Saturday, May 31, 2008

YO! Jaywalkers!

There comes a time in this knitter's life when it becomes necessary to knit another pair of Jaywalkers. They were my first socks, so in some sense I feel they are likely to be among my most frequently knit socks.

Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: Regia 4fadig Mini Ringel Color (75% wool, 25% nylon), colorway 5216, two skeins
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: May 19/May 27
Mods: I used YOs instead of k f/b for the increases and eliminated the slipped stitches on the side of the instep through the foot

These were not the most pleasurable to knit, the Regia being among the scratchier sock yarns I've used, but I know they will wear well and soften nicely in the wash, so I put up with the callouses they caused for a few days. I've never been a huge fan of the knit-front-and-back increase, so I decided to try something a little different this time around. I think I might like the look of these better than the normal Jaywalkers, and they were certainly easier on the hands to knit.

This next shot is for Melissa, just so she can see that I can line up my stripes and make my socks match when I want to:


(Apologies for the weird shot -- I discovered that it's rather difficult to take a picture of your feet while sitting sideways on a hammock and not fall off.)

Thank you all for your extremely nice comments on The Mister's sweater. I actually caught him on the blog the other day reading all the comments, and he was clearly tickled by your compliments! Having knit this sweater twice now, I'm fully convinced that it's a genius pattern, and I can assure you that you haven't seen the last of the Seamless Hybrid! I may need a small break before the next one, but I'm thinking that my father will be getting one this winter and perhaps I can convince The Mister that he needs one in a brighter color, too.

I didn't want to post a photo here and risk spoiling anyone's surprise, but the May Rockin' Sock Club shipment arrived yesterday with some truly stunning yarn in it. You can see it here and here, if you like. Its arrival was icing on the cake yesterday -- we officially sold our house! I celebrated by spending most of the evening at my wheel, finishing up my first yarn in quite some time. I'll show that to you just as soon as it's dry and I can do a proper photo shoot.

I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Day Is It?

I apologize for the silence on the blog these past several days. The holiday weekend combined with packing up the house combined with moving in with my parents proved to be the perfect storm that kept me away from blogging.

Will you forgive me if I show you pretty man-sweater pictures? Pretty please?






Pattern: Seamless Hybrid from Knitting without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool, color 8400, approximately 5.25 skeins
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) 32" Addi Turbo circs and dpns
Started/Completed: March 17/May 23
Recipient: The Mister

This sweater looks very much like the last version, which, if you know my husband's taste in knitting, is no surprise. Although I used the same numbers as last time, I made several key changes in version 2.0.

First, The Mister complained that the original was too short, so I added an inch and a half to the body and about a quarter inch to the sleeve length. I also opted for a simple 2x2 rib for the cuffs instead of knitted-in hem facings. You'll notice that the back of the neck is a little different as well; I wasn't completely satisfied with my grafting job on the long saddle the last time around, so this time I worked the two shoulder saddles to the same point and then worked a third saddle in between them. Finally, although the original fit The Mister just fine, I thought it would be a little more comfy on him if he had a little more room, so I worked in a little more ease by going up a needle size.

Although the timing wasn't ideal for finishing this sweater -- true to my prediction, the temps went into the 80s shortly after I bound off -- The Mister is still thrilled with it. In fact, it's a little chilly this evening, so he asked if it would be okay with me if he kept it on for a while. Then he suggested I make one for my father for the holidays this year. Does this mean there's more stockinette tubes in my future?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Return of The Blob

It's back -- the sweater masquerading as the Blob:

There are two circular needles and two dpns in that pile of wool. It's officially reached that stage where it's too cumbersome to move around, so it will stay on this couch until it's done.

The good news is that it should be done in a matter of hours! I'm halfway through the second saddle shoulder, and then all that's left is the back "saddle," the neckband, grafting the underarms, and weaving in a few ends. With any luck, I'll finish the knitting today and be able to block it this weekend (just in time to pack it away for the movers!).

I feel guilty showing you nothing but drab gray stockinette, so here's a little color, the Jaywalker I finished yesterday.


This is self-striping Regia; I'd forgotten how unpleasant it is to work with -- just too rough and scratchy. But I know it does soften up upon washing, and it wears like iron, so these will be good socks.

Look for a finished Seamless Hybrid post in the next couple of days, and have a great holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Pair and a Spare

You know the tendency of one sock of a pair to walk off or mysteriously disappear in the wash? I think I've found the solution.*

These also work well if you've got three feet.



Pattern: my own Baby Ribs
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch, leftover from my socks
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) bamboo dpns
Started/Completed: May 15/May 16 (pair); May 17 (extra)
Recipient: a baby to be determined

I love that these don't really match in terms of color sequence but that they just go together. They were fun and fast, and I'm pretty sure they'll be cute on any baby.

