Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gold Star for Froggin'

The Diagonal Lace socks
IMG_3292 015
are in trouble again; I pulled them back too far last time so when I turned the heel the foot was too short. Also, when I tried them on it became clear that there was a "going over my heel" issue beginning to make itself felt.

Well, it's only knitting. To save time by checking first, I knit the other sock 1/2 inch longer, with a correspondingly larger gusset to make them possible to pull on when full length, then turned the heel and knit the flap. It worked very well but I am four stitches over my count on the back of the leg. I think I'll just decrease them away over the next two rounds. I'm so totally winging these socks that it'll be a marvel if they are foot-shaped by the end of this!

Also, if you note the time stamp on this post you'll see why I'm not as coherent as I normally am! I seem to be constitutionally incapable of leaving such a "clean-up" project till morning. It was 1:48 AM when I finally finished winding the yarn back on to the ball!

Friday, August 28, 2009


My library, in an effort not to go bankrupt, is saving money by being closed today (and one Friday a month for at least the rest of the year). So I am home "on unpaid furlough".

Now, there are very definitely worse things! They could have cut my pay without my getting a day off out of the deal! So I want to share with you what a librarian does on furlough:

1. She sleeps late!
2. She noodles around on her computer,
3. She tempts herself (again) by surfing yarn websites but is a good girl,
4. She plays with her dog,
5. She bakes a pie,
6. She watches a bunch of mindless TV while knitting (FUN!) and
7. She has dinner at a good friend's house.

So it's a pretty good day, all told!

I leave you with an utterly charming Youtube video (hat tip: Mark Shea, "Catholic and Enjoying It"):

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Close to the precipice

Why, oh why did I ever think I could hold out six full months on a yarn diet?

I have yarn.

It's just that I also love yarn.

And even though I am trying not to let myself buy yarn, I can't help going off to look at yarn.

It's the Internet's fault, really. If it weren't for the Web I wouldn't hear about all these glorious yarns, and then I wouldn't develop a hankering for them that amounts to physical pain, and even if I did, say by seeing some yummy yarn my friends are knitting, I wouldn't be able to buy any because a lot of the yarns I am yearning for aren't carried at either of the two (very good) LYSs (that's Local Yarn Stores) I go to.

I'll tell you how sad this is: I've been wanting to try Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Socks that Rock sock yarn because I have seen many knitters' pretty pictures of it. Last night I went to their site and spent I don't know how much time poring over the photos. I went on Ravelry to see how the various colors I liked knitted up. I clicked buttons to put yarn in my shopping cart. I filled out the purchase forms all the way to where you have to put in your credit card number before I took hold of myself and wrenched myself away from the computer screen.

But I triumphed! I did NOT buy the yarn! However, since I registered with their system I now have a "permanent shopping cart" - in other words, that yarn will just stay in there taunting me until I manually take it out.

Or buy it.

In November.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

83 To Go

Today's blog theme is "Post Titles Inspired by Songs". Ten points to the person who recognizes the song this post title comes from - leave me a comment with your guess! (No prizes, sorry - just bragging rights.)

The title sort of reflects my feelings about my unfinished knitting objects. I got a pair of socks off my needles over the weekend - yay me!! But I still feel like I have an awful lot of things going on.

The socks I finished were the Garter Rib Socks in Knitpicks Palette:
IMG_3306 002
I really like how they turned out. (By the way, your neighbor kind of looks at you funny if you say to her, "Carol - could you do me a favor? Take a picture of my feet!") The socks feel comfortable enough even with the aggressively non-merino yarn, but I've only been able to keep them on for a few minutes (long enough to take a picture) because it got HOT here this week. On the assumption that once Fall comes I'll be comfy in the socks all day, I definitely plan to buy me some more of this yarn.

Sadly the Diagonal Lace Socks are making negative progress; according to the pattern I should have started knitting the gusset when the sock was 3 inches shy of my foot length and I knit it till it was an inch too long. So they had a little dip in the frog pond and they're shorter now! I'll start gusseting soon. By the way, if you can arrange things so as not to have to rip back an inch of lace, that is almost certainly the direction your life should take. It's a real bugger getting it back on the needles with all its little yos and ssks intact.

By the way, I was a little confused about how the pattern will work once I get up to the leg itself, so I emailed the designer and she got back to me within twelve hours with the nicest note explaining, essentially, "that's the way they're supposed to be". So Wendy Johnson gets props from me today.

On the Sweater front, I can no longer knit on my Ivory Pinwheel Sweater due to the current sweltering weather referenced above - the thing is just too big and cozy to put on my lap at the moment. However, I cast on for the first sleeve of my Classic Lines Cardi! I'm really excited about this sweater, which will be my first raglan sweater; I hope it looks good when it's done. The fabric is nice and soft and squooshy, and the color pattern where you add in a contrast strand every sixth row creates a powerful pull to do "just one more repeat". I think I'll get a lot done on this.

Signing off; gotta go knit!

"C" Is for Cookie

"C" is for Cookie that's good enough for me,
"C" is for cookie that's good enough for me,
"C" is for cookie that's good enough for me,
Oh! cookie, cookie, cookie starts with "C"!

Wish me luck, friends - I'm entering a blog contest. I may win cookies from this gal, and oh do they look good!

Blog contest sponsored by she shoots sheep shots!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On The Needles

I'm getting a little overcommitted with projects right at the moment.

The thing that's currently getting the most face time is my Sundara sock project:
IMG_3290 013
The colorway is "Basil over Buttercup", a rich shaded yellow-green that I adore. I actually started a project with this yarn back in May, using a slip-stitch pattern to give the impression of snake scales. I loved the way the pattern looked but it was a major pain in the patootie because (1) there was an awful lot of stitch manipulation going on, which was hard because (2) I knit tight, so (3) the instep was working up way shorter than the sole so (4) I was trying to figure out how to fix it with short rows which (5) made it so darn hard to figure out that (6) I frogged them.

