stuffing it, but I managed to keep her from doing any damage. Her goal in life is to remove stuffing from every dog she owns, and she didn't seem to like the idea of the stuffing (new stuffing, of course) going back into a toy. This evening when I took him to the backyard for a photo, Frieda totally ignored the bunny. Gretel showed a little interest, possibly in an attempt to make it onto the blog. She's an attention-hound, for sure!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Decisions, Decisions . . .

Right now, I have eight "active" WIPs in my Ravelry notebook, eleven "hibernating" WIPs, and one WIP that I haven't added to Ravelry yet. This doesn't include the bunny, or the tissue-holders I've started cutting out for the holiday bazaar, either. Is it any wonder that I'm having trouble deciding what to work on this afternoon? This weekend I've worked on:


Item 1: My second Chevron Scarf, which has somehow grown to about 30 inches after stalling for much of the summer. It's been my main car project since finishing the Brother Socks, and I've knit probably 10 inches in the last two weeks. I thought that the colors were a little boring when I started this, but they are growing on me now. The scarf will look super with jeans!

Item 2: The Big Footed Bunny. I clipped some curves, ironed some seams, stuffed one foot, and selected buttons for the eyes. Then I couldn't find the embroidery floss, so I stopped working on it. No photos--it looks not much different than before.


Item 3: The leafy triangle shawl that I started last weekend. I was able to get over 100 rows from the first skein of yarn, which is much more than I expected. My original plan was to knit about 118 rows, based on 450 yards of yarn, but I think that I can get closer to 140 rows. I'm on the fourth pattern that I've incorporated, and I'm not sure if I'll need to find a fifth.

Item 4: A secret Christmas project. If you're on Ravelry, you can see it here--it's for someone who's not on (yet). Sorry, N____er, that means that it isn't for you!

Item 5: A new pair of socks, from a pattern in Cat Bordhi's new book. More about this once I make some actual progress.

It's hard to see a lot of progress when I'm skipping around so much, although the leafy triangle shawl and the chevron scarf are getting bigger. It's also hard to focus (and to type) when there's a dachshund snuggled up on the corner of the keyboard. Time to put the computer down, and get back to knitting . . . maybe each project needs a turn.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Arrrrrrrrr! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day and I have nary a Pirate project on the needles. So I offer you a photo of an older project, and invite you to check out this cartoon, if you haven't seen it yet.

Arrgh!  A_M in pirate hat

This is my friend A_____ M_______, in the hat that was too small for my big head, but that fits her normal-sized head very nicely.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Booty Has Landed (have I used this title already?)

Just in time for tomorrow, my September Booty has arrived! I don't want to reveal too much and spoil the surprise for others, so I'll just say this--when I opened it, I thought that the colors though very nice, weren't very "me". Then I looked at the clothes I wore to work, which would have perfectly matched a sweater made out of this yarn. Hmm.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Love it or Leaf it

Shawl Leaves

I've been home from my Knitting Lace Triangles workshop for about three hours, and I'm having trouble putting my project down. Evelyn's book provides the basic structure of a triangle shawls an four lace patterns that can be easily combined to make a customized shawl. In the class, we also had the option of incorporating other lace motifs and charting out the whole design. Charting is tricky, because the number of repeats may not work easily with the triangle shape--one of the patterns that I'm putting in does weird things at the edges, for instance, and I'm not quite sure how it will work. It's amazing how much easier it is to understand once it's drawn into a chart, and to see whether / how the motifs will work.

So far, I've used two lace motifs, one is the leaf from the book, and the other is a fir cone from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Obviously, I'm using the green Sundara sport merino (Pebble over Jade) that I posted about earlier--look at the pretty, subtle color changes! Up close, under the photo lamp, they're much more visible. The color is very leafy, so I'm trying to move from closed leaf patterns to more open leaf-like patterns. The next pattern that will pop up is from an awesome Japanese stitch dictionary that Evelyn brought to class. This pattern is another leaf, but one that is open in the middle and framed with yarn overs--it's the one that doesn't quite fit, but I'm only going to use a couple of repeats so I think it will work out o.k. I've knit about 70 rows of the triangle, and I can't wait to see how it progresses!