*Okay, I'll be completely honest. I wasn't intending to make three individual socks. I was trying to make two pairs, but after completing the third sock, I didn't have enough yarn leftover to make a fourth. So three it is. Actually, I kind of like the idea; I may make three socks for all babies in the future!

Tomorrow night: Hurricane Knitters, starting at 7 p.m. at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble. I'll be there with my Seamless Hybrid, now in the yoke decreases!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Puppy Love

This weekend, The Mister and I took a break from our packing to meet our new "brother" (that is, my in-laws' new dog). Introducing Mischa, the Maltese-a:




He's two months old, still pretty tiny, and completely adorable. We either completely wore him out or bored him to tears.


Knitting progress is still rather unexciting, as least as far at the blog is concerned. I'm a little more than halfway through the second sleeve of the Seamless Hybrid, so provided I can make good progress tonight, I should be able to start the yoke tomorrow. I'm sure that as soon as I'm able to get this sweater off the needles, the weather will decide to become summery!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Staying Green

My "knitting green" trend continues with my most recent FO:


Pattern: Gentleman's Sock with Lozenge Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch (70% wool, 23% nylon, 7% elite), colorway 713, one skein (with plenty of leftovers)
Needles: two 12" US 1 (2.5 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: May 5/May 14
Mods: sized the pattern down to 60 sts to fit my foot, eliminated "seam" stitch at the back of the leg, shortened the leg, and substituted an Eye of Partridge heel flap

I love the subtle color shifts of this yarn, and I found it especially fascinating to see how it is is achieved now that I spin. The yarn is a three ply. Two of the plies stay constant in the lichen-y green you see at the toes of both socks, while the third ply gradually shifts from a darker green to a blue to a purple and all the shades in between.

As complicated as this pattern might appear to be, it's actually very easy and intuitive. It's essentially a stockinette sock with a purls strategically placed to give the appearance similar to argyle. You really only need to pay attention to the written directions through one repeat of the purl pattern before you see how it's formed and can carry on without looking.

This pattern is, in fact, a man's sock, and I've knit it once before as written. There was no way, however, that it was going to fit my narrow foot without some serious modifications, so I eliminated 20 (yes, you read that correctly!) stitches for my sock. The purl pattern is a repeat of 10 stitches, making the math very easy. I substituted an Eye of Partidge heel for one in stockinette for some added visual interest (and added durability).

There was plenty of yarn in the skein for longer socks, but I worried about the circumference of the cuff being too small for my calves, so I kept the legs to a respectable six inches. I'm using up the leftovers in some very cute baby socks!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Somewhat Boring

Get ready, folks. I'm about to show you a very boring picture that is nonetheless very exciting for me. Are you ready? Sure? Okay, here ya go:


Do you know what this is? Even if you can't identify the part of the garment, you can no doubt deduce from the complete lack of color that it's something for The Mister. In fact, this is the sleeve of his second Seamless Hybrid. A sleeve, people! Do you know what that means? It means the body tube is done! At The Mister's request, I added more length to the body -- two inches, to be exact. It may not seem like that much, but that's 14 additional rounds, with 200 stitches per round. In gray. Not fun. True, the sleeves are longer than the body, but at least I get to increase a bit. (Is that sad, that I'm getting excited about increasing?)

Aside from those many rounds of stockinette, I've put a few additional rows on Icarus, and I've been working on the socks you haven't seen yet, which should be finished tonight. I will need the stockinette for the game tomorrow, though, so you haven't seen the last of the gray wool!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yes, I DO Knit with Cotton!

Although most of the time I'm a wool and wool blend kind of girl, I do occasionally get the urge to knit with some cotton. Like the past several days, when I decided to use up the rest of the kitchen cotton in the stash to make some fast and easy (and economical!) Mother's Day gifts. Each mother got one of each of the following designs.

Pattern: Chinese Waves Dishcloth
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream (100% cotton), colorways Summer Splash (left) and Strawberry (right), one skein each
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Started/Completed: May 8/May 9 (left); May 9/May 10 (right)
Mods: none

This is a very easy four-row pattern, two of which are all knit. One side, as you see in the dishcloth at left, is a staggered slip-stitch pattern, while the reverse side (at right) is a nubby, slightly denser-than-usual garter stitch.


Pattern: Martini Glass Dishcloth (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Lily Sugar'n Cream Super Size, colorways Swimming Pool (left) and Key Lime Pie (right), less than one skein each
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Started/Completed: May 9/May 10 (left); May 10/May 10 (right)
Mods: none

The two skeins I used for these were larger than the other two by a third, so I have some leftovers with which to make myself a couple smaller dishcloths. (I'll save them for use in the new house, so in the meantime they'll serve as good padding while we pack up all our belongings!)