The current pattern is a lot more cooperative. It's Wendy Johnson's Diagonal Lace Socks, available free on her website or in her (marvelous) book Socks from the Toe Up. I rejiggered the pattern a little to go with my desired 58-stitch circumference,
IMG_3292 015
and I'm almost ready for the heels but I'm holding off a little because I'm not sure if I want to add Wooly Nylon as reinforcement. The Sundara Sock yarn is 100% superwash merino, and I'm worried that I might wear out the heels if I don't reinforce a bit. But then I'll have to go buy the Wooly Nylon and I haven't had the time.

(I haven't given up on the slip stitch snake scale thing, by the way - I'm going to give it another try using a 2- or 2.25-mm sole needle and a 2.75- or 3-mm instep needle, and see if that gives me something workable.)

Then I have my Mini-Mochi Coriolis socks, which I have no picture of because I'm mad at them. The yarn is the stuff I won last fall, and the colors are really great, but the yarn not so much. This is not a criticism of Crystal Palace, the manufacturer - it's because the yarn is from the first-ever batch they made and there were some problems that only came to light after people'd been working with it awhile. The version they're making now has a tighter twist and is a little more stable.

My problem is that I made a small error in calculating where to start the gusset increases (Cat Bordhi's patterns require more math than some) and I'm ready for the heel but the sock is 1/2 inch too short still. If this were ordinary yarn I'd just pull it back and have a re-do, but the Mini-Mochi is a single ply and this first-batch stuff is quite lightly spun. Because of the direction I wind my yarn around my fingers, I'm already "un-spinning" it a bit and I've had breaks. NO WAY am I going to get away with frogging back three inches and re-knitting. So I'm trying to brainstorm another option. When these socks are back in my good graces, I'll take their picture and post it.

Thirdly, I have my Garter Rib Socks in Knitpicks Palette:
IMG_3287 010
This was an experiment to see if I liked this yarn for socks, because if I do, I'll have cheap sock-knitting fun forever. The yarn runs a whopping $1.99 to $2.19 per ball (two needed per pair of socks) and oh my holy wow, I just clicked in there to give you the link and they've added a whole whack of new gorgeous colors. The yarn isn't particularly soft and it's 100% feltable wool so I'll have to hand-wash but at less than $4.50 for a pair of socks worth of yarn I'll take it. I swatched a bunch of stitch patterns in the Iris Heather yarn I'm using, and most of them failed to read well against the heathery yarn.
IMG_3288 011
I ended up with classic Garter Rib a la Charlene Schurch and I like it a lot. I'm past the heel on both of these so it's home free.

Also, because I appear to be truly insane, I wound off the "Pink Granite" yarn from dyeing day
IMG_3270 027
IMG_3301 006
because I think I'll have time to knit those socks soon.

Then there's the shawls. I have two on the needles, one in the swatch stage, and about 15 in my head. Knitpicks is my friend here; they supply almost all of my shawl yarn. Here's the Swallowtail Shawl in Knitpicks Shimmer (a lovely smooth alpaca/silk blend in a colorway called "Turquoise Splendor"),
IMG_3294 017
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and the Icarus Shawl in the same yarn (colorway "Spice")
IMG_3293 016
(Remember that lace doesn't look its best till after blocking; these are both going to be pretty, I promise!) The shawl in the swatching stage is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Stonington Shawl. It's a rework of a traditional Shetland shawl to permit it to be knit all in one piece. Actually it's more than a swatch I'm knitting; I'm making a mini shawl so I can learn all the techniques I'll need. Once I have it down I'll start the real shawl, either with Knitpicks Shadow (100% laceweight merino wool) in Jewels
IMG_3146 017 edited
or with my hand-dyed laceweight merino from last month's dyeing day - it looked like this:
IMG_3246 003
but now it looks like this:
IMG_3298 003
because I overdyed it. In either case, I have barely enough yarn for the project so I'm a little bit nervous. I think my plan is to take this shawl to South America as vacation knitting. (Dad and I are going to Chile and Argentina in November/December.)

Then there are the sweaters: I am involved with two at the moment. First (because it's really on the needles) is the Ivory Pinwheel Sweater,
IMG_3304 009
based on's free Lara Pinwheel Sweater with Crocheted Edges, but using totally different yarn: some of the 8.5 tons of Caron One Pound that I bought years ago. This project has been kind of hibernating for the past few months but I hauled it out the other day because Dad and I went in for our eye exams, and this was a project I was sure I could work on even when my eyes were dilated! It needs to be about one more inch across, then I can put the arm stitches on holders and crank on it.

The last sweater exists only as this swatch:
IMG_3170 041
It's Knitpicks' Classic Lines Cardigan, which is knitted with two strands of lace yarn held together. I'm using their kettle-dyed Shadow yarn in "Soot". Then, every six rows you add in a third yarn to make the irregular stripes. I tried two different ones in the swatch:
IMG_3171 042 edited
the top half used Shimmer in "Lip Gloss" and the bottom half was kettle-dyed Shadow in "Begonia". I preferred the hotter pinks and stronger variegations of the Shimmer, so that's what I'm using. This will be my first steeked sweater (or steeked anything) so I practiced on the swatch. Here's my crocheted steek, cut open:
IMG_3172 043
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It wasn't all that scary, really (she says). The problem is that I desperately want to take this sweater - as a sweater, not as a project - on that trip this fall. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!