Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Year? Already?

A week from tomorrow marks my 1 year blog-versary. To celebrate, I thought I'd do a little contest. Leave a comment between now and 11:59pm on Feb 6th (my blog-versary date) suggesting ways for me to find time to sit and knit, or commiserate with my apparent inability to make as much time to knit as I'd like, or even just say "hi", and I'll enter your name in a little random drawing contest for one of the following two prizes:
A copy of Charlene Schurch's More Sensational Socks with a skein of Yarn Pirate merino in the Cannon Beach colorway. And, some chocolates (naturally) and possibly another goodie or so.

A copy of WendyKnits' Garden Path Toe-up Socks pattern with a skein of Lime N Violet Sasquatch Sock yarn in the Yahtzee colorway. Ditto the chocolates and other goodies.

First name drawn gets first choice of the above. Second name gets the other one.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has commented on my blog or otherwise welcomed me into this virtual knitting community. Because of you all I have learned a lot and have tried a lot more things than I ever would have thought I might. I suspect I've also bought a boatload more yarn and patterns than I otherwise would have but that's all good too.

I wasn't too sure about this when I started out but I think I may even be knitting more because of finding this community. Certainly I have started (or planned to start) a large number of projects that I'd probably never have considered trying pre-blog so I am very grateful.

No knitting or spinning content today. The camera is full of little girl birthday photos and I need to deal with those before I can show you the tiny amount of progress made on actual knitting and spinning and whatnot.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It isn't still Sunday anywhere by now is it?

I'm still having some trouble with my left hand. Apparently I can expect it to take weeks to get all the way better. When I look at my Cluaranach, just sitting there not being knit on, I get terribly frustrated. Still, it beats having my jaw wired shut because my chin took the hit instead. So, I'll just deal with the slow healing of the tendons/ligaments/whatever it is in my hand and be grateful it wasn't worse.

I've got two more swatches for Sockswatch Sighting Sunday (even though it's Monday now). First is the Fishtail Lace from January 15th in the 365 Knitting Stitches A Year perpetual calendar. I had to circularize the pattern but it was both easy and worth it.
I like this one. I think you can see the pattern even with the variegated yarn. And it's an easy pattern to memorize. Not to mention every other row is just knit around since it's a stockinette based lace.

Second is "Ribbed Lace" from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. This was charted in the book or I might not have even attempted it.
This one shows up too but it is a 24 row pattern. Admittedly every subsequent 4th row is the same as row 4. But, I don't think any other row is the same as any other. So it's much harder to keep track of where you are. And I don't think this pattern is quite as clear, compared to being knit in a solid, as the Fishtail Lace is compared to its solid yarn counterpart.

I've gotten some more rows done on the vest back but since it doesn't look the least bit different other than longer I'll wait to post any more photos of that particular WIP.

My blog-versary is coming up in a little over two weeks and I think I'll run a little contest with some yarny goodness prizes and all. I'll talk more about that next time.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Moved to Injured Reserve

I've been able to knit a bit and actually type with all ten fingers again. Only, now I've got a horrible sinus infection. So I'm too wiped to do anything but watch dvds of things I've already seen. And even that is a bit of a challenge. I'm hoping to get a bit more knitting in this weekend though.

Before I succumbed to the horrible disease I did manage to get another section of swatch done for Sockswatch Sighting Sunday only what knitting I was able to do I had to do extremely slowly so it's now Thursday. Let's pretend we have a way back machine or something...

Both patterns are again from the 365 Knitting Stitches A Year perpetual calendar, circularized and tried in the same Rum Runner Yarn Pirate yarn.

First from January 9th: Tunnel Lace
I think this one looks like it has enough texture to show up even in the variegated yarn. I like the look of the strong vertical ribs it forms.

The other side is from January 12th: Waterfall
This one also looks like it has enough texture to show up too although it's not nearly as clear an example of the pattern itself as the solid color. This one has a nice sort of curvy line to it. But it is less distinct in the variegated yarn than the Tunnel Lace.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

On the DL

The FoUI has this funny T-Shirt (well, he has lots but I'm talking about a specific one), I'm sure anyone reading this has probably seen someone in the same one. It says "I do all my own stunts" with a stick figure stunt man.

I should have been wearing that t-shirt Monday. The dog took off running and pulled me right over in a classic TV face first fall from an upright position (I bet there's a shorter name for that) on the way home from school and knitting is now in abeyance for the nonce. My left hand is still a bit swollen but there's nothing actually broken (according to the PA at Urgent Care anyway). I suspect a torn ligament at least though from what hurts and how much. It could have been a lot worse though. Only it has made me realize just how addicted to knitting I've gotten. Now that I can't do any. Whine. Grumble.