The dishcloths were a big hit with the moms, and an added bonus is that all the dishcloth cotton is now out of the stash, with a total used yardage of approximately 475 yards.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Resurrection

Ever since finishing the toys, I've been turning back to old UFOs. For one, the Big Gray Tube v. 2.0, also known as The Mister's second Seamless Hybrid. I've been working on it mainly at knit night, because stockinette in the round is least likely to get messed up while gossiping (or in the case of last night, drooling over Maryland Sheep & Wool fiber and yarn acquisitions). For a while there I was in the black hole of knitting -- you know, where you knit and knit and knit, but your knitting doesn't get any bigger? -- but after last night I seem to be approaching the end of the body. I'm only about an inch and a half from the length of the last sweater, so now I just have to get The Mister to finally decide how much longer he wants this one to be.

My other knitting this week, when I've been able to concentrate, is a UFO that has not seen the light of day for many months -- I think not since before I got married. Remember Icarus?

It's slightly bigger than the last time you saw it, but it's still pretty slow going with this yarn. It's supposedly lace weight, but I think it's actually more of a cobweb weight. I don't think I'll be able to rescue a dropped stitch without a lot of trouble, so I'm being extra careful. I am trying to finish this up in the next month or so because I signed up for the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl KAL -- my first mystery KAL -- and I feel a weird sort of obligation to finish the lace already on the needles before I start another lace project.

For the next couple of days, however, I am abandoning pretty much all knitting in favor of kitchen cotton.


Somehow last night the thought popped into my head that some knit dishcloths would make really good Mother's Day presents. This is the first; I have three more skeins of cotton in the stash. They're not much in the way of yardage, but they will certainly help me in my goal to reduce my stash yardage by at least 1,000 yards (Ravelry link) in the month of May.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Meet Sheldon

Meet Sheldon.

A fun-loving turtle, he's not afraid to get out of his shell.

He's frequently on the go.

And he loves surfing the 'net with his new buddy.

Pattern: Sheldon by Ruth Homrighaus (winter '06 Knitty)
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport (60% pima cotton, 40% modal), colorways Green Apple and Sky, one skein each
Needles: US 3 (3.25 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)
Started/Completed: May 2/May 4
Mods: none

Sheldon says: Don't forget that tomorrow night is Hurricane Knitting at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble, 7-9 p.m.!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ole!

(Note: The title of this post has nothing to do with its contents. It's just because, well, you know.)

Here is the latest contribution to my fast-growing handspun stash, plied and finished on Saturday:

Sakina Needles BFL roving from The Loopy Ewe, in a colorway called Watermelon that looked more pink online. In real life, it's much more the colors of a fresh carrot.

Four ounces, Navajo plied, approximately 311 yards in all. Not my ideal choice of colors, but I'm proud of it nonetheless. I haven't measured wraps per inch on this, but holding it up to other yarns for comparison shows it to be a fingering weight. It's enough for a short pair of socks or another small accessory.


Or perhaps this would be a better fit in someone else's stash. Maybe someone wants to trade this for some other fiber?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Pairs

It should be obvious by the fact that I'm posting that I did not go to Maryland Sheep & Wool this weekend, much as I wanted to. I decided that the purchase of my wheel was my one big splurge of the year, and what with us buying a new house and moving in the next two months, I don't think The Mister would have approved that budget line item. I am hoping that, if I save my pennies enough this coming year, I'll be able to swing it next year.

In the meantime, after finishing the last pair of socks, I haven't yet cast on a new pair and instead decided to use up some scraps. These things are so cute, I was excited that I got to made two pairs.

Pattern: Saartje's Bootees (pdf) by Saartje de Bruijn
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock lightweight in Firebird and Ruby Slippers (pink pair) and STR mediumweight in Lucky and lightweight in Lemongrass (green pair)
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) dpns
Started/Completed: Green pair: April 29/April 30; Pink pair: April 30/May 1
Mods: I used a purled cast on for the straps and, rather than making loops at the end, cast on three additional stitches for each strap and sewed buttons and straps directly to the bootee

The Hurricane Knitters will know who these are for, but I'm going to keep it a secret on the blog for the time being.

Yesterday was a miserable, rainy, muggy day, so I spent several hours finishing the singles of the Sakina Needles fiber and then plying it. It's still a little damp, but now that the sun is coming out I may be able to get some good shots.

I hope those of you who made it to MDS&W had a great time, and if you find some fiber came home with you that you don't want, feel free to send it my way!