I'm really glad that I took the class, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in Evelyn's designs, or learning to design a shawl using her formulas from the book or other stitch patterns. The motifs in the book are very versatile, and the examples of complete shawls are also great options. There's one in particular that I almost decided to do instead of charting my own, but I thought that I should take advantage of the chance to learn from the source.

The other great thing about the class was the wealth of local knitting knowledge shared by the students and by Evelyn. I now know where to get Zephyr locally (evidently by the ounce!), and where I should eventually be able to get some Kauni, and I saw a full set of the new Knitpicks wood needles before mine arrived on Saturday. Plus, people brought in beautiful handspun yarns and incredible lace projects that I have to add to my Ravelry queue tonight. Now if I could just stop typing and get back to the shawl . . .

Friday, September 14, 2007

Like School on the Weekend: No Class


I'll actually be in class ALL weekend! I'm taking a class with Evelyn A. Clark based on her Knitting Lace Triangles book. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am already knitting a big-ass lace triangle, but this class will be more about building a triangle pattern based on a menu of choices. I'm looking forward to learning more about construction methods, and how to fit different patterns together. I'm bringing along a few different yarns, because the pattern can be used for different weights of yarn and I'm not sure what to pick. The two yarns above are the front-runners--both are Sundara Yarn's Sport Merino. On the left is Pebble over Jade, and on the right is Navy over Marine. The Navy over Marine has more depth than the photo above shows, the Pebble over Jade reminds me of a complicated Rowan aran sweater that I knit for the better part of the 1990s. I've seen beautiful examples of this yarn being used for lace, my only concern is that I only have about 450 yards of each, which might only be enough for a pretty small triangle. But a 450 triangle is likely to go alot faster than a 1,000 yard triangle, right? There's nothing wrong with finishing a lace project, is there? I'm not sure I've ever finished one, except for a few narrow scarves, and a few baby cardigans, but I AM sure that starting a new project is the best idea I've ever had. It ALWAYS is!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gigantic Socks Finished


These socks may not look that big in this photo, but trust me, they are--possibly even a little too big, they're over 11 inches from heel to toe, and about the same length from heel to top. I took this photo while they were still very damp from washing, so they may be a little stretched out. I feel like I still have a TON of yarn left from the XL Duet Sock Yarn (over an ounce), but I didn't want to make them any taller for fear of having to put in calf shaping. The cast off looks a little flared, it's just a very loose bind off from Anne Hanson blog.

I love the colors, I like the simpleness of the 2x2 rib, and hopefully the socks will fit. Now I just need to decide what socks are next . . . .

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Who's Cuter? Gretel or Bunny?

Gretel naps

While I worked my fingers to the bone on the Big-Footed Bunny, Gretel alternated between laying on the porch in the sun, and cooling off on the carpet. She doesn't care how stupid it looks, she wants maximum carpet-to-belly contact.

I've been spending a lot of time on the Brother Socks, and a little time on the Bee Fields shawl, but have no interesting photos to share. However, the big-footed bunny is now officially a bunny carcass:


The pieces came together pretty quickly, although I missed a step or two and had to backtrack a couple of times. I'm fighting off a cold, so I'm a little foggy and skipped over whole sentences!

The toughest instruction in the pattern is to turn under 1/4" of the face frame and press, so that the raw edges are underneath. I'm terrible with this kind of thing, especially when a curve is involved, and that's what kept me from starting to sew right after cutting.

Mom to the rescue--she reminded me that we'd seen a great technique on one of the PBS sewing shows that would work perfectly.

Step 1: Cut out another face frame, and sew with right sides together to the first frame. Use a long stitch, or a basting stitch. Clip seams around curves:


Step 2: Turn right-side out and iron it good. Ignore wonky right side--you're going for a hand-made look, right?:


Step 3: Rip out the seams and separate (p.s. ignore the water stains on the ironing board cover, please):


Two frames, perfectly folded under. No burnt fingers! Note on the blue frame that this is where I skipped over a whole step--I topstitched the edges, but I was supposed to stitch it to the face rather than to nothing. Duh.