I'm getting better pretty fast and I hope to move to Injured Reserve soon. Certainly being on the DL hasn't kept me from shopping for yarn. It might even be good for the state of my Ravelry profile if I were to lay off the knitting a bit longer and enter some of those zillions of stash photos I took last fall into Ravelry. That's much easier to do one handed than knitting is.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sockswatch Sighting Sundays

I don't know how long I'm going to last at doing this regularly, but hopefully, every Sunday I'll have a post with at least one stitch pattern swatched for socks using variegated colorways. I have so much magpie yarn (multiple color sock yarn) and for months now I've been wishing I had a way to tell what a particular pattern might look like in a variegate yarn. Indeed much of my non-knitting of socks is related to that problem. Since most stitch dictionaries etc use a solid yarn and since my visualization skills are still young (or possibly non-existant) I decided that this year I'd try to do someting about that.

So I'm taking a representative yarn from my stash and making a 72 stitch (approximately the stitch count that I'd need for fingering weight socks) circular swatch to try out some pattern options. I plan to draw the stitch patterns from stitch dictionaries, sock knitting books, and occasionally probably from patterns I have collected but worry about the pattern disappearing in the color changes. I'm going to try for two patterns a time, one on each "half" of the swatch.

For this first batch of swatches I'm using Yarn Pirate merino fingering weight in the "Rum Runner" colorway which was the first yarn in her Booty Club. I'm knitting the swatch on KnitPicks Harmony DPNs in the 2.25mm size 1 which I think is giving me the gauge I would need (8.25 stitches/inch) to get the right dimension for my foot at 72 stitches per inch so it should be a fairly good test for swatches.

First up, from the January 3 and January 6 pages of the 365 Knitting Stitches a year perpetual calendar. Brick Rib (Jan 3) and Simple Lace Rib (Jan 6).

Brick Rib

Simple Lace Rib

The first step was to circularize the patterns of course. After that I did one full repeat through the Brick Rib pattern on one side with 3 repeats through the Simple Lace Rib pattern on the other. I added a couple of rows of another repeat of each, mostly to see what happened with the Brick Rib since that changes from knit to purl again there, before switching to stockinette to see what the yarn would do knit plain.

The Brick Rib would make a reasonable ribbing for the top of a sock leg. It's got a nice elasticity and it is more interesting to work than plain ribbing might be. But it doesn't seem like the pattern is even discernible. Maybe a full second repeat through would make it more noticeable although that might be a bit long for just a cuff. It might make a good choice for an all over pattern though. Particularly in a sock yarn with less single row stripeyness. Or with colors that were closer together maybe.

The Simple Lace Rib looks kinda nice in the variegate even with the two color one row each alteration thing going on. Although it's definitely not nearly as clear as it is in the solid color on the calendar page. But it is noticeably less stretchy than the Brick Rib was. It might make a good leg pattern if you wanted a lacy sock with a vertical line to it.

I think I also need to work on the photography skills. If I can take a better photo showing the patterns better I'll replace these.

In holiday knitting news, I finally finished the FoUI's footwear. (Sorry - but once I hit that third F I just couldn't stop myself.)
the FoUI in his socks showing the fronts

and the backs

He says it is cool how the teal/turquoise meanders about. In fact I think it is a bit of a selling point for him. Guess that means he has the magpie gene too. I kind of like it too but I can easily see myself getting all obsessive trying to figure out why they moved differently. So now that they're done I've got to move on to something else before I succumb to that curiosity.

Unfortunately, I didn't finish until 1pm today so I didn't quite make my goal. But he seems to think they were worth waiting for. They went on for the day when I gave them to him, and he said they fit well and pretty much asked to have a second pair go into the queue asap. Although later he said he'd had to take them off because his feet were hot. So I'm not sure if I'll have to make another pair really really soon or not.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Almost There!

I am almost there.
Almost to the tippy-toes!

I have 10 rows to go on the longer sock, and I think not more than 20 on the shorter, before I start the toe shaping. So 70 rows total and I'm finished with the FoUI's Christmas present. I might actually manage to make it. Unless I run out of yarn which is a distinct possibility.