Next I need to clip more seams, I think, and press them and poke out the corners before stuffing. I have a fair amount of experience with this (thanks, Harry Barker!), and it's a tedious process but it makes a difference in the finished product. I think I'll sew the face on before I stuff the bunny, although the instructions might say to do that after it's stuffed--again, I'm not at my sharpest right now, I should wait until I'm not so foggy!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail . . .


I've been itching to sew something in the new sewing room before it's once again overwhelmed with the crap that I moved to the garage. I've only gotten as far as some cutting--I've started cutting pieces for some tissue holders for Mom's church bazaar, and the Big Footed Bunny above. I love the bunny, and the pattern is very well written and clear. I traced the pattern pieces onto plastic template, so that I can just draw around the templates when cutting. I do this with any small pattern, especially one that I think I'll make more than once. I'm going to use a polka-dot for the contrast on the ears, feet and paws:

Two Fabrics

This photo is a little dark, the fabrics are a pretty good match. Next up, I start sewing. I'd sort of forgotten how much I hate curved seams. "Hate" as in "Am Terrible At". Hopefully it will turn out o.k.--I'm planning to make one or two of these for my nieces for Christmas. The finished bunnies are adorable--check out the Flickr gallery.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Very Crowded House

It's Monday afternoon, and I'm glad that I'm not still at Bumbershoot. It was pretty hot, and very, very, very crowded both on Saturday and Sunday. I expected both of these things, but for some reason it bothered me more than usual. The shoes I wore on Saturday weren't quite up to the hours of walking, which didn't improve things for me. Also, there are only two entrances this year (I think that in past years there were at least three, maybe four). It was ridiculous, especially around dinner time--one of the entrances was just beyond a path lined with food booths. This same entrance forced people into the street while waiting for the gates to open in the morning, that can't be safe.

I did hear & see some great music: Crowded House (above), the Shins, and my weekend favorite, The Holmes Brothers. There was more that I planned to see but didn't get to, either due to the timing (I had to be home early to feed the dogs), or the crowds. There was a great Nick Drake inspired art exhibit that included documentary footage, although I couldn't get into the round-table discussion about him that I really wanted to see. Again: too crowded. Flatstock was, as usual, very cool--I bought a couple of Moleskine journals with screened images on them, and came close to buying a print for my office.

Because it took so long to get from place to place (and some of my time was spent relaxing in one of the beer gardens), there wasn't much of a chance to knit. I did work a little bit on the Brother socks:


Last night, I started the short row heels. I'll try to get some hilarious photos of these giant socks on my average-sized feet one I'm into the legs.

Today, I'm working on the socks, the Bee Fields, and on a sewing project or two, and I'm revelling in the lack of crowds (save dachshunds) and direct sunlight. Two TV marathons to flip between--Murder, She Wrote or No Reservations. Ahhhhhhhh . . . now that's a holiday!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This show's fixed to run and run

Bee Fields 090107

After some tense ripping back last Sunday, the Bee Fields shawl is back on track. I'm about 15 rows into the first repeat of the Swarm section, and you can see the bees pretty clearly at the top edge of the shawl. I think they sometimes look like butterflies as much as bees, but I'm willing to beleive that they are really bees. I'm just happy that there are no mysterious, ssk detours that veer off the intended path. However, I haven't put in a lifeline, which is stupid. I spaced out when I ripped back to the border between the sections (which seems impossible). Now there are yarn overs and decreases on both right side and wrong side rows, and I strongly prefer putting a lifeline in a plain row.

I love the way the first section looks unblocked. Totally scrunched up, but with a very interesting texture. Seeing this texture is what first drew me to this pattern, I just love it.

Here's a close up of the bees, although I think they may be easier to see above from a little distance:

The Swarm 090107

In a few minutes, I'm leaving for Bumbershoot, my favorite Seattle festival. This year, as with last year, I've got a three-day pass burning a hole in my pocket. All week, I planned to map out my music watching schedule, and to preview it here, but it didn't happen. If anyone has suggestions for don't-miss acts, please post them in the comments! I'm not a mobile blogger, but I am a mobile e-mail checker.