I'd have been done already I think except that I was confused about when my next haircut was. It turned out to be a couple of days ago and so I had to take several hours out to whip these up.
Maine Morning Mitts for the genius who makes my hair look good

pattern: Maine Morning Mitts from The Knitter's Book of Yarn (there's a download link for the pattern on this page)

yarn: Plymouth Boku in color 8 (chosen specifically for the Hair Genius who likes the autumnal colors)

Like the Noro the pattern used, this yarn has fairly long color runs. About half as long as the Noro but in a way - especially for non-knitters - that is kind of good. They look much more like twins than the first pair I made. I've seen a couple of people comment on breaking issues with the Plymouth Boku but I didn't have any trouble with it. There was one knot which really only annoyed me because it ended up being in my cast off. A Russian Join fixed it right up though. And I've had a lot more knots in the single skein of the Noro Iro I've been using for my SIL vest (not appreciably further so it will wait for a future post).

needles: Size 7 Casein DPNs (the only dog-proof needles I've ever had)

I managed to whip these up between 3pm and 1am the day before my haircut appointment* so this is my new favorite instant gift pattern (for generous values of the word "instant"). I also like how these fit my hands and the way the yarn feels after washing. By sheer coincidence (yeah, right) I just so happen to have another ball of this yarn in my colors so I think at least one more pair of these mitts is in my knitting future.

*A new personal best for time devoted to knitting and knitting accomplished within a certain timeframe. If only I could keep it up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

On the 8th day of Christmas...

...I'm still working on my true love's (aka the FoUI's) socks. Also the vest for DSIL. Because my family has always tended to run late with things though I may yet meet the last deadline in our own familial space-time continuum. Namely the 12th Day of Christmas. I think it's an inherited trait because my brother was the same way. Actually he is really the one who codified the 12 Days thing.. So even though they only married into the family, both the FoUI and my DSIL are aware of how things go in our universe.

The FoUI is clearly wanting his socks though. A couple of days after Christmas he ordered me a cookbook I mentioned wanting and told me I had until the cookbook arrived to finish his socks. He thought it would come yesterday but it didn't so I'm going to put a huge push on and see how far I can get this evening and tomorrow before the likely delivery time. He was joking of course but I'd really love to surprise him.

The socks are currently this far along.

Unfortunately, his foot is longer than the sock is tall by more than two inches so I have further to go than I have so far knit and I still haven't done the gussets. Living as I do in denial, I see no reason why I can't have them done before bedtime tomorrow.

The analytical half of my mind keeps delaying things because it will insist on trying to figure out why one zig-zags while the other only zigs.

The gauge is identical but it is possible that I started at a different point in the color series for the second sock. Sometime I may have to try to figure it out. The FoUI thinks the spiraling is "cool" so I have managed so far to keep the analytical part from trying to figure out why it's spiraling but it's only a matter of time before it starts wondering about that as well.

The vest for my DSIL, while knit with much heavier yarn on bigger needles, is not growing quite fast enough to finish in time to arrive by the 12th Day.

This is just the back and not even half of it at that. So clearly, the rest of this week I need to do nothing but knit. If only real life would enable, rather than hinder, that goal.

I was a lucky lucky girl this holiday season and got some lovely prezzies. Of particular interest to readers of a fiber blog might be this yarn:
Blue Moon Fiber Arts - Laci in "Korppi"

A gift from my dear Mum which I intend to knit up into Anne Hanson's Irtfa'a someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I hope everyone has had a happy and safe New Years Eve and Day. New Years has snuck up on me this year. I'm not sure how since I have been obsessively counting the days past Christmas as I tried to finish things up. But still it has.

And so, I find myself at the last minute considering the issue of New Years Resolutions. Last year I didn't do New Years Resolutions because I never yet have managed to fulfill one. It's like pre-programmed failure and I decided I'd prefer to be surprised by failure every time.

This year, I may change my mind. I have definitely decided that I really need to try to do at least one thing differently. Probably for more than a year. I actually looked at my stash spreadsheet this winter and decided that I really have got to stop buying fingering weight sock yarn at a rate so very far above the rate at which I am knitting fingering weight socks.

You'd think that would sound like a reasonably doable resolution wouldn't you? Yet for those of us cursed with a magpie gene it might be pretty challenging. I'm hoping that by not restricting sportweight sock yarns, or fingering weight intended from the get-go for non-sock projects, or club yarns that I will manage to come close to success in the coming year. But I'm still mulling it over. Wouldn't want to be too precipitate with such a dangerous idea. How those folks who did the "knit from your stash" thing for a whole year managed it, is just beyond me.